Hansard: NA: Mini-Plenary 2
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 22 Sep 2022
No summary available.
MINI PLENARY - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
(VIRTUAL) THURSDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2022
PROCEEDINGS OF HYBRID MINIPLENARY – GOOD HOPE CHAMBER
Watch: Mini-Plenary 2
Members of the mini-plenary session met on the virtual platform 14:00.
House Chairperson Mr C T Frolick took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The Chairperson announced that the virtual mini-plenary sitting constituted a meeting of the National Assembly.
BUILDING A STATE-LED SOUTH AFRICAN MIXED ECONOMY, WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS, TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS A NEW TRAJECTORY OF INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND TO ADDRESS THE APARTHEID LEGACY OF EXCLUSION
(Subject for Discussion)
Mr K E MAGAXA: Hon House Chair, I think your introduction to the subject says it all, I just have to add to what you have just said. The full potential of South Africa’s mixed economy still remains to be realised through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. When compared to other mixed economies in the developing world, South Africa’s mixed economy often does not live up to the economic potential attributed to a mixed economy by its structure defenders
To put a mixed economy’s success in perspective, consider the case of how Sweden boasts strong property rights and it is also open to international trade as well as foreign direct investment, yet Sweden has a strong aggressive social insurance and robust distribution based on public expenditure on social welfare programmes such as old age pensions, family allowances, health insurance and housing subsidies. It was unthinkable for the Swedish that Sweden could be one of the world’s most egalitarian countries given their history of inequalities and wealth concentration.
The case of Sweden offers one important lesson that possibilities for inclusive economic development tend to be done in joint efforts between the public and the private sectors. Of course by referencing the case of Sweden I am not trying to blind anyone to the success stories of South Africa’s mixed economy. We have our own success stories, for instance, South Africa is home to generous direct cash transfers such as social grants that play a crucial role in reducing poverty and inequalities, but after taking such direct cash transfers into account, equal distribution of assets and income remain elusive in the country.
For yet another example, South Africa’s mixed economy pays great homage to market forces and is open to trade as well as investment, but is experiencing low rate of fixed investment and deindustrialisation of industrial sectors that the country had managed to build since 1994. The result is often high levels of unemployment and exposure to wide prices in fluctuation of basic goods. To sum it up, South Africa’s mixed economy falls short of inclusive representation in the sense that the representation of the previously marginalised black people is lustre. Without effective state interventions in South Africa’s mixed economy the previously marginalised black people will invariably get the short end of the stick, but advocating for effective state intervention does not imply that one views the private sector with a more sceptical eye.
The crucial point underlying effective state intervention is that inclusive economic development is not a purely private sector process, but a joint process between the public and the private sector with the state playing a leading role.
There are several reasons as to why effective state intervention is necessary for economic transformation and inclusive economic development in South Africa’s mixed economic context. Let me reiterate one of the reasons briefly. First of all, South Africa’s mixed economy exhibits monopoly practices and market concentration where large firms are able to cement their power and subsequently expand their market share as well as their inertia behaviour. However, the situation is more extreme than this because of the accumulating evidence that high levels of profit stemming from monopoly practices and market concentration translates into high levels of brown field rather than the green field investment. In other words, high levels of profit either perpetuate the mantra of shareholder worth maximisation, or facilitate the swelling of emerging firms by large through various strategies to the detriment of setting up new production facilities in a mixed economic disparaged for high economic growth rate and job creation. That is exactly the antithesis of profitable patriotism.
In South Africa’s mixed economy, with monopoly practices and market concentration, the orthodox of economic justification for relying on market forces signal for economic transformation and inclusive economic development fails. In short, the market will never allocate resources efficiently, let alone self-correct, hence effective state intervention is important. Yet, despite the networking role of effective state intervention in South Africa’s mixed economy, the poor performance and management of state owned entities have tarnished every extensive co-ordinated socioeconomic intervention of the state in the economy. To put this in provocative terms, Chairperson, although there is a wide acceptance of market failures in South Africa’s mixed economy that leave large scores of impoverished citizens on the side- line, the state cannot correct them in ways that do not make things worse.
While some of the critics of the effective state intervention approximate the truth, most of them are either incomplete or short sighted or even suffer from selective biasness. The reality is that the challenges that explain poor state owned entities performance apply also to large private firms with disperse ownership. Indeed for every struggling and liquidated state owned entity there is one or at most a few identifiable similar example in the private sector. For instance, there are similarities between the South African Express and Kulula liquidations. This observation is of course not limited to liquidation, for example, what is dubbed the state capture might have caused the good state owned entities performance to be in the reverse gear rather than forward gears through corrupt activities. However, this does not negate the idea of the private sector as the domestic leader in illicit financial flaws, money laundering, cybercrime, bribery and corruption, tax evasion and procurement fraud. I always say that the private sector is also responsible for the corruption in our public entities.
Given all of this, I must admit that I am very unhappy that state owned entities have become a real nonsense in the everyday life of South African citizens and the economy as evidenced by their gradual withdrawal from developmental mandates that they were originally created to serve.
Unprecedented loadshedding as well as absence of forward and backward linkages in the form of lowering the cost of doing business to the strategic sectors of the economy leave much to be desired. While the current performance of the state accentuate rather than ameliorate market failures and enduring legacies of both colonialism and apartheid, this does not invalidate the use of the state owned entities facilities in economic transformation and inclusive development.
The highly respected Asian tiger economies have achieved their economic success with a large state owned entities sector.
This confirm that SOEs are the basis for effective state intervention to address socioeconomic challenges from a people’s centred approach and inclusive vision that is available to the private sector. It is due to these reasons that the government has restructured the business models of these strategic state owned entities such as Eskom, Denel and Transnet onto a path of profitability. Such a restructuring however requires appropriately targeted public investments. Of course the DA will attempt to convince us with its liberal shibboleth that public investment crowds out private investment, forgetting that this is true only when the economy is nearly full employment.
What is widely known is that ... [Inaudible.] ... opportunities enter the labour market coupled with the inequalities in terms of access to quality education and healthcare services consigned the majority of work seekers who are predominantly black to chronic and unemployment and poverty traps. Therefore, public investment should play a key
role, not only to improve the poor state owned performance but also in relation to long-term economic transformation and inclusive economic development.
Unfortunately, the problem of focussing on fiscal stabilisation over other important goals that means economic growth, job creation and development has cut public investment of all kinds. Of course public/private partnerships are outlined in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as options to improve state owned performances and to address the insufficient infrastructure development in the country, but the present public/private partnership does not just lack public investment, and let me explain why. Not less well-known but ignored is that capital as a nationality that is to pay its loyalty to, the upshot is that some of the private sector players that are lured to inject capital to improve state owned entities performance and to address insufficient infrastructure development, often do whatever it takes to increase their profit even if it means implement cost cutting measures including slashing jobs.
Some of the private sector players conceal their operandi which once revealed makes them appear predatory, that is to say they only wait for the state to fail before they intervene
and this should not be surprising because they are embedded in political relations that are completely geared towards marginalising the state. Moreover, some of the private sector players have inherent bias because they are unwilling to finance infrastructure projects that have high returns in the long-term but carry high risks in the short-term. For example
... [Inaudible.] ... opportunity for Transnet to expand its railway network to promote intermodal linkages to revive the decreasing connectivity with rural markets. Similarly, there is a need for new oil refineries to minimise South Africa’s dependence on imported refined petroleum products. These projects remain on the drawing board because there is no patriotic capital in our country to improve or to inject mixed economy to ensure its development.
Given that the economic development and inefficiencies associated with private sector are highly exaggerated, the obvious solution for the government is to strengthen its development finance institutions to finance long-term infrastructure projects and to promote aggressive entrepreneurship. This shows that the necessity for effective state intervention is even more clear-cut. It is crucial that public/private partnerships are able to succeed to ensure that South Africa’s mixed economy is able to reach its full
potential. We need African lions to improve economic growth in our country, region and on the continent broadly speaking.
Hon House Chairperson, I wish I had more time to highlight at great length both empirical and theoretical arguments in support of effective state intervention. All I want to conclude with is that it is most important for our country, with its history of inequalities that the state leads in the implementation of transformation in our country. I thank you, Chair.
Mr J N DE VILLIERS: Chairperson, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. This debate comes at an interesting time. It wants us to debate a state-led South African economy with the participation of both public and private sectors to contribute towards a new trajectory of inclusive growth and to address the apartheid legacy of exclusion. So it seems to hint that there is some sort of new leadership role that the ANC government should start playing in fostering a partnership between public and private sectors that would lead to inclusive growth.
Ever since President Ramaphosa’s Sona speech earlier this year, there seems to be a focus in ANC speeches on the importance of small and medium-sized businesses, the so-called SMMEs. It is a well-understood fact that we as the DA agree that no part of the economy has the potential to scale up and create economic growth and employment like the SMME sector.
But here is the problem. What the ANC-led government says about SMMEs and how they treat them are two fundamentally different things. Yesterday, a Public Service Commission presentation revealed that the current ANC-led government owes SMMEs a staggering R9 billion in unpaid invoices, R9 billion. Just let that sink in. While SMMEs are struggling to recover from the ANC's unscientific hard lockdown regulations under COVID; rising and out-of-control crime under the SAPS; failing state infrastructure; sharply rising inflation and pressure on consumers with out-of-control food costs; rising petrol prices; and now stage six load shedding, which devastates every single SMME in the country.
The ANC government could not even care enough about the plight of SMMEs by paying them on time. It is, therefore, no surprise that the only province where the government owes SMMEs zero is the DA-run Western Cape. Saying you care for SMMEs is lip service if you don't even pay them. So why then? Why on earth
would the ANC talk about the importance of SMMEs but then act in a manner that sets out to destroy them? The answer is actually quite simple. A completely incapable state run by absolutely useless ANC cadres who’ve not been employed in government based on their capabilities but politically based on the ANC membership card in their pocket.
ANC cadre deployment is the root cause of every single failure of the government to even attempt to create a more inclusive society. The failure of Eskom, the SAPS, SA Airways, SAA, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, the Post Office, SABC, and the list goes on and on. What do all these failed state institutions have in common? ANC cadre deployment and corruption because the only way that ANC fat cats can enrich themselves is through the mechanism of cadre deployment.
There's only one way to create a more inclusive society and break the back of unemployment, poverty, and inequality, that is a state service run by professionals, such as the example we find in the DA-led Western Cape and the DA-led municipalities. In the DA-run Western Cape, SMMEs get paid the invoices for the simple reason that the DA-led province and municipalities are run by professionals, not by cadres.
The writing is on the wall. Voters no longer are willing to do the same thing and expect different results. In 2024, the insanity of an ANC cadre-led government will end and that will be the true start of a road towards a more equal South Africa run by a caring DA-led coalition and a professional state. I thank you.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: Thank you very much ... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon N S Buthelezi from the ANC.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Okay! I just wanted to make sure because
... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes. No thank you, hon member, I made an error by not giving the initials of the member. My apologies for that. So it is the hon N S Buthelezi from the ANC. Thank you.
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: Hon House Chair, obviously there are many Shenges [Buthelezi clan name] on the platform. Thank you very much for the opportunity. Hon members, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is critically important that I raise
upfront what I consider to be non-negotiables as we deal with this very important matter which will define the present and the future of this country. These include the economy should grow. This growth must also include township, rural women and people living with disabilities. The economy should embrace employment equity. The economy must put localisation at the centre so that it creates more jobs. It should be an economy that provides a safety net for the most vulnerable sections of our community which unfortunately the DA doesn't care about.
It's important to restate the obvious which some of us decided to be untruthful about. The state of poverty, landlessness, exclusion, and inequality is not natural but it is manmade. It is the situation that was created when those three vessels landed on our shores. We are dealing with the problems of the De Drommedaris, De Goede Hoop and De Reiger.
Sinjenjenje indaba yaleya ndoda u-Johan Jan Van Riebeeck. Kwasuka lapho ukuhlupheka kwethu. Kwasuka lapho ukuhlupheka komuntu omnyama. Sasinomhlaba sifuyile, sidla sisutha, bafika ogombelakwesakhe bakuthatha konke.
It was this realisation that prompted comrade Nelson Mandela to observe:
Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times - times in which the world boasts breath-taking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation - that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.
Also, this mess we are dealing with today did not start ... would like us to believe it. The DA and FF Plus, in particular, want us all of a sudden to forget about homelands, the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936. They want us to forget about the Job Reservation Act, and Bantu Education, the list is endless of the laws that were meant to exclude and oppress black people of this country.
The question, therefore, is how does the ANC government unscramble this apartheid omelette? That's what we are addressing here. That's why we believe that to undo this apartheid omelette designed and enforced ruthlessly, the state must play a pivotal role. We firmly believe in a mixed economy, meaning that the state, the private sector, NGOs, and civil society have a role to play.
What was made and imposed by the state for three and a half centuries upon the rightful owners of this country cannot be left to the whims of the private sector alone? We all know it is in the nature of the private sector to maximise profits and profits only, anything else in that equation is incidental. On the other hand, the objective function of the state is to optimise public goods for the benefit of all of its citizens. The state wants to ensure that by its intervention in the economy, the economy grows, its citizens are employed, and the receiver gets what is due to it, not for an individual but the populace at large.
