Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 06 Sep 2006
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2006
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:02.
House Chairperson Mr T S Setona took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF DELEGATION
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Hon members, I would like to acknowledge in our gallery the presence of a delegation from the City of Johannesburg, led by the Speaker, Councillor Nkele Ntingane, and Councillor Christine Walters. You are acknowledged.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr C J VAN ROOYEN: Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House, I shall move:
That the Council-
- notes the following -
(a) it would appear that the hon Mr Douglas Gibson from the DA is contemplating changing his occupation, albeit late in his life, from a malicious politician to a questionable estate agent;
(b) the childish venture of leading an army of journalists to the site of what will be a retirement home for our President and the First Lady is a sad reflection of a seasoned politician; and
(c) the mentality of our voters cannot be undermined by such an infantile charade of public office bearers, whose conduct undermines the credibility of prestigious institutions, such as Parliament; and
- resolves –
(a) that Parliament institute procedures to prevent such malicious practices in future; and
(b) that Mr Gibson appears before Parliament to explain such malice.
Thank you. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Your motion will be printed in full on the next Order Paper.
Mr N J Mack: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House, I shall move:
That the Council-
(1) notes with shock the opportunistic manner in which the DA has conducted itself in calling for the ANC to disclose moneys allegedly given by the late Brett Kebble and branding the party suspect to corrupt practices, whilst they themselves surreptitiously received huge sums of money from Kebble;
(2) further notes that the ANC expresses serious concerns about the double standards applied by the DA and further wants to make it known that the sudden admission on the part of the DA has nothing to do with issues of transparency, but rather with sheer desperation;
(3) also notes that this sudden admission is concrete evidence that the DA planned to score political points, and that this process has demonstrated that the DA is not a credible opposition party worthy of public trust; and
(4) therefore acknowledges that the ANC wishes to reiterate its position on the protection of the rights of private persons’ donations and its support for clean governance and the fight against corruption.
Thank you. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Your motion will be printed in full on the next Order Paper.
DURBAN SCHOOLBOY STABBED ON SCHOOL GROUNDS
Mr B J TOLO: Chair, I move without notice:
That this Council -
(1) notes with great regret -
(a) the reports of a Durban schoolboy, Sihle Msomi, who was stabbed by another pupil after being called out of class by the assailant in the presence of a teacher; and
- that the pupil bled to death before reaching a local clinic; and
- takes this opportunity to express its deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of Sihle Msomi; and
- calls on the Minister of Education and the MEC for Education in the province to-
- speed up plans to improve school safety and security; and
- intensify awareness programmes to deal with pupil-to-pupil school violence, bullying and harassment.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
CONDOLENCES ON PASSING OF BROTHER OF HON MEMBER PRISCILLA THEMBA
SOSISWEBHU WEMKHANDLU WEMAPROVINSI: Ngitsandza kuphakamisa sishukumiso lesingakabikwa ngaphambilini:
Kutsi LeNdlu Yemkhandlu Wemaprovinsi -
- ivakalisa buhlungu nekushaceka ngekusishiya emhlabeni kemnakabo Make Priscilla Themba, lolilunga laleNdlu, losishiye ngempelasontfo yeliviki leliphelile; futsi
- yendlulisela nemavi endvudvuto kulomndeni wakaThemba, labahlobene nabo nebangani, kutsi kulesikhatsi lesimatima nalesibuhlungu, setinyembeti, Nkulunkulu abe nabo abagcine.
Ngiyabonga. (Translation of Siswati draft resolution follows.)
[The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL: Hon Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
- expresses its condolences to the hon member, Priscilla Themba, on the passing away of her brother this past weekend; and
- expresses strong words of encouragement to the Themba family, friends and relatives during this very difficult time of hardship and tears, and wishes that God be with them and strengthen them.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Hon members, I am quite aware that there was no interpretation, and that this is a problem that occurs from time to time. However, it will be attended to.
Suffice it to say that I would have asked the Chief Whip to sit down had the motion been controversial, but the motion was one of condolences for the hon Priscilla Themba, who is also a member of this august House, on the passing away of her brother.
Congratulations to UNDER-20 soccer team from MPUMALANGA WHICH WAS ABLE TO PLAY UP TO QUARTERFINALS OF DANONE WORLD CUP IN FRANCE
Mr B J TOLO: Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council–
(1) congratulates an under-20 soccer team from Witbank in Mpumalanga which played in the Danone World Cup in France recently;
(2) notes that this team comes from a squatter area and was able to play up to the quarterfinals in this competition;
(3) further congratulates Edwin Soko, a young man who is a founder of this team and who worked without any sponsors to achieve this feat; and
(4) also acknowledges the talent that is out there in soccer for the young ones.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Are there any further motions without notice? There are none.
Hon members, before we move on to the first Order of the Day, I want to acknowledge once more the delegation from the City of Johannesburg. When I initially acknowledged them, they were not yet in the gallery. I now want to acknowledge, in the gallery, the delegation from the City of Johannesburg led by Councillor Speaker Nkele Ntingane and Councillor Christine Walters. You are welcome to this august House. [Applause.]
I also want to acknowledge and welcome in our midst and to this historic debate this afternoon the hon Premier of the Northern Cape, Dipuo Peters, and the hon Speaker and special delegates who are accompanying them. You are welcome, Premier and delegation. Thank you. [Applause.]
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES – “TAKING PARLIAMENT TO THE PEOPLE” NORTHERN CAPE, 27-31 MARCH 2006
The PERMANENT DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon House Chairperson, hon members of the National Council of Provinces, it is with a deep sense of pride that today we debate, once again, a report on our “Taking Parliament to the People” programme, which took place in one of our provinces. It is heartening, I must say, to note that once again this event was equally successful, adding to a string of similar events since we initiated this programme.
The Chairperson of the NCOP has said a number of times in the past that the success of this programme is in itself a challenge to the NCOP in many ways. It needs us to remain focused so that together we use it to build the kind of South Africa we want, a South Africa where Parliament serves as the true voice of the people and where issues of service delivery are a matter of public dialogue.
We also need not to shy away from raising issues that we feel should be done differently with regard to this programme, as long as we do so in the interest of strengthening this programme and bettering the lives of our people.
I am happy to participate in this debate, because there are three issues I would like to bring before this House. Firstly, I want to express our appreciation to the political leadership in the Northern Cape, for not only embracing the programme, but for ensuring that they are with us on the ground, ensuring co-operative governance in action.
For this I must thank the hon Premier, Dipuo Peters, for ensuring that she was always with us as we listened to the people of Kgalagadi. She is the first Premier to have managed to attend every day during similar visits. We should laud her commitment to the cause of the people and, importantly, for the guidance she offered during our visit.
Equally, we extend this gesture to the Speaker of the Northern Cape legislature, hon Khonisio Sepengwe. We know that without the partnership between our two institutions we would not have achieved what we had set out to achieve.
Our appreciation also goes to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, the hon Elizabeth Thabethe, and other members of the executive and provincial executive council, as well as fellow legislatures. It is through this co-operation that we can actually give meaning to the spirit of the Constitution and the very existence of the NCOP.
The second point I would like to raise relates to our understanding of the work that the National Council of Provinces must do. I know that we may not necessarily be sharing equally a common understanding, hence I wish to remind all of us about how we have, over the years, understood the role and function of the National Council of Provinces beyond the well-known constitutional provision, as the following observations from some of our leaders indicate.
The hon President Nelson Mandela, in his annual address to the National Council of Provinces in 1998, said:
The NCOP is uniquely placed to reflect the diversity of our society and to synthesise the experience of those spheres of government which are charged with a great bulk of the task of implementing our national programme of fundamental change.
He continued by posing these questions to the members of the new NCOP at that time:
Are the programmes outlined in our state of the nation address at the beginning of the year on course? Are the problems identified then and indeed in our debate in the National Council of Provinces last year being addressed? Are we able to take early warning of problems which may, if left to themselves, in due course catch the nation unawares when they assume the proportions of crisis?
I think we can read in this observation how the NCOP, as expected by President Mandela then, should engage with issues as we continue with our transformation agenda.
In his annual address to the National Council of Provinces in Limpopo last year, the hon President Thabo Mbeki had this to say about the National Council of Provinces:
The NCOP is the only institution within our constitutional system of governance that straddles all three spheres of our co-operative governance construct, the national, provincial and local. Therefore it has the possibility and the mandate to keep a constant eye on the processes that must integrate legislative and executive decisions in all spheres of government and ensure the practical implementation of these decisions, especially to the extent that they impact directly on the lives of the people. I am certain that hon members do share this understanding, more especially in terms of what the National Council of Provinces represents and must do.
On the occasion of the Budget Vote of the Department of Provincial and Local Government last year, the hon Sydney Mufamadi elaborated on this role in talking about the programme, “Taking Parliament to the People”. He said:
This ``Taking Parliament to the People’’ and other initiatives of a similar kind provide a platform to the National Council of Provinces to execute its oversight mandate regarding the practice of intergovernmental relations.
As the NCOP interacts with the people on the basis of its own programme, it will no doubt make its own determination as to what is required to change the lives of the people for the better. It will also be able not only to assess the efficacy of the strategic plans of individual departments, but also to evaluate our instruments for co-ordinating the delivery of crosscutting programmes.
The National Council of Provinces will have to satisfy its government; that government has to put in place strategic plans, which at once offer certainty and predictability as the development goals that are being pursued, and also have the necessary flexibility to respond to political and economic feedback.
He went on to say:
Given the historical peripheralisation of the people in the townships and the rural areas of our country, your decision to sit in provinces must indeed be commended, for it serves to underscore the point that the institutional foundations of our government and Parliament are shaped by an unbending commitment to inclusivity.
I am citing these statements from some of our leaders to highlight the fact that there should not be any misunderstanding of the role that the National Council of Provinces was set up to play, which it has played and which it must continue to play to respond to current challenges.
The leadership of the National Council of Provinces, as I have said in my opening, is clear that a programme like this would not be without challenges, but we also appeal that these challenges must be addressed in the same spirit which brought about this important institution. I challenge hon members to reflect on these observations by some of our leaders and see to what extent we have given expression to them as this House.
At this point let me come to the third point I would like to make. In order to ensure that we do not merely appear to be paying lip service to the ideals of this programme, which are to assist our government at national, provincial and local level, to render quality service to the people we have decided to strengthen our follow-up mechanism. Earlier this year we discussed with the Whippery and the Chairperson’s Forum, a framework to follow up on issues raised during our “Taking Parliament to the People” visits.
I must again say that this is merely a framework, which is intended to facilitate our activities. As the presiding officers of the NCOP we have, after considering and factoring in some of the issues raised by members at the sessions I have mentioned, adopted a framework. The intention behind this framework is to strengthen the programme by making sure that we, in a systematic way, do something about the issues our people continue to raise, so that this programme can begin to have a huge impact towards changing their lives.
The framework has eight steps: The first step is the compilation and editing of the report, which we say must take place within one working week after the visit.
The second step entails the consideration of the report by the political steering committee, which oversaw preparations for the visit. This is to allow for the political process for considering the report before it is published. This must take place within three working weeks after the visit.
The third step is the publishing of the report in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports. The intention is to allow for the consideration of the report by committees so that they isolate committee-specific issues in preparation for the debate, within two working weeks after the publishing of the report in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports.
