Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 05 Sep 2023
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2023
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Watch here: Plenary
The House met on 14h00.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
WELCOMING OF MEMBERS AND NEW MEMBERS
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members before we proceed with today’s business, I wish to announce that the vacancy which occurred in the NA owing to the resignation of Mrs E R Wilson has been filled by the nomination of Mrs D van der Walt with effect from the 01 August 2023, congratulations. Order, hon members. Hon Chief Whip, order. Lastly, I wish to announce that the vacancy which occurred owing to the loss of membership of the NA by Mr W M Madisha in terms of section 473(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa has been filled by the nomination of Mr T Loate with effect from the 16 August 2023. Both members have made and subscribed the oath before the Speaker. I welcome you, hon members, to the House, welcome again. Order, hon members. The only item on today’s Order Paper is Questions to the President.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Speaker, on a point of order: Perhaps it would be apt, through you, if the House could have stand for a moment of silence in commemoration of the over 70 people who died in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality last week. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon Gwarube. Hon members, may we all rise in honour of those who have lost their lives.
Thank you, hon members, once more thank you. Thank you to you, hon Gwarube, for reminding us. Thank you. The first supplementary question no, the first question has been asked by the hon Leader of the Opposition, hon Steenhuisen, and the President will then respond. I invite you, hon President
QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon members, lifestyle audits of public servants have been compulsory since 2021. As at March 2023, over 11 000 public servants in national government have undergone lifestyle audits. This process of lifestyle audits for members of the Executive is spearheaded by the Office of the Director-General in the Presidency, who is also the secretary of the Cabinet. The process was initially initiated towards the end of 2022. It had been preceded by a number of processes.
Earlier this year, I sent letters to the Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Minister, this requesting their consent in writing to the processes to ensure that the information obtained in a legitimate or is obtained in a legitimate manner as well as legal manner. I received the same letter and signed by the director General. Members of the executive, including myself, have submitted all these consent form for the nationally driven processes of lifestyle audits, the implementation of lifestyle audit has been delayed to some extent by the change of service providers. Yes, it is anticipated that this project will be concluded in a short space of time. Thank you.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President, South Africans are suffering because your government is stealing. As you may know, News24 has done extensive work exposing the secret luxury, life and links of your Deputy President, hon Mashatile, in their series, Mashatile Unmasked. The evidence suggests that the Deputy President’s lavish lifestyle was far in excess of what his salaries are and that he has been funded by people with beneficiaries of government contracts, including from Eskom.
Clearly, his lifestyle is far in excess of what one would bring in as the deputy president. I find it odd, Mr President that you are talking about these delays. You promised us, the people of South Africa and this Parliament in 2018, that six years is a long time to deal with service providers. When do you expect the Deputy President’s lifestyle audit to be completed and what steps will you take to ensure that it is done effectively and efficiently? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: As I said, this matter is right on my radar screen. It is being attended to and addressed and the delays have been occasioned by initially a process that would have led to a very superficial result, which I sent back and said I want a more detailed process that would detailed to us what our lifestyle is. It was then followed up, if I may inform you, by a much more extensive outline which was very complicated, which would have resulted in even further delays.
We have now required that a service provider who would be able to do the lifestyle audit much more efficiently, much more quickly and the type of information that would come out, would be sufficiently comprehensive as to be able to indicate precisely what each member of the Executive has in the form of assets and debts and what a view and how they are proceeding to deal with those. So, that process is firmly underway now and the Director-General in the Presidency, who, as you might know, is the person who is also in charge of the various disclosures that members of the Executive have to give.
So, the Director-General is fully able and capable of leading this process, which she is doing, and her diligence in this regard is going to be quite thorough. Yes, I do regret the delay. It should not have been as long as it is, but the intent is there. Now, this process does not focus on any member of the Executive solely, it focuses on all for us. So, with regard to timeframe, as I said in my reply in chief, I see this process being completed shortly and once it has, the process will even be reported upon by the Director-General.
Thank you very much.
Ms T MGWEBA: Madam Speaker, thank you, Mr President. Dealing with lifestyle audits is a very sensitive matter and government officials might not feel comfortable to submit their private information to the colleagues working in the same department, would it be appropriate to submit and allow ethics officers to analyse information of their colleagues? And thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Yes, lifestyle audits are processes that are very true intrusive that look into all manner of private matters that pertain into an individual’s life and as it is called lifestyle. So, one has to be very careful indeed that whatever information is given will be dealt with sensitively and that is why in the Executive it is dealt with and is in the custody of the director general in the present ANC who is also Secretary of Cabinet, who is able to deal with this matter with the uh measure of confidentiality that it does require.
When it comes to other public servants, that process is also clearly laid out as to how that will be done and it is often not dealt with by direct colleagues, but by people who are given the task of dealing with sensitive matters like that. So, we are very hon member, very, very aware of the sensitivity of this matter and that is why we prefer to deal with it in the way that we are. Thank you very much.
Mr M HLENGWA: Mr President, South Africa ranks 72 out of 180 countries with corruption perception index of 43 out of 100. It is worth noting that the country digressed with one CPI point even after the release of the Zondo Commission Report, which the President we welcomed, of course, then the decision for the lifestyle audits, which could prove to be a helpful mechanism, but the issue, Mr President, becomes about capacity because the lifestyle audits must run parallel with the 2014 Cabinet decision that all executives in state-owned enterprises, SOEs and supply chain management, SCM practitioners must be vetted. The State Security Agency, SSA does not have this capacity. For example, Transnet has submitted 755 applications to SSA since 2014 and only 93 have been received as a response from the system.
The Eskom former CEO Mr De Ruyter, left without being vetted. So, Mr President, do you have a plan to respond to the deficiencies and challenges within the SSA and confident that the lifestyle audit that is currently underway... [Inaudible.] and a functional process.
Sengizibuzela, Mongameli, ubuyokwenzani e-Zimbabwe? Bengizibuzela nje ukuthi e-Zimbabwe ubuyokwenzani?
USOMLOMO: Hayi maan, hlala phantsi...
...you are done now, you have raised your question. Hon President, I am sorry before I allow you to speak, hon Siwela, will you please mute your gadgets. Thank you. The hon President
Uze uncede ungayiphenduli ke leya yaseZimbabwe.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon Hlengwa, yes, the process of vetting has been indicating that it takes too long and you are absolutely right that other people finally leave the public service without having been vetted because the. The whole process that even SSA gets involved in is quite involved and intricate. I was discussing it with the Minister in the Presidency, Minister Ntshavheni, who is responsible for SSA and that matter is being looked at as to how that process can be capacitated better and how it can also be speeded up. I am one of those who sees the delays in vetting people being quite detrimental to our public service
because we need to know much earlier the standing of those that we employ whether they are able to execute their tasks with the integrity that we require of them. So, it is a matter that even the Minister is addressing and attending to. Thank you very much for raising it.
The one on Zimbabwe, as you well know, the Speaker has just said that is the subject matter that needs to be addressed at a different time when the question is properly posed, but I am willing to inform you outside of this meeting. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon President. Only because hon Hlengwa it is not linked to the question which was raised. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr W M THRING: Mr President, at the beginning of your Presidency, you announced lifestyle audits for Cabinet Ministers to reassure the public of your administration’s bold stance against corruption. This was a pre-emptive move as over time, the Zondo Commission would reveal the extent of undue executive interference in the running of public institutions and state-owned entities for personal gain by some members of the Executive.
