Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 25 Aug 2021
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2021
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Watch video here: PLENARY (HYBRID)
The House met at 15:00.
House Chairperson Mr C T Frolick took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, before we proceed with today’s business, I wish to announce that the vacancies which occurred in the National Assembly due to the passing of Ms B Maluleke and Ms T M Tongwane has been filled by the nomination of Ms G T Mukwevho and Adv T M Masutha with effect from 23 August 2021 respectively. The members have made and subscribed the oath in the Speaker’s office. I wish to welcome you, hon members. I believe the members are in the House. Welcome, hon members. Some of them have just taken a break, they are back. Lastly hon members, in the interest of safety for all present in the Chamber, please keep your masks on and sit in your designated area and restrict your movement to an absolute minimum. The secretary will read the First and Second Orders together.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON IMPACT OF CIVIL UNREST IN KWAZULU-NATAL AND GAUTENG ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT SERVICES AND DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT’S RESPONSE FOR URGENT FOOD RELIEF TO AFFECTED COMMUNITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION ON JOINT OVERSIGHT VISIT WITH SELECT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY, SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE TO KWAZULU- NATAL AND GAUTENG PROVINCIAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENTS
Ms B P MBINQO-GIGABA: House Chair, the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education undertook a visit with the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng from 9 to 13 August 2021. We went to
KwaZulu-Natal for an oversight visit which was meant to monitor and oversee the overall damages to school property and infrastructure during the recent July 2021 unrests which showed criminals targeting schools for vandalism, looting burglaries and how this impacted the state of schooling in this affected districts.
The joint committee sought to have an understanding of any further challenges being faced, the contingency plans in place, what still needs to be addressed and possible assistance that could be forthcoming. We then made recommendations at it relates to KwaZulu-Natal provincial department of education, the committee made the following recommendations, that the school establish a functioning safety and security committee. Our community police forums, our ward committees and the SAPS must be visible at schools to ensure that they are regular patrols. Where there are overgrown bushes and grasses, the committee recommended that cutting and cleansing of overgrown bushes within the school ground as this pose the safety and security risk.
The committee recommended that schools can utilise their norms and standard budget for some of the repairs. That is, for instance, broken windows and gutters, and for the maintenance of schools as some of the damages occurred long before the unrest. The district urged to submit the detailed breakdown of the damages to all KwaZulu-Natal schools – I mean schools are vandalised every day.
As it relates to the Gauteng provincial department, the following recommendations were made: The committee recommended the variability and services of security guards at schools to protect and safeguard school’s property and infrastructure.
But what we have seen is that these security guards are working during the day and we think that needs to be changed because teachers are there and learners are there during the day, so they don’t actually need them during the day. The committee urged the department to ensure that there is sufficient number of night patrollers employed for sufficient and efficient service schools. We have recommended for the replacement of mobile schools with permanent structures and that these mobile schools should be a top priority.
The committee recommended that schools should consider to Adopt-A-Cop initiative to mitigate issues of safety and security. We recommend for installation of perimeter fencing urgently in order to curtail the movement of animals like goats that roam at the school’s premises. In line with this, the school safety policy members recommend for the establishment of functional safety committee to assist the schools. As it relates to the national departments working with both provinces, we are of the view that they must organise roadshows and awareness campaigns to sensitise parents and local community on issues of safety and security of school property and infrastructure. They must ensure that they fix the leaking roofs as well as attend to damages of ceiling boards.
In collaboration with the department of Social Development, the Department of Basic Education and the provincial education departments must solicit for the deployment of social workers for schools where there was a necessity in order to provide learners with support. Mobile structures must be replaced by building more permanent structures. They need to prioritise the vandalised schools for refurbishment and repairs. There is a need to correct the quantiling of schools where there is a need for revision that needs to be done. Training and development of the school governing body, SGB, must be conducted on issues of safety and security for schools in line with the National School Safety Framework programme.
We wish to categorically condemn the current lootings that engulfed the nation last month. As members of this House, we must urge our communities to take on the mission of patriotism and nation-building to heart. And whilst we respect the right of every South African to peaceful demonstration as enshrined in our Constitution, that right should be exercised with
responsibility. Moreover, our children should not bear the brunt for the unwarranted attacks on their places of learning.
The ANC-led government continue to emphasise the primacy of the peoples as the fundamental basis of the security of our communities and public facilities. These communities should be at the forefront of protecting the idea of people’s power. As a nation, we should stand together and never allow these corrupt activities to take place again. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Ms A L A ABRAHAMS: House Chair, good afternoon. For those of us who do not reside in KwaZulu-Natal, we all watched news in horror during the July week of mayhem. This only gave us a glimpse of the looting and destruction that took place and our livelihoods were affected with it subsequently carrying over into parts of Gauteng.
My colleague, the hon Bridget Masango, wrote to the chairperson of the social development committee that this committee goes to KZN and Gauteng to assess the situation on the ground, as it became apparent that we did not know the full extent of the devastation. Staff shared horrific accounts of how they painfully and helplessly watched at the very same
community they serve stole and destroyed social development and South African Social Security Agency, Sassa, offices.
While calls for police assistance went unanswered as Saps was severely under resource and ended helpless. Staff at the Vulamehlo a Department of Social Development office, told the committee how they warned saps and senior officials of the pending unrest as flyers of the protest circulated days before.
The long lasting impact of this destruction to social development and Sassa clients is immeasurable. Destruction of the post offices together with hundreds of ATMs have left thousands vulnerable unable to access their life saving grants, and knock on effects of being forced to pay exorbitant transport cost to travel to alternative service points. Not to mention the increase of food cost due to shortages.
Client files and service were burned and stolen. Case work files on child protection, affidavits, interviews, foster care and adoption records – gone. To build up these case files will take years, and many children and vulnerable families will most certainly be lost in the cycle of poverty and abuse.
Minister, if there is ever a time to employ the hundreds of unemployed social work graduates it is now. They are desperately needed in these affected areas. Replacement vehicles for social workers must be prioritised as they are required to visit families in the remote rural areas. Without them, these families and children will remain unheard and unseen.
A number of 478 400 Gauteng households are in need of immediate food relief. This was the figure reported to us by the provincial Department of Social Development. And this is only the backlog. We ask the department for the hotline number for the purpose of this food relief. Officials refuse to give it because they are fully aware that hunger in the province significantly outweighs the budget.
Once again it was the NGOs who stepped up where government could not. Yet, NGO budgets are always first in the chopping block. We must adequately fund NGOs and CNDCs to ensure seniors and children receive daily meals. Instead of wasting billions on beef and chicken to fly around in the sky on field day lines.
The irony of course not lost on the delegation who arrived at the Cape Town international airport to find our Mango airline grounded and in business rescue. We learned of local heroes during this oversight such as the building landlord of the Pan Africa Mall. He knew that the Sassa lifesaving grant is lifesaving to the residents of Alexander and he immediately ensured that water and electricity was restored, toilets and basins immediately replaced in order for the office to reopen. Unlike government where we wait months on the supply chain management. A crisis 10 times higher.
Though the most salient story of this oversight was the visit to a local community centre in Ethekwini, where only the built in shower remains, when staff asked looters, why are you stealing from a government community centre? The response was, what has government done for me. Now this does not give the selfish and cowardly act of looting any legitimacy, but it is a legitimate question. What has government done for me? This, colleagues, is the biggest take away for our government and government must be held accountable. This government only shows South Africa how to loot blatantly with pride, and to date, total impunity. Another huge take away from this oversight is that we must go digital with off sight service
when it comes to client files. We cannot remain in the doldrums with the past keeping paper records.
The DA’s message to South Africans, if you want a government to work for you and to work with you, it is time to choose an alternative. Choose the DA who demonstrate that we care and we make a tangible difference in your life. The ballot box is far amore honourable way to change the course of your life than resorting to criminality. Changing the course of our nature’s future is something an act your children will proud of. Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones and the small businesses affected and livelihoods lost. Thank you.
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: House Chairperson, the anarchy we witnessed in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere after the ANC’s internal war was unleashed against our nation, was unspeakable. At some Sassa and social development offices and schools nothing remained. Not a desk nor a chair, not a sink nor a water pipe. Not the electric wiring nor even a scape of paper remained behind. Vehicles were stripped and burned.
Community support and feeding programmes were destroyed. Looters took days to remove everything, yet law enforcement officers were nowhere to be seen.
Security at many schools were also visibly absent. At the very start of the civil unrest, our eldest person in this House, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, sounded a warning when he said, and I quote, “Rogue and criminal elements as well as an army of desperados who have nothing to lose in the face of poverty and unemployment has unleashed anarchy. I urge our President to take a firm stand. If he does not act not and act decisively all will be lost.”
Sadly, just like Prince Buthelezi warned, nobody in government acted decisively not swiftly. And in some instances indeed all was lost. In the aftermath … the loss of jobs, the destruction of businesses, the damage to a 139 schools and the death of compatriots. But just as painful is the question we have to answer today, why was our government so slow to act when our country was burning? Where were you?
As we speak, only 18 people have been arrested, yet those in political power who instigate the crisis, those on social media who encourage the flames of destruction are still walking our streets. Why is it so difficult for our government to act against the criminals and the political thugs who committed treasonous economic sabotage against our state and our people? Why?
As members of parliament on the social development portfolio committee we flew into KwaZulu-Natal long after the dust of this insurrection had settled. What we saw was a tin to a war zone. In Umzinto the bricks on floor and the post boxes outside were the only indication that there once stood a post office that paid out social grants to the elderly and disabled.
The impact on the most vulnerable was and still is unthinkable. There was no food on the shelves, shops were closed. Closed Sassa offices left many without grants. Public transport was either unfordable or unavailable. But this human right disaster is still unfolding. A 130 000 job losses mean another 150 000 struggling families. Add to that 80 000 covid-
19 orphans, 18million grant recipients, millions more relying on the R350 grant alone for their survival, rising child malnutrition and families of the verge of starvation.
Ours, Chairperson, is a country aflame through poverty, joblessness and despair. We hope that food parcels will indeed reach those that are intended for and not politicians.
Minister, we need greater support for NGOs and employ those thousands of social workers who are sitting at home. They are now needed more than ever before.
Chairperson, we thank those who didn’t let themselves be drawn into this anarchy, in particular, I thank the leadership of the IFP led by our president who themselves me towns, streets and shops throughout the night to safeguard our communities.
Chairperson, it is very clear that South Africa can no longer afford unethical unaccountable leadership. Ours is a country aflame with lawlessness, poverty and despair. If we are to rescue South Africa from this downward spiral, our most powerful tool in the next election. The IFP will support this report. I thank you.
Ms N R MASHABELA: Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, hon member.
Ms N R MASHABELA: It seems like EFF was not called here. You called the IFP before the EFF.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, no name was submitted by the EFF for participation in this debate. However, I will incorporate it into this list and I will call you after the Freedom Front Plus.
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Thank you, hon House Chair. The report we are discussing today exposes more than we might have expected.
Een ding wat uit die verslag blyk, is dat die orgie van plundering vir die ANC ’n nuwe sondebok gegee het waarop alle tekens van swak regering gewyt kan word. Die verslag meld meer as een keer dat die vandalisme wat by skole waargeneem is, oor maande of selfs jare plaasgevind het, voor die gekonsentreerde plundering van Julie 2021.