The fourth step is the consideration of the report by the House. This step must allow for the identification of subject-specific input to guide committees to follow-up areas. We are also saying that at the time we consider this report, as we do this afternoon, we should have some indication as to how we intend to deal with the issues raised in the report, so that as we debate here we have an idea as to what necessary steps we need to take. We say that the House must consider the report within four working weeks from the date of publishing the report in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports.
The fifth step is the publishing of the report to all the role-players and stakeholders that participated during the visit. This must happen within a week from the date of the adoption of the report by the House.
The sixth step will be committee follow-up programmes. This is the stage where select committees must finalise their plans and mechanisms for follow up. That is why we say this is a framework because committees must then come up with their own ways of following up. This we say must happen within two working weeks from the date of adoption of the report by the House.
The seventh step will be quarterly reports by committees on the work they are doing as part of the follow-up exercise. I think committee chairpersons themselves agreed in their workshop earlier this year to having quarterly reports, so reporting on the follow-up will form part of those reports.
The eighth step will be special follow-up visits. Presiding officers must assess the follow-up work being done by committees to see if there are any necessary interventions which may require a special delegation of the House visiting the province again. This assessment must be done within eight months after the visit in cases where the members of the executive had made certain undertakings and given timeframes, but overall this exercise must be done within eighteen months from the date of the visit. I hope that we will not wait for eighteen months but take this to be the maximum period required to see, from the committee follow-up exercises, there is a need to go back to the province as the delegation of the House or any form of intervention they may deem fit.
The follow-up visits, which we have started, are intended also to assist us to provide feedback to the province. We have confidence that if we adhere to this framework as we go about doing our follow-up, we will be able, as the hon Minister for Provincial and Local Government said, to assess the efficacy of strategic plans of government departments. I am sure members would recall that supporting this programme is a commitment we had made and which is contained in our Strategic Document Programme 2009. Strengthening our follow-up mechanisms will enable us to achieve our 2009 objectives.
We have no time to spare, as hon members have shown through their hard work. We stand foursquare behind the struggle to free our people from poverty and underdevelopment. I thank you. [Applause.]
The PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE (Ms E D Peters): Hon Chairperson, our Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, the Minister of Health Comrade Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and our Deputy Minister of Education Comrade Surty, hon delegates to the NCOP and members, representatives of the SA Local Government Association, ladies and gentlemen, comrades, it is only appropriate and correct that at the beginning I must convey our people’s gratitude and appreciation, in particular the community of Kgalagadi District, for the decision by the leadership of this House to take Parliament to them.
The period from 26 March to 31 March 2006 will forever be amongst the historic milestones in the minds and hearts of our people. I dare say that never before has the leadership of our country, as led by this House, descended in such numbers to be with the people of Kgalagadi. Amongst them we had our hon Deputy President, our Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and the executive councils of two provinces, including their newly elected councillors.
The visit coincided with the official disestablishment of the Kgalagadi Cross-Boundary District Municipality after the historic local government elections. Indeed, this cross-boundary arrangement posed a real challenge in service delivery.
The five-day programme with the theme “All shall have equal rights” in Kgalagadi once more brought to the fore the daunting challenge of the delivery of quality service in our rural areas. To us in the Northern Cape this reality further confirmed the correctness of the decision of government to declare this district one of the rural nodal points for development.
Our visit also again brought to the fore the stark reality of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation, which many of our rural people face on a daily basis, the women, youth, children, the elderly and people living with disabilities. Their plight or challenges were, in the main, similar in nature and they all related to a lack of access to many basic services – things that some in our society take for granted – such as a lack of access to basic education; lack of access to basic health care; lack of access to clean water and sanitation; lack of access to electricity; being unable to access IDs and birth certificates, and a lack of access to information - the list is endless.
However, throughout this engagement, a profound, positive message of hope resonated and again confirmed our President’s clarion call that we have entered an age of hope.
What was also very inspiring was the ever-positive prevailing spirit of Vukuzenzele and the Letsema campaigns that was quite visible throughout our engagements in the district. When our people raised an urgent need for an ambulance, in the same breath, they also indicated that they had already raised R25 000 towards this much-needed resource. [Applause.] When our people raised the need for a school, they indicated, at the same time, that they had already started making bricks and needed additional material towards this venture. [Applause.]
This clearly communicates a message that our people don’t expect hand-outs from the government. They want to be effective partners in their own development. This is further confirmation that indeed all of us should work tirelessly towards making our people’s contract of creating work and fighting poverty a resounding success.
In our endeavour to act speedily as the Northern Cape in attending to the needs raised by the people during the NCOP visit, the two provincial governments have already signed an overarching implementation protocol, and respective departments have already finalised their service-level agreements. The plan and agreements are intended to facilitate a smooth process of handing over services and functions to the Northern Cape administration, and thus service delivery is not being delayed or compromised at all.
What we need to emphasise here today is that the process of the disestablishment of the district should not be a hindrance to effective service delivery; rather it should act as a catalyst for speedy and efficient machinery of government departments in serving our people. As part of our plan of ensuring a well co-ordinated and integrated approach towards government service delivery in Kgalagadi, departments have been tasked to develop proposals with regard to the nature of institutional structures that should be established in the district for better co-ordination and management of government services.
We are, however, fully conscious that not all government departments are expected to establish district offices. However, a minimum package of support to communities will have to be worked out. An audit of the present government services in the district has already been undertaken, and this will inform our intervention with regard to strengthening service infrastructure already in place.
Whatever we intend to undertake is premised on creating a conducive environment for advancing the strategic goals of our government, especially in the context of attaining the objectives as espoused by our Integrated Rural Development Strategy. This will entail, amongst other things, progressively ensuring access to primary health care and health provision in general to all our citizens, including those in the remotest villages of the district.
The Department of Health is already in the process of aligning the 2014 health vision to also incorporate Kgalagadi in its entirety. As part of this initiative, we are seriously exploring the community’s proposal that 4x4 emergency vehicle services be procured in order to reach many of the deep rural areas with rugged roads. Challenges concerning a shortage of staff, in particular health care professionals – especially doctors, nurses and emergency care practitioners – constitute part of our immediate priorities as government.
We must, however, bear in mind that this challenge is facing the rest of the country, although it finds more prominence in rural areas such as Kgalagadi, as this House, which happens to have visited the area, may bear testimony to.
The 2014 health vision also reflects in detail our plan of building more health facilities in the form of clinics and hospitals. This will, in the long term, relieve pressures currently being experienced by the Kagiso and Bendel health care centres, as reported by members of this House who visited these facilities during that period.
The right to good quality basic education, as a challenge, was also raised during the visit by this House. We did, as a matter of principle, make a commitment that we would investigate and build on the strides made in this regard in ensuring that all our people access opportunities towards education. Accordingly, the service-level agreement signed already seeks to attend to the specific needs raised by our people.
We did also indicate that in future we might have to explore, Mr Deputy Minister, the viability of small schools and whether it will not be strategic to cluster schools and thus ensure the provision of quality education and the proper utilisation of our learner transport, which is essential in order to deliver access to education for all. Of importance to mention is that 156 schools in these districts have been recommended to the Minister of Education for gazetting as no-fee schools, starting in 2007.
In partnership with all district municipalities, including Kgalagadi, the provincial government has properly conceptualised our role in ensuring the successful implementation of our five-year strategic agenda of local government. This agenda is about meeting the basic needs of our people, especially the provision of water, sanitation, electricity and housing.
Accordingly, our Departments of Housing and Local Government are closely monitoring and supporting our municipalities in ensuring that funds allocated for these specific purposes are utilised effectively in eradicating backlogs with regard to the basic needs of our people. The necessary technical and professional support is also being strengthened by the development or deployment of much-needed competent personnel to improve the efficiency of our municipalities.
The state of our roads, in particular access roads, and our public transportation system were matters of real concern for our people. Hon members of this House know what happened to some of the people who were visiting some of the rural areas in that part of the province. As the government, we are acutely aware of the importance of our road and transport infrastructure in meeting the socioeconomic needs of our people and promoting economic development within our areas.
Our people, for instance, complained about many villages being inaccessible owing to poor, unserviced access roads, and the unintended consequences of the high costs charged by private transport service providers because of the unavailability of public transportation systems. They even made the appeal that we allow bakkies to be utilised as taxis in that part of the province as the owners of minibus taxis were not able to or not prepared to enter the areas because of the conditions of the roads. We also heard of cases in which pregnant women had to give birth at home because they were still waiting for an ambulance owing to the poor road infrastructure.
As government we have developed a comprehensive infrastructure strategy, which takes into consideration the need to enhance both our social and our economic infrastructure over the next 10 years. This strategy was thoroughly interrogated by all stakeholders during our infrastructure summit in 2005.
Members of this House were also informed about the economic potential Kgalagadi has in the areas of mining, primary agriculture and tourism. It is in this context that we wish to inform members of the work we are doing with regard to the commercialisation of goats as part of the major projects of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa, and its economic potential especially in the establishment of co-operatives to drive this project.
We can report that work to support municipalities in developing their growth and development strategies is ongoing and will culminate in a district growth and development summit. Our expectation is that this summit will elaborate a clear plan for the exploitation of the economic potential of mining and agriculture for the benefit of our people.
The institution of traditional leadership is an important component in our efforts for reconstruction and development. To this end, we have been working with the North West provincial government in formulating the required legislative framework to direct the relationship between provincial government and our traditional leaders. This includes the establishment of the Northern Cape House of Traditional Leaders.
This process will, obviously, be conducted in close consultation with my counterpart, the Premier of North West, as well as our traditional leaders themselves. This is also very important with regard to the requirement of our local government legislation, which calls for the participation of all sections of our communities in the governance process.
Allow me to turn briefly to a topic very close to my heart: the challenge faced by the youth of our country, which needs a collective and innovative response from all of us, working in tandem with the youth themselves. The youth of Kgalagadi expressly raised their challenges and, again, alluded to some of the things that needed to be done to ensure that they too benefited from the fruits of freedom that previous generations of youth so gallantly fought for.
In response to the identified challenges of lack of information and counselling and referral services, we are happy to indicate that the first youth advisory centre for the district is in the process of being operationalised through a joint initiative of the district municipality and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund. Coupled with this, the district has been identified as a pilot site for the youth in local economic development programmes, drawing on the resources of various agencies and role-players. The Northern Cape Youth Commission is continuing with its work in supporting the district and local municipalities to ensure that the programmes of youth development find expression in the structure and the programmes of councils.
We have attempted, as a province, to briefly give some information on the work that our government is embarking on in the Kgalagadi District. Our efforts should be viewed in the context of broader development interventions such as the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme.
The NCOP visit to Kgalagadi left a permanent conscientiousness on the people of the district and, indeed, the province of the Northern Cape. It gave practical and meaningful expression to the concept of “The people shall govern”, and those of us who witnessed this memorable engagement with the masses can indeed proclaim that the people’s contract is intact and the people are governing.
We take this opportunity as the Northern Cape to truly thank the NCOP and Parliament for facilitating this seamless transfer of services from the North West to the Northern Cape in the process of the disestablishment of the cross-boundary. I want to say that, had it not been for the visit of the NCOP, we might have been left behind as a province because you have noted the vastness of that district and the challenges of the road conditions.
I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of the people of the Northern Cape, the executive council and the legislature, to thank the NCOP members, including those who made us a laughing stock, but it did make the visit a memorable one, because they believed that we took Parliament from these beautiful buildings to being hosted in a tent. The rain tried to disrupt the sittings, but you endured.
