National Assembly - 24 August 2004

TUESDAY, 24 AUGUST 2004 __



The House met at 14:00.

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



                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr T D LEE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House -

(1) congratulates the players, coach and management of the Springbok rugby team on winning the tri-nations tournament by beating Australia 23-19 on Saturday, 21 August 2004;

(2) acknowledges the commitment and passion demonstrated by the players on the field throughout this year’s tournament; and

(3) looks forward to a resurgence of South African rugby on the world stage in the years ahead.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move the draft resolution printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:

That Rule 253(1) be suspended for the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate on the Companies Amendment Bill [B 10B - 2004] (National Assembly - sec 75).

Agreed to.

                         TRAVEL VOUCHER SAGA

                      (Subject for Discussion)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The next item on the Order Paper is the subject for discussion on the travel voucher saga. Before we get to . . . [Interjections.]

You will have an opportunity to speak, hon member. You can then say anything you like.

Before this debate could take place, the Speaker had to consult the legal services office in order to determine what the approach to this debate should be, and to also look at the application of the sub judice rule. In terms of Rule 67 of the National Assembly, no member shall refer to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending. The sub judice rule is applicable to any matter before the courts which has not yet been decided. This rule applies to both civil and criminal law. Simply put, in order to avoid prejudice one should not make pronouncements on matters that are before the courts until they have been finalised.

Now, the legal services office identified two areas. The two matters on which a judicial decision is pending are the following. The criminal proceedings before the magistrate’s court are about travel agencies that have been charged with fraud allegedly perpetrated against Parliament. Because there is a judicial decision pending on this matter, it is covered by this Rule 67 which I have just mentioned.

The second matter is about the liquidation proceedings before the High Court. We requested the legal services office to find out about this matter in relation to members.

The conclusion is that those are the two points that could be identified by the legal services team of Parliament – the matter pertaining to the magistrate’s court in which there is this case, and the matter on liquidation.

It is very important, in fact, for us to have this debate. The matter was raised several times with the Speaker. It was also raised several times in the programming committee in which members of Parliament felt that it was very important for us to report back to the electorate. Even if this matter is still before the courts, it is important for us to inform those people who have elected us as to what is happening – and that goes for all of us in this House. This is because their source of information at the moment is only what they read in the newspapers.

So it was in that light that the presiding officers of both Houses of Parliament felt that it was important for this debate to take place. We hope and wish that this debate will be as informative as possible.

We have requested members to conduct themselves befittingly, so that the South African people can understand what is happening, as that is important. This is because we are talking about an institution that most people have confidence in. It is within that context that we want to have this debate today.

I’m saying this upfront so that if anybody, from any party, is stopped whilst he or she is discussing this matter, it is because he or she is touching on an area that is not ours to discuss. We are not the judiciary; we are not a court of law. And in this debate we are also not going to attempt to be a court of law, because there are courts and they will apply their minds and then decide.

I think that in keeping with our reporting system - even at a time when we receive a report from the courts - we should be able to come back to Parliament when the whole matter is finalised and say that the matter is now finalised and that this is where we are. So it is within that spirit that we would like to see this debate taking place this afternoon. We hope that at the end of this debate all of us will be better informed.

Most members indicated that they wanted this debate during open time, because they have people at home who will be listening to them and watching at some stage. I don’t want to take the limelight, because I’m not one of the speakers in this debate, but I just had to give the context within which we shall participate in this debate.

The SPEAKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members of the House and members of the public, when I received the request for a debate on the misuse of parliamentary travel vouchers I decided that it would indeed present an opportunity for the House and the public to get information, some of which has not been given before or which has been badly distorted or misunderstood so far.

This debate should be approached as a measure to account to our people, who are justifiably eager to know what has happened, what the issues are, what Parliament’s position is on various questions, and what the future holds on these matters.

The travel vouchers given to all MPs are valid for travel by air, train and road. Travel for the purposes of approved committee work is provided for separately. A document called Circular LO19/2001 exists to provide checks and balances to ensure that travel warrants are used according to set stipulations.

I am giving these details to indicate that we do have systems in place, which were introduced in 1999, as an attempt to improve on an earlier green- form system. The critical questions raised by the probe, which has been going on for over a year now, is whether our systems are working well, what the weaknesses are, and how Parliament must improve to ensure that the problems we have identified do not recur.

I want to dwell a bit more on the issue of problems in the systems, because if they did not exist we would not be having this debate today. Dealing with our own internal problems must therefore be a key outcome of this whole exercise. This is something to which we make an unequivocal commitment as presiding officers with the responsibility of running this institution.

It is with this in mind that the Secretary to Parliament, the Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP are working on a comprehensive relook at the LO19 document and at a range of other issues that might not be provided for at present.

The earlier disciplinary cases of the years 2000 and 2001 exposed some of the problems with the travel arrangements. In the report to the then Speaker, from the disciplinary committee, the need to tighten the systems was highlighted as one of the key recommendations.

Bantu bakuthi, makhe ndithethe ngolwakuthi, ndichaze okokubana siyalivuyela elithuba lokuba sithethe nani, njengabantu abasikhethayo nasizisa apha kulepalamente. Ekubeni senive kakhulu ngalomba wengxaki esinazo nophando olukhoyo, oluphanda urhwaphlilzo mayelana ne-travel vouchers zalapha epalamente, ukutsho oko lamaphetshana esiwanikwayo xa sifika apha ukuze sizokukwazi ukuhamba senze umsebenzi wethu, zi-travel vouchers ke ezo. Sithi ke masichaze ukuba kwenzeke ni na, futhi ke sizame ukucacisa. (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)

[My people, I should use my language and explain that we are glad to be offered this opportunity to talk with you, as people who elected and brought us to this Parliament. After yYou have heard much about the problems we have and about the investigations that are going on, such as the investigation oninto the misuse of Parliamentary travel vouchers, that is to say, those little coupons that are usually given to us when we come here so that we can travel and do our job -, those are called travel vounchers. So we thought we should explain and try to clarify.]

. . . izinto mhlawumbe ezinye zazo ezingabekekanga kahle uma nina nixoxelwa le ndaba abamaphephandaba nomabonakude. Okokuqala nje, indaba yokuthi kukhona okungahambi kahle lapha ePhalamende ngendlela esiphatha ngayo izimali nezinye izinto ezifana nama-vouchers. Sekunesikhathi sikubonile lokho. Nizokhumbula ukuthi kuke kwaba khona amacala athizeni akhomba abantu abathize. Ngaleso sikhathi-ke, sasho ukuthi enye yezinto okufanele siyenzile silapha ePhalamende ukuthi sibheke ukuthi siqhuba kanjani ,nokuthi uhlelo lwezimali esezinikiwe luhamba kahle. Siyavuma-ke sithi kusobala ukuthi vele akuhambi kahle ngoba ngabe asiyixoxi le ndaba namhlanje ukuba yonke le nto ibihamba kahle. (Translation of Zulu paragraphs follows.)

[. . . some of the things were not correctly stated, if you read them oin newspapers and hear about them on television. We have noticed that things are not going well in Parliament in terms of funds the administration of funds and things like vouchers. You will remember that at one stage there were charges against certain people. During that period we indicated that in Parliament we have to look at how we administerrate allocated funds and to ensure that such funds are used accordingly. We therefore admit that things are not going well. Had it all been well, we wouldn’t be discussing it today.]

Parliament started suspecting that something was going wrong at the end of 2002 when staff in the finance section realised that a member whose home was in Vrede was supposedly repeatedly travelling to Umtata. At the same time, records also had him driving to Vrede from Johannesburg.

When the member was questioned early in 2003, it transpired that he had never been to Umtata in his life. The travel agent, called Sure ITC Travel (Pty) Ltd, was engaged by the finance staff with the aim of establishing exactly what was happening. When ITC’s responses were unsatisfactory, all transactions with that company were checked and found to be fraudulent. It was then, with the help of SA Airways, that a broader probe was done, which resulted in other travel agents being identified in terms of which there had been irregular transactions between those companies, the members and Parliament.

To come back to the investigation, the first thing I want to clarify is that it was Parliament that instituted this probe. [Applause.] An impression has been given to the public that Parliament was perhaps found with its pants or its skirt down, but in actual fact it was Parliament which invited investigators from outside to come in and help probe and get to the bottom of what was happening. [Applause.]

Ngakho-ke bantu bakithi siyachaza lapha ukuthi akulona iqiniso ukuthi kukhona abantu bangaphandle abathola ukuthi kukhona okonakalayo ePhalamende, iPhalamende ngokwalo elathola ukuthi kukhona okungahambi kahle lapha ekhaya. Kwaba yithina esicela abanye abantu bangaphandle ukuthi bazosilekelela ukuze sithole ukuthi konakele kuphi na? Nokuthi sizokwazi ukulungisa lapho okufanele silungise khona. (Translation of Zulu paragraph follows.)

[It is therefore not true that people who are outside Parliament noticed that things were not going right at Parliament. It was the Parliament itself that noticed that things were not right. We ourselves requested the outsiders to assist us in finding as to where the problem was so that we would be able to applymake corrections where needed.]

Forensic auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers were contracted in May 2003 – that was months after a probe was done by our own parliamentary staff. Subsequently the commercial crimes unit of the SA Police Service was brought on board in July 2003 when it became necessary to confiscate documents from the offices of a number of travel agents who had not co- operated when approached. Lastly, the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions was approached in February 2004 by Parliament to assist in further investigations in order to expedite the whole probe.

After having engaged SA Airways, it transpired that the extent of damage was serious indeed. As I said before, we engaged PriceWaterhouseCoopers earlier on precisely so that there could be an outside agency that could look objectively at the matters rather than just leaving them to ourselves. It was then that Parliament withheld payments to the travel agents until such time that we could establish how much was owed to the institution itself and only then would we deal with the issue of paying the travel agents what was owed to them.

It was also then that ITC, the company I mentioned earlier, applied for voluntary liquidation. Later on - more recently - Business Executive Travel was involuntarily liquidated by Standard Bank at the instance of Parliament in order for Parliament to get back its own money.

Many of the books and records, especially of ITC, revealed that some members had received benefits that appeared to have been paid for incorrectly by Parliament. This included car hire, hotel accommodation and foreign exchange transactions.

The extent to which any of the members knowingly got involved in any wrongdoing has to be clarified through the investigation. Each hon member must have an opportunity to shed light on any transactions done in his or her name.

We are also happy to say that there is agreement on this approach with all the parties in Parliament and with the investigators, and it is on this basis that there is currently a process of the necessary interactions in this regard.