To date, however, only officials in provincial and national government are subjected to lifestyle audits and not the said Ministers and in the process corruption continues. Now, Mr President, in order to ensure the successful implementation of lifestyle audits across the board, could you unpack the scope of these audits in terms of its resource intensive capacity, implementation of law enforcement, privacy rights as well as the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, let me dispel the notion that only the public servants are being subjected to lifestyle audit. As I said then and I say it now, members of the Executive are also being subjected to lifestyle audits.
When we subject them to lifestyle audits, obviously, as I indicated earlier, we have got to go through a process. As the hon member said here, that they are quite intrusive, they get into the type of private details of member’s lives that we have got to implement proper processes that will arrive at a type of conclusion that we would like to see. As a result we look at the process and indeed we also want to look at how that will be implemented and of course, the presumption of innocence is an overriding issue. We underpin everything on the presumption of innocence until something that may well show that there is no innocence comes up. The lifestyle audits
are meant to do precisely that and in the end they are a good governance measure that is aimed at ensuring that all of us who serve our people as members of the Executive do so with diligence, with integrity and with an adherence to the morals that our people would expect of us.
That process is underway and even as we initiated it and I do regret the delay, we expected that we would like to get to a point where we have clean government and we have leaders in government who are going to be able to demonstrate indeed that they are not in government to serve their own personal interest, but the interests of our people. That is precisely what this is aimed at. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon members, South Africa has experienced significant benefits through its membership as well as its association with the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Brics, grouping of countries.
South Africa uses its Brics membership to improve investments, trade, tourism, as well as capacity building, and it also close into skills acquisitions and technological capabilities
that we see that we see this relationship yielding for our country.
Strengthening economic as well as financial ties between Brics member countries is one of the key pillars of this co- operation that we have forged with all these countries.
In 2020, the countries adopted the Strategy for Brics Economic Partnership to increase access to each other’s markets, to promote mutual trade investment and create a business-friendly environment for investors in all Brics countries.
South Africa’s overall trade with its Brics partners has increased by an average of 10% every year over the period 2017 to 2021.
Total South African trade with other Brics countries reached R830 billion in 2022, which represents an increase of more than 70% from R487 billion in 2017.
Brics therefore is an important source for us of foreign direct investment in key areas such as mining, automotive, transportation, clean energy, financial services, information technology, IT, telecommunications and many other areas. These
investments and projects lead to significant job creation and we have seen that across our country.
Furthermore, the Brics Business Council and the Brics Women’s Business Alliance bring together important commercial networks that promote trade and investment partnerships amongst Brics countries.
In 2015, Brics countries launched the New Development Bank to finance and support largely infrastructure and sustainable development projects. This was an inspired development, and may I say that it was also inspired by South Africa.
To date, the New Development Bank, NDB, has provided funding to 12 projects in South Africa to the value of R100 billion. I wish it was as big as that.
Our membership of Brics makes a valuable contribution to the implementation of our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, ERRP.
For example, growing the tourism industry is one of the priorities of the plan. The Brics countries are becoming increasingly important tourism markets for our country.
In terms of supporting energy security in South Africa, another pillar of our recovery plan, Brics countries have the expertise, the technology as well as the full know how to support energy co-operation.
In 2020, Brics adopted a Road Map for Brics Energy Co- operation up to 2025 aimed at building a strategic partnership in energy co-operation.
Hon Speaker, our infrastructure investments, which is another pillar of our recovery plan, we will continue to access funding from the New Development Bank.
The inclusion of Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia as well as the United Arab Emirates as new members will strengthen beneficial co-operation with South Africa in a number of ways.
These countries will enhance economic partnership in key sectors to boost the economic growth also in our own country. So, the Brics membership is a very important aspect of our own economic interactions with other countries in the world. Thank you very much.
Mr S H MBUYANE: Hon Speaker and hon President, thank you very much for a comprehensive response. Hon President the recent Brics Summit and also the Brics Outreach Programme has brought forward a significant development for Brics partnership with the economically developed countries.
Hon President, I just wanted to check what the valued other new partners bring to the development of the South African economy in terms of the economic recovery? Thank you very much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker as I was indicating, we expect that our trade links and our investment participation with all these additional countries is going to go up a number of decimals. It is going to go up a number of notches as well. We expect enormous growth when it comes to even in the areas such as tourism because it is when countries feel that they are a club as it were. That they are members of a club and that the affinity between the countries or amass countries then grows even broader and bigger. So, in economic terms all these new additional countries are big players. On the horizon are a number of other countries that have indicated their willingness to be part of Brics and they too will be considered in the next phase. So, this was the first
phase and thereafter there will be another phase. We obviously will look at the economic value in terms of participation for all of us as Brics members. So, for us these additional countries will be boosting our Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan. We expect great benefits from all this.
The benefits for our country as Brics members has been very clear right from the beginning. It has led to enhanced activity amongst ourselves and all these countries. So, being a Brics member does contribute a great deal to the economic growth as well. So, our ERRP will definitely be boosted as the other new members come in and participate with us. Thank you, hon Speaker.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker and hon President, economic society the new entrance to Brics, Iran and Saudi Arabia have a sickening disregard for woman’s rights or gender equality denying girls and women the basic freedoms and legal rights and excluding them virtually entirely from public life. By aligning South Africa with the so-called members of your club, you are standing with autocrats and dictators while sacrificing the principles enshrined in our own Constitution. Let us be clear, this is not about human rights what Brics can do for South Africa, this is about what Brics and specifically Russia can do for the ANC.
It is the same reason you attended Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration! You are willing to give false legitimacy!
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members!
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: You are willing to give false legitimacy to the Zimbabwe African National Union, Patriotic Front, Zanu PF, because you know full-well that your own party is following in their footsteps.
Mr President, do you care nothing about the suffering and deprivation experienced by the women of Iran and Saudi Arabia and the people of Zimbabwe who are now shackled with an illegitimate election which your own Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, region has cussed aspersion on? Thank you.
The SPEAKER: I thank you the Leader of the Opposition Party. I do want to request you that you made a submission at some point and request for a debate on that matter of women in those different countries you have mentioned.
However, it is up to the hon President to respond to the question. The hon the President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, our association with a number of countries in the world is based on our own policies. We make it very clear that our foreign policy is based on a number of principles. One of those being human rights. In associating with various countries we do not have a holier than though type of approach. We actually communicate very clearly what our policies are and through exchanging views and outlining what our own positions are and our principles and values. We hope, trust and work for also a deep understanding of our views and also hope and work for them to be able to see what it means to adhere to universal values such as those enshrined in the United Nations, UN, Declaration of Human Rights. Them to be able to see what it means to adhere to universal values such as those enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. And this one is able to do when you interact with equal this one is able to do when you exchange views with them. This one is able to do when they actually able to see the extent of what your principles and values are. And as we have discussions with them we find that they get to appreciate the real import and importance of our own values. Be they democratic values, human rights values and be they even economic values.