That is why in the current financial year this House approved, amongst others, R9,9 billion for SA National Road Agency, Sanral, for non-toll road maintenance; R2,1 billion for Clanwilliam Dam; R1,4 billion for Olifantsfontein and Ebenezer plants; R15 billion for the bounce back scheme to support SMMEs; R17,5 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework for infrastructure catalyst project and
R67,7 billion as transfers and subsidies to the Department of Transport, mainly to deal with the road and rail infrastructure.
These resources by this House prove the centrality of government in leading our project of inclusive growth. The ANC is walking the talk. There's no doubt that with better roads, and water supply, the private sector will also be encouraged to co-invest. By the way, there's no economy in the world, including the most capitalist economies where only the private sector plays. This is a lie perpetuated by the free market fundamentalist as represented in this House. Please do not come with experiments that never worked everywhere, let alone in emerging economies.
Nifuna ukusibambisa iqanda lenjelane. Ngeke, asizi. Uhulumeni wabantu ngaphansi kaKhongolose uyoqhubeka njalo abe phambili ekukhiweni komnotho waleli lizwe. Asikwazi ukushiya lokho konxowankulu bona abazifunela ukwandisa inzuzo yabo kuphela kodwa siyoqhubeka njalo sisebenzisane nosomabhizinisi ukwakha umnotho waleli lizwe.
When the July unrest hit KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, businesses ran to the government for assistance. That's why this august House approved the Second Adjustment Appropriation Bill last year. That adjustment, among others, allocated R18,1 billion
to Sasria to capitalise it so that business could be assisted. You'll remember that over R30 billion was approved by this House to assist businesses because we understand the role of business in growing our economy, paying taxes and creating employment, a lie by the DA, as I said, the FF Plus, therefore, should be exposed for what it is which is a lie.
They say the ANC does not want to work with businesses. All we are saying is that let's play our roles and not try to disenfranchise our people economically.
As hon Magaxa has argued before, SOEs are here to stay because their developmental role cannot be outsourced to the private sector. I'm not sure, to the hon member who has just spoken, whether Andre De Ruyter, the CEO of Eskom and the COO Oberholzer would agree with you when you talk about card- carrying members of the ANC ... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Buthelezi! Hon Buthelezi. My apologies.
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: ... perhaps not understand this overzealousness ... Yes
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): My apologies to interrupt you. Will you switch off your video, please?
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: Yes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you. Please proceed.
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: It is off. I have switched it off, hon Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you very much.
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: Thank you. I do not understand the overzealousness of those who are pushing for privatisation. This country is free. Anyone can start his or her business. Why are you not starting your own things rather than wanting to take the little that belongs to all of us?
Ziqaleleni izinkampani zenu nishiye u-Eskom phansi.
Let us accept that without energy and electricity, most of the progressive interventions by the ANC government will produce suboptimum outcomes. This House has already recapitalised Eskom by R136 billion over the years, R88 billion is also earmarked for the period of up to 2025-26. In the spirit of the consensus that His Excellency President, Ramaphosa, spoke about, let Eskom, the board and management do their part.
The people of South Africa are putting these resources to help them do their work. The load shedding that we are experiencing is undermining all the initiatives that are meant to grow the economy and create employment opportunities. We also reject the fallacious, unscientific argument of the free market fundamentalists who see privatisation as a panacea to Eskom’s problems. The Deputy President, hon D D Mabuza, was here and stressed that there is no for sale sign for Eskom.
We agree with him and that is the position of the ANC. In fact, the trend is now in the opposite direction internationally. Uniper, the biggest importer of natural gas in Germany is being nationalised, again proving that in these hard times we cannot live the destiny of the country, especially with this strategic company in private hands. For those who are salivating and hoping to get Eskom, they must
just chill. We support the initiatives to allow the private sector generation of electricity.
The government gazetted 100 megawatts of embedded generation; allowing municipalities to also generate their electricity.
There are many other initiatives which are expected to add up to 13 000 megawatts to the grid. This is the mixed economy the ANC supports. We are gravely concerned about the reported application by Eskom to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, Nersa, for an increase of about 35% of the tariff.
This will choke the economy and sterilise all the initiatives to ignite the economy and create jobs. Also, this move is inflationary and it will add to the inflation from the high fuel prices. This is double jeopardy of note.
We all agree that the inflation that we have now is imported. It is not because of the reckless behaviour of consumers and business, completely exogenous as the Minister of Finance shared with this House yesterday. The increase of the interest rate under these circumstances further punishes and puts more burden on the economy. This response by monetary authorities is ... [Inaudible.] ... . It'll result in a high unemployment rate and low economic growth, no doubt about it. We are calling on the Minister of Finance to, therefore, intervene
with cautionary powers to ensure complementarity between our fiscal and monetary policies. The Standing Committee on Appropriations, Scoa, had an opportunity to interact with the Department of Small Business Development, Small Enterprise Development Agency, Seda, and other institutions which fund black businesses and SMMEs. These institutions are critical for inclusive growth.
Unfortunately, hon Minister of Finance, there's no money to fund black businesses to effectively participate in the economy. Hon Minister, we are, therefore, calling on more resources to fund BEE. It is unacceptable to have other departments and institutions underspending billions of rand while our people do not have access to capital. We hope to see a difference during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement to fund SMMEs and black businesses both as a political and economic imperative. Politically ...
... niyazi ontabayikhonjwa basivalela ngaphandle ngobugovu babo babona ukuthi umnotho wezwe lethu ufanele bona kuphela. Bathi abanikazi bamagolide namadayimane nomhlaba bafanelwe ukudla imbuya ngothi bona bapepenyeke bazenzele ngomnotho wethu. [Kwaphela isikhathi.]
I thank you.
Ms Y N YAKO: House Chairperson, if there were people who had doubts that we should remove the governing party in the 2024 elections because it does not have a clear, believable, practical and implementable plan to lead South Africa into a different economic trajectory that will lead to economic growth, then this debate should clear all those doubts for them.
But what is more troubling, is the fact that, at a time when the ANC, together with its alliances, Congress of South African Trade Union, COSATU, and the South African Communist Party, SACP, is going ahead full steam with privatisation and liquidation of strategic state-owned enterprises.
The former Western Cape provincial secretary of the SACP still thinks that there could be a state-led mixed economy when the private sector controls all strategic sectors of the economy, including energy generation, transport, ports, telecommunications, finance, and mineral resources.
Now, allow us to put this misguided proposition into clearer perspective. We’ll do so because we are dealing with people who come from a movement that once declared that it believed that through programmes and policies of re-distribution, it could produce new incentives to growth which would benefit all, and made a call for growth through redistribution, not an imaginary trickle down economic motivated by parasitic capitalists pretending to be patriotic bourgeois.
Today, the South African Post Office has closed more than 55 of its branches and has retrenched more than 2000 workers, many of whom are left behind as workers find themselves with more difficult contracts.
South African Airways was sold for R51, R51, stripped of its assets, and is now handed over to so-called strategic partners who bring nothing to the table. Nothing but a corrupt patronage deal facilitated by Mr Pravin Gordhan.
Detonics, Numerous, Electronics, Denel, a former giant and strategic state-owned enterprise, SOE, has lost critical skills, it’s broke and cannot afford to pay salaries. It has lost many of its book contracts because it cannot deliver orders on time.
The Transportation Network, Transnet was the custodian of ports, rail, pipelines to ensure that the freight system in South Africa enables, sustained growth and diversification of the country’s growth. But today, ports and rail are handed over to so-called private investors who bring nothing but find everything in place.
There is a deliberate plan in progress to collapse Electricity Commission, Eskom. Every time the incompetent and arrogant André de Ruyter wants to entrench independent power producers, he allows the system to collapse, and subjects all of us to unwarranted and unnecessary electricity blackouts.
Participation of the public and private sectors in a mixed economy in which the private sector profits from everything while the public sector sits on the side lines, controls nothing, produces nothing, and subjects all of us to the whims of greed is fundamentally stupid.
House Chairperson, the only way to get South Africa on an economic growth path that will allow us to deal with the racial inequality crisis that is currently producing unemployment and poverty among Black Africans is to do the following things currently, urgently:
So far, the ANC government has failed to use the procurement budget strategically. We must use more than R12 trillion of the state procurement budget to incentivise localisation.
We must do away with the privatisation of Eskom, Denel, and Transnet, and other strategic SOEs. We must stabilise Eskom to ensure that there is a stable and dependable electricity supply. But to do this, Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer, CEO and Chief Financial Officer, COO, must be fired with immediate effect.
We must lead massive industrialisation, particularly in areas that we are currently having advantage. We have young growing population and minerals that will lead to productive beneficiaries that employs people in all parts of the country to create new cities and economies.
Lastly, we need to clarify the role of research and development in the new trajectory of inclusive growth. There seems to be confusion in the ruling party about the role of artificial intelligence, robotics, and e-commerce. This is not the expansion of telecommunication services to rural and informal areas, that is the delivery of basic infrastructure services.
We need to teach at all institutions of learning, particularly at the foundation level, the integration of artificial intelligence and robotics, and ensure that as many of our people can participate in e-commerce as possible. I thank you House Chair.
Ink E N BUTHELEZI: Hon House Chair, we as the IFP are pleased that this topic is being debated today. This comes at the crucial time when South Africa needs the private sector to flourish in order to provide for more jobs for the millions of unemployed South Africans.
As the IFP we have consistently raised the issue of private sector receiving support and integrated as an equal partner with the government in our growing economy. What appears hon House Chair to be the greatest threat to South Africa next to the ravaging income inequality is the ruling party itself. It lacks the follow through on its own policies and everyday it adds more restrains to the private sector.
The economic circumstance of millions have remain largely unchanged as the result of the ANC-led government failure to deliver on any of its economic promises. Ironically this debate is actually being introduced by the member of the
ruling party when the cause of all our economic challenges that we are currently facing, is the ruling party itself.
This debate comes at the time when we found ourselves with the weakened rand, incredible lowered gross domestic product, GDP and the cost of living crisis. The ruling party has over 28 years to lay the strong development economy.
As the IFP we have been at the forefront calling for a mixed and inclusive economy, but our calls have fallen on deaf ears with the ruling party. We have called for the privatisation of the struggling state-owned enterprises, SOEs or bring the private partner on board. This call has not been heeded by the same ANC.
The mandate of the state-owned entities is to create jobs, develop skills and provide social services. They are not fulfilling this mandate; in reality they are working against it. The SOE’s model is death as per the Bloomberg Report and blame falls squarely on the ruling party ‘shoulder.
We all understand that the primary duty of the government is to create an environment for business to grow and entrepreneurs to flourish. This has not happened under the
ANC, all because of their failures to follow through on their own policies. If you create environment that makes it difficult for business to grow or for entrepreneurs to easily to start a business with an imposing never ending red tapes, you end up creating a situation that we are in.
Government should focus on sorting out the issue of stabilising Electricity Commission, Eskom, which they have failed to do so far. They have failed to provide reliable transport system, they have failed to build roads and maintain roads. They have given us an education system that encourages extraordinary low pass rate. Our education is so poor that we are unable to compete even to our fellow developing countries. We have a huge skills deficit as the result of the failures of the same ruling party.
They have failed to provide an infrastructure for our economy to grow, basic infrastructure for our developing economy and more so for our mixed economy.
South Africa should not be deceived into believing that this debate brought by the ANC is honest. They are not interested in building the inclusive economy. Their actions over the years have demonstrated so. What is needed to our country
towards the path of success is to remove the ANC from the power. They have proven to us that they cannot clean up their own mess. As a result, South Africa, currently ranks 82 in the ease of growing business ranking in comparison to our developing counterparts and we are falling far behind.
As the IFP we have always believed that strong partnership between government and the private sector is what we need to build a strong economy, and overall a prosperous country. This we cannot trust happens under the ANC-led government. This debate hon House Chair is very important and it’s a must that government should be pursuing but we cannot be naïve to believe that it will see a strong and inclusive mixed economy under the current leadership. I thank you House Chairperson.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon House Chair and hon members, for the economy to function at its best, it needs growing, but there is more to it. It is not simply that the economy should be merely growing, but it’s growing for all people. It is not just creating stability for some people, but creating stability so that every person is free from worrying about financial roadblocks and unforeseen issues. Therefore, for our economy to be thriving, it must be an inclusive economy. Over the past years, this inclusive modifier has become a
significant area of focus. The economy should function for all people, and all people should have the financial freedom and mobility to pursue every opportunity they desire.
Through inclusion as accomplished when all people are valued regardless of the background, are afforded every opportunity to fully participate as they should choose. This means the economy is not simply growing, but instead its production of goods and services is optimised to increase the prospects of opportunities for everyone. This also means that job opportunities and incomes are increased, and doing so for every single segment of the economy. The FF Plus also believe that, an inclusive economy is one of which our participation with business partners and communities is additive and not exploited.
Hon House Chair, we are facing a moral crisis in the South African economy. The single minded pursuit of money fostered by a culture of self-interest and self-preservation, ultimately isolated people and destroyed communities and accelerated inequality. Poverty persists and many cases grow despite realised gains in productivity. Vulnerable groups are also excluded from jobs, schools and opportunities they need
to move up to. This leaves them stuck in poverty for years and even for generations.
House Chair, the term ‘state capitalism’ was previously used to depict the communist regimes of the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba and North Korea. Even today it also could be applied to the South African ANC government attempting to use state ownership to keep bankrupt parastatals in public hands.
