Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard

House: National Council of Provinces

Date of Meeting: 09 Mar 2000


No summary available.









The Council met at 14:04.


The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.








The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon members, I have indicated to the Chief Whip of the Council that the Chairperson would like to make a brief statement on the role of the National Council of Provinces.


In recent months a number of members of provincial legislatures have approached my office with various complaints or grievances pertaining to the provincial executives and requesting the involvement of the National Council of Provinces. It is clear that there is a misconception about the role of the National Council of Provinces. It is that which I now wish to clarify.


In terms of the Constitution, a provincial executive is an autonomous institution bound only by the Constitution and the provincial constitution, if any. The NCOP only has those functions and powers given to it by the Constitution or other legislation. It is a body that represents the provinces, as is evident from section 42(4) of the Constitution. The NCOP, however, does not have oversight of the provinces or any provincial functionary or body except in so far as a power to that effect has been conferred upon it by statute.


Furthermore, the co-operative governance provisions in chapter 3 of the Constitution enjoin all spheres of government to observe and respect the constitutional status and not to encroach on, amongst other things, the institutional integrity of government in other spheres.

I thought it important that the Chairperson make this statement, given the correspondence she often receives. I trust that this has served to clarify the matter, and that this statement will be transmitted to the Speakers of provincial legislatures so that they may use it as they wish. I thank you.




(Draft Resolution)


Mr J L MAHLANGU: Madam Chair, I move without notice:


That the Council -


(1)..... notes that certain parts of Madagascar were also devastated by the recent floods that struck Southern Africa;


(2)..... further notes the urgent plea by the people and the government of Madagascar for international assistance to deal with the consequences of this disaster;


(3)..... is of the opinion that there is a moral obligation on developed countries to assist developing countries in dealing with issues of this nature; and


(4)..... wishes to support the call made by the Madagascan people and their government.


Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.




(Draft Resolution)


Mr M BHABHA: Chairperson, I move without notice:


That the Council -


(1)..... notes the recent Human Sciences Research Council's survey on the degree of satisfaction with government;


(2)..... further notes that, while there is an increase in levels of satisfaction with the provincial governments and the political situation in all the other provinces -


(a)..... the Western Cape is the only province in which most respondents were dissatisfied with their provincial government; and


(b)..... the Western Cape is the only province in which most respondents were dissatisfied with the general political situation in the province;


(3)..... is of the opinion that -


(a)..... the results come as no surprise since the party which received the majority of votes in the province is excluded from the government; and


(b)..... the results are indicative of the fact that the governing DP/New NP coalition is not reaching out to the poor people, who make up the majority of the people in the province.


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Is there any objection to the motion?

Mr C ACKERMANN: Yes, Chairperson.


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! There is an objection. In the light of the objection, the motion may not be proceeded with. The motion without notice will therefore become notice of a motion.




(Draft Resolution)


Mr G A LUCAS: Madam Chair, I move without notice:


That the Council -


(1)..... welcomes the FIFA 2006 World Cup bid committee delegation to South Africa who are here to conduct an inspection of our country's readiness to hold such a prestigious event; and


(2)..... wishes to inform the delegation that -


(a)..... we are more than ready to host the 2006 World Cup event;

(b)..... our success in hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 1996 All Africa Nations Cup and the All Africa Games reaffirms our capacity to hold such international events; and


(c)..... in the spirit of the 21st century being declared the African century, Africa indeed deserves to host the 2006 World Cup.


Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.




(Draft Resolution)


The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL: Chairperson, I move without notice:


That the Council -


(1)..... congratulates the South African national cricket team, the Proteas, on their victory in India, having beaten the Indians 2-0 on their home ground; and

(2)..... notes that this victory is quite historic.


Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.





(Consideration of Decision of Joint Programme Committee on fast-tracking of Bills)


Order disposed of without debate.


Decision of Joint Programme Committee ratified in terms of Joint Rule 216(4) (KwaZulu-Natal abstained).





Order disposed of without debate.


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon members, it is not usual for me to intervene in a voting process. However, I do believe that I am constrained to do so if an occasion occurs where a mandate transmitted to the NCOP is not adhered to. The KwaZulu-Natal legislature has indicated that the delegation should abstain from voting on the amendments to the Rules, that is, on this item that we are voting on. I have a letter before me from the province to that effect. However, the delegate indicated that KwaZulu-Natal was in favour.


I wonder if Ms Thomson could guide us in that regard before we declare the vote.


Ms B THOMSON: Madam Chairperson, my apologies. I really thought we were on something else, but the correct mandate is that we should abstain. Can I correct that?


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We will allow the mandate of the province to be expressed as indicated by Ms Thomson. We therefore have eight provinces voting in favour of the report and KwaZulu-Natal abstaining.


Report adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution (KwaZulu-Natal abstained).




(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)


Ms Q D MAHLANGU: Madam Chairperson, Deputy Minister of Finance and hon members, The SAA Unallocatable Debt Bill seeks to allow the Minister of Finance to borrow R1,3 billion to enable him take over part of the SAA debt that was not allocated to that company at corporatisation.


The Select Committee on finance considered the Bill and in particular its constitutionality, given the remarks made by the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Finance during a debate on the Bill in the National Assembly.


The question that arose was whether the Bill was a money Bill or an appropriation from the Revenue Fund in terms of section 213(2) of the Constitution. The legal opinion from advocates of both the parliamentary law advisers and the state law advisers indicated that, clearly, the intention of the Bill was to exempt the Minister of Finance from having to pay moneys received in terms of this transaction into the National Revenue Fund. Such an exemption is contemplated in section 213(1) of the Constitution. This is made clear by clause 2(1)(2) of the Bill, which clearly stipulates that the moneys so borrowed must be directly transferred to Transnet.


The SAA Unallocatable Debt Bill must also be reviewed as part of the process by Government to restructure state assets and to oil and sharpen the machinery that makes our economy work. The competitiveness of SAA is dependent on the introduction of a statutory equity partner, Swissair, in this regard. This in turn depends on Government's willingness to address the albatross of debt that has been leading SAA into the abyss. It is this big picture that we need to keep in mind.


In future, however, we will request that drafters of legislation clearly identify the status of a Bill with regard to section 213 of the Constitution. Therefore the select committee recommends that the NCOP pass the Bill without amendment and take into account the committee report thereon.


Debate concluded.


Bill agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.




(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)


Rev P MOATSHE: Madam Chair, hon members, there can be no doubt that the SA Tourism Board needs to be restructured.


Satour was created to market South Africa in a period during which the international community imposed travel restrictions on visitors to and from South Africa to protest against the country's policy of apartheid. As such, it operated in an environment that was not conducive to tourism development. It has come to be associated with the old South Africa and therefore lacked a vision of our new reality, namely greater representation of the previously neglected groups and development of tourism in a way that would contribute to the reconstruction and development of our country.


The importance of the Tourism Amendment Bill cannot be emphasised enough if one looks at the economic potential of tourism in South Africa. In 1994, tourism was estimated to have contributed a mere 2% of the gross domestic product. It increased to 4% during 1995. This growth trend continued at such a pace that the World Tourism Organisation ranked South Africa as one of the top tourist destinations in the world in 1998.


A calculation made by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism shows that if tourism continues its upward trend, tourism could triple its contribution to national income. This means that the industry could generate some R40 billion annually and create 2 million jobs. This, however, will only be possible if we broaden our tourism industry by drawing in the many communities and neglected groups that have been excluded in the past. These communities and groups possess significant tourism resources.


The White Paper on Tourism recognises that -


... provincial government has a critically important role to play in the development and promotion of the tourism industry of South Africa.


Schedule 6 of the Constitution explicitly provides for tourism to be a provincial responsibility. However, the Constitution also envisages a central role for national government in the effective marketing and promotion of the country by promoting tourism as a national priority. The Tourism Amendment Bill seeks to achieve both of the above objectives.


By giving the hon the Minister the power to appoint people on the basis of their potential active involvement in tourism, the opportunity is given to neglected communities and groups to enter the tourism industry. In the past, these communities and groups lacked access to the tourism market because visitors were kept within hotels and resorts and ventured out only to ``sanitised'' places of interest. Tourists were a rare sight in local shebeens or amongst the local craft vendors. Furthermore, many negative attitudes existed within the tourism industry towards community tourism products, which were regarded as inferior.


The Tourism Amendment Bill does not negate the role of provinces or the other key parties involved in tourism. It merely seeks to transform the Tourism Board to make it more representative. The fact that the provision requiring representation by businesses and labour sectors and provinces had been removed does not mean that this sector will not be consulted in any tourism plans.


The amendment proposes an alternative means of facilitating the involvement of provinces in the Tourism Board. The chairperson of the Board will have to communicate the minutes of every Board meeting to the members of the executive council responsible for tourism in each province. The Board must also consult with the relevant members of the executive council on the establishment of procedures and programmes to promote and maintain a sound working relationship between the Board and the various provinces. [Applause.]


Mr D M KGWARE: Madam Chairperson, in support of my chairperson, and also on behalf of the Northern Cape, I would just like to make a brief input.


The Northern Cape supports the amending Bill and also understands the significant role the Tourism Act plays with regard to job creation among our people. The issues addressed are straightforward, as described in the memorandum. The Bill gives the Minister the right to choose the members of the board once he or she has advertised for nominations.


I want to make mention of this because there has been quite a heated debate on some of the issues regarding the amending Bill. Provinces should note the provision of the proposed new section 13B, which requires the minutes of the board meetings to be sent to the provincial tourism MECs and emphasises the procedures and programmes for co-operative relations within the provinces. There is no need for us to fear that the provinces are left out of the board.


The Bill seeks to amend the Tourism Act of 1993, Act 72 of 1993, in order to change the composition of the SA Tourism Board. It proposes that the maximum number of members be reduced from 20 to 15 and the minimum number from 15 to 9.


This means that the provision requiring representation by the business, community and labour sectors and by provinces are removed to make allowance for appointments to the board. The Minister will then have a free hand in finding the very best talent from whatever walk of life to appoint to the board. Alternative arrangements were made to liaise with the provincial governments.


The provinces support the amending Bill. [Applause.]


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I note with some interest that it is the Northern Cape and the North West that are participating in this debate to amend the Tourism Act. They seem to express quite an interest in increasing tourism. The closeness of the provinces is interesting.


Debate concluded.


Bill agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.




(Subject for Discussion)


Mr J L MAHLANGU: Chairperson, I would like to quote from Goethe's Maxims and Reflections, in which he has the following to say about nature:


We are surrounded by her and locked in her clasp: powerless to leave her, and powerless to come closer to her. Without asking us or warning us she takes us up into the whirl of her dance, and hurries on with us until we are weary and fall from her arms.


It would have been hard for anyone to predict the magnitude of the natural disaster that struck a large part of South Africa. It is also more difficult to quantify the cost in terms of human suffering which has occurred as a result of this natural disaster.


Hundreds of our people have lost their lives. Thousands have been displaced and are facing a bleak future. Moreover, with winter fast approaching, many of these people will be left to face the elements without adequate protection.


The spreading of diseases is also a very real danger to which many people, and women and children in particular, may be exposed. It is not difficult, therefore, to understand the enormous challenge with which we are faced. Although we may not be able to predict such catastrophic events, we must at all times be ready to deal with them whenever they occur. In this way we may be able to minimise the damage which they cause.


We must therefore express our sincere gratitude to the national and affected provincial governments, local governments and NGOs, as well as the communities, for having responded immediately to their disaster management plans, without which thousands more lives may have been lost. I want to convey a special word of thanks to the SA National Defence Force for their tireless efforts to rescue as many people as possible and to all people who rendered their assistance to alleviate the plight of those communities which were hardest hit by this catastrophe.


