Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 01 Sep 2022
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2022
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THEFT AND VANDALISM OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE.
(Subject for Debate)
Mr M J CUTHBERT: [Laughter.] ... Nice to see you, Mr Mbuyane. I’m glad you are sitting in front so that you can have a good listen. Hon House Chairperson, the DA requested this debate because our economy is being held hostage by criminal syndicates who have damaged, stripped and stolen our public infrastructure. Our substations, railways and cables are disappearing at an alarming rate.
According to Transnet, the theft of copper cables and rail stock has increased by 177% over the past five years. The theft and vandalism of our public infrastructure has a direct cost of R7 billion on state-owned entities such as Eskom, Prasa and Transnet. The total economic impact has been said to cost our economy R187 billion on an annual basis. Compounded by the fact that government’s infrastructure spending has declined by a whopping 29% or the R82 billion since 2016. Our infrastructure is being stolen faster than it can be replaced.
These have all occurred within the context of a low growth economy that is hamstrung by energy insecurity, rigid labor laws and protectionism. No matter what kind of demand side measures government could put in place, economies do not grow without critical network infrastructure. The question then is, where has national government been while our country has been under siege? The answer House Chair is, nowhere. At the same time the South Africans have had to endure extended power outages and the inability to trade their goods and services as well as limited opportunity to get to their jobs because the trains just don’t work.
Well, there are pockets of excellence within the South African Police Service who have done their utmost to fight this war.
They remain under-resourced and unable to implement the law of the land. Minister Cele has left them in the lurch. In contrast, the DA in Parliament and its governments have been actively working to come up with solutions to address this issue. In May of this year we publicly released our plan to fight the theft and vandalism of our infrastructure in which we called our national government to consider and cost the following proposals: Proper implementation of the secondhand goods law; making this kind of theft a priority crime at the Saps; creating a specialised Saps unit; setting copper theft reduction targets at parastatals; close co-operation between law enforcement and metal recyclers to assist in the tracking of illicit traded metals; empowering the Nonferrous Theft Combatting Committee to legislation and its own dedicated budget; establishing a reward hotline; eradicating the backlog of scrap dealer licenses; multiagency co-operation and standardised transaction recording of scrap metal sales.
We also raise these very same solutions in the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Budget Vote which took place later that month. This was reacted, however, in typical hemp festive fashion by Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel. In August he released a draft trade directive advising that he intended to ban the export to scrap metal for a period of six months alongside a series of other measures which he copied and pasted from the DA’s playbook. However, the proposed ban incorrectly diagnosis the problem and punishes legitimate metal recyclers and waste pickers.
Scrap metal exports have largely been limited over the past five years due to the introduction of the price preference system as well as the export tax. With the 74% drop in ferrous scrap and a 92% drop in copper scrap exports over the past ten years. However, in the same period, unrefined copper or blister copper exports have increased from 0,5% of exports to 76% of export volume. The general copper exports have fallen from 93% of exports to 23% of export volume. The government may have also missed this fact that 99% of the copper scrap exports are in fact brass which is not even used in cabling.
The previous three months’ ban instituted by government did little to prevent the theft and vandalism of our public infrastructure and only ended up in job losses and economic hardship for those in the downstream steel industry. However, Minister Patel denies this fact and is more interested in protecting the oligarchs in upstream steel who are funded by the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, Nonferrous Theft Combatting Committee, given tariff protection from ... [Inaudible.] ... and allowed to dictate government policy to him. The reality is that if this ban is allowed to go ahead, not only will we continue to suffer at the hands of criminals, looting, stripping and stealing our infrastructure, but we will incur a further economic loss of R15 billion in exports over a period of six months.
What we need is a well-equipped Saps to investigate these crimes, a purpose-driven NPA to prosecute these crimes and the necessary political will from government to support their efforts. We must safeguard our infrastructure in order to grow our economy. I thank you.
Ms J HERMANS: Without infrastructure we do not have a country, we do not have an economy and we do not have a future. As a country we generally have better developed infrastructure such as roads, educational institutions and health facilities but investments being key economic infrastructure such as energy have lacked far behind the domestic demand.
In addition to this, the bulk of the existing infrastructure such as roads, railways and courts need sizeable investment on maintenance and upgrading.
In its 2022 policy document, the ANC states that in implementing its transformational agenda it aims to I quote:
“Speed up economic transformation by fast-tracking the development of entrepreneurs, small medium entities including large scale infrastructure development and enhancing the capacity of the state to intervene in key sectors of the economy in pursuit of inclusive economic growth and development, employment creation and broad base empowerment.”
This evidence of the important role of public infrastructure in achieving economic growth and transformation. The importance of investment in infrastructure and socio economic advancement of a nation cannot be over emphasized.
Insufficient or poor infrastructure limits citizens’ access to markets as well as livelihood opportunities and services such as clean water, education, health, transport and communication.
According to an international labour organisation report, although infrastructure is the development not identified as a direct development millennium goal target or indicator, without it, many of the targets will not be met and that sustainable infrastructure is not only an essential part in improving the livelihoods of the poor but it also provides opportunities for creating jobs during development, operation and maintenance.
The ANC through economic reconstruction and recovery plan correctly identifies infrastructure investment as a key driver of economic growth. It therefore follows that infrastructure development is a prerequisite for poverty alleviation and employment creation.
With this understanding, a well-developed infrastructure ensures better living conditions for the general population and improves the competitiveness of private businesses. It is through well-developed infrastructure that the private sector is creating jobs.
Economic theory ...[Inaudible.] ... database on the problem but the available information suggests that the value of material stolen was around R2 billion in 2020.
The cost in terms of repairs to infrastructure and interrupted services was close to R10 billion which inhibit economic growth and service delivery. In other words, the cost of this therefore comes at the expense of the already constraint fiscus we should use for other social spending priorities to cushion the poor and the most vulnerable in our country.
Transnet reported that the length of cable stolen from its lines rows six fold from 2017 to 2021. The amount of cable stolen crime from a 120 to 724km. The number of incidents increased from 1 500 to 4 500 in the same period.
Prasa also saw soaring costs from cable theft in the past two years. Looting of its urban commuter lines including extensive cable theft, prolonged closure of the central line in Cape Town and the delayed the restoration of other services after the initial Covid-19 lockdown in March and April 2020.
In February 2022 Prasa’s services remained at around 16% capacity. It lost another R200 million from associated commercial reigns. In addition, it estimated that closures cost its employees around R400 million in foregone wages in 2021 alone.
The sharp reduction in Prasa’s services affects the working class adversely by increasing the cost of commuting and reducing the reliability of trains.
Prasa estimated that taxis charge around 2,5 times the rate of rail fare. That figure aligns with findings from Statistics South Africa land transport survey.
Assuming that all of the customers would not take ... [Inaudible.] ... following the lockdown ended up in taxis and the commuting cost increased by around R1,5 billion a year. If they stay with Prasa they endured more delays around half of them to cable theft.
If workers ended up arriving late at work, they would get lower pay or even face disciplinary action. The employers lost from the production. The evidence demonstrates cable theft has had adverse impact on the poor and the working class. We have the responsibility to protect these important strata.
Scrap copper is of an important input in the manufacturing of copper products in part because it is easier to refine and cheaper than raw copper.
Around 2010, criminals and associated dealers diverted a growing share in illegal export. The practice has effectively limited access for local manufacturers and raised costs. This is an important factor behind the decline in copper manufacturing in the past five years which has translated in the loss of jobs and decreasing of our manufacturing base and capacity.
Our infrastructure is expected to create sufficient impetus for local industries to produce imports. This is essential for our developmental trajectory and industrialisation efforts. We therefore have a critical responsibility of protecting our infrastructure as acritical base for industrialisation and the development of local content and production.
We have to work towards developing the capacity of our industrial state owned development institutions which should provide a large quantum of less ... [Inaudible.] ...for industrial development. This industrial development must be met with the protection of our existing infrastructure and the investment in additional infrastructure to improve efficiencies and create sustainable jobs.
This is imperative within the perspective of building a developmental state of leading a process of structural economic transformation by developing the productive forces of our country.
Our efforts of building a capable developmental state will all be in vain if we do not protect our infrastructure and industries.
We also call on National Treasury to increase the budget for law enforcement, budget costs are proving to be a huge impediment to development and fighting crime.
It is implicit for the DA to argue that these are simply law enforcement issues. There many interrelated challenges that have to be attended to.
It starts with imposing limitations on the export of scrap metal to reduce demand and amongst others the need for our law enforcement to be well resourced.
The temporary ban on the export of scrap metal is an offense against the sabotage of our economy and securing the future of generations to come. The ANC is unapologetic about this. Thank you Chairperson.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you hon member. Hon Stubble? May members who join in late on the platform please ensure that you have muted.
Mr D J STUBBE: I am muted Chair.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Stubble, we have been disturbed by you this whole time. I did not want to disturb the speaker to talk to you hence I am calling out your name.
Mr D J STUBBE: Chair my speaker is on mute.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Even now as you speak it is on mute? Please switch off.
Mr D J STUBBE: I unmuted now and I will mute it again.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay, it’s fine Stubble, just check and ensure you do not do that again.
Mr D J STUBBE: I never did that.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Brink, this is your opportunity.
Mr C BRINK: Hon members, imagine having to survive a car crash, only to be robbed and then beaten up. And you will have a rough idea of the state of municipal water and electricity infrastructure. Not only are most of the network components, the feeder cables, the transformers, the sub stations, the pumps and the pipes operated decades out of life cycle, they have been ground down year after year by the neglect of repairs and maintenance, by the load of illegal connections, and the super charged wear and tear of Eskom, load shedding.
So when these cable thieves strip copper, or whatever metal they can find from municipal installations, they are striking at a system that is already beyond fragile. And, it has serious implications for communities because tax payers’ money is being spent to repair the damage and to secure the infrastructure instead of upgrading services and investing in making municipalities independent of Eskom. The good news is that if we care enough about this problem, about service delivery in the communities, and the economic wellbeing, then something can be done to ward off this criminal assault on our services.
But no, it is not mainly to be a solution of trade policy, Minister Patel. It is mainly going to be a solution of law enforcement. Unfortunately, the SA Police Service do often treats cable theft as if it were a private security matter. Leaving municipalities to solve on these crimes on their own. And South Africa’s best municipalities have taken up the challenge. We have got a lot to learn from them. In Cape Town there is a dedicated anti cable theft and vandalism unit. In addition to the work of this unit, Cape Town is spending
R40 million in this financial year just to secure credible infrastructure.
In Johannesburg, city power is spending a R100 million for the same purpose. In Midvaal, drones are being used to secure and patrol power lines. And in Tshwane, off road vehicles are being deployed. But as successful and necessary as these measures are, they can only be a stop gap measure for the failure of the national government. Municipalities do not have a big enough slice of the national tax revenue for them to carry the full burden of the police work. I am sorry, burning the exports of scrap metal is not going to help. It’s going to be just as effective as burning rotisserie chicken to stop the spread of COVID-19.
How ... [Inaudible.] ... will this burn stop copper from being stolen for the purposes of illegal connections. Illegal connection is the business that happens in our own communities. It doesn’t happen overseas, necessarily. And so we have entire communities where the full supply of electricity today is from illegal connections, and they become no go areas for municipal debt collectors. To illustrate how prolific this culture of criminality has become, consider that in the City of Tshwane, ANC ward councillors are actively discouraging residents from paying their municipal bills.
Perhaps the sub text is that if they can’t govern the city, nobody will.
What is needed is a Cabinet that cares enough to make the following critical decisions: The clear cable theft and vandalism a priority crime. Establish a dedicated unit like the one in Cape Town at national policing level. Work with legitimate metal recyclers to isolate the illicit traders. Assist with the employment of security at vandalism hotspots.
