Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 14 Jun 2023
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 14 JUNE 2023
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 15:00.
Acting Chairperson Mr Q R Dyantyi took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
USIHLALO WENDLU OBAMBELEYO (Mnu Q R Dyantyi): Eli lixesha lenzolo nomthandazo.
Dankie. Neem julle sitplekke, asseblief.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon members, before we proceed with today’s business, I wish to announce that the vacancy which occurred in the National Assembly owing to the
resignation of Ms N Tafeni has been filled with the nomination of Ms N Makamba-Botya with effect from 6 June 2023. The member has made and subscribed the oath in the Deputy Speaker’s office. I welcome you, hon member. I hope she is here.
Thank you. You are welcome.
The first item on today’s Order Paper is questions addressed to Ministers in Cluster 1, Peace and Security. There are four supplementary questions on each question. Parties have given an indication on which question their members wish to pose a supplementary question. Adequate notice was given to parties for this purpose. This was done to facilitate the participation of members who are connecting to the sitting through the virtual platform. The members who will pose supplementary questions will be recognised by the presiding officer. In allocating opportunities for supplementary questions, the principle of fairness, amongst others has been applied. If a member who is supposed to ask a supplementary question ... Hon ma Khawula, please take your seat. If a member who is supposed to ask a supplementary question through the virtual platform is unable to do so due to technical difficulties, the party Whip on duty will be allowed to ask the question on behalf of their member. When all the supplementary questions have been answered by the executive, we will proceed to the next question on the Question Paper.
The first question has been asked by the hon M G Hendricks to the Minister of Police. I now recognise the hon Minister.
QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS CLUSTER 1 – PEACE AND SECURITY
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, the management of the SA Police Service, the SAPS, in the Western Cape province has established a multidisciplinary extortion priority committee which compromises of internal and external stakeholders. This committee addresses various ... [Inaudible.] ... of extortion in the province, including, inter alia extortion affecting the construction and business sectors, both formal and informal.
The focus of this committee, through its integrated task team, includes prevention initiatives, eg: awareness campaigns. It encourages reporting by means of an extortion hotline and focussed investigations, with dedicated prosecution capacity and guidance from the National Prosecuting Authority.
Informal businesses such as spaza shops are addressed through integrated interventions and operations between the SAPS and the various stakeholders via the extortion priority committee. Detailed information that is made public with regard to the SAPS’ operations and deployment of human and material resources or with respect to any area of operational strategy and tactics that may pose a threat to the safety and security of infrastructure and personnel as well as the operational strategy and further details, can therefore not be provided for the sake of the safety of these operations. Thank you very much.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon Minister, the DA-run Western Cape province and the City of Cape Town has a struggling law enforcement department that is unable to deal with the handful of extortionists that are holding them to ransom. Can the money for the road project which the DA-run municipality halted because they fear the mafia has been returned to the Treasury be given to the army to complete the much-needed road projects, as under the DA-run province and City of Cape Town it's not safe to do so, and will the Minister agree that to put the police under their control will only make matters worse?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, the SAPS is a national entity. We use the national approach when we do policing in all prevention, combatting, including investigations. We don’t necessarily work on the understanding that we are provincial entities. We are not. Therefore, to us the Western Cape is policed like any other province.
However, one can just add that there has been very good co- operation when it comes to this extortion ... is the province where almost all levels have met. I have met the premier of this province on this matter and the office of the premier is represented in this multidisciplinary ... The province ... the municipality is also represented; almost everybody. So much extra resources, both national and provincial, have been put on this matter. So, we are quite happy and I think it one area where we are very co-operative at all three levels of government. Thanks.
Mr A M SEABI: Hon Minister, extortion has become a prevalent phenomenon ... [Inaudible.] ... in the construction sector and it’s not limited to the Cape Flats but throughout the country.
How is your department thinking it will to deal with this issue of the ... [Inaudible] ... and extortion in other parts of the country, which tends to have a crippling effect, especially on small businesses ... [Inaudible.] ... the City of Tshwane as an example? Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Indeed, Chairperson, this scourge is not just in the Western Cape. Although it is prevalent in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, it is part of the problem in different provinces. That’s the reason that a highly decorated brigadier has been made the head of a special unit that deals with infrastructure.
Eighteen of those units in different districts in the country have been established and there has already been a response by the police. A total of 42 leaders of these cartels have been arrested. We are very happy that even the courts are beginning to take this very seriously. One of those people has been given 15 years, and a notorious one, a guy called Khekhe from Mamelodi who will be known by many people here, has been arrested and has been put there for some time now. So, we are making movements. Yes, it’s difficult but it’s a matter that we as the SAPS and other agencies are taking very seriously.
Maj Gen O S TERBLANCHE: Hon Minister, the SAPS’ apparent inability or reluctance to get to grips with this evil in the construction industry has forced the Western Cape government to spend approximately R30 million to ensure the safety of its citizens. Minister, how many criminal cases have been opened and how many arrests have been made? If not, why not, and what are the relevant details? Thank you, Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, the hon member just repeated what I’ve said, that this is one province where we are working very well when it comes to this question of extortion, with all levels of government putting in resources. Well, I knew they had put in resources. I didn’t know that they had put in R30 million. That R30 million that they have put in is a drop in the ocean vis-à-vis the money we have put here nationally.
This province is the only province in the Republic of South Africa where we have created an operation called Operation Thunder, where for the last 24 months we have been sending almost 200 police ... that don’t belong to this province, to do policing in this province. It’s a province that created the first Antigang Unit. It’s the province where we have sent extra cars at extra cost. For instance, all those 200 police
... that we have sent here are put in hotels because they come
from different areas. So, that R30 million is really a drop in the ocean. However, you are just enhancing the statement I made that we are working together at all levels. Thanks, Chair.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Hon Minister, it is very concerning to hear that criminal extortion rackets have been delaying housing projects and targeting spaza shops, and that government interventions have so far not produced the desired results. As is widely known, most people involved in extortions are affiliated to gangs, we wonder why government does not crush these gangs and make gang membership illegal. The ACDP believes that such steps would drastically reduce the number of gangs that are terrorising people and negatively affecting the country’s economy.
What I want to know, hon Minister, is what will government do to convince members of the public that if they come forward to report and expose these gangs, that are known and that are conducting criminal extortion rackets, that they will then be given protection by government from these dangerous gangsters. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Again, Chairperson, I did say that the way that government is taking this matter seriously, together with the SAPS and other agencies, is by bringing in a highly decorated member of the SAPS, Brig Mashamba, who as we speak now is running 18 of the specialised units that are dealing with infrastructure issues in the Republic of South Africa.
There are 18 units deployed in those identified districts to deal with this matter.
I have said that out of those people, there are 42 people that are leading these cartels who have been arrested and I even said that one of them has been given 15 years. So, we are happy to say that even the courts are beginning to take the matter seriously. I even said that one of the notorious ones, a man called Khekhe ... If you go to Mamelodi, they will tell you who Khekhe is. He has been put there for almost two years. One of them who comes from the lower south of KwaZulu-Natal has been put in for 15 life sentences. He is part of those gangs. Yes, we are not there yet but we are moving towards ... direction and we are working together with all other structures.
In terms of the protection of witnesses which has been raised time and again, maybe the Minister of Correctional Services
will answer more on that because that programme falls under Justice. It does not fall under the Police. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you, House Chair. Since 01 April 2023, the Border Management Authority had managed to successfully integrate about 1 864 staff members from the four government departments into the authority. The following represented the four integrated functions and departments which previously perform those functions. First, the port emigration function which was previously performed by Home Affairs, secondly, port health function which was previously performed by Health; thirdly, environmental biosecurity and sitehhhhh previously performed by the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment; and fourthly, the agriculture biosecurity which was previously performed by the Department of Agriculture, Land and Rural Development.
Additional to the 1 864 integrated staff members, the Border Management Authority, BMA, has recruited over 221 border guards which have been deployed to the eight of the 10 segments of the country’s vulnerable parts of the border line. At this point 40 are deployed at Beit Bridge to deal with illegal migration movements and movements of illicit goods.
Twenty-two were deployed at Giriyondo in the Kruger National Park to help cross border poaching. Thirty-nine were deployed at Lebombo port of entry with various forms of smuggling.
Thirty-three were deployed at Oshoek Border Post to deal with stock theft. Thirty-three were deployed in northern KwaZlu- Natal in Kosi Bay to deal with smuggling and stealing of vehicles to Mozambique. Thirty-three were deployed at Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg Bridge port of entry to deal with illegal migration. The last 221 were deployed at KwaZulu-Natal-Lesotho border and Eastern Cape-Lesotho border to deal with stock theft and sometimes smuggling of the green herb. As for the Northern Cape-Namibia and North West-Botswana, the BMA has not as yet deployed anyone because those segments are not problematic.
Since the deployment of the border guards, we were able to intercept 35 944 who were coming into the country illegally. Further, border guards were able to detect 139 stolen vehicles which were intended to cross the border illegally. Further, about 95 000 undesirable persons were stopped from entering South Africa illegally. In Jully 2022, the border guards arrested about 1 651 for breaking various border laws. At this point the BMA BC is finalising administrative recruitment of
400 border guards.
The integration of services into BMA has played role in addressing the operational fragmentation at the border envitornmt on land and sea. After the integration of the four different functions in the BMA the authority has managed to relieve government departments at their work at the ports of entry. As a results port officials are now employees of BMA, wearing one single corporate uniform and performing all the four different functions. Since its establishment the BMA has managed to integrate the various standard operating procedures at the ports of entry. This new development has reduced delays in processing both goods and people at the ports of entry and as a results BMA has contributed to the reduction of long standing queues for both people and trucks at the ports of entry. This is evidence by the successful management of the two key festive periods of December 2022 and the Easter of 2023 which had no interruptions and as you noticed there were no backlogs.
Further, the BMA leadership takes a lot of time engaging with multiple stakeholders including truck associations and trucking companies and the traffic law enforcement structures in respective provinces to improve traffic corridor management. Thak you.
Ms M A MOLEKWA: Thank you very much for the response, Minister. Hon Minister, the successes registered in this short space of time since the establishment of BMA is highly appreciated and will further strengthen government’s response to cross border crimes and illegal migration. Given the fact that BMA is still at its infancy stage, what is the assessment with regard to the level of the co-ordination of all stakeholders and entities involved in border management outlined in the border Management Authority Act?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you, Chair. As I have already said that the fact that there is BMA and co-ordination means even before doing the work we talk to various stakeholders like trucking companies, we discussed with them that it is Good Friday, it is going to be congested, and don’t just send all your trucks there. There is an arrangement of how many must go at one particular time. We start discussions with the trucking companies. I must tell you that they are very co-operative because it helps them. Unlike in the past where there was no BMA they just flood there and clog.
If you remember two years ago, we called in a moving truck from the Defence Force to move them from the road where they were fighting for space. That is past history. It no longer
happens and that is why members of the portfolio committee no longer go to the borders as they used to. If they go they are just going to enjoy themselves, and not to do any serious oversight like in the past. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, Minister. When you respond speak through the Chair and don’t look at the portfolio committee members in the House.
Mr W M THRING: Thank you, Chair. Hon Minister, yesterday we debated the joint oversight report with regard to illegal mining in South Africa where we found that the report indicated how precious minerals mined illegally largely by foreign nationals leave our shores at a great cost of the social fabric of our communities. Many of the communities in the vicinities of illegal mining have endured a number of criminal activities like rapes, shootings, killings and such like. Minister, which measures have been implemented to establish stronger co-ordinations and information sharing mechanisms amongst the various border control agencies such as customs, immigration and law enforcement which include the use of advanced technologies such as drones which our president, the president of the ACDP has recommended, and what successes if any have been achieved? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you. That’s exactly what I have just said. The Border Management Authority integrates all those. They meet all the times. They are not just there to be physically at the borders. They have meetings with the SA Revenue Service, Sars, because we have the memorandum of understanding with them. We have a memorandum of understanding with the Police and we have a memorandum of understanding with the army. The issue of drones, I hope you are not saying that the president of your organisation is the one who came up with the concept of drones. I hope you are not saying so. Yes, it is part of the agenda of what must happen at the borders.
Last month, I announced during the budget speech that the Treasury has given us a go ahead for the massive infrastructural injection at the six ports of entry to also help facilitate the Africa-Continental Free Trade Area. One of the issues that is going to happen is technology. We can’t work using border guards only because we only have few, but the technology of drones. But I was just emphasising that the idea didn’t come with the president of the ACDP. It had been in the pipeline all the time.
When we go out with requests for proposals, we would be asking companies to provide that technology as part of rebuilding the
borders. We are hoping that by the end of July we will have come out publicly with that request for proposals because we are working on it. As I am speaking, we are meeting the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, that is the body that is helping us. I think the meeting was yesterday or today to meet with them to arrange how we go out into the public to issue request for proposals. Thank you very much.
Mr F J MULDER: Thank you, hon House chair. Quickly, hon Minister and the House, specifically in which way do the lack in technology and financial resources restrict the effective functioning of the newly established Border Management Authority. Thank you, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): You did not hear it, Minister? May kindly repeat it, hon Mulder.
Mr F J MULDER: Thank you, hon Chair, and I will do so. My question to the hon Minister is, in which way specifically do the lack of technology and financial resources restrict the effective functioning of the newly established Border Management Authority? Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: No, in a big way. Remember the
200 border guards, even the 400 that we are recruiting, is a droplet in the ocean. We need more than that. But remember at the moment, because of that we are not deploying any border guards at the sea or at the airports. We have just integrated BMA there.
I have already told you that at the two segments, the segment between South Africa and Namibia and the segment between Botswana and South Africa, these are the biggest segments and is not a single boarder gate. We did so because we have fewer problems there. We realised that especially at Beit Bridge now that people know it is not easy to enter there illegally, they are going through Botswana. The segment between us and Botswana is 1 500 km out of the 4 772 km of the land border line. So, if 1 500 km is not guarded, that’s a problem.
Namibia is the second biggest at 950 km and we have nothing there. But we are comfortable because we don’t have a lot of problems there and because of financial resources.
The issue of technology is obvious all over the world. Modern tachylogias like drones, cameras and all that help instances of smuggling and people stealing especially life stock. The
life stock between us and Lesotho is a very serious matter. We believe drones are going to help us detect such movements.
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: Thanks very much, House Chairperson. Minister, now you put a lot of emphasis on drones technology but the fact of the matter is that the BMA will not have the billions required to make it fully operational. And they also reported to our portfolio committee that they don’t have the billions to purchase the drone technology. The biggest problem at our borders is the fact that corruption is endemic, and the BMA is not going to fix that.
Currently, we know that officials are taking bribes to allow people enter illegally into our borders. When you engage with some of those individuals they will tell you that it costs
R3 000 or R4 000 to enter the border illegally even without a passport. What is your deportment doing specifically to clamp down corruption at our borders, and maybe you can also tell us what are you planning to do? You have just spoken about investment in infrastructure but clearly you are sitting up the BMA for failure if there is no physical infrastructure in our borders. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: But I have never said ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): I have not recognised you yet.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: But I never said there is going to be no infrastructure. The problem we are having which you cannot run away from, and as you remember the issues with fences, etc, is that our host at the land borders was the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and we never succeeded in that regard. It is different from at the airports where our hoist is the Airports Company South Africa, Acsa. We have never gone to the airports and find any infrastructural problems in any airport in the country, or dirty toilets or the airport having no water. They have a very good host. If you go to the seaports the host was Transnet Port Authority.
Also, there had no problems.
Now that there is BMA in terms of the Act, the infrastructure is no longer going to be done by the Department of Public
Works and Infrastructure officers’ branch. It is going to be done by BMA itself. Even this process of request for proposals which I have spoken about is going to be done by them. We are bringing the private sector because we don’t have money.
Remember, this matter was discussed more than eight years. Many of the companies that are using our borders especially the trucking companies are saying even if the private sector builds there and charge them R1 000 for every truck that passes through, they will pay it very gladly because they say it is better than waiting there for 72 hours when you are doing business. They are prepared to pay. All what is left is to bring them in and say, please bring technology, bring drones and all that.
For instance, one of the simplest technology which embarrasses me for not having it is a drive though X-Ray. Many modern destinations don’t have to search trucks. It drives through an X-Ray machine where you can see everything. In fact, while we are still talking about that we realised that we are even behind because X-Ray machine is now obsolete. They are using Gamma rays. Gamma rays can see even alcohol. It can see cash, even a paper money. It can see everything that ... [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF POLICE: The SA Police Service, SAPS is a key partner in the Child Protection and Advocacy of Children’s Rights and is a member of the National Childcare and Protection Forum, which is led by the national Department of Social Development. Through collaborative partnership involving the SAPS, the Department of Social Development, other key government departments as well as civil society, awareness campaigns are conducted in communities to teach children about how to build resilience to crime and violence and from becoming victims of offenders of crime and working with agencies.
Topics include amongst others, substance abuse, bullying, teenage pregnancy, abuse and exploitation. During the awareness raising programmes, children are taught how to report crime and violence using the SAPS crime reporting contact numbers. Parents are also sensitised not to expose children to harmful acts as behaviour in line with the provisions of the Children Act, Act 38 of 2005.
