Hansard: Members ’s Statements /Response by Minister of Finance on Food Price Crisis; Violence in Schools; Scorpions Boss move to World Bank / Response by Minister of Public Works on Development Assistance in Informal Settlement

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 07 May 2008


No summary available.




Wednesday, 7 May 2008




The House met at 15:00.

House Chairperson Mr G Q M Doidge took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.





Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, on behalf of the ACDP, I give notice that I shall move that the House debates the impact of current land and agricultural policies on food and commodity prices.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Are there any further notices of motion? None.

Order! Can we all be seated please? There is a lot of movement in the House.





(Draft Resolution)

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move without notice:

That the House-

(1)notes that more than 22 500 people have died and 41 000 are still missing in Burma/Myanmar as a result of a cyclone;

(2)recalls that this is emerging as one of the worst cyclones to hit the Asian continent and that the storm has also devastated Myanmar's main rice-growing region, which is home to about 24 million people, approximately half of the country's population; and

(3)conveys its condolences to the affected families, the people and government of Myanmar.

Agreed to.




The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move without notice:

That the House:

(1) notes that-

(a) Fourteen miners died recently at the Gold Fields' South Deep Mine near Randfontein in Gauteng;

(b) nine of those workers who lost their lives died when, on 1 May 2008, a chain attached to an elevator cage snapped, causing the cage to plummet 60 metres inside a mine shaft;

(c) that eight of the nine were contract workers, and that the accident involving the nine workers appears to be a safety breach which could be due to lack of maintenance;

(2) urges the Department of Minerals and Energy to ensure that the matter is speedily investigated and, should anyone be found to have been negligent, for the appropriate steps to be taken; and

(3) conveys its condolences to the families of the deceased, their fellow workers and the National Union of Mineworkers.

Agreed to.





(Member's Statement)


Muf T J TSHIVHASE (ANC): Mudzulatshidulo, dzangano la ANC li tama u swikisa maipfi a ndivhuwo kha vhutambo ha vhufumi na vhuna ha Pfufho dza SAMA (SAMA Awards) he ha farwa nga Mugivhela. Tshithu tsha ndemesa, ri tama u swikisa maipfi ashu a u fhululedza vhaimbi vhe vha nangiwa na avho vhe vha wina zwiphuga. Vhutambo uvhu vhu sumbedza na u dzhiela ntha vhukoni vhune vhaimbi vhashu vha vha naho.

Vhu dzula vhu vhutambo vhune ha takalelwa nwaha munwe na munwe, vhu sumbedza vhomakone vha khwinesa vho tou nanguludzwaho kha ndowetshumo ya zwa muzika. Zwiphuga hezwi zwi isa phanda kha u bvisela khagala na u tutuwedza vhathu vha Afrika Tshipembe nga u angaredza, sa izwi vhu na mushumo muhulwane wa u fhata lushaka na u disa nyandano kha zwa matshilisano.

Nga ndila dzo fhambanaho, muzika ndi vhutsila ha vhukuma nahone ndi mutheo wa vhutsila na thaluso ya tshitshavha. Ndi tshihumbudzo tsha ndila ye zwithu zwa vha zwi ngayo na tsumbo ya uri zwithu zwi nga tshiimo-de na mbonelaphanda kha zwauri tshitshavha tshi khou ya ngafhi. Muzika ndi ndila ya u sumbedza tshivhumbeo tsha tshitshavha. Muzika u a vha nga ndila ya u endedza milaedza, vhurendi na vhutsila kana tshidziki tsha zwa vhudimvumvusi. Ndi a livhuwa Mudzulatshidulo.








(Member's Statement)

Mr C M LOWE (DA): Chairperson, the Department of Home Affairs' Internet website, designed to provide services to foreign

workseekers, is in desperate need of attention. If government is serious about attracting people with the necessary skills to our shores, it needs to urgently relook at the state of its website and specifically the schedule of quotas found under the link "Scarce skills and work permit quotas".

The schedule is currently a national disgrace. It is hopelessly inadequate, shamefully amateur and totally out of date with the true skills needs of the country. The number of structural engineers this country apparently needs is limited to 150. Mining and mechanical engineers are limited to 100 each. No reference is made to accountants of any type: chartered, management, cost or production, or to project managers. The number of maths and science teachers we need is apparently only 1 000.

Under the section "Health professionals", not a single doctor or nurse is required in this country; not one. But we do apparently need 300 research and development pharmacologists. The mine boggles that this is the level at which government operates on a matter of such importance, and I simply cannot believe that the hon Deputy President, who leads the skills acquisition project, has visited the site or is aware of the state of it. The Deputy President, together with the Minister of Home Affairs, should urgently address this problem. Thank you. [Applause.]







(Member's Statement)


Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Chairperson, the IFP wants to make it known that the ATM bombings, especially the Dobsonville one, mean that more than 10 bombings have occurred this month, and that there have been 140 from January until now.

The criminals have targeted the ATMs as if it is easy to get money out of them. The innovative strategies and plans needed to be implemented by the Safety and Security Ministry have to incorporate other people so that they are able to catch the criminals. The criminals mustn't see ATMs as an easy way to get money, because at the end of the day, people are getting hurt. Therefore, we urge the Minister of Safety and Security to work with all the other role-players to make sure that there is a strategy to curb this criminal act that is taking place. I thank you.





(Member's Statement)

Mr B M KOMPHELA (ANC): Chairperson, yesterday the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation met to assist the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Sascoc, and Athletics SA, ASA, to resolve a prolonged dispute between the two bodies. At the centre of the dispute are remarks made by the president of Athletics SA, Leonard Chuene, on the lack of transformation in Sascoc and its affiliates.

In reaction to this, Sascoc has set up an inquiry into Mr Chuene's conduct for allegedly bringing the organisation into disrepute. After a lengthy discussion, the president of Sascoc, Mr Moss Mashishi, assured the portfolio committee that no action would be taken against Mr Leonard Chuene for remarks made before the portfolio committee.

It is, however, important for Sascoc and Athletics SA to resolve the outstanding issues. To this effect, a meeting will take place between the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation to heal the rift between the two parties before Team SA leaves for Beijing. These events should not overshadow the sterling performance of the South African athletes who will be at the Beijing Olympics in August, after topping the medals table at the Confederation of African Athletics – CCA – Africa Athletics Championships concluded on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The team returned on Tuesday with a bag full of 22 medals - 12 of these were gold, two were silver and eight were bronze. To cap this achievement, 14 of these athletes have qualified for the Olympics so far with ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]

















(Member's Statement)

Mrs C DUDLEY (DA): Chair, the ACDP salutes President Mwanawasa of Zambia, President Kikwete of Tanzania and President Khama of Botswana for their integrity and courage in declaring that the crisis in Zimbabwe warrants immediate intervention. Accusations that President Mwanawasa is an agent of neocolonialism for criticising Mugabe are both unjustified and a smokescreen to hide the support of Mugabe's brutal regime of terror by other Southern African Development Community, SADC, leaders.

The ACDP views with deep concern the revelation by the Mozambique Human Rights League of a co-operative loyalty pact ofliberation struggle leaders that even when faced with the brutality and terrorism of one of their own number against his own people, they will not condemn.

The Pan-African Parliament's statementon Zimbabwe is, however, encouraging and African Union's efforts, although unclear, hold some promise that Africa has not completely abandoned Zimbabweans who have felt betrayed by their own and know that only an African solution can address this African problem.