I want to say to those of you who experienced problems at the time - accommodation problems - we know that you are leaders of the people and that you could endure the hardships of that week as much as you understand that the people have to endure those hardships for life. Thank you very much for the visit that you paid us. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Thank you, hon Premier. Hon members, before I proceed, I want to acknowledge the presence of the Deputy Minister of Education from Namibia, Dr Becky, who is in our public gallery. You are welcome, Madam. [Applause.]
Further, hon members, I’d like to say that I am tempted not to acknowledge the Minister of Health, the Deputy Minister of Education and the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, because this is their home and this is their service point. You cannot welcome someone when he or she is in his or her own house. However, we want to acknowledge their presence, not to welcome them. On that note, we will proceed with our business.
Mr D A WORTH: Deputy Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon Premier of the Northern Cape and all members present, the National Council of Province’s ``Taking Parliament to the People’’ was held in the Northern Cape province in the Kgalagadi District Municipality from 27 to 31 March this year.
The people of rural Kgalagadi experience poverty, joblessness and often the lack of basic services. However, the iron and manganese mines present some potential for employment. Because of the vast area of the province and the sparseness of the population, most of the members of the National Council of Provinces were flown in by charter flights to Sishen Airport for the visit.
``Taking Parliament to the People’’ is an important public participation mechanism and affords people living in remote areas of the country the opportunity to speak directly to their elected representatives, and gives members the chance to listen to the concerns of the people. In our relatively new democracy, many people cannot afford to travel to Cape Town and see how Parliament functions. In fact, there are people in the country who have never seen the sea, let alone Cape Town and, if for no other reason, Parliament must continue to visit other parts of the country wherever and whenever possible.
At the sittings at the Moshaweng Municipal Hall, members of the various communities participated in the public hearings, raising issues of concern such as poverty alleviation, social security and the provision of basic services. Our chairperson had noted that one of the objectives of the public hearings was to explore the effectiveness of local government in the region and whether the municipality involved the communities in the preparation of integrated development plans, the IDPs. In addition, it would look at whether ward committees had been established and were functioning effectively. The Kgalagadi region, it was noted, had been declared a rural development node.
Members of the National Council of Provinces, the Premier of the province, provincial MECs, municipal Speakers, mayors and councillors all participated, and formed part of the panels where they responded to issues raised by their communities. The Northern Cape, among other areas, had experienced heavy rains, which caused damage to infrastructure such as roads, housing and sanitation connections. Normally, however, these areas don’t get any water or rainfall for periods of between three and six months.
It was interesting to note the mode of transport in the area - donkey carts with registration number plates, nogal. [Interjections.] Maybe that’s for speeding fines but at least its pollution free and not affected by the price of petrol. [Interjections.]
Members carried out various visits to farms, schools, health centres and projects falling under the Expanded Public Works Programme. I personally accompanied a group that visited the Wrenchville Small Farmers Women’s Society situated near Camden, some 82 kilometres from Kuruman. This project consists of some 30 emerging women farmers involved in livestock farming with varying skills.
Various challenges were noted during the visit, namely stock theft and security, social conflicts resulting in poor co-operation among group members, and lack of skills, which has resulted in financial problems and debt with the bank. The Department of Agriculture plays a vital role in the sustainability of the project, and must ensure that there is a transfer of skills to the members of the society.
The National Council of Provinces occupies a unique position in our constitutional system in so far as it straddles all three spheres of government, ie national, provincial and local, and places the NCOP in a strategic oversight position. I therefore wish to personally thank the Premier of the Northern Cape province for the hospitality extended to the NCOP during our visit, and for the gifts that we received. I trust that the members - and this comes in as a bit of an advertisement here - will enjoy the forthcoming visit to my home province, the Free State, just as much. Thank you. [Applause.]
Nkk J N VILAKAZI: Sihlalo ohloniphekileyo, abahlonishwa, oNgqongqoshe abakhona phakathi kwethu neNdlu yonke, akukuningi engizokusho mayelana nePhalamende elalihleli eNyakatho neKapa (Northern Cape). Okuningi sebekubalulile ozakwethu abakhulumile enginabo lapho.
Okokuqala, okwagxila enhlizweni yami ukubona imitholampilo engakwazi ukusebenza ebusuku endaweni ekude nedolobha - emakhaya impela. Umuntu ogula ebusuku isigubhukane usizakala kanjani? Olunywe yinyoka odinga usizo wenze njani? Imitholampilo enosizo oluphelele isebenza amahora angamashumi amabili nane. Siyacela kuNgqongqoshe Wezempilo asibhekisise lesi simo ngoba asisishle neze, simuncu.
Okwesibili, engakuphawulayo ukusweleka kwezinto zokuhamba. Konke lokhu kwenza lesi simo engiqeda ukusibala nje sibe sibi kunakuqala. Okwesithathu, abantwana besikole bahamba amabanga amade ukuya esikoleni. Umphakathi wakhala ngalesi simo esikhona-ke kuzo zonke izindawo ezisemakhaya. Siyahlupheka thina esihlala emakhaya.
Okuhle engakubona kwagxila enhlizweni yami ukubona umphakathi ubhidlangile usebenza, ugandaya imigwaqo ngalolu hlelo oludume ngokuthi phecelezi (Expanded Public Works Programme). Hhawu, luhle lolu hlelo ngokusiza imiphakathi lubuye lusize abantu ukuthola umsebenzi. Sengathi nasemakhaya lapho imigwaqo yakhona inemihholo nje kube lukhuni nokuhamba kuleyo ndawo uhlelo esengilushilo lungasetshenziswa.
Isimo asisihle neze emigwaqeni yasemakhaya kuyo yonke indawo. Indawo yomile futhi namanzi awekho emakhaya. Amanzi ayisidingo esibalulekile kakhulu empilweni yomuntu. Sincoma imayini eyakhiwe endaweni ekhuphula izinga lomnotho kanti futhi iletha amathuba emisebenzi. Siphinde sincome ngendlela izimbuzi ezifuywa ngayo. Sithi phambili Ndunankulu! Sikushayela ihlombe ntombazane. Sithi phambili ngokufuywa kwezimbuzi!
Okukugcina Ngqongqoshe, thina siyi-IFP sithi phambili ngokusebenza ngokubambisana komphakathi wase-Northern Cape, phambili. Ngiyabonga. (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Mrs J N VILAKAZI: Hon Chairperson and hon members, Ministers present and the House at large, there is not much I am going to say regarding the sitting of Parliament that took place in the Northern Cape. Most of the issues have been covered by my colleagues who spoke before me.
The primary issue that concerned me most was to see the clinics that could not operate at night in rural areas far from the city. How does a person who suddenly gets sick during the night get help? What happens to a person who gets bitten by a snake and requires immediate help? Clinics with comprehensive medical resources operate only for 24 hours. We appeal to the Minister to give attention to this situation because it is unpleasant.
Secondly, I took serious note of the problem of transport. This makes the situation I spoke about earlier on even worse than before. Thirdly, school children walk long distances to schools. The community complained about this situation in almost all the rural areas. We are suffering in the rural areas.
On a positive note, I was pleased to see people working on road construction through the programme called the “Expanded Public Works Programme”. I commend this very effective programme that helps communities and people to secure jobs. I hope that this programme I just mentioned will be implemented in rural areas as well, where roads have severe cracks and potholes. The condition of roads in the rural areas is just not conducive to safe driving.
Another issue is drought in the rural areas. It is absolutely dry and there is no water there. Water is a basic human need. We commend the utilisation of the local mine, which increases the economy and job opportunities. We also commend the way in which goats are stocked and bred. Continue with the good work, Premier. We applaud you, girl. We are saying that the work of stocking and breeding goats must be carried forward.
In conclusion, Minister, we, as the IFP, are saying that working together with the community of the Northern Cape Province is the way to go. Thank you.]
Mnu N GALELA (Mntla Koloni): Sekela-Sihlalo, Baphathiswa abakhoyo apha, malungu onke eli Bhunga leSizwe laMaphondo, manene namanenekazi, ndiyanibulisa. Egameni labantu bePhondo loMntla Koloni, siyibulela kakhulu into yokuba le Ndlu iye yasuka apha, asayibona kumabonakude kuphela, koko saya kuyibona ikhona ekhaya eKgakalagadi.
Loo nto iye yabonakalisa elubala ukuba ngokwenene urhulumente okhoyo ngurhulumente wabantu, ofuna ukulawula ngokwezimvo zabantu. Ibingekho ke indlela ebiya kwenzeka ngayo into yokuba siqhube le nkqubo ngokupheleleyo ngaphandle kokuba siye ebantwini.
Eyona nto siye sayithanda kakhulu yile yokuba nangona zikhona iindawo ezibalulekileyo nezibizwa ngamagama amakhulu kwelaa phondo ezinjengeKimberly nezinye, kodwa khange niye khona; niye nakhetha kanye le isentlango, apho kungafane kuye mntu khona. Siye sayibulela kakhulu ke loo nto thina singumzi waseKgalagadi - nam ndingumhlali wakhona - ukuba kanti nathi nangona sihlala emaphandleni, kodwa singabantu kwaye sinamalungelo neemfanelo njengabanye abahlala ezidolophini. Loo nto ke icacisa ukuba ngokwenene sizimisele ukuqhuba inkqubo yentando yesininzi.
Ekufikeni kwethu phaya siye safikela kwizinto ngezinto, ezinye zazo izizinto ezintle, ezenzelwe abantu bethu ngurhulumente wethu okhululekileyo, ezifana nokuziswa kweenkonzo ebantwini. Ezi zizinto ebezifudula zingenziwa ngurhulumente wamandulo, kodwa namhlanje sele kucacile ukuba ngokwenene bakhona abantu esele beqalile ukuxhamla kwezi nkonzo.
Ndingabalula ukuba amanzi sele ekhona kwiindawo ezithile, into eyayingekho ngaphambili. Abantu bakuthi bathathwa nje baya kulahlwa phaya entlango, apho kwakungekho manzi khona, kodwa namhlanje abanye babo bayawafumana.
Umbane yenye yezinto ebezisoloko zingekho. Besisithi ukuze sibase phaya kufuneke sihambe siye kuchola iinkuni, phambi kokuba kufike lo rhulumente ngonyaka ka-1994.
Kambe ke, mawethu, singabantu bePhondo loMntla Koloni, ngakumbi eKgalagadi, sithi kusekuninzi okusafanele ukuba kwenziwe kulaa ndawo. Nanjengokuba ebesecacisile uMphathiswa wethu ukuba ayikabi ngabo bonke abantu baseKgalagadi abasele bexhamla kwezi nkonzo ndithetha ngazo ezifana namanzi nemibane. Ngoko ke kufuneka siqinise, ngoba sele sisemgaqweni ofanelekileyo, sinyanzelise ukuba bonke abantu bakuthi babe nokufikelela kwezi zinto.
Sifuna ukugxininisa ngakumbi kwezempilo nezemfundo. Siyazi ukuba ngokubhekisele kwezempilo zikhona iinzame ezenziwayo, ezinjengezithuthi ezisetyenziswa njengeeklinikhi, iimobile clinics, ngabula makhumsha, esithe saqala ukuzibona ukufika kwalo rhulumente ukhokelwa nguKhongolosi.
Siyayibulela into yokuba zibe zikho izinto ezifana nezi. Nangona zingekafikeleli kakuhle kwezinye iindawo, uye uthi nakwezo ndawo zikhoyo kuzo ufumanise ukuba azisebenzi ngokwanelisayo, ebusuku nasemini. Siyacela ke ukuba noko masibonelelwe ukwenzela ukuba sifumane isidima sethu esifanelekileyo.