The SAPS plays an important role in supporting school in achieving the of maintaining safety in the ... [Interjections]
... environment. [Inaudible] ... to partnership with the
Department of Basic Education with the main aim of promoting safer schools, and preventing the involvement of young people in crime and to render a school-based crime prevention service that is preventative, proactive and characterised by development and implementation of intervention that would deter potential offenders and empower potential victims and past victims.
Furthermore, the SAPS developed a school safety programme through which crime prevention and awareness campaigns are conducted in schools by dedicated station school safety officers. Schools are visited and learners are engaged on various topics, such as bullying, substance abuse, carrying of dangerous weapons to schools, sexual offences, gangsterism, etc. Most of the topics and interventions are customised according to the challenges encountered by individual schools in particular communities. Thank you very much Chair.
Ms N P PEACOCK: Thank you for the comprehensive response by the Minister. There are high levels of violence taking place in schools. Has an impact assessment been done on the effectiveness of the school safety programme? If so, what were the findings and how can things be improved? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, police are not working alone on this. They work with sister departments and indeed they are leading sister departments. Department of Basic Education will be, we are not going to take over them.
Department of Social Development does. Indeed, there are research that have been made and the police respond according to those from particular and different areas. Maybe the approach that has been raised on this answer to say that they are customised and localised, they come from that understanding of those research that have been made, and we respond accordingly.
But the other one Chairperson that would be worked closely with will be the local government, especially working around environmental design around the schools. You will find that there is a high vegetation, there is darkness, there are no streets, there is no keeping of cleanliness around the parks which encourages criminality. So, we do work with those and all departments to try to achieve the safety of our kids at the different schools. Thank you.
Ms N I TARABELLA-MARCHESI: Hon Minister, international studies have repeatedly shown the benefits of early childhood intervention to break the cycle of crime and violence. While
the interventions you listed are welcome, I fear that the question was not adequately answered. While children are taught to report crime and violence, does this include assurance that they know that their mothers will not get in trouble when they report domestic violence or rape?
Furthermore, does this include basic skills to understand the criminal justice system especially related to gender-based violence and femicide?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I know that I must wait before you call me.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Go ahead Minister.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson the hon member is correct. In February last year, the government of the Republic of South Africa passed the document called Integrated Prevention of Serious Crimes. That document puts the fighting of crime across the government rather than the police and the agencies. There are six pillars, one of the pillars there is an early intervention. That early intervention will be done by all other departments led by Basic Education, Social Development, and others. It is very true that the earlier the intervention is made, the outcomes will be better.
Indeed, Chairperson you are not going to fight crime when you go to Hanover Park here in the Cape Flats in the Cape flats to have a meeting at 11 on a Tuesday, and you that there are more schoolkids than the parents. Those kids are a pool of recruitment for gangsters and all that. So, it is important that, not just teachers, not just police but parents that must also look at that kids are at school. That is the part of intervention and the part of things that we say when we have outreach programmes with the communities. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): The third opportunity goes to hon A M Khoza.
Mr A V KHOZA: Chair, it is A V, Abednigo Vusumuzi Khoza.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): My apology, that is how they wrote it here ...
... ungabethi mna.
Mr A V KHOZA: They must correct it.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Go ahead.
Mr A V KHOZA: Minister, our children know about crime. They’ve been exposed and socialised into crime by the failure of the state to provide a secure environment in which they can grow. Now, this failure way of providing a safe environment for them to grow in, even after cases of rape have been reported is a problem. Now the question is: What intervention have you made working with the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services to ensure that once children have reported cases or women for that matter, when the perpetrators are given bail they are forbidden from going back to home to stay with the same victims?
I believe that if we were to intervene at that level and make sure that the perpetrators do not go back to the same space with the children and the women they abused, that will increase the number of cases that end up being withdrawn because of the secondary victimisation. The perpetrator is here, you must go and testify against this perpetrator in court.
UNGQONGQOSHE WAMAPHOYISA: Hhayi, siyabonga Mkhathini.
The area that you are entering, firstly is justice as you say. But the main portion of it is a social development that, when people they get this bail, indeed we must be able to follow them but not victims the survivors, including the kids must be taken care of by the Department of Social Development by removing them. Sometimes these perpetrators and most of them are known to these children. They are talking about them. They are uncles, they are fathers.
In one of the townships here in the Western Cape we arrested a 46-year-old father who has raped his own child that is six years or four years old. Which means he started this at two years. So once the police arrest that, the child herself must be removed from that environment. Indeed, that is the first point that I raised that, we are part of that overall prevention and overall working together with Department of Social Development. We do sit in that body as the police to be able to exchange the information that we do have survivors and victims, that need the Social Development to be taken care of rather than the police.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Minister as you have said, with regards to the challenges of load shedding on what you are speaking of that many kids would be raped by their families’, uncles and
so forth and electricity will go off for more than a day or for more than four hours of which then they are subjected to that. On the 14th of April 2023, new directives in terms of the Domestic Violence Act of 2021 commenced. One of the amendments provides more authority to adults to suspect a child is exposed to violence and criminalises the failure to report domestic violence in South Africa.
Considering this, I would like to know whether in your department has there been any significant shift in the prosecution of reported cases relating to domestic violence in households where children are present. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, indeed load shedding has really contributed in crime generally not necessarily on domestic violence. But hon Majozi, the last figures of 10 000 women and children abused in South Africa in three months, 64% of them are abused in their own houses by the people that are supposed to be protecting them. The question is: What do we do with that? I must admit, I can’t quantify how much and how many we have responded to on that one. But the withdrawal of cases is a huge problem when the victims are under pressure from their very same families. When the families say ...
... usithela ngehlazo la ekhaya. Asikwazi ukuhlala nomalume, hamba uyocisha icala nakho konke lokho.
I agree with you, we need maybe to add a column to register those because those parents those relatives need to be arrested when they put pressure on the victims to go. Yes, they are, but quantifying what may be one will have to find that and send that to you exactly how many according to the new passed law, the quantification of those numbers. But indeed, maybe it goes also to what was raised by the hon Khoza when it comes to the state. The family on this matter is one big phenomenon that we will have to bring families on board to deal with matter with the scourge of abuse and rape. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon
Chairperson, our previous statements on the issues of the ship Lady R, still stands. We reiterate that, that which was ordered by the Department of Defence was received in December 2022. We also want to point out, the Defence Intelligence is an integral part of Defence, and Defence was expecting a
consignment which they had ordered during 2018 which was then delayed due to covid and the non-trafficking weather air wise or in the seas of any transport form that, that one could not then deliberately ... the hon Kohler Barnard singled out Defence Intelligence as having been distracted or not instructed or authorizing, or not authorizing.
Fact of the matter is that Defence was expecting a consignment, and the consignment was then delivered. I want to say that the President has also announced and established the judiciary inquiry into this matter and I'm hoping that all of us who have been invited are ready to go and participate there, including the Defence Intelligence and any other South African. We will do so and might even get some closure at that point. Thank you, Chairperson.
Ms D KOHLER: Minister, Defence Intelligence which of course costs taxpayers a small fortune. You don't seem to be certain whether or not they knew that there was a Russian ship docking in Simonstown to unload or offload whatever it was, container loads of something despite you initially saying there was ... [Inaudible.] ... you're now saying there was a consignment, so I'm not sure which of your story I am supposed to believe because it was then on its way back to Russia. Are you
claiming then they loaded nothing on board because docking at that port and it was a port without container cranes which had to be trucked in loading in the dark of night, guarded by non- uniformed personnel with military standard automatic weapons all seen by civilians, the world is asking whether or not we are supplying or acting as a conduit, as an arms conduit from Russia to extend its invasion of Ukraine?
Defence Intelligence are paid to know this sort of information. And if they didn't know, one has to ask why we're paying them. And if they did and they told you, what did you? do about it? You seemed to initially think there was nothing in this story at all. Now you've changed what you're telling us. So, tell us, did you know what was on that ship and did you know it was being onloaded to go to Russia?
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon
Chairperson, I'm not changing any story. We have said that the defence ordered equipment and we said that equipment arrived. I am reiterating the fact that the Defence Intelligence is an integral part of the Defence.
Of course, Defence Intelligence would know exactly what Defence had ordered, because that consignment would have been
paid for hon Kohler Barnard, through the strategic defence account which is under the watch of the Defence Intelligence.
It is interesting that the hon Kohler Barnard brings by the back door a discussion that says South Africa violated, we can assure you and the rest of South Africa that all those members of the Defence Force did not load anything. They offloaded a consignment that had been ordered in 2018, which, by the way, was expected, which had gone through all the right channels to be where it was.
Now, for the hon member to suggest that I am changing a story is something which I think is not right. I'm going to invite the hon Kohler Barnard to avail herself to maybe go and present to that inquiry where I am falsifying or where any of us in the family of Defence is putting anything or changing any story. It is quite clear Defence did not load, Defence awaited and collected what it had awaited and had actually paid a deposit on. Thank you, Chairperson.
Ms T I LEGWASE: Minister, Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C, letter is suggesting that South Africa must not be the host of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, summit. The allegations contained in the letter is that
the government is supplying Russia with arms. They also question the military exercises conducted with Russia and China.
Minister, as you have already indicated that nothing was loaded into the Lady R, what steps will you take to demystify the United States narrative to dictate terms on our government in general and the military in particular? Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon
Chairperson, propaganda is propaganda whether it is internal in any country, or it is across the world. We stand by our statement. We did not load anything destined for any other. We want to say that the catch and the disciplining whip that is used against South Africa, of course is AGOA.
But we are also saying that we have taken steps not only to continue with our relationship between the Defence and the Secretariat of Defence with the United States of America, but to continue with our relationships across the world with all the partners that we have.
We reiterate that we did not break any sanctions. We do not have to break any sanctions, but we are also very happy that the inquiry might actually help us determine whether or not any company in South Africa has gone against the provisions of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, NCACC.
Hon Kohler Barnard, has been long in Parliament, she will remember also that there is included in that Act, very strict guidance about the end user certificates. So, we will be interested too as S Africans to know whether any person using our systems has done anything wrong. But we can assure you that as government and as the Department of Defence, we have not done anything wrong.
Mr W T I MAFANYA: Minister, the docking of Lady R at Simonstown comes as no surprise for most South Africans. The naval ships from Russia, United States, China or any other country come to South Africa for joint military exercises and we appreciate them as we are able to weigh our capabilities against that background.
Although the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and some parts of the country exposed a significant intelligence failure to anticipate, prevent and disrupt the violence. Is
the Defence Intelligence effectively functional or does it suffer the same fate of financial constraints like the rest of entities of the South African National Defence Force? If not, why is the state unable to determine right here and now that arms were not loaded on the ship, why does it need a commission to determine what your department should be able to give answers to?
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon Chair, I
would agree with hon Mafanya, we do not need a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to tell us what we know or what we don't know. But it is important when a matter like this is raised, to take everybody on board and to be able to have people who are outside the system who can listen, who can investigate and can come out without fear or favour on any of us and tell things as they are.
Now, Defence Intelligence as it is structured right now, is poised to not collect internally. It is not their job to collect internally, that job they are doing, that job they should be able to alert us of what is happening outside our borders and how it affected this country.
We must also say that it is important for us when we want to curry favour as different parties and, as in fact we have other people to also not forget that soldiers will not sometimes be party to the political relationships that we do party to party, government to government.
They do soldiery, they do their relationships, they need to interact with one another and we will not stand in the way of the South African National Defence force to interact with the West or to communist or the former communist whenever it suits us and is in the best interest of South Africa.
We want to reiterate that no amount of name calling accusations will make us lie to the public and say we did something we did not do. We did not do anything wrong as South Africa. We ordered, we got the consignment, we are paying for that consignment. We will continue to look out for what is in the best interest of our country, irrespective of whatever.
We will also continue to service the relationships we have with all other partners, whether they are at war with one another or not. We are on record across the world, every time we wake up, we will say it. We will keep dialogue, we will preach mediation, we will preach negotiations to make sure
that there is a peaceful resolution of this matter on the table.
Ink R N CEBEKHULU: Hon Chair, maybe one would have to ask the Minister, since the biggest challenge that our country is facing with regard to relations with other countries and the fact that our country said that it won't sell or buy whatever equipment from countries where there are embargoes, what is the Ministry’s position as far as that is concerned? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Chairperson,
Defence is but a department in the government of South Africa. We follow the line that South Africa is following. We will not go against, we will not buy, we will not do anything that puts not only South Africa’s integrity and its economy at risk.
We will do what we need to do to make sure that our people feel safe, and they thrive.
We've not done anything wrong. We must say that we were very clear when in the 90s we came up with the NCACC, that we will not allow ourselves whether we like you too much or hate you
too much, we will not allow ourselves to be willingly contributing to any conflict if we can.
We will always try to be those who mediate and who try and stop conflict and who preach for reconciliation and for people to thrive. Chairperson, we want to reiterate that we want to say that just so that maybe the House is rest assured, we are aware that the President has sent the invoice to America. We are also very happy that soon if they do so, that they will participate in the judiciary, whether they are observing or whatever, that is up to them, but we are very clear that we will not do anything that would risk any life in South Africa, not for politics, not for gain. Thank you very much Chairperson.
UNGQONGQOSHE WAMAPHOYISA: Kunzima, ...
... Chairperson, thank you very much, the answer on A is that the Directorate for Priority Crime investigation, TPCI, which happens to be hawks, attended to 628 cash-in-transit scenes in the past two financial year, 628. Answer B would be, in
determining the cartridges that come from the guns that would have been owned by the state, that would be your R5s your R1s and your R4s. It would be difficult to determine because some of those though they are marked, they are rubbed off and fight off by the criminals. But also, criminals are able to buy it from outside market. So, to determine that these were taken from the police or taken from the Defence will be determined when we pick up the anticartridges from the scene. Thank you, Chairperson.
Mnu A V KHOZA: Sibonge Sihlalo, ngifuna ukubuza laphaya futhi kuNgqongqoshe ukuthi ...
... in the cases that he has mentioned above, are there any members of both the South African police and the SANDF that were arrested for cash-in-transit in the set period, arrested and put behind bars? If so, are you able to indicate how many were involved and whether these members, whether they’re out on bail or whatever, are still serving members of the two forces? Thank you.
UNGQONGQOSHE WAMAPHOYISA: Kade ungibuza, ngiyathemba okokugcina manje.
Chairperson, it is true, especially from the members of the SA Police Service. We have quite a sizable number of our members that are arrested for the cash-in-transit. What is even worse, and bad is that even the members of the specialised forces like your TROT and the very famous called ‘amabherethe’, I know for sure, that at least there are three of those members around the country that have been arrested for that.
Three of the TROT that have been arrested for, but they there are others from the different units, your visible policing and all. Chairperson, I would not give an exact number now. Yes, on the members of the SANDF, they are also arrested for crimes like those. Though there are much lesser than the members of the South African Police. Chairperson, but I can further say those would not be the only two agencies. You will find that even at other levels and segments there will be people who will be discovered at the later stage that they were part of that. People from the prosecution that would have been arrested for being part of this kind of syndicate going forward. We do take the pain out of the understanding that our
structures have been penetrated. That’s what Judge Thulare said, here in the Western Cape, police, especially on the anti-gang unit have been penetrated by the criminals. But he further says not only them. He says, judiciary, prosecution and magistracy also have been penetrated by the gangsters.
That is how serious matters are. Thanks.
Ms G P MAREKWA: Thank you, House Chairperson, good afternoon, hon Minister, there has been a spike in the cash-in-transit heists over time. Trends have shown that heists increase over the festive season, where you will know that others call it time to steal. What measures does the department have in place, for the upcoming festive season and what is it that the department is going to do to send out a strong message that criminality will not be tolerated in this country South Africa? I thank you, Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Indeed, Chairperson, I will just be dealing with highlights of this understanding to say one element that has been weak when it comes to the South African Police - I’ll talk about them not across the nation - has been the crime intelligence. I will end there on that one, but we are strengthening that element, we believe that as we’re
putting every duck on the row on that one, life will be better. Life will be difficult for criminals.
Chairperson, if you check, maybe our media and ourselves are not very much aggressive in giving that information. For the last two months, there have been serious operations where the criminals are found on their base before they go out to run their operations. The most famous one of late is Sebokeng where there was a shootout, and nine criminals were shot and killed. We found at 4h05 in the morning they went for a prayer. Exactly 4h05 they prayed. Yes, Mfundisi, they knelt and prayed at 4h05. We were monitoring them as they were praying at 4H05. At exactly at 5h30, there were cars, ML, Q7, and all sorts of other cars ... I’m in Parliament. They were really online. So, there was an exchange of fire. Fortunately, one survived, nine were put down and we did not have any injuries. So, that has increased of late, where the police found them on the base. Last week in Soweto, we found them in one of their safe houses. We arrested seven and one was put down. So, that tells you that the crime intelligence is beginning to work, and the police are beginning to be sharper. We believe that will reduce these kinds of statistics. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Yibamb’ apho Ndosi. Yibambe apho.