Die middelpunt van plundering was 14 Julie, 232 jaar na die Franse Rewolusie ook op 14 Julie begin het. interessante
toeval. Die ANC, self ’n rewolusionêre organisasie, eien graag die erfenis van die Franse Rewolusie vir hulself toe. Tog, teen hierdie tyd kan die ANC al as ’n soort “ancien regime” bestempel word; een wat so seker van sy posisie is dat die land se werklikhede en die rampspoedige gevolge van sy beleid vir homself eenvoudig onsigbaar is.
Rewolusionêre potensiaal neem toe namate landsburgers verwyderd van hul staatsinstellings voel; wanneer skole, in hierdie voorbeeld, nie meer ons s’n is nie, maar hulle s’n. En
as ons gefrustreerd is, haal ons dit op hulle skool uit, al gaan ons kinders daar skool.
Dit is wanneer ’n verslag lui dat vandalisme reeds oor ’n lang tyd plaasgevind het en dat die een skool waar plunderaars wel vasgetrek is, dit toe leerlinge van die skool was. Hierdie verslag illustreer wat gebeur as ’n mens, om ’n sekere doel te bereik, ’n blikkie wurms oopmaak wat jy nooit weer kan toemaak nie.
In die ANC se bevrydingstryd is skoolkinders gemobiliseer en is elke skool ’n slagveld van bevryding genoem; is skole geboikot en afgebrand omdat die skole wat hulle vir ons gee, onvoldoende was; het onderwysers studente in rewolusionêre ywer oortref om deel van die struggle [stryd] te wees.
Dit is die soort strategie om te volg as jy dink dat jy nooit sal slaag nie; dat jy nooit skole gaan bou en gehalte onderrig hoef te voorsien nie. Na 27 jaar van ANC regering beveel die portefeuljekomitee telkens aan dat beter sekuriteit by skole ontplooi moet word – vanselfsprekend privaat, want die Suid- Afrikaanse Polisiediens, SAPD, kan tog nie skole oppas nie.
Transformasie en swart ekonomiese bemagtiging word dikwels deur ander Ministers — agb Ministers Nzimande en Mantashe — geregverdig deur te verwys na die beleid wat gevolg is om die armblanke-vraagstuk op te los, amper ’n eeu gelede.
Vandag wil ek ook ’n bladsy uit daardie boek neem. Na die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog vanaf 1902, was daar vir Afrikanerkinders slegs Engelse skole; skole waar hulle nie eers met mekaar Afrikaans kon praat nie en op baie maniere vir so ’n misstap verneder is.
Die private inisiatief van Christelik-nasionale skole was oor die algemeen finansieël onlewensvatbaar en kinders moes noodgedwonge staatskole bywoon. Ten spyte daarvan is hulle steeds in hul ouerhuise geleer om onderwysers te respekteer en die skool by te woon. Meer as dit, gemeenskappe het moeite gedoen om daardie skole op te bou en uit te bou.
Teen die tyd dat hulle politieke beheer kon oorneem, was ’n sterk, positiewe onderwyskultuur stewig gevestig. Terwyl die gehalte van onderrig verhoog is, is dit ook omskep in ’n meganisme om identiteit op te bou. Selfs nou, terwyl openbare skole die ANC regering se instrumente vir ideologiese
herprogrammering is, word Afrikaanse skole deur hul gemeenskappe gekoester en uitgebou.
Dat plunderaars in 2021 ook skole sou beroof en verniel, is ontstellend genoeg. Maar, dat skole oor jare sodanig verniel is dat dit na die gevolg van plundering lyk, is nog erger.
This report tells us what we should know about the ANC government. It came to power, releasing a genie from a bottle which it can’t put back. This erodes the government’s ability to govern and to uplift. Inequality will continue to increase, where the haves will come from communities which value their schools and the have-nots from those which don’t. I thank you, hon House Chair.
Ms N R MASHABELA: House Chairperson, we note the reports of both the Department Social Development and the Department of Basic Education on the impact of the civil unrest in
KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as well as the response to affected communities. Our analysis and characterisation of what happened was not historically. Indeed, what happened in KZN and Gauteng, happened 18 months after the poor were who were
already accessed and endured the effects of lockdowns affecting the livelihoods and the means to sustain their live.
This is why the popular characterisation of the civil unrest as simple barbaric or an insurrection, is a historical, unsophisticated and dishonest. This erratic ignores the fact that half of South Africa’s population lives in poverty. In December 2020, already approximately 9,34 million of South Africans faced high levels of sever food insecurity. Yesterday we learned that unemployment has risen to almost 35% of the population. And, that the real expanded definition of unemployment stands at over 44%. For young people it stands at a shortly 57,47% and this are mostly black young people. They have been injected by the education system and have nowhere else to go.
In addition to the challenges of poverty and unemployment, there is also a longstanding challenge with income poverty in our country and the extent to which the poorest people are unable to afford basic food. The consumer price inflation was at 6,8% year on year in May this year. From 6,7 % year on year in April and this translates into millions of people enduring the shame and despair of being unable to afford the most basic foods like bread, milk and eggs.
House Chairperson, we indeed note the impact of the civil unrest and the report details of what the portfolio committee’s oversight had found in the affected communities, and the urgent interim measures, but in the long term to ensure that what happened does not happen again.
Government must introduce a basic income support for the poor, to address the chronic ... [Inaudible.] ... poverty in this country. South Africa needs a special protection instrument that will address the country’s unemployment pandemic by assisting the poor, 18 to 59 to have access to social security, including appropriate social assistance for those who are unable to support themselves and their dependants. The positive economic impact of such income support will boost purchasing power of the poorest, creating income multipliers by stimulating local economic growth and livelihoods.
This will also have a direct impact on improving the quality of basic education outcomes and ensure that young people are focused on schooling and not only stressing about where their next plate of food will come from.
Even the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns which was affected low paid and informal workers terrible. The
interventions such temporary employer/employee relief scheme, highlighted the long standing chronic problems of poverty and unemployment.
House Chair, we further note that The Department of Social Development initially budgeted a mere R18 million for 2021-22 financial year in social relief of the ... [Inaudible.] ... and has requested additional funds, amounting to R171 million and that R56 million was used for food parcel, cash and food vouchers in KZN. This is more reasons why government must implement a permanent income assistance, because we know what happens to food parcels in our community. They are distributed factionally to ANC members and supporters and this must come to an end.
A permanent solution is the implementation of social assistance and work towards a universal basic income for all. We also know that where African children will be affected the most, the schools catering for white children and the children of the rich are not affected much. That is why the response will be slow. Because the children of Ministers and Members of Parliament go to private schools, while the children of the poor will have their education compromised. The EFF calls for
the roll out of the tablets a long time ago, to facilitate online learning for all school going children.
If the Department of Education in Gauteng can have almost half a million to sanitise empty classrooms, we sure you do have the money to buy learning aids for all our children. We reject this report. Thank you, House Chair.
Ms M E SUKERS: Thank you, House Chairperson. The mercy of God is keeping our nation, we today in this House have earned and the rest of our nation have much to be thankful for. During the recent violence, unrest and looting his hand pulled us back from the brink of the abyss. When we consider the damage to property and vital infrastructure that are essential for service delivery in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, this may not seem as bad as what could have been. However, when considering both reports before this House, it is evident that we are continuing to edge closer to the abyss. The estimated cost to repair infrastructure in schools and offices of Social Developments and the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa, exceeds a R100 million.
However, during our oversight we saw little evidence for the over R100 million that KwaZulu-Natal departments requested or
included in the budget. These departments, especially at provincial level, cannot continue to be a sieve, a “sif” in Afrikaans, which public funds flow without tangible result or accountability. Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal is seeking more than R400 million for the cost of food relief alone. Is this genuine food relief and who are the beneficiaries?
House Chairperson, I am of the opinion that we will see this vital relief try to buy votes in the upcoming local government elections. Those who are planning to use food relief allocation to buy votes are also buying our people’s dignity and at the same time selling out our democracy. How can we condemn a mother looting a packet of maize-meal and some clothes for her children, when on the other hand we allow government departments to loot the fiscus of hundreds of millions? Unless food relief is backed up by changes to policy that will get people out of state of dependency and into independent, we are stealing people’s dignity in another way.
House Chairperson, we do not need government to create jobs, we need government to work with business and civil society to create enabling a stable environment that will create jobs and give our people back their dignity. The cost reported and presented by the KwaZulu-Natal province of education of over a
R100 million to school infrastructure and the cost of damage that we saw does not correlate with this report. It is up to the House to be the vanguard to defend the dignity of our people by turning over every cent that this government spends several times before it is spent. Our weapons in this fight are oversight visits. The report of this in this House and the debate in this House, these reports underline that needs for us to strengthen oversight and the mind clarity in reporting. This we must execute to the best of our ability, House Chair. The ACDP supports both these reports. Thank you.
Mr C H M SIBISI: Thank you, hon House Chair. [Inaudible.]
that taxpayers are set to cough up cost of an estimated R188 million to 258 schools damage in the mass looting and damage to property [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Sibisi, we can’t hear you properly. Can you just increase the volume of your voice please, and speak louder?
Mr C H M SIBISI: Thank you, hon House Chair. The amount is in addition to cost to be incurred to repair other schools vandalised since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, Covid-19, in March 2020, and the money spent to buy mobile
classrooms. In KwaZulu-Natal alone 144 schools, eight education circuits management office and three education centres were verified and have been damaged. The estimated cost stood at R100 362 million after verification showed 144 schools were, in fact, damaged.
South Africans need to understand that the vandalism of schools and public properties cripple the future of this country which are the learners who are attending these schools today. These affected schools have pupil enrolment ranging between 411 and 2 245. It was no surprise that the province has the insufficient budget to implement rehabilitation and refurbishment of school infrastructure because our country is on the verge of a fiscal cliff if we have not yet fall of that cliff.
In Gauteng alone 14 schools were damaged and the estimated cost was R38 million. Since the inception of Covid-19 last year, a total of 411 schools have been affected by arson, vandalism and break-ins. A total of 54 schools were affected in the 2021 academic year with an estimated of R53 million. These costs were not planned nor budgeted for by the department. We must be mindful of the fact that while the damages were taking place in the two provinces, more than
1 700 schools were still being repaired from damages since the Covid-19 outbreak. The total number of schools vandalised since 2020 March across the country stood at 1 882 as of now.
House Chair, this is extremely concerning because the exponential costs are beyond monetary costs of repairs. We as the National Freedom Party call upon all South Africans to stand up alongside government to fight against perpetrators that damage public infrastructure that serve to advance our people. We cannot sit back and watch people vandalise and damage schools and clinics. These are structures that serve communities. Government alone cannot effectively put an end to these. Communities and the public at large need to step up to put an end to this pandemic. This a matter that requires all of us to work together and put this to bed to end this. The NFP will support the report. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: House Chair thank you very much for this opportunity. Greetings to you, greetings to the Minister of Social Development hon Lindiwe Zulu and other Ministers who are present, Chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, South Africans, greetings.
