Hansard: NA: Mini-Plenary 2
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 08 Sep 2023
No summary available.
MINI PLENARY 2 - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (VIRTUAL) FRIDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2023
PROCEEDINGS OF THE MINI-PLENARY SESSIONS OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Watch video here: NA: Mini-Plenary 2
The mini-plenary session met on the virtual platform at 10:00.
The House Chairperson Mr M L D Ntombela took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members, before we proceed, I would like to remind you that the virtual mini- plenary session is deemed to be in the precinct of Parliament. It constitutes a meeting of the National Assembly for debating purposes only.
In addition to the rules of the virtual sitting, the rules of the National Assembly including the rules of debate apply.
Members enjoy the same powers and privileges that apply in the sitting of the National Assembly.
Members should equally note that anything said in the virtual platform is deemed to have been said to the House and may be ruled upon. All members who have logged in shall be considered to be present and are requested to mute their microphones and only unmute when recognised to speak. This is because the mics are very sensitive and will pick up noise which might disturb their attention of other members. When recognised to speak, please unmute your microphone and where connectivity permits connect your video. Members make use of the icons on the bar on the bottom of their screens which has an option that allows a member to put up his or her hand to raise points of order.
The secretariat will assist in alerting the Chairperson to members requesting to speak. When using the virtual system, members are urged to refrain or desist from making unnecessary points of orders or interjections.
Lastly, I wish to remind you that we are meeting in a mini- plenary session and therefore any decisions will be taken in a full plenary session of the Assembly. The first order of the day is the Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs on oversight visit to Eastern Cape Province from the third to the eighth July 2022.
I will now request the hon Xasa to present the report.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE ON 3-8 JULY 2022
Mr F D XASA: Hon House Chairperson and hon members, on the third to the eighth July 2022, the Portfolio Committee on Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs conducted a week long oversight visit to the Eastern Cape. The oversight focus was on male customary initiation. It was meant to coincide with the province’s winter customary initiation season. In undertaking this oversight, the committee’s primary objective was to ensure that the old age traditional practice of male customary initiation is conducted safely without any fatalities.
This is in recognition of the ineffective regulation of customary initiation schools which has led to the proliferation of illegal schools creating opportunities for abuse and commercialisation of the custom resulting in needless deaths.
Over the years, the male customary initiation practice in the province has become synonymous with deaths and mutilation of young boys. In response to this scourge, government has enacted the Customary Initiation Act which became effective on
1 September 2021. As the custodian of this Act, the committee has a duty to conduct oversight over its implementation and hold to account all those role-players who are involved. In this regard, the committee received an interrogated formal briefings from the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, the National Initiation Oversight Committee, the Eastern Cape Provincial Initiation Co-ordinating Committee, PICC, as well as districts and local initiation forums. This was to ascertain the extent to which these structures fulfilled their responsibilities as expected in terms of the Act. In addition, various initiation school sides were visited in Port St Johns, Mhlontlo, Nyandeni, King Sabata Dalindyebo and Buffalo City Local Municipalities.
The sides visited afforded the committee practical insides into the measures that had been put in place to safeguard the lives of the initiates in terms of the Act. Among the key findings emanating from the oversight visit was that the Eastern Cape Customary Male Initiation Act of 2016, did not adequately conform to the National Customary Initiation Act
prescripts. Amendments of the provincial legislation therefore is imperative. Also repeatedly raged as hindrance to the effective implementation of the national legislation was the unavailability of sufficient budget. It was therefore expected from the committee that it would ... [Inaudible.] ... it with the relevant authorities.
The Act was also found to not have permeated through the relevant population segments and thus remained largely unknown. What was therefore expected is that there must be public education on the Act itself. The committee also found that the inclusion of MECs in the Provincial Initiation Co- ordinating Committee was making the committee not to function well because of competing responsibilities of MECs. It was therefore expected that the composition of the PICC of the Eastern Cape should also be reviewed.
Amongst the various recommendations suggested to assist the effective implementation of the Customary Initiation Act was the introduction of dedicated special civil courts to deal with cases that emanates from the death of initiates. On 22 November the portfolio committee convened a meeting with the relevant stakeholders as a follow-up of our visit. Again here,
everybody committed to follow-up on the issues raised by the committee.
While the committee’s oversight visit yielded some gains, critical challenges remained. The most concerning was the continued proliferation of illegal initiation schools that in some instances even surpassed the number of legal schools.
Most fatalities and injuries occur in these illegal schools. It therefore remains of utmost importance that the committee intensified oversight work on customary initiation to counter the challenge.
Against this background, it is recommended that this House should adopt this report. I thank you, hon House Chairperson.
Ms G OPPERMAN: Thank you. Customary rites of passage are an integral part of African tradition that are irreplaceable. Therefore, the safety, health and welfare of initiates are of the utmost importance. The National Initiation Oversight Committee was established on the 10 November 2022 to monitor the implementation of the Customary Initiation Act of 2021, and to promote compliance with its provisions. Yet, despite the legislation, there is still general non-compliance with the CIA. Underage initiates are still being admitted.
Amputations, non-screening and kidnappings still prevail. And illegal schools now surpass registered legitimate schools, and little have been accomplished of the recommendations made by the portfolio committee to date.
