Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 08 Sep 2022
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2022
PROCEEDINGS OF HYBRID NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00.
The House Chairperson Mr C T Frolick took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
MEASURES TO FIGHT CORRUPTION – IMPLEMENTATION
Mr A M SEABI (ANC): House Chair, the ANC welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of a nine-member Anti-Corruption Advisory Council to strengthen the fight against corruption.
The Council will join the multifaceted strategy to root out malfeasance that has seeped into and taken root in the public sector in the past years. The Advisory Council to be chaired by Prof Firoz Cachalia.
As we have all witnessed, several measures by various institutions to fight corruption are starting to be implemented with the arrests of former Transnet senior executives, Regiments Capital directors, Regiments shareholder, Trillian Asset Management non-Executive Director and Albatime owner on Monday, 29 August 2022 by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate, assisted by the Hawks.
The Investigative Directorate said more people are expected to be arrested in relation to this matter.
Identified as one of the primary sites of misappropriation of state funds at the peak of the state capture project, the Transnet arrests and court appearance of additional senior executives reflects a significant milestone and outcome of complex investigations. Let the law take its cause.
The ANC fully supports President Ramaphosa in his leadership against all forms of corruption which depletes the public purse and denies services to the people. Thanks, Chair.
WAYS TO TACKLE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT
Mr M BAGRAIM (DA): Chair, our unemployment situation in South Africa is now officially the worst in the world. Coupled with this, productivity in South Africa is the second worst in the world.
The DA has challenged the Labour Ministry on its inactivity with regard to job creation. Unfortunately, every single quarterly report shows the situation getting worse and worse.
The DA has also proposed numerous ways in which we can tackle the high unemployment rate in South Africa, including deregulation and the uncoupling of small businesses from large bargaining councils to no avail.
To make matters worse, the umbrella trade union movements through Congress of SA Trade Unions, Cosatu, and SA Federation of Trade Unions, SAFTU, are now using the blunt tool protest action to promote or defend socioeconomic interest of the workers.
National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, has just recently given the certificate to the trade unions to go on a mass countrywide. Strikes of this nature only make socioeconomic interest of the workers.
The DA hereby calls upon the Ministry and the Minister of Employment and labour and Nedlac to be extremely cautious when grating permission for mass protest actions of this nature to take place, it makes matters worse.
Every time we have a protest, the economic situation of South Africa to a standstill and to a large degree, these protests are extremely counterproductive, and to the entire business community, it makes things worse. And indeed, it makes things worse for the fiscus. On behalf of the DA, thank you.
MEDICAL STUDENTS SENT TO STUDY IN RUSSIA ARE STARVING
Ms N N CHIRWA (EFF): Chairperson, it is a tragic reality that there’s a Minister who sits in this House carrying the responsibility of leading the higher education sector and through this responsibility sent out young brilliant minds to study medicine in Russia, only for them to starve because the department he’s leading is crumbling devastatingly while he pretends to have everything under control.
Minister Blade Nzimande, we have written to you, we have released statements to you, we have made follow ups with the department regarding the continuous unacceptable behaviour that sees young people who are promised that their education needs will be catered for by the money of taxpayers but end up running after you to see the most basic of their needs to be met. And even then, your nonchalant and ungrounded arrogance remains the order of the day.
If you didn’t know, because you don’t take Member of Parliament, MP, calls, you don’t respond to MP letters and you show don’t bother to be involved in the department you are leading, except to read notes written for you, that you’ve never seen before to us in Parliament.
Our medicine students in Russia are starving, they are homeless, they don’t have academic tools and these are the same people you use to brag about when asked about the department’s efficiency.
All remaining students who haven’t, must without fail receive their stipends until they complete the academic journey, every single month without fail, starting from today. Ensure that their travelling costs and administration-related issues are resolved by the end of business today.
No medicine student who’s meant to be in Russia should be compromised academically, because a simple task of buying flight tickets for them seems a big task when confronted by your department.
No student that has been sent to distant land by the ANC government should never have to be ... [Time expired.]
BLACK LEADERS RESIGN IN THE DA AND CHARGES OF WHITE DISAPPEAR THEREAFTER
Ms G K TSEKE (ANC): House Chair, the DA, which proclaims itself to be a party building a future based on freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity for all, is not living to its lofty pronouncement with some of its black members leaving its ranks.
The latest member to resign from the DA is the former party leader in the Northern Cape ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, can you just hold it there.
Hon Radebe, I thought we are going to give your own member the opportunity to complete the statement then I would have recognized you.
What is the urgency of the point order that you want to raise?
Mr B A RADEBE: No, Chairperson. The opposition is drowning her; we cannot even hear our member reading the statement. [Interjections.] You can heckle, but not drown the speaker!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members ... [Interjections.]
Mr B A RADEBE: You’re a stupid fool ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members! Hon members on both sides of the House can we respect the speaker
that’s on the floor? It’s common courtesy. If you don’t hear what is being said how can you respond to it?
Please continue, hon member!
Ms G K TSEKE (ANC): The latest member to resign from the DA is the former party leader in the Northern Cape, Andrew Louw, who is also a former member of the National Assembly; arguing that he can no longer identify with the party.
This view was also shared by the former DA leader in the Free State, Patricia Kopane, who also recently resigned from the DA.
Louw alleges that as a provincial leader he would charge both black and white people but only cases of black people would be taken up for disciplinary processes. He alleges that the charges of white party members would disappear in the middle of nowhere.
Other leaders who recently left the party over unhappiness around its current political direction and identity include Makashule Gana, Mbali Ntuli, Bongani Baloyi, Phumzile Van Damme and Abel Tau.
As the ANC we are not swayed by the words or opposition parties such as the DA take in falsely claiming to build a nonracial and equal South Africa, when in actual fact they practice the opposite.
They show their hands in tokenism and window dressing when it comes to these matters but are soon exposed for what they truly stand for, and that is preserving historic white privilege. I thank you, House Chair. [Applause.]
FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY
Ms Z MAJOZI (IFP): Hon House Chair, the relationship that South Africa has with alcohol is increasingly reaching disastrous proportions. If we are not careful, we will not succeed in overcoming many of the social ills that this country is grappling with.
South Africa faces a myriad of socioeconomic challenges which include, but are not limited to, a high unemployment rate, poverty, crime, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. All can be directly linked to the country’s general attitude to the relationship with alcohol.
According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, South Africa ranks amongst the highest alcohol consumers in the world and the highest for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder and deaths.
Many factors contribute to this but perhaps the most noteworthy is poverty. People who live in extreme poverty may not be able to afford alcohol purchased from legal and regulated breweries. Therefore, they resort to the consumption of self-concocted home brews; most of which are not safe for human consumption. This is most common in townships and rural areas.
Recently, there has been a slew of shootings at taverns across the country; in some cases resulting in fatalities. Young people give up their hopes and dreams and drown their sorrows in alcohol.
As the IFP we call on the government to make a concerted effort through its various departments to ensure that we find clear and effective solutions. We must avert this danger that is slowly eating away at the very fibre of our soul and our society. I thank you.
FF-PLUS REQUESTED THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE THE INHUMANE TREATMENT OF PATIENTS IN STATE HOSPITALS
Mr P A VAN STADEN (FF Plus): House Chairperson, on the 7th of July 2022 the FF-Plus requested that the Human Rights Commission to investigate the inhumane treatment of patients that took place in state hospitals after various media reports about this matter appeared in the last few months.
The FF-Plus also requested the public to come forward if they had been victims of poor treatment and poor circumstances in these institutions. And thus far the FF-Plus has received over
500 complaints across the country and in one day we have received more than 10 complaints one hospital in the Eastern Cape.
The FF-Plus will request the Human Rights Commission to investigate these matters as well and take the necessary steps to hold government accountable and the FF-Plus will fight back against poor health care in South Africa. Thank you, Chairperson.
CONSIDER ISSUES AND CHALLENGES RELATED TO FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE
Mr P M P MODISE (ANC): House Chair, the Committee on Fisheries, COFI, a subsidiary body of the Fisheries and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, of the United Nations, UN, is the only global international forum where the FAO members meet to review and consider issues and challenges related to fisheries and aquaculture.
The Committee on Fisheries will be hosting its 35th session this year from the 5th to the 9th of September in Rome, Italy. This is the first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
Masifundise, an organisation whose focus is promoting and strengthening food sovereignty in the context of coastal and inland fishing communities stated that what makes this COFI process significant is the fact that small-scale fisheries movements and civil society can now lobby, advocate and inform states on the issues that impact the small-scale fishing sector.
A preparatory workshop of all small-scale fishing movement will be led by the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, IPC, which will take place from the 31st of August until the 4th of September.
Masifundise presented the Socio Economic Rights Project, SERP, during the COFI process as an example of how other countries can move forward to implement the guidelines.
The ANC wishes them well and hopes that their participation will bear positive fruits and fish for all. Thank you very much, House Chair.
MEASURES IN PLACE TO HELP WITH CONCERNS OF HEALTH
Ms H ISMAIL (DA): House Chair, the issue of community service doctors not being placed and per timeously has become a major concern. In addition, community service doctors have not received salary increases since 2019.
[Inaudible.] ... with the Department of Health’s internship and community service programme systems have resulted in placements being released late or in married couples or couples with children being separated.
Discrepancies with registration fees and deposits have also been highlighted by many community service doctors, leading to many ending paying much more than the correct amounts.
Minister, strict measures need to be put in place to address the concerns and issues our healthcare workers are experiencing.
Given the current high rate of vacancies in the public healthcare sector, it is of utmost importance that the Minister addresses these matters as a matter of urgency, as we need all our community service doctors to be placed and paid as they are on the frontline of ensuring effective service delivery to the public healthcare sector. Thank you.
STUDENTS ACCOMODATION ARE NOT IN CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT
Mr N L S KWANKWA (UDM): Chairperson, education has a crucial role to play. To contribute massively to a country’s development. For the longest period, we have been complaining and raising an issue about what seems to be an apparent neglect of TVET colleges in our country. Most TVET colleges have been plagued with infrastructure problems and poor management problems and capacity problems. And this has gone to an extent where the quality of education is perceived low, especially by the private sector. Lecturers are inadequately trained, which results to a stigma attached to students who attend.
We want to put it squarely that the department is failing TVET students and TVET colleges because there is also a concerning lack of technological advancement in different areas of specialisation. The majority of campuses located in rural areas and small towns have no accommodation. Students have to find their own accommodation or crowding on a few available rooms. Unfortunately, students end up staying in spaces that are not safe or conducive for learning, and yet at the end of the year they are expected to pass and meet NSFAS requirements.
You would also recall that some of the challenges facing higher education institutions is one of offering ... [Inaudible.] ... programmes that are not accredited. There seems to be general chaos that dominates, especially the historically disadvantaged institutions. One such example is where at ... [Inaudible.] ... recently, where 221 students who graduated for five unaccredited courses. And no one has been held to account to that. We want to put an appeal to the department to attend to this because every time we visit TVET colleges, every time we interact with students from TVET colleges, the same problems are brought up on a daily basis, and that doesn’t seem to ... Thank you, Chair. [Time expired.]
THE DA LEADER AND HIS SCANT REGARD FOR WOMEN
Ms K D MAHLATSI (ANC): House Chairperson, having just emerged from a month of not just celebrating women, but also highlighting the various forms of abuse and inequality women face in our country, the misogynistic comments by the DA leader, John Steenhuisen about his ex-wife angered many in our society. This hon member called his ex-wife and the mother of his two daughters, “roadkill”, on a podcast with radio personality MacG. He did not stop there, he continued by referring to her as a “flat chicken”. As if these sexist and degrading comments were not just a reflection of the DA leader, the party’s Gauteng Chair of the DA Women’s Network, Stefanie Ueckermann, defended her party by stating that:
If you are standing around any braai where the men are talking and women are constantly objecting to how men talk to us, then we will never get that foot in the door, because we want to be seen as equal so that we can compete with men.
These sum up the embedded sexism within this party perfectly and shows us why they may talk the talk but will never be able to walk the walk. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
THE ANC CONGRATULATES 594 MEDICAL GRADUATES TRAINED IN CUBA
Mr N V XABA (ANC): The ANC congratulates 594 medical students trained in Cuba. The ANC welcomes these 594 medical students who granted from Cuba as part of Nelson Mandela - Fidel Castro Medical Collaboration Programme. As from 1997 to date, the programme has produced 2 556 doctors, some of whom have become specialists. Annually, since 2018, the ANC has been producing more than 600 doctors, a milestone that exceeds South Africa’s local production of medical doctors.
The objective of the programme is in line with the ANC mandate of creating quality healthcare for all and to alleviate the shortage of medical doctors in South Africa. The programme opened access to advanced training as medical practitioners for students from disadvantaged background who otherwise not admitted to most of the South African medical schools because of their socio-economic background.
We also acknowledge other medical students from Russia that have returned from pursuing medical qualifications. We believe that these medical doctors will help to address challenges that continue to plague the country’s healthcare system. The ANC cares. Thank you.
PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES
Ms A M M WEBER (DA): House Chair, how much does the ANC government really cares about people living with disabilities. The DA recently conducted an oversight visit to ... [Inaudible.] ... in Ipelegeng. We were extremely concerned to find out that 36 people who lives there and have different kinds of disabilities are faced with an uncertain future. The Department of Social Development gave instructions to its offices in Ipelegeng area that the specified 36 residents who depends on subsidies would no longer receive these subsidies from the government, and must really pay for similar homes their family members or society by the end of September 2022. It is crucial to suddenly force these residents. It is totally cruel. Some of whom have lived there for more than 30 years to go back to their abusive families or to circumstances where they cannot receive proper care? This will certainly have serious and negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.
[Inaudible.] ... for the past 14 years despite inflation causing devastating financial difficulties. Why is that happening? Why ... [Inaudible.] ... homes with 52 kilometres radius receive significantly largest subsidies? We call on the Minister to intervene urgently to avoid a second situation like the one we experienced with Life Esidimeni a few years ago and to avoid being taken to court. I thank you.
HIGH MURDER CASES BECAUSE OF CRIME
Mr M N PAULSEN (EFF): House Chair, the first quarter crime data for 2022-23 for the Western Cape shows that the police stations taking strains are mainly in the poorer high density African and Coloured areas. Those police stations, especially in Cape Town, are grossly under resourced compared to police stations in the more affluent communities of such Camps Bay and Claremont. For the period April 2022 to June 2022, Manenburg police station reported 369 total contact crimes, Gugulethu 469, Khayelitsha 767, Michelle’s Plain 732. Compared to Camps Bay 20, Claremont 18, Bothasig 55. Contact crimes include murder, sexual offences, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault and robbery. In the period 2020-21, the Western Cape had around 55 murders per hundred thousand people. The ... [Inaudible.] ... was above the national average of 33 murders per hundred thousand. SA Police Service has a lack of leadership, and Bheki Cele has proven to be worst Police Minister.
The EFF believes that crime cannot only be policed away. Crime is a symptom of far deeper structural problems that exist, especially in our poorer communities. Among these includes unemployment that results in poverty, especially amongst youth. No necessary sports or recreational facilities for youth, and a complete breakdown of law and order. We are now expecting SA Police Service to address symptoms instead of a more holistic approach to addressing the root causes. Trying only to police a white crime is like putting a bandage on a fractured limb. It requires a lot more. There is no government policy - provincial or national. They can address the massive unemployment ... [Inaudible.] ... Only the EFF has policies that will bring out about ... [Inaudible.] ... and nationalisation. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT ON TEACHER ASSISTANT PROGRAMME THAT IS HELPING THE YOUTH
Mr T T GUMBU (ANC): House Chairperson, the end of last month, August 2022, saw the second cohort of 245 000 young people finish their 10-month placement in schools. They will join the ranks of ... [Inaudible.] [Interjection.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, can you just hold there. Chief Whip of the DA, please communicate with your members that they must please, switch off their microphones. Thank you, can you start again hon member.
Mr T T GUMBU (ANC): ... okay, the end of last month, August 2022, saw the second cohort of 245 000 young people finish their 10-month placement in schools. They will join the ranks of about 600 000 young South Africans who have participated in the initiative since its launch in 2020.
This would bring to close to one million the number of participants since the programme was launched. The school assistants have either supported teachers in the classroom or performed school maintenance, security, food garden production and other upkeep activities.
Of the 60 000 teachers and principals surveyed, more than 95%, said the programme had greatly improved the learning environment in their schools and wanted it to continue as it enabled them to focus more of their time on teaching. The programme has provided young people with work experience and skills. They have received accredited training across several disciplines, ranging from digital literacy to basic
bookkeeping, from child and youth care to bricklaying, plastering and plumbing.
We urge all businesses to harness the energies, talent, skills and experience of these young people to grow the economy and we call on businesses to participate in this process by taking advantage of the employment tax incentive to hire more young South African people and create learnerships. Thank you House Chair.
THE ANC WELCOMES THE UNVEILING OF BORDER GUARDS IN MUSINA
Ms S G N MBATHA (ANC): House Chair, the ANC supports the establishment of the Border Management Authority, which will contribute significantly in improving the security of our borders and the management of immigration in our country.
We therefore welcome the unveiling of the first 200 newly recruited cohorts of the Border Management Authority Border Guards, at the deployment ceremony held at the Beitbridge Port of Entry in Musina, Limpopo, on Thursday, 14 July 2022, as a step to the right direction.
The cohorts are deployed at the five identified vulnerable segments of the borderlines, working together with members of the South African National Defence Force, to tighten up border management in identifying ports of entry.
The Border Management Authority will play a pivotal role in tackling border security challenges impacting on the country and its neighbours, such as unco-ordinated traveller processing, cross-border criminality, illegal crossings and undue delays in the facilitation of movements of goods and services. The ANC supports. Thank you.
MEEASURES TO FIGHT CORRUPTION - IMPLEMENTATION
WAYS TO TACKLE UNEMPLOYMENT
MEDICAL STUDENTS SENT TO STUDY AT RUSSIA
DA AND ITS NONRACIAL CREDENTIALS
SOUTH AFRICA AND ALCOHOL
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Chairperson, due to limited time I selected a few of things. I could have spoken to all of them. Let me say with respect to the first one from the ANC, indeed, it is correct we should support His Excellency the President in the fight corruption. I believe this is one of the biggest fight that South Africa has to undertake given the cancerous impact of corruption on the development of a country. We fully support the actions taken and believe even more should be done and that all who have robbed the public purse or practiced corruption should lend in prison.
Mr Bergman of the DA is right we face the big challenge with respect to the challenge of unemployment in our country and all of us should support efforts directed at increasing employment and investment in South Africa so that more jobs can be created and our people can earn a livelihood.
With respect to students in Russia and the lack of stipend for them I will communicate this matter to Minister Nzimande and requested he uses the National Assembly for purpose of a statement to clarify on this matter. It is worrying what has been reported. I have had a report myself by my department on this matter. But I believe Minister Nzimande should provide us with information. And so I hope that that will happen.
With respect to the DA and its non-racial credentials, we clearly know that things are falling apart at a very rapid pace and so no surprise there. Chairperson, with respect to the IFP member’s statement on South Africa and alcohol. I believe be clustered the country that consume the largest amount of alcohol in the world is a really terrifying statement about South Africa. And I do think we should do something because those who know history know that formally colonised people are destroyed by the presence of large volumes of alcohol in their communities. And you can see with the location of shebeens and alcohol outlets in South Africa they are primarily in areas where black poor people reside.
This was by design and it is something that we should combat as a society.
Finally, Chairperson, let me say that, indeed, we believe Minister Nzimande is making significant efforts to improve Technical and Vocational Education and Training in our country. He has made a great deal of inroads in improving Tvet and the programmes offered. And I am sure he will continue to do so including improving infrastructure and ensuring that students have accommodation. Cabinet has adopted a significant infrastructure plan contained within it, is accommodation infrastructure for the Tvet college sector. I thank you, Chair.
DEPLOYMENT OF COHORTS IN VULNERABLE SEGMENT BORDER
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Yes, hon member Mkhatshwa, thank you very much. On the issue of the border management authority, indeed, the unveiling of the 200 newly recruited cohorts of body guards is just but the beginning. Yesterday, I had a lengthy meeting with the Commissioner of the Border Management Authority, Dr Masiapato and the two Deputy Commissioners as well as the project manager for the One Stop Border ports where we were discussing progress towards this because we are on course to have the Border Management Authority as a stand-alone entity under the Public Management Act.
At the present moment, the Border Management Authority is still a branch incubated under the Department of Home Affairs.