Ngokubhekisele kwezemfundo, eyona ngxaki yethu kukuba izikolo esinazo phaya zizikolo abazakhela ngokwabo abantu ngezitena zomhlaba, ekuthi kwakufika iimvula ezinkulu zikhukuliseke ziwe ezinye zazo. Noko ke kuyafuneka ukuba abasemagunyeni baqinisekise ukuphuculwa kwazo.
Enye into efuna ingqwalasela yeyokuba abantwana baseKgalagadi bahamba imigama emide ukuya ezikolweni, maxa wambi ngeenyawo kungekho zithuthi. Siyacela ukuba babonelelwe ngezithuthi, inxalenye yemali yazo ihlawulwe ngurhulumente, ukwenzela ukuba babe nomdla wokuhamba isikolo.
Kukho nezikolo ezikumgama oli-150 leekhilomitha kungekho zithuthi zikawonke-wonke. Loo nto ibonisa ukuba kuyanyanzeleka ukuba singurhulumente siqinisekise ukuba izithuthi zikawonke-wonke ziba khona. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Mr N GALELA (Northern Cape): Deputy Chairperson, Ministers who are present here, members of the National Council of Provinces, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all. On behalf of the people of the Northern Cape province, we are very grateful that this House came to visit us, so that we do not only watch it on television, but we also managed to see it in Kgalagadi.
This clearly indicates that indeed the present government is a people’s government and that it wants to govern in accordance with people’s ideas. It would not have been possible to implement this programme in full without taking it to the people.
The most admirable thing is that, even though there are important places with big names in that province, like Kimberly and others, you did not go to them; instead you chose to come to this deep rural area, a place where people rarely visit. We express our sincere gratitude as the Kgalagadi community - I also live there - that, though we live in the rural areas, we are still regarded as people with rights and needs, just like those who live in urban areas. That clearly indicates that we are truly committed to promoting democracy.
On our arrival we witnessed a number of things, some of which were the good things done for our people by our liberated government, such as service delivery to the people. The previous government did not provide these services, but today it is clear that there are indeed some people who have already started to enjoy the fruits of service delivery.
Let me highlight that there is the provision of a water supply in certain areas, something that was not there before. Our people were dumped in deep rural areas, where there was no water supply, but today there is.
An electricity supply is one of the services that was not provided. Before we could make a fire, we would go and collect wood; this was before this government took over in 1994.
But, as people of the Northern Cape Province, particularly of Kgalagadi, we still believe that there is a lot that needs to be done in that area. As our Minister has already indicated, not all the people of Kgalagadi have enjoyed some of the fruits of service delivery, such as water and electricity. Therefore, we need to work very hard, as we are on the right track, by ensuring that all our people are able to access these services.
We want to put more emphasis, especially, on health and education. We know that with regard to health, efforts are being made, such as the availability of vehicles that are used as clinics, mobile clinics, as the educated call them, which we only started to make use of when the ANC-led government came into power.
We are grateful that we have services of this nature. Though they are not available in other areas, we have come to realise that even in areas where they exist, they sometimes do not work satisfactorily, and are not available for a 24-hour service. Therefore we request that provision should be made to ensure that we are accorded the dignity that we deserve.
In relation to education, our most problematic issue is that the schools that we have there are schools that the community members built with mud bricks which disintegrate during heavy rains and some of these buildings fall down. There is a need for authorities to ensure that those schools are developed.
One other issue that needs special attention is that some learners from Kgalagadi walk long distances to school due to the lack of transport. We humbly request that they be provided with transport and that part of the money be subsidised by the government in order to motivate them to attend school.
There are other schools, which are 150 km away, to which there is no public transport. This clearly indicates our obligation as government to ensure that we make provision for public transport.]
The issue of unemployment opportunities was raised sharply in these particular meetings. It is indeed one of the aspects that we need, obviously, to look into to ensure that the people of Kgalagadi, who are surrounded by mining houses, are also able to participate in the mainstream of the economy in this particular area.
We acknowledge the kind of initiatives that the government of the ANC is taking to ensure that our people are part and parcel of the mainstream economy. We propose, obviously, that we identify the issue of co-operatives, and make sure that we facilitate and establish them in this particular area so that those people that have been marginalised from participating in the economy of the area are able to do so.
We also want to acknowledge that there are certain projects that have been able to take our people forward and also restore their dignity. These include, among others, the Expanded Public Works Programme. This is one of the programmes that has been initiated and implemented effectively in this particular area.
We are saying that those particular projects must be consolidated to ensure that ultimately all our people are able to participate in them.
However, we obviously need to raise a number of issues, particularly in relation to the physical infrastructure in that area. Very little is being done in terms of developing infrastructure in the area itself, which, therefore, requires of all of us to put together resources in order to be able to facilitate that process.
But, apart from that, there is also the issue that resources are not made available to maintain infrastructure once it has been developed in an area, and that is one of the areas that we need to look into.
We also want to acknowledge the dipodi, dikgomo and other related agricultural projects that, obviously, have been of assistance to our people in that particular area. However, we are saying that funding and resources must be made available to ensure that these projects become successful in creating jobs for our people.
Every municipality in the area must have an integrated development plan that finds its expression and content from the provincial growth and development strategy and other national development strategies to ensure that government’s vision for 2010 and other target dates is realised.
The disabled persons, youth and women of this area must be skilled so that they are able to participate in economic programmes in the area. We request the establishment of three co-operatives comprising mostly women, persons with disabilities and the youth through the Apex Fund by 2007.
``Taking Parliament to the People’’ is a democratic process to clearly understand the needs of our people on a face-to-face basis. Our government is where it is because the people put it there and, therefore, it must, from time to time, go back to the people that elected it. I thank you. Thank you. Dankie. Enkosi. Ke a leboga. [Applause.]
Mr N D HENDRICKSE: Hon Chair, hon Ministers, hon Premier and speakers, and all other hon members, the initiative to take Parliament to the people is to be commended and encouraged. Here I want to give my thanks, through the Premier, for a fantastic job done. I have personally not heard one complaint.
At dawn on 27 April 1994, there were already queues of people at rural polling stations, incredibly excited at being able to vote and so have a say in the government of the land of their birth. That morning was the dawn of our democracy. Whether one looks to others as the cradle of Western democracy, where all the citizens gather to vote, or the African model of lekgotla attended by the local community, there is an element missing in our proud new democracy.
Government takes place at a distance, and this is what we are remedying here in the NCOP. Parliament sits far away from the vast majority of people it serves. We met and heard of many who were physically challenged, who need to be capacitated and empowered with basic skills. I think our hearts broke when we saw some of the people crawling in, as they were physically challenged. That was, I think, a defining moment for me in that tent that day.
We heard about fences that need fixing; how equipment fails because of lack of basic maintenance; farmers lacking basic management skills, threatening the viability of our emerging farmers; and local small businesses lacking the expertise to tender for contracts, leading to suspicions of nepotism.
I just want to say something about the farmers, the emerging farmers. I think we want to get away from emerging farmers. We need to look at the markets, look at the extra funding, look at the viability, and the technical inputs so that our farmers no longer sit there as emerging farmers, but become farmers in their own right.
On the plus side, while roads, or the lack thereof, is a major problem, labour-intensive Expanded Public Works projects had not only been used for local road construction but provided much-needed employment. We have seen that with the various companies who did this, and they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps. Many of the defects in school buildings and medical facilities could, I believe, be remedied with similar projects.
The philosopher Emmanuel Kant said, “The mode of government is comparably more important for a nation than the form of state.’’ Julius Caesar famously said, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” In our case, let it be ``We came, we saw and we will make sure that we will conquer some of these things.’’ Thank you.
Kgoshi M L MOKOENA: Chairperson and hon members, since 1994 people have been allowed to criticise their government and not be arrested for the first time in the history of this country. For the very first time in the history of this country, of course since 1994, people aren’t compelled to spend lots of money to go to Parliament, but it is Parliament that goes to the people.
When the ANC–led government came up with the concept of taking Parliament to the people - the NCOP, to be specific - some daydreamers shot it down and said it would never work, or that it was a waste of time and money. Surprisingly, the very same people that these political piccaninnies were purporting to be speaking on behalf of were so excited and said that a week was not enough and that we should add more days.
It is true. The people shall govern. Let us look at what transpired in the Kgalagadi District, the Moshaweng Municipality to be specific. People came in large numbers. They raised concerns and asked pertinent questions, and also advised us as Parliament on how to fast-track service delivery.
Let me give one or two examples of things that were raised during this programme of taking Parliament to the people, in particular in the Northern Cape. One woman, speaking on behalf of her group, said that they needed help to be able to effectively and productively run their poultry farm. As I’m speaking, the progressive ANC-led government has intervened.
One man complained that he reported a case a long time ago but was never contacted or informed as to how far the case was proceeding. It is with pride that I report to this House that yours truly has intervened and, as I speak, the matter is about to be finalised in the magistrate’s court.
Some women complained that in their area they were sharing water with animals. The ANC-led Kgalagadi District intervened, and we have received a report that the matter has been resolved.
Hon members would recall that a very interesting request was made by a group that wanted Parliament to intervene because their bulls were lazy and were unable to perform to the maximum required standards. To be honest, it was the very first time that I learnt of such a problem, but I am happy to announce that the district, in consultation with the relevant department, hon Premier, has intervened and miracles are now happening. [Laughter.]
The situation is back to normal and things are like a well-oiled machine. “Umshine upompa amansi manjhe!” [The machine is pumping now!] Please do not ask me to elaborate because I am not going to do that.
It was encouraging to realise that, for the very first time in the history of this province, there were traditional leaders in attendance. I am told they are now nine in number. This was brought about by the new demarcation of the provinces and municipalities.
Hon members will recall that the Northern Cape was one of the three provinces that did not have traditional leaders, the other two being Gauteng and the Western Cape. But in Gauteng I know the situation will change, because there are the traditional leaders who belonged to the North West, around Hammanskraal, who are now going to be in Gauteng.
This brings me to a sensitive matter that was touched on by my hon Premier, of the then cross-boundary municipalities. I know very few members are comfortable talking about this. Hon members would recall that the whole of Kgalagadi was at some stage under the North West, but is now under the warm and attractive Northern Cape.
It was so encouraging to see and feel the warmth with which the Premier welcomed the 250 000 people around the Kgalagadi District. This could only have been done by a dynamic, calculated, wonderful and marvellous premier: Dipuo Peters. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
What we want to put across is that, regardless of where a particular area is situated, you will get the same treatment and you will get the services that are due to you. We have one national government and one National Treasury. Nobody is going to be disadvantaged by belonging to either province A or B. Our people can be assured that there will be no disruption in service delivery by being shifted from one province to the other.
Something strange has happened in the Northern Cape. Since we started this programme of taking Parliament to the people, we have never experienced this. To some of us it was an eye-opener. What am I talking about here? This is something that was touched on by none other than my colleague Darryl Worth. From day one to the very last day, the hon Premier Dipuo Peters was always with us. She was part of the programme from the beginning to the end; she was part of the whole delegation that visited projects.
To put the cherry on the top of that her executives, that is the MPLs around the area and the MECs were also in attendance. They were there to respond to questions raised by our people. This could only have been done by Dipuo Peters. You can see and you know that she is responsible, she is accountable, she is credible, she is reasonable, she is approachable, she is adorable and, to add to that, she is very humble. [Laughter.] She is very humble. To her I can only say: Teamwork makes common people attain uncommon results.