The DA therefore proposes that minimum requirements for the registration of traditional surgeons be enforced to ensure that rituals are performed by certified traditional surgeons and certificates of fitness must be issued by registered medical practitioners because more than 700 fatalities occurred in the past decade, mostly at unregistered schools. Last year, more than 200 initiates suffered injuries at illegal schools. Monitoring and oversight of prestigious and vitality and facilities must be strengthened by revisiting the composition and reconstitution of PICC to ensure that they have relevant people to attend to initiation matters.
Our country is plagued by illegal and unregistered initiation schools that are mushrooming and surpassing legitimate schools where underage initiatives are being admitted. Ulwaluko must not be a means for monetary gain and greed used by optimistic people. The DA proposed the provincial initiation co- ordination committees be capacitated to enforce the 15(6) B of the CIA to investigate and close down illegal structures
within one day of becoming aware of it. Illegal schools need to be decisively dealt with in order to ... [Inaudible.] ... the scourge of fatalities during initial season.
Local initiation fora and district municipalities must work together to close illegal schools and a dedicated budget at a municipal level are needed to co-ordinate the initiation programme. There is a need for initiation units in affected departments and intergovernmental co-ordination must be ensured across departments assigned to provide assistance to the programme. Provincial legislation that are in conflict with the CIA must be aligned to ensure harmony between the two pieces of legislation. Local traditional houses who remain grossly under resourced, needs to be capacitated with tools of trade and stock to improve their involvement in the initiation programme.
To keep the tradition of Ulwaluko alive, we need, in the words of the CRL, more than just legislation. But the partnership between communities, government and traditional leadership to enforce the requirements for registration that was out of a
... [Inaudible.] ... report of 20 years ago. Yet we are still lamenting the same issues today, meaning very little progress has been made to make the traditional rites of passage safe.
But the DA - we also support the recommendations made by the portfolio committee. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you, hon member. Hon members, I think something is not going well here. The First Order is the Consideration of Report on a Visit to the Eastern Cape Province. Which was of course, supposed to have been reported first by the hon Xasa, followed by the hon Spies. Now, if the hon Xasa reported on the Makana report, which is actually the Second Order, then we will continue with the Second Order, and then after the Second Order we will go back to the First Order which is the Eastern Cape. I hope that will settle the problem that we have. The next speaker is from the EFF, but I don't have a member here. Any person from the EFF? Okay, I pass. The hon Princess Buthelezi from the IFP.
Ms S A BUTHELEZI: Thank you Chairperson. We are all aware of the ongoing debate regarding initiation practices, and that there are groups of people that call for the abolishment of these practices. However, I am reminded of the words of the great musician and songwriter, Bob Marley, “In this great future, we cannot forget our past.” The Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the Khoi and Traditional Leaders Act, and the South
African Heritage Resources Act stand as confirmation that the protection of the identity of our people is paramount.
Initiation schools stand as the custodians of customary educational institutions that have, for generations, helped to shape young minds to create healthy communities. It is in these institutions that young boys and girls attain the knowledge needed to make the transition from youth into adulthood. It is here where they are isolated from the influences of the modern world, to draw from the wealth of knowledge in the institutions of the elderly and they are given the tools to become effective contributors to the moral fibre of their communities.
In January of this year, it was reported that at least 20 initiates have died in the Eastern Cape since the start of the summer initiation season. The causes of death that were cited include dehydration, underlying health co-morbidities, and diabetes. This is simply unacceptable because as a country we have the ability to ensure that the necessary precaution is in place. The issue of initiations that have gone wrong should not be isolated to the Department of Traditional Affairs.
Rather, it should be regarded as an opportunity for greater collaboration between the governmental departments.
As indicated in the report, there is a need for the Department of Health and the Department of Human Settlements to play their part. It is with this in mind that the IFP wants to emphasize the sentiments raised in the report related to harmonising the provincial legislation regulating customary initiation with the Customary Initiation Act. There is no use in having an Act that aims to provide for the effective regulation of customary initiation practices when it is not adequately implemented in our provinces. The IFP accepts the report. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Mr X MSIMANGO: [Inaudible.] ... hon House Chair ... [Interjection.]
Mr G G MPUMZA: House Chair, House Chair it’s hon Mpumza, not hon Msimango.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Is it ... yah no, no, no, hon Mpumza, you will report on the on the Eastern Cape Province. This is now the Second Order instead of the first one. So, we still go into the first one where you are going to be the last person to report. So, for a moment on the Second Order, you have the hon Msimango.
Mr G G MPUMZA: Thanks, House Chair.
Mr X MSIMANGO: Hon House Chair, hon members of the House, fellow South Africans, the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, during its current term of office in Parliament of 2019-2024, has adopted a resolution to intensify its oversight efforts over all relevant state organs within its mandate. This resolution aligns with the objectives outlined in Parliament’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.
The ANC views it as its crucial aspect aimed at amending the declining state of local governance. With this understanding, the ANC extends its full support and active participation in the oversight visit to the Makana Local Municipality, situated within the Sarah Baartman District from 16-19 September 2022.
The ANC and the committee are resolute in restoring Makana Municipality to its former status as one of the well-run municipalities. The objective is to transform it into a robust municipality better equipped to cater to the needs of the Makana community.
Several challenges have been identified in the course of this oversight visit, including the deterioration of critical
financial health indicators within the municipality. Excessive reliance on external service providers and concerns related to water and sanitation services.
Despite the existence of various catalytic projects in the progress in Makana, the ageing municipal infrastructure possesses a significant impediment to economic growth. The municipality’s most pressing issue pertains to water and sanitation, with the infrastructure having exceeded its intended lifespan and necessitating substantial upgrades.
