Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 01 Sep 2021
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2021
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Watch video here: PLENARY (HYBRID)
The House met at 14:01.
The House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, as usual let me remind you that let us observe the protocols and let us not stay closer to each other. I can see some were. Something wrong ...
... anishintsheni lapho. Nizohlangana ngaphandle.
CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR APPROVAL BY PARLIAMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO) CONVENTION NO 190
CONCERNING THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT IN THE WORLD OF WORK IN TERMS OF SECTION 231(2) OF CONSTITUTION, 1996
Ms M L DUNJWA: Thank you, hon House Chair, members of the august House, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, I hereby on behalf of the Portfolio Committee of Employment and Labour table the report. The committee met on the 20 June 2021 to consider the request for approval by Parliament of the International Labour Organisation Convention number 192 concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.
The committee has considered this historic treaty and recommends in terms of section 23(1) of the Constitution that House approves the International Labour Organisation, ILO, Convention number 190. This convention 196 seeks to stipulate the international standard against violence and harassment at work, the values on which this treaty is based according with the founding provision of our own Constitution. The South African Constitution affirms human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.
Every first principle of the existence of the Republic of South Africa, the general conference of the International Labour Organisation Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, affirms that all human beings irrespective of race creed or sex have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity of economic security and equal opportunity.
The general conference reaffirmed the relevance of the fundamental conventions of International Labour Organisation and record other relevant international instruments such as the universal declarations of human rights, the International Convention on civil and political rights, the International Convention on economic social and cultural rights, the International Convention on the elimination of all freedom of racial discrimination and the International Convention on the freedom of rights of all migrant workers and members of their families.
By ratifying convention, all the member states of the International Labour Organisation recognise that right of everyone at the world of work are free from violence and harassment including gender-based violence and harassment. They also recognise that violence and harassment in the workplace continues a human rights violation and that violence and harassment is a threat of equal opportunities. It is unacceptable and incompatible with the decent work agenda.
Convention number 190 argues that the International Labour Organisation on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. While it may appear as a separate category of violence, the reality, is that domestic violence can affect employment, productivity, health and safety of workers.
Any woman who has been a victim of domestic violence can relate to what I’m saying. It is the responsibility of government, employers and worker organisation to put in place measures to recognise, to respond and to address the impact of gender-based violence which is the most prevalent human rights violation in the world. Convention 190 entered into on 25th June 2021 in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution. The International agreement binds the Republic of South Africa only after it has been approved by resolution in both Houses, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces unless it is an international agreement of all technical administrative or executive nature.
In accordance with our country’s membership of the International Labour Organisation and in line with the values in our Constitution, this House must vote to rectify this car Convention. By so doing, South Africa will ascend its place in the world as a leader or in respecting the inherent human dignity of every worker. I so put this to the House for consideration. Thank you.
Declarations of vote:
Mr M BAGRAIM: Thank you, Madam Chair. On behalf of the Democratic Alliance state that the International Labour Organisation, ILO, Convention is a good one. The adoption of the convention deserves applause, even the document code ... [Inaudible.] ... all our regulations and violence and harassment at work is absolutely solid and cannot be a problem. However, it is a big however, the devil as always in South Africa, is the implementation, inspection, oversight, monitoring and consequence management. In South Africa it is disastrous.
We have just celebrated Women’s Month. We look back at the great women of 1956 who protested the pass laws. Every year, our self-congratulatory governing party pledges that women will be safe in South Africa and they state in glowing terms what they’re going to do to ensure that the problem of gender- based violence and femicide is advanced and cleared once and for all. ... [Inaudible.] ... Every year the disgusting behaviour goes unchecked and gets worse. Our government is helpless, education is lacking.
The Department of Employment and Labour cannot afford a full complement of inspections. The inspectors have been left high and dry with no proper tools of their trade such as transport and computers. It is a rare occurrence for any business to actually see an inspector, let alone have an inspection.
Complaints go unhidden and I promptly filed in file 13. Entities under the Department of Employment and Labour are dysfunctional, useless and unfortunately, they are also under resourced. Thanks to the monies is needed for SA Airways, SAA, Eskom and all the other parastatals.
The workers of South Africa have been left unprotected. It is all very well to talk about elimination of violence and harassment at work and it’s all very well to have the approval of these lofty conventions regulations and even law. When Shakespeare wrote the laws and ours he obviously had no idea how bad the situation would be in South Africa today. Daily I received emails from our desperate workers who get no joy at all from the various governmental entities. The compensation fund is broken. The Unemployment Insurance Fund, UIF, is mortally wounded. Even the one entity that actually is world class is now so severely unfunded, with our Minister of Employment and Labour appears to be held bent on destroying that as quickly as possible.
It was Plato who said; those who are too smart to engage in politics are being punished by those governed by those who are dumber. It is true that the governors today in South Africa reflect exactly what Plato had to say, debates such as this sound fantastic, they give the politicians warm fuzzy feelings. Those in the governing party can go home feeling good. And, they after, trumpet that they’ve done an enormous amount to eliminate violence and harassment of the world of work.
When the Democratic Alliance point out that the system is broken and highlights ways and means of fixing it, they are accused of all manner of wrongdoing. When I pointed this out to the labour portfolio meeting after six months of our pandemic that the UIF was useless, I was accused and threatened. The Chairperson threatened to with all sorts of fire and brimstone and said she was roundly supported by her colleague and also by the tainted officials from that department. The proof of the pudding was that the top management team of the UIF was thereafter suspended. When negative reports came back from the auditor-general.
It was Voltaire who way back in the seventeen hundred who
said, and I quote: “It is dangerous to be right when the
government is wrong” I waited for that threatened investigation into my behaviour, but needless to say it was not forthcoming. The ... [Inaudible.] ... to the International Labour Organisation Convention and despite the positive words. I don’t believe our current government will follow up with any action. It’s rather like the words of a humpty dumpty and the Alice Through the Looking-Glass who said, when I use a word humpty dumpty - said in the rather scornful tone - it means just what it means, neither more nor less.
In essence, we can all sit here piously and approve the International Conventions and can even legislate the volumes to reflect the conventions. We can debate, argue, pass amendments, make fantastic speeches, but to no avail. The laws aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if they can’t be monitored and enforced. The Democratic Alliance made suggestions on the improvement of workplace regulations, has even given the country evidence of how a province can be run. The current quarterly review of unemployment shows that the Western province has performed superbly in comparison to other provinces. I implore the workers of South Africa to have a look at the empirical evidence on how workers thrive under the Democratic Alliance government. Support the Democratic Alliance in the forthcoming local elections and this will
translate into the eventual elimination of gender-based violence and the rest of your work. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Ms C N MKHONTO: Thank you, House Chair, the International Labour Organization, ILO, Convention C190 report has a huge potential to enable our country to be more prompt when it comes to fighting for the rights of workers that have been exploited for centuries, but we all know that even after being aligned with the important legislations like the Employment Equity Act and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, it will be put in the darkest shelf to collect dust.
The ANC government has a bad reputation of hiring consultants, pay hefty funds for production of very good policies but they are the first to contravene such policies because there is no political will to improve the working conditions of workers in this country. The ANC is exploiting its own employees. They go for months without salaries and are turned into modern day slaves. Maybe, we are expecting too much from this old organization.
The high unemployment rate that keeps increasing daily contributes in making job seekers to be easily predated by
bribes, soliciting officials and politicians. Women continue to be victims of sex for jobs because sex is the preferred inclusement for them. They are poor and don’t have money to pay.
The EFF labour desk receives thousands of complaints by both men and women of exploitation, harassment and abuse by employers. The EFF labour desk offices are very close to them, unlike the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, CCMA, and the labour centres only found in big cities and hardly accessible to our poor and marginalised workers.
The tender system has perfected to ensure that cleaners and security guards are harassed on daily basis, exploited by the tenderpreneurs, don’t get any living wage and there no benefits.
The document by itself will never effect any positive changes to the plight of the poor and vulnerable workers in this country, but a clear implementation strategy and a political will, will. Thank you, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. Members on the virtual platform, please make sure that your microphones are muted.
Mr S L NGCOBO: Thank you very much, hon House Chair, the International Labour Organisation, ILO, Convention C190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work recalls that human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material wellbeing and their spiritual development, in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity.
This convention importantly sums up but is not limited to the idea that universally we have a right to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence, GBV, and harassment. That violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation or abuse, and that violence and harassment is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work. It is from these principles that we must derive our legislative duty to the citizens of this country. This means that we must create legislation that seeks to promote a healthy workplace free from mental and physical abuse. Our
workplaces must become people-centric rather than merely pushing the bottom line.
However, hon House Chair, if we do not free our social fabric from the grips of violence in general, GBV and mental abuse, we cannot hope to meet the requirements of this convention in full. This will just become another tick box exercise for this legislature, with no real meaning on the ground. We still have alarmingly high statistics pertaining to violence running into the tens of thousands.
Hon Cele, as the Minister of Police has a role to play, yet his excitement over the reduced crime statistics is not a true reflection of where South Africa is in terms of addressing violence. Hon Cele completely missed the mark in failing to recognise the so-called ‘gift’ he had been given through lockdowns, bans and curfews, which are not sustainable solutions.
