Hansard: NA: Mini-Plenary 1

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 07 Mar 2024


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Watch video here: NA: Mini-Plenary 1

Members of the mini plenary session met on the virtual platform at 14:02.

The Acting Speaker, Mr C T Frolick, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer and meditation.


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Good afternoon, hon members, and let me use this opportunity to welcome all you who have logged into this virtual mini plenary session. Hon members, before we proceed, I would like to remind you that the virtual mini plenary is deemed to be on the precinct of Parliament, and thus constitutes the 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 will 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 will be ruled upon. All members who have logged in shall be considered to be present, they are requested to mute their microphones and only unmute when re ... [Interjections.] ... Hon Maseko-Jele, can you just switch off your mic, please.

When recognised to speak, please unmute your microphone, and where connectivity permits, connect your video. Members may make use of the icons on the on the bar at the bottom of their screens, which has an option that allows a member to put up his or her hand to raise a point of order. The secretariat will assist me in this regard, and when using the virtual system, members are urged to refrain or desist from unnecessary point of orders or interjections.

Lastly, I wish to remind you that we are meeting in a mini plenary session, and therefore, decisions will be taken in a full plenary session of the Assembly if needed. The first order of the day is, the Consideration of the Report of Portfolio Committee on Police on the oversight visit to Gauteng and Limpopo provinces from 1 to 4 December 2023. I now recognise the hon Seabi.


Mr A M SEABI: Thank you, Chair, can you hear me?

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, you are audible. You may proceed.

Mr A M SEABI: Let me greet all on the platform, hon Members of Parliament, Ministers and Deputy Ministers on the platform, all protocol observed. Chairperson, in December last year, the Portfolio Committee on Police undertook an oversight visit to Gauteng and Limpopo provinces. The aim of the visit was threefold. First, the committee assesses the readiness of the SA Police Service, SAPS, to execute the high density crime prevention operations to ensure a safer festive season.
Second, the committee assessed the capacitation of Community Police Forums, CPF, and third, the committee assessed the status of three capital works projects across the Limpopo province.
The slow pace at which police stations are being built and the general poor state of several buildings and offices have been raised as a significant concern of the Portfolio Committee on police throughout the 6th Parliament. The debate on this report comes at a time when the police head office in Pretoria had to be evacuated after an inspection by the Department of Labour which found it to be unfit for human occupation. Hon Acting Speaker, we were generally concerned with the long lead time associated with the construction of several police stations in the Limpopo province. While we were pleased with the overall standard of construction work done at the Muyexe Police Station, we expressed our concern that the station has been under construction for almost a decade.

During the construction, the building fell into disrepair due to the contractor absconding from the site. It is very unfortunate that a newly built police station had to undergo significant renovations even though it has never been occupied. Despite these challenges, the station will be finalised, and it will bring much needed police services to the Muyexe community. We call on the national commissioner to ensure that the police station is adequately resourced to fulfil its mandate. The committee reiterated the fact that communities must take ownership for services provided by
government, and that they should protect buildings from being vandalised.

This is our call to all communities to please protect valuable infrastructure from those thugs that want to destroy the progress that we have made as a nation. Since Muyexe was declared a presidential project in 2009 under the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, CRDP, much progress has been made in the area, and the community’s lives were uplifted. Our committee always gives credit where it is due.
The technical expertise shown by the officials and engineers from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure at the Bolobedu Police Station was truly impressive. We applauded ... [Interjections.]

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, your time has now expired. Thank you very much.

Mr A M SEABI: Thank you, Acting Speaker. [Time expired.]


Mr B C GOLDING: Acting Speaker, I’ve lost the video. If you don’t mind, I’ll just be doing audio. From 1 to 4 December, the members of the portfolio committee undertook this oversight visit. There were two parts to it, firstly, it was a
meeting with all the relevant portfolio committees from all nine provinces. The aim was to look at the festive season plans, look at the updates on the infrastructure and the capital projects, on the conditions of building works over the use of their leases and the functioning of the Community policing Forums, CPFs. The key takeaway from this was that we’ve got substations with varying levels of disrepair.
There’s a fair use of park homes which are technically temporary structures, often used for a satellite stations.