To address these challenges, hon House Chair, Makana requires a collaborative support from all relative stakeholders, to uphold the principles of the back to basics and the Financial Recovery Plan.
Some key recommendations worth embarking on are as follows; mandating the Makana Local Municipality to furnish the portfolio committee with a copy of its financial recovery plan with a detailed breakdown of funding allocated for the upgrade of the Belmont Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant and the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Plant. Recognising the pivotal role of the National Treasury in oversight visits to municipalities under interventions as per section 139 (5)(a) of the
Constitution. The National Treasury’s involvement is crucial
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon member Msimango
Mr X MSIMANGO: ... yes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): ... your time is up, sir.
Mr X MSIMANGO: The ANC supports ... [Inaudible.] [Time expired.]
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO MAKANA FROM 16-19 SEPTEMBER 2022
Mr F D XASA: Hon House Chairperson and hon members, I have confusion. This was the second report that I was supposed to report on from 16-19 July 2022. Our portfolio committee conducted an oversight visit to Makana Local in the Eastern Cape ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Xasa, hon Xasa...
Mr F D XASA: ... following up on a number of ... [Inaudible.]
... can you hear House Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): ... I can hear, I am trying to correct something hear. The first report that you reported on, was to Makana from the 16th to the 19th, you did that. That was supposed to have been the Second Order, but unfortunately you reported on that one, so we made the First Order. Now, we are now reporting on the First Order. What was supposed to be the First Order. In other ... that is the report to the Eastern Cape oversight visit, on 3-8 July. So, I am just making you aware that you should not repeat the order that you did before.
Mr F D XASA: I think there is some miscommunication. I actually reported on the oversight visit to the Eastern Cape from the third to ... I think it was five days. So, I think let’s allow House Chairperson to proceed now with Makana. I think where we twisted, it could have been hon Mpumza to conclude the debate on initiation and hon Msimango to conclude the debate, on Makana. So, that’s where the confusion is. Can
I proceed with the Makana report, and I am sure you will find a way to manage it. Can I proceed, hon House Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): I need to understand, then what happened to the report of the Eastern Cape?
Mr F D XASA: It was on the customary initiation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Have you reported on that?
Mr F D XASA: Yes, I did, and instead of hon Mpumza concluding, then hon Msimango was called, who was supposed to conclude on this one that I must present? That’s where hon Spies is supposed to come in.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): So, I want to call the hon Spies then to continue. Yah, because have already presented it bab’uXasa, if I understand you, then you have already... [Interjection.]
Mr F D XASA: You don’t understand. I did not present on Makana.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): You presented on the Eastern Cape.
Mr F D XASA: On the initiation, yes...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): That is the Eastern Cape?
Mr F D XASA: ... yes. That’s where hon Opperman and hon Buthelezi came in. But instead of allowing hon Mpumza, then you allowed hon Msimango, so, who are supposed to close this debate I am introducing.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay, go ahead bab’uXasa and finish your report, then we will follow the list of the hon Spies and then with Mpumza being the last part, sir. There’s a confusion here [Sekuphambana emakomishi lapha], okay.
Mr F D XASA: Hon House Chairperson, I am saying on 16-19 of July, the portfolio committee visited Makana and specifically this was a follow up session on many engagements we have had with Makana. Makana is amongst approximately 64 so called dysfunctional municipalities, according to the records of De
Kock. And the same municipality has been subjected to a number of interventions in terms of section 139(5) of the Constitution, as well as section 139 of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Makana is also amongst municipalities that have been receiving disclaimed audit opinions for three consecutive financial years. The municipality also featuring in the list of municipalities that have been issued with material irregularities relating to substantial harm to citizens due to their inability to deliver on their services.
The committee has prioritized these municipalities for intervention and the oversight visit to Makana was part of that endeavour. Oversight programmes consisted in receiving and interrogating formal briefings from all the structures responsible for support in the municipalities, including Auditor General’s Office, ... [Inaudible.] ... penal and provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, CoGTA.
Most importantly, the committee also convened a separate session with various community groupings from around Makana Municipal. This engagement established a ... [Inaudible.] ...
between communities. This had ... [Inaudible.] ... between the municipality seeking citizens wanting to participate actively in the affairs of the municipalities.
The committee further conducted site visits who stressed the state of the municipalities... [Inaudible.] ... water and road infrastructure projects. Amongst these critical projects was the upgrading of ... [Inaudible.] ... supply ... [Inaudible.]
... which has been in process since the 16th, as the whole of Makana relies on this facility ... [Inaudible.] ... the upgrade is key to alleviating the long-standing water crisis in the municipalities.
The committee found that there were long delays ... [Inaudible.] ... the escalation of project costs, a matter that ... [Inaudible.] ... from the Special Investigating Unit. It ... [Inaudible.] ... questions as it was implementing the project in partnership with the national Department of Water and Sanitation and the Amatola Water Board.
And to bring all these relevant role players into account, the committee as part of its oversight report recommendations ... [Inaudible.] ... a follow up meeting in November 2022 with the Deputy Ministers responsible for Water and Sanitation, the
Amatola Water Boards Authority and the political principals of Makana.
A commitment was made to fast track all the relevant processes to ensure that the municipality has adequate water supply by the end of June 2023. Practically, this would involve sourcing additional funding to address the project cost overruns and fast tracking the supply of supply chain management processes.