This hon Speaker, is a trajectory that we have embarked upon. Are we able to have influence? I do believe that we are. As people understand what we stand for. This we are able to do hon Speaker even to those who believe that they are the oldest and best democracies in the world. We are even able to impart the import of our values to the so-called more advanced nations in the world. The Europeans, Americans, they learn a lot from us. We will not stop from showcasing what our values are and what the human rights that we had in this country are all about.
So, shying away from other countries which has never really been our foreign policy thrust, we are friends with all countries in the world. We are enemies of none. So, therefore those who would want us to be enemies of other countries really are no ... [Inaudible.]
We impart our values to others. If you did care hon Steenhuisen to travel with us around the world, and interact with those people that we meet, you will see the influence and the impact that South Africa has and the respect that South Africa is given by other countries around the world. It is largely because of what we stand for. We are never shy nor
hold back from articulating what we stand for. We are South Africans. We are driven by human rights. Thank you very much.
Mr F J MULDER: Hon Speaker and hon President, while recognising the advantage of the expansion of South Africa’s trade horizons with Brics and the wealth of the natural, mineral and cultural resources our country has to offer, one should also consider the dominance of China and balanced economic structures of member states and the fact that South Africa is the weakest link in economic and the technological development with the least gross domestic product of
356,84 billion dollars and ranked number 37 globally compared to China, Russia, Brazil and India.
My question to the hon President would be: Do the President agree that South Africa has limited power for a set of an independent position in this group that could erode South Africa’s domestic economy, because many products from Brics countries directly compete with those in South Africa? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: We may well be the smallest in terms of the population amongst the Brics members and yes, our economy is the smallest of all these Brics countries
currently, but we are highly regarded and highly placed. And the fact that our trade with all these countries has grown exponentially and that our exports to China be it on the agricultural side and that too is about to go up a number of billions means that they see us as an important player and we are the most industrialised country on the African continent. We are the one country on the African continent that is able to manufacture the type of goods that they too would need much as we import from them as China. Our dealings for instance with Brazil are still at the nascent level and when we begin to trade more seriously with President Lula da Silva now in power and wanting to interact economically more and more with Africa, we are going to see our exports growing with those countries.
So, much as we are smaller by population and we often say say that yes maybe we are boxing way above our weight level, but we are seen and indeed we are a very important player. Not only in terms of Africa, but in the global South, South Africa is seen as an important player. We are actually an important player. We are not arrogant about it. We do not throw our small weight around but we do know that when we do speak a number of countries do listen when we do act they do look.
That is the position that South Africa has today. Thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon Speaker, allow me to apologise for not being physical in the House. I am not well. Mr President, allow me to congratulate on one of the most successful and remarkable Brics Summit ever held.
Now Mr President, I am not expecting you to be surprised by comments from my predecessors. You can see they are restless and have anxiety because for the first time in the world there might be peace, security and prosperity.
However, what stood out for me Mr President is when you made a statement and the interest you showed particularly for the African continent. Could you tell us you know we say that the country belongs to all who live in it and the wealth of the country belongs to the people and this is what my colleagues has forgotten that the mineral wealth of this country currently is owned by the West. How do we intend dealing with this? So, South Africans and Africans at large can benefit more from the wealth of their respective countries. I know you addressed the issue also about finished goods instead of selling raw materials.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Shaik Emam, yes indeed more and more of us as African on the continent are beginning to
look more introspectively at how the people of our continent can benefit more from the mineral wealth that is beneath the African soil. With this in mind, all of us are now saying we would like to be exporting finished products rather than rock, sand dust and that is precisely that we are now seeking to achieve. Interestingly even some of those countries that have had ownership of our minerals and are exploiting them are now beginning to awaken to the reality that it is no longer sustainable for us as Africans just to be exporting rock and soil. That we need to move to another level where if you extract minerals out of our soil you should also be able to set up a process where those minerals are processed.
A few days ago, we had a conversation amongst premiers. The premier of the Northern Cape where our country has a lot of minerals, from manganese to iron ore and many others and he was saying, we need to be seeing more and more benefit because he would like to get to a point where yes, we now export finished
Products. All of us subscribe to that and we now want to move in that direction. What is it going to take? It is going to take us yes, to attracting investment to our country, but also saying to those investors as you wish to invest in all
extractive sectors of our economy we would like the more downstream aspect as well. So, it should almost like twin investment.
However, we have also suggested that on our African investment we should have something like a minerals commission so that all of us as Africa, should more or less have a universal policies that we all agree on how we deal with the endowments that we have with regard to minerals. We will all recall how our all mining started here. It started off with Europeans coming to South Africa to invest. The wealth that truly belongs to the people of South Africa has been taken out. It is now in Europe or in the Northern hemisphere. We do need to reverse that, the wealth of our country must remain in our country. If we do make products we must make well finished products to be exported.
We are now going to see a new revolution and it is a revolution which young people are talking to. The time for that has now arrived. We must start manufacturing finished products from our own minerals for export to other countries. This is now the time. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: The judiciary is an essential part of our democratic order, as we all know. The Constitution clearly states that the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, which they must apply impartially without fear or favour or prejudice. I have often spoken out publicly and loudly against attacks on the judiciary. Unless supported by evidence, such claims that attack the judiciary undermine the confidence in our courts and weaken our constitutional order.
The constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and opinion are acknowledged and appreciated in a free country. However, these freedoms should not undermine our constitutional order as this may lead to the erosion of trust in the judiciary. Sections 165 (3) of the Constitution says no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the courts. We interfere with the functioning of the courts and weakened the rule of law when we, without evidence, attack the judiciary.
Anyone who feels aggrieved by the conduct of any member of the judiciary is entirely free to approach any of the relevant bodies to lodge a complaint. In the cases of judges, this body is the Judicial Services Commission, and in the case of
magistrates, it is the Magistrates Commission. If the grievance is about a court’s decision, there are processes of review or appeal that are available and enshrined in our constitutional order.
The Chief Justice is tasked with the development, the implementation, the monitoring of the norms and standards applicable to the judiciary, and therefore the Chief Justice can also be approached to ensure that the norms and the standards are adhered to. All the citizens of South Africa are enjoined to respect, to uphold, to protect and to promote our Constitution, as well as the rule of law by respecting and protecting the judicial authority of our courts. This, hon Speaker, is important to ensure that our constitutional democracy continues to thrive and serve all the people of South Africa. I thank you.
Mr S M JAFTA: Thank you hon Speaker. Given your answer hon President, what concrete steps are you likely to put into motion to support the judicial arm of government, especially in light of the criticism by the Chief Justice in recent judgement involving the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPPs of Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, where you were accused of failing to fill these two vacant posts for
over a year. According to the Chief Justice, the President took about a year from February 2018 to March 2019 to apply his mind, and then expected the courts to apply its mind over a matter which the President could have acted on timeously.
What concrete steps, therefore, are you likely to put into motion to support the work of the judicial and stop delegating your constitutional duties to the courts which ordinarily falls under your ... [Inaudible.] Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Those matters where there have been lapses in terms of time and delays are matters that we are going to be discussing when the executive interacts or meets with the judiciary, which we have done in the past.
Where we are able to sit and discuss matters that are germane to the work that we both do as the two arms of the state. So, the issue of these appointments and also reliance on the judiciary for certain appointment is a matter that we are going to discuss.