House Chair, since the ANC came into power in 1994, 20 years ago, South Africans have been exposed to cadre deployment, poor governance, state capture and corruption, virtually resulting in billions of rand to be lost and BBBEE and affirmative action, only benefiting a few. Bankrupt parastatals such as Denel, the SA Post Office and Eskom amongst others virtually forced the South African economy to the verge of destruction.
Under the post-1994 administration, the ANC government will only be remembered for its legacy of destruction, self- interest and poverty. Only a realistic solution for a new sustainable future and economic development lies on a new responsible, righteous multiparty coalition government without the ANC, backed by the private sector to create a market
related free market economy where merit accounts. Thank you hon House Chair.
Mr S N SWART: House Chair, the ACDP welcomes this subject for discussion as there can be no doubt that the economy needs to be built, grown significantly to address the rising poverty and unemployment levels, and the poor state of our public finances.
Structural challenges and weak economic growth have undermined progress in reducing poverty, with South Africa being the one of the highest, and having one of the persistent inequality rates in the world. The economy is reeling as a result of various factors. Ongoing power outages, and poor government policies and implementation are one of the aspects.
It is reeling because of a poor public sector capacity, and as other speakers have alluded to, poorly performing state-owned enterprises, SOEs, with Eskom being the prime example. It is reeling because of the inability of the state to perform its primary role, that of protecting its citizens from crime and violence with ever increasing numbers of criminal syndicates blatantly preying on individuals, and businesses through extortion as well as the steady stripping of much needed
infrastructure, such as widespread theft of copper cables needed by Eskom, Transnet, and others.
Where the ACDP and other parties differ with the majority party is in the solutions to the dire economic situation facing the country. In our view, the essence of the problem lies in the outdated ideology of the economy needing to be state-led. This requires far too many planners and an excessive administration to make the system work, resulting in slow decision-making, corruption and regression technocratic of nature. It results in the state intervening often to make things worse.
We support the concept of a mixed economy, where the public and private sectors work together. Ideally, a competent state and public service should provide the necessary environment, for the private sector to thrive and create jobs and much needed state revenue. It is not one or the other, but both private and public sectors working together.
The private sector employs some three quarters of South Africa’s workers and accounts for over two-thirds of investment and research and development expenditure. Alongside a capable state, the country needs a thriving private sector,
a private sector that is investing in productive capacity. As private sector employment increases, more livelihoods are supported and sustained. Goods and services are delivered at a greater scale and more revenue is collected for the state for infrastructure and social development. Such a mixed economy would ideally have a constructive relationship between the public and private spheres, not one or the other, for the betterment of all citizens of South Africa. I thank you.
Mr S M JAFTA: Hon Chairperson, the South African economy exists in a globalised economic order. This means we can no longer prescribe solutions in response to our economic realities, without the pressures of the global world. In this regard, we have to move away from mere slogans, backward economic policies and the sound bites radical economic policies with no real traction to improving the lives of our people.
Hon members, national assets which are a burden to the fiscus, can no longer be sustained under the pretence of some obscure nationalist policy. To achieve inclusive growth, we must involve the private sector in managing our failing state-owned enterprises, SOEs. The process which will see our debt converted into equity and the state limited resources
channelled to improving the lives of our poor, instead of bailing out ailing SOEs.
Hon Chair, our debt to gross domestic product, GDP ratio exceeds our spending priorities, and financing our debt interest has crowded our spending in health in education and in human settlements. The role of the state as the vanguard of socioeconomic development can no longer be limited to its traditional role. The South African state must now be in touch with the leading international trends on economic policies, and work alongside various private players to quantum leap its economic fortunes.
Hon Chair, while our state must lead all transformation processes, it must do so in tandem with the private sector, business and labour with the view of scaling up our renewed growth priorities. We must move with the times and adopt economic policies, consistent with the pressures of the global order. I thank you.
Mnu L MPHITHI: Mandibulele Sihlalo
What is disappointing about the ANC and the national government at large, is that they have completely given up on the growth of South Africa’s economy. We know this because they have failed to create an enabling environment for the economy to grow. The ANC has presided over the dismantling of South Africa’s economy bit by bit, to the detriment of South Africans. The ANC economic growth plan will have you load shed at 9am in the morning, while you are trying to offer a service or product to a customer. It will have you come home to appliances which have been bought with your hard-earned money, no longer working because they’ve burnt down during the time the electricity went off.
It will have you paying taxes that never lead to improvement in your local governance, because there will always be a cadre infested failing state-owned enterprise, SOE that needs to be bailed out. And not only that, that very same SOE will have unqualified people, occupying positions further running down the said SOE. It is the massive corruption in the very same ANC that stops basic service delivery in your community. It is that very same corruption that chases investors away from South Africa, killing job creation, with it the hopes of many young people.
This has led to a stifling rigid, regressive economic regulatory environment, which does little to distribute capital in an optimum manner. The truth is, the ANC is damaged. It’s been damaged for a long time, and no, it is not going to miraculously renew itself. What it will do is to continue to drag all of us down with it. So in a debate that is about public-private sector involvement in inclusive growth, you can be sure to bet on the ANC to lead the way to economic decline and public sector degradation. In a debate around the state-led inclusive growth trajectory, you can be sure that you will be led to complete darkness both figuratively and literally.
The question that South Africans should be asking in this debate is, can we trust an ANC-led economic approach that is only shown as hardship? A government that is failed to respond to the crisis of youth unemployment in both word and deed?
There is no love in this government for the people of South Africa and where there is no love, there can be no courage. We are most certainly at a crisis point when graduates must turn to the street corners to source employment. With each passing day, young South Africans are receiving a raw deal from this government.
The most basic consumer product relationship is that if something is not working for you, you need to change it. As the DA we understand that an inclusive economy is possible when the public sector inspires confidence. This is why the DA believes that only through reducing red tape and more decentralised economic decision making processes, can we inspire growth, investment, more jobs and therefore more taxes to be spent by government on growing equality of opportunity, and providing strong safety nets for the vulnerable.
A DA-led national government will embrace a role in the economy that creates an enabling environment, and be a referee in ensuring open competitive markets and protecting environment rather than a player. What this means for young people’s more collaborations between government and the private sector, initiatives like the improvement tax incentive for businesses to fight youth employment unemployment while growing their businesses. The centralised ANC model has not worked for us. In fact, it is destroying all of our futures.
I put forward this input to young people of South Africa, try something new. With the lowest provincial unemployment rates in South Africa, the Western Cape government experiences the
highest level of investor confidence in this country. We are indeed showing a new era is upon us. I thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL
AFFAIRS (Ms T Nkadimeng): Hon Chairperson, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, a good day. Let me thank this opportunity that I have been afforded to contribute on building a South Africa’s mixed economy, in both the public and the public sector, which needs to contribute to the new trajectory of inclusive growth to deal with the painful apartheid legacy exclusion of the majority of the people from the economy.
In reversing the divisions of the South Africa’s dual economies, which we must appreciate, into the transition of democracy in the mid-90s, has been increased but due to the number of factors progress has stagnated. Structural challenges with growth has undermined the progress in reducing poverty which has been heightened by Covid-19 pandemic.
The achievement of the progress in the household welfare is severely constrained by the rising unemployment, which reach unprecedented levels of in the fourth quarter of 2021. South Africa, therefore still remains a dual economy, with one of the highest and persistent inequality rates in the world
The legacy of extrusion in the nature of our economy is not pro-poor and does not generate sufficient jobs. So, South Africa faces these challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty - and it is worsened by the level of underlying South African structure of our economy, continued spatial inequality and the inequality of the development of human capital through education and health.
The National Development Plan remains the only country’s blueprint to address these challenges and ensure that Vision 2030 is made to deal with the more difficult Covid-19 crisis issues. So, this government has taken and introduced the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, ERRP and the Presidential Economic Employment Stimulus Plan, PEESP. The two initiatives are aimed at immediate responses to the severe economic impact of the pandemic and the triple challenges.
The ERRP put its emphasis on aggressive infrastructure investment, gender equality and economic inclusion of women and youth. Our green economy interventions, mass public employment interventions and strengthening of the food security. The PEESP has achieved about 62% of women and 84% of youth in creation of about 879 000 beneficiaries, which has
been a remarkable progress achieved with about R23,6 billion that has been allocated and already circulated.
A hundred and fifty-two thousand livelihoods were supported. For example, in the Free State, Ngwathe Bulk Water Supply was identified as one of the catalyst projects. The project is running and completing a 46km of water construction, and a total of about 21 subcontractors and SMMEs have been appointed and are almost concluding the process. Five thousand and seventy-six households benefited. Such programs are a direct employment stimulus that comes from our processes.
In identifying and strengthening the interventions to reverse the separate development, spatial planning apartheid regime system needs to be changed and it needs to be appreciated that it is unequal and have unevenly developing areas that are juxtaposed over the overcrowded townships and squalor informal settlements.
Under the DA, with their success, we have Khayelitsha in the City of Cape Town and we have Kayamandi in Stellenbosch. We have removed Wi-Fi for black students in the City of Tshwane. In the City of Johannesburg, we have removed the public benefit organisations in the process assessment rates, where
even public schools pay exorbitant rates and taxes to the cities.
These extreme spatial disparities are a legacy of racial separation, which id imposed particularly to the Africans and it is reinforcing what was started earlier on. However, a range of factors are also responsible for this persistent and equal development. It indicates that undoing distortions of apartheid to reconfigure these spatial patterns will take considerable time.
The NDP and its spatial development framework has put a process in place of ensuring that this expression, exploitation, disregard and calculated under investment in areas where Africans reside needs to be dealt with. So, in line with this framework, Cogta, for example, has adopted small town regeneration strategies, which seeks to review 105 small municipalities to ensure that they are redeveloped, they are regenerated, they are accessible, they have got working job creation programs and roll out to core government social and municipal services.
We welcome again the DA to Nelson Mandela Bay. We promise that since 2016 to 2021, you did not build even a single RDP house
in your coalition of inconvenience – an inconvenience to the African people. A budget that was dedicated to you; not a cent was spent to that.
There are no goals in this marriage of this mourning. There is no vision, but only ganging against a development of what could change the lives of our people. However, we will also be sitting and watching closely as we are the only ones who are the hopes of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. [Interjections.]
Mr K CEZA: The jobs!
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL
AFFAIRS (Ms T Nkadimeng): One of the key priorities in local sphere is attracting more investment... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHIARPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Deputy Minister, there is a member, the hon Khanya Ceza from the EFF, whose microphone is on and it is disturbing.
Mr K CEZA: I am sorry, Chair. It is off now.
The HOUSE CHIARPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes! Can you just switch it off, please? Thank you. Please proceed, hon Deputy Minister.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL
AFFAIRS (Ms T Nkadimeng): Hon Chair, I was saying in the maintenance of municipal infrastructure, even where other coalitions are failing, we are stepping in to ensure that the municipal and infrastructure accelerate the access to public goods and to marginalised citizens. In 2021, the Municipal Infrastructure Grant was expanded to allow up to 5% of their allocation to develop the infrastructure asset management plans.
We took the step forward as Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent, Misa, to ensure that we do business plans and assist municipalities to ensure that applications to National Treasury are accompanied by the audited asset register. We are moving into this space because we want to increase from land to the value of what the municipal books will end up allowing them, particularly in small towns and rural areas, to be on their own and change their economic status.
For example, the Gauteng Government has created its own spatial framework, which puts into context that municipalities in a development act can now be able to lead the way in developing their economy, particularly in a land that is not owned by anybody.
However, they can also be able to introduce fines and penalties on vacant and developed land owned by any private individuals, including the state, in areas identified that could be able to make socioeconomic integration and isolation in areas where our people are staying.
There are people who sit with pockets of land, undeveloped and unutilised, but do not want to release it to the benefit of the people to live with and promote that. In conclusion, the address with regards to the District Development Model tells us that we need to have a capable, an efficient and ethical state.
Listen to them – the DA - telling us about cadre deployment today. Let me refresh their memory: Marietha Aucamp, 16 May 2018, City of Tshwane - not qualified. Wow! Was that enough? In 2019, Previn Govender had falsified his qualification of a fire official position. In 2019, Stefan De Villiers, a
bodybuilder in the City of Ekurhuleni, fired previously from the City of Tshwane, but currently was employed by them.
Then who is violating the implementation framework towards the professionalisation of public service, with they aim to build a state that only service them and service people who are not many in majority in those areas who are locked in townships.
Taba tsa lona le a di pata; tsa ba bangwe le a di pepesa. Ke a leboha!
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, South Africa like many states surround the globe is a country that had a mixed economy. It partakes in a free market economy suppose to a centrally controlled wide. What a differently one reflects on an economy that essentially a mixture between a first world and the third world economy and this is for several reasons. This mixture contains a component that defines economic status in socioeconomic terms.
Considering this one may argue that South Africa continue to have a mixed economy despite the fact that it continues to own state entities such as SA Synthetic Oil limited, Sasol, and
Iron and Steel Corporation, Iscor, entities that unfortunately been sold off to the private sector and this has been with no tangible financial return to the public.
