National Council of Provinces - 22 October 2003



The Council met at 11:07.

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


                          NOTICES OF MOTION

Ms E C GOUWS: Thank you, Chairperson. I hereby give notice:

That this House -

(1) notes that the Cabinet is today finally due to discuss the proposed national antiretroviral treatment plan drawn up by an interdepartmental task team;

(2) notes that the operational plan has apparently been expanded to include at least one service point in each of the country’s 56 health districts;

(3) notes that researchers reported this week that the pandemic has already reached its peak in South Africa, which means it is already having its maximum possible effect on the people of this country;

(4) notes that the Government has still not entered into negotiations with pharmaceutical companies or issued compulsory licences for the production of generic antiretrovirals.

Therefore resolves to urge the Cabinet to accept the expanded plan, and calls on the Minister of Health to explain how this expanded plan will be funded; what she is doing to secure cheaper drugs for treating people living with Aids and how she plans to inform ordinary South Africans about the new treatment plan.

I thank you.

Mr K D S DURR: Chairperson, at the next sitting of the House I shall move:

That the House -

(1) notes that due to the catastrophic policies followed by President Mugabe and the Zanu PF government of Zimbabwe, a once prosperous state has been reduced to privation, poverty and starvation;

(2) notes further that millions of Zimbabweans, fleeing from that rogue government for economic and political reasons, are now found all over neighbouring countries in Southern Africa and are scattered all over the world;

(3) calls upon the South African Government to use its influence to end this nightmare, and to work for the earliest possible full and fair, properly adjudicated elections, to return an administration that can start the long, hard task of rebuilding that country. Further, that this be accompanied by the exiting of Mr Robert Mugabe whose government has become an obscenity;

(4) calls upon the Government to stop hiding behind the chimera of quiet diplomacy, which has become understood as tacit acceptance of the excesses of the Zimbabwean government.


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr G A LUCAS: Thank you, hon Deputy Chairperson. I wish to move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) notes that -

   (a)  in a recent report by the  international  media  activist  group
       Reporters without Borders, South Africa is regarded  as  one  of
       the leading countries in terms of media freedom; and

   (b)  the report puts South Africa ahead of  many  European  countries
       including Britain, France, Spain and  Italy  when  it  comes  to
       media freedom; and

(2) believes this achievement is testimony to the commitment of the Government to uphold and promote the protection of all fundamental human rights.

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


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Deputy Chair, I wish to move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) notes with pride the honour bestowed by the United Nations on the former Minister of Housing, Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, for improving the housing conditions of six million poor South Africans;

(2) further notes that she was honoured for -

   (a)  the delivery within a period of eight years during her  term  of
       office of 1,45 million houses worth R20 billion,  in  which  six
       million people were housed;

   (b)  the transfer of  400  000  former  municipal  houses  worth  R32
       billion for ownership by people who had been renting them; and

   (c)  her role in the initiation  and  implementation  of  the  Rental
       Housing and Urban Renewal Programmes as well as her role as  the
       Chairperson of the First  World  Urban  Forum,  a  component  of
       United Nations Habitat; and

(3) expresses the hope that this achievement will spur us on to achieve even greater heights in improving the quality of life of all South Africans.

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


                         (Draft Resolution)

Kgoshi M L MOKOENA: Chair, I move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) notes -

   (a)  with serious concern the high rate of  fake  or  scam  marriages
       that is rife amongst African women, who find themselves  married
       to persons whom they have never met before or in marriages  that
       have been solemnised in their absence;

   (b)  with dismay that some officials  from  the  Department  of  Home
       Affairs are conniving with these syndicates;

   (c)  that these syndicates are aware that many  of  these  women  are
       desperate to get employment; and

   (d)  that it is clear that these syndicates are using these abhorrent
       methods to obtain permanent citizenship or  residency  in  South

(2) resolves that -

   (a)  because these fake or scam marriages have a  devastating  impact
       on our South African women, these activities  should  stop  with
       immediate effect;

   (b)  the Department of Home Affairs should urgently  investigate  all
       the outstanding cases relating to these fake marriages; and

   (c)  the Minister of Home Affairs should act swiftly  and  decisively
       against those officials who have been found to be part  of  this
       scam; and

(3) urges all women to be vigilant at all times and not to part with their identity documents under the pretext from strangers that they will be provided with jobs.

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

                         (Draft Resolution)

Nkk J N VILAKAZI: Sihlalo ohloniphekileyo, ngiphakamisa ngaphandle kwesazizo:

Ukuthi lo mKhandlu -

(1) uzwakalisa ukushaqeka kwawo ngenxa yenhlekelele eyenzeke eMsinga KwaZulu-Natali kuthangi, mhla ka-20 Okthoba 2003, kubantu abebekade bezohola impesheni kanye nalabo abebezidayisela eduze komgwaqo ukuze bazicoshele amasenti okondla imindeni yabo;

(2) umangaliswa yiloli okuthiwa livele laphaphalaza emgwaqweni laqonda ngqo kubantu labafihliza, abadala nabancane;

(3) uyezwa ukuthi kule ngozi -

   (a)  kufe abantu  abayi-15  khona  lapho  kwathi  abanye  bathuthelwa
       esibhedlela belimele kakhulu;
   (b)  abathathu kulabo sebedlulile emhlabeni okwenza isibalo sibe  yi-

(4) uzwakalisa ukuzwelana kwawo nabo bonke abehlelwe yileli fu elimnyama; futhi

(5) unxusa iminyango ethintekayo kule nhlekelele ukuba ilusukumele ngezinyawo lolu daba, ikakhulukazi umNyango wezokuThutha. (Translation of isiZulu draft resolution follows.)

[Mrs J N VILAKAZI: Chairperson, I move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) expresses its shock at the tragic accident which happened in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, the day before yesterday, on 20 October 2003, involving pensioners who were waiting to collect their pension money and some hawkers who were standing at the side of the road to sell their wares and make a living for their families; (2) is shocked by the fact that a lorry veered off the road and headed straight into these people and crushed them, young and old;

(3) has heard that -

   (a)   in  this  accident  15  people  were  killed  and  others  were
       transported to hospital in a serious condition; and

   (b)  three of them later passed away, increasing the  number  of  the
       deceased to 18;

(4) expresses its sincere condolences to the people who have been affected by this misfortune; and

(5) appeals to the departments involved in dealing with this disaster, especially the Department of Transport, to take immediate action on this matter.]

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


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr B J MKHALIPHI: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) welcomes the Government’s intention to procure new vehicles for the South African Police Service to the value of R470 million;

(2) is particularly pleased at the decision that vehicles appropriate to the conditions in remote and rural areas are also to be part of the procurement;

(3) acknowledges that the lack of 4X4 vehicles have made policing services inaccessible to people in those areas; and

(4) believes the procurement of these new vehicles is a further demonstration of the commitment of the Government to comprehensively deal with crime.

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


                         (Draft Resolution)

Ms M P THEMBA: Thank you, Deputy Chair. I move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) notes that the annual International Forum for Child Welfare is currently taking place in Cape Town; (2) acknowledges the fact that the Government continues to express its deep concern about the situation of children in difficult circumstances and has taken urgent and appropriate measures to protect them and improve their living conditions; and

(3) expresses its confidence that this Forum will further support the work the Government has done in fostering respect for the dignity and rights of children.

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


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mnr P A MATTHEE: Voorsitter, ek stel hiermee sonder kennisgewing voor:

Dat die Raad -

(1) met Die Burger van vandag, 22 Oktober 2003, saamstem dat die aanskaffing van die 30 000 nuwe voertuie deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens toon dat die beskerming van al ons mense ook in die praktyk die regering se erns is;

(2) kennis neem dat hierdie stap weer eens die verfoeilike, gevaarlike en bedrieglike wanvoorstellings illustreer van daardie politieke partye wat probeer voorgee dat die veiligheid en sekuriteit van al ons mense nie die regering se erns is nie, om daardeur die natuurlike vrese van ons mense te probeer uitbuit vir eng politieke gewin;

(3) ‘n beroep op alle wetsgehoorsame mense doen om die Regering en die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens te help in die stryd teen misdaad, in plaas daarvan om net op die kantlyn te staan en skree soos sekere politieke partye. (Translation of Afrikaans draft resolution follows.) [Mr P A MATTHEE: Chairperson, I move without notice:

That the Council -

(1) agrees with Die Burger of today, 22 October 2003, that the procurement of the 30 000 new vehicles by the South African Police Service shows that the protection of all our people is taken very seriously by the Government in practice as well;

(2) notes that this step once again illustrates the detestable, dangerous and deceitful misrepresentations by those political parties that are trying to make believe that the safety and security of all our people is not taken seriously by the Government, thereby trying to exploit the natural fears of our people for narrow-minded political gain;

(3) appeals to all law-abiding citizens to assist the Government and the South African Police Service in the struggle against crime, instead of just standing and shouting on the sideline like certain political parties.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Order! Is there any objection to the motion? [Interjections.] Order! In light of the objection, the motion may not be proceeded with. The motion without notice will now become a notice of motion.

Hon members, I would like to draw your attention to a typographical error on the Order Paper. The first Order of the day should read: B 23B and (B 23C), instead of B 23D, as appears on the Order Paper.

                             LIQUOR BILL

            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Chairperson, hon members, the Liquor Bill that is being tabled today has been long in the making and is the product of co-operation between the different tiers of government. There is general agreement that we need a new regulatory dispensation for the liquor industry.

When this reform was first attempted the arrangement of powers and responsibilities between the three spheres of government was tested. The wait has been long and the consultations with the provinces, various components of the industry and social groups have been intense and sometimes circuitous. However, the final product is a better piece of legislation for all.

As you will recall, a Liquor Bill was previously introduced into and passed by Parliament in 1998. That Bill introduced the concept of registration of manufacturers, micromanufacturers, distributors and retailers - in common parlance, the three-tier system. This meant that the Bill also impacted on powers of provinces and local government. It raised issues of concurrent and exclusive powers and the matter of co-operative governance. To obtain clarity the Bill was referred by the President to the Constitutional Court before its promulgation. The Constitutional Court judgment necessitated a review of certain aspects of the Bill, in particular the respective jurisdictions of national and provincial government.

After the Constitutional Court judgment was handed down, a process of redrafting the Liquor Bill was initiated which culminated in the introduction of a new Liquor Bill in Parliament in May 2003. During the process of redrafting the Bill there was extensive consultation with our provincial counterparts. This co-operative approach will extend beyond the drafting and passage of this Bill to its implementation and the passage of provincial liquor legislation. The real challenge ahead relates to the implementation of the new system of liquor regulation in the country. It will require even closer co-operation between the different spheres of government.

The Liquor Bill that I am now introducing reflects a significant degree of agreement with industry and provincial government, addresses a number of constitutional and technical matters that were raised previously, and meets with Government’s original intentions in a workable manner. It is not possible or desirable in such a process to satisfy every demand that is made. What is important is that the integrity of the policy framework is maintained and that the legislative provisions are pragmatic and workable.

I will not repeat the original liquor policy document that set out the somewhat pernicious history of the liquor industry in South Africa. However, we must not forget the reality that the history of liquor regulation in South Africa was an integral part of segregation. Legislation prevented black persons from legally entering the economic dimensions of the industry and thus visited major social consequences on them. Liquor was used in the notorious dop system as a means of payment, again with profound social consequences. The result was a dualism of massive economic concentration and size on the one hand, and an equally massive illegal industry that was very socially vulnerable on the other. This is the legacy that we must collectively now address through a new scheme of regulation for the liquor industry. The Liquor Bill, 2003, seeks to give effect to the objectives of the 1997 liquor policy and the requirements of the Constitution. It contains measures to prevent, as far as possible, the socioeconomic costs of alcohol abuse. It contains mechanisms to assess industry structure and provides for remedial actions where there are problems. It further creates institutions to give effect to co-operative governance.

The Liquor Bill seeks to address the socioeconomic costs of alcohol abuse through a number of means. In particular, chapter 2 of the Bill imposes restrictions on the supply of liquor to minors; the advertising of liquor, particularly advertising targeting minors; the use of liquor as an inducement for employment, thus outlawing the dop system; the manufacture and supply of methylated spirits; and the prohibition on concoctions.

In addition, Chapter 3 of the Bill requires manufacturers and distributors to submit a plan to combat the abuse of alcohol as part of their registration requirements. As I mentioned earlier, the Bill introduces a flexible three-tier system which requires the registration and regulation of the manufacture and distribution through national Government and the micromanufacture and retail of liquor through provincial government. The Bill further allows the Minister to delegate powers to provincial governments for the registration of provincial distributors. The Bill therefore explicitly recognises that provincial activity should be regulated at provincial and local levels in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

In the scheme of regulation for distributors and manufacturers, the Minister of Trade and Industry must evaluate the application in terms of three main criteria: the commitment to black economic empowerment by the applicant; the commitment to combating the abuse of alcohol; the impact of the registration on new entries into the industry; and the diversity of ownership and competition in the industry balanced against the impact of employment, efficiency and exports. Based on the evaluation the Minister may impose conditions on the registration.

The Bill further allows the Minister to review the conditions of registration if the registrant becomes registered as a retailer or micromanufacturer in terms of provincial legislation, or has in other respects materially altered its operations; contravenes certain laws; or fails to meet the conditions of its registration.

In chapter 6 of the Bill we give expression to co-operative governance by creating the National Liquor Policy Council. The council is an intergovernmental forum headed by the Minister and constituted by the Member of the Executive Council responsible for liquor licensing in each province. The council’s functions are: firstly, to develop national norms and standards for the liquor industry; secondly, to develop national policy in respect of the liquor industry; and, thirdly, to promote intergovernmental relations in respect of this industry.

The Liquor Bill, 2003, thus gives expression to the objectives of the 1997 liquor policy by providing mechanisms to intervene in the structure of the industry where necessary, to create conditions facilitating new entry and black economic empowerment, to combat the socioeconomic consequences of alcohol abuse through certain public-interest prohibitions, and the development of a sustainable and responsible liquor industry. It does this in a manner consistent with the Constitution by recognising the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial government and by setting out mechanisms for co- operation between the different tiers of government.

I would like to express my thanks to the Select Committee on Economic and Foreign Affairs for supporting us in this endeavour and for helping us to steer this difficult piece of legislation to this point. I thank my provincial colleagues and their officials for all their hard work. My thanks go to the DTI team for their hard work. There is, of course, more to come as we set up the institutional capacity to implement the new Act. I should also say a special thanks to many in the industry and to various social groups that went out of their way to ensure that we addressed an economic need and reality, whilst ensuring social responsibility. I commend this Bill to the House. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

Mr B J TOLO: Hon Deputy Chair, hon Minister, the Deputy Minister in absentia, hon members, Parliament has been seized with the problem of legislating for the liquor industry for some time now. We are happy that this seems to be coming to some finality.

In 1998 Parliament passed a Bill after a long process of consultation. When that Bill was referred to the President for consent, he doubted its constitutionality in relation to certain provisions. The President then referred the Bill to the Constitutional Court, which ruled that the national Government had powers to regulate the liquor industry in the spheres of manufacturing and distribution, while the retail and micromanufacturing spheres remained a competency of provincial governments.

The Bill before us is an attempt by the Department of Trade and Industry to address the areas that were queried by the Constitutional Court, with the aim of bringing the entire liquor industry in line with our Constitution.

I think we all agree that liquor is a potentially dangerous substance and therefore that its manufacture, distribution and retail cannot be left entirely to market forces. I am sure that every one of us has a story to tell regarding the socioeconomic effects and overconsumption of liquor in our country. Given the above, a responsible Government like ours cannot be a spectator in a situation in which there is a free proliferation of liquor to the detriment of the social welfare of our communities. It is for this reason that Government, through this Bill, seeks to regulate the liquor industry. This is done by setting essential norms and standards in the liquor industry; by regulating the manufacture and distribution of liquor; and by regulating the retail and micromanufacturing of liquor.

In essence, the Bill puts in place a very clear but flexible three-tier system in the liquor industry that is flexible in the sense that one person can apply and be licensed to operate in more than one tier of the industry, but such a person will have to fulfil higher requirements. These are, for instance, how he or she envisages combating alcohol abuse and how he or she hopes to promote black economic empowerment, to state but a few.

We have no doubt in our minds that this system will allow proper restructuring of the industry and effective regulation. The main tool for regulation, in this regard, is the registration of anyone who gets licensed in any of the three tiers of operation, namely, manufacturing, distribution and retail or even a combination of any of these, and the prosecution of all those who operate unregistered or unlicensed.

Today the beer industry is a monopoly in South Africa. Theoretically, the market can allow other role-players to come into the beer industry but, practically, the industry is such that it rejects new entrants. Mahanyele and others’ Vivo is a classical example. Vivo tried to penetrate the market, but could not compete against the giant SA Breweries.

The Bill before us is another attempt to level the playing field so that new entrants can come into the liquor industry. It will allow those who have hitherto not been allowed directly or indirectly to get into the industry to do so. This is a genuine attempt by the Department of Trade and Industry to break the liquor monopoly, specifically the beer monopoly in the country, so that new entrants can also contribute to creating much- needed jobs.

One of the biggest problems we are faced with in this country is the consumption of liquor by minors. If this is left unchecked it will lead to an untenable situation in which we will have a nation of drunkards. This will then inevitably lead to low levels of productivity in the economy, which is something undesirable. To avoid this type of situation, the Bill is unequivocal in prohibiting the supply of liquor or methylated spirits to minors. With this being the general principle, we also recognise that there are certain rituals, like the Holy Communion in certain religious institutions in which wine is offered under the supervision of a priest. The committee has had to bring in a small amendment to remove any uncertainty, and not to criminalise innocent people with regard to the above.

You will agree with me that in almost every township or settlement there are shebeens that sell unhygienic concoctions with impunity to our people. Their concoctions have orphaned thousands of children and widowed hundreds of women. Once again, a responsible government cannot sit on the sidelines when people die due to these concoctions. This Bill is unambiguous in outlawing these concoctions. We hope the provinces will act decisively in closing down such shebeens and locking up the shebeen kings and queens who supply our people with this poison.

The notorious tot or dop system, to which the Minister has already referred and which was practised or is still practised in the vine and wine industry, is well documented and known to most of us. It is a system in which wine is used as an incentive to encourage people to work faster. This system is applied in different ways, but the crudest of them all is when a farmer first makes the people alcoholics and thereafter starves them of alcohol for a day. On the day when they are supposed to go to work, a tot of alcohol is put at the end of the row. A person starts at the beginning of the row and works very fast to be able to reach the tot because he or she is very thirsty. That is the problem. [Interjections.]

Ms C BOTHA: Chairperson, these are terrible accusations, and I would like to ask whether such accusations could be brought up officially so that they can be acted upon. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Order! Hon member, you know the procedure that in terms of the Rules, when there are accusations, members are allowed to put a substantive motion for debate in the House. The Rules are very clear on that. Continue, hon member.

Mr B J TOLO: Thank you, hon Chair. This Bill puts an end to this and other barbaric ways of using alcohol as an incentive to work even harder. The Bill seeks to restore dignity among people who work in the wine industry.

To date, it has been the function of the police to enforce compliance with liquor laws. This new Bill gives the Minister the power to designate any person as an inspector and requires such a person to be issued with a certificate. These inspectors will be the ones who will monitor compliance with the law in the industry. Their powers and functions are clearly stated in the Bill. We want to commend the Department of Trade and Industry for this, as it is our firm belief that we need dedicated personnel to deal with this function as its importance cannot be overemphasised. We also believe the police’s hands are full, but, yes, from time to time the inspectors can solicit their help.

The Bill further provides for the establishment of a national liquor policy council. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Mr J F AULSEBROOK (KwaZulu-Natal): Thank you, Chairperson. I must at the commencement say, from the point of view of KwaZulu-Natal, that the Bill before us represents a most significant improvement on the original Bill of

  1. Without going into any details, the most important is that it significantly takes on board the Constitutional Court’s ruling pertaining to powers of provinces regarding retail licensing.

Having said this, this Bill poses a number of challenges for provinces, the first of which is timing. The fact that we are dealing with and are likely to pass this Bill late into this term of office creates a problem. While KwaZulu-Natal has drafted a provincial liquor Bill, time constraints for the legislature will prevent us from passing it before the 2004 elections. It will then become the responsibility of the next legislature to deal with it. This also means, with regard to the national Bill - if promulgated this year - that retail will still be subject to the repealed 1989 Liquor Act, in terms of schedule 1 of the transitional provisions of this Bill, until provincial legislation is in place.

Secondly, the biggest challenge for provinces may well be how they legislate and control the micromanufacture, distribution and retailing of liquor. Of significance in this respect will be the threshold volume determined by the Minister in regulations as contemplated in sections 5(10)(a) and (b) of this Bill. The size of the micro segment of this industry has not been quantified but it is a widespread practice.

No matter what legislation provinces put in place, the temptation will be, by and large, to turn a blind eye to this practice because of the difficulties that will be encountered in law enforcement. The sad part is that, at this level, alcohol abuse is often very prevalent.

This brings me to the issue of alcohol abuse. We are pleased that the Bill terminates the malpractice of the ``dop’’ system as a reward for labour. We welcome this prohibition. But, with regard to all other forms of alcohol abuse such as drinking in public and drunk and disorderly behaviour, which is and becomes a provincial responsibility, the provincial legislation will have to provide for the authority for police to deal with such situations.

Furthermore, I wish to raise the issue of the negative social effects of alcohol abuse which is partly but not effectively addressed in this legislation; it should be. Yet, in gaming and betting legislation, we are going to almost absurd lengths to deal with the negative social effects of problem gaming. Both need to be addressed in a more effective and practical manner.

Furthermore, on the issue of norms and standards, KwaZulu-Natal is supportive of the work done by the provincial task team which is engaged in developing guidelines for provincial legislation. We caution that disparities in provincial legislation could create a range of problems. One of these could be the enforcement by police who are deployed nationally. Should their mandates differ from province to province, confusion may reign. Another confusion may be that the general population may move between provinces.

Finally, the manufacture, distribution and retail of methylated spirits, which in terms of this Bill becomes a totally national function, and which could be questionable with regards to constitutionality, raises the concerns of who will be responsible for the monitoring of the retail aspect of methylated spirits. Presumably it will be the national inspectorate.

In conclusion, KwaZulu-Natal will be supporting this Bill. [Applause.]

Mr O SINGH (KwaZulu-Natal): Assalaamu alaikum! [Peace be upon you!] Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, it is indeed a pleasure and privilege for me to speak on this important Bill, the Liquor Bill of 2003. The Bill’s objective is to reduce the socioeconomic effects and the cost of alcohol consumption. This Bill will be setting essential national norms and standards in the liquor industry. As my colleague has just informed this House, KwaZulu- Natal is in the process of discussing the draft Bill.

The Department of Trade and Industry and the provincial departments responsible for liquor matters jointly embarked on this extensive exercise to evaluate the existing legislation regulating the manufacture and distribution of the sale of liquor for consumption in 1994. This important factor is regulating the manufacturing and wholesale distribution of liquor which is, in my opinion, one of the most important objectives so that the standards and qualities are observed at all times.

This Bill provides the entry of new participants into the liquor industry with diversity of ownership and, most importantly, the social responsibility of the industry so that, as the chairperson has said, one company or entity does not control this industry. This Bill will also provide the Department of Trade and Industry with the responsibility of licensing and inspection of national manufacturing and wholesale licences. Inspection is very important. This Bill specifies that the Department of Trade and Industry should have sufficient capacity to deal with these functions.

These functions have financial implications in terms of providing extra staff for the licensing and inspection functions of this Bill. Funds are available for the licensing and monitoring function of this Bill. A new Deputy Director and two assistants will start this process.

It is important that provincial workshops were held regarding this Bill with the industry and relevant stakeholders and the media that was affected were brought on board so that this industry is not in any way taken for a ride.

I am pleased that this Bill has gone through the proper parliamentary procedures and the timeframes set out in section 76 of the Constitution since it involves the intervention in terms of section 44(2) of the Constitution of South Africa. This Bill introduces a new element where there is an establishment of the National Liquor Council which involves the Minister of Trade and Industry and the relevant members in an executive council. This is one of the very important parts of the Bill. This body is responsible for the proper policing, formulation and co-ordination and gives expression to the concept of co-operative governance.

