Hansard: Replies by Deputy President Kgalema Motlante to Questions for Oral Reply : NCOP
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 10 Nov 2010
No summary available.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
11 NOVEMBER 2010
START OF DAY
THURSDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2010
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14.00.
The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers and meditation.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL
START OF DAY
AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE CEASES TO EXIST
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL: Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council-
(1) Notwithstanding –
(a) Joint Rule 138(5) which provides that an ad hoc joint committee ceases to exist if it has completed its task by the date set for the completion of its task;
(b) a resolution adopted by the Council on 26 October 2010 that the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Code of Judicial Conduct and the Regulations on Judges' Disclosures of Registrable Interests had to report by 16 November 2010;
(2) condones the continued existence of the ad hoc joint committee; and
(3) extends the deadline by which it has to conclude its business to 28 January 2011.
I so move.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: As there is no speaker's list I shall now put the question. The question is that the question be agreed to. As the decision is dealt with in terms of section 65 of the Constitution, I shall first ascertain whether all delegation heads are present in the Chamber to cast their provinces' votes. Are you all present? Yes.
In accordance with Rule 71, I shall first allow provinces an opportunity to make their declarations of votes if they so wish. Is there any province that wishes to do so? None.
We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetical order by province. Delegation heads must please insert their cards before I call the vote in. Please press button 1 to confirm your presence. There should be light flashing. Are your lights flashing? If not, the Chamber staff will assist you.
We now come to the voting. When I call the name of the province, the delegation head will vote by pressing button 4 for those who vote in favour, button 2 for those who vote against, and button 3 for those who abstain.
I now call upon the provinces:
Have all provinces voted? This is your chance to correct your voting if you voted wrongly. If there is a technical problem the staff will help you with manual voting.
Nine provinces voted in favour. I therefore declare the motion agreed to in terms of section 65 of the Constitution.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: As you are aware, we have the questions to the Deputy President today. Welcome, Deputy President, to the NCOP. We will directly go to the questions. However, I would like to remind you that the time for the reply to questions is five minutes; time for supplementary questions is two minutes; time for reply to supplementary question is four minutes; and only four supplementary questions are allowed per question. New members, please note that.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Chairperson, on the point of clarity: With your permission, I just want to enquire about a question that I, on behalf of Cope, submitted to the Deputy President in due time. According to my information, it was the first question. I received correspondence from the Secretary to the NCOP regarding the question; I then submitted a letter asking reasons for the ruling on the question. Until now, I have not received any response. So I just want your ruling in terms of the question that I have submitted.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You can redirect your letter to me; I will investigate the matter. Thank you very much.
QUESTION 19 - The DEPUTY PRESIDENT
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Good afternoon hon members and hon Chair. As a country that remains firmly committed to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and to their proliferation, South Africa does not wish to see even one other country possessing or acquiring nuclear weapons, including Iran. South Africa's position is informed by our own national experience as the only country to have voluntarily dismantled its nuclear weapons and related programs. In this regard, South Africa acts on the basis of the principle and support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency where we are active as a member of its board of governors.
During South Africa's membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2007 and 2008, we focused our efforts on trying to de-escalate tensions, promote dialogue, and establish confidence in Iran's nuclear programme to ensure that International Atomic Energy Agency processes were supported and Iran remained part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Security Council resolution framework on Iran is aimed at negotiated solutions. The United Nations Security Council is pursuing a dual-track approach of incentives and pressure, but in both instances the stated objective is a comprehensive negotiated solution.
While recognising that the United Nations Security Council could be called upon to impose coercive measures such as sanctions, South Africa called for these measures to be exercised with great caution and only to support the resumption of political dialogue and negotiations to achieve peaceful solution. We reminded members of the United Nations Security Council that by voting in favour of sanctions measures, they had a special obligation to the Iranian people. We reminded them that they had to exercise the highest degree of scrutiny and oversight on the implementation of the sanctions to ensure that there were no unintended consequences and the sole focus remained on the nuclear programme.
In conclusion, South Africa upholds the right of all countries, including Iran, to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, subject to appropriate safeguards. For South Africa it is important to ensure that the international community's response to the Iranian situation does not deny any signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to exploit the peaceful application of nuclear technology. I thank you for your attention.