In fact, it is the letter that support it financially for several years with the purpose of transforming South Africa’s commercial sector into a viable independent one. This sadly, hon House Chair, did not happened. For the record, while Iscor has been striped office assets, Sasol was conveniently privatised. And all this took place in whose interest? Sasol new shareholder has continued to reap financial benefits of an inflated crude oil price and its original investors paid record prices for fuel. Now the state-owned enterprise such as Eskom, Armscor and SAA that their strategic have been rejectable and mismanaged with fund squandered without those in charge thinking of the local effects. They have all become abandoned to the nation because of incompetent appointees but has forced our nation into further debt becoming a begging whole nation.
At this point this department should be halted by appointing competent persons that possess the relevant skills importantly to its effect that these entities should have empowered our
disadvantaged communities but this has not been a case as expected. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Chairperson, for the first 15 years of democracy South Africa enjoyed the advantages of both effective institution and a shared willingness of stakeholders believe in the power of oppression. This enable the country to move beyond counterproductive conflict and first you win-win outcomes.
The road began to accelerate which created new opportunity for expanding the middle class. Increase physical space make it possible to broaden access to public services and to social grant which reduce absolute poverty.
There were however, and there is some stuck limitation to what was gained for the poorest with little to alter the difficult economy and social reality. I accept that the NFP support sole heartedly a mixed economy. It is not only the response of the government to create jobs but also the private sector. And more importantly the private sector. But I think the government responsibility is to create a conducive environment.
One of the setbacks, Chairperson, appears to be the Black Economic Empowerment, BEE, because it seems to have created something like 17 500 black milliners and multimillionaires in this country. We have done very little to boost the economy.
Now very importantly, if we want economic growth in a mixed economy we must create that environment. If you look at that, Chairperson, the cost of doing business particularly for small businesses and the red tape that exist makes it very difficult for them to survive.
Then you have the serious problem of imports into the country which makes it very difficult for local manufacturers to compete. And as we know that we have some of the most vibrant industries in South Africa particularly the manufacturing sector of leather, textiles and plastics. At one stage, Chairperson, during the days of apartheid because of sanctions almost everything was made and manufactured in South Africa including motor vehicles. Now why are we not going back to that with such a high levels of unemployment in the country.
Chairperson, yesterday, the National Treasury actually highlighted the problems that we are having at local government and high levels of corruption and she said no one
in certain term did it but it is political interference, politicians want to decide who the Ministers or managers should be. They want to decide who the chief executive officer should be. What must be done and what must not be done. And that’s why the NFP believe we can do a lot more at local level if we separate the administration from politics as a Rule
Now if you look at the issue, we talk of high unemployment rate in the country look at the number of vacancies, Chairperson, in every department in this country but yet look at the high levels of people unemployed in this country. What is the reason for that? Because the quality of education has now decrease. It is not the quality that it is used to be.
That’s why you find, Chairperson, 60% of those and if we are spending R12 billion it means R7 billion has been thrown away. They dropped out in the first year alone. What is he doing. We have a massive shortage in the country. We don’t have barbershop. No hairdresser that are local. No tailors that are local. You want an election is a foreigner. You want a plumber is a foreigner. You want a carpentry for instance. So, opportunities are there and I think we need to create that conducive environment so that we will be able to take South Africa forward through a mixed economy. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Ms H S WINKLER: Chair, this ANC-led government is wholly incapable by an inclusive growth and prosperity. Testament to this is a fact that a highest unemployment rate in the world can be found right here in South Africa that millions of South Africans stomachs are aching with hunger and 65% of young South Africans are sitting without a job and without hope.
In this last week as South Africans, we have had to enjoy stage 6 rolling blackouts. Your state-owned power utility Eskom is incapable of meeting our country’s basic energy need toppling the very existence out of business and the economy. And yet today, we stand here to debate that your government should lead growth. The statement is upstirred.
The government need to unbundle Eskom and create a favourable regulatory framework for independent power producers to operate in. The swift transition to renewables and a greener economy will lead towards a stable electricity supply, quality jobs and economic growth. Almost every state-owned entities is bankrupt, full of corruption and utilised as a personal PE Bank for politicians and the paginate networks. Your state led attempted growth are having the exact opposite effect. They are destroying our country.
Economic growth should and must be private be private sector led. The role of government then is to enable an environment for this growth to functioning infrastructure, policing, helth and marketing essay as a desirable destination for foreign investment by displaying policy stability.
The government interference in the tourism sector through illogical and job killing regulations store thousands of businesses closed and tourism hotspots becoming ghost towns during the various phases of COVID-19 lockdown. How long will it take the sector to recover is unknown. What is known though is that there are thousands of people without jobs. Is safe telling people that the queen gone to the beach but that it can be packed like sardines into most during lockdown. What this government should have been doing is ensuring that our municipalities work. In Durban which is just one so example, infrastructure collapsed has resulted in beaches, rivers and harbours cleaning with sewage killing our tourism economy.
The government should be focus on ensuring that it can deliver basic services so that the private sector can grow and create jobs. Internationally South Africa in terms of travel destinations have become a prior because our repetition as the
violent country. What this government should be focusing on is spectating our communities and businesses.
The DA has called for policing to be divulge to provinces to fight crime more effectively. The DA’s leap programme Cape Town just seen a decline in crime is a case in point. The government is failing and at in a very core mandate and yet still want to argue that it can lead economic growth. This corrupt and dysfunctional state is incapable of leading anything move out away and let the private sector lead. Your economic overreach batch SOEs and BBBEE patronage ... [Inaudible.] ... the ANC nothing more masquerading as government for the people. [Time expired.]
Mr K E MAGAXA: Hon Chairperson, the state-led development is the root cause of South Africa economic challenges has become widespread. While free market idol of life the DA and FF Plus firmly believe that market freedom and private property right could do better than state-led development in relation to a constitutional transformation and inclusive economic development. The ANC is convinced that such a virulent view is rather simplicity not only because this view comes from a position of privilege but also because its intention is to
perpetuate a colonial stereotype mentality that seeks to entrench the formal colonised people into white metheologies.
Let me just go straight to these DA and FF Plus. They must appreciate that what brought them here in this Parliament of democracy post 1994 is about protecting the wealth and property which they have accumulated in the most inhumane corruption ever happened under the sun. That’s what they must understand. They are here in order to protect that, therefore, for a very limited and narrow road in this democratic dispensation which is merely about that. It is because of our love for peace and coexistent that still we allowed them to own this huge pieces of land. This massive accumulating and loot while we know for a fact that it is the product of theft. They will always have to jump to use challenges of our transformation as weapons to rubbish all attempt to resolve contradictions created by colonialism of a special type.
Corruption is their number one weapon nothing else while they know they are the first and the worst extreme corruptors ever under the sun. By the way, they forget that in each and every official or bureaucrat arrested for corruption behind them is a white who is particularly their member or their former member who is behind that corruption. They don’t understand
that we saw that. By the way, FF Plus is an extremist from the DA. It’s like Conservative Party to the National Party. Those are just extremist. They believe that the DA is not protecting their farms enough. They think that perhaps we can take their farms beyond the DA. Therefore they think they can do better.
... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Magaxa, there is the hon Violent Siwela who’s microphone is on. Hon Siwela, can you switch off your microphone. You are disturbing the debate. If the member cannot switch the microphone I will ask the IT to close the microphone of that hon member. Please proceed, hon Magaxa.
Mr K E MAGAXA: By the way, Chairper, both the EFF and FF Plus are two side of the same coin. Those are the extremist not the radicals. They are an extremist. Their role is to shout loudly in fact even facts they shout them in an extreme form. But that’s why in most of the time they have to agree on most of
... [Interjections.] ... It is not surprise when one of the EFF speakers talk about removing ANC from the power and that is exactly what the FF Plus would love to achieve. Then the EFF, I think is important for them to understand that ...
[Interjections.] ... the more you move to the extreme of left you become an extreme right-winger. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, I explained very clearly the Rules in terms of this virtual plenary. And you know what the Rules are. Well there is interjections. That is allowed. Please, do so in an orderly manner. If you want to raise a point of order put up your hand and you will be recognised. Please, conclude now, hon Magaxa.
Mr K E MAGAXA: Chair, I think it’s important for the parties to consider identifying different places of recruiting their membership. Recruiting from shebeen and hotels is not always healthy especially if one talks about Parliament. is not viable for places of deploying such as Parliament perhaps you can deploy those people somewhere else. Parliament is supposed to appreciate this as a platform where we express the views of society for the society. Not you bring the most discredited people from the society to this platform. Hence I am not surprise when the EFF ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, your time has now expired. Thank you.
Mr K E MAGAXA: Thank you, Chair.
Ms J TSHABALALA: Please, give him two minutes extra.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Tshabalala, you were also not recognised. Don’t do the same wrong that other members are doing. It’s not very clever.
SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS THE WORSENING COST OF LIVING CRISIS IN THE REPUBLIC
(Subject for Discussion)
Ms B S MASANGO: Hon Chairperson, the 81% of households cutting down on at least one meal a day and 41% having no means to feed their families are people; they are South Africans, they are men, women and children.
Not so long ago, many of them had jobs through which they were earning a living to take care of their families. All that went up in smoke when covid hit, causing unemployment to sour.
When violent and devastating riots took place in July last year, causing lives and affecting thousands of formal and informal businesses.
And when floods wreaked havoc in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, with so many of those families still reliant on mass relief shelters, this put extra strain on their finances as they have to travel further to work and school; adding to their already high cost of living.
The high cost of food affects the quality of daily meals. In South Africa 27% of children suffer from stunting, which is “the failure of children to reach their full growth potential as a result of long-term poor diet, health and/or care”. This definition could have easily been conceptualised for the South African strain of child stunting.
The lack of care for, especially children, that has been displayed by the ANC government in the recent history is astounding.
Where else have you seen Ministers taken to court in order to provide starving children and families with meals?
The National School Nutrition Programme case comes to mind, where millions of children were suddenly without food at a time when their caregivers had no means to fend for them. Is this how we care for the day-to-day nutritional needs of vulnerable children? No! It cannot be.
It is important to note that the DA was involved in all these court actions because we will stop at nothing to ensure that poor and vulnerable are cared for in real terms.
Unlike the ANC government, we do not make empty promises. They speak one thing and do or doesn’t do the exact opposite.
As champions of the whole of society approach to South Africa’s problems, man-made and otherwise, the DA has continued to come up with well-researched, realistically crafted and time-sensitive interventions and solutions to the hardships so many are experiencing. We not only propose these from research but we are implementing some of them in our DA governments.
We do hope President Ramaphosa, to whom the DA leader, John Steenhuisen, presented these interventions a couple of weeks ago, will put South Africans first and implement them.
In short, these solutions are:
Cutting taxes and levies on fuel to reduce the cost of transporting food.
Reallocating the R50 million food aid to Cuba to feed hungry people right here at home.
Scrapping Value Added Tax, VAT, on the food items most commonly purchased by the purist households by reviewing and expanding the exhilarated food basket.
Reviewing and reducing import tariffs on food consumed by low- income households.
Providing private title to all land reform beneficiaries to increase food supply and security while reducing prices.
As the DA we have and continue to demonstrate that caring is a doing word, not a slogan to try and win votes.
In the DA-run Western Cape we are implementing the following:
Almost half-a-million school children are fed daily by the Western Cape Education Department. In addition, 25 000 children are fed by the Western Cape Education Department through after school and youth development programmes.
The Western Cape Education Department also helped establish
571 food gardens.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development feeds a
158 770 young children through Early Childhood Development, ECD, centres.
As a caring organization we will not tire in proposing implementable solutions to save lives and livelihoods of the people of this nation.
The recent increase in food prices has reduced the value of grants, that are way below the lower bound poverty line, to levels where households depending on these grants are left with very little to live on.
According to the household affordability index by the Pietermaritzburg economic justice and dignity group, an average food basket costs R4 776,00 this year, compared to
last year’s R4 241. That is a creative and constructive initiative that needs to be developed.
This is why the DA is proposing leveraging the potential of communities to plant their own vegetable gardens to feed their families. Many of these initiatives are already thriving and form the backbone of not only the survival but also healthy living for many households.
It is a shame, Chairperson, that millions of South Africans are facing starvation and hunger every single day; the very human rights enshrined in the Constitution of this nation. This, while the government of the ANC dithers. Thank you, hon Chair.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND COMPETITION Mr F Z
Majola): Hon Chairperson, hon members, the rest of South Africans, an American author and an evangelist, Robert Harold Schuller, once said: tough times never last but tough people do.
As a country and its people we are indeed faced with one of the toughest of times. Whilst many countries suffered significant setback in their economies as a result of the
COVID-19 pandemic and the measures that were put in place to curb the spread thereof, as South Africa we had to contend with other setbacks that have caused much of the socioeconomic suffering.
Two of our most significant provinces were unexpectedly hit by violent unrest and looting of goods in July 2021. A number of jobs were lost as a result of unrest; adding to the significant numbers of jobs lost as a result of COVID-19.
As we began the year 2022, hopeful of accelerating implementation of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan, whose key element is creating jobs, some parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape experienced unprecedented flooding that resulted in enormous loss of livelihoods.
The economic impact of the floods is severe and has caused damage to many businesses, infrastructure and households, resulting in job losses.
Hon members, the South African economy was already in a weak position when it entered the pandemic after a decade of low growth. Following the pandemic includes contraction of 6,4% in 2020. The South African economy started to recover in 2021
with Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth reaching 4,9%. This growth was supported by favourable global demand and commodity prices as well as the rebound in domestic economic activities from the 2020 recession.