This Bill brings sobriety to the liquor industry where the Bill has levelled the playing fields so that all relevant role-players have an equal chance in the industry. We from KwaZulu-Natal support this Bill.

Mr K D S DURR: Chairman, Minister, the Western Cape supports the intention of the Bill as well as most of the provisions of the Bill. It has, however, serious reservations about two clauses.

Clause 4 imposes a three-tier system of manufacturers, distributors and retailers on the liquor industry. Following the judgment by the Constitutional Court, the Bill provides that the Minister regulate the manufacturing and distribution tiers, while the provincial legislation will regulate the retail and micromanufacturing tier. With this, the province has no problem.

Clause 4(7) of the Bill prevents a holder of a provincial retail licence from selling liquor to another retailer, effectively preventing the common practice of a liquor store selling small quantities on a regular basis to a restaurant or guesthouse.

In Clause 4(8) the Bill does allow for the sale by a retailer to another retailer only if the sale is bona fide as if to a consumer of liquor. It specifically does not allow for a standing arrangement of sale and delivery on a regular basis for resale, such as the provision of a small quantity of wine to a guesthouse or restaurant. This is particularly relevant in a small platteland town.

For this innocuous practice to continue, the holder of a retail liquor licence must obtain a distribution licence. This means a bottle store will now have to hold both a provincial liquor licence and be registered as a distributor with the Minister at national level. Two separate sets of rules: one set nationally and one set provincially will apply to these retailers.

This further means that in the Western Cape alone the current 755 liquor stores will probably attempt to obtain registration as distributors to enable them to continue selling liquor to other on-consumption retailers on a continuous basis. It is doubtful if it is the intention of the Minister to regulate the distribution of liquor at this microlevel, and the function is probably better regulated at the provincial level.

In an attempt to address this problem, clause 45(2) provides for the devolution to a member of the executive council of each province of the Minister’s functions to regulate the distribution tier in a particular province. This does, however, raise its own problems. The first problem is that it now requires the provincial liquor authority, be it a provincial liquor board or MEC, to administer two Acts: the provincial and the national Acts. Each Act creates its own set of requirements, rules and offences, creating the possibility of confusion amongst the provincial administrators and the enforcers of the Acts, the licence holders and the public.

The second problem is that the devolution potentially creates an unfunded mandate for the province. It now is possibly required to administer national legislation devolved to it without funding, in conflict with the principle of funds to follow function.

Currently, the Western Cape has developed a draft policy document that the municipalities, the SA Police Service and other interested parties are consulting. It is expected that the policy document and subsequent legislation will be passed before the start of the next financial year in March 2004.

We in the Western Cape, Minister, were disappointed that some of our amendments were not accepted, particularly those to clause 4, to resolve the problems I’ve mentioned. The last-minute alternative changes, which represent a substantial change to the legislation, were not able to serve before the provincial select committees concerned. This is not, and I say this respectfully, an ideal way of making law. That is why we abstained from voting on the clause in the committee.

We are, however, grateful that the department did seek to address our concerns, even if by a different route. We were also concerned that in the attempt to protect minors we did not criminalise the use of religious sacraments and the moderate use of wine within a family situation. Our concerns were heard and we are grateful that the amendments we brought were accepted.

We have a major concern remaining, which we hope the Minister will help us with today with an assurance if he can. The Bill provides for arbitrary discretion to the Minister to define micromanufacturing, which can effectively nullify the Constitutional Court’s ruling that micromanufacturing be regulated by the provincial sphere of government, by setting such low limits that wine estates in our province would fall under the control of the national Government. This can affect our tourism, leisure and hospitality industry such as the wine routes. We would value the Minister’s assurance that he has no intention of defining micromanufacturing so as to remove it from the provincial sphere.

Then, lastly, may I just say, Minister, that one of the problems which I know the Minister is trying to address is that of legalising shebeens and regulating that aspect for the historical reasons he mentioned to us. It is very good that he should do so. The problem, however, lies at local authority level, not at provincial level or central Government level, because very often a licence is given by the provincial authority to a shebeen, but the problem is that the local authority won’t allow the rezoning of the property so as to allow that person to continue with that enterprise on that site, even for a temporary period of say two or five years.

That is something you are going to have to look at, that is, how to bring also the local authorities into the spirit of what you wish to attempt to do. This is because 60% of applications from shebeens are actually authorised by the provincial authorities, but the frustration of allowing them to come into the mainstream of our economy - which all of us may try to do, for all of the good reasons the Minister pointed out himself - is, in fact, to bring the local authorities on board so that the necessary zoning attitudes can apply to make this possible. We support the legislation. I thank you.

Mr L G LEVER: Chairperson, there are a number of issues that make regulating the liquor industry a complex exercise. Firstly, there is the diverse nature of the industry itself. On the one hand, there are the proverbial mom and pop micromanufacturers - as well as traditional brewers

  • who perhaps bottle one label of wine as an ancillary business to a guesthouse or restaurant on a wine route.

On the other hand, there are powerful co-operatives and even more powerful multinational companies. Also, the Constitution requires that certain aspects of the industry are controlled and regulated at the national level of Government, namely, manufacturing and distribution. Other aspects, such as the licensing of retail outlets, are exclusive provincial competences.

The Bill has two objectives: to deal with the social cost aspects of the liquor industry, and to deal with the commercial aspects of the liquor industry. As far as the regulation of the social-cost aspects of the industry are concerned, I am satisfied that the measures put in place by the Bill are appropriate to deal with the abusive practices that exist, some of which have a very long history.

My concerns arise out of the manner in which the commercial aspects of the industry are regulated in the Bill. The original version of the Bill sought to establish a three-tier structure in which distribution was separated from the control of the producers, so that their position in the market was not further entrenched. This would have allowed wholesalers to choose where to source their supplies, allowing them to break free from the tied pricing arrangements. The Bill gave manufactures who owned the distribution system three years to disinvest. This would have provided many opportunities to thousands of small, mostly black, retailers.

In late May this year, the Bill was withdrawn for further consultation with the industry. The department claimed, when the Bill was withdrawn, that the three-tier system, excluding cross-holdings, would remain. The amended Bill, however, allows for cross-holdings in the manufacturing and distribution sectors to the advantage of the industry monopolies. Control at the wholesale distribution level effectively keeps the industry in the same few hands.

It is for these reasons that the DA opposes this Bill.

Dr E A CONROY: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister of Trade and Industry and colleagues, public hearings on the Bill being debated today were held in May this year. At these hearings concerns were voiced about the implementation of the three-tier system, about technical matters and about the constitutionality and regulation of retail.

A series of meetings between the DTI and some industry role-players resulted in a broad agreement, whereafter amendments were effected and circulated to parties that had participated in the process to enable them to make further inputs. A workshop was held on 17 July to discuss the proposed amendments, which led to further changes. These amendments were finally submitted to the portfolio and select committees.

The current Liquor Bill is intended to regulate the manufacture and distribution of liquor, which are areas of national competence. In terms of the amended version, there will be separate licences for the manufacturing and distribution of liquor, but manufacturers will be allowed to hold distribution licences as well. The latest version of the Bill no longer outlaws cross-ownership among the three sectors of the industry, namely, manufacturing, distribution and retail.

The Minister of Trade and Industry will have the discretion to impose conditions, with the objective of promoting black economic empowerment and competition, and preventing alcohol abuse. Retail licensing is left as a provincial competence.

The new Bill also restricts advertising of liquor products in a manner that is false and misleading, and in a manner intended to target or attract minors. Chairperson, the Liquor Bill, 2003, was drafted with the view to complying with the judgment of the Constitutional Court. Previous legislation did not regulate the micromanufacture or the sale of that liquor for consumption.

The Bill also allows for provincial governments to legislate certain provisions concerning cross-holdings across the three tiers of the industry in chapter 4, and for the national norms and standards set out in schedule

  1. These provisions are necessary to maintain economic unity and essential national and minimum standards required for the rendering of services.

Another new element introduced in the Bill is the establishment of the National Liquor Policy Council, which consists of the Minister of Trade and Industry and the relevant provincial MECs. This body will be responsible for policy formulation and co-ordination, and it will give content to the concept of co-operative governance.

Chairperson, the New NP supports the Bill and its latest and eleventh-hour amendments. I thank you. [Applause.]

Ms N D NTWANAMBI: Thank you, Chairperson. I want to start off by saying that it is unfortunate that I have to say this in isiXhosa. I don’t have enough English vocabulary to express this. It refers to whoever is opposed to this. In isiXhosa there is a saying.

Abakhalazayo basazalwa nanamhla. Bangqengqe ngemihlana. Okwabo kukusoloko besithi ngekuthe''. [A new cynic is born every day. They lie on their backs. Theirs is the habit of sayingshould have’’.]

As we are moving towards the first decade of freedom, the struggle to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment remain fundamental to our aim of achieving a caring and people-centred society. Our legislative institutions are mandated to deliver a quality set of laws for the people of South Africa, but it is up to us to ensure that these laws are implemented effectively and efficiently.

We, as members of this Parliament, must ensure that the centuries-old legacy of colonialism, racism and apartheid is removed from the lives of our people. Through this piece of legislation, the ANC is engaged in a coherent plan of social transformation which attentively is aimed at broadening the front for reconstruction and development.

The building of a truly nonracial, nonsexist, prosperous South Africa and genuine emancipation of our people depend a lot on how we carry out our Government’s tasks. We need to, one, improve the capacity of the state to meet its obligations towards the citizens, giving a spurt to drivers of economic growth and job creation; two, broaden access to social services and improve their quality; and, three, improve international solidarity and contribute to building a better life for all.

As duly elected representatives of the people of this country, we must ensure that Parliament plays a vital role in protecting people’s rights, ensuring the visible and meaningful transfer of economic power. We must put in place a mechanism whereby disadvantaged participants themselves can report any hindrances and ensure that corrective action is taken to expedite their participation in this industry. We believe that this process will start with the current legislation tabled here today.

I would like to mention that the primary objectives of the Bill are to restructure the liquor industry and to address the socioeconomic cost of alcohol abuse. It is important to note that in the past the apartheid government used liquor and liquor legislation to control and exploit the masses. Today this Bill no longer outlaws cross-ownership among the three sectors of the industry, namely, manufacturing, distribution and retail.

The Trade and Industry Minister will have the discretion to impose conditions, with the aim of promoting black economic empowerment and competition, and preventing alcohol abuse. Retail licensing has been left to the provincial legislatures. The new Bill also restricts the advertising of liquor products in a manner that is false and misleading, and in a manner intended to target or attract minors.

We want to commend the DTI for prohibiting the sale of alcohol to anyone below the age of eighteen years. This amendment is intended for the protection of children, specifically in the wine industry, and to reduce the risk of exposing the young. This in itself is a bold step that is in line with other national pieces of legislation which includes penalties against signatories who breach agreements, etc.

In addition, we also want to commend the department for banning any unpotable substances, that is substances that are unsafe for human consumption. In this regard, I want to mention the fact that in the not-so- distant past battery acid was mixed with our famous umqombothi [African beer], and this in itself gave our traditional beer a bad name in the industry.

It is without doubt that the amendments to the Liquor Bill tabled here today aim to, one, establish national norms and standards; two, maintain economic unity within the liquor industry; three, provide for essential national and minimum standards required for rendering of services; and, four, provide for measures to promote co-operative governance in the area of liquor regulations and matters connected therewith.

This is in line with the repeated statements of national Government, which stress that it is not the intention of the national Government to interfere in the exclusive competence of the provincial sphere of government. It has also been indicated that it is not the intention of national Government to regulate the distribution of liquor within a province.

In addition, the enforcement of the retail activities of licence holders in terms of provincial legislation will be a function of the provincial enforcement agents. The responsible national department does not have the capacity, or the intention, to regulate the activities of retailers who sell liquor to other retailers within the confines of a province.

In conclusion, I would like to mention that the control of alcohol is a must, and we are ready to implement legislation and decisions around developments in this regard. We want the people to know that we are the custodians of the policies that we have developed and, that, together with them, we will make sure that we remain steadfast in our quest to combat racism and eradicate poverty and underdevelopment, whilst ensuring a better life for all. The ANC supports this Bill. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Thank you, Chairperson, and thank you to those who support the Bill. I do believe it’s an important piece of legislation and a timely one, despite the fact that we’ve had to take a long time to introduce this new dispensation.

Let me comment on some of the points raised. Firstly, I think, as we’ve shown, we are going to and will work with the provinces. I think there is a great deal of work to be done with the provinces. This is a power that lies within their jurisdiction. It cannot possibly be an unfunded mandate. This is something that they will have to have planned for and should have planned for and we will work together to try and ensure that we implement the Bill, because we now do have a tremendous challenge of ensuring that previously illegal and unlicensed shebeens are brought into the system in a correct way.

The task team, I believe, has been working very well, and the big change between the present dispensation and the previous one is that we are now working towards more standard formats because, as the hon member from KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Aulsebrook, said, it would be very problematic if we had widely divergent standards in the provinces, otherwise we are going to have a lot of difficulties, and at the borders we are also going to have many difficulties that will take place. So, I believe the spirit between the provinces now is good, and it is an excellent situation that we face.

In regard to methylated spirits, obviously it should not be sold in any form as a liquor and, therefore, we are controlling its manufacture and distribution for the purposes that it’s designed for, not as a liquor. That responsibility will fall, in the main, on the national Government, but I would have thought that it would also be for the provincial regulators and authorities. If they come across people selling this as a liquor, it falls within their responsibility to act. So I think we can work together on that.

I would submit, hon Durr, that in the Western Cape, in large measure, you have misunderstood what we have tried to achieve with regard to retailers selling to small guesthouses, for example. Now, the problem that we are addressing here is that we must prevent these gigantic retail shops, and I don’t have to mention the names, that are selling in gigantic quantities, and are acting as retailers when, in fact, they are wholesalers and sometimes even manufacturers.

On the other hand, we are quite cognisant of the fact that someone from a small guesthouse may walk into a bottle store and buy some bottles for the night. Section 4.7 is designed to deal with that. So, it’s not an attempt to restrict that, but an attempt to provide for that, and it has to then be measured against the conditions under which a retailer selling to another registered person or acting as a wholesaler must be restricted. Now, it’s a difficult balance, but we have attempted to meet that need and we will assess it over time. I think the Act very consciously tries to deal with that.

With regard to the so-called shebeens and the local governments in which they are placed, this is a local government responsibility. We have deliberately made it a local government responsibility because they will have to deal with the local communities and the planning issues that were raised. So the responsibilities for the location and siting of retailers of alcohol is a local government issue. I think that’s important. Some provinces are working with the local governments to try and get uniformity, but this is something that, I think, rightly remains with local government.

Let me deal with the issue of cross-ownership and much of the discussion and debate as to whether we have or have not backed down in the face of monopolies, etc. As I indicated in my opening remarks, our intention was clear at the beginning. We were going to have three tiers, and the linkages between those tiers were going to be regulated. Now the industry had a choice; that’s competition law. They told me a few years ago that they did not want competition law, and now they suddenly tell me they want competition law.

Well, the fact of the matter is that we are putting the bulk of the competitive matters in this Act. Acts done by a supplier of any type that are anticompetitive, that are not explicitly covered in the Act, can still be dealt with by the competition law. We are going to structure these three tiers, but we acknowledged, in our discussion with the industry, and we are aware of this, that from a practical point of view, this structure of our economy is extremely complex.

So should we, or can we, practically speaking, prevent every single cross- holding across the three tiers? The answer is no with regard to large groups that exist. It’s not only breweries, but all sorts of large groups that exist, which have got holdings here, there and everywhere. What we’ve agreed on is this, and frankly, I can see no other practical way of dealing with this other than the way we are dealing with it, and that is that you are a licensed holder, you are a registrant and we will need to know what you are doing in all these three tiers. It’s the only practical way in which we can achieve this. It’s very clear what it is that we are trying to do, which is to create the three tiers, as everyone has indicated, in a flexible manner.

I’m quite satisfied that we are dealing with this from a pragmatic point of view and we all are trying to achieve the three tiers. So, I’m puzzled about taking a major piece of legislation and not supporting it, just because of that one practical act. I think it’s a really senseless exercise because, really, it also denies the commercial realities that we have in our economy today. The attempt at severe and absolutely rigid prevention of any form of cross-holding is quite frankly impractical and unworkable; so I can’t see the logic of not supporting it for that reason.

With regard to the matter of micromanufacturers, which has also come up, again, let’s look at the practical situation. There are wine estates and there are wine estates. Some are massive, absolutely massive, and to call them micromanufacturers is absolute nonsense; they are not. Some are very small. So, we have a practical situation. Our intention here is not to take wine estates away from the Western Cape. I don’t know whether they’d operate better or worse if that happened. I think they’d probably operate exactly the same. Our intention here is not about who is controlling these things. Our intention is to say yes, when it comes to micromanufacturing, an operation that exists in a very localised area and is obviously small is correctly the responsibility of the province to deal with that. However, the reality is that some of these estates, be they beer manufacturers, umqombothi manufacturers or whatever, are very big, and they are not micromanufacturers. Therefore, they have to be regulated as ordinary manufacturers.

The reason we have left the quantities to the regulators is because the industry changes very fast. You only have to go to KwaZulu-Natal to see what has happened on the beer route. You only have to go to certain parts of this country to see how very quickly a very interesting and diverse set of manufacturers are growing up to know that we must keep tabs on this, we must know what’s happening, and we must attempt to ensure that the industry is properly regulated.

I really do think that for the amount of work that’s gone into this, we have a better Act, and I think it’s necessary that we should all be supportive. I can’t, for the life of me, see why anyone does not want to support this Act. Obviously, the industry and the big companies may not have everything they want, but one thing I must just make crystal clear to everybody is that we will ensure that we know exactly what is happening on each tier of this industry, and any registrant, no matter how big they are, that attempts to break that and go into the retailing thing willy-nilly, we will act against. I don’t care how big they are, we will act against them.

So, we are opening possibilities for other people, and we are dealing with a tremendous concentration in this industry that does exist for historical reasons. I really would urge all to support this and I’d really like to thank my provincial colleagues and the provinces for their support. We will work together. We must have a better dispensation for liquor that benefits everybody. Thank you. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Order! Thank you, hon Minister. That concludes the debate. I shall now put the question, and the question is that the Bill be agreed to. In accordance with Rule 71, I shall first allow provinces the opportunity to make their declarations of vote, if they so wish. There are none.

We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetic order per province. Delegation heads must please indicate to the Chair whether they are voting in favour, against or abstaining from voting. Eastern Cape?

Ms B M DLULANE: Eastern Cape ihambisana nayo. [Eastern Cape agrees with it.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Free State? Mr T S SETONA: Free State supports.


Ms D M RAMODIBE: Gauteng supports the Bill.

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): KwaZulu-Natal?

Mrs J N VILAKAZI: KwaZulu-Natal supports.


Mr M I MAKOELA: Limpopo e a thega. [Limpopo supports.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Mpumalanga?

Ms M P THEMBA: Mpumalanga iyawusekela. [Mpumalanga supports it.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Northern Cape?

Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Northern Cape iyavuma. (Northern Cape agrees.)


Mr Z S KOLWENI: North West ke wa rona. [North West supports.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): Western Cape?

Mnr C ACKERMANN: Die Wes-Kaap steun, Voorsitter. [The Western Cape supports, Chairperson.]

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): All nine provinces have voted in favour. I therefore declare the Bill agreed to. [Applause.]


Ms N P KHUNOU: Deputy Chairperson, hon members, one of the indicators of the degree of a country’s science and technology advances is the extent to which that country can actually benchmark itself against the scientific and technological standards laid down by internationally accredited institutions. One such institution is the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. South Africa’s application for membership to this foremost international institution will, without doubt, not only put our scientific and biotechnological capacity on par with the best in the world, but also under the microscope of peer review.

The ICGEB is an international organisation with a membership of 47 countries, which are dedicated to advanced research and training in molecular biology with a special emphasis on the needs of the developing world. It operates several research programmes of high scientific content in laboratories in Trieste, Italy; and New Delhi, India. It conducts innovative research in life sciences for the benefit of the developing world. It further strengthens the research capacity of its members through training, fellowship and funding programmes. The ICGEB provides advisory services on policy issues and represents a comprehensive approach to promoting biotechnology internationally.

Furthermore, the laboratories of the ICGEB develop research of importance to bioindustries and its members. It promotes the application of biotechnology in fields such as public health, industrial production, nutrition and environmental protection. The centre also offers consultation on scientific programmes in areas such as plant biology, addressing crop improvement; on human health, addressing infectious disease control, vaccine production and molecular medicine; as well as on basic molecular biology problems, addressing the control of cell proliferation. Yes, our country has, through the Department of Science and Technology, applied for membership to the ICGEB Board of Governors which membership has been accepted, subject to payment of an annual membership fee of US$37 000 as determined by the ICGEB scale of assessment. In addition, South Africa will have to deposit its instrument of accession with the United Nations in New York, through which we will declare our acceptance of the ICGEB statutes and indicate our commitment to the provisions contained therein.

The benefits of joining the ICGEB will certainly offer South Africa new opportunities to advance our national biotechnology strategy through participation in advanced collaborative research programmes and comprehensive training schemes. We will also have access to a high-level intergovernmental forum in which policy issues related to biosafety and technology are discussed. The possibility has also emerged that our country could be appointed to the position of auditor for the ICGEB when it joins the organisation. Moreover, South Africa’s Auditor-General will derive significant benefits from securing such a high-profile international assignment.

In fact, it must be emphasised that the Italian government has already, through a World Summit on Sustainable Development partnership initiative, committed approximately R10 million for the creation of an African centre for infectious diseases in our country, which will be able to participate in the ICGEB activities as an affiliated centre.

In conclusion, students of science and technology systems today generally recognise that one of the critical success factors for science and technology is cross-pollination between different countries in science and technology. South Africa’s membership to this prestigious body will go a long way towards exposing our latent science potential, in university laboratories across our country, to the pioneering research of eminent scientists. And, it will be amiss of us not to acknowledge the efforts of the Department of Science and Technology for this achievement, which is certainly in line with our aspirations as a nascent democracy. I thank you. [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Thank you very much, hon member. That concludes the debate. I shall now put the question. The question is that the report be agreed to. In accordance with Rule 71, I shall first allow provinces the opportunity to make their declaration of vote if they so wish.

We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetical order per province. Delegation heads must indicate to the Chair whether they vote in favour of or against, or abstain from voting. Eastern Cape?

Ms B N DLULANE: Iyayixhasa. [We support.]


Mr S T SETONA: Free State is in favour.


Dr E A CONROY: Gauteng is in favour.


Ms B THOMSON: Siyahambisana. (We are in agreement.)


Mr M I MAKOELA: Ku tendelana [Supports.]


Ms M P THEMBA: Supports.


Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Supports.


Mr Z S KOLWENI: Ke ya rona. [Supports.]


Mr C ACKERMANN: Supports.

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: All provinces have voted in favour of this report. I therefore declare the report agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution. [Applause.]


The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: I call upon the hon chairperson of the Select Committee, Mr D M Kgware.

Mr D M KGWARE: Madam Chair, hon members and colleagues, the SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport before this House today represents another chapter in our country’s new history to promote unity, solidarity and co-operation amongst the peoples of the SADC region. It is inspired by protocols of a similar kind which have seen passage through this House, and it recalls past contributions made by our neighbouring states to ensure that they collaborate and engage with our country at all levels. Furthermore, it seeks to consolidate our institutions of culture, sport and education.

However, it includes other competencies such as copyright and neighbouring rights seated with the Department of Trade and Industry. Since the protocol covers issues relevant to the different Ministries, it was forwarded to the different Ministers for input and adoption, and hence they have concurred with the content.

It is important to note that even before the SADC protocol was finalised and presented for signing by the heads of state, there had already been cultural co-operation within the sectors. The following examples can be noted: the SADC music festival hosted by Zimbabwe, the SADC theatre festival hosted by Mozambique, the SADC exhibition hosted by Namibia and the SADC dance festival hosted by Zimbabwe.