Mnu M P SIBANDE: Ngiyabonga Phini likaMongameli ngempendulo yakho.
Deputy President, the only thing which I would like to know is: What will be the long-term impact on South Africa's nuclear development? I ask this because, as the society develops, there is this trend of a lot of countries looking at the nuclear as an alternative to be used in terms of the development.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Chairperson, indeed, nuclear technology is the future in terms of electrical energy generation. But, of course, the issue here is that we, as a country within the integrated policy, will look at even the generation of electrical power through nuclear technology. That is in the pipeline, and that is clean energy. Nuclear energy is clean energy. That is the future as I have said. We have already been in possession of nuclear warheads and that is why we voluntarily destroyed them. That is technology that we will be able to revisit in future in order to meet the demand for electricity supply. Thank you.
Mr A LEES: Hon Deputy President, thank you very much for the answer to the question. Following on your answer, may I ask: If you believe that nuclear energy is clean energy and it's the energy of the future, what is your view then of the disposal of nuclear waste - which is a millennium after millennium problem - which could create a huge dirty environment for our children and grandchildren to deal with.
Secondly, the South African government adopted caution or asked the United Nations Security Council to adopt caution with regard to sanctions. Is the South African government in favour or not of the sanctions that have been imposed? Thank you, hon Chair.
The CHAIPERSON OF THE NCOP: The second question seems to be a new question, not a follow-up question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, the disposal of nuclear waste is a challenge that confronts all of humanity. That is why this technology is to be used under the framework determined by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is a body that looks at the non-proliferation as well as the management of nuclear waste. The idea is to create a safe and healthy environment, rather than to destroy the earth, as it were. That is the framework that we, as a country, will have to be guided by so that we don't dispose nuclear waste in a reckless manner – a manner which promotes hazards to the health of humanity. That is why we will have to do this in a more responsible manner.
Solutions are being sought. Many countries that are already utilizing nuclear energy are doing lots of research on how to dispose of nuclear waste. We know that some who are irresponsible try to dump it in waters far away from their own continents. That is why this is a matter that must be co-ordinated globally by an agency such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The latter part of the question is a variation of the question that I answered in the first instance – the first question posed by the hon member. So, I don't know whether I should simply repeat that answer or not. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, the Moral Regeneration Movement, MRM, which is a section 21 organisation, has held numerous management and board meetings. The organisation held meetings with external stakeholders, both in government and nonstate actors. Subjects covered varied from organisational matters that were dealt with at management and board meetings to meetings with external stakeholders that naturally focused on strategic and programmatic matters or those matters that relate to the successful implementation of the strategic priorities of the organisation.
If hon members are interested, I can request MRM to supply its schedule of meetings. These details, however, are not part of my work as a patron of MRM. Some of the details can also be obtained from the Department of Arts and Culture, which is the department overseeing the work of MRM. I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The National Stakeholder Advisory Council on Energy met on 8 December 2009 and on 15 October 2010. Members of the council are drawn from government, labour, business and civil society organisations, constituted along the same lines as Nedlac constituencies.
At its December 2009 meeting, the council discussed matters concerning the rising cost of electricity and how this affected consumers, especially the poor. It also discussed an innovative funding model for building new power stations. The council agreed that while the National Energy Regulator of South Africa is the authority that has the mandate to decide on Eskom's proposed new electricity tariffs, there was a need to devise means to cushion the poor by introducing sloping block tariffs. The council also agreed to consider the proposed funding model that was presented by the labour movement.
In the meeting of 15 October 2010, the council considered a proposal on the integrated resource plan. Some of the stakeholders felt that although they had been given time to consider proposals on this plan, they still needed more time to consider this, given its complexity. Government agreed to this request.
The meeting also received a report on the process to create the independent system and market operator in a phased approach to allow independent operators to participate in the generation of electricity. This matter is currently being processed by the Interministerial Committee on Energy.
On the matter of Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management, government indicated that it recognised the need to provide financial incentives to stimulate the energy efficiency programme through rebates. The required regulations for accessing these incentives have been drafted and, once the concurrence of the Minister of Finance has been obtained, the regulations will be circulated for public comment.