However, the recovery has not been very strong, in terms of new jobs thus far; with nearly 1,9 million people has employed at the end of 2021 compared with the quarter before the pandemic struck. This has begun to change, albeit too slowly with Statistics SA reporting that 648 000 jobs were created in quarter 2 of 2022 compared to quarter 1 of the same year.
At the back of these challenges we are facing, is the ongoing Eastern European war in Ukraine. It should be noted that the main underlying drive of inflation in South Africa is external, namely, the increase in fuel and food prices due to the war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian war has brought much of the global economy in
... [inaudible.] ... with inflation forecast painting a very bad picture.
The European economies’ overall ... [inaudible.] ... stands at 2,7% and overall inflation at 6,8%. The United Kingdom’s
inflation expected to reach 10% in October this year. Germany has an inflation forecast standing at 6,5%, the largest since the unification of Germany in the early 90s. Portugal and Ireland are also facing an inflation above 5%. The European Commission Bank is considering further interest rates increases.
Even the United States, US, economy, while it is doing well on the rise of an employment after COVID-19 supported by government’s stimulus measures, is currently facing inflation of 8,5%.
The cost of living in Euro zone is the force of mass protest seen in London and other capital cities. These economic spirals have a hallow effect to our own South African economy as this is our major trading market.
Not only did oil and gas prices shoot up sharply following the invasion, the agricultural crops such as wheat also felt the impact. This is all due to the Ukraine being the sixth largest exporter of wheat in the world.
With the war in Ukraine, wheat production and crops from Ukraine has dropped significantly.
The subdued economic environment and loss of jobs since COVID-19 struck two years, has become a source of grave concern to government.
South Africans have been facing record high food and fuel prices throughout of this year. A record survey from ... [Inaudible.] ... firms found that as a result of the high inflationary market, as many as 81% of respondents are cutting down on daily meals as they can no longer afford them.
Globally, the rising energy prices are accelerating the cost of living crisis. These prices have had immediate and give us
13 effects on household welfare. This has created a vicious cycle of supply and price instability and make the lives of the most vulnerable even more precarious and we had to act with speed to respond to this crisis.
There was an announcement of temporary measures to reduce the general fuel levy as well as additional measures to reduce basic fuel price and to reintroduce the price cap for 93 ULP to promote competition and reduced prices.
As government we will continue working with the private sector through social compact team to find solutions to our challenges.
The economic reconstruction and recovery plan sets out regulatory reforms as part of addressing the high cost of living.
The implementation of the agreed reforms is expected to add productivity gains with a greater likelihood of lowering prices such as electricity reforms. And this will in turn have a further and much greater impact on the GDP and employment goals.
In terms of current relief for South Africans, according to the Department of Social Development almost half of all people rely on some form of financial support from the government. the department recorded in May of this year that the extension of the COVID-19 social relief of distress grant has taken the percentage of people who rely on social ... [Inaudible.] ... are probably 47%.
While we cannot as yet substitute oil import, we can most certainly encourage our farmers to plant more wheat and
thereby reduce South Africa’s vulnerability ... [Inaudible.]
... global wheat prices.
It is these economic opportunities that in the context of the country’s persistent triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, we dare not ... [Inaudible.] ... this.
The importance of localisation and reindustrialisation through leveraging off the country’s comparative and competitive advantages can, therefore, not be overemphasized.
We must work together to increase jobs. In this regard the digital economy provides endless possibilities with a bright and exciting future.
The major question is: How can South Africa take advantage of the opportunities in the digital economy?
Through the reimagined industrial strategy, we aim to open opportunities for young people to develop new software and applications, devices and equipment through specialized start-up support programmes for use by all spheres of government and society.
The South African government understands the importance of growing entrepreneurial activity and Small, Medium and Macro enterprises, SMMEs, and does the township economy, and continues to invest significantly in incentives and funds for doing so.
There is an urgent need for strategic and sustainable responses to the challenge of high cost of living. Some of the policy approaches could include improving the tax system and reducing spending inefficiencies that would put public finances on a more sustainable path while taking action to revive productivity growth that will help to revive GDP growth and raise living standards.
Strengthening public finances, creating a more ... [Inaudible.] ... friendly tax system and fostering higher productivity through enhanced infrastructure and more reliable power.
Hon members, time for political posturing to gain political mileage will not move our country forward, instead, we need to work together to better the lives of our people. It is during these tough times that we need national consensus in order to
reset our economy and take the country back to the upward trajectory.
I have no doubt that the path we are taking is responding to the economic challenges and we will see the country back to the economic trajectory that we seek. This will ultimately reduce the high cost of living and for the benefit of all South Africans. House Chairperson, I thank you.
Mr M J CUTHBERT: Hon House Chairperson, South Africa finds herself in a very dark place at the moment. Our economy has been ravaged by years of state sponsor corruption, ideological rigidity and administrative ineptitude. Despite advancement in human development during the 90s and early 2000 through the introduction of the social housing, expanded welfare system and a more equitable distribution of public services, the gains made have largely been eroded. Social housing has become a trough for tenderpreneurs. We have too few people in jobs and too many reliant on the welfare system and our public services which have failed to be expanded and maintained are at the verge of total collapse. Hon members, that is not all.
We are currently engaged in a serious against stubbornly high inflation brought about by the ongoing Russian invasion of
Ukraine as well as poor domestic policy choices such as localisation. While the governing party was clinking glasses at the Russian’s so amazing in May ... [Inaudible.] DA leader John Steenhuisen was on the ground in Ukraine warning of the devastation that was on its way. The DA was ridiculed by the opposition benches and the commentarial for being out of touch and the trip was labelled a PR disaster. Leading that particular charge was maiden of the Fourth Estate Qaanitah Hunter. Once again, the DA was right and you were all wrong.
Closer to home, the DA warned government about the disastrous effects of localisation and the impact it would have on prices, competition and trading relationships. Yet government forged ahead using tariffs, local procurement regulations and state funding to protect big business at the expense of the consumer. However, they eventually come around to our view when they were forced to do a U-turn on poultry tariffs which would have still be a millions more if they have to forgo this basic source of protein.
We have also seen how this has affected our trading relationships with major trading partners having retaliated by blocking South African imports into their countries. Did the ANC really think there will be no consequences for their
actions? The grinding poverty South Africans find themselves in, is as the results of this. If the governing benches are not already aware, let me provide them with the quick refresher. About 81% of the households is skipping at least one meal daily and 41% say that cannot feed their families anymore. Childhood stunting at fixed 27% of children under the age of five years and 34% of South Africans find themselves without work and if they are lucky enough to find a job, it takes a mere five days for them to just spend 80% of their monthly salaries.
Thus far, government is being caught flat footed in addressing this crisis, instead it has relied on the SA Reserve Bank to tame inflation with a series of rates hikes. However, as we know monetary policies can do so much. This is why we as the DA are demanding the following measures: one, cut fuel taxes and levies to decrease the cost of transporting food, two, reallocate the R50 million food aid for Cuba to feed hungry people at home, three, scrap Value Added Tax, Vat on the food items most commonly purchased by the poorest households by reviewing the expanded zero rate food basket, four, review reduced import tariffs on food consumed by low income households and five, provide private titles to all land
beneficiaries to increase food supply and security while reducing prices.
Failure to address the ongoing cost of living crisis will have dire consequences for social stability. If you thought that the July 2021 Unrest wreaked havoc, wait until those who have been trampled by government decide to rise up. Most recently we have seen what happened with Sri Lanka and before that amongst our African peers. This is not the bear that anyone wants you to poke. Just think about the infrastructure damage, business closure, job losses, skills flight and interrupted service delivery this could cause. Some may argue that it is fear monger but it is not. This is warning to those in power that they will ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Cuthbert, my apologies to interrupt you. The sound of the hon Linda Moss is on. Hon member, please disconnect your sound and if you cannot, I will ask the IT people to disconnect you. Please continue, hon Cuthbert.
Mr M J CUTHBERT: Thank you, hon Chair. Rather allow the DA coalition to replace you by a ballot box in 2024 so that we can begin to rescue our country. South Africans deserve a
better government. It is however up to them to make that change. So, let us come together, support the DA’s proposals to address the cost of living crisis and help the elected government that cares about you and your families’ wellbeing. I thank you, hon Chairperson.
Ms L F TITO: Hon House Chairperson, the truth of the matter is that the majority of our people, particularly black Africans, have been living with the worst cost of living for a very long time. Most working class families have huge debt and have trouble paying for basic things. The most reliable mode of transport has completely collapsed because there are no reliable trains. Workers are now spending more than 10% of their salaries on the public transport. Those who have no choice but drive their own cars must spend more than R25 a litre in petrol in addition to the expensive maintenance.
The price of food has left many working class and poor families compromised. Faced with empty plates and going to bed with empty stomachs. The price of cooking oil has now increased by 70% in the last 12 months. The price of food basket for a household has now increased to a well over R4 500 and based on the Annual Consumer Price Inflation released
yesterday by the Statistics SA that decreased by 0,2%. The price of a food basket is likely to remain over R4 500.
House Chairperson, fewer adults are now employed in many working class households and many of those who are not working are young people who should be transitioning to adulthood independently and contributing meaningfully and productively to the economy. The total number of people who are now unemployed has now increased to 7,9 million of which the majority is youth.
South Africa is one of the few countries where workers continue to experience a fall in real wages while the cost of living continues to increase and the number of dependents in household increase. Between 2016 and 2021, the real income for many workers decreased by more than 20%. To make matters worse, Eskom is planning to apply for a 32% tariff hike that they are failing to supply.
What is to be done? Number one, we must do away with the Inflation Targeting Monetary Policy by the SA Reserve Bank. We have enough evidence to show that we need a monetary policy that must take into account job creation and the allocation of credit to productive sectors. Number two, we must do away with
senseless interest rates hikes. The obsession with which interest rates hikes that we have witnessed in the past few months, is self-inflicted policy mismanagement. Treasury succumbed to international financial pressure and lowered the requirement of our pensions and insurance that must be kept in the country from 70% to 50%. At the same time what we had seen since February this year, has been a drastic increase capital outflow and at the same time, nothing is being done to deal with illicit financial flows. The SA Reserve Bank is busy chasing foreign capital by raising the interest rates while slowing down a productive economy and causing an unnecessary debt crisis.
Many working class households will not recover from the debt crisis they are being pushed into. Many are going to lose their houses, their cars and will be left with debt that they will never recover from. While all this is happening, they will not even be able to afford bread, maize, vegetables, electricity, transport and other essentials they need to survive with. I thank you, House Chairperson.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon House Chair, Madiba once said, and I quote: “Freedom is meaningless, if you cannot put food in their stomachs.” During a recent TV interview, the traditional Prime
Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, the IFP found that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi reflected on the South Africa we live in today.
Having dedicated his life to the service of our people and having been part of the dream and struggle for a free and democratic South Africa, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi spoke about his pain because of the current state of the nation. He said it caused him deep distress that, due to mismanagement and corruption, South Africa has been reduced to a welfare state, with little to no opportunity for the youth of this country.
His sentiments are supported by the fact that South Africa currently faces a number of different crises – the unemployment and inequality, poverty and electricity crisis as well as water, sewage, crime and the public health care crises.
South Africa is, in many respects, going backwards and this should give us sleepless nights. Let me share some key indicators. Real GDP per capita has been shrinking consistently and by 2020, on average, South Africans were 10% poorer than they have been in 2014, and 18,3 million people
now live below the poverty line. According to Statistics SA, the official unemployment rate was 33,9% in the second quarter of 2022. Malnutrition is common. The cost of food prices in South Africa is having a heavy toll on millions of poor South Africans.
A recent survey indicated that 81% of South Africans are cutting down on daily meals, due to high food prices, while 41% stated that their monthly grocery budget can no longer feed their families. As people get poorer and unemployment grows, people get more desperate and we see an increase in crime, vandalism, looting and other criminal activities.
Surely, this is not the South Africa, we as leaders of society had hoped to build for future generations.
The IFP proposes the following interventions. Firstly, as early as 2018, the IFP has been calling on government to cut fuel taxes and levies, to lower the cost of transport. This cannot only be a temporary measure. If we lower people’s transport costs, they can allocate more household budget towards food, as well as lowering the input costs for food producers.
Secondly, we must stop the endless flow of corruption and waste. In August 2022, the Auditor-General of South Africa revealed that 41 national departments incurred R1,5 billion fruitless and wasteful expenditures over the past five years. This is unacceptable. Those who have stolen from the state must be prosecuted and funds must be returned to the fiscus.
Thirdly, we must review and expand the list zero-rated food to include more items commonly purchased by the poorest 50% of households, with changes to be implemented with the Medium- Term Budget Policy Statement, MTBPS.
Lastly, government must look at the IFP’s model of self-help and self-reliance and provide the skills resources to allow communities to help themselves. We must prioritise skills development, bursaries, resources and training and support for subsistence farmers, developing co-operatives and emerging farmers. We must empower traditional leaders to support their communities by supporting and resourcing amakhosi to execute their functions.
It is the duty of each citizen to ensure they elect ethical caring servant leaders, who will prioritise the people of South Africa, rather than their own agendas. The IFP thanks
hon Masango for tabling this important debate and pledges its support to safeguarding the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Thank you.