Whilst SAPS is trying, we end up with temporary structures that ends up being permanent. There is also an issue of water that they are faced with. Large amounts of water tanks which are installed, or holes built, and water transported, it does appear that there’s water issue within SAPS generally and out there broadly. Load shedding causes issues with power backups and diesel needed impacting on comms lighting and base functioning. All the CPFs are looking well, but we’re trying to ascertain how they are measured, how they are trained and what support they are in need of? We executed three oversight visits as the Chairs indicated. I’d like to thank him for his valuable insights which he shared on his home visit or the visit to his home province.
In Muyexe, which is bordering on the Kruger Park, we inspected a station which was started in 2014. The contractor failed.
This is a project which is estimated at R25,57 million, and ultimately, it devolved from Public Works to SAPS to get it done. That’s the first flag. It is currently due to be opened on the 1 April and I’m looking forward to that, and I hope it’s not an April fool’s project. The issues that we dealt with there was that there are 35 members allocated, but the problem is that it’s a satellite station and housing and travel can represent problems. There is a need for vehicles in those rural areas, four-by-four vehicles are definitely needed, and we hope that that those will be sorted out for that precinct. On the plus side, a local CPF is working very well, and I look forward to that opening ceremony.

We then moved on to Bolobedu station, which is a very high tech site, and it appeared to be something that we won’t be doing in the future because it was very costly. Currently, they are looking at standardising models around this, so we don’t have these costly stations. It has not yet been handed over. There are also issues around fire control and access. We are waiting for Public Works for the handover, which was indicated on the second week of January, but we’re still waiting patiently. There are issues yet again with offered
vehicles which are needed in that space for that station. We have lost the barracks, the county offices and the personnel will now need to find alternate places.

However, that wasn’t the big one. The big one was Mankweng station which we visited, and which was an expansion, and not a new built station. The aim was to build a five star station. It was planned in 2007, started in 2014 at a contract price of R55 million. There was a contract of failure in 2022, so, the contract was cancelled. To our understanding, this contract was blacklisted, and we suspected that there was fraud. This is still not done, and it’s now 2024. The Public Works hopes to appoint a new contractor in April of this year, bearing in mind that the construction started in 2014 and the planning in 2007. So, that’s 10 years of built and it is 17 years later.
It is estimated that the final build cost is R61 million plus R10 million worth of its consulting fees. That’s a lot of money. The Construction Safety Equipment, CSE, stands at 80%.

They say the cell blocks are 88%, but there’s no kitchen, it has been knocked down for the generator room. The living quarters are built but not occupied and will be umbilic soon. The workmanship and the quality of the finishing was not great. I charge you that Public Works is failing yet again,
and we may need to devolve this project to the SAPS. One of the consequences of this is that the cell block is not functional, so, the prisoners are transported all the way to Polokwane. This is not tenable. So, what this points to is, that there is a problem with Public Works. They seem to be taking a helicopter view of things, but what they need to do is to get in the trench and get their hands dirty. The capital projects without the proper project management and no proper oversight, and the supply chain is ... [Interjections.] Thank you. [Time expired.]

Mnr V GERICKE: Voorsitter, ek het probleme met my video. Kan ek ... [Tussenwerpsels.] ... Ek bevestig dat ons saam met die Portefeulje Komitee oor Polisie van 1 Desember tot 4 Desember 2023 op hierdie oorsigbesoek was. Daar is digbevolkte areas, en baie van die areas het natuurlik die dienste van die polisie nodig. Die probleem waarmee ons hier sit is dat baie van die polisiestasies baie ver uitmekaar geleë is. Alhoewel van hulle binne in die gemeenskap is, moet die gemeenskap ver ry, om by die stasis uit te kom. In baie gevalle moet die mense een of twee taxis vat, om weliswaar by die stasie uit te kom.
Die huur van geboue in daai hele provinsie betrekkende die polisie is ’n groot bron van kommer. Halfgeboude polisiestasies is eweneens ’n groot bron van kommer. By die een stasie het die kontrakteur die gebou half gebou en goedsmoeds net aanbeweeg, en by dieselfde Departement van Openbare Werke aan die ander kant van die pad werk gekry, en goedsmoeds net aangegaan met daaardie gebou.