I must, at this point, refer to a meeting convened by the then Speaker, Speaker Ginwala, with MPs whose names had come out in the ITC liquidation processes last year. There is nothing mysterious about this meeting, hon Holomisa. It took place in the Old Assembly Chamber on 8 August 2003 in broad daylight, actually. Each MP was handed an envelope containing documents relating to what seemingly involved him or her.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon Speaker.

B H HOLOMISA: Deputy Speaker, I would like to know from the Speaker why he is mentioning my name.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is a she.

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Why is she mentioning my name?

The SPEAKER: Hon Deputy Speaker, may I proceed?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please proceed, hon member.

The SPEAKER: The hon members were advised to meet the liquidators to give relevant information and to clarify their understanding of why their names were coming up. Some of the transactions related to committee travel, which had been organised not by MPs but by the committee section of Parliament with no participation of MPs. Some were personal transactions in terms of which they had been directed for payment by the institution, instead of the bills being sent to individual MPs. Where MPs acknowledged debt they made the appropriate arrangements for payment with Parliament’s finance section.

In fact, there were some instances in which MPs had never utilised the services of ITC and it was a mystery to them how they had become implicated. Clearly, somehow knowingly or unknowingly, the vouchers of hon members had been fraudulently used.

These are the loopholes we as Parliament must study in detail as we relook at the systems, so as to close the gaps and restore confidence in the institution and in the hon members elected to serve our people. [Interjections.]

For instance, there was a lack of proper control over the issuing, use and cancellation of vouchers. There was no system to check how often travel agents invoiced Parliament for the same trips undertaken. No system existed to properly validate invoices submitted for travel. No system existed for members to validate trips undertaken in their name. I could go on and on quoting some of the problems that have since come up.

To come to the present, after the 2004 elections the new presiding officers asked for a progress report on the investigation and received a summarised one in June 2004. For the first time the issue of possible charges against MPs appeared in that report. As everyone knows, the media have carried numerous stories implicating current and former members. I have consistently refused to add to the confusion and the frenzy that has tried and sentenced hon members ahead of time. [Interjections.] [Applause.] No amount of intimidation will change my approach in this matter. [Interjections.]

Our Constitution is clear in that any person is presumed innocent till proven guilty by a court of law. [Interjections.] We will not violate that principle. We must allow the law to take its course. Whoever is found guilty will have to face the full consequences of due process. It is irresponsible to try to score political points on a matter such as this, which has serious implications for an institution such as Parliament and indeed for the country as a whole.

The issue of the draft report of PriceWaterhouseCoopers . . . This is the report. [Interjections.] It has provided a lot for media reports in the past few weeks. I just want to mention briefly a few facts about it. There was never a promise on my part that when I got the report I would publish it or circulate it. [Interjections.] What I did promise, at a press conference at the airport, was that after reading the report we would come back to the public. [Interjections.] Right.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon Speaker, you have a minute to conclude.

The SPEAKER: Even if I had wanted to, I could not have shared this report, because it is clearly stated that it is strictly private and confidential. [Interjections.] This is especially because the investigation still continues. You could not publish what the contents of this report are without bad implications for the investigation.

Thirdly and lastly, this report does not mention the Deputy Speaker’s name or the name of the Speaker. There is nothing about that in this report. And further, you will get the final report when the time comes and just watch this space. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Mr M S MANIE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I distinctly heard the hon member Mark Lowe shouting “cover-up”. To make a statement like that reflects not only on the integrity of the Speaker, but also on this institution. I would like you to give a ruling and, in that respect, ask the member to withdraw that statement unconditionally.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, if those words were said, then would you please withdraw them, because indeed . . .

Mr W P DOMAN: Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. [Interjections.] Won’t you consider, in terms of freedom of speech, that this is the personal view of a member? He is reflecting on what he believes has been done. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, I was not giving you an opportunity to rise on a point of order. I am asking you . . . [Interjections.] Hon members, don’t scream at me. You will have an opportunity to speak to me. I will give you an opportunity to speak to me.

I am addressing this hon member at this point in time in that “cover-up” is unacceptable. I am ruling that that is unparliamentary, so please withdraw it. That is all. I am not asking you to give me a speech. [Interjections.]

Mr W P DOMAN: Madam Chair, I was just asking you for your permission to address you on the point of order before you made the ruling. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No. I have made a ruling. So you cannot address me before I make a ruling, because I have made the ruling already. [Interjections.] Hon Mark Lowe?

Mr C M LOWE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am happy to withdraw . . . [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no microphone, so we cannot record what you are saying. Why is there no microphone on? [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, can we establish whether this member is trying to defy the order from the Chair?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, I have not yet recognised you. The member should find a microphone and speak to us.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: He cannot find a microphone.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: He must find one. Hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party, please sit down.

Mr C M LOWE: Hon Deputy Speaker, if you are ruling that the word “cover-up” is unparliamentary, I am happy to withdraw them on that basis.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. Hon member, do you still want to address me? No. Thank you.

THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to thank the Speaker for granting the request of the DA to have this debate, and for having the courage to come and participate herself today. The crooks must be punished and the innocent exonerated. [Interjections.] Only in this way will the reputation of Parliament be restored. The previous Speaker gave the undertaking that no one would be exempt, and we need to reaffirm that today, whether the people concerned are travel agents, officials or MPs.

The travel voucher scandal is the biggest crisis to hit Parliament since the advent of democracy in 1994. It is not Parliament’s money or the state’s money that is at issue, it is the people’s money. Every cent we spent could have been used for other purposes and priorities like building houses and schools, and providing more police officers to fight crime. [Interjections.] It is an embarrassment to all honest MPs – and there are many of them – that some amongst us seem to have forgotten their idealism and commitment to serving the people.

The DA’s position is quite clear: Any DA MP who is arrested will be suspended; any DA MP who is convicted of an offence involving dishonesty will have to vacate his or her seat. The law states that an MP sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months without the option of a fine, automatically loses his or her seat.

The DA says that that is inadequate, because we believe that if 20 or 30 MPs end up being convicted criminally and perhaps being fined or given a sentence of imprisonment with the option of a fine, it would be unconscionable if they were to stay on in Parliament, having defrauded the people of South Africa. [Applause.]

The proportional representation system allows party leaders to exercise their authority and remove from Parliament people who brought their parties and Parliament itself into disrepute. And the question we must ask is: Will they have the courage to do so?

The investigation of this scandal seems to have been very thorough, and was conducted at the instance of Parliament and the presiding officers. But the truth is that the investigations have been inordinately delayed. It is shocking that a scandal of this magnitude has taken 20 months to investigate and is still nowhere near conclusion. Surely, if the investigation had been tackled with vigour, this whole mess could and should have been cleared up before, and long before, the election.

The delay in proceeding with the liquidations against the remaining companies also causes concern. It is at liquidation interrogations that the truth comes out. In-house investigations too easily result in matters being swept under the carpet, or private deals and arrangements being made with the guilty. The foot-dragging by the investigators has allowed this scandal to escalate, and their lack of openness has made it worse. The Republic has had to rely on newspaper leaks and speculation about 135 or even more MPs being involved.

Apart from the DA announcement of the name of it member, almost all of the rest has been based on leaks. In response to suggestions that the junior MPs were taking the flack while the powerful were being shielded, the Secretary to Parliament made an ill-advised statement. He said that the names of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Minister of Education appear on the list, but they are in no way criminally involved. No one thought they were in the first place, but those politicians should have been talking for themselves, because the implication of the Secretary’s statement was that, apart from those three people not being guilty, all the other 132 MPs on the list were guilty. The Secretary must be very careful. He is a manager; he is no longer a politician. He needs to separate those two roles. [Interjections.]

I have been informed that the ANC has instructed some of its MPs who owe money to Parliament not to repay it and I want say, speaking as an attorney, that that is very bad advice. [Interjections.] In particular, those who end up being charged criminally will not be able to say in mitigation of sentence that they have made a sincere effort to repay the people’s money. I think the ANC needs to think again.

We, on this side of the House, want a statement naming all of the MPs involved, stating which have been exonerated – and there should be many of them – and which were not necessarily guilty or under investigation, because then the public will know what is going on in this Parliament.

Secondly, we want the forensic report that the Speaker waved around just now, so that the public can know that Parliament has done and is doing everything possible. Thirdly, I think we must insist that this investigation proceeds with all due haste. I don’t believe that Parliament can go on for the next few months under this cloud of suspicion, gossip and dishonesty which hangs over every single member of Parliament.

It is not idle curiosity about these documents that moves the DA. We say that only when the allegations have been properly and urgently investigated, and when the guilty have been convicted and adequately punished, will this ugly chapter in Parliament’s history be put to rest. I thank you.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Deputy Speaker and hon members, let me from the start state that the ANC is committed to clean and transparent governance . . . [Interjections.] [Applause.] That is our track record as a liberation movement, and no less is expected of us by the people.

Kubalulekile ukuba kwasekuqaleni siyicacise mhlophe into yokuba uKhongolozi uyazibophelela kwinkqubo yolawulo olucocekileyo, kwanokuba abantu abalindelanga nto enganeno kuleyo kuKhongolozi.

Ndifuna ukuthi asiyonyani into yokuba uKhongolozi ukhe wayalela nabani na ukuba angahlawuli okanye angenzi ntoni. Asiyo nyani leyo. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[It is imperative that we clarify from the start that the ANC is committing itself to the programme of clean leadership, and also that people are not expecting anything less than what the ANC is offering. I want to say that it is not true that the ANC has instructed anyone not to pay, or to do nothing. That is not true.]

I’m sorry, hon Gibson, but it’s not correct that the ANC has instructed any of its members to pay or not pay anything. [Interjections.] And, hon sir, it is very dangerous to even begin to try to speak on behalf of the ANC. [Applause.] But the issue, again . . .

. . . owona mba usentloko ngala mahum-hum namarhe okuba kukho imali eye yesetyenziswa okanye malungelo athile aye akasetyenziswa ngandlela ngabantu abangabameli babantu. (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)

[The main issue is these rumours that there is money that has been used, or certain privileges that were not enjoyed properly, by people representing others.]

We believe that we need to tackle corruption in the way we have tackled other issues and challenges that have come our way. We have to do so in a constructive, responsible and thorough-going manner. As the ANC we are guided by a constitutionally crafted set of human rights principles that is at the centre of this caring society we wish to create. And it is within this ambit that we wish this matter be dealt with.

The ANC is saddened by the sensationalisation of the travel voucher investigation by those who have indulged in rumour-mongering around this issue. This debate itself seems more the result of these rumours than an attempt at comprehensive and thorough consideration of what transpired. This has done much damage to this premier institution, which is one of the important tiers of our governance structure. The fact that Parliament has been built on the blood and tears of many of our people who endured immeasurable hardship should never elude us. [Interjections.]