Very important, as a legislature, we need to set the example and to date we have not. How many times have we seen certain individuals engage in physical altercations, only to be slightly sanctioned and then once again appear in this House? We are mandated by the people of this country to make South
Africa a better place ... [Time expired.] ... Thank you very much, House Chair.
Ms H DENNER: Thank you, hon House Chair, the ILO Convention is a good one and another tool in the fight against GBV and specifically workplace harassment and violence, something that occurs and happens far too often with far too many women and workers in South Africa. The problem though is that if we look at the track record of the Department of Labour, the department tasked with the implementation and oversight of this convention, it does not inspire confidence that this convention will be properly implemented and follow through.
The track record of the government of the day does not inspire confidence either.
Workplace harassment and GBV are things that have grown worse after government has repeatedly vowed to stop these terrible things from happening. Another form of abuse that South African workers have to endure is the abuse of poor service delivery from the entities of the department itself.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund, UIF, and Compensation Fund have been victimising workers and service providers to these
workers for years by not handling their claims and payments due to deserving workers in a timeous and prompt manner.
We can have all the conventions in the world, but if they are not implemented properly by a department and the government that has the will to do so, nothing will improve and nothing will change. I thank you, House Chair.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Thank you, House Chairperson, the International Labour Organization Convention of 2019 on Violence and Harassment, abbreviated as C190, came into effect on 25 June 2021. Although adopted in June 2019, it has been ratified by only seven countries which are Argentina, Ecuador, Fiji, Mauritius, Namibia, Somalia and Uruguay. It is currently in force only in Fiji and Uruguay. The C190 is generally a worthy convention for South Africa to aim for, but a huge amount of work is still needed before we can honestly claim compliance and its provisions.
According to Article 4.1, signatories to C190 are expected to, and I quote: “respect, promote and realize the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment”.
Corruption fighters in the workplace are most vulnerable. Article 10 of C190 speaks of promotion against victimisation of or retaliation against complainants, victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers.
Sadly, just a week ago, the head of financial accounting of the Gauteng Health Department was gunned down outside her home in broad daylight. As a key witness to the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, investigation into personal protective equipments, PPEs, corruption, Babita Deokaran should have been protected.
The ACDP calls upon government to do much more to protect all whistle-blowers in the workplace because without them, the fight against corruption will never be won. We must remember that happy and satisfied workers are more productive.
In 1914, Henry Ford made a business decision to pay his workers double the going rate for eight-hour shifts whilst all the other motor industry workers laboured for 10 to 16 hours a day. By improving working conditions, Ford boosted productivity and reduced staff turnover. I thank you.
Mr W M MADISHA: Thank you, hon House Chair, the request put before us in the National Assembly today, is not something new given our proven assertion that for centuries, workers of South Africa and the world faced consistent harassment and violation of rights that permeates the world of work.
South Africa adopted the Constitution in 1996 which indicates that the Republic is bound by international agreements, which were binding on the Constitution when the it took effect. I, however, must emphasise that as we all know harassment and violation of workers’ rights has risen and keep on rising given the treatment of workers by what I call the owners and managers of work who treat workers as tools.
Section 23 of our Constitution – Bill of Rights – forces us to support and or even fight against any step that undermines the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.
There is a problem, however, that one must emphasize and it is particularly the one that is there in the public sector where at agreements are reached and signed each and every year and then not implemented. That’s a very serious problem - yes, each and every year, because you are asking me, hon Papo – you talk about salaries, for example, they are not implemented and when they are implemented, instead of the particular amount
that has been agreed upon, gets cut by even more than 75%. That is why workers there are very angry. They are always in trouble. They want to go on strikes ... workers of the mine. You talk about teachers, about the police and even people who work in the army. In fact, all the workers in the public service. The workers who work for this Parliament as well are not given proper salaries. You go into agreements, and they are never implemented.
I think the government, in particular, must be ashamed. A lot has to be done. Thank you.
Mr S W MDABE: Thank you very much, House Chairperson, hon members, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the International Labour Organization impresses upon member states such as ours to ratify Convention C190, which is about Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
Fortunately, the ILO Convention C190 comes to our country and find us having traversed a lot of ground. Well, that does not mean in any way that we have arrived as there are still many rivers to cross and several mountains to climb. The political work we have put in as a country has led to numerous formidable and sound legal prescripts right from the outset.
South Africa’s Constitution declares that everyone has a right to fair labour practices. The ILO Convention C190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work not only resonates with our Constitution, but it is also very much consistent with the pieces of legislations that flow from our supreme law.
In terms of the Labour Relations Act, employers are required to ensure that persons who engage in harassment and violence are subjected to discipline. Section 186(2) of the same Labour Relations Act states that harassment may also constitute an unfair labour practice.
Occupational Health and Safety Act give the direction that where an employee’s duties are of such a nature that they are exposed to a significant risk of violence at work, the employer must take such steps as may be reasonably practical to mitigate the hazard. Furthermore, the Occupational Health and Safety Act asserts that employers must institute measures to ensure protection of employees against harassment and violence.
The ILO Convention C190 is one of those that are easy to approve because it flows very well with our labour laws as I have already demonstrated. It is encouraging to see how
congruent and compatible are our labour laws with the international labour laws. This further proves that our labour laws are humane laws and they promote humanity. As we infuse the ILO Convention C190 into our labour laws, we are giving more impetus to the process of consultation for our social partners to ensure that they identify sectors and other occupations with a strong gender-based focus, recognising that women are disproportionately affected by violence and harassment.
With us endorsing this ratification, we recognise and armour our public authorities of the important role of extending protection in the case of the informal economy workers and how Convention C190 can be used to support this cohort of workers. According to the ILO, more than 60% of the world’s employed earn their living in the informal economy. Ninety-two percent of total women’s employment in developing countries is informal. With this endorsement, we dedicate it to a specific focus on the informal women workers whose lives and livelihoods have been acutely impacted by COVID-19 and the unprecedented economic crisis that has followed. These face precarious workers’ conditions and are typically excluded from national labour laws and denied social protection.
We therefore, as ANC, stand here to support the ratification of the ILO Convention C190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. I thank you.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SPORT, ARTS AND CULTURE ON VISIT TO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE OF FREE STATE; NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL; NATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FOUNDATION; ODI STADIUM AND H M PITJIE STADIUM
Ms B N DLULANE: Hon House Chairperson, let me greet every leader who is present today in this House and on the virtual platform, firstly, hon members, as the chairperson of the Committee of Sports, Arts and Culture, I am conveying our condolences to the family and the ANC on the passing of our own member who was supposed to join us yesterday. I cannot say much because the Chief Whip of this House did issue a statement, but I think that it is in order to say something.
... namhlanje sifumana eli lungelo lokuthi sidakance le ngxelo kule Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho yeSizwe ngale Nyanga yamaGugu namaSiko, ikwayinyanga ekuthiwa yeyeNtlakohlaza.
The arts, culture and creative industries remain an important source of promoting wellbeing, social cohesion, national healing, social stability and economic growth. This sector has an ability to play a key role in contributing to the growth and development of our society.
The covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the cultural and creative sector, in addition to sport and recreation. The mass cancellation of sport events, performing arts festivals as well as the limitation of crowds in response to the covid-
19 regulations has led us to massive losses of income, sponsorships, jobs and livelihoods of athletes, artists and creatives.
In response to this experience in the sector, the President of Republic of South Africa announced a Presidential Employment Stimulus programme, PESP, that was aimed at preserving jobs as well creating new job opportunities within the sports, arts and culture sector. A total stimulus package of R665 million
would be allocated to the sector for distribution to the beneficiaries negatively affected by the lockdown, in order to kick-start their planned programmes.
The issue of the PESP would be handled by the National Arts Council as well as the National Film and Video Foundation for the culture and creative sector as well as the Sport Trust.
During the redistribution of the PESP funds there were growing complains from various artists within the sector, questioning the distribution processes of the PESP. This also led to an ultimate protest, whereby a number of artists occupied the premises of the National Arts Council, in order to raise concerns over irregularities within the entire process of the PESP funding.
The Portfolio Committee of Sports, Arts and Culture undertook an oversight visit to the Free State and Gauteng provinces from 6 to 9 April 2021. The primary purpose of this visit was to instigate the roll-out of the covid-19 relief fund, the R165 million PESP allocated to arts, culture and heritage sector, as well as a walkabout to assess the state of our sport facilities in Tshwane.
The committee appreciated the good work done by the National Film and Video Foundation, NFVF, with regard to the distribution of the PESP relief funds whereby all beneficiaries that applied and were approved received their funds, and were able to preserve and create more jobs in the sector. We hope that the other entities can ... [Interjections.] ... from those ...
I am now presenting that the House adopt this report. Thank you.
Declarations of Vote:
Mr T W MHLONGO: Chairperson, I would like to dedicate this speech to Sibongile Mngoma, one of the artists who loves South Africa. She can sing opera, to classic, to jazz and gospel.
Don’t die with your music still in your head.
Ungafi nomculo kuwe.
She is a leader in her own right. She is the leader of a creative organisation.
Artists’ lives matter.
Izimpilo zamaciko zibaluleke kakhulu, Sihlalo.