Come 1 April, it will be a stand-alone entity. Everybody will be knowing that there is an entity that is responsible for our borders.
At the moment, the entity is holding several meetings about getting technology as a force multiplier to the border guards the various types of technologies which will be unveiled very soon.
And lastly, the report I got yesterday is about the progress towards massive infrastructure improvement of the six busiest port of entry which was announced by the Minister of Finance during the Budget speech where about R6 billion is going to be spent. Thank you very much.
PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, respectfully, if I could just keep the video off. My network is not so very good.
Ngikude kabi le KwaZulu. Ngizwe ilungu elihloniphekile le-DA
... talking about a problem that I would request the member, can I please access that information because I cannot answer that question or that statement. Sorry, I cannot respond to a statement which is very specific. Hon Weber, I would like to respond by ensuring that whatever the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa and the Department of Social Development needs to do I would request that I get that information. I have already requested the office to get the statement from the member because unfortunately my network was very bad I couldn’t catch the member very well but we would like to respond to the challenges of the community that the hon member is reporting about. Thank you very much, hon Chair.
STATEMENT ON TEACHERS ASSISTANT PROGRAMME THAT IS HELPING THE YOUTH
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: In response to the statement, yes, I am not a robot but the network is very bad.
But in response to the statement by hon Siwela, indeed, the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative is doing a great job in the communities and in our schools.
So the next trench, the interviews are continuing for the next bench that is going to start early next year because most teachers, parents appreciate because they help learners. They help educators. They relieve educators from the administrative work because they help in the administrative part and some of the general assistants, GAs, they help also in repairing school windows and doors and some are cleaning. Not to say that all of them are cleaning. We know that there are schools who do not need them but there are schools who direly need this young people to come and help. And indeed, it helps also in the employment of these young people. Thank you, Chair.
PLACEMENT OF COMMUNITY SERVICE DOCTORS
PROGRAMME OF MEDICAL STUDENTS IN CUBA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson, also because of the challenge of network where Minister Zulu took me to KwaZulu-Natal, I would probably not be able to switch on my video. ... [Inaudible.] ... that the placement of community service doctors is largely at the beginning of the year generally and at the middle of the year July. However, there are few here and there who probably have got an extended period of a particular block or a discipline to complete. And therefore, they are erratically available at the September or March. Those are the ones that we have not mastered to really place well. But those are few are maybe five or 10 here and there.
We need to know that this creation of a rural community services was mainly to support rural hospitals. And we would actually one day be able to share with the whole sanity in a rural and so give reasons why they can’t move into the real Nongoma and further on. So, sometimes it is resistance that we do find, however, we are community service replacement of doctors.
Hon Van Staden raises the issue of the quality of service that we do give in our facilities. We are the first one to admit that we are continuously wanting to improve. There is a heavy burden on the Department of Health. That we admit, all of us agree, going along with the constraints on the financial sort of availability to sort those means.
But however, because of amalgamating the whole of the country there are group of South Africans who were very actually glued to be getting a service the first minute they are walking to any facility. Now when you then make all us to be able to access those services there is obvious going to be a delay because you are allowing all South Africans now to access health. And therefore, that together with the hon members in the portfolio committee we are continuously addressing. We will always be. That is why we are asking amongst other things we should be looking into the National Health Insurance, NHI, as a programme that is going to actually assist us to save every South African, every other foreign national will be taken care of - will be supported.
The last one is from hon Xaba. We commend your statement regarding ... [Inaudible.] ... students from Cuba and the ... [Inaudible] ... they are now 48. ... [Inaudible.] ... in fact one of the first surgeon, a very unique ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Deputy Minister, your time has now expired. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): What is the point of order, hon member?
Mr M N PAULSEN: House Chair, I see Minister Bheki Cele and his Deputy are not here to address the issue of crime in the Western Cape and he is not here to respond to why crime is out of hand because we don’t have a Minister present to response to a member’s statement on crime. Where is he?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No, hon member, the Rule does not make provision for the point you are raising now. There has been five out of seven replies to the Ministerial statements and according to the Rule as it currently stands Ministers are not compelled to be in the House or on the platform. That’s why you could see that some of ... [Interjections.] ...
Mr N M PAULSEN: Despite, there is no usage ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No, hon member, take your seat. Don’t raise a point of order and then you try to abuse the situation. Please, don’t do that.
DEBATE IN TERMS OF RULE 130: PERSISTENT ILLEGAL MINING ACTIVITIES AND CONCOMITANT CRIMES
Mr M G MAHLAULE: Thank you very much, House Chair. The ANC would like to table to the House the motion for debate on Persistent Illegal Mining Activities and Concomitant Crimes. As the ANC-led government we are sympathetic to the socioeconomic conditions driving informal mining through small-scale mining. And thus, we have amended Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act to cater for informal
miners or small-scale mining through specific requirements and provision. However, the ANC-led government does not tolerate illegal mining which is associated with violence, criminal syndicates and insecurity that make South Africa’s mining communities more chaotic and conflict-ridden. The recent incident in Krugersdorp best testimony that illegal mining does not deliver any socioeconomic benefits to South Africa apart from proliferating criminal syndicates associated with human trafficking, drug smuggling, money laundering, illegal immigration, illegal weapons and explosives as well as
perpetuating illicit economy in the form of custom offenses and tax evasion.
House Chairperson, some opposition parties have considered itself evident that the drastic escalation of illegal mining is attributed to the ANC-led government. In their view, the ANC-led government is afflicted not only with corruption and greed, but also with close ties to mine ownership. Since illegal mining often involves co-operation between illegal miners and large-scale mining companies within which in their view some ANC members may or may not hold a stake and, therefore, any attempt to introduce regulations and laws to curb illegal mining from the socioeconomic point of view is illegitimate. As a consequence, in their view, the ANC-led government exhibits the incapacity to address illegal mining. This is, of course, a false narrative which does not allow for the mature policy conversation in dealing with the problem of illegal mining and its economic and social impact.
However, House Chairperson, the blame instinct of opposition parties is not only denying us the opportunity to think creatively of solutions to address illegal mining, but also prevents us from focusing our energy in the right places. At the centre of illegal mining is an extensive network of
offshore accounts and transnational criminal syndicates that take a complex operation involving domestic and foreign partners. There is no sign of incapacitation of the ANC-led government, but rather a direct consequence of a globalised world we live in which promotes deregulation of the movement of capital goods including the mineral resources and labour.
Of course, the intensive network of offshore accounts and transnational criminal syndicates associated with illegal mining result in economic consequences. For instance, in 2019 report by Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organised Crime indicated that lost gold production due to illegal mining far exceeds R14 billion a year, making South Africa one of the biggest sources of illicit gold on the African continent. With the strengthening of the dollar-rand exchange and the current better market value for precious metals illegal mining production far exceeds R14 billion a year. This in turn adversely affects South Africa’s economic growth as well as development and leads to the major losses in government revenue which is necessary to mark an assault to the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
In light of this, the more illegal mining succeeds, the more the long-term sustainability of the mining industry and its
secondary industries become less economically viable. Hence, it is important for the law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute role-players in illegal mining, including police officers, mining security personnel and regulatory officials that shake down illegal miners for bribes and confiscate their mineral holdings and subsequently sell them directly to transnational criminal syndicates. The capacity to arrest and prosecute illegal miners is within reach as the SA Police Services arrested 82 men connected to illegal mining in Krugersdorp so far. They did so whilst the EFF and Operation Dudula were engaged in the biggest boxing match ever televised in the country, fighting over who has the right to be at the centre of populist emancipatory politics universe.
House Chairperson, linking illegal mining with an intensive network of offshore accounts and transnational criminal syndicates definitely requires capacity and international co- operation to deal with this illicit trade and illicit financial flows. Of course, illegal mining mostly occurs in derelict mines and the challenges that the use of explosives by illegal miners in derelict mines with compromised support structures poses significant threat to public safety and infrastructural integrity as well as the environment. For instance, illegal mining damages the structural integrity of
houses adjacent to the derelict mines. Similarly, the mining production contributes to acid mining drainage which in turn causes water pollution that communities and livestock around derelict mines depend on.
However, House Chairperson, lessons from the rehabilitation programmes of the ANC-led government driven by Council for Geoscience and Council for Mineral Technology, Mintek, and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy clearly suggest that the insinuation that the ANC-led government neglects responsibility as far as rehabilitation is concerned is not only a distraction fallacy, but also an emotion fallacy and it goes an extra mile to make a false appeal to the masses of our people. In 2014 report of the SA Human Rights indicated that the ANC-led government through the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy working together with Council for Geoscience, CGS, and Mintek closed 130 and 150 illegal mining shafts across the mineral abandoned provinces such as Gauteng, Free State, North West and Mpumalanga.
Moreover, the same report indicated that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and Mintek together have rehabilitated 17 asbestos side. However, the updated data of Department of Mineral Resources and Energy today indicates
that almost 300 derelict and ownerless mines have been rehabilitated. While this is a minimal achievement rate if we take into account the 2009 Auditor-General’s report which uncovered 5 906 abandoned mines, with that number rising to
6 100 in 2021. The biggest challenge is that illegal miners blast open the sealed illegal mining shafts or dig on the other side to get inside and continue illegal mining.
Unfortunately, the estimates show that financial burden of mitigating the effects of illegal mining such as acid mining drainage, public and private infrastructure vandalism, environmental degradation and water shortages will be higher than the cost of constructing Medupi and Kusile Power Stations. It is, therefore, important that we highlight that the way forward does not lie in the hands of an ANC-led government alone. Illegal mining requires co-operation and harnessing of existing capacities of all stakeholders to reach arrangements that provide peace and stability rather than an over simplistic figure for pointing manner encouraged by some opposition parties.
House Chairperson, the co-operation of all stakeholders leaves the door wide open for private banks to assist ANC-led government in promoting development and investment in the
mining industry as part of economic reconstruction and recovery plan. Private banks should be productive and extend the credit to informal scale-miners so that they can meet financial resources as well as secure the technical expertise and environmental assessment as stipulated in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act rather than capture almost half of what is produced by the economy to service themselves. This will ensure that small-scale mining occurs within a prescribed legal framework and benefit the country economically.
Illegal mining has been dealt a blow by law enforcement agencies and when these are stopped in one province and action is taken in another province, the illegal miners come back.
When they go to court they get bail immediately, and when deported, they come back the same day in the country. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, law enforcement agencies and Home Affairs require a co-ordinated approach ill- decisively with this criminal activity. Instead of playing party political grandstanding, legislators should tighten regulations and legislation. The illegal miners should be aware that the ANC-led government is taking action and will intensify its actions. Our aim is to develop our mining sector for the benefit of the country. I thank you very much.
Mr J R B LORIMER: Hon House Chairperson, illegal mining is not only about miners and the department that regulates it. In fact, is not even mostly about miners, it is mostly about the failure of policing and as we expect from this ANC-led government systematic wide-scale debilitating corruption. That does not mean that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy is not complicit in this failure, their failure to oversee and apply the law means that they are intimately involved in it, but not solely responsible.
Illegal mining cost gold mining companies alone up to
R20 billion every year. That is not to mention the loses in the diamond, chrome and coal sector add to that a theft of copper and other metals and the destruction of infrastructure and viable mining becomes more and more difficult. Mine crime is a big business. The amounts of money involved means criminals can get big payoffs. The state, officials, mine employees, magistrates, prosecutors and the police men to help make it happen. It is a magnet for gangs who the Police say are better armed than they are.
This crime happens through contract mafias in boardrooms, small picket and shovel operators under the surface sometimes with massive yellow machines and also deep underground and
also working and abounded mines. All that revenue lost means no taxes and royalties paid fatally unsafe working conditions, environmental damage and the shortened life of mines that cook mining complex was closed with the loss of 10 000 jobs because management was unable to stop the operation from being robbed into the loss by illegal miners working with corrupted employees.
The ANC is firmly on the side of workers’ rights until it gets to illegal mining. Then by a lack of action we see that the do not care that the abuses that go on are horrific. Children and young men are forced to work for weeks at a time and threatened with beatings or worse if they do not comply. I have heard stories of the Police acting as the zama zamas enforcement arm.
There are also complains of children being trapped underground used for prostitution. So, disparate was one young man to escape forced labour underground near Carletonville that he jumped on to a moving cage in a lift shaft that his body was torn into pieces which had to be collected separately.
Young men are lured into promises of employment. They are disparate. They believe them, and they are confronted with coerced dangerous work enforced by vicious beatings or death.
The promise of South Africa was supposed to be freedom. There is a word for this that is the opposite of freedom. That word is slavery. The nursery school economics of the ANC and the EFF have ensured that there is a plentiful supply of disparate foot soldiers who would risk their lives for money which will allow them to survive, while the syndicate bosses and buyers of illegal gold grow fat on the impoverishment of our country and the misery of our people.
It is those disparate young men who are mainly the people targeted by the Police. The bottom tier of five tiers of criminal involvement. The only tier that faces the consequences because Police intelligence is unable or unwilling to tackle the kingpins, bias and illegal syndicate bosses.
The DA started warning about illegal mining 8 years ago. The portfolio committee expressed concern and did oversight, but there was no real action. As the tempo of plunder increased, I warned in public statements in March, twice in May and again
in June this year, but there was no response until those tragic rapes in Krugersdorp.
So on what the ANC-led government taken any decisive action to end it. Two explanations present themselves. That the ANC is congenitally unable to turn any words into action. It is massively incompetent. The cadre deployment on all state employees means people are appointed to do jobs which they cannot do and are protected from the consequences of their failure because they are deployed comrades.
The second possibility is that as the senior policeman told me that corruption extends all the way into this Parliament. That the ANC could have taken steps to curb illegal mining, but chose not to because too many top ANC members are benefitting from the incredible wealth generated by this crime. So, in the words of one of the ANC’s dead old white mentors: What is to be done? First, legislate to make it easier to prosecute people from mining illegally. Too often the only charge that can be brought is that of trespass. Seventy of those miners arrested in Krugersdorp, have only been charged for being in the country illegally because there is no other law to charge them with.
Second, set up special courts with special prosecutors to impose deterrent sentences.
Third, do not depend on Police forensic laboratories to process all samples. Mintek could turn all those samples in two days rather than in six months.
Fourth, create a specialised police unit that works like the scorpions used to. Remember them? Integrate the mining knowledge base of the department the specialised investigative and prosecutorial skills backed by officers with the fire power and training to bring those large armed syndicates to hill.
Make it easier to mine legally. Our laws and red tape make it difficult to mine. Where legal mining is hard, illegal mining is inevitable.
Last, make it easier to close mines officially, so they can be flooded to prevent illegal mining.
I do not have much faith in this happening under the ANC. Even if they do go ahead and create a specialised anti-illegal mining police unit we could be sure it would be led by a
deployed comrade who will let kingpins off the hook and shelter politically connected backers when he is not faking the tenders for equipment.
All of this debate the sudden interest by the portfolio committee the meetings, the oversight, the pledges from the President, all of it is entirely performative and it is to look like the ANC is doing something about illegal mining. It should have not this way, but sadly under the ANC it will be because they know no better and will not learn until they are thrown out by voters. I thank you.
Mr A M SEABI: Thank you, Chair. This debate on, the Persistent illegal mining activities and concomitant crimes in our country, aim to highlight the concerns of our people on crime in general, and illegal mining in particular. The mining industry forms part of the backdrop of our economy, and out of it, the economy is able to further initiate the minerals as part of the value chain. Therefore, any activities that are illegal within the mining industry, not only disrupts the formal economy, but also scare investors from investing in the mining industry in our country.
In this regard, as the ANC, we have noted the positive response of the police and law enforcement agencies in dealing with criminal activities, especially, illegal mining. The observation by the Mineral Council SA, in an article on illegal mining says that:
Illegal mining is on the rise in South Africa, and presents challenges that need to be addressed, from a range of perspectives. It takes place at abandoned mines and at operating mines with illegal miners often operating under dangerous conditions.
This observation highlights the challenge we face as a country, as a result of illegal mining. Not only does illegal mining pose a security risk to illegal miners, who are commonly known as Zama-zamas. Illegal mining also undermines the effort of reviving our economy and the contribution of the mining industry to our Gross domestic product, GDP. The Mineral Council clearer states that, illegal mining has a range of negative social and financial impact in the state, employees, companies, the mining sector and the country because of laws of revenue, taxes, employment opportunities, capital expenditure, exports, foreign exchange earnings and procurement, amongst others.
It also presents a serious risk to the sustainability of the industry and its ability to contribute to a meaningful future for all South Africans. In 2021, police found 20 bodies of alleged illegal miners who were operating in an obsolete shaft in Orkney, in Stilfontein. In the recent past, men who are suspected of engaging in illegal mining activities, were arrested in Krugersdorp on allegations of raping women in the said area. This incident sent shock waves to the South Africans and the rest of the world. More so that, it add to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, GBVF, which is a major concern and pandemic as declared by the President in our country.
In this regard, we applaud the work of the police and the community, in leading to the arrest of these perpetrators. We firmly believe that the law will take its course, and send a strong message to wannabe illegal miners to have no space in our country. An illegal mining activity is a complex one, and it involves different players and stakeholders. It has element of crime syndicates as observed by the Guardian Newspaper. It is also linked to illegal migration, extortion, illegal weaponry and the use of explosives.
Its modus operandi is also complex, as it involves different players at different levels in the value chain. Last month in August, the Minister of Police released the crime statistics of the first quarter of 2022-23 financial year. In his statistics, the numbers of murders and commercial crimes has increased as compared to 2021. These statistics includes some of the murders and commercial crimes committed linked to illegal mining activities. Illegal mining and crime in general, militate against government’s initiatives to create stable environment, encouraging investment, economic growth and job creation, and the overall betterment of our country.
Our government has tabled the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, known as the ERRP, to revive the economy from the past period of stagnation that has been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdown. Amongst other things, the ERRP prioritises employment orientated strategic localisation, reindustrialisation and export promotion.
Localisation, therefore, depends on the supply and provision of local content, to which the mining sector becomes critical.
The section 4 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, provides for the prohibition for any mining activities without a reconnaissance permission, prospecting
right, permission to remove, mining right, mining permit, etc. It is in this context that the law enforcement agencies should act without fear or favour in ensuring that individuals or groups of individuals involved in illegal mining are brought to book. We, therefore, call for an integrated approach in dealing with illegal mining activities in our country.
As we have seen with the Krugersdorp incident, the coming together of police, home affairs, metro police, the community, have ensured that the perpetrators involved in illegal mining are arrested within a short space of time. In this regard, we applaud the important role played by the community in supporting the work of the police with the necessary information that has assisted in the investigations. Our concern, however, is with regard to the role of the mining industry in curbing illegal mining activities. We are raising this concern because some reports suggest that some mining companies are involved in illegal mining activities at different points of the value chain.
Our argument is informed by the fact that some of the produce of the illegal mining activities will require exportation, and therefore, this suggests that some mining companies that operate legally may have a part to play in this syndicate. In
conclusion, in our 54th National Conference of the ANC, it was mentioned that it is important to prioritise the well-being of near mine communities and mine safety and rehabilitation.
With this being said, we urge the mining sector to operate mines within the provisions of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act to ensure the well-being of near mine communities. Mining forms a pivotal role in our economy and should be prioritised as such. Curbing illegal mining will allow us to focus on the betterment of the mining industry as a whole and its beneficence to the local community. Thank you, Chair.
Ms P MADOKWE: House Chairperson, the past few weeks has been dominated by the long overdue conversation on illegal mining in South Africa. How it is getting out of hand and how it seems like the relevant government departments, particularly the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and SA Police Service, have no concrete plans to address the issue. It is true that there is no easy solution to illegal mining, but it is also true that much should have been done to avoid finding ourselves where we are today. It is true that illegal mining has ... [Inaudible.] ... violent criminal practices have exacerbated environmental degradation and many communities
have been held at ransom. But it is also true that some of those that are partaking in it are desperate ... [Inaudible.]
As a country, we have witnessed some bureaucrats by government pretending to do work by using our people’s frustrations towards foreign nationals. Giving statistics after statistics of the amount of illegal miners arrested and flaunting videos of black African men branded as criminals, loaded onto police vans. The reality is, if we are to have an honest conversation about illegal mining in South Africa, and we are really honest about addressing it, then we ought to frame the conversations correctly and hold the relevant departments accountable. We ought to be discussing the government’s failure to address illegal mining activities and the concomitant crimes that has been perpetuated against our people in protection of profits and criminal syndicates.