Within the context of the protocol, however, the Department of Arts and Culture hosted the first ever SADC multidisciplinary festival and the colloquium of SADC Ministers of culture for all SADC member states which catered for the following categories: music, dance, theatre, storytelling, creative arts and the heritage exhibition.

At the heart of the protocol is the objective of ensuring integrated institutional mechanisms and co-operation in so far as it relates to the policies, priorities and strategies of the culture, information and sports co-ordinating unit.

The article relating to culture is guided by continental and international conventions such as the OAU Cultural Charter for Africa, the Cultural Manifesto of Algiers of 1969, the Unesco Stockholm Action Plan on Cultural Policies for Development, and the OAU Dakar Plan of Action on Cultural Industries.

As we all should know, culture is an integral part of our development effort, not only in our country, but on the continent as a whole. Consequently, it is imperative that we protect and utilise indigenous knowledge that represents a major dimension of the continent’s culture.

The article pertaining to sport is guided by the Olympic Charter and the Supreme Council of Sport in Africa’s General Assembly Declaration on Sport. We are aware that sport plays an important role in addressing social, economic and political problems and promotes a sense of pride and community integration.

We have all at one point or another been witness to the proven potential of the region in sport, and we believe that it is precisely that human-centred development brought about by participation in sport and recreation which will provide the most essential means of achieving the objectives of the protocol.

Furthermore, the protocol is mindful of the importance of information as a prerequisite for political, economic, social and cultural development and therefore ensures full co-operation in the removal of barriers for independent, effective and transparent dissemination. Hence, it encourages, amongst other things, the establishment or strengthening of codes of ethics to boost public confidence and professionalism in the information subsector.

Moreover, it encourages the joint investment, production and exchange of film, video and audio information products in order to reduce reliance on imported information and cultural products. Also, it envisages a SADC media award which is intended to encourage and recognise the work of journalists that promote regional integration in the fields of print, radio, television and photojournalism.

In conclusion, the changed conditions in the region and on the continent have been recognised by all stakeholders. As I said earlier, our agenda is based on national and regional priorities and development plans that must be prepared through participatory processes. The SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport is irrefutable proof of the commitment of our Government. I thank you. [Applause.] The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: That concludes the debate. I shall now put the question. The question is that the report be agreed to. In accordance with Rule 71, I shall first allow provinces the opportunity to make their declarations of vote if they so wish.

We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetical order per province. Delegation heads must please indicate to the Chair whether they vote in favour of, or against or abstain from voting.


Ms B N DLULANE: Supports.


Mr T S SETONA: Free State supports.


Dr E A CONROY: Gauteng iyavhumelana. [Gauteng supports.]


Ms B THOMSON: KZN iyavhumelana. [KZN supports.]


Mr M I MAKOELA: Ondersteun. [We support.]


Ms M P THEMBA: Mpumalanga supports.


Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Re a dumela. [We support.]


Mr Z S KOLWENI: North West ke ya rona. [North West supports.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: All provinces have voted in favour.

Mr C ACKERMANN: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. The Western Cape has not voted.


Mr C ACKERMANN: Ons ondersteun, Voorsitter. [We support, Chairperson.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: I am sorry. I assumed that you were in agreement; I knew that you would agree, Mr Ackerman. All provinces have voted in favour. I therefore declare the report agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.

Hon members, you have heard that Gauteng is now progressing - we are becoming a province that is multilingual. You heard what Dr Conroy said. The business of the House will now be suspended. We will resume at 14:00 this afternoon.


                      (Subject for Discussion)

Mr M I MAKOELA: Chairperson, hon members, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, our country often experiences its fair share of disasters such as localised incidents of veld fires, seasonal flooding and now, lately, a period of severe drought. This drought continues to affect the livelihood of thousands of people, especially the poorer sections of our population living in rural areas and the farming community whose survival depends largely on agriculture and stock farming, as well as those who rely on employment in the abovementioned sectors.

Much as some sections of our population attempt to mischievously exploit the plight of our people - especially the hardship being experienced by our farming community - through, among other things, trying to depict this Government as uncaring, nothing could be further from the truth. Rural communities rely on a combination of economic activities and sources of subsistence and income, for example, crop production, livestock, regular wages as farmworkers, and pensions.

Because of the severe drought conditions in the Limpopo province caused by the lack of a reasonable amount of rainfall, the provincial government appealed to the national Government to declare some districts disaster areas, which was ultimately done. This was done because the Government acknowledged the hardship faced by the community as a result of the drought disaster.

For the past few months the MEC for agriculture has been visiting drought- stricken areas, assessing the situation and spearheading the delivery of relief measures. This Government has progressive policies, the kind of policies that do not compartmentalise people according to the colour of their skin. Therefore, the allocation and distribution of resources are never done in a skewed manner the way they used to be.

A farmer remains a farmer, an asset and a contributor to the wellbeing of the economy of the country. He or she is and will always be regarded as such by this Government, whether he or she is black or white, because this ANC Government is committed to making life better for each and every citizen of this country. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mnr A E VAN NIEKERK: Baie dankie, Voorsitter. Ek praat met ‘n mandaat van die Noord-Kaapkollegas en daarom praat ek oor die Noord-Kaap, want in die Noord-Kaap het wit, bruin en swart die afgelope week hand aan hand en rug aan rug geveg om hul toekoms en dié van andere te beskerm en te probeer red.

Op Sondag 12 Oktober het die koppe naby die Witbankmyn aan die brand geraak, en dit het baie vinnig versprei. Die hele boerderygemeenskap, met behulp van die rampbestuurskomitee en die weermagpersoneel van Lohatla, het tot laas Vrydag geveg om die brand onder beheer te bring. Die brand is gekeer sodat dit nie die Mayeding- en Wrenchville-woongebiede sou verwoes nie. Teen Maandag was daar reeds 15 privaat bakkies stukkend gery, en een is totaal vernietig nadat dit van die berg af is.

Ongeveer 50 000 hektaar weiding is afgebrand; die getal diere wat gevrek het, is nog nie bepaal nie. Die diere wat wel oorleef moet kos kry, want daar is niks nie. Intussen is daar talle skenkings van voer aangebied, maar die Kuruman Boere-unie wat dit koördineer moet die vervoer van die voer betaal, en nóg die Boere-unie, nóg die gemeenskap nóg die LUR het die fondse. Dringende hulp vir die vervoer van die voer kan help om verdere vrektes te verhoed, en daar is onduidelikheid oor hoe daar aansoek gedoen moet word om hulp vir dié vervoer, wat dringend nodig is.

Dié spesifieke gemeenskap is met ‘n drie-dubbele slag geslaan. Verlede jaar het ongeveer 90 000 hektaar in dieselfde omgewing by Severn afgebrand, en geen hulp was beskikbaar nie, tóé het 30 000 hektaar afgebrand ná ‘n militêre oefening. Die meeste van die 30 plase wat afgebrand het, is nog nie weer in produksie nie en sal verskeie goeie reënseisoene nodig hê om weer in produksie te kom. Ons versoek die agb Adjunkminister om, in die lig van dié drie-dubbele slag, ook met die Minister van Verdediging in verbinding te tree vir ‘n vorderingsverslag oor die beloofde kompensasie vir die brand wat verlede jaar vermoedelik deur die Weermag veroorsaak is.

Ongeveer 120 plaaswerkergesinne se werk en toekoms word bedreig as daar nie nou gou ramphulp verskaf word nie. Die gebied moet as ‘n rampgebied verklaar word, maar ‘n rampgebied sonder hulp beteken niks en ons pleit vandag dat daar ingegryp sal word, en daadwerklike hulp verleen word.

Twee van die voorste brandslaners twee vrywilligers, het erg verbrand en is in ‘n kritieke toestand in ‘n kliniek in Johannesburg. Hulle het onderskeidelik 87% en 76% brandwonde. Die kliniek verlang ‘n deposito van R300 000 per persoon. Die gemeenskap het ‘n trust op die been gebring, en ongeveer R200 000 reeds ingesamel, maar daar is nie nog geld in daardie gebied nie, en die R600 000 moet vandag betaal word. Ek weet nie wat ons gaan doen nie, maar die Minister moet kennis neem, want dié twee vrywilligers was besig om ‘n landbouramp te help beperk. Die twee vrywilligers gaan moontlik nie herstel as hulle nie hulp kry nie.

Te midde van dié ramp het die Noord-Kaap se winterreënvalgebied droogte. Alle aanteelvee word reeds gevoer. Die meeste boere het al ongeveer 50% van hul lammeroes verloor. Ek het Kenhardt en omgewing laasweek besoek en die res van die Noord-Kaap is uiters droog, die veldtoestande is swak en aanteelvee moet reeds gevoer word.

Daar is samesprekings tussen die Noord-Kaap se LUR en die nasionale departement om hulp. Ons is almal in die proses om die ``frontiers of poverty’’ terug te druk, maar híér klop die armoede hard aan die deur. Geld wat vir die natuurrampe aangewend word, is goedkoop geld. Dit voorkom dat mense langtermyn-afhanklik word van die staat se aalmoese. Die landbou herstel altyd en gee nie net voedselsekuriteit nie, maar ook ‘n heenkome vir die meeste mense in die Noord-Kaap én in Suid-Afrika, en daar moet daarna omgesien word.

Ten slotte, ons, die Noord-Kaaplede van dié Raad, sal graag met die agb Minister en die departement oor hierdie saak in gesprek wil tree. Dankie Voorsitter dat u die versoek om hierdie debat goedgekeur het, en ons bedank ook die gemeenskap van Kuruman en omgewing, wat onbaatsugtig deelgeneem het om die ramp dáár onder bedwang te bring. Baie dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)

[Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Chairperson, I talk with a mandate from my Northern Cape colleagues and therefore I am talking about the Northern Cape, because in the Northern Cape, white, coloured and black communities fought hand in hand and side by side to try to save their own future and the future of others.

On Sunday, 12 October, the hills close to Witbank mine caught fire which quickly spread. The whole farming community, assisted by the disaster management committee and Defence Force personnel of Lohatla, fought till last Friday to try to bring the fire under control. The fire was prevented from ravaging the Mayeding and Wrenchville residential areas. By Monday, 15 privately-owned bakkies had already been driven to pieces and one was totally destroyed after it crashed down the mountain.

About 50 000 hectares worth of grazing were burnt down; the number of animals that died has not been determined yet. The animals that indeed survived must be fed, because there is nothing left. In the meantime many donations of feed have been offered, but the Kuruman farmers’ union which is co-ordinating this, must pay for the transport of the feed and neither the farmers’ union nor the community nor the MEC have these funds available. Urgent assistance with the transport of the feed can help to prevent further deaths and there is uncertainty about how to go about applying for this feed, which is urgently required.

This specific community was hit by a triple blow. Last year about 90 000 hectares in the same area at Severn was razed and no assistance was available, then 30 000 hectares was razed after a military exercise. Most of the 30 farms which were destroyed are still not in production and will need a number of good rainy seasons to come into production. We request the hon Deputy Minister, in the light of this triple blow, to also get in touch with the Minister of Defence for a progress report on the promised compensation for the fire which was apparently started by the Defence Force last year.

The hobs and future of about 120 farm labourer families are threatened if relief is not supplied soon. The area must be declared a disaster area, but a disaster area without relief means nothing, and we make an appeal today for intervention and real relief.

Two of the foremost firefighters, two volunteers, have been burnt quite severely and are in a critical condition in a clinic in Johannesburg. They have 87% and 76% burns respectively. The clinic requires a deposit of R300 000 per person. The community established a trust and about R200 000 has already been collected, but there is no more money in that area and the R600 000 must be paid today.

I do not know what we are going to do, but the Minister must be informed, because the two volunteers were busy helping to contain an agricultural disaster. The two volunteers will most probably not recover if they do not get assistance.

Amidst this disaster, the Northern Cape’s winter rainfall area is experiencing drought. All breeding stock are already being fed. Most farmers have already lost 50% of their lambs. I visited the Kenhardt area last week and the rest of the North Cape is very dry, the condition of the veld is poor and the breeding stock already has to be fed.

There are talks concerning aid between the Northern Cape’s MEC and the national department. We are all in the process of pushing back the frontiers of poverty, but here poverty is knocking hard on the door. Money used for natural disasters is cheap money. It prevents the long-term dependency of people on state handouts. Agriculture always recovers and does not only give food security, but also a livelihood to most people in the Northern Cape and in South Africa, and it must be looked after.

In conclusion, we, the Northern Cape members of this Council, would very much like to enter into talks with the Minister and the department regarding this matter. Thank you, Chairperson, for agreeing to our request for this debate, and we also thank the people of Kuruman and surrounds, who unselfishly participated in bringing the disaster there under control. Thank you very much.]

Mr V V Z WINDVOëL: Madam Chairperson, it is a fact that in the recent fires people lost what they had acquired over many years; and it was destroyed within a day. It is difficult for them to be where they were a year ago. Hence we need to intervene and give assistance as the ANC-led Government. The ANC is committed to pushing back the frontiers of poverty. Hence we have to extend our help to our fellow citizens who, in the blink of an eye, saw themselves left with nothing.

Fires are destructive and leave people with nothing to fall back on. These fires disturb the whole set-up, and life becomes unbearable after these fires. People’s health also suffers a lot because of the pollution that comes from these fires. The extent of the damage of these fires leads to some timber companies being shut down, and that means many people lose their jobs and the rate of unemployment escalates.

I would like to read part of a report which was compiled by Mr J J Kruger who is the chief agricultural development technician for the Nelspruit area:

The whole area is in an absolute crisis. There are, on most of the farm households, water crises because of pipes that were burned.

I would like to explain more on the case of Mr William Mashaba as the space on the questionnaire was too little to give proper details of his case. His thatched roof house was completely destroyed, because the terrible gale force winds blew burning material from the nearby bluegum plantation onto the roof. This was a beautiful five-bedroomed house with two bathrooms, a sitting room, lounge, two toilets, kitchen and stoep. Everything inside the house was totally destroyed: furniture, linen and all their clothes. While completing the form, Mr Mashaba was wearing clothes that his neighbour had lent him; he was walking barefoot as his shoes had also been burned.

Mr Mashaba is one of the small emerging farmers who had a farm around the Barberton area. The total cost, including the farms and all the other implements for his farm only, when evaluated, amounted to R1 795 676,00. But the whole amount for the loss the farmers around the Barberton area suffered totalled more than R6 million.

When we speak about the effect around the Brondal and Schagen area where there are plantations of avocado trees and other agricultural crops, we find that currently the estimate is about R153 547 938. However, we are still looking at a situation where there will still be another phase of evaluation to check whether the trees will be able to grow again after the spring season or not.

There is instability when these fires occur. Some people have to leave their places to seek areas that will provide them with shelter, and that means there is an extra expenditure that is added to each individual’s budget - a budget which has already been burnt out by the fire, which leaves them with nothing. They are then starting from a deficit.

The co-operation that is given during the disaster by various provinces in providing assistance is highly appreciated. It is good for people to share skills with a common goal of assisting our Government where they can. The country would have lost millions of rands but because we have firefighters, and I must include the volunteers, who are dedicated to the cause of extending their help when needed, we have saved much as a country through their assistance. We would like, as the ANC, to thank them all for their determination and patriotism.

It is clear, hon members, that the migration from one settlement to another comes at a cost, and it comes to people who have nothing. Malnutrition and famine become the order of the day. The competition becomes stiffer as people will look for places where they can practise agriculture for their crops or for grazing land.

I would like also, hon Chairperson, before I conclude … [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Ms C BOTHA: Chairperson, may I just note that my speech is in Afrikaans while it is indicated as being in English. I don’t know whether there are interpreters available.

Droogte en brande is sikliese kenmerke van die klimaat en landbou, en dis iets waarvoor ons nie die politici verantwoordelik kan hou nie! Waarvoor die Regering wel verantwoordelik is, is dat hulpmaatreëls in plek moet wees om voorkomend en ondersteunend op te tree wanneer die natuur ongenadiglik toeslaan.

Sou dit nié gebeur nie, is daar groot implikasies vir die land. Die meeste dorpe en mense in plattelandse gebiede is direk afhanklik van die wel en wee van die landbou. As die boere swaarkry, kry die werkers en die slagters en die bakkers en die klerewinkels en die dokters almal swaar. Dit bedreig voedselsekuriteit en word ‘n gesondheidsrisiko wat veral kinders onder die ouderdom van vyf jaar die hardste tref.

Die El Niño-droogtes van 1991 en 1993 het ons gewys hoe nodig rampmaatreëls is om massiewe nasionale gevolge te vermy. Ongelukkig moet ek vandag sê dat ‘n groot en langdurige droogte volgens skatting vir ons om die draai lê. Die brande en droogte wat … (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Drought and fires are cyclical characteristics of climate and agriculture, and that is something that we as politicians cannot be held responsible for! What the Government can in fact be held responsible for is that aid measures have to be in place to act as prevention and support when nature strikes mercilessly.

If it does not happen, it may have grave implications for the country. Most towns and people in rural areas are directly dependent on the welfare of agriculture. If the farmers suffer hardship, then the workers and the butchers and the bakers and the clothing shops and the doctors all suffer. This threatens food security and becomes a health risk that particularly hits children under the age of five the hardest.

The El Niño droughts of 1991 and 1993 showed us how necessary disaster measures are in order to avoid massive national consequences. Unfortunately I have to say that a massive and extended drought is predicted to be waiting round the corner for us. The fires and droughts that …] Is there a problem? [Interjections.] Hon member, won’t you just listen to me? You don’t have to look at me! [Laughter.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Please proceed, hon member. Order! Allow the member to proceed, please.

Ms C BOTHA: Die brande en droogte wat ons in die Vrystaat ondervind, raak almal daar, nie net die boere nie. ‘n Vriend van my, Dries Steyn van Hennenman, is ernstig verbrand tydens ‘n poging om brande te bestry. Edenville se woonbuurt Ngwathe steier onder deurlopende watertekorte wat aan die droogte toegeskryf kan word, en hulle kry tans goedgunstiglik water uit ‘n boorgat op ‘n naburige plaas vanwaar dit met ‘n watertenk aangery word wat tydelik by die Weermag geleen word.

Ek is terdeë bewus van die rampbestuurprogram wat in plek is, maar watter maatreëls is daar om toe te sien dat beskikbare hulp effektief en vinnig by die mense wat dit nodig het, uitkom? In die verlede het mense ekonomies ondergegaan terwyl hulle gewag het op beloofde hulp wat nie betyds gekom het nie. Die basis van ramphulp is nie om mense te vergoed vir hulle skade nie, maar net om hulle in staat te stel om weer te begin boer. Daarvoor benodig hulle lenings en subsidies om voer en saad te koop, lone te betaal en ‘n dak oor hulle koppe te kry. Spoed is essensieel, so ook maklike aansoekprosedures.

In die konteks van die kwesbaarheid van veral ons landelike gemeenskappe wil ek graag ‘n paar vrae aan die Minister rig, waarop ek nie onmiddellike antwoorde verwag nie, maar dit sal waardeer. Het die departement die vermoë om onmiddellike tussentydse hulp te verleen? Wie neem die verantwoordelikheid vir hierdie belangrike taak? Watter institusionele reëlings het die Regering getref om voedselsekuriteit-, gesondheids-, ekonomiese en ander risiko’s, soos deur die El Niño-verskynsel geïllustreer, te hanteer? Is hierdie reëlings genoegsaam en kan hulle oombliklik in werking gestel word? Is daar genoegsame vroeë waarskuwingstelsels in plek?

Terwyl 60% van Suid-Afrikaanse droogtes uit krag van El Niño verklaar kan word, word ander droogtes op ander plekke gegenereer. Het ons genoegsame data-insamelingsmeganismes om hierdie verskynsels te antisipeer? Is daar voldoende navorsingskapasiteit? Het die Regering ‘n lys van die kwesbaarste gemeenskappe met betrekking tot droogte en brande, oor toegang tot voedsel, watervoorsiening en gesondheidsdienste? Watter rol word vir nuwe strukture voorsien om in die plek van die kommando’s, wat uitfaseer word, op te tree om hulp aan te bied wanneer rampe ons tref? Word satellietwaarnemings beoog om die kondisie van veld en gepaardgaande brandgevaar te moniteer?

Daar is nog talle vrae, Minister, wat ek hoop u sal kan beantwoord. Ek hoop ook u sal ons die versekering kan gee dat boere en werkers, wat reeds hard geslaan is deur die natuur, nie ook deur die burokrasie in die steek gelaat sal word nie.

Ten laaste is dit natuurlik eintlik net die Goeie Vader wat ons kan beskut en beskerm, en ek hoor dit het al op verskeie plekke gereën, maar soos ‘n boervrou moet ek julle sê dis nie genoeg nie! Dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Ms C BOTHA: The fires and droughts that we are experiencing in the Free State affect everyone there, not only the farmers. A friend of mine, Dries Steyn van Henneman, suffered severe burns in an attempt to fight the fires. Edenville’s suburb of Ngwathe is staggering under continuous water shortages that can be ascribed to the drought, and they are at present kindly receiving water from a borehole on a neighbouring farm from where it is transported in a water tank that is temporarily borrowed from the Army,

I am well aware of the Disaster Management programme that is in place, but what measures are there to ensure that the available aid effectively and quickly reaches the people that need it. In the past people suffered economic ruin while they were waiting for the promised aid which did not reach them timeously.

The basis for disaster aid is not to compensate people for damages, but to enable them to start farming again. For this they need loans and subsidies to purchase feed and seed, to pay wages and to get a roof over their heads. Speed is essential, as well as easy application procedures

In the context of the vulnerability of particularly our rural communities, I would like to direct a few questions to the Minister, and I do not expect immediate answers but would appreciate it. Does the department have the ability to provide immediate interim aid? Who takes responsibility for this important task? What institutional arrangements has the Government made to deal with food security, health, economic and other risks, as illustrated by the El Niño phenomenon? Are these arrangements adequate and can they be implemented immediately? Are there sufficient early warning systems in place?

While 60% of South African droughts can be explained by El Niño, other droughts in other places are generated. Do we have sufficient data collection mechanisms to anticipate these phenomena? Is there adequate capacity for research? Does the Government have a list of the most vulnerable communities with respect to drought and fire, about access to food, water supply and health services? What role is foreseen for the new structures to react in the place of the commandos, that are being phased out, to lend assistance when we are struck by disasters? Are satellite observations envisaged to monitor the condition of the veld and the accompanying fire hazards?

There are many more questions, Minister, that I hope you will be able to answer. I also hope that you will be able to give us the assurance that farmers and workers, who have already been hit hard by nature, will not be let down by bureaucracy.

Finally, it is of course only the Good Father that can protect and keep us, and I hear that it has rained in several places, but as a boervrou [farming woman] I must tell you it is not enough! Thank you.]

Mr J O TLHAGALE: Madam Chairperson, hon Ministers and the hon House, an environmental meteorologist, Johan van den Berg, says there is currently no El Niño phenomenon affecting South African weather.

At the moment the temperatures of the oceans surrounding South Africa are normal, and we can expect normal, below normal, or above normal rains in the various provinces. My own cultural and nonscientific observation relating to the calving of local herds of cattle is that there is calving of more female calves than male ones, and this is interpreted as the coming of a good year.

The North West province has been affected by severe droughts and devastating, sporadic fires. The past rainy season ended in February so that the dry winter season, which started earlier in March, was longer than usual having lasted for nearly eight months to October. The available grass therefore did not reach its maximum growth and the available cattle feeds were very expensive. This problem has been further compounded by sporadic fires that break out from time to time on the farms and in communal areas.

In the past, when a fire broke out, the community would co-operate and join hands to extinguish the fire. However, it is different today. People who don’t own cattle argue that when they approach the cattle owners to buy a slaughter beast, the cattle owner in determining the price would stretch out all his fingers and even add his toes in order to make it as expensive as possible. This is the result of nonco-operation when a fire breaks out in a communal area or on a farm.

Notwithstanding the above, the province has received good widespread rains, which lasted two successive days last weekend and measured up to 80mm in certain places. In certain areas of the province some large stock and small stock which were in poor shape as a result of the severe drought were killed by the cold spell that accompanied the rain.