The council was also keen to have an update regarding the regional electricity distributors programme and whether it would proceed or not. Government indicated that the matter was under consideration at the interministerial committee and that a decision will be announced in due course.
Apart from considering the draft integrated resource plan that was presented, the council did not take any nuclear-specific decisions. The nuclear build programme remains part of our future plans. Once all processes have been finalized, including consultation with stakeholders, we will make a public announcement about the programme. I thank you.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Deputy President, in terms of the response that you have just given, would you argue that interaction with the energy advisory council will enhance government's pronouncement on the renewable energy feed-in tariff, Refit, model for South Africa. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Yes, indeed it will enhance government's response because this advisory council – as I said – is constituted in a representative manner along the lines of Nedlac, organised business, organised labour and the civil society organisations. So, its views reflect the take from all these stakeholders. Thank you.
Mr D A WORTH: Chairperson, through you to the Deputy President, does the Deputy President think that, if we go the way of nuclear power stations in the future, South Africa will still have the technological know-how to effect the running of these stations, bearing in mind that there have been problems with Koeberg in this regard; Reactor 1 closed down; and then there was Reactor 2, which then shut down as well? I believe this has a lot to do with retaining the technological know-how on how to service these stations. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, yes, it is in the country's interest not to only retain such technological know-how, but also to produce more of the same because opportunities exist for our nuclear scientists to gain practical experience in countries that are willing. For instance, South Korea has an institute which trains nuclear engineers and physicists, and they have expressed the willingness to accept young South African students who are keen to pursue studies in that regard. It is really for us as a country, through the Human Resource Development Council, to work out the needs of expertise in this area and prepare accordingly so that at the time when the decision is made to go back to nuclear power, we should not then find that we don't have personnel. So, that is indeed in our interest to retain such nuclear expertise.
Mr D B FELDMAN: Chairperson, through you to the Deputy President, I would just like to correct myself or ease my mind, Deputy President. Why did we close down one of the state-owned enterprises, SOEs, the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, PBMR, which I think was closed due to financial constraints, and then jump over to coal energy? Could you explain this to me, please? Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You have taken a very good chance; I will allow the Deputy President to respond if he wants to.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, the PBMR programme was really doing research in what is called fourth generation nuclear technology. Quite clearly, the fiscus could not sustain that kind of advanced research. However, we, as a country, do retain the intellectual property rights with regard to that research. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, both traditional and religious leaders are represented in the SA National Aids Council, Sanac, and participate in all the deliberations of the council and its programmes, including World Aids Day events and the national HIV Counselling and Testing campaign.
Traditional leaders have been integrated into the work of the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal, KZN, and through the Medical Male Circumcision campaign that was mandated and launched by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini. As recently as last month, the House of Traditional Leaders reaffirmed its commitment to campaigning against HIV and Aids, and resolved to participate in the various programmes implemented in their areas of jurisdiction.
The issue of gender equality is a broad social issue that impacts on health, but is not exclusively a health issue. Civil society, community leaders and other government departments also have a role to play. Sanac includes the women's and men's sectors that have as their objective changing gender roles and addressing gender inequalities. Working with nongovernmental organisations, Sanac participated in the launch of the Brothers for Life campaign which seeks to make men more responsible for ensuring an equal society.
The Medical Male Circumcision campaign in KwaZulu-Natal also focuses on the roles and responsibilities of manhood. Young men are taught these responsibilities in the province, including far rural areas, by community leaders and elders. It is hoped that such programmes will decrease the incidents of gender-based violence and sexual assault.
The lifespan of the current HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan ends at the end of 2011. The idea is that a new plan will be developed through a consultative process during the course of 2011. Thank you.
Mr A LEES: Hon Chair, through you to the hon Deputy President, Deputy President, in your reply you mentioned the circumcision drive in my province, KwaZulu-Natal. Are you aware of the extensive use of the Tara KLamp which had really severe complications in tests in Orange Farm, and that, despite the results of these tests and the complications encountered at Orange Farm, the Department of Health persists in using this clamp for circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal? If you are aware of it, what are your views about the continued use of the Tara KLamp? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Lees, our role, really, in Sanac is to preach and spread the word about the limited benefits of medical male circumcision. That can be done in a clinic or a hospital, and the equipment used is really out of our space, as it were.