South Africa's consistently callous attitude towards Zimbabwe is shameful, and for SADC leaders to have endorsed Thabo Mbeki's continued role as a mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis is disgraceful. President Mbeki has failed repeatedly and must be replaced by an impartial mediator.

The ACDP recognises the brave and relentless efforts of Zimbabwean civil society and Zimbabwean opposition parties who have, at great risk, tried to defend a dying democracy in Zimbabwe. We also congratulate the Movement for Democratic Change on their victory at the polls and on persevering in the face of such unrelenting opposition, violence and propaganda. Thank you. [Applause.] [Time expired.]








(Member's Statement)

Ms P R MASHANGOANE (ANC): More than 25 000 young people this week will sit for their matriculation supplementary examinations countrywide. These examinations will give matric pupils who were unsuccessful last year another opportunity to sit for their matric examinations. The ANC wishes all the students writing the 2008 supplementary examinations success in their endeavours.

The ANC believes that education is fundamental to the achievement of the society envisaged in the Freedom Charter and, indeed, in our Constitution. We believe that education must occupy the attention and energy of our nation state. The students who are writing the exams need to understand that the task they are embarking on is not just a personal one, but that it also has profound national implications. Even aswe ask our young people to play their part, we likewise execute ours.

The ANC commits itself to the task of improving the access of poor South Africans to quality education. In this connection, we shall intensify the effort progressively to introduce free and compulsory education for the poor until undergraduate level. We shall furthermore ensure that 60% of all our schools achieve no-fee status by next year. Together, let us work to build a better life for all. I thank you. [Applause.]





(Member's Statement)

Mrs P DE LILLE (ID): Chairperson, the ID agrees with government that we must consider giving food vouchers to the poor. During the constituency period, I visited five provinces and for many of our people it is a struggle just to survive. We also know that the price of food is a global problem. Therefore, today we call on the Minister of Finance to use the R98,7 million penalty imposed on Tiger Brands for price-fixing on food vouchers for the poor.

It makes no sense that those who suffer the most as a result of price-fixing are not compensated for the money that was taken away from them. The poor were disadvantaged by the actions of Tiger Brands and others involved in price-fixing. But after the company is fined, the poor find themselves in a worse position than before. It would be an indictment of this House if we failed to offer protection to the most vulnerable in our society.

We also call on all the parties in this House to support the Private Member's Bill by the ID, making price-fixing a criminal offence. Any fraud against the poor must be dealt with in the strongest possible way and the perpetrators need to feel the full bite of the law. I thank you.























(Member's Statement)

Mr I S MFUNDISI (UCDP): Chairperson, the Eastern Cape province should be declared a disaster area as it has shown ineptitude in almost every aspect of governance. The roads are a nightmare. We hope the recent financial injection ordered by the Presidency will be put to good use. Education in schools leaves much to be desired. Hospitals are disaster areas. We have learned of scores of babies who have died because of impurities in the water, something that could have been prevented.

The most unfortunate situation is the latest example of an individual who has been allocated a tender to a tune of billions of rand to do laundry for two big hospitals, namely the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital and the Mount Frere Hospital. The concerned individual's premises for such business hardly has a tap for running water, let alone detergents for linen. Employees use their bare hands, risking contracting diseases in the process. If this has been done in the name of black economic empowerment or uplifting the formally disadvantaged, it is misplaced to the extreme. Whoever allocated and authorised such tender has to be brought to book.

It has to be borne in mind that this is the same province to which government sent a rescue team under the aegis of the Department of Public Service and Administration when the administration was in the doldrums two years ago. We call upon the people in positions of responsibility to be seen to be responsible and accountable in what they are supposed to do. I thank you.





(Member's Statement)

Mr M T LIKOTSI (APC): Chairperson, the position taken by the African Union and the SA Development Council on the sociopolitical crisis made by the imperialists in Africa should be supported by all revolutionaries on the continent and of the diaspora. Let this House know that the Organisation of African Unity, now transformed into the African Union, played a significant leading role in the decolonisation of Africa, including our beloved country in its colonial name South Africa.

The APC makes a clarion call on all the present revolutionaries of our time to rise up to the occasion, stand shoulder to shoulder and firmly protect the gains of our liberation struggle. The imperialist forces, with their M3 plan, are still pursuing their agenda of domination in all walks of life in Africa, the monopoly of economy being central to their strategy. Time is now to regroup, leave behind our petty political differences and save our country from all forms of attacks being electricity shortages, fuel and food price hikes and, the biggest of them all, land acquisition challenges. I thank you.









(Member's Statement)

Mr A J BOTHA (DA): Hon Chair, the DA supports the call for an urgent national effort to resolve the problems with the government's sluggish and unsound land reform process. We therefore echo the proposal by the Centre for Development and Enterprise for the establishment of a task team to resolve speedily the impasse on land reform. However, we strongly recommend that this structure be made up solely of representatives from relevant civil-society organisations, the Department of Agriculture and agri businesses.

If President Mbeki had any concern for the legacy of his administration with respect to land reform, he would recognise that the Department Land Affairs, under Minister Lulu Xingwana, is clearly unable to effect a turnaround in this process, and immediately establish the proposed troika.

Presentations made at the Absa Agri-BEE seminar in Stellenbosch yesterday underscored the dire consequences that the continuation of the current impasse could have for the future stability of our economy and the prosperity of our people.

It makes no sense for the government to continue with land reform process in a way that threatens the competitiveness, the capacity and the output of our agricultural sector in an environment of crippling rural poverty and heightened food price inflation. I thank you.






(Member's Statement)

Dr G W KOORNHOF (ANC): Chairperson, during March 2008 serious crimes in the area of the Garsfontein police station, including crime such as murder, rape, attempted murder and violent house and business robberies, declined by a massive 40% compared to the same period last year.

This achievement is a classic example of how members of this particular police station are succeeding in achieving the very objects of the Police Service, namely to prevent, combat and investigate crime. It is a classic success story of a co-ordinated effort by the SA Police Service, the community policing forum and the community.

The police station has successfully established task teams to focus on robberies of homes and businesses and on hijackings. They arrested 53 people who were linked to 87 cases of crime. One of the arrested people was released on bail and, as he was released, he was immediately rearrested for his suspected association with another crime.

This success story of the SA Police Service in Garsfontein can be attributed to a combined effort by all in this community to win the fight against crime. I thank you. [Applause.]





(Member's Statement)

Mr H J BEKKER (IFP): Mr Chair, yesterday the news broke that Leonard McCarthy of the Directorate of Special Operations: the Scorpions, had been appointed the head of the World Bank's anticorruption unit.

The IFP would like to congratulate Advocate McCarthy on this achievement. This clearly shows the quality, dedication and integrity of DSO personnel which are also recognised worldwide. In fact, the President of the World Bank heaped the following praise on him by saying that Leonard McCarthy was known around the world "for his integrity, independence, and effectiveness in fighting corruption and strengthening good governance."

What a pity our own government does not recognise a man on whom such a high honour has been bestowed. It is known that other DSO personnel have already left the Scorpions, some to work for the SA Revenue Service and the private sector and others for foreign governments. They clearly have no problem with the quality and professionalism of DSO personnel.

The government's insistence on breaking up the DSO is an indictment of government's seriousness in fighting corruption. Using the DSO as a political football to settle factional scores will have dire consequences for our country, least of which is the message it sends to criminals and corrupt persons in the public and private sectors. All it says is that South Africa is open for the business of crime and no one is watching the score. Thank you. [Applause.]