It is therefore important that we debate the facts and not the rumours on this issue. The facts are as follows. Firstly, Parliament as an institution itself called for this investigation. It was not the Scorpions, it was not the DA and it was not someone who compelled it to undertake this investigation: It was Parliament as an institution. It did so because of its commitment to clean and transparent governance. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

Let’s address the fiction that has surfaced in the past few weeks. Certain sectors of our society claimed to know who the wrongdoers were, long before the report was even handed to the presiding officers. That members of Parliament set out to defraud Parliament, with the collusion of certain travel agents, was seen as a fait accompli. It is important to note that to date no member of Parliament has been given a set of charges. Not a single member of Parliament has been given a set of charges, and yet names continue to be published.

I understand the context in which a party like the DA can say that it released the names. The context is very suitable for a party of that nature. Why? [Interjections.] If you look at this side of the House - look at those people – the ANC has invested a lot in these people. The ANC has agreed for them to be deployed here because it has trust in them, because it has faith in them. [Applause.] Therefore because of that faith, the ANC will not callously bring the credibility of this force into question. [Interjections.]

An HON MEMBER: Will you eat your words?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: You can easily do so with the hon Morkel, because he is a minority coloured in a largely white environment. [Interjections.] [Applause.] And that is consistent with the underlying tone that whatever is African and whatever is black is inherently corrupt. [Interjections.] [Applause.] That is the point of departure.

We in the ANC have not instituted an investigation. We are not investigators. It is not our obligation to release anybody’s name, because we don’t know the facts that surround that name. It is the obligation of the investigators themselves and this institution if it so chooses to release those names. [Applause.]

The ANC will proceed from the assumption that its members have not done anything wrong until it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. And, exactly when that happens, you have an assurance from us that we will deal with anyone without fear or favour. [Interjections.]

We cannot contradict ourselves: At one level we claim to have full confidence and faith in the judicial system, and at convenient times begin to assume the very same role of that institution. If a court of law convicts any of these members, no matter who they are, I can assure you that the ANC will take action without fear or favour. [Interjections.] But until then, these people are innocent until proven guilty. (Interjections.) (Applause.)

Hon MEMBERS: What about Tony Yengeni? Tell us about Tony Yengeni!

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: No, the debate is not about Tony Yengeni. [Interjections.] We can tell you a lot about Tony Yengeni when the debate is about Tony Yengeni.

Let me make a few quick observations. The hon Douglas Gibson says that the investigation is the worst thing to hit this democratic Parliament, and yet the reality is that this investigation is the most chaotic investigation I have ever seen in the past 10 years! [Interjections.]

And this investigation takes place in the context of a serious administrative breakdown in the finance section of this Parliament. [Interjections.] Why, for example, as in the case of our telephone units, are we not getting a report monthly that informs each and every member how many trips he or she has undertaken, and how many remain? Why is this so? [Interjections.]

An HON MEMBER: Should people rob the bank, because there is no guard outside the bank?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: No, no. It’s not about that. Not by any means. The context here becomes very important . . . [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, order! Chief Whip?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: The issues that I’m mentioning are the very issues that the Chief Whips’ Forum is seized with. Side by side with this assertion is the fact that you will never understand the magnitude and the seriousness of these allegations, unless you take into consideration some other real-life experiences of MPs.

Why do we design a voucher system that is supposed to serve as a tool of travel for members to do their work and this very same tool . . . [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon Chief Whip, would you please take your seat? I would like to address the House. We need to have a debate, and we need to be able to hear every speaker. It is important for all of us to listen, and we still have the right to disagree.

But we can’t drown out a person to a point where we can’t even hear what he or she is saying. So, with regard to the interjections from the left, please try by all means to make them as and when they are called for. Do not make a noise about almost everything the speaker says. We can’t even hear or follow what he is saying. Hon Chief Whip, will you please continue.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you. I am asking, why do we have a system that is supposed to serve as a tool for members to do their work, and effectively so, yet they have this thing that they get to the airport and the voucher waves them goodbye, even though they still have to go to the constituencies and elsewhere where they have to arrange accommodation for themselves?

I say this because I feel that it is the role and duty of Parliament to be a caring and supportive employer. The failure to be that is something we will not see the end of. It will come again, in another form, and yet it will be the same thing.

What is important for us in this debate is to simultaneously try to address the disease and not the symptoms. So, I’m saying that it is important for Parliament to do even more to try to be a caring, supportive employer, such that we can forestall issues like this from taking place.

Ngamazwi amafutshane nangokuphandle, ndifuna ukuthi kwisizwe sakuthi masingahendwa lula ngabantu abanjongo ikukuthengisa amaphepha, ze sifulathele izinto esizakhe nzima nezinto esizisebenzele kabuhlungu, njengale Palamente. (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)

[In short and in clear terms, I want to tell our nation not to be easily tempted by people who only have intentions of selling newspapers, and don’t turn your back on the things that we have built with great effort and things that we have worked hard for, like this Parliament.]

An HON MEMBER: Where’s the media?

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Le Palamente idlale indima enkulu, kwaye iseza kudlala indima enkulu. Owona msebenzi ubalulekileyo uphambi kwethu kukumilisela iPalamente yeMbumba yeAfrika. Owona msebenzi mkhulu ubalulekileyo esijongene nawo kukuba siqinisekise ukuba ezi nkqubo urhulumente athe uza kuzenza ukuphucula impilo yabantu siyazenza.

Masingalahlekiswa silukuhlwe ngabantu abanjongo ziphambi kweenyawo zabo, abacinga ukuba ngenxa yezi ngxakana zikhoyo, esiqinisekileyo ukuba ziza kuphandwa de kufikelelwe engcanjini yazo, siza kukholelwa ukuba le Palamente isebenze kangaka nala malungu abekekileyo, esiwonyuleyo sibonisa intembeko kuwo, ukuxabiseka nokuhlonipheka kwawo makunyashwe ngeenyawo.

Kuhle ukuba lo mcimbi siwujonge kakuhle, uphandwe, kungafihlwa gama lamntu. Kumntu owonileyo umthetho kufuneka usebenze ngendlela ekufuneka usebenze ngayo. Kodwa masingakhe silinge senze impazamo yokucinga ukuba bonke abantu abalapha benze le nto kuthethwa ngayo. Yiyo loo nto sicela ukuba bonke abantu bakowethu benze konke ekusemandleni ukukhusela le Ndlu ibaluleke kangaka nedlale indima engaka kwimbali, kwanokuqinisekisa ukuba uphando kwalona luyaqhuba ngaphandle kwesisini nangaphandle kokusizela mnta’kabani. Abo, ukuba bakhona, bafumaniseke bewaphule umthetho kuya kuthathwa amanyathelo okulungisa izimilo zabo. Yiloo nto ke ecelwa yi-ANC. Siyabulela kakhulu. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[This Parliament has played a big role, and it is going to continue doing so. The most important work that is facing us is that of establishing the Pan-African Parliament. The most daunting task that we are faced with is that of ensuring that we implement the programme that the government has said is going to improve the lives of people.

We must not be misled and influenced by people whose objectives are shortsighted, because of these small existing problems, which we are certain will be investigated until we get to the root of them. Are we going to believe that the value of this Parliament that has worked so hard, and that of these hon members, must be looked down upon?

It is good that we look at this issue clearly, and that it be investigated; there should be no name that is going to be hidden. Where someone has committed an offence, the law should take its course. But we must not make the mistake of thinking that everyone who is here has done what we are talking about. It is for this reason that we ask everybody to do everything in their power to protect this House that is so highly important and that has played such a role in history, thereby also ensuring that the investigation continues without laughter and without pity in respect of somebody’s child. Disciplinary measures will be taken against those - if there are any - who are found to have transgressed the law. That is what the ANC is asking for. We thank you very much. [Applause.]]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, before the hon Chief Whip leaves the podium, I’d like to raise as a point of order with you, the fact that the hon Chief Whip contravened a ruling which the previous Speaker gave about racially disparaging remarks about hon members. [Interjections.] He referred, in a racially disparaging way, to an hon member from this side of the House by saying he was “only a coloured”. Now, that is quite clearly, in my submission, a contravention of the ruling by Speaker Ginwala. That type of remark does not belong in this House, and certainly not out of the mouth of the hon Chief Whip of the ANC. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order: I think that the reference was to a party, not to an individual, and therefore the ruling would not apply. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, the point is raised at the end of the speech, and we cannot at this point … [Interjections.]

Would you please give me an opportunity to speak? I think it is important for us to look at the context of what Mr Gibson is saying, and at a subsequent sitting a ruling will be made, because the hon member has already completed his speech and left the podium.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, when you say a subsequent ruling, are you saying that you are going to study the record and will give a ruling in due course? Because I would be satisfied with that.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is what I am saying.


Mr C T FROLICK: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During the input of the hon Chief Whip of the ANC in this debate, the hon Mike Waters of the DA shouted, amongst other things, “It’s your corrupt MPs” and while referring to the Chief Whip said, “Tell us how you did it”. I am asking you to rule this matter as unparliamentary, please.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think in the same way we are dealing with the point raised by Mr Gibson, we will study that, and then at a subsequent sitting of the House make a ruling on that as well.

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am very disappointed that in a debate such as this we have mudslinging going on while we should be trying to protect the integrity of Parliament. [Applause.]

I wish to thank the Presiding Officers for making available to me a copy of the confidential memorandum setting out the details of the investigation into the alleged abuse of travel vouchers.

The issue that we are discussing today is a very serious one, because, rightly or wrongly, it has thrown a dark cloud over Parliament as an institution and also over its members; that is you and me. We cannot deny that perception and we have to deal with it as best as we can.

I therefore welcome this debate, because by doing so Parliament and our MPs can publicly and concretely demonstrate that we are prepared, firstly, to deal with this issue immediately in an open, transparent and fair manner, secondly, to allow the law to take its own course, regardless of who may be involved and, thirdly, that we will not deny the public and media any information that is not sub judice.

We owe this to the people of this country who have placed us in this Parliament. Today, we may not achieve much more than tabling these three important statements, because the investigation has not yet been completed and so far no MP has been convicted of any irregularity or crime. Yet, on the other hand, we must be sensitive to the negative perceptions that have surfaced so far.

We must also bear in mind, especially Mr Gibson, that the wheels of justice turn slowly. Therefore, much more water will still have to flow under the bridge before the truth is finally established.

Mr Gibson wants to know why the names are not published. I will tell him why. In courts these days the names of accused are not published until they have been charged and have pleaded, because if an innocent person’s name is named and it later appears that he was innocent, then the damage is done and you cannot repair it. [Applause.]