Chair, July saw our country experiencing unrest and unprecedented looting coupled with vandalism never imagined in the democratic South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa in addressing the nation characterised the events as follows, these actions are intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken or even dislodge the democratic state. They have sort to exploit the social and economic conditions under which many South Africans live, conditions that have worsened since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and to provoke ordinary citizens and criminal network to engage in opportunistic acts of looting.
Our sector basic education was not spared by these actions as we suffered damages in a number of schools due to vandalism. About more than 200 in both the educational institutions and learning centres in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng. This was really an unfortunate situation as we planned to normalise schooling in this academic year.
Let me join the many progressive voices in our country who commended the communities who stood up in protection of their country, their economy and educational infrastructure.
We want to thank the people from the taxi industry, we want to thank business people and many South Africans who stood up to say not in our name and not our country. Both education MECs in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng continue to work very hard to ensure the restoration of our schools for teaching and learning.
House Chair, today we are here to respond as a sector directly to the oversight report of the joint committees which makes important reflections and insightful recommendations in areas of school safety. The involvement of communities and their structures in the culture of teaching and learning, recovery of infrastructure and psychosocial support amongst others.
Allow me at this moment to thank the members of the portfolio committee for the oversight rule which adds food soldiers in our battle to ensure that no child is left behind and that education is a societal matter.
As part of the executive, we must provide the NA oversight bodies with correct information necessary for them to play their oversight role. For our democracy to succeed, we must be held accountable and report to the people of South Africa.
Our system of governance places emphasis on the separation of powers thus we respect the exclusive powers of the oversight bodies.
House Chair, as we know we have collided information on all vandalised schools across the country, but we focus on the most affected provinces and that is KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
As I speak to you right now, we have a complete list of vandalised schools in each province, the extent of the damage and the cost estimates. We have developed plans to rehabilitate the vandalised schools and in some cases work has been completed.
In cases where repairs are still in progress, we are providing temporary relief to schools where required. These temporary measures include relocating learners from nearby schools during the renovations so that they are taken to nearby schools.
In the meantime, we have also given permission to the non- section 21 schools to use allocated funds for norms and standards to employ security personnel. As part of our response, we have also focused on broader infrastructure
challenges such as shortages of classrooms, water and sanitation.
We encourage communities to take an active interest in the safety of their schools. We have since consulted with school governing bodies to also provide extra eyes and muscles in the prevention of efforts. We want the SGBs, school governing bodies, and their school safety committees to take the critical constitutional role to enhance community safety strategies.
In the long term, as a sector, we maintain and sustain established structures on an ongoing basis including the institutionalisation of the quality learning and teaching campaign structures. We obviously need a comprehensive security plan for all our schools.
We have made a clarion call on all our structures to reignite and adopt a core plan at a local level. We have reactivated the adoption of the school programme for traditional leaders and the business community. We have also called upon community policing forums to work with school governing bodies and the school safety committees to link every school to a police officer at the nearest police station.
We strengthen and activate the social cluster communication plan in partnership with GCIS, Government Communications and Information Systems, utilisation of print, radio, digital and social media to address toxic political rhetoric that makes our schools easy targets in misguided political gains.
Through this communication intervention, we are addressing the orchestrated misinformation that causes despair and hopelessness which elevates schools to legitimate targets. At the centre of the communication plan, is to reignite the love and respect for schools and schooling as a societal activity.
We have already conducted a communication briefing with the key stakeholders, educators, parents, safety and security agencies. We have unrestrained dialogues with faith based organisations and traditional leaders to join our call to action and protect our community assets.
Our strategy is one message, many voices. Once the Covid-19 restrictions allow, we are going back to resuscitate community imbizos to dialogue on the importance of protecting community assets of which schools form prominent part.
The destruction of school property hurts learners, both in school and long term. It doesn’t help Chair that we are dealing with a scourge of vandalism while battling with a global pandemic of Covid-19. We are already beginning to feel the full impact of young people not having access to learning and teaching but in the main, young people are missing their developmental milestone that depend on social interaction and activities. We are doing everything in our power within the available resources to support learners through psychosocial services
House Chair, the one big challenge is how to sustain our flagship, pro-poor intervention such as the national school nutrition programme when the site is vandalised and thus out of action.
I can confirm that despite the challenges, the national school nutrition programme continues to provide meals to over
9 million learners. All vandalised schools have functioning alternative school nutrition feed scheduled. In all affected schools, the extent of damage of loss has been assessed. We have since provided supplementary items such as kitchen and food preparation facilities equipped and utensils were required.
We have replenished the loss and damaged items within the available resources and supplier contracts re-activated. We communicated with the national school nutrition suppliers in line with their contractual obligation of costs for their immediate delivery of food before the schools reopen in the context of partial or destroyed sites.
Where the school kitchen was destroyed and learners were relocated, the school nutrition programme followed the relocated learners. In the medium term, we are developing annual provisional business plan with funding to replenish equipment and utensils lost or damaged.
We are reviewing the template for inventory in the national school nutrition. We will send a circular to affected schools advising them on alternative measures and a revised menu to learners to be provided in the interim. We will continue to monitor the report and respond to schools with remaining challenges to ensure that our children are fed.
We encourage schools and provinces to solicit donations from private businesses for mobile kitchens, for schools where kitchens were totally damaged because these people were targeting the damage. I hear people say it’s because they are
hungry but you cannot steal from the poor and steal because you are hungry. As this House, we cannot support stealing and say it’s because people are hungry.
Chair, in conclusion, we appreciate the work of this committee. We will do everything legally permissible to support the work of the portfolio committee and the support that we receive from the portfolio committee. Thank you so much House Chair.
Mr D M STOCK: Thank you very much hon Chairperson. One of the mammoth and important commitment that this government has made, is to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty, while creating social nets to protect the most vulnerable in society. We do so because we are fully alive to the realities on the ground and which are confronted by our ordinary people. We are also fully committed to restoring the dignity of our people on the ground and in society at large.
The ANC continues to implement social protection policy interventions and related anti-poverty strategies to contribute in the development of our people. As the ANC, we are vehemently condemning the unprecedented violent protest that happened over two weeks’ period, that not only threatened
the delivery of the key socioeconomic activities and services throughout the country, in particular in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, but also threatened our food security system.
It is important to highlight that the closure of even one of our Social Development Offices brings so much distress to those that are in need to access their social services in KwaZulu-Natal and throughout the country and Gauteng as well. That is why we were distressed and discomforted when we were alerted to the vandalisation and looting of offices in both these provinces, because social development services are crucial and critical to the daily function of our ordinary people.
This had a direct impact on the Department of Social Development because of its mandate to provide social protection services to all our communities. The majority of local social development offices in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng had to be shut down due to road blockages, vandalism of offices and stealing of equipment. In some instances, files were stolen in the offices where we were told during the oversight that the people or community arrived and they went straight to the fifth floor to go and get the key in order to
steal the files. Is that right, while some of us are encouraging this kind of looting?
Is it out of hunger that somebody gets to an office, go straight to the fifth floor to go and steal a file? Is that because of hunger? That is the question we need to answer. This means that, most vulnerable people were not able to access the services, and this provided impetus for committee to conduct oversight visits to these provinces to ascertain the impact of violent protest on the delivery of social services, as well as the department’s response to the protest and to the provision of having food relief security.
Hon members, we must commend the interim interventions that have been put in place by the Department of Social Development, most especially, the decision to provide services for the affected communities through the deployment of mobile offices and the deployment of staff personnel to other social development offices. Hon members, we must convey that we cannot afford or fathom how people can cause destruction to infrastructure to their own services, and after that, some members of the House claimed that it was right because they were hungry.
That action or such narrative cannot be condoned. It must be condemned for the necessary contempt it deserves. We are cognisant that the protest came about in some instances due to long contracted grievances, but we must, as the people rise above destroying the very same infrastructure that is meant to be a resource and a tool of development to our people. In our robust and fruitful engagement as the committee with various stakeholders, we noted that the department must ensure that psychosocial support to deal with trauma must be given attention to deal with the issue of anxiety and adjustment issues, through wellness programmes for employees affected by the destruction of property and looting that occurred in the two different provinces.
It must also ensure that staff members from affected local offices, are deployed temporally to other provincial social development offices. The department must ensure that, it realigns its systems with SA Social Security Agency, SASSA, in order to address the issue of double dipping with regards to the issue of distributing food parcels and the food vouchers. Provincial social development departments should review and reallocate budgets for procurement of assets and infrastructure repairs to the local offices that were affected by these protests.
There should be a consideration of adopting a food parcel model used by the Gauteng Department of Social Development and rollout to other provinces throughout the country. Hon Chairperson, a significant engagement that needs to be accelerated is the entire reconsideration of our food security response mechanism to meet the demands of our people on the ground. That also goes into the core of developing sustainable ways in which our people can, and must be skilled to sustainably cultivate their own food security systems and gardens.
We must express gratitude to the communities that came out in their numbers to condemn this protest, looting and destruction of our property. These people demonstrated indeed that, in action, the significance of our social mobilisation and the resilience to stand against anything that causes pain and suffering to others of our country, can be confronted throughout the country. Hon members, the committee commits to periodically monitor the interventions and responses by the Department of Social Development on the key issues raised by stakeholders during our oversight visit in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
We reaffirm that as a committee, we will continue to ensure that social policies and interventions that are implemented continue to lift and protect our people, as we advance a better life for all. I thank you, hon members. Thanks, Chairperson.
Mnr M G E HENDRICKS: Huisvoorsitter, dit was ’n verrassing om te hoor van die opstand van die ... [Onhoorbaar.] ... in Frankryk op 14 Julie en die verengelsing van die Afrikaners in Suid-Afrika, en dat Afrikaners vandag die victims [slagoffers] is. Afrikaans is 10 keer meer ryker na 27 jaar van bevryding. Die bevrydingsbeweging het meer vir Afrikaners gedoen as die Engelse. Baie van hulle het na die agb Wynand Boshoff geluister. Afrikaners moet nou liewer vir die ANC, PAC of die EFF en die IFP stem. Ek weet nie ... die NFP weet nie aan wie hy behoort nie so ek kan dit nie aanbeveel nie.
Hon Chair, we have two caring Ministers working against all odds, and what they have done soon after the unrests must be commended. Al Jama-Ah needs and its constituency have supplemented the efforts to provide food parcels, cooking and dishing out of food, and providing one-month supply of
nutritional powder pack where it was needed. The Department of Social Welfare has applauded in giving PR councillors food parcels to distribute, and it should have in their budget line items to assist parliamentary constituency offices.
This will increase the footprint for relief, and this will make President Ramaphosa happy as he has promised hot plate of food throughout or even before the unrest. The sooner Basic Education department switch to online learning like the University of Cape Town has for learners, the better. This department is not showing innovation in leadership now or after the unrest, and cannot tell this House that they have a revolutionary programme. This department still have anti- revolutionary learner-educator ratios. Now with Covid classrooms, because of these high ratios are death-traps.
A curriculum that does not need a certificate opening doors for jobs is worse than Bantu education. A curriculum that is not loaded with digital education, implement of things like robotics, artificial intelligence, is nothing but Bantu education and coloured education as we know it. Employers want all of these skills before they employ you. The Basic Education department train learners for stone age jobs, and no
jobs are rising on a new generation jobs and new ... [Inaudible.]