In 2014, the SA Human Rights Commission released a very important report on illegal mining activities in South Africa, with very important recommendations, which to date have not been implemented. One of the most important observations made by the Human Rights Commission was that:
There is a poor understanding of the profilers of the artisanal miner in South Africa. Not all of these individuals in groups are involved in, or if they are, begin the activity with the intention of becoming involved in criminal syndicates. Not all host mining communities have the same views about artisanal mining activities. Not all are non-nationals and neither are they all illegal immigrants.
If such observations were made many years ago, why does government insists on giving the same wrong profile of who an illegal miner is, and thus perpetuating stereotype against Africans in particular? Some of the observations and recommendations made in the report include; considering the links of illegal mining to wide aspects of informal and formal economy. Building the profiles of zama-zamas of illegal trading syndicates and of corrupt SA Police Service and security officials. Aspiring opportunities artisanal mining can offer marginalised people created work where other forms of employment can exist. Existing legislation or artisanal mining is not enough as it has not been adequately processed.
Undertaking further studies to trace the value chain that involves illegal mining precious materials, including the fact
that zama-zamas are sometimes approached to collude with illegal operations in order for the illegal mine products to be moved in South Africa’s borders in a manner that enables tax evasion. Undertaking extensive ... [Inaudible.] ... to trace whom the illegal mine precious metals are sold to and how are they moved within and outside the country. These includes assessing whether illegally minerals are going into the legal market and how.
Another ... [Inaudible.] ... by mining companies that needs to be looked into is what is called warehousing. This practice is not only environmentally disruptive but it is also conducive for criminal activities associated with illegal mining. It has also been found that in some instances, the mining companies will close their operations without following proper procedures and thereafter hire zama-zamas to continue mining so that they continue making profits. In some cases, zama- zamas who occupy these mines knowing very well that there are no activities at the time and there will most likely be no consequences.
We need to know which of the recommendations were actually carried out and how. Why does the discussion around illicit mining still centre around the arrest of illegal mining when
there are obviously more serious issues? Speaking of the reports provided to this Parliament, the SA Police Service also presented a report on illegal mining. They correctly identified the criminal value chain, sighting international syndicates, licence companies, export companies, gangsters with illegal miners, mine workers, and security mine personnel at the bottom of the ... [Inaudible.] ...
The SA Police Service has also emphasised that the largest shafts need to be wiped up in order to combat the illicit mining because illegal miners are small fish in the value chain. Despite these observations made over five years ago, they continue to boast about catching the little fish. We want to hear answers to the questions raised on numerous occasions about why the SA Police Service keeps going around in circle and why they have not pursued the major participants in illegal mining?
It is even more shocking that it is easy to mention the name of nationalities of illegal miners but hard to mention the countries where international syndicates are based. It is the SA Police Service’s own admission that many of its members in its ranks are part of these activities. When do we even see these men in the docks because alongside the blanket clan men
who have been made to believe are the main players in illegal mining? The reality is billions of rand which should have been directed to selling this country are being lost to international syndicates with the help of government officials, the SA Police Service and through the exploitation in question of illegal immigrants, poverty stricken community members and desperate ex-mine workers.
Illegal mining must be adequately addressed and all involved, regardless of nationality and ranking, must be held accountable. In closing, the main concomitant crime mentioned in every platform and that should be harshly punished, is the senseless murder of black South African miners in Marikana in August 2012 by the current President of South Africa ... Thank you. [Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): The next speaker is hon Hlengwa.
Mr M HLENGWA: House Chairperson, it was an error. Its Prof C T Msimang.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Paulsen! There is a member next to me that has drawn my attention. Can you
please calm down so that I can hear what the member has to say?
Mr M HLENGWA: Thank you very much Chairperson. Prof Msimang is supposed to debating. He has challenges. He is on the virtual platform.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Msimang, are you on the platform? It seems to me that Prof Msimang is not connected. Will you do the necessary, hon Hlengwa?
Mr M HLENGWA: House Chairperson, good afternoon. The presence of minerals in our country has for many years made us victims of injustice. In more recent years of our democracy, the illegal mineral mining industry and related trading has become a huge security threat for many, including those who take part in it. The operations of illegal mining activities do not happen in silos. These operations affect and expose societies to many other illicit activities which affect people, communities and the environment. Such also attracts the attention of opportunists who take advantage of lack of regulations around the mining activities and use that to manifest more illegal activities and crimes such as human trafficking or kidnapping.
Crimes like these appear to be more common in areas where illegal mining activities takes place. Putting many innocent people within those communities at risk. Furthermore, illegal mining has proven to have negative effects on the development of children. They tend to become susceptible to the illicit trade resulting in them dropping out of school, further compromising their futures. Incidents such as the one in Emalahleni where illegal miners operating in the Thungela resources, Khwezela Colliery ... [Inaudible.] ... triggered the toxic water spill that polluted the water of nearby communities will become more frequent if illegal mining is not actively opposed and condemned by communities, business and government officials.
Illegal miners have shown themselves to pose a huge risk to the lives of others in societies. The country’s attention and focus on the risk posed by the criminals involved in illegal activities by the shocking rape of eight women by illegal miners, also known as zama-zamas. It has taken a horrific experience of eight women to alert the entire country as how problematic and threatening illicit activities are for communities and the country.
As the IFP we acknowledge that unemployment and poverty push people into making poor decisions in order to survive.
However, outside the confides of regulation and the law limits the protection that one can receive and allow for a constant cycle of danger to exist around those that shares their surroundings with illegal miners. We urge mine management and ownership to ensure that their sites are properly sealed off so as to be less vulnerable.
It is the government’s duty to ensure that it brings an end to operations of illegal miners. Government must work swiftly with to bring them to book and to restore the safety of communities that they are operating. The criminality that accompanies illegal mining is something that we cannot ignore and should be addressed with the urgency it deserves.
Ngamafuphi bantu bakithi siyaphinda siyanxusa ukuthi asingenzini izinto eziphambene nomthetho nezibeka engcupheni izimpilo zethu nezimpilo zomphakathi. Nezehlo zokudlwengula abantu besifazane nezingane kuyichilo ekudinga ukuthi sonke sibambisane kulokhu laba bantu abenzayo umthetho ubhekane nabo. Ngakho ke asingazibekini engcupheni, asingabekini izwe
lakithi engcupheni, masenze zonke izinto ngokuhambisa ngomthetho. Ngiyabonga.
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Agb Huisvoorsitter, of ons praat van Witbank, of van Emalahleni, dit is die hoëveldse dorp, waar alles oor steenkool gaan. Tans woon daar meer as 60 000 mense, maar ekonomiese probleme veroorsaak ook daar werkloosheid en armoede, al is daar nog steenkool en al word dit nog gemyn.
Net buite die dorp is die Uitspanmyn. Dit was vir ’n geruime tyd in onbruik, met mense wat soms deur die versperrings gebreek het om steenkool vir huishoudelike gebruik te versamel. In die ekonomiese klimaat is dit verstaanbaar.
Daar het ook woongebiede in die omgewing ontwikkel, met Jackaroo Park die naaste een. Solank ’n steenkoolmyn naby ’n woongebied nie ontgin word nie, pla dit nie juis nie, maar oor die afgelope maande het dit verander.
I shall proceed in English, because I really hope the Minister is listening and I really want to draw his attention to this situation. Residents observed that mining operations occurred
in the Uitspan mine. Not on a scale of small bands with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows, but well-equipped operations, with coal removed in large trucks.
In addition, sinkholes appeared in residential stands and structures, such as houses, started to crack. This is continuously happening. The FF Plus councillor in the area supplied me with photos and videos, which depict serious damage to all kinds of structures.
This councillor, Linda Vorster, approached the municipality on the matter. There she was informed that there was no approval for mining in the area, as it is too near a residential area. She was also informed that the municipality is concerned about roads in the area and about infrastructure, in general.
According to local reports, inspectors of the Department of Mineral Resources visited the terrain and returned with the news that they could find no mining activities. However, if one looks at the satellite images on Google Maps, one observes a well-operated coal yard, with huge piles of coal and roads to transport it.
Councillor Vorster visited the local offices of the department to discuss the issue with them. There she was humiliated and rudely instructed to leave, as she purportedly had no business there.
I wrote a letter to a senior official whose email address was supplied to me by the committee secretary on 24 August, but to date not even an acknowledgement of receipt was sent back to me.
The ward committee had, according to a member who reported to councillor Vorster, met with the ward councillor. According to this report, the ward councillor was satisfied that these mining activities at least provided some jobs.
In the meantime, blasting work was done yesterday. Houses were damaged, with tiles and even kitchen cupboards falling from walls and the contents of cupboards landing on the floor.
Councillor Vorster laid a complaint with the SAPD in Witbank today. I trust that the Minister will personally take cognisance of this problem and intervene before we can write off a whole residential area. The Department of Human Settlements is already not performing very well.
Yet again, our carefully formulated laws apply to those who choose to abide by it. Those who don’t, well, it seems that they are just lucky. Benjamin Franklin said that one can only be sure of two things - death and taxes. It seems that illegal mining operators need to be sure of only one. Thank you.
Mr W M THRING: Hon House Chairperson, the ACDP notes that according to the Institute of Security Studies, and I quote: “It is estimated that approximately 30 000 illegal miners produce R14 billion worth of gold per annum.” That is beside the other precious minerals. These raw products are usually sold to the United Arab Emirates, UAE - there they are mentioning the names of the countries – and Switzerland. This, therefore, makes illegal mining a big profitmaking business.
The rape of eight women at a mine dump at West Village, Krugersdorp this July and the subsequent arrest of some 65 illegal miners or zamma zammas with charges of rape, possession of explosives and unlicensed firearms, as well for contravening the Immigration Act, brought to the fore the stark reality and the hideous dark side of illegal mining in South Africa.
The ACDP commends SAPS for the recent raids on illegal mining operations in Benoni, Ekurhuleni, where more than 30 suspected illegal miners were arrested. However, for the rape victims and the many other South Africans who live in the vicinity of illegal mining, it is a show of force a little too late.
South Africa is a country with many excellences. We have an excellent Constitution, excellent policies, excellent finance and supply management Acts, excellent border control, immigration and mining laws. Our problem lies with the implementation of these excellent laws and policies. Excellent on paper, but a failure at implementation.
As the ACDP, we believe that illegal mining in South Africa is incentivised by our border posts, making it easy for criminals and illegal mining syndicates to move in and out of the country, as they please.
The African Mirror recently reported that illegal and unregulated mining in the Witwatersrand Basin is an increasing threat to community, industrial and state security. Turf wars between rival gangs or shootouts between illegal miners and security officers are commonplace. In Oct 2021, approximately
300 illegal miners attacked and shot at police and security
officers, when they tried to prevent them delivering food parcels to illegal underground miners. In June 2022, 150 illegal miners stormed gold miner Sibanye-Stillwater’s mothballed Cooke shaft near Randfontein, in an attempt to gain control.
It is time to take back control of our high jacked mines, for a failure to do so will lead to increased crime, chaos and anarchy, while billions of foreign currency and tax revenue is lost to lucrative illicit business. If insufficient action is taken, it will proof the rumour to be true that there are those in our crime fighting units who are political connected that are complicit by their silence and inaction. I thank you.
Mr N L S KWANKWA: Hon Chairperson, the crisis of illegal mining has been happening in South Africa for a long time, and its occurrences are due to an apparent failure by authorities to clamp down on illegal mining. Our government saw the increasing trend of artisanal miners for a long time, but there were no extensive measures put in place to inhibit such operations.
There are many reported incidents, as consequences of illegal mining. For instance, in 2009, more than 80 illegal miners
died at Harmony Gold mine, following an underground fight. In 2012, 20 men were buried alive after a rock fall in closed gold mine in Gauteng.
These are just a few incidents of exposed and ignored crises. However, both the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, as well as SAPS did not prioritise finding a long-term solution to eradicate illegal mining activities. The problem is, if you make mining difficult in South Africa, then you are going to create a thriving industry for illegal mining. We should make it easy for people to mine minerals in South Africa.
The negative impacts of illegal mining in South Africa, or in in any country, for that matter, are well-documented. It causes economic losses, which include losses of tax revenue, loss of income for legal miners, as well as the fiscus, as the illegal miners, in effect, compete with legal mining operations the country
Illegal mining imposes irrefutable harm to the environment, ecologically, high-level of crime cue to factional between various gangs and the fight against illegal miners. There are reports that illegal mining is supported by some who hold
influential positions, both among the law enforcement agencies and political officers, because for them, this is a lucrative business.
However, the challenges of migration or immigration in Africa as a whole are matters, in our view, that should be tackled and discussed at continental and regional level, in other words, at AU level and at SADC level. We make this point, mindful of the fact that the African Union Migration Policy Framework for Africa should actually be a point for discussion around which we find solutions to some of the challenges of illegal migration and those that affect South Africa in particular. I thank you.
Mr V ZUNGULA: House Chairperson, the biggest problem we face in the governance of our country is that the government waits for tragedy to happen before fixing a problem. The government waits for protests, gang rapes and loss of life before doing what is right. The people have been raising the issue about illegal mining for years and nothing has been done. Similarly, people have been raising the issues of illegal immigration and still nothing is done. The spot light has been on Krugersdorp recently, but what about the other communities terrorised by illegal miners?
Illegal mining is facilitated by politicians, mining companies and government officials. Up until the government deals with the syndicates that facilitate illegal mining, illegal miners will always be there and innocent communities will be terrorised. The minerals and energy department must go after the syndicates that enable and drive illegal mining. The Ministers, politicians, police, mining companies who are involved in illegal mining must be exposed and face the full might of the law.
The reality is that majority of illegal miners are not South Africans, the guns ceased are not registered in South Africa, and the explosives used in illegal mining are smuggled from neighbouring countries. Therefore, illegal mining and other crimes are enabled by our porous borders and the poor management of immigration in South Africa. Illegal mining, guns, drugs and human trafficking, cash in transit heist are, to a large extent, a result of illegal immigration and the failures of government to manage immigration.
The government must be a caring government and listen to the cries of the people and deal with the immigration crisis. The government must have empathy for the people of South Africa and not ignore their suffering and be overly concerned about
the suffering of other countries. The government must declare illegal immigration a crisis and take the necessary steps to correct the problem.
The South African National Defence Force, SANDF, amaberete, special police task teams must be deployed to hot spots and communities troubled by illegal mining, illegal immigration, drugs and human trafficking. All criminals must be flushed out from our communities. South Africa can’t be a preferred destination for criminals. People can’t leave their countries and come to South Africa and violate our immigration laws, sell drugs, issue fake citizenship documents, poison our people with fake goods, be bogus doctors, force young women into prostitution, traffic women and children, illegally mine, hijack cars and buildings and commit cash-in-transit heists.
Lo damtiriri ...
... of being a lawless country must come to an end. Criminals must be made uncomfortable regardless of the laws they brake. Only with true enforcement of law and order South Africa can be fixed. I thank you.
Mr B N HERRON: House Chair, mining companies that fail to comply with the obligations to clean up their mess and rehabilitate the land, the state functionally incapable of holding mining companies to account, an economy incapable of generating the numbers of jobs needed to put food on tables. These ingredients have converged to create a thriving well organised illegal mining industry in South Africa with devastating economic, social and environmental impacts.
Mining has long been the cornerstone of the South African economy with massive profits to be made on the back of exploited and oppressed labour. While the formal industry’s contribution to gross domestic product, GDP, has waned it remains a critical component of the economy today. With raw materials being depleted over the decades in a society marred by unsustainable inequality, it is imperative that we protect our remaining assets and ensure that when they are exploited the benefits accrue to law abiding citizens rather than the criminals engaged in criminal syndicates.
The vicious heartless attack by illegal miners on young women conducting a film shoot in Krugersdorp in July focussed national attention on the brutality of life and disregard for the law in the illegal mining Badlands, but too little is said
about illegal mining’s ecological and environmental impacts. Mining generally comes with profound environmental effects, leaving them to fix the mistakes we make today and tomorrow will place massive burdens on our children and grandchildren.
We have the instruments in place to assist us but we don’t administer them effectively. Some legal mines are able to evade environmental risk assessments which can force them to mitigate some of their worst impacts. It is a mine’s contractual duty to set aside funds for the refilling of landfills, replanting trees and attempting to leave the environment the way they found it. The problem is that the state’s systems are unable to hold them to account. Mines go out of business leaving things wide open to further exploitation by the illegal miners hanging in the wings. The biggest loser is the environment. It should not be government’s duty to pick up the pieces, but because of an aptitude they must ultimately bear the responsibility.
We must enforce stricter regulations and greater financial penalties for mines that fail to meet the environmental code. Mine owners must be forced to make good on their obligations before they escape with the money to Dubai or Switzerland.
Illegal miners of course don’t subscribe to any codes or regulations and they must be policed. Thank you, House Chair.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chairperson, we have a power problem here since last night so I hope I am not going to have any problem, but thank you for giving me the opportunity. House Chairperson, I am not sure why a lot of the focus of attention appears to be particularly on foreign nationals. An oversight visit by the Portfolio Committee on Police together with the Committee on Energy and Mining found that there was a lot of collusion between local residents and foreign nationals. We were also given a briefing by the South African Police Services and members of the community who appeared to be held hostage. But what is very important to note is that in this illegal mining that is taking place there are very influential people behind this and we have heard even from mining experts that there are expensive vehicles and things that are often seen in the area.
I certainly think that these illegal miners that we find there are just being used by these big influential people. So it is big business and I think that it is very unfortunate that to date we are not able to establish or identify who the real culprits are that are behind this illegal mining and not a
single arrest as to who the big guns are. I think that is the first problem we are sitting with.
The second problem we have identified was that many of the foreign nationals, particularly from Lesotho, believe that there is some level of entitlement that they have to mining in the area as this goes back to long before the days of apartheid. I want to draw attention to the fact that when we spoke to residents in that particular area, it is like a noble area, they told us that at 5 o’clock in the afternoon they have to all go indoors and they cannot come out till the next morning after six ... [Inaudible.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon member, you have muted.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: ... after they have taken the cream of the crop away. They have done very little or nothing even though it was part of the agreement to rehabilitate these mines. I think we need a more holistic approach if we want to solve this problem, but very importantly, we must also not forget
... [Inaudible.]... I think there is also to some extent something that we are forgetting that mining companies, particularly international companies, came into this country and took away the bread and butter in terms of our minerals
and yet when locals want to mine — I think we need to create a conducive environment for small-scale miners ... [Inaudible.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon members, it is a connectivity challenge. He did indicate that there is an electricity problem in the village. Thank you, Shaik Emam. Now we shall proceed, I recognise hon Legwase.
Ms T I LEGWASE: Hon House Chair, Members of Parliament fellow South Africans ...
... ke ya le dumedisa.
The traditional international law requirements of independent statehood are hardly open to question. These requirements are that the entity involved must have territory, there must be a population and there must be a stable and independent government to which the bulk of the population renders habitual obedience.
A fourth requirement is that the state must have the capacity to partake in international intercourse. The principle of
territorial integrity is the principle under the international law which gives the right to sovereign state to defend their borders and all territories in other states. The qualitative expression between the state and territories together constitute what is called territorial sovereignty.
As we debate on the matter of public national importance, the persistent illegal mining activities and committed crimes, one may ask about the relevance of the principle of territorial integrity.
... in the issue of addressing illegal mining, it is imperative that we take into consideration the critical issue of border management and control. A few weeks ago, we woke up to the horrendous news of the rape of eight women in Krugersdorp whilst shooting a music video against the backdrop of an unused mine.
The illegal mining activities are amongst others undocumented and illegal immigrants became more apparent. The challenge of
our pourers borders is the people entering the country without the necessary documentation has raised questions regarding our territorial integrity. Illegal mining has reached crisis proportions and threatens the legal mining operations.
Chairperson, to a significant extent, national security depends on an effective management of immigration. This begins with ensuring that foreigners’ visits and their stay in South Africa is properly documented in terms of their identity, conditions of stay and purpose of their visit and residence.
It is also important to know where they are staying.
The Department of Home Affairs is an important component of national security as it is mandated to regulate and facilitate immigration and its custodian of identity of the nationals and foreigners living in South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs best tasks which include being an efficient and secure custodian of citizenship and civil registration, securely and strategically managing international migration, efficiently managing asylum seekers and refugees and lastly efficiently determining the safeguarding of official identity and status of persons.
In carrying out its mandate and dealing with challenges of illegal migration, the Department of Home Affairs has ongoing operations with various sister departments. Amongst others, these interventions include Operation O Kae Molao, which is an ongoing joint operation between Home Affairs, SAPS and the Tshwane and Johannesburg metro police.