We must act with constraint and wisdom, not making harsh judgements of our colleagues before all the facts have not been properly considered by the courts of our land. Today some names of suspects are known, but we do not know whether they are, in fact, guilty of any irregularity or crime. We must remember that in terms of the Constitution of our land everybody is regarded innocent until proven guilty by the courts. [Applause.]

The IFP has so far been spared of the embarrassment of some of our members being named, but we do not see that as giving us the right to throw stones at those colleagues who have in fact been named.

In my experience as a lawyer, I have learned that the case against an accused is never stronger than at the moment when arrests are made. But as matters progress, some cases lose steam along the line, and eventually the truth will surface. Only then - when the truth is established by the court

  • can we finally deal with the issue.

I am impressed, and so are my colleagues, by the manner and especially the speed with which Madam Speaker and the former Speaker, the Secretary to Parliament and others have dealt with this matter, taking the initiative of trying to identify loopholes in our system and correcting it. We do not point accusing fingers at Madam Speaker or the former Speaker or the Secretary to Parliament. As far as we are concerned, the integrity of Madam Speaker is not in question at all.

We must also never forget that we as MPs are, after all, only human beings with human failings and shortcomings. I will certainly not be the first to throw a stone.

On the other hand, Parliament and parliamentarians are to be seen as the custodians of the laws of our land and we should set an example for others to follow. [Interjections.]

Mr W P DOMAN: That’s the point!

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: It is the point. Have you now discovered it? Congratulations! [Applause.] [Laughter.] [Interjections.]

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Yes, you are the weakest 4X4 that ever came into Parliament. [Laughter.] And it is not even a proper 4X4, because it only has two legs and one brain. [Laughter.]

In the end, those of our colleagues who are found guilty by the courts will have to pay the price. The law must take its course and, as Mr Gibson said, we have to deal with ``crooks’’. Yes, the courts must deal with them, but only once they have been convicted. We should all learn by this experience and we should once again resolve to protect this institution.

Therefore, as parliamentarians of all parties, no matter which party one belongs to, we must today assure South Africa and its voters that we will deal with this unfortunate matter with transparency, speed, honesty and determination to clear the name of Parliament and its members. [Applause.]

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Deputy Speaker and hon members, the most critical information about this saga has been suppressed and kept away from this House and the public. The forensic report is, according to Madam Speaker, ``not available to members generally’’.

It has been made available only to a certain elite clique, who will manipulate it for their own benefit. That same elite clique has gone ahead and liquidated travel agencies whilst MPs who benefited from the services rendered are still here. What we cannot tolerate is any attempt to decide beforehand, and without all the facts, that all suspected MPs were manipulated by travel agents.

Already, there is a public perception that Parliament is attempting to control the police and Scorpions investigation by asking for lists and briefings to be submitted to it. However, this information is demanded through the Presiding Officers who keep it confidential, which is problematic when they are suspects themselves, as reported in the media. The UDM calls for the police and the Scorpions to proceed with their investigations of the suspected MPs unhindered by unnecessary interventions from Parliament. [Interjection.]

Mr T M MASUTHA: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary for the speaker to say that certain members are suspects, when we don’t have any evidence of any charges being levelled against any member?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is exactly what we spoke about initially, when we began our discussion, that unless you have information, we don’t have any information of anybody who has been charged or any information that speaks of a suspicion. [Interjection.]

Mr B H HOLOMISA: When the police are investigating people, don’t you call those people suspects?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Please refrain from saying something that we don’t have any proof of. We are trying not to be investigators and we are also not trying to be a judiciary. We are just trying to inform our electorate. [Interjections.]

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Okay, Madam Speaker, I have taken note of your concerns.

The extent of the fraud justifies applying the same principles as in the case of public servants. In other words, suspend the suspects whilst they are being charged. As lawmakers we will lose all credibility if we cannot walk the walk.

Already some lists are floating around and causing harmful speculations, such as this list of 136 names that came into my possession. Naturally, the House should satisfy itself whether this list corresponds with the PriceWaterhouseCoopers forensic report.

We must ensure that this matter is speedily and openly resolved to put an end to this harmful speculation. Therefore, I am tabling this list to assist the ongoing investigations. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: May I ask in what capacity is the hon Holomisa tabling these papers? I remember that he was once a Deputy Minister, but he is no longer one. What is he tabling here? What is the status of these papers that he is tabling?

Mr B H HOLOMISA: These papers are going to Hansard. Relax, my friend. [Laughter.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, I just wanted to clear something and it has been confirmed that I am indeed right. There is just no way that any of those papers would appear in Hansard. Hansard summarises what has been discussed in the House. As far as I am concerned, the papers will have no status whatsoever.

Perhaps Mr Holomisa would like to clarify what status these papers have. Otherwise this means that anybody can print a list of names and then ask that it be tabled. What we have taken into consideration, Mr Chief Whip, is everything Mr Holomisa has said within his allocated two minutes.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Can we be very sure that these papers belong to the dustbin? [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Holomisa, would you like to address us on the status of your papers?

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Deputy Speaker, I am trying to assist the process of investigation. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Holomisa, would you please take your seat. I would like to say something to you on that point: If you don’t know the address of the Scorpions, I will provide you with that address. If you don’t know where to find the Police Service, I will also give you their address.

This House is not an investigative authority of whatever manner and we do not represent any investigative authority. Therefore, these papers will not assist anybody. But, if you want to assist, as a responsible citizen - and I know that you are a responsible citizen – then take these things to where they will be of use, not here. Thank you very much. I now want to continue with the debate.

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Deputy Speaker, may I respond? Madam Speaker has stated before that there is a committee which has been looking after this, and that it has authorised even the Scorpions to go via your office. Therefore, I am asking you to facilitate the handing over of this documentation to the Scorpions. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please take your seat, hon member. That was a very good try.

Mr W P DOMAN: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: While the Speaker spoke, the front page of the report was displayed on the screen. Would it not be in order if we could just display the front page of the hon Mr Holomisa’s document on the screen? [Laughter.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, I thought that the hon Holomisa is your colleague. It would be very easy for you to just walk over to his desk and get a copy. You cannot bring the proceedings of this House to a halt in order for me to give you a paper which you can just go and get from Mr Holomisa. Please, get that copy and do not waste time.

Mr W P DOMAN: Madam Speaker, I am actually very serious. Regarding my point of order, I would like you to rule at a later stage that if the Speaker is afforded an opportunity to display something on the screen, that should then be the right of each member in order to assist them with their speeches.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, wait. Hon member, I know that the debate is very interesting, but are you implying that I am getting confused? Because that is what you are saying. [Interjections.] Listen! The Speaker spoke on a report and that report was shown on the screen. At no stage did Mr Holomisa mention any of those names that were contained in that document. As a result, that was not part of his speech. So don’t try to get those documents from me when you can get them from him. Those documents were not part of his speech. His speech was just the two minutes that was recorded by Hansard. You can get that document from Mr Holomisa. As far as I am concerned, I don’t even see the document because I don’t recognise it.

Mr D V BLOEM: Madam Speaker, on a point of order - and I am also very serious about this: The hon Holomisa can’t call hon members of this House “suspects”. They are not suspects; they are hon members. They have not yet been charged or arrested. He can’t call them suspects.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Bloem, that point was raised with Mr Holomisa and he understood that it was incorrect for him to do that. He has withdrawn that. [Interjections.]

An HON MEMBER: No, he didn’t!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, he did.

Mr A HARDING: Madam Speaker, this scandal has damaged the reputation of all members of Parliament, even those of us from the ID who are not involved in any way. More damage has been done to the institution of Parliament through this scandal.

As members of Parliament we are accountable to the public. Together with our political parties, we are entitled to more information in order to respond adequately. Unfortunately, Parliament seems to have abdicated this responsibility to the press, as we are often forced to read more in the media.

By the hon Speaker’s admission a number of presiding officers have been implicated and, as such, the presiding officers should not have controlled the flow of information. The Speaker’s office should therefore recuse itself from this matter. Parliament, as a collective, should set up a multiparty committee to deal with the distribution of information that stems from the ongoing investigations.

The issue has revealed a number of shortcomings with the present travel system. In addition, it has also highlighted the structural and systemic deficiencies in the support services for members of Parliament.

The ID believes that once the criminal investigation has been completed, Parliament must then run its own internal process to discipline those members who have been found guilty. These people would not have transgressed against their individual political parties, but against Parliament and the people of South Africa. It’s therefore important that these errant MPs be disciplined.

This scandal is the acid test for the independence of Parliament from the party, the state and the executive. If Parliament fails this test, we all fail. I thank you.

Ms C B JOHNSON: Chairperson, may I say that we from the NNP side welcome this debate. We think that the travel voucher saga has negatively affected the integrity of Parliament and its members, and therefore we welcome the debate today.

Firstly, certain issues are so obvious that they do not need to be debated. The first one is that being that those members found guilty of fraud, in other words those who have intentionally wanted to defraud Parliament, must be punished. There is no question of a debate on that. The NNP believes that if found guilty by a court of law, such persons must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. No question about that either.

Secondly, and more importantly, we live in a society where the rule of law must be upheld. There is also no debate on that. And that rule of law applies to the rights of individuals when they are the subjects of an investigation. With regard to the issue of making known the identities of the persons on our list, the NNP is not protecting anybody. The situation is quite simply that the investigation has not yet been completed. A charge sheet only becomes a public document once a person has pleaded formally to a charge. At this point, nobody has been formally charged.

The NNP is therefore not protecting anyone, but it would be simply irresponsible to subject persons to a trial by media until they have been properly questioned by the Scorpions, properly charged and have had an opportunity to plead to the charge.

How do we take this matter further in a constructive way? The NNP has instructed its members whose names appear on the list to co-operate fully with the Scorpions. Once such persons have been charged, disciplinary steps may be investigated. Only when a court has found somebody guilty will that person face the full force of the law. But until such time, let us not jump to conclusions. Let us respect the rule of law and let the law take its course.

It is not up to any member of this House to call any other member corrupt. That is a decision that a court of law must take. It is not a decision for us to take. [Applause.]

Mr K D S DURR: Chair, we have not exactly covered ourselves in glory in this travel saga, but I have to say that I have never found it terribly attractive when members of Parliament sit in judgment of each other. In my experience, I wouldn’t really like to cast the first stone.

However, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton said. But this Parliament must be careful not to give the impression that we have moved from struggle and reform idealism to decadence and corruption without an intervening period of service. Is this indicative of a wider malice and decline in public standards? Perhaps I think so. Perhaps indeed the time has come for a third stream, a new Christian democratic movement in South Africa.