This is what a DA government would have done, but you can do it too. And we don’t mind if you take the credit. You can copy and paste. Just copy and paste the right stuff. What is needed is critical decisions to secure the supply of water, electricity and sanitation to communities. And if the national government doesn’t want to make these decisions, then devolve the funding and the functions to the provinces in municipalities who can. I thank you.
Ms A M SIWISA: House Chairperson, allow us to give proper context to the debate before the House. The Minister of Water and Sanitation launched some sort of awareness campaign against vandalism of water and infrastructure, together with the City of Cape Town. And there is a programme to take this campaign across the Western Cape. The campaign was launched with some misguided thinking that vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure is the major problem in the delivery of basic services, and this is not true.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation must go to Madibeng Ward
27 near Elandsdrift and Sibange’s interwaste on Ludorf Drive.
People have been living there without water since 1994. There is a water pipe that moves between mines interwaste sight and Eskom plant, but people who do not have water. We have water
to wash chrome and waste but the people of Madibeng Ward 27 do not have water. So when they try and connect pipes to this main pipe, it is not vandalism, it is an act of desperation.
An EFF ward councillor, Fighter Moshikoane Samuel must use his own bakkie and money and time to try and deliver water to the elderly who should have water in their yards.
Go to Ward 1 Lekoteemaneng in the North West. People of Boitumelong live in running sewage spillage because of poor infrastructure that the ANC government has failed to maintain. People open their own front doors and walk straight into sewage spillage. Children are sick and the whole place smells like a toilet. Tebogo Komane, an EFF councillor, who lives in the same sewage spillage infested community, spends every day chasing municipal officials to come and unblock this sewage.
When people try to address these problems on their own is not vandalism, they are just tired.
Go to Polokwane Ward 10, just outside Seshego, people live there without water every day. They have to rely on the few households with boreholes. Elderly people are pushing wheelbarrows to go and buy water every day. In fact, the whole of Limpopo Province must be declared an area facing water
crisis. People in Musina, Thulamela, Leboakgomo, Nkowankowa, Bela-Bela, Mogalakwena, and many other areas do not have water and drink water with animals.
The ANC corrupt and incompetent government failed to maintain infrastructure that was built by the apartheid and Bantustan government. But we are told that Diepdrift ... [Inaudible.]
... Bela-Bela also known as Phala Phala Wildlife farm has interrupted water supply for the ... [Inaudible.] ... and money launderers who have world class sanitation. In Elias Motsoaledi Ward 8, 21 and 30, their boreholes are installed there causing the municipality millions. Our people know that there are boreholes. There is water. They must wait for the water canals to benefit corrupt municipal officials who are failing to give our people permanent solution.
The reality is that water and sanitation infrastructure is broken and does not exist and never existed. The economic impact spoken about is disingenuous. The problem is that you want to wash chrome, smell ... [Inaudible.] ... supply water to luxury resorts and water the golf courses when our people do not have water to drink. To allow infrastructure to deteriorate and collapse and then turn around and cry vandalism and theft is disingenuous.
South Africa has a booming scrap metal industry based purely on criminal activities, and the ANC government is a beneficiary of this crime. Now this is the proper context. So we are not defending criminals, but criminals are stealing rot and dry pipes. Now let’s deal quickly with what must be done. Number one, we need a detailed, credible and thorough audit of all water and sanitation infrastructure, including infrastructure that is privately owned. Number two, we need to conduct a detailed, credible and thorough skills audit and identify gaps. We need to work with institutions of higher learning, particularly TVET to come up with clear plans to build capacity. Number three, government must abolish all tenders related to water supply by trucks with immediate effect and begin a process to open existing boreholes. Where there are no boreholes, trucks that deliver water must be municipal trucks. Number four and last, all municipalities must do a detailed audit of households of people living with disability, the elderly, and ensure that by the end of this year they all have water in their yards. All EFF councillors are already working on this list. Thank you, House Chair.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Thank, Madam Chairperson, to paraphrase the economist and public policy analyst Professor Joseph Sturgills:
an economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year is no more likely to do well over a long-haul of opportunities continue to shrink whilst inequality rises.
The IFP is in support of this key issue being debated here today. It is an issue that is of national importance and it affects its citizens in various degrees. Infrastructure is vital to developing countries such as ours. It provides us with the ability to be mobile, to positively build further upon our economies and most importantly, provide a tangible legacy for the future generation to inherit, build upon and improve. Infrastructure is the bedrock of any ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Sorry, hon Majozi. Hon Van Schalkwyk! Hon Van Schalkwyk Sharome, please mute. Next time that happens, I will be throwing you out. Proceed, hon Majozi.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Thank you, hon Chairperson, we have more than 30km of rail networks, largest in Africa. Yet, this network is under assault by criminal syndicates and is being systematically destroyed whilst government continues to take little to no action to protect it. Our infrastructure assets set us apart from many countries in Sub Saharan Africa and should provide us with a competitive advantage over alternative nation state in the region and continent. Yet, it’s costing us. Copper theft alone during 2020 to 2021 cost the country R45 billion. This is money that could have gone towards failing the health care system, education and developing and further infrastructure, such as rail network and road.
Transnet, Eskom and Telkom have said that metal theft cost them billions a year. All this money being lost while we continue to struggle to economically recover from a two year COVID-19 pandemic. We are being economically cut off at the knees of our failing public infrastructure
U-Metro rail no Shosholoza mail basetshenziswa abantu abaningi lapha eMzantsi Afrika, kodwa abantu bagcina sebegibela
izimoto, amabhasi namabhanoyi abizayo. Amabhasi ahamba amabanga amade, amabhasi afana notranslux kanye noGreyhound. Amabhasi ayahlaselwa futhi adutshulwe zinsuku zonke emizileni phakathi kweGauteng neMpumalanga Kapa nakhona eNtshonalanga Kapa. Yiziphi ezinye izindlela zokuhamba abantu abangazisebenzisa? Nalapho umuntu athenge ithikithi lenyanga yonke noma leviki lonke ngoba ezitshela ukuthi uzogibela isitimela zinsuku zonke kepha kugcine esechithekelwe yimali kungenzeki lokho ebekuhlosile. Kwesinye isikhathi u-Metro Rail angahambi noma angafiki.
The Gauteng Transport Authority reported rail infrastructure damages of over R170 million in 2020. Chairperson, 80% of these provinces rail stations now are ruined, such thefts and vandalism of public infrastructure is tantamount to treason. That is a sabotage of our society and our economy. This issue will not be resolved by an outright ban of scrap metal alone. We need to regulate the scrap metal industry. We need society wide efforts and sufficient law enforcement capacity to work together in preventing vandalism and theft of infrastructure. We need a society to play a key role in reporting these crimes to the relevant authorities and to the police. Criminals
continue to act with impunity. They are all aware that we don’t have policing capacity to stop them. We need to change this narrative and capacitated our law enforcement but nothing will change unless or until we stand together as one nation and declare war in the criminality that if left unchecked will consume us as a country. Thank you, Chairperson.
Mr F J MULDER: Thank you, hon House Chair, hon Minister, members, hon House Chair, the Department of Industry and Trade and Competition gazetted the draft policy proposals to regulate and restrict the trade of our scrap metal with all good intentions but ...[Inaudible.] ... not even make a dent in the high levels of thefts and the detrimental of vandalism in the public infrastructure. President Ramaphosa promised in 2022 state of the nation address to take all growing instances of criminality in the scrap metal value chain, particularly with copper theft and other materials stolen from public infrastructure. Theft of copper and other metals hit South Africa’s infrastructure hard, leading to extended power disruptions in neighbourhoods and industries and even toppling the entire real waste systems for months on end. Copper theft from the country’s real network and electricity grids alone
carried an annual economic cost exceeding R45 billion in 2020 and 2021. Cost arising from the theft of steel and other metals is also serious with a damage from stolen steel latexes alone estimated at R100 million in the 2020-21 financial year and as with cable theft. The destruction of pylons and other supports for transmission can lead to widespread loss of electricity.
Hon House Chair, the mere fact that stolen copper, steel and other metals go through several processes and are merely exported cross-border as scrap metals posing huge and enormous challenge to the country because of the fact that scrap metal is a legitimate trade in the country, making it difficult to track the illegitimate trades and exports. Criminals are easily able to conduct their black market business because it’s cheap to import furnaces to transform metals and therefore there is no formal permits for registered trader regime in place to identify the legitimate sellers from the doggy ones. The department’s proposed policy measures on its own cannot be the only solutions and it will most certainly have unfortunate, unintended consequences.
The imposing of a six-month ban on the export of metal from South Africa will have a negative similar effect than the radical trade restrictions imposed by the Minister during the earlier levels of COVID 19 lockdown period. If compared to the drug trade as well as diamond trade, the scrap metal is indeed a sort of the commodity and if trade is restricted the demand will increase causing criminals to revert to innovative ways.
The FF Plus welcomes the proposed development of a permit system for the import of furnaces and other scrap transformation machines and the creation of registration regime for scrap metal sellers with enhanced transformation machines as well as the creation of registration regime for scrap metals. Hon House Chairperson, South Africa is desperately in need of effective moral regeneration program that can be implemented in every single school, every single state department in all three spheres of government. The eradication of corruption and safety is now most necessary than ever. This drive should be supported by an effective crime intelligence network and that, Madam Chair, is not possible without political will. In conclusion, House Chair, South Africa needs a new government of the 2024 with a
political will to rectify the state of affairs. Thank you, Chair.
Rev K R J MESHOE: House Chairperson, one of the areas where the government has failed in its main responsibilities after failing to ensure that South Africans live in peace. Safety and security is in the creation, maintenance and protection of public infrastructure. Cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure are estimated to cost our economy a massive R187 billion a year. Had government protected our copper cable network and our railways against thieves and vandals, none of this would have happened. Now, because of their neglect a few isolated “izinyoka” have now become sophisticated well-armed syndicates. It is alleged that there are saboteurs at Eskom who create loadshedding on purpose. There’s evidence of three incidences that happened in May this year. Hendrina had essential copper parts removed from three of its units. An air pipe and cables were cut off at Tukuka and there was a failed attempt to stop a unit at Matla, working. We have read reports that each day of stage 6 loadshedding it costs our economy at least R4 billion. According to FNB senior economist Thanda Sithole loadshedding could steal up to 1,5% from our GDP.
It is estimated that damage done to what used to be the best rail network on the African continent will cost at least
R4 billion to fix. Commuters who once relied on trains that were much cheaper mode of transport, now have to use taxis that are much more expensive. Corporates that are no longer able to transport goods by rail must pay more for trucks, which are often targeted by arsonists. In 2022, hon members, we should be building new infrastructure not having to reconstruct what has been burned down, destroyed or vandalised. We should be attracting tourists and even investments instead of making our business people wonder if they should sell their factories and assets and relocate to Brazil or any other country.
The 2 million that were made jobless by last year’s riots should be submitting their tax returns instead of hoping for social relief grants. Our municipalities should be rolling basic services to new areas instead of having to fix vandalised water and sanitation infrastructure to prevent unnecessary sewage spills and water outages.
Our schools should be establishing computer laboratories, and developing sports fields to grow the leaders of tomorrow instead of replacing smashed windows and fixing broken fences.
We appeal to the government; we appeal to ANC to take their job of protecting our infrastructure seriously if we want to see the economy of this country grow. Thank you.
Mnu N L S KWANKWA: Sihlalo weNdlu, siqhwayela emva oku kweenkukhu ngenxa yokuba ezi siseko bezikhona ngaphambili nezi zikhoyo ngoku sizimosha ngokwethu.
I cannot understand for the life of me ...
... ukuba njani abantu bakuthi bakwazi ukwakha izindlu phezu komzila kaloliwe apha eKapa baze baphinde bakhalaze kungekudala benze loo nto ...