Ms T BREEDT: House Chair, before getting to the solutions to address the worsening costs of living in the country, one needs to look at how bad the current state of affairs really is. Let me tell you, it is dire. According to Statistics SA, youth unemployment in South Africa is at 66,5%. Even the President, in his weekly blogs says: “No society can expect to grow or thrive, when the vast majority of its young people are out of work.”
Another prominent aspect of South Africa’s poverty is related to extreme income inequality. The country has the highest income Gini index globally at 63%. As of 2022, around 18,2 million people in South Africa lived in extreme poverty with the poverty threshold at US$1,9 per day. Over 123 000 people were pushed into poverty, in comparison to 2021. The headcount was forecasted to increase by the coming years. By 2025, around 18,5 million South Africans are projected to be living on a maximum of US$1,9 per day.
Wanneer by produkpryse kom, in vergelege met Augustus verlede jaar, het sonneblomolie, insluitend Canola-olie met 55% gestyg, die hoogste styging van produkte jaar-tot-jaar.
Die tweede hoogste jaar-tot-jaar prysstyging vir ’n voedselproduk is vir beet, wat 40,5% duurder is. Koekmeel het onder voedselprodukte, die derde hoogste styging getoon, met 30,8%, gevolg deur komkommer en geblikte bone, albei met stygings van 23%.
An ongoing investigation by the Competition Commission found a staggering increase in the wholesale price of tomatoes. The average price of tomatoes increased from R5,95 per kg in May 2022 to R12,48 per kg in July, a spike of 109% in two months.
Ons kan verder gaan en oor skoonmaakmiddels praat, wat met 23,4% jaar-tot-jaar gestyg het, of selfs brandstofpryse, wat jaar-tot-jaar met 56,2% gestyg het.
Taxi fares are currently consuming more than one-third of minimum wage workers’ salaries.
Die kort en lank daarvan is dat ons in die moeilikheid is, diep in die moeilikheid. Drie uit die afgelope vyf jare het salarisse nie eers met inflasie gegroei nie, om nie eers van produkinflasie te praat nie. Twee van die eksterne bydraende fakfore hiertoe is die huidige droogte in Europa en China, asook die Oekraine-Rusland-krisis.
Die drie grootste bydraende faktore intern is natuurlik ons voortslepende beurtkragkrisis, die astronomiese brandstofpryse, asook ons hoë werkloosheidskoers.
Aan eksterne fakore kan ons nie juis iets doen nie, behalwe om te verseker dat ons ’n netto-uitvoerder en nie ’n netto- invoerder van produk is nie. Ons gaan slegs ’n netto- uitvoerder van produk raak, as die regering besef dat die rede hoekom landbou die tweede grootste groeiende industrie in
Suid-Afrika is, is as gevolg van ons kommersiële landbouers en hul dienooreenkomstig begin ondersteun.
Met interne faktore, wat voor die hand liggend is, is die oplossing net so voor die hand liggend. Dis Ekonomie 101. Die enigste manier om inflasie te mitigeer, is om ekonomiese groei te hê. Om ekonomiese groei te hê, is werkskepping van
kardinale belang. Hoe verhoog jy werkskepping? Jy stel ’n klimaat daar wat gunstig is vir, nie net entrepreneurs nie, maar vir indiensneming van mense.
Verder is dit nodig om onnodige brandstofpremies, wat nie gebruik word vir die doel waarvoor dit daargestel is nie, af te skaf; om brandstof meer bekostigbaar te maak en sodoende vervoerkoste ook te verlaag. Ook moet daar daadwerklik opgetree word, om die kragkrisis aan te spreek. Instede daarvan dat Eskom inwoners en maatskappye wat hul wil help met energieopwekking te beboet, moet hulle beloon word.
Die oplossing is dus eenvoudig - in die korttermyn moet die ANC van sy belaglike beleidsrigtings ontslae raak, en in die langtermyn moet ons van die ANC in sy geheel ontslae raak en ’n regering daar stel wat outomaties Suid-Afrikaners eerste stel. Ek dank u.
Rev K R J MESHOE: House Chairperson, among other factors, our worsening cost of living crisis is largely caused by poor service delivery. Vulnerable South Africans suffer every time the lights go out. According to a recent survey, load shedding has caused 60% of us, at least, one damaged appliance, while 50% have lost the contents of their fridge, at least once.
Fifty-five percent have bought gas stoves and many others have had to acquire generators, inverters or solar power devices, all these, because of constant load shedding.
With a 45 cent increase in diesel and food prices rising monthly, we are in serious trouble, as a nation. We have been weakened to the tune of R1,5 trillion by state capture, R50 billion by last year’s riots and now we are being paralysed by stage 5 and 6 load shedding.
One-tenth of our people go hungry every day. Over one-quarter of our children are stunted and 40% of deaths are caused by lifestyle diseases that are there result of malnutrition, like strokes, heart disease and some cancers.
Practical solutions to food insecurity is the immediate need we have. The ACDP agrees with Prof Jooste of the National Agricultural Marketing Council, who has proposed that we should consider the footsteps system that is used in the United States of America and increase the number of food banks, which donate unsold food that has past its sell by date to the needy.
Furthermore, the ACDP proposes that we copy cities in Brazil, which are creating huge urban vegetables projects. For example, they have a 27-acre garden that feeds about 50 000 families. We should use innovative methods such as hydroponics that saves on space and do not require soil. The City of Rio, for example, has a vegetable project for residents of its massive informal settlement. This has proved very successful, because the residents are enabled to farm small strips of land in huge urban vegetable gardens by being provided with seeds, tools and a monthly stipend.
Long term, however, reducing our cost of living requires sound and accountable financial management from the Presidency down to the local government. According to debt counsellors, South Africans spend an average of 63% of their take-home pay on servicing their debts. Since 2016, most salary earners have lost one-third of their purchasing power and many have clearly reached out to legal and illegal ... [Inaudible.] ... for help. Interest rates have become another expensive item on the overloaded monthly budget.
Government needs to protect vulnerable consumers from unethical moneylenders by enforcing the National Credit Act and by creating a culture of saving in the nation.
In conclusion, petrol increases also keep our poor hungry. Every time petrol goes up, goods and services become more expensive. Thank you.
Mr I S SEITLHOLO: Hon House Chairperson, indeed, on 3 November 2020, this House debated as a matter of national importance the economic impact on the lives of the vulnerable and poor commuters due to the ongoing damage to public rail infrastructure. The DA’s position during that debate was perfectly clear and it applies to this debate here today. And that is: The ANC is to blame for the collapse in the country’s transport system and is contributing directly to the country’s high cost of living for all South Africans.
It was you Minister Mbalula who decided to leave our rail system unprotected. And it was you Mr President who allowed the Minister to be this irresponsible. Perhaps let us put this into context. Many residents of KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga who use the R57 road, Moloto road are domestic workers and by implication women some of whom are elderly. A monthly bus ticket from KwaNdebele to Pretoria is estimated around R1 200 equals to 20 to 21 trips. As far as the minimum wage is concerned; these mothers, grandmothers and aunts, earn around R3 300 per month. After travel costs, they are left with
around R2 100. We have not even calculated the amount they spend on feeder taxis to actually get to work.
Essentially, the people of KwaNdebele, like million others across the country, work hand to mouth, the little they earn goes towards transport and food. What is left may very well not enough to cover the basic food basket, if you consider that these families are sometimes four to five people. How are they meant to afford essentials such as school fees, school uniforms, clothing, etc? The reality is that these fellow South Africans are forced to resorting to creating unsustainable debt with informal tuckshops that they cannot afford to pay back in full every month, simply because they need to feed their families.
It is a fact that trains are far cheaper mode of transport, but with the lies that are being told by government regarding the Moloto Rail Corridor is it then any wonder why the people of KwaNdebele only work towards food and transport. All this due to the ANC-led government’s inability to get things done.
Hon House Chairperson, I am further reminded of a story narrated to me by the hon Chris Hunsinger, of a lady called Marrian. She lives next to the destroyed Netreg Train Station
on the central line in Cape Town and works at Pick n’ Pay in the VNA Waterfront. Her cost of transport was 40% compared to when trains were available. At the time which was January 2022, taxi prices had only increased twice. One cannot begin to imagine what the rising fuel did to her family. Marrian story is the perfect example of what happens when you have a broken transport system in this country. All this under an ANC-led government that has indeed lost its touch with the realities of millions of South Africans. Somebody must tell that to the hon Sifiso Buthelezi of the ANC.
Hon House Chairperson, the students of the University of the Free State, specifically those residing outside of campus, could be paying far less for public transport, had the ANC-run Mangaung Metro, been able to implement the integrated public transport network, otherwise known as the Haung bus service.
This bus service, if operational it would have offered students an opportunity to be able to afford basic foods as opposed to spending more money on transport.
Equally, the people of Thlabane, Geelhoutpark and other areas in Rusternburg, could have equally benefited from the Rusternburg rapid bus service otherwise known as the Yarona bus service had the ANC-run Rusternburg Local Municipality
been able to fully operate this bus service in order to allow residents to save on the cost of public transport.
However, hon House Chairperson, like everything else under the control of the ANC-led government, it is the poorest of the poor who carry the biggest load from the mismanagement of state facilities and services. I thank you, House Chairperson.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon House Chairperson, the consuing inflation in South Africa spike to 7,4% in June an increase of 0,9% from May. Consumers say sometime tuff as goods and services are becoming more and more expensive and as spike in inflation has left many South African households with a cost of crises and some are now struggling with the monthly budgets for groceries, transport, water and electricity.
The June inflation data showed that maize meal prices has increased by 5% in a single month. The prizes of brown bread and macaroni climbed with 3%. Cooking oil and fat with 33% and higher, with a prize of polony going up by 19%. Now these are basic staff that people need on a daily basis. The rising food prices to spend more money on food than they spend previously.
South African middle income earners spend 80% of their salary, hon House Chairperson, within five days of pay day. This means, most survive on 20% of their monthly income for more than 20 days of the month.
Now, if you look at the price of fuel and the increase in the prize of fuel and one of the reason is this that Russia has offered us crude oil, the problem is that we do not have facilities to refine them because refineries are closed in South Africa and that is becoming a problem.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Member, just wait!
Hon Magaxa and your team just switch of your mics and video please. You are interrupting the speaker on the floor. Thank you. You may proceed, hon member.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: You know, over and above the food prices going up, hon House Chairperson, we have a problem in terms of the spatial planning in the country and you find that people generally work far away from home. So, when there is fuel price hikes, it simply means that transport will cost you more and since people live far away from where they work and that is why we have always say we should have more industrial
development that is closer to where people live. That is another problem that people are actually having.
Food and nonalcoholic beverages rose by 9,7% year-on-year. I am not sure whether this statistics is correct. If you go into some of these supermarkets the prizes, you will realise that there an exploitation taking place because what we find is there is a monopoly particularly in South Africa when it comes to the food sector. Manufacturers, wholesalers and the retailers are exactly the same player to people. That is why when you go to the different big five supermarkets that you have in the country, you will find that the prizes that are fixed with just the handful of them on special.
Now, one of the problems that we have experienced is if you look at the high-levels of unemployment in the country: What does it actually do? It puts on more pressure on people.
Generally, one person working in a home at the moment they cannot survive. Both our fathers and mothers, husbands and wives have to work. Children have to work on weekends to survive.
However, I think what we must be very cautious about is 46% of people in the country are on some form of social assistance
and this is not sustainable. More importantly people carry inclusive economy; people can be more productive and get back their dignity. I know my time is up. Thank you very much, hon House Chairperson.
Ms M M E TLHAPE: Hon Chair, I will request that I also switch the video off because of instability of the network here.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Please do so. Thank you.
Ms M M E TLHAPE: Chairperson, when the ANC came into political power in 1994, we promised a better life for all South Africans. The commitment towards the realisation of a better life for all is entrenched in the provisions of many of the ANC policy documents, including the 1943 African Claims as well as the 1955 Freedom Charter. All these progressive policies of the ANC culminated into what today we know as the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa adopted in May 1996. Section 27 in the Bill of Rights guarantees to every South African the right to have access to sufficient food and water. The ANC uses land reform policy to broaden ownership of the economy by increasing participation within the agricultural sector, thus contributing to the eradication of the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
In the last three years, about 170 254 hectares of land acquired under government’s proactive land acquisition strategy has been released as part of land distribution programme. About 81 501 hectares of land were allocated to women with 44 216 hectares allocated to youth and 489 hectares allocated to people with disabilities ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Tlhape, just one minute, there is a point of order. Hon Ceza?
Mr K CEZA: Respectfully, can the member take the question, please?
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Tlhape, are you prepared to take a question?
Ms M M E TLHAPE: When I finish, hon Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON Ms R M M Lesoma): Thank you very much. You may proceed.
Ms M M E TLHAPE: Hon Chairperson, the department has developed the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy in order to realise transparency in the land allocation system. And
also, to ensure that 50% of land gets allocated to women, 40% to youth and 10% to people with disabilities and thus placing them at the centre of land reform.
We have just concluded conducting a joint oversight visit on the living and working conditions of the farm workers and farm dwellers. While noting that a lot still needs to be done in order to improve the quality of their living conditions, we make mention that progress is being made in term of extension of security of tenure. Since 2019, about 18 864 hectares of land have been released to labour tenants beneficiaries. This will further contribute to the reduction of food insecurity and hunger for labour tenants. Land restitution remain critical in changing the land ownership patterns in our country.