The Chief Whip says that this is the most chaotic investigation he has never seen. All I can say to him is that I bow to his superior knowledge because we, as the ACDP, have not had the privilege of seeing any documents that could lead us to such a conclusion. As far as we can tell, we are happy with the way Madam Speaker has behaved, and we are happy with the way the Leader of the Opposition and Mr Gibson have behaved so far. Perhaps it is moving too slow, perhaps we need more transparency, but so far we think that the whole thing has been quite well handled.

It is a basic tenet of crisis management to tell it all, to tell it quickly and to tell it with openness and accountability, and that is, we believe, the guiding principle that the ACDP would like to see in this whole debacle and saga.

We believe that the members should be subjected to the same constraints and legal sanctions as any other member of the public. Perhaps more so, because we have a greater responsibility than people out there might have. There will be a time for compassion and understanding if it is found that silly and innocent members have inadvertently found themselves caught up in a scam by crooks who have abused the privilege, but for which the member received no benefit beyond that which was intended by Parliament. We will have to see.

We will have to review our procedures, but will also have to review our image. If we want people to respect the law, then they must respect the lawmakers. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Ms M P MENTOR: Chairperson of the House, in this debate I am talking not just to the media, but also to the people of South Africa about the media and how the media have handled this problem and reported on it, and how they should actually have handled it. I will be referring to the problem of the vouchers, but there are also many others problems that preceded it.

Because I am talking to the media and about the media, I am dedicating this speech to Radio Freedom, the voice of the ANC that used to broadcast from the frontline states, giving us hope. [Applause.]

Ke lemogile gore fa go ne go bua rre van der Merwe wa IFP, letlhakore la me le le ka fa molemeng le ne le didimetse thata. Ke solofela gore ke ka gore ba a mo tlotla gonne ke motho o mosweu. Ke lemogile gore fa go eme motho yo e seng mosweu fa a bua, ga a amogele tlotlo epe go tswa mo go bona.

Mo lebakeng la gore Mokwaledi ga se radipolotiki, a tlogele dipolotiki, ke rata go raya ba ba mo letlhakoreng le le ka fa molemeng ke re . . . (Translations of TSetswana paragraphs follows.)

[I have noticed that the time when Mr Vvan der Merwe of the IFP was speaking, this side - that is on my right side - was very quiet. I believe iit is because they give him respect, as he is a white person. I have noticed that if a non-white stands up to speak, they do not give that particular speaker such respect.

On the fact that the Secretary is not a politician, I would like to tell those who are in the opposition that . . .]

We cannot micro-manage the Secretary to Parliament. In fact, because we are arguing that the systems of Parliament are weak and must be addressed, the Secretary has every right to speak on this matter. The DA . . .

… e solofeditse batho ba Aforika Borwa gore e tla golola Rre Morkel, ka ntlha ya gore leina la gagwe le tlhageletse mo makwalodikgannyeng. Le gompieno jaana, ga ba ise ba mo golole. Seo se bontsha gore ga ba na nnete. [. . . promised the South African people that it would be suspend Mr Morkel because his name appeared in the newspapers. Even now, as I am speaking, they have not suspended him. This shows that they are not truthful.]

Before 1994, just like the majority of black South Africans, the media operated under very brutal conditions of suppression. [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Chairperson, may I raise a point of order?


The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: There was a ruling about people’s names, and we have just had a reference to suspects and so on. Now, this hon member is going out of her way again to refer to an hon member of the DA. That is one transgression.

The second one is that she consistently refers to the fact that the DA did not tell the truth - she is misrepresenting what was said. The DA said that if any member was charged, he or she would be suspended, and that if any member was convicted, he or she would lose their seat. Neither of those things has happened. The hon member should be instructed to withdraw that . . .

An HON MEMBER: That is not a point of order! [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Hon member, our understanding is that the reference was to the DA as a party. [Interjections.] In that context it was to the party and not to the individual. [Interjections.]

Order! I thought that this debate was to inform the public as to what Parliament was doing about the problem, but we cannot shout each other down, hon member.

The ruling is that this was in reference to the political party, the DA, and we are going to leave it at that, Mr Gibson. But I am going to appeal to all speakers not to ignore the previous rulings by the Deputy Speaker this afternoon in this debate. Please proceed, hon member.

Ms M P MENTOR: Thank you, Chairperson. Since the advent of democracy the media has been operating under unprecedented freedom that is second to none in all countries of the world. As a result of our fierce struggle for freedom and emancipation, we sought to build a democratic South Africa based on constitutionality, the rule of law, human dignity and human rights generally.

The democratic state that came into being as a result of our struggle, led by the ANC and its alliance partners, is now viewed as a black government and, not only that, but as a black corrupt government. At the beginning of the first decade of freedom, some sections of the media and the enemies of peace and freedom predicted doom, chaos, inefficiency and corruption on the part of the then incoming ANC-led government, the so-called black government.

The concept of the gravy train was coined at that stage and was put into the minds of South Africans. When the prophecies of chaos, doom, inefficiency and corruption did not materialise at the end of the first term, our strategic defence package at the beginning of the second term then became the arms deal. Throughout the second term the arms deal issue was being thrown about and when it did not stick at the end of the first decade of freedom - and at the beginning of the second term - the travel scam arose.

The media have a right to report on things that go wrong. They have the right to operate . . . [Interjections.]

Ms R TALJAARD: Hon Chair, may I rise on a point of order? [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Please take your seat, hon member. What is your point of order?

Ms R TALJAARD: Chair, on a point of order: It is not only in respect of the travel scandal that the sub judice rule applies. It would be advisable perhaps for you to also advise the current speaker in respect of the arms deal and associated investigations currently before the Durban High Court, that those matters are also sub judice. I would also request you to instruct the member to withdraw those references as these matters are sub judice.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): I will look at the matter and rule later. Please continue, hon member.

Ms M P MENTOR: Thank you, Chairperson. The media have a right to report on things, but they must do so in a justifiably fair manner. They are expected to report accurately at all times. So many contradictory things have been reported by the media across the spectrum about the travel voucher problems, but none of the things that were said by the media provide the public of South Africa with clarity as to whether the members involved, directly or indirectly, have acted only negligently or ignorantly, are liable to civil litigation, or have been intentionally corrupt.

None of the people whose names are held by the media has been charged with any offence, either petty or serious, but the media continue to judge them and try them publicly, and have already found them guilty without their being given a chance to defend themselves.

The democratic state and the new society that we are building, that we all hold so dear and correctly so, is based on the principles of fairness and justice, one of which is “innocent until proven guilty” by a court of law and not by the media or the public.

Much as we all hold dear the right of the media to operate freely, and much as we uphold freedom of expression for the media and the people of South Africa, the media have a responsibility and an obligation to act responsibly and fairly at all times. When they report on any matter, they have to bear in mind that they are actually documenting our contemporary history, and that they must do so in a fair and accurate manner.

All of us, including the organs of state, must operate within the framework of the Constitution at all times when we do our work. We have no right to violate human dignity. We have no right to violate human rights. It is actually the violation of human dignity and human rights that sent us to war to fight the apartheid state. We cannot, as early as 10 years down the line, violate people’s rights as much as we want to simply because we belong to the media fraternity.

We all have a responsibility to protect and defend this hard-fought-for freedom and democracy. We all have the responsibility to defend the rule of law and constitutionality. We have a responsibility to defend the integrity and the institutions of freedom and democracy such as Parliament.

This does not remove the right of the media to criticise where necessary or to highlight shortcomings where they exist, but this must be done within constitutional principles, within the framework of the rule of law, justice, human dignity and fairness.

The media have a role to play in the development of our country. They must advocate justice and fairness for all subjects of the state, including members of Parliament, when and if their rights are violated. The media have an obligation to uphold the values that are enshrined in the Constitution.

What would we do as South Africans, and the media in particular, if none of these members - or only some of them, whose names have been heard in public already - are found guilty? Who will take the responsibility? What price should we pay to restore the dignity of those people’s names that have been damaged by being hurled into the media?

We have to protect the integrity of the state. The media have that responsibility as well. That is why we are asking: What have we done to protect the integrity of the state and the integrity of Parliament, in this case?

The hon DA leader . . .

An HON MEMBER: Tony Leon.

Ms M P MENTOR: Yes, whoever he is, he used the media on Wednesday last week to instigate an uprising, and that is actually treasonous. I was taken aback by the fact that none of the people in the media found that to be an agitation against peace and stability. [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Chairperson, I am surprised that it is necessary for me to raise a point of order. Surely, the Chair heard the hon member accusing the leader of the DA of treasonous conduct? I think the irresponsibility of this member is breathtaking, and she should be slapped down hard by the Chair. [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, will you withdraw that remark about the Leader of the Opposition?

Ms M P MENTOR: I withdraw the remark, Chairperson. I will ask a question at the end of my speech. Thank you very much. When you agitate for an uprising, when you agitate for national anger, I do not know what that is equal to I will not say what I think it is equal to, but I think at that stage it was clearly an indication that the said member did not want peace and stability to prevail within South Africa. [Applause.] [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. The subject under discussion is the travel voucher situation. [Interjections.] The hon member is not dealing with that subject at all, and I ask you to ask her to confine herself to the subject of the debate. [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, please continue on the subject before the House.

Ms M P MENTOR: Thank you, Chairperson. For the media to continue to sensationalise every issue, to ignore the facts at all times and to do inadequate research does not augur well for South Africa and our intentions of development. The media have persistently taken the advantage to run as fast as possible when they can whenever there is an accusation in the air.

Today I would like to ask the media: What role are you playing in building the developmental state? What role are we playing in giving the people of South Africa hope? Will you forever be used to agitate for anger and uprising, or will you take the side of wanting to do constructive work, to criticise constructively where necessary? [Interjections.]

The media are supposed to act in an ethical manner. There are supposed to be international norms and standards that the media should use as yardsticks when they do their work. But, over and above everything, it is the values of the Constitution, the values of the rule of law, the value of human dignity, the value of human rights that should be the framework that serves as the guiding principles within which the media should do its work.

Much as the democratic state gives the media the freedom of speech to operate, we also call on the media to throw in their lot in terms of assisting us in enforcing and reinforcing the principles of constitutionality, and especially the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

Before I sit down, and because I have four minutes left, I will relate a story in Setswana to the House. A few months ago in Galeshewe, which is where I come from, the Scorpions descended on Kimberley with helicopters and a convoy of cars. This was as a result of the ANC government’s attempts, initiatives and projects to expose corruption.