(Member's Statement)

Mr S J NJIKELANA (ANC): Last month the residents of Hospital Hills, an informal settlement in the deep south of Johannesburg, went on a protest march about the slow pace of development in their community.

During the march one youth died and about 20 residents were injured. A few businesses and residential properties were damaged as well. The City of Johannesburg is interactively intensely with the residents to address their grievances.

However, the most inspiring initiative was when Mr Nadus Pillay and Ms Shelly Govender from Lenasia South, an adjacent formal township, initiated a process of involving keen residents from Lenasia South in ensuring that development in Hospital Hills gained momentum. Such action was taken without the usual complaining rhetoric that government must do its work.

Today I can proudly attest that last night the steering committee for the development of Hospitals Hills, which I also chaired, comprising residents from both communities, held its first meeting to implement its mandate from a public meeting that was held last month. Such initiatives need to be applauded especially when residents in their numbers from more affluent communities take such a bold and brilliant step in solidarity with the poor and disadvantaged.

On behalf of the ANC, I therefore strongly challenge all affluent communities in our country to do the same. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]





(Member's Statement)

Mr G G BOINAMO (DA): Chairperson, violence, gang warfare and sexual abuse rule supreme in South African schools. Government allows crime to pay and, as a result, in many parts of the country and in particular at many of our schools the authorities have lost control. This is cause for concern for every South African.

Two main South African teacher associations recently agreed with both the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention and a report from the Human Rights Commission showing that schools have become the most dangerous places in the country to be in and that violence in schools has become endemic.

The studies have shown that many learners fear going to school toilets. They fear travelling to school. They fear being at recreation centres. Both the SA Democratic Teachers' Union and the National Professional Teachers' Association of SA agreed that violence was making many schools unworkable.

This situation needs to be dealt with urgently. The DA therefore calls for a parliamentary debate on this matter. Thank you.





(Member's Statement)

Ms N M MAHLAWE (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC continues to work tirelessly to translate into practice its commitment to nonsexism through various organisational and government policies and programmes.

The Public Service sector is on course to reach its representivity target of 50% women in senior management positions by March 2009. The research conducted in the Public Service sector indicates that there is a great movement towards gender parity in this sector.

In 1995 women constituted 8% of senior management in the Public Service. By the end of 2007, the number had improved to 33%. However, the ANC is concerned about the slow movement in the implementation of policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities who, it is reported, constitute less than 1% of the workforce in this sector.

The ANC commends government on the progress made and reaffirms its commitment to fighting for the total eradication of gender oppression in all its manifestations. I thank you. [Applause.]






(Minister's Response)

The MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Chairperson, I really want to thank the hon member for raising the matters of both gender and disability targets in the House. We can indeed do better. Even on the issue of women's representation, we've actually seen a huge movement forward. Clearly, we need to do a lot more in order to meet our target of 50% by 2010.

On the issue of disability, here we have identified a major problem as government. That is why we have developed the job access strategic framework, with particular focus on ensuring that we take an integrated and holistic approach to addressing the challenges both with regard to representation and with regard to the development of people with disability.

So, in this regard, we have put in place a human resources learning network steering committee that consists both of national and provincial departments. This will allow for a close tracking of the process across government departments throughout the year. There is currently a situation in which quarterly reports need to be provided on progress in this regard.

In November last year we also had a situation in which the Public Service Commission conducted hearings with all national and provincial departments. Here, directors-general had to report on the low levels of employment of people with disabilities.

The big issue that has been identified – and I'll conclude on this matter - is the fact that there is the lack of a database of people with disabilities from which departments can readily recruit and employ. In this regard, the Office in the Presidency - the office on disability under Minister Essop Pahad - together with the Department of the Public Service and Administration and the disability sector, are looking at how we will put such a database in place. We need to do so speedily.

We are also looking at deepening the enhancement of skills of people with disabilities. And, then we have also confronted the reality that there is quite a challenge with the way in which we advertise jobs in the Public Service, because they automatically exclude a very large sector, if I can call it that, of people with disabilities from applying for advertised posts. We haven't quite come up with a solution to that, but it is also an issue we are dealing with.

And then, as a last matter, we feel, as I alluded to earlier, that the lack of collaborative partnerships between disabled people's organisations and departments on the recruitment, employment and retention of people with disabilities needs to be looked at a lot more closely. Thank you very much.





(Minister's Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Ms S C van der Merwe): Chairperson, there have been various statements in this House regarding the elections in Zimbabwe, and I'd like to respond to the hon member from the ACDP.

While the combined elections, as we all know, of the National Assembly, the Senate, the Local Council and the Presidency were held on 29 March, the process is not yet complete. We will be urging all concerned parties, including this Parliament, to see the process through to its conclusion.

Members of this Parliament, as we all know, formed part of the SADC observer mission in the election, as well as in the recount process that recently took place. We would urge, therefore, that again members of this House participate in the run-off between the two leading candidates in the presidential race.

The elections on 29 March, by all accounts, were conducted in a very conducive environment. This, I believe, underscores the positive role played by the facilitation team, led by our President, President Mbeki, which has enabled the process to reach this point.

I should add that any allegations of violence should be treated with the greatest concern. South Africa will therefore follow up on any such allegations brought to our attention, with a view to ensuring that there is no violence in the period leading up to the presidential run-off.

South Africa will therefore continue to make every effort to play its role in supporting the people of Zimbabwe to complete the electoral process peacefully and successfully, and we urge all parties to do the same. I thank you. [Applause.]






(Minister's Responses)

The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Chairperson, There are a few issues I would like to respond to, starting with the hon De Lille. I would like to suggest too that we might consider putting the R98,4 million in if she will put in big Marina's brick as well. She knows what I'm talking about.

The point about food is that it is necessary that members in this House be aware of the extreme sensitivity with which we must treat this, because talk is cheap. The key issue about food prices is that it is a global matter and that South Africa is not amongst the 50 worst affected countries at the moment. So we mustn't be talked into all kinds of panic. The key issue about any measure we take is that we must be able to administer it. And so when people say "price controls", I say "sure, but will each of us go into our constituency and see that no spaza shop will overcharge even by one cent? Will each of us be able to check to ensure that the vouchers will be distributed and used for food only, and not to buy alcohol or other things? If we don't have those kinds of measures, I say talk is cheap.

This is not to suggest that we mustn't deal with the issue of food prices with the greatest amount of sensitivity and urgency, but I do want to caution the House against quick-fix solutions that actually provide very little for the poor, and especially for young children who are badly in need of nutrition.

I would also like to respond to the hon Bekker. Part of the difficulty of his assertions is that I think he has failed to look at the founding legislation for the Directorate of Special Operations. It wasn't set up to deal with corruption; it was set up to deal with organised crime. Now, for as long as we have the wrong perception of what it ought to do, for so long will we fail to measure correctly what we it should be doing. [Interjections.]

The point about the appointment of Mr McCarthy – and, of course, we wish him well in his endeavours and as government we were consulted in the process - is that Leonard McCarthy was appointed by this government, not by that government. He was appointed by this government. And, in the course of democracy people will be noticed by the world and will find appointments in multilateral organisations. There is nothing wrong with that. It is part of a natural progression.