... that they do not have modes of transport to work.
Bakhala ngokuba xa besiya edolophini kufuneka bafole kwimigca emide ezirenkini zeeteksi. Kwezi renki zeeteksi kuphinda kubekho uqhushululu kube kusiliwa. Into ebalulekileyo kukuba abantu bakuthi sibafundise ukuba iziseko ezakhiwe ngeemali zerhafu ngurhulumente zezabo. Kufunuka siyitshabalalise ingqondo ethi iziseko zezikarhulumente ngoko singenza unothanda ngazo. Kufuneka siyithethe inyaniso xa sizinkokeli.
Bekukho abantu ebebetshisa amatanki amanzi, iiJojo besenza itoyi-toyi, kungantsuku zatywala, bafuna umasipala ukuba abathengele loo matanki. Sisigezo eso. Kufuneka siyithethe nje phandle loo nto.
You know, we forfeit the right to call ourselves leaders if we cannot tell our people the truth whether they will elect us or not. I do not care whether our people elect us in 2024 but the bottom line we must tell them the truth and correct them when there is a need to do so.
Iziseko zoMzantsi zazimoshwa ngabantu aba bethu ...
... long before there was any influence from outside and other criminals.
Zibiwa sithi kwaye zimoshwa sithi.
In Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipalities there may be thousand cases of vandalism, theft and destruction of infrastructure.
Zindawo zethu ezo kodwa sizimosha siphinde sikhalazele ukuba asinazo izixhobo zokuxela ulwaphulo-mthetho.
In other communities they vandalise substations and then blame Eskom for not having electricity ...
... kufuneke thina siphinde size, sibe siteketa ebantwini.
In addition to the fact is that government can do better. The fact of the matter is that most of the infrastructure that we have in the townships we vandalise it ourselves.
Bendibabuza eNyanga abahlali ukuba bebephi na abantu ngeli xesha oonqalintloko bebesomba apha kuba kaloku isikhululo sikaloliwe sikufutshane ezindlwini. Ndibuza ukuba baphi ngeli xesha kubiwa ezi ntambo.
Where were you? It is your community.
Abantu bayadlula bemosha bakugqiba bakhalaze ngomso babe bengayilungisi ngokwabo.
I want to make this point about The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa. I was told recently by someone who works for Prasa that ...
... la mapolisa agada phaya ngabona bantu basebenzisana nezikrelemnqa ekubiweni kweziseko baphinde bazenze ingathi abayazi loo nto.
It is a problem that we need to fix it. The task team that we have established recently Minister, should look at this in a broader sense and make sure that we throw the book to the people who vandalise our infrastructure because ...
... babuyisela uphuhliso umva.
Let alone that we build infrastructure in my village and two years down the line there is no water but the infrastructure is there. When you come to the state of the nation address you claim to have connected people to water and site millions here. Thank you.
Dr A LOTRIET: Hon House Chairperson, I did not want to interrupt the speaker but the interpretation services are not working.
Mr N L S KWANKWA: Chair, I do not mind doing the full interpretation of the full speech from here.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, no we do not do that. Anyway, please check for us there on what is happening on that side. We are supposed to have interpretation. Please. No, the infrastructure in this building is tops.
Mr B N HERRON: Hon Chairperson, a few weeks ago I met an unemployed group of Manenberg community who instead of just sitting around has taken upon themselves to convert an informal dumpsite in a neighbourhood into a clean landscape area where children can play. Right next to the dumpsite area is an overgrown area that used to be a play park. The swings, slides and jungle gym have been stolen by so-called recyclers and Cape Town council has given up on the project. So, despite what we are here for there is no sign that their metal theft unit is having any impact anywhere in the Cape Flats.
Recyclers have also incidentally stripped the wiring from many street lights in the vicinity, plunging areas that are notorious for gangsterism into darkness at night. Across the country precious infrastructure from electric wirings and fittings to fencing, railings and anything metallic has been vandalised, stripped or stolen by criminals and sold to scrap merchants. It affects every structure in our communities and society including the national electricity grid.
While this has been the major focus on government’s underperformance and corruption over the past 10 or 12 years, too little attention has been paid to those steadily eroding that which the state does or has delivered in the past. Take Eskom for example, while the intermittent blackout the country has been suffering from for more than a decade, it is largely due to maladministration and mismanagement. The company is also plagued by vandalism, the theft of its resources and possibly sabotage which appears powerless to stop.
The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele recently said he is surprised by the level of criminality endured by some of our power stations. Stories of higher ranking staff having to hire
personal security for their families and missing barrels containing thousands of litres of fuel. With respect the Minister should not be surprised. Signs of vandalism and theft of our infrastructure are all around us.
According to the mining sector which is the foundation of our economy, billions of Rand have been lost due to vandalism of the rail infrastructure. Money like that should be creating jobs, strengthening the South African economy, reinvested into communities, roads, schools and dreams. The impunity of vandals and thieves matches that of the white collar criminals occupying state and private sector offices.
The absence of the functional criminal justice system is holding South Africa’s development back in a myriad of ways. We must prioritise the protection of that which we have because it is a foundation on which we can build a more just society. We must invest in internal corruption initiatives, resource the security rail infrastructure and arrest the illegal recyclers who are sabotaging our progress. Without this intervention, we will lose what lesser we have left.
Thank you, Chair.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon Chairperson, we must agree, all of us, within different political parties, different stakeholders in the economy, government, particularly the citizens of South Africa that the destruction of the public infrastructure cannot be tolerated in South Africa. The figures are reported to be in billions of Rand that are lost annually crippling the efforts of government and progression of democracy economy any further. Theft and destruction of the public infrastructure reportedly cost Eskom, Prasa, Transnet and Telkom, alone in an estimated R7 billion in direct loss.
Hon Chairperson, we cannot agree that the banning of the scrap metal merchants will solve the problems. I think what we should be banning is the export of stolen illegal scrap metals. How do you do that? First of all, you need to identify those that are buying these because there is a market for it in South Africa, Chairperson. That is the reason why people are stealing it. They were not going to steal it if there was no market for it to buy. So, we need the law enforcement authorities to be able to deal with this timeously.
Now, they cannot, at the same time Chairperson, do this on their own. We must appreciate and understand that this theft of cables, copper and scrap metal is conducted by people from within our communities. More importantly, those criminals are protected from people of our community. Now, the community must come together with the law enforcement and all the stakeholders to be able to fight this fight. Otherwise, we are not going to achieve this.
You know Chairperson, it is easy to come here and attack the law enforcement, attack the government and attack this one and that one. The fact of the matter is, the relevant department cannot protecting the infrastructure all the time. The law enforcement cannot be all over at the same time. But, whatever is happening, it is happening in full view of the members of the community and they are doing very little or nothing about it.
If you look at the case of the theft and destruction of property, particularly Siphiwe Mngadi, the former Prasa employee who was caught in possession of 12 rolls of copper, approximately 192Kg. Now, why are these people doing this, Chairperson? It is because there is a conducive environment.
We are living in a state of lawlessness where people believe that the criminal justice system they will be able to get away with it and that is the reason. These are the very same people that steal these things are arrested, Chairperson. The Legal Aid that you and I are taxpayers will have to pay for the very same people that get representation. So, I think we need to deal with the market that exists. [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Thank you very much, Chairperson. The cost of essential infrastructure crimes to the country’s economy and our everyday lives is well documented, and unsteady power supply brings the country’s economy to a halt, traffic piles, trains stop working, taps run dry, small businesses struggle, and subsequently, the shops, committees are left in the dark and criminal opportunities increases. In responding on this parliamentary debate on the economic impact of theft and vandalism of public infrastructure, I want to state categorically that, the law enforcement of this country has accelerated its work in tracking down and finding individuals or syndicates responsible for essential infrastructure crimes.
In his address to the nation on the energy crisis, His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, confessed his concern over the criminal activities that are affecting the performance in some of the country’s power plants such as the Thuthuka Power Station in Mpumalanga. The government is firm on its position that, these criminal activities playing out in our power stations by the deliberate acts of sabotage, will be brought to an end. Well-organised syndicates are hell-bent on destroying the utility, and also damaging the country’s economy in committing these crimes.
The government is alive to the fact that, the protection of critical infrastructure does require focus and co-ordinated response from us. We simply won’t sit back and let criminals attempt to run a parallel government that threatens to plunge this country into darkness if our resources and destroyed essential infrastructure are critical for our country to function. In response to a direct assault to our critical infrastructure, the government has established specialised multidisciplinary units to address the economic sabotage and other related crimes such as extortion on construction sites and vandalism of public infrastructure.
Furthermore, there are active partnerships between SA Police Service, SAPS, in collaboration with key stakeholders from law enforcement in both the private and public sectors. It is through such partnership that tireless work is being done to deal decisively with the theft of infrastructural metal and other essential infrastructure. Plainly, the country’s law enforcement is working hand in glove with stakeholders, some outside the public sector to protect the country’s vulnerable infrastructure. On an instruction of the National Commissioner of the SA Police, Gen Masemola, the SAPS established multidisciplinary Economic Infrastructure Task Teams, EITTs, which are made up of different specialised units in partnership with private security, government departments as well as business partners.
The mass collaboration work includes operational divisions within SAPS, namely, crime intelligence, detectives, forensic directorate, private crime investigation, as well as border and rapid raid police units. Moreover, this includes the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, the International Trade and Administration Commission, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the SA Revenue Service, SARS. We are responding,
and adding to the collaborative mix are state-owned entities, namely, Transnet, Prasa, Eskom and Telkom.
By the end of May 2022, Economic Infrastructure Task Teams, EITTs, across all nine provinces were operational within identified district per province. The Economic Infrastructure Task Teams are tackling theft of copper and aluminium, destruction of infrastructure related to the transport energy, water sanitation and communication, high plant fuel theft, extortion on construction and other economic sites and illegal mining. These task teams have hit the ground running, when intelligence gathering and analysis remained one of the key operational approach. This is evident in some early successes since inception.
This includes the recovery of stolen property, and the significant arrest of suspects in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, for the alleged rules in the theft of copper and other field property. This includes an arrest of a man in Gauteng in Elandsfontein area, found with R10 million worth of Telkom property on 8 July. The operational successes in this regard includes an incident in Phola in Mpumalanga Province, where 10 suspects were caught in
the act, while tempering with the Transnet pipeline in stealing fuel.
In the Western Cape, detectives from Hawks arrested four suspects in charges of fraud and theft, in connection of Eskom copper cables in the Overberg town of Bredasdorp. The stolen cable is worth R300 000 were found in the possession of performer Eskom employee who worked as a senior supervisor in charge of the Bredasdorp customer network. Criminal investigation revealed that cable has been stolen from the centre and suspects started selling them since 2021. These are just some of the many successes that are as direct results of collaborative effort amongst various roleplayers.
We are aware that copper cable theft is not unique to our country. This crime is emerging as an international phenomenon which in our case is costing the country extensive laws, revenue and production. It is estimated that cable theft costs the South African economy between R5 billion and R7 billion a year. To this end, that assures an increase in the nonferrous metals related crime. In the last financial year, the National Prosecuting Authority obtained 393 convictions from 210
verdict cases, recording 91,9% conviction rate in capable theft matters.
It is in this Administration that the Nonferrous Metals Crime Combating Committee, NFMCCC, has been established. This committee s responding directly to the high incidents of theft and damage of nonferrous metals and essential infrastructure. The Nonferrous Metals Crime Combating Committee, NFMCCC, at national level, is responsible to provide strategic direction and co-ordination, and monitor the implementation of joint measures to address nonferrous metals and essential infrastructure related crimes. It is through this Nonferrous Metals Crime Combating Committee that perpetrators operating at the local, regional and national level, are being found and brought to book.