In KwaZulu-Natal, yes, indeed, this Tara KLamp is being used. People have been trained and it is being used. So far we have not received any complaints, as it were. It is not clear as to whether the people in Orange Farm who are reported to have experienced difficulties after using it were actually properly trained to do so or not. It is also not clear whether these were operations conducted in a clinic and/or in a hospital. What we do know is that in Kwazulu-Natal it is working so far, and there have not been any complications. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, the War on Poverty Campaign is part of the comprehensive antipoverty strategy of government. It is an urgent and intermediate intervention against poverty.
Progress reports on the War on Poverty Campaign are submitted to the national war room, which in turn briefs the Presidency. We do not just receive reports, but we also undertake regular verification visits to areas where the War on Poverty Campaign has been launched to review progress for ourselves.
According to our monitoring reports, all municipalities have indigent policies. Municipalities complete a template every quarter which reports on whether they have indigent registers, how many people are registered, and the number of persons benefiting from free basic services. Free basic services such as water and electricity are examples of local government programmes that are targeted at the poor and are being implemented in most municipalities.
National government, through the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, currently has three programmes that support municipalities with initiatives that target the poor. The municipal infrastructure grant enables municipalities to roll out basic services to poorer communities. The Siyenza Manje programme provides technical hands-on support to municipalities.
The Community Work Programme is an initiative designed to provide an employment safety net by providing participants with a predictable number of days of work per month - thus supplementing their existing livelihood strategies and affording them a basic level of income security through work. The programme is targeted at unemployed and underemployed people of working age, including those whose livelihood activities are insufficient to lift them out of poverty. The programme currently has 75 000 participants. More details on these programmes can be obtained from the Minster of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
In addition to this, government has a plethora of programmes that address the social marginalisation of the poor. For example, we have significantly increased the number of no-fee schools, school feeding programmes, early childhood facilities and many other programmes.
The Department of Social Development has programmes for child-headed households. These include foster care and monitoring by social workers and justice officials, as per the Children's Act and the provisions of our Constitution. We also work in partnership with nonstate actors to address the issues of children in our country.
With regard to senior citizens, per capita grants are given to institutions that provide residential care for senior citizens. Social programmes to keep our senior citizens involved in the social life of our communities are being implemented across the country. We have also taken a conscious decision to include the affairs of senior citizens in all our new programmes such as the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. Most recently, a South African female senior citizens football team represented the country abroad. Thank you.
Ms N D NTWANAMBI: Ndiyabulela, Sekela-mongameli. [Thank you, Deputy President.] I do want to know, Deputy President, whether the government does encourage or accept shared service delivery arrangements with poor communities and households such as the one we witnessed when the City of Cape Town built open toilets for the community of Makhaza with the expectation that the community would find means to cover themselves even if it means using blankets.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, I think that for any shared services to work - we have seen that in the provision of RDP houses in a number of communities – or when that kind of service is to be provided to any community, it is best when the community is involved from the planning phase and is also organised accordingly. Then it is possible for residents in a street comprising of a number of households to know that they can, together, build a home - or a toilet, if it is a toilet that has to be built - for each household.
If it is not done with their involvement and in that fashion, it is bound to result in problems and a sense of not being provided with the requisite service or support. It only works better when it is done in the form of letsema or "the let us do it together" spirit. That way it works better because those who are on the waiting list then know that they are in such a list, and they also know the product and its quality because they are involved in its construction and delivery, as it were.
I think that the case you are referring to suffered from that weakness because the community, as I followed the story, were made to sign some documents which purportedly recorded their acceptance of the toilet seats that were not covered. We believe that had the community been engaged and involved in the provision of those structures, they would have done it sequentially. We also believe that at the end - whatever time it would have taken - all of them would have ended up with covered toilets. Thank you.
Mr A WATSON: Thank you Chairperson. Deputy President, I think your government must be commended for your efforts - which you have just explained to us - of alleviating the strife of those who are mostly poverty-stricken in our country, as well as your efforts of addressing the issue of joblessness. But the ancillary problem to this is, of course, corruption.