So, your direct question, what are we going to do? We are going to interface with the judiciary, but at the same time, we will be acting in accordance with our Constitution to ensure that whatever needs to be acted in terms of that. constitutional order is implemented. The executive has a very
healthy relationship with the judiciary, and whenever there are issues, we are able to meet for administrative processes. Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services does interface with the judiciary at close range. And of course, there are various other proposals that are on the table to ensure that the judiciary does have maximum support in the execution of its own work and has the requisite independence to be able to execute its work. These are matters that are on the table for deeper and further discussion between ourselves and the judiciary. So, all shall be well between the executive and the judiciary. Thank you very much.
Ms A RAMOLOBENG: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Mr President, without an efficient, effective and independent judiciary, the country would face serious challenges of misgovernance. As head of the executive arm of state, what has been done to balance the tensions which sometimes exist, and to strengthen relations between the executive and the judiciary, whilst adhering to the judicial independence? I thank you.
The SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon member, and we hear it’s your birthday. Happy birthday. We wish you well.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you hon Speaker, I did not know that it’s also your birthday, hon Singh. Had I been told in advance, as I often do with members of the executive, we would have made sure that there are chocolates that come from Ghana. Which are the some of the best chocolates that there is. So next time. It’s not too late? No, Moscow does not have lovely chocolates, Mr Steenhuizen. But there are things that if you want from Moscow, we will bring for you as well.
Hon Speaker ...
The SPEAKER: Proceed, hon President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, yes. As I was saying earlier answering hon Jafta’s question, the relationship between the judiciary and the executive is a good relationship. It’s a relationship that is based on the terms of our Constitution, but it’s also a relationship that is based on deep respect for the work that we do as arms of the executive. So that lays a very good foundation in ensuring that the constitutional order in our country is well balanced, and it functions well. And we respect the independence of the judiciary. One of the proposals on the table that we are going to be discussing with the judiciary is how best we can enrich and confirm the efficacy of that independence because the
executive has no wish, whatsoever, to interfere with the work of the judiciary. It has no wish whatsoever to stop the judiciary from executing its task. If anything, our overriding wish is to ensure that the judiciary continues to do its work in whatever way, and to have the requisite independence that it needs. So, there is a discussion that is underway and that’s going to culminate in our meeting together with the judiciary to button this down to make sure that we do our support as the executive and as the state enables the judiciary to continue doing its work. This is something that we find sacrosanct and it’s irrevocable on our side - the support that we should give our judiciary. So, it will be done. Thank you.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you very much. Mr President, the best way to defend the judiciary is to uphold the rule of law and implement the findings of the judiciary, and no one has done more to undermine the rule of law than you and the ANC. In fact, you’ve twisted yourself into a pretzel to avoid accountability for the ANC. But last month Mr.
President, you plumbed a new low when you released Jacob Zuma after he spent less than two hours in prison for gross contempt of court because he showed the middle finger to the rule of law and the Chief Justice. And you released him in the
most disingenuous way, Mr President, the guise of special remission. You released over 9 400 convicted criminals just to buy cover to let a single man walk free. About 6 500 of these criminals will go back to criminality, and you know it. Do you feel comfortable, Mr. President, that innocent citizens will now suffer just because you again put the interests of the ANC ahead of the rule of law? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, our Constitution is very clear in terms of the rules it sets out for processes such as granting pardons, granting remission. And even in this instance when we granted a remission to 9 000 people who had been sentenced, it was not in contravention of our Constitution. It was very much in line with what our Constitution says. Thank you very much.
The SPEAKER: The last question ... Hai! Order! Order hon members. Hon members, please. The last supplementary question will be asked by the hon N Singh.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you very much hon Speaker. I think I will have to ask you easy question, not only because the hon President wished me happy birthday, but in anticipation of those chocolates. So that’s why it’s going to be an easy
question. Hon President, I think you must have heard of the saying, all for one and one for all. And I think it happened during the time of the three musketeers in the 1800s when they showed solidarity with each other. Now I’m not in any way suggesting that the those that head the arms of state are the three musketeers. Meaning yourself, Chief Justice Zondo and the hon Speaker.
But what I would like to know, hon President, you’ve mentioned the fact that you’ve had meetings. But are there regular meetings that are set down in your diary between the heads of the three arms of state to discuss matters of the state?
Because sometimes what we read, and I have got an article here written by a respected judge of the High Court, criticising the way certain legal officers and judges and others conduct themselves in court. So, I just want to know, the country to be assured that you do meet on a regular basis other than when there is crisis we have to deal with. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: There is always the desire ... Hon Speaker ...
The SPEAKER: Actually, sorry, Mr. President, you are right for raising this matter which we are raising because I’ve been
hearing this. There are no puppies here. There are hon members, and we should stop it doing that. Such signs are not allowed. There are no puppies in this House. There are hon members. Thank you. You may proceed, hon President. Proceed, hon President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Speaker. There are meetings that happen between and amongst ourselves as organs of the state. There may not be as programmed as you have suggested that on certain times this meeting should take place and they tend to be issue specific where we have to deal with certain matters and issues, and we have now felt that there is a need to programatize all these interactions and that there should also be a joint meeting of all the arms of the state. So that they are not just side shows or side meetings. So, as you also suggest now, that is in train. That is something that is going to be happening because it will demonstrate how healthy our state is. And it will also demonstrate that all the arms of the state are able to deal with matters of state and to be proactive when it comes to various matters, and also be able to deal with sensitive matters. Matters that may be troubling the people of South Africa as well within the confines of the areas that the Constitution allocates to each arm of the state. So, thank you
very much for restating that, and that is something that is going to be unfolding more often. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon members, in the design of our democracy in relation to the unitary nature of our state, we introduced co-operative governance to ensure that the three spheres of our government work together to meet the needs of our people. Each sphere of government has its own constitutionally assigned responsibilities, duties and powers. When it functions, it should function without encroaching on the functions and duties of the other arm.
Chapter 3 of our Constitution requires all spheres of government to co-operate with one another in mutual trust and good faith by, amongst others, fostering friendly relations and assisting and supporting one another. Importantly, the Constitution says that all spheres of government must secure the wellbeing of the people of the South Africa as a whole.
The District Development Model is geared towards improving as well as strengthening the intergovernmental relations system, as an approach towards giving effect to the constitutional principles of co-operative governance that are enshrined in our Constitution.
The District Development Model, DDM approach has made great strides in ensuring that, principles of co-operative governance guide how we plan, how we budget or craft our budgets and implement key government programmes and projects across the country. This is demonstrated through the Presidential Imbizos and implementation of key catalytic projects identified in intergovernmental long-term one plans.
The experiences to date on the implementation of the DDM have placed greater emphasis on the requirements to undertake a review and relook at the policy instruments framing and guiding our system of intergovernmental relations and, moreover the co-operative governance process.
We have therefore embarked on a comprehensive review, among others of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act of 2005, to ensure that the different spheres of government work in a joined-up manner. They also work in a co-ordinated manner to secure the wellbeing of the people of South Africa. This is perhaps the most comprehensive review because it also goes on to look at those processes, those laws and regulations that maybe a constrain to how we should execute what our people require, be it in the form of service delivery, be it the
implementation on projects, also be it in the expenditure of our budgets.