Hon chair, we would like thank the hon members who went on oversight visit and reporting to us in this House. Al Jama-Ah votes in favour of the report.
Mnu B B NODADA: Sihlalo weNdlu, malungu ahloniphekileyo, bantu bakuthi boMzantsi Afrika molweni.
The unrest 42 days ago painted a stark picture of the out of touch ANC-led government’s failure exacerbated by the factional battles that have left 30 million South Africans living under one Dollar a day unable to even buy a loaf of bread.
Mnu B B NODADA: Imnandi inyaniso.
While the expanded youth unemployment rate is rising at 75% - you guys are making noise, 8 million youth not in education,
not in employment or training. Many of whom have dropped out of the education system that is not conducive for learning and confines them to a lifetime of poverty and unemployment.
Furthermore, we witnessed the complete failure of the SA Police Service in protecting citizens and public property. The Department of Basic Education has faced increased threats of vandalism and theft mainly during lockdown, school holidays and more recently in the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Meanwhile, the ANC has cut R1,9 billion from the department’s budget to fund failed state-owned enterprises, SOEs yet there are still over 3 000 pit toilets, mud and asbestos schools that need to be eradicated. With an already tight budget for these cuts, the department now has to redirect the funds to all these vandalised schools instead of getting rid of mud and asbestos schools and pit toilets.
During the unrest 137 schools in KwaZulu-Natal were either looted or burnt to ashes. Over 11 schools in Gauteng were targeted by syndicates and vandalised. Many being repeat incidents because the police never had investigated or follow up on those cases. Both provinces would cost the department a whopping R141 million to repair and rebuild damaged school
infrastructure at the expense of the mud, asbestos and pit toilets schools that need help.
Nationally during the lockdown, from March up to date, 1 882 schools have been damaged costing the department over
R226 million, all at the expense, again, of mud, asbestos and pit toilets schools. Many areas that are targeted ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Nodada, can you just give me a moment please? Hon Moss, at the back, while interjections are allowed you cannot just deliver commentary while the speaker is speaking. So, please let us observe the Rules of the House and even though we may disagree with the member at the podium says, let us do so in the manner that is respectful.
Mr B B NODADA: Of the 1 882 schools that have been damaged costing the department over R200, million, 1 700 of them are still under repairs even today. Main areas that are targeted and looted are ICT administration equipment, food for the National School Nutrition Programme, copper and plumbing material. Some schools are simply arson attacks.
It is sad to see that in Sikhululwe Secondary School a whole administration block with science laboratory was simply burnt with nothing stolen. The most heart breaking was the looted specialised golden stairs in a special school in Verulam with damages of over R3 million. Due to the unrest till today that school remains closed denying these children with special needs their right to education. The picture in Gauteng is a bit different with syndicate attacks that target ICT smart boards, computers, food and copper pipes. There were criminally planned attacks at schools. The most interesting is part is that all of these are a repeat incidents and despite all of this cases to the SAPS, nothing has been investigated, nothing has been followed up and these cases continue to just hang up in balance.
The MEC in Gauteng even came and said to us that we are completely losing the war against vandalism unless these targeted plans on security are put in place and the SAPS follow up on these cases. It is your person. SA Police Service, more generally has been inefficient at curbing crime and more inefficient at holding looters accountable. As a result, many schools visited have faced repeated incidents and the SAPS has not done anything about that. Minister Cele, it was all fun and games ...
... ngokuya wawuleqa abantu beziqubhela elwandle ...
... while surfers were trying to go to the beach. You were very quick to go there. However, you continue to completely fail at catching criminals, let alone processing those reported cases in schools. The Department of Basic Education is not a crime prevention unit. I think you should start doing your job.
As the DA, we have proposed that the provincial departments must ensure that their schools use their norms and standards effectively to repair the damages. We further say that Minister Motshekga and the Department of Basic Education must engage provincial departments to education, public works and security cluster to come up with a circuit or district-based safety and security plan. They must ensure plans particularly in hotspots despite government being a self-insurer. Based on this SAPS needs to be informed and provided with national protection, night guards and policing particularly in hotspot areas. The Department of Basic Education must allocate patrollers like in the Western Cape which has been cited as the effective way of curbing vandalism and theft in schools
and the deputy director-general came to the portfolio committee and indicated this. Gauteng is following this and we are encouraged that they also adopt this moving forward.
The Department of Basic Education must make full circuit tv cameras and an alarm. A standard in all hotspot school with offsite storage of footage in collaboration with SAPS. Promotion of community responsibility is of outmost importance therefore the Department of Basic Education must work with communities, parents and security cluster to ensure that their Neighbourhood Watches with regards to protecting schools.
In conclusion, as the DA, we are calling on the ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Nodada, you have a few seconds left. The microphone on the platform that is disturbing the member and there is another microphone on of another member, Mahlo. Those on the virtual platform please ensure that your microphones are muted until you are recognised. Hon Nodada, can you just complete your speech please?
Mr B B NODADA: In conclusion, as the DA, we are calling on South Africans not to take out their frustrations on burning
and looting schools or public property. There can be no justification for such criminal behaviour because schools are there to serve our communities. It is time South Africans take their protests to the ballot box like the unemployed graduates of Zambia who wore their graduation gowns to vote for change. Thank you so much Chair.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much, House Chairperson, hon members, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, ...
... abakhona namhlanje kule Ndlu ...
... Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development hon Dikgang Stock
... siyabonga namhlanje uqalile umsebenzi wakho kahle ...
... members of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, hon members, fellow South Africans across the length and breadth of our country ...
... ngibingelela bonke abasemakhaya. Ngibingelele ikakhulukazi abangale ngasekhaya KwaZulu ngithi kubo sisekhona siyasebenza. Sisebenzela imiphakathi yonke noma ngabe siseEastern Cape noma eNorthern Cape noma KwaZulu-Natali sila singuhulumeni ka-African Congress ukuze sikwazi ukulungisa konke okungathi kuyaphuma kube yizigwegwe ngesinye isikhathi.
Thank you for the opportunity to reply to this important debate on the report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the adverse and the impact of the recent incidents of civil unrest on the social development services in part of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces and the responses of the department for urgent food relief to the affected communities.
NgiwuNgqongqoshe Wezokuthuthukiswa Komphakathi ngicela ukubonga ukuthi uMnyango Wezemfundo Eyisisekelo nayo ikhona namhlanje ngoba singuhulumeni oyedwa.
We are one government and we work together. So, such reports are being presented. We don’t only look at our report from a point of view of social development, but we look at the report together. House Chairperson, may this debate be among the reminders that our is a democracy in its formative development years.
Kukhona abaphikayo. [ Ubuwelewele.] isikhathi eside kakhulu ukuthi silungise okwakwenza ngakithi kwenziwa ubandlululo.
And that every South African want to meaningfully participate in shaping this new South Africa we are talking about.
Likewise, this occasion must be the most immediately reminder of how fatal and disabling our predemocracy conflicts moulded our commitments to protect our common heritage South Africa and her people’s collective interests.
Sihlalo ngicela ukubonga futhi ukuthi umuntu wathola ithuba lokuthi ahambe nawo uMnyango neKomidi sayozibonela ngawethu amehlo ukuthi kwenzakalani ukuze sikwazi ukuthi silungise lezo zigwegwe la zenzeke khona.
Ngicela ukubonga ukuthi ikomidi lasinikeza ithuba siwuMnyango nami nginguNgqongqoshe ukuthi sihambe nabo noma sazi nje ukuthi umsebenzi wabo yi-oversight kodwa sabona ukuthi kungcono sihambe nabo ukuze sizibonele into abayibonayo nathi sibe siyayibona.
It is this backdrop of lived experiences that consciously informed our resolve to break away from the monstrous pass and build a democratic society. A democracy wherein the laws and institutions permit for dissenting voices and grievances to be given due audience. It is here where the people have sufficient space within which they can build the South Africa we want. Now is the time for us to unite, and fight anarchy and destruction and any negativity where it rears its ugly head. It is our collective responsibility to do that.
The constructive recommendations must be towards reinforcing our multiple efforts that are targeted at improving human level outcomes amongst our people. To this extent and working together with MECs for Social Development, namely MEC
Morakane-Mosupyoe of Gauteng province and MEC Nonhlanhla khoza of KwaZulu Natal and notwithstanding the security and resources constraints. The department and its entity Sassa and
NDA are embodying the call that the state of our people, lives and livelihoods in the different constituencies in this provinces must be improved as has been confirmed by Statistics SA, the National Income Dynamic Study Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey and the Human Science Research Council reports. Among others, unemployment, food insecurity and hunger have worsened since the advent of the coronavirus 2019. While the government and the social partners have been directing resources and energies towards co-creating and providing services to the communities that are affected by the COVID-19.
The outbreak of these incidents of unrests in KwaZul-Natal and Gauteng provinces only exacerbated the unbearable conditions of vulnerability in the affected communities. In parts, these incidents served as to reverse some of the gains we have made in the eradication of challenges such as hunger and inequalities. Particularly, resulting from the implementation of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress, SRD, between May 2020 to April 2021, hon members will recall that precisely stemming from these incidences.
President Ramaphosa reinstated the R350 grant. Due to the nature of the mandate of the department, our response to these incidences of civil unrests touched the entire spectrum of our
problems, including the collaboration of community, impact data through working together with municipalities and the two provinces. Social mobilisation, the assessment of vandalism, damage and theft at our services infrastructure, especially Sassa local offices and the branches of the SA Post Office where grant beneficiaries collect their grants, this is important in light of the need for continuity of services to South Africans. The provision of psycho social support, the rendering of child protection services, the provision of social relief of distress, which we call SRD, to those who are assessed to need it and the rebuilding and sustainable livelihoods in the affected communities. But while there are areas of public life where we have made a decisive break with the apartheid past. We all know very well that this country is divided and a violent history lives in our lives as millions of South Africans. It is for this reason also that we have to work towards behavioural change while appreciating the challenges that are faced by our people. Through reinvigorated, people, public, private, civic, academic, multilateral partnership the department programmes continue to be responsive while new interventions are emerging. Donors, nonprofit organisations, business and universities are becoming part of these emerging partnerships, innovations that are necessary to undo adversities that these incidents of
civil unrests have brought into the lives of our ordinary people.
The departmental interventions include the provision of food through centre-based feeding programme, including early childhood development, ECD facilities, community-nutrition development centres, CNDCs, drop-in centres, home community- based care and old age homes. These are funded by the department to implement food-related interventions, among others. Since the advent of incidents of unrests over 12149 food parcels were issued in Gauteng province, feeding over 62509 people that were adversely affected.
Over the same period, an additional 100430 people received meals from CNDCs. In KwaZulu food relief was provided through the centre-base feeding programme and social relief of distress by the department and Sassa. To date, 42573 people were provided with food at CNDCs in that province while 36734 SRD vouchers were provided to the people affected.