During the period of 1 April to 11 August this year, 1 476 foreign nationals were found to be in the country illegally and deportation processes were followed. The top four nationalities were Zimbabweans, Malawians, Basotho and Mozambicans.
The inspectorate conducted operations at the following mines; Primrose, Westonaria, wedela, Merafong and Mogale City. The Department of Home Affairs inspectorate controlled out of Operation Siyasebebza, which is a national initiative to tackle the employers’ challenges who employ illegal foreigners in the country.
During the period of 1 April to 11 August 2022, 215 illegal foreign nationals employed were found to be in the country illegally and deportation processes were followed. There were
45 employers that were charged in terms of the Immigration
Act. The top four nationalities were again Zimbabweans, Malawians, Basotho and Mozambicans.
Following the tragic incident which took place in Krugersdorp, the Department of Home Affairs has been participating in multi-disciplinary operations in the Westrand area to identify persons engaged with these zama-zamas.
The operation inspections are aimed at combating illegal migration and contributing to national stability. The teams are also focusing on other acts of illegal migration in areas that are saturated by zama-zamas.
The inspectorate’s mandate is to enforce and ensure compliance within the confines of South African legislation. A multi- disciplinary integrated operation to get zama-zamas commenced on 29 July 2022 and it will run until 11 September 2022.
The stakeholders comprise of the following key departments; DHA, Department of Home Affairs, SAPS, SA Police Service, DL, DMRE, Department of Mineral Resources, and Magale municipality traffic department. Government has undertaken a programme of engaging the communities affected by zama-zamas as well as embarking on law enforcement.
Since 29 July 2022 and since law enforcement have conducted operations in the Westrand area, the arrests conducted in Krugersdorp for alleged illegal mining and other crimes have included the urban of charges under the Immigration Act of 2002. The operation included immigration inspectorate officials. A total of 78 arrests were made in this area between 29 July and 3 August and 61 more arrest were made between 6 and 7 August 2022, and 50 more on 9 August.
Chairperson, in the spirit of corporation, in order to deal with the challenge of illegal migration, South Africa has engaged stakeholders form the affected countries.
In August 2022, the DG, director general, and the acting DDG, deputy director genral, from the Department of Home Affairs met the permanent secretary of Home Affairs in Lesotho to discuss the illegal mining and areas of corporation including deportation.
In the same month, there were engagements with the Botswana immigration boarder technical team. A meeting between South Africa and Zimbabwe was also held. The meeting was a mid-term review of SA-Zim by the national commission. The meeting discussed the issues of Zimbabwean exemption permit
termination, conveyors transporting illegal immigrants from other countries without documents and illegal mining.
It was brought the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs that they were Zimbabwean cross border permit holders that ferried undocumented migrants across the Beit bridge border port of entry. Because of this unlawful conduct, the DG imposed a fine for contravention of the Act.
The Minister of Transport has been requested to advice on actions including the review of cross border road aspect agreement with the Zimbabwean government as well as immediate steps that would ensure the safe and orderly passage of travellers through the port of entry. It was reported that the IMS, International Migration Services, inspectorate will initiate the prosecution terms in terms of section 49.2 of the Immigration Act against the implicated transport companies.
Chairperson, the ANC government took a decision to establish a Border Management Authority, BMA, to take responsibility of all functions related to the management of our borders in an integrated manner. The authority will be responsible for boarder law enforcement functions at ports of entries and all border lines.
The BMA will ensure a more efficient processing of goods at the county’s port of entry. It will strengthen our capacity to address border threats that could undermine the country’s security and social economic development.
The BMA represents a comprehensive approach to border management by South Africa. The establishment of this authority is intended to improve efficiencies in facilitating trades between South Africa and the rest of African continents and the world at large.
Further, the establishment of BMA seeks to ensure the integration of various functions such as immigration port, health, agriculture and access control which are currently implemented by individual departments in a fragmented manner.
Therefore, the BMA establishment seeks to improve efficiencies with regard to integrating all those functions into a single command and control.
Chairperson, as the country deals with this challenge of illegal migration, I wish to echo the words President of South Africa, President Ramaphosa where he reminded South Africans that the country is a democracy found on the rule of law.
Acts of lawlessness, intimidation or humiliation directed at foreign nationals, documented or undocumented cannot be tolerated. Likewise, foreign nationals who enter the country must know that South Africa is a sovereign founder on the rule of law.
We reiterate that everyone who comes into the country lawfully is welcomed. They must always bear in mind that they are subjected to the laws of this country like the rest of us.
We hold the view that migration is managed properly and occurs within the legal framework. Foreign nationals can contribute positively to our society by bringing skills and resources to our economy by creating jobs for South Africans. We reiterate the call for everyone to work together to ensure that all laws are enforced by the relevant authority, firmly and consistently with the African Continent Free Trade Agreement and as we integrate in terms of the trade, we appreciate that the movement of people is inevitable.
South Africa is sovereign and we believe that it must be respected. Thank you very much.
Mr S M JAFTA: Chairperson, may I live my video off I am struggling with connectivity here.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Yes, you may.
Mr S M JAFTA: Thank you very much Chair. Hon Chair, it is befitting that we start this discussion in a positive light. The joint initiative by the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, the Portfolio Committee on SA Police Service and Home Affairs, must be welcomed in stemming out illegal mining activities. The interconnection between illegal immigration, illegal mining and related criminal activities marshalled these critical role-players into action in the quest to circumvent illegal mining operations.
Hon members, we are concerned that illegal mining activities are reported both in the old nonrehabilitated mines, and those still in operation. This is sufficient enough to conclude that, these operations are syndicated and ran by a well-oiled mining magnates. These criminal activities which often lead to the loss of life cannot be tolerated any longer. It is in this regard, that we believe that every department that has a role to play to curb these violent actions must be roped in.
Hon Chair, from a safety and security point of view, we cannot allow our country to be held hostage by criminal syndicates, whose sole purpose is to render the law-abiding citizens of this country to live in fear. Finding solutions such as allowing small-scale mining which must be properly regulated especially in the 600 dormant mines across Gauteng, must be our biggest priority. We must also equip the police service with intelligence crime prevention support tools, to detect illegal mining operations. Through a collective will, we believe that this battle can be defeated. I thank you.
Mr M NYHONTSO: House Chair, allow me to deal with the root cause of illegal mining activities, and at the same time hasten to warn on the liberal use of the term “concomitant crimes” in this debate, as that of an unfortunate choice of words. Illegal mining activity is a semi-permanent feature of SA Economy, aimed at the international commodity market.
Deregulated mining is in itself a way to exploit the natural resources of our land, to enrich the outsiders who are based in the capital centres of one sided global economy. Hence, the ruling elite should correct itself from being abused like this by foreign capital.
The history of mining in South Africa is historical, and industry is run by exploiters who benefit from the exploitation of peasants who are mineworkers, many of which die slowly from liver psychosis and tuberculosis, leaving them hopeless to retire poor and dispose of the remuneration as a result of exploitation. Many are also widows as a result of the mining industry. Our resources are concentrated in the hands of the minority. The PAC calls for the state and the governing party to look into the crisis of Zama-Zamas.
The sites now that now we call mine dumps are dangerous, as such have had dire impacts in the communities surrounding them. A case relevant we saw in July of how eight young women were raped. South Africa is already a rape capital. We further have seen how the illegal miners who get stuck underground and die while digging for crumbs of our resources. This is too much, as in the words of Mr Mathunjwa of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Amcu that ...
... ubomi bomntu omnyama butshiphu ...
... the life of a black man is cheap. Not to run away from the environmental effects it has, from the air people breathe to the water they drink due to toxins produced by the dumps, all for capitalist interests. The PAC says a regulated mining
environment should include all mines and those that are not in use. The safety of the environment and the people should surpass the interests of capitalists, and the struggle for regulated minds is not new in South Africa.
The recent horrible crimes by the gang warfare of rival Zama Zamas must be investigated by a special police force in SA Police Service, and should not be divorced from the labour migration. However, the SA Police Service, SAPS is itself questionable and cannot be trusted as it stands, because of their history of collusion with international criminal syndicates. The PACs says, start with the root cause of criminal activities and end with uprooting illegal mining activities.
The PAC says, liberated Azania should be a land of life abandoned, where the Azanians benefit from the resources of their motherland. The solution to all surrounding the mining
industry, which is in private hands is nationalisation. Azania is this country and Azania deserves better.
ILUNGU ELIHLONIPHEKILEYO: Baxelele mongameli ...
... well said.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much hon House Chair. Al Jama-ah was looking forward to the governing party and other political parties, to finger those people really involved in illegal mining. Hon Chair, Al Jama-ah and the nation were sadly let down. I did not hear a name such as Glencore, BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, ... [Inaudible] ... Yanzhou Coal Mining Co Ltd, ...[Inaudible] ... Aluminium Corporation of China. I didn’t hear those names. I did however hear support for informal mining. We need a strong informal mining sector, so that we can get ready and nationalise the illegal mining companies I mentioned above earlier.
We hope that as political parties renew, the new cadres will emerge and will strengthen the informal mining sector. One ... [Inaudible] ... of our beloved army and defence force can
result in entrenching our informal mining sector. Will the governing party be brave to give that command, while their commander in chief give the order? That will also show the backbone of our country’s economy, and if we use it wisely, the country will flourish economically and be alleviated from poverty. But should the country fail to efficiently look after its people especially the poor, we will face challenges of people determined to find ways to earn a living. If people are denied the fruits of the country’s natural resources, they will embark on desperate measures and see earnings from mining without the required permits as a right.
From a human perspective, there is no such thing as illegal mining, citizens must benefit from the country’s resources. We see the capitalists and foreign capitalists enriching themselves on our natural resources. They are either legal mining or perpetrated by these foreign capitalists will make use and exploit labour from neighbouring countries. We have been bored by speaker after speaker crying over crumbs. This House deserves a more quality debate. Fingering Zama Zamas whoever they are, can be nothing but antirevolutionary. Thank you very much House Chair.
Mr J ENGELBRECHT: House Chairperson, this is not a new problem. It has been well documented that the issue of illegal mining and the risk it poses to communities, has been discussed in Cabinet as early as 2009. Promises of stern and immediate action was made followed by numerous commitments by a multitude of Ministers in this House. And yet, here we are debating the issue in this House today, proposed by a member of the majority party. The same party that made all these promises of stern and immediate action for the last 13 years. It is a travesty.
The inward focus on perpetual internal battles for the sake of self-preservation, made them oblivious to the needs, the plight and the sentiment of local communities. The community of West Village in Mogale City had to bear the brunt, hardship and suffering imposed by Zama Zamas for many years. These criminals are law unto themselves, they do as they please with impunity. To make matters worse, SAPS are very reluctant to respond to complaints from the community where Zama Zamas are involved, not because SAPS are cowards, it is because they are woefully under resourced. A station commander can’t send his men into a situation knowing that they are outgunned and outman. This left communities living in fear having to fend for themselves for years.
This was Tshepiso Moribe, killed in crossfire by Zama Zamas. That is the price communities have to pay. Since the DA-led coalition in Mogale City came into power in November under the direction of the DA Mayor Tyrone Gray the following happened: A petition to Parliament with 10 000 signatures to request immediate intervention. The use of Mogale City’s
...[Inaudible] ... to close holes dug by Zama Zamas. The destruction of 150 000 Phendukas and Jacob’s tables.
Confiscated equipment and generators. Assistant ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon member on the podium please take your seat. Hon Gwarube.
THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION (Ms S Gwarube): House Chair,
with due respect to the other members of the House they are drowning out the speaker. He’s talking about somebody who has been killed. They could show a little bit of respect.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Thank you hon member, you are heckling. You may proceed hon member. Just ensure hon members that you don’t drown the speaker.
Mr J ENGELBRECHT: They disrupted five localities of illicit mining operations. Established a committee that co-opted members of the community and private security using the whole of society approach, where the community forms part of the solution. This is what a caring government does. The fact that young woman had to be raped to draw attention to this problem, because public outcry is indicative of how much this government cares for communities. The persistent incompetence defies comprehension.
The MINISTER OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY: The Speaker of
the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker, Chairs of the House, Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here today and hon members, I wish I had the ability that is displayed by the DA of celebrating a crisis and a disaster, and in seeing that every disaster is an opportunity to attack cadre deployment. And, therefore, try to convince us in that situation to believe that it was better where we come from and therefore ask us to celebrate our oppression. I think that is a strange phenomenon of this debate. I think we are not going to celebrate our oppression. We are therefore going to opt for providing information that we need for an important discussion here.
The first thing to talk about is to emphasise that illegal mining is not a mining activity. It’s a criminal activity. Any criminal activity ... if you say the ANC or the Department of Mineral Resources or this department is responsible for it, you have no sense of what criminality is. This criminal activity is in contravention of our laws and forms part of many other economically-related crimes that are afflicting our society. Included in these crimes would be copper cable theft, through the wanton vandalisation of electricity infrastructure at national and local level. This also extends to electricity infrastructure of mining companies and that of state-owned companies that assist in evacuating minerals.
The 17 illegal miners who died underground in ... [Inaudible.]
... were illegal miners. All 17 non-South Africans were actually ... in this cable theft activity. Now, people must begin to appreciate that when every Minister was in Durban for the water disaster, I was in Klerksdorp where 100 mine workers had been underground. A mine closed ... on them. Five of them died and 95 were rescued. All of them were non-South Africans. I am emphasising this thing of ... non-South Africans to demystify this thing of saying that illegal mining is a function of poverty and a function of hunger. It’s a function of criminality.
Illegal mining is associated with very serious crimes such as illicit financial flows and high levels of violence, including gender-based violence and femicide. Furthermore, we have witnessed human trafficking, the smuggling of weapons, and explosives linked to this crime. What we saw in Krugersdorp follows a series of similar activities. Unfortunately, this House didn’t have massive debates on a series of these activities. If you go to Welkom, you find them. If you go to Klerksdorp, you find them. If you go to Carletonville, you find them. If you go to Witbank, you find them. If you go to the ... [Inaudible.] ... you find them. This House must pay attention to all these activities because they are criminal.
Historically, illegal mining was associated with derelict and ownerless mines; which are many because ... and derelict and ownerless mines are alongside licensed and operational mines. That is where the complication is now. It is estimated that the South African economy and the mining sector lost approximately R49 billion in 2019. That is the report that was given by the UN in researching this area of work ... to illegal mining. It is further estimated that mining companies spend two billion on security, in trying to prevent these illegal activities. So, we must bring all those together to have a comprehensive discussion on this matter.
Hon members, we must always resist the temptation of equating illegal mining to artisanal and small-scale mining. It’s not the same. It’s not the same. Artisanal mining is a formalised economic activity, usually undertaken by citizens and documented inhabitants in a country. I must be clear that once an individual enters our country illegally and engages in illegal economic activity, such an individual cannot be sanitised through being issued with a small-scale mining licence. We can’t do that. Let us disabuse ourselves of that notion. Illegal miners are foot soldiers of criminal syndicates and must be dealt with like any other economic saboteur. That’s what it is. This is a war on our economy.
It is becoming clear that illegal mining is run by syndicates with different linkages of illegal migration. Recent arrests by the SA Police Service showed that those apprehended are, in the majority, undocumented illegal immigrants. If unchecked, illegal mining could be an existential threat to the sector.
Let me talk briefly about the rehabilitation of mines because that is another issue that is thrown around on this matter.
There are two sets of mines. There are derelict and ownerless mines. That means that, because we’ve been mining for more
than 100 years, there are many mines that have been left open and it is the responsibility of the state to deal with it.
However, when a mine is operational, it makes provision for mining for rehabilitation. In open cast ... like my coal mining, they do concurrent rehabilitation as they mine. That’s what we are saying and therefore, when people talk ... I normally read it in social media as well ... R50 billion for rehabilitation. Chair, again I share with you that I invited one of the people who said, this R50 billion ... Can you ... [Inaudible] ... us where this R50 billion is? We want it. As a department we receive R140 million per annum in the budget for rehabilitation. We don’t get R50 billion. We get R140 million for rehabilitation. With that money we are attending to derelict and ownerless mines, including asbestos mines that pose a threat to the health of citizens in the country. That’s what we do. With this allocation, we can on average fully rehabilitate at least three mines and seal off 40 shafts per year. That’s what we are doing. Three mines ... [Inaudible.]
... rehabilitated, particularly asbestos mines, and 40 holes sealed per year. The department has prioritised the rehabilitation of former asbestos mines because of health hazards — asbestos causes lung ailments — with a total of
270 derelict and ownerless asbestos mines.
Mintek has, through the implementation of the derelict and ownerless mine rehabilitation programme, sealed 135 holings in the eastern, central, and western basins in Gauteng over the last three years. That’s why one speaker who spoke here referred to the crisis in the East Rand, which is no longer a crisis because many of those holes have been sealed.
Therefore, that has migrated to another part of Gauteng and that is what we are monitoring. We must appreciate that at this rate it will take a long time to complete the rehabilitation of all these mines. There are mines under care and maintenance which cannot be quantified as they are a moving target. Holders of these mining rights are compelled by law to submit financial provision for rehabilitation, using either a trust, fund, financial guarantees or cash.
What action have we taken? It is our considered view that illegal mining is a criminal activity which must be dealt with within the prescripts of the law. Hence, we have been engaging with the Ministry of Police to establish a specialised police unit to deal with this criminal activity. In principle, we are in agreement. We are going to see reaction by the Ministry of Police ... [Inaudible.] ... send a specialised unit to attend to a number of areas. We are discussing that there must be an established, consistent unit to deal with this matter. We are
in agreement with Minister Cele. I’ve heard many people shouting at him. We are in agreement with Minister Cele on this particular matter. We are working closely to design this specialised unit. I can confirm that there is now alignment between our departments on how this unit should look like and operate. The Ministry of Police will, at an appropriate time, make the necessary announcements regarding the establishment of this unit. However, I can safely say to this august House that the unit is expected to be a multidisciplinary unit. Let me leave that and go to artisanal and small-scale mining.
We have been talking about artisanal mining. We listened and we are acting on it. Recognising the need to exploit these minerals and ensure that they don’t get sterilised, in March this year the department finalised and published a policy on artisanal and small-scale mining. Somebody gave us feedback — not for money — here, which is not sufficient but that policy is now in place. We must use it optimally to the best of its ability and our ability. The policy is aimed at formalising artisanal and small-scale mining and enabling economic activity, primarily for citizens. It caters for legally documented individuals as well.
In the last three years, Mintek has trained 630 miners in four provinces to operate as artisanal miners. The number is small. Six hundred and thirty is not a huge number but 630 artisanal miners have been trained by Mintek in the provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and North West. The programme is unfolding. We are currently training 200 women in the same skill. So, that means that the programme is underway. We want to see them getting licences and beginning to work.
Our support for artisanal and small-scale mining must not be misconstrued as support for illegal mining. It is actually aimed at cutting out illegal mining. We support mining, as long as it is done within the prescripts of our laws.
Therefore, artisanal mining programmes will continue to enjoy our full support as the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, as part of broadening participation in mining, including the crucial participation of women. Some who are old enough like me will remember that women were actually not allowed to work in a mine. They will not remember that. I remember it because we had to start a campaign to increase the uptake of women in the mines to at least 10%. That’s what we said in 1987. Before that, mines were not allowed. So, when people assess progress, they must always base it on historical facts.
Hon members, allow me to remind you that illegal mining is a threat to national security, government authority and socioeconomic development. Hence, government has opted for a multifaceted approach in dealing with this scourge, in order to defend the integrity and sovereignty of our state.
Let me reassure you, hon members, that this government remains committed to ensuring that illegal mining in our country is ultimately eliminated. We are committed to that. To do this, we must arrest, prosecute and convict both flies, that is the illegal miners, and tigers, that is the leaders of syndicates. Okay.
Now, let us work together to confront this crime and stop apportioning blame. To the FF Plus councillor who reported that a councillor was told he has no business being there, I can assure you that if you can give us that report, we will follow it up because that councillor has everything ... to be involved in trying to find a solution. You can’t have anybody who says he is not allowed to be part of finding a solution. So that councillor ... Please give us that report and we will follow up on it and take action with regard to that particular one.