M.Gen O S TERBLANCHE: Thank you, Chairperson, hon Minister. You touched on certain parts of this already, but Minister it is clear that crime has infected the entire state to the extent that those who are supposed to protect the public are now complicit in selling government firearms and ammunition to the criminals themselves. Minister, how many of these cases have the police managed to track down these perpetrators and link them to their specific army bases or police stations? And how many arrests were made? Thank you, Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, Chairperson indeed, as I’ve warned before, I will warn again that out of many South African Police Service members there are many that are doing the good work. So, I will always fall short and not very happy when all police are painted with a black brush to say they’re corrupt. There are very many good men and women in blue. So, the question is, there are those that are bad, and one of them is Colonel Chris Prinsloo. Colonel Prinsloo here in Cape Town who sold 2 000 illegal firearms to gangsters. Remember that he was arrested, it is unfortunate that he has got parole now and
he’s out. But also in Gauteng, I think, Douglasdale Police Station, we lost almost 130 of firearms. Unfortunately, the young men who was selling them, the member of the South Africa hanged himself before we could arrest him. But also in Kempton Park, we have arrested up to the Brigadier that were investigated by Colonel Cronje. As he was doing that, quite several of them have been arrested and the selling of those firearms has been stopped. It’s unfortunate that you can’t find all of them and they go out there in the market and they cause havoc, especially on the Cape Flats. Those which were sold by Colonel Prinsloo are still there in the market, but we are trying to work. We are also working on the technology of trials, maybe one cannot talk about the technology at the present moment to try and prevent rather than chasing those guns. Thanks.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Chairperson, thank you, hon Minister, it would seem that lawlessness and criminality in this country have become so callous and brazen that police stations have become the playground for criminals. Putting into question the ability of the SA Police Service to effectively perform its duties. Recently, there was an armed robbery of a police station in Somerset East in the Eastern Cape. In Benoni, a stolen Toyota Hilux bakkie was found parked inside the police
station yard and in Boksburg, South African police branch, cable thieves targeted their offices and stripped the building of all networks. Therefore, Minister, my question to you, what responses, if at all, has your department given to the particular kind of criminality, given that many crimes are committed using tools stolen from police stations and offices?
UNGQONGQOSHE WAMAPHOYISA: Bekungcono ungakafiki la.
Chairperson, that is true, it is on that score that hon Majozi has followed the budget. We have budgeted 65 million for the safety of our police stations, especially to put the technology. To enable our police to see the danger before it happens, like what happened at eNgcobo, where our members were killed. So, we are giving the money those most vulnerable identified police stations. As I’ve said that 65 million has been put to improve the security of the station themselves.
Generally, this question of the technology was asked by hon Reverend Meshoe. We are increasing technology, including drones.
We, as SA Police Service, have trained 13 pilots for drones. They’ve passed from Gauteng; we have trained two here in the Western Cape. We are training quite many of them that will be driving our drones and we are purchasing drones and we are purchasing short stoppers; we are going big on technology as a SA Police Service. The big part of that technology will help us in the prevention of the crime happening, including the safety of our members. However, they are also trained on the street wisdom, to be streetwise, to predict the problem before it happens in both stations and as they walk around with the communities. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you
very much, House Chair. Gender-based violence and femicide remains a political priority and a national concern that continues to erode peace and security in domestic relationships, communities and society at large. The core drivers of gender-based violence and femicide may be traced from the known social ills and gender power inequalities, but the criminal justice system remains fundamental in prevention and deterrents. It is therefore the commitment of the department to pay the court system that curbs secondary
victimisation and attrition in cases of gender-based violence and femicide.
Since the passing of the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act of 2021, the department has made significant inroads towards the implementation amongst the seven changes introduced by this Act is the extension of intermediary services from criminal to civil and family law proceedings, and the legal recognition of ad hoc intermediaries. In 2022, two new determinations of persons and categories of class of persons who are competent to be appointed as intermediaries were expanded to include the appointment of early childhood development practitioners and community trauma counsellors and others.
This Act further permits witnesses to testify through audiovisual link which the department intends to facilitate through the introduction of the court audiovisual solution. The development of this solution is in progress and its finalisation is one of the priority interventions on the department’s annual performance plan.
It is our constitutional imperative to provide equal access to courts in nondiscriminatory services to all court users,
particularly the users with disabilities. In 2022, the department aligned with the amendment Act and the minimum standards of the reasonable accommodation to access to justice for courts to users with disabilities. Since the commencement of this Act in August 2022, gesture and sign language, a testimony is now legally recognised as viva voce evidence in court proceedings. The minimum standards therefore set out reasonable accommodations for language access, mobility access, visual and audio access.
Hundred and forty-five lower courts have been upgraded in line with these standards and in this financial year, the department intends to upgrade additional 65 courts into disability-centric courts. The programmatic interventions for the implementation of this Act are ongoing. With regards to the implementation of the Domestic Violence Amendment Act which commence on the 14th day of April 2023, except for section 66A which requires the establishment of the integrated electronic repository for domestic violence protection orders.
On 24 January 2023, I submitted to this Parliament the Domestic Violence Regulations of 2022, directives for clerks of courts and the tariffs for electronic communications service providers. This has been done in line with the Act and
also, the department has developed an online portal for the applications of domestic violence protection orders. In the next two months, survivors, functionaries and the third party applications will access this services remotely, even outside court hours and court dates, this in line with the ethos of the presidential summit and declaration against gender-based violence, GBV, which call for the criminal justice system that is victim centric and responsive to gender-based violence.
With the recent development introduced by the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Amendment Act of 2021, the particulars of all convicted sex offenders are now entered into the National Register for Sex Offenders. In broadening access to the National Register for Sex Offenders, NRSO, services, the department has decentralised certain services to provinces. In 2022, the electronic register and the integrated case management system for criminal matters were enhanced to include the expanded scope of the NRSO.
The SMS notification was also introduced to keep the applicants abreast of the developments in their applications. In this financial year, the department will introduce the online NRSO solution to ensure the remote access to this services across the country. I must also add that in 2022 I
submitted to this Parliament amendment regulations for the NRSO which are now in operation. With regards to skills development for the functionaries dealing with cases of GBV is also imperative. The Justice College and the SA Judicial Education Institute have aligned their training products with the three GBV amendment Acts and deliver training courses to the relevant court personnel. This training is ongoing and so is the rest of the programmatic interventions. The aim is to realise a justice system that is more accessible, manoeuvrable, caring, effective for all and victim friendly.
Thank you, House Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): I have been informed that the hon Newhoudt-Druchen will take charge of the question. The hon Newhoudt-Druchen?
Ms W S NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN: Thank you, Chairperson. Hon Minister, the National Register for Sex Offenders is the cornerstone of the Criminal Law Sexual Offenses and Related Matters Amendment Act. Many people opened crèches and day care centres in townships and rural areas and hired people without having engaged with the NRSO to do the vetting. What is the department doing to raise awareness about the NRSO, especially
to people who may be living townships and rural areas where the mainstream media information might be limited? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you
very much, hon House Chair. The Criminal Law Sexual Offenses and Related Matters Amendment Act of 2007 places an obligation on the license authorities not to grant a licence to approve the management or operation of any entity in relation to the supervision or care of child or any vulnerable person without having determined by way of application to the registrar, whether or not the particulars of the applicant are in the National Register for Sex Offenders.
Over the years, the department has an established partnership with the Department of Basic Education and other relevant government and civil society stakeholders to ensure compliance with this Act. Yearly, the department conducts the public education and communication interventions through multilingual media platforms and using different which are language age and disability accessible. Among the prominent programmes is the l Let’s Talk Justice radio talk show which is at over 70 community and commercial radio stations. In partnership with government communication and information systems and the other
media houses. The talk show is multilingual, live and growing in listenership.
Every year it covers, amongst others, the NRSO educational topics and legal ramifications attached to it. In addition, every year the department also hold national exhibitions and service fairs in townships and rural communities on the NRSO and the gender-based violence and femicide. Each provincial office of the department holds community imbizos and school campaigns to educate the different age groups on the NRSO. In the previous financial year, over 100 townships and rural schools were reached. In addition, over 30 webinars were held on topics that included the NRSO. This work is ongoing and it’s continuing to make a meaningful impact in society. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Minister. The second opportunity goes to the hon Glynnis Breytenbach. Is that a point of order?
Mr D W MACPHERSON: I would like to rise on a point of privilege, if I may. The point of a question session is not for ANC members to send their questions to the Minister so that they can have preferred ... [Inaudible.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): No, honourable, please. Please take a seat. [Interjections.] Please take a seat. Don’t rise on frivolous ...
Mr D W MACPHERSON: Just answer that without having ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Please take a seat. Don’t rise on frivolous points, please. I am not going to tolerate that. The hon Glynnis Breytenbach?
Adv G BREYTENBACH: Hon Minister, GBV is real. Fifty-one per cent of women in South Africa says that they have experienced GBV while 76% of men in South Africa say they have perpetrated GBV at some stage in their lives. It’s conservatively estimated that one in five women experience violence at the hands of a partner. Femicide is five times higher in South Africa than the global average. And South Africa is the fourth highest female interpersonal violence rate at 183 countries listed by the World Health Organization.
Since the passing of the GBV legislation, rape statistics has risen. The backlog of cases has increased and court hours have diminished remarkably. What concrete steps have you taken to
ensure that GBV matters are dealt with and dealt with urgently. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you
very much, hon House Chairperson. Indeed, the issues that have been raised and the concerns are valid. Hon members will remember that when these Bills were passed, it was during the period of hard lockdown, and it was this House that worked very hard for us to work through all these Bills. And immediately after the hard lockdown, a measure and a strategy has been put in place by the department to be able to deal with the court backlog which was reported to the portfolio committee including the challenges that comes with load shedding, which also affect the court backlogs.
We have also reported to this House and the portfolio committee on the measures that we are taking to ensure that courts continue to operate even during that period. And as a result, we have been able to cover and by a number of solar panels and also generators for our courts to enable us to reduce the backlog, and also to ensure that the processes of the sexual offences courts functions, hon members will know that we have further published regulations that further expand the number of sexual offences courts that we have.
In this regard, we also continue to work through the Thuthuzela Care Centres to ensure as we would have seen from the report of the NPA that about 74% conviction rate on the sexual offences and some of the GBV and femicide cases. This is work in progress but indeed there are still challenges that this country must face, including the social ills and the challenges of dysfunctional families that we need to respond to, to deal with the prevention of this matter. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Minister. The third opportunity goes to the hon Nomampondomise Yako.
Mr M SHIKWAMBANA: Thank you, hon Chair ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Are you taking the question for the hon Yako?
Mr M SHIKWAMBANA: Yes, of course ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Go ahead.
Mr M SHIKWAMBANA: Thank you. Hon Minister, in light of the rising number of gender-based violence cases and sexual crimes, what interventions has the Minister made to intercept
the gap between police taking action and the magistrate having adequate evidence presented to actively persecute perpetrators of those crimes?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you,
House Chair. As you will know, this House debated three gender-based violence Bills and passed them – the Domestic Violence Amendment Act, the Criminal Law Sexual Amendment Act and all of those Bills. Those are all the Bills that the department has taken steps to ensure that we close the gap with relations to issues of investigations and police, the reporting of the matter, but also to enhance our sexual offences courts that must enable the speedy and also the prosecution of the matters as and when they arrive in the court processes.
The Thuthuzela Care Centres, which we continue to expand across the country have proven to be successful modes of dealing with some of these sexual offences courts, and almost yearly, the department add about four Thuthuzela Care Centres that continues to help with the conviction rate that enables the justice system to find and ensure that beyond reasonable doubt the cases that are reported in police stations indeed
are proven in line with the Criminal Procedure Act. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Mr F J MULDER: Thank you, hon House Chair. The question to the Minister of Justice is that: “Can the hon Minister inform the House why there was no smooth flow of information between various law enforcement agencies in the process of investigation, given the cost of time and money of the Fusion Centre?”. Thank you, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Did you hear that Minister?
Bring die mic [mikrofoon] close [nader] na jou toe, asseblief. Bring die mic [mikrofoon] close [nader.] Nie so nie, maar bring dit [close] nader. Herhaal, asseblief.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Mulder, do it again.
Mr F J MULDER: I will do it again.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon Chair, thank you. The question to the Minister is that if the hon Minister can inform the House why there was no smooth flow of information between various law enforcement agencies in the process of investigation, given the cost of time and money of the Fusion Centre. Thank you, Chair.
Die VOORSITTER (Mnr Q R Dyantyi): Baie dankie. Agb Mulder, dis baie beter.
The hon Minister?
Asikwazi kuninceda ke xa ningayiva, kodwa yona ithethiwe.
The hon Minister?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House
Chair. I think this question is not related to this matter. It is related to the question asked by the hon Horn because he is asking why there has been a flow of information and evidence
with regards to the Fusion Centre. So, the Fusion Centre deals with the COVID-19 ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): You don’t have to go further and answer it. All you have to indicate is that it’s not relevant ... He must get his ... [Interjections.] ... properly.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: ... so, I
am demonstrating that I heard this question.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Minister. Hon Mulder, I give you the last opportunity.
Die laaste geleentheid.
Mr F J MULDER: Thank you, Chair. My question to the Minister is that if the hon Minister is satisfied that the progress made since the Criminal Related Matters Amendment Bill was founded if it really then serves the purpose of the Act. Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House
Chairperson, I do think that as I have outlined earlier that there is progress that is being made and I think with the lived experience that we are learning, with the introduction of technology and the intermediaries, the system can always improve. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon House Chairperson, all witnesses are informed of the Witness Protection Programme which is available for their safety and managed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. The placement of such witnesses is done in consultation with such witnesses and such placement is voluntary. Thank you, Chair.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Chairperson, the Hon Minister asked that I must speak on his behalf ... [Laughter.] ... but, Hon Minister, I would like to bring to your attention the second part of my question which focuses more on the flaws which the witnesses highlighted in your department systems such as corruption and delays in justice. In 2018 when you assumed office, you launched the Anti-Corruption Strategy. What progress has this programme brought? Thanks.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: House Chairperson, it's a completely new question but I'll take it. I think the police service is one of the most highly regulated and monitored bodies, both internally and externally. We have what is called the Anti- Corruption Unit, ACU, that is run from within, but you will also have other bodies like the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, IPID, that oversees the police when they do corruption, but also when they treat members of society and community members, they're the recourse of this.
I always feel pain when the police arrest police. It is painful but correct. In KwaZulu-Natal, there is a unit that deals with political violence Out of that unit, 47 members of the SA Police Service have been arrested, who are part of the political violence themselves, who are part of izinkabi [hitmen] themselves, and all that, 47. That is KwaZulu-Natal.
It would be wrong for society and the members of the SAPS to say police are doing nothing about corruption from within, and those members are arrested by the police themselves, and by others. As I've said, that is painful but correct for that to happen. So we do have these measures to deal with our own when they do things from within besides the external bodies that are overseeing and responding to us. Thanks, Chair.
Mr A M SEABI: Chair, Hon Minister, the society out there, and I remember even at the portfolio committee level, we've always been worried about the violence and criminality directed at the ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Seabi, you are muted. Hon Seabi, are you there?
Mr A M SEABI: Yes, Chair. Somebody muted me.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): The Minister did not get your whole question. Please conclude it.
Mr A M SEABI: Okay! My question is, are there measures put in place by your department to make sure that police officials in police stations are protected against acts of criminality which could potentially cost them their lives? Thank you, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Minister, did you get that? If you did, go ahead.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I did but the question has an element of being a new question again because he is asking about the
safety of the police at the stations. The same question has been asked by Hon Majozi. Now, the question of the safety of the police we are taking it seriously. Though, of late, I'm sure the members have been reading, the police have been under serious attack for whatever reason. Here in the Western Cape or the rest of South Africa, when four police members in the country are killed in 24 hours, that is a serious thing. So we're taking the matter up. Maybe it's a request that even the labour unions have called upon but many other NGOs and the society at large have been making this call that the killing of a member of the SA Police Service or any agency should be treasonous. You should be tried for treason.
For you to go and kill the police, especially that police that dies in the line of duty as the ones that have been killed a few days ago in Mamelodi when they attacked the base of that group of robbers in Mamelodi and they shot and killed the member of the Hawks who died on the spot. Unfortunately, or fortunately, three of those guys were put down themselves and one was arrested.
Maybe the time has arrived that killing a member of the SA Police, especially in the line of duty, should be taken more
seriously than an ordinary member of the country. That will help us. Thanks.
M.Gen O S TERBLANCHE: Chairperson, Hon Minister, you have not been clear on this yet, but Minister this and other similar incidents of such a serious nature that everything that you have said must be reviewed as a matter of urgency because it's not working at the moment. Witnesses in criminal cases currently fear for their lives. So when will effective measures be introduced? Thank you, Chair.
UNGQONGQOSHE WAMAPHOYISA: Konje lo onqekuzisa ikhanda uvumani ngoba ... [Akuzwakali.] ...