Journalists had been involved together with the state in exposing things that were wrong that had occurred. Suddenly, the following day, when the whole of Galeshewe and the whole of Kimberley were waiting to know what had brought the helicopters and the black convoys of the Scorpions in their tens to Kimberley, these journalists received plum jobs and reported in new offices other than offices that were owned by the media. That was the end of the story.

The people of Galeshewe still want to know why the Scorpions descended on their city like that. Now, I am saying to the media today and to the people of South Africa that the organs of state have to act without fear, prejudice and favour. The media also have to act in that way. When people in the media or the media themselves do things that are wrong, we very seldom hear about it.

We call on the media to speak out about white-collar crime in the private sector, even when it occurs within the media environment itself. It is so that, even when it is an organ of state that is not toeing the line within the spirit of constructive engagement and constructive criticism, the media will raise these issues and sometimes choose not to be silent on them. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! On the point raised by the hon Taljaard, the hon member’s statement did not reflect on the merits of that particular case you referred to and is therefore in order.

Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Geagte mnr die Voorsitter, die VF Plus is van mening dat hierdie debat opsigself ’n skande is vir die instelling van die Parlement. Dit is ’n skande dat parlementslede hier moet kom debatteer oor ander parlementslede wat moontlik by misdaad betrokke is.

Dit is die taak van parlementslede om mense daar buite te beskerm teen misdaad. ’n Mens kan mense daar buite nie kwalik neem as hulle sê dat die grootste misdadigers in die Parlement sit, en hulle dus nie kan beskerm nie. Dit is mos nou bekend dat 14 lede van die Parlement reeds skulderkennings geteken het. Hulle is in die proses om die Parlement terug te betaal vir die oortredings wat hulle begaan het. Laat daar geen onduidelikheid wees nie: as ’n LP ’n vlugkoepon gebruik het om ’n motor te huur, of om in ’n luukse hotel te bly, het daardie lid bedrog gepleeg. Hoe kan die sub judice reël dan van toepassing wees? Hierdie lede het mos skuld erken. En dan kom hierdie agb lid van die ANC en beskuldig die media dat hulle op ’n heksejag is, en dat hulle sensasie najaag!

Dit is niks anders as “blame-shifting” om die media daarvoor te wil blameer nie. [Tussenwerpsels.] Dit is die ANC en die NNP, wat nie hulle lede se name bekend wil maak nie, wat veroorsaak dat die media moet spekuleer oor wie en wat betrokke is. [Applous.]

Ek is skaam om vandag te sê ek is ’n LP, want weet u, as die mense jou in die straat raakloop en vra of jy ’n parlementslid is, dan vra hulle onmiddellik vir jou: het jy ook bedrog gepleeg? [Tussenwerpsels.] Ek sê vir u: maak die name van hierdie mense bekend. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mr P J GROENEWALD: Honourable Chairperson, the FF Plus is of the opinion that this debate in itself is a disgrace for the institution of Parliament. It is a disgrace that Mmembers of Parliament should have to come and debate here about other members of Parliament who might be involved in crime.

It is the task of members of Parliament to protect the people out there against crime. One cannot take offence if the people out there say that the biggest criminals sit in Parliament, and therefore cannot protect them. It is now knownnow that 14 members of Parliament have already signed admissions of guilt. They are in the process of refunding Parliament for the transgressions they have committed. Let there be no misunderstanding: if an MP used a flight coupon to rent a car, or to stay in a luxury hotel, then thatn MP has committed fraud. How can the sub judice rule then be applicable? These members have admitted guilt. And then this hon member of the ANC comes and accuses the media of being on a witch-hunt, and ofthat they are pursuing sensation!

It is nothing other than blame-shifting to want to blame the media. [Interjections.] It is the ANC and the NNP, who do not wanting to disclose their members’ names, which that are giving gives rise to the media speculating about who and what is involved. [Applause.]

I am ashamed today to say I am an MP, because you know, if people approach you on the street and ask if you are a member of Parliament, then they immediately ask you: did you also commit fraud? [Interjections.] I am telling you: disclose the names of these people.]

I want to say to the hon member of the ANC, the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, who said in his opening statement that the ANC is committed to clean and transparent government . . . [Interjections.] Thank you. Thank you, Chairperson . . . that he must ensure that it is clean and transparent, because outside the people say that ANC now stands for the agency for national corruption. Thank you. [Laughter.] [Applause.]

Mr I S MFUNDISI: Chairperson and hon members, while we do not detract from the importance of this debate, we feel it is unfortunate that, instead of performing duties that will enhance the development of the country and its people, we are quibbling about how wrong or right some of us are.

The conduct of elected representatives should be such that the task given to them by the electorate is beyond reproach. Members of Parliament are expected to be men and women of substance who will do all in their might to resist the temptation to find temporary creature comforts.

The abuse of travel vouchers and, to some extent, Parmed facilities, has been looked into by this House before. We in the UCDP believe that if there is to be uprightness, parties should not hesitate to take unpopular decisions against their defaulting members. If we are to protect the interests of the nation and uphold this institution, parties should come clean when the time comes and, without apportioning blame to anyone, we believe that members must earn being called honourable and live up to that honour by being decent in word and deed.

Parties, we believe, must make an example of those who will be found guilty when the matter is closed. However, we commend Parliament for having been proactive in this matter. We have confidence in this Parliament, the presiding officers and all members of this House that this matter, like all other matters, is surmountable and, like all other matters, will be overcome when the time comes. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M T LIKOTSI: Chairperson, the PAC of Azania has a consistent record of condemning corruption in our country. This is evident in the PAC’s condemnation of the notorious arms deal, now costing over R60 billion, while very few jobs have been created, of corruption regarding old-age pensions, which is rife, and of business deals that are cut in the privatisation of strategic assets of the state.

It is a sad day indeed for the citizens of this country who have entrusted their taxes to the development of our country to discover that their elected representatives are looking after their own comfort, instead of protecting the national interest of this country. [Interjections.] Corruption, regardless of who commits it, must be investigated, and the charge, if proven to have substance, must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. A clear message must be sent by this nation to all corrupt elements in high places, namely that corruption will not be tolerated. Travel agencies have already been punished by liquidation and a media gag, and their bills are not being paid whilst the case is still under investigation.

PAC e nyatsa mofuta ofe kapa ofe wa bobodu le manyofonyofo. Bohle ba ikarabellang ho tsa bobodu le manyofonyofo, ba tlamehile hore ba ikarabelle. Ke a leboha. (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)

[The PAC detests any form of corruption. Everybody who is guilty of corruption will have to be held accountable. Thank you.]

Miss S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, it is most unfortunate that issues regarding the use of travel vouchers have reached such a point. However, as a democracy governed by qualities such as transparency and good governance, the MF is pleased that Parliament has called for this investigation.

The public, in the light of this, may have to be reassured that government has its best interests at heart. This investigation will be concluded in the courts. But what we need to bear in mind is that as a democracy, our rule of law determines that one is innocent until proven guilty. It is true that media coverage on the matter may result in finger-pointing, but we, as representatives of our nation, need to instil confidence in our people. We need to reassure them that this government is for the people, and we need to stop the negative impact that this travel voucher saga has had on the confidence our people have placed in us.

The MF also hopes that this matter will receive the efficient attention of Parliament, and that this matter be settled at the earliest time possible. We, however, would like to urge that guidelines regarding the use of travel vouchers are forwarded to members, and if in any way persons accused may have been misguided in their use, we need to fix the loopholes to avoid similar occurrences. However, while investigations are still underway, we request that members – old and new - be adequately educated in the use of the various gratuities made available to us.

The MF expresses much concern on the matter of the travel vouchers, and hopes that clarity will be reached as soon as possible. The MF supports good governance and transparency for an efficient democracy. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mr P J NEFOLOVHODWE: Chairperson, members of Parliament are supposed to be upholders of high moral standards by virtue of being lawmakers. To this end they have to carry out their activities in an exemplary and dignified way.

South African citizens must have been highly discouraged when they came to realise that some of the members of Parliament had allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities to defraud the very institution that pays them salaries and benefits.

Azapo believes that all of us in this House are required by the ethics associated with our public offices to practice what we preach. To Azapo it is crucial that Parliament, as a public institution, take such steps as are necessary to protect itself from misuse by some of its members.

Parliament, therefore, must take steps consistent with its code of conduct to punish those who are found guilty of engaging in any fraudulent activities associated with travel vouchers. Such steps must include a full recovery of its losses from the members concerned and the dismissal of such members from Parliament - if found guilty.

In the meantime though, Azapo believes that the law must take its course, regardless of who is involved. At the same time, we call upon parties whose members are found guilty to remove them from Parliament, and not to allow them to hold any future public office - irrespective of whether they were found guilty with an optional fine or not.

This matter should be regarded as a breach of trust by the South African citizens who elected all of us to protect Parliament and its integrity. Apart from punishing the affected members, Parliament now needs to re- examine its code and ethics and tighten then in order to prevent similar incidences. I thank you. [Time expired.]

Ms H ZILLE: Chairperson, what do Judge Siraj Desai and Ms Marion Sparg have in common with a number of soccer referees, and the men falsely accused of raping Baby Tshepang? The answer is that none of them are members of Parliament and could thus not call on the country’s most senior political office bearers to shield them from media reporting of allegations against them.

Their names appeared on the front pages before they were charged, tried, convicted or sentenced. It is now a matter of record that some of them were found not guilty, while the rest still await their day in court.

We, in the DA, believe in the rule of law, and that people are deemed innocent until proven guilty. But the way press freedom is interpreted in South Africa means that the media often reports on allegations against people before they are charged – let alone convicted. If this applies to some, it must apply to all, especially the politically powerful. Alongside the principle of the presumption of innocence, is the equally important principle of equality before the law.

Yet, here we see the politically powerful disgracefully playing the race card, blaming the system, probably blaming apartheid, to shield their colleagues from public exposure in what is potentially one of the greatest scandals to emerge in any democratic parliament anywhere. [Interjections.]

It is, frankly, beyond contempt to imply, as the ANC’s Chief Whip did, that the DA’s commitment to transparency is racist because of the colour of the skin of the MPs that have so far been named. Or, as another ANC speaker said, that a call for transparency is treasonous. Nothing could illustrate the ANC’s contempt for democracy more clearly than these statements. It is the death knell to the ANC’s claim to be a nonracial party, committed to democracy. It implies that a misdemeanour is acceptable to the ANC - depending on your skin colour. That is what the public has heard today. [Interjections.]

The irony, of course, is that despite – and perhaps because of - the attempts to suppress the names of the “Travelgate” MPs, the media has made a point of ferreting them out. And because secrecy implies that there is something to hide, the public believes that anyone named must be guilty. Furthermore, all MPs remain under a cloud of suspicion. All this could have been avoided by a full, early disclosure and an explanation of why a name on a list does not automatically imply wrongdoing.