I would like to know what your government is doing in all those many ANC-controlled municipalities across the country, where you as the government have put in so much of the efforts to alleviate poverty. Those funds are corrupted and stolen by corrupt officials, as it was just evidenced this very week in the "City of Choice", Msunduzi Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal province. Do you have plans in place to stop this flow – I want to say this tide of corruption - that steals the money meant for the poor and indigent?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay, that looks like a secondary question to the initial question, but I wouldn't like to deny the Deputy President the opportunity to share some ideas if he wants to respond.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon members, the government has five priorities. The first is education because it has many problems. Yet, education is the real equaliser in society. So that's a priority. Health is the second priority. We know that public hospitals need to be improved. The third priority is the creation of jobs because unemployment, poverty and all the attendant problems remain stubborn. In fact, the number of people who are depended on social grants has risen to 13 million, and that figure is unsustainable if it relies on the fiscus. We've got to find a way by creating jobs to reduce that figure.
The fourth priority is rural development because, unless we attempt development in rural areas, the migration into urban areas and the resultant increase of informal settlements would remain a problem. The fifth priority is the fight against crime and corruption. Corruption - by whatever name we call it - must be fought and eliminated. Where we have evidence and so on, there are specialised units over and above the law enforcement units that can deal with such cases.
Indeed, the government is committed and that is why you see this high turnover of those who are caught with their figures in the till, so to speak. I can only repeat the fact that it is a societal problem and it affects all of us. That is why whistle-blowers are important in this regard. Thank you.
Ms M P THEMBA: Thank you Chairperson. Deputy President, after how long is the government requiring reports from municipalities regarding their progress in this regard?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I did not get the essence of the question, hon member. Can you please elaborate a bit?
Ms M P THEMBA: The government offers assistance to the municipalities through the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. My question is: After how long does the government require reports from the municipalities on the progress that they are making with the assistance that is offered to them by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, municipalities are there to render services to communities. The national department assists them to, firstly, obtain unqualified audits. That's the first goal of the assistance. The number of municipalities that are now receiving unqualified audits has increased. The department has a target to eliminate those that still receive qualified audits. That's the broad measure, otherwise it's very difficult to say.
The department does not wait for reports from the municipalities. It is out there generating data on the weaknesses that are found in the municipalities in order to introduce corrective measures. That's an ongoing interactive process, but the broad tool used for checking progress is the audit.
Mr A LEES: Hon Chairperson, through you to the Deputy President. Deputy President, you are to be congratulated on the community work programme and creating 75 000 jobs under economic circumstances; that's tremendous. My question is: With the emphasis on decent jobs, would those jobs be classified, in your opinion, as being "decent jobs"?
The second part of my question relates to the restriction on work opportunities, in particular the textile industry where minimum wage rates that result in the controversy are applied. This is something which, I'm sure, you are aware of, particularly in my province in Newcastle. I would like to know about the restriction which is imposed on job creation by minimum wage rates inline with these job opportunities here. On the one hand, you are doing a fantastic job of creating job opportunities, but, on the other hand, should we not be looking at opening the opportunities where we have restrictions such as minimum wage rates which chase the work overseas or to other countries?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Lees, the minimum wage is not restrictive because it determines the barest minimum that should be paid to a worker in a particular sector. That is why employers - those who setup factories, and so on - are free to employ anybody at the barest minimum prescribed by law. The minimum wage has been introduced even for domestic servants. Therefore, in itself, it's not a restriction.
If the employers want to use prison labour, that is now being outlawed in South Africa. In the past there were opportunities for employers to employ prisoners. When one employed prisoners, she or he paid correctional services a certain fee. The prisoners worked and correctional services fed, housed and clothed them. That way, one almost got free labour.
However, in the labour market, a minimum wage has been set and other employers pay far more than that. Therefore, if you employ people you are happy with their work, they should also be happy about what they earn; even if it is a minimum. There is no need for inspectors to impose any higher wages than what is prescribed as a minimum.
The situation that you are referring to regarding the factories in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, it's when the employers get workers into "sweatshops". In other words, the conditions in those factories are hazardous, and so on.
On that point, we recall cases whereby some of those kinds of employers locked up employees in the factories at night. And, as the result, some of them died. They even did not allow their employees to leave the factory. Now, those kinds of conditions are not allowed in terms of our Labour Law.