Chairperson, it has been explained time and again that the protection of witnesses does not fall in the purview of the SA Police Service. It falls under Justice. Yes, we work with them because they will be high-profile people in the system to be protected by the police, but also the bigger onus falls on the members of the community themselves that are protected. They do find it difficult sometimes that they have to lose so much by going to the system of protection as witnesses, like their
houses. Some of them will come back and say, nobody's taking care of my house, nobody's taking care of my furniture, and all that. That would be that.
Some will be people that are in the system the police. They will get paid and when they get money, they get out of the protection. We have got two cases that unfortunately never go back to base when they've got money and go to enjoy themselves and all that. So it's a balance of the system, but also the balance of the individuals who understand the seriousness of the matter when it happens. Unfortunately, once it happens, many serious cases fall apart. We have just had a recent case of KwaNomzamo in Orlando, which has fallen apart because witnesses have come back and said, we're not prepared and we shall not give any evidence against this case and they fall apart. I believe and fully agree, we can still improve on this one, but as it stands, it has not necessarily fallen under the purview of the SA Police Service.
Mnu A V KHOZA: Ngiyabuya ... sengibuyile, Ndosi.
The question is, I want to be specific to this particular case of this woman that was brazenly murdered outside the Wynberg Court. We have got conflicting statements circulating. My specific questions are, one, what was her status at the time? Was she a witness in a particular case that is in court? Or was she a complainant in that particular case? If she was a witness, why was she not on the Witness Protection Programme? If she was a complainant, where was the accused when she was murdered? Was the accused out on bail or still in police custody?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, at least it's the last mile. Chairperson, again, Hon Khoza is asking why was she not in witness protection. Again, that is not the matter in the purview of the SA Police Service. I've said it time and again, it’s National Prosecuting Authority, NPA and the Justice Department that put them in that. I've said many times that it is not, but the second ... this ... [Interjections.] ...
... angisazi ke ...
The ACTING HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Minister, you address the Chairperson, Hon Minister. Please go ahead, Hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, there are laws in the country. If the law says the justice system will protect the witnesses, that shall be so. She was a witness, to go your second question, yes, she was a witness. So it would have been between herself, NPA and the prosecution in agreeing because one other thing about this programme is it is voluntary. So you can go or you can’t go if you don't want to. So she was both a witness and the complainant. If I'm not mistaken, she was coming from the court at that particular time, walking on the on, on the pavement, and when she, unfortunately, was shot by somebody. There have been videos on social media on this matter where somebody came from behind and shot her as she was walking. I'm sure she would maybe not herself have noticed that she was in danger or she had thought that at that particular time she would not fall under that kind of tragedy and danger which again ... [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Chairperson,
the question is whether there are any intentions to replace the old Dakota Aircraft? Yes, we do. We have every intention to do so. The plans for this replacement of the old Dakota system has been there since the early 2000. Lack of funding, however, was not enabling the department to make sure that the operation ... [Inaudible.] ... was actually actualised in that quest. Chairperson, we want to make sure that we follow on to what Treasury has promised. You will remember that Treasury has put up a figure of R700 million to be allocated for border technology in the years 2024-2025 and 2025-2026.
We want to make sure that R500 million of that money will be spent on new vehicles. We want to take R22,5 million on a geographic information system capability which is quite necessary. Then, R47 million will be spent on intelligence collection and processing capabilities which we need. We also intend to spend R7,2 million on an upgraded checker command and control system. We want to make sure that R57 million goes to the Real Tech system, the RSR 903 radar capability and
R16 million on plus minus the observation posts which we think are necessary. What is left over must then be used to acquire at least 16 Quadcopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and at least two long range unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.
Work is underway to bring new technology systems, radars ... [Inaudible.] ... around the border. We also want to use this as a force multiplyer in the medium term. We are hoping that continuously we will have an injection from Treasury which will enable us to continue to upgrade and reutilise systems around these borders. We want to say that operation barometric, Baro, vertical navigation, will continue to enable us to improve maritime border security. We will rely on the three new inshore patrol vessels. We are hoping that the out shore vessels will soon also fall in which will enable us to give South Africa’s borders a better coverage.
We want to look at a new system and a new approach to border security. We want to re-establish border patrol routes. We want to install more jersey barriers around. We want to make sure that the fences which have been taken off and have not been replaced are replaced and where they are not mended they are mended. Chairperson, despite all these challenges we have been able to score some victories. We have been able to get into ourselves and ask for deportation of 7 946 illegal immigrants. We have confiscated goods around R1,7 million in contraband and drugs of R7,7 million worth, 13 weapons to over 2000 heads of livestock.
All this between January and March this year. We think that we can do more and probably if we continue to co-ordinate efforts between the SA Police Service, the Department of Justice and the Border Management Authority, BMA, we will be able to make sure that South Africa sleeps better at ... [Inaudible.] ...
Thank you, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr R Q Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Minister. I have been informed that hon Mthembu will take charge of the first opportunity and I now recognise hon Mthembu.
Ms A H MTHEMBU: Hon Minister, what specific measures will the department take to ensure that the replacement of the Dakota maritime patrol aircraft with long range drones and unmanned aerial vehicles does not compromise national security and the safety of the country’s air space? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Chairperson,
the unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, can only increase our capacity to ensure that South Africa remains secure. We have observation posts and we have responsibilities up to the South Pole. We must make sure that our coastal areas are proper and secure. That is why we are looking back at Baro and that is why we are also going back to the re-establishment that I just
referred to of the patrol routes. That simply put, it means we want to re-establish no-man’s land again.
We also look at the person who is looking after our borders. We are asking the Department of Justice to help us with this. We are looking at how we protect the soldiers and the police who are doing serious work around the borders who often get charged for trying to protect property and life of South Africa. We are even looking at policies. However, we are very sure that the unmanned systems will be able to pick up on those that are not ours and be able to deal with those but you will also be able to know that ours are up there they report and they are properly controlled and manned. We think that the human element can never be wrong and the human element will always be supervising all the machines and the systems. Thank you, Chair.
Mr S J F MARAIS: Minister, government has failed to prevent illegal cross-border movement of goods and people for many years. However, we have not observed any serious intent or the addition of satellite, cyber and digital technology or a 24/7 surveillance and supporting rapid response military units. You have failed to prioritise for more than 15 land border units
and the acquisition of modern technology and supporting crime mission equipment essential for these rapid response units.
Why was the National Treasury allocation of R225 million over three years provided in 2021 specifically for the acquisition of technology as a force multiplier or land border protection not used for this purpose? What was it used for? Who authorised this, Minister? How many of the decision makers were held accountable and or charged for negating this national security priority? I thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon member. Hon Minister, just before I go to you. You have a choice because there are quite a number of questions asked there and the rules are very clear. So, your response, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: I will respond,
Chair. Hon member has asked several questions but as I remember the rules I can now choose out of all that he has said ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): ... that’s the point I am making.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Chair, we will
make sure that the human element is present and that, that human element is protected. We will look after the soldier who is there, starting with looking at the equipment of the soldier, the policies and the laws that must protect the soldier. We have said that we will increase the doable as far as we are concerned that is riddling the land that we can use for patrolling and make sure that we put as many obstacles as we can against those who want to get in.
We have also received the claims, hon Marais, you would remember that we keep on getting claims of corruption. We are taking a hard stance on any member of the Defence Force who may have been on the wrong side of the law whether willing or abetting any corruption aiding and abetting illicit passage of goods or persons. We are very clear that with what we have been observing we have not failed completely. We are also cognisant of what you hon Marais is saying. We are looking at the R700 million that is now on the table for us to do what we need to do.
We have been looking at a number of options on UAVs. Some of them also going back to the old systems that we have had. Why have we not carried all, what has failed, what can we
resuscitate and what must we start all over? So, we have not been idling. We are looking and we are worried about our border control. Thank you, Chair.
Mr W T I MAFANYA: Minister, my questions have been partly answered. Minister, the Dakota maritime patrol vehicles hasn’t been serviced since then, 1933. Several of them were modernised in the 1970s, where there is no more space to repair them when broken. Minister, your plans are all in the 2015 plan review. None of them have been achieved to date.
The fact is that Treasury availed R225 million which was not used for intended purpose, what guarantees do you give that R700 million promised will deliver your future plans and projects? There is no ... [Inaudible.] ... hours training for our pilots and their license risk being revoked. What are your plans currently to mitigate the current problems in maritime aircrafts? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Chairperson,
wherever we have been abroad, wherever we meet up with countries and manufacturers of the same equipment, we have been trying to reach across and find out if we can get the spares, make sure that we can resuscitate that which we can
resuscitate. We are worried about flying hours. That clearly compromises the competence of South African pilots to look after their own country. We are also saying that what is in the past should not continue to cripple us into the future.
We are now seriously looking at the funds as allocated and we are putting very strict boundaries as to what can be done and what cannot be done with that money. We are also looking at the different systems. As we speak across the countries as Ministers, we also sometimes even get into what you have and how well is it protecting you. The chiefs do the same thing and that is why sometimes the interaction between defence forces is important because we don’t just want to deal with issues of war, we want to also deal with issues of co- ordination and of learning from each other’s mistakes and each other’s successes. We are very clear that we mean business. We have been into several countries just last year and this year looking at what systems people are using and what can be used.
We are also looking at a country like Botswana. What makes them successful. We are looking at their model and we know that it does not need a lot of money. It also needs just recalibrating of the human resources that we have and doing what they have done successfully to make sure that back-to-
back with Botswana we can protect our resources. Thank you, Chair.
Inkosi R N CEBEKHULU: Minister, this department has failed South Africans on land borders as well as in the seas. We have been learning about the foreign vessels fishing on South Africa’s waters. The issue is on the influx on our porous land borders which shows the failures as stated. Minister, if I can come straight to the question, since then you are talking about trying to revive the equipment in the Defence Force.
Currently, Denel is losing a lot of employees who go for other greener pastures elsewhere. When do you think we can achieve all the promises that you are making to the citizens of the country? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Chairperson,
the promises made to the country, yes, we have weaknesses. We have had weaknesses, that is why the three inshore patrol vessels are coming very handy. We are looking at acquiring three out shore patrol vehicles which would be bigger than the initial patrols and which will make sure that we protect the resources deeper into the oceans. However, that also means that those patrol ships if we get the size right will be more agile and better resourced to protect our shores than, for
instance, if you were to take the frigates out because they will do their big.
We are looking at the versatility of what we have now and what we may acquire to make sure that we can better control and protect South Africa. Air, we are looking at that and that is why we have decided that the best way even now as we are looking at increasing manned hours and flight ours and so on and so forth, that technology and systems will be better for us around the borders. That is why we are talking about sensors and talking about UAVs. We are also saying that training the staff for that is most important for us. We also saying that the companies of South Africa which are quite good in this instance will also be able to enable us to pour in and to save. ... [Interruptions.] ... Hon Mafanya!
Hon Cebekhulu talks about the people who flagged it. The internet protocol, IP, left the shores of South Africa years ago. We are now trying to recruit back the people who left these shores to come and expand and rebuild the defence industry of South Africa so that it works for us as a country. We are not throwing everything out, we understand the reasons why the systems and people left this country. We are saying that it is time to take a little break and rebuild,
restrengthen the borders and the economy of this country. Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House
Chairperson, the fusing centre was set up during the period of May 2020, to respond to the growing challenges and allegations of corruption and related activities, during the COVID-19 period including maladministration of funds. In respect of the South African government’s relief and containment interventions, intended to counter the detrimental economic, and social impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The fusion centre has an operational centre which is responsible for the coordination of all the activities of all departments, ensuring early detection and render support to investigations. It also manages the casing take processes through assessment allocation and ensure efficient management of the workload.
It follows an intelligence driven approach which provides a holistic view of all unlawful and criminal activities. The law enforcement agencies which form part of the fusion centre,
includes amongst others the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, Field Intelligence Group, FIG, South African Receiver of Revenue Service, Sars and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, DPCI.
The benefit of the fusion centre is the fact that cooperation between the various law agencies is enhanced. According to information received from the fusion centre at the end of May 2023, there were 161 referrals made by SIU to the fusion centre, this accounts for 29% of the fusion centre work. In respect of 104 referrals a decision has been made to decline to prosecute, while criminal prosecutions have been instituted in respect of 98 referrals.
Fifty-two verdicts were obtain with 49 accused convicted. The balance of 184 referrals still outstanding of the total referrals of 386 are still under investigations. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Mr W HORN: Minister the SIU at the time reported that the corrupt activities identified, and its investigation turned on fair full peri simple but serious activities. The first being payment of suppliers without proof of delivery of the personal
protective equipment, PPEs, or related medical equipment. Secondly, duplicate, and fraudulent payments. Thirdly, inflated, and exorbitant prices, paid to specifically for PPE. And the fourth the disqualification the legitimate an approved service providers and replacing them with entities linked to friends and family.
This was simple low grazing criminal practices during a time we as South Africans received assurances from the President that there will be no room for corruption. Furthermore, as you indicated that the perennial issue of SIU referral does not lead to prosecution. We are supposed to be streamlined and upscaled by the fusion centre. Yet, as we sit here, 18 months longer from when the SIU says it refers 386 referrals, we’ve heard only on your version 98, 104 declined prosecutions and
184 still being investigated.
Can you still claim with credibility Minister that the fusion centre in any way or form added to streamline prosecutions or is it just added red tape? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House
Chair, indeed, I can say with certainty that it added credibility and worth on the work and law enforcement
agencies. And you can see with regards to those verdicts, which I have already stated, including the cases that are still on the roll. And obviously some are still under investigations, because of the nature of the offences and the misconduct or maladministration that they were dealing with.
So, there’s visibly progress from that work of the fusion centre by all these law enforcement agencies. But it not only ends there, the SIU and also the Asset Forfeiture Unit, AFU, have taken some of the matters for asset recoveries. And the asset recoveries that they have flown from the fusion centre by all the agencies it amounts to about R1,8 billion, so this is the significant amount that is now back into the fiscals because of the work of all these law enforcement agencies, through the special tribunal or through the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the civil courts.
So, this fusion of the work has allowed the workflow to enable the processes of investigation, to enable the processes of prosecution where there was need, to enable also the processes of civil recoveries, where it was practical. Hence there’s has been this recovery of the mount, amounting to R1,8 billion.
So, indeed there’s work, it could be strengthened, and it can be improved. Thank you.
Ms N H MASEKO-JELE: House Chairperson, Mr Minister one of the objectives of the memorandum of understanding, MOU, signed between the NPA, DPCI and the Sars to speed up the investigation of referrals from SIU to NPA require the development of the common database in respect of all international Corruption Unit, ICU, matters including the status of each matter, progress in respect of its investigations and the outcomes in respect of its finalisation.
These agencies cooperate in respect of the anticorruption task team and fusion centre. I know that you have already given more information on this, but I would request that you give more. Mr Minister, my question is how effective is this methodology established in connection with cases referred by the SIU to the NPA? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House
Chairperson, the methodology will enable an evidence-based and the statistics and data that is empirical. And it is for that reason that monitoring and evaluation in the Presidency is the one that is helping to develop the methodology. And also, will then help the fusion centre to use that model.
And that modelling helps, particularly on the bases that the fusion centre with a number of agencies working together they must be able to share the same data in real time. And also be able to share information so that it flows with ease. So, I do believe that it has been effective. And the methodology as it comes to fruition will show with the clear empirical evidence. And I hope that it also further enlightens and give credence to more of the work of the fusion centre. And hon Horn, will also be able to understand it. Thank you.
Mr E MTHETHWA: Thank you, hon House Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Are you taking on for hon Yako? Go ahead.
Mr E MTHETHWA: It’s allowed House Chairperson. I cannot agree more with self-admission by hon Minister Cele, when he says the department of his colleague is riddled with corruption.
White collar crime continues to be on rise with minimal consequences for those implicated. Would you not say that it renders the great work done by SIU, wasteful expenditure if there’s no proper and adequate consequence management commitment from your side.
Maybe to bring it even more to close to home is that we have five members of our organization who have been arrested for two years without trial and bail because of the corruption that is happening at Rabasotho. I even went as far as getting involved in an entrapment, risking my life to get the person who was standing as a lawyer, bogus lawyer in your courts?
Thank you. [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House
Chairperson, I think it’s a complete distortion that my colleague said my department is riddled with corruption. Yes, he has acknowledged that there was ruling, and an observation made by Judge Thulare of the Western Cape High Court, which has given context to what he said earlier on.
As I said earlier on, there is consequence management, and as you would have seen from most of the referrals from the SIU. There are employees who have dismissed, who have been taken through disciplinary processes in the state and that is consequence management. There’s has also been those, that have been convicted in the courts, on these issues that are related to COVID-19 funds. That is also consequence management.
There have been people who are not within the system of the state, the private sectors, companies involved in some of those maleficence, the have also been convicted and sentenced, that is consequence management. So, I don’t know what the hon member means when he says there’s no consequence management.