So, this review - and we had a wonderful meeting with premiers this past week - is going to lead us to streamlining the processes that get involved in government so as to make the execution of various interventions and programmes a lot easier and better. Thank you, hon Chairperson.
Mr V C XABA: Mr President your responsive emphasises that although the three spheres of government are distinctive, they exist within a unitary South Africa, and that they have to assist one another, plan together and co-operate particularly in functions that cut across the spheres, provide citizens with a past a full basket of services. Local government plays a central role in this process, through amongst other things, its integrated development plan.
The recent stand-off between the City of Cape Town and ... [Inaudible] ... was unnecessary. It was the politics of brinkmanship on the part of the city authorities that regretfully resulted in the death of five people, the disruption in the economy and the education of our learners and a sign of weak leadership. Having said that Mr President,
noting the importance of local government in this co-operative arrangement, how does the government plan to capitalise on the principle of co-operative governance to strengthen local government capacity and address leadership challenges as identified in the recent Auditor-General’s AG report? Thank you so much.
The HOUSE CHIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you hon Xaba. The Speaker is relieved by the House Chairperson. Don’t mislead. Thank you. The hon the President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair, the processes that we’ve now embarked upon of strengthening and deepening intergovernmental relations, will lead us to the point where we are able to have local government entities that are able to respond to the needs of our people, particularly service delivery needs. For example, the meeting that we had recently with our premiers, and our metro mayors is going to enhance that whole process. We are also going to follow that up with a meeting with our local government municipal mayors as well.
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is developing a template that is going to enable us to see how best the implementation of our intergovernmental
relations is unfolding, as well as be able in almost real time, be able to see how the various projects in our local government spheres in line with their independent development plans, IDPs are being implemented. So, we are in line with what the AG has reported on. We’re going to be able to see how best we also support our local government entities that are going through a number of challenges and problems.
We are also going to be able from a national point of view, to support and assist our local government entities when it comes to those areas of delivery, particularly when it comes to water as well as electricity and roads. Where we do they do not have capacity, to assist and support them to have capacity. Where there is slow movement and as it were even reluctance to do what is right by our people, we will be able to utilise precepts of our laws to be able to nudge them forward, even to take over those processes where there are weaknesses.
That is the way we are now going to proceed and not leave local government entities as independent islands. The process of intergovernmental co-operation is now going to be put to full effect, so that we are seen as one government. There should never be a situation where one entity acts on its own
as though it is an island or some independent state. We are one government, we are a unitary state. We are going to be insisting that as a unitary state, we do things for the interests of all South Africans, not a section of South Africans. That is the trajectory that we are on now. Thank you, hon House Chair.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President I’m very glad that you’ve said that the whole point of co-operative governance is that the three spheres of government could co-operate to produce the best possible outcome for the people of South Africa. To best keep people safe, the DA has for a very long time been calling for the devolution of policing powers to local and provincial governments.
Despite your government’s best attempts to prevent not devolve any policing powers at all, to the DA-run Western Cape or the City of Cape Town, we are doing everything that we can to keep the people safe in their best interest. The Leap Programme has put over 1 200 leap officers into crime hotspot. This is why the crime is coming down in the Western Cape, even as it goes up in the rest of South Africa. Murder rates here are down 14% year on year. Rape rates here are down 10% year on year.
Devolution works. It saves lives. Viva la devolution! Why is
your government refusing to give more policing powers to local and provincial government even though it has demonstrated that it can save lives?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Steenhuisen let me remind you. I gave you time, but we know what Rule 142(5) says about follow-up questions please. Proceed hon President. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair, I think my answer could be a very simple one. I am glad to hear that hon Steenhuisen has now taken to liking slogans because the slogan I would give him would be, viva la coopération. It is where we co-operate and where the national government, provincial and local government co-operate. Where we support one another, each sphere of government.
Now, those who call for this type of devolution are essentially saying, we want to be separate. We want to be secessionist. We want to be completely different. Now, when looked at in the way - and I give you a very good example, in the way that Gauteng is doing a number of things, because Gauteng is also as a province confronted with enormous challenges. They’ve got 15 million people. Where they have 15
million people, their tasks and their challenges are much more enhanced. How are they approaching everything? They are approaching everything in full co-operation with the national government. As they do so, they are implementing a number of measures where national government is supportive, from the local government level to the provincial level and they're coming up with a number of initiatives that are supported at national level.
They are not seeking to say we want to be completely separate. We want to have the devolution because we are different, we are separate. They say, we are part of a unitary state and we want support and co-operation from the national government.
That is the way to go and viva la coopération, rather than
viva the devolution. Thank you.
Mnu N L S KWANKWA: Mongameli andifuni ukukhumsha. Nantsi ingxaki, ngelaa xesha loqhankqalazo lwabanikazi beetekisi, abantu beelokishi zaseKapa kwaLanga, eGugulethu, eKhayelitsha, eDelft bebephila besoyika bengakwazi ukuphuma ezindlwini ...
... because firstly they were failed dismally by the DA government ...
... engakwazanga ukuthi xa inokuphikisana nabanini beetekisi ingakwazi ukuqinisekisa ukuba abantu bakhuselekile.
In fact, law enforcement in the majority of instances ...
... ebekhapha iibhasi zikaGolden Arrow ...
... into townships but ...
... kungaqinisekiswa ukuba ...
... there was law enforcement ...
... abantu bakhuselekile.
Pregnant women walked from Cape Town to Khayelitsha. Others who are physically challenged had to walk to Gugulethu.
Abantu bethu bebesokola ...
... throughout that period. I visited all the hotspots. Now, there was a blame game between you, the provincial government and the City of Cape Town to the extent that the Minister even said, the city defined itself outside the national laws and it implemented penalties that are ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Your time is up. Please pose the question. Thank you.
Mr N L S KWANKWA: The question is ...
... xa nisithi ...
... they define themselves out of the parameters of the law. What were those parameters? What are you going to do to make sure that it does not happen in future because it happens every year ...
... lo mlo ...
... between the two.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, even those that are coming, I reminded hon Steenhuisen about Rule 142(5). Please let us stick to that. The hon the President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Kwankwa ...
... kutheni ungathethi ulwimi abazakuliva aba bantu? Uthi awufuna ukukhumsha kodwa bamele ukuyiva le nto uyithethayo.
Mr N L S KWANKWA: I can repeat it in English but ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No! No! No! Please.
UMONGAMELI WERIPHABLIKHI: Ixesha lakho limkile.
Hon Kwankwa yes, there did appear to be and there was a difference in approach between the national government, the provincial government as well as the local government, which I found to be most unfortunate because there was a discord between what the Minister of Transport was saying are the rules, and also what the local government was insisting on.
In that whole process of debate and dispute, I think we lost a great opportunity for being able to deliver a very good outcome to the people of Cape Town, particularly in the townships and all townships for that matter. It would have been through proper negotiations. Negotiations in terms of negotiating disputes are very hard, they are not easy. Even as during a dispute, you talk about parameters and what those parameters are, it is not often easy. The parameters are clearly laid out in national legislation, in national regulations and the applicability thereof needs to be the same throughout the country.