The other caution I want to raise is that the people who may have been working for foreign governments, while they should have been working for the Directorate of Special Operations, and earning two salaries are the problem that the Khampepe commission has spoken to. That is what we must root out of all our investigative services because that's where the problem lies. [Applause.]

I want to turn then to the hon Boinamo. He has left now. I hope he is still on the road. Oh, he has crossed the floor. It is okay. [Laughter.] There are problems in schools, but more precisely there are problems in a very small minority of the schools. I have heard both teachers' unions. I have heard Mr Nxesi of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union and I have heard Mr Bolt of the Nation Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA say, please don't exaggerate the impact of this thing. There are more good things happening in schools, and we must support what is happening in schools, support what is happening and generalise from the strength of the good things taking place and not be so caught up in the sensationalism. Nelson Mandela, as President of the Republic, stood at that podium and said that one tree falling made a heck of a lot more noise than a million trees growing, and in terms of the way we approach these issues we have to take exactly the same approach to education, failing which we will go around chasing the bad stories when, in fact, there is so much that is good that is happening in education. Thank you very much. [Applause.]





(Minister's Response)

The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Hon Chairperson and hon members, I want to respond to the matter that was raised by the hon Njikelana next to me here. Indeed, one would want to appreciate the work that has been done in Lenasia to assist the community who needs development.

In my view there are two aspects that are lessons for all of us in this House. The first aspect is that the people have been able to use their democratic right to raise their concerns with the municipality about the need for development in their area, but they didn't end there by protesting and raising their concerns. They went further in finding solutions. I think the second lesson we must learn is that the people, in partnership with government, have decided to resort to measures as communities, some of whom may have the leverage of resources, to support those communities that are underdeveloped - pool together their financial resources and, I would dare say, their human strength and potential to undertake their development. We would like to applaud members of this House, like Mr Njikelana and others, who have worked with their communities in their constituencies to ensure that partnership in development can actually assist us to develop our country and our people overall. Thank you.





(Minister's Response)

The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Chairperson, I would like to respond to the hon Botha who raised some of the recommendations made by the Centre for Development and Enterprise report. I would like to say that as this government, we don't receive our mandate from the newspapers. We go down to our people and consult and discuss with them, and that is where the mandate of this government comes from.

I also want to assure the House that the people of South Africa want their land back and they want it yesterday! We can come up with all the excuses and delaying tactics. I don't deny that there are serious challenges and problems in our land reform programme, but we are addressing them. We have come up with strategies to partner with progressive white commercial farmers who have agreed to assist with the transfer of skills and to assist our people to be able to keep those farms sustainable and productive that have been handed over to them.

We are going to continue with our land restitution programme. To date, we have achieved a 95% return on all the claims that had been lodged by December 1998. We are committed to fast-tracking land reform and land restitution in the country.

I also want to say that it is true that some of the farmers have escalated prices. As we speak, the Dube clan in KwaZulu-Natal – the sugar farmers - are charging R560 000 per hectare, which means that for a piece of land of about 4 000 hectares we have to pay R2 billion. These are the challenges we are facing and that are our reality. Also in KwaZulu-Natal there is a farmer who is charging R10 million per hectare for land that is under claim, because they believe the government has no option but to buy, so they can make all those demands.

I want to concur with the Minister of Finance on food prices and say that in the long run increased food production will be the answer. Increased food production is the best strategy to stabilise the escalating prices. In that regard, we have a strategy that will assist us to look at mechanisation and going into those fallow lands, especially in our rural areas, to cultivate and make them productive.

We also have a plan to increase land under irrigation. These programmes have started in many of the provinces, including the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. We are rehabilitating some of the irrigation schemes that were built there some time ago, but we are also putting in place new irrigation schemes.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order, hon Minister, I regret you time has expired.

The MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: We are also increasing maize and wheat production, and the massification of livestock. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]





(Minister's Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson, I'd like to respond to the statement made by the hon Koornhof and also, firstly, to take the opportunity to congratulate the Garsfontein police station on their success rate in bringing down crime. I think the hon member mentioned a 40% reduction in serious and violent crime. That certainly needs to be commended by all of us in this House.

Secondly, I'd also like to say that this bears testimony to what we can achieve if we all work together – the police and communities – to fight crime and any criminal activities within our communities. We'd also like to take the opportunity to encourage communities throughout the country - because we are all affected by crime - to emulate this example of Garsfontein. I hope the hon member will take our congratulations back to the police station there as well. We would like to encourage all members of this House, because we are also all affected by crime, to take this message to our constituencies and preach the message that crime does not pay. Thank you.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Thank you, Minister and Deputy Ministers. Unfortunately, we don't have sufficient time to take the responses of the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and of Sport and Recreation. We have run out of time.




(Consideration of Report of Joint Budget Committee thereon)



Mme L L MABE: Modulasetulo, ke leboga maloko a Ntlo e Kgolo e, le botlhe ba ba utlweletseng kwa magaeng. Ke simolola ka gore ...


PFMA section 32 reports are an important resource to be used when Parliament does its budget oversight, but the problem is that these reports have limited information which does not allow for robust and effective oversight by parliamentarians. The Joint Budget Committee then recommended to the National Treasury that they must review the format and content of these reports in order to make it easier for us as members to do our oversight function. The committee then convened a workshop with National Treasury to assess progress on the revision of these reports. The chairpersons of the portfolio and select committees and researchers in Parliament were invited to the workshop. We appreciate the valuable inputs by chairpersons who were in attendance. The workshop also strengthened the working relationship between the Joint Budget Committee and other parliamentary committees.

Therefore, it is important that all committees take an active part in scrutinising their departmental Budget Votes on a regular and consistent basis. This will go a long way towards addressing the problems of low spending in the first two quarters and extremely high spending in the last quarter of the financial year, or in the month of December. We hope that the new and detailed information will assist committees to track exactly what the departments do in spending.

It is also worrying to discover that the police - I am citing an example – always spend well, but that the level of crime is still high. Communities complain about the nonavailability of police at times of great need, this when the department has invested more in purchasing motor vehicles. Indeed, motor vehicles have been bought to ensure that the police have easy access to communities when they need the police. Unfortunately, the police are also scared when it comes to criminals at night and these are the people we rely on who must be protected but who must also protect us.

These finer details are what parliamentary committees must focus on. They must probe deeper, because what we do as the committee is to focus on the bigger picture.

With regard to national spending, we also looked at government spending at the national level, and the pattern of habitual low and high spenders remained the same as that of previous financial years.

These are almost the same departments that receive consecutive qualified audit opinion reports from the Auditor-General. They are the same ones we struggle with to get detailed and satisfactory responses to our queries. To cite examples: we have Home Affairs, Sport and Recreation, Transport, and Health as some of the few departments which either get qualified audit opinion reports or cannot respond to how they utilise their budgets. We cannot continue in that fashion. That is why it is important for us at the portfolio committee level to probe more to ensure that departments do spend what they had promised to spend.

We have also discovered that departments make high projections on spending in their budget proposals, but spend far less, or embark on fruitless spending in the last quarter of the financial year, or disguise underspending. We are quite aware and have observed that most of these departments spend on things that are not needed, things that to a limited extent assist the poorest of the poor in our country.

Members of Parliament, is it correct that departments embark on fruitless spending when poor people struggle to make ends meet? Is this correct? These are the challenges we have to face. Whether we say no or yes, the fact of the matter is that it is us as members who must probe and make these departments accountable so that the poor can benefit from the budget that we are going to pass soon.