Instead, the ANC and NNP are once more hiding behind the sub judice rule. We should not be surprised if the general public think that that sub judice is a Latin term meaning “cover-up”. [Interjections.] In fact, when it comes to public accountability, people who hold public office and spend public money must expect far greater scrutiny than the private citizen.

This principle was underscored by our own press ombudsman in a precedent- setting ruling in 1998, when he said:

Suppression of high-level investigations into allegations against senior politicians cannot be justified as being in the public interest. It would be wrong to withhold such information from the public of a country whose Constitution provides for a democratic and open society.

The former Speaker, Dr Frene Ginwala, agreed with this approach. When the first signs of the travel scam emerged early last year, she reportedly gave assurances that all forms of corruption in the use of Parliament’s travel budget would be fully exposed. An increasingly cynical public may be excused for concluding that her premature departure may have had something to do with her clear lack of enthusiasm about invoking the sub judice rule to protect her colleagues in this matter.

We have missed her in the debate today. Thank you. [Applause.]

Prof B TUROK: Chair, on a point of order: Is in order that a member of the House should refer to the previous Speaker when she is not here to defend herself? Is that in order? And is it correct? [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon member, we will look at that point and get back to you.

Mr J H JEFFERY: Mr Chair, let me begin by again stating the ANC’s position that the charges of travel voucher misuse must be thoroughly investigated, that the law must take its course, but that individuals implicated or charged must be presumed innocent until found otherwise, and that the ANC will act in accordance with its Constitution against any of its public representatives found guilty of such conduct.

Let us make no mistake as well that the ANC is committed in its fight against corruption. Fighting corruption was indeed an important element in our election manifesto in the 2004 elections. The ANC-led Government has indeed already taken great strides in the fight against corruption over the past 10 years.

On the institutional front, our Constitution provides for independent institutions such as the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the Public Service Commission.

Additional bodies have been set up to deal with corruption: the Independent Complaints Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority and so on. Then, we have improved on the systems – the Public Finance Management Act and the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act - to transform the controls over the spending of public money and to make the prevention and detection of corruption a lot easier. Lastly, we have the Protected Disclosures Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act, which provide comprehensive detail of the offences of corruption and the procedural steps to be followed.

Let me just add that it is said that 80% of corruption cases in government reported in the media are actually first uncovered by the government itself. And I think this applies to this issue that we are debating today.

The ANC is also committed to transparency. Can you even compare the transparency in the tricameral parliament, which didn’t really exist, with the democratic Parliament that has existed since 1994? Some of the highlights are access to information legislation, the committees of Parliament are open to the public and, in addition, MPs have to disclose their gifts over a particular amount and their assets.

These are things that many parliaments, which may be regarded as coming from democratic traditions, either do not have or have just instituted. Countries like Germany, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand and India, for example, do not have an assets register. In addition, members of our executive also have to complete a list of liabilities.

There were cases in the previous parliament of misuse of travel vouchers. These cases were investigated by the National Assembly’s disciplinary committee, which was chaired by our current Speaker on two occasions and by one of the House chairs on another. Three MPs were found guilty and were publicly reprimanded in the House. They forfeited some of their travel vouchers and had to pay back the money for the abused vouchers. [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: But they weren’t charged with fraud, which is what they should have been.

Mr J H JEFFERY: The cases, Mr Gibson, were handed over to the NPA as the disciplinary committee felt that fraud had occurred. In terms of media reports, the NPA declined to prosecute in at least two cases that occurred in 2001. In the other case, which occurred in September last year, the MP in fact resigned from Parliament after being requested to do so by the ANC.

However, Mr Leon is quoted in the media as saying this was just a rap over the knuckles. [Interjections.]

Mr E W TRENT: Chair, may I ask the hon member a question?

Mr J H JEFFERY: No - at the end of my speech if I have time. [Interjections.] Well, that is his opinion. I mean, Mr Leon is quoted in the media as saying it was a rap over the knuckles. That is his opinion now, but I don’t recall him or any other member of the DA saying so at the time.

As we have heard, the current irregularities were uncovered by Parliament, which ordered a forensic investigation. We need to congratulate Parliament in this regard on the steps that it took. I want to use this point as well to condemn Mr Gibson’s aspersions on the Secretary, claiming that he is still acting as a political office bearer. I think it is reprehensible to make such remarks in a forum in which the Secretary cannot defend himself. [Interjections.]

We need to accept that the systems are inadequate, something many speakers have already raised, in that MPS arrange and book flights through travel agents, the agents pay SA Airways and submit the accounts to Parliament, but MPs are never given a regular statement to indicate what is being claimed on their behalf. Certain travel agents have been charged; we need to await the outcome of those cases. One cannot assume their guilt.

Questions have been raised on the role of the MPs in this matter. Now, obviously, MPs feature very prominently and are at the centre of things as the claims that were made by the travel agents – the disputed claims - were claims made on their behalf. But what has not helped is the manner in which some members of this House, some of the parties and some members of the media have attempted to sensationalise this matter, blow it out of proportion, while acting on leaks and rumours. [Interjections.]

Many members have spoken on the presumption of innocence. That’s a principle in our law. A person is presumed innocent until proved guilty. It’s a right enshrined in our Constitution. In fact, it was one of the rights that existed before our Bill of Rights came into existence. It’s a universally accepted right. What the presumption of innocence means is that the state must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And the reason for this is that the consequences of finding a person guilty are extremely severe. They may result in loss of liberty, negative economic consequences, loss of a job and they can destroy a person’s social standing and family.

We have the presumption of innocence because we only want to punish blameworthy people, and establishing blameworthiness is a complex task. We do not want to punish people for acts they did not intend to commit. Now I imagine no one would disagree with that. Many speakers have stressed this point as well, even from the DA.

But has this right with regard to MPs been respected? The Sowetan editorial of 12 August stated: “We agree with the ruling ANC that the MPs whose names are contained in the report must be deemed innocent until proved otherwise by a court of law.” That’s very good. But the same Sowetan of 12 August had a headline on the front page, which screamed “Expose rogue MPs” and wanted the ANC to release the 23 names. In other words, here is the DA members’ problem with the presumption of innocence - they can’t actually apply it. If the Sowetan headline is to be believed and the MPs are rogues – none of those 23 is innocent until proven guilty - they are rogues. A dictionary defines a “rogue” as a dishonest or an immoral man; presumably that can apply to women as well. Is this respecting the presumption of innocence? I think it smacks of a presumption or even a finding of guilt.

But this is not the only example. “Shame on you” said The Star editorial of 26 June, and it then proceeded with a piece that castigated guilty MPs. But have any MPs been found guilty? No. None has even been charged. Is this editorial a presumption of innocence? I don’t think so. The news on e-tv, when reporting on some MPs’ explanations, had a line that read “Excuses, excuses, excuses”. In other words, these MPs are guilty and because of that their explanations must be regarded as feeble.

Even members of this House have sought to turn this to their political advantage. I think we have seen this with many of the speakers from particularly the DA, the FF Plus – as I think you are called now – and so on. An article in the Cape Argus of 18 August, which reported on an interview with the hon Tony Leon, had the headline: “Travel Scam: Big guns being shielded” and that’s attributed to the DA. Is that presumption of innocence?

There is a paucity of facts. Even those who appear to be under investigation don’t know exactly what they are accused of doing. As with the presumption of innocence, this is a key requirement of a fair trial. We ourselves, as members of this House, often learn of the details of some of the allegations from the rumours and leaks that the press pick up. A fundamental problem in this matter is the rumour-mongering and the sensationalisation that have taken place. As far as I am aware even the 23 members, required by the Scorpions, don’t have all the details of what they are alleged to have done.

The hon Zille spoke about the fact that people like Judge Desai were found guilty by the media when they were, in fact, innocent and that there should be equality and that that should apply to everybody. But is that right? I don’t think that’s right. The press need to be more responsible in the way they report, as do members of this House. The media, in the way they have projected things, have presented a very confused picture. On 1 August the Sunday Times reported that 135 MPs had been investigated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the auditors appointed by Parliament. But City Press on the same date had a front-page headline that screamed “179 MPs face arrest”. Business Day two days before had referred to 37 MPs being fingered. So, how many MPs are we talking about? We don’t know. [Interjections.]

Some people have said that Parliament should do more by explaining its role in initiating the current investigation. Now this may be so, but we should also rely on the media to correctly inform one on issues - and many of the reports that have come out have been extremely inaccurate.

The Star on 12 August had a front-page headline, which read “MP travel scam: More heads to roll”. The subheadline was “Goings on in Parliament likened to The Bold and the Beautiful”. Very dramatic. I don’t know if that increased their circulation. They had done some research and printed a copy of a flight voucher with the caption: “In black and white: Although some MPs have claimed ignorance of how the parliamentary travel voucher works, it clearly states that it may only be used for air tickets.” And that’s correct. The voucher reads it must be “presented by the member personally for issuing an air ticket”.

An HON MEMBER: Everyone knows that. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist.

Mr J H JEFFERY: Right, thanks for that DA. But now I wish the reporters had done a little more research. Parliamentary Circular LO19, to which the hon Speaker referred and which details travel facilities for MPs, while silent on the use of hired cars quite clearly states that a voucher can be used for travel by bus, by train and for driving from Parliament to your home or constituency. So the wording on the voucher is actually incorrect, and printing that is only half the story.

Even the fact that MPs have used vouchers to hire cars is not in itself proof of corruption on their part. Some members were under the impression that they could hire a car to drive from Cape Town to their constituency, and they were informed that this could be done by the travel agent. Now why trust the travel agent, you may ask. Because, I think, MPs expected them to know. It’s like going into a chemist and asking the pharmacist: “Is this medication covered by medical aid?” You trust what he or she tells you.

While I am not trying to defend members who may be guilty, there is a presumption of innocence. We mustn’t just pay lip service to it. There may be reasonable explanations for some of these accusations. In addition, members should only have to respond when they are informed of the full details of the suspected acts that they are meant to have committed.

In closing, I want to re-emphasise the ANC’s commitment to fighting corruption and to say that that cannot be doubted, even by Afro-pessimists like the hon member from the FF Plus. Any allegation of untoward behaviour on the part of MPs must be properly and expeditiously investigated, and the ANC will take action against any person found guilty. However, individuals being investigated must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty.

We need to take steps to improve the travel system for MPs – there is general agreement on that. But I hope, as some speakers said earlier, that we can use this debate to actually explain to the public what has happened and some of the issues, and not for political point-scoring. To do that actually brings discredit on all of us.