Some of these arrests includes in-house security officers collaborating with contractors as well as foreign nationals linked to the contractors, commit these crimes. Collaborating law enforcement operations led by the police are resulting in the recovery of nonferrous metals, mostly, copper and aluminium, in this regard. Hon Chairperson, please allow me to
explain that, a total of R6 023 arrests were made from essential infrastructure from the previous year.
The majority of the arrests took place in Gauteng with 1 995, in the Western Cape 1 040 arrests were made, in Mpumalanga Province 736 and in KwaZulu-Natal, 504. Due to efforts, attention and resources out into the critical infrastructure crimes, the conviction rate of these are improving. These are some examples of tougher sentences in pools on the critical infrastructure. One accused in KwaZulu-Natal was given 26 years for stealing copper. So, the government is really responding on this matter.
Another five accused in KwaZulu-Natal each got 10 years imprisonment for stealing copper. Two accused in Gauteng got
15 years and 12 years each, therefore, anybody who says that the government is not responding in such matters is not telling the truth. They better seek information and thereafter come and talk here, not before one acquires information about this matter, because the state is really responding. These are the sentences that are given to perpetrators, maybe before there were no sentences, but now the system is now taking the
matter very serious. I think that we should be appreciative of that.
In closing, I am saying that, this cannot only be the matter of the law enforcement and the courts only, communities must be invited to play a vital role, because these crimes happen where they are, and sometimes the community members encourages such to happen, by opening and becoming part of the market for stolen goods to be sold and all that. So, communities must be mobilised; there must be social mobilisation in communities so that they can own up to their infrastructure, their train lines, trains and other things that helps the community.
So, instead of scoring some points, we rather mobilise communities to work with us. The law enforcement and courts should do their work, but all the members here should gather communities to work with them to mobilise against the vandalism. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Minister. May I check with the Table staff, are you logged on to the virtual? We need to have it, because even members that are in the platform they sometimes raise their hands. So, we
need something that you can log into in order for us to be able to identify their hands. Hon members on the virtual platform, I heard that you had problems with the cutting to the feet. Are you okay now? Anyone can respond.
Mr W T LETSIE: We are okay. We did not have a problem. We can hear.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay. Thank you very much.
Mr W T LETSIE: I think it is hon C J.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, Ntate Letsie.
Mr W T LETSIE: Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): We proceed now to hon Jafta.
Mr S M JAFTA: Hon House Chair, in order to fully understand the far reaching spin offs of vandalism and theft of public infrastructure, it is important to highlight the significance of public infrastructure to our economy. The President’s 2022 state of the nation address is quite helpful in this regard. The President stated the following in his Sona address:
Infrastructure is central to our economic reconstruction and recovery. Through innovative funding and improved technical capabilities, we have prioritised infrastructure projects to support economic growth and better livelihoods, especially in energy, roads and water management.
Hon House Chair, it is common course that the cost to the economy caused by acts of vandalism and theft are hefty. Even reply to our part two; a parliamentary question, two years ago. The Minister of Transport revealed that R173 million was lost annually in the Gauteng Province to acts of vandalism of the railway infrastructure. This is massive hon House Chair.
Government’s good intentions to accelerate infrastructure investment which is the backbone of a thriving economy will
remain hollow if there is no concerted effort to deal with acts of economic sabotage.
Hon House Chair, two years ago we learnt through a parliamentary question that the vandalism of public schools resulted in the signing of a protocol on school ‘safety between the South African Police Service and the Department of Basic Education. This must be welcomed. We also of the view that special the purpose vehicle muted by the President in his Sona address early this year, to deliver school education infrastructure must not only involve prominent development finance institutions and the private sector, but also the police service.
We have to rally all the role players behind the common goal of thwarting acts of economic sabotage. I thank you hon House Chair.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, infrastructure harm is a legacy of apartheid. And the creatures of apartheid represented in the Sixth Parliament. An example is the asbestos bulk water supply to villages all over South Africa,
including Bushbuckridge, 68 km long, so water is poisoned by asbestos before it reaches the tapes.
Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga Province was part of the Kruger National Park, is now home to the Minister of Justice, the Chair of Water and Sanitation.
The Deputy President during his term as premier of the province had installed stand pipes and water meters in thousands of backyards but this was no avail as the stand pipes are still dry since 2018. This is because of vandalism of infrastructure, water theft, wasteful expenditure and unlawfully making millions from the water, by water entrepreneurs from the Sabie River.
The damage to state infrastructure during apartheid and now under democratic system is indeed a matter of national importance. An example of how our most vulnerable and indecent service in the rural areas continue to deny the poor the right to electricity and water.
Several Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements some ... [Inaudible.] ... metro has
faced stage zero, but the plight of rural citizens means nothing to them.
President Ramaphosa also intervene by ... [Inaudible.] ... when I contacted him about day zero in the city of Cape Town. But the Presidency has failed to do anything about day zero in the rural areas like Bushbuckridge.
I went to do oversight in Bushbuckridge last week ... [Inaudible.] ... suffers because of day zero and water ... [Inaudible.] ... despite the abundancy of water in the Sabie River.
We have a situation hon House Chair, where everyone in Bushbuckridge is harming our infrastructure. No one is left out of my investigation. Everyone does it, they harm the infrastructure and speakers before says this is treason, criminal and economic sabotage.
So, we would like to thank the Minister for the conviction for infrastructure crimes and Al Jama ah congratulation ... but in Bushbuckridge it is a drop in the ocean. The magistrate scrap off the role all cases because of the lack of the bylaws
according to the Municipal Manager officer of the Bushbuckridge municipality.
We had a meeting with the children, the teenagers and they said look they don’t want to follow the example of their parents, their chiefs, their leaders and they don’t want to be part of harming the infrastructure. That infrastructure must first of all be repaired, there must be water in thousands of stand pipes, and that is what they want and they cannot sit back and see this criminal activity that is being conducted by every household in Bushbuckridge under the eyes of Ministers and senior officials. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Mr G K Y CACHALIA: House Chairperson, the problem is the theft of our infrastructure by criminals and syndicates. Even the the SACP’s provincial secretary in the Western Cape says:
Complacency in the media and among communities, and the lackadaisical approach to protecting our infrastructure by government and municipal entities, has resulted in cable and copper theft becoming a multinational criminal endeavour. What was once a petty criminal act committed on an individual level
has burgeoned into a lucrative international organised crime enterprise.
What does this tell us? It says, this is the result of criminal behaviour, the absence of proper policing, and community complicity in the turning of a blind eye to what goes on.
The impact is massive financial loss to the economy, of around
R187 billion a year. It affects our electricity supply and our rail and freight operations and the ongoing impact of this criminal activity is palpable.
The responsibility lies on the shoulders of an inept government whose failed policies and inability to fix the problems they have created has resulted in yet another broken string to their bent bow which compounds the woes of our failing economy and the provision of public goods like electricity and transport.
In societies that have more solid institutions and where the poor have not been marginalised to the extent they have been here, the responsibility lies in enforcement and zero-tolerance of such rampant criminality.
But alas, we have become the perverse laboratory which develops the rules and practice of internal colonialism of a very special type. One that fosters its own elites and facilitates the short term accumulation and extraction of ill-gotten gains, aided by an inept and often corrupt police service and a government that colludes with big business at the expense of those barely eking a living.
But like all things, there is a solution, except it won’t be fixed by policies which say ... [Interjection.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Cachalia, please take your sit. Why are you raising you hand, hon member?
Ms J TSHABALALA: Thank you so much, House Chair ... [Interjection.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Can you stand please.
Ms J TSHABALALA: I’m saying, thank you so much House Chair, I want to find out, would the member on the podium take a question? So he tells us what happened to Da Gama in Johannesburg?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, no you don’t do that, you don’t ask the question like that. You have to ask first. Hon Cachalia, are going to take a question?
Mr G K Y CACHALIA: After 2024.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Proceed hon Cachalia.
Mr G K Y CACHALIA: But like all things, there is a solution, except it won’t be fixed by policies which say: if it moves, tax it; if you can’t solve it, ban it, whether it be cigarettes, rotisserie chickens or open-toed shoes under COVID or the export of scrap metal now.
It ignores the fact that recycling metal directly boosts the economy. The metal recycling industry needs people to drop off the scrap, collect and sort it, recycle it, cut it, package it and ship it, accessing forex. By creating more jobs, more people get paid, meaning there is more money to be shared around, thus boosting the economy.
At a high level, enforcement and restriction of a criminal syndicate activity in this manner that won’t destroy an industry is the solution that allows the invisible hand to find equilibrium while enforcement and intelligence does what is required, that, and the measures we proposed in May this year.
What is not needed is the dead hand of state intervention which like the ill-fated bans on cigarettes only served to fuel criminality and local mafias. Remember also who benefitted!
Mark my words, this six-month ban will morph, as the COVID-19 regulations did into repeated protectionist fests.
So ask yourself: What stands the way of a sustainable solution? The answer lies in the ejection of this government and its daft, dangerous and debilitating regulations and policies.
Now, come, come Minister and the various handmaidens and supplicants drop the Soviet regulations and bans, you cannot cover ineptitude by shutting the door after the horse has bolted, you need to bridle and tame the horse. It’s about sustainability and not suffocation.
And, the truth lies in levels of crime. Get a grip on it and do it now, for our sake, for the economy sake and even for your sake.
The MINISTER OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND COMPETITION: Hon House
Chair, today’s debate has highlighted a serious national problem and it has offered a number of proposed solutions. There is an agreement by all speakers on both sides of the House who took part in the debate as South Africa faces a serious problem from the theft of metal and the associated impairment and destruction of infrastructure. We agree with each other on that.
The theft of scrap metal, particularly copper cables, imposes costs far beyond the actual value of the material taken. This cost, mostly in the form of disruption to rail transport and electricity, effectively cut production and inhibit economic growth and service delivery. In fact, we asked a team of researchers to put together some data on the extent of the damage, and R47 billion annually is the estimate that the research agency Genesis Analytics provides based solely on the economic cost as a result of damage to Transnet, Eskom and
Prasa’s infrastructure and the reduced output of the mining industry. This excludes the damage that is caused in many other parts of the economy and to the lives of ordinary South Africans. An amount of R47 billion every year equals to
R130 million every single day.
The damage to state infrastructure is deeply compromising energy. It compromises transport and economic growth and job creation. Hon Herman provided details on the extent of the damage to public infrastructure covering precisely this area. She spoke about the Prasa experience in the Western Cape and the impact it has had on ordinary commuters and workers of the public. It painted a stark picture of the costs that arise from those who vandalise and loot our public infrastructure.
Hon members, I attended an event earlier today where Google and government announced the completion of a massive undersea cable system that will provide South Africa with faster, cheaper and better access to the internet. It is the largest undersea cable connecting us with the rest of the world and will enhance our capacity across a range of digital products from phone calls and video conferencing to financial transactions, movies and music, WhatsApp messages and email,
web searches and downloading of documents. It will support the expansion of businesses that rely on digital services like call centres, digital technical units and many others.
The reason I mention this is because to unlock the full potential of the Equiano cable we need to have a functioning infrastructure that connects the landing point in Melkbosstrand with homes, work places, parliamentary offices and various ways in places where ordinary South Africans access the digital world. Criminal syndicates who plunder our infrastructure to extract copper or mental for on sale undermine those efforts. That is why we need to act.
In the course of a discussion with both the CEOs of Openserve and Telkom this morning the sheer size of theft was again highlighted to me. Telkom reported that more than R1,5 billion has been spent by them alone on theft prevention and other measures over the last five years. That is not a cost for the balance sheet of Telkom, that is a cost that ordinary South Africans pay, small businesses pay, entrepreneurs pay and young people who are seeking to access the internet pay.