In pursuance of this objective to create a situation of readiness, the NCOP decided to establish a cluster committee which will liaise with the national and provincial governments on issues of disaster management, as well as the effects thereof and the results they could produce. It is envisaged that this cluster committee will work closely with all relevant stakeholders. I could mention a few, like the Cabinet Committee on Disaster Management at national level; the relevant Ministers that have to do with the developments that come about as the result of disasters; the National Assembly committees that are clustered alongside the cluster committees in the NCOP; the provincial premiers; the provincial legislatures, with direct reference to the committees concerned, as well as the relevant cabinet and disaster management committees at provincial levels; the respective provincial legislature committees; and organised local government at national and provincial level. They will all work together and aim to monitor and assess whether effective systems are in place to deal with these kinds of issues.


The NCOP being the forum where provinces can come together to discuss issues of common interest, it is hoped that this NCOP committee will kick-start the establishment of a well co-ordinated plan to deal with issues of this nature. They must come back to this Council and create this national forum to discuss issues affecting the provinces. It is only when we are proactive and prepared for challenges such as these that we will be able to soften the impact of disaster on those who are most vulnerable and at risk. [Applause.]


Rev P MOATSHE: Chairperson, hon members, one writer says there was an earthquake in Japan, where one of the cities was buried underground. After that happening, the mayor called those who survived to recreate that city.


We have experienced a similar thing in the North West province. This province experienced heavy flooding of certain areas. These floods were caused by two main factors, namely heavy rainfalls and also the run-off of the rainwater in the catchment areas in Gauteng. The second of these has caused the greater amounts of damage so far. The majority of the flooding took place in the Brits area from the Hartbeespoort Dam along the Crocodile River to the boundary with the Northern Province. The actions in this area were controlled by the joint operations centre formed at the Brits fire department under the control of the disaster management officer of the Brits town council.


The following incidents took place: loss of life, injuries, loss of stock and loss of crops. Therefore there was no electricity supply to the Vaalkop and Beestekraal areas, there was no communication, and the sewerage system in the Vaalkop, Brits and Oukasie rural areas have been flooded and extensively damaged. But we should thank those authorities that have joined hands to come to the rescue of many people who suffered during this time. We thank the welfare organisations in Brits and surrounding areas, the traffic department, the Departments of Health, Public Works and Transport, the disaster management authorities and the National Parks Board for joining hands to rescue those who were hopelessly looking for help and assistance.


We as the NCOP have to applaud those people, who did a very good job, and the joining of hands, even amidst the joint problems which we may face, of national, provincial and local government, is of extreme importance. [Applause.]


Ms C BOTHA: Madam Chair, I will be speaking solely in Afrikaans.


``Ich bin ein Berliner'', het die voormalige Amerikaanse president John F Kennedy gesê toe hy voor die Berlynse Muur staan. In die aangesig van mens- en natuurgemaakte rampe is ons almal soos een.


So sê ek dan ook vandag ek is 'n Afrikaan, en alhoewel dit vir my as Vrystater byna onmoontlik is om te sê ek is 'n Mpumalanger, weet ek dat my gevoel van samehorigheid met die provinsies wat deur die oorstromings geteister is deur al die agb lede gedeel word. So is die DP ook oor partygrense heen heelhartig verbind tot hulpverlening aan hierdie gebiede, en vol bewondering vir die optrede van die Weermag en ander onbekende helde wat hulle lewe in gevaar gestel het om mede-Suid-Afrikaners te help.


Ten spyte daarvan dat dit 'n nasionale spel geword het om te wys op die verdeeldheid van Suid-Afrikaners, hetsy in die media of op die sportveld of in skole, illustreer die werklikheid van die samewerking in die Weermag op die diep menslike verband wat bestaan sodra ons die regte knoppie druk om dit bloot te lê. Terwyl ons nou, verenig deur die onmiddellike en dramatiese oomblik, alles wil doen om ons meegevoel te betuig, moet ons nie toelaat dat die rampslagoffers, soos dié van die tornado vroeër verlede jaar in Manenberg en van veldbrande in die Vrystaat en die Oos-Kaap, slagoffers word van ons kortstondige geheue nie.


Uit vandag se samehorigheid moet 'n plan gestalte gegee word wat daadwerklik in werking kan tree sodra 'n ramp ons tref, en wat nie op die slagoffers die verantwoordelikheid van die pleidooi plaas nie. Dit moet duidelik proaktiewe stappe as staatsverantwoordelikheid uitspel. Die ramp is maar die begin van die tragedie vir die slagoffers. Lank ná dit van die televisieskerms verdwyn het, leef hulle met die nagevolge. Dit is ook 'n area waarop streeks- en internasionale samewerking deur ons leiers vooropgestel behoort te word.


Ten laaste, as daar enige twyfel was, het vandag se debat die rol van die Nasionale Raad van Provinsies duidelik gevestig. [Applous.](Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)


[``Ich bin ein Berliner'', said the former American president John F Kennedy when he stood before the Berlin Wall. In the face of man-made and natural disasters, we are all as one.


In the same way I am saying today that I am also an African, and although it is almost impossible for me as a Free Stater to say that I am an Mpumalangana, I know that my sense of solidarity with the provinces which have been ravaged by floods is shared by all the hon members. So, too, the DP is wholeheartedly committed, across party lines, to providing aid to these areas, and full of admiration for the actions of the Defence Force and other anonymous heroes who jeopardised their lives in order to rescue fellow South Africans.

While it has become a national game to point out the division among South Africans, whether in the media, on the sportsfield or in schools, the reality of the co-operation in the Defence Force illustrates the deeply human bond existing the moment we push the right button in order to reveal it. While, united by this immediate and dramatic moment, we now want to do everything possible to express our sympathy, we should not allow the disaster victims, such as those of the tornado earlier last year in Manenberg and of the veld fires in the Free State and Eastern Cape, to become victims of our short memories.


Arising from the solidarity existing today, a plan should be worked out which could be implemented actively the moment we are hit by a disaster, and which does not place the responsibility for the appeal on the victims. It should clearly spell out proactive steps as the state's responsibility. The disaster is only the beginning of the tragedy for the victims. Long after it has disappeared from our television screens, they have to live with the after-effects. This is also an area where regional and international co-operation among our leaders should be placed first.


Finally, if there had been any doubt, today's debate clearly established the role of the National Council of Provinces. [Applause.]]


Mrs C NKUNA: Chairperson, I am rising to make a statement on behalf of the Northern Province in relation to the heavy rains and floods that caused damage and left most areas dilapidated.


The most affected area in our province is the northern region. A number of houses have collapsed, leaving people injured, homeless and dead. More than 1 000 km of the provincial roads have become inaccessible, leaving the communities with no access to the outside world and no schooling in areas where bridges have been washed away. Irrigation schemes in large tracts of land have been swept away.


Patients from Blouberg Hospital have been evacuated and readmitted at Helena Franz Hospital. Letaba and Kgapane Hospitals experienced a shortage of water due to water pipes which were clogged with mud. Matikwane, Sekororo, Siloam and Tshilidzini Hospitals experienced electricity problems. However, I would like to tell the House that these problems have been solved. Thohoyandou is experiencing communications problems, because telephone and electrical wires were washed away.


We therefore call for prioritisation in respect of reconstructing and developing the sensitive areas of the affected infrastructure. For example, health and welfare matters should be attended to as a matter of urgency with the provision of shelter and clothing. We are thankful that this is being done in most affected areas in the provinces. We are also calling for the prevention of water-borne diseases such as typhoid, malaria, cholera and others to be embarked upon with immediate effect, and that communities be supplied with fresh water.


In conclusion, we would like to thank the Government for declaring our province and other areas disaster areas. We would also like to thank the stakeholders and individuals who assisted and are still assisting in disaster-stricken communities. We are calling for substantial funding in order to redress the backlog that has been caused by this disaster. [Applause.]


Ms M P THEMBA: Chairperson, friends and colleagues, my province, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Province, including other provinces such as the North West and Gauteng, have experienced floods. This was as a result of the heavy rainfall from around the first week of February which lasted for the whole of February.


As the permanent delegates of Mpumalanga, we visited the province in order to familiarise ourselves with the extent of the damage. We thus noted that the greatest effect of the damage was on the road networks and the water supply infrastructure, which are the basic means for service provision.


Amongst others, the following are the socioeconomic problems experienced. Communities are cut off from their workplaces as access roads and bridges have been either damaged or washed away. Emergency services such as health care and rescue operations cannot be rendered. Injured and sick people cannot be taken to hospitals and clinics. Funerals and other societal activities cannot take place. Late loved ones cannot be taken to mortuaries or be buried. Ordinary economic activities cannot take place. Business activities have been disrupted. People cannot get basic goods or fresh supplies. Schooling has been disrupted as schools are not accessible to children and teachers.


Health risks such as cholera, malaria and other are imminent as a result of inadequate potable water. Pollution of the environment occurs as a result of broken sewerage pipes and networks, while crime escalates as a result of the socioeconomic problems.


We hope that the pictures that the House has just seen or will see will expose the House to the damages suffered by the people in our province. The content of the video will reveal the damage in the greater Nelspruit area. When going out of this Chamber into the foyer, members will be able to view the content of the video. I hope that this exposure will give all some insight into the plight that our people are faced with.


We thank the national Government, the provincial government and the respective local governments, the private sector, NGOs, the SA Defence Force, the SA Police Service and the communities for acting swiftly to save lives, engaging in rescue operations and providing necessary supplies in respect of food, clothing, shelter, love and courage during the dark hour. Our condolences go to all who lost loved ones. God bless them. [Applause.]


Mr P A MATTHEE: Chairperson, on behalf of the New NP I wish, in the first instance, to extend our sincerest and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of so many people who have perished as a result of the devastating floods experienced especially in Mpumalanga and the Northern Province, and by our neighbours, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Our hearts also go out to those who have lost almost all, and in many cases all, their earthly possessions.


We also wish to thank and commend the SANDF, especially our heroes and heroines who have selflessly exposed themselves to mortal danger in their quest to rescue and to save human lives. We are truly proud of what we call our angels of mercy, and are grateful that we have the capacity to extend a hand and open our hearts to our less fortunate compatriots and neighbours who had to submit to the forces of nature. I wish to thank those who have arranged the video and photographic display outside this Chamber, which at least gives one a sense of the might of the floods and the damage caused by these floods.

Die verlies aan infrastruktuur, landbougrond, gewasse, huise en persoonlike besittings is ongetwyfeld van so 'n aard dat dringende regerings- en ander hulp onontbeerlik is. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)


[The loss of infrastructure, agricultural land, crops, houses and personal belongings is without doubt of such a nature that urgent Government aid, and other assistance, is vital.]


The devastating floods, fires and drought that have struck South Africa and other countries with new vehemence over the past year do not constitute an isolated spate of disasters. They are mounting evidence that global weather patterns are changing fundamentally.


According to studies conducted for the Department of Environmental Affairs by a team led by Prof Bruce Hewitson, Associate Professor of Climatology at UCT, it is expected that there will be an increase of about 10% in rainfall along South Africa's coastlines and a 10% decrease in summer rainfall in the interior during the early and late part of the season. Of more concern is the prediction that there will be longer spells between rain, but more extreme rainfalls. This means more run-off and less water storage in the soil.


These changes will have a huge impact on agriculture, infrastructure, water-dependent industries and public health, and could be catastrophic unless South Africa develops strategies now. Prof Hewitson also predicts a spread in crop diseases and the southward expansion of malaria as pests migrate to new areas.


The New NP therefore fully supports the establishment of the NCOP cluster committee described by Mr Mahlangu, and we will do whatever we can assist this committee to succeed in achieving its goals.


Ons het reeds destyds na aanleiding van die brandramp in die Wes-Kaap 'n beroep op die Minister vir Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering gedoen om 'n nasionale reddingsentrum as 'n saak van dringendheid daar te stel.(Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)


[We have already made an appeal to the Minister for Provincial and Local Government, in the wake of the fire disaster in the Western Cape, to establish a national rescue centre as a matter of urgency.]