It is there, it has been done and with the cases that are still ongoing justice will also prevail. We will have to allow the courts processes to take its course.
With regard to the personal matter that the member has raised. With due respect hon House Chairperson, he has brought the matter to my attention yesterday. And in the spirit of collegiality, I will attend to the matter, I don’t think we need to burden this House with that matter. Thank you.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon House Chairperson, I just wanted to check whether hon Minister could hear me clearly?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Yah, yah
even previously ... [Interjection.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): No, we don’t do that Minister, don’t get dragged by that member into becoming out of order. Please go-ahead hon Mulder.
Mr F J MULDER: Can the hon Minister inform the House why there was no smooth flow of information between various law enforcement agencies in the process of investigation into the
11 referrals from the Special Investigating Unit, even the cost of time and money of the fusion centre? Thank you, House Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House
Chairperson, there has always been a smooth flow of information from the SIU to the NPA, because the SIU Act says in the process of their investigation of any maladministration, because the SIU is the civil arm of the state. To deal with civil issues and maladministration, even they observe any form of criminality, they refer the matter to the NPA, and then the NPA will then take that information to the Hawks who will then investigate and attend to whatever investigations and take the matter back to the NPA to make a decision. So that has always been the case.
But the reality is that criminal investigations and prosecutions with the real time and with the speed the society demanded at the time of COVID-19 needed that we have a centre where these issues can be arrested immediately. Hence, they
had to be housed together in one platform so that they can work with real time.
And the state collectively can be able to account to the people of South Africa. What are we doing in real time with regards to the COVID-19 related funds at the time when it was happening, as hon members will remember that it was moving at the fast pace. We could not wait for long hence we needed them to be under one roof and be able to deal with the matters on real time. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Through you, Chairperson. The reply to the question is as follows: As the hon members will be aware, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS, partnership, was established as an intergovernmental forum, and it has expanded to include meetings of experts, the ministerial meetings which are sectoral, sectoral working groups, which include civil society, as well as the BRICS Summit of leaders.
The various working groups are working groups for business, entrepreneurs, women, youth, academia, think tanks, nongovernmental organisations, media institutions,
Parliaments, law, society and cultural organisations. All five countries of BRICS have been the factors participating in the various councils and sectoral working groups. Thank you, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): I’m going to ask the hon members on my left to please refrain from raising your voices whilst there is a speaker on the podium.
Mr B S NKOSI: Through you, hon House Chair. I did hear what the response of the Minister was, despite the noise. Can the Minister advise this House and provide examples of how the department has assisted ordinary South Africans, and or members of other countries to participate in and or benefit from the various decisions that were taken at a variety of BRICS Summit? Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Minister, as I come to you, we were informed that you are traveling on official business this afternoon. We know how you look, maybe you can just switch off your camera and respond. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Hon Chairperson, I hope that will help the sound. There was an hon member who was speaking while I was replying, and I wish to respond to the hon member by indicating that the government of the various BRICS forum members assist citizens, ordinary citizens, as he has indicated, to attend and participate in the various working group meetings, beyond that, in the decisions of the summit, decisions are often taken with respect to framework legislation, that would be developed in each BRICS member country to address a range of areas of concern.
This includes decisions such as the establishment of a vaccine institute in South Africa, which would provide research, support and collaboration between all the five BRICS countries and any other country that the BRICS members would invite to participate. So, Chairperson, certainly, ordinary citizens, I’m not sure quite what that means, but broader members of the public benefit from statutory instruments developed out of decisions that are made at the BRICS forum.
Beyond that, the New Development Bank, NDB, of BRICS supports a range of infrastructure initiatives in each of the five BRICS countries. Now, we have eight members of the NDB, all of them focused on infrastructure and other development
initiatives. So, broader public would benefit from the investment in infrastructure, in energy resources and other areas that are development oriented in each of the BRICS countries. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Ms E L POWELL: Minister, in clarifying the ambiguity that arose from its notice in the Government Gazette regarding the diplomatic immunities and privileges for the upcoming BRICS Summit at the Department of International Relations and Co- operation, your department, made it clear that any individual who has an arrest warrant against them, will not be provided with cover under the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act.
So, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation has essentially now confirmed that the arrest warrant issued against the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, remains in force and should he arrive in South Africa, the law as it stands mandates that he must be arrested. Now, Minister, information points to Cabinet having, in fact, already taken a decision to move the upcoming BRICS Summit to China or to a third-party state.
Can the Minister please confirm yes, or no? Has the Cabinet taken a decision to move the BRICS Summit to China, and when will this be announced? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Chairperson, I’m not aware of such a decision by Cabinet to move the BRICS Summit. As far as I’m aware, the summit is planned for Johannesburg in August this year. There was no ambiguity in the gazette in that, this is a normal practice when South Africa hosts international conferences. Thus, for persons who are familiar with such a process, there can be no ambiguity. I thank you, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): The third opportunity will go to hon Msane.
Mr M MANYI: I will stand in for hon Msane.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Manye will stand in for hon Msane. Please go ahead.
Mr M MANYI: In the summit held in 2022, terrorism was one of the key issues discussed. The countries agreed that only the United Nations Security Council, UNSC, has the authority for
imposing sanctions. Of the United Nations Security Council veto power holders, BRCS is graced with two, which are China and Russia.
However, South Africa is being threatened with sanctions to the point that the US, who themselves are not members of the International Criminal Court, ICC, but are threatening South Africa of being removed from hosting the 2023 African Growth and Opportunity Act Summit. Not that that’s the end of the world, because in any way, played with the African Growth and Opportunity Act already decreased the African countries that are busy with the implementation of the Africa Free Trade Agreement, AfFTA.
The question is, when will the department stand firm against the imperial bullies, and refuse intimidation because of trade?
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Thank you very much, hon Manyi, for that question. I believe that the department has stood firm. We have made the position of South Africa very, very clear in this regard. Of course, we would wish South Africa to continue to participate in the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum. It is not the first
time the Members of the House of Representatives that are the signatories to the letter that is doing the rounds in the media, have spoken out against South Africa.
I have had meetings with them, as have many other South African individuals and envoys of President Ramaphosa. The key issue is that the government must stand firm on its nonaligned position, that we do not take sides in such matters, and indeed, that it is correct, that it is only sanctions imposed by the United Nations that would cause all members to be obligated to act in response to those sanctions. We do not act in accordance with unilateral sanctions imposed by one member state of the United Nations family.
Also, it is vital that we, as the South Africans, speaks up more clearly, because if we open up room to ourselves to be abused and compelled to follow a policy direction that is not our own, we will regret that when even greater demands are made on our government and our country. I thank you, Chairperson.
Mr M HLENGWA: Through you, hon House Chairperson. Hon Minister, having confirmed that the summit will continue in South Africa, as you have already responded to one
supplementary question, it follows then, that President Putin of Russia will attend. The question then becomes, will South Africa implement the ICC warrant of arrest?
This question is critical for the purposes of clarity in terms of the direction, shape and form that the summit will take, including but not limited to, the ordinary people that the hon Nkosi refers to in his question, insofar as, ensuring that they derive maximum benefit or whatever will be the outcomes of this summit.
This issue continues to be a dark cloud, and the fact that there's no clarity is in itself problematic. So, will you actually do it or not do it, so that we know what it is that were dealing with? I thank you, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: I
am sorry, Chairperson. I know that you said we must not speak before you call us. My apologies. Chairperson, ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Go ahead, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: I do
not know whether President Putin has responded to the invitation that would have been sent to him by President Ramaphosa. I have previously indicated that it will be President Ramaphosa who will make any necessary statement on this matter.
It is does not fall within my ambit as I am not the principal party that issues invitations. Thus, there will be no categorical statement by me as to the question posed by the hon Hlengwa. Indeed, the summit is set for August in Johannesburg, South Africa, as I speak at this moment. I thank you, Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson. Hon member, the Branch Appointment Booking System, Babs, is affected only when the traffic for verification is more than the capacity of the National Population Register Server because, hon member, the booking system depends on the National Population Register because when we book, we want to know whether you are who you say you are. So, the system must get into the National Population Register to verify. Now, unfortunately, it is not only Home Affairs that is missing the National Population
Register, all the banks in South Africa are verifying through the same system, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, CIPC, they verify through the same system, the Integrated Justice System, IJS, they verified through the same system the, the Private Industry Regulatory Authority, Psira, also verified through the same system, and Sassa. Every person who is Sassa, and we know they are millions and cannot be accepted by Sassa system without verifying through the National Population Register. We also know the Gauteng Department of Education uses the system a lot and our own front offices. Now, because of this load of work, sometimes the traffic becomes so high that it looks like the Babs is getting stuck when there’s a competition for space. We are now investigating the option of increasing the National Population Register server capacity for verification and the introduction of a new system, which we call the National Identification System. You may remember, hon member, we announced here that these many databases, the National Population Register, NPR, the National Immigration Information System, NIS, and the Visa Adjudication System, VAS, are all going to be collapsed into one system called the National Information System, NIS. It will eliminate the problems because it has a robust modern infrastructure.
On the issue of load shedding, yes, load shedding obviously makes Home Affairs worse, whether it is on NPR or any issue. I have once announced here that sometimes when there is load shedding, Home Affairs gets stuck, but now our property and facilities management team is in the process of adding additional backyard powers in the various offices, including uninterrupted power supply, UPS, and investors as a way of mitigating load shedding. Thank you very much.
Mr M S CHABANE: Thank you, Minister, as you are aware, Minister, that some of the citizens, particularly from the rural areas, may not have access to smartphones or Internet connections, how will the Babs accommodate the clients and further outline the department’s plans to resolve long queues that are experienced by our citizens? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you very much, hon member, I want to make it very clear because people sometimes confuse these that once an office is using the Babs, then only people with computers, iPads, and smartphones can be served, it is not like that. We also accept walk-ins. It is only that the Babs is very convenient for you because it will call you at a particular time when you make your booking, but we do accept walk-ins because of the type of development that the country
is at. If we start turning away other people because they haven’t booked, it will be a very big problem. When I was in health, we also tried a booking system in clinics, but it’s not working very well because you can’t turn somebody away when they arrive at the clinics simply because they did not book. So, we are doing the same thing here. There are walk- ins.
Having said that, every office that is using the Babs has a special corner where there is an Ipad. You can walk in there and ask them to help you to book through the Babs if you don’t want to be served as a walk-in. So, all these systems are making sure that whether you are computer literate or have smartphones and all that, you can be served by Home Affairs.
Thank you very much.
Mr A C ROOS: House Chair, Minister, the fact that hardly any noticeable improvement has been made in system downtime over the last four years, despite all the money spent, is a disgrace. I would consider asking where the money went, but we all have a pretty good idea. The ongoing system downtime affects service delivery in most of the Home Affairs offices and an alarming number of hours is lost due to system downtime and load shedding. We have also noted several offices don’t
have working generators 16 years after load shedding started. So, four years ago you had a plan, and I am sure you now have a plan, but people are fed up and these needs be resolved.
What is your plan to address the issue of generators and resolve this downtime issue and by when will these matters be resolved once and for all?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Yes, hon Roos, it is not true to say there has not been progress, particularly coming from you being a member of the portfolio committee because I report what is happening about this issue at almost every available opportunity. If you go to my budget speech delivered last year in May, 90% of that budget speech was allocated to this issue. I forgot about all the other issues and spoke about this issue because it is a problem of the country. The fact that we are using Sita systems that are always down. In that budget speech, I announced that Sita is going to spend R400 million to improve their network systems and if you want the progress about how far Sita is, I can show that progress, but I also announced that because of the delay that we are mentioning, we have moved to another structure, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, because we believe they have more capacity and more scientific knowledge perhaps than Sita. And I reported that we are busy with them. They are doing two
things: firstly, they have entered a diagnostic journey to look throughout the whole system. Why is it that after so many years so many groups have come in? They cannot find an answer. We were not folding our arms from 2019, we even opened a special war room in Centurion where we got chief executive officers, CEOs, not ordinary junior managers, CEOs of all these companies, starting with IBM, EOH, and Oracle. We put them there. We even got a deputy director-general to report there full-time and to work with the CEOs to see that they solve these problems. So, now and our last resort, the CSIR and they are not only doing a diagnostic journey they, are looking for an alternative network through which Home Affairs system can connect and we agreed that they will first pilot with the biggest offices, and we have just given them 15 of them. We are watching the progress to see what will happen.
Ms M R MOHLALA: No, thanks so much, I am going to take the follow up question for hon Tetyana. Hon Minister, while load shedding has made the situation at Home Affairs even worse, the reality is that services at your department have been abysmal for years and that you have been unable or unwilling to resolve these challenges. As we speak, Minister, every Home Affairs office in this country has queues snaking across the
streets. What comprehensive solutions do you have for resolving this problem of long queues at Home Affairs? What is stopping you from implementing that solution now, Minister?
Ke kgoboio. Ge o sepela, gore lefelo ke Kgoro ya Merero ya Selegae o bona ka methaladi ye metelele. Re botie Tona. Ke a leboga.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Well, I won’t get tired repeating the same thing again and again. I have just given you an answer regarding what we are doing. I have elaborated and told you that I elaborated in the budget speech last year. I have told you that I have elaborated in every meeting of the portfolio committee about what we are doing, but sometimes this problem, which is always repeated, forget to take into consideration that when we look at the number of IDs we have issued, it does not reflect what you’re saying. There are
1,2 million babies born in South Africa every year. We are able to give 90% of birth certificates within the first 30 days of their life. That cannot be as dismal as you are describing. Much as we are having problems, we are doing that. The - no, I am giving you numbers ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Minister, speak through the Chair. Don’t be distracted. Go ahead, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Yes, House Chairperson ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Just a pause. Is that a point of order, hon Lesoma?
Ms R M M LESOMA: Yes, House Chairperson, the members shouldn’t drown the speaker. Thank you, House Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Lesoma, I have given you an opportunity, but I didn’t hear what you said. Have you given up the opportunity?
Ms R M M LESOMA: I request that you order members to give the Minister a chance to respond. They shouldn’t drown the Minister.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Lesoma. Order members. Please go ahead, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: House Chairperson, I was saying numbers don’t lie, numbers give facts. Much as we have this
problem of information technology, IT, which I never hid away from, I always explain about what is happening on IT, and I said we report to the portfolio committee almost every time we appear because they raise this question. That is not denied, but I am giving you statistics of what we can do, and I am saying to you, out of the 1,2 million babies who are born annually, 90% of them are able to get birth certificates within the first 30 days of birth. The rest ... that’s a reality, it’s a fact which we can’t run away from. [Time expired.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Minister, your time has expired. Order members. Before I proceed to the last member to take their opportunity, the new member that we have welcomed has raised a hand, so I want to give the member an opportunity. I saw your hand whilst the Minister was concluding.
Ms N MAKAMBA-BOTYA: House Chair, I just want to get clarity from the Minister. He is talking about lines that are very long at Home Affairs, yet they are using the same system that services the Sars is using and the service at service the Sars is very effective. I want to know why is it that they are
using the same system, but their services are at the stage where they are now.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon member. [Interjections.] No, wait, members, wait and I am doing this deliberately because I think we all learn, and we are going to learn. So, I want to indicate to the member that during the question time it’s only the member who has been designated to ask that question, but I did not want to stop you in the middle. You will understand it as we go. Thank you, will leave that.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon House Chair, can the hon Minister inform the House if the R834 million allocated to the department in the 2023-24 financial year for its digitisation project will provide for further adequate acquisition of generators and invertors for power backup during load shedding and the continuous maintenance thereof? Hon House Chair, I wish to establish whether there are adequate finances available to address this situation? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, I have never met a situation where in budgetary system you will ever say money is enough, you will always need more. But currently, with the
little that we are having, we are trying to make sure, as I said, that we are putting generators, as I am speaking, all the mobile trucks we have come built in generators. What we are doing is to try and make sure that we put generators in all our static offices and more than half of them, especially the modernised ones, already have generators. But I have also just said our property and facilities management are trying to put uninterrupted power supply, UPSs, as well as invertors.
So, we are trying everything possible within the world of technology to resolve this problem. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, I have drawn a table here which I will submit, which provides the departmental responses to both Questions (a) and (b), as they are intrinsically linked. As far as circumstances are concerned, since 2016, there have been six cases that have been brought against the department requiring consideration for new and/or amended legislation. That means by either the Supreme Court of Appeal or by the Constitutional Court. There have been six orders, where they are saying this part of legislation is unconstitutional; it needs to be amended.
Four cases are still within the due dates to be affected. The fifth case is awaiting the outcome of the Constitutional Court, which is still being ventilated. In the last case, what was left was regulations. The Act has been amended. The delay was in regulations. However, I am happy to announce that at the time this question I asked, we were still finalising the regulations, but I am happy to announce that the regulations have been gazetted on Monday, two days ago, on 12 June 2013, which means that matter is closed and the regulations can work because there is already an Act.
Now, maybe it will be important for me to take you through the four cases I have mentioned. The first one is T.R and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Others; R.W.A and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Others, 2022 ZAWCHC 115.