The committee welcomes this commitment. Makana political leadership also affirmed its interest to change the situation in the municipalities and deliver on its promise to the community. This was also noted and appreciated, as urged by the citizens of Makana. The committee has resolved to monitor these commitments. This will underpin oversight meeting. And I recommend that the adoption of this. [Time expired.]
Ms E R J SPIES: Hon Chairperson, I apologise in advance for my voice because I have flu. So, I am going to try my best. And I am speaking on the Oversight visit from 16 to 19 September 2022 in the Eastern Cape. I just want to be clear on that one.
Hon Chairperson and hon members, today I rise to address a matter of great urgency and concern one that affects the lives
of countless South Africans who are suffering the consequences of inefficient and inadequate water service delivery. We have witnessed a situation in Makana for the example of failures of government intervention. They seek effective provincial involvement and the painfully slow policy of action.
In Makana, the promise of outdated James Kleinhans Water Treatment Works by June 30 2023 was nothing more than an empty pledge. As of September 7 2023 that promise remains unfulfilled. What has been achieved partially is the consistent delivery of 18 magalitres of water per day allowing for daily water supply to residence in most areas. At night water tap uses for reservoir filling. This progress has been achieved with only two pumps operating at the James Kleyhans Water Treatment Works and Howienson’s Poort. The precarious nature of the situation is evident, a breakdown in any of these three pumps which plunged the town back into a day on day off water supply scenario.
While the contractor at the James Howienson’s Poort Water Treatment Works seems making some progress. Unforeseen issues like water proofing complications has blocked the project.
Completion of all filters is still pending and achieving the promise of 20 megalitres per day depends on the installation
of two missing pumps which I must emphasise is not the contractor’s responsibility.
Water requirement remains uncertain due to an abundance of leaks in the reticulation systems. This lack of oversight reflects poorly management which should diligently tracking water usage and losses especially when it comes through the valley water to those who cannot afford it.
The situation in Elicedale, part of the Makana Municipality is equally distressing. All the residents are experiencing days without water. Promises were made but the visit and assessment made at Amathole Water have yet to materialise leaving the community in a state of in despair.
In August, the visit by the Minister of Water and Sanitation acknowledged the situation in Makana and committed to addressing key issues. This visit was an opportunity to demonstrate decisive action, yet it was mud by delays and the lack of substantive information. What is clear from this ordeal is a pattern of government ineffectiveness instances beyond Makhanda. The government has consistently shown a lack of capacity to implement essential service delivery. It’s not enough to make promises. We need results. We need efficient
management, transparent reporting and accountability from those entrusted with the well-being of our communities.
In conclusion, Chairperson, I would like to applaud to this House to take a serious look at the failures in Makhanda as a microcosm of the larger issues ploughing our nation’s service delivery. We must demand better, more efficient governance and hold those in power accountable for their actions or lack thereof. It is time to change ... [Inaudible.] ... Thank you.
Ms S A BUTHELEZI: Chairperson, ageing municipal infrastructure seriously constrains effective service delivery and economic growth, especially at a local level. Unfortunately, the critical challenge that Makana Municipality is facing relates to water and sanitation, which we have all come to learn is a challenge many of our local municipalities are battling with. Often this is due to the fact that municipal water and sanitation infrastructure has exceeded its design lifespan and needs upgrading. The upgrading of these infrastructures is something that can be pre-determined, however, the problem is often left to escalate until the water in local communities runs dry, only then do this project then get upgraded.
It has been disheartening to see the ongoing water woes at Makana Local Municipality, especially since the municipality has a community of residents that is actively participating in matters related to municipal affairs, however, their pleas are overlooked. This oversight was conducted in September, 2022, nearly a year ago, however, in May of this year, members of the Makana community were protesting against the Makana Municipality over unreliable water supply. Water is not a luxury but a basic need and necessity, communities should not be forced to protest so that their basic needs can be met. The ever-increasing escalation of the water crisis in this municipality even after the recommendations made by the committee, seems to indicate that the municipality is blatantly turning a blind eye to issues raised by members of the community, such as the unequal and uneven supply of water in different areas, and the lack of response to water leaks.
The IFP is in full agreement with the report, it is simply not enough for the province to impose a Financial Recovery Plan and leave it at that. Each day this plan is not adequately implemented, a community member quite literally goes without efficient service delivery. The Financial Recovery Plan was imposed in 2021, yet during the oversight in 2022 it came to light that there were no Financial Disciplinary Board in place
that could provide evidence that Makana is implementing its Financial Recovery Plan. As incredulous as this seems, it is more often than not the reality in many municipalities. There needs to be a culture of auctioning the recovery plans that are put on paper, as currently, it seems as if they are only in place to act as bureaucratic scapegoats. The IFP accepts the report. Thank you, Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Now I need to be assisted, hon Chairperson, of the committee. Who now should conclude the debate between the hon Pumza and the hon Msimango.
Mr F D XASA: Is hon Msimango.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay.
Mr F D XASA: Who actually earlier spoke when you were speaking about that one but you can call him ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay. Hon Msimango, are you ready?
Ms E R J SPIES: Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hello. Hon Msimango?
Ms E R J SPIES: Chair, can I get clarity. Is Hon Spies.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes, hon Spies?
Ms E R J SPIES: So, are we going now to have a repeat of hon Msimango’s speech or declaration that he did earlier on because he spoke already on this matter. Hon Mpumza, has not spoken but we have passed that order. So, are we going to listen to him again.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): That’s why I wanted direction from the Chairperson of the Committee. He has requested that it’s the hon Msimango who should conclude the debate. I hope the brothel offices will have to try and put this in the right perspective for record purposes. But, Chairperson, advised that we allowed the hon Msimango to whether repeat or conclude the debate. Is hon Msimango ready?