With regard to provincial spending, somebody remarked recently that the Eastern Cape produces a high number of accountants in the country. On the contrary, a large portion of financial resources that are allocated to that province do not reach the intended beneficiaries who continue to face poverty. Why is this the case, because we do have those skills in the country? [Interjections.]

I don't need your interruptions, because you must listen to what I am saying – to go out and assist those people who are suffering. [Interjections.]

I also want to say that it's not surprising that the Eastern Cape can allocate tenders to nonexistent companies, because they do not take the lives of our people seriously, and we can't continue that way. [Interjections.]

On the other hand, the province I come from, the North West, overspent by R1,2 billion in the previous financial year. That overspending ... [Interjections.] Leave the ANC alone because you can't do anything that can help our people.

That overspending was attributed to incorrect data and the miscalculation of the impact of the redemarcation process in the budget. [Interjections.] Thank you, Madam. You must learn listening skills. [Interjections.]

That overspending was also attributed to the projected salary increases in the Public Service. But maybe it is time that the National Treasury, Mr Minister - Comrade Trevor - that we ensure that the North West uses the same financial reporting system as that used by all government departments to make it easy for us to track and trace how the North West spends as compared to other provinces. They should not continue using the Walker system.

I want to continue by saying that if we did not have the necessary support as Parliament, as Members of Parliament, we would not do proper oversight to ensure that as we passed the budget, the department officials would know that we are serious about the budget. We want them to help our people so that our people's lives can improve for the better.

Spending on conditional grants is still a big problem; a major problem for that matter. For instance, when it comes to spending on schedule 4 grants the information is usually not available on time: when we want to know what has happened to municipal infrastructure grants, what has happened to the grants that must go towards the training of health professionals. Where has the money gone? It's difficult to track and to trace that spending because information is not available on time. The departments must respond on time so that we can know what they are doing with the money.

The committee also notedthat MPs should maybe receive training on the Vulindlela management information system, which was launched in 1997, that is, 11 years ago, because it provides a repository of detailed spending and budget information that can assist us to do better oversight of the budget.

The Joint Budget Committee will keep chairpersons of committees on board with budget-related information that will assist Parliament to engage in a robust budget oversight function. But it is also important that as we continue our interaction with different portfolio committees, that they inform us on how we can engage the National Treasury on making changes to these reports so that they can be user-friendly to Members of Parliament.

I would like to thank a million times the chairpersons – the hon Jeremy Cronin was there and he made a valuable input - and other chairpersons that also made valuable inputs, as well as the researchers who attended to make the workshop a success.

I would also like to thank members of the Joint Budget Committee for their commitment, because without that commitment, we would not do our function and the work we have been doing so far. I would also like to thank the Minister of Finance for availing his team at all times, as per our specific request. That team relies on what we want and provides us with what we want from them, not on what they want to give us. I want to thank the Minister for that team and request the Minister to allow the team to continue to give us the support so that we can do a better oversight function.

I would also like to say that through that interaction with the team from the National Treasury, the team from the Auditor-General, the team from the Financial and Fiscal Commission, we have started to ensure that Members of Parliament find budget oversight an enjoyable exercise that they can continually probe.

Thank you, hon Chauke, because I have been monitoring the hon Bloem. I have been monitoring the way you interact with your departments when it comes to budget oversight spending in those departments. I am very happy, and we will continue to invite you to our workshops. We will also invite other chairpersons in the near future when the National Treasury finally presents what the report looks like, which is going to assist you in your oversight function.

We must remember that this function of looking at the budget is not meant for accountants and economists. It is the nucleus of what we do as Members of Parliament. It is central to what we do as Members of Parliament.

Finally, I want to present this report for adoption and would like to thank the ANC for having supported us throughout our work in the Joint Budget Committee and also those members from opposition parties who are always ready and who even go the extra mile beyond working hours to ensure that we can do our work properly. Thank you very much. [Applause.]



Mr S J F MARAIS: Chairperson, we all should be acquainted with the role and functions of Parliament and its committees and, if not, then some members may wake up one day and think that they have been left behind on a deserted island.

Parliament has a constitutional role to play and a function that imply oversight responsibilities by, and accountability of, all its members and structures to ensure, very importantly, that taxpayers' money is used effectively to broadly benefit all in South Africa.


Voorsitter, ons is egter ook almal bewus van die swak stand van verskillende regeringsdepartemente soos gereflekteer deur hul jaarverslae. Dit is ooglopend dat die komitees óf nie die vermoëns het om die oorsigrol behoorlik te vervul nie óf dat hulle deurlopend probleme met die verskillende departemente se hantering daarvan ervaar.


The Joint Budget Committee was established with a mandate, amongst other things, to make proposals regarding the processes Parliament should follow with regard to its role in the development of budgets, inclusive of proposals about its role relative to other committees and also, on a regular basis, to monitor monthly published actual revenue and expenditure per department and ascertain whether these are in line with government projections.

In monitoring expenditure, the JBC has utilised figures as published in terms of section 32 of the Public Finance Management Act, and has reported to this House quarterly. Although the PFMA section 32 reports are an important resource as they provide a high-level snapshot overview of expenditure, this information is nevertheless very limited.


Voorsitter, begrotings behoort 'n beplanning vir uitgawes te wees teen goedgekeurde besigheidsplanne en nie 'n magtiging om na willekeur te spandeer slegs omdat 'n begroting goedgekeur is nie. Verder behoort dit ook gebaseer te wees op werklike kontantvloei, inkomstes en die regverdiging van die uitgawes op die gegewe tydstip. Ons het ook gewoond geraak in die laaste tyd aan 'n geneigdheid by departemente tot oorbesteding, onderbesteding of eenvoudig wanbesteding van toegedeelde fondse sonder noodwendige regverdiging van daardie uitgawes.

Die Gesamentlike Begrotingskomitee moet gekomplimenteer word daarmee dat tekorte en potensiële probleemareas geïdentifiseer is en met hul visie om die rol en funksie van die Wet op Openbare Finansiële Bestuur se artikel 32 só uit te brei om ook voorsiening te maak vir inkomstes, betalings, kontantvloei teen goedgekeurde begrotings, asook verduidelikende notas.


After consultation and a workshop with National Treasury, it was agreed that a quarterly national programme and economic classification report be considered. This will provide detailed in-year spending information in a readable and understandable format and allow the JBC to do more comprehensive, qualitative and timely reporting.

The expansion of section 32 reports will also assist in the empowerment of other parliamentary committees in their oversight role and work. In this process, hopefully, members of this House will improve their compliance with the constitutional requirements.


Die DA glo aan fiskale dissipline en steun meganismes om die oorsigrolle te verbeter sonder dat ons oorgereguleer moet word. Daar moet ruimte wees om kundigheid en vaardighede te verbeter en dit effektief toe te pas. Die DA steun egter die aanbevelings van die Gesamentlike Begrotingskomitee en die aanvaarding van die verslag. Ek dank u. [Applous.]




Mr H J BEKKER: Mr Chair, the National Treasury indicated in the Intergovernmental Fiscal Review of 2003 that, although there had been a remarkable improvement in public finance management, there remained a challenge to bring all government departments and provinces up to the same standard of budgeting, financial managing, and reporting.

This latter aspect – reporting on expenditure – is of vital importance in order for the Joint Budget Committee and Parliament to monitor monthly and quarterly expenditure published in terms of section 32 of the PFMA. The IFP agrees with the JBC that, although section 32 reports are important, they contain limited information. This affects ongoing monitoring by Parliament of the expenditure trends in government spending.