This case is about the status of foreign spouses, who have married in South Africa. When the marriage comes to an end or the South African spouse passes away, there was a manner in which the Act was dealing with it, and the Constitutional Court said it is unconstitutional. The judgment was passed on
28 February 2023, and the due date is 28 February 2025.
The second matter is the Women’s Legal Centre Trust v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, 2022 ZACC 23. This issue is about Muslim marriages and you are aware that we have started an omnibus Bill on this matter. Al Jama Ah also came up with a Private Member’s Bill. We have been negotiating with them, agreeing what to do. The new marriage policy is serving tomorrow, for the last time, in a Cabinet committee before it comes here.
This is not only the one that has been passed by the Constitutional Court. They also declared section 9, 10 and 28 of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979, unconstitutional. So, we are working with Minister Lamola. The problem we are faced with here is that, once it gets passed tomorrow, as it is going to be and it comes to Parliament, we won’t be able to meet the deadline, which is the 28 June. So, the two of us are discussing what to do in approaching the Constitutional Court.
The third case is Centre for Child Law v Director General: Department of Home Affairs and Others, 2021 ZACC 31. These issues about the status of unmarried fathers are a very complex case. I can assure you that many women don’t like the judgment, because the court ruled that any father has got the
right to register their own child without talking to the mother whatsoever, if they believe the child is theirs.
We don’t have a problem with that. The problem we have is that we have got to prove that this man is the father, and the court was against that. We have a big problem. The due date set by the Constitutional Court for Parliament to amend this and allow any man to register a child if they believe is their child is 10 July 2024. However, it is a ruling that we have got to implement, whether we like it or not. I was just telling you the problem.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, Minister. Hon Minister, you did promise that you will you will share your presentation? Thank you. The first opportunity goes to hon Roos.
Mr A C ROOS: Thank you, House Chair. Minister, if you are aware of it, I am sure you will be celebrating the DA’s victory in the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday - the court order that will see the citizenship of South Africans who were irrationally stripped of their citizenship rights, restored.
This is because the fraudulently granted citizenship of the Guptas will now too be restored. You will be happy to hear!
It is ironic that you have fought the DA every step of the way, for the past five years, to keep this provision carried over from apartheid era South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995, which was used by the apartheid government to strip exiled freedom fighters overseas off citizenship, taking the citizenship of Bantustans off their South African citizenship without their knowledge.
In the 2020 judgement against Home Affairs, the Constitutional Court stated that the systematic Act of stripping millions of black South Africans of their citizenship was one of the most pernicious policies of the apartheid regime and left many as foreigners in the land of their birth. But, in the Chisuse and Others v Director-General, Department of Home Affairs and Another, 2020 ZACC 20 matter, you fought to have children born of one South African parent overseas stripped of their citizenship.
Are you failing to honour court orders and fighting so hard to have South Africans that you may believe won’t vote for you stripped off their citizenship because you are scared of losing the 2024 Elections?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon member, yes, I am aware that this judgment that was passed yesterday. It was not part of what I was going to say here because it was still being ventilated in court. I am laughing when you say it is because we are scared of losing elections. There’s a rumour that the DA was fighting this issue specifically to win elections. So, we don’t know who is who.
Yes, we are being told that you want to go and fetch all the DA members, who left this country for greener pastures and went somewhere, to come and bring them. I am answering the question because you asked it that way. Be that, as it may, the court has made a ruling. They have said because South African law allows dual citizenship, there is no reason to stop any other person who has not asked for permission to get dual citizenship.
We are not challenging that just because the court has made a ruling, but I want to inform you that these issues that are being raised by the courts of law, are the Acts that were passed by this Parliament from 1995. So, sometimes we don’t challenge them because we hate something; we just want clarity from the courts. If we don’t get clarity, everybody will interpret them in particular ways.
We just want the courts to finalise and clarify the matter. Whilst they clarify it, the matter is closed, like this particular one, because we did not pass that Act which says this about citizenship. It was passed in this House of Parliament, which is a legitimate House. So, when you go to court to get clarity, it shouldn’t be as if you hate somebody or whatever.
Otherwise, how do we go on if clarity has not been made? Many of them have actually been thrown out by the court, correcting what Parliament has done? It gives us an opportunity to come back and correct; and that is what we are doing. Thank you very much.
Ms T I LEGWASE: Thank you, Chair. I will be taking the question on his behalf.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Please go ahead.
Ms T I LEGWASE: Hon Minister, the update on the status of these court cases is appreciated and well received. However, as a practice, sometimes amendments of the legislation may take long to effect the court order and that may impact negatively on the people. From your response, it seems that
short term measures, such as gazetting of regulations to effect court orders, is being considered as one of the options. Can you comment on the effectiveness of this approach to effect the court orders? Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: No, unfortunately, hon member, that option is not being pursued. I don’t know how. Maybe from what I have said, it might give an impression that we are pursuing it. We are not pursuing that option because it won’t work, unless I don’t understand you very well, hon member. You are saying that, because it does take time to amend legislation. Usually the court gives 24 months in all the cases, and I am not sure where they have got the 24 months from.
Moreover, quite a number of times, Parliament is not able to meet the 24 months’ deadline. We go and ask for extensions, like we did three times with the Electoral Law Amendment Act. From what I understand, you are saying because of that, we then resort to gazetting regulations which will temporarily take over before the Act is amended.
Unfortunately, there is no regulation that is a standalone. Every regulation follows a law. So, we cannot pass any
regulations to be a stand in for an Act that has not been amended. The Act must be amended first. It is then that the regulations can be passed.
So, unfortunately, this option is not on the table. We are not even considering it, but we are painfully aware. I have just given an example of what myself and hon Lamola are faced with: That, generally, the courts give 24 months. That 24 months, in many instances, have not been found to be adequate for the amendments of these legislations. Thank you.
Ms N N CHIRWA: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Minister, your department is notorious for not only ignoring court orders, but also ignoring correspondence from the public and their legal representatives. This conduct was also condemned by Judge Phooko from the North Gauteng High Court, last year, on Anthony v Minister of Home Affairs and Others, 2022 ZAGPPHC 607. Seemingly, you have not done anything to correct this or to ensure that your department is compliant with court orders.
So, we want to know: What structural interventions have you made to ensure that the department has the capacity and the skill to process court orders and deal with them accordingly? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Yes, hon Chirwa, you are right, there was such a tendency in the department of not complying with court orders, but we are taking action. I know it more than you because when departmental officials don’t comply with court orders, even if I didn’t know, I will start knowing it when a contempt ruling is made against me. When it arrives, that there is contempt of court here, it is then that I know there was a court ruling which was not complied with.
So, I am taking this issue very directly and some officials have already been Sassa appended, while others got fired.
There is even a very senior official who has been demoted from a position of DDG to a position of director, for not complying with court orders. I had to do something like that because not complying with court orders destroys the whole system. So, yes, we had to take such drastic steps.
I don’t get pleasure in demoting somebody from that high position. However, some of the lack of compliance comes with financial ramifications, whereby the government or the state is losing money, which is taxpayers’ money. So, you have to gauge between that and protecting one particular individual. So, we are making sure that court orders are complied with
because it is a very big problem when court are disobeyed. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Minister.
Die heel laaste ... Agteros kom ook in die kraal. Agb Mulder?
Mnr F J MULDER: Agb Voorsitter, my vraag gaan weer oor finansies ...
... to the hon Minister. Can the hon Minister indicate on how many, of the six cases mentioned before the House, costs were ordered to be paid by the department, and if any, whether these orders have been complied with?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: It is difficult to hear, but the little I did ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): No, no, no! Did you hear Minister? [Interjections.] Because, if it did not, he must repeat.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: No, he will correct me. The little I have heard is that: Which of these cases have costs been ordered against the department? Unfortunately, I don’t have a full list here. If they do, yes. That is what I am saying exactly: We have got no option but to suspend people, fire them or even demote them because it comes with financial implications. That is what I was talking about. We can’t have a situation where costs are ordered against the state and we don’t take any action. However, I don’t have a list here, unfortunately. Thank you.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ON APPOINTMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES IN TERMS OF SECTION 83(2)(H) OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT, ACT 111 OF 1998
Mr G MAGWANISHE: House Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, section 83 of the Correctional Services Act, Act 111 of 1998, stipulates that the Minister must appoint a National Council for Correctional Services, NCCS.
The primary function of the NCCS is to advice at the request of the Minister on its own accord in developing policy with regard to the correctional system and the sentencing process.
The council also considers cases of offenders serving sentences of life imprisonment and must make recommendations to the Minister regarding the placement of such offenders on a parole or day parole and cancellation of day parole or parole.
Certain members of the NCCS also sit as correctional supervision and parole review board to review the decisions of the parole board.
Section 83(2)(h) of the Act states that the Minister must appoint four or more persons not in the fulltime service of the state, appointed as representatives of the public in consultation with the relevant parliamentary committees.
The Minister has presented the names to the committee from different backgrounds such as the legal fraternity, religious fraternity, social workers, psychologists, criminologists, academics with experience in criminal justice and people with knowledge in community justice.
The term of the current council was extended until 30 June 2023.
The committee, having engaged on the 16 names presented by the Minister and motivation for each name, recommends that the National Assembly concurs with the appointment of the names presented to serve on the National Council for Correctional Services as representatives of the public.
They are: Ms Amanda Vilakazi, Dr Yvette le Roux, Adv Hushi Mahumane, Mr Marothi Mboweni, Mr Tshepo Nawane, Rev Pogiso France Mookisi, Dr Lineo Johnson, Mr Mziwoxolo Mfeketo, Dr Herma Hargovan, Dr Vanitha Chetty, Ms Vuyelwa Maweni, Ms Daleen Van Biljon, Mr Willem hanekom, Ms Ratamina Mboweni and Dr Yolinda Steyn.
I so move. Thank you, House Chair.
Declarations of vote:
Mr J ENGELBRECHT: House Chair, during the process of putting together the list of names of individuals to serve on the NCCS it came to light that none of the individuals went through the screening process.
In this instance, screening refers to qualifications and criminal record checks. Given the nature of the work the NCCS has to perform, it is almost inconceivable that screening was omitted.
After the committee pointed this out, the screening was eventually done.
Flagrant disregard for a procedure like this could have very serious consequences which we could hardly afford. I hope something similar won’t be repeated.
The DA supports the report. Thank you very much, House Chair.
Mrs Y N YAKO: Chairperson, the National Council for Correctional Services is supposed to be the bridge between the general public and the department.
The challenges faced by the department are enormous, requiring constant engagement with members of the public. Some of these challenges relate to the rehabilitation of inmates and the facilitation of healing between members of the public affected by crimes and those convicted of these crimes.
Sadly, the appointment of these people into the crucial institutions of state has been done as a means of dispensing patronage and not of appointing properly qualified people who add to these institutions.
As things stand now and as can be seen from the replies given by the Minister in today’s oral session, the department is facing a number of challenges, including their inability to implement recommendations such as that of the Jali Commission.
Our correctional centres are dens of crime and inmates come out as hardened criminals, without being rehabilitated.
The National Council for Correctional Services must be hands-on in working with the department to resolve these issues.
At face value, we have nothing against the names proposed for appointment. And as the EFF we note them and hope that they will take the responsibility with respect, care and humility. We thank you, Chairperson.
Prof C T MSIMANG: Hon House Chair,
If one really wishes to know how justice administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected, those precisely who need the law’s protection most, and listens to their testimony.
Although James Baldwin shared these words in 1972, more than
51 years ago, they remain true today as they did then.
Our justice and correctional services is premised on protecting our members of society who are most vulnerable, those that in previous years were unable to and deliberately excluded from accessing and enjoying the benefits of the law.
This is where, in 2023, the appointment of the National Council for Correctional Services crucially comes in. Advising the Minister on developing relevant and correct policies regarding the correctional system and the sentencing process in the country.
Flexibility of members of the council simultaneously sitting in the Correctional Services and parole review board, so to review the decisions of parole board is very important in that
we are always aware that in serving justice, our justice system is also restorative in nature.
It is premised not on annihilating anyone from society completely, but on correcting and slowly integrating past offenders back into society.
As a party we have followed and have been part of processes and proceedings of the committee on the crucial work that was done in appointing the council that contributes immensely to the overall work of the Justice and Correctional Services Ministry.
After seeing that recommendations made were positively followed, such as the need for extensive screening of all candidates and that there is diversity in the proposed members of council, much to our satisfaction.
The IFP supports the report and I thank you, hon Chair.
Ms W S NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN: Hon Chairperson, hon members, colleagues, to quote someone who was familiar with the old South African prison system, former President Nelson Mandela:
Nobody truly knows a nation until they’ve been inside their jails. A nation should not be just be by its highest citizen, but by its lowest.
The overarching objectives of the Department of Correctional Services are to detain inmates in safe, secure and humane conditions in correctional centres and remand detention facilities. To provide sentenced offenders with needs-based rehabilitation programmes and interventions, and to reintegrate offenders into communities as law-abiding citizens by effectively managing non-custodial sentences and parole.
The department is critical in providing adequate security at correctional facilities and facilitating restorative justice.
The National Development Plan, NDP, envisages that by 2030 all people will be and feel safe. The NDP also envisages that offenders should be released and successfully reintegrated into society.
The effectiveness of this process largely depends on the quality of programmes offenders receive while incarcerated.
The Department of Correctional Services plays a vital role in rehabilitating offenders and reducing the likelihood of them reoffending by conducting proper assessments and informing them about the programmes and interventions available within the facilities, such as skills development programmes, psychological, social and spiritual cases.
The National Council for Correctional Services is a statutory body that guides the Minster of Justice and Correctional Services in developing policy relating to the correctional system and the sentence management process. The NCCS is a critical role player in Correctional Services.
The council also considers cases of offenders serving sentences of life imprisonment and must make recommendations to the Minister regarding the placement of such offenders on parole or day parole and cancellation of such.
Certain members of the council also sit in the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board to review the decisions by the parole boards.
Among other duties, the Minister must refer draft legislation and major proposed policy developments regarding the
correctional system to the national council for its comments and advice.
The council may examine any aspect of correctional system and refer any appropriate matter to the inspecting judge.
The national council must fulfil any other functions ascribed to it in the Correctional Services Act.
The COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown had a bearing on the work of the council. Offenders serving life sentences and who have served out their minimum detention periods are facing delays for parole consideration.
Although parole for any sentenced inmate, including lifers, is not a right, parole consideration is. Lifers are eligible for parole once they reach their minimum detention period.
A person sentenced to life imprisonment before 1 October 2004 must serve 12 years and four months before being considered for parole. If they were sentenced after 1 October 2004 they need to serve a minimum of 25 years.
As we may know, the term of the current council was extended on 30 June 2023. The recruitment process has been underway for some time. An advert was published in the Sunday media inviting nominations and applications for appointment in the NCCS. A re-advertisement was done with the aim of increasing the pool of the candidates for appointment.
To fill the vacancies on the council, candidates are drawn from the legal fraternity, religious fraternity, academics with experience in criminal justice, knowledge of community justice system, criminologists, social workers and psychologists.
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services recommended
16 candidates to serve on the council. Having gone through the recommended names we appreciate that the candidates reflect a generational mix and envisage that there will be a transfer of skills from the older to the younger generation of members of the council. We appreciate the gender and race balance in the candidates.
The profiles of the candidates reflect that they possess the necessary skills and expertise. We also appreciate the
geographical spread of the candidates. This speaks directly to the issue of nation building.
The recommended candidates consist of new and returning members of council. This will assist on the issues of retention of institutional memory as well as infusing new ideas and skills.
We welcome that among the candidates, persons with disabilities are represented because representation matters very much.
The ANC supports the report. Thank you, Chairperson.
Report agreed to.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ON AMENDMENTS TO PRACTICAL GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYEES FOR APPROVAL IN TERMS OF SECTION 10(4)(B) OF PROTECTED DISCLOSURES ACT, 2000 (ACT NO 26 OF 2000)
Mr G MAGWANISHE: House Chairperson, the Protected Disclosure Act of 2000 provides that the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services must issue practical guidelines which explain the provisions of the Act and all procedures that are available to employees who wish to report or remedy any impropriety. Section 10(4)(B) of the Act provides that the guidelines must be approved by Parliament before publication in the gazette. The guidelines were published in 2011, but as the Act was amended on 02 August 2017. These now require amending.
Section 8 of the Act was amended to include the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for Gender Equality, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Rights for Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, and the Public Service Commission and other institutions to which protected disclosure can be made.
Consequently, the proposed amendments to the guidelines list these institutions as also being institutions to which protected disclosure can be made. It also proposed to amend part three of the guidelines to set out the contact details of the Public Protector in all nine provinces and set out the
contact details of other persons or bodies to whom the protected disclosure can be made.
Finally, it is proposed that to delete part four which includes a copy of the Act from the guidelines, the proposed deletion will do away with the need to amend the guidelines whenever the Act is amended. The committee recommends that the National Assembly approve the amendments to Practical Guidelines for Employees for Approval in terms of section 10(4)(B) of the Protected Disclosure Act. I thank you.