So, all of us have a responsibility and a duty to participate in finding a solution to this. It’s a crime. It’s difficult. It’s confronting the country. It’s among many crimes. I’m not celebrating disasters. I’m not celebrating crises. I prefer being dirty ... dealing with the crisis. Hon Mileham, I’m not missing in action. I’ll never do that. History doesn’t confirm your view.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS ON RECOMMENDATI ON OF CANDIDATES TO FILL TWO VACANCIES ON MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY AGENCY (MDDA) BOARD
Mr B M MANELI: Hon House Chair, hon members, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, committee support staff, fellow South Africans, the Portfolio Committee on Communications, the committee, having received the referral from the Speaker of the National Assembly, in line with the request from the Minister, for the filling of two vacant for the Media Development and Diversity Agency Board, MDDA Board, in line with the Media Development and Diversity Agency Act of 2002,
MDDA Act of 2002, of the land, as well as in line with the provision of Rule 151 and 172 of the National Assembly Rules.
The committee appointed a subcommittee proportional to the representation of parties in the National Assembly to shortlist, interview and deliberate on candidates to be recommended to the committee. The committee received a Report from the subcommittee which reflected consensus decisions reached by the subcommittee.
On 15 March 2022, unanimously, agreed to adopt a detailed Report which has been circulated to hon members of this House. A committee, taking into account the board, the existing members, the skills needed, demographics, a task at hand and performance of candidates in the interviews recommended the following candidates considered for appointment in line with applicable legislative prescripts as follows: of Ms Martina Della-Togna and Ms Carol Mohlala.
Hon House Chair, the committee then presented this Report to this august House for debate and consideration of the names, which Report was adopted by the House. As we speak, currently, the two recommended board members have already been appointed to serving their tasks in the board.
The Report is therefore before this House again on a technical matter in terms of tabling by the NA Table and interaction with the committee support necessarily does not change the recommendations that were made of recommending the two to be appointed as already stated. So, it is just a technical matter that needs to be dealt with, where a Report reflected four years instead of the three years.
Therefore, I present this Report to be adopted by the House as an update to the Report that was already adopted by the House, to effect the technical changes that needed to be made – that of effecting a three-year term instead of a four-year term as submitted by the NA Table.
House Chair, we also note that this may have been as a result of three Report that were presented to the House at the same time, on 24 march 2022, which captured all vacancies in terms of SA Broadcasting Corporation, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa and the MDDA. I present this Report for the consideration of the House.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, I move that the House - in terms of Rule 120(b), which provides inter alia that the House will amend or rescind previous resolution -
adopts this Report which replaces a Report on the same matter, adopted on the 24 March 2022.
Ke dumela hore: Le kgoptjwa le maoto a mane!
I move that the House adopts this Report. I so move!
No objections raised.
The Report was agreed to.
CONSIDERATION OF TRADITIONAL COURTS BILL - AND OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES THEREON
Mr G MAGWANISHE: Hon Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers and hon members, the Traditional Courts Bill was
introduced in 2017 and passed by this House on 12 March 2019. The Bill was then refereed to the National Council of Provinces where it lapsed at the end of the Fifth Parliament but was revived soon after the Sixth Parliament began. The Bill containing amendments was passed by the Council on 02 December 2020 and was returned to this House for concurrence.
The Bill was referred to the committee for consideration and report on 02 December 2020. The committee was advised that in terms of the NA Rule 311(2) it may not propose further amendments to the Bill. Briefly, the Council’s amendment includes amending the definition of the traditional leader by replacing the explicit reference to the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act with the work in terms of applicable legislations providing for such recognition.
Amending clause 6 concerning the nature of the traditional courts by recognising additional levels of leadership found in other legislations. Amending clause 16 so that the Minister must compile a code of conduct for all persons who have a role in terms of Customary Law for the effective functioning of the traditional courts after consultation, not in consultation with the Minister responsible for traditional affairs.
Amending clause 16 further, so that any breach in the code of conduct may be reported to and remedial steps imposed by the relevant MEC instead of the relevant House of Traditional Leaders. This is meant to prevent the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders from being the judge in its own court.
Amending clause 18 by inserting the sub clause that repeal section 12 and 20 of the Black Administration Act, Act of 1927.
Having considered the Traditional Courts Bill B1D of 2017 passed by the National Council of Provinces and returned to the National Assembly for concurrence, the committee reports that it is in agreement with the Council’s amendments to the Bill. I so move, thank you, very much.
UMBHEXESHI OYINTLOKO WEQELA ELILAWULAYO: Ndiphakamisa into
yokuba le ngxelo ibekwa kusihlalo wale komiti yamkelwe yile Ndlu. Enkosi.
Declaration of vote:
Adv G BREYTENBACH: Hon Chair, the first Traditional Courts Bill was introduced in 2008 but to be subsequently rejected
upright as a result of a major public outcry. The Bill was reintroduced in Parliament in 2012 with the content of the Bill unchanged. It was again met with the stronger opposition by civil societies and various organisations representing the interests of women and rural communities. This earlier version of the Bill was heavily criticised for containing various clauses which potentially undermine the rights of rural people, particularly women and felt to facilitate access to justice in the rural areas.
In 1996, the drafters of our Constitution ... [Lost on changing the tape.] ... opened to all members of the committee. It is inconsistent with the prescripts of our Constitution and cannot be accepted. This is a deeply flawed piece of legislation that not only dispatches women to the worst who have been of second class citizenship but take us all back to the dark ages. The DA does not support this Bill and it will never pass the Constitutional Master. If it passes in the House we will petition the President to submit it to the Constitutional Court for adjudication. I thank you.
Ms Y N YAKO: Thank you, House Chairperson, we rejected the Bill when it was first debated in the House. We did so because we were convinced that the Bill was out of synch with the
needs of almost 80 ... South Africans who reside in the former homelands, whose lived experience with traditional healers must never be discounted. One of the most fundamental failures of the post 1994 elite arrangement has been the failure of the ANC to develop a system of governance and a system of justice for the rural people that is in synch with the Constitution.
The Constitution clearly states that it is the supreme law of the land and that all law and conduct contrary to that is illegitimate. The Constitution further entrenches the rights to freedom of speech, rights to association and rights to fair legal representation. These rights are accorded all South Africans. While we acknowledge the importance of customary law, and the centrality of the traditional systems of resolving disputes, this must be done in a manner that recognises that customary law is a living law, it evolves over time. Based on this, our initial objectives to the Bill still stands. Firstly, is that the Bill states that in the Constitution of the traditional courts, there must be a fair representation of woman. We feel that this is too open-ended and will eventually perpetuate the exclusion of women from partaking in rural justice. Even if it were explicit, as it was in the traditional leadership and Governance Framework
Act, traditional leaders just ignore this. Just because there is no watertight consequence management process.
Secondly, over the past ten years or so, there’s been great strides made in ensuring that we develop a Bill that will allow people to opt-out of the traditional court system when they feel they do not get justice. The Bill in front of us is the product of Parliament’s capitulation to the pressure from traditional leaders and offers no such opt-out option. This interpretation of customary law is both a historical and ignores the fact that customary law is a living, evolving law and that people are not permanent subjects to the traditional leaders, that allegiance to a particular traditional leader has always been a dynamically evolving thing.
This Bill will, therefore, lock people into predetermined allegiances to a traditional leader and leaves no room for people who want to opt out. This Bill demonstrates a spectacular failure by the ruling elite to properly respond to the challenge of ensuring a just and equitable justice for the rural people. The amendments affected by the NCOP do not address any of these challenges and therefore, we still reject the Bill. I thank you.
Mnu M HLENGWA: Sihlalo labantu angibazi ukuthi bahlalaphi. Thina sihlala emakhaya phansi kwamakhosi. Imikhandlu yamakhosi, kunomthetho owaphasiswa, sikhuluma nje, ukuthi kufanele babe ngamashumi amathathu bangabi ngaphansi kwamaphesenti angamashumi amane abantu besifazane. Manje bese ungabe usazi ukuthi uma uya enkantolo kamantshi uzofike uzikhethele ukuthi ufuna ijaji noma ufuna imantshi yesifazane noma yesilisa, kodwa amakhosi kuhanjwa kubekwa imithetho engahambisani nokuhlakanipha. Zonke lezi zinto uthi uma uzilalela bese kukucacela ukuthi inking enkulu lapha kuliwa nobukhosi nobuholi bendabuko ngobunjalo babo. Kodwa lezi zinto ezinhle ezifaka phakathi iSilo, nani nani, bese bezijabulela kodwa ngale ngemuva baphethe isando bayayicanda impela, baphethe imbazo.
Amakhosi angazi niwafunani. Thina esihlala emakhaya impela asinankinga. Asinankinga thina esihlala emakhaya, thina esilusayo asinankinga, abantu besifazane bayingxenye yokusebenza kwemikhandlu yamakhosi. Laphaya nje ekhaya, ngingabala abantu besifazane abaphethe izindaba zokubuswa kwezwe.
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk R M M Lesoma): Awume kancane Mnumzane uHlengwa.
ICT, just take out the hon member off the system. Thank you.
Mnu M HLENGWA: Manje ke ...
... don’t generalise. Where there are challenges and short comings, most definitely zoom into that and sort it out where there are lacunas, but to come here as an outsider with all due respect not residing there and dictate to us.
Hhayi, ningazofuna ukusiphatha ngoqotho.
Now the fundamental issue is that the piecemeal approach, of course, to dealing with issues of traditional leadership and traditional governance is at the of these crazy ideas and articulations that are out there. Until such time that the commitments of the Cabinet committee of 2000 subcommittee to
deal chapter 7 and 12 of the Constitution so that you can be able to determine the roles, powers and functions of the traditional leaders and institutions of traditional governance. Unless that task is completed, you are going to continue having these challenges.
Therefore, let us not come here to this House and speak from a position of ignorance or a desktop exercise and presume and assume that you know better than those of us, who come from these areas. Therefore, whilst these changes will be minimal but they go a long way in highlighting the need to institutionalise properly and correctly and constitutionally. By the way, traditional leadership is recognised by the Constitution. The IFP supports this report. Thank you.
Mr F J MULDER: Thank you, hon House Chair, the FF Plus supports the recognition of cultural diversity in South Africa. The Bill almost entirely removes reference to the consensual and voluntary nature of customary law and creates a parallel legal system for rural citizens in South Africa, compared to people living in urban areas.
The Traditional Courts Bill, however, exacerbates existing challenges through access to justice. It denies the rights to
legal representation and this affects particularly women. As in many traditional courts, they are not allowed to speak or represent themselves. They have to rely on male relatives to represent them. This puts women at a serious disadvantaged, particularly in cases arises from disputes with the male relatives.
The Bill also creates new challenges and inequalities, including denying people the right to appeal to state courts and empowering chiefs to deny people land or sentence them to force labour and amongst other punishments. The Traditional Court Bill tends rural people into subjects who are denied the full rights of citizenship that urban South Africans enjoy.
South Africa still have a long way to go in developing a new dispensation that provides for the rights of diverse cultures. The FF Plus do not support the Traditional Courts Bill as it stands. Thank you, House Chair.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, House Chair, this Bill was amended by the NCOP and returned to NA for concurrence for these amendments, hence, the report from the Justice Portfolio Committee. Now, according to Rule 3112 the committee may not propose further amendments to the Bill, that is the justice committee in the National Assembly. So, one then reverts to
the position that we articulated as the ACDP when this Bill was first deliberated on and accepted, and at that stage, we did express concerns. We expressed concerns to the Opposition to the Bill while respecting customary law and traditional leadership. We want to emphasise that point.
At that stage, the opt out clause was inserted and there was deliberations about that. Regrettably, the opt out clause was then removed and that has massive implications. Yes, we might not have intricate knowledge of the areas involved, but clearly the implication is that everyone living in those areas will now be subject to the traditional courts and the recourse then if you are unhappy with a decision, is then to the magistrate’s courts and other courts and we know how they are packed up and we know the backlogs there.
The ACDP also is concerned about the rights of legal representation and we understand the tradition view of women in courts. However, one’s got to try to balance that as to how those women will be represented in those traditional courts when it comes to the legal representation and when it comes to their rights in general and so where there are conflicts in rights, clearly there can be challenges. So, the ACDP’s perspective remains, whilst we appreciate and respect
customary law and traditional leadership. We again repeat our position that we cannot support this report at all. I thank you.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, Al Jama-ah supports the report. We obviously have a suggestion, which I suppose is too late. It would be nice if there was an alternative dispute resolution structure to support especially women. So, instead of going to the magistrate courts and higher courts, that facility would be used. Al Jama-ah supports the report. Thank you very much.
Mr X NQOLA: House Chair, allow me firstly to agree with hon Hlengwa that indeed, ...
... asibazi abantu ukuba bahlala phi ...
... judging from what they delivered here in this House. Firstly, Chair, hon Breytenbach speaks about petitioning the President if this Bill passes the House, which I think is an unfortunate antimajoritarian instinct that they think, is
actually against the democratic values of the legal system of South Africa.
Secondly Chair, hon Yako speaks of the opt out clause and speaks of that this is an instrument brought about by the ruling elite, in trying to modernise or rather capture the traditional institutions. Chair, I think part of what I think hon Yako is in ignorance of is the fact that, firstly, the opt out clause has been disagreed upon by a number of traditional leaders in the public consultation. And the issue of the ruling elite does not resonate with the nature of the Bill, because the Bill actually speaks about the motive forces on the ground. So, the ruling elite is then out of the picture.
House Chair, the ANC rises to support the Traditional courts Bill. The Constitutional Court in Shilubana and Others versus Nwamitwa, asserted that Customary Law enjoys the status that demands equal respect albeit that it is subject to the Constitution. Customary law must be treated as an integral part of the South African legal system representing an independent source of norms within the legal system.
The SA Legal Framework recognises Customary Law as a primary source of law, and the Constitutional Court held that
Customary Law must be understood in its own term and not through the lens of the Common Law. And that, Customary Law will continue to evolve within the context of its values and norms consistently with the Constitution. The Constitution imposes the mandatory duty on Parliament in terms of section
211 and section 212 read together with section 34, section 38 and section 165 of the Constitution, to pass specific legislation dealing with the administration of justice in traditional communities and judicial immunity to traditional leader.
The mandatory duty is rarely posed by the general duty of Parliament. In Section 7(2) of the Constitution, to respect protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights from the people under traditional leadership and govern in accordance with African Customary Law. The Traditional Courts Bill is aimed at placing the current needs meet the framework in which disputes are resolved in terms of Customary Law, and providing a uniform and legislative framework for the tribe challenging for the structure and functioning of traditional courts, in line with the values and imperatives of the Constitution.
The legislation is presently applicable to the resolution of disputes by the Institution of Traditional Leadership are the remaining provisions of the Apartheid Colonial Black Administration Act of 1927, and some provisions of some homeland legislation which are variants with the values of the Constitution. This is a clear indication that there is a lacuna within the law which has necessitated the development of the new framework.
Hon Chair, it must be emphasised that this Bill does not create traditional courts. Traditional courts have been in existence since time in memorial hon Breytenbach.
As we debate right now, traditional courts across the country are in operation. Approximately 22 million people live under traditional authorities, and utilise these courts for the resolution of their disputes. It is the people of give these courts the due recognition. Traditional courts are an instrument for building social cohesion, unity and peace, not an instrument of the ruling elite. The main goals of African Justice may be described as the search for truth, reconciliation, compensation and rehabilitation. While the goals of Western Justice are seen as procedural ... [Inaudible] ... retribution, incarceration and revenge.
Advantages of traditional courts include the flexibility of the rules, the informal procedures, the use of language that is of community that speedy resolution of cases and importantly, the facilitation and dispensing of restorative justice. It is important that the Traditional Justice System be understood within the Customary Law paradigm in which it operates. Traditional courts are sui generis, they are unique. When interpreting legislation, a balance must be struck between language and its context. The contextually interpretation of constitutional text in section 39(2) requires that considerations be given to South Africa’s legal and institutional history.
Chairperson, one of the issues of contention in the 2017 Bill was the opt out clause. There were arguments for and against the clause. After much deliberation and consultation with various stakeholders including traditional leaders, clause 12 of the Bill was inserted. This clause entails that, the internal remedies within the customary institution or ...or structures in accordance with Customary Law must be exhausted. If a party still feels aggrieved, they may then approach the magistrate court for relief. This framework is not stagnant.
Therefore, this ensures that due regard is given traditional courts and their internal appeal process, as well as not limiting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The Bill precludes legal representation in traditional courts. By nature, traditional courts proceedings are flexible, reconciliatory, inexpensive and provides speedy justice. This is a free lesson.
The Bill allows both men and women to represent themselves before a traditional court hon Breytenbach, and allows these men or women to be assisted by whomever they please. It also requires that a traditional court must be open to all members of the community, including vulnerable persons and persons who are subject to discrimination due to their sexual orientation or identity. This clause resonates with the equality provisions of the Constitution and diversity requirement in the appointment of judicial officers to the courts.
The Bill encourages the participation of women; I repeat hon House Chair. In a democratic dispensation, it cannot be traditional courts to continue to operate with colonial apartheid legislation. It is important for this legislation to be passed so that the operation of traditional courts is regulated properly in line with the prescripts of the
Constitution. This will curb potential abuses or malpractices within the court system. The ANC supports this Bill. Thank you very much hon House Chair.
Motion agreed to (Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Freedom Front Plus and African Christian Democratic Party dissenting). Bill, as amended, accordingly passed.
CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR APPROVAL BY PARLIAMENT OF REVISED AFRICAN REGIONAL CO-OPERATIVE AGREEMENT FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (AFRA) AGREEMENT IN TERMS OF SECTION 231(2) OF CONSTITUTION, 1996
Mr S LUZIPO: Good afternoon to hon members and the viewers. Hon House Chair, the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy is tabling to this National Assembly for adoption of the report on the Revised African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology Agreement. That is Afra. The report on Afra Agreement was tabled initially at section 231(2) of the Constitution, 1991, 31 May 2002.
The Afra is a multinational agreement established by African Member States to address socioeconomic development through the use of nuclear science and technology. The International Atomic Energy Agency, that is IAEA, provides technical scientific and financial support to Afra Agreement to achieve the mandate of maximising the utilisation of available infrastructure and expertise in Africa in the field of nuclear science and technology as well as the acceleration towards regional self-sufficiency in peace application of nuclear technology.
Hon House Chair, Africa is a continent, is an out layer with respect in nuclear science and technology as there is no from African country apart South Africa, for example, with an operating nuclear plant. This widen the gap between Africa and the rest of the world in terms of nuclear energy development.
The primary mission of Afra Agreement is to develop capacity establish and facilitate regional co-operation in the use of infrastructure and explode nuclear science and technology applications, safely and cost-effectively in order to meet the challenges of sustained communal socioeconomic development.
Progress in this regard to nuclear science and technology application should promote socioeconomic development on the
African continent in a social acceptable, environmental sustainable and economically attractive manner. The energy, security and climate change are two of the biggest challenges that constrains socioeconomic development in the African continent.
Nuclear energy offers the prospect of addressing the key objective of energy, security and climate change and mitigation since there is greater nuclear potential on the the African continent and that produce with nuclear plants that do not emit greenhouse gas, however, increase a concern about the use of nuclear energy faces several challenges such as capital cost, nuclear with material management, the proliferation of risk as well as safety and reliability.
However, with all the above as has been mentioned the scope after agreement is not limited to nuclear energy but rather covers a wide range of peaceful applications of nuclear technologies which may be an achievement of national, regional and continental development.
South Africa plays a vital role which include but not limited to sustainable regional capabilities, nuclear medicine libation, processing of food and industrial products and
consolidation of regional capabilities and maintenance of medical and scientific.
In conclusion, House Chair, South Africa plays an active role in the sphere of nuclear science and technology at an international level through multinational treaties such as the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. And therefore, the participation of South Africa in Afra Agreement will augment our capacity as a county in the efforts to drive socioeconomic development align with nuclear science and technology like Koeberg long term operational programme to extend the life of the nuclear plant by 20 years beyond 2024, the multipurpose reactor project and improving medicine availability through the Trimel Pharmaceuticals.
I therefore, table this report as revised for the adoption of the House. Thank you very much, House Chair.
Declarations of vote:
Mr K J MILEHAM: Chairperson, I see Minister Mantashe is missing in action once more. Nuclear technology has resulted in huge leaks in scientific progress in our understanding of the universe and how is made up in power generation in medicine and the treatment of diseases such as cancer and in
our ability to see deeper, clearer and better into how thing work. At the same time, it has been a catalyst of some of the worst tragedies in human history from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the failure of nuclear power plants at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
In fact, there have been no less than 29 serious incidents at nuclear power plants resulting in an estimated 4 459 fatalities. There can be no doubt that nuclear technology has brought huge benefits to mankind and that there are much more to be discovered.