I also do want to respond to the issue which was raised by member Sukers about the R400 Million that was requested by KwaZulu-Natal. I do want to indicate that R400 Million is not just a money for responding to food and food shortages. That
money is also going to be dealing with the infrastructure and the equipment which were destroyed at that time. In my view, this amount of money we’ll have to stretch it as much as they possibly can to cover because we not only talking about food shortages here. We are talking about an infrastructure that was destroyed and has to be replaced.
The department has requested additional funding from the Solidarity Fund, which is R100 million already pledge to address the food challenges in the two provinces. This support will, among others, target workers that have been laid off from the industries that have closed down. Households with a total income below the food poverty line of R585 a month, applicants of social relief of distress administered by the department, the provinces started to implement the response measures on the 16 August 2021. Government is making a call for active citizenship that is targeted at community sustainability where food security, the wellbeing of South Africans and nation-building are concerned. Within that frame, we encourage the establishment of targeted people, public, private, civic, academic, multilateral partnership among all concerned. As we look ahead, this debate is offering our collective as South Africans the opportunity to practically reflect and co-create and realise our foremost priority of
engaging the state of our people through the implementation of meaningful interventions. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, that concludes the debate. Are any objection to the adoption of report to the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the impact of civil unrests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on social development services and Department of Social Development’s response for urgent food relief to affected communities. Are there any objections?
Question put: That the Report of Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Impact of civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on social development services and Department of Social Development’s response for urgent food relief to affected communities be adopted.
Report on Impact of civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on social development services and Department of Social Development’s response for urgent food relief to affected communities accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Question put: That the Report of Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on Joint oversight visit with Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments be adopted.
Report on Joint oversight visit with Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng Provincial Education Departments accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT ON SPECIAL JOINT OVERSIGHT VISIT TO KWAZULU-NATAL WITH SELECT COMMITTEE ON LAND REFORM, ENVIRONMENT, MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO KWAZULU-NATAL ON
11 - 12 AUGUST
Mr Z M D MANDELA: Hon House Chairperson, allow me to dedicate this speech Babita Deokaran who was executed on this Woman’s Month. We meet at a time that as a nation we are faced with
great challenges amidst growing economic pressures, the ongoing heavy material and human cost extracted from us by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent failed attempted insurrection, the loss of life, property and fear that has followed in its wake. Yet we stand proud that as a nation, we have united to protect our democracy, our freedom and our peace.
South Africans are no strangers to challenges and we have stepped away from brinkmanship and end games before. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the recent meltdown was the way South Africans rallied together supporting each other, keeping communities safe and refusing to be sucked into the spiralling chaos.
It was also encouraging to see South Africans respond to the founding father of our nation, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s rallying call when he said:
Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.
Whilst the damage done to South Africa’s global image sent shivers down the spines of investors, global institutions and peace-loving people of the world, it was the response to President Ramaphosa’s call for calm that was heeded rather than the proclivity to loot because of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
It was heartening that traditional leaders rose to the occasion and supported the President’s call and rallied deep rural communities to disassociate from the mayhem and not to be part of the violence and destruction.
South African leaders from across the political and religious spectrum were the voices of reason emanating from communities across the length and breadth of our country. We stood as one and refused to be strung along by agent provocateurs hell-bent on setting South Africa on fire and attempting to orchestrate a situation of ungovernability.
We owe it to ourselves and the nation never to stoke the fires of racial tension and discontent. No leader in this august House should ever engage in fuelling the embers of racial conflicts, tension between communities and any acts that detract from social cohesion, unity and peace.
In the wake of the national crisis, we must focus on prosecuting the criminal elements behind the violence and looting. They must be held accountable as their actions caused loss of many lives, destruction of property and livelihoods and incalculable damage to many sectors of our economy.
The impact of the unrest in the agricultural sector had a negative impact on historically disadvantaged communities. The small-scale farmers, working class and poor have borne the brunt of the consequences of such unrest in the sector. The agricultural sector was hit the most and the impact was hard felt by the small-scale producers within the sector. This occurred through the destruction of crops and the lack of processing facilities for crops. Grazing was destroyed for animal farmers and the supply of feed was delayed due to the risk posed to the supply of logistics.
The negative effects of the unrest also created hardships for the affected communities resulting in increased unemployment and its accompanying economic impact on historically disadvantaged communities.
It is commendable that many communities, in support of our ANC-led government and its transformation programme opposed
the unrest and defended their property and jobs and loudly said “not in our name”. These communities defended their constitutional rights and our democracy.
Agriculture is a time-bound industry and the unrest also negatively impacted upon processing facilities for agriculture. This led to losses for sugarcane farmers and animal farmers. Processing facilities, including cold storage facilities were affected by the fact that workers were unable to report for work.
The disruption of the agricultural sector supply chain occurred in all parts of the value chain as the agricultural sector is dependent on processing facilities, wholesale and retail. The destruction of the retail sector has had a negative impact on the sector as farming is dependent on the large-scale retail stores for the purchase and sale of agricultural products. The ports were also unable to process imports and exports for many days.
However, many of the processing facilities have reopened and the ports have resumed exports of agricultural products.
Farming and the supply value chain have not as yet recovered and this requires support, effort and time.
As a collective, we must come to terms with the reality of systemic poverty, inequality and unemployment. We can neither wish this away nor will it disappear by itself. In that context, we welcome the President’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as an important step in the right direction.
This oversight visit was insightful in three very distinct ways that our agriculture sector was impacted: Firstly, the disruption of agriculture value chain and logistics; secondly, the impact on small-scale farmers and feed supply; and lastly, the impact on quality of life of rural communities as a result of destruction of infrastructure and the attendant loss of jobs. We will have to take extraordinary measures to get the affected sectors of the agriculture industry back on track.
Finally, we appeal to South Africans to rally together to overcome the scourge of poverty, eradicate inequality and to address unemployment through stimulating Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, SMMEs, as the engine room for new growth, and renewed hope. Together, we can do it.
I move for the adoption of this report on the oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture,
Land Reform and Rural Development. I thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr N P MASIPA: House Chairperson, the oversight report before the House today is borne out of an unprecedented campaign of politically sponsored unrests that took place in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. From the brief that both the provincial MEC and the national Minister gave us, the summary was as follows: For each misunderstanding of the ANC government, the farmers paid a full price; for each blunder and miscalculation of the ANC government, the farmers paid a full price; and for each fault and inaccuracy of the ANC government, the farmers paid a full price. The consumers are already paying a heavy price.
The poor and food insecure are the victims. The unemployed now face an even gloomy future.
While ANC factional politics played out over a former President, it was the farmers who bore the brunt of the upheaval and dysfunctional police service. Farmers informed the committee about their financial losses due to lack of market access necessitated by road closures, burning and looting. Farmers are bearing the brunt of the failures of the ANC government. If they are not victims of senseless and
brutal murders, their fields are burnt, their animals butchered, and their equipment vandalized.
My leader, John Steenhuisen, was the first on the ground during the looting. Hon Steyn and I did a follow up visit to the farmers. My oversight visit before committee’s oversight visit revealed that there was no active biosecurity on the ground. Biosecurity is now receiving attention. This is what we mean by the DA difference. I am extremely concerned about the department’s neglect of this important biosecurity function.
The committee was presented with an estimated budget of
R1 billion that farmers will need to address the financial losses caused by ANC sponsored riots. I asked for a detailed report on how the provincial department arrived at the figures, and to date, we have not received anything. There was clear evidence of poor co-ordination between the district, provincial and national government. As the saying goes, the right does not know what the left is doing.
The national department official informed the committee that 80% of meat being consumed in South Africa is being imported.
Clearly, the national government is failing to comprehend its own agricultural figures. Who is to trust?
Farmers are experiencing pure ANC government land reform problems. The DA condemns politically sponsored violence in the agricultural sector. They must stop. The DA calls upon KwaZulu-Natal senior government officials to support the junior officials on the ground and help improve Foot and mouth disease biosecurity management. I thank you, Chair.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Thank you, House Chair. The recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was precipitated by the arrest of Mr Zuma, who essentially about the failures of the post 1994 government in an indictment on the ruling elites, that 27 years after the attainment of political freedom, that the country is not managed to make any headway in reversing the material legacy of colonialism and apartheid. The only thing that changes is the administration but South Africa is still a colonial and apartheid society in every possible way.
What happened in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng should be a stern warning to both the ruling elites and the capitalist bosses that the people are getting tired of being excluded and soon enough. No soldiers or police will ever be able to stop the
starving poor from eating the rich the disturbance that the under his head on agriculture is severe but it also provides a window of opportunities to restructure the entire agricultural value chain, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal where black people are still on the margin of key industries, such as the sugar cane industry, while they are institutions such as the Special Event Food Defense Assignment, SEFDA, in KwaZulu-Natal working towards improving the conditions of emerging producers in the province.
The majority of farmers and those involved in the value chain are still white and heavily supported by the government. The government must prioritise providing support to affected emerging farmers and ensure that these farmers are able to produce again. We are also concerned with the impact the unrest had on the environment. The impact that the unrest had and in particularly the burning of United Phosphorus Limited Warehouse, in KwaZulu-Natal, may have long-lasting environmental and health impact on the surrounding communities. The United Phosphorus Limited, UPL, was part of a special fast-track economic investment scheme by the national government with no specific environmental or hazardous substance approvals or any local government scrutiny.
Other than squandering our taxes with these concessions, this ANC government violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and put the neighbouring communities and workers at risk. President Cyril, Ramaphosa has said that as part of the government’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan, there would be a massive rollout of infrastructure that would completely transform the landscape of our cities, towns and rural areas. The transformation in the environmental landscape caused by the explosion at the United Phosphorus Limited facility in Durban is not the transformation we need. What we got is a mini Chernobyl disaster. Thanks to the ANC, that United Phosphorus Limited warehouse is our Chernobyl.
Although the Chernobyl disaster was as a result of failure during a safety test on a nuclear reactor, the impact of the United Phosphorus Limited disaster on the environment is just devastating. The fire that United Phosphorus Limited warehouse situated upstream of the Umhlanga River and the Blackburn Village informal settlement in close proximity to a retail hub and a primary school waged for 10 days. The 14 000 square meter warehouse had millions of litres of chemicals some classic classified as harmful, toxic or very toxic. The impact on the environment aquatic and human life is almost unimaginable.
As much as United Phosphorus Limited should bore the cost for its negligence, we must not allow this corrupt ANC government to escape accountability for ultimately allowing United Phosphorus Limited to operate without complying with the necessary legislative requirements. The residents and businesses of Cornubia and eThekwini really must express the utter disgust with the corrupt ANC government on 27 October 2021, traded their quality of life from kickbacks. The EFF rejects this report with the contempt that it deserves. Thank you very much your person.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. Chairperson, let me start off by saying that the IFP leaders were also on the ground - like some other leaders have been mentioned in the House - and we were actually preaching and promoting peace amongst communities that suffered losses and loss of lives in the Phoenix, Bambai, Omaoti and Zwelisha areas. In fact, the IFP through its leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, translated words into tangible action when we visit the 29 families that were that lost loved ones during the unrest in the Phoenix, Bambai, Omaoti areas and we gave them what is called “amakhandlela” (candles). I think you’ll understand what I mean, hon Chairperson, “amakhandlela” (candles) which is a support towards the funeral cost.