The IFP therefore supported the committee's initiative to request Treasury to review the format and frequency of the section 32 reports to enable Parliament to conduct ongoing monitoring rather than monitoring at only a few selected points in time, which did not paint an accurate enough picture of government's performance.

The outcome of the joint workshop is the introduction of the quarterly National Programme and Economic Classification Report, which we support. This report will give Parliament the ability to look closely at expenditure and to track performance, whilst acting as an early-warning system to alert the public to problems with expenditure and service delivery.

The revision of section 32 reports will enable the JBC to play its appointed oversight role much more effectively and will allow it to report to Parliament in a manner that will give effect to its mandate. The IFP supports increasing the committee's capacity and effectiveness that this move should achieve. The rest of Parliament - in other words, the various committees - should also derive benefit from these new reports, enabling them to also improve their oversight role. This should not detract from the JBC's mandate, but enhance Parliament's overall effectiveness as an overseer of the executive.

In general, the PFMA is an exemplary guideline for effective financial control, and financial experts are lauding it, with by far the majority of its clauses being noted as practical and of great value for improved public finance administration. Nevertheless, it has certain shortcomings. In its implementation, it is sometimes theoretical and lacks the proper sanctioning of civil servants who have indeed contravened provisions of the Act.

The acceptance and introduction of the PFMA was a major positive development for South Africa in the promoting of fiscal discipline. This moved the South African public sector from a basic cash recording system to an accrual system, as prescribed by the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, which are in accordance with the international norm. The PFMA, read together with the Treasury regulations, provides clear guidance for effective financial control with definite sanctions for nonadherence to the Act and the regulations. I thank you.



Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, the ACDP agrees that section 32 reports are an important resource as they provide a high-level overview of government expenditure. The information they contain is, however, limited and this affects the in-year monitoring capability of the Joint Budget Committee and other portfolio committees in respect of determining and tracking government expenditure. In response to this, the JBC recommended that National Treasury should look at, revise and expand the content of these section 32 reports, which the ACDP supports.

Clearly, in terms of parliamentary oversight, in-year monitoring by means of these reports provides a bridge between the strategic and appropriation phase, which is normally in the first and second parliamentary terms, and the annual performance review, which is in the last term. Monitoring expenditure presents a fundamental way through which Parliament can judge government performance and it provides an important starting point for a more detailed enquiry into policy outcomes and delivery. It also provides an early warning system for government expenditure, revenue and cash flows. The question arises: Why should we wait until negative Auditor-General reports when here is an early warning system?

So, the revision of the section 32 reports and, specifically, the inclusion of explanatory detail will allow for more comprehensive and timely reporting by the JBC. It also assists other parliamentary committees in their oversight work and, therefore, the ACDP supports these initiatives and supports this report. I thank you.




Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, it is crucial that a democratic government operates in a system of transparency and checks and balances. This service confidence in honest governance certainly makes corruption difficult. Beyond this, as is reported by the Joint Budget Committee, budgets and statistics service the tasks on an easier platform and that all of committees.

In light of this, the MF eagerly supports the running of in-year reports. We, however, concern ourselves at this time with public knowledge and involvement in Parliament processes and how this may be publicised to the community. We need to realise that a large amount of our people are not literate; further, that they are not computer literate, that some also don't access to the Internet or TV and that some don't even have access to radio.

Beyond members taking Parliament to the people, I strongly voice the need to educate our people on the accessibility of partaking in Parliament, and this is to be advertised in all sectors of the media and community notices. The MF supports the report by the Joint Budget Committee. I thank you, Chair.

Debate concluded.

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move that the Report be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.




(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Social Development thereon)

Mr T M MASUTHA: Chairperson, hon members, I just want to commence by regretting that we are considering this report just over a year after it was adopted by the committee and ATCed. It is regrettable because a lot of the recommendations that emerge from that report relate directly to the committee's responsibilities in exercising oversight of the department. Those recommendations would have assisted in guiding the department in its work.

I do want to say that we had a very fruitful meeting. I would like to thank the chair of chairs, House Chairperson Mr Doidge, for organising the meeting yesterday at which we had, as chairpersons, very fruitful interaction with the Public Service Commission in terms of which it became clear that for the committees of Parliament to effectively exercise their oversight function, it is important that in addition to looking at the Auditor-General's reports - for example, the annual reports of departments – they also take account of the findings and recommendations of the Public Service Commission in its own reports relating to the specific departments. I am definitely going to make sure that in our own committee, when we consider the annual reports of our department, that we do take account of those specific reports.

The Department of Social Development has two core and interrelated functions: the provision of social security and the delivery of social services or welfare services, as is commonly known. Given the high levels of income poverty in South Africa, social grants play a critical role in supporting especially children. In an effort to strengthen family-based care for children, government introduced the child support grant in 1998, progressively expanding coverage over the past 10 years.

For example, according to the database of the Social Security Pension System, Socpen, we are pleased today to see over eight million children currently receiving this grant. Despite some remaining challenges in the implementation of this grant, it is important to highlight the fact that this grant ensures that many children are lifted out of poverty.

In this regard, I want to emphasise the point that one of the core principles that underpinned this grant was that the grant must follow the child. So, it is important to highlight the fact that if the child has since moved from one person to another, the person from whom the child has moved should not continue to receive the grant.

This is because the grant is aimed specifically at supporting the child, hence the concept that was introduced of a primary caregiver, emphasising the fact that the person who qualifies for the grant is not necessarily the parent of the child in a situation in which the child may be cared for by somebody else. In a sense, this also dispels the myth that this grant is there merely to encourage young people especially to have children and the fact that some of these young people use these children for perverse purposes other than support for the children.

In such situations, one needs to emphasise that the grandparents and others who may find themselves having to care for these children, must approach the department and make sure that the grant actually be given to them if they are the ones that are taking care of the children, because the grant is aimed primarily at targeting child poverty and that is the critical policy objective of this grant.

In contrast, the social services arm of Social Development has lagged behind considerably. Social services are generally classified in terms of levels of intervention and include prevention, early intervention, protection and alternative state care.

The social services arm is therefore a catch-all for a broad range of interventions delivered through state and nongovernmental service practitioners and volunteers. Across all four levels of service delivery, the need for services far outweighs the capacity of the state to respond. The committee's oversight into the Department of Social Development's strategic plan and budget revealed multiple and interrelated challenges to the delivery of social services.

Allow me to highlight briefly a few of the recommendations the committee made in respect of these challenges. Firstly, the greatest obstacle to implementation of services remains the acute shortage of suitably qualified personnel. This includes social workers, social auxiliary workers and child and youth-care workers. In this regard, the committee proposes that the department work in consultation with the Department of Education around the training and development of social workers, auxiliary workers and community practitioners as a matter of urgency. Already many creative solutions are being operationalised, which we welcome. Furthermore, disparities between demand and service delivery are most pronounced in the poorest provinces. In this regard, the committee recommends the stepping up of intervention strategies to help build the capacity of service providers and has called on the provinces to play a strategic role in implementing policy directives.

The consolidation of intergovernmental initiatives to ensure that the department plays its role in terms of oversight of and support for provincial and local government spheres has been a key recommendation as well. In this regard, the committee has engaged the department on numerous occasions in that it is important to accelerate and improve service delivery. Poor interdepartmental collaboration compromises care and protection services and leads to costly inefficiencies in service delivery.