She is not a boss who inspires fear in her people, but a leader who inspires enthusiasm. We look forward to other premiers emulating her. The ANC is proud to have such a cadre. We came, we saw it is true, hon Hendrickse, and we are satisfied that the Northern Cape is in charge, and of course the Northern Cape shall govern. It will assist its people.
To you, Premier, I can only say that you have displayed the stature of a great person, because you have toiled and toiled like the proverbial miner while your companions were still asleep. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Chair, the Premier of the Northern Cape, compatriots, members of the House, let me begin by once again expressing my apologies for not having been able to accompany you on your visit to the province earlier this year. I trust that you and the House accepted my apology and also accepted the participation of my Deputy who, I believe, represented us well. I am therefore very happy to be here today as we debate the report of your visit to the province. I really must regret my absence, as I can hear now that I missed a very good and educational visit to the Kgalagadi District. I’ve been there before. What I want to know is: Did they give you enough goat meat? What I would have enjoyed would have been the lamb from the Northern Cape.
I wish to congratulate the NCOP both for undertaking the visit to the areas affected by the changes in boundaries as well as for hosting this session. It is critical that we obtain feedback on progress as well as the remaining challenges that we face as a country. Changes in boundaries between provinces have significant implications for health, especially given that whilst health is a concurrent national and provincial function in terms of the Constitution, provinces have significant responsibility with respect to health service delivery.
I must also emphasise that when we speak about health, it is critical to remember that health is not merely an absence of disease but is also about mental and spiritual wellbeing. This means that we also need to consider other services that are or should be provided in the affected areas, including water, sanitation, electricity, education, housing, agriculture, recreational facilities, transport and others.
Our people seek health care services wherever it is convenient for them. In fact, our Constitution protects the right of people to obtain health care. This means that regardless of the provincial boundaries, we must take care of our point of departure that all provinces must ensure that health services are accessible to all South Africans and to all our citizens as a matter of principle.
Let me now turn to the progress that provinces have reported with respect to the handing over of facilities and transfer of personnel and other assets, as well as the extent to which there has been no disruption in service delivery to people living in the affected areas. The two departments of health - that is in the Northern Cape and North West - decided, in line with an implementation protocol signed by the two premiers, to enter into a service level agreement. This service level agreement provides for the North West department of health to continue until the end of the current financial year, that is March 2007, to provide health services in the affected areas. The service level agreement is being monitored by the heads of departments of the two provinces.
Joint technical task teams have been established in the following areas to ensure that the services are transferred to the Northern Cape department of health on 1 April 2007 - human resources, finances and other legal issues. These task teams will be meeting during this month, September 2006.
I wish to note that the North West provincial department of health is required to transfer services to both the Northern Cape as well as Gauteng. Like the service level agreement signed with the Northern Cape, the North West has also signed such an agreement with the Gauteng department of health. The North West provincial department of health has completed an audit of facilities, personnel and equipment that should be transferred to both the Northern Cape and Gauteng.
In summary, it is important to note that service delivery has not been disrupted as a result of the changes of provincial boundaries. Provinces have put in place processes to ensure that services, personnel and equipment are audited and to establish mechanisms for their transfer to the receiving province without disruption of services.
Permit me to take this opportunity to remind hon members of the challenges facing the Department of Health and what we are doing to address these challenges. The reason for doing this is that, in transferring services, we also need to ensure that these services improve both in terms of quantity and equality - importantly, in terms of quality.
Firstly, South Africa faces a triple burden of disease. We have to deal with communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases and unnatural causes of death, including interpersonal violence, motor vehicle accidents and suicides. This means that health services must be equipped to deal with all of these health problems in our country.
Secondly, we have a huge human resource problem in health. We need to train more health professionals, especially doctors, nurses, pharmacists and various therapists, and retain them in the public health sector.
And so, what have we done? One of the things that we’ve decided to do as the Department of Health is to begin to train mid-level health professionals. The retention of health professionals means that at least two things must be done: Improved remuneration - I hope Mrs Vilakazi is listening - improvements in environments, including revitalising of our health facilities, and increasing the number of existing categories of health personnel and developing new categories of health workers, for example, as I’ve said, mid-level health workers.
We as the National Health Council have also taken a decision in order to address the concerns that Mrs Vilakazi had pointed out –that we start off at least by building health posts where there are no facilities whatsoever and ensure that those health posts are at least managed by our community caregivers until we are able to catch up with the gap that we are experiencing.
So, those are some of the things we are trying to do. I hope that it can indeed also assist us to be a bit motivated and educate our people that community caregivers, in instances where there are no doctors, can be just as useful and that health posts are not a negation of their constitutional right to have community care centres and hospitals, but it does cost money and therefore we have to plan as we go along.
Thirdly, we need to further improve the quality of care that we are providing as a department. The public health system is often thought of as the provider of last resort. We must become both the employer of choice as well as the service provider of choice. We are delegating additional authority and responsibility to hospitals, CEOs, and we have introduced a hospital improvement plan.
Hon Hendrickse, I heard you are really concerned about some of our fellow South Africans who came crawling into the hall because they did not have the necessary devices to assist them. May I reassure you that the MEC and I will look into that matter and see how quickly we can provide wheelchairs or crutches for those people, if only you can give us a list of names of those you saw so that we can assist.
Fourthly, we must focus on a few priority health conditions but design our interventions so that we also strengthen the health system as a whole as we target these conditions. We are targeting the following areas: enhancing healthy lifestyles - I hope as you were in the Kgalagadi you did speak about healthy lifestyles so that people in that district don’t have the same perfume but have different perfumes. Their perfume should not be the same because it’s indicative of what they ... [Interjections.] I think Kgoši had understood. We are strengthening our TB control. We are accelerating the prevention of HIV and Aids - I hope you spoke about that - and other conditions and diseases in our country and focusing on immunising all children to reduce vaccine preventable conditions as well as decreasing the number of mothers who die during pregnancy.
We know what needs to be done and we have strategies in place to focus on these issues. We need to enlist the participation of everyone to assist us to achieve these goals. Our goals are enshrined in the primary health care approach, which is about equity and about community involvement. I must praise the people of Kgalagadi if they raised their own money so that we can top it up to get them an ambulance. Please do convey our gratitude to them. The other component, of course, of primary health care is the intersectoral approach.
I wish to encourage members of this House to continue to work with us in order to improve the lives of our people by providing the necessary oversight, as you have done, in relation to the implications of the changes in provincial boundaries in the Northern Cape and North West Provinces. Please continue to give us oversight so that we can improve every day. I thank you very much for listening to me. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Chairperson, the Premier of Northern Cape present today, members of the NCOP, ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests, as you know, the NCOP conducted the ``Taking Parliament to the People’’ Programme at the Moshaweng Municipal Hall in the Kgalagadi District from 27-31 March 2006. I am sure that you are also aware that President Mbeki has declared that region of Kgalagadi a rural nodal point and I have been deployed to champion issues of economic development there. Thus, it was with keen interest that I listened to the deliberations in Kgalagadi earlier this year, and I would like to assure those community members who attended and contributed that their voices indeed have been heard.
The work of the Department of Trade and Industry, led by Minister Mpahlwa, in promoting economic empowerment and addressing the issue of the first and the second economy and striving for accelerated and shared growth, touched on most if not all of the key themes that were discussed in March.
Discussions pointed to four areas where the department could play a strategic role: Enterprise development, women empowerment or women development, youth development and the Expanded Public Works Programme, the EPWP. The Department of Trade and Industry’s involvement in youth development and the EPWP is by virtue of the fact that the department is currently the chair of the economic cluster and reports on the progress of these projects as part of its duties as chair.
Our work in Kgalagadi started before the NCOP visits to that area. The foundation of our work in Kgalagadi was, in fact, laid by our current Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is also my predecessor as a political champion for the area. We have started a campaign of taking the DTI to the people in order to engage small, medium and micro enterprises in peri-urban and in particular rural areas to increase the awareness of all the DTI groups’ services or agencies that fall under the DTI.
With respect to enterprise development, the DTI in Kgalagadi was informed about the eleven anchor projects, and we visited eight of them before our visit in March. Some of the projects were evaluated by the Small Enterprise Development Agency together with the specialists who reported back to us. Among those projects were the Kgalagadi Dipudi Co-operative Enterprises, Devil’s Claw Project, Rekopane Ostrich Agricultural Co-operative Enterprise.
The assessment, which was done by an operational specialist, was an eye opener for us. They also assured us that these projects would make a real contribution in the upliftment of the communities in the Kgalagadi area.
During the week that we took Parliament to the people in Moshaweng, we also hosted an empowerment dinner together with the Office of the Premier and the National Youth Commission, themed ``The Age of Hope: A National Effort for Faster and Shared Growth and Economy that Benefits All’’. We brought together the newly elected members of the municipality, members of the NCOP, members of the provincial legislature, officials, businesspeople and community members across a wide spectrum.
We used the event to update those present about the new products and developments in the Department of Trade and Industry, as well as to publicise the plans to launch the Batjha Fund, a joint venture by the Office of the Premier, the executive mayor and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and Absa.
The DTI is constantly stressing the importance of small enterprises and co-operatives. I have listened to the hon Galela talking about the co-operatives as vehicles of growth and development in our country. Yes, indeed, we agree with you but this is one of the issues we started in Kgalagadi in particular. We have managed to train some of the LED managers because we want to have these co-operatives also spearheaded as part of the DTI’s functions. So, that point is covered. Don’t worry too much; you will get the progress report as we go on.
We also want to say that SEDA has been launched in the province. We will also be launching an office soon in Kgalagadi to bring the services closer to the people. I think I answered questions yesterday here. I did explain about the roll-out and about some of the challenges that we face. We hope that each and every municipality will be able to have an office of SEDA as time goes on, but I will not mention the timeframe now, because that depends on the challenges that were raised yesterday.
With regard to women’s development, the women of South Africa continue to face unique challenges, most of which were highlighted by the local women who spoke at the Moshaweng Municipality Hall. High unemployment rates, low literacy levels, the prevalence of domestic abuse, were issues raised by various speakers. What impressed me most was the proactive manner in which those same women offered solutions to the challenges that they faced.
South African women are not afraid of hard work. For example, women from the Kgalagadi District expressed great anticipation of being given employment opportunities in the form of removing litter from the streets and felling alien trees.
To complement this, on 19 August this year, our department, together with the provincial department led by MEC Dikgetsi and the Kgalagadi District Municipality hosted an empowerment imbizo in Kgalagadi for women entrepreneurs and those aspiring to enter business. The imbizo was in honour of the 1956 Women’s March in Pretoria, and was used to listen to what the challenges are of the women of the Kgalagadi area who want to be entrepreneurs or businesswomen. We have also shared information on the various programmes or incentives available for women entrepreneurs.
Also at the same function, on the same day, we established initiatives such as the South African Women Entrepreneurs Networks – Sawen - that offers economic empowerment in the form of information and support and exposure to international markets. Recently, the new provincial executive committee was elected. We believe that this is a vehicle that can be used by many of the members that want to be entrepreneurs. But also, as I have indicated, SEDA, Samaf, and Khula were also present at that particular empowerment imbizo.