Ons het groot kommer in die sin dat die stelsel by Openbare Werke nie voorsiening maak om kontrakteurs te rooivlag, wat nie kwaliteitwerk lewer nie, maar ook wat halfklaarwerk lewer en eenvoudig net die staat se geld eet en aanbeweeg na die volgende projek, om ook die volgende projek te laat misluk.

By een geleentheid het ons gehoor dat die polisie 70 km ver moet ry, om aangehoudenes te vervoer, en in die middel van die
70 km, 30 of 35 km later, word hulle gebel oor ’n dringende geval wat opgeduik het. Hulle moet dan terugdraai met die aangehoudenes, om aandag aan daardie geval te gaan skenk, want daar is nie voertuie beskikbaar nie.

Die EFF het het ’n ernstige probleem met die Departement van Openbare Werke, die kwaliteit van werk wat afgeteken word, halfklaar geboue, en soveel so dat die polisie gebrek het aan
infrastruktuur om wel hulle mense te huisves. By een plek waar ons gekom het was daar kantore wat nie beman kon word nie, as gevolg van die feit dat daar nog nie sertifikate of compliance [nakoming] afgeteken is nie.

Die rekenaars is geinstalleer, die infrastruktuur is daar, maar daar is ’n sleep van voete om dan die mense weliswaar in die geboue te kry.

So, dit is ’n groot bron van kommer. Ons het ’n ernstige probleem met Openbare Werke. Ons vermoed daar is grootskaalse korrupsie. Ons het die opinie uitgespreek. Ons vermoed daar is grootskaalse bedrog, en dit is ’n issue [kwessie] wat ernstige, ernstige aandag moet geniet.

Ons moet ook kyk na die vervanging van daardie amptenare in daardie area. Ons moet ook ondersoek instel, as daar nie ’n solution [oplossing] op die een of ander manier is tussen kontrakteurs en amptenare nie.

Laastens wil ek net sê, ons het die indruk gekry dat ons sit met ’n polisiemag waat wil werk, van die provinsiale owerhede af reg tot op die grond. Dis mense wat wil werk. Dis mense wat iets wil doen en misdaad wil bekamp, maar as gevolg van die
gebrek aan tools of trade [handelsgereedskap], soos byvoorbeeld vangwaens; onklaar geboue; en die gebrek aan elektoniese toerusting kan hulle nie hul werk effektief doen nie, en daarom spreek ons ons teleurstelling uit.

Ultimately [uiteindelik] gaan dit daaroor dat die pubiek dienste moet kry, nie dat ons as politici of as leiers tevrede stel moet word nie. Volgens die Grondwet moet die algemene publiek dienste kry en hulle grondwetlike regte moet gerepekteer word. Ons vra dus op die pad vorentoe dat daar dringende ondersoeke gedoen word end at mense verantwoordelik gehou sal word. Dankie.

Ms Z MAJOZI: House hon Chairperson, South Africans deserve peace, safety and crime-free neighbourhoods and working environment. But it is a well-established fact that our police services are being severely hindered in their work due to poor and dilated police infrastructure and the slow pace of building and maintaining police stations particularly during the Sixth Parliament. This is unacceptable. The construction projects take a long time resulting in increased building and maintenance costs. This situation cannot continue. The crime rate is spirally out of control and our brave policemen and
policewomen should not be facing the additional challenges of a poor working environment.

It is alarming that basic police station requirements such as pens, glue, toner cartridges and printers are lacking.
Analogue communication systems are still in use. Digital communication migration is yet to be achieved in all provinces. Police officers are have to use social media platforms like WhatsApp to communicate with each other because communication systems are down. This is unacceptable and immediate actions is required to address these issues.

Inadequate supply of bullet proof vests, insufficient ammunition supply for firearm training and poor training facilities lower police morale and hinder the police from carry out their mandate. This leaves communities vulnerable to crime. While community police forums are ideally placed to provide additional support without costs of salaries, they are hindered by the logistical support as there is insufficient support available from police in terms of manpower and vehicles to assist the community police forums, CPFs, with their duties. This is unacceptable and immediate actions is required to address these issues.
Police reserves are a cost-effective SA Police Service, SAPS, human resource at our police stations but the resource had been wiped out through incompetence and the above poor SAPS working environment.