Let me end by saying that the floods are still affecting areas of our country. I have a report here that appeared in The Mercury of today in KwaZulu-Natal. The headline says: ``River sweeps two peoples to their deaths.'' A seven-year-old boy and a teenager were found dead yesterday after being swept away by a flood-swollen river near Port Shepstone on Tuesday. There is also a search for a third victim, whose name has not yet been released. It states that this seven-year-old boy was ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]


Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Chairperson, on behalf of the government of the Northern Cape, I wish to express our sincere condolences to those communities that were so tragically struck by the recent floods.


We understand the suffering they had to endure, because our province itself was not spared the effects of this natural disaster. Some of our communities were completely cut off from the outside world for many days owing to the flooding of many of our bridges and roads.

This human catastrophe taught us a few valuable lessons. Natural disasters are not geographically confined. They affect people across provincial boundaries. It is important, therefore, that provinces and the national Government work together and plan strategies which could be speedily implemented.


Furthermore, it is essential that we develop the capacity to pick up and constantly monitor any impending disasters so that we can be able to take steps before we are struck by these disasters.


We are heartened by the response of many people who expressed concern and were willing to extend a helping hand to the victims of the floods. It has reaffirmed our belief in the inherent goodness of human nature. [Applause.]


Mr J O TLHAGALE: Chairperson and honourable House, there is a Setswana idiom: ``Matho go sha mabapa.'' [Interjections.] This means that a neighbour may not ignore or be indifferent to a disaster on his neighbour's doorstep. He is obliged to assist his neighbour who has been struck by a disaster with all the means at his disposal. He could, for instance, accommodate the afflicted neighbour in his own house, provide him with food or clothing and take steps to make him as comfortable as possible.


In the light of that and of what has been raised by the convenor of the committee, Mr Mahlangu, the UCDP is in full support of and in solidarity with the relief measures of the Government and other compassionate neighbouring governments.


We support the relief efforts, the overwhelming goodwill and the opening of hearts and wallets to the affected people. [Applause.]


Ms P C P MAJODINA: Chairperson, today's topic touches the feelings and emotions of our people who are today homeless, more especially those who stay in rural areas, whose traditional mud rondavel houses have collapsed, not to mention the loss of life they have suffered.


From December to March, the Eastern Cape has experienced numerous heavy storms. They have caused extensive damage to infrastructure, but more particularly to the roads and bridges. This has caused great hardship for the communities since it has resulted in disruptions to essential services and commerce, not to mention disruptions to schools and clinics.


The Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works has had no financial resources to do the necessary permanent repairs. In most cases, outstanding flood damage is estimated at R200 million.


Five Eastern Cape regions were affected at varying levels, but the media did not even capture this, particularly the electronic media, owing to the rural nature of our province, let alone the fact that our tornadoes and floods were not named, maybe because they took the African names and they were not recorded as Gloria or Susan, but as iNtomb ayiphiki. [Laughter.]


The main road linking Tsolo and Maclear has been washed away. This has not only created a long detour, but also has security implications. It is not possible for the department to even temporarily repair it with its current budgetary allocation, bearing in mind that there has been a huge backlog in this province. It is therefore essential that extra budgetary funding be acquired so that basic cases can be addressed.

The disaster management team should also visit the Eastern Cape for surveying. It was only this morning that communities from Matatiele and Mount Fletcher were subjected to staying with their deceased relatives because the roads and the bridges had been washed away. Some had to cancel the burials which were scheduled for this weekend. [Applause.]


Mnr C ACKERMANN: Mevrou die Voorsitter, terwyl 'n groot deel van die Wes-Kaap ook swaar getref is deur hierdie vloed, gaan ons harte tog ook uit na ons ander provinsies in Suid‑Afrika waar die nood en lyding nog erger is. Derhalwe het die Wes-Kaap ook nie stilgesit nie, maar 'n taakspan saamgestel wat deskundige hulp gaan verleen het in Mpumalanga. As ons oor die finansiële fondse beskik het, sou ons ook 'n bydrae gemaak het aan die Mpumalanga-provinsie, en ek hoop die agb lid mnr Bhabha neem kennis van hierdie gesindheid van die Wes-Kaap teenoor sy provinsie.


Die boere van die Karoo is dankbaar vir die reën wat hulle ontvang het, maar die onbekostigbare skade wat gelei is, bring verslaenheid mee en 'n gevoel van nederigheid teenoor die mag van Moeder Natuur.

Boere in die Gamkavallei in die distrik Calitzdorp, waar die vloedskade op miljoene rande geskat word, sal om staatshulp moet aansoek doen na aanduidings dat hierdie landbougemeenskap op sy knieë gedwing kan word. Boorde, groentelanderye en wingerde is saam met bogrond meegesleur toe die Gamkapoortdam Donderdagnag sy walle oorstroom het.


Die lot en lyding van plaaswerkers is onbeskryflik en hulle toekoms lyk op die oomblik baie duister. Hierdie skade is erger as dié in 1981 toe Laingsburg verswelg is. Spoedige herstelwerk aan kanale is nodig, anders sal die vol Gamkapoortdam se water niks vir landbou kan beteken nie.


Krag- en telefoonverbindings is plek-plek herstel, maar daar is gebiede wat steeds sonder watertoevoer is. Die R62 tussen Ladismith en Calitzdorp, wat erg beskadig is, sal nog 'n geruime tyd vir verkeer gesluit wees, maar al die moontlike word gedoen om die pad te herstel voor die Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees oor drie weke.


Die toerismebedryf op die dorp word ook swaar getref deur die sluiting van hierdie pad. Besprekings by gastehuise word gekanselleer en petrolverkope by vulstasies het dramaties gedaal. Die Wes-Kaap het reeds begin met noodherstelwerk. Twee van ons ministers, dié van landbou en van vervoer, het reeds besoek afgelê by die geaffekteerde gebiede. Dieselfde taakspan wat nou in Mpumalanga is, stel ook reeds ondersoek in na die skade en die omvang van die ramp en sal eersdaags ook hieroor verslag doen.


Dit is die Wes-Kaap se strewe om ons swaargetrefde gemeenskappe so spoedig moontlik na normaliteit terug te bring, en ons medelye gaan uit na almal wat deur hierdie rampspoedige gebeurtenis getref is. Ons is dankbaar teenoor almal wat hulp verleen het en nog sal verleen. [Applous.](Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)


[Mr C ACKERMANN: Madam Chairperson, while a large part of the Western Cape has also been heavily hit by this flood, our hearts also go out to our other provinces in South Africa where the distress and suffering are even worse. Consequently, the Western Cape has not been inactive, but has constituted a task team which has gone to render expert assistance in Mpumalanga. If we had the financial means, we would also have made a contribution to the province of Mpumalanga, and I hope the hon member Mr Bhabha takes note of this attitude of the Western Cape towards his province.


The farmers of the Karoo are grateful for the rain which they received, but the unaffordable damage suffered has brought about a despondency and a feeling of humility with regard to the power of Mother Nature.


Farmers in the Gamka Valley in the Calitzdorp district, where the flood damage is estimated at millions of rands, will have to apply for state assistance following indications that this agricultural community could be forced to its knees. Orchards, vegetable lands and vineyards were washed away together with topsoil when the Gamkapoort Dam overflowed on Thursday night.


The fate and suffering of farmworkers is indescribable and at the moment their future looks very bleak. This damage is worse than that in 1981 when Laingsburg was engulfed. Swift repair work to canals is necessary, otherwise the water in the full Gamkapoort Dam will mean nothing to agriculture.


Electricity and telephone connections have been replaced in places, but there are areas which are still without a water supply. The R62 between Ladismith and Calitzdorp, which was seriously damaged, will still be closed to traffic for a significant time, but everything possible is being done to repair the road before the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in three weeks' time.


The tourism industry in the town has been hard hit by the closing of this road. Bookings at guest houses are being cancelled and petrol sales at garages have dropped dramatically.


The Western Cape has already begun emergency repair work. Two of our Ministers, those of agriculture and of transport, have already visited the affected areas. The same task team that is currently in Mpumalanga is already investigating the damage and the extent of the disaster and will also report on the matter shortly.


It is the aim of the Western Cape to return our worst-hit communities to normality as quickly as possible, and our sympathy goes out to everyone who has been affected by this disastrous event. We are grateful to everyone who has helped and all those who will still do so.]


Mr K D S DURR: Chairperson, the first thing that we as the ACDP want to say is that, following upon the recent natural disasters, our hearts of course go out to the affected people. Nobody will ever know the misery that people experience when this kind of thing occurs.


It is wonderful, in a certain way, how people are brought together by a tragedy. The depth of compassion people display, the generosity of spirit which exists and the good neighbourliness which suddenly comes to the fore are also wonderful. It is perhaps a lesson for us, and maybe we should have more of that in other enterprises. We should not only wait for disasters before we unlock those reserves which exist in all our people to do things together and to undertake great enterprises together to build this wonderful part of the world.


The President was right when he said we have a unique opportunity. We will never have a better opportunity than we have now. What we need, more than anything, is a change of heart. It is out of this disaster that one sees the compassion, co-operation and generosity that represent the sort of spirit we need to engage if we are going to build anything in this part of the world.


We are proud of our countrymen. We are proud of the brave personnel of the security forces, the charities, the private individuals, the companies and the churches that continue to do so much selflessly to alleviate the plight and suffering of our country, often at great personal risk. We cannot take that risk away. All we can say is that we are sincerely grateful for the dedication to duty which they demonstrate on our behalf.


We are proud, too, of the intercession and the help of our Government on behalf of its neighbours. We know that we have a strong voice in international fora. Our neighbours are very often weak, small, landlocked microstates. The fact that our Government has interceded with the world community on their behalf to bring their plight to the attention of the world community is something that we should be proud of. We are acting out our responsibility in a way that all of us can be thankful for and proud of.


We are also pleased, of course, about the growing involvement of the United Nations, and of the world community, as a consequence of that intercession by our Government. I do not know whether we would have seen anything like the effort we are seeing had it not been for the South African Government interceding in the way that it did. Some people were very slow in coming forward, but we are grateful for those that have come to assist. We are also grateful for the NGOs that have come forward with help.


We will pray that they continue to remain involved, because the flooding is not yet over. The worst challenge is yet to come. Those of us who know anything about it will know that the combating of disease, pestilence and hunger still needs to occur and that the challenge of reconstruction still lies ahead. The reserves of the people who have to cope with those problems are diminishing every day as they get weaker and hungrier and poorer and less able to cope as they go forward, and as the spectre of disease and pestilence that will surely follow becomes clearer.


We in the Cape have had our share of disaster on a much smaller scale, but our hearts go out to them too, and we are grateful for the actions of our Government in the Western Cape. Just the crop damage in the Northern Cape along the Orange River, in export grapes alone, is estimated at R350 million, according to a farmer I met this morning. That will, of course, ultimately be shared by the community as a whole since it will have to deal with that loss. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Mr A MARAIS: Madam Chairperson, the Free State echoes the solidarity expressed here today. We endorse the vote of thanks extended to all and sundry who are involved in the rescue operations and other attendant essentialities in these areas.


We are, however, concerned about the budgetary implications which will be occasioned by this tragedy. It is in this vein that we appeal to all legislators in provincial, national and local government, as well as the private sector, to apply some flexibility and generosity with regard to budgets.


Further, we believe that the ecological damage caused will, for some time, impact on tourism, foodstuffs, etc. We implore especially food producers to find innovative ways of preventing an escalation in food prices.


Lastly, it was reported this morning that floods during the night have damaged some bridges between the Free State and Lesotho. Because of our close proximity, much will be expected from us, especially on matters pertaining to help. Although affected, we are pledging our continued willingness and preparedness to assist wherever and whenever possible.