Declarations of Vote:
Mr W HORN: House Chair, weaknesses and deficiencies of our country’s whistleblower protection protocol has been in the spotlight for many years. This spotlight has become more blinding since the death of people like Babita Deokaran, the key witness in the investigation of allegedly corrupt multi- million-rand tender in Gauteng, who was brutally shot dead in August 2021. Athol Williams, who testified in front of the Zondo Commission implicating 39 people in grand scale corruption, thereafter, decided to leave the country in November 21 out of fear for his own safety. All of this was preceded by the following announcement by President Cyril
Ramaphosa during his state of the nation address in 2022, when he said, and I quote:
We will shortly be appointing the members of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, which is a multi-sectoral body that will oversee the initial implementation of the strategy and the establishment of an independent statutory anti-corruption body that reports to Parliament.
During the state of the nation address of 2022, there was still no sign of this independent statutory anti-corruption body, only a fresh commitment to strengthen whistleblower protection. President Ramaphosa, again using words that imitated the sense of urgency when he stated that, and I quote, “The relevant law enforcement agencies are taking the necessary steps to address the immediate concern about the safety of whistleblowers”.
In the meantime, the Zondo Commission pointed out the flaws in the existing whistleblower protection scheme were that it does not provide a clear cut procedure for the whistleblower to follow, does not sufficiently guarantee that disclosures will be protected, is not proactive in providing physical protection, it offers no incentives to the whistleblower, and
finally that it does not ensure that all such information find its way to a destination with specialised skills.
During the state of the nation address 2023, President Ramaphosa again made fresh promises around whistleblower protection laws and the strengthening of the Witness Protection unit to assist whistleblowers. None of that has yet materialised. The Minister has informed us that the review has been finalised, but if one reads between the lines, the intention is for Cabinet to discuss the matter a bit further and the department to consult some more.
Considering that some other pieces of legislation, like the Lower Courts Bill has been in the embryonic phase with the Department of Justice since 2014, one cannot even make a guesstimate when this Bill will one day arrive in Parliament.
Now, House Chair, the amended guidelines under discussion today address some of the minor issues faced by whistleblowers. However, an important opportunity was missed to deal with some of the issues identified in the Zondo Commission report. The procedure to be followed by prospective whistleblowers could have been made clearer and better
protection measures could have been introduced by these guidelines, even as we operate under the law as it stands.
Colleagues, when Athol Williams left our shores in 2021, he issued a statement with the topic, “Forced to leave”, in which he details the way in which he suffered economic, professional and personal harm because of his decision to speak up. He remarked as follows: “It’s a tragedy that those who choose to do the right thing have their lives shattered while everyone looks on. Sadly, this is what we as lawmakers have been doing since then. We have been patient naïve onlookers waiting for this government to act in line with its promises. The time has come for us to seriously consider whether this is good enough, and whether we, as lawmakers, should not consider introducing our own legislation to better help whistleblowers, because to wait for this government, we will wait forever. Thank you, House Chair.
Ms Y N YAKO: House Chairperson, the plight of whistleblowers in this country is very precarious and there seems to be no
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Just a pause, hon Yako. Someone was coming here. Okay, continue, hon Yako.
Bayayithatha le ndawo yakho kuba kudala bethatha imibuzo yakho apha.
Please go ahead, Nomampondomise.
Nks Y N YAKO: Kanti ndilapha. Ndikhona.
The plight of whistleblowers in this country is very precarious and there seems to be no adequate legislative mechanism to protect them against victimisation and even murder. We now know that Babita Deokaran was murdered in cold blood after she blew the whistle on the corruption that took place at the Gauteng Department of Health. To date, no one has been held to account either for the murder of Babita or for the crimes that she reported and for which she died.
There is no willingness to protect whistleblowers, and this is because, in the main, those who commit these crimes are top politicians and those acting at the behest of these politicians. These guidelines are not nearly enough to provide
the kind of protection needed by those who blow the whistle on crime. Parliament simply added that there must be contact details of offices of the Public Protector across provinces.
This is not even called comfort to those who want to disclose criminal activity, and we know there are many of those. While we approve of these guidelines, we want more to be done practically and through legislation to protect not only the rights of those whistleblowers but also their lives too. We are in support of these guidelines. I thank you.
Prof C T MSIMANG: Hon House Chair, hon Minister and hon members, this Act though tabled on in the year 2000 has never been more relevant than it is today in the current age of rampant state and public service corruption, and in effecting measures of counteracting and bringing to a full stop the impunity within which bribery, corruption and abuse of power thrive today within government. By protecting those who seek to report such criminality in terms of this Act.
Section 10(4)(B) of the Protected Disclosures Act provides practical guidelines for employees who wish to make a protective disclosure. Employees should follow these guidelines to ensure that their disclosures are made in good
faith to the appropriate personal authority and contain all the necessary information.
Today we limit ourselves to the amendments of 02 August 2017, and whilst the IFP welcomes inclusion of the existing section 8(1) listed institutions, which will now include South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for Gender Equality, the Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the Public Service Commission as other institutions with protected disclosures could also be made, we remain concerned about several areas that could be improved. For instance, firstly, potential abuse of the process that could filter in through good faith disclosures made by persons with hidden political agendas, especially now as we are nearing the national and provincial elections in 2024. Secondly, there be greater clarity and guidance provided to employees as to how best to protect themselves from possible victimisation and retaliation. Thirdly, a central hotline contact number should be provided in addition to the contact numbers already provided. In conclusion, whistleblowing is an effective check and balance and should be provided with every opportunity to be effective and safe the individual coming forward with the disclosure. I thank you, hon House Chair.
Ms N H MASEKO-JELE: House Chairperson, whistleblower protection in South Africa is based on the Protected Disclosure Act, which allows employees to disclose information about alleged misconduct without fear of appraisal relating to suspected or alleged criminal or other irregular conduct by their employers, both in the private and public sector.
It is the Labor Relation Act 66 of 1995 which then renders a dismissal automatically unfair if it constitutes a contravention of the Protected Disclosure Act by an employer and which attempts to protect employees from being victimised through disciplinary and other processes where the whistle has been blown. If a disclosure is protected, the employee may not be subjected to any occupational detriment by his or her employer or on account or partly on account of having made it.
The Protected Disclosure Act provides certain avenues which a whistleblower may venture for the disclosure to acquire this status. Protected disclosures may be made to a legal practitioner or a person whose job involves giving legal advice, an employer, a member of Cabinet or executive council, and to bodies such as Public Protector or Auditor General.
The Act was amended on the 2 August 2017. Before its amendment, section 8(1) of the Act provided that any disclosure made in good faith to a Public Protector, the Auditor General, or any person or body prescribed for the purposes of that section and in respect of which disclosure the employee or worker consent reasonably believes that the relevant impropriety falls within any description of matters which in the ordinary course are dealt with by the person or body concerned and the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it are substantially true is a protected disclosure.
In August 2017, section 8(1) was amended to specifically include the other constitutional bodies, namely, the South African Human Rights Commission, Commission of Gender Equality, the Commission for Protection and Protection and of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, communities and the Public Service Commission as other institutions to which the protected disclosures could be made.
The inclusion in section 8(1) of the Act of said commission necessitate amendments to be affected to the guidelines by amending paragraph three of part one under the heading “Specified person or body”, so specify not only the Public
Protector and Auditor General, but also those four bodies. It also necessitated amendment part three to set out the contact details of the Public Protector in all nine properties, and not only in four provinces, as the guidelines currently provide, as well as to set out the contact details of other persons or bodies contemplated in section 8(1)(C) to who the protected disclosure can be made.
The amendments to the practical guidelines under the Protected Disclosure Act, the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser provided an opinion on 23 February 2022 that the amendments to the guidelines are not in conflict with the Constitution or the empowering provisions. Section 10(4)(A) says the Minister must consult with the Minister of Public Service and Administration before the amendment to the guidelines are submitted to Parliament for approval. The acting Minister of Public Service and Administration, in a letter dated 3 June 2022, stated that the amendments to the guidelines are supported.
The Protected Disclosure Act aims to create a culture which will facilitate the disclosure of information by employees moving away from former notions of obligatory disclosure in terms of statutory provisions. The ANC support. I thank you.
There was no debate.
Declarations of vote made on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Inkatha Freedom Party and African National Congress.
Amendments to Practical Guidelines for employees for approval in terms of section 10(4)(B) of Protected Disclosures Act, 2000 (Act No 26 of 2000) approved.
Report agreed to.
DEBATE ON TRANSFORMATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: House Chairperson, hon members, thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak today. This is significant to me to return briefly to this podium because you know that despite the name of the title of the job I do, you are the ones who speak in this House. The Speaker and I are merely timekeepers and Rules enforcers. It is significant too because I return here in the middle of a relatively fast recovery from a rude interruption by a mild stroke I am slowly kicking out of my body. Thank you for your well wishes.
Allow me Chairperson, to begin with the end in mind. This is humbly a request to you to approve our proposal as we head to Ghana in September for the 66th International CPA Conference, where we are to take the final decision on critical matters of the status of the organisation. The South African delegation to these conferences, both regional and international, involves us in Parliament and the nine provinces. We have become a tight team, usually meeting before and during, to evaluate our performance and usually come out in many instances successful in the key issues we placed on the agenda.
The end I have in mind is that the House should note the position of the South African delegation involvement in the processes relating to the transformation of the CPA. Fully recognised the initiatives and the leadership role played by South Africa through the initiative of Gauteng legislature to deal with problematic laws in the Constitution that establishes the CPA as a charity organisation.
Also notes the difficulty this poses in the work of Parliaments across the regions of the world. There are about nine regions that makes up the CPA. The CPA is probably the only parliamentary organisation without international status.
Others like parliamentary bodies such as the East African Legislative Assembly, the Pan-African Parliament, ECOWAS Assembly, the Africa Caribbean Pacific region structure, the EU and the IPU, Interparliamentary Union, all enjoy diplomatic status and privileges.
Encouraged by the resolution of the General Assembly taken during the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to endorse the change of the status of the CPA from a charity into a diplomatic organization. Further support the decision of the CPA regions to develop benchmarks to guide the hosting of the headquarters when this is changed. The new association will be located in the new place with a different diplomatic and international organisation status. Recognising the need for the CPA to have observer status in the United Nations and have impact in the decisions of the world. This matter of the transformation of the CPA is item number one in seven strategic objectives of the CPA International Annual Programme for 22-23.
This CPA was created by the British Empire as it was called then in 2011, with South Africa as a member. When the National Party took over following the 1848 elections they won, they promptly in 1949 left the body to pursue its apartheid
policies unhindered by anyone, as it claimed. Soon thereafter, critical conferences of the CPA took strong decisions and objections to the apartheid practices in South Africa at the time. This includes the Singapore Declaration and White Latino Declaration.
Most crucially for us South Africans, Oliver Tambo, the President of the ANC then, campaigned generally around the African continent and in the world, including in the Commonwealth, to persuade them to accept the Harare Declaration. So, Singapore, the White Latino and Harare Declarations, constitute the heart of the Commonwealth Charter. In other words, the nature and character that it was in the past has changed in that sense. This is why they were able to take the positions they took.
Our country rejoined the CPA soon after its independence in 1994. Our Presidents attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will take place. Our own Parliament joins other parliaments at this level, such as the SADC Parliamentary Forum, as well as the CPA Africa Region Conference, and internationally, the IPU, Inter-Parliamentary Union. Our orientation in these affairs is an internationalist one. We pursue relations that advance our interests politically,
economically, socially and developmentally. We are drivers of our agenda and take our sovereignty seriously, as the Minister spoke earlier on here.
In this matter, the formulation of such an agenda is our Constitution, which is our guide, and Ubuntu is our key direction. We co-operate with our Department of International Relations and Cooperation in this regard, and a case for improving this relationship can be improved - there is no question about it. The debate sets in motion a process to evaluate parliamentary diplomatic efforts, our agenda, and its implementation assess the extent to which we fulfil our dreams in the international platforms, and domestically inside our country, as well as elsewhere, especially given our 30th anniversary next year.
The CPA has to be quick, hence the following objectives to in Africa: The pursuit of ideals of democracy and good governance, promoting gender emancipation, equality and equity of women, promoting respect for human rights and freedom, increasing knowledge and education concerning constitutional and legislative systems of member countries, participation in election observer missions, increasing knowledge and democratic electoral processes. It basically argues for
parliaments that are responsive, effective and efficient and accountable.
It is for that reason that we request you members, as I said at the beginning, that you support our resolution as we go to Ghana in September where the continent is coherent and united and at one. We work so in a difficult environment in which Australia, Britain and Canada often act together. But because of our strength and unity of voice, it would be bad news for us to break ranks. South Africa’s delegation in those forums is continually in a collective manner and in a spirit of unity, achieves many of its objectives. We have been relatively successful so far. We have moved the entire body to agree with this resolution for its transformation. Thank you.
Ms T BLODLANI: House Chairperson, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, CPA, exits to promote knowledge of the constitutional, legislative, economic, social and cultural aspects of the parliamentary democracy, with particular reference to countries in the Commonwealth. With the above said responsibilities, the DA welcomes the proposed change of status of the CPA from a charitable organisation registered under the Charities Act of the United Kingdoms, to an international organisation. The work of the CPA as an inter-
parliamentary organisation is indeed critical to the sustenance of interstate learnings and collaborations is extremely encouraging that African regional block is vocal and is at the forefront for pushing for transformation of the CPA.
According to the report which we are debating, the African region has been the most vocal on the matter of the status change. In fact, the report says that the African block has reached a unanimous agreement that the status of CPA should be changed.
Calls for ‘Africa to Rise’ are bearing fruits. The rise of Africa and the rise Africans means Africa will be an equal voice in every room we find ourselves in. Africa will claim a seats at the tables where decisions that affect her are made. We support the proposal by the Africa regional block’s proposal that the CPA Constitution be amended to pave the way for the change of the status. And secondly, that a new non- charitable organisation be established.
We support the sovereignty of Australasia, British Islands, Mediterranean and Canada regions, their hesitance to support the change of legal status of the association is of great concern to the us.
The DA hopes that we have continued engagements, these countries will support the proposed change of status which will bring changes, such as citizens who are not UK nationals facing barriers to employment by the Association’s Secretariat, making it difficult for citizens of other member states to be employed at the CPA Secretariat Headquarters which is located in London, unless there are no qualified persons within the UK or the EU. The DA is elated with the report which states that other regions are in agreement with the charitable state of the Association.
Hon House Chairperson, when all is said and done, this debate about the change of CPA status must translate to the change of quality of life of South Africans. And the change starts here, in this august House. The DA supports the role of CPA as an organ that works to support good governance, democracy, human rights as these values cannot be taken for granted in an era where CPA members state trample in these core pillars.
Hon House Chairperson, the CPA has aligned itself with the United Nations Sustainable Developments Goal 16, which talks about peace, justice and strong institutions.
Allow me to speak on peace and justice. House Chairperson, on peace, the UN records that women and girls comprise about 60% of all homicide victims killed by intimate partner or family members. Sadly, South Africa is not immune. A Member of this Parliament stands accused of murdering his wife, and continues to enjoy privileges of been an MP, while in custody. The silence of the ANC on this matter is really loud.
House Chairperson, on justice, the courts remain inaccessible to the poor and vulnerable. The LGBTQIA+ communities are vulnerable groups in South Africa. Rev Sechaba Rakoloti was killed in cold blood allegedly by his husband. Last week in a television interview his family reported that there is no progress on the court case. They in fact believe that critical evidence has gone missing, compromising the prospects of #JusticeForSechaba.
As we celebrate Pride Month, we call for the transformation of CPA to place LGBTQIA+ Rights firmly on the African agenda. May we give meaning to the life of Rev Sechaba Rakoloti, and many others who have been cut short by barbaric acts fuelled by hate Thank you, House Chairperson.
Ms N MHLONGO: First and foremost, I want to greet the commander-in-chief of the EFF, President Julius Malema, officials of the EFF, commissars and all fighters.
Chairperson, in its direct definition, the Commonwealth was established for this reason and I quote: To maintain an association between countries that had once been part of the British colonies, but which were considered ‘free and equal’. Having those words, ‘free and equal’ in the same sentence as our colonies is nothing but the paradox meant to pacify spineless in decisively leaders in government especially here in Africa.
The Commonwealth was formed before African state got its independent from the very same colonisers. And to be exact that was in 1949. Under the same breath, we are pacified into believing that the Commonwealth countries have a sense of kingship and unity and are describes as family. Calling ourselves as a family nation with the Commonwealth, one is left with the possible question on how can we be family with our oppressors, slave owners and our killers. The head of this Commonwealth is Charles III, meaning that since South Africa is part of the Commonwealth state, we owe our allegiance to the same monarch that oversaw those brutal assassinations of
our leaders and dispossession of our land that stole our diamonds and our minerals and which to this day has never repatriated them or even apologise for the injustices.
If there is any transformation that must be done, our African state should be bringing justice to Africans for crimes against humanity and theft committed by this monarch.