The Ministry of Labour, therefore, sent the inspectors to check the situation in those factories. I don't think it was a minimum wage issue, but it was more an overall working conditions that impelled the labour inspectors to close down those factories. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Chairperson, hon members, as with many other basic services, the provision of water to the people of South Africa is severely influenced by the application of unequal policies in the past. Some rural communities are in the catchment areas for water supplies to the big cities and, although they watch the water being piped off to the cities, they themselves do not have access to potable water.
We now look at managing water in its entirety in our Water for Growth and Development Framework. This is a sector approach to water management, instead of having water resources and water services as separate disciplines.
While "water rights"was the term used in the old Water Act of 1956, the current National Water Act of 1998 refers to "water use entitlements". The Act makes provision for rural communities to apply for a water use license. This replaces the riparian rights principle which excluded an estimated 90% of blacks from obtaining water and which was the basis of the Water Act of 1956.
With regard to your question, hon member, the answer is: Yes. Through its Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant and Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs is investing up to R5 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework to reduce the current backlog in the supply of bulk potable water for socioeconomic and developmental needs in all provinces of South Africa.
Hon Ntwanambi asks specifically about the rural areas and townships of Limpopo, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. Starting with Mpumalanga, government is attempting to address the challenge by installing water treatment package plants in the communities of Ntunda, Louisville, Skhwahlane, Brooklyn and Draaikraal.
During my visit to the Mpumalanga province on 30 October this year, I had the honour of opening a 2 megalitre package plant costing R2,8 million in the Ntunda village, and a pipeline to reservoirs costing R1,4 million. This project now supplies potable water to at least 7 000 people in the Ntunda and Skhwahlane villages.
Through the bulk infrastructure grant in the Limpopo province, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs allocated an amount of R228 million in the 2009-10 financial year for the funding of nine water supply projects. An additional allocation of R28,66 million in the 2010-11 financial year from the community infrastructure programme ensures that reticulation takes place in the municipalities.
In the Eastern Cape, R23 million has been invested for the supply of water and to address water pollution-related issues. In the Northern Cape, a total of R8,37 million has been invested in three municipalities to cater for the Northern Cape wastewater and sewerage pump stations refurbishment and water supply.
A number of municipalities were declared as drought-stricken areas in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo provinces in late 2009. In consultation with the affected municipalities, these provinces have conducted assessments to quantify the needs and the resources required to bring about drought relief. The interministerial committee approved a sum of R86 million for the Eastern Cape province and R185,2 million for the Western Cape. R53,7 million of this amount was transferred to the Western Cape during November 2010, and a further amount of R141,5 million for the 2010-11 financial year. An amount of R54 million was approved for the Limpopo province in January 2010. Funds were made available from 1 July 2010.
With regard to initiatives to address acid mine drainage, Cabinet appointed an interministerial committee to address the serious challenges related to acid mine drainage in the Witwatersrand. Subsequently, a team of experts was appointed and they presented their report to the interministerial committee on 21 October this year. The interministerial committee has asked the team of experts to look at the cost implications of their recommendations and other options to resolve acid mine drainage. I thank you for your attention.
Ms N D NTWANAMBI: Thank you very much, Chair. Deputy President ...,
... ndifuna ukuqonda ukuba njengoko umbane nawo unyuke kangaka, ingaba urhulumente usabambelele kulaa mbane uzikhilowathi ezingama-50 indlu nganye? Ingaba awuzokunyuswa na laa mbane umntu awuphiwayo?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We are now mixing water and electricity ... [Interjections.] ... Alright. [Laughter.]
USEKELA-MONGAMELI: Ngokolwazi lwam, urhulumente akakalihlaziyi inani leekhilowathi elinikwa abantu bakuthi ngaphandle kwentlawulo.