Artists and creative art play an important role in our country. We visited ...
... Abahlali base-NAC ...
... the National Arts Council offices. At the time, there was a call for the Minister and the President to intervene. They both failed to avail themselves for the creative industry. Our artists are not recognised by the President and Minister. They don’t take our artists seriously. Maybe, it is because artists are not linked to the ANC, they are not members of the ANC. Those who are linked and connected and who are members of the ANC, have benefitted.
The South African creative sector contributed plus/minus R90 billion to the national economy, but this government does not recognise the sector.
Since the lockdown last year, the sector is not active - no shows, no theatres. Theatres are closing down under your watch, Minister Nathi Mthethwa. More than 50 000 artists are unemployed. They cannot even show off their talent during this covd-19 time. Artists’ lives matter.
Regarding the budget allocation, more than R650 million was made available as a relief fund to assist the sector, but our artists did not benefit. Only those connected to the ANC benefitted. They even benefitted twice, not once. R300 million was mismanaged by the National Arts Council.
We are doing our oversight work. Minister, we are still waiting for a forensic investigation report. Minister, when will we get this investigation report? Will this investigation report include forensic accounting? Tell us. We are waiting for the terms of reference of the PESP forensic investigation.
Kudliwe imali. Iyephi imali, Ngqongqoshe?
Minister, where is our money? I’m sure the artists ...
Impilo yamaciko ibalulekile. Umkhonyovu awufuneki.
... kakhulu, Ngqongqoshe.
Instead of accounting, you are always sleep on the job.
Ulele emsebenzini, Ngqongqoshe.
The department and the entity failed to communicate effectively to all sectors.
The Minister must tell us what is happening with the industry, especially the entertainment industry. It is dying day by day.
There is no future for our artists in South Africa under your watch, Minister, because of the incompetence and the inability of government and officials to inspire our young people to become artists and musicians.
Emhlabeni ngeke ushiye umculo ngaphandle.
It is so important. South Africa cannot survive without our artists.
We are performing our duty to ensure that all the KPIs of the department are implemented. We visited two historic stadia in Tshwane - ODI and HM Pitje stadia. We saw the poor condition of the stadia. HM Pitje was built and earmarked for the training venue for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. After poor workmanship, the stadia were not even occupied because there was no occupation certificate. It was not issued at all.
The company that benefitted still did not pay back the money because they have not been blacklisted, to date. We went there to see for ourselves. Nobody was held accountable since 2010. Engineers confirmed that the structure was not good for usage. Safety issues were raised under your watch, Minister.
I have noted the following: ...
... umkhonyovu ugcwele ...
... there is unaccountability. History repeats itself. There is no consequence management, ...
... umkhonyovu ...
... manifests itself. Maladministration is clearly visible.
Kwenzakalani, Ngqongqoshe, sitshele.
This makes our oversight very difficult because even officials of the national department and provincial department did not come to attend our oversight visit. We summonsed them but they failed to come.
Let me ... [Inaudible.] ... the community of Mamelodi, for standing together against ...
... umkhonyovu. Phansi ngomkhonyovu!
Much more ...
... sesiya e-Free State, angifuni ukukhuluma ...
... because even in the ... [Time expired.] Happy Heritage Month. Thank you.
Declarations of Vote cont.:
Mr D F MTHENJANE: Chairperson, the EFF rejects the report by the Report of Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture on Visit to Performing Arts Centre of Free State; the National Arts Council; National Film and Video Foundation; and other sites in Tshwane. We do so because there is no relationship between what we found when we went to these institutions. The admission by the committee that the performing arts and creative industry are in crisis and the report’s recommendations.
The recommendation makes a sense of urgency and the devastation caused by the COVID-19. Instead, the recommendation seeks to protect the incompetent Minister of condolences. The recommendation failed to appreciate how artists and creatives are hungry, desperate and doing poorly because they are on their own. Even when the EFF tried to intervene, the devastation is too much.
Performing Arts Centre of the Free State, PACOFS, the National Arts Council and the National Film and Video Foundation, NFVF, are riddled with corruption. Money meant for artists goes to the pockets of senior managers, their cronies and members of the ruling party. Forensic investigation reports are ignored,
even when there is a clear evidence of corruption. We hope artists and creatives in the performing space can now believe us when we say that the ruling party does not care about them.
As the EFF, we have proposed a model of governance that will ensure that public entities under the Department of Arts and Culture, set artists and the broader industries than the cronies of the Minister of condolences. Instead of having CEOs and CFOs for each of these entities, the National Arts Council, the National Heritage Council, PACOFS, NFVF, museums and other entities, we must develop a shed governance model that will manage all the entities under one roof.
The money must go to artists and not management of these institutions. This is how we will begin to maximise available resources and do away with corruption. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, it seems the hon Ntuli is having some connectivity problems. May I proceed?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Pleasure.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Chairperson, firstly on behalf of the IFP, we want to congratulate those who did us proud in the Olympics and those who are currently doing us proud in the Paralympics. Also, we would like to congratulate all women who received honours in the GSport Awards function last night.
Chairperson, we continue to find ourselves in the midst of COVID-19 storm. At this critical time, it is more important than ever to ensure that relief resources are provided on time and efficiently to people who needs them. The Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector has been hit hard by the restrictions that government has placed to curve the COVID-19 pandemic.
This sector has also been impacted by the slow and insufficient provision of COVID-19 relief funds. The sluggish pace that this relief would have been provided to this sector, requires us to think deeply about the nature of the problems in Bloemfontein and some parts of Johannesburg. We need to identify the problems so that we can hold the institutions responsible for the rollout of funding accountable and help them to improve on their performance.
Hearing from the affected stakeholder group is also important for us to fully understand the impact and the problems.
Chairperson, COVID-19 relief funds are essential for the preservation and the resilience of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector. This sector makes a tremendous contribution to the economy, nation building and social cohesion. It also enhances the economy by contributing to employment.
While we are aware of the need to continue providing relief timely and efficiently, this committee should consider the need to implement certain recommendations that could improve this sector. Firstly, we have to take a firm stance on expediting the forensic report with regard to the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State.
Secondly, we also have to ensure that necessary steps are taken to fill all vacant managerial posts. It is undesirable to rely on acting staff for a long time. This is not a stage where Shakespeare is at play here. We need people that can do the job. In doing so, there is also a need to ensure that only properly qualified persons occupy these positions.
Thirdly, there are also allegations of sexual harassment against management in the sector. These must be addressed
because they are not only wrong in law, but also because such acts degrade the dignity of women, and many ... [Inaudible.]
... illustration of power imbalance and abuse of position. We should stand up against such abuses of power.
Finally, another issue that must be addressed is the higher level of corruption in the sector, where we found out that even non-artistic projects and deregistered companies received COVID-19 Relief Fund. A full investigation must continue, prosecutions and jail time must follow. And, we hope that those artists who battle on a daily basis, gets what is due to them. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr S N SWART: House Chair, I will leave my camera on because of connectivity issues. Firstly, the ACDP would like to express our congratulatory on the achievements of the Paralympics. Well done to our sportsmen and women in this regard. We would also like to share our concerns regarding the dire situation facing the performing arts section. In particular, how artists are desperate as a result of the hard lockdown provisions.
It is again this dire situation that it is disgraceful that we see corruption in the sector. We share the sentiments that the
forensic report into the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State must be completed as soon as possible and the findings must be implemented. It is disgraceful that our musicians, our artists are struggling whilst we have the levels of corruption that is taking place. Lastly, the ACDP pleads that the artists that should be receiving COVID-19 Relief Fund, must receive that funding to enable them to feed their families given the financial constraints they are living under. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. I made a mistake and proceeded to the ACDP without calling the FF Plus. My apologies.
Ms H DENNER: Hon House Chair, like many other once functioning and proud entities that used to provide social cohesion and nation building through sports and the arts, the performing arts centre of the Free State is a mere shell of what it used to be. And failed to execute its core business as a public entity, as a direct result of poor management.
Consequence management ... [Inaudible.] ... of the public sector is non-existent at PACOFS, which is evident in the fact that several high-ranking officials, including the CFO, the HR manager and the acting CEO, who were all implicated in the
Morar’s forensic investigation report are still in their posts and continuing as business as usual.
We just approved the report on the International Labour Organization, ILO Convention against workplace harassment. I said, during my vote declaration, that the problem with this convention will be the implementation thereof. So, let me illustrate that with a practical example. Allegations of sexual harassment against junior staff at the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State are ... [Inaudible.] ...
One staff member was even admitted to a psychiatrist hospital due to this harassment, allegedly perpetrated by the CFO of PACOFS, and nothing has been done to date. That is where the problem lies - consequence management and the implementation of legislation that is supposed to protect our women and workers.
Sport is een van die mees verenigende faktore wat ons in hierdie land tot ons beskikking het. Tog het die regerende party daarin geslaag om sport as ’n middel tot verdeling te gebruik.
Openbare sportfasiliteite in Suid-Afrika is in ’n jammerlike toestand van agteruitgang en verval. Geld word vir die oprigting van reuse stadions begroot waar daar nooit ’n enkele baksteen gelê word nie en bestaande sportfasiliteite is tot die grond afgebreek en verpletter.