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I would like, on my own behalf, to join hon members in expressing sympathy to those communities that have been devastated by the floods, and to those families that have lost loved ones, as well as to express appreciation, as hon members have indicated, for the role of our security forces, the army, and the air force. They have indeed been heroic in the role that they have played, both in our own country as well as in our neighbouring states. We express our thanks to them for the self-sacrifice that they were prepared to endure. [Applause.]


We have come to the end of the discussion on this matter. We look forward to the more substantive report that the hon Mr Mahlangu's committee will bring to this forum. I believe that the NCOP, in the debate that it has heard today, along with the factual indicators that we have received, has begun to play the role that we anticipated it would play, and we look forward to seeing a further extension in this regard.


Debate concluded.


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, as you are aware, we do have further business on the Order Paper, that is, the debate on a matter of public importance. We were aware that the hon the Minister of Welfare would be involved in various other duties. The debate will proceed, but not at this time.


In terms of Rule 25, I will interrupt our proceedings and the bells will be rung when we are ready to continue with the next Order. The proceedings are therefore interrupted. The House will adjourn until the bells are rung.


Business suspended at 15:08 and resumed at 15:30.




(Subject for Discussion)


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Allow me to take this opportunity to welcome the hon the Minister of Welfare, Comrade Zola.


The MINISTER FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, it is an honour and a privilege for me to address hon members on this issue this evening.


First of all, I think we should thank the Auditor-General for compiling this report and, as such, informing South Africa and the public about the disbursement of funds for poverty relief over the past two to three years.


In the report of the Auditor-General concerns were raised about the increasing proportion of underexpenditure by the Department of Welfare since 1996-97. The reported underexpenditure is as follows. In the year 1996-97 it was 43%; in 1997-98 it was 43,3%; and, in the year 1998-99 it was 78,75%.


The bulk of the underexpenditure in 1998-99 was attributed to the Poverty Relief Fund. The Department of Welfare received R203 million in the 1998-99 financial year from the Infrastructure and Development Fund for its Poverty Relief Programme. Prior to the end of the 1998-99 financial year, the Department of Welfare transferred R81 million to the Independent Development Trust, which had been appointed as its disbursement agency. The transferred funds were paid from the suspense account for control purposes as a number of administrative and legal procedures with regard to the individual projects still had to be finalised. The amount transferred to the IDT was therefore not reflected as expenditure in 1998-99. This is what has finally emerged in the report from the department, which was issued probably the day before yesterday.


The Department of Welfare obtained approval from the Department of State Expenditure to roll over R202 950 000 of the poverty relief allocation to the 1999-2000 financial year. The original allocation of R50 million for 1999-2000 was reduced to R40 million. The total amount of funds for poverty relief in 1999-2000 was therefore R242 950 000.


The Department of Welfare received an allocation of R50 million for the year 1997-98. All funds were spent by the end of the financial year. These funds were disbursed directly by the Department of Welfare.


A rapid appraisal of the programme was conducted to identify lessons learnt so as to improve the management of the programme. The IDT was appointed as a disbursement agency in order to address some of the shortcomings of the original programme. The rapid appraisal also pointed to the need to conduct an audit of the programme. A tender was advertised for the audit. The Department of Welfare has recently been informed by the State Tender Board that it will finalise the appointment of an audit company this week. The Department of Welfare will meet with the consultants this week to agree on the audit plan.


The allocation of poverty relief funds has taken place as follows. In the year 1998-99 R203 million was given to the department. Of this, 193 projects have received some assistance, which amounts to R111 583 297. Thirty-eight national projects, including an administrative capacity-building course, received R91 416 703. Of the money that we received this year, that is for 1999-2000, R40 million has been given to nongovernmental organisations who support these projects. The balance of the money that we received for the year 1999-2000 is earmarked for provincial and national projects, and we hope we will be able to give R26 million to the integrated sustainable rural development project under the Deputy President.


The overall expenditure as at 28 February 2000 is as follows. The total amount of funds transferred to the IDT is R205 million. The total amount of funds disbursed by the IDT is R138 437 876. The IDT disbursement as a percentage of funds transferred to the IDT is 76%. The IDT disbursement as a percentage of the R242 950 000 allocated to the Department of Welfare is 57%. That means that, of the R203 million, the IDT has disbursed about 57% since June last year up to now.


Payments are made to projects in tranches of 40%, 50% and 10%. Payment of the first tranche is made on the basis of an approved business plan. Payment of the second tranche is subject to a project assessment. Payment of the third tranche is made on completion of the project. Second-tranche payments to provincial projects has progressed steadily. Second-tranche payments to the 38 national projects have been delayed following the project assessment report. The report recommended that second-tranche payments be withheld in 19 projects and that financial audits be carried out on these projects.


It should be noted that relatively large sums of money have been allocated to national projects. The assessment report noted that while the poverty relief programme has made a good start, the following problems need to be addressed. Firstly, large sums of money are being dispersed without adequate communication with the recipients. Secondly, general expenditure at project level is slow. Thirdly, monitoring and evaluation are not undertaken systematically. Fourthly and lastly, tension between the national and provincial departments undermines the integrity of the programme.


The State Tender Board, on 2 March 2000, approved that the Department of Welfare could use a restricted tender for the auditing of current poverty relief funds. While the audit is expected to focus on national projects, it will include a sample of provincial projects. As the cost of the audit is expected to exceed the Department of Welfare's delegation, the final decision rests with the Tender Board.


An official from the Department of Welfare at national level was arrested and charged in December 1999 with fraud and theft of R200 000 from the poverty relief funds. The matter is being investigated by the Scorpions and the official is in custody awaiting trail. The Department of Welfare has received a draft report on the forensic audit conducted as part of the investigation, which confirms the fraud and theft.

There are serious shortcomings in the financial management of the poverty relief programme, and generally on the part of the whole Department of Welfare. Although the department has taken steps to improve the programme, for example designing a monitoring and evaluation system, fundamental problems of poor management will continue to frustrate progress.


The financial audits, while necessary, will only provide a partial picture of the programme. A comprehensive evaluation of the programme within the department will be undertaken to assess the impact of the programme on the poor, and to assess its effectiveness and institutional arrangements. This will continue and contribute to the development of an integrated poverty eradication strategy. Since late last year, the department has been exploring donor support and technical advice for the evaluation.


This is what I have to say. I will now deviate from what has been written here for me. When I came to the department, it was very clear to me from the beginning that there was a fundamental problem. That problem, first of all, concerns the whole issue of the restructuring of the welfare system in this country, and more importantly, the restructuring of the department itself.


Basically, it has not been transformed. It is still the same programme and the same department that served the apartheid regime, except that there have been a few appointments at national level, specifically in the top management echelons. Other than that, all the staff members who were there in 1993 and 1994 have not been moved. Possibly there might have been better people, but because of what is happening amongst the staff members themselves, it has caused some of the best people to leave the department.


I do not think that we have to hide these issues, because these are issues that affect the poorest of the poor. We should be more sensitive in the way in which we deliver services to our people. Millions of people depend mostly on what this Government is able to give them. I am of the opinion that if one deals with the poor, the disabled, with children and with people with Aids, one should be a little more sensitive than we are being at present.


If I had my way, I would not keep quite a large number of those people in the department. As early as August, September last year, it became very clear to me that there was a problem. To a certain extent the problem is a sort of resistance to the concept of change in general. [Interjections.]


I do not want to hide the fact that what mostly held me back was, to a certain extent, the laws and what is generally expected of an employer, in this instance the Government and the department. We should try to instill a sense of duty and patriotism into our public servants so that they will be more sensitive in the way in which they work for our people than they are at present.


If hon members did not know, I am a member of the ANC. The people that voted us into this Government are the poorest of the poor. They are the victims of the lack of response from public servants.


I realised, maybe in September or October last year, that I would be the one standing here accounting to hon members and the public. I therefore tried, from the beginning, to be a little more sensitive and to talk to them carefully. Finally, I had to tell them that it could not work like that, that we could not continue in this manner.


What worries me most is that, if the national department is like that, how much worse is the situation in the provinces? [Interjections.] As hon members know, poverty prevails in the provinces, especially in the rural areas. From the beginning I have gone on record as saying that the welfare system that still exists in this country leaves much to be desired. This system does not reflect the policies of our Government. A complete change is needed, not only mentally, theoretically or otherwise, but generally, including the personnel concerned. We ought to take welfare more seriously than we do at present.


What gets into our newspapers and other media mostly concerns those who have or those who want to have, black empowerment and things like that. The plight of the poverty-stricken in this country has not been reflected as it should have been. All of us move around Cape Town, Johannesburg and all the urban areas, but very few of us ever go to the rural areas. If we do get to those areas, we end up in the towns. There is a very urgent need for services in those areas. As individuals, as citizens and, more importantly, as representatives of our people, we ought to do our best to ensure that we do bring services to our people.


One of the things that worry me most is the services that we as a department have been giving to our people in general. I say this specifically about three other issues, namely the old age grant, the disability grant and, and more importantly, the child support grant. I do not think that we have done our best as a department to serve our people.


More importantly, as far as I am concerned, the department has not shown the urgency it needs to show, specifically in handling issues that concern children, the disabled, the elderly and people with Aids. I have found out what the problem is when we talk about it. They are in the papers, but in the final analysis, when we see how much work we have to do before we are able to bring a simple memorandum before Cabinet, then one starts asking oneself whether we are really paying this money to those individuals. Are they worth the money they are getting? Why can I just not fire them and let them go? However, that is reality. All these other things that one talks about and that one would like to do, one is unable to do.


I think, in principle, we would appeal mostly to the portfolio committee to do its job. That was one of the first things that I did in August and also in September, and in November. I appealed to the portfolio committee to do its job. Honestly, I appealed and I continue to appeal, both here in the NCOP and in the NA in so far as the Department of Welfare is concerned, that it not hold its horses in any manner. It should do everything in its power to put pressure on the department. Most of them think that they will embarrass me. I will not be embarrassed over that. If things are wrong, they are wrong.


In August last year, I gave an order that by the 16th of December everybody should have received their old age or disability grant, so that they would be free to use their money and so that they could spend their Christmas being more at ease because of the money in their pockets. However, by the 14th and 15th of December, 3 000 to 4 000 people had not received their grants. We went on the radio to advertise and tell everybody, and gave a number which is still there. We had to issue orders for staff not to go on their Christmas holidays until that had been resolved. Most of those people came from the Eastern Cape.


In other words, what I am trying to say is that we have these grants. We are all members of Parliament, and the NCOP. We represent a people and where we all come from - whether a member is driving a Mercedes Benz or living in Sandton at present, or whether an hon member lives in Waterkloof - the reality is that the majority of us - speaking for the ANC, because I do not know about the background of others - come from amongst the poor.


Mr P J MARAIS (Western Cape): Me too! [Laughter.]


The MINISTER: We have been voted into the positions we hold by the poor people. The least we can do in the provinces where we stay - in our constituencies - is to serve those people, first of all, by ensuring that all the aged and the disabled do get their grants. I am not sure what the current percentage is of the disabled in this country who receive their grants. However, I doubt very much that more than 20% do. I really doubt that, and the majority of people do not receive their grants because they do not know about them. We should ensure that the children support grant is advertised and that all the people have access to it. All children below the age of seven are entitled to it. All that money has been budgeted for.


The Poverty Relief Fund is, in principle, just an amount of money that is given on top of the budgets that all of us have. It is meant by this Government to ensure that the poorest of the poor do receive some assistance from us. Of course, quite rightly, the public in general were appalled to hear that hardly any percentage of the R203 million had been spent when the    Auditor-General went through his books. I think it is justified; the Auditor-General did his work and he should be commended for that.


I hope all of us, when we look at these issues, will do our best to ensure that the programmes that this Government has put in place are effective and efficiently carried out. Quite honestly, this has been very disgraceful and it is terribly embarrassing even to me. I cannot say I was not there. The reality is that we have the issue and we have to deal with it. [Applause.]