It is unlikely that this is the outbreak of anthrax disease, as has been alleged in the electronic media. Preliminary investigations are also discounting this allegation. However, more detailed investigations will be undertaken in Potchefstroom and Pretoria today to determine the cause of the deaths. I thank you, Madam Chairperson. [Applause.]

Mev A M VERSFELD: Chairperson.

… landbou is die sektor wat die meeste afhanklik is van weersomstandighede in Suid-Afrika. Daarom doen die DA ‘n beroep op die Regering om slaggereed te wees vir rampe, hetsy vuur, droogte of storms.

In die verlede het die Departement van Landbou ‘n afdeling van landboukrediet gehad wat assessore in diens gehad het om skade te bereken; nie berokken nie, bereken. Met die verval van die Landboukredietraad het hierdie assessore ook verdwyn, en het die Landbank die funksie oorgeneem van die Landboukredietraad. Maar die Landbank het geen voetwerkers wat skadeberekening kan doen van die skade wat plaasgevind het nie. Die DA doen daarom die beroep op die Regering om slaggereed te wees. Die nodige fondse, goeie strategieë, goeie beleid en goeie beginsels is nie goed genoeg as dit nie spoedeisend gedoen word en daar vinnig opgetree word nie. As landbou ly, ly Suid-Afrika, as Suid-Afrika ly, ly Afrika. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Agriculture is the sector most dependent on weather conditions in South Africa. Therefore the DA appeals to the Government to be ready for disasters, be they fire, drought or storms.

In the past the Department of Agriculture had an agricultural credit division that employed assessors to evaluate damages; not to cause, but to evaluate the damage. With the dissolution of the Agricultural Credit Board these assessors disappeared too, and the Land Bank took over the functions of the Agricultural Credit Board. However, the Land Bank has no footworkers to assess the damage that has been suffered.

The DA therefore appeals to the Government to be prepared. The necessary funds, sound strategies, good policy and good principles are not good enough if it is not done urgently and action is not taken quickly. If agriculture suffers, South Africa suffers, if South Africa suffers, Africa suffers. I thank you.]

Mr R M NYAKANE: Chair, the shortage of rain began in March 2001 in Limpopo. A year later, March 2002, the drought started to tighten its grip. The rain that fell during October till December 2002 could not raise the levels of the dams or rehabilitate and sustain fauna and flora, hence the high rate of livestock and game mortalities that took place. The most affected areas stretch from Messina, further down to north Mutale, down to the western region of Potgietersrus and further down to the central region, and the Bochum and Pietersburg areas. Those areas were heavily affected.

Of critical concern to the farmer is the following question: To what extent is the SA Weather Service, given that it is the custodian of expert knowledge in metereology, able to predict droughts, the degree of their severity, cycles, etc, to enable farming communities to take informed decisions? This is a crucial question posed by a farmer.

The UDM, however, appreciates and commends the Government for the R6 million grant to assist communal farmers who have sustained great losses of their livestock, although R87 million was the initial relief fund requested on the basis of a nucleus of 125 head of livestock per farmer. I thank you. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I must thank the members for the information that they have provided. Most of it is quite well known in the department. We have an extensive amount of information coming to us. I have the latest report with me on the 2003 summer season, which is compiled by the department’s Directorate of Agricultural Risk and Disaster Management.

I must perhaps just say to the provinces that I have the reports from all the provinces, except the following, which have not submitted their reports: Gauteng, the North West and the Northern Cape. These provinces have had considerable problems in this regard. I do suggest that you talk to your departments in the provinces.

I must say that it is quite interesting that although we have three Bills on the Order Paper today, as well as this debate, I do not see one MEC of agriculture here. In fact, I have counted the delegates here present. I think I counted about 26 or 27. That is very disappointing. The NCOP always asks the national Ministers to be present, and then we come here and we do not even see full delegations from the provinces, not a speaker for the MECs. Oh, there are about 33 members present. The number has grown since I counted. Isn’t the membership something like 90? [Interjections.] We can discuss that at another stage. I just want to say that we do expect the MECs to make inputs from their provinces in this type of debate.

Could I just comment that the hon delegate from the North West is quite correct. There is no El Ni-ño at the moment. We have a weak La Niña, which is actually on the verge of disappearing. The problem is the previous rainfall season of 2002 to 2003, which was below normal. Late rains were received everywhere this year, and some farmers, I know, welcomed the late rains as they had planted under dry land conditions, while others started planting. This was late, especially for the small-scale farmers. They have the biggest problems in terms of reacting to these conditions. During the season the entire country experienced a dry spell and high temperatures.

What we also need to say in this type of debate is that one must look at farming methods, and that is a task of the provincial departments of agriculture, which have the extension services, especially in very deprived traditional areas. Overgrazing is a problem there - let us say that for once and all. It is also understandable for socioeconomic reasons why we have that. But we have to work on that and also on farming methods and ploughing methods in general. The point is that the dams and the underground water were affected by the last season. We are expecting a normal season and we hope that it is going to go well.

Then, of course, we have these fires, which are becoming a terrible problem in South Africa at the moment. You must know that veld fire control legislation is in the hands of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Under that legislation, which is not satisfactory, you have a system of local associations of fire prevention. Those associations do not work everywhere.

In terms of that legislation there is a requirement that every farm must have a firebreak around it on all its borders. That is not happening because of the cost involved in making those firebreaks. This is actually also not a very wise prescription, because firebreaks must be planned according to geography and not according to artificial farm borders which sometimes do not fit the ecology of the area. The long-term solution is the insurance legislation that we are working on at the moment. We have developed policies, and I am surprised that the delegates have not read the policies on agricultural risk prevention which have been developed in our department. I think that you should ask for a briefing about this in your standing committee.

We have developed policy and draft legislation with regard to the management of agricultural risks. This will very soon be published for an extensive participation exercise. The agriculture risk insurance system that we are developing must obtain a subscription, to a very large extent, of farmers - about 60% - and then some insurance companies will underwrite it and reinsure it, and the state will also put money into that scheme. That is the way it is done in America, for example. This will cost the state money, but it is the best solution in the long run.

So, over a number of years this matter has been developed and quite an extensive consultation process has already been followed with the agriculture sector where this matter has been at the forefront of our strategy. We hope that the current consultative process will soon lead to a greater understanding of the needs in this sector.

Perhaps, partly answering delegate Botha’s questions, the Department of Agriculture has also established a national agrometereological committee. The members include representatives from the relevant directorates at national level, the provincial departments of agriculture, the Agriculture Research Council and the SA Weather Bureau. This committee issues a monthly advisory to the sector if the provinces give their information, which is not always the case as I have said. The advisories need to be widely distributed among all management levels down to the communities. I would really ask the delegates of this honourable body to assist in this regard. Any media can be used to disseminate the advisories.

The current impact due to drought should have been minimised. We have in our advisories continually advised farmers and the provincial departments of agriculture, through their extension services, to reduce their livestock in the light of the current conditions and to be prepared regarding veld fires.

You must distinguish three aspects of veld fires. Firstly, there is the preventive aspect. What do you do to prevent veld fires? This includes making fires, getting organised in certain communities where there is the risk of veld fires - everything possible that you can do to prevent the fires. The second aspect is perhaps the most difficult one and that is what you do during a veld fire - the actions required. It is not always possible to get helicopters out to an area. The third aspect is, of course, what to do after the fires have taken place. Thank you, Madam Chair. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Debate concluded.


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I now call on the chairperson of the Select Committee the Rev Moatshe.

Rev P MOATSHE: Hon Chairperson, the Deputy Minister, hon members and comrades, I just wanted to rectify what the Deputy Minister has hinted at. We are glad that he is concerned about attendance in this House, but obviously he must also be concerned about attendance in the National Assembly.

This is a special day. We were called specially to come and debate, and, as a result of that, we were unable to invite MECs to be part of this debate. Obviously, we always try to have them here and they do respond accordingly. I just wanted to rectify that. [Applause.]

Mr P A MATTHEE: Sorry, Chairperson …


Mr P A MATTHEE: May I ask the member a question? The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: The member who is speaking now, would you take your seat? Would you be prepared to take a question, Rev Moatshe?



Mr P A MATTHEE: Chairperson, would the member agree with me that on a counting of the members here I find 36 out of 54, which gives me 66,6% and not what the Minister indicated. I think the record should be put straight. Would he agree with me on that? [Laughter.] [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Proceed, hon member.

Rev P MOATSHE: Thank you, Chairperson. I do not think I have to respond to that. [Laughter.] I will take him to task after the session. It is an honour for me to debate this important subject that has a bearing on the entire South African society if we address the land question. Fundamental to our struggle for liberation was the element of restoring the dignity and respect of the people of South Africa, and also the indigenous people of our country in part, and the people of the African continent. Therefore today we are dealing with this significant piece of legislation, which touches the conscience of our people. Access to our land is a source of survival for our people, especially those living in rural areas.

This Bill, therefore, seeks to amend the Restitution of Land Rights Act which was passed in November 1994 which, inter alia, addressed the restitution of those rights in land that were dispossessed after 1913 as a result of the apartheid legislation.

Agb Voorsitter, laat my toe om ‘n paar woorde uit die Heilige Skrif aan te haal wat te doene het met dié grondsaak. Levitikus 25, vanaf vers 14, lees soos volg: [Hon Chairperson, allow me to quote a few words that deal with this matter of land from the Holy Scriptures. Leviticus 25, from verse 14, goes as follows:] If you sell land to one of your countrymen or buy any from him, do not take advantage of each other. You are to buy from your countryman on the basis of the number of years since the jubilee, and he is to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops.

The bearing here is that there is a time according to the Gospel - the Jubilee Year - which is since 1994, when we took this land over. It has to be declared a Jubilee Year where land is given back to the rightful owners.

That is what the Gospel says, and therefore … [Interjections.] … we thought everybody would be willing to return the land to its rightful owners, who were robbed of that land by the Land Act of 1913. It was again thought that we would all be reasonable and agree to speed up the process by resolving land claims by way of settlement agreements, rather than being forced to go to court. This meant, therefore, that land claims were based on the willing-buyer-willing-seller principle or arrangement. The main purpose of this amendment is to fast-track land claims and therefore considerably reduce and alleviate the huge land claims backlog that we now have. Clause 4, therefore, allows the Minister to purchase, acquire or expropriate land for the purposes of restitution and other reform purposes. In future, therefore, our Minister will not have to reach an agreement with relevant landowners or obtain a court order in order to expropriate land.

Another issue of concern is of the people who were very sceptical of this process when it was initiated, and who have now failed to honour their deadlines for their claims. Because they did not believe that our Government would deliver on its promises, they did not lodge their claims. Some were also not properly informed about the promises and missed the boat. On seeing now that claims were being settled, they requested that they be given another opportunity. That is also an issue that needs our consideration.

Agb Voorsitter, dit is waar, die Skrif sê nogmaals dat ons nie rykdom bymekaar mag maak waartoe roes en mot en dief toegang het nie. Dit wil sê ons mag nie selfsugtig wees nie; ons moet bereid wees om onder mekaar te verdeel. [Hon Chairperson, it is true, the Scriptures say once again that we may not gather wealth to which destruction and thieves have access. This means to say we may not be selfish; we must be prepared to share among one another.]

The opposition took issue with the power given to the Minister to expropriate land without a court order, and that the land could be expropriated for other land reform purposes besides restitution. Those concerns are just based on white fears and depict and reflect the conservative mindset which contributes to the resistance to the process of transformation of land in this country. Those people, inclusive of members of Agri SA and the Transvaal Agricultural Union, should not be allowed to undermine the delivery and pace of land reform objectives in this country.

What such people fail to realise is that the law of this country binds a Minister. Whenever a landowner or any affected person is not satisfied with a decision and action of the Minister, he or she has recourse to our courts of law - up to and including the Constitutional Court. Cognisance should also be taken of the fact that the constitutional rights of a landowner or holder of a right in land whose property or right is expropriated, is endorsed in section 42E(3) of the Act, wherein it is stated that section 25(3) of the Constitution should be complied with for expropriation purposes.

The amendment proposed is not in any way taking away the right of current owners to appeal decisions of the Minister. It prevents unnecessary delays in the process of restitution by unco-operative landowners. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

Mrs A M VERSFELD: Thank you, Chairperson. Section 34 of the Constitution determines:

Everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or, where appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or forum.

The chairperson’s remark in the standing committee on 17 September was that: ``The Government would not be arrogant in the expropriation of land and, therefore, an emotional response to the amendments was not justified.’’ Yet he justified the vicious and emotional attack on the DA for not participating in the process. The DA is being lambasted as being against restitution and transformation, and I would like to put on record that the DA fully and enthusiastically supports this restitution process, even to the extent of rejecting the Land Affairs budget since it falls so far short of what is needed to bring this shameful chapter that was introduced by the National Party in our history to a close. The DA rejected this Bill in its entirety and believes that it may be unconstitutional.

Soos ek in die komitee aangedui het, sal ek my redes in hierdie Huis bekend maak. Die basiese beginsel van vrye demokrasie is die skeiding van die drie sfere van regering: tussen die wetgewende, uitvoerende en regsplegende gesag. As daar nie skeiding van hierdie magte is nie, is dit Ikabod vir die demokrasie en vryheid.

Dit is dan ook die rede waarom die DA hierdie wetgewing in sy totaliteit verwerp en ons verwerp die beginsel - iets wat die Nuwe NP nooit sal verstaan nie, aangesien hulle nog altyd beginselloos was. [Tussenwerpsels.] Die angeltjies en die stertjies wat sogenaamd verwyder is, is ‘n voorbeeld van onkunde en/of diensbaarheid as Hansie my kneg. Die angel in hierdie wetsontwerp is die regsplegende gesag wat aan die Minister en haar amptenare gegee word - beslis nie ‘n onafhanklike tribunaal of forum nie.

Maar hoekom hierdie wetgewing? U sien, dit is nou weer verkiesing en dit sal dan glo die huidige proses van restitusie vertraag - dit is absolute snert! Die DA is op rekord dat ons die Grondeisehof geskakel het en gevra het of hulle oorwerk is. Hulle antwoord was: ``Glad nie, ons wag op sake van die Minister.’’ Nie net die DA nie, maar beide Cosatu en AgriSA het ‘n baie goeie begrip van die wetgewing en stem saam dat hierdie wetgewing nie ‘n verkorting van die restitusieproses is nie, aangesien die hofproses van appèl nog bestaan. Dit is dus nie ‘n verkorting van die restitusieproses nie, dit is slegs ‘n verskuiwing van die regsproses. Dit plaas nou die onus op die huidige eienaar om na onteiening as die nuwe eiser na die hof te gaan, nie oor die eienaarskap van die grond nie, maar slegs oor die prys wat hy sal ontvang. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[As I indicated in the committee, I will be making my reasons known in this House. The basic principle of free democracy is the separation of the three spheres of government; the separation of the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers. Without the separation of these powers it is all over with democracy and freedom.

This is the reason why the DA has rejected this legislation in its entirety and why we reject the principle - something the New NP will never understand, as they have always been unprincipled. [Interjections.] The little stings and tails that were supposed to have been removed are representative of ignorance and/or subservience, like a dogsbody. The sting in this Bill is the power of administration of justice that is conferred upon the Minister and her officials - definitely not an independent tribunal or forum.

But why this legislation? You see, with the elections coming around again this would supposedly slow down the current pace of restitution - that is absolute nonsense! The DA is on record as having contacted the Land Claims Court to ask them whether they were overworked. Their answer was: ``Not at all, we are awaiting claims from the Minister.’’

Not only the DA, but both Cosatu and AgriSA have a very good understanding of this legislation and agree that this legislation does not constitute a curtailment of the restitution process, because the court’s process of appeal is still there. So this is not a curtailment of the restitution process, but merely a shift in the legal process. It now places the onus on the current owner, after expropriation, to approach the court as the new claimant, not with regard to the ownership of the land, but only in respect of the price that he is to receive.]

No administrative justice Act can rectify this process. Why have the Land Claims Court working on a claim, if the Minister can achieve the same result through a stroke of the pen? This process sidesteps the Land Claims Court.

There is a saying that good law is written for bad Ministers - that does not mean that bad law should be written for good Ministers. The chairperson went so far as to say on record that she will only use this measure as a last resort. ``As a last resort’’ is not in the definition. It, therefore, means at the Minister’s discretion. The rule of law is the cornerstone of our Constitution, and not rule by discretion.

I conclude with the words of our former beloved President, Nelson Mandela: The key to the protection of any minority is to put core civil and political rights beyond the reach of temporary majorities by guaranteeing them as fundamental human rights, enshrined in a democratic Constitution.

I thank you, Madam Chair.

Nk B THOMSON: Sihlalo, sikhuluma ngodaba olubi oluvusa uhlevane njengoba ubonile nje ukuthi uVersveld impela uma elubeka lolu daba uze afune ukukhala izinyembezi ngoba engafuni ukuthi bahlukane nodedangendlale bamapulazi abo. [Inhlokomo.]

Kubuhlungu-ke ngoba, ngokwethu ukucabanga, besithi mhlawumbe abantu abafana ne-DA bazokwazi ukubonga lo Hulumeni owathatha leli zwe, ngoba mhlawumbe ukuba akuyena owathatha leli zwe ngabe seliwumlotha phela abantu befuna umhlaba wabo owathathwa ngesinxele.

Kuyiqiniso elingephikiswe lelo ukuthi lo mhlaba okukhulunywa ngawo ungumhlaba ongathathangwa ngesandla esihle. Ikakhulukazi bona laba abandlebezikhanyilanga abasebenzisani kahle noHulumeni ekutheni umhlaba ubuyiselwe kubantu, yingakho-ke sesiqhamuka naleli su lokuthi sichibiyele lo mThetho. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[Ms B THOMSON: Chairperson, we are addressing a very sensitive issue. As you may have noticed, when Versveld speaks about it, she almost cries because she does not want to let go of their huge farms. [Interjections.]

It is sad because, in terms of our own thinking, we thought perhaps organisations like the DA would thank this Government, which took this country because if it was not this Government, it would be in ashes; people wanting their land back, which was taken unlawfully.

It is an indisputable fact that this land we are talking about was taken unlawfully, especially by those whites who do not want to work with the Government to bring the land back to the people. That is why we came up with this strategy to amend this Act.]

The amendments proposed in this Bill reinforce the truth that unless we settle the land question, we do not have a country, and if we handle it badly we tear South Africa into pieces. If we manage it well, we create the foundations for a truly united nation. We should bear in mind that the massively unequal distribution of land is not just an unfortunate legacy of apartheid, it is the totally unacceptable continuation of apartheid.

This amendment, therefore, seeks to expedite the land restitution process in this country so as to be able to deal on the same par with human and social questions and problems; and also works towards the total deracialisation of the economy, and the full achievement of a secure legal regime for property rights that is respected by all.

While everybody has a contribution to make in resolving the land question, we, in the ANC, have a special responsibility. The claim to effectively and efficiently restore land rights is part of our history. If we turn our backs on the effective handling of the land question, we are no longer the ANC.

The main purpose of this amendment is to empower the Minister to acquire or expropriate land for purposes of restitution of rights to the land without necessarily acquiring a court order. As may be seen in section 42D of the principal Act, the Minister has limited powers to acquire land in the absence of a court order, unless an agreement is reached with the landowner as one of the interested parties. It should also be noted now that there is resistance from many landowners as far as co-operation with the restitution process is concerned.

Further problems which arise from the present provisions of the restitution Act are that although the land may originally be intended for restitution …

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Ms C BOTHA: Chairperson, may I ask the hon member a question?

Ms B THOMSON: Yes, you can.

Ms C BOTHA: Could you specify the number of cases where delays have occurred in the settlement of land claims?

Ms B THOMSON: Can you repeat that?

Ms C BOTHA: Hon member, you mentioned that there were delays in connection with land claims. Could you specify the number?

Ms B THOMSON: No, I wouldn’t specify the number but I know that there is a delay. I would’t specify the number - not at this stage.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Proceed, hon member.

Ms B THOMSON: Chairperson, further problems which arise from the present provision of the restitution Act are that although the land may originally be intended for restitution, subsequent events may indicate that the land should rather be used for other land reform purposes. This Bill, therefore, rectifies that anomaly.

It should also be borne in mind that section 42E also requires that the relevant expropriation must be procedurally fair by prescribing compliance with section 3 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of 2000.

Angazi-ke ngoba umhlonishwa uVersveld uyayiphikisa leyo. [I don’t know because hon Versveld disagrees with that.]

It should also be appreciated that this Bill, as presented at this time, will benefit a lot of our rural people who feel legitimate anger from decades of dispossession and impoverishment. There are also several hard- headed economic imperatives for tackling rural reconstruction. The amendment will also create a big opportunity for increasing productive employment, which is a crucial objective but difficult to achieve. There is an uncomfortable historical fact that such claims will not go away but fester into decades of debilitating conflict or war. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mnr A E VAN NIEKERK: Voorsitter, baie dankie. Ek sal later in die privaatheid met die agb Moatshe oor die uitleg van Levitikus wil gesels. Miskien stem ons nie heeltemal saam oor sy interpretasie nie.

Die Nuwe NP en die ANC was in verskeie gesprekke gewikkel oor hierdie wetsontwerp wat uitgeloop het op wysigings wat in die gekose komitee aanvaar is, bespreek is en wat die wet aanvaarbaar gemaak het. Hierdie wysigings verseker dat die wet net op die restitusie-eise toegespits is; en dat die agterdog wat die DA geskep het, dat dit algemene grondhervorming insluit, is uit die weggeruim. Dit maak ook voorsiening daarvoor dat gedeeltes van ‘n plaas wat na ‘n onteiening nutteloos of onekonomies mag wees, ingesluit kan word by die onteiening. Die grondeienaar hoef dus nie daarmee opgeskeep te sit nie. In ooreenstemming met die ANC en die Nuwe NP is die onteienings ook onderhewig aan die Wet op Administratiewe Geregtigheid wat die agb lid Versveld uit die aard van die saak nog nie gelees het nie.

Die Minister kan nie arbitrêr te werk gaan nie, want die administratiewe proses sal altyd aan geregtelike oorsig onderhewig wees. Die bedrag van vergoeding kan ook deur ‘n hof beslis word. Nou waarom hierdie wet? vra die agb Versveld. Sodat die DA dit kon misbruik en hoereer met mense se emosies daarbuite. Dit is wat hulle daarmee gedoen het. Maar die werklike rede is: die Grondwet sê daar moet so ‘n wet wees. Artikel 25 (2), gaan lees ‘n slag as jy kan, bepaal dat onteienings slegs deur middel van ‘n algemene wet kan plaasvind en hier is die algemene wet nou. Dit sal tog help as die agb Versveld nie soos ‘n opregte viswyf hier tekere gaan nie en dit … [Gelag.]

Die departement het verder onderneem om twee bepalings in die Handleiding tot Restitusie in te voeg, naamlik om te voorkom dat grondverwaarlosingsvereistes dit oorneem en dat die staat moet toesien dat die eiser genoegsaam bemagtig word om met die boerdery te kan voortgaan. Hierdie wet sal slegs as laaste uitweg gebruik word wanneer daar nie oor prys ooreengekom kan word nie. Die proses om vas te stel of ‘n eis geldig is en vertoë wat daarvoor gerig kan word, is nog presies dieselfde. Die Nuwe NP is egter nie oortuig dat dié wet ‘n towerstaf is wat restitusie noemenswaardig gaan versnel nie.

Die departement moet eerder toesien dat die masjinerie van Grondsake en die kommissarisse optimaal funksioneer en dat genoegsame fondse beskikbaar is. ‘n Voldoende moniteringstelsel om vordering en koördinering vas te stel, ontbreek ook steeds. Dit is waaroor die wysiginswetsontwerp in wese handel, maar die DA en die Vryheidsfront met hulle regse boerderyarm, die Transvaalse Landbou-unie sê dat die Minister omseil die Parlement met die wetsontwerp. Omseil, maar hier staan ons in die Parlement. Dit is die DA wat die Parlement ignoreer. In die portefeuljekomitee het die DA geraas en blaas, maar nie een wysiging voorgestel nie. Na die debat in die Nasionale Vergadering ignoreer die DA die Parlement se hoër Huis en sê hulle gaan die President versoek om nie die wet te promulgeer nie. Wat ‘n belaglikheid! In die gekose gekomitee sit die DA toe tjoepstil. Raas en blaas nie eers nie. Probeer nie die wet verbeter nie. Stem net daarteen met die dreigement dat die DA sy redes hier in dié debat sal gee. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, thank you very much. I would like to chat to the hon Moatshe about the interpretation of Leviticus in private later on. Perhaps we don’t quite agree with his interpretation.