Hoe moet sportontwikkeling en die groei van jong sportlui plaasvind as jong mense en atlete nie toegang tot behoorlike fasiliteite het nie?
Hierdie regering sal ernstig moet besin oor die rigting waarin hulle besig is om ons sport- en kultuurpraktisyns te lei. Die toekoms is duister en die verval onaanvaarbaar. Ek dank u.
Mr W M MADISHA: Hon Chairperson and hon, member, I would say a lot has got to be done for those poor people, the actors, the performers of all kinds of art, the players in all sporting kind of activities. I want to say a lot is not being done.
What you will see for example and I think all people in our country have seen that. Is that the Minister of Arts and Culture will be seen as he goes out there, to say to the nation these are good players, these are good performers, we are giving them this and so on. But in actual fact, the department is not doing which it is supposed to do. Recently,
we saw that organisation that organises more than 500 performers which had a sit-in for more than very many months and nothing was done all together in that instance. Until the Minister met with a few of them just to give them a few cents, called the media and said here is what the government is doing. What we need to do, as this Parliament, is to say to the Minister, to say to the government indeed something must be done to make sure that these people are able to survive.
What we see today is that these poor people will be there as actors, we will clap hands, we are very happy to say they’re doing something, they entertain us but we are not doing anything to ensure that they have money, they have food, they are able to survive. I’m therefore saying that we are calling on the Minister to stop really playing. We must call on the Deputy Minister not to be seen but only get seen in some stages when she goes to the stadium when there is a football match that is getting played there. Hence, I made a call to the President the other day that having some of these Deputy Ministers is not actually understood because it’s a lot of money there that’s been wasted, instead of it going on and feeding the people of our country. Thank you.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much, hon House Chair. Hon House Chair, I think the Minister must put on a pair of
tekkies so that he can move faster. We have seen a deterioration of our sports fields. But I want the Minister to focus on school sports. You cannot give funding to associations that fight amongst themselves and nothing happens on the play grounds. The Minister needs to look at our sports fields and then at the same time, with his tekkies on, maybe he must do an audit of the state and conditions of our sports fields all over the country. We need an audit so that we can understand this much better.
With regard to the artists, hon Chair, during the darkest days of apartheid, the artists brought a lot of kind of comfort to us. I know because of my mom’s safe house in District Six.
They used to go to Langa, Gugulethu and the artists used to keep the moral up and the artists used to rally the people behind them. Today, we need artist to promote Ubuntu because after the looting, the unrests, the violence and the burnings
- Ubuntu is dead in South Africa. So, now more than ever we need our artist to promote Ubuntu, to bring Ubuntu to the people so that they can understand Ubuntu. You cannot have an African destroying the economic livelihood of another African
- that is not Ubuntu.
Lastly, hon Chair, I would like to ask the Minister to sponsor online performances of artists so that they can earn some revenue. Artists don’t want hampers and handouts like some of the hon members have suggested. They want to work. We need to nurture their creativity and that is why we call on the Minister to announce that he will sponsor at least hundred performances online so that these artists can earn a living.
Thank you very much, hon Chair.
Mr M A ZONDI: Thank you, Chairperson ...
... ngicela ukungayisebenzisi ividiyo ukuze ingangiyekethisi [compromise.] kunethiwekhi [network.].
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk G M Boroto): Qhubeka baba.
Mnu M A ZONDI: Ngiyabonga.
Thank you, Chairperson and, hon members. The creative and cultural sectors are fundamental to the holistic development of our society. During this heritage month, we should continue to support the sector in building a united and prosperous
society. They have made and continue to make an invaluable contribution to the building of a new inclusive society. It is important to emphasise that building of South Africa into a just and inclusive society cannot be compromised without drawing on the creative and cultural resources of our people. The ANC remains committed to ensuring that the arts, culture and heritage contribute to transformation and creation of a better life for all. Therefore, it is significant that the intention is to effectively contribute to building a cohesive and united society in which everyone has access to arts, culture and heritage, resources, facility and opportunities.
We are steadfast in our resolution that we must promote and support the diverse industries. This includes ensuring that there is public-private partnership investment into the sector. That we ensure that artists are justly rewarded for their labour and protect the copyrights of the artists. Hon Chairperson, we had an opportunity to undertake an oversight visit to Free state and Gauteng as indicated by the Chairperson on from the 6th to 9th of 2021. The primary purpose of this visit was to investigate the rollout of COVID- 19, the relief fund, the R665 million Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme, PESP, allocated to the arts, culture and heritage sector as well as the work about to assess the state
of our facilities in Tshwane at the Odi and H M Pitje Stadium. The PSP fund were aimed at creating 8 000 as well as retaining
26 000 jobs in the cultural and creatives as well as the sports sector. This oversight visit enabled the committee to be aware of the true state of matters in the entities and we must indicate that we commit to ensuring that we will keep a firm eye on the matters raised in the committee.
Whilst there has been progress on the other matters, we do note and do not take lightly the crisis concerning the allegations and issues raised by various stakeholders on our visit. We are extremely concerned about the challenges of leadership that are mostly related to senior managers that were on suspension for misconduct. We are worried about the high rate of legal disputes between the management and the entities and their junior staff members. It is alleged that there was a perpetual recycling of council members who have a history of poor performance in other councils and some members serving on multiple councils within the same sector.
The ANC support the recommendations that the council should take the necessary steps to fill all the vacant managerial posts to reduce the number of acting staff and vacancies. The council reviewed the expenditure on internal legal battles
between junior staff and management. The Department of Sports Arts and Culture should review the policy on council members serving on multiple councils within the same sector. It should also review concerns that council members are recycled, especially those that have who are performing poorly in other councils. Performance management of council members should be prioritised thereafter. Hon members, we already see the fruits of the oversight visit that we conducted in the recent follow- ups consultation we had with the entities. The former acting chief executive officer of ... [Inaudible.] ... who was implicated in the mismanagement ... [Inaudible.] ... forensic report was asked to step down from his position on 16 April 2021 and an interim CEO was appointed on 19th April. The ... [Inaudible.] ... council has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of staff members and it also started reviewing the qualifications of those occupying managerial positions on the entity. The department is working in providing sustainable programs to remunerate its artists following the challenges experienced in the National Arts Council.
The committee conducted a follow-up meeting which indicated that community engagements of turning the Odi Stadium and HM Pitje Stadium into multipurpose sports centres were ongoing
discussion. But we were happy, hon Chairperson, when the member of the executive council, MEC, of Sports and Culture in Gauteng indicated that and outlined in this follow-up meeting, the timeline on how they are going to demolish the HM Pitje Stadium and build the multipurpose centre for the community.
We remain resolute and sure that the creative and cultural industry strives and contributes to the holistic development of our people. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendation as part of building the capability of the entities. Hon Chairperson ...
... siyezwa nje ukuthi kuthiwa kukhona imali edliwe, asikaze nje sikuthole thina lokho. UMnyango usebenza kanzima ...
... and we have numerous meetings with the department explaining the expenditure and the intervention made in terms of the creative arts that were not paid. Those that were not paid, they indicated how they are going to be paid and the challenges experienced thereafter. We ... know Chairperson that the creative arts had a sit-in that took a number of
months but the challenges were resolved and we are happy with the report the department outlined in the portfolio committee
Asiyazi le yokudliwa kwemali. Asazi ukuthi uma kuthiwa uNgqongqoshe udle imali, uyidle kuphi, eyidla nobani, ngoba imibiko yeMinyango nezinhlangano [entities] isikhombisa kahle ukuthi yikuphi la bekunezinkinga khona nokuthi isetshenziswe kanjani.
The ANC support this report, Chairperson, and we thank you very much.
UMBHEXESHI OYINTLOKO WEQELA ELILAWULAYO: Zisilahlela amacici ezi zifonyo. Enkosi Sihlalo weNdlu. Sihlalo ndiphakamisa ukuba yamkelwe le ngxelo esuka kwiSebe lezeMidlalo, ubuGcisa neNkcubeko. Enkosi.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY ON DEPARTMENT OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND COMPETITION’S SECOND AND THIRD QUARTER FINANCIAL AND NON-FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE FOR 2020/21 FINANCIAL YEAR
Mr D M NKOSI: Thank House Chair, hon members, fellow South Africans. I present to this House the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Second and Third Quarter Financial and Non-Financial Performance for 2020-21 Financial Year. This report culmination is in the engagement of the committee and the department. Budgetary oversight through quarterly performance it’s important for the committee to follow up the progress of the department in respect of its annual performance plan, particularly assess the performance against its sat targets.
In that engagement with the department, the committee focused on specific issues, like tackling the economic challenges of the purpose of the growing of the economy and the implementation of the targeted intervention captured in the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, as well as the Sectoral Master Plans, are expected to mitigate the effects of South African’s underlying structural constrains.
The other point is the impact assessment of the COVID-19 regulations which led to the lockdown of the economy in a number of sectors in South African economy. Further, South African trade policy as means of promoting accelerating the sustainable economic growth, decent job in order to reduce poverty and extreme inequality, that characterises South African society and economy.