We know that in the last three years, a total of about R4,2 billion has been paid to the beneficiaries of land restitution programme and with a total of 185 366 hectares restored to its rightful owners. Increased access to land contributes meaningfully to local emerging farmers and we welcome progress made in terms of releasing land to municipalities upon request and further call on local municipalities to ensure that access to land by subsistence
and small holder farmers is made available in order to jump start the agricultural enterprises. We encourage all land owners to donate land in line with the land donation policy.
The ANC would like to see land under communal tenure being put to food production. Agriculture remains the important sector of our economy with a great potential to create the much needed job opportunities. In 2019, the sector contributed about 2,5% to the gross domestic product, with a gross value added of 69 000 and 48 billion and created about 885 000 ... [Inaudible.] ... in the same period.
Government is continuing to fight the outbreak of food-and- month disease. During the devastating period of COVID-19, government, through relief programme, assisted 15 000 small holder farmers with packages of up to 50 000 per farmer and the Presidential Employment Stimulus initiative, which today has assisted close to 70 000 farmers and is expected to be extended to another 250 000 in the 2022-23 production season to boost subsistence farmers who have shown appetite to assistance towards sustainable production.
This, hon Masango, was done throughout the country. We run a country as the ANC, not only one province. By the way, we will
continue to feed and assist our people in the Western Cape and in dealing effectively with the high cost of living ... [Inaudible.] ... that there is an increased domestic agricultural activity in order to enable our agricultural markets to be self-sufficient through the development of the District Development Model, government is ensuring that there are target mechanisms and approaches to enhance the agricultural productivity of fresh produce from the rural producers with access to urban markets.
In the medium and long term, the development of agro- processing supply and value chain, through the rural-urban market linkages, would not only enhance the standard of living for poor and marginalise urban and rural communities, but will equally ensure that most vulnerable sections of our society are protected through government supported safety nets.
Programmes such as one-household-one-hectare are well placed and suited to ensure that the most vulnerable are pushing against the impact of high cost of living. Access to markets by smallholder farmers is facilitated through the Perishable Product Export Control Board. A total of 118 farms were audited and 105 were subsequently certified to facilitate entry of black farmers into diversified markets through the SA-Gap Certification Programme.
Furthermore, in partnership with the Japan International Co- operation Agency, the department has embarked on targeted training to improve the marketing skills of small holder producers through the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Programme. In providing support and technical assistance to the farmers, government has embarked on an aggressive programme to employ 10 000 extension officers. This recruitment will assist in serving the farmers a signified in their farmer registers that was launched in February 2022 and is aimed at rendering services to registered stakeholders.
Through the blended funding model, government has reported that to date, R400 million has a ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Tlhape, you disappeared after mentioning the money ... Hon Tlhape, you indicated ...
Ms M M E TLHAPE: Through the blended funding model, government has reported that to date, R400 million has been transferred to Agri-Industrial Fund ... [Inaudible.] ... through their Agribusiness Development Corporation, ADC, with about 31 transaction pipeline amounting close to R2,2 billion and a potential to create close to 1 400 permanent job opportunities. One of the measures that government employed in mitigating against the high cost of living is the promotion of
community and household food gardens. The department has overtime created over 3200 food gardens with close to
64 000 household profile. Through the Climate Resilient Agriculture, CRA, programme, government is able to provide various skills and training opportunities in household food gardening. Financial management training in community-based planning and training in indigenous seed production.
Hon Chair, ... [Inaudible.] ... has spoken about the hon Steyn’s trip to Ukraine. This happened while at home KwaZulu- Natal and Eastern Cape was flooding and you wonder what is the priority here, but as always, the ANC government intervened.
We want to also indicate that the government of the ANC has an economic reconstruction and recovery plan that is well researched for sustainability. And the DA can keep its proposals.
Hon ... [Inaudible.] ... South Africa is not an island, and the global factors has also a bearing on our rising fuel and food prices, hence these interventions like your fuel subsidies, and the programmes that I have just alluded to. Hon Majozi, likewise, you are not giving us comparisons of situations in other developing countries like South Africa because as I have indicated, all these global factors have a
bearing. Otherwise I have given you some of the many programmes that the ANC government is creating, especially on the agricultural sector. Ntate Meshoe ... [Inaudible.] ... to see what our small scale farmers are doing and tell us if it’s different from the Brazilians, but otherwise we must thank our small scale farmers because we act today. We are a very resilient nation, and we do not give up in the face of adversity. Whatever challenge we face as a country, our people are able to unite and confront them. It is on this account that we join the President in calling for a social compact within agricultural sector that will ensure that it flourishes and job opportunities are created. Thank you, hon Chair.
Ms B S MASANGO: Thank you, Chairperson. As I thank the colleagues - Members of Parliament for their contributions and their participation in this debate, I wish to emphasise that the issue of food prices and the food insecurity crisis is a real issue in South Africa. Just yesterday I was honoured and privileged to go to a community in New Lentegeur here in Cape Town where one organisation is providing food and has been doing that for 30 years for an entire community that is in need of food. This organisation is doing that without asking for any help from anyone other than the donations that is gets, but this speaks to a collaborative and a supportive
partnership that organisations in communities need to have with their government.
The City of Cape Town and the Da-run Western Cape department of agriculture are doing just that. I wish to say to the hon Tlhape, through you Chairperson, with the line that she opened with, of people of this country having been promised a better life for all - that there are people who have been waiting since 1994 to actually see this better life realised in their own lives but that has not happened yet.
We are now at a situation where through government failures in corruption and mismanagement of public coffers, people are dying of hunger and nothing else. This has been brought about by things that are beyond the control of anyone, including the ANC government, but partly, the ANC government has been a huge player in making this country become such an embarrassment and such a disappointment for the people who were so happy to hear that they will be getting a better life for all. I wish to thank you Chairperson, and again the participation of all the Members of Parliament in this debate. Thank you so much.
MAINTENANCE AMENDMENT BILL
(First Reading debate)
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much, hon House Chair and hon members, thank you for taking part in the First Reading debate on Al Jama-ah’s Maintenance Amendment Bill in its first Private Members’ Bill that I have tabled with the Speaker followed by an explanatory summary of the amendments that were published in the Government Gazette, number 45616 on 21st December 2021.
On 5th September, an announcement was made that the Bill will be introduced to Parliament and be referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development of the National Assembly, as well as referral to the Joint Tagging Mechanism for classification in terms of Joint Rule 160.
The two amendments are as follows: Provision for the applicant which may be the mother, grandmother or caregiver to get cash like the defendant, which is mostly the father to travel to the maintenance court; and a mediation and arbitration provision to speed up the determination to grant maintenance and to determine the amount of maintenance per child.
There is a need for these two amendments for the sake of children whose fathers despite the law that requires them together with the mother of the child to maintain their offspring, but fail to do so, leaving the mother who may have no financial means or grandmother or caregiver who may have no means to put food on the table for these needy children.
Hundreds of thousands of children in South Africa suffer this plight. This week, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has launched an initiative to address this hunger which has reached astronomical proportions and Parliament is debating the rapid increase in the cost of living. We must prevent children from dying of hunger especially during the term of the 6th Parliament.
This is not a legacy that the 6th Parliament should leave behind. Al Jama-ah calls upon the hon members to support the two amendments to the Maintenance Act that is before them for their consideration.
Children are often used as pawns in disputes between their mothers and fathers and this can also lead to gender-based violence, GBV. The next and first step is to remove the challenges faced by the mothers or grandmothers or caregivers
which will assist them to take the nonpayment of maintenance by the father to the maintenance court, which is often a distance away from locations, rural villages and townships and even from some of the leafy and beachy suburbs. The mothers and grandmothers must often take three to four taxis or a train or bus to get to the nearest maintenance court. For this, they must incur debt to get there or even go without food so they can pay these costs to lodge a claim in order to get relief and so they too can put food on the table for the child.
The sad thing is that it stands in the Maintenance Act, the father who defends the action gets a subsistence allowance and the complainant, which is the mother or grandmother does not receive such assistance. The most glaring injustice in the Maintenance Act is section 5 of the Maintenance Act of 1998.
This section says:
Subsistence and travel allowance is made available to the defendant to get cash to pay for travelling to the Maintenance Court and to pay for accommodation if it is needed.
So, men receive a cash allowance, but no such relief is provided to women who approached the Maintenance Court for relief. The amendment proposed by Al Jama-ah provides for women to get the same amount of subsistence allowance as men so they can attend the maintenance court hearings without making a dent in their meagre income, if any. This amendment will remove discrimination against women and reduce gender- based violence while the dispute is being attended to and it will assist in putting food on the table for the child.
It is clear that the first step to deal with men who do not pay papgeld as it is popularly called, is to assist women to get to the maintenance court.
The second amendment is a new provision in the Maintenance Act for statutory mediation and arbitration. It is the insertion of section 14(a) in Act 99 of 1998. The following section is hereby inserted in the principal Act after section 14 under the heading “Alternative dispute resolution”, is as follows:
(1) Should the parties to a maintenance investigation or enquiry elect to resolve any dispute arising therefrom through mediation or arbitration, such dispute shall be referred for mediation or arbitration in accordance
with the applicable rules of the Rules Regulating the Conduct of the proceedings of the magistrates’ courts of South Africa.
(2) The rules regulating the conduct of the proceedings of the magistrates’ courts of South Africa means the rules made by the Rules Board for Courts of Law under section 6 of the Rules Board for Courts of Law Act, Act 107 of 1985, read with section 9(6)(a) of the Jurisdiction of Regional Courts Amendment Act, Act 31 of 2008, with the approval of the Minister responsible for justice.
Women who are most often the applicants in maintenance have the extra stress placed on them to be an investigator in maintenance cases simply to ensure that the father assists in his responsibility as a parent.
Die wie beweer, moet bewys.
... the complainant must prove. Too often women have to provide evidence that men have an income, having to run
around securing proof of employment of the defendant. Key stakeholders from religious bodies, National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, the Department of Justice, advocates, attorneys, and maintenance activists to mention but a few, were in attendance of a Women’s Day webinar on the last day of Women’s Month. Several social justice activists for the rights of women have called for amendments to be made to the Maintenance Act, which will speed up the process of the applications, ensure fair and just rulings to matters impacting on mainly women and children.
Several issues were raised during the webinar which needs to be addressed. Suffice to know that Al Jama-ah was advised to start with changes by addressing the most glaring injustices in the Maintenance Act and we were cautioned not to make too many changes all at the same time. Sadly, the plaintiff who is more often than not, a female being the mother, grandmother or caregiver in whose care the child has been placed and who is struggling to make ends meet, is not provided with the same relief as the defendants which are mostly males.
Yet it is the plaintiff who approaches the maintenance court for relief of maintenance to make sure she is able to cater for the welfare and best interests of the minor children but
no stipend is provided to the plaintiff despite them often having to spend days and hours at court, unable to work due to the concerning and outdated maintenance system we continue to experience in the justice system.
More often than not, the plaintiff has to suffer gender-based violence like we said earlier on in the form of financial abuse, and to have these further implemented by an unjust justice system is not acceptable. The issues stemming from the webinar, which I referred to earlier on which was held on Women’s Day re that our courts are clogged with maintenance applications; lack of empathy of clerks towards maintenance matters; government failure to respond or act on the unequal and ineffective Maintenance Act; lack of resources, staff shortage and inadequate investigations and applications of maintenance matters; magistrates and prosecutors are occupied with criminal matters and hence maintenance matters are impacted; women are bullied by clerks to accept pittance for maintenance; lengthy delays and constant postponements of matters – all these came out of the webinar - loss of jobs suffered by applicants having to defend ... [Inaudible.] ... to attend maintenance hearings; and children having reached maturity and maintenance still owing.
All of the above results in the plaintiff being impacted on financially. I look forward to the contribution of hon members to support these two amendments as we continue this debate.
Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Declarations of vote:
Ms N H MASEKO-JELE: House Chairperson, since the dawn of democracy the ANC government has passed a substantial number of Bills to further entrench the rights of the South African citizens as espoused in our transformative Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The legislations passed had been aimed at eradicating the legacy of transforming our society to reflect the demographics, geographical, race and gender spread of the county. Some of the legislations covers a range of areas such as health welfare, justice, education, housing and crime where transformation was needed. Moreover, the ANC has passed legislations directed at uplifting, protecting and empowering women. Legislations passed reflect the ANC’s commitment of bettering the lives of all South Africans especially the disadvantaged sectors of society.
The Maintenance Act of 1998, was introduced to rectify the injustices of the past practices, make the justice system more people-friendly and give maintenance courts more powers to
make orders against defaulters. The Act was enacted to ensure that more children receive the maintenance money due to them. It guarantees equal access for all women to protection from unjust treatment by people who undermine the rights of women and children. Through the Act and other pieces of legislation, the ANC makes clear its commitment to a criminal justice policy that caters for the special needs of women and children. The Private Members' Bill, Maintenance Amendment Bill 2022, acknowledges that the rights to maintenance ensures the wellbeing and development of those who will otherwise be left desolate and socially and economically vulnerable due to their lack of means, which is enforceable against those who have duty of care over a vulnerable person. This duty of care may arise as a result of parental or marital relations.