The second point that has come from the debate is reflections on the causes of theft and vandalism, and there were a number of points of view. Many members pointed out the criminal syndicates who use sophisticated methods to incentivise often desperate people to break up our infrastructure, to break in to a school just to get that window frame in order to sell it. I agree with those members.
Hon Cuthbert, Brink and Cachalia draw attention to the challenge of theft and what they would regard as inadequate policing. I should know that policing has been considerably stepped up as the evidence provided to the portfolio committee has shown. We provided the portfolio committee with information from independent sources from the media showing police raid after raid at scrapyards and people in possession of copper. We showed arrest after arrest, including photos of people in handcuffs. We showed a number of instances the co- ordination within the police and between police and private security agencies. Policing has been stepped up as my colleague, Minister Cele, has pointed out. He provided details of how the police have reorganised its internal work to enhance its effectiveness and he pointed to the very large
numbers of arrests that have been made. He drew attention to the tough sentencing imposed by the courts.
While effective policing and criminal prosecution is always a critical part of any solution, I would advise hon members to consider the evidence. The sheer size of public infrastructure, community infrastructure and infrastructure that belongs to every South African makes 24 hour policing and physical security of each potential metal or copper cable site impractical. There is 600 000km of rail, telephone and electricity lines in South Africa. There are hundreds of thousands of additional physical sites ranging from electricity substations to schools, clinics, traffic lights and even pothole covers. In these circumstances it is not possible to police every square metre. So, we need to seek a smart system to defeat the scrap metal looters.
The plan involves a shift from seeking to have a police or security official at every location and every meter to focusing on the logistics and distribution networks to disrupt the criminal syndicates. These include measures focused on ports of exit, the use of cash in transactions and requiring
traders to maintain registers of who they buy from and who they sell to.
The research we commissioned went one step further. We spoke to independent researchers to look at the evidence and tell us how better we can enhance what we are doing. They drew attention to the high demand for scrap metal based on high prices and they said that that’s the attraction. We have to try and do something to that. The measures to restrict scrap metal exports for a limited period is intended to reduce demand. It is the simple economics of demand and supply.
Hon Cuthbert raised the concern that the measures proposed are based on lobbying by local foundries and steel mini mills. I would like to advice hon Cuthbert that the metal industry does not need these measures as there are effective industrial support measures in place through an export tax on scrap metal and a price preference system that requires scrap collectors to offer these to the domestic industry purse. So, this helps with the one challenge that we had in the past which is the availability of scrap. However, what it does not do is address the theft of scrap metal, and that is what we are seeking to do. I would urge hon Cuthbert to avoid becoming the
spokesperson of the scrap metal looters and the scrap exporting illegals. I know that he knows better. Join us, hon Cuthbert, if you have sensible proposals we have an open mind because we wish to solve the problem.
The third area we looked at is reflections by hon members on appropriate measures to address the challenge of the theft of metal and copper cables. Many ideas have been put forward and we have done research following the discussions within government. Based on all the information before us and relying on a range of advice, researchers, public officials, the police, infrastructure providers and the private sector, taking all of this into account, our officials developed a range of measures. Hon Hermans summed them up very well. They are published in the government gazette, we can make copies available and they are also available on our website.
We went one step further and looked on international experience and what other countries are doing to deal with this kind of problem. We found a range of measures that have been used in different countries. Based on all of this we identified a package of measures. Hon Majozi, hon Hermans and a number of other speakers will be delighted to hear that
their proposals are consistent with the measures that have been gazetted for public comment. As an immediate step a careful blend of measures that can be implemented without delay have been put forward. They include five measures.
First, reduce demand by imposing a temporary prohibition on the export of waste and scrap metal. Second, facilitate policing by developing a system to make it easier through focusing on export permit for semi-finished metal products. Third, the creation of import permit system for furnaces and other scrap transformation machines. Fourth, limiting export permits for semi-finished products to businesses that manufacture semi-finished products. Fifth, stepping up policing through the kind of measures that Minister Cele put to the House.
In the second phase a new system that is being developed will be implemented. This includes measures aimed at enhancing registration, reporting and enforcement of metal trading. It may, in addition, include additional measures set out in the gazette, including limitation on ports that may be used for exporting waste scrap and semi-finished metal and policy co- ordination between South Africa and various regional bodies.
We have already started those discussions with Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
In the third phase measures will be considered that they may require legislative changes. These include a possible prohibition on using cash in any transaction involving scrap waste semi-finished metal and possibly a special Act of Parliament or change to existing Acts to deal with the metal scrap industry.
Hon Jafta quoted the words of President Ramaphosa relevant to this debate earlier. I would like to add one more quote. In February President Ramaphosa announced, in the state of the nation address, a range of measures to drive economic growth. He said, among others, and I quote: “The damage caused by the theft of scrap metal and cable in our infrastructure like electricity trains and other vital services is enormous. We will take decisive steps this year, both through improved law enforcement and by considering further measures to address the sale or export of such scrap metal.” This indicates delivery. This state of the nation address indicates what we will do and buckle down to identify the measures that will be required.
The carefully considered package that was developed is now available for public comment. When we have received the public comment and have evaluated it we will take it back to Cabinet and put forward a final proposal which, if agreed, will then be implemented.
I know, hon members, that it is easy sometimes to perpetuate politics as usual with point scoring and petty politics, with false diagnosis and simplistic proposals. There is an alternative to that. There is an alternative that is available to all hon members and the majority of hon members who have spoken have embraced that approach. It is about an alternative range of measures that are thoughtful, rational, evidence based and are effective. The measures that have been put on the table goes a long way to addressing the concerns that hon members have raised with the challenges that theft, looting and damage to public infrastructure creates. I would urge the House to support these measures and propose any changes that may be required. We will be evaluating the changes that South Africans have put forward to ask for consideration and then we will act. On that basis we hope we can make the difference that our people demand, that will create jobs, that will grow
the economy and that will enhance service delivery. I thank you.
CONSIDERATION OF PERFORMERS’ PROTECTION AMENDMENT BILL AND REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY THEREON
CONSIDERATION OF COPYRIGHT AMENDMENT BILL AND REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY THEREON
Ms J HERMANS: Thank you, House Chairperson. The Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition recommends that the House adopts these two reports. And that the House approves the Second Reading of the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers Protection Amendment Bill.
The Copyright Amendment Bill seeks to modernise the Copyright Act of 1978 given the technological changes, the rebalance rights between copyright authors and owners and to formalise
collective management of rights as well as to promote a fairer balance between the commercial rights of copyrights owners and the right to access works by users particularly creating new exceptions to allow the making of accessible formats of copyright protected works for people with disabilities.
The Copyright Amendment Bill also introduces the artist’s resale right which allows artist to earn a portion of the value of the ongoing commercials, sale of their art for a permissible period of time. This allows them to benefit from any accrual of their works as art often becomes more valuable as the artist reputation grows over their lifetime and for over 50-years after their death.
The Performers Protection Amendment Bill seeks to modernise the Performers Protection Act of 1967 and re-emphasises the economic and moral rights of performers in sound recordings as well as in audio visual fixations such as homes or television, TV, series in alignment with the and world intellectual property organisation performance, WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and the Beijing Treaties on Audio Visual performances
Furthermore, the Bill seeks to address the plight of performers whose performances in audio visual fixations are often rebroadcasted, reproduced and used in other formats without any economic benefits to the actors. The Bill will therefore give them a legal standing to negotiate royalties and other equitable remuneration for the use of their fixed performances. It also allows them to object to the manner in which their performances in their audio visual fixations or sound recordings are modified if this is prejudicial to their reputation and or dignity.
In the absence of these amendments, many works and performances fixed in the sound recordings or in audio visual fixations available in digital format or digital platforms are currently not protected or inadequately protected by the Copyright law of South Africa which leaves the copyright owners and performers open to exploitation without recourse.
In addition, the Bill seek to domesticate international copyright treaties namely, the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, WIPO, the Beijing Treaty on Audio-visual Performances, WIPO Performances and Phonograms
Treaty, Marrakesh VIP Treaty, to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise printers abled to enable South Africa to accede to this.
The Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers Protection Amendment Bill were introduced to Parliament in 2016 and 2017. Respectively, the Bills have been approved by both Houses and sent to the President for ascent in 2019. However, the President referred the Bills back to the National Assembly in June 2020, with making reservations on the constitutionality of the Bills in that it may not pass constitutional master and may therefore be vulnerable to constitutional challenges. So the committee after a process then reopened areas affected by the abovementioned reservation for public comment. As my time closes, I wish for the House to support these Bills for adoption. Thank you very much, House Chair.
Declaration of vote:
Mr D W M MACPHERSON: Thank you, House Chairperson. It’s clear from the outset that these Bills have battled with challenges since its inception and introduction into the then Portfolio
Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition in the 5th Parliament. Notwithstanding the process undertaken by the 5th Parliament to deal with the Bills and the reservations expressed by the President. It seems that Parliament and the current Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition has been unwilling and unable to effectively deal with the complex issues that continue to persist within the Bill.
It is common cause that there is an outside influence over the Bill by special interest, Big Tech pressure groups within South Africa that have a narrow focus on the Bill instead of a holistic, overarching perspective which would be more than helpful.
The parliamentary committee has made again the fatal mistake of wanting to rush through this Bill in attempt to be seen to be delivering something that South Africans apparently want. It would seem that history continues to repeat itself in the committee in that due process in the formulation of legislation is sacrificed at the altar of expediency.
The DA has at all-times attempted to act in good faith, negotiate where possible and even meet the governing party
Members of Parliament, MPs, on a bilateral basis in an attempt to forge a way forward. This willingness to resolve a legislative legacy problem seems to have been abused by some in the committee, which is regrettable.
It is further worrying to note the lack of courage and internal fortitude showed by some members in the governing party, hon Committee Chairperson in being able to stand up to the bulldozing tactics by some of your own members in your party in an attempt to ram a politically fatally flawed Bill through.
Our concerns continue to be the lack of clarity regarding and detailed ... [Inaudible.] ... for phase one and two. Although a regulatory impact assessment is not required for such a far reaching Bill one could have and should have been done. The continued overreliance by the department on a specific group of academics who are stakeholders in the Bill. Withholding of communication by stakeholders through the Chairperson with respect to the Bill was only released after the close by voting, hon Herman.
The inability of the committee to make submissions on options regarding section 203(3) of the Joint Rules. This was left to be made by a snap decision on the manner and that was to reject the Bill. The near total rejection of the Bill in its current form by the nearly ... [Inaudible.] ... bodies in various industries and the outsourcing of responsibilities to the National Council of Provinces with respect to material changes required to the Bill. The committee simple doesn’t want to do its job and wants to ask the NCOP to do the job that they are paid to do.
In conclusion, it is clear that the majority in the committee have taken the view to ignore the very real concerns expressed by other MPs, stakeholders, academics and lawyers in an attempt to get the Bill out of the way. They are captured by big business and by oversees American Tech, it’s funny because the ANC keep telling how much they hate the West and they jump when oversees business say how high. This is nothing other than a deliration of duty. And Minister, I hope you ask hon Hermans about what I am talking about because it important.
Because it’s going to end up in the Constitutional Court and you are going to have to spend public money defending this
nonsense and you going loose on that. there is nothing other than a dereliction of their duty and one that opens this Bill constitutional attack when it comes before the court. The DA rejects both reports. Thank you very much.
Mr A MATUMBA: Chairperson, the EFF rejects the Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill in its current form. The Bill that was returned two years ago had some very important parts that would have led multinational companies like Soni and Gala Music to release the rights of the actors’ music that has actually got them through exploitation.
All that was left to be done was for the President to sign the Bill and the President and the white monopoly capital servant reversed it and proposed the removal of the expropriation clause and directed the committee to revise the Bill.