It is fitting that we are discussing women’s issues in the NCOP, given the fact that the government has designated the month of August as Women’s Month. Activities and events during Women’s Month are geared towards ensuring that women’s economic empowerment is afforded the place it deserves on the national agenda.
With regard to the last one, youth development, as I have mentioned earlier, our work in Kgalagadi was started prior to the NCOP visit. However, with the NCOP visit, we have learned valuable lessons and we could use the information to assess whether our programmes are on track, and where we should increase our efforts.
The DTI, again with the province and the municipality and the National Youth Commission, hosted a youth imbizo in February this year to inform the young people of the Kgalagadi area about the services and products that were available to them for economic opportunities. The youth at Moshaweng Municipality Hall told a familiar story: They are overrepresented among the unemployed, and they struggle to access the resources and information required to open a business.
As far as funding is concerned, the DTI wholeheartedly supports initiatives tailored to the youth such as the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the Premier’s Youth Fund, which is to be launched. Also, beyond that, the youth can access the range of DTI financial services that are available and are offered. For example, Samaf, which is the Apex Fund that is targeted for rural or peri-urban areas, and has been launched in the province. The challenge is how to make sure that the roll-out of this and of Samaf is reaching all the people that need to use it.
In summary, I consider it an honour to have been able to engage with the people of the Kgalagadi District again. Their challenges are many but their resolve is strong. Their expectations are high, and rightly so. As champion of this development node, I am duty-bound to remind all present that we must not fall short of those expectations. We have an opportunity to improve service delivery, and it is one we must grab with both hands.
I must say that I was welcomed by the political committee and technical committee in that province, as well as by the Premier of the area, so that the area became my third home. I come from Gauteng, I work in Cape Town and now my third home is Kgalagadi. [Applause.]
I hope that we will be able to work together with the Premier as Kgoshi has said. This is one of the working premiers. I am not saying that others are lazy, but I think all those who attended know what it is that she is doing.
I must tell you that I was also impressed recently because the executive mayor Mereeotlhe was involved in an accident, and we happened to be there because we were taking the entrepreneur month to all the provinces. On 15 August, we were in the Northern Cape, we then passed through and we then went to the hospital where the mayor was. I was shocked and surprised because as I entered I thought that it was a private hospital. I was corrected by the protectors who informed me that that is a public hospital.
The entrance, as you get there, shows a beautiful hospital. The atmosphere is welcoming and I asked why. I was then told that this was done during the term of our current premier, Elizabeth Dipuo Peters. I am sure some do not know that she is Elizabeth. They know that she is Dipuo Peters. I was told that it is her effort that she changed the health services of that particular province.
I was really thrilled and very happy to say the President made the correct decision to appoint her as premier because she is a hard-working person, not by favour or whatever. I think women of this country are proving to be very powerful and very strong. You see by what they do, not what they say, and how they can change people’s lives. I am very happy that I have a good relationship with her and the provincial MEC Dikgetsi as well as the local mayors whom we meet from time to time. At least twice a month I am in that province. So, as I have said, that it is my third home. Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Thank you very much, Deputy Minister. We also want to wish you a happy birthday. [Interjections.] Thank you, hon members. I was informed by the Chief Whip that members must watch the news at 10:00, so that we can get details of the venue where the party will be. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, hon Premier, I have neither the charm nor the eloquence of Kgoshi Mokoena, but I do agree with him that we have quite an incredible premier in the Northern Cape. I too, like the other members as well as the Deputy Minister, would like to thank you for the warm reception, not only on this particular visit, but on all other occasions when I visited your province. Indeed, you are a good example, a prototype of an efficient leader.
I have listened very attentively to Kgoshi Mokoena and I don’t understand why women are so strong because the bulls are not performing! [Laughter.] If Kgoshi could please tell us how he has assisted. He said the district has done so but I think he knows how. We could perhaps get some guidance in terms of influencing the performance of our learners in terms of academic achievement and cognitive development. I think it is quite extraordinary.
I am quite privileged to be back home. This is indeed my home. Before I go on, may I also say to you, hon Premier, that you have a wonderful MEC for Education who, in my opinion, is doing a remarkable job there? He owes his development in great measure to this particular House where he also served. [Interjections.]
I think what makes this a privilege is that this House has chosen the most remote, arid and challenging area for its visits. It meant that the ANC and this House, in terms of making the appropriate determination, chose to go where the challenges are the greatest. Selecting a rural node which is arid, dry and poor says a lot about our democracy and our people.
But, for those of us who have listened attentively, what emerges from the debate is that we do not have any ideological discussions here. Whether we are from the IFP, the ANC or the DA, we seem to be all representing the collective will of our people. We are indeed the people’s representatives. The MPs in the other House, and I can say that on behalf of all the members of the executive, see a distinction between what occurs in the National Assembly and what occurs here. So, congratulations. [Applause.]
I also obviously have to thank the NCOP for extending the invitation to us and conveying the best wishes of our Minister. I had the benefit of visiting Kgalagadi on more than one occasion. The occasion there was quite remarkable in that one could not believe that in an area as remote, which is unfriendly in terms of the elements, and as challenging as it is, the people went out to Parliament in their thousands. They went out to where the NCOP sat and held its hearings and participated in a very robust and engaging way.
The difference between this engagement and many others was not a platform for politicians – whether from the national departments, provincial or otherwise - but it was a platform for the people to raise their concerns. The opportunities that were given to the executive were merely to respond. It meant that we were there to listen to the problems of the people.
Indeed, we have a responsibility to ask whether we have listened, whether we heard, whether we were focused and what it is that we have done to make a difference in the quality of the lives of the people. The issues that were raised with regard to education - in fact the hon Premier alluded to that – was, firstly, the nature of schools in farming areas. The issue calls for a differentiated approach. In other words, you cannot have a prototype for an urban area and the same system for a rural area. That means that there should be a differentiation in terms of resourcing and in terms of the kind of model that you have to create to ensure that we provide quality education.
I am aware of the fact that the Northern Cape is indeed engaged with this particular exercise, where it intends establishing schools of excellence which would accommodate the older learners so that they could go there and have everything of the best in terms of resources and in terms of teacher provisioning. So, in fact, government has listened - not only the national Ministry, but the MEC from the province as well as the Premier.
The second issue that was raised, amongst many other issues, was that of mother-tongue language. The people conveyed, in the context of their living environment and their existential conditions, that they have difficulties with English as a language of learning and teaching. Our response in action, and indeed arising from a joint resolution, as it were, that was taken at a colloquium a month ago – where your province participated, Premier - was that we must recognise the value and benefit of mother-tongue education, particularly in the foundation phase of the learner, and that in fact three years is inadequate.
While immersion of another language, be it English or Afrikaans, takes place, it should take place at an earlier stage but over a sustained period so that when we look at development in terms of literacy and numeracy, we know that empirically it has been established that mother-tongue language contributes to the swift competency of a learner in terms of literacy and numeracy. So, we have listened to the people and we have indeed responded, and that is indeed the policy position.
The other issue that was raised in the context of poverty and abject poverty of the people there was the inability of the people to pay school fees. How did we respond as a government? We said that we have to recognise that there are huge pockets of poverty that exist countrywide, and that we cannot ignore the disparities in terms of opportunity and socioeconomic conditions.
We resolved then to implement the no-fee schools in terms of the decision of all the provinces. All first and second quintile learners would be exempt from paying fees. Effectively, that translates into 40% of the learner population in this country, 12 million learners, being exempt from paying fees. So, I think the Premier has indicated that you have announced it, but we could go proudly back to Kgalagadi and say we know that they are attending a school where fees have not been paid. This was not a very long time ago. It means that we are a caring and responsive government.
Another issue that was raised in this context by one of the speakers - I don’t know if it was Kgoshi Mokoena or somebody else - is the contribution of communities in their development. The Premier also alluded to it where they are willing to set aside their resources to provide for infrastructure - whether it’s for education or for health. We recognise that.
But linked to that is the fact that, given that these were resources that were mobilised a long time ago, many of the schools are unsafe. So, we had two challenges, which the President spoke about. One was children learning under trees and the second was children learning or being taught in unsafe structures. We can announce here today that in terms of the current reports, there are no children learning under trees countrywide. That’s a moving target though. You might have a storm in the Eastern Cape, as we have had now, and a school which was previously suitable, as a result of the storm damage may compel those learners for a while to learn under trees. But, in terms of the identified schools countrywide, that has been eliminated and departments are being provided with resources.
Now, how do we deal with the infrastructure challenges? That has been raised in the context of your visits to various schools such as Wrenchville High School and Theodin Primary School. We must accept that, as a result of the distortions of apartheid, there were better-resourced schools and there were lesser-resourced schools. The former model C schools had libraries, laboratories, playing fields, and confident and competent experienced teachers, but if you go to the remote rural areas, you do not have those resources.
Have we listened to the people when they raised that? Yes, indeed we have. Government has set aside R12,5 billion over the next five years to provide, as an affirmative action, resources to those schools that are without libraries and laboratories, schools that do not have sufficient teachers, and schools that are grappling with water, sanitation and electricity problems. We have done that and in fact the money has been equitably distributed to the provinces. I am told by the MEC for Education that they have already earmarked those funds for the schools. Has he spoken the truth? Indeed he has.
Look at Wrenchville High school. They spoke about the downpipes - those have been fixed. They spoke about textbooks - those have been resourced. They spoke about temporary teachers - those have been dealt with systemically and are now permanent. They spoke about the provision of computers and a fence - those have been budgeted for in the new plan. They spoke about the maintenance of equipment - this has been addressed now locally.
In other words, all of the issues that were raised by the community of educators, learners and members of the governing body were responded to by an efficient government. And, what we have seen is that where the spheres of government - local, provincial and national - work well together, you are able to make a qualitative and quantitative difference in the lives of our people.
I think here is another example of close, good collaboration between the national department and the provincial department. The MEC for Education knows that if he has a particular challenge, I am accessible to him on the phone. He would phone me, and if he does not have resources, I would assist him in locating the resources to make a difference to the lives of the people because we do not represent a particular province but all citizens of our country.
So, I thought that what we did when we went there was to get a sense of what the concerns of the people are. We were able, in a very short space of time – six months – to respond to most of these issues. Take the issue of temporary teachers - that is a problem in the Northern Cape, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. We have amended the legislation. Those temporary educators who are there for more than 12 months can now be permanently appointed without going through the process of an interview through governing bodies. That has made a difference in the lives of a few thousand teachers countrywide.
So, we do as a government listen to our people and I think the benefit and the value of this exercise is that one has not gone to an urban setting where there were no challenges in terms of accommodation and travel. You went to the most remote areas, the most difficult areas, and didn’t go there alone but went there with the national executive, the provincial government – not only the Premier but her MECs, councillors, the mayor and members of the mayoral committee were present there. So it is a combined, consolidated and united effort to bring about a qualitative change in the lives of our people.
As I conclude, let me raise something. I heard one of the MPs, I think from the DA, saying that the next visit is going to take place in the Free State. Well, I was there yesterday and I had the benefit of launching the National Mathematics Week, a joint effort by the Department of Science and Technology in Kroonstad. Here again, we take pride in the kind of leadership, not because they are women and they are strong, but we have an MEC who is very committed and competent, Mme Ouma Tsopo. [Laughter.] She is very vibrant, young, short - very short - and I told them not to look at her height. I mean she is very dynamic.