There was a very strong view but when it came to Cape Town, the applicability thereof was different. In the end, as it appeared that, you know, so many taxis are being were being impounded almost running into 1 000s or 6 000 as you say, for infractions that could have been dealt with through either fines or warnings and so forth. That is what would have happened if the national regulations and prescripts were adhered to. Those types of matters needed to be discussed.
They needed to be properly discussed without any of the role- players talking past each other.
We are now pleased that that is now behind us. What now needs to happen is that the various parties now need to sit down and clearly define what the rules are, the regulations are as well as the parameters and where the powers at local government are and at national government are. Because it is when this is clarified that we will be able to have a much better manner of managing transport.
We know that local government has to have the ability to manage transport and traffic within its confines. Therefore, they need to be given the authority but that should ... [Inaudible] ... from a national legislation because they cannot make themselves independent outside of the national
laws of our country. So, I do hope that happens as we go on. Thank you very much hon House Chair.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, when Bills are passed in Parliament, it goes for vetting to the Council of provinces. Should not similar checks and balances be put in place for provincial Bills and bylaws? Cabinet slammed the Powers Bill of the Western Cape Legislature. I am asking hon President: Are you know are going to charge a premier with treason as though that Bill secessionist and a DA federal plan and noncompliant with the Constitution, or will you attend the inauguration of premier, Winde when he becomes the president of the 55th state of Africa. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Hendricks, I had the great pleasure of having Premier Winde in a meeting of the Presidential Co-ordinating Council where provinces, particularly through premiers participate. I did not have any inkling whatsoever that he could be a good candidate to be charged with treason because he spoke in a very co-operative manner and he spoke in a very innovative way where he came up with a number of innovations, but also realising the challenges that face not only the province, but our country.
So, I thoroughly enjoyed ... I hope I’m not giving him up for punishment in the DA. I found him to be most congenial and most co-operative. So, I will not be attending his inauguration as whatever you said of the state of Africa because there shall be no such a state. He will continue in the position that he’s in and might even find there’s a different outcome, which puts him elsewhere. But thank you very much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair and hon members, the Presidential Izimbizo provide a balanced approach to resolving community challenges by providing immediate responses to specific problems that our people face.
Documenting and tracking of key resolutions emanating from the izimbizo are part of the design of these imbizo process.
Quarterly implementation reports indicate that immeasurable progress is being made in addressing the challenges that our people would have identified, which are done in an intergovernmental manner.
The various intergovernmental platforms established through the izimbizo protocols are also tasked to address challenges
where those occur. The District Development Model political champions are assigned for each district and metro in our country, and are tasked to provide regular updates not just to the established intergovernmental platforms but also to the respective communities.
The izimbizo have further unlocked key service delivery interventions. These interventions often range from road maintenance projects to the provision of title deeds to tackle things that many may regard as simple and straightforward, like stock theft.
Through the izimbizo, we have further identified opportunities for skills development in key sectors of our economy such as in mining and in agriculture.
Through the information and contribution collected during the various izimbizo that I have been add, it has been possible to identify interventions that are required in many localities across our country.
The benefit of these engagements therefore extend way beyond the communities in which they take place as they are able to improve service provision more generally. And so, the imbizo
programme that we have bring invigorated is proving to be beneficial and is a process to which we also seek to bring government closer to our people where our people are able to interface not only with the President but also with the Ministers and Deputy Ministers as well as premiers and MECs and mayors and other important functionaries in the state system. They are proving to be real beacons of giving our people great hope for the type of service delivery that we are talking about. Thank you, hon House Chair.
Ms D R DIREKO: Your Excellency, izimbizo are very critical to close the social distance between our people and the executive and solving the challenges that are impacting in their lives from various communities. So, my question to you is that, what are the key areas that you have identified requiring systematic intervention drawing from your engagement with the izimbizo?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair, the areas that require intervention are many. Our people often comment that we can see what government is doing, and that government is doing its level best to address our needs. And obviously the issue of jobs comes up quite often. The issues of service delivery on issues such as health, for instance, clinics and
hospitals access thereto even things as simple as the availability of ambulances at the right time. They often raised issues of crime in the areas where they live. And often raised the issue of police and wishing and wanting the police to be more compassionate and be responsive to the criminality that they faced in their environments.
Yes, they do raised issues of service delivery such as housing, such as water, such as sewage challenges that they faced. So, the issues are quite widespread. In some of our more agricultural or rural provinces, they raised issues of agriculture and they often want to see greater support and assistance from the state in the form things such as tractors that they would wish it should be supplied or made available and particularly to be placed at places of traditional leaders and they wish some measure of assistance in the form of fertilizers and seeds so that they can be economically active.
They also raised issues of youth unemployment and they would like to see more and more of their children employed. And in the number of these izimbizo, they also raised appreciation over some of the employment projects that government has embarked on such as the Presidential Employment Stimulus as well as the Expanded Public Works programme, EPWP. Some of
them come there and say this is what we have been doing in the Public Employment Programme in closing up potholes and so on.
So, hon Direko, they raised a number of issues. And this is the one time where I also give one member of the executive an opportunity to articulate some of the interventions that they are working on. But quite often, members of the executive do go back to where izimbizo have been held and the process involves prior to the izimbizo, there are full and thorough engagements with various sectors of our community and during the imbizo the issues are raised and post the imbizo the members of the executive go back and address specific issues that had been raised.
So, we have found or certainly I have found it to be a very comprehensive and thorough process where the engagement with our people is not only on the day but it is preceded by a thorough engagement with role players. And thereafter, we go back and deal with specific issues. This is one of the real successful processes that government gets involved in. Thank you.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President I have been on the road in the Free State and the Northern Cape. I see for myself
some of the service delivery failures. The town of Welkom has sewage running through it, schools, businesses and churches. Many of the towns goes without water for weeks. Mr President we both know that the District Development Model is not going to improve service delivery. Even the ANC in uMngeni voted against it because they know it won’t work.
We won’t fix local government and so we acknowledge that what is broken its cadre deployment. Centralising power in a cadre fail state is not the answer. The answer is to appoint capable public servants and holding them accountable. If you continue to defend cadre deployment when you know it is the root cause of all of the sufferings, you see around you.
Mr President, my question is simple. Would you now comply with yesterday court order to hand over the minutes of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee while you were as chairman? Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon President, you are protected by the Rules of this House in that, in 142(6), it says a supplementary question must arise directly from the original question and the reply given thereto and may not
constitute a new question. Having said that, you can use your discretion. Thank you. The hon the President?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair, thank you very much for clarifying what is irrelevant and what isn’t. Now I want to start off with the preface of what hon Steenhuisen was alluding to. He referred to Welkom, a City or a Town that I got to know very well before and now. Welkom is a very typical type of example where things are happening and things are being changed. Welkom in a way had been captured by certain entities, six I may say that had had various processes of local government outsourced to them, including water treatment which you now say with the sewage water running down the street. Welkom is a town or a municipality on the move. It has been transformed. Deployed there, there is a Mayor khalipha, who is cleaning up, who is making sure that Welkom is repositioned and who is involving the process of bringing back into the municipality services that had been outsourced unnecessarily. And making sure that as they reposition the town council, they are able to give effective service to our people.