The challenges of course, are that this must be done in a manner that is both responsible in terms of the safety of those working in the field and surrounding communities. It must be environmental conscious and it must provide benefits to mankind. What we cannot afford, however, is uncontrolled nuclear weapons research the haphazard and unmanaged disposal of nuclear waste and the development of nuclear power plants or other nuclear facilities that do not need exacting standard safety and reliability. It is for this reason that treaties and agreements such as the one under discussion are so important. They acknowledged the peaceful use of nuclear technology and impose monitoring and reporting obligations on
Member States. They encourage co-operation rather than competition to develop nuclear technologies that benefit mankind.
Chairperson, South Africa has history when it comes to nuclear power. We have two ageing nuclear reactors at Koeberg and a third research reactor Pelindaba that is also due for eminent replacement and we are still the only country in the world that has voluntarily destroyed its entire nuclear weapons stockpile.
What is particularly concerning, however, is that South Africa appears increasingly unable and incapable of managing its nuclear resources. A recent visit by the portfolio committee to Pelindaba revealed run-down facilities albeit with incredibly motivated staff and a growing sense that next it will not be able to turner ship around profitability anytime soon. Koeberg has its own set of problems. Its operating license expires in 2024 and it appears more and more unlikely that it will be in a position to meet the requirements for a new license in time. Work on the life extension of the plant was supposed to get underway in January this year and has still not fully commenced simply because Eskom couldn’t get its act together.
Koeberg’s energy availability factor, presented ever since capacity that is actually generating since is just 54% and over the past three-year period. And the plant has only operated at a 100% capacity for just eight days this year. Isn’t one that we have loadshedding so much for nuclear power been the backbone of base flowed power. And then even when we started on nuclear waste our high level nuclear waste such as that generated by Koeberg sit onsite in cooling ponds because we have nowhere else to put it.
My point Chairperson, is that while we fully support the agreement in front of us South Africa is falling further and further behind in nuclear science and technology. We are no longer innovating and developing our own nuclear technologies or growing our own nuclear scientist and technicians and technicians. And those fuels that we do are soon snapped up by much better opportunities elsewhere. We are no longer holding cutting edge facilities that are the envy of other countries.
So, while the peaceful use of nuclear technologies and indeed this very agreement is of critical importance, South Africa has a lot of catching up to do. The DA support this agreement.
Mr T M LANGA: Chairperson, the EFF notes the request to accept the Amended African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology, Afra, in Parliament. Notes that the proposed amendments are that the agreement shall be enforced indefinitely as opposed to it being extended every five years. Member states may withdraw from the agreement through written notification to the director-general and that the withdrawal will be in effect six months upon application for withdrawal. Notes that so far only 17 of 44 member states have accepted the amended agreement although it expired almost two years ago in 2020. And that all member states have been party to the agreement for over 30 years. Is not satisfied with the reasons given why so few countries have signed the agreement thus far. And why the matter is being tabled after so long. Notes that the request to make the agreement indefinite is to avoid extending the agreement every five years and to ensure member states are able to initiate more long-term projects.
Further notes that overall the work done by Afra had been commendable, has been to the benefit of the continent and that clauses in the agreement give room for further engagements by member states on matters such as strengthened and primarily African-centred economy, local beneficiation and
industrialisation building and establishing African knowledge and training centres and the need for African countries to forge an alliance against the imperialist west for the benefit of our people from Cape to Cairo EFF supports the proposed amendments
Mr M HLENGWA: It’s supposed to be Prof Msimang. Hon Chair, can I take it from here?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes.
Mr M HLENGWA: Thanks, Chairperson, I am sure we can all agree that nuclear energy must continue to play a pivotal role in our energy supply mix. This is also the case by and large for the region, continent and the world. And of course, given the escalating problems at Eskom. Given such a need for nuclear energy and given that nuclear energy also carries potential risks, the government has a responsibility to ensure that nuclear science and technology are conducted in a safe and responsible manner. The Amended African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology, Afra, provides us with a platform for regional associated sharing of research in the spirit of Ubuntu.
Umuntu ungumuntu ngabantu. Amazwe angamazwe ngamanye amazwe.
And the African Renaissance. It is to be welcomed especially as energy supply is foundational to our socioeconomic development and that of our Afra partners, as well as the continent. The collaboration will greatly assist and ensure that the best practice is used by member countries and will ensure a much safer continental risk profile as regards the use and development of nuclear technologies. The IFP supports their revised African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology. Thank you, Chair.
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Hon House Chair, the revised African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology, Afra, confirms an agreement which has been in place since 1990 which has to be renewed every five years but now being revised to be permanent. Furthermore, if South Africa indeed wants to follow an African agenda, it has an obligation to share its knowledge with the rest of the continent. Living is risky.
The FF Plus has as of this week voiced its doubts about South Africa’s capacity to safely deal with nuclear. Several knowledgeable persons have since contacted me to convince me of the opposite. Not that the FF Plus makes the final decision but still I'm looking forward to the discussions. Of course, we should not only think about energy, but nuclear medicine also is important and so are nuclear weapons, let us pursue the former and leave the latter, there's no doubt that Africans can technologically master anything that humankind can.
Nevertheless, we need to take responsibility and not transform experts out of society. Maybe it will be a win if South African experts can be exported to appreciative African countries rather than Western ones. The FF Plus supports the report. And so I am done, Chair.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, the legacy that President Mandela left behind is that he took the lead in destroying all nuclear weapons in South Africa. It is sad that South Africa is not doing enough to convince other nuclear powers to do the same. And that is an area that Al-Jama-ah feels needs attention. It is also noted that when there is a nuclear strike against South Africa or Africa, we may not have any
means to defend ourselves. However, there should be a strategy in place to save as many lives as possible. So those are two areas that Al Jama-ah feels need attention but we support this report. Thank you very much.
Mr S M KULA: House Chairperson, greetings to yourself, greetings to Ministers and Deputy Ministers, greetings to colleagues in the House, there is ongoing evidence that the weakness in the energy sector has constrained the economic growth and development of our country. To put this into proactive terms, South Africa suffers from chronic energy generation challenges. Addressing the energy generation challenges in our country requires an integrated approach that incorporates and harnesses different sources of energy including nuclear energy.
If nuclear energy is to be a strong component of South Africa’s future energy mix, a science-based approach to develop the fundamental understanding that will lead to new nuclear energy technologies is essential. The revised Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology, Afra, for the short term presents a potential to amplify South Africa's research and development in nuclear energy through collaboration with
other African countries where there are multilateral and bilateral agreements. Or to put it differently, the Afra Agreement comprises a set of co-operative projects that conduct research and development that help to enable the benefit of clean, safe, secure, affordable nuclear energy to continue and expand. By ratifying this agreement, South Africa stands to benefit from the sharing of resources, knowledge, expertise and advanced technologies available to increase their shelf nuclear energy to up to almost 10 gigawatt hours by 2025 in the country's future energy mix. The DA is vehemently against the expansion of nuclear energy in the country's future energy mix due to concerns surrounding the radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants and the environmental impact thereof.
But this does not hold water because the European Union has incorporated nuclear energy in the renewable energy taxonomy which implies that nuclear energy is environmentally friendly energy, but more importantly, the ANC-led government has approved the setting up of a centralised interim storage facility and development of a feasibility study that has begun through the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute. Of course, nuclear energy expansion combined with efforts to setting up this centralised system is unlikely to be realised
outside of the Afra Agreement. This is true not only because of skills and resource limits in many of our state-owned entities in the nuclear energy space, such as the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute, NRWDI, and the SA Nuclear and Energy Corporation but also because it's becoming a prerequisite for co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear, energy, science and technology. As such, the provision of expertise and training must be drawn as far as possible from participating member states for the purpose of the efficient running of a centralised storage facility and access to adequate energy necessary for a quality of life.
Aside from the expertise and training benefits, the Afra Agreement translates external and internal funds into a developmental objective designed to meet identified human needs of end users and has a significant social and economic impact which is our only concern.
Given that South Africa's fiscus is currently constrained, which is a fact that everybody knows, and this thereby limits adequate investment in nuclear energy expansion to achieve energy security. The participation of the country in the Afra Agreement is likely to lead to a demonstrable mutual benefit going forward. The ANC-led government has approved the setting up of a Multipurpose Reactor Project to replace the current
SAFARI-1 research reactor at the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation, Necsa. This project is expected to have significant socioeconomic and environmental benefits for South Africa as it will create some 5 000 direct jobs and 26 000 indirect jobs during the construction phase only. In addition, this multipurpose reactor programme is expected to provide employment to about 750 full-time employees. And then additional 3 800 indirect jobs for its operation and fulfilment of its research mandate. This agreement can play a pivotal role in regard, for instance, in Necsa, Necsa can use its existing expertise and facilities from participating members and states to conduct a feasibility study aimed at testing the market on the parameters such as cost and a financial model of the execution of the Multipurpose Reactor Programme, MRP, project.
In addition to the potential resource and technical expertise and advanced technologies that South Africa is likely to acquire, the ANC supports the Afra Agreement primarily because it is rooted in the founding values of African Renaissance and Pan-Africanism that seek to develop unity and trust amongst African states in order to pursue common goals as well as corresponding actions which are a ... [Inaudible.] It is through collaboration and partnership efforts such as the Afra
Agreement the challenging effort such as the problem of no unity in the continent can be addressed.
We can be able to reduce the dependence on Western economies that African countries have to rely on, instead promoting continental and regional trade amongst African states. In conclusion, the ANC supports the Afra Agreement and the portfolio committee will ensure that we ... [Inaudible.] ... no courage to ensure South Africa’s participation in this agreement. Add meaningful contribution to the use of nuclear science and technology to derive socioeconomic and developmental national and continental benefits. The ANC supports the report. Thanks, House Chairperson.
Revised African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology - AFRA Agreement approved.
CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR APPROVAL BY PARLIAMENT OF INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR BUNKER OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE 2001 IN TERMS OF SECTION 231(2) OF CONSTITUTION OF 1996
Mr L E McDONALD: Thank you, Chairperson. It’s good to be back. The Portfolio Committee on Transport tables to the House for consideration, approval of the report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport on the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil ... Damage.
Like many other countries, South Africa has been party to many international conventions in the transport sector which ensure the efficient and safe functioning of the sector at global level. The status quo makes it difficult and costly for South Africans to file claims and creates uncertainty regarding the ability to be compensated for cleanup costs or economic loss due to pollution.
The convention was adopted to ensure that adequate, prompt and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer ... caused by spills of oil when carried as fuel in ship bunkers. The convention applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea and inclusive economic zones of South Africa. The Bunkers Convention provides a free-standing instrument covering pollution damage only. The convention is modelled on the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969. As ... that convention, a key requirement ... the Bunkers Convention is the need for the
registered owner of a vessel to maintain compulsory insurance cover.
Another key position is the requirement for direct action. This would allow a claim for compensation for pollution damage to be brought directly against an insurer. The convention requires ships over 1000 gross tonnage to maintain insurance or other financial security, such as a guarantee of a bank or similar financial institution, to cover the liability of a registered owner for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the application ... national or international limitation regime, but in all cases, not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims.
The Department of Transport indicated that on 21 October 2015, Cabinet approved the convention to be submitted to Parliament for assent. The Minister tabled the convention to Parliament for approval on 28 August 2017 in terms of section 231(4) of the Constitution. The convention can only become part of domestic law once it is enacted into law by national legislation.
Following this, the Minister once more indicated that on
21 October 2021, Cabinet approved submission of the convention for approval by Parliament. On 1 March 2022, the Portfolio Committee on Transport approved the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage.
It is an important convention as it seeks to protect the environment and where such incidents of bunker oil pollution do occur, it is dealt with effectively. However, this international convention makes provision for the owners of vessels to ensure that the costs of international cleanup when such incidences occur is covered through insurance or any other acceptable international financial instrument. It also allows for direct claims from entities that are engaged in such operations. In our case, it’s the SA Maritime Safety Authority, Samsa, and the SA Interim Incident Management Organisation, which engages in the cleanup operations. This is to ensure that our maritime life and land resources are protected from such incidences, as these have a negative impact on the environment. Our oceans economy is a critical area of economic development and must be protected now and preserved for future generations.
The committee is currently engaged in deliberations on legislation for marine pollution as the International Convention on the Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution ... can only become part of domestic legislation once it is enacted into law through national legislation. Once the portfolio committee has concluded these processes, it will table before the House domestic legislation dealing with marine pollution.
The Portfolio Committee on Transport, having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 referred to it, recommends that the House, in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution of 1996, approves the said convention. The Portfolio Committee on Transport hopes that the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage is approved by the House.
There was no debate.
Declaration(s) of vote:
Mr T B MABHENA: Thank you very much.
Ngiyathokoza, Sihlalo. Ngilotjhisa isitjhaba soke.
Greetings in absentia to the incoming President of South Africa hon John Steenhuisen, with an emphasis on honourable
An HON MEMBER: In your dreams!
Mr T B MABHENA: ... because unlike ... [Interjections.] Relax! [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order, hon members!
Mr T B MABHENA: ... because unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa, hon Steenhuisen does have a valid bank account.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order, hon members!
Ms M R SEMENYA: [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order, hon members!
Mr T B MABHENA: An emphasis on honourable, because unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa, hon Steenhuisen does have a valid bank account and does not keep his money under mattresses. The ANC government has ... [Inaudible.] ... leadership, when even the most mundane and logical act of having a bank account is actually a measure of leadership. How horrible and despicable!
Ms P P MAKHUBELE-MARILELE: No, why is President Ramaphosa getting in there?
Ms M R SEMENYA: [Inaudible.]
Ms P P MAKHUBELE-MARILELE: Why don’t you tell us about your bank account? Why do you ... [Interjections.] ... you are not even his friends. [Interjections.]
Mr T B MABHENA: Anyway, South Africans must not be interested because in just 18 months, president John Steenhuisen will be opening the gates of clean and competent governance. #JohnVuliGate2024. Chairperson ...
Mr W M THRING: Chair, on a point of order. Chair, on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Mabhena, can you take your seat?
Ms C M PHIRI: There’s no order that you are calling, and wena, you must not be a puppet of white people.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon member, can you take your seat? There’s a point of order. Hon Thring, what is the point of order?
Mr W M THRING: Chair, let me affirm that I’m a puppet of no- one in this House, not even the Speaker. That’s the first thing. So I think she needs to withdraw her words in calling me a puppet of white people. I am a puppet of no-one. That’s the first thing.
Secondly, Chair, the point of order ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay, hon Thring.
Mr W M THRING: Chair, the point of order is that we have consistent interruptions when speakers are at the podium and
... interrupted ad nauseam. Sometimes there are Chairs who intervene immediately. However, for some 13 seconds or so
while the speaker was at the podium, there has been no intervention from yourself.
So, please call the member who is on the virtual platform to order. Thank you, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you, hon Thring. You might not have heard me. I was shouting at the top of my voice but the House was in flames. So you could not hear me.
However, with regard to the first point of order that you have made, hon Thring ... I am sure you are listening ... you are not listening and then after that you will say I said nothing about it. Hon Thring, with regard to your first point of order that you made, I did not hear a member saying that. So it would be difficult to rule on that. However, I will come back after having visited Hansard. The hon Chief Whip of the DA?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Just to assist you, House Chair. The member who shouted that the speaker at the podium and hon Thring are puppets of whiteness is hon Phiri. I think you really need to make a determination about that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): I have already made a commitment that we will visit Hansard and deal with that at a later stage.
Mr S M KULA: Before you visit Hansard, can I raise a point of order, hon House Chair?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Who is that now?
Mr S M KULA: It’s hon Kula.
USIHLALO WENDLU (Mnu M L D Ntombela): Mhlonishwa Kula, bekungathi uwena okhulumayo.
Mr S M KULA: Yes, I’m saying that the member refers ... saying that the President is not honourable. The only person who is honourable is hon Steenhuisen. So, you must rule on that matter.
However, you must explain to that member that, like many blacks in the DA who have left before, he’s also going to leave one day. He’s just enjoying temporary comforts. The
things that he is speaking about with regard to 2024 ... He won’t even be there ... [Inaudible.] ... within Action SA ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you, hon Kula. Hon members, I kindly request you to try your level best to respect each other as members of this House, and that includes the President as well. Let us try to avoid using coarse language because it causes a lot of disruptions.
Mr T B MABHENA: Chairperson, now that we’ve gotten those in the ANC benches a bit excited and to actually take interest in this declaration, let’s get straight into it, because you know, concentration span issues.
A Carmeli and Schaubroeck study found that it is critical to design and implement an organisational system that is capable of coping with unforeseen systematic failures. They also indicate that learning from failures is an important facilitator of preparedness for both present and prospective
crises. Furthermore, they also state that high performing organisations reported higher levels of crisis preparedness. As such, we agree with the objectives of this report, in as far as they provide for the safe, effective and efficient management and deployment of resources in response to co- operation and control spills of oil or any other pollutant from ships, any other sources within South Africa’s waters or which pollute or threaten to pollute South Africa’s waters, aquatic resources, coastline or related interests.
Prof Kensington notes that oil contamination may persist in the marine environment for many years after an oil spill, and in exceptional cases, such as salt marshes and mangrove swamps, the effects may be measurable for decades after the event.
However, in most cases, environmental recovery is relatively swift and is complete within two to 10 years. However, given our own domestic issues of ineptitude and slow government response, it may take well over two decades, if we are lucky enough, to complete an environmental recovery exercise.
Even so, where oil has been eliminated from the scene, the long-term environmental impact is generally confined to
community structure anomalies that persist because of the longevity of the components of species. As such, we agree that it is better to try to avert the crisis instead of having to manage one. The poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic response by the South African government serves as a recent case study on how not to handle a crisis.
John Moore is a leading environmental research expert who also notes that oil which persists in the marine environment clearly has the greatest potential for long-term ecological impact. Once oil has been removed, the recovery of most communities and populations is rapid, as long as the habitat has not been physically damaged by cleanup actions.
As such, we believe that the incorporation into South African law of the relevant provisions of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation is of critical importance, not only to align our standards to acceptable international standards and benchmarks, but also to insulate marine life and shield it against the ANC government’s tectonic system failures, which can be devastating.
In closing, we also support the envisaged reduction and control ... the pollution of the marine environment, wild life and associated impacts on biodiversity ... ecological processes by oil from ships. We are of the view that it is important to protect and conserve marine life and the environment for the sake of us all, but most importantly for tourism, which forms part of the economic lifeline of most coastal cities wherein many of these ports are hosted.
Tourism remains a key economic driver of our country, and as such, if we fail to conserve and protect our ecological space, it has a direct negative effect on the fiscus, which means, for example no more nonsensical new BMWs for the Speaker of this House for instance. We are also hoping for improved consultative processes, not for their sake but for meaningful consultations which will result in the inputs of the industry being factored in and considered. The DA supports this report, and yes, #JohnVuliGate2024.
Mr M M CHABANGU: House Chairperson, we are of the view that despite that this Parliament had on numerous occasions debated this matter. It has not as yet finalised what should form the country’s coherent and uniform perspective on the International Convention of Civil Liability for Bunker Oil
Pollution Damage. This is so despite the long history of the existence of the convention on limitation of liability on marine oil pollution and a conceptual universal understanding of this concept.
South Africa has most arrest friendly jurisdiction in the world for marine violation and claims, thus creating an enabling environment for detention, investigation, prevention and combating of transgression of the convention.
It was only in February this year, 2022, when the department introduced the Marine Oil Pollution Bill dubbed Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Bill. This is shocking because it is only now that the government tries through the Bill to give effect to and align itself with the convention. This is what this government continued to do despite the existence of the convention which was adopted on 23rd March 2001 – House Chair, there are people who are disturbing me. Can you protect me?
You are making noise.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Makhosini Chabangu, go ahead with the debate.
Mr M M CHABANGU: Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Leave them and focus on your debate.
Mr M M CHABANGU: This is what this government continued to do despite the existence of the convention which was adopted on 23rd March 2001 ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Chabangu, can you take your seat, sir, there is a point of order. Hon Paulsen.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Sorry, hon Makhosini. House Chairperson, hon Makhosini objected to the noise and disturbances from the ANC side of the House. It is the usual disarray, especially with the Chief Whip here. Instead of addressing ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Paulsen, what’s your point of order? ... [Interjections.] ... Hon Paulsen, is there no point of order?