The New NP and the ANC had several discussions about this Bill that resulted in amendments which were accepted and discussed by the select committee, and which made the Act acceptable. These amendments ensure that the Act is aimed only at restitution claims; and that the suspicion created by the DA, that this includes general land reform, is removed. They also provide that portions of a farm that may be uneconomical or useless after an appropriation may be included in the appropriation. The landowner therefore does not have to be saddled with it. In accordance with the ANC and the New NP the appropriations are also subject to the Administrative Justice Act, which the hon member Versveld has obviously not read yet.

The Minister may not act arbitrarily, because the administrative process will always be subject to judicial oversight. The amount of compensation can also be settled by a court. Why then this Act? the hon Versveld wants to know. So that the DA could abuse it and hurt the feelings of people out there. That is what they did with it. But the real reason is: The Constitution says that there must be such an Act. Section 25(2) - go and do some reading if you can - provides that appropriations can only take place by means of a general Act, and here we have the general Act. It would help if the hon Versveld would not act like a real fish-wife here … [Laughter.]

The department furthermore undertook to include two provisions in the Guide to Restitution, namely to prevent land-neglect requirements taking them over, and that the state must ensure that the claimant is adequately empowered to continue with the farming. This Act will only be used as a last resort when no agreement can be reached on price. The process of determining whether a claim is valid and representations that can be made for it remain exactly the same. However, the New NP is not convinced that this Act is the magic wand that will accelerate restitution in a significant way.

The department should rather see to it that the machinery of Land Affairs and the commissioners function optimally and that adequate funds are available. An adequate monitoring system to determine progress and co- ordination is also still lacking. That is what the Bill deals with essentially, but the DA and the Freedom Front with their right-wing farming arm, the Transvaal Agricultural Union, says: that the Minister is evading Parliament with this Bill. Evading! But here we are standing in Parliament. It is the DA that is ignoring Parliament. In the portfolio committee the DA made a racket, but did not propose one amendment. After the debate in the National Assembly the DA is ignoring Parliament’s higher House and saying that they are going to request the President not to promulgate the Act. How ridiculous! In the select committee the DA did not say a word. Did not even raise their voices. Did not try to improve the Act. Only voted against it, threatening that the DA would give its reasons here in this debate.]

And we have listened. We have listened to her master’s voice. [Laughter.]

Die genoemde DA-koalisie van wanhoop en verwarring gebruik die media om kiesers se emosies op te sweep en nie die probleem aan te spreek nie. Die DA is in eie geledere ook verward. Die agb Dan Maluleke, DA-woordvoerder oor Grondsake, lewer ‘n pleidooi dat restitusie-eise heropen moet word, maar die agb Andries Botha, DA-woordvoerder vir Landbou, sê dit is sommer net Maluleke se eie siening.

Die IVP stem ook nie saam met die DA of die Vryheidsfront plus minus sy bedmaats oor hierdie wet nie. Daar word gepraat van grondroof, oorlogverklaring van Zimbabwe, ‘n Zimbabwe aanslag op die grondreg van die individu. Dit is tyd dat die DA en sy regse trawante afsien van obstruksie- en versetpolitiek om slegs ‘n paar verwarde kiesers te wen. Die DA en sy regse trawante se benadering van verwar en regeer, is oneerlik en kan lei tot polarisasie en dit sal die bloedbad aanhits wat in die negentigjare afgeweer is. En dit mag nie - ons het genoeg daarvan gehad.

Om uitspraak in die hoofstroom politiek te hê, is om deel van oplossings te wees. Om DA te wees, is om geïsoleerd en gepolariseerd te wees. Anders as die DA wat sê, What is bad for South Africa, is good for the DA'', sê die Nuwe NP:What is good for South Africa, is good for all in South Africa and for Africa.’’ (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[The said DA coalition of despair and confusion uses the media to incite voters’ emotions and not to address the problem. There is also confusion in the DA’s own ranks. The hon Dan Maluleke, DA spokesman on Land Affairs, asks for restitution claims to be reopened, but the hon Andries Botha, DA spokesman for Agriculture, says that that is merely Maluleke’s own opinion.

The IFP also does not agree with the DA or the Freedom Front plus minus its bedmates about this Act. Mention is made of land robbery, declaration of war of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s onslaught on the land rights of the individual. It is time that the DA and its right-wing henchmen let go of obstruction and opposition politics merely to win over a few confused voters. The DA and its henchmen’s approach of confuse and rule is dishonest and can lead to polarisation, and that will encourage the bloodbath that was avoided in the nineties. And that cannot be - we have had enough of that.

To have a say in the mainstream of politics is to be part of the solution. To be DA is to be isolated and polarised. Unlike the DA which says, What is bad for South Africa, is good for the DA'', the New NP says: What is good for South Africa, is good for all in South Africa and for Africa.’’]

Let’s make restitution and land reform work for all in South Africa. We support the Bill. [Applause.]

Mr V V Z WINDVOЁL: Chairperson, Chief Makhoba of Kokstad said:

The fact that we have now got 10 000 hectares of our land back demonstrates the seriousness of this Government about reversing the humiliating effects of forced removals.

If you hear a chief leading a tribe of thousands of people saying these words, it confirms that the tide has turned. We are saying that these amendments, few may they be in terms of pages, have far-reaching powers in terms of enabling this Government to move forward and accelerate the restitution of land back to the real owners.

It is just disturbing to hear the member of the DA, who does not regularly participate in the committee, and in particular with regard to this Bill. She was given an opportunity to actually specify which areas in the Bill the DA or she herself objected to. This opportunity was not only given once, but three times and she couldn’t budge. I understand that she later whispered to a colleague: ``I didn’t have anything to say, but had to support the position I was given by my party’’. [Interjections.]

This questions the credibility and integrity of some of the members which are delegated by certain parties to participate in this august House and on its committees. We must put forward, in no uncertain terms, the obstructive and destructive role which the DA through its representative plays in our select committee. But, I must say, that if you have nothing to object to, then of course you can’t say anything.

Kuyaye kutsiwe nakukhulunywa ngeSiswati kutsiwe: Niketa Khesari lokukwaKhesari.'' [In Siswati it is usually said: Give what belongs to Caesar to Caesar.’’] [Interjections.] The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon member, will you take your seat. Yes, hon Botha?

Ms C BOTHA: Madam Chair, I want to object to the aspersions which have been cast on a legitimate member of the committee, and I’m raising an objection.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: That’s not a point of order! That’s your objection. What is the point of order?

Ms C BOTHA: The point of order is that there are unsubstantiated objections being made against a member.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: That’s not a point of order, hon member. Proceed, hon Windvoël.

Mr V V Z WINDVOЁL: Chairperson, the fact of the matter is that the DA is not playing any progressive role in terms of assisting the process of restituting land to its owners.

This is an exercise that does not need 150 000 members of the police. It’s not the same as when we were using people to force people off their land. We are peacefully and orderly, and also by the rule of law, taking people back to their land. The process is very clear, because what it says is that there will be a validation process and a verification process where the real beneficiaries will be the ones that are going back to the land. We can say with pride that many affected departments within Government have been consulted. Credible institutions, legal institutions, and even the Constitutional Court were consulted when this Bill was being drafted and also tabled in Parliament.

So to say that there are certain elements of unconstitutionality, I think, is something that should wait until we cross that bridge, if ever there is any bridge to cross. It will be of no use to create a bridge where there is no river, because we must allow this process to move smoothly and we must restitute land to the people who were forcibly removed from those areas. One can say nothing but that we should thank the majority of the people of South Africa who soberly voted for the ANC in 1994 and in 1999 to lead this country and to normalise the inequitable situation which we inherited, because if, by mistake, the PAC had come into power in a Government, some of the people would have been driven into the sea. [Laughter.]

So we are saying as the ANC that South Africa belongs to all of us. We know that some people do like fishing, but if you are thrown into the sea without being able to come back to land you will ultimately die. We are inviting everyone as the ANC to constructively and progressively participate in the process so that we normalise the situation.

We have said, and we are still saying that i-Afrika mayibuye. [Africa must be returned.] The ANC we will not be held down and held to ransom by such noises, but we will move forward and we support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Let me just say to Mr Piet Matthee as an aside that I counted the delegates when we started, and he was late, so he and the other members who arrived late were not counted. [Laughter.] But after I’d counted them in the beginning I gave my full attention to the Chairperson. I didn’t look towards the back again. [Interjections.] No, it was not so serious. We do these things between the Houses.

You know … No, perhaps I should wait with this bit until the hon Versfeld is back, because she needs to … [Interjections.] Oh, there she is in the back! There’s a fundamental misconception with which the DA is struggling. In actual fact, I would really recommend to her what Manie wrote in the Landbouweekblad of last week. I suspect he may be the editor, but Manie is one of the few people in this country who really understands what’s happening here, so really, we must think carefully.

She was talking about the trias politica, the separation of powers, and she said that was the central problem. Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand how it really works, because the power to expropriate is not a judicial function; it’s an executive function. It’s acknowledged like that all over the world. Why? Because to expropriate is to take a very strong step, if you have to do it; but you take the step of expropriation in the public interest, not to create a just decision like a judgement of a court would be. It’s an action which is taken in the public interest or for public purposes.

Now why is this then an executive function? Because it is a function which a Minister or a body which has been elected through an election process must decide, because that’s the whole idea of politics; a politician is supposed to know what is in the public interest because that’s why he has been elected. It’s acknowledged all over the world. In actual fact, in South Africa I only know of the Water Court which as a court also has expropriation powers.

Elsewhere, municipalities, provincial departments and organisation such as Eskom and Telkom all have expropriation powers for relatively far smaller matters than in the case of a major national issue such as restitution. So she’s fundamentally wrong. In actual fact, I see that she’s now putting it more softly than the hon Delport did in the Other Place when he said that this was definitely unconstitutional. I hear she’s now saying it may be unconstitutional. I dare the DA: Take this to the Constitutional Court. We’ll see you there, and you’re going to lose a lot of money because you’re going to lose the case! [Interjections.]

Let me just say this: What we’ve got here is a strict law. Expropriation is a serious business, and we do realise that, but it’s also a very fair and just law that we are passing here. Just go and look at it and read it, and try and understand it. Even if your normal subject is fishing, go and try and understand what is really stated here. It is meant to bring in section 34 of the Constitution. No-one has touched section 34; we haven’t touched it here! [Interjections.] Section 34 is there all the way! If you want to take an expropriation order, like any administrative act because it is an executive administrative act to court on review, you’re welcome. Section 34 is operative. No one has touched it.

Perhaps I should explain it to the delegates in this way: Suppose Government in this country wants to undertake a big public project such as building a new national road from east to west over Southern Africa, from Maputo to Walvis Bay; a big project and a new route that has to be followed, but you tell the Government: ``Please, Government, when you build this road you must work on the principle of willing buyer, willing seller. If you come to a farm and you want to build the road over that farm, you must please ask the farmer if he’d be prepared to sell that piece of land off to you.’’

Now you’ll get three types of farmers on the route for that road: The first one will say he’s in a bit of financial difficulty and he’s prepared to sell quickly to get rid of this piece of land so that the road can go ahead. The second farmer you’ll get to will think this is his chance to make money, so he’s going to ask three or four times the amount of money that the land is really worth, because he’s following the principle of willing buyer, willing seller.

The third farmer is against motorcars in principle. He believes that the Good Lord intended us to ride on horseback and not to drive cars, so he has a principled objection against roads in any event, and you wouldn’t get a piece of his land; you’d have to go around him. [Laughter.] I tell you, you will never be able to build that road! Now we come with a far bigger objective such as restitution, and that’s why we need it.

Mrs A M VERSFELD: Chairperson, would the Deputy Minister be prepared to take a question?


Mrs A M VERSFELD: I would just like to know with which Bill the Minister is busy now, because he’s now talking about expropriation for public use, and we’re actually here because of the restitution of land and expropriation therefor. I would like to know.

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: With great respect, Chairperson, now she’s getting really … I wonder what she’s going to sip when she goes out there. [Laughter.] It must be water which is affecting her so much! [Laughter.] Now the Constitution in section 25 …

Mrs A M VERSFELD: Chairperson, on a point of order … [Laughter.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We have quite a long programme before us, so we want to proceed. Yes, hon member?

Mrs A M VERSFELD: I would like the Deputy Minister to explain what he was suggesting by that remark.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: The Deputy Minister suggested that you had a drink of water when you went outside the chamber. That’s what I understood.

Mrs A M VERSFELD: A drink of water? A sip of water?

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: That is what he said. [Laughter.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: No, the point is this, if I could answer the hon member in this way: Section 25 of the Constitution says you can expropriate in terms of the law of general application for public purposes or in the public interest. In actual fact, the general Expropriation Act, which is dated - and I must say that - must be brought up to speed with the new Constitution of 1996. It’s not, in all respects, in compliance with the new Constitution. So there is work being done - the general Expropriation Act of 1975 falls under the Department of Public Works, and I know that they’re working on it. But the requirements for public purposes'' andin the public interest’’, are provided via section 25 of the Constitution. Yes, really, it is. Don’t shake your head about it. [Laughter.] Read it! It is there in the Constitution

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Deputy Minister, would you please address the Chair? [Laughter.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Oh, I am sorry, Madam. My apologies. Chairperson, what we have here is, as I’ve said, a strict matter, because all law is in a certain sense strict, but fair and just. The amendments, and I must thank the New NP for their support of this Bill, and especially for bringing in the reference - that’s what they asked for and it was in the previous draft - to the Judicial Matters Amendment Act of 2000, which has been included. The heart of the matter in the proposed section 42E, as inserted by clause 5, is that the words that are used there are: `` … who is entitled to restitution …’’.

In other words, there must be, as it is called technically, an objective jurisdictional fact. There must be certainty that a person or a group is entitled to restitution. Then you can go on to an expropriation in this respect. [Interjections.]

The other situation, which I think Mr Van Niekerk also referred to, is that one must think economically and agriculturally when one makes a restitution. You’ll often have a situation in which 50 people had been removed forcibly from a particular piece of land. Now their children and grandchildren have a right to restitution, but by this time they may be 1 000 or 1 500 people. To get them back on that piece of land would sometimes not be an economical proposition. That is acknowledged all over the world. You must be able to expropriate other land which stands in relation to this specific claim, as is now very definitely stated in subsection (1)(b) of the proposed section 42E.

For example, you get it in American law. There’s a lot of famous cases. For example, there was one in which a slum had to be cleared, I presume in New York, so the legislation gave the power to expropriate slums. [Interjections.] No, no … [Interjections.] Just ignore her! [Laughter.] When they exercised this power to expropriate for the slum clearance they saw that they couldn’t rehabilitate it in an economical way if they didn’t expropriate an area next to it as well, but which was not a slum. So the American court said: ``No, that is reasonable and just that that area next to the slum, to make it a real rehabilitation of this area, can also be expropriated’’. [Interjections.]

And that is exactly what we’re now doing in this amendment. To make economic and agricultural sense, you must ensure that the whole restitution should be seen as a project also for socioeconomic purposes. [Time expired.]

Debate concluded.

Bill, subject to proposed amendments, agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.

            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

Dr E A CONROY: Agb Voorsitter, Adjunkminister, Minister van Arbeid en kollegas, te oordeel aan die werkswinkels en seminare asook nuusbriewe en weeklikse rubrieke oor deeltitelaangeleenthede op die Internet en in die belangriker nuusblaaie, is dit duidelik dat openbare belangstelling oor dié onderwerp al hoe meer prominent op die voorgrond begin tree.

Hierdie neiging is heeltemal verstaanbaar indien die statistiek oor deeltiteleienaarskap in ag geneem word. Die waarde van deeltiteloordragte oor die afgelope ses jaar het byvoorbeeld van R6,6 miljard in 1997 tot ‘n verstommende R51,4 miljard in 2002 toegeneem. Dié waardes het oor die jare 1997 tot 2002 redelik konstant gegroei van die reeds genoemde R6,6 miljard tot R14 miljard in 2001, en dié viervoudige sprong verlede jaar. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Dr E A CONROY: Hon Chairperson, Deputy Minister, Minister of Labour and colleagues, judging by the workshops and seminars as well as newsletters and weekly articles on matters relating to sectional title on the Internet and in the more important newspapers it is clear that public interest in this subject is beginning to step more prominently into the foreground.

This trend is understandable if the statistics on sectional title ownership is taken into consideration. The value of sectional title transfers over the past six years, for example, increased from R6,6 billion in 1997 to an astounding R51,2 billion in 2002. These values grew reasonably consistently between 1997 to 2002 from the aforementioned R6,6 billion to R14 billion in 2001, and then this fourfold jump during last year.]

Chairperson, sectional titles already contain the basic mechanisms to nurture the growth of individual home-ownership. The importance of sectional titles for sound urban development and as an urban housing format cannot be underestimated and it will become even more important in the decades ahead. And, with that growing number and importance, the need for suitable management tools also grows and becomes considerably more complicated.

There are therefore still challenges of compelling importance to be addressed which relate to the suitability of the legislation in our African environment and it is generally accepted that, with such a phenomenal growth in sectional title ownership, sophisticated legislation should be in place and needs to keep pace with new developments and requirements.

It is for that reason, that not only in this House, but also widely in the sectional title fraternity, further amendments to the existing Acts were and still are propagated. The Bill under discussion today is therefore widely appreciated and any criticism that might be voiced against certain aspects of it should be seen as constructive. This process of renewal, so to speak, does not end with these amendments but it is understood from the Department of Land Affairs that the legislation will undergo further adjustments and amendments as more controversial issues crop up in practice.

The announcement by the hon Deputy Minister of Land Affairs that the possibility and practicality of the appointment of a sectional title ombudsman, a matter which was mentioned in various speeches and was the subject of various questions in this House, is being studied by an interdepartmental committee, is welcomed. According to the Deputy Minister, the exploratory research conducted by this committee in consultation with the stakeholders, also in foreign jurisdictions, will look into matters like self-regulation, co-regulation, the formation of special sectional title courts or tribunals and, of course, the formation of a sectional title ombudsman or adjudicator. The final stages would be to estimate the costs involved in the implementation of the recommended policy options, including the financing of an ombudsman.

As far as the present Amendment Bill is concerned, we would like to comment as follows: In the past, amendments to the Sectional Titles Act have usually reflected the thinking of the persons and institutions involved with the technical application of the Act, like the Deeds Registries, the Surveyor General, land surveyors and conveyancers, the banking sector and bodies representing the interests of developers.

This amendment has, for the first time, demonstrated a clear shift in emphasis towards the interests of owners who are, after all, the largest and most important group in the sectional title environment. For this reason alone, the Bill must be commended and has in fact been widely welcomed by commentators in the industry. The substance of the amendments deal with important issues and will contribute towards the clarity of a statute which already enjoys international acclaim as a model of sectional title legislation.

It is imperative that the focus remains on the needs of the home owner, that government structures are geared to participate in such focus, and that future legislative amendments be approached in consultation with individuals and organisations closely involved with the administration of the Act in the consumer environment. It is therefore imperative that the composition of the Sectional Titles Regulation Board should also receive attention in future amendments. At present, the board consists of representatives of the department, the Registrar of Deeds, the banking sector, estate agents and property developers while the most important component, namely the owners of sectional title property themselves, do not enjoy any representation at all.

Maybe the time has come for sectional title owners to organise themselves in a voluntary national association to represent their own interests and to make their collective voices heard in the fora where decisions are taken on their behalf. If a portion of the industry managed to organise themselves in the National Association of Managing Agents, there is no reason why owners cannot do the same. Hopefully some caring and enterprising owners will take this bold step.

On behalf of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, I request the House to support the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, 2003. I thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

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


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

Ms B N DLULANE: Hon Deputy Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, the Spatial Data Infrastructure Bill, tabled for our consideration today, is an attempt to achieve co-ordination with respect to the gathering, managing and dissemination of spatial data and information, in order to enable spatial information-driven planning and decision-making.

Cognisance should be taken of the fact that the national spatial information framework will facilitate the determination of a policy which promotes access to existing spatial or geographic information, the integration of such information from diverse sources and the reuse of such information.

The objective of the Bill, amongst other things, is to provide for the establishment of the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure for the regulation of the collection, management, maintenance, integration and distribution of spatial or geographic information, amongst other things. As in all situations of this nature, provision is made that the state’s information resources be used effectively and efficiently and that they also be shared as required and expected.

As enshrined in our Constitution, the Bill also gives effect to the constitutional right of access to information held by the state, as well as that held by other persons, when needed, for the exercise or protection of rights. The importance of this piece of legislation cannot be overemphasised as globally it is realised that spatial information forms part of the infrastructure needed to further development. Spatial data infrastructure refers to the technology, policies, standards, and human resources necessary to acquire, process, store, distribute and improve the utilisation of geospatial data.

In conclusion, this Bill is well supported by all structures that were consulted and is also an important piece of legislation in our country, as correctly alluded to in the above. I thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

Bill, subject to proposed amendments, agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M J Mahlangu): I now call the chairperson of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, the Rev Moatshe.

Rev P MOATSHE: Chairperson, Ministers, hon members, the Bill before us today seeks to regulate the profession of fresh produce and livestock agents so as to render them independent from control by any institution, inclusive of our Government. Therefore, the profession is to be self- governing and will not rely on Government funding or any other institution for that matter.

The Amending Bill is aimed at correcting practical deficiencies which have surfaced with the passing of time and are now no longer applicable due to change in time and trends within the sector they belong to; and also to accommodate present-day concepts such as good corporate governance.

The objectives of this amendment are mainly to reconstitute the governing body or the agents council and to facilitate Government policy on representivity, as well as to enhance good corporate governance. The Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs requests this House to support this Bill. I thank you.

Debate concluded.

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


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

Mr H T SOGONI: Deputy Chairperson, the Minister present today and hon members, please allow me on behalf of the Select Committee on Finance to present the following statement on the Government Employees Pension Law Amendment Bill. May I also request hon members to give their support to and vote in favour of the Bill.

The Bill amends the Government Employees Pension Law of 1996 to provide for the recognition of service rendered in a nonstatutory military force or service. At the World Trade Centre, political parties agreed on the integration of the nonstatutory forces, that is the armies belonging to the liberation movements such as uMkhonto weSizwe or the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army, and the statutory forces, namely the SA Defence Force and the defence forces belonging to the TBVC states. The interim Constitution of 1993 provided for such an integration …

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Sorry, hon member, you are speaking on the Government Employees Pension Law Amendment Bill?

Mr H T SOGONI: Yes, Sir.

The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: We are actually considering the Special Pensions Amendment Bill.

Mr H T SOGONI: No, that’s not it. The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Yes. So, you will be speaking later on. Thank you, hon members. As there is no speakers’ list, I shall now put the question.

Order disposed of without notice.

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


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

Mr H T SOGONI: Thank you, Chairperson. Hon members, please allow me on behalf of the Select Committee on Finance to present the following statement on the Government Employees Pension Law Amendment Bill. May I also request hon members to give their support to and vote in favour of the Bill.

The Bill amends the Government Employees Pension Law of 1996 to provide for the recognition of service rendered in a nonstatutory military force or service.

At the World Trade Centre, political parties agreed on the integration of nonstatutory forces, that is the armies belonging to the liberation movements, such as uMkhonto weSizwe or the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army, and the statutory forces, namely the SA Defence Force and the defence forces belonging to the TBVC states.

The interim Constitution of 1993 provided for such an integration. Item 24(1) of Schedule 6 of the final Constitution, Act 108 of 1996, also provided for the continuation of the programme of integrating the aforementioned statutory and nonstatutory forces.