Mr X MSIMANGO: Yes, Chairperson, I am ready.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes, please, you are welcome. You can go ahead, hon Msimango.
Mr X N MSIMANGO: ... [Inaudible.] ... Am I audible?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes, you are.
Mr X N MSIMANGO: Am I audible enough, Chair?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes, you are.
Mr X N MSIMANGO: The Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs during its current term of office in Parliament of 2019 and 2024 has adopted the resolution to intensify its oversight efforts over all relevant state organs within its mandate. This resolution aligns with the objectives outlined in Parliament, 2019-24 Strategic Plan.
The ANC views it as a crucial aspect aimed at the declining state of local governance. With this understanding, the ANC extended its full support and active participation in the oversight visit to the Makana Local Municipality situated with the Sarah Baartman District from 16 to 19 September 2024. The
ANC and the committee are resolute to restoring Makana Municipality to its former status as one of the well-run municipalities.
The objective is to transform it into a robust municipality better equipped to cater to the needs of the Makana Local Municipality.
Several challenges have been identified in the course of this oversight visit, including the deterioration of critical financial health indicators within the municipality, excessive reliance on external service providers and concerns related to water and sanitation services.
Despite the existence of various catalytic projects in progress in Makana, the ageing infrastructure possesses a significant impediment to economic growth.
The municipality’s most pressing issue pertains to water and sanitation with the infrastructure having exceeded its extended lifespan and necessitating substantial upgrades. To address these challenges effectively, Makana requires a collaborative support from all relevant stakeholders to uphold
the principles of the back-to-basics and the Financial Recovery Plan.
Some of key recommendations worth embarking on is, firstly, mandating the Makana Local Municipality to furnish the portfolio committee with a copy of its Financial Recovery Plan with a detailed breakdown of funding allocated for the upgrade of the Belmont Valley Water Waste Treatment Plant and the James Kleyhans Water Treatment Plant recognising the equivocal role of the National Treasury in oversight visit to municipalities under interventions as per section 1395(a) of the Constitution.
The National Treasury’s involvement is crucial in formulating mandatory recovery plans. Additionally, a call is made for the invocation of law and order mechanisms to combat corruption and mismanagement.
We express our gratitude to the stakeholders who participated in helping us gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the municipality.
Most importantly, we acknowledge their commitment to seeking solutions. The ANC lends its unwavering support to the report
and its accompanying reservation and recommendations. The ANC support the report. Thanks, Chair.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON WOMEN, YOUTH AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES - COMMISSION FOR GENDER EQUALITY REPORT ON GOVERNMENT’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTION PLAN ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND FEMICIDE
Ms C N NDABA: Chair and hon members, good morning. The Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities was briefed by the Commission for Gender Equality on 23 February 2022, regarding its reports on government’s Emergency Report Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. This report was referred to the committee on 15 April 2021. Section 187, Chair, hon members and the community can read upon themselves what the Constitution says in terms of the Commission for Gender Equality, CGE, and go straight to its obligation in line with the commission’s obligation to strengthen constitutional democracy.
With the focus on the attainment of gender equality, the committee has a legislative mandate and functions. I will skip the functions and I will say table as read. Hon members and the community can read for themselves. I will go straight to
the report. It is on this basis that the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Erap, report was produced and tabled in Parliament for consideration and as such the commission undertook a post-talk review and assessment on the performance of the state entities that were expected to give effect to Erap over a period of six months.
What did the key findings reveal? Of the 80 targets outlined, 21,25% were achieved, whilst 12% were partially archived and 63% targets were not achieved. The commission indicated that Erap was a timely and appropriate response to an urgent national crisis, but its implementation faced many obstacles on the ground. It also concluded that there were, firstly, problems of lack of effective co-ordination; secondly, ineffective oversight and accountability; and thirdly, a lack of ongoing programme on monitoring and evaluation mechanisms which led to many targets and interventions not achieved.
Furthermore, CGE indicated that the interim steering committee’s co-ordinating role was crucial but it was undermined by significant operational issues including lack of role clarification, poor accountability and limited capacity. A large number of department’s involved in the implementation of Erap interventions were without effective operational co-
ordination across thematic areas. The commission outlined a wide array of recommendations that pertain to the structure and process, monitoring and evaluation, sourcing specifically gender-based budgeting as well as co-ordination and collaboration.
The committee welcomed the report by CGE and acknowledge the importance of monitoring and evaluation policies to address gender-based violence and femicide in the country.
Furthermore, the committee committed to a joint meeting with relevant portfolio committees, which we have done, in order to engage with relevant departments and assess what progress has been made in so far as the implementation of the National Strategic Plan, NSP, on Gender-Based Violence, GBV, is concerned.
Moreover, the portfolio committee takes cognisance of the findings and recommendations as an important background and context to the development of the national council on gender- based violence currently before the committee. The portfolio committee having considered the commission for Gender Equality Report on government’s Emergency Response Action Plan on gender-based violence and femicide, hereby recommends that the
House adopts the said report. I thank you very much, Chairperson.