Now in the end, the issue of getting the right people to do the right job is a universal desire that all of us have. We
want precisely everybody who is capable to be deployed in the places where they should be to execute the work that they should. And right throughout the country that is what we are seeking to do not only aided and abated and as suggested by the Auditor-General but it is a norm. And as we professionalise the civil service, that is precisely what we are aiming at to improve the services that government provides to our people, we need people who have knowledge, who have experience and who have great capacity, and that’s where our local government system is now moving to not only local government but more broadly.
Yes, it is taking time as the breakdown also did take its time but we are rebuilding. We are repositioning and we are re- enabling government structures to be able to do precisely what the people of South Africa expect. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Hon President, the District Development Model was launched in 2019 on the Ugu District Municipality as one of six pilot projects. The District Development Model profile was done on the Ugu District Municipality in August 2020 stating that the aging infrastructures resulted in a poor service delivery. You visited the Ugu District Municipality in
November 2021 with a promise of rebuilding together complained under the District Development Model. In November 2022 the mayor of the Ugu District Municipality invited the NCOP highlighting 10 priority projects under the District Development Model and yourself hon President said that we need solutions not problems.
On September, 2022, the Human Rights Commission said that in Ugu there was a problem, and I quote:
There is no way that the commission will be happy with the responses to the steps that have been taken give to these communities have been struggling for years for water. There is no way we can say that the steps taken had been adequate.
In March, 2023, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs said that R103 million has been spent on the planning phase of the District Development Model pilot projects
So, the question, hon President, in the light that water is a basic human right when will the Ugu District water shortage problem be addressed adequately and will the communities have
uninterrupted water through the District Development Model? Thank you, House Chair.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Yes, the issue of the Ugu Municipality is in process of being further discussed and the ways of having it implemented are also being looked at.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation is also currently ceased with the challenges that the Ugu Municipality is facing. It is an urgent challenge. It is amongst those municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal that the Ministry of Water and Sanitation is focusing on. And I have been in discussion with the premier as well as the province as well on this matter. So, the continued challenges that you are highlighting are matters of important attention and in doing so, we are actually having thorough discussions to see how best we can speed up the process of addressing the Ugu Municipality problems because they have been going on for quite a long time. And our communities in that area are really unhappy and frustrated and the District Development Model is the one that is best suited because we need to co-operate with a number of key role players both business and other community-based organisations as well as the municipality itself. So, you are raising a problem that I
am fair with and a problem that is being actively address as well. So, thank you very much for highlighting it once again.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Since the first District Development Model Presidential Imbizo in North West in March, 2022, there have been eight others with the nice ones taking place in the Eastern Cape last month. The aim of this District Development Model Presidential Izimbizo was to improve service delivery. However, service delivery protests have continued. Six months after the North West Presidential Imbizo there were service delivery protests in five areas in that province which cost it difficult for matriculants writing exams.
According to a November, 2022 report, the Sedibeng District Municipality took three months to pay its health workers and only did so after protest.
Mr President, having had your reply would you please tell us where exactly there is sufficient tangible prove that water and sanitation and human settlements as an example, have been sufficiently addressed since March, 2022, as a result of this District Development Model izimbizo? I thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Rev Meshoe, the process of addressing the needs of our people is not a once off type of process. It’s an ongoing process and what we have encouraged through utilising the District Development Model is the involvement of various sectors within the district. One of the objectives of the District Development Model is to mobilise all key role players in a district to play a role be it business, be it traditional leaders, the religious sectors, young people, government itself are to play a key role in addressing the challenges that each of our district face. And in doing so obviously we have got to ensure that those interventions that need to be embarked upon by national government indeed are followed through.
Now you cite two good examples, Water and Human Settlements. And two of these departments have been coming up with additional processes that they themselves need to inaugurate or put into effect to ensure that where there are lapses and weaknesses at the local level be it at provincial or local level they are able to intervene and give assistance and support and they are the real poster departments if you like that have been able to breach this divide and this gap. And where they are now I am very satisfied with their ability to be able through the system that has been set up to address
problems throughout the country within obviously within the budgeted and physical affordable parameters because we are and we are quite honest to our people as well. We are not able to meet all the challenges because of our fiscal constraints. But where we are able to, for instance, to give you a very good example and this is one of the issues that our people raised when we go to izimbizo and we tell them openly that your district municipality or your district has not spent all the money that was budgeted for it. And some of the reasons are because there are capacity constraints and there are a number of reasons.
Now the departments at national level are now able to breach the divide or the challenges and difficulties and address those. Now there are a number of areas where interventions are being made and you want me to site some, for instance, in KwaZulu-Natal where there were blockages in relation to the reticulation of water for some of our key towns and we have now been able utilising this system that I am talking about to be able to give support and assistance to our municipalities. A very good example which grabbed the headlines of our nation was the Rooiwal Waster Treatment area in Hammanskraal in Gauteng. And that too was given rise to precisely by this very arched way of doing things. We now resolving that and we are
resolving it actively to make sure that when a municipality has been alerted by national government to address a problem where it lacks behind, we are able to nugget forward but where if fails we intervene as national government for the interest of our people. So, one needs to look at all these as a holistic way in which we are transforming the way we work and the District Development Model gives us the greater capacity and a very good instrument of being able to do so. So, work is underway and the results will be cleared to all of us in time as we move on. Thank you very much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon members, the White Paper on National Rail Policy approved by Cabinet in March of last year, 2022 specifies certain implementation priorities and timeframes in the devolution of passenger rail.
There are certain short-term objectives to be achieved by 2024, medium-term objectives up to 2030 and long-term objectives up to 2050. The Development of the Devolution Strategy is one of the short-term interventions, which is to be completed by 2024.
The White Paper makes key pronouncements on the future of urban rail in South Africa. Hon Steenhuisen is not listening, hon House Chair because he continues to chat and I do want him to listen because this is his question. The National Rail Policy makes provision for the assignment of responsibility for managing all rail functions to metropolitan municipalities, including planning, funding, procurement, operations and maintenance of these lines. This will be initiated once the strategy for devolution of urban rail has been concluded and approved.
Now, as part of the development of the National Devolution Strategy, the Department of Transport has undertaken consultations with key stakeholders.
These include all provincial departments responsible for Transport, Transport Authorities as well, National Treasury is also brought in, all affected Metros, the South African Local Government Association, Salga, the Gautrain, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa,Prasa, Transnet, the Railway Safety Regulator, commuter forums in all regions, unions in the railway environment, and business chambers – you name it. The consultation is of a broad spectrum nature.
A National Steering Committee has been established to guide all major deliverables of the project. The Department of Transport is confident that it is on course to deliver on the 2024 timeframe approved by Cabinet in the White Paper that has been put up on National Rail Policy. So hon House Chair, work is underway and it is the type of work that I do trust and hope that even hon Steenhuisen who is the key advocte of the slogan co-operation will be alive to rather than pulling in the opposite diretion. Thank you, hon House Chair.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: We’ll get you saying bivalent evolution by the end of the session, Mr President. Mr President, last month the Cape Town taxi strike caused havoc in the lives of millions of Western Cape residents. Commuters, including women and children, will live stranded and actually walk home in the dark under terrible conditions. You spoke earlier about co-operation, yet your Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and your Minister of Transport, Minister Chikunga must be held accountable for inflaming the situation and making matters worse rather than better. They openly sided with the law breakers rather than with the commuters and those people who are being terrorised and left stranded.