So, there we were on the ground doing our best as the IFP. Having said that, the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal had negative consequences for farmers and agribusinesses in KwaZulu-Natal not least of which are the financial losses estimated at close to a billion rand. The unrest highlighted vulnerability and food insecurity in many communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The land reform, government funded farms institutions and infrastructure were also heavily impacted. The IFP note with concern the immense amount of work that must be done to return to the pre-pandemic trajectory in the sector, especially with the declared state of disaster
The IFP also urges law enforcement and the relevant stakeholders to implement the rural, safety and strategy plan to ensure the safety of farming communities and provision of assistance during unrests. To this end, hon Chairperson, i think it will be very important for the government to support all the neighbourhood watchers and community watchers that contributed to helping the police and security forces to protect themselves as communities. They need to be supported with infrastructure and basic needs that will help them continue doing this work of being the eyes and ears of the police.
Turning to the visit to the United Phosphorus Limited factory, the storage of dangerous chemicals in or near a residential area and opposite a school no less, is not only reckless and endangerment in terms of human health and lives, but also poses a long-term potential environment damage to these areas. The flouting of authorisations and regulatory compliance by United Phosphorus Limited is currently being investigated. We ask that this be expedited at the utmost urgency. No less than five multi specialist site visits had to be undertaken by local departments following the incident in order to assess the extent of the damage. Frequent site visits have occurred, further drawing upon scarce local government resources at great expense.
The IFP trust that you United Phosphorus Limited will honour the commitment made by the chief executive officer, CEO, as regards containment and clean up and that they be held liable for any damages suffered to private property and individuals as a result of the fire. The focus should not only be on rehabilitating infrastructure that was damaged but assisting the impact on the communities, the health impacts on communities that live around there. Having said that, hon Chairperson, in the early hours of this morning there was a
fire at a plastics factory, South of Durban. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
To this end, we call upon the authorities to ensure the most stringent compliance and insist upon a full review of legislation and regulation that permits dangerous chemicals to be stored anywhere near residential or environmentally strategic areas. In fact, United Phosphorus Limited told us that they were relying on a 1947 Act, which lists some chemicals that they were storing. Now, we can’t have an Act, which was there even before the National Party was formed and when many of us were not around. So, all these outdated pieces of legislation need to be looked at so that if any storage of flammable chemicals in any area, particularly surrounding communities, then we need to improve maximum protection.
What’s happening in Durban, South Basin and other areas with pollution is something that’s not acceptable and government at all levels needs to act. We would support both these reports. Thank you, Chairperson.
Ms T BREEDT: Chairperson, these oversight visits undertaken by these committees only proved one thing, the inadequacy of the ruling party to rule. The alarming reality is far different for everyday South Africans who cannot hide in safe houses
away from looters like the Ministers, MECs and the rest of government. Due to the failure by government, the necessary relief is not taking place.
A month after the unrest during a state of disaster, we are not seeing departments having an urgency in assisting those affected. Further taking into account that KwaZulu-Natal has been tormented by Foot and Mouth Disease, FMD outbreaks for years; and the latest ones to take into account are Covid-19 and the most recent drought outbreaks many farmers and others in food value chain will not be able to recover from.
A few weeks back, I had a call from a butcher in the most recently-affected FMD area. He supports local emerging farmers by buying only from them. He is trying to do what government is asking by supporting local emerging farmers and not extorting them, while still trying to give the end user value for money. Every animal he slaughters though, has to be tested for FMD.
Due to the fact that the departmental veterinarian expertise cannot reach everywhere, he has to privately test all these animals at an exorbitant amount for his account. Now, you can do the maths. He has to test every individual animal he buys
at a cost of around R1 000. Even just for 10 cows there’s an additional R10 000 those cows cost. This increases the selling price which in a time like this people cannot afford, and which then decreases the business the butcher has. And because of this, the butcher then has to retrench workers. So, the cycle just gets bigger and bigger.
During this pandemic with the increasing unemployment and the collapse of our economy, the question that begs to be answered is: Shouldn’t the government that says it is the government of the people and wants to see economic growth, rather be empowering people like these instead of punishing them for government inefficiencies?
Then of course you have crops that were burnt to the ground, the port looted, markets closed for business because of rioters, and all of this because government failed its people. What I am about to say, I have said many times before and the hon Minister of Agriculture always gets very upset with me when I say it, but the government is not serious about food security in South Africa. If the government was really serious about food security, not only in the large sense but down to household food security as it often claims, then we would have
seen change. We would have seen departments react with a sense of urgency.
But then again, if you look at the fire incident at UBL which led to the pollution of air, soil, rivers and the sea in the Gonubie area, and you look at the findings of the committee, it becomes blatantly obvious that the government cares more about its Brics alliances than South Africa, people and the environment included.
Chairperson, as with all issues currently being faced in South Africa, if we had been more proactive and less reactive, the picture in KZN would have been different. Had we have enough beds, proper monitoring of FMD areas, intelligence services that reacted to threats of rioting that they knew about, departments that ensured laws were enforced, and food security, then our environment and economic opportunities would not be looking so dire.
Chair, it is time for the departments and government to man up and face the challenges that are currently tormenting South Africa.
Ek dank u.
Mr W M THRING: Hon Chair, the week of the 9 to 16 July 2021 may go down in the annals of history as one of the darkest moments of our newfound democracy overshadowing what took place at Marikana. As a result of the looting and destruction, over 300 people were killed. The ACDP offers its condolences to all the families who lost loved ones.
Beyond doubt, this was not a random spree of looting and pillaging. It was a clearly-coordinated attack on our constitutional democracy. The failure of SAPS and our intelligence services is best captured by this quote from the report. Mr Chennells, reported that:
There was no assistance from SAPS or any government department during the unrest. Farmers and the community had to help each other.
The ACDP salutes ... [Inaudible.] ... It’s an open secret that the N2 and N3 are the main arteries of our economy. The blocking of these national routes for almost a week caused a disruption in key value chains, affecting our domestic as well as international markets. Farmers whose properties were not
vandalised or destroyed had to sit with produce which could not get sold. Some fresh produce, flowers and milk that could not get to their markets on time had to be dumped, adding to the cash flow and financial burden of many of our farmers mainly in KZN. To add insult to injury, many of our cattle farmers are still fighting a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Northern KZN.
Many of the instigators still sit in the comfort of their homes with their families well-taken care of. To these instigators, the ACDP wants you to remember the 150 000 to
250 000 mainly black South Africans who have been relegated to the ranks of the unemployed. Now, take that number and multiply it by a factor of five to give you the number of dependents who now stare poverty in the face.
Remember also the small scale black farmers like Mr Z Makhubo, Mr S Njikija, Mrs Z Sibiya and Mr Sithole, to mention but a few who have had their hard work and life investment shattered by the greed and selfishness of the instigators. These so- called liberators masquerading as freedom fighters have actually contributed more to ensnaring and enslaving black South Africans under their new master called poverty. The
looters have opted for short-term gain and the result is long- term pain.
Chair, in supporting the recommendations of the committee, the ACDP further recommends that the Ministers of the relevant departments be held accountable for the execution of these interventions, and assist our affected farmers and the Agricultural, Forestry and Fishing sectors to get back on their feet. In view of the many government lapses, we assert that it is now time for change. And the ACDP ... [Inaudible.]
... [Time expired.]
Mr P M P MODISE: Hon Chairperson, I hope my thring thring does not thring, thring. This Parliament has been accused of either delaying or not holding the executive accountable as required by the Constitution. This is often an exaggeration made by those who do not care to understand the different roles of the distinct arms of the state. We as representative of the ANC in Parliament take our public mandate and responsibility very seriously and we are committed of holding the executive accountable through different processes including conducting oversight.
On 27 July during the recess period, the former national Speaker of this House proposed this extraordinary extended National Assembly debate on the early July unrest, looting and destruction of property. The looting, destruction and burning of property and viable and profitable economic infrastructure caused serious damage to the South African economy threatening the livelihoods of many South Africans. It has been reported that over 200 malls, 11 warehouses, eight factories, ATMs and trucks have been looted, burned and destroyed during this unrest causing an estimated cost of damage of about
R50 billion. I would like to take this opportunity to send our heartfelt condolences to families and relatives that have lost their loved ones during this past violent unrest.
It is important for us to understand the nature and root causes of the violent events that took place in July. The ANC since its watershed 1969 national consultative conference held in Morogoro, characterised South African state as a colonialism of a special type and noted that South Africa has developed capitalist economy that is exploitative and based on the extraction of surplus value from wage labour. We further noted in Mangaung during the 53rd national conference that the legacy of colonialism and apartheid reflected the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. This note
was further confirmed while the 54th national conference that despite the economic advances of the past 23 years, at the time, of freedom and democracy this legacy of colonialism and apartheid still deeply entrench in our society and is found in the structure of the South African economy. South Africa is regarded as one of the most unequal societies in the world and the nature of these protests in the country have laid bare these glaring economic disparities.
We took an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal province on 11 and
12 August to observe for ourselves as the committee the environment damage caused by the burning and the destruction of the United Phosphorous Limited, UPL, chemical plant in Cornubia. According to their own website, UPL is a global leader in food system with a revenue of about US$5,4
US billion and a market access of 90% of the world food basket in doing business in more than 138 countries. The importance of foreign investment and direct investment in the country cannot be overemphasised and government has successfully attracted much-needed investments into our shores. The explosion in the UPL chemical warehouse caused chemical spillage that polluted the river systems, polluted the air and affected agricultural farms within the surrounding areas and negatively impacted on the human livelihoods in the area. We
were shocked to observe as the committee that a company as big as UPL did not strictly and fully comply with our legislative and regulatory prescripts. This is an indicative of how capitalist economy is exploitative and based on the extraction of surplus value from wage labour. There is a need to involve all stakeholders as it was indicated by President Ramaphosa that our economic strategy going forward will require new social compact among all role-players, business, labour and communities. This is inclusive of government in order to restructure the economy and achieve the inclusive growth.
In conclusion, I rise on behalf of the ANC to support the adoption of the committee report on joint oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal. We reiterate our commitment towards building an inclusive and growing South Africa and its economy. On behalf of the voiceless and the poor and the marginalised, people of this country, we support this report. Thank you very much.
Ms C PHILLIPS: House Chair, the unemployment rate under the ANC-led national government is rising like a child’s unfettered helium balloon. It is at 34,4%, and it is totally out of control. In desperation to try and counteract our steadily rising unemployment rate, special economic zones and special human settlements strategic integrated projects are
being launched. While the DA absolutely supports job creation initiatives, it cannot be job creation at any cost.
Authorities like municipalities and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries cannot allow existing health, safety and environmental protection regulations to be sacrificed on the altar of jobs at any cost at these developments. An income without health or a future is of no use to anyone.
Scenes of devastation, reminiscent of an Apocalypse Now movie greeted the portfolio committee when we visited the burnt-out warehouse of the United Phosphorous Limited Company in Durban. A month after the fire the acrid chemical smell was still present. The only sign of life around the runoff area from the warehouse were the cleanup crew in their white overalls, boots, respirators and gloves.