Ms N K SHARIF: House Chairperson, the report by the Commission for Gender Equality on the Emergency Response Action Plan is damning against this government. The President pledged that R1,6 billion budget would be made available to implement the Erap over a six month period with five thematic areas, 39 interventions and a whooping 80 targets. Out of 80 targets, only 21 % were met, 15% partially met and 64% of the targets were not met.
The Department Of Women, Youth, And Persons With Disabilities, the custodian of the Erap, met 0% of their targets. The truth of the matter is that Erap was more of a wishlist than an actual plan to change the lives of women and those vulnerable to gender-based violence and femicide, GBVF. The worst part is that this government was giving women the impression that it has a plan that was going to work. Instead, it tried to put a bandage on a gushing wound. The Erap was doomed for failure.
When it first came to Parliament the DA highlighted the shortcomings and warned that rushing a plan it makes it seem as if government was on top of the fight against GBVF when obviously they were not, is disingenuous. When there is a lack
of planning it becomes difficult to, firstly, cost the project properly, secondly, have frameworks in place to manage the project; and thirdly, implement any of the proposed interventions and targets.
The DA raised our concerns and the first red flag we flew was the short timeframe given to reach the large amounts of targets that needed to be co-ordinated across different departments. A lot of the targets and interventions were long- term goals and trying to raise and squeeze them into short- term goals was not going to work especially if it was not properly planned and thought out.
The second red flag was the lack of monitoring and evaluation of the Erap. Without an effective tool to monitor the work being done, evaluate the outcomes or lack thereof, there was no way for government to efficiently do any sort of oversight, hold the interim steering committee on GBVF and the implementing department accountable. There was no co- ordination and essentially limiting the amount of any real collaboration.
The third red flag was the contradiction around the budget. As mentioned, the President pledged R1,6 billion, but the
Treasury only made R1,4 billion available in the adjustment budget. This money was not a ring-fenced amount that was for the sole purpose of implementing the Erap but was reprioritised in the various departments’ budgets. This made it impossible to hold departments accountable for not using the reprioritised budgets to implement the Erap. The CGE report states that it is unclear how the funding of the Erap was raised and disbursed as they got conflicting statements from key role-players on the ground. The CGE report is a scathing indictment on the inability and incompetence of government in formulating and planning the Erap. The complete failure in the implementation, co-ordination and collaboration is a world-known trade of this government. The Erap is the new blueprint of what not to do in good governance. It is a one- on-one guide of what an incapable state does when faced with a national pandemic. The government failed and it must take accountability for its failure. The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities should hang their heads in shame for not reaching ay of their targets- 0% of targets met. This is unacceptable and it should never happen again. The DA supports the report of the portfolio committee. I thank you.
Mrs M D HLENGWA: Hon Chair, we often speak of navigating our lives in a post-pandemic world. However, for women, children
and persons with disabilities in South Africa, there is a pandemic of gender-based violence and femicide that hasn’t yet ended. The fight against gender-based violence and femicide, once again, took a heavy blow when we received the crime statistics for 2023. For 2023 in April and June ...
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk M G Boroto): ... [Akuzwakali.] ... Mama.
Mrs M D HLENGWA: ... and 2023 in June, then it is the same ... more than the period ... previous year. It is incredible, and hurting, to see that protecting the lives of our women and children is still not regarded as a pressing matter, even with all the well-written and perfectly outlined plans, frameworks and strategies the government presented, with rape and murder statistics going higher and higher.
Siyanxusa-ke siwu-IFP, sishaya ikhwela, sithi sekwanele ukufa kwabantu besifazane nezingane. Lanele igazi elikhishiwe ngabantu besifazane ngenkathi beteta bezala izingane.
Njengamanje kwanele, sishaya ikhwela, sihlaba umkhosi sithi, maluju.
The IFP supports the report.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon House Chair, the NFP will support the report tabled here today. However, I would like to raise my concerns. It is our understanding that the focus of attention on dealing with the scourge of gender-based violence needs to change from one of budget, and more importantly, to the root causes of why we have high levels of gender-based violence in the country.
We have raised this again and again until you deal with the dysfunctional state of our society, the socioeconomic conditions and which we live, the high levels of substance, drug and alcohol abuse, and teenage pregnancy, and we saw last hear what happened, which I want to repeat, 91 000 children having given birth to children.
The poor quality of basic education, which is not attracting learners to school, is resulting in almost one out of two children who start schooling in Grade that do not finish school in Grade 12, and more importantly, those who do continue to drop out in the first year of TVET colleges.
Now, this and my understanding and the understanding of the NFP are the root causes. Let us admit that no man is born a rapist or a murderer and every man or rapist or a murderer is a child of some women. I noticed, particularly in the media, that there’s a lot of bashing of men and I think we must correct this. There are a lot of good men, and good fathers in society today, but women should equally take responsibility for what is going on.
I mean, if you look at the statistics last year of 91 000 children giving birth to children, and yet we've never heard of any consequences for any of those that may have made these children pregnant, nothing, not one single instance. So what we are asking is, can we focus on the problem and try and find solutions?
Another thing that we're not attending to is the economic dependence women have on men, which results in women having to remain in this very difficult environment or this relationship, as a result of their dependence, and how are we going to deal with that.
The issue of maintenance. These are just some of the things I don't want to dwell on, other than I think, the space and the
time that was given to achieve these targets was not enough, but I think we need to look at this more comprehensively with a holistic approach as how we can get people to understand that we respect each other, irrespective of their gender and men must take responsibility for their children. We need to bring in legislation that makes it compulsory for every father to be in the life of his child at least until that child has matured. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Ms F A MASIKO: Hon Chairperson, it's Hon Masiko.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): You are welcome, Hon Masiko.