Further, specific area of performance for the department, including designation of special economic zone, localisation in support of local manufacturing of personal protection equipment for the fight against COVID-19. Designation of products for local procurement and the incentives to support the investment of the economy.
The committee welcomes and applauds the work of the department in respect to the study undertaken by the on Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, DTIC, in the impact of the COVID-19 on employment. Department’s effort to ensure continued trade relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom following its exit from the European Union. The collaboration between the government, labour and business to the establishment of personal protective equipment local manufacturing partnership. This partnership assured that local
manufacturing partnership are able to respond to the demands by building manufacturing and export capacity of personal protective equipment.
The collaboration between DTIC and the local municipality for facilitating the designation of the Special Economic Zone. The committee encourages the DTIC to continue to work with all stakeholders across government to facilitate the designation of the function of the Special Economic Zones, SEZs. I table this Report of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry to this House. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Declarations of vote:
Mr M J CUTHBERT: Very nasty of the hon April that he decided to trade in the leprechaun suit for your mother’s curtain. Hon House Chairperson, there’s not a week that goes by in which the commentariat and the financial purse do not criticize Minister Patel’s handling of the economy? In the Business Day two weeks ago Oliver Dickson state the following:
Minister Patel is the weakest link ... [Interjection.]
Mr H G APRIL: Chairperson ...
The HOUSE CHAIROERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon member, can you
take a sit, there’s a point of order.
Mr H G APRIL: ... I just like to ask if the hon member is willing to take a question?
The HOUSE CHAIROERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Are you ready to take a question hon member?
Mr M J CUTHBERT: ... unfortunately not, House Chairperson. Hon House Chairperson, as per Oliver Dickson:
Minister Ibrahim Patel is the weakest link in President
Cyril Ramaphosa’s “reconfigured” economic cluster, and
should have been axed along with all the others.
He goes on to theorise as to why the Minister has remained in Cabinet:
As politicians go Patel is an affable guy, even if the bar for likeability is rather low in SA. And that is the most compelling reason Patel has been able to remain below the radar of the political commentariat — to pass
muster you merely need not be corrupt and be able to string together comforting but vacuous platitudes to be considered competent enough for high office.
I turn to agree with Mr Dickson ’statement, but let me expand
... [Interjection.] ...
Mr A H M PAPO: Point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIROERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon member, can you please take a sit, on the point of order.
Mr A H M PAPO: The member is in violation of the rule, he has called the Minister with his first name and he knows very well that is not allowed in the rules.
The HOUSE CHAIROERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Point of order sustained.
Mr M J CUTHBERT: It was a quote I might just add. I turn to agree with Mr Dickson’s statement, but let me expand on them to illustrate how bad the last eight months have been. As if burning ... [Inaudible.] ... chicken and open toed shoes last year wasn’t bad enough. The Minister has outdone himself this
year improving his inaptitude and unsuitability for his current post.
According to Bloomberg’s Unemployment Monitor, South Africa now holds unenviable title as the world leader in unemployment at 34,4% as per standard definition and 44,4% as per the expanded definition. Youth unemployment is up to the incomprehensible figure of 74,8%. The World Bank latest isogenes business report with South Africa positioned 139 and
145 for the starting business trading across borders network respectively.
According to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, business confidence is at its lowest point since October 2020. Our poor performance on this matrix come as no surprise to South Africans when the see what the Minister has been up to over the past year. Firstly, we saw the Competition Commission blocked the sale of Grand Parade Investment Burger King Franchise to United State of America, USA, based equity firm, on the ground of public interest, despite the obvious economic benefits of such a transaction, but I assume hon April wouldn’t know what those are. Thankfully, as a results of a pressure from the DA and civil society, the commission has a done a u turn and has allowed the transaction to proceed
... [Inaudible.] ... be at civil compromises on the structure of the deal.
Then, one just needs to cast their minds back to the awkward forced and quite frankly comical selfies posted by Minister Patel on the on Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, DTIC ‘s official tweeter account, standing outside damage and looted businesses in KwaZulu-Natal.
Despite several importations from the DA, it took him several weeks to go and survey the damage for himself while our public representatives were on the ground from day one. In a briefing to the portfolio committee roughly a week ago he said that:
We must reduce the opportunity for those seeking to undermine the democratic order to find fertile conditions in our communities.
The question then is, what did he say to his comrade in the ANC, who were responsible for the loss R50 billion in general domestic growth, GDP and put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, as a result of their own internal factional battles?
Lastly, in an unprecedented move, his department lead negotiator on the African continental free trade agreement. Dr Morgan Pillay warned of the dire economic consequences that will befall South Africa, if Minister Patel continued with his draft to lacklustre 20% of imports under the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. This will risk South African businesses access to the $3,4 trillion market available under the Asset Finance Company, African Continental Free Trade Area, AFCTA. All for R200 billion in short term gains.
The fact is, under Minister Patel, the ministry has restricted trade, diminish competition and collapse industry. There is no doubt that the President missed out on a prime opportunity to give him the boot and allow him to enjoy his early retirement, reading marks and fantasizing over the realization of the national democratic revolution. I thank you.
Mr T M LANGA: Chairperson, we noted that yes, South Africa’s economy has been greatly disturbed by the covid-19 pandemic. It should also be noted that, yes, the recent unrest has had an enormous impact on the economic decline of some of the industries in this country. However, we should, as a country, be cognisant of the fact that the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition has mostly favoured rhetoric speeches through
his tenure as the head of the engine of the economy of this country.
What policies has the Department of Trade and Industry implemented since it has been ... [Inaudible.] ... that have been game changers in stimulating the economy of this country? In the sugar industry, what strides has this department made in making sure there is some leeway in changing ownership, to ensure that we have at least one black-owned milling company? In gaming industry, how much of that is women-owned or is it still in the hands of the white monopoly? Where are we as country in having a state-owned company that at least produces PPEs that we as South Africans are using each and every day?
Is the Minister happy with the levels of unemployment that continue to incline each and every day?
We as a country understand that the global decline occurred due to lack of trade and market closing, however, prior to that, how much was South Africa allowing to happen in each market. As it is, we still have illegal dumping of goods, we have a thriving illegal gambling business, we no way of making sure that we stimulate exports, rather than allowing imports to be the norm.
How much beneficiation is happening in this country? What basic necessities are we now importing, instead of making our own? It must be said that this report is highly pathetic and as the EFF, we reject it.
Inkosi R N CEBEKHULU: Hon Chairperson, hon members, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition is strategically placed to steer the country’s economy towards interest growth and competitiveness of exports. We acknowledge the role this department plays in boosting the country’s development and competitiveness in trade. Whilst the department has provided a positive outlook for the economy for the rest of 2021, our concern lies with households and individuals who have been affected by the pandemic, with the recent riots, pushing people further into poverty.
Whilst economic activity has picked up as a result of the relaxing of lockdown restrictions, our worry is that some South Africans may be left behind and many businesses might never reopen.
The IFP has expressed its concern about the need for interest collaboration between the department and local industries. The current economic environment further alienates small
businesses and there is a need for more intervention to be made, for more inclusive growth to occur in the country.
The department, in its report, states the one of its strategic goals include broadening participation in the economy and sadly, our economy remains largely noninclusive, as small businesses are often side-lined.
South Africa needs to move towards an increased rate of manufactured goods, to benefit from its trade with countries in the South. At the same time, we do acknowledge that China, the world’s biggest manufacturer, is a big competitor and a reduction of the import tariffs will harm South Africa’s manufacturing industry.
We applaud the department’s achievement of 87% and 89% of its target in second and third quarter, respectively. Whilst this marks a clear improvement from the 60% achievement in the first quarter, it is our hope that the department’s achieves all its targets in the coming quarter. The IFP supports the deliberations and recommendations made by the parliamentary committee. I thank you.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon House Chair, the second and third-quarter performance of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition reflected a period of sustained pressure on the economy. Although employment data released at the time indicated a significant uptake in employment as a result of the relax in covid-19 regulations, as well as economic measures introduced compared to the previous months of stricter and irrational lockdown measures, it should be considered that the economic growth was of a fairly low level because of state capture, poor governance and corruption.
Alhoewel die departement se behaling belyn is met sy strategiese doelwitte, was die doelwitte ewenees onvoldoende en te laag, as gevlog van die stremming wat ’n verswakte ekonomie en ’n beperkte begroting op die departement geplaas het. Hierdie behaling word ironies selfs verder onder druk geplaas deur die gevolge van die onlangse politieke onstabiliteit, diefstal, brandstigting en onluste, veral in KwaZulu-Natal, met spesifieke vermelding na die spesiale ekonomiese sone in Richardsbaai.
Die blote feit dat die mededingingstribunaal, ekonomiese ontwikkeling en administrasieprogramme onderspandeer het, en
die finansiële program met 12,4% oorspandeer het, is ’n groot
bron tot kommer.
Die Departement van Handel, Nywerheid en Mededinging is ’n onderskatte departement wat ’n bepalende rol in ekonomiese groei, ontwikkeling en herstel deur werkskepping moet speel. Hierdie departement slaag nie in hierdie doelwit nie. Dankie.