It boggles the mind that Makro, the direct neighbour of UPL and sharing the same access driveway, were able to protect their premises, but UPL were not. Although we were assured that the facility was state of the art, no mention was made of what the measures that were in place to prevent or combat any possible fires. The company representative claimed that the fire could not have been foreseen, yet barely a month before
UPL moved into the warehouse that burnt out, a warehouse belonging to the same company burnt down in India.
The inability of the local fire station to deal with a fire involving water soluble noxious chemicals without using water raises a huge question as to the preparedness of the emergency fire services. Why a warehouse where noxious chemicals are stored was allowed to operate in an area adjoining a settlement, a school and farmlands is unfathomable? How no inspections were done to ensure that any spills would be contained by berms or other measures? Only the eThekwini municipality will be able to answer.
Not only must UPL be held responsible for the environmental devastation, but the local ANC municipality must also step up and take responsibility for not enforcing the bylaws. The municipality should also be required to provide a list to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, DFFE, of other warehouses storing dangerous chemicals and the dates on which these warehouses were inspected for compliance.
South Africa needs a government that will not only provide jobs but also protect lives and the environment. South Africa needs a DA-led government because it’s only the DA that gets
things done and gets them done properly. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Ms M M E TLHAPE: House Chairperson, hon members, all South Africans, the unrest of KwaZulu-Natal within the agricultural sector were aimed at disruption of food supply value chain and threaten food security. There were also aimed at disrupting the export of agricultural products which are a major source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. They have negatively affected both crop and animal farming sectors.
However, those who instigated the unrest, proved to be a minority, as the majority of the country stood up for democracy as a ... [Inaudible.] ... by the Constitution against lawlessness.
Sugar cane farmers suffered huge losses. Their fields were burned, thousands of ... [Inaudible.] ... could not be crushed on time, leading to their rejections at their meals and have since been dumped. Livestock was stolen, ... [Inaudible.] ... Abattoir including cold storage facilities were looted and vandalised.
Hon members, in agriculture, timing is important, with planting, harvesting and processing, occurring at different
times. Fresh produce needs to reach domestic and exports markets timeously to realise economy value. Sugarcane has to be crushed within specified hours before sucrose levels are affected. Livestock farming requires grazing and feed to ensure its survival and logistics for processing and supply to the market.
The different parts of agricultural value chain, therefore require different types of support for job creation and in this instance, for job preservation. The recovery of the sector needs to commence sooner rather than later. But thus will not occur without financial support from government.
It is, therefore, imperative that government’s financial support for the recovery of the sector occurs with much urgency, especially for small and medium scale farmers. Urgent support of the survival for the sector in the affected areas will have to come, not only from national government, but also from provincial and local government. This means that Parliament should expedite special appropriation for the sector. This also means reprioritising and spend budget for national, provincial and local government.
A transition period of support is critically required in the farming sector, whilst agricultural supply chain is simultaneously being re-established. This must occur in a co- ordinated manner, in partnership with all stakeholders.
Insurance claims in all sectors will need to be processed as a matter of urgency to speed up recovery. Co-ordination of different departments, dealing with economic development is key to ensure restoration, sustenance of food security and its protection.
House Chairperson, we must stand with the farming community, workers and the poor in rebuilding and ensuring the recovery of the agricultural sector. Many lessons have been learned that what is critical is peace, stability and recovery. On behalf of the ANC, I support the adoption of this report. I thank you.
Mr C H M SIBISI: House Chair, ... [Inaudible.] ... estimate that the ripple effect of the devastating looting spree and the civil unrest will be an ongoing matter since it spread into the country’s food value chain. It is estimated that this ripple effect will be felt for months to come. When the entry highway was closed as a result of the unrest, it severely disrupted the food supply chain.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Sibisi, ...
... phuma emuva kwendlu ...
... members are not hearing you properly. Please come closer to the mic. ... [Interjections.] ... Hon Sibisi, go ahead, speak louder.
Mr C H M SIBISI: I hope you can hear me clearly now.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): I can hear you now.
... uphumile emuva kwendlu.
Mr C H M SIBISI: Thank you, Chair. The cost of transport in the food and fuel ... [Inaudible.] ... [Laughter.] ... but this sector has long been suffering to very limited to non- intervention from government to assist farmers. We need to know what measures have been put in place by government to
assist, specifically farmers, that have been affected by the unrest and looting.
We saw on the media platform how one farmer had to throw away
28 000 litres of milk, ... [Inaudible.] ... because the transport company said it cannot risk its trucks on the roads. The provision of milk, bread, meat and sugar were affected. Our agricultural sector has been experiencing challenges since the inception of drought and it has been struggling for many years now. ... [Inaudible.] ... small scale farmers were forcefully driven out of business due to failing economy, drought and lack of assistance form government.
During the riots, many of the workers in KwaZulu-Natal were not able to go to work. The impact of the crisis on the supplies of bread, meat and sugar is amongst the biggest concern and this reflected on the continuous increasing food prices. Some of South Africa’s sugarcane fields were set alight and the supply chain disruptions, as well as security concern, resulted in producers closing their meals. Farmers have lost more than 430 tons of cane to fires.
It was reported as a result of the riot; the sugar industry could lose more than R258 million in revenues. The recently
announced government interventions to assist businesses that were looted to get back, did not speak to adequately assisting farmers to get back up on their feet. Government needs to be and seen to be at the forefront of assisting businesses, industries and sectors that were significantly affected by the riots. The NFP will support the report. Thank you, House Chair.
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZOLIMO, UKUBUYISWA KOMHLABA NOKUTHUTHUKISWA
KWEZINDAWO ZASEMAKHAYA: Ngiyabonga Sihlalo, ngibonge nakumalungu eNdlu ephakeme nakulabo abalalele, umphakathi wonkana.
Today's discussion on this oversight report by the portfolio committee further illustrates the impact that the unrest had on the country's economy. It also illustrates the brittleness and intricate linkages of our food systems to logistics and storage. Although geographically, the unrest impacted on three provinces on differing scales, the economic shock was indirectly felt across the country and the South African Development Community, SADC, region as our value chains and businesses and activities are interlinked.
In the agricultural sector, the recent unrest took place when we were at the peak of our citrus and grains export.
Importantly, this is also a year where we have bumper harvests in both subsectors which means the ports are much busier than in regular seasons.
The unrest also coincided with the peak of the winter season where the bulk of our animals are transferred to feedlots and abattoirs and farmers could not proceed as the main logistics corridor, that is the N3 and N2 were closed down.
The disruptions caused by the unrest led to delays in key horticultural industries such as citrus that are also time- sensitive due to the perishability of the products.
Through various interactions with organized agriculture, stakeholders and Transnet, we managed to reroute the citrus and various agricultural products to other export ports including the Eastern Cape and Cape town ports. While these efforts were a success, they brought a heavy financial burden to the farmers and various agricultural role-players.
I just want to say, immediately when this impact was felt, the government, both nationally and in the province, working with
other entities and agricultural businesses and farmers’ organisations, we were able to stem the tide. And I think it's important for all of us to appreciate that South Africans stood up and stopped bickering but did what was necessary at the time to respond. Another key point of disruption was on the broader food value chains. It is true that we are a food secure country at the national level but the products are produced all over South Africa and processed in various parts of our country.
Each province is dependent on the other. So, the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng disruptions impacted value chains, although not leading to national food insecurity. On the consumer front, the looting and destruction of retail outlets and supermarkets created an artificial food insecurity situation overnight.
A swift socioeconomic response became necessary while simultaneously the situation was being contained through the deployment of law enforcement agencies. I want to thank our law enforcement agencies for responding swiftly to the request we made to them.
I thank Minister Pravin Gordhan, who worked with us with Transnet to make sure that we assist the citrus industry in
particular. I want to thank Minister Ntshavheni, Minister Kubayi as well as Minister Patel, who collectively worked with us to make sure that we address the immediate challenges.
The government was able to open up the N3 and N2 in order to allow for the movement of goods. After consultation with the private sector, we were able to work together in addressing the emergency food security strategy in collaboration with the farmers’ organisations, local municipalities and mayors.
I want to thank all the district mayors and local mayors, particularly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, through the MEC Hlomuka, who convened an immediate meeting so that collectively we can play in how we address food insecurity in the province that was facing our communities. In the process, continuous engagement with the agricultural stakeholders and the provincial government was critical in co-ordinating the responses as well as assessing the damages that were felt.
Our preliminary assessment indicates that the food sector has suffered tremendous losses with the most affected industries being sugarcane, citrus, pork beef, grains and poultry. This preliminary assessment done by the government has led to the announcement of the targeted intervention and support to
farmers and communities to ensure that the economic activities go back to normality.
We have also noted the recommendations by the portfolio committee and we will continue to give the necessary briefings on the implementation of what they've asked us to do. I want to thank the portfolio committee as well as the select committee, led by both Inkosi [Chief] Mandela and hon Modise and their members, who were there with us on the ground to assess what was happening and share some of the insights on the immediate things that we needed to attend to. As part of the oversight responsibility, this visit has taken note of interventions as well as those that will need to be made in order to support those who were impacted negatively.
Ngithanda ukubonga amalungu ahloniphekile ale Ndlu ngokusinika ithuba lokuthi asebenzisane nathi kanye nozakwethu ezifundazweni ezikwaziyo ukuthi uma sibhekana nabo kanye nabalimi kanye ... [Akuzwakali.] ... ukuze sibhekane nalesi simo. Ngiyabonga. Ngiyawuxhasa lo mbiko wekomidi.
Mr D W BRYANT: House Chairperson, in the midst of last month’s
pro-Zuma riots, flames engulfed the UPL warehouse in Cornubia
and a poisonous stream of chemicals and neurotoxins was released into Umhlanga’s ancient wetlands. Local marine life was decimated, sugarcane crops were poisoned and surrounding natural ecosystems were impacted forever.
For almost two weeks afterwards, acrid fumes billowed out of the burning warehouse. It took approximately 10 days for the fire to be extinguished. What was evident from the outset was that not only did the government appear to have no clue about the dangers posed, they did little to nothing to prevent the devastation that was to follow.
While Minister Cele twiddled his thumbs, the good people of Umhlanga quickly got to work to help get beaches closed, set up community groups and do their best to help wherever possible. I went up to Durban that week when the warehouse was still on fire and saw and smelled the devastation first-hand. I saw piles of dead fish being loaded into barrels and spoke to tearful environmentalists who'd seen their lives work being destroyed. I spoke to people who were nauseous and ill from breathing in the fumes. I'd like to thank Minister Creecy for responding to requests for assistance and for the steps she took to provide support and also to the local DA ward councillors for their sterling work.
Unfortunately, due to the complete failure of the intelligence services and Minister Cele’s SA Police Service, SAPS, the damage had already been done. It's important to also ask where ANC mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, was during the UPL disaster.
During the height of the tension, which led to over 300 people being killed, thousands of jobs lost and billions of rand of damage to the economy, he was on Facebook writing, “We are Msholozi, Msholozi is us”. #FreeZuma. He states that he doesn't believe the former president is guilty of anything.
And perhaps he should read the Constitutional Court judgment.