Mr B A MNGUNI: Chairperson, Deputy President, there is general concern in a certain community that by 2025 the country will be in short supply or in dire need of clean fresh water. Does the government have a long-term strategy to avert this foreseeable calamity, such as pumping or piping desalinated water from the coastline or perhaps going as far as the Great Lakes?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: As I indicated in my initial response, government is seized with efforts to address the challenge of ours being a water-scarce country. There are a number of ways in which government is responding to this challenge. Key amongst those is, first and foremost, to harvest as much water as we possibly can and keep it in reservoirs and dams, as well as to purify water that is available in many streams across the country. The example of the Ntunda community that I visited last month is instructive in this regard because here is a plant that does not cost anything more than R6 million. It pumps the water out of a river, purifies it, makes it potable, and pumps it to take care of the communities.
The reality is that supply is not enough just on its own. We have to explore the possibilities of recycling water. We also have to embark on massive education of our people. For example, in many instances where there are only three grains of rice in the sink; we open the tap to flush them down instead of picking them up. This reflects that we are not aware of the fact that this source of life, clean water, is in short supply because people just use water recklessly.
So, this is a challenge that we, as government, are seized with. We are quite aware of this challenge and we are doing everything possible to ensure that we do not end up with severe water shortages. Without water there is no sanitation and there is no life. All kinds of complications will arise here. Thank you.
Mr M P JACOBS: Chair, my question to the Deputy President is: What mechanism does the government put in place to ensure that, when dams are built, people from surrounding areas benefit from that water? Currently, that is not the case. You find that water is being transported to industrial areas and people in the surrounding areas do not benefit from those dams. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Chairperson, under the current National Water Act, what I referred to as water use entitlement seeks to address precisely this problem. Communities live close to massive dams and yet they have no access. This is because the old Water Act gave rights to certain commercial farmers, to the exclusion of local communities. That is what this water use entitlement seeks to address. That is the legal instrument for addressing precisely that challenge here. Thank you.
Mr D A WORTH: Chair, in the province I come from, there is a lot of problems with the municipalities with regard to them not spending money on the maintenance of infrastructure. By that I mean sewerage plants and water purification plants. Whilst the municipalities do get the bulk infrastructure grants, they tend to be more for new projects. There is talk that municipalities are supposed to spend money on maintaining their existing infrastructure. In addition, there has been talk that certain amounts of money will, in future, be ring-fenced to ensure that money is spent by the municipalities on maintaining infrastructure, particularly with regard to water supply.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Worth, you have put your finger on the nub of the problem. This does not only apply to water, it applies to all bulk economic and social infrastructure; whether it is a school, a road, or any infrastructure. The weakness that is commonplace is that we do not make provision for maintenance.
In addition, as you know, a city such as Cape Town, for example, is old. At some point, the pipes are bound to show old age and, therefore, ware and tear, unless the municipality, the Metro ... In Gauteng, this is what people are experiencing. Through seepage, lots of water is lost and it goes to waste.
So, indeed, the key to solving all these problems is that, after delivering any major project, there must be a maintenance team in place to maintain that infrastructure. If we do not do that, it will always cost us a fortune to repair and reconstruct. Essentially, just by maintaining it, most bulk economic infrastructure can give us good service for almost 50 years. However, if there is no maintenance, it means every second term or so you have got to reconstruct from scratch. And that goes, as I said, for all infrastructure – the schools, the hospitals, the clinics. With maintenance, paintwork and all of that on an ongoing basis, we would save a lot, actually. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr T B BYLEVELDT: Hon Chair, hon Deputy President, the problem we found at the municipal level is that the government is giving money for infrastructure projects, but there is very little money going towards maintenance. For example, you can spend millions on low-cost housing projects, but there is no follow-up funding from the government to maintain municipalities. It then becomes a municipal responsibility, and that makes it very difficult.
If we can get the municipal infrastructure grant, as you have said - and for that we are very grateful - we can have a long-term funding model to support the government's initiatives regarding infrastructure building. It will make a huge difference because a municipality's income comes from the residents. That is the only source of money that they actually have. How can you maintain poor people's houses if they cannot pay rates and taxes? Due to poverty relief measures, many people are dependent on equitable shares and on grants from the municipality to keep them alive.
So, I do not think that is really a question, it is just an opinion I am expressing. Maybe we must really look to support our municipalities more with maintenance money. Thank you, Mr Deputy President.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: That was an input and a contribution, not a question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I agree with him.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes, and the Deputy President agrees with you. [Laughter.]
The Council adjourned at 15:12.
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