In 1998, at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council the state as the employer agreed with the trade unions representing employees to improve salaries and other conditions of service for employees in the Public Service. This agreement is contained in Resolution 7 of 1998 of the PSCBC. The parties at the bargaining council agreed that:

The Government Employees Pension Fund shall increase the pensionable years of service or implement other measures for employees disadvantaged by past racial and gender discrimination related to pensions.

The former members of the nonstatutory forces were at a disadvantage, compared to the ex-members of the statutory forces, as they had had no opportunity previously to be members of the Government Employees Pension Fund and its contributors. The result is, of course, disparity regarding the recognised period of pensionable service.

The consequence of this recognition is that members of the nonstatutory forces qualify to apply to the Government Employees Pension Fund to have their service in the nonstatutory forces recognised as pensionable service. Pension benefits of the former nonstatutory members who already have benefits in terms of the Special Pensions Act, Act 69 of 1996, shall be reduced accordingly. The Bill therefore seeks to redress the past imbalances and to put the former members of the nonstatutory forces on a par with the ex-statutory forces.

An amount of about R1,5 billion has been set aside to meet the objectives of the Bill and over R500 million has been set aside to finance the employer’s contribution; and affected members are also expected to meet their share of the costs.

The select committee is satisfied that a thorough and complete process was followed to negotiate a favourable or better deal that should fairly benefit all the categories of the former nonstatutory force members.

During the briefing and discussion on the Bill, the select committee was also made aware of further improvements on the proposed benefits for the members concerned, as a result of earlier proposals and discussions in the Portfolio Committee on Finance.

The select committee is also satisfied that sufficient consultation was made, especially with the former nonstatutory forces who are represented on the defence council. Once more, I request hon members to support the Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

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


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

UMPHATHISWA WEZABASEBENZI: Mhlalingaphambili, mandiqale ngokulungisa lowo ubesenza umgaqo-nkqubo walapha. Andinguye uMdladla; zange ndibe nguye. Oko ndaba nguMdladlana, mhla ndazalwa yintombi yaseMaBheleni kwaTsengiwe. [Uwelewele.] Ndiyacela ke torho kungabe kuphinde kuthiwe ndinguMdladla. Ndiyicela loo nto ndibhekisa kuwe, Mhlalingaphambili. Noko indikhathazile into yokwenziwa uMdladla. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.) [The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Chairperson, let me first correct the person who prepared this policy. I would like to make the point that I am not Mdladla. I have never been him. I have always been Mdladlana ever since my mother, Miss Tsengiwe, the daughter of the amaBhele, gave birth to me. [Interjections.] I would like to plead with people not to call me Mdladla. I am asking that with due respect, hon Chairperson. I do not like that at all.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Mhlonishwa, ngingathi njena sixolisa kakhulu. Kusho ukuthi kube yiphutha, njengezidalwa zikaThixo. [Honourable, I would like to apologise. It was a mistake; as God’s creatures.]

The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Hayi, ngiyabonga, Sihlalo. Malungu eNdlu ahloniphekileyo, kuluvuyo kum ukufumana eli thuba lokuthi thaca kule Ndlu lo Mthetho uYilwayo wokuphuhlisa izakhono zabantu esithe sawuxabangela ngokuncothula nokususa iziphene ezithile, ukusinika amandla okuthi siqinisekise ukuphuhliswa kwezakhono zabantu ngaphandle kwamakhwiniba. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[Thank you, Chairperson. Honourable Members of the House, it is a pleasure to be granted this opportunity to present this Bill here, a Bill whose objective is skills development and which also has been amended where it was necessary and which has so much empowered us that we can now ensure that people’s skills are developed without hassles.]

In the five years that have passed since this law come into operation, literally millions of people have been trained under its banner. Many of these people have been the workers who keep our economy running in all the mines, offices, shops, factories and our homes. With the training they have received, we believe that the productivity and competitiveness of their workplaces have been improved, as well as their own employment security and prospects.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of unemployed people have also been trained - young and old - to find work in the formal labour market, to create their own income-generating opportunities, or to participate in social development projects that aim to improve the lives of their communities and the households that constitute them. The skills revolution that the legislation was intended to unleash is, indeed, well under way. The amendments set out to remedy the challenges that have had to be faced in the process of implementation.

Whilst many of the achievements that I have just alluded to are the product of the hard work on the part of many of the Sector Education and Training Authorities, or Setas as they are called, it is a matter of public record that some of the Setas have not worked well. Allies and opponents alike have forcefully brought the problems to the public’s attention, because they are concerned to see every cent collected under the skills levy for training delivery being spent properly, and certainly not wastefully or fraudulently. I agree completely with this view. It has been patently painful for me to watch incidents of poor performance, inadequate accountability and, in some instances, financial impropriety. In a country where the rule of law reigns supreme, I can only exercise powers which have been conferred on me by law. The current law does not allow me to adequately intervene and address matters that many of you have correctly complained about in relation to the operation of Setas.

My first response was to highlight this problem to our social partners whose representatives sit on the governing boards of these Setas. I was thrilled when the social partners accepted the challenge and made the commitments they did at the Growth and Development Summit.

You will remember that both business and labour said that they would ensure that their representatives on the Seta boards were at a sufficiently senior level to take meaningful decisions and provide strategic direction, and that they would ensure that they were adequately prepared for this responsibility. Hopefully in the future they will stand to account when problems arise. I will not have to take the heat alone, as is currently happening - not that I am scared of the heat. After all, I do not sit on the board of any Seta.

However, I must accept that ensuring that the Skills Development Act’s purposes are achieved is my responsibility. And, in summary, the central reason for the amendments is to give me the right to fix the problems that have arisen so that the skills revolution can accelerate at a pace without being drawn back by the negative publicity that the bad apples attract.

When considering the changes to the law, I had a choice. I could attempt to remedy each and every problem as it arose, or I could clarify my expectations of good, efficient performance and transformatory practice for all Setas and then put in place procedures to target those who deviate from this. I have chosen the latter course. I felt that the former course would lead to an ad hoc set of prescriptions, which would increasingly skew the playing field in ways that would eventually undermine the universal training agenda we are trying to put in place.

So you will see in these amendments a new obligation on all Setas to enter service-level agreements with the Department of Labour that clearly set out performance outcomes and very clear steps should any Seta fail to meet its obligations in terms of these agreements. For example, I shall have the power to instruct Setas to remedy a problem and if they fail to do so, then this would itself constitute grounds for the takeover of their administration.

Some feel, I know, that giving me the power to set salaries for staff and allowances for board members is going too far. That is the board’s responsibility, they say. But, again let me say that the need for this intervention arose in response to the public outcry about these matters and where the social partners’ representatives on Seta boards, who had the authority to set reasonable standards in this regard from March 2000, have failed to do so. However, those who are concerned that I will exercise this power in an arbitrary way that interferes with the performance of Setas need not worry. It is precisely in order to promote Seta performance that I am introducing these measure, and so a fair balance will be found, following a fair and transparent process.

There are other changes to the Skills Development Act that have been occasioned by other implementation problems. In regard to private employment agencies, for example, there are those of you in this House who will recall the case that was highlighted in the media last year in which it was found that young women were being recruited by unscrupulous private- employment agencies from the rural areas with the promise of domestic work here in Cape Town. They were ferried to town in taxis that they were later expected to pay for, kept in barrack-like conditions and then hired out at extremely low rates of pay. Most of the agencies engaged in this practice were not registered with the Department of Labour, but ambiguities in the legislation made it unnecessarily difficult to close them down.

The proposed amendments put the matter beyond doubt. All private agencies will be expected to be registered, and will only be registered if they comply with decent work practices. Their failure to do so will undoubtedly lead to their closure. I salute those in the private-sector employment agency industry who have supported this measure, demonstrating their commitment to cleaning up this industry.

Not all the amendments are aimed at solving negative problems. However, in the interests of time I will just highlight one positive measure. These amendments are introducing the employment and skills development agencies, as I’ve already indicated. These agencies are going to assist and accelerate the uptake of learners in learnerships by taking away from smaller employers and even nongovernmental agencies all the hassles of administering learnerships. There will be no reason for any firm not to take on learners after this amendment. They’ve always been complaining that there is an administrative battle involved. Now we are establishing an Employment and Skills Development Agency in order to overcome those problems.

Indeed, I support the call of the National Youth Commission that every single employer has at least one learner. Only on this scale will we be able to achieve both our growth and development target of 72 000 learners by May 2004 and the National Skills Development Strategy target of 80 000 by March 2005.

There are other amendments of a technical nature that bring this piece of legislation in line with the Public Finance Management Act and provide for the funding of the administration of the National Skills Fund from its own resources. I trust that hon members who are committed to the objectives of the skills revolution will support these proposed amendments and also do their bit within their spheres of influence to ensure that our skills revolution becomes a resounding success. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs C NKUNA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, as we report on the progress made in implementing the Skills Development Act, we must also say that much work has been done and many significant strides have been taken to undo the injustices of the past. The amendments contained in the Bill seek to respond to policy shortfalls, and, amongst other things, their purpose is to ensure that the Minister has power regarding the administration and regulation of the Setas.

These policy shortfalls have precluded the Minister from making the necessary and strategic interventions regarding the failure of the Setas to act in accordance with the contract and the contents of the Skills Development Act. Surely the proposed amendments will ensure that the Minister is given powers to ensure efficiency regarding the implementation of the Skills Development Act. It is our conviction that, upon adoption of these amendments, issues that were not covered by this Act will be addressed.

This Government inherited a society that was characterised by poverty, unemployment and unskilled labour. There are efforts and programmes in place that are meant to develop the skills at the previously disadvantaged communities and groups in order to ensure that they meaningfully participate in and contribute to the economic development of our country.

Last week I attended a skills development strategy conference at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg. I saw and heard how people are being equipped with skills and how they are being empowered. Allow me to say that I anticipate a situation in which towards the end of the next decade, which we are about to enter, we as South Africans will enter the global market and compete successfully as a result of the programmes that are being put in place. Our community will be in a position to respond to challenges such as poverty, job creation opportunities and the globalisation challenges that I have already alluded to.

Amongst other things, these amendments are aimed at ensuring the proper functioning and effectiveness of the Sector Education Training Authority and institutions such as the Umsobomvu Fund by ensuring that they respond to poverty alleviation and to human resources development needs.

Allow me to direct my input to the hon Minister. We would like to thank the hon Minister sincerely for the manner in which he intervened in the ZZ2 farm issue, where farmworkers were arbitrarily fired. They have now taken back their respective jobs. Hon Minister, we thank you for the efforts that you made in doing that. Thank you. [Applause.]

Me C BOTHA: Agb Voorsitter, daar is 25 van die sogenaamde Setas, of sektorale outoriteite, om opleiding en onderwys te verskaf aan spesifieke sektore van die ekonomie. Hul rol is om vir elke sektor vaardigheidsplanne te ontwikkel, tendense in die sektor te beskryf en die vaardighede wat in aanvraag is te identifiseer en dan te prioritiseer. Daarna is hulle veronderstel om planne te implementeer, kwalifikasies by die Nasionale Kwalifikasie Raamwerk te registreer, opleidingsinstansies te akkrediteer en aan die Minister verslag te doen.

Niemand argumenteer oor die noodsaaklikheid om die vaardigheidsvlak van Suid-Afrikaners te verbeter nie. Juis ons gebrek aan vaardighede lê ten grondslag aan die hoë vlak van werkloosheid wat ons ondervind, en daarom moet ons alles moontlik doen om hierdie onreg ongedaan te maak. Daarbenewens verander die behoeftes van die mark vinnig, en vorige kwalifikasies voldoen nie noodwendig aan huidige markvereistes nie. Maar die bestaande wetgewing het nie verseker dat Setas hulle aansienlike bates op die nodige opleiding bestee nie. Sommige het enorme somme geld in hul bankrekenings wat nie aangewend is vir dít waarvoor dit bestem was nie - soos die Minister ook te kenne gegee het.

Miljoene rande, wat kom van werkgewers se verpligte 1% maandelikse heffing op salarisse, lê onbenut in sekere Setas se bankrekeninge. Tien persent van hierdie fondse is veronderstel om na administrasie te gaan, 70% kan teruggeëis word en 20% is bestem vir die nasionale vaardigheidsfonds. Baie werkgewers beskou egter hul bydrae as nog ‘n belasting, en sien nie kans om deur die burokratiese prosedure te gaan wat nodig is om die geld terug te eis nie.

Die wetsontwerp voor die Huis vandag probeer om van hierdie tekortkominge aan te spreek deur vir die Minister meer magte te gee. Die DA is van mening dat hierdie magte eerder by die DG tuishoort. Daar word ook veranderinge aangebring om die administrasie van die fonds in lyn te bring met ander statutêre fondse en verpligte ekwiteitsvereistes vir die bestuur van die personeel van Setas. Die DA is ook nie oortuig dat laasgenoemde vereiste die nodige verbetering in die prestasies van Setas teweeg gaan bring nie, aangesien dit nie noodwendig die bestuur sal verbeter nie. Ten spyte hiervan het sekere Setas ongetwyfeld suksesse behaal en het 2,3 miljoen werkers verlede jaar aan programme deelgeneem.

Minister, ‘n derde van Suid-Afrikaanse werkers is werkloos. Hulle het nie die vaardighede wat in aanvraag is nie, en daarbenewens het ons ‘n hoogs gereguleerde arbeidsmark wat miljoene werkers effektief uit die werk hou. Dit is u verantwoordelikheid om toe te sien dat Suid-Afrikaners beide opleiding en werkgeleenthede het. Alle struikelblokke moet uit die weg geruim word. As hierdie wysiging nie help om die Setas effektiewer te maak nie, moet hulle geskrap word en ‘n nuwe plan gevind word. Nietemin, die DA steun die wysingswetsontwerp. Baie dankie. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)

[Ms C BOTHA: Hon Chairperson, there are 25 of these so-called Setas, or Sector Education and Training Authorities, to provide education and training to specific sectors of the economy. Their role is to develop a skills plan for each sector, describe the trends in the sector, and identify and prioritise the skills that are in demand. Then they are supposed to implement the plans, register the qualifications with the National Qualifications Framework, accredit training institutions, and report to the Minister.

Nobody disputes the necessity to improve the skills level of South Africans. It is precisely our lack of skills that is fundamental to the high unemployment rate we are experiencing, and therefore we should do everything in our power to undo this injustice. In addition to that, the needs of the market change quickly, and previous qualifications do not necessarily measure up to the current market requirements. But the existing legislation did not ensure that Setas spent their substantial assets on the necessary training. Some have enormous amounts of money in their bank accounts which have not been used for the intended purpose - as the Minister has also indicated.

Millions of rands from the employers’ compulsory monthly levy of 1% on salaries are left unused in the bank accounts of some Setas. Ten percent of these funds are supposedly for administration, 70% can be reclaimed and 20% is set apart for the National Skills Fund. However, many employers regard their contributions as another form of tax, and are not prepared to go through the bureaucratic procedure necessary to reclaim the money.

The Bill tabled before the House today tries to address some of these shortcomings by giving more powers to the Minister. The DA is of the opinion that these powers should rather be vested in the DG. Changes are also being made to align the administration of the fund with other statutory funds and compulsory equity requirements for managing the Setas’ staff. The DA is also not convinced that the latter requirement will bring about the necessary improvement in the achievements of the Setas, as it will not necessarily improve the management. Despite this some Setas undoubtedly achieved success, and 2,3 million workers participated in programmes last year.

Minister, one third of South African workers are unemployed. They do not have the skills which are in demand, and in addition to that we have a highly regulated labour market that effectively keeps millions of workers out of jobs. It is your responsibility to see to it that South Africans have both training as well as job opportunities. All obstacles should be removed. If this amendment does not help to make Setas more effective, it should be scrapped and a new plan be found. Nevertheless, the DA supports the amending Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]]

Mnr F ADAMS: Agb Voorsitter, Minister en lede van die Raad, myns insiens is hierdie wetgewing streng gesproke werklik nodig, want werkloosheid, armoede, HIV/Vigs, geweld en behuisingsnood is steeds van die grootste faktore wat ons pla in die land.

Ek beoog nie om die Raad se tyd met ‘n paar steriele argumente te mors nie. Ek wil die Minister en die departement bedank vir ‘n wonderlike wetsontwerp wat voorberei is. Ek wil graag versoek dat die toepassing daarvan streng gedoen word. Die Nuwe NP steun die wetgewing. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)

[Mr F ADAMS: Chairperson, Minister and members of the Council, to my mind this legislation is, strictly speaking, really necessary, because unemployment, poverty, HIV/Aids, violence and the housing shortage are still some of the major factors that bother us in this country.

I do not seek to waste the time of this Council with a few sterile arguments. I want to thank the Minister and the department for drafting an excellent Bill. I would like to request that it be strictly enforced. The New NP supports the legislation. I thank you.]

Mnu M J BHENGU: Sihlalo, ngithanda nje ukusekela usihlalo wami wekomidi umama uNkuna kwasekushilo, nokunye nje osekushiwo umhlonishwa uNgqongqoshe. Cha, siyabona baba, abangaboni ngicabanga ukuthi bancane kunalabo ababonayo ukuthi uyasebenza. Thina nje siyabona ukuthi uyasebenza impela ngoba umsebenzi wama-Seta lona sesiwubonile ezindaweni eziningi ukuthi uyasebenza, futhi-ke uzokwenza ukuthi le nto esiyifunayo yokuthi abantu bacoshe imisebenzi yenzeke ngoba yilokho baba engicabanga ukuthi yikhona okuyinkinga.

Ngakho-ke mhlonishwa uNggongqoshe ngikholwa ukuthi la mandla esizama ukukunikeza wona uzowaphatha ngokukhulu ukwethembeka futhi uwasebenzise kahle nasekuqedeni isihlavana esesiqala ukuqhamuka, salokhu abakubiza ngesilungu bathi i-corruption, ukuze ukwazi ukukubamba kusaqhamuka njena bese uyakubulala. Yikho lokho okubuye kusikhathaze okwenziwa abantu bakithi. Ngakho-ke ngala mandla sithi awuqhubeke lo msebenzi wama-Seta.

Manje kukhona lapho ngiye ngibone khona ukuthi iminyango lena ihlangene. Ake ngenze isibonelo: uye uthole ukuthi uMnyango wezeMpilo noMnyango wezokuThuthukiswa komPhakathi iyahlangana bese yakha i-Seta eyodwa. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[Mr M J BHENGU: Chairperson, I would like to support my chairperson of the committee, Mrs Nkuna, in what she has said, and also what has been said by the hon Minister. We do see, hon Minister; I think those who do not see that you are working are fewer than those who can see. We can see that you are working, because we have seen the work of the Setas in progress in many places, and you will enable people to get jobs, which is what we want, because that is what I think is problematic.

Therefore, hon Minister, I believe that you will handle these powers we are trying to give you with honesty and put them to good use to put an end to corruption, which is beginning to show, so that you would be able to detect it early and get rid of it. That is what worries us sometimes - what is done by our people. Therefore with these powers we say let the work of Setas go ahead.

There are instances when I realise that the departments are united. Let me cite an example: You will find that the Department of Health and the Department of Social Development come together and make one Seta.]

Now when it came to the implementation of the programmes, you would find that the two departments did not actually work together. I have personally identified that kind of problem. Could the Minister look into that because I think that they actually forget the philosophy behind the creation of the Setas?

Ngakho-ke ngithi umsebenzi lona osuwenzile, selokhu kwaqala ama-Seta, siyawubonga. Iqembu lami-ke leNkatha lithi cha, liyakuvuma konke lokhu. Siyabonga. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)

[Therefore, I say, we are grateful for the work you have done since Setas have started. My party, the IFP, agrees with everything. Thank you. [Applause.]]

Mr R Z NOGUMLA: Chairperson, the reality of the matter is that we have inherited a dichotomous and fragmented society from the apartheid system, which has adversely impacted on human resource development needs and the skills level of this country. Amongst other things is the fact that apartheid education and training were not based on principles of equality - and were neither meant to fully develop nor enhance the skills of black employees. Hence, the ANC Government had to introduce the Skills Development Act to ensure that proper training is provided for all employees and that such training is aimed at ensuring that employees are given skills, irrespective of their race, colour or gender.

The introduction of the Skills Development Act was meant to ensure that the plight of the vast majority of previously disadvantaged groups would be addressed - especially women, and rural women, in particular, who were faced with a lack of basic skills, and basic education in numeracy and literacy. It must be highlighted that the intentions of these amendments are to respond to matters that arose from the implementation of the Skills Development Act. It is in this context that we, as the ANC, fully support and agree with the proposed amendments as we believe that they will ensure that there is efficiency regarding the implementation of the Act, and proper administration and regulation of the Sector Education and Training Authorities from the side of the Minister.

The amendments contained herein attempt to correctly respond and contextualise all issues relating to matters that were identified as unclear and that have the potential of creating confusion and misinterpretation for those directly and indirectly affected and involved in the implementation process of the Skills Development Act.

It is our conviction, as the ANC, that out of these amendments there shall emerge neither misunderstanding nor lack of clarity around the manner in which the Minister has to deal with various matters that arise from the Skills Development Act. Among other things, no specific powers have been given to the Minister to set criteria for the payment of the skills grants and there is no policy framework that empowers the Minister to intervene in terms of making regulations.

Currently, the Act does not give the Minister powers to make suggestions, such as mergers, or allow the Minister to revise and change the scope of a Seta. The amendments seek to empower the Minister to ensure that he can change the scope of the Seta for the effectiveness and realisation of the Skills Development Act.

There are a number of amendments proposed in this Bill that will ensure that the Minister has the power to deal with the administration of Setas regarding the course of skills development, the attainment of a skills development strategy and the human resource development needs of our country.

A number of issues were experienced during the implementation process of skills development. Others relate to the failures of the Setas to meet their contractual obligations and standards as set down in the contract agreement. However, due to the lack of a policy framework to guide the Minister on the manner in which such problems can be dealt with, there is little if anything the Minister can do to arrest the situation. It is in this context that these amendments are aimed at responding to such policy shortfalls in order to ensure that there are clear policy guidelines that will empower the Minister to ensure that he deals with such problems. These amendments will also ensure that there is efficiency in all Setas that deal with the skills development plan and the implementation of the Skills Development Act.

The importance of these amendments contained in this Bill should be read and located within the context of broader social transformation for economic growth and sustainable development. This means that if we attempted to delink or separate these amendments from the dire need for an improved skills level in South Africa and the human resource development needs, we would be making a fundamental mistake. It is in this context that these amendments would expedite the implementation process of skills development and ensure that our country meets its strategic objectives and the target that it has set for itself.

It is the conviction of the ANC that these amendments are necessary and important for the skills development of our society. They also lay the basis upon which to build economic growth and develop more skilled workers for the sustainability of Africa’s development.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that the hon members will be able to locate the whole debate in the proper context for the betterment of our society. Thank you, Chair. [Applause.]

UMPHATHISWA WEZABASEBENZI: Mhlalingaphambili, mandibulele kakhulu kumalungu, ndiwathembisa ukuba la mandla siwanikwayo siza kuwasebenzisa ngokwale ndlela kubhalwe ngayo emthethweni. Kangangokuba sele siwenzile amalungiselelo. Siye sanocwangciso apha lokubonakalisa isimo sezakhono kwilizwe lethu. Sibonisa abantu ukuba kuphi na apho zinganelanga khona izakhono.

Kanti sibuye saqulunqa isikhokelo sabaqeshi kwiinkonzo zoluntu ukuze bazi ukuba kufuneka benze njani ukuze bafikelele kwiimali kwanokuba basebenzisane njani na noogunyaziwe okanye ii-Seta. Sibuye kwakhona saqulunqa nesamashishini abucala. Ngelishwa, andisiphethanga apha kum. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)

[The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Chairperson, let me thank the hon members, and I promise them that the powers granted me in terms of this Bill will be used in the manner envisaged in the Bill. We have made arrangements already. We had a skills audit involving the whole country. With this we show the people where we have skills shortages.

Furthermore, we have drawn up a framework for employers in the Public Service so that they know what to do to access the training funds and how they can work together with the Setas. We have also drawn up one for the private sector. Unfortunately I don’t have it with me.]