In conclusion, our police services, include CPFs and reserves, cannot function without basic policing requirements such as well constructed and timeously delivered new police stations, maintenance and upkeeping of existing facilities and vehicles. The government must prioritise police infrastructure development for the safety and security of the citizens. This oversight trip highlights the issues faced in Gauteng and Limpopo and, in fact, in every province of South Africa.
Immediate action is required to ensure that our SAPS and the supporting CPFs and reserves have proper and well-functioning working environment. The IFP supports the report, and we demand that the government takes immediate actions to address these issues. Thank you, Chair.

Ms G P MAREKWA: Chairperson, good afternoon to yourselves. Let me unmute my video. If you allow I would request that I switch off the video because of the connectivity issues.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, you may switch off your video.

Ms G P MAREKWA: The ANC supports the report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on its oversight visits to the provinces of Limpopo and Gauteng. These oversight visits were about assessing the state of readiness of the two provinces to deal with the crime during the festive season as we know that the visit was during that time as we were approaching the festive season.

The safety of the citizens of this country is one of the priorities of the government led by the ANC. We know very well that our people should enjoy their freedom in a safe and secure environment, and that economic activities can only prosper in an environment of peace. It is in tis context that we as the committee had to undertake an oversight visit to focus on the challenges of infrastructure that are faced by some of the police stations in our country. We received during that visit some presentations from police commissioners from the provinces on how they deal with crime in general, but also on the level of the infrastructure projects as well their working relations with the community police forums, CPFs.
We are concerned about the delay in the completion of the construction projects of the police stations of Mankweng and Muyexe. These are some of the stations that we visited during that time, hence we support the recommendation that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure must ensure that the completion of construction projects remain on schedule and be completed within the set timeframes, and also that the SAPS should finalised standardised plans for the construction of police stations to minimise time delays in the planning and design phases of constructions.

With regard to the Bolobedu Police Station, we reiterate our satisfaction with the progress made on the construction of the police station together with the high levels of technology and engineering installations at the station. We commend the officials who were there from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure who displayed a high level of professionalism and knowledge when they engage with the committee during site inspections. We know the challenge as raised by the station commander that the station has a challenge with a high number of cases that are reported on gender-based violence and femicide perpetrated against women as property related crimes in the area. This is a matter that requires a collective effort as communities and the civil
society working with the police to address the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide. We cannot live in society where women and children are experiencing violence on daily bases and mostly from the men within their areas where they are staying.

We appreciate and commend the CPFs for conducting patrols during the month and periods in the Bolobedu area to protect the elderly persons who are being robbed of their money by young men using “nyaope” [type of drug] in the area.

With regard to the Mankweng area, the committee was informed that Mankweng area has about 291 taverns which is an area that services a population estimated at 219 550 people living in the area. Imagine having 291 taverns around you. A concern for the police which was reported to the committee is that the growth in the number of taverns pose a challenge on the fight against crime. The increase in the number of rape cases reported in the area is also a concern and the police are doing all in their powers to deal with the reported cases.

We support the recommendations made ... [Time expired.] ...
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, your time has expired.

Ms G P MAREKWA: ... on the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, and that SAPS should make sure that there are available CPFs’ support activities including suitable transport.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, your time has expired.

Ms G P MAREKWA: We support, Chairperson. Thank you.



Mr V C XABA: My apologies, Chairperson. Thank you very much for the opportunity and I wish to greet all colleagues, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and our Chief Whip, I am reporting on the visit of the portfolio committee to the SA Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatla. On 28 October 2023, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans undertook an oversight visit to the SA Army Combat Training
Centre as part of the committee’s parliamentary oversight programme, and the visit was prompted by a tragic incident that claimed the lives of ... [Inaudible.]

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Xaba, it seems to me that there is a problem with your connectivity, and I request the table to inform the member that there is a difficulty with the connectivity. I will then proceed to the next speaker, who is the hon Marais who is on the platform, and then we will bring back the hon Xaba as soon as he is reconnected.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you, Chairperson, the ... [Inaudible.]


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais, you may proceed.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Yes, can you hear me, Chairperson?


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, you are audible. Please proceed.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Okay, the primary aim of the oversight visit on 28 October, last year, was for the committee ... [Inaudible.]
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, it seems as if we have a similar problem with the hon Marais’ connectivity as well.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Chairperson, if I switch off the video will that be more audible?