It speaks to what was precisely raised in the Northern Cape to say that the curriculum has to be changed in some schools. Mathematics and Science are not being taught and we are saying we have to do something to promote it and indeed we are promoting it. Our Dinaledi schools have been expanded from 100 to 400 schools, many of which are in the Northern Cape. I think there is going to be a dramatic improvement in the quality of our passes in mathematics and science in those areas.
We have the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry here. She carries a huge burden, because she carries a legacy of the Deputy President in terms of SMMEs. I don’t know why you did not convey it to them, but in the Kgalagadi District, you had the Energy Centre that has been established. That was one of the resources which government has set up that I believe has contributed largely to the development of the community.
In terms of nutrition, we provide nutrition to more than five million children. The Northern Cape was one of the exceptional provinces that provided nutrition to both high schools and primary schools because their reasoning was, and it is quite understandable, that you cannot have a brother and sister in primary school that are being fed and the sister or the sibling who is in high school is without food. It is an approach that we are moving towards. What we have done is that where we had nutrition on 156 days, now schools countrywide are being provided with nutrition every day. We are improving.
I can tell you that the system in the Northern Cape is one of the systems, in terms of empowerment, that you could emulate where communities take ownership of the responsibility of providing nutritious, healthy food to the children so that you don’t have a delivery of bread on a Thursday which should have occurred on a Friday - and from a province very far from the Northern Cape. I think that this year is critical and it is being emulated in the North West. So, we have created opportunities for employment and empowerment of our women, particularly our rural women, in providing nutritious food to our people.
Chairperson, I would like to express my confidence in the commitment of all the members of the NCOP from all political parties and the leadership of the NCOP. It is always and shall always be a great pleasure to be part of the discussions and debates in this very august House. Thank you very much for your attention. [Applause.]
Mr T S SETONA: Hon House Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister of Education, hon Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, hon Minister of Health in absentia, hon members, distinguished special delegates, friends, colleagues and comrades, I must confirm that I used to work under the leadership of hon Galela. When I met him during the late eighties, I was already in the SA Students Congress. Both of us were in the National Education Co-ordinating Committee, together with Joyce Mashamba – the current Director-General for Education. He is correct but he only missed one point: I was not in Cosas; I was in Sasco. [Laughter.]
There could be no better time for this august House to debate this critical report in the history of our Parliament than today. The report on taking Parliament to the people in the Northern Cape is presented to this august House at the most trying and critical time in the history of our evolving Parliament as the highest institution of our democracy.
It comes at a time when pessimists and critics of our democracy and freedom, both on the left and right of our political spectrum, have joined efforts to question the efficacy, capacity and effectiveness of our Parliament as the voice of the voiceless and final arbiter of the diverse aspirations of our people.
These critics, some of whom are amongst us in this august House, have, amongst others, charged that our Parliament is a toothless lapdog that tags along in the shadow of the executive. They have made these assertions without making an effort to understand the functioning of Parliament.
The debate on this report must accordingly constitute one critical test to determine the fallacy or correctness of these assertions. The Freedom Charter, which contains the vision that defines the type of society we seek to build and the very embodiment of the fundamental aspirations of our people, declared 51 years ago that, and I quote:
We the people of South Africa declare for all our country and the world to know that South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, black and white; that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people; that our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality; that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities; that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthrights, without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief; And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, black and white together as equals, countrymen and brothers adopt this Freedom Charter; And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.
That quotation of the Freedom Charter is a living reality of the challenges that define South Africa’s political landscape today, and there is no doubt about that. To the extent that the people of South Africa bestowed a democratic mandate on the ANC on that historic day of 27 April 1994, and that we are moving in terms of addressing these challenges outlined in the Freedom Charter, there is no other yardstick on the basis of which our performance as Parliament and as government can be measured, except on the basis of what I have mentioned.
We are saying that, much as the executive, through its own initiative, has an imbizo programme where it liases and constantly interacts and interfaces with the masses of our people, we also have road show programmes. I think the hon Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry has alluded to the trade and industry programme, through which it interfaces with the masses of our people.
That is quite critical and central to the vision of the Freedom Charter, because it is the Freedom Charter which states that there can be no development and prosperity in South Africa unless the masses of our people, whom we seek to liberate, are at the centre of those processes of reconstruction and development.
Most of the speakers have touched on a number of issues that one would have wanted to touch on. But I want to highlight a few issues, particularly regarding those who believe that our democratic institution, the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, is not as effective as it is supposed to be. One is not very sure what the basis is for those assertions, determinations and conclusions that have been arrived at.
It is not a secret that these voices have actually emerged from Parliament itself, that is from some of the opposition parties and of course, broadly speaking, within the broader democratic movement in our own country. We have not been advised as to what has been the yardstick that measures the success or failures of government. If it is what the ANC government defined as its principal task in 1994 and reaffirmed in 1999 and 2004, I don’t think there is a debate on that, because we will be moving from different premises in terms of assessing whether Parliament is doing what it is supposed to or not.
The programme of ``Taking Parliament to the People’’ is unparallelled, not only in the history of the South African political dispensation but also globally. I was in the Czech Republic and Germany, and I have interacted with a number of delegations, including the delegation from the former Soviet Union - hon Tolo, where you trained for propaganda and military combat. [Laughter.]
They could not believe the extent to which South Africans, through the National Council of Provinces, have found a profound expression of democratic practice as in the NCOP’s ``Taking Parliament to the People’’ programme. They have been there. We have drawn some of the best practices of our democratic system from the Soviet Union. There is no secret about that, but they have never practised what we are doing.
I am trying to say that that is one of the yardsticks on the basis of which we need to measure whether we are moving forward as a country or not, because not only in South Africa but globally the tendency is to have a representative democracy whereby the elected elite is the one that determines whether our people’s priorities are electricity, roads and water or something else.
Ours is a people’s government, by the people and for the people. It is a government of the people which engages our people, and they articulate their priorities in terms of day-to-day challenges that they are facing. On the basis of those, our executive and our departments are then able to ensure that in their planning and resource allocation, they are able to prioritise those particular sets of challenges that confront our people.
That is where Parliament comes in, hon Thetjeng. Parliament does not implement the programmes of government. Parliament comes in to oversee the actions of the executive to ensure that the executive does everything that it pronounced and undertook to do; and, as the voice and representative of the people, Parliament then ensures that those things that everybody within the executive and government have undertaken to do are actually done with speed and urgency.
I normally thought that a mistaken view which conflates Parliament and the executive into one thing is held only by our disadvantaged people, because they never knew a democratic Parliament before 27 April 1994. But, most unfortunately, even those tested and experienced within the white minority Parliament don’t understand the separation of powers, because Parliament was not open and not democratic. They don’t understand the role of Parliament vis-à-vis the role of the executive.
I therefore want to say that, much as we are about engaging and interacting with the masses of our people, we are also about empowering and educating them to understand the fundamental spirit and the doctrines of our Constitution. What is the role of the executive, Parliament and the judiciary?
I want to thank the hon Darryl Worth from the DA who is bold and courageous. We need men and women like you and the late hon Raju, who was once courageous in this august House, to come and publicly emulate the good practices of the ANC within this august House. We want to thank you. Don’t be shy of making such assertions. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, I knew that hon Terblanche would heckle me because she belongs to the far right of the DA and she doesn’t want to change. [Laughter.] So I am not surprised. [Interjections.]
Ms J F TERBLANCHE: Chairperson, on a point or order: I would like the hon Setona to withdraw that. [Laughter.] There is no such thing as the far right or left version in the DA. I would like him to withdraw that statement, please. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): I think that really was not a point of order. It was a comment and the hon member has the right to say whatever he wants to say during his speech. Hon member, if you want to respond, you can do that when you have your own chance to participate in the debate. Can you please continue, hon Setona.
Ms J F TERBLANCHE: Chairperson, I couldn’t hear your ruling. Are you therefore saying that he is not out of order?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): No, he is not out of order. Continue, hon member.
Mr T S SETONA: I think our hon Deputy Chairperson has outlined some of the innovative frameworks that the NCOP have agreed upon, in terms of consolidating this programme. We want to thank the two Deputy Ministers and our Ministers for telling this august House that some of the things that were raised by the people in Kuruman have already been addressed by their respective departments, and that those which have not been addressed yet are in the process of being attended to by the national department and provincial government. There is no wastage about this programme. Hon Worth, thanks for waking up to that particular reality.
In conclusion, I think it is important to make a statement that this august House must challenge all Premiers of our nine provincial governments to follow the hon Dipuo Peters in her appreciation of the joint effort of the NCOP and the legislatures in deepening dialogue with our people as elected representatives.
Premier Peters, without patronising you, you have accepted a simple reality, which does not need any sophistication obtained from university but does need common sense – that it’s only in unity that we succeed.
That is the defining mark of how Africans work to build society, contrary to some who fear that when the NCOP comes and undertakes this type of task, it will be seen as an encroachment and interference. They believe that we don’t have a right to do that.
One wonders where sections 68 and 69 of the Constitution are, which actually give this august House the power to summon anybody. The definition of “anybody” includes not only Ministers but also the Premier himself in a provincial legislature, the mayor of a municipal council and anybody who holds public office and a position within a private office.
We really want to challenge you, hon Premier Dipuo Peters, that as you interact with your colleagues in various forums, maybe in the Presidential Co-ordinating Council, it is very important to ensure that you begin to deepen consciousness about the kind of impact that this programme has.
This programme is unique. Some people are confusing it with an imbizo. I have attended many izimbizo but the NCOP’s ``Taking Parliament to the People’’ is unique. It is not an imbizo. It is different from an imbizo because within five days it addresses many issues that an imbizo cannot address, since it affords the masses of our people, sector-by-sector, theme-by-theme, an opportunity to tell us what their problems are.
The farmers are able to come and talk to their elected representatives about the problems that they are facing. That is something that will not happen in an imbizo. An imbizo is just an open ground and that is okay, of course. Only those who are dominant and vocal are the ones who are heard.
We can all agree that this kind of programme of the NCOP is one that has stood the test of time. We need to join the NCOP in providing more ideas in terms of how to improve whatever weaknesses there are in this particular programme. On that note, I want to thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): I shall now put the question. The question is that the report be adopted. As the decision is dealt with in terms of section 65 of the Constitution, I shall first ascertain whether all the delegation heads are present in the Chamber to cast their provinces’ vote. Are all the delegation heads present?
HON MEMBERS: Yes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): In accordance with Rule 71, I shall first allow provinces the opportunity to make their declarations of vote if they so wish. We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetical order per province. Delegation heads must please indicate to the Chair whether they vote in favour or against or abstain from voting. Eastern Cape?
Mr A T MANYOSI: Eastern Cape supports.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Free State?
Mr T S RALANE: Ya yi seketela. [Supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Gauteng?
Mr E M SOGONI: Siyayixhasa, Madam Chair. [We support it, Madam Chair.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): KwaZulu-Natal?
Mr Z C NTULI: Kwazulu-Natal is in favour.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Limpopo?
Kgoshi M L MOKOENA: Limpopo e a dumela. [Limpopo supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Mpumalanga?
Ms F NYANDA: Mpumalanga supports.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Northern Cape?
Mr M A SULLIMAN: Northern Cape supports.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): North West?
Mr Z S KOLWENI: Ke a rona. [Supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Western Cape?
Mr N J MACK: Ondersteun. [Supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): All provinces voted in favour. I therefore declare the report adopted in terms of section 65 of the Constitution. [Applause.]