To ensure that crosscutting issues get the best possible attention, the committee recommended that the Department of Social Development work closely with the Departments of Education, Justice and Constitutional Development, Health, and Provincial and Local Government to ensure that policy alignment and coherence are achieved.

The committee's recommendations also reflect upon the current fiscal arrangements. We have a situation, for example, in which in terms of the Constitution, provinces have full autonomy as to how their portions of the equitable share are spent. This situation has led to many service delivery gaps or policy omissions. In this regard, the national department must be commended for the systems and mechanisms it has begun to put in place in order to ensure greater accountability by provinces to achieve policy cohesion.

With regard to the SA Social Security Agency – Sassa - and the National Development Agency – the NDA - the committee made the following recommendations. The committee has taken a keen interest in the NDA precisely because it is tasked with facilitating systematic interaction and dialogue between the state and civil society and communities, as well as to mobilise resources for poverty eradication and ensure people-centred development. One of the recommendations made was that the NDA put more emphasis on its monitoring strategies. Concern was expressed by the committee in respect to the sustainability of projects funded by the NDA. To this end, the committee requested the NDA to review its implementation strategies. Steps to combat corruption were welcomed and forensic reports that were requested were supplied to the committee. I thank you. [Time expired.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): I now recognise the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, the hon Chief Whip.

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move that the Report be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.

Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, may I ask you what you know about the ANC's internal workings that we don't know, because he is only the Deputy Chief Whip? [Laughter.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): I agree with you; he's the Deputy Chief Whip.





(Consideration of Reports of Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry thereon)

Ms C C SEPTEMBER: Chairperson, indeed the reports before us are of the oversight visits that the portfolio committee undertook to the Free State province and the North West province. In the main, the reports will deal with the oversight we undertook to deal with realising the target that was set regarding bucket sanitation last year.

We have been able to go to the two provinces. It is a pity that the reports are coming before this House almost a year after the visits. Most of these recommendations, we think, would have been quite relevant; some of them still are. We think that we need to do quite a bit to make sure that the reports of portfolio committees come to this House much earlier than is the case at the moment. Nevertheless, I am here, and you will have to listen to me now.

We have recommended in our oversight report on the Free State that what we needed to do, hon Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, was look at the time period given in which the backlogs needed to be eradicated. We also said that what we needed to look at was the funding allocations both in relation to the municipalities and, more broadly, funding allocations that were being given and whether they were sufficient to undertake these targets in these instances.

The committee was extremely concerned and recommended that the sector leader in this instance - the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry - needed to do much more with regard to the choice that municipalities have when they decided on the type of sanitation and in particular the type of technology they wanted, so that the assistance that could be given to them would also be of assistance when municipalities decided what particular technology they wanted to go for as opposed to what the communities actually wanted. In some instances, our experience is that they have not been able to meet the target simply because of this tension between the two of them.

We have also asked that we have a more structured approach when dealing with the issue of targets. Equally, we ask that regular statistics be given on the progress made. We think it is still relevant that the committee receive statistics on the progress that has been made and in particular whether we have realised the target that was set for 2007.

Of main concern – and we have experienced this very clearly in most instances, in most of the municipalities and provinces – is the fact that we do not seem to be overcoming the need to roll out services in a much more integrated human settlement way. This will overcome the fact that they will build a toilet first or last and then a house. We think that those kinds of issues must be tackled.

Most of the time we are asking small businesses to get involved in these projects. We think that we need to do much more to empower small businesses when they undertake these projects. We must also ensure that we provide the types of services that the communities have mandated.

On the North West side, we experienced the fact that there was a huge challenge around water tariff reform. Also, the figures that they sometimes supplied to us on the backlog were not conducive for the committee. Equally so, we have asked that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the Water Research Commission undertake research on ground-water extraction especially in the North West as there is quite a problem with water scarcity. In fact, we think we need to do much more in all provinces with regards to the vandalising of water infrastructure. We think that this needs to go together with the kinds of campaigns that there are for electricity.

In Swartruggens in the Skielik area, which has received a lot of publicity, we experienced exactly the same problem. We think that that area has still to realise that we have had freedom since 1994. In that same area we have a situation. Between the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the Department of Provincial and Local Government much more needs to be done about the debt that is owed to that municipality, particularly by a small grouping opposed to transformation in this country and that is not paying the municipality there. We also want a report on the cleanup process at the Hartebeespoort Dam and on ways to curb water losses.

Lastly, we urge that we do a study on the impact of urbanisation and, in particular, what impact it has on services that need to be provided, in this instance water and sanitation. We trust that our recommendations and both reports of the portfolio committee will be adopted. I thank you.

Mrs D VAN DER WALT / Ss (English)/ /AKJ / END OF TAKE


Afrikaans :

Mev D VAN DER WALT: Agb Voorsitter, agb Minister, ek dink ek dra hierdie verslag op aan al die mense in Akasiapark wat die afgelope tyd so gegrom het, omdat ons met emmers water moet aandra. Hier is baie erger dinge aan die gang. Volgens die opdrag vervat in die Grondwet van Suid-Afrika en die Reëls van ons Parlement, het die komitee belas met Waterwese en Bosbou, die oorsigrol aan hom toevertrou op genoemde datums uitgevoer. Die doelwit met die besoek was om ons te vergewis van, eerstens, watter vordering gemaak is ten opsigte van die uitroei of die wegdoen van die emmersanitasiestelsel en die agterstand van watervoorsiening en tweedens wat die kwaliteit van die waterhulpbronne. Dit het ook `n geleentheid aan komiteelede gebied om eerstehands insae te kry met betrekking tot die verhoogde waterkrisis in Swartruggens.

English :

To remind us all: the deadlines stated by the President of South Africa were as follows: the deadline for the eradication of the bucket toilet backlogs was December 2007, the deadline for the eradication of the sanitation backlog is 2010, and the target date for access to water is 2008 – this year, already in the fifth month.

I am going to look at the challenges facing these two provinces, as mentioned in the report. In the North West the challenges are the low population density and the relatively inadequate infrastructure, especially in the remote rural areas; the inherited large backlogs in basic service delivery and maintenance; the predominantly poor population with high levels of illiteracy and dependency that affect their productivity and ability to compete for jobs; and significant inequalities between the rich and the poor as well as between urban and rural areas. The available resources are unevenly distributed and of a limited potential for improved delivery of services and growth. A rapid rate of urbanisation is being experienced in the North West province.

One of the challenges facing the Free State at that stage was that in order to meet the deadline, approximately 80 000 bucket-sanitation toilets must be eradicated every five to six months. It is huge, and I wonder if we will be able to meet that deadline. There is also the high cost of technology that is to be implemented and the delays experienced due to the insistence by the affected communities on all water-borne sanitation system implementation. We all want that system. It is not always possible for various reasons, such as droughts, rocks that have to be drilled through, etc.

With regard to the municipal infrastructure grant, funding shortages are experienced in the affected municipalities of the Free State. There are also the delays experienced by contractors in the registration and procurement processes for the projects under way, the poor quality of materials used and performance from contracted service providers. Contract administration is challenging, since supervision cannot be maintained all the time.