Mr W M THRING: Hon House Chair, as we consider this report, the ACDP asserts that the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition is certainly one of the key departments necessary to revive our ailing economy. In the midst of limited to no growth in key sectors, and the economy continuing to shed jobs at an alarming rate, this department and others in the economic cluster must step up to the plate.
The ACDP further notes that one of the strategic goals of the department is to provide a predictable, competitive, equitable and socially responsible environment conducive to investment, trade and enterprise development. It is our contention that the ruling party is sabotaging this very important strategic goal of the department.
Our economic environment is anything but predictable, as we continue to score own-goals with policy and political uncertainty. It is the ruling party’s failed policies that make us less predictable, uncompetitive, unequal and not socially responsible.
The ACDP notes the department’s budget of some R9,31 billion for the year under review, which includes an improved performance of 87% achievement of targets in the second quarter and R11,3 billion leverage investments against the target of R1,7 billion on various projects covered in the report.
While this report indicates that there is optimism regarding the economic growth outlook for South Africa in 2021, the continuous shedding of jobs tells another story. With the official unemployment rate now at 34,4%, or some 7,8 million jobless, on the narrow definition of unemployment, the ruling party is failing our mainly young and black African population.
It must be said, that, while the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and our sectoral masterplans are good in
themselves, they are failing to produce the results necessary to turn our economy around.
The ACDP continuous to champion the course of beneficiation and localisation. We find it ironical and shameful that, while the World Bank ranks South Africa as the world’s richest country, in terms of its mineral reserves, worth an estimated
$2,5 trillion, we rank as the most unequal nation, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
It is time to stop the indiscriminate exporting of our raw materials and to deliberately and exponentially focus on beneficiation and localisation, if this department seeks to be a catalyst in turning our dismal employment, poverty and inequality trajectory around. Thank you.
Mr W M MADISHA: Hon House Chair, we agree.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D NTOMBELA): Thank you, hon
member. That was very progressive.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, we appreciate the efforts made by the Minister, however, we would like to request that the Minister liaise with the small-business development
portfolio so that small businesses can also play a role in making especially contact with other countries and getting opportunities from other countries as well.
The Minister seems to favour only a few countries and many ambassadors have approached Al Jama-ah for appointments with the Minister or with people of the portfolio committee because the Minister and the leadership are not very approachable. I feel that we should increase our footprint.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House Chair, I want to appreciate the hairstyle and how the hon member is glowing.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D NTOMBELA): There is no comment from me.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, you must please protect me. At another meeting, the Chief Whip had a problem with my sunglasses. To carry on, like I said, we need the Minister to be more co-operative with the small business development department and the portfolio committee and to expand the footprint of the countries with which we do business.
The image of the Minister and his department is that they are not very friendly when it comes to other countries wanting to do business and the Minister throws the protocols and says that one has to work via the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Dirco. For the past year, there have been a lot of problems in Dirco. In fact, we ... [Inaudible.] ... that they threw chairs at one another recently.
So, I think that the Minister needs to be open with doing business with other countries with the idea of small businesses benefiting. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D NTOMBELA): The other day,
there was a point of order made here, requesting the hon Ganief to appear on the screen. Today, there is another appreciation. I think I would like to meet hon Ganief privately to discuss some of this.
Declarations of vote:
Mr S H MBUYANE: Chair and hon members, comrades and friends, and fellow South Africans, the ANC supports the Report of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Second and Third Quarter Non-Financial Performance. The committee has engaged with the
Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, DTIC performance of these two quarters of 2020-21 financial year, and applauds the department on its performance despite current economic challenges and the impact caused by Covid-19.
The department’s performance improved from the second quarter where it achieved 87% of its targets and in the third quarter it achieved 89% of its targets. Some of the performance highlighted in the committee discussions is the department’s designated Special Economic Zones, SEZs as well as the investment attracted into these SEZs. The committee was encouraged to learn that the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone had begun with full construction with 12 investors who have invested R2,8 billion ... [Inaudible.]
The Saldanha-Richards Bay SEZ has attracted seven new investors who have invested R347 million which create 153 jobs. Furthermore, the department has designated the Nkomazi SEZ in 2019 to support significant economic and development within Nkomazi and Mpumalanga. The committee was also encouraged to learn that was progress in securing the national support for the project management unit in Nkomazi SEZ and the development and implementation of the SEZ strategy.
The department has appointed three senior officials to be part of the board of the SEZs to ensure that the SEZs will be well supported. The company was established, all systems were placed and all approval processes were accelerated. In this regard, the committee welcomes the collaboration between the DTIC and the local municipalities to facilitate the designation of the SEZs and encourage the DTIC to continue to work with all stakeholders across government to facilitate the designation and ... [Inaudible.] ... of SEZs.
In its assessment of the department, the committee learnt that the investment of R1,1 billion was still supported notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in few applications. While in its third quarter the department exceeded investment target, R11,3 billion was a leverage investment against the target of R1,7 billion on projects in Automotive Investment Scheme, Critical Infrastructure Programme, and Business Process Service Incentive Programme. I hope you are listening, hon Cuthbert.
A total of R31,8 billion was facilitated in pipeline investment against a target of R25 billion. This investment will ... [Interjections.] ... support the returning ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order, hon members.
Mr S H MBUYANE: Okay, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members, do not disturb the speaker on the podium, please. Go ahead.
Mr S H MBUYANE: The investment will support the retention of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs that are needed more than ever during these current economic challenges.
Regarding localisation, the committee welcomes the intervention of the department to support localisation through local production of protective equipment in particular the scoping exercise to evaluate local capacity to respond to the demand for Personal Protective Equipment, PPE undertaken by the department at the beginning of the pandemic; the verification of 50 companies at 70% level three and higher Black Economic Empowerment level to supply the PPE; and measures to support the local PPE manufactures to access export market in Africa. These localisation measures support the country’s goal of internalisation and creation of job opportunities.
Mr Cuthbert, you must listen now. The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment is defined as an economic empowerment policy of black people including women, workers, youth, people with disabilities, and people living in rural areas through a diverse but integrated socioeconomic strategy in changing the apartheid patterns of ownership of our economy. We dedicate this report to our late colleague, Cde Thozama Mantashe. May her soul rest in perfect peace!
The DA is propagating the right-wing neoliberal economic policies that seek to reverse the gains of our democratic dispensation. The EFF does not have any plan in terms of the transformative agenda. They just have chaotic, mediocre, basic and non-scientific evidence. The FF-Plus must just keep their Orania ... [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: You must read.
Mr S H MBUYANE: ... SACDP, huh! ACDP. The ANC is a governing party. It is not a ruling party. [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: Who is this person?
Mr S H MBUYANE: We govern with all the structures and all the organisation here. That means we govern in unison. It’s not just ruling. It’s not a ruling party. The ANC is a governing party. [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: Semantics, Chair.
Mr S H MBUYANE: I thank you, Chair.
Mr H G APRIL: House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Why are you rising, hon member?
Mr H G APRIL: Can the House Chair please tell those two irresponsible people to put on their mask? We are here and there are rules. Those two big voices there. It’s irresponsible!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay, hon member. Thanks for your advice, if it is true. I now recognise the hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party from the Chamber. Hon members. Hon members, let’s slow down, please!
UMBHEXESHI OYINTLOKO WEQELA ELILAWULAYO: Umele ntoni?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Chief Whip.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Is he talking?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon member, take your comfortable seat, please!
MOTSOKASEPHADI YA KA SEHLOHONG WA MOKGATLO O BUSANG: Ha ke
lebohe Modulasetulo. Modulasetulo, ke tsitsinya hore Ntlo ena e amohele tlaleho ena e beilweng mona hona jwale, tsatsing lena.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you, hon Chief Whip.
Motion agreed to (Economic Freedom Fighters and Freedom Front Plus dissenting).
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS ON A PETITION CALLING ON THE ASSEMBLY TO INVESTIGATE A POLICY REVIEW THAT WILL LOOK INTO DEVELOPING A CONSISTENT SYSTEM ACROSS MUNICIPALITIES, PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENT ON HOW THE EXTENDED PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM, EPWP, EMPLOYS JOB SEEKERS SUBMITTED BY MR S AUGUST, MP
Ms N NTOBONGWANA: Hon House Chair, Members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, hon members, fellow South Africans.
... molweni ngolu suku lokuqala eNtwasahlobo nakwinyanga yethu yamagugu, inyanga ebaluleke kakhulu kwilizwe lethu kuba kuyo kwazalwa iqhawekazi lethu uMama uNomzamo Zanyiwe Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ...
... may she continue to rest in power. I am standing here on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure to present a report based on the petition presented to the National Assembly by hon August. The
committee dealt with the petition in its meeting on a virtual platform on 16 March 2021. The matter raised in the petition was for the National Assembly to investigate a policy review that will look into developing a consistent system across municipalities, provincial governments, and national government on how the Expended Public Works Programme, EPWP, employs job seekers.
When we engaged the department on 16 March, they reported to us as the portfolio committee that there was already a policy in place that standardised for the employment of EPWP beneficiaries across national, provincial and local spheres. The committee stated that it was clear that the department already developed a uniform standard setting policy. The challenge was therefore how this policy was implemented across the three levels of government. We cannot investigate, therefore, and drive towards a policy review simply because there are challenges with implementation.