Mr M N PAULSEN: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): It is not sustained. [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: But don’t attack me because I am responding making sure that they are quiet, then you attack me. You don’t do that to me, Paulsen.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Chief Whip.
UMBHEXESHI OYINTLOKO WEQELA ELILAWULAYO: Hayi suka.
I was not making any noise. Why ...
... undidelela. Musa ukundidelela wena ...
... because I never made noise.
Ungandideleli wena, singadibana apha ngaphandle.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Chief Whip. [Interjections.]
Ms P P MAKHUBELE-MARILELE: You are even laughing after mocking our Chief Whip and lie about her.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Chief Whip, that was totally unacceptable.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: My apology, House Chair. I apologise but I was attacked when I did not even speak. I was assisting him.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay, Chief Whip, I would have taken care of that. Hon Paulsen, no, I am not
allowing you, sir. I am only mentioning that that was not a point of order. Thank you very much. Hon Makhosini, go ahead.
Mr M M CHABANGU: This is shocking because it is only now that the government is trying through the Bill to give effect and to align itself with the convention. This is what this government continued to do despite the existence of the convention which was adopted on 23rd March 2001, following a long history of repeal, amendment and replacement of previous conventions including the 1969 version of the International Convention of Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage.
South Africa is party neither to the 1957 version nor the 2001. The question is: what is South Africa’s position on this convention? It is anyone’s guess.
It is a matter of national importance to safeguard our maritime resources and that the government should take quick and firm decision to rectify and recognise the convention in order to clear confusion on where the country stands and what perspective and position it holds. This, it should do by fast- tracking the tabling and adoption of the Bill mentioned hereabove. Thank you, House Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you, hon member. Hon members, can I take this opportunity to make a humbly plea to the House. A member who is on the platform ... hon Makhosini Chabangu, it is so difficult to talk to adult who don’t behave. When an adult does not behave, what do you do? Hon members, please, when you are on the platform refrain from reacting to what people are saying. You are violating the decorum of your House and it is an embarrassment. I wish to make a humble plea. Please, let us behave. We are not kids here. Hon Hadebe.
Mr B A RADEBE: Thank you, House Chair, I am rising on Rule 84. Member Chabangu has just threatened the Chief Whip of the ANC. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members ... [Interjections.]
Mr B A RADEBE: He cannot threaten everyone in the House even through the pointing gesture, he can’t do that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members, thank you very much. That’s exactly what I was trying to address.
Let us respect each other. The drama that has just gone by is totally unacceptable. Please, respect your own House.
Mr K P SITHOLE: Thank you, hon House Chairperson, the conservation of our oceans is extremely important, as the livelihoods of many South Africans living in coastal areas are depended on it. Recently, subsistence fishermen and fisherwomen living in Durban have barely been able to make ends meet, following the contamination of Durban beaches, leaving them without a catch and unable to put food on the table.
It is no secret that the IFP is quite passionate about protecting the environment through advocating for conservations, curbing pollutions and sustainably drawing nature to contribute to the economy. Therefore, it is our position that the Marine Pollution Amendment Bill will be critical to addressing bunker oil pollutions damage.
We support this bill, as it will ensure the preventions, reduction, and control of marine pollution through the complete elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances.
We welcome the proposed amendments to clause 2, Section 2(a), which will ensure that the convention is incorporated into South African law. We also welcome the proposed amendments to clause 3, Section 3, which extend the power of the Minister to formulate regulations relating to the prevention of pollutions by ships. Furthermore, we appreciate the proposed amendments to clause 5, Section 3(b), which calls for an advisory to ensure that the convention is implemented.
Although we understand that the conservation of our oceans is the responsibility of all those who make use of and take pleasure from it, we appreciate the move towards formalising
this responsibility through legislations. These pieces of legislation will give a substantial voice to ordinary citizens such as subsistence fishermen and fisherwomen, whose livelihoods depend on their ability to sustainably draw on the ocean. The IFP does support the Report. Thank you very much.
Mr L N MANGCU: Thank you very much House Chair, good afternoon to you, to all hon members, Members of the Executive on the platform and fellow South Africans. I rise on behalf of the ANC in support of the report and its recommendations before the House. While the Report itself is quiet short and it requests approval of the International Convention of which the country is party too. No wonder in such a simple report, there are colleagues who would raise issues of 2024. It is because of the technical nature and maybe the lack of understanding of what the Report in front of us is seeking to do.
Having said that, it is imperative that we explain to the House why this convention should be supported. Firstly, South Africa is a party to many important international conventions and international safety regulations in different modes of transport. Secondly, the country has maintained the highest international standards in the transport sector in terms of conventions and regulations and must continue to operate on
those best practices and high international standards. Thirdly, the Marine Bunker Convention before the House today, was already adopted in 2001 and enforced in 2008.
The Convention on the Civil Liability for Bunkers Oil Pollution Damage, is essentially based on the internationally recognised principle of polluter pays. This simply means that those responsible for oil spillage and marine bunker spillage will have to bear the cost for the restoration of the environment.
This convention before the House is based on same international legal and regulatory framework as the International Convention on Oil Pollution of 1969.
The International Convention for Bunker’s Oil Pollution Damage was adopted to ensure that there was compensation available for countries and persons who suffer damage caused by spills of marines’ fuel bunkers, when carried as fuel in ships.
This also covers the fuelling of ships with marine bunker, either in port or at sea. The convention applies to marine fuel bunker’ spills affecting land territory and sea, as well
as the exclusive economic zones of states which are party to the convention.
This means therefore that the convention before us, provides for the financial instruments which covers the cost of marine bunker pollution spillages only. The convention has already explained at the introduction, requires ships over a 1000 gross tonnage to maintain insurance or other financial instruments as a form of security. Such that if such a spillage will occur, a country that is affected or is responsible for the cleaning can be able to recover their cost.
Therefore, House Chairperson and hon members, key requirements for the Bunker Convention is the need for the registered owner of a vessel to maintain compulsory insurance, to cover the damage of a marine bunker’ spillage. This is what it’s all about, not 2024 or who is going to be President or not, this is what the issue before us is.
The convention also allows for direct action on the part of the affected party or parties for compensation as I’ve already alluded to. Therefore, House Chairperson the importance of adopting this convention is to protect environmental integrity
of our country, our country’s territory and her territorial waters.
For South Africa, this is of national importance as we are recovering our economy. As our ocean’s economy is a strategic economic area of development. And oil spills are negatively impacting on the ecological environment and marine life. So, many parts of the coastline are also ecological sensitive areas and require to be protected.
House Chairperson, South Africa has many capable entities who have demonstrated their capability in such instances. Post adoption of this International Convention, the committee will be processing domestic legislation which will reinforce this convention and other conventions which cover marine pollution.
In conclusion House Chairperson, the ANC supports the International Convention on the Civil Liability for Bunkers Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 and recommends to the House that it be approved and adoption of the convention. Thank you, hon House Chairperson.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICAN POST OFFICE (SAPO) IN JOHANNESBURG AND PRETORIA FROM 2 TO 3 DECEMBER 2021
Mr M HLENGWA: Thank you very much hon Chairperson. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts undertook an oversight visit to the South African Post Office in Johannesburg and Pretoria from the 2nd to the 3rd of December 2021 and the committee hereby reports its findings and recommendations to the House as required by rule 137 of the National Assembly why we went there.
The committee had had a hearing with the SA Post Office on the 16th of November 2021. The entity received a disclaimed audit opinion which is a regression from the qualified audit opinion of 2018/19.
The Post Office has received R8 billion in bailouts from government and the main findings of 2019/20 were as follows:
The group and company incurred losses of R1,7 billion for the year ended 2020, furthermore at that date their current liabilities exceeded their current assets by R1,5 billion and R1,5 billion for the group and company respectively.
The group and company therefore commercially insolvent because they were unable to pay their debts when they were due even though their total assets exceeded their total liabilities.
The Accounting Authority, AA was notified of the irregularity on 12 November 2021 and was invited to make written submissions on the actions taken and still to be taken to address the matter.
The Accounting Authority responded on 16 February 2021 highlighting that SA Post Offices not the AA or the GIGP, Green Innovation Grant Program, system as this had been transferred to the SA Post Bank and is therefore not responsible for addressing the MI.
The entity continues to face severe liquidity challenges. There is lack of sufficient information to support the ongoing concern. Their deficiencies related to expenditure and performance reporting.
The committee identified challenges that impact on government’s leadership and responsibility which require urgent intervention in the executive authority in the Accounting Authority.
The entity does not have sufficient resources to build capacity to plan and implement their turnaround strategy and proper internal controls.
Despite initial assurances provided by the management that it was geared to rollout the implementation of the Sassa contract, the Sassa payment solution is not cost effective and failure to plan properly in the resulting poor internal controls were the main root causes for the shortcomings on the Sassa payment solution related transactions and balances.
Vacancies are not filled timeously in key positions especially in the finance and the SCM, supply chain management, units contributing to the entity being unable implement sufficient internal controls to maintain adequate accounting records.
Lack of consequence management resulted in transgressors not being dealt with effectively.
The subsidy that is allocated by government to the SA Post Office is not sufficient to cover all the operational costs as it only covers salary. This no doubt impacts on the SA Post Office delivering on its core mandate.
The recommendations which we are bringing to the House; we can conclude by saying that the committee further recommends that the executive authority submits the quarterly progress report on the implementation of the recommendations per the National Assembly within 30 days of adoption of the report by this House. Whilst the report by the committee is from March, we have been interacting with them since then so we are hopeful that they will comply with this.
The committee was generally disappointed by the extent to which the Accounting Authority and the executive management have not addressed the financial management weaknesses identified in the audit report especially as some of these matters have been raised in the audit report from the previous years.
We recommend that the department conducts an extensive audit of skills and expertise of the board, the risk relating to the status of the entity is an ongoing concern and must be addressed as a matter urgency.
Hon House Chairperson, I commend this report to the House for adoption.
The DA has indicated that they reserve their right. Thank you.
Declarations of vote:
Mr R A LEES: Thank you Chairperson. The motto for the Post Office should really be addressed and known. This would apply not only to the post and parcels that never get delivered but also to where the Post Office itself is headed.
The Post Office has been paid tax payer bailouts exceeding R8 billion and yet it still managed to record a massive loss of R1,7 billion for the year 2020 and a further R1,5 billion in the last forecast of the year 2021 when the annual report is now a year overdue is finally tabled in Parliament.
The Post Office is insolvent, bankrupt and a dreadful wait around the necks of taxpayers, the majority of whom probably don’t even know where their nearest the Post Office is, let alone never attempt to use its services.
Whilst the Post Office owes creditors billions the most outrageous debts are that the Post Office has failed to pay R700 million employee medical aid contributions, employee pension contributions, Sars obligations such as UIF,
Unemployment Insurance Fund, PAYE, Pay As You Earn, and VAT, Value Added Tax.
Chairperson, the one address that is well known to the Post Office and to other SOEs, State-owned enterprises, such as SAA, South African Airways, is the taxpayer bailout address as with other delinquent and bankrupt SOEs, the Post Office can count on the taxpayer being fleeced for yet another bailout in the MTBPS, Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, in October.
Yet another bailout will simply extend the agony and will remain addressed and unknown for the Post Office. It is a fuss for the 2020 annual report to claim that the Post Office assets exceeded its liabilities. The assets are largely made up of fixed property that has not been maintained for decades, it is dilapidated, abandoned, occupied by the homeless and many occasions simply stripped bare and thus has very limited value.
If you have the misfortune to enter the Post Office box section of the Ladysmith Post Office, you will be met with a stench of urine. The Estcourt Post Office is worse with people entering the long abandoned broken gates and not only urinating but also defecating around the building.
Chairperson, you then have the utter ideological stupidity of the ANC separating Post Bank from the Post Office this duplicate the EFF and the ANC are a team faction demand for a state bank.
A far more sinister reason for the ANC obsession with establishing the Post Bank as a state bank as was pointed out to me by a colleague is that it will act as banker to those who become unbankable such as the survey Sekunjalo empire and the Gupta clan.
In the end, it will inevitably be ripped by the cadres and fail, leaving the poor with little savings they may have lost like with the VBS Bank.
Whilst the Post Office has no idea what its destination address is and its well intention but completely mismanaged attempt of speed services having failed, the private sector has moved in and now dominates the market.
Why is it that the Post Office with its infrastructure and bailouts has failed to provide the services that the private sector, couriers and Postnet profitably provide?
Chairperson, the answer is clear. There is no profit incentive, ANC cadre deployment, incompetent and possibly corrupt management, too many highly paid executives who make virtually no contribution and overloaded staff many of whom have no meaningful jobs, an incredible 12 000 people are employed.
Chairperson, the logical destination address for the SA Post Office must either be to be privatised or shut down. Thank you Chairperson, the DA will support the report.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Thank you, Chairperson, the EFF supports the report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on its oversight visit to the SA Post office. We formed part of the oversight delegation that went to visit the SA Post Office in Johannesburg and Pretoria. We wouldn’t surprise by the complete and deliberate collapse of what was supposed to be a strategic asset that was supposed to facilitate communication between families, colleagues, friends and business partners. Post Office branches were supposed to ... be social grant pay point. Young people were supposed to go to the post office branches to access the internet, access facilities to apply for jobs and use the post office to apply to institutions of higher learning. The reality is everything that can go wrong
with the organisation, is going wrong with the post office. There is no information to support while the post office should continue to operate. Irregular expenditure is the order of the day. No resources or capacity to turn the organisation around. Vacancies cannot be filled at all and the subsidy by the government is not making a difference. While we support the recommendation of the committee, we are quite aware that there is a deliberate intention to collapse the SA Post Office and leave our people at the mercy of a private sector. This governing party has a mandate to collapse all SOEs, including the post office in order to discredit efforts to establish a state bank through the post bank. Our people in the rural areas, villages and townships are going to be left without a major part of the facilities that allow them to reach, interact and participate in the economy. Unless we remove the ANC from power in 2024, Chairperson. We can forget about the post office, all that will remain are empty buildings with backlog of letters going back decades. Thank you very much.
Mnu M HLENGWA: Sengifaka isigqoko. Ehhene, angithi ngibuye ngingene enkingeni, kube ngazuthi angiyona kanti ngiyiyona, bese kuba ngathi ukuthi. Eyi! Ngaze ngawuthwala uthayela emoyeni.
Chairperson, on a very serious note, the major issue focuses on the recommendations 3I where the committee says the entity must submit a revised strategic and associated financial plan that must take into account the financial challenges that exist and ensure that any funding that may be approved by National Treasury to implement the revised strategy is submitted to Parliament.
At the heart of this Chair, is ensuring the strategic repositioning of the post office, because the majority of our people, the rural poor, those in the townships who do not have access to the facilities of the private sector so far as courier services are concerned, at accessing mail and so on may not even have access to the internet for the receipt of mail and so on and so forth, are dependent on this key strategic asset of the state which is the post office.
Therefore, we need to rationalise that the post office does its operations to respond to the socioeconomic challenges of access.
The majority of our people are being left out and are unable to access the services, where they can, the costs are exorbitant and the footprint of the post office, particularly
in rural communities being so strong and in townships must exist as a positive dividend, which must be exploited to ensure inclusivity.
Furthermore, there is a need, of course, for the rationalising of the buildings of where the post office is, to ensure that there is no duplication. The one example that was made is that thereby the Amanzimtoti within two, three kilometre radius you had two post offices.
Mr N M PAULSEN: Point of order, Chair. Is it parliamentary for the Chief Whip of the Majority Party to eat alone in Parliament?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Come again. Hon Paulsen ...
... yini manje?
Mr N M PAULSEN: House chair, I ask: Is it parliamentary for the Chief Whip of the Majority Party to eat alone in Parliament?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): That’s not a point of order, hon member. Sit down!
Mr M HLENGWA: The incorrect application of the 1955 that people shall share. So, Chair, we are really calling for the post office to go back to basics and to be able to find the niche economic spaces for its operations in order for it not to duplicate activities, which it will be unable to catch up. It is falling far short in so far as connectivity is concerned and Chair, there is a need for ensuring that the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise are presented at the post office to ensure that it competes favourably with ever- changing markets fuelled by the 4IRMB digitisation which is currently at play. So Chairperson, we support this report and we fully accept that the South African post office does not exist for the rich, it is for the majority of our people who need access to services provided. It must be saved. Thank you, Chair.
Mr W W WESSELS: Thank you, House Chairperson, the paralyse state of the SA Post Office is not only concerning. It is astounding. This report finds severe liquidity challenges, deficiencies in preventing irregular expenditure, a lack of government and leadership, lack of planning and limitation
regarding turnaround strategy, poor internal controls relating to Sassa payments and the lack of consequence management for transgressors.
The post office is failing its core mandate. The reliability of the postal service is at an all-time low and many branches had closed due to failure to pay their rent. The state of many branches is shocking and it is especially the poor, who are dependent on those branches for their Sassa grants, who are suffering the most. The economy is disrupted because of the lack of the reliable and affordable national postal services. It is especially small businesses which are suffering.
The ANC government says it is serious about small business developments, but yet, it allows the post office to be mismanaged by its cadres and to be looted. The financial troubles of the post office are not because of the lack of markets for postal services. Whilst the post office decayed, private companies in this sector are flourishing. Why is the post office been failing? Because of the ANC government and its cadres. The state of the post office is similar to all state entities and is a result of failed ANC policy and especially that of cadre deployment. If there is not a success for intervention addressing the lack of leadership, financial
management and controls, the Sassa payments will soon again be in a crisis and the most vulnerable will once again be left wanting. The people of South Africa deserve better than the ANC.
The FF Plus supports the report and the committee’s recommendations. It is of utmost importance that criminal charges be laid against those who have committed financial misconduct and the lost money must be recovered. I thank you.
Mr W M THRING: Hon House Chairperson, the ACDP welcomes this open, transparent and in many ways damning report on the status of the SA Post Office. If anything, this report is an indication of many failing and bankrupt SOE’s in the South Africa. Rising from a failure to comply with basic good governance principles, Public Financial Management Acts and basic supply chain management. The shambles found within the SA Post Office are captured by the transferring of responsibility with regard to the grant payment solution used to pay millions of Sassa grant recipients. The post office has refused to take accountability for the material irregularity related to the IGPS saying the accounting authority for this system was moved to SA Post Office Bank.
Furthermore, the ACDP notes that 2019-20 findings revealed that the group and the company incurred losses of some R1,7 billion for the year ending 31 March 2020 and their current liabilities exceeded their current assets by some
R1,5 billion for both the group and company. It must be noted that the SA Post Office has received an R18 billion bailout using taxpayer’s money. While the entity received a disclaimed audit opinion regressing from the qualified audit opinion in 2018-19.
There have been allegations in the media that the South African Post Office Board has been attempting to terminate the five-year IGPS deal that Post-Bank signed with Financial Software Systems valued at R45 million and to move this contract to an American company without tender for R150 million. When two senior SA Post Office members objected to this move, they were both suspended on allegedly trumped up charges. It appears that the intention is to loot the coffers of the SA Post Office.
The ACDP asserts, we cannot turn a blind eye to the deficiencies within the post office related to irregular expenditure, performance reporting, to poor governance and leadership efficiencies and to a lack of consequence
management. Those at the SA Post Office, who have no interest in turning this entity around must have the book thrown at them, be shown the door and for goodness sake, for the sake of good governance and the poor in South Africa let it not be a revolving door. I thank you.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, Al Jama-Ah would like to thank the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, for taking the lead in trying to make sure that South Africa has a better post office and that the recommendations are supported as we are moving in the right direction. I don’t think now is the time to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but we need to be positive. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has taken the lead, and let the hon Members of Parliament also take the lead by coming up with progressive solutions because we don’t want South Africa to be a failed state. A failed state is a state that doesn’t have good postal services. We note that there has been a lot of efforts made to strengthen the SA Post Office. Al Jama-Ah supports the report. Thank you very much.
Ms B SWARTS: House Chair, a study conducted by the World Bank on financial inclusion and the role of the post office found that women, poor adults and rural residents in developing
economies are significantly less likely that their counterparts to have a formal bank account. The study indicated that those who have opened an account at the post office turn to be significantly poorer, older, less educated and less likely to be employed than those who have an account from financial institutions. This therefore suggests that post offices play a significant role in providing financial services particularly to the marginalised and previously disadvantaged who are often financially excluded. This is particularly true for developing countries with significant inequalities and underdevelopment like South Africa.