Minister Chikunga clearly had no clue about the transport laws of her own department. We spoke about the parameters earlier. The parameters were a law and center regulations passed by this out which are due to be implemented by the Transport Department and which should be being implemented around the country. So much for respect for the rule of law. The problem now with what you’ve just said, Mr President, is that Minister Chikunga has publicly rejected the departments White Paper, which supports the devolution of rail to competent metros.
It’s been proven. However, this can make an enormous difference in the lives of commuters to ensure they’ve got reliable, cost-effective transport. Mr President, how do you intend to get your own Minister on board when she has publicly rejected the findings of the White Paper, which you yourself say the Cabinet has endorsed? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair, I want to deny that the Minister has repudiated what has been put out. What she has said and stressed is that the timeframes that have been set needs to be adhered to as consultation happens. One of the reasons why I outlined the number of - if you like – consultants. Those entities that will be consulted is that that process has to be gone through. So that we arrive at a conclusion that is all-encompassing, where everyone feels that
this is the right way to go. The people themselves also have an interest here in the Western Cape. We've had to consult almost block my block with people who have an interest in how this policy will be outlined. For instance, many other people have been living right near or on the rail line itself and those have had to be consulted. Now what the Minister is saying is that we need to complete this whole engagement and consultation process and the timeframes that are set out, which are also repeated, give effect to that. So, the Minister is very clear that we need to go through the various processes that have been set out. So, if one listens to her very carefully. You will hear that she says let’s go through the process. Once we’ve gone through that process, we’ll be able to arrive at an outcome that is more satisfactory for all of us. Thank you very much, hon House chair.
Ms R M M LESOMA: Thank you, hon House Chair and the hon the President of South Africa. If you may, Sir just to note that the devolution of the passenger rail service is not related to disruptions that can be caused by taxi strike or any other protest. What progress has the government made in on Operation Bhekela for this resumption of limited rate savings for Nyanga, Phillipi, Khayelitsha, Langa to ensure working people have low-cost rail transport as these have been impacted by
weaknesses of the city of Cape Town and the Western Cape provincial government which is failing to deal with the land occupation on the rail lines have been given the money or the budget by the recent national government? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon House Chair, there is quite a lot of progress that we are making, which I alluded to in my reply in Chief in relation to Operation Bhekela. Our consultation process has been quite thorough. It has been quite involved in all those areas to open the rail lines and we are doing it section by section. I think we’ve done two now, and in the process, we've had to move and respectively moved thousands of households. I think we are now left with 891 households on a particular line wherein we are in full co- operation and consultation with them. We are going to move them, and this is being done with their full agreement, having identified precisely where they should also go and live. So, Operation Bhekela is really proceeding well, and it's just as well that, as a government, we are that consultative because we don’t bulldoze our way in and just move people. We talk to them and almost door to door and ensure that they buy into this. From just the top of my head, I think we've moved, consulted well over 6 000 households. We’ve been able to get a corporation of some 4 000 or so and with some still
remaining to be to be finalised. We've been doing it line by line. You mentioned Philippe as well. That too is another line that is also being mooted and for opening up. People had built houses right on the rail line and right adjacent. In order to open the rail, we’ve had to do proper consultation and so this for me is quite a fulfilling process that shows that we are a government that cares, and that has compassion. That even as people are confronted by serious challenges of a lack of accommodation where they've put up homes in emergency situations, we are able to consult them and able to get them to move to alternative accommodation. So, work is also underway in that regard. Thank you.
Mr K P SITHOLE: Oh! Thank you, hon Chairperson, hon, President, the IFP has stood before your Cabinet calling for the professionalisation of the taxi industry over the last few years, without any actionable commitment from the government to meet with all stakeholders and set standards for the industry where both passengers, owners and drivers will benefit. It is not a secret that the majority of making class people in South Africa have to rely on public transport, and that’s the mode of public transport needs to have agreed upon roads and standard of operation. I would like to know, hon President, whether the government will assist struggling
metros with resources and funding to bring about the safety passengers rail network while maintaining the principle of devolution of power? I thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon House Chair, and hon Sithole. Yes, government in executing its transport policy and also in relation to rail is willing, prepared and able to co-operate, and give all the assistance to the provinces as well as to local government. This is an important area, and you may well want to know what it is that we are also doing with the taxi industry. We are also involved in the thoroughgoing discussions with the taxi industry as to the role that they themselves should be playing as we move on, because much as it may seem like the interests are conflictual. In fact, the interests are complementary, and that’s precisely what the discussions are also all about, so that there is a full buy in by all role-players as we support the whole transport industry, so that as our people utilise these modes of transport, they have a sense of safety. They also have a sense that this is being done in a co-operative way and it is also being done in a way where we are able to work together, all of us to advance their interest. So, what you are saying will be done and it is being done. Thank you very much.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon President, can you trust a DA-run province and a DA-run Cape Town Metro, for want to use the control of the railways ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, order, hon members!
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: The policy of federalism which is noncompliant with the Constitution. Then they returned the money to the fiscus that was meant to pay for land occupied by residents living dangerously along railway lines, preventing the Minister of Transport to provide the rail services. They don’t want your Minister to look good. So will you trust them? Remember, imperialist has always started a railroad in the days of the wild West. By the way, a sheriff is already appointed, which just may do a good job keeping us in Cape Town safer. I’m wearing the DA colours today. Your response to hon Steenhuisen’s question: Devolving rail powers is alarming, but we will study it. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much. The Rule 1425 says a member may make a statement or express an opinion. Yes, hon Steenhuisen.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, it’s a very serious thing in the Parliament to accuse the party of not wanting to keep the President’s life safe. It borders on treason.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay, Okay
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I would say that the President is a lot safer on Cape Town’s rail than on Mr ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay, that’s not a point of order. That is not a point of order, hon steenhuisen.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon House Chair, I have had the desire to ride on the trains here in the Western Cape, in Cape Town, and I hope that desire is fulfilled soon, because I would like to see the improvements that are being made. So, I shall ride and may even invite you, hon Steenhuisen to come and join me. Hon Hendricks it's not a question of whether one trusts a particular political party. It is the system that we set in place that we’ve got to trust. Because if we all operate within a system that we all agree on, we are then able to know that the process itself will
ensure that the people act in accordance with that system. I often say it is a PSP. It is people system and process.
Once you get the system right and you position people in that system, you will then be able to get a good outcome which will process itself well. So, I don’t ascribe to that whether one trust them or not. It is all of us, as South Africans must trust the systems that we are putting in place. I do believe that we are as we improve everything in our country, we are seeking to set up systems that whoever gets into those positions is able to work in accordance with that system. It’s almost like putting a railway line that whatever type of train will move according to the rail line that will have been put in place. So, thank you very much for raising the question and thank you very much and thank you very much, hon House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much, hon President. That concludes the questions to the President, and we thank the President for that. Thank you. Thank you, hon members, you may be seated. Hon members, I request you to stand and wait for the Chair and the maze to leave the Chamber. That concludes the business for the day and the House is adjourned. Thank you very much.
Business of the day concluded.
The House adjourned at 16:08.