What the committee will do, is to assist the department to get that policy refined so that it can be properly implemented.
The committee raised the critical question of whether and how the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and its EPWP branch was enabled through resources, that is, through a
budget and dedicated staff, to enforce implementation of this national standardised uniform manner of how municipalities, provinces and national government should employ EPWP beneficiaries. The discussions with the EPWP branch of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure highlighted that they did not have a properly defined mandate in place.
There is not a Public Works and Infrastructure law in South Africa, which is a challenge. Without such a law, this department does not have the enforcement power to ensure that national, provincial and municipal government implement the national policy on how EPWP beneficiaries are selected, employed, trained, and assisted to enter the formal job market. We don’t want them to only remain as the EPWP beneficiaries, we would like them to enter the formal job market after they exit the EPWP.
The committee stated that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has to urgently complete its mandate-setting Draft Public Works Bill, to fully empower its branches to do its work. Remember, that during the Firth Parliament, the previous committee on public works also asked the department to get this done, that is, the Public Works Bill. It cannot be that we move from one administration to the next and you do
not implement the resolutions of the previous committees. This matter must be strengthened and decisively dealt with. That’s what the committee told the department.
Further, that the department has to ensures that it includes clauses in the Bill, that makes it possible to enforce implementation of standard-setting uniform policies such as how beneficiaries are employed in EPWP projects in all the spheres of government. The EPWP plays a key role in the Economic Reconstruction and Development Plan that seeks to rebuild the country’s economy. It is also the safety net for the majority of our people, especially, the vulnerable, who are mostly women and youth.
The indigent has no skills and qualifications and they are the most suffering during this time of pandemic. Therefore, a standardised policy on how we employ EPWP beneficiaries at all levels of government is crucial. This is the report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the petition presented by hon S hon August in the committee. ...
[Interjections.] ... Thank you, House Chair.
Declaration(s) of Vote:
Mrs M B HICKLIN: As the committee Chairperson said, a petition was received from hon Shaun August, asking for the Assembly to investigate the policy review. The petition was dealt with by the committee on 16 March. However, this is not the first time issues around the Expended Public Works Programme, EPWP, have been raised in this committee, nor will it be the last, until there is a concerted effort to rid this programme of patronage, cadre deployment and a lack of transparency.
During the meeting, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure reported that there is a policy in place that standardised the employment of EPWP beneficiaries across all levels of government, and that the stated policy should be equally implemented. However, the committee raised the critical question of whether and how the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and its EPWP branch was enabled to enforce the implementation of this national standardised policy.
And therein lies the rub, the enforcement of the policy and its transparent application. Sadly, no matter how hard the very able EPWP branch tries, it struggles to implement its policy, prevent the policy being misused to get jobs for pals, and win votes. The department does not have the necessary
legislation in place that gives muscle to ensure that a consistent system of employing job seekers is implemented. It urgently needs to get its mandate strengthened through a Public Works and Infrastructure Bill that will enable the EPWP branch to ensure that such uniform standards are implemented.
Minister de Lille, you have failed to complete your mandate of finalising the Public Works Bill to fully empower all the branches of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to do their work. In 2019, I stated in this House that the EPWP had its focus on the progression of beneficiaries from unemployed to the formal employment sector through public employment programmes. In 2019, it struggled to make any real progress. In August 2021 it is still struggling.
In fact, it has so underperformed so dramatically one can quite confidently say it has failed. A failure exponentially exacerbated by COVID-19. South Africa is drowning in youth looking towards the EPWP as a career path, not a stepping stone to inclusion in a formal work environment. Untrained and unskilled workers are not appropriate material for long-term job creation and sustainability. We regularly hear of national grants not being paid out to NGOs or returned to national
government – simply because paperwork has not been properly completed.
Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, SMMEs, are not being uplifted and training is not being effective, and it is the beneficiaries who suffer. The pool of trained youth, women, and people with disabilities in the construction industry, has not grown, and this is because no meaningful upskilling and no accurate monitoring is taking place. One of the core reasons remains, the patriarchal nature of the EPWP jobs for pals revolving door, that ensures that only a certain pool of people, are considered for appointments.
So prevalent is this phenomenon that the DA has officially tabled an End to Cadre Deployment Bill with the Speaker’s Office in Parliament. While this is not specifically aimed at the EPWP, it does stipulate that the Bill will make it a criminal offence to appoint someone on the basis of political loyalty, rather than on a demonstrated merit. This will have far-reaching effects and it will no longer be possible for any official to be forced to bypass policies such as the national policy on EPWP to offer employment only to the connected few.
One has to consider if the petition brought by hon August had not stopped short of highlighting cadre deployment by name, whether a full-scale investigation into the failures of the EPWP would not have been called for. I thank you
Mr T M LANGA: Thank you very much Chairperson. Chairperson, the petition lodged by hon August of the GOOD party sort to standardise the manner in which EPWP, Expanded Public Works Programme, is implemented across the country.
From our experience we know for a fact that EPWP jobs are ditched out to the ruling party ground activists across the country. The problem is the means of dispensing patronage to the exclusion of many poor and deserving households.
The EPWP was meant to alleviate poverty amongst those whom live beyond the poverty line and in the same breath to address the unemployment faced by youth. Its purpose was to give skills to the youth for future permanent employment but the programme is doing none of this instead we have come to see corruption, nepotism and favouritism being the order of the day.
Despite the DPWI, Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, stating that they do have a uniform standard setting policy, the mandate is not clear. No enforcement power to ensure positive implementation of national policy.
...[Inaudible.]... of calling EPWP job opportunities instead of jobs masks the abuse many of these workers face every single day. They work without protection in extremely dangerous conditions often times. We have repeatedly argued that the EPWP jobs must be converted to full-time jobs and these workers must be trained to maintain rural roads, fix leaking taps to remove alien planks, to rehabilitate polluted wetlands and to be a permanent working or rather workforce of the state. This will eliminate the corruption that comes with tenders because the state will have its own force to build schools and hospitals, to clean the linen and public health care centres and to take medication to the indigent and the homebound.
The illusion by the capitalist that the EPWP is recognised as the best internationally has led the department to be in the dreamland that EPWP is effective whereas it is failing dismally to address the number of youth and adults that still
find themselves unemployed or recognised as beneficiaries and are sometimes stuck in cleaning graves and streets.
India has a similar programme known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which aims at providing hundred days of employment for every household with no source of income.
DPWI needs to relook into its policies and aim for permanent employment for those who live under the poverty line. The department needs to draft an Act that will ensure and guarantee employment and also look into insourcing of all EPWP beneficiaries who are at present in database. The EFF vehemently rejects this report.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you, hon Chairperson. This petition that has been submitted by hon August transcends party politics. The issue of addressing unemployment requires nationally coordinated efforts. More alarming is that the burden of unemployment is concentrated amongst the youth who account for almost 60% for the total number of unemployed persons.
The IFP welcomes the petition to consider a policy review due to the urgency needed in securing the lives of South Africans
in the Western Cape and nationwide. Our policy promotes the need to stimulate employment growth while minimising interference by the government in business labour relations.
Therefore, the coordination systems of cross municipalities, provincial and national government will enable these centralisation over time. By doing so, local government systems are further capacitated to act with efficiency.
Within the same perspective hon Chairperson, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure’s argument that it did not have the necessary enforcement mandate to ensure uniform interpretation across the three levels of government.
...[Inaudible.]... coordination deficiencies which impact service delivery further while the DPWI reported that there was in fact a standardised policy in place on how the beneficiaries of the EPWP were employed at different levels. There is a need to ensure that such policies are implemented.
In addition to the recommendations ...[Inaudible.]... by the portfolio committee, the IFP recommends that the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure to assign the monitoring mechanism to the EPWP in addition to the government wide and
monitoring and evaluation system. We believe this mechanism will enable the assessment of the uniform policy implementation within the mid-term and short term so that interventions can be considered in cases of outcome and output shortcomings.
Overall, the IFP supports the portfolio committee’s recommendations for the Public Work’s Bill to be completed to ensure coordination across branches and consistent policy implementation. We also acknowledge the importance of the EPWP as a resolution towards addressing unemployment, upskilling and reskilling and creating a safety net for unskilled South Africans.
It is in the same light that we recommend DPWI’s monitoring of this programme in order to have foresight on associated challenges. We want to agree with the last speaker that this programme has to be translated in ... [Inaudible.] ... to provide employment and job security for thousands of people out there. It is something that we require and we cannot pay people minimal wage just to allow them and say they are employed and add to the statistics figures of those employed.
Government needs to seriously relook into this programme to ensure most certainty in the job market and those unemployed. Thank you very much hon Chair.
Mnr P A VAN STADEN: Agb Huisvoorsitter, die aanbevelings vanaf die komitee soos vervat op bladsy 2 van die verslag onder punt drie lees as volg:
Ensures that as the EPWP is part of the safety net for the majority who have no skills and qualifications. The standardised policy on how government employs EPWP beneficiaries must be put in place.
Die VF Plus het op 25 Mei vanjaar gedurende die Begrotingsposdebat in die einste Huis daarop gewys dat die VF Plus nog nooit in enige provinsie werklik kon sien dat enige EPWP-werker besig was met die uitvoering van sy of haar pligte of take nie, en watter verskil hulle werklik maak nie.