The amendment Bill acknowledges that whilst significant strides have been made to reduce the vulnerability of women and children in enforcing these rights, there are still legislative gaps which prevent meaningful access to those rights. The Bill proposes amendments which are aimed at bridging the gaps so as to allow for the relieve contemplated in the primary Act.
As tabled, the purpose of the Bill is to amend the Maintenance Act of 1998, so as to provide for, firstly, the location where a person who is entitled to be maintained may submit a complaint for maintenance. Secondly, is the powers of the maintenance officers to investigations and enquiries of maintenance matters. Thirdly, extending the payment of entitlement and allowance to complainants. Lastly, is the alternatives to dispute resolution in maintenance matters.
As the ANC we believe that since this is the first reading debate we will interact with the Bill and engage fully once it is tabled before the committee. I thank you, Chair.
Adv G BREYTENBACH: Hon House, Chair, while the Private Member’s Bill is well conceived and addresses an issues that seriously needs a lot of attention and modernisation. The Bill, nevertheless, in our view requires quite a bit of work in order of it to effectively address the important issues it seeks to address. However, hon Hendricks made several good points.
The first matter that is somewhat problematic in our view is the phrase, on which behalf. It is not sufficiently delineated and formulated. It needs to be strictly defined in order to
avoid it from open abuse, more particularly to communities where women continue to be used as perpetual minors. A much clearer definition of the circumstances where under a claim for or complaint regarding maintenance can be instituted on behalf of a third party must be inserted and enumerated. In its current form it is open to personal abuse and certain confusions. Complainant as in terms needs a strict definition.
The reference to arbitration is a sound approach, but such a complex principle cannot be in ... [Inaudible.] ... to law by mere insertion of clause of this nature. Arbitration has a legally binding principle. We need a much tighter definition and will require strict and specific regulation which is lacking in this Bill. It will have to stipulate who is authorised to act as an arbitrator. It needs to stipulate with a legally effective and arbitration agreement as will be and has to deal with circumstances that could prevail if arbitration fail.
The current situation of the Bill, while much is laudable, needs quite a bit of drafting work done to avoid creating sloppy legislation and confusing with regarding to serious issues. We look forward to engaging with the contents in more
detail when the Bill comes before the portfolio committee. I thank you.
Ms P MARAIS: Chairperson, the EFF welcomes the deductions of the maintenance in the Amendment Bill by the hon member from Al Jama-Ah. South African children and divorced women still face an uphill battle when it comes to securing maintenance support from their fathers and elsewhere, a husband respectively.
Despite many advances made in securing that the law is friendly towards children and women, but there remain a number of legislative gaps that need to be addressed in order to ensure that both divorced and single mothers get the support they deserve.
The Bill acknowledges that the maintenance system remains in disarray. It is slow, ineffective, clocked up and fairly unproductive to enforce rights. The maintenance debtors evade their legal duties to remain dependent seemingly impunity despite effective maintenance orders. The court dates are stunned without providing reasons resulting in matters being postponed or struck off the roll.
The Bill aims to introduce a few amendments such as empowering the maintenance officer to institute an enquiry should a complain be laid for maintenance. The Bill also provides for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in cases of maintenance. We believe that this will be a cost effective and a shorter way of ensuring that the best interests of the children are prioritised in maintenance disputes which can often be quite toxic affair. We will engage with the Bill at the committee further. But all indications are that we will be in support of it.
It is a crucial legislative intervention for a country such as ours which has neglected the needs of children for a long time. We must take this opportunity to call on all men in this country to not wait for the courts to support their children. Being get bit father the ultimate form is uselessness. Real men support their children. Thank you, Chair.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Chairperson, section 28 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution states that every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health, care services and social services as well as the right to be protected for maltreatment, neglect, abuse and degradation. In our country today many children face high levels of physical, sexual,
verbal and emotional abuse as well as staying neglected and exploitation.
Despite the expectation that children will be kept save, interactions with families and homes often leave young children vulnerable. One means of protecting vulnerable children from these injustices ... [Audio stopped.] ... legislation.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon member, switch off your video because your connectivity gets interrupted.
Ms Z MAJOZI: The Maintenance Amendment Bill originates from a series of amendments to the initial Maintenance Act, Act 99 of 1998, which aims at ensuring that all parents own the duty to maintain and support their children. However, as many parents have defaulted on court judgments to pay maintenance in the past, the Act was amendment to the Maintained Amendment Act, Act 9 of 2015, which would assist in tracing maintenance defaulters and issue a warrant of arrest if necessary. The responsibility of the child rest with both parents as it is the duty of both parents to support their children until they are independent and self-supporting.
In the event that parents are negligent in their maintenance payment, the court can take the money salary, their investment account, auction their property or issue a warrant of arrest. The maintenance amount can also increase or decrease depending on the financial circumstances of the child’s parents.
The IFP welcomes the fact that the Maintenance Amendment Bill safeguards the integrity of these responsibilities. The intention to expand the powers of the maintenance officers to further provide for the option to refer disputes to mediation or arbitration is a welcoming of an increased capacity. We wish to highlight and reiterate the importance of the powers of the maintenance officers as these officers are instrumental in the investigation of complaints ensuring that children get the financial support they need. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, House Chair. What about the FF Plus? May I go ahead or the FF Plus ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): No, they were silence, and I guess that they are not in the platform. You may proceed, because they would have indicated as such.
Mr P VAN STADEN: Thank you, House Chairperson. Point of order, there is no declaration from the Freedom Front Plus.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, House Chairperson. In this time of dramatically increase in cost of living the issue of maintenance becomes ... [Inaudible.] ... more relevant, and it is a very necessary part of poverty alleviation, particularly for single mothers struggling to make ends meet. The ACDP thus welcomes this initiative by Mr Hendricks as the memorandum of the Bill points out the right to maintenance ensures the wellbeing and development of those who will otherwise be left dissolute and socially and economically vulnerable due to the lack of means which is enforceable against those who have a duty of care over such vulnerable persons. By significance strides have been made to reduce vulnerability of women and children in enforcing these rights, there’s still ... [Inaudible.] ... legislative and resultantly systematic gaps which prevent meaningful access to children’s rights.
Therefore, these proposed amendments aim to bridge those gaps effectively and ... [Inaudible.] ... vulnerable applicants to realise their constitutional rights and to improve access.
Now, Mr Hendricks is clearly ... [Inaudible.] ... from communities as proposed a number of amendments that will go a
long way to assist complainants in obtaining much-needed and deserve maintenance. For example, where a complainant is a minor and the person acting on the minor’s behalf may submit a complaint, clause 6 says that parties involved in the maintenance matter may lack to have the dispute resolved through an alternative dispute resolution, and this process may be helpful given the fact that our courts are overloaded and unable to do expedition ... [Inaudible.] ... the maintenance and other cases.
Clause 5 is also important as it ... [Inaudible.] ... and allowances provided to witnesses in terms of the Act to maintenance complainant as well. Therefore, this will assist already struggling single mothers and single parents to attend courts to claim maintenance. There are number of issues that do require recraft as pointed out by the hon Breytenbach to achieve the desired outcome with legal certainty. Therefore, the ACDP looks forward to engage in further with the Bill in this regard. However, we do comment Mr Hendricks at the stage. I thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you very much, hon House Chairperson. At the very outset allow me to advice you that the National Freedom Party will support any amendments to the Maintenance
Bill that will make it a lot easier for children’s maintenance to be paid. Now, as much as 60% of children in this country under the age of 10 don’t live with their biological fathers, the second-highest late of absence in Sub-Saharan Africa after Namibian, we believe that this Bill may potentially be an important piece of legislation that will deal with the broken more or ... [Inaudible.] ... we have in our communities currently and close the gaps. What we find, and let me tell you about some of my observation, House Chairperson. First of all there is a process of mediation does exist, but I think it is best of maintenance offices of magistrates ... [Inaudible.]
... are hearing this matter.
However, one of the major problem is that we have on the ground is the proof of employment as hon Hendricks has alluded to, and more importantly on those that are self-employed. But also there’s a problem of collusion between employers and employees and fail to provide the necessary documentation in terms of proof of income. Then the other problem that they can to be having is the delivery of service of documents, particularly when they are in different provinces. Therefore, all these have to be borne by the mother who does not have the resources, who does not have the time, who does not have a vehicle more often than not, and more often than not this is
hide-and-seek game that is played by fathers where they evade this delivery of service of documentation which makes it very difficult. More importantly, is the fact that when they go to this maintenance court it’s such a laborious task. You know, they don’t get the due respect and many of these maintenance courts the ques are long, waiting time is long and postponement takes place all the time.
Therefore, it doesn’t impugn the dignity of this particular mothers who are going there just for what they are rightfully deserve. To look at last year, 91 000 children gave birth to children. Can you imagine where we are actually heading as far as this is concerned? We believe a lot of work needs to be done and more importantly, fathers are forgetting that these children have to live, they have to dress, they need medical and they need education. More importantly, there appears to be a fight and children are used in this fight between mothers and fathers, both trying to attack and get at it each other.
Therefore, I think in this Bill there’s a lot of work which needs to be done, and I’m sure we will address all these things. The NFP will support any attempt on any amendment to ensure that we protect the rights of these children. I thank you.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much, hon House Chair. I’m very humbled by the responses of hon members which show that they ... [Inaudible.] ... children ... [Inaudible.] ... to their heart. I’m also encouraged that hon members are prepared to further assist when this comes before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development. Section 9 of the Constitution provides as follows as it define the rights to equality. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Equality includes a full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote achievement of equality legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons or categories of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.
As a state we may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more ground including gender, sex, pregnancy and marital status. Yet, we find ourselves during all of those through this glaring omission. Discrimination on one or more of the grants listed in subsection 3 is unfair, unless it will establish those discrimination with fair. I put forward that such unfairness cannot be argued away, there’s absolutely no rational reason for the existing discrimination. I argue unequivocally that
the law as it currently stands does not hold constitutional muster. It is only through this amendment that we can comfort ourselves that the hard-fought for right to equality for all, especially those most vulnerable in our society today will be achieved in this amendment.
I pointed out that majority of applicants in maintenance cases are women due to social, gender and norms have continued to isolate and discriminate against women. The current laws amplify this discrimination. We must consider further the following: a length of time taken to decide that is as direct repercussions on days human have to take off work and resulted loss of income for woman who are approaching our courts for help and relieved. And what do we give them? Hours of waiting in a queue, exposed to the elements as some hon members have mentioned, and going hungry while their children do the same at home, only to be turned away and told to come the next day for more hours waiting and worrying about where and how they will ensure that their children eat a warm meal or any meal for the day... [Inaudible.] ... she will come. How will they ensure that there’s electricity so that children can study for sufficient hours in the day as night falls and simply get them to wash in the warm water and how they will afford a transport cost to get their children to school for the days to follow.
Because many of them have had to forgo that they have wages and take it off what little they have to pay for the taxi rides to the court and back again and again and again and again.
Meanwhile we offered respondents who have the resources mainly men and who are there because of the default in fulfilling their basic obligation to the children a stipend to accommodate for wages lost and even to pay for accommodation if they are commuting certain distances to court, etcetera.
This further creates the increase vulnerability of women we have to develop strategies to accommodate for shortfalls creating further debt and economic deprivation and the ... [Inaudible.] ... while awaiting and pursuing the ever ... [Inaudible.] ... award of ... [Inaudible.] ... remedies. This cannot be fair, we cannot say that we are allowing these women the right to equality before the law. We can definitely not say that we are affording them their right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Because equality clauses no demands a full and equal employment of all rights and freedom ... [Inaudible.] ... by the woman, we are thus far discriminating against through this glaring omission in our law.
With regard to arbitration currently where there is a deadlock in resolving dispute of fact in maintenance claims, parties are told to dissolve the matters to mediation on their own and the matter is left pending that ... [Inaudible.] ... party may
... [Inaudible.] ... the proceedings at infinity while the applicant is left without the report and without adequate means to take care of the dependent children. Arbitration ensures a speedier specialise and decisive ... [Inaudible.]
... for dispute resolutions which may assist to reduce the burden of hanging cases under court roll and which can ... [Inaudible.] ... resolve the party’s factual dispute to the engagement or specialised professionals in an effective manner, while the ultimate award will still be subject to judicial oversight and decision. This will assist the court that placing relevant information before in a speedier and effective manner.
Considering all of these concerns we are placed before you the Private Member’s Bill to share the right ... [Inaudible.] ... generations of women and which continues to do so. If we cannot address these glaring gaps then we should take the responsibility for the harmful effects that are occurring within and outside of our families and communities. Al Jama-ah would like to put on record in support of Parliament to support the legal team at the legislative arm of Parliament while we drafted the Bill and submitted it for ratification and constitutional muster. The legislative arm of Parliament went the extra mile to provide all the assistance that we need.
Therefore, I would like to encourage hon members to take the time and look at the legislation, especially that harms the equality that we are all striving for and also together with the governing party present the legislation to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society. Once again, Al Jama- ah is very humbled by the responses and support and offered to further assist in coming up with amendments to the Maintenance Act that will help children. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Thank you very much, hon Hendricks. Hon members, that concludes the debate and the business of this mini-plenary session. The mini-plenary will now rise, hon members.
The mini-plenary session rose at 17:00.