Ms L JACOBUS: Chairperson, before I make my contribution to this very important debate, I must indicate to you, the hon the Chairperson of the NCOP and the Whippery that it is not out of disrespect that I address this House dressed in a T-shirt. It is merely my small contribution in support of the 2006 bid committee as they interact with the Fifa delegation which is arriving in our country today. [Applause.]


Chairperson, hon Minister and members, it is rather sad that a day after celebrating a very successful International Women's Day, we gather in this House to discuss the matter of unspent moneys meant to have been channelled to the poor, the majority of whom are women and children. Our President, Comrade Thabo Mbeki, recently drew our attention to the fact that we are living in a country of stark contradictions, that of humiliating poverty of the majority coexisting with the unashamed wealth of a minority. All of us present here today come from provinces where we stare poverty in the face on a daily basis.


I am not going to dwell very much on the figures in terms of what was spent and what was not spent, because I think the Minister made it quite clear to us. Rather, I want to focus on good governance and service delivery. At the opening of the Gauteng legislature in February 2000, our premier said the following:


The overwhelming mandate we received both in 1994 and 1999, was based on the conviction of our people that we know their anguishes. They know that we are part of them the same way that they are part of us, hence our continued commitment to ensure a better life for all our people. This forms the foundation of our existence as a government, and we will spare no effort in the fight against poverty which is so pervasive in this society.


Two of the most prominent commitments Government holds dear are, firstly, accountable, clean and good governance and, secondly, quality service delivery. In helping Government make good on these commitments, we have to rely on a good Public Service, a Public Service that is committed to the ethic of Batho Pele.


However, we have to face the unfortunate reality that we inherited a largely dysfunctional Public Service, and coupled with that, a bureaucracy that is very user-unfriendly. According to newspaper reports, many NGOs and CBOs dealing with poverty alleviation have knocked on the door of the Department of Welfare for financial assistance. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful.


An ex-colleague of mine in the Gauteng legislature applied for funding for a project of a group of homeless women over two years ago, and only received a response on the proposal submitted about a month ago. She was fortunate to have received a positive response. But unfortunately, when she presented herself to the provincial department of welfare, on the very next day after receiving this response, the cheque was already stale. It was dated five months before.


I am relating this incident to illustrate two things: firstly, the amount of time it takes to process requests for funding and, secondly, the inefficient channels of communication between the service provider, in this case the department, and the client, in this case the people. The withholding of resources or failure to provide service of any kind by a government department amounts to maladministration and corruption. Unfortunately, there is no diplomatic way of putting this.


Without apportioning blame to any particular individual or individuals, we will, as representatives of the public out there, ask the Minister, as the political head, to respond to some of the following questions, not necessarily here and now, but if the Minister can, he is welcome to do so. Nevertheless, we will call the Minister to another select committee meeting where he can probably go into detail on some of the questions raised.


Firstly, what are the procedures and guidelines in place for accessing funds for poverty alleviation? Secondly, how user-friendly are these guidelines and procedures? Thirdly, how many poverty alleviation programmes are currently funded by Government - on this one we need a provincial breakdown. Fourthly, why have these moneys earmarked for one of the most vulnerable sectors in society not reached them?


As an ANC collective in Parliament, we will not tolerate a situation where any individual or individuals retard the process of transformation in any way, especially not when it involves the livelihood of the poorest of the poor.


In 1996 the Department of Welfare declared war on poverty. I would like to make some recommendations to the Minister as commander-in-chief of this war and his department for consideration.


My recommendations are, firstly, to develop a strategic interdepartmental approach to be applied when funding poverty alleviation programmes; secondly, to develop efficient, user-friendly and accountable guidelines and procedures in relation to the disbursement of these funds; thirdly, in conjunction with the Department of the Public Service and Administration, to reorganise the Public Service so that it can more effectively meet the priorities of social delivery; and, last but not least, to develop a morality within the department in the handling of public resources.


In conclusion, our slogan of ``creating a better life for all'' will amount to zero if we do not provide the kind of leadership that is necessary to meet our objectives, as formally pledged in April 1994. [Applause.]


Mr M I MAKOELA: Mr Chairperson, hon Minister and colleagues, the dispensation based on nonracialism, nonsexism and democracy demands of us to continuously strive towards redressing the inequalities and anomalies still prevalent in our society.


As a result of the skewed policies of the past, vulnerable groups such as unemployed women with children, rural populations, people in informal settlements and people with disabilities still find themselves living in conditions of abject poverty. For the past five years, this Government has undertaken a process to completely overhaul the welfare and development system into a new form that will be able to respond to requirements of representivity, transparency, legitimacy, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness, and that allows for genuine partnership where all stakeholders are always invited to participate in crucial matters such as building a consensus about policy frameworks and planning of actions. This includes stakeholders such as religious organisations involved in service delivery, NGOs rendering social services and developmental programmes, the private sector, academic institutions, trade unions and professional organisations.


However, the co-ordination that should develop between the partners in the developmental social welfare field should also be complemented by a civil service that operates in a coherent and efficient manner in order to be able to achieve values and principles that create comprehensive, integrated redistributive mechanisms and systems, a civil service that strives for equity and accessibility of resources to the recipients with a conscious effort to espouse and uphold the norms and practices of the concept of Batho Pele.


It cannot be denied that whilst Government is pushing forward with a process of restructuring the system and redefining the role of service providers, there are still weaknesses. We cannot run away from the fact that the majority of the people entrusted with the management of the system - some have been on the job for many years - were never properly trained to be able to handle the kind of transformation being introduced. There are those who have the capacity to manage the problem of the archaic management systems that they are trying to overcome, including problems that are of a human nature which have become an impediment to efficient and effective management of our institutions.


Therefore, as we move further and further away from the old models, trying to fully entrench the new developmental model, we should not lose sight of the dynamics that are still playing themselves out within the civil service, regarding the human resources disparities within the senior managerial positions and also applying to social workers, administrative personnel and other positions.


The new dispensation demands of us to address issues in a particular manner that needs respect for human rights, the creation of user-friendly facilities and systems that involve CBOs and NGOs in decision-making planning and implementation to meet the needs of the people and the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. If need be, the system should be able to shed those elements that, because of their historical past, serve as impediments to progress, because of their intransigence and indifference to change.


This Government cannot allow a situation like the one under discussion to continue to prevail because of the incompetence of those entrusted with the lives and welfare of the most vulnerable in our society. Where it is appropriate and necessary, heads should roll and for others, attitudes should change and commitment to the new order should be the order of the day. [Applause.]


Ms E C GOUWS: Mr Chairman, ``Poor South Africans have been deprived of more than R500 million over the past three years because the Welfare department was incapable of distributing the funds.'' This was the report sent out to the country by the media. We hear that it may have been R300 million. Whatever, it is a lot of money.


What a shocking message to our jobless, poor and distressed people! Whether all the facts and figures are correct is not what I am arguing. The fact that something like this could happen is what is relevant. The fact the people out there will remember is: ``We were hungry and cold, yet R500 million was not distributed.''


Hoe kan ons met ons gewete saamleef as sulke berigte die wêreld ingestuur word? Angela Bester, die Direkteur-generaal van Welsyn sê die departement het nie die ``capacity and, in particular, skilled staff'' om die werk te doen nie. In Afrikaans vertaal lui dit: ``nie die bevoegdheid en veral nie bekwame, opgeleide personeel om die werk te doen nie''! Wat 'n onrusbarende erkenning van onbekwame administratiewe onbeholpenheid!


Sonder om nou te veel te gaan ronddelwe in die syfers, die vingerwysings en geskarrel om ondersoekkomitees te loods, wil ek sê die mense daar buite het hierdie inligting in hulle koerante gekry en dit is die persepsie wat gaan bly. Wie moet blameer word vir so 'n ernstige situasie? Ek sou dink ons agb Minister. Hy is die kaptein van sy skip. Hy is die kaptein van sy span. Hy is die hoof van die departement, maar ek het simpatie met hom. Hy het hierdie boedel van sy voorganger geërf, maar ek moet ook sê hy het nie die klomp amptenare geërf nie. Wat gaan hy daaromtrent doen? (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)


[How could we have a clear conscience when such reports go out into the world? Angela Bester, the Director-General of Welfare says that the department does not have the ``capacity and, in particular, the skilled staff'' to do the work. Translated into Afrikaans this goes: ``nie die bevoegdheid en veral nie bekwame, opgeleide personeel om die werk te doen nie''! What a disconcerting admission of incompetent administrative ineptitude!


Without too much digging around in the figures, pointing fingers and scrambling to launch investigating committees, I want to say that the people out there obtained this information from their newspapers and this is the perception that is going to remain. Who should take the blame for such a serious situation? I should think our hon Minister. He is the captain of his ship. He is the captain of his team. He is the head of the department, but I have sympathy with him. He inherited this estate from his predecessor, but I must say he did not inherit the officials. What is he going to do about this?]


I suppose he did not hire, so he cannot fire. But we want action.


Wat het daar buite met ons mense gebeur terwyl miljoene rande nie hul weg na die probleemareas kon vind nie? [What happened to our people out there while millions of rands could not find their way to the problem areas?]


I will tell hon members. In the Eastern Cape, for instance, the Welfare department is only concerned about the reregistration of welfare beneficiaries, but in the meantime there has been no progress in setting up proper administrative services.


Terwyl mense moet herregistreer, wat ons ook glo noodsaaklik is, moet daar hande wees wat die karige, lewensnoodsaaklike pensioengeldjie kan uitdeel. Ek wil vir agb lede vertel wat in die Oos-Kaap aan die gang is. Die mense moet ure lank in lang toue in die warm son staan, sonder enige geriewe daar buite, om hulle pensioene te kry, net om later sonder verduideliking weggewys te word, en dan die volgende dag die hele proses weer van voor af aan te pak.


Ek het gesien hoe bejaarde tannies flou word nadat hulle van vieruur die oggend af tougestaan het. As hulle immers nie voor in die ry is nie, mag hulle weggewys word om die volgende dag weer te moet terugkom.


Wie hiervoor verantwoordelik is, is 'n goeie vraag, maar ek kan vir agb lede sê daar is te min uitbetaalpunte. Die amptenare en die ontvangers van pensioene praat baie kere nie eens dieselfde taal nie. Hulle verstaan mekaar nie, en menige keer moet die ontvangers van die pensioene na 'n betaalpunt in 'n totaal ander omgewing gaan om geholpe te raak.


My probleem is, hoekom gebeur hierdie dinge? Waar moet hierdie armstes van die armes geld kry om vervoer te bekostig as hulle van bakboord na stuurboord gestuur word? Dit is 'n totaal onaanvaarbare toestand. As die Minister dink so 'n toestand is nie moontlik nie, het ek slegte nuus vir hom. Ek was daar en ek het die mense sien huil van frustrasie, ellende en uitputting.


Hierdie probleme kom onder meer voor in die noordelike dele van Port Elizabeth in die Oos-Kaap. Nou vra ek, hoe verdedig 'n mens 'n aantyging soos hierdie onbestede geld aan hierdie mense daar buite? Hulle vra nie eens om meer geld van die staat nie, hulle vra net die hande sodat hulle betyds hulle geld kan kry. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)


[While people have to reregister, which we believe to be essential, there should be hands that can dish out the meagre amount of vital pension money. I want to tell hon members what is happening in the Eastern Cape. The people have to stand in long queues in the hot sun for hours, without any facilities out there, to receive their pensions, only to be turned away later without any explanations, and to start the entire process all over again the next day.


I saw elderly women fainting after queuing from four o'clock in the morning. If they do not happen to find themselves in the front of the queue, they may be turned away, only to have to come back again the next day.