Ms F A MASIKO: I request to take it on behalf of Hon Phiri, she is experiencing some network problems.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Okay, you are welcome.
Ms F A MASIKO: Hon House Chair, Hon members in the House and on the platform, the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities received a briefing from the Commission for Gender Equality, CGE, on the government's
Response Action Plan for Gender-Based Violence on 23 February 2022. The CGE’s work is founded in Section 181 of the Constitution, and it operates as one of the Chapter 9 institutions, independent bodies designed to strengthen democracy.
Consequently, the CGE is obligated to provide an annual report to the National Assembly outlining its progress in achieving its strategic objectives. Section 187 of the Constitution mandates the commission to promote respect for gender equality, protect and nurture its attainment and oversee, educate, lobby, advise and report on gender equality-related matters.
The CGE presented its findings from a study assessing the progress in implementing the Emergency Response Action Plan, Erap, interventions and targets, stating that out of 80 outlined Erap targets, 17 were successfully achieved, 12 were partially accomplished, and 51 were not met. The CGE noted that while Erap was a timely response to an urgent national crisis, its implementation faced significant on-the-ground obstacles.
These issues included a lack of effective co-ordination, inadequate oversight and accountability, and a deficiency in ongoing programme monitoring and evaluation mechanisms leading to the non-achievement of many targets and interventions.
Additionally, the CGE highlighted the crucial role of the interim steering committee in co-ordinating Erap but identified operational issues that hindered its effectiveness. These issues encompassed role ambiguity, poor accountability and limited capacity. Many departments involved in Erap implementation lacked effective operational co-ordination and collaboration across thematic areas. The committee expressed concerns about the insufficient time allocation for Erap implementation, which had an impact on the outcomes.
Consequently, it extended its support to the CGE to ensure that recommendations are implemented. The CGE further recommended that priority along with the necessary resources be given to establishing the national, multisectoral stakeholder body on gender-based violence and femicide. It further proposed initiating the necessary legislative processes to confer legal standing and regular funding to such a multistakeholder national co-ordinating body on gender-based violence.
The Commission for Gender Equality, as a critical stakeholder, should engage with the Ministry of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and other relevant entities regarding the planning processes and timeframes for establishing the national multistakeholder co-ordination board of gender-based violence. The CGE should further also ... In conclusion, the ANC supports this report as a step closer to making South Africa a safer country for women. Thank you, Hon Chairperson.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE AUDITOR- GENERAL ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO AUDITOR-GENERAL OF SOUTH AFRICA IN PRETORIA
Mr S S SOMYO: Hon Chairperson and members in the House, a good morning. On 21 September 2022, the committee embarked on a visit on oversight of the Office of the Auditor-General of South Africa. This was driven by the fact that the country would have experienced an overwhelming acceptance on the appreciation of the work of the Auditor-General in ensuring that all those who perform administrative functions remain accountable at all times. That was so visible... [Inaudible.] 14:03/ 14:59 and very tough period when the country was
baffled by the audit at the time of the COVID-19 in terms of their own experience. It is great indeed to ensure that, that office remains independent and remains in all its own work to ensure without fear that all those who receive funding through fiscal would diligently deal with its own administration, its own expenditure in ensuring that people would rely on them for service delivery.
The Office of the Auditor-General is central in deepening democracy and accountability. We are so happy and thrilled that they have observed at all times high performance standards in the value systems which are acceptable to ensure that the Constitution of the country is followed at all times when they perform their own duties. What we went through at the time was a story which relates to ensuring the depths of automation in terms of performing their own work. The story of ensuring proper financing for them to succeed to get into each and every level of administration for their own audits. The story which relates to deeper performance as it is the measure which everyone in the populace in terms of taste and site to ensure that the state delivers and the value of money is somewhat experienced. This report will be taken as read by members and therefore we table it for consideration by the House today. Thank you very much Chair.
Mrs C PHILLIPS: Chair, please allow me to start by relating the story of an imaginary airplane filled with 257 passengers piloted by an inexperienced pilot. While attempting to take off, the pilot crashes the airplane and 38 passengers who were wearing their seat belts and generally obeying the rules were unharmed. The rest of the passengers suffered catastrophic injuries. Miraculously, the pilot was unharmed and the passengers were taken to a hospital with the best possible facilities and after being X-rayed and scanned by world-class machines and operators, recommendations were made for the medical treatment to save the lives of the passengers.
The pilot was, however, the person who decided what actions would be taken and because he was worried about his piloting skills being found wanting, he chose not to implement the recommendations of the radiologists. Imagine instead of getting the correct treatment for the passengers, he chose just to tell people what he will do to save their lives and end their suffering, while in fact he does nothing and one by one the passengers succumb to their injuries and die. To make matters worse, not only does he choose not to implement the recommendations to save lives, he also chooses not to settle the radiology department’s bill.
If this was a real life scenario, we would all be saying this is absolute madness. We would be outraged. The suffering and dying would be horrendous. In addition to the suffering and dying, the radiology department would not be able to remain a world class facility if up to 61% of its patients chose not to pay. There would be no money for capital or operating expenditure and the facility would find it difficult to remain in a state-of-the-art facility. Unfortunately, this is, in fact, an analogy of a real life South African scenario that plays itself out in our country every single year.