Underdevelopment and inequality play impetus on the SA Post Office and Post Bank to play critical roles as key entities towards the realisation of our national development agenda. The ANC believes that these two entities must be viewed as tools for the achievement of the objectives of the National Development Plan. The Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies must expedite all due processes and table before this House the Post Bank Amendment Bill as well as the SA Post Office Amendment Bill. While the Post Bank Amendment Bill will align the Post Bank with the Banks Act of 1990 as to allow it to operate as a separate entity with its own regulatory framework, the SA Post Office Amendment Bill will allow for
the SA Post Office, Sapo, to expand its mandate, modernise and take advantage of technological advancements. The SA Post Office will therefor expand its mandate to offer government services, agency services, financial services, e-commerce, logistics, retail authentication services, warehousing services and also serve as a digital hub for businesses and communities thereby enabling it to generate more income.
The oversight visit report we are tabling today concludes that there are indeed many challenges that threaten the existence and sustainability of the SA Post Office. This pertain to the following, amongst others. The entity continues to face severe logistic challenges. The subsidy that is allocated by government to Sapo is not sufficient to cover all the costs as it only covers salaries. This impacts negatively on the delivery of Sapo’s core mandate. There are deficiencies related to irregular expenditure and performance reporting.
Critical vacant posts that have not been filled timeously especially in the finance and supply chain management units have contributed to the entity being unable to implement sufficient internal controls to maintain accurate accounting records. The financial position of the SA Post Office has reached alarming levels and the net losses continue to increase year-on- year. Losses accumulated to R2,457 billion
in the current financial year, which is a jump from R2,454 billion in the previous financial year.
The ANC supports the recommendations made in the report of the Standing Committee of Public Accounts on its oversight visit to the SA Post Office. It thus calls on the SA Post Office and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies to implement the entity’s audit action plan and continue to engage the National Treasury to get financial support. We also welcome the various interventions in the form of partnerships with strategic players to ensure the entity’s sustainability and successful implementation of the Post Office of tomorrow’s strategy.
In the same spirit, we would like to urge the SA Post Office to speedily act against those found guilty of corruption and together with the State Information Technology Agency, Sita, develop tighter technological mechanisms to prevent fraud and corruption in all branches of Sapo. The ANC is concerned about the gross vandalisms and robberies that have been taking place in so many Sapo branches across the country. This has resulted in the closure of some of these branches. We call on all citizens of this country to work with the police to protect and safeguard the Post Office buildings, infrastructure and
most importantly the staff that ensures that services are rendered on a daily basis.
Hon members, while we believe that the Post Office of tomorrow strategy provides a glamour of hope to turn the tide, we also understand that in turn its current form the Post Office is unable to adequately service millions of the social relief of distress, SRD, grant or the R350,00 beneficiaries. The ANC supports the partnership with Pick and Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers and Usave which give SRD grant beneficiaries more withdrawal options. We further support that the SA Post Office commits to continue disburse the old age, disability and child grants. The ANC supports the report. Thank you, hon House Chair.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO ESKOM AND ITS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS OF MEDUPI AND KUSILE, FROM 20 TO 22 APRIL 2022
Mr M HLENGWA: Hon Chairperson, I rise to present the report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, for our follow-up oversight visit, and which I think is important, to Medupi and Kusile, which was on 20-22 April 2022. The committee took a view that a follow-up would give more insight into why the problems persist thereby placing the committee and members of this House in a better to make further appropriate recommendations on how these problems can be addressed. The committee further believed that interaction with management was crucial if any of the improvement was to be seen in those areas where the Auditor-General had raised concerns.
Before the actual visit, the committee received an audit briefing from Eskom’s auditing firm SNG-Grant Thornton for the financial here 2020-2021. Medupi incurred irregular expenditure of R355 million for the financial year 2021. This being due to irregular tender processes in breach of legislation which included modifications exceeding National Treasury thresholds. For Kusile, irregular expenditure
amounting to R27 million was attributed to the same reasons as for Medupi. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R4,4 billion was incurred by Medupi and Kusile, R1 billion of which was an overpayment to ABB by Kusile.
In this Parliament, the Sixth Parliament, and since this Scopa has been constituted, we have engaged with Eskom more than any other entity. We have met with them 12 times. Based on these incidences, the committee wanted to determine the extent to which the committee's recommendations of 2019 were implemented. This House unanimously in 2019 adopted 23 recommendations. On our follow-up visit, only nine had been met; Find out how much progress had been made since the committee's last visit; establish why the blackouts continue as they continue now as we speak; probe areas of noncompliance, weak internal controls and consequence management; and find out the cause of the explosion at Unit Four at Medupi.
So I raised these issues, Chairperson, of the committee, because the committee is keenly aware as to the problems at Eskom. Right ... [Inaudible.] ... that, Chair. Our recommendations, building on the 23 which remain, we are further adding that they must carry out regular maintenance of
units, very basic; Develop a clean-up operation and plan and identify teams that may be resisting internal controls, where the application of a turnaround strategy is hampered and put together a report detailing consequence management. And should there be any officials who contribute to the delay in addressing the committee's recommendations.
I want to say, as a committee, we were generally disappointed by the extent which the accounting authority, the board and the executive management seemed not to have addressed the financial management weaknesses and other shortcomings that have been previously identified, especially as some of these matters have been raised in the oversight visit of 2019 ATC 16 October 2019. In light of the above, the committee resolves that the Auditor-General should conduct a special follow-up audit into the matter of financial weaknesses of Eskom. The committee further resolves that the accounting authority, the board, submits quarterly progress reports on the implementation of the above recommendations to the National Assembly, the first which is due in 30 days after the adoption of this report by this House.
Of course after the meeting with the board of Eskom, a complaint was filed with the Speaker of the National Assembly against myself the chair, following an incident that occurred during that meeting. A decision in this regard is pending to determine whether or not this matter will serve before the Powers and Privileges Committee. I await the opportunity to address that committee so that there is clarity on these matters. I therefore, Chair, put this report to the House and recommend it for adoption. Thank you, Chair.
USIHLALO WENDLU (Mnu M L D Ntombela): Nongubo!
Declarations of vote:
Ms B M VAN MINNEN: Hon House Chair, can you hear me?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes, proceed hon member.
Ms B M VAN MINNEN: Hon House Chair, the endless visits to and meetings with Eskom are more and more beginning to feel like another instalment in a failed film franchise, Groundhog Day
12 or something uninspiring. And why 12? Because that is how
many meetings we have had since the last oversight visit and nothing has changed. The same problems, the same excuses, the same failed comedy skits as executives tried to find justifications for the utter lack of progress. In line with this ongoing and endless loop, here we are again experiencing load shedding this week with all that entails, and this has been going on for the last decade and a half. In April, Scopa again went to have oversight at Medupi and Kusile, those failed monuments to ANC ineptness and their commitment to destroying the South African economy and met with the sarcophagus of our dreams of prosperity at Megawatt Park.
And what did Scopa of find at Medupi? There are six generation units, one of which exploded in November 2021 largely due to procedure not having been followed and due to a lack of proper supevision. Filter bags are not up to spec. Maintenance is poor and coal is being stockpiled in a mountain requiring compacting to avoid spontaneous combustion. Now wouldn't that be awkward? The Kusile power station is located near Witbank in Mpumalanga. One of the deciding factors for its location was as proximity to the new largo coal fields which meant less transportation costs for the needed coal, except that this has never happened. And coal is still being trucked in.
The longer-awaited conveyor belt is not yet built, adding to this problem. The units are battling to produce the desired amounts of electricity and progress in construction remains slow despite large amounts being spent. [Interjections.] Can I continue? The Kusile project started in 2008 and was initially scheduled for completion in 2012. That changed to 2023 and has now been moved to 2024 ... [Inaudible.] ... beset with oversight problems. That is 16 years and it is still not up to speed. Eskom is still beset with corruption. Generated capacity remains inadequate. Consequent management appears to be absent in many cases. Regular maintenance occurs at 13% of that required and new skills, time and money are needed, but remain lacking. Management of flue-gas desulphurisation remains problematic and results in the reduction in generation power, which has the unintended consequence of lowering the output and high levels of municipal debt remain a problem.
Well, if in 15 years they cannot address the issue of skills, time, and money, I fail to see how this is going to change going forward. Generally, in a 15-year timespan, a person can complete 12 years of schooling and a foundation degree of three years. Not so, however, it would appear with Eskom. It remains trapped in this time warp and is unable to make progress.
Scopa has made various recommendations which we support. But we can no longer stand here and talk about the issues with ignoring the real hindrance which is ANC economic policy and their inability to allow the development and oversight of a proper strong and growing economy. The ANC government is still unwilling to adopt bold and decisive measures to address electricity crisis. And this is illogical considering its claims that it seeks to attract investment, develop infrastructure and create jobs. To quote a member of the Eskom board, “It is the ANC's mess. To rescue Eskom, to rescue the economy and to rescue the country, we need to kick out the ANC and elect a fit for purpose government. Thank you very much.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Hon House Chairperson, the EFF supports the report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on its oversight visit to Eskom and its infrastructure projects of Medupi and Kusile. The EFF maintains that there is deliberate and a political project, to make sure that Eskom collapses.
There is a plan to take the generation of electricity from Eskom and put it in the hands of a small minority, who benefitted from colonialism and apartheid and these are the people who will continue to benefit from neocolonialism.
We say this because when the committee went to Eskom, talks of IPPs and the private sector dominated the conversation. It is even more shocking, because there are proposed practical solutions that are obvious and just require political will to address the problems at Medupi and Kusile. There is no reason why Medupi and Kusile should be suffering, including suffering from imposed emission quotas.
Take Kusile for example, we just need to build a coal mine to be a direct feeder, as it was initially conceptualised. It is not sustainable to have 800 coal trucks per day to feed three units. It means, once all six units are operational, we going to need 1 600 coal trucks. It is not sustainable. We cannot have trucks delivering coal in an open field, which exposes our people to serious health dangers and damage to the environment. That is why we are told the coal is wet and there is a need for load shedding.
As Parliament, we must appropriate necessary budgets, to develop that mine near Kusile, otherwise the whole project is not feasible. Kusile must be speeded up, to train engineers for the desulphurisation equipment. Medupi must get out of the take or pay contracts. Those arrangements are irrational, not sustainable and just a form of stealing.
Lastly, it is foolish to install equipment in Medupi, which Eskom’s engineers do not have the necessary skills or capacity to operate. We, do, as I said, support the report of Scopa.
Thank you very much.
Mr N SINGH: Hon Chairperson, firstly, as the IFP, we support this report of the Standing Committee of Public Accounts and we think that the problems that they have identified at Eskom are not ones that we are not aware of. It is time that Eskom and government get their acts together, because we cannot have this continuing issue of Eskom, Eskom, Eskom.
Without any other energy supplies, it makes it incumbent upon us to rely on Eskom to perform effectively. Given the fact that hundreds of millions of rand have been poured into this empty hole called Eskom, we demand of them to perform better, so that South Africans can at least get benefit from the taxpayers’ money that we have put into Eskom.
Having said that, I think it is quite a serious challenge where, in some instances, legal customers of Eskom, for example in the Endomzimtho area have been disconnected because Eskom and the law enforcement agency cannot manage illegal connections to informal settlements. I don’t think that it is
constitutionally correct for legal customers of Eskom to suffer from the fact that illegal connections are taking place. I would urge that Eskom, the CEO and the powers that be come together, to ensure that they accelerate the electrification programme in the informal settlements.
People living there also deserve electricity and it needs to be provided, so that they can also benefit from the freedom of South Africa after 1994. If prepaid metres are installed there, I think they are more than willing to pay for electricity and access it, as is their right. Having legal people paying the price is certainly not acceptable.
Regarding the Medupi and Kuseli issues that we have been hearing about, I served on the Committee of Public Enterprises for many years and we know about the exorbitant accelerated costs there. And sometimes heads have to role for Eskom to get things right. And we trust that the Minister and government, in fact, the President - there is a committee in the Deputy President’s Office that deals with energy matters – really get their act together, because we cannot tolerate this kind of ineptitude moving forward.
So, as the IFP, we support the report and thank the members of the committee that went out there to physically inspect what is happening at some of these power stations. Thank you.
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Hon Chairperson, the findings in the report of the oversight visit read like a horror story. Explosions due to procedures not followed; R2,4 billion in damages, due to lack of supervision; no plant maintenance during the previous year; unit not operational, as it awaits certification; no conveyor belts; progress in construction slow; project started in 2008, initially scheduled to be completed in 2012; revised completion date is now 2024; culture of Evergreen contracts; Eskom beset by corruption; generator capacity remains inadequate; consequent management in wanting; skills lacking; lack of regular maintenance; and so it continues.
All of this, while South Africa are suffering because of continued load shedding. Businesses are suffering and people are losing their livelihoods.
The horror story of fraud and corruption, billions lost, project backlogs and sabotage is caused by the ANC policies of
cadre deployment, affirmative action and black economic empowerment.
The people of South Africa deserve better than the ANC. The people deserve reliable and affordable electricity supply and a government that spends taxpayers’ money wisely and prevent fraud and corruption
Hierdie verslag is weer ’n bewys dat alles waaraan die ANC die afgelope 28 jaar geraak het, verval het en ’n omkeerstrategie benodig. Die ANC het Eskom in die grond in bestuur, kaders en politieke elite verryk, terwyl gewone Suid-Afrikaners veral die armstes van die armes ly.
Om die krisis by Kusile en Medupi aan te spreek is kundige amptenare met die nodige vaardighede nodig. Goeie bestuurspraktyk en die voldoende prosedure is nodig.
Die VF Plus ondersteun die verslag en die aanbevelings. Die aanbevelings moet net dringend geimplimenteer word. Dankie.
Mr W M THRING: Hon House Chair, on behalf of hon Swart, I would make this statement. The ACDP appreciates the oversight
visits conducted by Scopa from 20 to 22 April to Eskom and its power plants, Medupi and Kusile. We also appreciate Scopa’s chairperson’s apology to an Eskom board member, following an altercation between the two. The report is somewhat dated, however, as Eskom recently advised Parliament that the risk of load shedding remained high for the upcoming summer season.
This after it confirmed, as of 31 August 2022 that there had already been a record 91 days of load shedding this year alone. Subsequent to this report, Eskom instituted stage 6 load shedding for the first time since 2015, partly as a result of an illegal strike.
These power cuts had a devastating impact on the economy and were largely the cause of contraction in GDP by some 0,7% in the second quarter, which followed a 1,7% growth of GDP in the first quarter, when there were less severe power cuts. As a result, it was announced that there will be an energy action plan to drastically reduce load shedding over the coming 36 months. The plan includes actions aimed at improving the performance of Eskom’s coal fleet, including the new built power stations as well as initiatives to introduce new private generation and reduced demand.
The question is: How quickly will this ambitious and welcomed plan be implemented? It is against this background that the Scopa report must be considered. The report highlights a number of issues, which colleagues have referred to, such as that there is a persistent problem of municipal debt owed to Eskom, which at the time of the report was a staggering R45 billion.
The committee’s recommendations are self-explanatory and include carrying out regular maintenance of units, developing a clean operating plan, identifying teams that maybe resisting internal control, which ... [Inaudible.]
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, we paid a visit to Lephalale where the Medupi Power Station is, largely to look at the forced removals of residence around the power station. But what we discovered was the neglect of the community there. Hon members have referred to the environmental concerns. There is an ash mountain, maybe half the size of Table Mountain that is accumulating.
We saw disparities in accommodation. There were so many villages one for Japanese and one for Germans. Every nation is represented there. And you compare it with the housing for the
local residence, it’s a problem. So it was our observation that that power station is largely run by foreigners. They keep the country at ransom, they do what they want. And we have heard about the neglect. We need the governing party to send those members who subscribed to renewal to do oversight as well.
Political parties should have parliamentary constituency officers to do oversight because ... We would like to thank the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, for their second visit and they need to visit every week then we are going to see some progress there. However, we support the wonderful work that Scopa is doing. They just need to go on more visits so that we can bring about the change that is needed there. Though, the management there are keeping the country at ransom. They are looting our sovereign resources, and they are just doing what they want. We would like to ask Scopa to please do as many visits as they can so that we can get some oversight and solutions. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. We support the report.
Mr B M HADEBE: House Chair, hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party - DJ Pamza aka “Way’tjukutja”, it’s one of those greatest and fantastic moments in life for me to be standing
parallel to you, perpendicular to the ground and vertically opposite to the force of gravity.
Hon House Chair and hon members, the context of our April visit to Eskom, Medupi and Kusile Power Stations Project is critical in that we were not only concern about the outcome of our 2019 oversight, we were also concern about the subsequent devastating impact on the lives of the people, the impact on families, impact on small business many of whom had closed, and this has resulted in lower economic growth.
Load shedding, both from economic and social stability perspective is crippling our economy. So restoring energy security is critical for lifting confidence, investment and job creation. In this regard, the ANC supports the decisive intervention which are undertaken to overcome the country’s energy crisis and end load shedding in the shortest possible term. The two primary objectives of the energy action plan as announced by the President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa [For Second Term], are to improve the performance of Eskom ...
The two major objective of action plan as announced by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa [For Second Term], are to
improve the performance of Eskom existing power stations and to add a new generation capacity to the grid as quickly as possible. Hon members, to [Interjections.] ...
... Hhayi, but [kodvwa], niyangiphazamisa.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order hon members.
Mr B M HADEBE: ... The solution must be found to the unsustainable debt problem and more generally Eskom operational and financial performance must be improved.
A call for accountability, consequence management in relation to the state of Eskom is our oversight visit was about. We were not there to be told about what we already know about.
Detailed diagnostic, historical challenges confronting Eskom are well-known and well documented.
Hon members, mistakes we have made in the past which have contributed to the holistic challenges confronting Eskom, as
the ANC we have been open and frank. We have accepted our mistakes and we have not been arrogant and aloof to the challenges confronting Eskom. Hence in our 2017 ANC strategy and Tactics Document Building a Developmental State, we have stated categorically clear that construction of a new society depends centrally on the leadership role of the state.
Secondly, we have stated that the state should be able to attract the best and the brightest in our society. We have said that professionalism in the bureaucracy and stability especially in the management echelons ... [Inaudible.] ... is non-negotiable.
This committee has once again made important recommendation upon completion of our oversight. This recommendation includes the following. We said Eskom must develop a plan for the restoration of internal controls, ensure skills development, address poor procurement and poor governance matters, consequence management is needed as soon as yesterday. Ensure a regular maintenance and skills transfer from equipment manufacturers.
Hon members, it is important for me to stress the importance of skills transfer from equipment manufacturers. Let me
explain why. Kusile power station use a system called Flue-gas desulfurization, FGD. We are being technical now, listen carefully. The FGD is a fluid gas desulfurization, which is the set of technologies used to remove sulphur dioxide.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order hon members.
Mr B M HADEBE: Listening is a skill complemented with discipline. We are saying this Flue-gas desulfurization is desulfurization it reduces sulphur dioxide from burning of coal.
We are saying as the ANC we cannot allow the Moses approach when dealing with challenges of Eskom. Moses took 40-years to liberate and release the children of Israel from Egypt. We cannot afford Eskom management to take 40-years to end the challenges at Eskom and to end load shedding. We are not children of Israel and we are not going to adopt a Moses approach. Load shedding must be ended as soon as yesterday.
Lastly, let me address the elephant in the room. When the Chairperson of the committee addressed the matter of the member of the board who became unbecoming, he did so following the rules of order and procedural. What then happened after,
it was a political intervention and interference. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” In future when the ANC gives the guidance and direction and guidance to its members, that must not be viewed as political interference as the IFP was able to call one of its own to apologise for speaking to the law to the latter. The ANC supports the recommendation. I thank you.
AN HON MEMBER: Where is Brian Molefe?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Moved: That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Cha [No], hon Sibongile! Can I have your attention, hon members? The proceedings of the day went smoothly and the debate was flowing very well until some members decided to ignore the NA Rule 84, which caused the House to deteriorate into chaos.
Rule 84 states thus “No member may use offensive, abusive, insulting, disrespectful, unbecoming or unparliamentary words or language. Nor offensive, unbecoming or threatening gestures.” Hon members are reminded to observe this rule at all times. But may I also lastly draw your attention to rule 64, on the conduct of members. You are reminded not to take photographs, video footage, speak on a cell phone, eat, read newspapers, or in any other conduct themselves as members in a manner not befitting the dignity and decorum of the House. The last very serious announcement to make hon members is that that concludes the Business of the Day and the House is Adjourned.
The House adjourned at 18:54.