All this time, the creatives were given an impression that they considered their genuine concerns. They were actually being considered, but it turned out that profiteering was the
main concern. The concern is not that the creatives are suffering; it is that their intellectual work has been stolen and they die without a cent next to their names and we can name a few. You know them.
The Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, on the other side, does not support the establishment of the collecting agency for the actors, so that they are paid in perpetuity, when their material is being repeated on radio and TV and other areas, instead of being paid once.
Now, actors cannot continue to die in poverty. The provision should have been made in this Bill for actors to earn royalties when the episodes of series are broadcasted repeatedly and when the shows are shot and sold in other territories.
The ANC cadres in the committee bulldozed and used their majority to sell out. And I want to say categorically that they have robbed the actors of their original material and they condemn them into poverty and dying as “popas”. I want
put is right now that the actors have been sold out. Their material that they developed way back started with the multinational companies and this Bill did not support that. So, through the committee of the ANC bulldozing us, they have actually approved that.
So, the EFF will always be on the side of the exploited and it will continue to fight for the actors and the rights of the actors, so that they are paid their royalties. I want to put it out there and say to the actors and to the arts that we have fought and tried to convince our colleagues that you are dying and the many multinational companies have taken your work. Our colleagues here on the ANC side have sold out. They are saying that you are not going to get that. There is Bongani Fassie and other people of which ... You also have other groups like Trompies and all of that.
Their rights are with Soni and Gala. They are actually being used all the time and they are making money, but the artists are languishing in poverty. They are dying as “popas”, but here the ANC has rejected that. They say that that is not going to happen. The President has rejected the Bill and said
that the artists’ material must be with the multinational companies. They have sold out. We have tried. We are going to put them on the stage. I thank you.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Chairperson, both the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill serve critical purposes and there has been a long delay in finalising it. These Bills have been a grave injustice. The Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, which seeks to protect performers’ moral and economic rights, serves an important objective, which the IFP strongly supports.
However, the important objective of this Bill has undeniably been delayed by ...[Inaudible.] The IFP has previously stressed the importance of the Copyright Amendment Bill, striking a fine balance between protecting creatives and ensuring that researchers and the public, especially vulnerable members of our society are not burdened in accessing creative works.
We also however strongly support the principle that legislation should provide legal certainty, especially in this highly complex field of intellectual property. We do not wish the Copyright Amendment Bill to be further tangled in court cases, prolonging the lack of such legal certainty.
The IFP, in consideration of the report on both the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill and the Copyright Amendment Bill, supports that the report correctly reflects the deliberation on the Bill, following the President’s reservation on the Bill, which mostly related to the Copyright Amendment Bill. The IFP agrees that the substantial nature of the concern justified the republication of further amendments to the Bill.
The IFP furthermore agrees that the concern raised by the President that the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill potentially infringe the World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty, which South Africa was a signature of, was a key concern. Our laws must adhere to the basic protection provided by such treaties.
The IFP however again wishes to stress its deep concern that it took more than 14 months for the President to send the Bill back to Parliament, which is inapplicable. The IFP however shares the concern that the consultation period on the Copyright Amendment Bill and by extension, the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, was not adequate, considering the technical nature of the proposal.
The IFP agrees with the minority report that this might be an aspect that will be open for legal challenges. The President, in his reservations on the Copyright Amendment Bill, was specifically concerned about the adequacy of public participation on the fair use clause. And although, there were further calls for submission, we remain ... [Time expired.]
... indeed, had a real opportunity to apply their minds on the technical ideas, but reserves it concern on the adequacy of public consultation. Thank you.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon House Chair, members, of this specific copyright exceptions, explicitly mentioned as being of concern in the President’s referral-back, only six substantive changes that had not limit rights of copyright and moral rights made
it to the 2019 B-Bill. There were no changes to three topics in the 2019 B-Bill that are obvious mistakes in conceptualisation and drafting, namely the 25-year term limit on the assignment of copyright, literary and musical works, the provisions for the royalty resale right and the statuary licences for reproduction and translation, despite even the Ministers having raised the error, the concerned error, in the last two topics.
Therefore, the ...
... VF Plus is van die mening dat die voorlegging van die Wetsontwerp prematuur is en dat die werk van die komitee nie voltooid is nie. Die Wetsonwerp moet na die komitee terug verwys word en soos een van die vorige sprekers gesê het, dit is waarskynlik dat dit in die Grondwethof op sal opeindig. En die VF sal nie deel wees daarvan nie en die skuld hê om dit so te bewerkstellig nie. Die VF Plus verwerp dus beide Wetsontwerpe. Dankie.
Mr W M THRING: Hon House Chairperson, as we consider the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill and the Copyright Amendment Bill sent back to Parliament because of reservations by the President on its constitutionality and compliance with international treaties, the ACDP would like to place on record our appreciation for the tremendous amount of work done by the committee members, legal department and all committee officials involved.
These amendment Bills seek to modernise pour copyright and performance legislation as a template for standardisation in our region as well as to bring them in line with international treaties and best practices. They also seek to balance the right of the rights of the originators or artist with those of the users while simultaneously giving support to the creative and commercial success of South African art and artists. The ACDP however shares the concerns which have been raised by certain interest groups regarding the shortcomings of these Bills, which includes but not limited to the following, firstly the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, section 3(a) subsection 3(b) refers to equitable remuneration.
Understood internationally as referring to the mere right to
remuneration instead of exclusive rights, we believe that instead, reference should be made in the provision to appropriate remuneration and as well as the form that remuneration should take. Additionally, section 5 of the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill, referring to the downgrading of performers’ rights from exclusive to mere remuneration rights proposes levels of protection for certain performers rights which are less that the requirements of the Wipo Performances and Phonograms Treaty, WPPT, which South Africa intends to ratify.
On the Copyright Amendment Bill, the ACDP believes that the introduction of fair use as opposed to fair dealing could potentially plunge the South African online market for creative works into legal uncertainty, increasing the risks of litigation as well as creating entry barriers for new services and creators.
It must be remembered that in the United States of America, fair use has been developed over a period of a 150 years of jurisprudence, while South Africa does not have this case law history or experience. Finally, concerns were raised about the regulatory impact assessments that needs to be done and the
ACDP agrees that in the absence of an assessment on the economic impact of the Copyright Amendment Bill, this relates to a material deficiency in the legislative process. The ACDP does not support these amendment Bills. Thank you.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, creating generational wealth for the offspring of the artist seems to be missing and Al Jama-ah concurs with those political parties that has put the case for more public participation. I know the matter has been dragged but there is an office partly responsible for the delay. It is better that we do it right and that in the whole process we create generational wealth for the offspring of the artists. It cannot be that there must be more benefits for the users. Thank you very much.
Mr C N MALEMATJA: Thank you, Chair, colleagues, fellow South Africans. The ANC supports the adoption of the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill and the Copyright Amendment Bill. The adoption of the report is part of ANC’s efforts to provide support to the creative industry to ensure protection of artists and performers. The process for amendment of this Bill
started from Copyright Review Commission Report which examined in detail the workings and collections society that were establish in South Africa to license musical and literary works, some recordings and public edition to publicity of users to collect on behalf of the right of the owners the royalties payable by the user. It is important to give context how it started.
A major focus for ... [Inaudible.] works was to ascertain how it came that nine years after the incentive of the legislation in 2010, not a single cent has been paid as royalty to musicians and record companies. It concluded that the legislation which provided for the stationary licence in respect of ... [Inaudible.] ... time did not adequately protect the right owner whose right were made subject to the license. The commissioning of these copyright review was further to determine whether there are any benefit coming from the copyright based industry in South Africa.
The reason for commissioning these studies was solely based in the fact that South Africa want to exit to the treaty in the area of copyright. It found amongst other things, that South Africa should improve its internal copyright legislation as it
is over three decades old. The absence of data from Statistics SA is problematic, especially with the reliance of data from privately managed databases which may be misleading as this data has not been proven to be reliable. The treatment of intellectual protect as nonsector renders the recognition of copyright as a subsector of intellectual property nonexistent or sterile.
The adoption of the report will provide necessary protection to artists. We believe this will contribute to economic growth, job creation, respect for intellectual property as it contributes to the social good. The creation of new knowledge in the competitive economy is dependent to significant extension on the protection of the intellectual property.
Copyright law should be effective in promoting and encouraging the creation of investment in creative works. This is what the Bill is all about – about the people and the transmission of the society. Without the amendment to the legislation, if left as it is, as expected by the opposition, the legislation itself promotes our artist to be vulnerable to the exploitation of the record label who takes ownership of the intellectual property of artist.
Many artists have been denied all which is due to them as a result of our history and currently they continue to be slaves of these record labels and multinational entity who rake millions of rands from the talents of our artists. The essence therefore in this Bill is to protect the Artists and reverse the injustice. The people of South Africa must note that there are some people amongst us here, who at behest of the monopoly capital, are responsible for the crisis of the social reproduction. They wish our artists, who are mainly black people in general, and Africans in particular should continue dying poor.
As the ANC we cannot allow few people to get rich at the expense of the vast majority of our people. We are in the struggle to transform lives of all South Africans, not to serve at the behest of the already empowered. Intellectual property has to be at the direct benefit of the people as a whole, including Ringo Madlingozi.
Some people wanted to ... [Inaudible.] ... while they were only enjoyed on the focus of reservation of the President in Rule 203 of the Rules of Parliament, which we believe you have done successfully. They wished us to redo the whole process
and redraft the entire Bill for the purpose of delaying the Bill. You know, times are gone where in the olden days where you will have only Oom Hans singing Die Kaapse dans as if we don’t have our musicians who will sing Bump Jive and our Bump Jive didn’t get recognised. It is important to highlight how these Bills contribute towards the development of creativity for the artists as it allowed a little bit to be used for the purposes of entertainment for the greater good of society, for the broader benefit of the South African economy.
Most importantly, This Bill cater for the disabled and visually impaired, allowing for the production of certain literary works to be produced without undue expensive costs to them. We believe that we have struck a reasonable balance between the two aspects, ensuring that publication of education literary work was not putting up barriers for universities, schools and people with disabilities.
While we have done the work, we should be glad that those who have done the work well get remunerated very fairly. We have applied our minds; we have made the decision that the Bill elevate the privilege over the less privileged. As the ANC we
therefore support the adoption of this Bill. Kuphelile [I am done], Chair. Awuzwe ke! [Just listen!]. Thank you very much
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): For the benefit of the young parliamentarians ... Order, hon members! For the benefit of the young parliamentarians, I think some of the jives should be demonstrated at the podium because they might not be well conversant with them. I now recognised the hon the Chief Whip of the Majority Party.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party moved: That the Reports be adopted and that the Bills be passed.
Question put: That the Report and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill be passed.
The House divided.
RESUMPTION AT 16:15
Vote accordingly agreed to.
CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR PERMISSION IN TERMS OF RULE 286(4)(C) TO INQUIRE INTO AMENDING OTHER PROVISIONS OF ELECTORAL ACT, 1998 (ACT NO 73 OF 1998)
Mr M S CHABANE: House Chair and hon members, I wish to table before this House the Interim Report of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs Electoral Amendment Bill, [B 1 – 2022]. On 11 June 2020, in the matter of the New Nation Movement and Others versus the President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, the Constitutional Court declared the Electoral Act, Act 73 of 1998 unconstitutional, to the extent that is required that other citizens may not may be elected to the National Assembly and their provincial legislature only through the membership of their political parties.
This declaration unconstitutionally was held to be prospective from 11 June 2020, but its operation was suspended for 24 months to allow Parliament to remedy the defect in the act, giving rise to its constitutionality. The defect was meant to
be corrected by 10 June 2022. On 10 January 2022, in order to address this Constitutional Court judgment, and allow for independent candidates to stand for election, the Minister of Home Affairs introduced into Parliament the Electoral Amendment Bill [B 1 – 2022], which was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs for processing.