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Well, if you switch off the video, then we can hear if it will be a better connection, hon member. Please proceed.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Yes, okay, can I proceed?


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, please switch off your video.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Okay. As I have said, the primary aim of the oversight visit on ... [Inaudible.]

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, it seems as if there is a problem with your connectivity even though the video has been stopped. I am going to revert back to the hon Xaba who is back on the platform. Hon Xaba, can you make another attempt, please to continue with your intervention?
Mr V C XABA: Thank you very much, hon Chair, the fire that led to the loss occurred during a time of peace, presenting a sobering challenge for the SA National Defence Force, SANDF, and highlighting the urgency of the committee’s role in scrutinising and addressing the circumstances surrounding the event. We were assured that the SANDF took all steps to ensure that those who were injured received emergency care. This report that I present today, encapsulates the committee’s findings, observations, and recommendations arising from this critical oversight function. I hereby submit, Chair. Thank you.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais, are you back online?

Mr S J F MARAIS: Chairperson, can you hear me now?


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, please proceed sir.


Mr S J F MARAIS: Can I try? Thank you very much, Chairperson. As I have said, the primary aim of the oversight visit on 28 October ... [Inaudible.]
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais, it seems to me that we have the same problem, even though your video feed is switched off. I want to proceed. We will come back to you again. I will request the member of the EFF if he wants to make an intervention.

Mr W T I MAFANYA: Chairperson, let me first greet the commander-in-chief, president Julius Malema on his birthday month from his house, and Members of Parliament. Chairperson, I also wish to send our gratitude to the men and women who protect and defend our country under these difficult times.

The weather conditions in Lohatla, Northern Cape are prone to veld fires. The visit to Lohatla Military Combat Training Centre carries mixed emotions. The raging veld fire destroyed military vehicles and tents, and six members of the SANDF perished. Some casualties remain in hospitals. There have been regular veld fires in and around Lohatla in previous months.
The Lohatla veld fires started from the nearby mine and the inquiry has not been presented to the committee to ascertain the cause of ... [Inaudible.] There haven’t been enough firefighters and extinguishers to quell the inferno.
The SA National Defence Force’s brave firefighters were not anticipating the fire nor ready for such emergencies, which begs the question: To what level is our army ready to face any war situation coming in different forms? The EFF remains resolute that our army repairs young, dedicated, and rejuvenated soldiers. The Lohatla Military Combat Training Centre is the nucleus of our army, where no amount of threats, mistakes, or lack of military materials can be tolerated. The veld fires that took place, the damage they caused and the trauma our soldiers went through have exposed our Lohatla Military Combat Centre’s shortfalls. There is a shortage of military tents in Lohatla to the extent that soldiers purchased their tents to mitigate their harsh living conditions. There are colourful tents inside Lohatla, which may be mistaken for a picnic. There is a notion that soldiers are made to take any crap that comes their way because they are soldiers.

The EFF sends condolences to the families of all their deceased and hopes all the injured have recovered. The EFF does not support the report. Thank you, Chair.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais, can we try again?
Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you very much, Chair. I hope I am audible now.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): You are audible. Please, proceed. Hon Marais, it seems to me that you have a persistent problem with your audio feed ...

Mr S J F MARAIS: My sincere apologies. Still bad. Chairperson, can you hear me?

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, I can hear you, sir. I think the area that you are in there is probably a problem with the connection or the signal, and that makes it difficult for you to be able to continue once you have started.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais ... hon members, we will proceed. I now recognize the hon Cebekhulu from the IFP. Hon Cebekhulu?

Ms P A PHETLHE: Good afternoon, Chairperson of the session, it is hon Phetlhe on behalf of hon Mmutle.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon member, please proceed.

Ms P A PHETLHE: Greetings to all the hon Members of Parliament, the ANC stands resolute in support of the report presented by the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans. The incident at the SA Army Combat Training Centre, resulting in the tragic loss of the SANDF members is a solemn reminder of the risk inherent in the service of our Defence Forces.