But, at the same time, we have this report, which is a very nice report that indicates what we have done up to now.

Ngoko ke amandla esiwanikwa yile Ndlu siya kuthi siwasebenzise ngendlela eyiyo. [Therefore the powers accorded us by this House will be used appropriately.]

Let me also thank the DA for recognising that it will not help to scrap the labour law; the best way is to follow what the ANC-led Government is doing and encourage its voters to rather vote for the ANC. [Interjections.] I’m really very happy that they have supported the legislation as the DA, and that indeed all their members will no longer vote for the DA but for the ANC, in appreciation of the work that the ANC has done. What their members will do after the elections in 2004 is to scrap the DA and join the ANC in big numbers.

Ewe kunzima, abantu bakuthi mabayazi loo nto; umhlaba uyenyuka. Sibulawa yindlala. Imisebenzi inqongophele. Kodwa ke loo nto ayithi masibuyele eYiphutha, apho sivela khona. Asijiki, siya phambili, nokuba sekumnyam’entla. Ivili lenkululeko liqengqiwe. Siyingcamle inkululeko, asingekhe ke siyiyeke ithatyathwe ngoofunz’ eweni, oovuk’ ayibambe, oqongqothwane norhoqotyeni, sibavumele bayihluthe. Siya kuyikhusela le nkululeko nangantoni na esinokuthi sibambelele kuyo. Esinye ke sezixhobo kukuqinisekisa ukuba izakhono zabantu beli lizwe ziyaphuhliswa. Enkosi, Mhlalingaphambili. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[Indeed, the going is tough, and our people should know that. Hunger is killing us. Jobs are scarce. However, that does not mean that we should go back to the days of apartheid, which we left behind. We are not turning back, we are moving forward, come what may. The wheel of liberty is turning. We have tasted freedom, and we will never allow miscreants who are good for nothing take it away from us. We shall protect this freedom with everything we can. One of these weapons is making sure that the skills of the people of this country are developed. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]]

Debate concluded.

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


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! I now call the hon chairperson of the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises, Mrs Constance Nkuna.

Mrs C NKUNA: Hon Chairperson, we are moving towards the end of our first democratic decade with pride as a result of further gains that the ANC Government has made in addressing the imbalances of the past and the plight of workers in general, including domestic and seasonal.

We agreed to amend the UIF Bill so as to improve the conditions of both domestic and seasonal workers. Workers are certain of their future as it is in good hands. Through the imbizos, conferences and workshops that have been run throughout the country, the community is aware that disparities and discrepancies inherited from the apartheid regime are gradually being buried in the quest for fair labour practice.

Despite the adoption of Act 63 of 2001 that sought to protect and defend the rights of workers, we noted that the disparities continued to prevail with regard to seasonal and domestic workers, especially the fact that these workers did not benefit from the UIF like other workers. We therefore proposed that there had to be amendments aimed at ensuring that no workers were prejudiced as a result of the nature and character of their employment in terms of being able to access the UIF.

These amendments will not only benefit seasonal and domestic workers as they are aimed at responding to the challenges facing all workers, including Government employees. They are also aimed at confronting the challenges facing state pensioners. These amendments demonstrate dedication to and the commitment of the ANC-led Government to creating an environment conducive to effective work and the promotion of fair labour practice.

The other area of amendment is the replacement of the CCMA by the National Appeals Committee. This committee will be decentralised in the provinces to ensure that provinces deal with their own matters before they can refer them to the national committee.

Through these proposed amendments, there will be no place for those whose intention it is to exploit seasonal or domestic workers, as these workers will be enjoying the same rights as their permanent counterparts.

In conclusion, I hope we all agree that this Government has improved the working conditions of workers and that the dust is now settling. Part of that dust is at the ZZ2 tomato farm. It is our firm belief that during our second decade we will strive to ensure that the injustices of the past are thrown into the sea. Thank you, hon Chairperson. [Applause.] Debate concluded.

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


            (Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)

The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon Chairperson and hon members, as we present this Bill today I want to remind this House that as Government our task is to change the lives of South Africans for the better and to expand access to what we have called a better life.

We can only truly fulfil these tasks if we recognise that in so doing we have to address the needs of the poor, of those who have been marginalised from economic activities and social wellbeing as a result of apartheid, and then also to ensure that all others also come into the fold. In this regard we have no choice but to continue to push back the frontiers of poverty and to pursue our agenda for universal access and basic services.

It is with this in mind that when we took the postal services Bill to the National Assembly in September, I made the following remarks and argued that in our country where millions of people, especially the historically disadvantaged, still depended on postal services to interact and communicate, the centrality of the SA Post Office, or Sapo, could not be undermined. Thus, the challenges the postal administration face become real national issues and they demand that they be treated as such. Clearly, our local conditions, stemming from the inequalities and underdevelopment of apartheid dictate that we work hard towards fulfilment of universal service obligations and that we declare, in no uncertain terms, that for us as South African citizens access to a basic postal service is a fundamental right and not a privilege. This is an overriding imperative.

It was also against this backdrop that as early as 1997 a new policy process was initiated for the provision of a universal service. The policy found concrete expression in the Postal Services Act of 1998. Indeed, the legislative framework made it possible for Sapo to increase service levels and to embrace technology in the way they deliver these services. Crime levels at Sapo have also been reduced and this has resulted in higher staff morale.

On World Post Day, 9 October 2003, the SA Post Office, eager to prove itself in the race for efficiency, challenged itself to deliver a letter from a post office in Brits to the Durmail sorting hub in Durban by way of normal channels before a copy of that selfsame letter could be hand- delivered by a group of cyclists making the journey by road. The letter sent through normal postal channels arrived at the Durmail hub at 19h00 on Saturday, whereas the cyclists only reached their destination at 11h30 am on Sunday. Clearly, this demonstrated that the Post Office had not won just the race, but also that indeed the way they do their business is certainly much faster than the old way and we congratulated them on that feat. The editorial of a Pretoria newspaper last week, commenting on this event, said that:

Although we have had occasion in years past to lambast the Post Office for poor service, it is striving continuously to improve its standards and it seems slowly but surely to be regaining the status of a reliable and trustworthy agent.

I think this is very instructive indeed. It is this determination of the Post Office to overcome the legacy of the past that we are witnessing. Also, as it strives for greater efficiency we must commend it and concur that indeed the tide has turned for the Post Office towards greater efficiency and effectiveness in its work, as it expands its services into areas that have not been previously well-serviced.

The Postal Services Amendment Bill should therefore strengthen the hand of the Post Office so that it can reach greater heights. In line with the public policy of fulfilling the universal service mandate, the licence to Sapo was granted with a clear obligation. The obligation was to ensure that all citizens of our country have access to a basic letter service; that this service would be reasonably accessible irrespective of the physical location of where people or citizens were; that this service would be at a uniform postage rate; that this service would be at an affordable price; and that this service is a reliable service. It is important that this becomes part of the Sapo mandate.

To facilitate an environment for Sapo to accomplish this monumental task, the institution was given a period of exclusivity to provide services up to one kilogram, a provision reviewable every three years. During this period of exclusivity, no other postal operator would be authorised to operate in the reserved area. In other words, it was a specific reserved area of exclusivity; it was not a generalised exclusivity. If Sapo is to meet its obligations to the benefit of millions of our people it is important that this exclusivity be retained. The introduction of this Bill is aimed at doing exactly that. The repeal of the third section, which we’re dealing with today will protect the exclusivity given to Sapo in respect of this reserved postal service. It will also eliminate the multiplicity of interpretations that emanated from this section. The law also requires the Post Office to provide an address to all citizens, because Government acknowledges that without an address it is impossible for citizens to participate fully and meaningfully in economic and social activities. At present, the Post Office is trying to meet the challenge of having to deal with a backlog of four million citizens who do not have addresses. In this way we bring the historically disadvantaged and the marginalised into the mainstream of postal services in the 21st century. From the manner in which the post offices are working it is quite clear that the African Renaissance is truly upon us.

Sapo is engaged with the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, in activities to try to improve the infrastructure of our region and our neighbours. These linkages are important because they enable us to strengthen our networks across the continent and to help to provide better and more efficient postal services even beyond our borders.

At a continental and global level, we are active participants in fora such as the Pan-African Postal Union and the Universal Postal Union as our agenda is also to work towards a better Africa and a better world. Indeed, the call of the Secretary-General of the Universal Postal Union on the eve of Postal Day was: ``Think globally and act locally.’’ It is as part of this world community that we should gear ourselves up to make our mark by doing what is relevant to our own local conditions in embracing this call and in meeting the universal access mandate that this Bill gives to Sapo.

There is a rural postal strategy in place that is being implemented through what is called ``citizens’ post offices’’ as well as through providing postal infrastructure to multipurpose community centres, or MPCCs, a project that is being carried out in partnership with the Government Communications and Information System, GCIS. In rolling out postal services, we prioritised both the rural nodes that have been identified in Government’s Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme as well as in the Urban Renewable Strategy. The regulator has developed regulations and a monitoring framework for service delivery, and it is in this context that this Bill should be seen.

In recent weeks much has been said about the Postal Services Amendment Bill, most of which is unfounded and which attempts to set alarm bells ringing and to strike fear in the public when there is really nothing to be afraid of or concerned about. It has been said, amongst other things, that this Bill is likely to lead to job losses, the shutting down of courier companies and that South Africa’s ability to compete globally will be inhibited. The view has also been put forward, and I’m not sure why, that the Bill will also prevent the delivery of pizzas, flowers, medicines and other miscellaneous items that weigh under 1kg. I’ve never heard of pizzas, flowers or medicines being sent to a postbox in a yard. I thought these things were not real until I also received quite a number of letters that actually articulated some of these views; letters that were sent to the Ministers of Trade and Industry and of Finance. I’d like to read one of the letters that was sent to Mr Manuel to show that there has indeed been great hysteria. This is a letter from a group of people, addressed to the Minister. It says:

It is indeed a very sad day for the ANC to have achieved what the National Party tried to do, that is, put very successful courier companies out of business. My staff countrywide and their extended families - note countrywide - have stated that they will not vote ANC in the forthcoming election.

I’m not sure how this gentleman actually knows anything about the extended families of the people he says work for him. But if he had in fact advised these extended families that this Bill would now allow for delivery of letters right to their doorstep, I wonder whether they would not have said, ``That is a good reason why we should vote ANC’’.

The Bill is quite clear in that it addresses items that can be delivered to a postbox, and not all and sundry goods as its detractors suggest. It is also obvious that the Postal Services Amendment Bill does not, in fact, prevent courier companies from operating, but frees legally operating companies - and I mean legally operating companies - to provide the services they were doing before. We are not stopping them from doing that. Surely it is this freedom that will enable even more courier companies to grow and flourish, and it should result in more sustainable jobs in this highly competitive sector. In fact, this Bill will not only encourage competition in the postal sector, but will clarify the regulatory framework for the delivery of universal service. Many people forget that because there was no clarity, a case had to be decided by the courts. That is why we needed to actually change this in order to make it quite clear what the law says, because it is not a new thing that we are doing. Certainly it is through competition that we will lower prices and improve service level delivery, and, in fact, also, show up the Post Office if it does not do its work very well. This Bill will also clarify the competition landscape; many people say that unless we understand what the competition landscape is, we cannot come into this business. So, this Bill clarifies the competition landscape for this sector and provides continuity in the sector, and also allows all operators to focus on the lawful, harmonious business of this industry. That is what this Bill is really all about, and not the hysteria that we’ve been reading about in the media.

I’d like to thank the chairperson and all members of the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises for processing this Bill. I’d like to thank them, in fact, for making sure that people can make presentations before them and have this matter clarified if there is any confusion. I think there is conviction out there. A doctor called me who was quite concerned because she had to deliver medicines. She was very concerned about this Bill, and said: Aunty, now my whole business goes down the drain.'' I said:Do you put the medicine in the postbox?’’ She said: No''. I said:Well, then, read the Bill.’’ She was quite relieved. She was going to have the bank cancel the agreement they had on the basis of this Bill, because even the bank had not read what this Bill was actually saying. So it does help if members who are representatives in these Houses actually give our people information that does not scare them; that does not create unnecessary uncertainties in the industry.

I’d like to thank the committee for having allowed the opportunity for such clarity to actually be arrived at. A special thanks goes to the Department of Communications, the Director-General and especially the Deputy Director- General of Postal Policy in the department for co-ordinating the process that culminated in the presentation of this Bill and for doing a great deal to clarify some of these things, especially to the public.

This House, I’m sure, recognises that as Government we are determined to meet the needs of all, including the poor, and we shall encourage competitiveness in the postal sector as a whole. We are confident that through this Bill a basic postal service will become a living reality, as it is indeed a right of all citizens of our country and thus a public good that cannot be left in the hands of the market. I therefore request that this House please accept this Bill. I thank you, Madam. [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! I now call the hon chairperson of the select committee, Mrs Constance Nkuna.

Mrs C NKUNA: Hon Chairperson, allow me to start by saying that when this Bill was presented to us and when some concerns were raised, we were made to understand that about 500 000 jobs were going to be lost. We tried as a committee and with the department to really find these 500 000 jobs that were going to be lost and we couldn’t even trace one job. We are presenting the Postal Services Amendment Bill against the background of a deluge of objections and criticism premised on the principal argument that the Bill is likely to lead to the closure of thousands of small to medium-sized courier companies and consequently will also result in the loss of thousands of jobs. Also, accusations abound that the Bill was ill- conceived and processed without consultation. As recently as last night the free-to-air television channel carried extensive coverage of similar objections by largely the previously advantaged groups and companies, expressing the potential ruin the Bill holds for them. Funnily enough, the debate has been reduced to the size of a pizza.

The hon Minister has already alluded to this. Those people that were delivering pizzas will continue to do so. Blood samples, medicine, spare parts from this area to that area will continue to be delivered in this way. However, the ANC will within the ambit of our mandate - as given by the overwhelming majority of our people, most of whom live in the rural and remote areas of our country - and through this Bill, reaffirm our commitment to our people. Over the last nine years we have succeeded in identifying greater numbers of our people who are totally excluded from basic telecommunications infrastructure, let alone an efficient, affordable and reliable postal service. This has emphasised the need for us to respond in a manner that will ensure our people are able to communicate, not only with their relatives or friends, but also with us, the Government of the day.

We deemed it important to provide this background since the opposition has not once, either in their public attacks or in their written submissions to the select committee, acknowledged that this is in fact the status quo. As usual, it has adopted the role of the prophet of doom. In their narrow view they have overlooked the fact that what we are providing for in this Bill is common cause in European countries. We also note with concern the apparent double standards of certain countries with regard to their holding companies who are dead set against the Bill. For example, DHL which is regulated abroad, does not want to be regulated in South Africa.

More disconcerting are the distortions emanating from a section of the Afrikaans press as well. It conveniently ignores the reality that thousands of farmworkers work in far-flung areas and rely exclusively on farm owners for a bumpy ride into town in order to conduct business of this nature.

Dit kan nie meer geduld word nie, sê ek. [This can no longer be tolerated, I say.]

We therefore appeal to our farming community in the rural areas to be proactive and ensure that together with workers, houses on farms are, at best, equipped with postboxes or, alternatively, that the farming district has a communal letter box.

We have repeatedly stated that this Bill does not introduce anything new, as I said previously. We even tried to search in thin air, thinking that we couldn’t read the Act properly. But nothing new is being introduced. In fact, it merely strengthens the current legislation in that a universal service was envisaged as early as 1997 when we started the policy process. The objective is merely to align it with the universal service mandate of the SA Postal Service.

This universal service mandate is an obligation placed on the SA Postal Service to ensure that all South Africans have equal access to basic postal services at affordable prices, irrespective of the geographic location. The Postal Service has the obligation to establish postal offices in the deep rural areas, irrespective of whether there is any interest or not. Research is showing that courier companies are either loathe to or do not render universal services.

This is another area which is a bone of contention. Furthermore, we believe that through the amendment of section 22, courier companies will no longer, owing to a loophole in the principal Act, be able to encroach on the reserve area of the SA Postal Service. Yes, when we promised our people that we would be pushing back the frontiers of poverty, we meant to do so.

Ndzi navela ku hetelela ku vula leswaku Nawumbisi lawu wu endlile leswaku lava va tikhamphani ta purayivhete va pfula mbovo leyikulu, va navela ku hundzuluxa Nawu lowu hinkwawo. Hina tani hi vaendli va milawu hi vula leswaku minyangwa ya hina yi pfulekile. A va hlengelete timhaka ta vona, va ti teka va ti yisa eka ndzawulo, ndzawulo yi ta teka timhaka leti yi ti tisa haleno. Hina hi tilulamisile ku va hi nga langutisa mihundzuluxo loko kuri leswaku yi kona naswona loko ku ri leswaku ya twakala. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)

[I wish to conclude by saying that this Bill has enabled the private companies to open up a large gap; they wish to amend this Act as a whole. We as the lawmakers want to say that the doors are open, let them organise their suggestions and take them to the department. Then the department will bring their suggestions here. We are ready to look at the amendments once they are there to see whether they are valid.]

In conclusion, our thanks go to the department for their co-operation the committee deliberations and during the very strenuous times in which we were trying to explain this to people who did not want to agree to agree with it. To the committee members, you have shown once more that you practise what you preach. With these words I would like to thank everybody. Thank you. [Applause.]

Ms C BOTHA: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, I wait with bated breath for the day when the postman on his bicycle with his bag on his back arrives at our farmhouse door, 36 kilometres out of town on a dust road. I am really looking forward to that day.

Die wetsontwerp onder bespreking maak voorsiening vir die wysiging van die Wet op Posdienste van 1998 ten einde die SA Poskantoor se eksklusiewe, oftewel monopolistiese, reg om gereserveerde posdienste te verskaf, te beskerm. Die kern van die DA se probleem met die wetsontwerp is nie dié bepaling nie, maar die kwessie dat koeriermaatskappye in hierdie wetgewing ingesluit word, en dus net soos die Poskantoor as posdiensvoorsieners geklassifiseer moet word, maar klaarblyklik uitgesluit kan word van die gereserveerde diens wat items kleiner as een kilogram betref - soos ek weer eens aflei uit die voorsitter se toespraak.

Hierdeur word 4 000 tot 5 000 wettige koeriermaatskappye se daaglikse bedryfsaktiwiteite in geregtelike onsekerheid gedompel. Dis nie net die bestaande maatskappye wat hierdeur geraak word nie, maar ook opkomende geleenthede vir swart bemagtiging om hierdie miljardrand-industrie te betree, kan hierdeur verlore gaan omdat ‘n hele industrie ten duurste vir die Poskantoor gereserveer kan word.

Dit is een van die interpretasies wat die huidige bewoording van die wetgewing moontlik maak. Desondanks die versekering van die departement dat dit nie so toegepas sal word nie, is dit nie die departement nie, maar die howe, wat ná vandag hierdie beslissing moet maak.

Openbare verhore is nie in die portefeulje komitee gehou nie. Volgens die ANC was hierdie wetgewing net ‘n tegniese amendement, ten spyte van, soos die Minister ons hier vertel het, al die briewe wat sy ontvang het. En dit is dan ook deur die portefeulje komitee goedgekeur sonder enige konsultasie met die koerier- of transportmaatskappye.

Op aandrang van die DA is daar gereël, en goedgunstiglik toegestem, dat verteenwoordigers van die aansienlike industrie vertoë tot die Gekose Komitee kon rig - die dag vóór die wetsontwerp geskeduleer is om in die Raad gedebatteer te word. Gevolglik het die belanghebbendes se vertoë vervaag tot niks meer as ‘n ``window dressing”-geleentheid nie. Selfs die enkele verandering wat oorweeg sou word, naamlik dat aflewerings teen die volgende werksdag moet geskied, en nie teen eenuur die volgende dag nie, het daarmee verlore gegaan.

Die komitee en die departement het ‘n totaal onaanvaarbare rigting ingeslaan deur te sê: Pass the Bill now and clean up later'', én verder, Ons deure is altyd oop vir konsultasie vorentoe.’’ Is dit nie presies wat ons veronderstel is om te doen tydens die bespreking van ‘n wetsontwerp en nie daarná nie?

Die voorsitter se verduideliking dat amendemente dikwels volg wanneer in die praktyk gevind word dat sekere bepalings nie werkbaar is nie, gee ‘n baie negatiewe beeld van die gehalte van die oorspronklike wetgewing. Goeie wette behoort deurdag te wees, geskryf te word deur ervare regslui, te volg op indringende konsultasie én, in die einde, nie ‘n gerieflike bron van inkomste te verskaf aan prokureurs wat dit moet interpreteer nie.

Almal ondersteun die beginsel dat die Poskantoor ekslusiwiteit behou om te verseker dat posdienste vrylik bekombaar is vir die meeste Suid-Afrikaners. Ons argumenteer nie oor die beginsel van die wetgewing nie, maar oor die gebrek aan duidelike omskrywings, en die vermenging van begrippe wat wesenlik in verskeie wetgewing tuishoort.

Is koerierdienste deel van die posdiens, of nie? ‘n Posdiens is ‘n basiese diens waar pos by ‘n posbus of ‘n adres afgelewer word, anders as ‘n pizza. ‘n Koerierdiens is ‘n waardetoegevoegde-diens wat gelewer word aan ‘n persoon, en hierdie verskille behoort deur ander wetgewing gereguleer te word.

Die Kompetisie Kommissie - om te praat van ‘n gesaghebbende groep - sien nie die nodigheid vir regulering en registrasie van die koerierdienste deur die Poskantoorwet nie. Volgens hulle behoort ekonomiese en prysregulering net betrekking te hê op dienste wat deur ‘n monopolie soos die Poskantoor gelewer word, en hulle beveel aan dat alle verwysing na ``koerier’’ uit die wet verwyder word.

Ongelukkig wou die ANC geensins gehoor gee aan hierdie gesaghebbende opinies nie, wat nog van die DA se insette, en bly die huidige wetsontwerp gehul in onsekerheid. Die DA kan nie hierdie moontlike bedreiging vir duisende werkgeleenthede, beide in die transportindustrie en die koerierdienste goedkeur nie, en ondersteun dan ook nie die wetsontwerp nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[The Bill under discussion provides for the amendment of the Postal Services Act of 1998 in order to protect the SA Post Office’s exclusive, or rather monopolistic, right to provide reserved postal services.

The crux of the DA’s problem with the Bill is not this provision, but the fact that courier companies are included in this legislation, and therefore, like the Post Office, have to be classified as a postal service providers, but apparently can be excluded from the reserved service in the case of items smaller than one kilogram - as I have once again concluded from the chairperson’s speech.

In this way the daily activities of 4 000 to 5 000 legal courier companies are plunged into judicial uncertainty. Not only the existing companies are affected by this, but also emerging opportunities for black empowerment to gain access to this billion-rand industry can be lost through this because an entire industry can be reserved at great cost for the Post Office.

This is one of the interpretations made possible by the present wording of the legislation. In spite of the assurance by the department that it will not be applied in this way, it is not the department but the courts who will have to make this decision after today.

No public hearings were held in the portfolio committee. According to the ANC this legislation was merely a technical amendment, in spite of, as the Minister told us here, all the letters she received. And it was also approved by the portfolio committee without any consultation with the courier or transport companies.

At the insistence of the DA it was arranged, and kindly agreed to, that representatives of the significant industry could make representations to the Select Committee - the day before the Bill was scheduled to be debated in the Council. Consequently the interested parties’ representations paled into nothing more than a ``window dressing’’ exercise. Even the single change which would be considered, namely that deliveries should be made by the following working day, and not at one o’clock the following day, was therefore lost.

The committee and the department moved in a totally unacceptable direction by saying: Pass the Bill now and clean up later'', and furthermore, Our doors are always open for future consultations.’’ Is that not precisely what we are supposed to do during the discussion of a Bill and not afterwards?

The chairperson’s explanation that amendments often follow when it is found in practice that certain provisions are not practicable, gives a very negative impression of the quality of the original legislation. Good legislation should be well considered, written by experienced legal experts, follow on incisive consultation and, in the end, should not provide a convenient source of income to lawyers who have to interpret it.