The Bill as introduced, proposed to insert certain definition consequential to expand of the act to include independent candidate, as contestant to the election in National Assembly in the provincial legislature. Provide for the nomination of the independent candidates to contest election in the National Assembly and provincial legislature. Any objection to such nominations and the procedure to follow on noncompliance with nomination of independent candidates. Provide for the requirements and qualification which must be met by a person who wishes to be registered as an independent candidate.
Provide for inspection of copies of lists of independent candidates and accompanying documents. Provide for the inclusion of the list of independent candidates entitled to contest elections. Provide that independent candidates are bound by the Electoral Code of Conduct. Provide for the return
of a deposit to independent candidates in certain circumstances.
On 8 February 2022, the Minister of Home Affairs briefed the Committee on the content of the Bill. On 21 January 2022, the Bill was published for public comments. The committee received written submissions in response to the call for comments and on 01 and 02 March, the committee held visual public hearings for oral submissions and conducted provincial public hearing in all nine provinces from 07 to 23 March 2022.
Due to the extensive public participation process which the committee undertook and the complexity of the Bill, the committee foresaw that, it was not going to meet the Constitutional Court deadline on 10 June 2022 to finalize the processing of the Bill. Parliament thus far, prior to the expiry of the deadline approved the Constitutional Court to request an extension period of six months in order to finalize the Bill. The Constitutional Court has granted an extension until 10 December 2022 to complete the processing of the Bill.
Emanating from the public submissions received, and pursuant to its deliberations, the committee has identified certain
other sections of the Electoral Act, Act 73 of 1998 which requires an amendment as well as subject, which the introduced version of the Bill does not address. In terms of the National Assembly Rules, Rule 286(4)(b) and Rule 286(4)(c), the committee therefore seeks the assembly’s permission to amend this other section of the act, as well as extend the subject of the Bill to include amongst others the following:
The insertion of the definition, persons to mean natural persons. Amend section 27(2)(c)(a) of the Bill to provide that a declaration must be signed by a duly authorised representative of the party, confirming that each candidate appearing on the party provisional list of candidates, is registered to vote within the province in which the elections will take place. Amend section 31(a) of the Bill to allow the independent candidates to contest more than one region for a seat in the National Assembly. Amend section 31(b)(3)(a) of the Bill, to provide that a completed prescribed form must be attached to the nomination of independent candidates, confirming that a candidate has submitted names, identity number, signatures of voters who support the candidates, totalling at least 30% of the ... [Inaudible] ... for a seat.
The removal of the words “if any” from section 31(3)(b) of the Bill to make it clear to make it clear that a deposit will be required for independent candidates too.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D NTOMBELA): Thank you very much hon Chabane.
Mr M S CHABANE: In light of the constitutional duty placed for Parliament to facilitate public involvement in legislation, I refer you to the case of Truworths versus Minister of Trade and Industry ...[Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D NTOMBELA): Hon Chabane, thank you very much.
Mr M S CHABANE: The portfolio committee requests the House to accede this request. Thank you.
Permission accordingly granted to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to inquire into amending other provisions of
Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No 73 of 1998) in terms of Rule 286(4)(c).
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY ON FUEL PRICE INCREASES
Mr S LUZIPO: Thank you, hon House Chair and hon members. I think the first thing is to do what someone once said when he was giving congratulations. From me, on behalf of myself and I, congratulations to the South African Parliament for getting an eighth consecutive clean audit.
The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy tables the report on fuel price increases for adoption by this Assembly. This is a process that started as early as April 2021, March 2022 and the last being 1 April 2022. It had engaged with different stakeholders to look into the issue of fuel price increases following the growing domestic pressures against fuel price increases and their impact on the poor, the working class, as well as the broader South African economy.
Obviously, the purpose of engaging stakeholders was that it was important for the committee to get insights into the
impact of the exponential price increases, and subsequently devote its time to exploring the alternatives available, which could make an intervention possible in order to mitigate fuel price increases.
Such engagements on fuel price increases needed to be comprehensive, as we believe that it is not a matter of one size fits all. It is on that basis that, as Members of Parliament, it does not necessarily mean that by our position and occupation we possess natural wisdom. We have to engage with others that can assist in addressing a matter that we believe is a matter of national interest, if not already a global crisis.
Some of the concerns that were raised were about the fuel price increases, as well as refinery capacity issues. Amongst others, consultation processes were with a number of entities, including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the National Treasury, as well as the role-players in the energy space, particularly in oil and gas.
Therefore, it is important to note that whilst there would have been different recommendations made, some of the observations that were made, although nonexhaustive, are: That
geopolitics and South Africa’s reliance on imported crude oil was a real security threat; that for now ... at that time, obviously not now, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine would not have had a significant impact but that did not guarantee the future; that even though the Moerane Commission had made strides for South Africa to be self-sufficient, some of its recommendations have not found expression and been implemented; and that upgrading existing refineries to meet the cleaner fuel standards was often cited as a challenge by companies in the refining sector, arguing that upgrading would not be economically viable.
Therefore, it’s also important to note that the domestic aspects, which are your taxes and levies, were built in a structure of fuel prices that could make current and urgent relief as far as prices are concerned. Therefore, National Treasury had indicated that taxes and fuel levies accounted for 30%.
The following recommendations were made: The need for National Treasury as well as the Department of Mineral Resources to address the matter of tax exemption; the need for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, and Treasury to
look at the Road Accident Fund’s, RAF’s, location; the need to expedite the issue of illuminating paraffin and energy, as well as the 15% premium on freight; and lastly, that a business case of various options be explored, including upgrading existing refineries, building mega refineries ... [Inaudible.] I place the report for adoption by the House. [Time expired.]
Declaration(s) of vote:
Mr K J MILEHAM: Sorry, House Chair, I’ve just lost my place here. Just give me one second. I apologise.
House Chairperson, there can be no question that the illegal Russian invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory and the subsequent loss of life, infrastructure and economy have had a massive impact on global energy security, and more specifically, on fuel prices. We have had at least two debates of national importance brought to this House by the DA on the matter of fuel price increases. We have heard Minister Mantashe and Minister Godongwana make promises regarding a review of the fuel pricing model, which they have failed to deliver on. However, it is the impact that fuel prices have on the cost of living that is the biggest consequence. Every
aspect of daily life is affected, whether you are rich or poor, black or white, old or young. The cost of fuel affects transport, food prices, production costs and even the price of electricity.
It is for this reason that the DA put concrete proposals on the table to reduce the fuel price by as much as R9,00 per litre in order to ease the burden on economically challenged South Africans. These proposals included scrapping the general fuel levy, amending the RAF levy to give a tax rebate to road users who could provide valid third-party insurance for their vehicles, and introducing a Private Member’s Bill to deregulate the fuel price and allow increased competition in the fuel sector.
In March and April this year, the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy considered inputs from a number of stakeholders, including the department and various industry bodies. What was lacking however, was the voice of ordinary South Africans. It seems that it’s more important to hear what the fuel sector wants rather than what the people of our country so desperately need.
We heard suggestions about importing cheap Russian crude oil. Nothing came of that but that’s hardly surprising given that we have practically no refining capacity left in South Africa. We heard about proposals to build a mega refinery, blindly ignoring the fact that the much-haunted Saudi Aramco refinery that President Ramaphosa celebrated as part of his trillion- rand investment drive in 2018, has quietly slipped off the radar, and that five of South Africa’s six refineries have closed down, all because there is no longer a viable business case.
The committee noted that Eskom is using millions of litres of diesel monthly to minimise the impact of load shedding, and rightfully called for the fast-tracking of new generation capacity to reduce our reliance on expensive fossil fuels.
This report makes a number of other recommendations. They call on the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana to do what the DA has been saying all along. Introduce a tax holiday or exemption, and an exemption would be a far better option, on all petroleum products. Remove the RAF levy from the fuel price and fund it from elsewhere. Comprehensively review all
aspects of the fuel price structure, including the premiums on freight, Demurrage charges and storage costs.
Sadly, the limited tax holiday on the fuel price was the only step taken by the government and has now fallen away. There has been no movement on the other aspects proposed by the committee, and still the more than 30% of the fuel price that is made up of taxes continues to fund government corruption and maladministration.
In a country where consumer price inflation has hit a 13-year record high of 7,8% driven primarily by fuel and food price increases, the lack of action by government is nothing less than reprehensible. It cannot be that government Ministers, driven around in their fancy cars at taxpayers’ expense, are so insensitive to the fact that our people are suffering and cannot afford the ever-increasing cost of living. It cannot be that in the six months since Ministers Mantashe and Godongwana were first alerted to the need for a review of the fuel pricing model, nothing has been accomplished. This is indicative of a government that doesn’t care. The DA supports this report.
Ms P MADOKWE: House Chairperson, we can all agree that fuel hikes in the previous months have not only dealt a blow to peoples’ pockets, but have left a trail of devastations and despair to all in the country especially the poorest of the poor. As we all know, every South African even before the fuel hikes could barely make ends meet and were barely ... [Recording stopped.] ... by the threat. Fuel hikes are not affecting car owners or those who use transport, but the poorest of the poor when prices of basic items such as cooking oil and paraffin shot sky-high. Families who are given only R350 per month by this government find themselves almost paying almost R90,00 for a mere 2l of cooking oil. So are the students who receive the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, allowances ranging only from R290 to just above R1000,00, while some have sent appeals month in and month out and are still yet to receive funding for the year 2022.
Chairperson, as we discuss in the House today, especially about fuel prices, we cannot stress it enough or avoid the fact that the ruling party drags South Africans into this chaos where we find ourselves in.
The government can blame global markets and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine all they want, but they cannot shy away from the fact that the rampant corruption and failure to produce solutions as less South Africans as vulnerable as they are today. We cannot shy away from the fact that in 2025 there was an attempt by thuggish officials in this department to secretly sell-off our strategic oil reserves for next to nothing. These are reserves that ought to be preserved with all we have especially because they are part of the very few things we can use as surety should there be a global crisis.
What is even more appalling was that our government was ready to sell-off our oil reserves for highly discounted prices with the intention of buying them back at a highly inflated prices. To date, not a single official involved has been arrested and held personally liable for the millions of rand taxpayers had to put when an attempt was made to reverse the sale. The Minister who preside over this catastrophe is still called hon to date instead of being held accountable.
As if that was not enough, this government as we sit here today is attempting to sell-off the same strategic fuel reserves we have fought to a nail to protect. Clearly, selling off the SA Airways, SAA, and destroying our state-owned
enterprises, SEOs, has not been enough. The rampant sale of our country and its sovereignty by this government rages on and by the time we wake up we will have no country to call our own once more.
Various recommendations have been made about fuel prices in this country. We do hope that the recommendations made by the report we are discussing today will not gather dust somewhere but it will be hastily implemented. This will include the protection of our strategic oil reserves.
The EFF therefore supports the portfolio committee’s report which amongst other things call for mechanisms to be developed to address fuel prices, review the ridiculous fuel price structure currently used, investment in the upstream petroleum industry, the consideration of the development of a mega finery, the urgent review of the country’s strategic stock policies and the need to strengthen trade among African countries. Thank you, Chair.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Chairperson, this report speaks to an issue that the IFP has raised constantly - the increases in fuel prices and the impact thereof on the economy as a matter of critical importance. The geopolitical instability in Europe
has had a knock-on effect disrupting both fuel prices and the supply chains. The impact of this on the South Africa citizens is intensified by the resulting increases in food prices and cost of living.
Absent from the report is a cognisance of the potential environmental consequences which could result from attempts to mitigate the impact of increases in the fuel price.