The ANC acknowledges the committee’s commitment to understand the root causes of the incident, expressing condolences, and devising prevention measures to avert future calamities. The observation outlined in the report underscored pressing issues, including the inadequacy of current firefighting capabilities, challenges posed by extreme weather conditions, and the vastness of the training area. The ANC aligns with the committee’s call for urgent measures to enhance the safety of soldiers, including strengthening the firefighting unit, and exploring technological resolutions for comprehensive monitoring.
In conclusion, the ANC applauds the diligence of the committee in conducting this oversight visit, and pledges its unwavering support for the comprehensive and forward-looking recommendations outlined in the report. The ANC stands united in its determination to learn from past tragedies, to fight the resilience of the SA National Defence Force, and safeguard the lives of those who served in these ranks. Thank you, Chairperson.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais ... [Interjections.]

Mr K P SITHOLE: Hon Chair!


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, hon Sithole.


Mr K P SITHOLE: Sorry, hon Chair, I am trying to get hold of Inkosi Cebekhulu, but there is a connectivity challenge. Can I read on his behalf?

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, you are more than welcome to do so. May I also request other political parties, if your member is supposed to speak and there’s a connection difficulty or you can’t get hold of your member, then you may
proceed on behalf of that member with the declaration or the input that you want to make on the report. So, hon Sithole, please proceed.

Mr K P SITHOLE: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson, the SA National Defence Force Combat Training Centre at Lohatla, in the Northern Cape is one of the few military institution we have worldwide that provide exclusive and permanent facilities for landward warfare training. Founded in 1978, it has been providing conventional and integrated training on divisional level. However, the tragic incident that resulted in the loss of six soldiers due a fire that started on the land adjacent to the SA Military Army Combat Training Centre could have been avoided as the military brigade school has training facilities. It is expected that there should be a fully equipped fire brigade unit on standby, with the necessary human personnel and other necessities to deal with the fire of any magnitude should it break out. The brigade school is located in an area of extremely hot and dry weather and gusty winds, which has also been the case. Therefore, this reason should not be the mitigating factors for SANDF. Six lives were lost and many more were injured, which is unacceptable.
We urge the SANDF to take all necessary steps to prevent such tragedies from happening again. The use of advanced technology such as drones and satellite images should be considered along with revisiting standard operating procedures and to ... [Inaudible.] The IFP do support the report for the department. Thank you very much, hon Chair.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, before I move on from this item, I want to ask if there is a member of the DA who is prepared to make the input on behalf of the hon Marais?

Mr S J F MARAIS: Chairperson, I may be now audible.


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, you are audible. You may proceed.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you very much, Chair. As I have said, the primary aim of the oversight visit was ... [Inaudible.]

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais, unfortunately, the problem is persisting and it doesn’t seem as if there is another member of the DA on the platform.
Mr S J F MARAIS: My sincere apologies.


The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Now, I think for the next debate that is coming up, maybe you can try to get hold of the other member or members serving on the committee with you from the DA to try to make the input on behalf of the party, but wherever you are there is a connection problem that is taking place and we can’t delay proceedings any longer.


Mr V C XABA: Hon Chairperson, hon members, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans conducted an oversight visit to the Dockyard in Simonstown an entity of Armaments Corporation of SA SOC Limited, Armscor, on 13 September 2023. The primary aim of the oversight visit was for the committee to acquaint itself with the conditions and challenges experienced at this facility especially in view of the reported rejuvenation of the facility. The committee also received an update on progress with regards to key projects of the Department of Defence undertaken by Amscor namely: Project Hoefyster and the SA
Airforce Support Contract and the progress related to the use of funds allocated for the medium airlift capability in 2023- 24.

The Dockyard is heavily underutilised. The committee welcomes strategies to turn that around. The committee sees a potential of this entity playing a catalytic role in industrialisation and crowding in investments.

The building and key infrastructures there are aging and require urgent attention.

With regard to the SA Air Force fleet maintenance and repair contracts the committee expressed concern at the level of serviceability at our SA Air Force fleet, capacity and liquidity challenges at Denel were major inhibiting factors. Denel is an entity under the Department of Public Enterprises and is key to sustaining the Defence industry guaranteeing the provisioning of maintenance or upgrade of various platforms and system of the Defence Force.