Everyone supports the principle that the Post Office should retain exclusivity to ensure that postal services are readily available to most South Africans. We are not arguing about the principle of the legislation, but about the lack of clear definitions, and the mixing of concepts which essentially belong in various pieces of legislation.

Are courier services part of the postal service or not? A postal service is a basic service whereby post is delivered to a post box or an address, unlike a pizza. A courier service is a value-added service rendered to a person, and these differences should be regulated by other legislation.

The Competition Commission - to name an authoritative group - does not see the necessity for regulation and registration of the courier services by the Post Office Act. According to them economic and price regulation should only apply to services rendered by a monopoly such as the Post Office, and they recommend that any reference to ``courier’’ should be removed from the Act.

Unfortunately the ANC would not listen at all to these authoritative opinions, let alone the DA’s inputs, and the present Bill remains shrouded in uncertainty. The DA cannot approve this possible threat to thousands of job opportunities, both in the transport industry and the courier services, and therefore we do not support the Bill.]

Minister, if the Bill is passed here today, my colleague Vincent Gore, on behalf of the DA, will request the President to use his powers to refer the Bill back to the National Assembly for further consultation. I thank you.

Mnu R Z NOGUMLA: Mhlalingaphambili, mandiqale ngokubhekisa apha kwilungu. Okokuqala, xa lisithi asiyithethi apha, siyithetha kwabo bathi beze kuthi, into yokuba amasango avuliwe kuye nabani na oxhalatyiswe ngumba othile nonakho ukuza kwikomiti, ilungu elo liyaphosisa. Okwesibini, asikhange sitsho siyi-ANC ukuba lo Mthetho uYilwayo unobucukubhede kwaye awunamiba ichaphazela abantu. Ukuba kunjalo, ngaba igama elithi ``technical’’ lithetha enye into.

Kukho imiba apha ekufuneka inikwe ingqwalasela. Andiyazi le ayithethayo lo mfo. Ngoko ke, Mhlalingaphambili, zange khe kwenziwe amagqabantshintshi enkcazelo apha isebe lingakhange linike iinkampani ithuba. Nazo iinkampani ziyayivuma loo nto.

Kwezinye iimeko kukungabikho kwenkathalo kuzo, ngokuthi zingayijongi inkqubo kwaye zingayi kwiNdlu yoWiso-mthetho yeSizwe apho kwenziwa khona amagqabantshintshi enkcazelo kuqala, zisuke zize apha. Kodwa asikhange sizikhalazele ngaloo nto. Siye sazimamela. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Mr R Z NOGUMLA: Chairperson, let me first address the member. Firstly, he says we don’t say it here, but we want to say to those who come to us that the doors are open for anyone who is concerned about a particular matter that may come before the committee; the member is making a mistake.

Secondly, we as the ANC never said that this Bill has no intricacies and aspects that affect the people. If that is the case, then the word ``technical’’ means something else.

There are aspects here that must be given attention. I do not know what this man is saying. Therefore, Chairperson, no summary explanation was given here without the department giving the companies a chance. The companies also confirm that.

In other situations it is carelessness on their part by failing to observe the procedure and not visiting the National Assembly, where brief explanations are first given. They simply come here. But we never complained to them about that. We listened to them.]

Chairperson, I feel honoured and privileged to have this opportunity to speak and reflect correctly on issues pertaining to the Postal Services Amendment Bill. I hope that everybody in this House will be able to locate this debate and the importance of these amendments in the proper context nationally and globally. I believe that it is important to note that the committee agreed on the amendments, as we all believed that they would provide an efficient response to the global challenges and meet international standards.

In the same breath, I must highlight that there is some misinformed speculation from the alarmists who suggest that these amendments will result in massive job losses. This misconception has no basis whatsoever, but is aimed, rather, at creating confusion for election purposes by suggesting that this democracy intends to retrench workers through the Bill. This is done by the people whose intentions are to mislead the public, rather than deal with reality and ensure that the Post Office handles its affairs in a manner that would enable it to meet global standards and respond to global and national challenges.

It has also been raised that the intention of the Bill is to close down the private courier companies. Others have gone further to suggest that these private courier companies would be required to pay exorbitant amounts when applying for licences to operate, and that the Bill is a serious threat to the survival and development of private courier companies.

We must acknowledge that all these misperceptions are aimed at creating confusion and chaos, because they have no basis whatsoever. The intentions of the Bill are aimed at ensuring that we transform the Postal Service in order that it can respond to the new societal needs and global challenges, and that, amongst other things, post offices expand their services to all communities, including the poor urban and rural areas.

It is a fact and reality that the majority of the rural areas never had access to basic postal services. The apartheid regime had no intention of expanding such services to all the citizens of this country. Hence, these amendments are aimed at expanding and improving postal services. There are many important things that will be achieved with these amendments.

The fundamental objective of these amendments, amongst other things, is to ensure that there is no community that is denied access or is unable to access postal services owing to its geographical location. Surely the majority of the rural and previously disadvantaged communities will be the beneficiaries of this process?

We are committed and determined to improving service delivery for the betterment of our communities, and to ensuring that we drastically undo the imbalances of the apartheid system in which quality services were rendered along racial and class lines. Therefore, let us put an end to the apartheid legacy and expedite and expand the basic services to all our people.

It is important to stress the fact that Government has to ensure that the exclusivity of the SA Postal Service is preserved. One of the things we must do is to understand these amendments in a broader and international context as they relate to universal service obligations.

I appreciate the opportunity given to me to convince this House regarding the reasons the committee agreed on these amendments and to explain them to it. The ANC strongly believes that they will improve and expand basic postal services to the rural poor for improved, quality communication purposes. [Applause.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Hon members, it is very important that when you raise issues, you remain in the House and listen to the response.

Mnr F ADAMS: Voorsitter, dit is maar die DA se styl om te slaan en weg te hardloop. Hulle is nie bereid om houe terug te vat nie. Hulle hardloop altyd weg. Die agb lid Versveld het dit gedoen, en dis ‘n voorbeeld.

Voorsitter, Minister, kollegas van die Raad, ‘n klomp leuens, persepsies en verdraaide weergawes het die laaste tyd die ronde gedoen rondom die wetgewing, onder andere van die DA. Laat my toe om die volgende te sê. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mr F Adams: Chairperson, it is simply typical of the DA to hit and run. They are not prepared to stand and fight. They always run away. The hon member Versveld did this, and is an example.

Chairperson, Minister and colleagues of the Council, a pack of lies, perceptions and distorted versions regarding the legislation have been doing the rounds lately, spread by, amongst others, the DA. Allow me to say the following.]

Minister, I think that the only persons who will deliver a pizza to a postbox will be the DA. Just watch them in the elections. They will be the only persons who will deliver a pizza to a postbox. [Laughter.]

The lies that they have spread and the uncertainty that they have created in the press and in South Africa are a shame.

Baie dankie dat die lid naby my kom sit, want dan kan sy hoor wat ek sê. As sy ver sit, sê sy altyd sy hoor nie wat ek sê nie. [Tussenwerpsels.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)

[I want to thank the member for moving closer to where I am sitting, because now she will be able to hear what I am saying. When she sits far away, she always complains that she cannot hear what I am saying. [Interjections.]]

The CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Hon Sandra Botha! You are out of order. You can’t stand in front of the person who is addressing the Chairperson. You are totally out of order. [Interjections.] Hon Sandra, take your seat where you are supposed to sit. Mr Adams, you may continue.

Mr F ADAMS: Chairperson, this is an example of showing no respect whatsoever. They also show no respect for what the Government is doing to uplift and create a better life for all people. That is the DA; they are always moaning and groaning.

Hulle maak altyd ‘n geraas, en dis hoekom die Nuwe NP besluit het om samewerkende regering aan te gryp, en nie in die hoek te staan en skree soos ‘n klein kefferhondjie - u weet, soos hierdie chihauhaus - en ``pa-pa- pa-pa’’ te maak nie, Voorsitter. [Gelag.] Ons het besluit op samewerkende regering. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)

[They are always making a noise, and that is the reason the New NP decided to seize the opportunity of co-operative governance, instead of barking in a corner like a yapper - you know, like these chihuahuas - and going ``pa- pa-pa-pa’’, Chairperson. [Laughter.] We have decided on co-operative governance.

The department has issued written communiques and press statements to the effect that it will not put courier companies that transport items below one kg out of business. It is obvious from the submissions made by the industry bodies to the select committee that there is a need to clarify this legislation, and its impact on this industry and the broader business community. I think that the Minister and the department have, in the process, clarified the legislation, as has the select committee.

Minister, the deputy director-general has given an undertaking that the negotiations and engagement will still take place with the industry. Minister, I want to ask you - not demand from you like the DA does but ask you - if you will give a commitment that your department will engage with the industry and with the industry bodies that have requested future amendments to this legislation to ensure that the significant and differentiated services offered by them are safeguarded?

Ten slotte wil ek graag die Minister, die adjunk-direkteur-generaal en die departement bedank vir hul bereidwilligheid om verdere gesprekke met die industrie te voer, asook die voorsitter en lede van die gekose komitee, en veral mnr John du Preez van SA Express Parcel Association vir hul harde werk, bydrae en insette in hierdie verband. Dit sal help. Gesprek help altyd, nie skree nie. Gesprek help altyd, en ek wil vandag die DA ‘n politieke les leer: aan my twee kollegas, bly stil, luister en leer. Die Nuwe NP steun hierdie wetgewing. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)

[In conclusion I would like to thank the Minister, the deputy director- general and the department for their willingness to have further talks with the industry. I also wish to thank the chairperson and members of the select committee, and especially Mr John du Preez from SA Express Parcel Association for their hard work, contribution and input in this regard. This will help. To talk always helps; shouting does not. To talk always helps, and today I want to teach the DA a political lesson: to my two colleagues, be quiet, listen and learn. The New NP supports the legislation. [Applause.]]

Mr M J BHENGU: Chairperson, I wish to congratulate the chairperson of our select committee on the way in which she has actually handled the problems associated with this Bill. She was very cool and skilful.

Fundamentally, the import of this Bill is that all citizens, regardless of race or gender, have equal access to basic postal services. Integral to national policy for the postal sector is the provision, again, of a universal service. The most important thing to me is that this will actually ensure that all citizens have equal access to a basic letter service.

When one actually scrutinises the Bill, one finds that there is nothing new that this Bill introduces except that it creates an enabling environment in which to operate and provide services to the rest of the citizens of the country.

Asingakubalekeli lokhu kodwa asibhekane nakho ngqo ukuthi kukhona umphakathi ovela ezindaweni zasemakhaya - kwantuthu, kwanjayiphume - lapho ibhasi lihamba kanye ekuseni nemigwaqo ingekho khona; futhi lapho uma kufanele ulande incwadi kufuneka uhambe indawo engangokuthi usuka lapha uya ePaarl. Incwadi lena uma uyihambisa ebhasini kumshayeli kufanele uyiphathe ngothi kanje, uhambe uze uyoyinikeza umshayeli ukuze ayokuposela yona edolobheni. Ibhasi lihamba usuku lonke, liyoze libuye mhlawumbe ngehora lesikhombisa ebusuku neposi. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[Let us not deny the fact that there are communities who live in deep rural areas where a bus travels once in the morning and where there are no roads. Let us face that issue head-on. There are places where, if you need to post a letter, you have to walk a distance which is almost equal to walking from here to Paarl. If you want to post a letter you have to take it to a bus driver so that he can post it for you in town. The bus takes the whole day and only returns perhaps at about seven o’clock with the mail.]

Now, the Bill says we are taking the service right into those rural areas. I think, perhaps, that that is the most central point the Bill is making here because …

… kubuhlungu kabi nxa ingitshela intokazi yaseMaselekwini ithi, ``Awu mntanomntanami, nina seniyabusa ngoba senivele nithi shwi! shwi! shwi! nifike nipose niphinde nithathe iposi nibuye. Thina sasihamba usuku lonke siyoposa incwadi.’’ Ngithi-ke mina, hawu, siyawuzwa umngunuzo lona oshaywa abafokazi laba be-SA Express Parcel Association nabanye wokukhalaza mayelana nokuthi mhlawumbe bazolahlekelwa imisebenzi yabo.

Ngiyavumelana noNgqongqoshe kanye nodadewethu - uNkk Nkuna, ukuthi chabo bo! akuqondiwe ukuthi bephucwe imisebenzi yabo. Konke esikushoyo ukuthi akwenzeke ukuthi wonke umuntu wanoma yiliphi ibala akwazi ukuthola lolu sizo lwezamaposi; iposi libe seduze ukuze umuntu akwazi ukuthi aphume endlini afake incwadi kumbe alande incwadi yakhe. Lokho kuwumgomo-ke weqembu lami ukuthi abantu abahlwempu bakwazi njalo ukuthi nxa befuna lokho ababekulwela bakuthole. Ngicabanga ukuthi lokhu kungomunye wemigomo esiyibiza ngokuthi uguquko. Ngalawo mazwi, ngicela ukubonga. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[… it becomes very painful when my grandmother says to me: ``My grandson, you are living in better times because you can quickly drive over there, post and collect your letters, and come back. It used to take us a whole day just to go and post a letter’’. I am therefore saying we are aware of the complaints from the SA Express Parcel Association and others who complain that perhaps they will lose their jobs.

I am in agreement with the Minister and my sister Mrs Nkuna regarding the fact that the intention is not to deprive anyone of their jobs. All we are saying is that everyone, no matter what race they belong to, should have access to postal services; and post offices should be situated nearby so that one can simply walk a short distance to send or collect a letter. That is in accordance with the policy of my party, namely that the poor should receive access to what they fought for. I think such a policy is part of what we call transformation. With those words, I would like to say thank you. [Applause.]]

Mr T S SETONA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, it is indeed an honour to participate in this debate today, an honour because the opposition, in order to create propaganda, has been playing to the gallery of the privileged, something which one writer to the letters’ column of a national daily newspaper called ``a storm in a teacup’’.

The opposition’s objection should be seen for what it really is: -opposition to services for black and poor people in general. This is what the DA stands for. [Interjections.] We find it absolutely perplexing that a party comprising largely white, English-speaking and privileged individuals are whining about a practice that is common in Europe and Canada. They don’t challenge this when it is practised in those particular countries.

As the ANC we are here to ensure that expression is given to the wishes of our constituencies, which remain the poorest of the poor in our country, in both the urban and rural areas. The ANC component of the select committee watched with keen interest the court battles between the SA Post Office and postal service providers in recent times.

We therefore commend the Minister and the Department of Communications for bringing about the amendments to the principal Act in order to ensure legal certainty after these court challenges. Moreover, we commend the Minister and her department for the amendment to section 16, since it imposes on the SA Post Office a universal service obligation. What is significant about this universal service obligation is the fact that it will now ensure that people from the most remote corners of our country are able to communicate through the mode of letter writing, for example.

Given the legacy of colonialism and apartheid, the larger majority of our people are indeed isolated and far removed from the click of a button. In fact, to most of them, telecommunications is an unknown language. The Bill before this House this afternoon therefore represents a major leap forward and will go a long way towards ensuring that the lines of communications are opened, and not only between friends and relatives, because it creates the opportunity for rural dwellers to communicate with us, their public representatives and councillors, and to make enquiries about Government services in general. The amendment before this House is indeed most appropriate.

We also welcome the amendment that will ensure that courier companies no longer exploit the loophole that existed in the principal Act, hence the amendment to section 22 of the principal Act. For far too long have unscrupulous courier services encroached on the reserved services area of the SA Post Office. We therefore take umbrage at the threatening position taken by the cartels of the courier industry about court action, when our only objective is to create a better life for all our people.

We believe that these amendments are in line with the new turned-around image of the SA Post Office. We are glad to note that it terminated loss- making contracts and that its restructuring processes are yielding positive results. Also, we are informed that after incurring operating losses in recent times, it is looking forward to turning the tide next year.

Let me address two issues here by joining my chairperson, the hon Nkuna. It is indeed a fact that as Parliament, having passed the Bill two weeks ago, we made a very painstaking effort to listen to the interest groups, as represented by DHL, the SA Express Parcel Association and other interested parties. We sat with them for the better part of the day yesterday. More of the issues that were raised in the media about 500 000 job losses and the closure of more than a thousand SMMEs, was raised by those stakeholders, directly or indirectly.

We want to say that it would be misleading to our public and to this august House for any member of this House to suggest that after our deliberation with those stakeholders they still maintained their position. The SA Express Council Association has made its position very clear - that after our explanation of the contents of this Bill all their fears had been addressed. They will actually anticipate a scenario in the future in which an ongoing interface between them and the department is enhanced to clarify any misunderstanding. So our meeting yesterday was indeed a breakthrough, and this is what we are paid for as ANC representatives in this august House.

Quite clearly the voices of doom that have been echoed by the hon member of the DA are nothing but a panic button, a panic button aimed at electioneering tactics reminiscent of the cowboy tactics of the DP. [Interjections.]

What the DA was doing yesterday was representing the voices of those particular industrialists who were making their own presentation in the committee. After we had convinced them - when they agreed with the ANC-led Government position around this Bill - the DA had no words to utter in that particular committee. [Interjections.] The hon representative from the DA left the committee and came to join the House, because she lost the battle fatally.

One is surprised that after we made this breakthrough yesterday, the hon Sandra Botha again comes to this House and echoes the same voices of doom that have been expressed in newspaper articles, which in our view, as the ANC, we were able to clarify yesterday. And, in the view of the ANC, this would be a betrayal of Moses Kotane, of Joe Slovo, of Oliver Tambo if we succumb to these cheap electioneering tactics of the DA, and we are not going to succumb. The position of the DA is nothing but representative of a dying breed of political dinosaur that still clings to the umbilical cord of racism. [Interjections.]

In more than 90 years of its existence, the ANC has never survived on the basis of lies. It is the policy and the tradition of the ANC to confront issues as they arise, and we have never had any difficulties surrounding this particular piece of legislation.

On the basis of that I want to put on record in this august House that of all the issues, hon Minister, pertaining to the submissions that were made to our committee and to the department, none of those issues was relevant to the areas that this Bill aims to amend. Those issues were basically challenging the fundamental thrust of the principal Act, and as public representatives we cannot allow that particular scenario.

I wish that one day the DA becomes the governing party in this country so that it is able, from time to time, to allow anyone to come forward, as he or she wishes to, to change the law as he or she likes. We are saying as the ANC that we support this Bill. It is in the interests of accelerating service to the poorest of the poor, and on that basis I want to thank you. [Applause.]

The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Madam Chairperson, it is quite clear, and I am really impressed, that members of this House who are serious about democracy indeed went through the Bill all over again to satisfy themselves about what their mandate is, a mandate which they have received from the people; and then made sure that they adhered to something that has been part of the culture of the ANC, introduced by the ANC in this country, which is consultation with the people.

I was quite surprised to hear that we did not consult on this Bill. The department engaged in roadshows in October and November of last year on possible amendments. The workshops were held in all the provinces. So, it is not true that there was no consultation. We follow the culture which we have been taught, a culture that has caused the kind of democratisation that is taking place in this country. It is a new culture.

I think because we are the democrats we are, the DA has certainly the right to go to the ANC President. They have a democratic right to ask. I hope they also understand that he has a democratic right to either agree or to disagree. There will be nothing undemocratic when he doesn’t agree. I hope they will remember that.

Globally, courier services are part of postal services. There are 189 countries all over the world which are members of the UPU. They are all regulated. Why is it that courier services don’t want to be registered and regulated here? [Interjections.] The reason is unclear to me. But given what is happening, for example, in countries like the United States under the Homeland Security Act, with all the security consciousness they have, the situation in such a so-called democratic country will get even worse.

As the hon Setona indicated, the problem is not with our amendments, it is with our principal Act. And we are dealing with an amendment to the Act which regularises it. We should not cloud the issues. Therefore, I think, because the members have indeed done their work, they understand what these issues are.

Yesterday I was asking my department about this and it seemed there was supposed to be some legal opinion that said this matter was unconstitutional. We have gone back to the state law adviser. We have gone back to other lawyers, and they have advised us that there is nothing unconstitutional about this. In fact, we are regularising something that should have been done quite some time ago, because the length of time we took has actually allowed people who were not legal to make encroachments; and even those who might have been legal operators to also now want to make encroachments.

In looking at part of the Act now, the Post Office now has competition from all the courier services with regard to anything that weighs more than one kilogram. If the private business industry beats the Post Office, then it is the Post Office’s problem. The reason we have said we must make this a reserved area is in order to allow the Post Office, as we have said, to be able to do the kinds of things that those very businesses have no interest in, because they are not prepared to service those people. Unlike what is, in fact, given or portrayed here, if the Post Office is able to roll out the four million postal addresses - there is nothing to stop the Post Office from saying, ``because it is our obligation to bring that letter to your farm, hon Sandra Botha’’ - it will find those SMMEs that must get on their bicycles and go and deliver that mail. It is only this protection that we give them that will enable those bicycles - small- medium enterprises - to be able to deliver. Unless we do so, you will not be able to get your letter. We are actually working for your benefit too.

On the competitions issue, it sounds as if they are saying courier services should not be regulated at all. I don’t understand, under the circumstances that I have already given, why we should not have courier services regulated. It is like the Competition Commission also saying that because the service is not registered, competition must therefore just be a free- for-all. You cannot cause havoc through lawlessness and an inability to manage the industry.

We have to be able to say that we know who the people are who deliver and what kinds of things they are allowed to be able to deliver, because they have been registered. Otherwise you can have any Tom, Dick or Harry coming from any part of the world, the underworld included, and doing all kinds of things. I think what we are doing is to bring law into the industry, to maintain that law, and to manage the industry, as best as we can, for the benefit of all South Africans, but particularly the poor.

I thank the members for supporting this Bill. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

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

The Council adjourned at 17:29. _____


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:

  1. Bills passed by Houses - to be submitted to President for assent:
 (1)    Bills passed by National Council  of  Provinces  on  22  October

     (i)     Sectional Titles Amendment Bill [B  43  -  2003]  (National
             Assembly - sec 75).

     (ii)    Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill [B 53B  -  2003]
             (National Assembly - sec 75).

     (iii)   Special Pensions Amendment Bill  [B  3  -  2003]  (National
             Assembly - sec 75).

     (iv)    Government Employees Pension Law Amendment  Bill  [B  4B  -
             2003] (National Assembly - sec 75).
     (v)     Skills Development Amendment Bill [B 46 -  2003]  (National
             Assemby - sec 75).

     (vi)     Unemployment  Insurance  Amendment  Bill  [B  35  -  2003]
             (National Assembly - sec 75).

     (vii)   Postal Services Amendment Bill  [B  40  -  2003]  (National
             Assembly - sec 75).
  1. Introduction of Bills:
 (1)    The Minister of Health:

     (i)      Traditional  Health  Practitioners  Bill  [B  66  -  2003]
          (National Assembly - sec 76) [Explanatory summary of Bill  and
          prior notice  of  its  introduction  published  in  Government
          Gazette No 24751 of 14 April 2003.]

     Introduction and referral to the Portfolio Committee on  Health  of
     the National Assembly, as well as referral  to  the  Joint  Tagging
     Mechanism (JTM) for classification in terms of Joint Rule  160,  on
     23 October 2003.

     In terms of Joint Rule 154 written views on the  classification  of
     the Bill may be submitted to  the  Joint  Tagging  Mechanism  (JTM)
     within three parliamentary working days.
  1. Translations of Bills submitted:
 (1)    The Minister of Public Enterprises:

     (i)     UMthethosivivinywa wokuChibiyela ukuThuthukiswa  kwaMakhono
          [B 46 - 2003] (National Assembly - sec 75)

     This is  the  official  translation  into  isiZulu  of  the  Skills
     Development Amendment Bill [B 46 - 2003] (National  Assemby  -  sec

 (2)    The Minister for Provincial and Local Government:

     (i)     Uhlaka lo UMthethosivivinywa woBuholi beNdabuko  nokuPhatha
          [B 58 - 2003] (National Assembly - sec 76)

     This is the official translation into isiZulu  of  the  Traditional
     Leadership and Governance Framework Bill [B 58  -  2003]  (National
     Assembly - sec 76).