With regard to the recommendations on biofuel, it is important to note that much destruction of the rain forest in both Brazil and Asia are in part the results of the production of ethanol and palm oil for the creation of biopetrol and biodiesel. These green alternatives do have environmental consequences. The question we need to be asking when considering biofuels are, where will we grow the crops necessary for their production? What will be the environmental impacts of these new large agriculture be amidst food security crisis in our country? Can we justify using food crops for fuel? Again, environmental considerations must be made in relation to investment into upstream petroleum industry. The exploration required for the development of this industry can have high environmental costs.
Both recommendations on biofuels and the upstream petroleum are accepted on conditions that due diligence is paid to limiting negative environmental consequences both locally and inter nationally.
According to the report PetroSA is one of the key environment entities within the upstream petroleum industry. However, due to high level of retrenchments and the lack of resources, a capacity study as well as the capacity building measure should be put in place within the agency. This will ensure that investment into the industry can be effectively utilised and administered and will prevent a bottleneck which would discourage additional international investments.
Finally, with regards to reduced speed limits as an energy saving measure, we believe this is unreasonable as the speed of a car does not directly affect emission control. Thank you, Chairperson.
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Hon House Chair, this report clearly shows divergent opinions on how to reduce fuel prices. Should the
state levy imposed there be scrapped? But what will replace it? Should margins be left to the market? But how will that affect prices in remote areas and small businesses?
The report recommends several mechanisms to reduce fuel prices to be considered. They should be done. For immediate relief it would be nice if oil producing countries would stop making war, but this is a real world.
The rand/dollar exchange is more within our own control. But it reflects at the levels of trust in our economy. However, there are no signs that the government policies undermining exactly that trust. Exploiting domestic gas reserves may assist the trade balance but it will probably not influence the domestic price which is determined globally. If this gas veins are in ecologically vulnerable areas, the price may be too high.
To build new refinery capacity will require huge capital investment, which may never be recovered. As the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, were at the committee the only long-term solution is to electrify commuter
transport and use green hydrogen and heavy transport. But that is for long-term.
The Department of Science and Innovation expects this long- term to become everyday reality in the next decade. Refineries may take five decades to be paid off. By the time there would be probably too little demand to justify the facilities anymore. We should rather look after the facilities we still have very well.
What we can do in the short-term is to elect the government which will restore confidence in the economy. A strong rand will buy more fuel and an efficient government will need less tax. For the time being we are fuel hostages of the present government. The Freedom Front Plus supports the report. I thank you.
Mr W M THRING: House Chair, the ACDP supports this report and its recommendations after consultations we held with a wide range of stakeholders. The effects of reduced global supply chains and rapidly rising oil prices as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war has been felt across all economies. South
Africans, already struggling to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have had to endure shock increases in food and fuel prices. This has resulted in inflation breaching its targets in the past month – reaching record levels resulting in the Reserve Bank dramatically increasing repo rates.
The committee had after its 2021 engagements already advised the department to conduct a review on the basic fuel price including alternatives on domestic taxations and aspects of the fuel price structure. It’s a pity more attention wasn’t given then to this critical issue. It must be noted that this report is dated 2 April 2022 and much have changed since then.
The ACDP welcomes the temporal reduction in the general fuel levy of R1,50 per litre from 06 April 2022, until 31 May to provide limited short-term relieve to household from rising fuel prices following the Russian-Ukraine conflict. The relieve was extended to 06 July followed by a downturn adjustment to the relieve to 75 cent per litre until 02 August.
To question this, there was the largest ever petrol price increase of R2,57 per litre taking 95 octanes to a record of R26,74 in Gauteng. According to the latest statistics from the Central Energy Fund, it is expected that the fuel price will drop significantly in September 2022. However, it may take at least three months for consumers to feel the relieve in their pockets.
The ACDP has taken note of various recommendations set out in the report. The most significant relates to the Ministers of Mineral and Energy in collaboration with the Minister of Finance to develop mechanisms to address the fuel price increase and consider introducing a tax holiday exemption on all petroleum products. In addition, the Ministers should consider moving the Road Accident Fund levy from the fuel price as well as reviewing all aspects of the fuel price structure. The ACDP previously called on the Ministers of Finance and Mineral Resources and Energy to urgently review these aspects of fuel price as announced in the Budget Speech. Urgent interventions must be given and made to South Africans to bring relieve to our overburdened taxpayers. I thank you.
Mr B N HERRON: House Chairperson, the repel effect of two price increase is throughout the country. It affects small businesses, makes the cost of living higher and adds an obvious stress factor when each is about to fill our tanks. This report not only acknowledges this factors but also acknowledges depends on how the prise of fuels at the edge of a crisis. The report is not only crucial to understanding how we ended up in this crisis that most importantly how we are going to deep ourselves up the whole we find ourselves burden.
The current war in the Ukraine and its continued escalation led to prices oil imports. This price increase naturally affects every single South African households as transport costs enters into any market price. The report has been created for the sole purpose of combating this impending fuel crisis on offering a hosts of very solutions to aid our citizens. The most urgent need actually need all however, investment in our local refineries which will in turn lead us to safe millions on imports to here. This also get us a platform to subsequently invest and renewable energy and key transport until these refineries are not required at all.
The second urgent intervention is needed in the form of natural relief from government throughout either tax or reduction of the initiatives. Temporarily, isn’t that that cost reducing the general fuel levy and focusing on importing through African initiatives are all good options in their own right.
The key to this initiative working with speed to effectively establishment a government led countermeasure from which to protect our citizens and especially those in the low income bracket. This report is not only vital in the mass age that it conveys but also has timing with our country making a steady economic growth coming out of the pandemic it is vital that we continue our momentum is that we not only reinvest into our fuel capabilities locally but also craft a sustainable economic grace period to relieve pressure from our citizens.
We support the report but we do raise a caution, Chair, about the broad statement recommending at that the Road Accident Fund let it moved elsewhere. This is essentially a third party insurance which should be linked to the use of fuel and also the use of roadworthy. Thank you, Chair.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Al Jama-ah, support the report. Thank you very much.
Mr M J WOLMARANS: Chairperson, the fuel price increase has been on the centre of much discussion for our policy makers in South Africa, especially after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which resulted in a significant increase in the inflation rate in the number of countries around the world.
The National Treasury’s fuel price focus for 2022 financial year indicated that the fuel price increases for 2022 will be just over 19%, with headline inflation anticipated to register 5% for 2022. Thereby, suggesting that the fuel price increase is significantly higher than our inflation. Major factors explaining the relationship between the fuel price increases and the high inflation rate which hurts the poorer households and shift the economy to a lower economic growth path are the extreme dependence of South Africa on important oil and refine petroleum products as well as the declining local refinery capacity. These factors necessitated the engagements between the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy and
various stakeholders whose purpose was to develop mechanism to deal with the fuel price increase and their negative effects on the consumption and production in the South African economy.
Hon Chairperson, the report I present before yourself contains several recommendations made by both stakeholders on how to deal with the fuel increase in the short to long term.
Perhaps, the most important is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, the recommendation that biomass and biofuel present an opportunity to minimise the reliance on important oil and strategic stock. This is because biomass and biofuels are alternative fuels which allow consumers somewhat of a flexibility in reducing their use of oil in a consumption basket.
Moreover, the CSIR recommended that the electrification of the transportation system can of course reduce South Africa’s dependence on important crude oil, a strategic storage and subsequently decarbonise the broader energy system.
The National Treasury recommended that the basic fuel price, which is called the BFP must be reviewed to provide the relief
of the fuel price increases. But other stakeholders such as the Liquid Fluids Wholesalers Association, the SA Petroleum Retailers Association and the Fuel Retailers Association were vehemently opposed to this recommendation. They argue that a reduction of the margins will destroy the already struggling downstream sector. However, National Treasury’s recommendation was aimed at reviewing the 15% premium on fray in the BFP introduced during the apartheid era, which is unjustifiable in the democratic South Africa. Going further, the SA Petroleum Industry Association recommended that the Road Accident Fund and other fuel taxes must be reduced or scrapped whereas the SA Oil and Gas Alliance recommended that gas was a potential solution to fuel price increase implying that exploiting the country’s own gas resources would make the country a price setter as opposed to be dependent in the important crude oil and refined petroleum products.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy recommended that the investment in the local refinery and exploitation must be perused aggressively as they will positively contribute to local beneficiation and manufacturing. Moreover, local refineries and exploration encourage South Africans to be self-reliant since they have the effect of reducing the
impact on the balance of payments in dollar tents throughout our country. And there is tangible evidence that clearly indicates that there are monitoring returns to be made for investors should they decide to invest in local refineries and exploration.
Hon Chairperson, the ANC understand the public frustrations concerning the fuel price increases. And therefore, accepts and welcome the recommendations made by the stakeholders.
However, the ANC contends that some of the recommendations might made, either are far away from the reality of engaging in real processes, which seeks to mitigate against fuel price increases for the country or have unintended consequences that will be difficult for the government to cope with. For instance, the ANC sympathises with the recommendation that the BFP must be reviewed even though it ensures the cheapest possible price. But it disagrees with the regulation of domestic oil market as this will not ensure that the market becomes competitive to the extent that drive down the fuel price increases as the DA would like us to believe. For yet another example, scraping or reducing the Road Accident Fund and other taxes are the only significant areas where relief is immediately possible. But this will impact positively on the
national budget and the shortfall that we need would have to be funded from elsewhere.
To be more specific, scraping or reducing the Road Accident Fund and other taxes would likely result in the reduction of benefits for users of the road affected by accidents and minimise public spending on social welfare provisions such as social grants.
The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy make several important observations as alluded by hon Mileham. At least, for the first time he is in think with us concerning the trend of fuel price increases in South Africa. Amongst others, the committee noted that the domestic aspect of taxes and fuel levies build into a structure of fuel prices where a quickest relief to the current fuel price increase.
The National Treasury indicated that the taxes and fuel levies are accounted for about 30% of the fuel price. As a result, the relief is possible. But the ANC cautions that this must be done in a manner that does not affect the ability of government to mobilise resources to fund public infrastructure and social programmes. The committee further noted that an
enabling the biofuels industry will assist in minimising our reliance on important crude oil and refine petroleum products.
However, the government support in this regard is important as the biofuels industry requires subsidisation. More important, some progress has been made in this regards and the committee make recommendations that that include the government support for this interaction. And I thank you, Chairperson.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you, hon
House Chairperson. I move that the report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Can I get your attention, hon members. On 2 March 2022, during the plenary of questions for oral reply to Cluster 1: Peace and Security, Mr
D Bergman, MP, rose on a point of order contending that the Minister of Police had referred to M. Gen O S Terblanche as a crooked former General. Mr D Bergman submitted that the Minister has cast aspersions on one of the members of the House and that was unparliamentary.
I ruled and ordered the Minister to withdraw the remark but he didn’t do so. The Minister instead proceeded to answer another supplementary question. I presumed the Minister did not hear my instruction to withdraw the remark. Subsequently, hon Gwarube, rose on the same point of order and pointed out that the Minister had not withdrawn the remark as I had instructed. At that point I undertook to revert to the House with the considered ruling. The Unrevised Hansard contains the Minister of Police remarks as follows, and I quote: But I am not here to correct the General, a General that was crooked himself.
Rule 85 states that no member may impute improper motives to any other member or cast personal reflections upon a member’s integrity or dignity or verbally abuse any member in any other way. The Minister of Police remarks suggest that M. Gen Terblanche is a crook, meaning he is dishonest or a criminal. This cast personal reflections upon the integrity and dignity
of the M. Gen Terblanche. Having considered the matter, I would like to reiterate my previous ruling that the remark was unparliamentary and should be withdrawn unconditionally. I now want to request the Minister of Police to withdraw the remark.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Comment withdrawn.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you very much, hon Minister. Hon members, on that note that concludes the business of the day. Thank you.
The House adjourned at 17:10.