Now Chair, we will be told by some praise singers as we have been hearing her and spineless ruling party members that we stand here at this podium that the Commonwealth is helping to promote peace and prosperity, helping in small business development and legislation and election monitoring. What a joke and what a lie. How could a sober leader believe that your oppressor will educate and develop you to your best interest.
Ha-Joon Chang wrote a book labelled: Kicking Away The Ladder. And if as a continent we want to look to the oppressors for development, we need to think twice and kick the ladder of colonialism and neocolonialism away.
Chair, you must protect me from the rubble mouse there shouting. Instead of looking into reconfiguring the
commonwealth, you must just get out of the Commonwealth as African Member State and put much focus on all organs of the AU like African Court on Human and People’s Rights and stand by a peace force instead of being bullied by institutions like ICC, telling us who to form an alliance with, who to arrest and when to get them arrested.
The Commonwealth is not different to the Francophone arrangement, which to date does not want to leave African countries to run their business in peace without France, their master dictating to them on what to do and when to do it.
Chair, to add salt to our wound, as soon as African leaders get into power, they get summoned like little boys and girls. Or let me use an appropriate phrase, they get summoned like lads and cc dress on those revolting attires to go and see the British monarch and pledged their allegiance on our behalf which we don’t agree to. Let’s not be fooled into believing that they stood by us during apartheid by suspending the apartheid state membership in 1960 because that was the scramble between the British and the Dutch on who will be a better slave owner. To make it worse, the democratic government chose the better devil as British. What a mockery
to our democracy and to all the people who died fighting for democracy of this country.
Every Member State pays a yearly contribution to belong to this circus. That continues to oppress Africans. And it is our monies that has been used to do this and we should fully reject it at all costs.
We want to salute President Robert Mugabe for being the only decisive former British African colony leader who withdraw from this continuous oppression who stood firm on his ground and refused to continue to have Zimbabwe colonised by common world. We salute him for his bravery.
Lastly, we must emancipate this continent from slavery and lead without being baby seated by Charles III. We must refuse to be baby seated. We must be an independent state and run our own affairs without common world dictating to us on what to do and when to do it. We are not their children. We are an independent state that must have its own independence at all material times without having the United State of America and Commonwealth dictating terms and conditions tom us. Thank you very much, Chair.
Mr M HLENGWA: Hon Deputy Speaker, we want to assure you of our support in the changes that you have presented to us today.
Yeah, you see this thing of ...
... ukuthi yimuphi umlungu enimthandayo neningamthandi ningasifaki sonke ngoba kukhona enibathandayo. Bakhona enibathandayo manje ke ... kukhona enibathandayo.
House Chairperson, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and its name tells us that it carries a shared interest to all those that are aligned with it. When it was initially developed and the world was not at a point where there’s any cognisance of Africa’s challenges and the marginalised people in the content, we are not ignorant of the fact that this association was born out of imperial and colonial conquest.
However, its transformation provides a golden opportunity to reposition this entity as a custodian for global development and social and economic justice. The IFP subscribes to the position of experts and ... [Inaudible.] ... individuals that have been calling for systematic changes and transformation of global institutions such as the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, the Bretton Woods Institutions and, of
course, in this case the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, CPA.
These have been accompanied by a call for a shift in the modus operandi of merely filling ... [Inaudible.] ... by simply inviting African Commonwealth countries to one that meaningfully engages its members, and one that is sensitive and reactive to the inevitable transformation agenda. As the CPA is meant to give effect to support and give effect to the ideals of democracy, we realise that it cannot function in isolation from the very nations it seeks to serve. As such, there is a need for this to diversify how it approaches and addresses matters in relation to the commonwealth nation specifically and the global community in general. The transformation we speak of should be regarded as a response to the ever-changing and ever-evolving world order that is built upon the pillars of globalisation and technological advancement. Globalisation has brought about a closer world where cultural identities are over more visible.
Our working relationships require us to interact on a daily basis with people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds vary in political affiliations and ideologies and governments of different strokes and streams around the world,
which means that organisations such as the CPA need to be an environment that embraces but one that is not blind to the cultural differences and political differences that characterise the world we live in. There is a need for institutions such as the CPA to be enablers of global development, especially considering the legacy has left behind by imperialism and colonialism, and apartheid specifically in South Africa. There is opportunity in adversity as this is the genesis that will ... [Inaudible.] ... global change for commonwealth nations. The time has come for us to step away from merely theorising what transformation should look like as we have been presented with an opportunity to action our theories. Therefore, Deputy Speaker, as I’ve said we support the proposals that you have made and hope that they will be well received by those who will interact within the global stage. I thank you.
Mr W M THRING: Hon Acting House Chairperson, the ACDP notes that the commonwealth of nations consists of 56 countries was an evolutionary outgrowth of the British Empire, contemporaneous with its shading of mercantilist philosophy, the empire began implementing responsible government. It recognises the need to transform or face a decline into obscurity. The Statute of Westminster 1931 began formally
allowing dominions to control their own domestic and foreign affairs and to establish its own diplomatic core. The colonialist was transforming to become a benefactor. Most of the dependent states after obtaining independence chose commonwealth membership, and like India many opted not to recognise the crown as head of state. At a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Singapore in 1971, members adopted a declaration that restated the commonwealth voluntary and co-operative nature and committed the organisation to promoting international peace fighting racism, opposing colonial domination and reducing inequalities in wealth.
Now, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is an association to serve the parliamentarians of the commonwealth countries by providing machinery for regular consultation and exchange of ideas and information among members of Commonwealth Parliaments. One of the transformations within the CPA has been its influence in drawing women into parliaments. Parliamentarians will profit from a new partnership between the CPA and the United Nations where more than two and a half billion women and girls will benefit from the repeal and eradication of unequal laws. In line with its mission to promote democratic governance, CPA has taken substantial steps to strengthen democratic values among its
members. The association has implemented initiatives to support capacity building, parliamentary strengthening and the protection of human rights, fostering, greater transparency, accountability, citizenship, participation. This is often in nations unaccustomed to the benefits of the Judeo-Christian roots of withal democracy and government to which the ACDP subscribes.
The intended transformation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association from a charitable organisation represents an evolution, it must embrace inclusivity, strengthening democratic values, addressing global challenges and leveraging technology. Transformation is truly progressive, and the ACDP asserts that true transformation, the CPA, will be seen when reparations are made for the mineral wealth looted during colonialism and indigenous artifacts taken are returned.
Additionally, support must be given to the African Francophone countries whose economies continue to suffer because of one- sided pre-independence agreement with France. I thank you.
Mr N P MASIPA: Acting House Chairperson, today we debate the transformation of Commonwealth Parliament Association with a heavy cloud hanging over South Africa due to the ANC’s ruinous geopolitical stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Yesterday,
news broke out that a bipartisan group of United of States, US, lawmakers are petitioning the White House to move the African Growth and Opportunity Act summit away from South Africa as a precursor to expelling the country from the trading block. This is in retaliation to what they consider to be South Africa’s deepening military relationship with Russia. I do not need to spell out the devastating impact of such an expulsion on the South African economy. Worse, this happens while our neighbour Botswana continues to strengthen their ties with United States of America, USA. The Botswana government have just imported 100 bulls from Texas, while their farmers sell their winners in South Africa. What is the ANC government doing to our farmers? Nothing.
The changes in the status of the CPA will be of no consequence as the ANC has chosen to be a fierce defender of warmongers.
For one, the ANC government is deliberately refusing to implement basic international treaties. As a signatory of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court, the ANC government should not be debating whether to arrest Putin or not. He is a war criminal and must be arrested. If the ANC fails to arrest Putin, South Africa will officially become an international pariah of the kind that is on our doorstep to the north of Limpopo ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Masipa! Hon Masipa, please pause. Please, please, pause and take your seat.
Please, pause and take your seat, hon Masipa. Hon members, you know that you are allowed to heckle and interject, but it can’t be running commentary to a point where you are drowning the speaker on the platform. The person we must hear is the speaker, not how you drown the speaker, please refrain from that. Hon Masipa, please continue.
Ms N P MASIPA: As a signatory of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court, the ANC should not be debating whether to arrest Putin or not. He is a war criminal and must be arrested. If the ANC fails to arrest Putin, South Africa will officially become an international pariah of the kind that is on our doorstep to the north of Limpopo. Most thought leaders, scholars and politician, and commentators agree that Putin is a war criminal and must be arrested. Only the corrupt ANC sees nothing wrong with Putin waging war against a sovereign state. ANC’s doctrine of nonalignment is not different from President Thabo Mbeki’s ruinous silent diplomacy that destroyed Zimbabwe and created a regional crisis for which South Africa is still paying the price today. With farmers already struggling under the devastating weight of load shedding, South Africa’s expulsion
from African Growth and Opportunity Act, stemming from the ANC’s support of a war criminal, will destroy what is left of the agricultural sector and lead to tens of thousands of job losses.
Our membership of the CPA will not mean anything if the ANC’s suicide mission on African Growth and Opportunity Act leads to our expulsion from this important trade agreement. The ANC government has become so reckless that it is prepared to destroy our economy to bow to a Kremlin criminal who does not care about the welfare of farm workers and factory workers at the fruit processing plants. South Africa should not allow the ANC to take us down with them as we prepare to vote them out in 2024. Enough is enough. A DA government will do everything in its power to rebuild valuable relationship alliances. The transformation of CPA must come but the ANC must go. We support you, Deputy Speaker. Thank you.
Mr W F FABER: Acting House Chairperson, yes, on a point of order. I would like my member to be able to repeat his last minute or so because he was drowned, and no one could hear Acting House Chairperson. Maybe ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Order, members! Order, members! Hon Abraham, please order! You don’t need to respond to a member who’s making a point of order. You know it’s not allowed. There’s no reason why you do that. Please go ahead, hon Faber.
Mr W F FABER: Yes, Acting House Chairperson, as you can see, I’m even being drowned by making a point of order. And I mean, if my member was saying that Putin is a war criminal, as was decided by the International Criminal Court, ICC, I do believe that he should be able to repeat what he’s saying without being drowned.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Thank you, hon Faber. Unfortunately, he’s done with his speech. Thank you. I now recognise hon Lesoma.
Ms R M M LESOMA: Hon House Chair, hon members, Ministers and Deputy Ministers on the virtual platform, President Ramaphosa, we rise here this afternoon as ANC in support of the motion to reposition Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, CPA, for the inclusive, equitable democratic world order. Allow me not to be tempted to address inappropriate points that have been raised by some of the members.
Parliament and government are involved in a multilateral organization to pursue the objectives of our Constitution and our historical relationships with communities of the world to their parliaments and governments. South Africa’s foreign policy priority of strengthening the North-to-South dialogue asserts that the goal is a good relationship of an ongoing dialogue between South Africa and the regional organizations of the North, as well as the European Union and organizations such as the CPA... [Interjections.] ... Okay, thank you.
I thought I was using a rallying voice. That’s why nobody complains. Thank you so much for your kindness.
Such as the European Union and organizations such as CPA, is of critical importance in the day of advancing parliamentary democracy.
We support the call of the international community for the fundamental transformation of institutions of global governance and its management to enhance equity, transparency, and efficiency. The commitment to the restructuring of global institutions is ultimately aimed at bringing about a more democratic world order that truly reflects the reality of the 20th first sanctuary.
Global challenges constituting the human security environment, sustainability, poverty, alleviation, inequality, employment, and political and economic crises, require more inclusive, multilateral co-operation to find equitable multilateral solutions to global problems. Our Parliament should work with and influence the North to find global responses to the effects of the global economic and financial crisis it faces.
Therefore, the priority should be to ensure that organizations such as Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, and CPA are restructured so that they become strong instruments to simplify the voice of South and the North formations and lend their support to the efforts that seek to promote the development of South and thereby counter its marginalization.
Hon House Chair, the fundamental transformation of the CPA is informed by the reality that 60% of the annual subscriptions paid to finance the programmes and activities of this organization are coming from the African continent. It is equally important to note that the determination and consistent pressure for the ancient transformation of the CPA is led by the African region, and many of the countries of the global South against the resistance of the global North, which
mainly consists of the United Kingdom, UK, New Zealand and Australia.
At present, South Africa through the Gauteng Provincial Legislature remains central in altering the stubbornness and untransformed Constitutions and other legislations of this association.
The Gauteng Provincial Legislature has overtaken the proposal to deal with the problematic legalities that establish this organization by deleting or revoking Article 37(2) of the CPA Constitution which states and I quote:
A proposed amendment shall be valid if it does not have the effect of causing the association to cease to be the charity or accordingly, according to the law in the jurisdiction, in which the Secretariat of the association is then established.
The CPA Africa region holds the view that there should be no point in passages of this nature in the Constitution and a motion fully adopted by the General Assembly. This motion was first tabled at the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Yesterday in 2014. The Sixth General
Assembly defied the motion because most of the branches were not familiar with the content and legal imperatives of the CPA status.
In 2016, therefore, an expert committee was established comprising of one representative from each of the nine CPA regions was established to look into possible amendments including Article 35 and the legal and tax implications of the advice received regarding the change of status of the CPA.
Therefore, all the governance structures including the expert committee recommended that the CPA must change its status to ensure that the association enjoys the necessary privileges and immunities as an international organization. Furthermore, the experts and committee after examining various options of how best to change the status of the association recommended that the association be constituted in the UK, as an inter- parliamentary institution with an international vocation with
... [Inaudible.] ... privileges and immunities to reflect its appropriate status.
House Chair, on the reasons and the rational position of the regions, out of the nine provinces is worth noting that only two regions did not agree Australia, British, Ireland, the
Mediterranean and Canada are hesitant to support the change of legal status of the association. The other regions are in agreement that the charitable status of the association is no more relevant and therefore, the association should transform into an international organization.
Hon House Chair and fellow South Africans, the African region has been the most vocal in this matter, as earlier on, the hon Deputy Speaker alluded to, and have reached a unanimous agreement that the status of the CPA should be changed from the charity organization to the International Parliamentary Organization.
Subsequently, Africa also proposed that CPA Constitution must be amended to pave the way for the change of status and secondly that the new charitable organization be established. Thus far, here are the actions that have been taken towards that road.
Notwithstanding the UK’s view, the general assembly of association directors, and all Commonwealth Heads of Government be informed about the developments on the intention to change the legal status of the CPA. In this regard, a letter was written to all Commonwealth Heads of Government by
the former Chairperson of the CPA executive and Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, hon Sharon Shamim in July 2017.
Secondly, the establishment of an expert committee in December 2016, and that is the progress and action that has been done thus far.
The establishment of the working parties between 1996 and 2010.
During the 65th CPC, held in Canada in 2022, the General Assembly reopen the agency and the prioritization of securing the new status of the CPA, which reflects that the CPA’s work as an International Antiparliamentary Organization.
The General Assembly instructs the Secretariat to bring a firm proposal to the 66th CPA in Ghana in 2023, which will enable a new non-charitable CPA to establish in 2023. Legal and financial advice should continue to be taken throughout this process to ensure that the proposal brought to the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference safeguards our existence
... [Inaudible.] ... and deliver a long-term sustainable solution.
It is important fellow South Africans to walk you through that at all engagements of the CPA, the South African delegation continued to raise consistently and robustly the key pillars of our democratic dispensation such as justice, human rights, promotion of democracy, values of respect for the rule of law, gender mainstreaming and sustainable development.
The South African Parliament currently serves in the executive structures of this organization and continues to provide leadership and contribute to the participation in the annual conferences by ensuring that South Africa can influence and evaluate the following. Fellow South Africans, we are saying and giving this account to give a rationale for why we support the motion presented by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. South African Parliament currently serves in the executive structures of this organization and continues to provide leadership and contribution through its participation in annual conferences by ensuring that South Africa can influence and direct view for the following reasons: Ensure that Africa is together and united in the world affairs that includes arriving at critical debates in this organization, can collectively pursue the values of internationalism, given the connectivity, code, connectedness and a unique challenges and common resolve to address developmental issues in
development in equal equality, unemployment and poverty... [Interjections.] ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon Lesoma, I did not stop you from proceeding. No, it doesn’t work like that.
Mnu A V KHOZA: Ngisukuma ngephuzu lokukhalima okuphambukayo.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Is that a point of order, hon member?
Mr A V KHOZA: Yes. That’s why ...
... bengisukumile, Sihlalo.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): What is the point of order?
Mr A V KHOZA: Chairperson, having listened to all these things...
... can she take a question because want to know, when are they talking about our gold in the Bank of London and the head of King Hintsa? That is what she should be talking about, not all these things. Thank you, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): Hon members, please! Hon Lesoma, will you take a question?
Ms R M M LESOMA: Hon Chair, I will not take a question he has to answer himself.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R Dyantyi): All right. Please proceed and wrap up.
Ms R M M LESOMA: ... fully campaign to drive undemocratic processes at international ... [Inaudible.] ... and assess the sovereignty of the African countries in the developing world, alter power relationships at a CPA international between countries of the North and the South. Fellow South Africans, you will agree with me that... [Time Expired.]
The House Adjourned at 19:25.