The committee did not find it surprising that Armscor contracted marshals, aerospace in the United Kingdom for major
serving and obsolesce replacement of the first C-130 aircraft at a cost of R470 million.

With regard to Project Hoefyster was dubbed cutting edge technology and a biggest investment in the capability of the army. The project is more than 10 years behind. The committee called on the executive authority of both departments to intervene.

We are pleased to note that there is some progress in the talks between the Defence Force, Armscor and Denel on the way forward. The findings and recommendations contained there in are tables for consideration and adoption by this House. I thank you, Chairperson.

Mr S J F MARAIS: Hon Chairperson, the main purpose of our oversight

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais it is a recuring problem. We only hear the first few words of your input and there after you are cut out.

May I ask you as I have said previously.
Mr S J F MARAIS: Yes, I will ask the hon Shelembe, if he is online. He can proceed with that. Thank you.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Shelembe are you online?

The hon Shelembe seems not to be available.

The EFF.


Mr W T I MAFANYA: Hon Chairperson, the American ambassador falsely accused the country of supplying arms to Russia using the docking at Simonstown. The meddling of America in the South African sovereign affairs must be condemned. The investigation ensued and South Africa was exonerated.

The lack of military observance in observing that they were spied on necessitated the Minister to institute and enquiry that became a wasteful expenditure.

The Simonstown Dockyard is one of the country’s treasures that is under utilised and robs the country of creating thousands of jobs. The Amscor Simonstown Dockyard is the envy of most
country’s to service and build naval ships which we as South Africa do not do.

The department continued to allocate budget for the past nine years that did not yield any positive results – nothing significant except addressing the costs of the ... [Inaudible.]

The EFF condemns in its worst terms the wasteful expenditure and the lack of urgency to address the need to capacitate the Amscor Dockyard.

The geographical position of South Africa is a country that is surrounded by the bush. There are foreign ships that are illegal tapping in our ocean economy. Worse, nobody knows what more illegal activities are happening as the country does not posses enough naval ships to patrol our maritime borders.

Lack of visionary leadership is a big cause of this contempt and poor performance in the Simonstown Dockyard.

The world geopolitics demand countries to prepare themselves for the unthinkable. The case in point is the war in Palestine the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, and continued plans by
imperialists to destabilise other countries in the pursuit of looting of mineral resources of weaker countries.

In 2017 already, it was reported that Simonstown was being transferred to Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime. This was in line with the first review. The delays are a clear sign of incompetence and unwillingness challenges experienced and should have been long attended to. Insufficient capacity and manpower capabilities and insufficient funding are amongst challenges that if we had political will, would have long been resolved. The EFF rejects this report. Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr K P SITHOLE: Hon Chairperson, we are living in uncertain times. With international and regional conflicts between the state and nonstate actors, these conflicts are at a level we have not seen since the Second World War. To ensure our Defence readiness and capabilities we demand timely and capable supplier maintenance and delivery of military hardware equipment and ammunition from the supplier Denel through the Defence Acquisition Entry, Amscor.

The IFP has long believed that the President should abolish the Department of Public Enterprises and its various entities assigned to respective line functions departments in the
national executive portfolio. Denel is not different from the less of dismal failure that characterised the Department of Public Enterprises. We urge that it must immediately move to fall under the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.
That project would provide much needed Defence varieties of equipment seems to be too much for Denel. Deadlines are to be extended with no certain end inside. This state of affairs is utterly unacceptable as it cripples the nation’s Defence readiness and leaves the country vulnerable – if Denel cannot deliver. The IFP supports this report. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.

Ms P A PHETLHE: Hon Chairperson, kindly let me not show the video for reasons of not being interrupted.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): It is fine hon member, you may continue. Hon Phetlhe, you may continue.

You are now not audible as well.


Hon Phetlhe, are you there?
May I go back to the DA and ask if there is a member from the DA on the platform who is making the input in this report on behalf of the hon Marais?

Mr W HORN: Hon House Chairperson, unfortunately he was not able to get it to any of us. Thank you.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon member.

The ANC.


The ANC. There seems to be no response as well.


Hon members, that concludes the debate on this matter and the business of this virtual mini-plenary and the mini-plenary will now rise. Thank you very much.

Debate concluded.


The mini-plenary session rose at 14:50.




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