Who is responsible for this is a good question, but I can tell hon members that there are too few pay points. The officials and the recipients of pensions often do not even speak the same language. They do not understand one another, and often the recipients of the pensions have to go to a pay point in a completely different area for assistance.


My problem is, why do these things happen? Where must the poorest of the poor get the money to afford transport if they are sent hither and thither? This is an entirely unacceptable situation. If the Minister thinks that such a situation is impossible, I have bad news for him. I was there and I saw the people crying with frustration, misery and exhaustion.


These problems are, inter alia, prevalent in the northern parts of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. Now I am asking, how does one defend an allegation such as this one concerning unspent money to those people out there? They are not even asking the state for more money, they are only asking for more hands so that they can receive their money in time.]


The question of embarking on a general reregistration of grantees in the Eastern Cape cannot really be faulted, because a limited forensic audit of the data base has already identified 8 910 cases of individuals drawing illegal grants. We believe, however, that it would be far more practical, cost-effective and less traumatic for the department to concentrate on the auditing of existing files, rather than to subject more than half a million people in the Eastern Cape to a lengthy and expensive reregistration process.


I want to conclude by saying that impoverished South Africans who depend on the state for their survival deserve to know that the limited welfare resources are coming their way. We are, after all, the people's government, and if we allow these problems to escalate there will be no government for the people. [Time expired.] [Applause.]


Mev J WITBOOI: Mnr die Voorsitter, agb Minister en agb lede, wanneer gelees word die Departement van Welsyn het minder as 1% bestee van die R204 miljoen wat in 1998 vir armoedeverligtingprogramme ontvang is, is dit, om die minste te sê, skokkende nuus. En wanneer die verslag van die Ouditeur-generaal ook openbaar dat R11,7 miljoen wat die departement van die Nederlandse regering ontvang het vir kinder- en jeugsorg, ongebruik gelaat is, is dit onaanvaarbaar.


Wat tragies is, is dat dit die derde agtereenvolgende jaar is dat die nasionale departement nalaat om 'n groot deel van sy begroting te bestee. Redes soos: die departement het nie daarin geslaag om die nodige stappe te doen nie, is iets wat die miljoene arm kiesers daar buite moeilik sal vind om te verstaan, veral as die nasionale voorsitter van Kinderlyn sê, en ek haal haar aan:


What is even more appalling is that the department keeps on telling us there are no funds.


En as die nie-regeringsorganisasies die verslag met ongeloof en ontevredenheid ontvang het, het die Nuwe NP begrip vir hulle.


Die Nuwe NP vra hoe dit in die toekoms geregverdig gaan word om met vrymoedigheid internasionaal geld te gaan vra vir programme ter opbouing van ons land, die geld te kry en dit nie ten volle daaraan te bestee nie. Wat gaan die antwoord wees aan die armstes van die armes oor die feit dat, volgens die verslag, R353 miljoen van die totale begroting van R450 miljoen nie bestee is nie?


Die gewone kieser daar buite mag reken dat miljoene rande miljoene borde kos op miljoene van hulle tafels kon geplaas het. Dit is presies ook hoe die Nuwe NP voel. As daar brood van 'n tafel afgehaal word deur die optrede van 'n korrupte amptenaar of amptenare, wil die Nuwe NP ook sê: raak ontslae van hulle! Per slot van sake is ons die beleidmakers in hierdie land en die armes se lot moet by ons swaarder weeg as enigiets anders.


Die Nuwe NP vra dat hierdie ongelukkige aangeleentheid reggestel word. Ons kan nie stilbly oor bedrywe wat veroorsaak dat die arm mense in ons land aan hulle lot oorgelaat word nie. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)


[Mrs J WITBOOI: Mr Chairman, hon Minister and hon members, when one reads that the Department of Welfare spent less than 1% of the R204 million that was received for poverty relief programmes in 1998, it is, to say the least, shocking news. And when the report of the Auditor-General reveals that R11,7 million, which the department had received from the government of the Netherlands for child and youth care, remained unused, it is unacceptable.


What is tragic is that this is the third consecutive year that the national department neglected to spend a major part of its budget. Reasons such as that the department did not succeed in taking the necessary steps is something that the millions of poor voters out there will find difficult to understand, particularly if the national chairperson of Childline says, and I quote:


What is even more appalling is that the department keeps on telling us there are no funds.


And if the non-governmental organisations received the report with disbelief and dissatisfaction, the New NP understands.


The New NP wants to ask for how long into the future it is going to be justifiable freely to ask for money internationally for programmes assisting with building up our country, to obtain the money and not to spend all of it on that. What is the answer going to be to the poorest of the poor regarding the fact that, according to the report, R353 million of the total budget of R450 million was not spent?


The ordinary voter out there may think that millions of rands could have placed millions of plates of food on their tables. This is exactly how the New NP feels. If a loaf of bread is taken from a table by a corrupt official, the New NP says: Get rid of him! After all, we are the policy-makers in this country and the fate of the poor must weigh more heavily with us than anything else.


The New NP asks that this unfortunate matter will be rectified. We cannot keep quiet about actions that cause the poor people in this country to be left to their own fate.]


Mr K D S DURR: Mr Chairman, there are times when I am quite proud to be a parliamentarian and such a time is now. Here we have a situation of the Auditor-General doing his job and a Minister baring his chest to us with all humility, and I would say he has done that. He has come here and he has said, look I am sorry about it.


My heart goes out to him because it cannot be an easy position to find oneself in. One inherits a job, one is doing one's best, one is well intended and suddenly one is landed with this kind of situation with the Auditor-General. Our hearts go out to him, and whatever I say here today is not meant to make life more uncomfortable for him than I know it already must be.


But we in a functioning Parliament also have a duty to the poor. He recognised that in the way he responded to the situation. It is not good enough for us to respond that it is because of the apartheid government, and that there are a lot of officials that were there before. I think the hon the Minister's speech would have been enriched if he had not said that. [Interjections.]


However, the fact is that we have now had three years of this backlog doubling each year. Our only interest here today is to see that this situation ends. We are not interested in recriminations. We are not really interested in apportioning blame, although one has to in order to correct what is wrong. What we are interested in is a speedy resumption of effective payments to those people that are poor.


The reason we say that, is that it is not only a question of people not getting money. The social consequences are immense. When people do not get paid, those people, particularly people with no reserves at all, or maybe reserves for a few days only, get thrown upon their families, who often cannot afford to do much for them. They are then thrown upon the churches and the community. There is a tendency for crime to escalate under those circumstances, in so far as crime can sometimes be driven by extreme poverty, which puts an additional strain upon the police and the security forces.


It certainly puts an additional strain upon the clinics and hospitals. People that are malnourished and poor tend to have a greater susceptibility to illness. So, the community as a whole, apart from the individuals themselves, bears the consequences of the inefficiencies that the Auditor-General has uncovered in the hon the Minister's department. However, I respect the way that he has reacted to the situation.


We as parliamentarians also have another duty. To some extent, what the Minister's department is doing is flouting our instruction and that of the executive, as confirmed by this Parliament. He has identified issues and Parliament has apportioned money for a particular purpose to reach particularly poor people. By not listening to that budgetary instruction, there is a degree of flouting the will of Parliament, and flouting, therefore, the democratic will of the people.


We do not want to leave an impression of hardheartedness. We know that there is a heart-rending need on the part of the poor. This kind of thing, although it brings discredit to Parliament and the executive, also brings an element of credit, because it shows that our system works. It is working in the sense that the Auditor-General has uncovered a situation, the hon the Minister has responded positively, we are debating it, he is going to put it right and we are going to make sure that he does put it right. Next year we are going to be here, and we are going to ask him how he has progressed, and then we will not be so kind to him as we are today.


So, we wish the hon the Minister well. We have to say that when this kind of thing happens, it does put stresses upon the churches, the charities and the NGOs that have to step in and take the responsibility that his department is not honouring by doing what it is supposed to do. Maybe if he looks around he can also have a heart for those people, and see how he can co-operate with them.


We wish him well and we hope this matter will be speedily resolved. [Applause.]


The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Orde! Miskien moet ek mnr Marais se aandag daarop vestig dat hy vandag slegs vyf minute tot sy beskikking het om hierdie Huis toe te spreek. [Gelag.] [Order! Perhaps I should direct Mr Marais' attention to the fact that today he only has five minutes in which to address this House. [Laughter.]]


Mr P J MARAIS: Mr Chairperson, I will respect that. First of all, I want to thank the hon the Minister for his complete honesty in explaining the problem. I think he is indeed a breath of fresh air. He did not come here to knock us down and say that we have no right to criticise him. In all humility he admitted the faults. I think he really is an asset to his party.


The NCOP should be used as a platform to build positive relationships between provinces, as well as between provinces and the central Government. Such relationships should be driven by a conflation of strategic and economic interests, and a coincidence of values relating to federalism and democracy.


Let us identify and promote our points of conflation of interests instead of using this House merely to highlight our points of conflict.


The Western Cape government has consistently objected at Minmec to the introduction of the IDT as an intermediary between the central Government and provincial governments. We have insisted on provinces being allowed to identify, evaluate and monitor their own projects for poverty alleviation. We have said we do not need an IDT. We have warned against time-wasting and bureaucratic bungling, but it all fell on deaf ears.


The previous Minister for Welfare and Population Development was so centrist in her thinking that she considered herself to have a monopoly on wisdom. Provinces are sometimes treated as though they are under the guardianship of some national Ministers. The time has come for provinces to be trusted as original centres of political power and not mere administrative extensions of national Ministers. [Interjections.]


Minmec should not be used as a tool to dilute provincial powers and whip provinces into line. We are not political spheres of inferior quality and competences. The current Minister's easy-going disposition has greatly contributed to a new era of co-operative governance between his department and the provinces. I think that the hon the Minister is a good listener. His predecessor could not claim such fame. [Interjections.]

The eradication of poverty should be a priority on the agenda of each Ministry and in each sphere of government. The main legacy we must leave behind is how effectively we dealt with poverty eradication and empowerment of people. According to the information at hand, 90% of the 1998-99 budget for poverty relief has now been allocated and only 10% is outstanding. But I wonder whether the IDT has paid over this money? This is merely money that has gone to them. What have they done with the 90%? I would like the hon the Minister to tell me, please.


This Government's policy goals are continuously being sabotaged by incompetency at administrative level. We spent too much time and effort talking, consulting and establishing forums, and too little real delivery is taking place. [Interjections.]


My appeal to the hon the Minister is to insist that each province establishes its own poverty desk under a line function ministry, that the money for poverty relief be made part of provincial budgets as a conditional grant, and that local authorities should be co-opted to serve on these poverty desks because they also have a great contribution to make in terms of urban renewal.

Provinces have far greater capacity to manage funds for poverty eradication than the IDT will ever have. It will also obviate unnecessary administrative costs. I want to ask the hon the Minister to lay down the necessary guidelines. I believe money should be allocated to provinces for maintaining and improving current housing stock. We are allowing our housing stock to go to the ghettos.


We need urban renewal programmes, we need training and financing of new small entrepreneurs, and we need monitoring of these projects at provincial level. We need to train and finance entrepreneurs and they, in turn, will create job opportunities. The present system whereby the state tries to finance community-driven projects fails, because the profit motive is absent.


We look to the hon the Minister to turbocharge the vehicle to attack poverty and to show greater confidence in the ability of provinces to help him lead the attack.


Lastly, I want to ask the hon the Minister please to amend the laws to do away with the means test in terms of which pensioners, when they get R500 pension, dare not have a side income or spare income because their pensions get taken away or are reduced. We have no right to tell pensioners R500 is their limit of income, and if they earn anything more than that, we shall reduce their pensions.


Mr M V MOOSA: Chairperson, on a point of order: There is a rule in the NCOP Rules, Rule 32, that says that during a debate in the Council no member may converse aloud. [Laughter.] I was wondering whether you wanted to make a ruling on this. [Laughter.]