Report accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Mr M A SULLIMAN: Chairperson, the Genetically Modified Organisms Amendment Bill that is before this august House here today was introduced early this year into Parliament whereby public hearings were conducted, and submissions were made by the farming community, the bioresearch organisations and academic associations.
The Bill was then referred to the select committee of this august House whereupon this committee scrutinised this Bill and worked on it extensively.
The objective of the Bill is to amend the Genetically Modified Organisms Act, Act 15 of 1997, to comply with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety pertaining to genetically modified organisms to which South Africa is party.
The Genetically Modified Organisms Amendment Bill seeks to strengthen existing laws and to ensure that South Africa complies with the provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Genetically Modified Organisms Act, Act 15 of 1997, provides for the measures to provide the responsible development, production, use and application of genetically modified organisms.
Furthermore, the Bill attempts to ensure that all activities involving the use of genetically modified organisms are carried out in such a way as to limit possible harmful consequences to our environment and to human and animal health.
In summary, the Bill seeks, amongst others, firstly, to provide for the establishment of an executive council for genetically modified organisms and other matters relating to the composition and functioning of this entity. Secondly, it also aims to amplify the powers and duties of the registrar and to provide for the establishment of an advisory committee. Thirdly, it aims to clarify the procedures relating to the application for and issuing of permits and to provide for risk assessments and liability determinations.
The Bill also amends required information contemplated in the confidentiality clause and lays down criteria with regard to offences, and it also provides for certain procedures during an appeal process that would have to take place.
In summary, the foremost purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the development, production, use and application of these products is carried out in a safe and responsible manner.
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was before this House and it furthermore deals with the following issues, and this particular Bill emanates from that convention. The objective of that convention is to enhance the protection of our biodiversity from the potential risk posed by genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
It establishes advanced informed agreement procedures for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory.
The protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of this particular protocol.
With those few words we, as the ANC, support this Bill before us here today and we would like to appeal to the other parties to do likewise. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): I shall now put the question and the question is that the Bill be agreed to. In accordance with Rule 63, I shall first allow political parties to make their declarations of vote if they so wish. We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. Those in favour say “Aye”.
HON MEMBERS: Aye.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Those against will say “No”. I think all the members voted in favour.
Bill agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.
CORPORATE LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Ms N D NTWANAMBI: Chairperson and hon members of the House, for the past two years, the Department of Trade and Industry has been reviewing the regulatory framework of companies. This culminated in the publication of the Corporate Law Reform Policy in 2005.
Following the policy, the drafting of a new Company’s Bill has been underway. In the interim, however, we identified certain pertinent issues that needed urgent attention, hence the proposed Corporate Laws Amendment Bill which is before us today. Consultations on the Bill at both departmental and parliamentary level were held and concluded, and when I say parliamentary level, I mean the portfolio committee.
This Bill is based on the tenets of corporate governance relating to financial reporting, winning investor confidence and instilling a culture of accountability by the board of directors. Thus the Bill is aimed at, amongst other things, firstly, providing for differential financial reporting by widely held companies and limited interest companies. Secondly, it provides for the legal enforcement of financial reporting standards. Thirdly, it allows companies to give financial assistance for the purchasing of their own shares. Fourthly, it requires the establishment of audit committees for widely held companies. Fifthly, it enhances auditor independence and, lastly, it facilitates electronic registration at the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office.
With respect to financial reporting, the Bill requires that certain companies called widely held companies should be subjected to high standards of financial reporting as prescribed through the International Financial Reporting Standards Committee. Flowing from our commitment to lightening the regulatory burden on small businesses, however, limited interest companies, on the other hand, will be subjected to less onerous reporting requirements.
This House will be aware that in terms of the current Act, there is no legal backing for accounting standards. This shortcoming was highlighted in the findings of the Nel Commission of Inquiry into the Fall of Masterbond as one of the deficiencies in statutory measures designed to protect investors. There was a lack of disclosure and uniformity in applying accounting standards because of different interpretations.
In this regard, the Bill proposes the establishment of a Financial Reporting Standards Council and a Financial Reporting Investigation Panel to establish financial reporting standards and monitor compliance therewith respectively.
The DTI has found it necessary that section 38 of the Company’s Act should be amended. Section 38 completely prohibits a company from granting financial assistance to persons for purposes of purchasing their own shares. The rationale is that the assets of the company should always be maintained if the company is to stay in business. This provision has unintended consequences because it stands in the way of lawful transactions, including those relating to the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act.
In order to remedy this situation, the Bill proposes that a company may offer financial assistance for the purchase of its own shares, provided certain conditions are met, namely, the liquidity and insolvency test.
This means that as long as the company can prove that immediately after the transaction it can settle its debts as they fall due and that the assets of the company are more than its liabilities, the transaction should be approved. In addition, such a transaction shall be subject to the passing of a special resolution requiring approval by 75% of its shareholders. This way, both creditors and shareholders are protected while legitimate transactions are not unnecessarily prohibited. This is good for the vibrancy of our economy.
On auditor independence and credibility, it is a requirement that auditors should not perform non-audit functions such as giving tax advice and management consultancy during their tenure as auditors of a company. This provision is meant to avoid a situation where an auditor audits his or her own work. The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, established in terms of the Auditing Profession Act, will establish such rules of ethics dealing with non-audit functions. The Auditing Profession Act in this way complements the Corporate Laws Amendment Bill.
The Bill further proposes that auditors should be rotated after a period of five years. The rationale for rotating an auditor is that there should be no intimate relationship between an auditor and the management of a company.
Finally, you will recall that the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002 provides that electronic commerce will be allowed in South Africa at the commencement of that Act, including electronic registration and electronic signatures. The provisions of the Bill in this regard are to effect the provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.
In conclusion, it is my belief that the proposals made in this Bill regarding financial reporting standards and auditor independence will promote good corporate governance and win the confidence of both investors and shareholders. In this process, growth will be stimulated with possible job creation opportunities in the marketplace.
Government is mindful of the role of small businesses, hence the effort to exempt them from onerous regulatory requirements in the Bill. Members, this is in line with the broad objectives of the government. I therefore urge you to please support the amendments. Thank you, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): I shall now put the question. The question is that the Bill be agreed to, subject to the proposed amendments. In accordance with Rule 63, I shall first allow political parties to make their declarations of vote if they so wish.
We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. Those in favour, say ``Aye’’; those against, say ``No’’. [Interjections.] I think the ``ayes’’ have it. I therefore declare the Bill agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.
Bill, subject to proposed amendments, agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS – PROVISIONAL SUSPENSION FROM OFFICE AND WITHHOLDING OF REMUNERATION: MR M S MAKAMU, SENIOR MAGISTRATE AND HEAD OF OFFICE AT BENONI
Mr A T MANYOSI: Chairperson, hon members, it is common cause that Senior Magistrate Makamu had been convicted by the Johannesburg Regional Court of fraud and was on 21 June 2005 sentenced to a fine of R10 000 or, in default of payment, to six months imprisonment, all of which was suspended for four years on certain conditions. He has now launched an appeal. In our pursuance of a just and caring society, we have to respect the principles of the rule of law and judicial independence, which principles require us to allow magistrates and judges to exercise judicial authority without fear, favour or prejudice.
Because of the authority the Constitution of our Republic vests in courts, all magistrates are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that signifies their commitment to the maintenance and protection of the dignity and integrity of the magistracy and judiciary in our constitutional democracy.
As South Africans continue to build a morally grounded society, public representatives must continue to show an abhorrence of any behaviour which undermines our constitutional democracy. Corruption and fraud in this case undermine our democracy because they constitute an obstacle to societal development and moral regeneration. Hence, we need to work tirelessly to eradicate all manifestations of corruption and fraud in all spheres of our government and levels of society.
Without any doubt, our confirmation of the suspension without remuneration of Magistrate Makamu in effect protects the dignity and integrity of our magistracy and judiciary, which must always remain untainted. In these circumstances, failure to confirm this suspension would communicate a message to the effect that Parliament has abdicated one of its responsibilities, that of ensuring that the dignity and integrity of the magistracy and judiciary in our country is kept as intact as possible.
Whilst on the face of it suspension and withholding of remuneration may sound excessively harsh in labour relations terms, the position changes in circumstances where a person has been convicted and the delay in his or her appeal against the conviction and sentence is of his or her own making, or caused by his or her unjustifiable acts of omission.
Indeed, the decision to suspend Magistrate Makamu in the circumstances is in accordance with justice, the rules of natural justice having been adequately complied with. May it please this honourable House to support the decision. I thank you, Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! I shall now put the question in respect of the fourth order. The question is that the report be adopted. As the decision is dealt with in terms of section 65 of the Constitution, I shall first ascertain whether all delegation heads are present in the Chamber to cast their provinces’ votes. Are all delegation heads present? They are.
In accordance with Rule 71, I shall now allow provinces the opportunity to make their declarations of vote, if they so wish.
We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetical order per province. Delegation heads must please indicate to the Chair whether they vote in favour, against or abstain from voting. Eastern Cape?
Mr D G MKONO: Eastern Cape Siyayixhasa. [Eastern Cape supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Free State?
Mrs E S MABE: Free State re a dumela. [Free State supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Gauteng?
Mr E M SOGONI: Gauteng Siyayixhasa. [Gauteng supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): KwaZulu-Natal?
Mr Z C NTULI: KwaZulu-Natal in favour.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Limpopo?
Kgoshi M L MOKOENA: Limpopo ri khou tendelana. [Limpopo supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Mpumalanga?
Ms F NYANDA: Mpumalanga supports.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Northern Cape?
Mr M A SULLIMAN: Northern Cape supports.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): North West?
Mr Z S KOLWENI: North West ke ya rona. [North West supports.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Western Cape?
Mr N J MACK: Western Cape supports.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): All provinces voted in favour. I therefore declare the report adopted in terms of section 65 of the Constitution.
Report accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
Allow me to acknowledge the presence of the Deputy Minister of Health, but, unfortunately, I think it is towards the end of our business.
The Council adjourned at 16:32.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Bills passed by Houses – to be submitted to President for assent
(1) Bill passed by National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on 6 September 2006:
- Genetically Modified Organisms Amedment Bill [B 34B – 2005] (National Assembly - sec 75)
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development
- A report to inform Parliament of a recent decision of the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development to uplift the provisional suspension of a Magistrate, Nr I W O Morake from Lichtenburg, with effect from 14 March 2006;
- A report to inform Parliament of a recent decision of the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development to uplift the provisional suspension of a Magistrate, Mr M S E Khumalo from Amsterdam, with effect from 25 April 2006;
- A progress report in respect of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Magistrate K Sulliman from Durban, in terms of section 13(3)(f) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993);
- A progress report in respect of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Magistrate M K Chauke from Pretoria, in terms of section 13(3)(f) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993);
- A progress report in respect of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Magistrate M S Makamu from Benoni, in terms of section 13(3)(f) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993); and
- A progress report in respect of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Magistrate M F Mathe from Johannesburg, in terms of section 13(3)(f) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993).
- The Minister of Science and Technology
- Report and Financial Statements of the Department of Science and Technology for 2005-2006, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 31 – Department of Science and Technology for 2005-2006 [RP 162-2006].
- The Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Land Bank for 2005-2006, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2005-2006.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on Employment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), dated 24 August 2006:
The Joint Standing Committee on Defence, having considered the letters dated: 13 June 2006 and 18 July 2006, from the President on the Employment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the Democratic Republic of Congo, referred to the Committee, reports that it has concluded its deliberations thereon.