Our municipalities and state-owned enterprise, SOEs are audited by the Auditor-General and recommendations are made on what needs to be done to keep our municipalities viable and healthy. Unfortunately, much like the decision by the pilot, many municipalities and SOEs pay lip service to what they are going to do, to address the recommendations of the Auditor- General. But in reality, the people served by municipalities and SOEs suffer while the services slowly die.
Where is the outrage? Is there none, because the pilots of our country would rather protect their reputations and that of fellow deployees than save our municipalities and SOEs? Chair, we have an excellent Chapter 9 institution in the Auditor-
General’s Office. We need to ensure that more than lip service is paid to carrying out the recommendations in the audit reports. The Public Audit Act of No 25 of 2004 that came into effect in 2019 must be used to ensure that individuals who are responsible for fruitless and wasteful expenditure are held responsible for that money. Material irregularities of
R11,9 billion due to the lack of basic disciplines and processes mentioned in the report is totally unacceptable and action must be taken to address this.
The real time auditing announced by the President to keep track of the spending of funds made available during COVID-19 gave many South Africans hope. Unfortunately, it was false hope as most of the information only reached the Auditor- General’s office after the money had been spent. In many cases it was the press and not the Auditor-General’s office, who uncovered much of the fraud, theft and wasteful and fruitless expenditure. Implementation of real time audits must be refined and officials instructed to provide accurate information to the Auditor-General’s office within a workable timeframes to ensure that fruitless and wasteful expenditure and material irregularities can be prevented.
We need to close the door on these practices before they can take place. The debt of municipalities and SOEs to the Auditor-General’s office of more almost a billion rand will ultimately affect the ability of the office to carry out its duties. This would definitely be to the detriment of our people and it must be addressed urgently. It is also worrying to note that in addition to the municipalities being able to build close relationships with staff in the Auditor-General’s office because the staff are not rotated regularly. There are some SOEs who are not audited by the Auditor-General’s office and who simply keep changing audit firms until they find the one that is easily influenced and pliable and the outcomes suit them. The committee’s recommendations to address these
issues must be implemented without delay. The DA supports this report. Thank you, Chair.
Mr N SINGH: Hon House Chairperson, please allow me to keep my camera off. Thank you very much for the opportunity. Hon House Chairperson and colleagues, this discussion today is not merely about a report of a visit to the Office of the Auditor- General, but it speaks to us as Members of Parliament, appreciating and understanding the environment under which all our public servants and in this case, Chapter 9 institutions, must operate. And I think it will be a very useful exercise if
all our portfolio committees take the time to visit the departmental offices and Chapter 9 institutions offices to check the kind of environment they operate in because the kind of environment they operate in is a clear indication of the output that they produce for South Africans. So, in this regard, I must say, as a member of this committee, that me and my colleagues were extremely impressed by the way the current Auditor-General and her team operate. There was collegiality and cordiality, and I think this reflects the manifestation of the kind of work that they produce. Having said that, I think we should all be proud, not only as Parliament, but as South Africans, of the exceptional work that different Auditors- General have been doing for us as a country. I must say it is improving year by year, where we recently noted that under the current Auditor-General there were special audits that were conducted during the floods and during COVID-19. We need this to happen more often. We need hon Members of Parliament to ensure that Treasury allocates more funds to the Office of the Auditor-General to employ more staff and carry out these special functions. As the hon members have said before me, many municipalities are not paying their dues to the Office of the Auditor-General and the amounts that they owe run into billions. Now, this impacts on the work that the Office of the Auditor-General must produce. So, in saying that, on behalf of
the IFP, I want to congratulate the Office of the Auditor- General for the excellent work that they are doing for South Africa in terms of ensuring that directors-general and others hold themselves accountable in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA.
Lastly, I think consequence management is something that we must look at very seriously because we have seen very few people in orange overalls who should be there because they have been found guilty of contravening sections of the Public Finance Management Act. We will support this report. Thank you, hon Chairperson.
Ms Z A KOTA-MPEKO: House Chairperson, hon members, the ANC and the committee supports the adoption of the report on the oversight visit to the Auditor-General South Africa in Pretoria. The ANC is of the view that supporting this report contributes to the principles of good governance. The report shows sound financial practices, adherence to budgetary constraints, and effective management of public resources. We hope this will further promote public trust in government institutions. The report indicates various observations and recommendations. The Auditor-General gave the committee delegation a briefing on three legal challenges the
institution sought to resolve through the courts and other channels before the visits, specifically the Western Cape department of agriculture versus ACSA and the Road Accident Fund versus ACSA. We welcome a note that the ACSA has requested for assistance in several areas and will develop a programme to investigate the options as part of its own strategic planning. These include involving appropriate parties to prioritize the outstanding debts owed by local government and state-owned enterprises.
In order to establish the short-term and long-term solutions, the committee will continue the discussions on the funding model of the Auditor-General as part of its own oversight duties. This includes speaking with sister committees at the National Assembly and National Treasury. The Auditor-General assesses the efficiency and effectiveness of government programmes and services through various audits, including performance audits. This evaluation has led to recommendations for improvements. We hope that the recommendations are all met as these are important goals that should be achieved, which can help build and maintain public confidence in government’s ability to manage public funds in their interests.
When citizens have confidence in the capability of govern to effectively manage public funds, they are more likely to support government initiatives and pay their taxes. Thank you, House Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you very much, hon member. Hon members, that concludes the debate and the business of this virtual mini plenary session. The mini plenary will now rise.
The mini plenary rose at 11:29.