Afrikaans :

In die verslag ter tafel is verskeie aanbevelings deur die komitee gemaak, soos deur die voorsitter genoem is, om sodoende dienslewering binne die daargestelde tydperk te help bereik. Dit het, wat my betref, ook weer eens bevestig dat dit uiters noodsaaklik is dat die onderskeie departemente wat betrokke is, naamlik Waterwese, Behuising en Plaaslike en Provinsiale Regering nouer moet saamwerk, van die beplanningsfase af. Ons kan nie langer toelaat dat toilette en wasbakke in die verste hoekie van `n huis af geplaas word nie. Dit is onprakties. Dit is onveilig en dit is absoluut onwaardig.

My dank aan die kollegas, ten spyte van die sneeu wat ons getref het in Bloemfontein het die amptenary van die verskeie munisipaliteite, die LUR`e op insiggewende, maar tog werklik skokkend somtyds besoeke geneem het. Ons besef weer eens dat daar baie werk gedoen moet word, om al ons mense van noodsaaklike dienste te voorsien, wat ook waardigheid uiteindelik sal meebring. Voorsitter, die DA ondersteun die verslag. Ke a leboga. Dankie. [Applous.]




Mr M W SIBUYANA: Chairperson, the IFP, based on its values of Ubuntu butho, which includes unity in diversity, supports the reports. We, however, note the following concern: the oversight visits in most cases covered municipal officials, with very few ordinary citizens partaking, if any, in our meetings.

We believe that members of the committee are representatives of the voting mass and should learn from the masses themselves if officials are delivering services according to the budgets and plans. My Shangaan learning is that ...

Xitsonga :

... ririmi i xongela n'winyi.

English :

This, in other words, tells us that the tongue cannot speak ill of its owner. The officials will not speak of their failures and will never show us places where progress is lacking and where have they failed to meet the objectives. The committee oversight visits have always identified problem areas.

In the North West municipal offices there were seats allocated to traditional leaders, but the traditional leaders themselves were not invited. Yet, they are the representatives of the masses of our people on the ground. We observed that there was a complete lack of co-ordination between the structures rendering service delivery from different departments.

Overall, the IFP feels that the committee should take the time to see what has been done to remedy the problems identified. Although members of the department can appear before the committee and say that the problems have been fixed, this might not always be the case. It is doubtful if the sanitation problem will be solved within the set target dates unless the department rapidly steps up the implementation process and improves its capacity problems at local level. I thank you.



Ms S N SIGCAU: Chairperson, hon members, what we witnessed in the Free State can also be witnessed from the report on the North West in that there are still serous backlogs of delivery in both provinces.

We are particularly concerned about the persistence of the bucket toilet system which all of us are committed to eradicating. It is undignified and unhygienic, and 14 years into democracy we should not have to witness the continued existence of this system.

We are also deeply concerned about the overall water and sanitation backlogs. A consistent problem that we encountered at the municipality we visited was the lack of skills and capacity to manage these infrastructure development projects. These are the problems that are not limited to the water infrastructure alone, and which have crippled service delivery in general throughout the country.

It is apparent that the national department should engage in more active monitoring of provincial and municipal policy implementation, and that some form of active mentoring and support is required at municipal level to ensure the proper management of the infrastructure projects. The UDM supports the recommendations of the reports. I thank you, hon Chairperson. [Applause.]




Mr H B CUPIDO: Hon Chairperson, on behalf of the ACDP I would like to agree with the contents, the findings and the recommendations of these reports of the portfolio committee's visits to the North West and the Free State provinces. We support the report.

It is the portfolio committee's constitutional responsibility to do oversight and report to Parliament on their findings and to make recommendations. My concern is that these reports, I feel, are completely irrelevant at this stage as the target date for the eradication of the bucket system has long passed - it's about five months now. The visit by the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry was almost 11 months ago.

That was my last oversight visit with the portfolio committee and I would like to commend the chairperson and the portfolio committee on the very objective manner in which they do their work.

There is not much that one can really debate in the reports unless it includes information as at the end of December 2007, which was the cutoff date for the eradication of the bucket system. At this stage I feel that it would have been much more appropriate for the chairperson to present the reports as was planned in terms of the parliamentary programme up until yesterday for consideration. But we are here and therefore let's say more.

Most local authorities, whom the portfolio committee met with, were very resolute that they, with financial and technical assistance of provincial government and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, would be able to reach the end of December target date, the lack of technical support in the form of experienced engineers on a full-time basis rendered great challenges. Most engineers were split between local authorities on a day-to-day basis.

Sufficient funding became another challenge, as some communities were not satisfied with the system the local authority planned as most of them would have preferred the full waterborne toilets. Communities should be taken on board fully ... [Time expired.]




Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, the hon President gave deadlines for the eradication of the bucket system and for accessibility to potable water and sanitation. And we, as Parliament, have been tasking with overseeing that these deadlines are met.

We applaud the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry that has given us a clear-cut view of the progress and backlogs in the North West and the Free State. These oversight visits are crucial to delivery and are a true eye-opener on the South African dilemma.

For the middle class it will be difficult to believe that many South Africans are still relying on the bucket system and that many do not have direct access to potable water or even hot water in their houses. A bigger eye-opener is that middle class South Africans do not make up the majority of South Africa – it is the impoverished class that does.

In view of these reports, though we do see some mobilisation in delivery, we find it crucial that the committee's recommendations be taken seriously if we are to meet the deadlines and to turn around the lives of these victims of poverty.

The MF is extremely worried about the South African situation with regard to water. A few years ago discussions on water shortage even proposed looking at alternate resources to manage our water supply considering the water shortage. Even if we were to report that this year we are in a water safety zone, we should have possible alternates in place so that we do not find ourselves in another situation as we have had with electricity.

The MF supports both reports of the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry. I thank you, Chairperson.


///tfm/// END OF TAKE


Mr B G MOSALA: Chairperson, hon members, the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry is fully convinced that the objectives of the oversight visits undertaken to the Free State and North West provinces were realised.

The aim of our visit to the Free State from 24 June to 26 June 2007 was mainly to check on progress made with regard to the eradication of the bucket toilet sanitation system in view of the target date of December 2007 set by the President.

This province was listed as having the highest backlog in the programme on the eradication of the bucket system in 2005. At the time of our visit, the municipalities, including the provincial government, had made tremendous progress in reducing the number of bucket sanitation toilets, but a backlog of almost 80 000 toilets still remained. It is hoped that a lot more progress has been made by now.

We were able to meet and have discussions with the MEC for local government as well as with mayors and officials from Mangaung, Setsoto and Matjhabeng.

During our visit to the North West province from 30 July to 3 August 2007, the committee was able to meet and hold discussions with the MEC for local government and with the majority of municipalities in that province. We gained valuable insight into the quality of water resources, and we were also able to evaluate the role that municipalities were able to play as water service authorities.

The challenges that the province had on sanitation and water backlogs, including eradication of the bucket system, were noted as reflected in our report. All the challenges identified during our visits, including our recommendations, are captured in our report. The most outstanding challenge mentioned was the lack of funds, but given the enthusiasm and commitment displayed by officials and councils during our visits, we remain hopeful for the future.

We are very grateful and thankful for the support for these reports by all the hon members from different parties who have participated in this short debate. We remain hopeful that these reports will be supported and adopted. I thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority party moved: That the Report of the Committee on Oversight Visit to North West Province from 30 July to 3 August be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.

The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party moved: That the Report of the Committee on Oversight Visit to Free State from 24 June to 26 June be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.

The House adjourned at 16:44.




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