Die VF Plus het ook genoem dat hy onseker is waar die 837 000 werksgeleenthede oor al drie vlakke van regering deur hierdie program in die tydperk April tot Desember 2019 geskep was.
Chairperson, how can government create a safety net for people with no skills and no qualifications? Government cannot create jobs, although they are trying to do that with a massive effort to try and employ everybody by the state departments and through local and provincial government, they are failing on it and it creates a new problem namely, service delivery.
Most of our national, provincial and local government’s budgets goes to massive salaries every month. Only a few benefit from this strategy. The poor and those who are not schooled or try to do better don’t benefit from this at all
Al hoe hierdie probleem in Suid-Afrika opgelos gaan word is dat hierdie regering op moet hou om in te meng in die privaatsektor met allerhande nuttelose wetgewings soos regstellende aksie en swart ekonimiese bemagtiging, en die privaatsektor se hande moet heeltemal losgemaak word, om hul toe te laat om industrië te vestig, beleggers na Suid-Afrika
te lok, mense met die nodige vaardighede op te lei, om sodoende die werkloosheidsyfer van 44,4% in die privaatsektor te kan akkomodeer. Die regering moet ophou om alles te beheer en te bestuur.
I say it again, the state and government cannot train people and they cannot create jobs. The EPWP programme cannot be considered as a safety net for South Africa’s unemployment problems, it will only worsen matters.
Instead of taking a person and putting them behind a broom or a bag to clean an area, rather train that person so that he or she will be able to manage a huge company or business one day on their own and also put skills back into the community by training others and providing jobs for them. But government must leave that for those in the private who know exactly how to do just that.
Government can no longer afford to try to create a safety net for the majority who have no skills and qualifications through the EPWP programme. It is simply not working. The FF Plus cannot support this failure of this report. Thank you Chairperson.
Mr W M THRING: Thank you, hon House Chairperson. The ACDP notes that the Expanded Public Works Programme has its origins in the growth and development summit of 2003, which presents as one of the ... [Inaudible.] ... a commitment to create more jobs ... [Inaudible.] ... a job and decent work for all. This noble and lofty ideal has sadly been undermined by the inability to hold provinces and municipalities, in particular, accountable in terms of how beneficiaries of the Expanded Public Works Programme were employed, hence this report on the petition lodged by hon August. The ACDP understands that having a standardised policy in place does not necessarily ensure that it will be carried out.
As a result, what is a much-needed tool for job creation becomes smeared with allegations of nepotism, jobs for pals or jobs with those who are card-carrying members of the ruling party. This further makes a ... [Inaudible.] ... of Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, subscribing to the outcomes of decent unemployment through inclusive economic growth. In addition, hon House Chairperson, it has also resulted in EPWP impacting negatively on the audit outcomes of Public Works and Infrastructure where the programme disburses the majority of its budget, but the targets set are not achieved due to a
failure to hold some national, provincial and municipal departments accountable. This has got to stop.
The ACDP has consciously aware that the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of the EPWP. Therefore, to that effect, it must ensure that it efficiently gathers information about the performance of EPWP programmes and projects, monitors and reports on the implementation progress and evaluates the impact of the program on the participants’ households and their communities. It is in this regard that the ACDP supports the recommendations in this report. What their understanding is that if properly implemented, the EPWP can, indeed, serve as a safety net for those who do not have the requisites skills or qualifications to become gainfully employed. Thank you, hon House Chair.
Mr S N AUGUST: Thank you, House Chairperson. House Chairperson, I just would like to thank the portfolio committee and for all political parties agreed for this policy change. Therefore, I’d like to thank the Chairperson of the portfolio committee as well as the Minister that sat in on the day when I presented to the portfolio committee for the support. We hope that moving forward we can have a
standardised system to all municipalities for EPWP. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Mr C H M SIBISI: Thank you, hon House Chair. Hon House Chairperson, the NFP is noting that we will be fading the nation if we did not mention that EPWP programme is vehemently used by political parties: the ANC, DA and the IFP to employ their members within our communities. The Good Party has brought in the petition to the National Assembly to investigate the policy review on how the EPWP employs jobseekers. It is rather hypocritically, don’t you think, its leader Minister Patricia De Lille under her nine years’ tenure of mayorship in Cape Town under the DA used exactly that very same criteria to employ people on EPWP programmes. Now, that she has her little political party, they want the NA to review the policy because it no longer serves them. However, when she had a bigger platform through the DA, all she cared about was increasing the membership of the DA by giving people jobs under the EPWP programme who merely only members of the DA.
EThekwini Municipality needs close to R200 million in extra funds to fund its EPWP. This came after intensions have been expressed that the municipality seeks to extend period of the programme by 12 months. We all know that only the ANC members
who benefited from these jobs and there are so-called ghost workers. There are allegations that this programme was make used by serious problem including the ghost workers in the eThekwini. It was also alleged that although this is a national government programme, the municipality was paying more for the programme than the national government. The municipality was given a target to create 83 893 work opportunity between 2019 and 2024. We have received reports that the programme has only about 4 799 participants.
House Chair, it is clearly apparent that the implementing agent municipalities and government agencies are in the business of wasting the limited resources of this country. They are in business of cadre deployment enhancing their political party memberships at the cost of our people through taxpayers’ money. If Parliament oversight’s functions was effective, these are matters that we will be debating about robust in this House. However, the well overdue is declare reports after reports. The NFP will not support this report. Thank you.
Nkul T V MASHELE: Mutshamaxitulu wa Yindlu, swirho swa Komiti ya Vuangameri ya Huvo ya Rixaka ya Mitirho ya Mfumo na Switirhisiwankulu, swirho swa Huvo ya Rixaka ...
... South Africa and her people, the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure tabling the report on the petition launched by Mr S August from the Good Party to the House for a debate and adoption. A petition was launched by Mr S August of the Good Party on 24 November 2020, called on the National Assembly to investigate a policy review that will look into developing a consistent system across all spheres of government on how the extended Public Works employ jobseekers. On 11 December 2020, the abovementioned petition was referred to the Portfolio Committee of Public Works and Infrastructure for consideration and report. On 16 March 2021, the committee considered the petition and the report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure was completed on 17 May 2021.
The Expanded Public Works Programme is a critical programme of government for providing employment and income to families who will not ordinarily have an income. It is a work programme which provides skills and jobs for the unemployed marginalised
masses of our people. Over the period of time the programme has diversified itself from merely creating temporary employment, but it has extended itself to ensuring skills in various fields including artisanal skilling in plumbing, carpentry and electrical. It is to ensure that entrepreneurial skills are imparted which can lead to creation of small business in townships.
The importance of this program during this climate of low economic growth which is compounded by coronavirus disease 2019, Covid-19, pandemic and the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng cannot be overemphasised. The EPWP programme certainly needs to be developed and extended in a consistent manner throughout the country. The report makes too very important observation. Firstly, the department has a clear and uniform standard for setting policy on the EPWP programme. The committee felt that the EPWP programme is an important component of economic reconstruction and recovery plan and it must be appropriately implemented to tackle the challenges of unemployment in the country.
Secondly, the committee raised the concern about whether Public Works and its EPWP section was sufficiently empowered in terms of legislations and regulations to apply a national
standard for all the three spheres of government. The report makes three important recommendations given the significance of EPWP programme in tackling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The completion of the Public Works Bill which will mandate and empower the department and its brands to enable it to implement EPWP in a consistent manner in all three spheres of government.
The Bill should make it possible for the Minister and the department to implement a uniform standard of policies for how beneficiaries of the EPWP programme at all the three spheres of government. The Minister must ensure that EPWP as a part of safety net for the historically disadvantaged majority who have no qualifications or skills must have a standard policy on how government employs or selects these beneficiaries from municipalities, provincial government, as well as the national government. The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure has adopted the report and hope that the National Assembly adopts this report and its recommendations are implemented.
Ndza khensa, Mutshamaxitulu wa Yindlu. Loko ndzi nga si tshama ehansi, Mutshamaxitulu wa Yindlu ...
... let me address two important issues, those that are in red and their girlfriends in blue lampoons themselves and coming to this podium and ... [Inaudible.] our people. Chair of the session, EPWP is a programme to alleviate poverty. It’s a programme to assist those that cannot be employed. Those that are employable in the sector of society should use this programme to gain employment and make sure that they get salaries. Those that comes here and firstly rejects the programme, and when they end they say “these people must be employed permanently” they do not know what they are talking about.
The ANC-led government has a programme on sustainable jobs’ creation. The ANC-led government understands that there should be a buffer to make that those that are poor and unemployed and the working class gets something on a daily basis. We cannot allow those that want to use sloganeering to lampoon our people. Long live to EPWP!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you very much, House Chair. I move:
That this Report be adopted by the House.
Declarations of vote made on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Inkatha Freedom Party, Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party, Good, National Freedom Party and African National Congress.
Motion agreed to (Economic Freedom Fighters, Freedom Front Plus and National Freedom Party dissenting).
Report accordingly adopted.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members, that concludes the business for the day and the House is adjourned.
The House adjourned at 16:16.