Mr P J MARAIS: Chairperson, I am reminded of a rule: What can you learn from a fool? [Laughter.] [Applause.]


Mr P G QOKWENI: Deputy Chairperson, hon Minister and members, as I stand here to speak on the topic, I am tormented by the vivid pictures I have seen of the sorry plight of the victims of poverty, hunger and starvation across a wide spectrum of the community of South Africans, and in particular from one of the poorest of South Africa's provinces, namely the Eastern Cape. Towards the end of last year, some of us were engaged in an oversight tour in the rural environs of the province. At a meeting with one of the communities, although on a different topic, a respectable member of the community stood up - two of my colleagues who are here in this Chamber were present - and said the following:


Khanizijonge. Niyazibona nimbejembeje, niyayokozela, ninqukrile yintlutha! Ukuba niyaguquka nijonge kwaba bantu, niyababona ukuba babhalwe indlala netlupheko apha ebusweni babo. Ninento yokuthetha kamnandi xa nilapha phakathi kwethu, kodwa nithi nje ukuba ningene ezi-ofisini zenu nijike nenze enye into. (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)


[Look at yourselves. You see, you are bright and healthy, you have put on weight because you are well-to-do now! If you turn and look at these people, you can see that their lean faces demonstrate poverty, hunger and privation. You tend to speak nicely when you are in our midst, but once you are back in your offices you behave differently.]


We travelled a thousand and more kilometres on that tour from East London and Bisho to the banks of the Umzimkulu River and back, and we were exposed to the lasting vestiges of poverty. At that time the rivers had run dry, grazing land had been scorched, the cattle, sheep and goats had been emaciated, and the dusty mealie lands on which we drove our microbuses and other glamorous vehicles had given in to years and decades of having been without scientific revitalisation and rehabilitation.


With many of our families, the father is back at home due to job losses. After qualifying as university or college graduates, the sons and daughters stay at home because they cannot find jobs. These funds would therefore have been the main source of income for many deprived families.


It is now common knowledge that huge sums of money have not been spent. We cannot hope to redress the imbalances of the past and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor if we fail the poorest of the poor as we have done. We have all failed as managers who should have implemented the antipoverty project, and as the people whom the voters have charged with the oversight responsibilities as members of portfolio, select and standing committees all over the country.


I can only hope that, as the budgetary process on the finances for the ensuing years takes off, we shall discharge our mandates to alleviate poverty, rather than to make political gains out of the suffering of destitute people. The relevant parliamentary committees must now adopt a vigilant programme to ensure that the funds are utilised accordingly, that the department acts on the proper performance management and appraisal information, and that the department is capacitated in terms of personnel skills and the material resources needed at all levels to deliver, monitor and evaluate a more socially accountable Public Service to affirm the poor out of their deprivations, or else heads must roll. [Applause.]


Mr B J MKHALIPHI: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, firstly, I would like to applaud members of the opposition for honestly admitting today that our policy of transformation has benefited them, because if it was not for that, they would not be speaking so freely about transparency and accountability in the way they have spoken today.


Although we are in a sombre mood in this House today, we are reminded that all good things in life never come easily. As we said, transformation would not come easily. People were waiting and crying for water in Mpumalanga and the Northern Province when the drought was killing them, but instead of just water, they got floods and thunderstorms. In fact, they are now complaining about it, even though they do have water. It is the same where transformation is taking place and where we are seeing the fruits of transformation. Instead of delivering, the officials are always undecided, and are stagnating because of their fear that they will trip because they themselves did not undergo a transformation.


I would like to say that since time immemorial, it has been our stand as the ANC that any state assistance or intervention to help the needy should be handled in a structured manner with the aim of eradicating dependency through the involvement of the beneficiaries of that relief programme. When accounting for the success or otherwise of our assistance, we do not rely on the theoretical accounting of the expenditure only, but we have developed a more probing manner which involves examining the transparency, feasibility and effectiveness of the project.


Having a less focused manner of accounting for expenditure in the past led to the notorious project of erecting toilets in the veld being described as a very efficient exercise. It is remarkable that the saga of the toilets in the veld was unearthed by a commission of inquiry, and not a routine report by the Auditor-General.


The unspent portion of the fund allocation for the 1998-99 financial year is a very grave concern for all of us, especially the new Government, which prioritises programmes to assist the poor and the vulnerable. This state of affairs is totally uncalled for, and cannot be condoned at any rate. One therefore calls upon the hon the Minister to read the bible of the Public Service to bureaucrats in the Department of Welfare and simultaneously take urgent steps for the necessary capacity-building and mind-shift to occur in that department. We as public representatives should do our share of the spadework by assisting in enabling CBOs and NGOs to access the welfare assistance in conjunction with the people who need that relief. [Applause.]


The MINISTER FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, I think we should accept from the start that there has been a problem within the welfare system of this country and, more importantly, within the Department of Welfare itself.


We cannot attribute that, in so far as the poverty alleviation is concerned, to apartheid or anything else. The ANC takes responsibility. I repeat, the ANC takes the responsibility for the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the department.


In other words we are in no way trying to justify or make excuses for not delivering poverty relief to the people who need it most. We have come out openly and very clearly to say that the welfare system of this country is failing the poorest of the poor. After listening to the evaluation made by all the service providers, ie NGOs, churches and everybody, of the department and our welfare system in October last year, I became completely convinced that there is something radically wrong within the department and with the work that we are supposed to do.


I cannot go into details in answering some of the questions that have been put here, for instance, by Her Majesty the hon Loretta Jacobus. However, I understand there are guidelines in place, but from what I know, those guidelines are not as user-friendly as they are supposed to be. As hon members know, some of the services that we provide did not reach the clients that they were supposed to reach. As the hon member has said, I will be able to come back and answer the rest of the questions at a select committee meeting.


We are attending to the issues that members are asking about. The first is the issue of reorganising the department. We are auditing the department and the skills therein. We are hoping that the company that we have asked to do that for us will be able to finish its task and come up with an audit by the end of this month. In fact, I told them that I wanted to see it by the eighth, but unfortunately they have not been able to do that.


With regard to the question of the morality within the department, as I have said, an attitude of ``I don't care'' prevails in the whole department in general. Let me point out some of the things that I observed and for which I had to call people to order in October. People came to work at about nine o'clock and by 12 o'clock they were gone, and it was very hard to find them. At the beginning when they were not there I thought they had gone to the provinces to attend to other issues. Even worse, people came to work in shorts. I am not against such things, but they actually do not dress properly. They are not presentable.


Last year I had to harangue them about the fact that I had never seen such a situation as prevailed in the department. If we are doing that, as far as I am concerned, we will never be able to provide, as public servants, the better life for all that this Government has promised our people.


In so far as the question of the Public Service and its incompetence is concerned - I refer this to Mr Makoela - if one wants to see incompetence, one has only to come to the department one of these days and ask someone to do something for one, and one will see incompetence written on the faces of everyone there or at least of the majority. Before the new DG came in, things were bad to the extent that when I read the memoranda that had to go to Cabinet, I sometimes had to send them back two or three times or sometimes even withdrew them when I was already in a Cabinet meeting, simply because they did not represent the policy of this Government.


Since November, the new DG has been trying, literally alone, to do some of the work that is supposed to be done by the department.


These are examples of incompetence in general. Members know very well that it is very, very hard to dismiss a public servant in South Africa. I repeat: It is very, very hard to dismiss a public servant in South Africa. As former Minister for the Public Service and Administration I will tell this House one of these days about the problems and what the causes are. [Laughter.] With regard to what I am supposed to do and what I am doing, as I said, we are restructuring the department. We have instituted an audit. We are instituting disciplinary actions because one cannot simply dismiss a public servant. One must have grounds to do so. This is part of the ongoing process.


I have been to the Eastern Cape on more than one occasion. The premier and I are not satisfied with the way in which services in general are being given to the poor in that province. Rev Stofile was one of the first who, as early as July or August, pointed out to me there was a problem. There is a problem as far as the poverty relief programmes of the Department of Welfare are concerned, and he has been very concerned, as an individual, as a priest and as the premier of that province. He has been very concerned about the way in which these poverty funds have been distributed and the accountability of the people that receive them. Even when I spoke to him at eleven o'clock last night, he was trying to find out how he could lay his hands on this money so that he would be able to give it out himself in that province.


With regard to the question as to whether only 1% of the funds has been distributed, that is quite true. In fact, it is 0,6% or 0,8%. That is an utter failure. Really, it is worse than any other thing. I would have understood if it was 40%. When I was doing matric at school, people were always struggling to get 40% to pass. But 1% is unacceptable and unjustifiable.


As far as the question of the money from the Dutch government is concerned, 11% of it has been spent, and I think I might agree with the hon member. As early as August, September last year, I ordered the previous director-general to give me a report on this money. There are problems with regard to how it was used, even that 11%, hence the audit and the investigation in general. We want to find out what happened. I do not want to hide anything. We will talk to the Dutch and we will make it public.


Of course, in general, as the hon member said, I must carry the can, and I think I am carrying it, and it is not nice to carry the can for all this. It is quite obvious I would not ask the New NP to be quiet on this, as there is no justification whatsoever for this underspending. To the hon Mr Durr I wish to say I do not think that we are ascribing this failure to apartheid at all. As I have said, the ANC takes responsibility for this.


In so far as all the other issues that have been raised here are concerned, I think the steps that we have taken are quite clear.


I would now like to respond to Mr Marais. One of the things that I decided to do when I came into that department - I heard him talk about this also at the last meeting of the Minmec - was to devolve funds to provinces. I feel much better personally about this point. I do not have to account for everything. Mr Marais will have to account for it if I send the funds to him and to provinces.


In view of what the public felt, I gave an order a long time ago, but in the process, I had to find out from the IDT how much money they had. To be honest with members, in so far as the IDT is concerned, they did come to me to say that they were trying to help where they had been asked to do so. They had, from the beginning, attempted to set up a network in order to be able to distribute the funds to everybody. However, in the process of distribution, everything has not worked as well as they would have liked.


Secondly, when I started putting pressure on the officials, as the hon member correctly said, they wanted the IDT to just throw the money into the provinces. Ms Gwagwa, the head of the IDT, felt that she could not do that because she would not be able to account for it. That is a reality. I told her to do what she thought was best.


I have been talking to the officials for quite some time now about the fact that this money cannot just remain there because I foresaw the situation in which we are at the present moment. When I heard that there was an auditing process, I ordered them to give all the necessary information regarding these issues to the Auditor-General.


So, as far as I am concerned, all along since October, during the consultative process, we have been in consultation with civil society on the question of its participating in deciding the distribution of these funds to the different communities. At the beginning, most of them, with one exception, were not so sure about their participation because they did not want to be seen to be performing Government functions as such.


However, since just before the Auditor-General's report came out, I have been talking to church leaders to ask them to participate in the distribution of whatever funds are left over. I have met Bishop Dandala, who was representing the SA Council of Churches or SACC. I also have met Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. I have also met the Catholic Bishops Conference, Muslim religious organisations and Kagiso Trust.


More importantly, we have been working very closely with Sangoco to ensure that it participates in the whole process. They will come back to me after they have met the director-general and the top officials to come up with a plan in order to assist us with the distribution of this money, and to ensure that they are both able to account for the money and that it reaches the right people at the right time.


In other words, I want to say very clearly that we are not trying to hide anything in so far as these funds are concerned. We are going to keep Government, the Cabinet in general, and Parliament as a whole informed about how we use this money. There will be as much transparency as possible because I do not see what we would gain by hiding anything.


The more the funds are out of our hands the better for us. I think the department itself needs drastic action and it needs to change its way of thinking and working. More importantly, the oversight function of parliamentarians, of this House, needs to be exercised as far as the department is concerned. It is actually necessary, in view of the fact that the majority here come from the poorest of the poor, that members give more attention to the work that is being done by that department, and ensure that all those people who ought to receive or have access to the resources of the department do get this, specifically all children, the elderly and the disabled.