While the ANC administration should have been working to literally put out fires and save the environment, many of the politicians were instead playing political games with the lives of desperate people and business owners, just so they could show their allegiance to Jacob Zuma. You see, those responsible for state capture, those who wined and dined the Guptas, who bought fancy cars with the taxes of pensioners, who colluded with Bell Pottinger, who blocked MPs cell phones in this very chamber, who embarrassed our country and who have left over 40% of South Africans unemployed, those people, have not left the ANC. They are still there. Sadly, the President doesn't seem to have the will or the courage to deal with them
and people like Minister Cele and others will continue to fumble their way from one crisis to the next while the health and safety of South Africa's people and our natural environment suffer.
The damage and devastation were not caused by UPL alone nor by the capitalist system as alleged by the hon Modise. It was caused by negligence and a lack of oversight for the ANC local government. That's why in the coming elections, more people will be looking to the DA because while the ANC protects its failed politicians, the DA gets things done. Thank you.
Mr F D XASA: Thank you hon Chairperson.
Amalungu ahloniphekileyo eNdlu, abaPhathiswa nooSekela baPhathiswa. Nathi siyiKomiti yezamaHlathi, ukuLoba neNdalo siye satyelela phaya kwaZulu-Natal ngomhla we-11 nowe-12 ukuze sizibonele ngokwethu umonakala odalwe yila ngxushungxushu ibiqhubeka phaya. Besikhokelwa ngumhlathi wama-56 nowama-24 woMgaqo-siseko welizwe lethu, apho umhlathi wama-22 uthi abantu akufanelekanga ukuba bazibone besengxakini yempilo ngenxa yokuphefumla umoya ongalunganga.
I would like to submit to the House that when there is fire, destruction of property, infrastructure and massive littering as we have seen during the recent looting and unrest, the environment suffers.
The fires we saw bellowing from burning shopping malls and warehouses were heavily loaded with air pollutants capable of altering the chemistry of the air that people breathe. Of particular concern to the committee, was the burning down of the pesticide and agrochemicals warehouse that belongs to the United Phosphorus Limited, an Indian owned toxic chemical company. The fire, whose source is still to be determined as to where it came from on 12 July, generated huge amounts of dust, debris while emitting toxic chemical smoke around the shattered United Phosphorus Limited, UPL warehouse.
Durban and surrounding areas were engulfed by clouds of highly toxic chemical fumes and dust for more than 10 days, while a local river system and beaches were closed off after thousands of fish were poisoned by contaminated water which poured out of the site due to lack of proper dykes, ditches or retention dams, to control the flow of toxic and hazardous chemicals from reaching the river, lagoons and coastal water of the sea.
The committee visited the Dolphin Coastal Landfill management at KwaDukuza which handles highly hazardous waste. We also interacted with a number of stakeholders including government, private sector and representatives of the affected communities. It is in this regard that we made pertinent observations and recommendations which form the basis of the oversight visit report that I hereby submit for endorsement.
Thank you very much Chair.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much hon Chair. We have moved from black on black violence to black on black destruction of black advancement. Al Jama-ah will vote in favour of this report as it is a ... [Inaudible] ... of what should have been done even before the unrest. In dealing with the unrest, we must not lose focus of the National Development Plan, NDP. The harm caused is a wakeup call that, for the first time in the history of our Sixth Parliament more than half of the hon members hit the streets and were on the ground. For the first time, we took Parliament on an unprecedented scale to the streets to provide much needed comfort as we have seen from the reports yesterday and today.
I am disappointed, I wanted the ... [Inaudible] ...Report on Agriculture to show that we have empowered those who suffered
losses and did not have insurance, and that they are already watering their crops having been given seed and fertiliser and poison etc. free of charge and further that the crops have been presold at a guaranteed price, the customers being the social welfare, education and other government departments.
We do not want to hear supply change for harm, we want to hear the new supply change operational. It is six weeks now, surprise us Minister. I saw this in another African country where the soil was turned around, the seeds planted, poison and fertiliser applied. In three months we had yellow mealies and in five months, we had white mealies which was grinded bought by government and the mealie-meal included in food hampers. I was there.
On the oversight hon members must have seen homelessness and abandoned land. Expropriate the stolen land without compensation and fast track land ownership even if it is just
100 square metres per person. I see nothing in this report, there are no initiatives identified for land reform or fast- tracking. We are advised that books by Dr Archie Mafeje will be ready on agricultural and land reform. We must have seen sewage pollution of our waterways and rivers which is worse than climate change, also chemical poisoning. Where were our
green and blue scorpions? There is no recommendation on the report on the addition of free electricity for indigent needy.
Lastly, no mine shared that the proceeds of one month’s money will provide some financial relief. Insurance companies were given a payout holiday and Al Jama-ah has called for legal opinion that Parliament and SA Special Risk Insurance Association, Sasria was not really liable for the claims and now Sasria’s premiums will double making it unaffordable for emerging farmers. Parliament has shown the nation that it is prepared to move away from sitting in front of computers ... [Interjections.] Thank you very much hon Chair.
Ms A STEYN: Chairperson, while many of us were sitting in the comfort of our homes watching the destruction and anarchy playing out on television screens, hundreds of farmers, farmworkers and community members were fighting a battle to stay alive and to protect livelihoods.
I dedicate this speech to these farmers, farmworkers and community members who worked tirelessly to protect rural towns and farming communities during the destruction, looting and burning of properties in KwaZulu-Natal.
During a period of what could only be described as a war, these unnamed heroes stood together shoulder to shoulder, stepped up and took leadership in their communities. I salute you. You are the reason why some of our rural towns were not totally destructed. Unfortunately, not all towns were so lucky.
I could not be part of our portfolio oversight but visited KwaZulu-Natal in the week directly after the unrest. During my three-day oversight visit I visited eSikhaleni, Empangeni, Pongola, Nongoma, Dundee, Pomeroy, Tugela Ferry, Greytown, Mooi River and Howick.
While some towns were totally destructed and not a single shop was spared, some others were left unaffected but only because community members put their lives at risk to stand guard and defend the towns.
The people responsible for the looting and unrest realised that farmers are defending towns and started to burn sugarcane fields and veld. It forced people to work days and nights without any sleep, defending towns and fighting fires.
These communities thanked the DA for visiting them during a time where they said the rest of South Africa forgot about them. And I’m told that Minister Cele said he was not there because the ... [Inaudible.] ... tv could not pick him up ... [Inaudible.]
I am informed that sporadic cases of arson are still taking place all across farms in South Africa.
The sugar industry was badly affected by the more than 500 000 tons of sugarcane set alight and burned. It is calculated that
135 000 tons could not be delivered to mills, a direct loss of R85 million to farmers. Small scale as well as commercial farmers were affected, with some farmers losing their whole crop. Ten of the 12 sugar factories ... [Inaudible.] ... also not open its doors during the period of unrest.
The agricultural sector is the backbone of our rural economy. Not only do they supply much needed jobs, they also keep our country food secure.
The unrest in the Durban harbour as well as the N2 and N3 has caused major reputational damage to us as a reliable supplier.
The DA takes note of the proposed plan to fund farmers who had losses during this period. We support these plans but call on Minister Didiza to meet with commercial agriculture and to ensure that this does not only become an ANC election ploy.
Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Hon
House Chair, allow me to start by expressing my condolences to all those who lost family, friends and colleagues in the tragic events we have been debating for the past two days.
As we have heard today, the fire incident which took place on
12 July 2021 at the United Phosphorus Limited, UPL, Cornubia warehouse has had serious consequences for both people and the environment.
Given the scale of the incident and the numerous regulatory authorities involved, government has focused on three areas: first and most immediate was to ensure that further environmental and health risks were contained; second, to oversee and guide the assessment, clean-up and remediation process; and thirdly, to investigate the incident within the ambit of the regulatory environment.
These priorities align with principles clearly set out in the National Environmental Management Act, NEMA.
Simply put, NEMA places people and their needs at the forefront of its concerns; it says that pollution of the environment must be avoided and where it cannot be avoided, it must be minimised and remediated. It states clearly that where there are adverse effects on health and environmental damage, these must be paid for by those responsible. And it emphasises that decisions must be taken in an open and transparent manner and access to information must be provided in accordance with the law.
And so, hon members, public accountability by everyone involved in responding to an incident of this nature cannot be overemphasised. This does not only apply to our actions as government but includes UPL and the specialists who have been appointed to clean up and remediate the environment that is held in public trust.
Accordingly, I will make every effort to ensure that the ongoing response and remediation take place properly and within reasonable timeframes.
For this reason, and despite the fact that the environmental framework under NEMA assigns the majority of the functions to the KwaZulu-Natal department, I have, in consultation with the MEC, deployed specialists from our department to provide the necessary support in all environmental disciplines which are currently being assessed and investigated.
I expect my team to report to me on a regular basis and I will engage with the MEC on concerns that arise.
The first critical aspect of the deliverables from the specialist team is due today and the work will be assessed against the provisions of NEMA, which governs the conduct of Environmental Assessment Practitioners.
These specialists are duty-bound by law to disclose all pertinent information to authorities, even if it may be prejudicial to UPL.
I am concerned by the delays in the submission of results because this hampers our ability to take timeous decisions in the interest of the public.
As you are all aware, a Joint Operations Centre, JOC, was established to co-ordinate government’s response around the first and second priorities. And this has been led by my colleague from KwaZulu-Natal and includes oversight over extinguishing the fire, the issuing of community alerts, activation of the spill response team, closure of the beaches and the taking of samples.
Let say, hon members, that sampling over a period time is crucial to ensure sound decision-making on multiple levels.
Subsequent to the portfolio committee visit on 11 August, eThekwini Municipality, supported by the Department of Health and other health specialists, began a public health monitoring and assessment programme in the Blackburn informal settlement, adjacent to the UPL workshop. This will continue on a weekly basis so that complaints by this community will be elevated and the necessary responses will be initiated.
The Multi-Departmental Investigation Team, which was set up to address the third priority, has almost finalised a preliminary investigation which sets out the findings, particularly in
relation to the regulatory environment, in which the UPL warehouse was required to operate. The final report will be released to the public and we are hoping that this will be possible by the end of September.
This investigation includes aspects related to environmental law, requirements for major hazard installations, relevant licensing requirements under the Hazardous Substances Act and the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies Act as well as various local government by-laws.
The report will guide further action that must be taken by government to address any non-compliances detected and to implement proactive measures to strengthen the regulation in the sector.
Finally, I would like to reiterate the importance of transparency in the manner in which we respond to an incident of this nature.
I, therefore, support the recommendation made by the portfolio committee to establish a multi-stakeholder forum that will
receive regular reports from the JOC and ensure representation of stakeholders including community, researchers and the health fraternity as well as non-governmental organisations, NGOs.
In my view this will go a long way to restoring public confidence in the investigative and remedial measures underway, and it is, of course, a requirement in terms of the National Environmental Management Act. I thank you.
Question put: That the Report of Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on Special Joint Oversight Visit to Kwazulu-Natal with Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy be adopted.
Report on Special Joint Oversight Visit to Kwazulu-Natal with Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy accordingly adopted (EFF dissenting).
Question put: that the REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO KWAZULU-NATAL ON 11 - 12 AUGUST be adopted.
REPORT ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO KWAZULU-NATAL ON 11 - 12 AUGUST
The House adjourned at 17:29