As far as the Eastern Cape is concerned, I have even been there to look at the infrastructure of the welfare departments in the Eastern Cape. I think members of this House who come from that area and the Northern Province should try to go and see how and where the people receive their grants. It is very disgraceful, very embarrassing. No wonder there is so much fraud. No wonder that people are robbed. People are getting their grants in an open veld. It is terribly, terribly embarrassing what happens in those two provinces and I think some are of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. There is a problem in the Northern Province and the Eastern Cape, but, together with my colleagues in the provinces, I think we can work as a team to correct whatever deficiencies exist.


We have no personal interest whatsoever - and I also doubt whether the national Government has any such interest - in taking over the functions and the powers of the provinces. Instead we want to empower and strengthen those provinces and we would like those provinces to work as closely as possible with their local governments so that the services that ought to be received by the majority of our people are received.


More care should be given to the weakest members of our society such as the elderly, children, the disabled and all other people. More needs to be done on the issue of Aids amongst ourselves and within our communities. [Applause.]


The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I believe it is very significant that we have had such a debate and I am pleased that the Minister could be here to participate in the debate.


The Minister has enjoined members that they should carry out their constitutional brief to assist the Government in ensuring that the people of South Africa receive the support that Government intends to provide. I think this is an important call to members and I hope that members of the NCOP will respond positively.


We have now concluded the discussion on this subject of public importance.


Debate concluded.






The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I would like, before adjourning the House, to remind those hon members who might not be aware of this, that I have had occasion to announce that the Secretary to the NCOP has tendered her resignation and will be leaving the NCOP at the end of March.


I had hoped that there would be occasion for members to indicate their words of support or congratulation to Miss Sparg. Unfortunately she is not able to be here this afternoon, as she was taken ill earlier today. However, given that I will not have an opportunity, I would like to say a few words which I hope will be conveyed to her.


In my view Miss Sparg has played a significant role in the shaping of the administration and management of the NCOP. Given the newness of the institution in 1997, it was left to her team, and herself, to find practical ways of defining an institution that would reflect the co-operative governance mandate of our institution.


It is a credit to Marion Sparg's ability that we have gone a long way in succeeding in this objective. One might mention in the last year a number of achievements that she has led: The organisation and development study of the institution, the various research projects that have been carried through on various aspects of the NCOP, the strengthening of the provincial and local government liaison unit, as well as the strengthening of the procedural services unit and the addition of a research arm to it.


I would also like to mention the excellent role she fully plays in much of the writing of the NCOP News, which many of us enjoy across the breadth of the country, our links with Salga, the support to MPs in their training and reception when they joined Parliament after the elections of 1999, and, most importantly in my view, the promotion of staff development. Members will be aware that our service officers' role has changed to a more important growth role, and we are now seeing staff who were primarily service officers and somewhat of messengers now beginning to play a role in administration as junior administrators, and we hope they will grow in that area.


Much of this is due to Marion Sparg, her senior colleagues, the presiding officers, the Chief Whip of the Council, and you, hon members. However, I believe she really has been the linchpin in giving expression to all these matters to which I have referred.


In my own personal capacity I would like to thank her for her contribution. I am, as I have said already, very sad that she is leaving, and I wish her well in whatever new role she is to take up.


You, hon members, will have the opportunity, when she is present, to express your views from the particular provinces that you represent. [Applause.]


The Council adjourned at 17:03.









National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:


1....... The Speaker and the Chairperson:

(1)..... Dr Z P Jordan has been elected chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee with effect from 1 March 2000.


(2)..... Mr M J Bhengu has been elected deputy chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee with effect from 1 March 2000.






National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:


1...... The Speaker and the Chairperson:


(1)..... The following Bills were introduced in the National Assembly on 6 March 2000 and referred to the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) for classification in terms of Joint Rule 160:



(i)...... Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Amendment Bill [B 11 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76(1)) - (Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government - National Assembly).


(ii)..... Road Accident Fund Commission Amendment Bill [B 12 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Transport - National Assembly) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 20962 of 6 March 2000.]


(2)..... The Joint Programme Committee on 29 February 2000 took a decision, in accordance with Joint Rule 216, that the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Amendment Bill [B 11 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76(1)) and the Tourism Amendment Bill [B 3 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76(1)) be fast-tracked.


In terms of Joint Rule 216(4) this decision must be tabled in both Houses for ratification.


National Council of Provinces:


1....... The Chairperson:

The following papers have been tabled and are now referred to the relevant committees as mentioned below:


(1)..... The following papers are referred to the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises for information:


(i)...... Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 25 - Public Enterprises for 1998-99 [RP 149-99].


(ii) Financial Statements of Vote 8 - Communications for 1998-99 [RP 131-99].


(2)..... The following papers are referred to the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development for information:


(i)...... Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 10 - Correctional Services for 1998-99 [RP 133-99].


(ii) Financial Statements of Vote 20 - Independent Complaints Directorate for 1998-99 [RP 144-99].

(3)..... The following paper is referred to the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons for information:


Financial Statements of Vote 2 - Deputy President and the National Youth Commission for 1998-99 [RP 127-99].


(4)..... The following paper is referred to the Select Committee on Local Government and Administration for information:


Financial Statements of Vote 27 - Public Service Commission for 1998-99 [RP 151-99].


(5)..... The following paper is referred to the Select Committee on Finance for information:


Financial Statements of Vote 7 - Central Statistical Service for 1998-99 [RP 157-99].


(6)..... The following paper is referred to the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs for information:


Financial Statements of Vote 13 - Environmental Affairs and Tourism for 1998-99 [RP 136-99].


(7)..... The following paper is referred to the Select Committee on Education and Recreation for information:


Financial Statements of Vote 32 - Sport and Recreation for 1998-99 [RP 155-99].


(8)..... The following paper is referred to the Select Committee on Public Services for information:


Financial Statements of Vote 18 - Housing for 1998-99 [RP 142-99].




National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:




1....... The Speaker and the Chairperson:


(1)..... Report and Financial Statements of the South African Human Rights Commission for 1998-99, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements.


Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development and the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs.


(2)..... Youth Manifesto for the Twenty-First Century adopted by the World Parliament of Children on 24 October 1999.


National Council of Provinces:


1....... The Minister of Housing:


Government Notice No 304 published in the Government Gazette No 20828 dated 21 January 2000, Call for nominations of persons to serve on the new National Home Builders Registration Council, made in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998 (Act No 95 of 1998).


Referred to the Select Committee on Public Services.






National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:


1...... The Speaker and the Chairperson:


(1)..... The following Bills were introduced in the National Assembly on 7 March 2000 and referred to the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) for classification in terms of Joint Rule 160:


(i)           Lotteries Amendment Bill [B 13 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry - National Assembly) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 20961 of 6 March 2000.]


(ii)..... South African Communications Regulatory Authority Bill [B 14 - 2000] ((National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Communications - National Assembly) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 20915 of 18 February 2000.]


(2)..... The Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) on 7 March 2000 in terms of Joint Rule 160(4), classified the following Bills as section 76 Bills:


(i)           National Land Transport Transition Bill [B 5 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76(2)) - (Select Committee on Public Services - National Council of Provinces).


(ii)..... Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Bill [B 11 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76(1)) - (Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government - National Assembly).

(3)..... The Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) on 7 March 2000 in terms of Joint Rule 160(3), classified the following Bills as section 75 Bills:


(i)           Financial Institutions (Investment of Funds) Bill [B 6 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Finance - National Assembly).


(ii)..... Nonprofit Organisations Amendment Bill [B 9 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Welfare and Population Development - National Assembly).


(iii).... Competition Amendment Bill [B 10 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry - National Assembly).


(iv).... Road Accident Fund Commission Amendment Bill [B 12 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Transport - National Assembly).


(v)          Lotteries Amendment Bill [B 13 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry - National Assembly).






National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:


1...... The Speaker and the Chairperson:


(1)..... On 2 March 2000 the National Council of Provinces agreed to the Land Affairs General Amendment Bill [B 64B - 99] (National Assembly - sec 75), subject to proposed amendments. (See also Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports, p 140.) The Bill and proposed amendments were thereupon, in terms of Rule 270 of the National Assembly, referred to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs for consideration and report.


(2)..... The following paper was tabled on 6 March 2000 and is now referred to the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons:


Youth Manifesto for the Twenty-First Century adopted by the World Parliament of Children on 24 October 1999.




National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:




1....... The Minister for Provincial and Local Government:


Wysigingswetsontwerp op die Besoldiging van Openbare Ampsbekleërs [W 11 - 2000]


The Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Bill [B 11 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76(1)) was introduced by the Minister for Provincial and Local Government on 6 March 2000 and referred to the Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government.




1....... The Minister of Trade and Industry:


(1)..... Reports of the Board of Tariffs and Trade on the -


(a)..... Reinstatement of the duty on engine valves, Report No 3866;


(b)..... Reduction in the rate of duty on vitamins used in animal feed, Report No 3868;


(c)..... Withdrawal of provisions under rebate items 313.01.39.16/01.00, 313.01/39.17/01.00 and 313.01/5906.99/01.01.06, Report No 3869;


(d)..... Reduction in the rate of duty on various rubber chemicals, Report No 3871;


(e)..... Withdrawal of the provisions under certain rebate items, Report No 3872.

Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and the Select Committee on Economic Affairs.


2....... The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development:


Proclamation No R.2 published in the Government Gazette No 20826 dated 21 January 2000, Commencement of sections 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 of the Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act No 114 of 1998).


Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development and the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs.




National Council of Provinces:


1....... The Chairperson, as Chairperson of the Rules Committee of the National Council of Provinces, presents the First Report of the Rules Committee of the National Council of Provinces, dated 8 March 2000, as follows:


The Rules Committee of the National Council of Provinces, having considered proposals for the amendment of the Rules of the National Council of Provinces, recommends the following amendments to the Rules:


1.       Rule 118: Functions and Powers


          To amend Rule 118(1)(e) by the addition of the words underlined:


          118. (1) The Rules Committee may -


            (e) lay down guidelines, issue directives, and formulate regulations regarding any aspect of policy referred to in this Rule.


2.       Rule 119: "Control and management of administration"


          To amend the heading to "Implementation of policy"


          To amend rule 119(1) by the addition of the words indicated and the deletion of the words in bold brackets:


119.   The responsibility for the [the control and management of all matters relating to the administration of the Council] implementation of policy determined by the Rules Committee vests in the Chairperson of the Council, subject to the decisions of the Rules Committee and resolutions of the Council.


3.       Rule 121: Subcommittees


Insert a new subrule 121(5), as follows:


(5) A subcommitee of the Rules Committee may not issue directives relating to any aspect of the control and management of the administration of the Council.







8 March 2000


Report to be considered.


2....... Report of the Select Committee on Finance on the Financial Services Board Amendment Bill [B 62B - 99] (National Assembly - sec 75), dated 8 March 2000:


The Select Committee on Finance, having considered the subject of the Financial Services Board Amendment Bill [B 62B - 99] (National Assembly - sec 75), referred to it and classified by the JTM as a section 75 Bill, reports that it has agreed to the Bill.


3....... Report of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs on the Tourism Amendment Bill [B 3 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76), dated 8 March 2000:


The Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, having considered the subject of the Tourism Amendment Bill [B 3 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76), referred to it and classified by the JTM as a section 76 Bill, reports the Bill without amendment.






National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:


1....... The Speaker and the Chairperson:


(1)..... The following changes have been made to the membership of Committees, viz:


Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Women:


Discharged: Tshivhase, T J.




National Council of Provinces:


1....... Report of the Select Committee on Social Services on the Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, dated 8 March 2000:


The Select Committee on Social Services, having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, referred to it, recommends that the Council, in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution, approve the said Convention.


Report to be considered.




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