One last point. With the DA’s new-found commitment to transparency, I hope that they will now tell the public who was the mysterious Hans who gave them money and whether, in fact, they ever took money from Jurgen Harksen. Thank you. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Regarding the point of order raised by the hon Turok, the reference made to the former speaker is not out of order.

Debate concluded.

                        (Member’s Statement)

Umntwana N E ZULU (IFP): UKhongolose uyasincoma kakhulu isinyathelo esithathwe uhulumeni sokuba enze isikhumbuzo seNkosi u-Albert Luthuli, kanye nokuguqula indlu ayehlala kuyo ibe ngeyokugcinela izizukulwane zethu umlando wakhe. Ukukhululeka kweNingizimu Afrika kusinikeze ithuba lokuba sikhombise umhlaba wonke lokho okungamagugu ale lizwe lethu obekufihlakele.

Ukwethulwa kwesikhumbuzo seNkosi u-Albert Luthuli KwaDukuza nguMongameli wezwe mhla zingama-21 kuNcwaba, kuwo lo nyaka, kube yisambulo esisha sokubaluleka kokuqoshwa kabusha komlando wale lizwe. Ukuvulwa kwendlu yamagugu omlando okwakuhlala kuyo leli qhawekazi lase-Afrika kanye nesikhumbuzo somfanekiso wakhe, kube iyona ndlela abantu baseNingizimu Afrika abakhombise ngayo ukumbonga ekuzinikeleni kwakhe emzabalazweni wokukhululeka kwale lizwe.

Ukubaluleka kwalo mkhosi weNkosi uMadlanduna kubonakale ngokuhanjelwa iNgonyama yamabandla onke, iSilo uZwelithini, esiwumzukulu weSilo uDinizulu esabamba iqhaza elikhulu ekwakhiweni kukaKhongolose. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of Zulu member’s statement follows.)

[Prince N E ZULU (IFP): The ANC highly applauds the step taken by the government to celebrate the unveiling of the Chief Albert Luthuli memorial, and also the converting of the house in which he was staying into a museum in order to keep his history for future generations. Our freedom in South Africa has provided us with an opportunity to show the whole world all the heritage of our country that was previously concealed.

The unveiling of the Chief Albert Luthuli memorial in KwaDukuza by the President onthe 21st of August, this year, was a new revelation which marks the importance of revisiting the history of this country. The unveiling of the museum of this African hero and his statue was the way the South African people showed gratitude to him for his dedication in the struggle for freedom in this country.

The importance of this commemoration of Chief Madlanduna was clearly marked by the presence of His Majesty King Zwelithini, who is the grandchild of King Dinizulu and who played a pivotal role in the formation of the ANC. Thank you. [Applause]]

                      SALDANHA MILITARY ACADEMY
                        (Member’s Statement)

Moulana M R SAYEDALI-SHAH (DA): Thank you, Chairperson. At a time when the SANDF is trying to attract quality young recruits, the problems at the Saldanha Military Academy present the worst advertisement. The academy, hon Chairperson, is training the future leaders of the Defence Force, but both black and white lecturers are resigning because of alleged political interference, which is damaging the academic ethos of the academy.

These posts remain vacant because only affirmative action appointments will be considered. The growing burden on remaining lecturers is causing further resignations and a loss of much-needed skills. And reports of racially motivated attacks on students, which the top management is allegedly covering up, must be urgently investigated and disciplinary action must be taken.

The fact that the declining conditions at the academy are reported to be linked to the new Commanding Officer must also be investigated. We know that there were no problems under the former Commanding Officer, the hon Brigadier General Soli Molo. The Minister of Defence must brief the Portfolio Committee on Defence on the reasons why the academy has deteriorated so badly, and what action is being taken to rectify matters. Thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement) Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Thank you, Chairperson. The attack and murder of members of the South African Police Service by civilians is a worrying situation and a cause of great concern. It seems to be the latest trend for civilians to attack and harass police officers while they are on duty.

This was the case on Tuesday, 17 August in the Eastern Cape, where a civilian was also injured during such an attack. Members of the Police Service must know that they have the right to defend themselves, as their lives are no less valuable than those of the criminals whom they are tasked to protect us from.

This statement is directed at members of the Police Service who are innocently attacked while fulfilling their duties, and not at police officers who are killed or injured because of their involvement in criminal activities.

The Ministry must take note of these attacks, and bear in mind that an attack on a member of the Police Service is an attack on the state itself. There is a thin blue line between the state and the criminals, and that line is the SAPS which helps to maintain law and order. Those who are found guilty of killing innocent police officers should be prosecuted harshly. I thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M R MOHLALOGA (ANC): Thanks, hon Chairperson. The ANC congratulates the African National Congress Youth League and its leadership on the successful conclusion of their 22nd national congress, which was held at Nasrec from 18 to 22 August 2004. We further congratulate the ANC Youth League on the progressive declaration and resolutions they took at the congress.

As the ANC, we will engage various committees of Parliament on resolutions adopted at that congress to speed up the eradication of the challenges that our youth face, be it regarding unemployment, access to finance or entrepreneurial support.

We further welcome the constitutional amendment, obliging all structures of the youth league to have a minimum of 40% representation by women. The ANC wishes the newly elected leadership a successful term of office. Thank you.


Mr M DIKO (UDM): Thank you, Chair. The UDM condemns Telkom’s continued insistence on extensive job cuts. Telkom insists that it will proceed with its restructuring programme that will result in 4 000 jobs being cut over the next three years.

It is puzzling that Telkom and its chief executive can adopt such an intransigent position in the face of appeals by the unions and government to the contrary. Are the unions and government no longer stakeholders in Telkom? Is Telkom now a force unto its own? This occurs despite the fact that Telkom operates very profitably as a monopoly at the grace of government.

The Chief Executive Officer himself seems to have completely lost sight of the harsh employment reality of South Africa today. Whilst he reportedly earned R11 million last year, we are supposed to believe that he can no longer pay 4 000 of his employees. Further shocking claims have recently been made that Telkom has hired 20 luxury rooms on the luxury liner, the Queen Mary II, which is currently in Athens for the Olympics.

Ukuba ibingabameli bezopolitiko abenze oku ngekukho ingxolo enkulu ngale nto. [Had it been politicians who were involved in this, there would have been a lot to say.] Again it is difficult to understand how a company can afford such lavish expenses, but cannot guarantee employment for its workers.

The UDM calls on the Minister to consult with Icasa and to remind the management of Telkom that their licence does not operate in a vacuum. Thank you.

                          TELKOM’S MONOPOLY

                        (Member’s statement)

Mr V C GORE (ID): Telkom is the only provider of a fixed-line telephony service in South Africa. Due to policy, legislation, regulations and delays in the introduction of the second national operator, Telkom has been able to entrench its protected position as a monopoly in the ICT sector.

Telkom has recently announced profits of over R4,5 billion and salary payments to its CEO of over R11 million, whilst at the same time announcing plans to retrench over 4000 employees.

At the same time there has been a drop of over 200 000 in fixed line connections between 1999 and 2003. A number of websites have recently been established by concerned citizens to voice their disapproval over these contradictory actions and statements; websites such as and

The ID calls on government and Telkom to accelerate the introduction of competition so as to lower the costs of telephone charges and improve the roll-out of affordable and quality services to all. I thank you

                        (Member’s Statement)

Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): The reports that the Sudanese government has rejected an offer by the chairman of the African Union, President Obassanjo, to send troops to disarm rebels are worrying and have raised many questions. The Sudanese government has been denying charges that they are sponsoring the armed Arab Janjaweed militia in their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the South.

Women and children have been raped and villages have been looted and burnt down in a ruthless campaign that the Khartoum government has failed to stop for years. The ACDP will support any possible sanction imposed on the Sudanese government, by the UN Security Council, after the 30 August deadline.

We therefore call on the Khartoum government to accept any offer of help from the AU to bring back peace, security and stability to the southern Sudan, particularly the Darfur region.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms S D MOTUBATSE-HOUNKPATIN(ANC): Modulasetulo, ke ragoga mo ka lethabo; ke thabišitšwe ke mošomo wo ke o bonego ka motseng wa Alexandra. Badudi ba Alexandra ba thekgile barutiši le dihlogo tša dikolo tša phoraemare tše di latelago: Iphutheng, Pholosho, Zenzeleni, Gordon le Carter.

Dikolo tše di šoma ka maatla go hlwekiša ditikologo tšeo di lego go tšona ka projeke yeo e bitšwago Bontle ke Botho. Gape dikolo tše di tšea karolo go ruteng bana matlhale le botaki. Bana bakhwi ba laeditše setšhaba tsebo le kwešišo ya bona phatlalatšeng.

Dikolo tše di kgopela gore baetapele ba tšee tlhwekišo ya tikologo ka šedi yeo ba tšeago malwetši ao a lego gona setšhabeng - a go swana boHIV/Aids.

Kgopelo ya ka go mafapha a Mmušo ke gore a thekge dikolo tše; a thekge le barutiši bao ba ikgafetšego go šomela setšhaba gammogo le dihlogo tša dikolo tšekhwi.

Ke fihlišitše memorantamo wa dikolo tše go Tona ya Saense le Teknoloji le Tona ya tša Tikologo gore ba tle ba kgone go bona mošomo wa dikolo tšekhwi. Ke a leboga. Šatee! [Nako e fedile.] [Legofsi.] (Translation of Pedi member’s statement follows.)

[Ms S D MOTUBATSE-HOUNKPATIN (ANC): Hon Chairperson, I arise with great joy, impressed by the work that I have seen in Alexandra Township. The residents there are very supportive of the teachers and principals of the following primary schools: Iphuteng, Pholosho, Zenzeleni, Gordon and Carter.

These schools are working very hard to clean up their environment through the project referred to as “‘ Bontle ke Botho”’. These schools also participate in teaching the learners about science and art. These learners have publicly shown their knowledge and understanding.

These schools appeal to the Ministers to prioritise the cleaning up of the environment as much as they do with perturbing diseases like HIV-/Aids.

My request to the government departments is to support these schools, support these teachers who have volunteered to work for the nation, as well as the school principals.

I have submitted the memorandum from these schools to the Minister of Science and Technology and the Minister of Environmental Affairs, so they can see the work that these schools have done. Thank you. (Praise) (Time is up) [Time expired.] [Applause.]]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr R COETZEE (DA): Chairperson, the Minister of Health should drop her plan to force this year’s graduating nursing students to undergo compulsory community service from January next year.

There is, as yet, no legal basis for compulsory community service for nurses. The Nursing Bill, which provides for it, has yet to go through Parliament. Moreover, the Department of Health cannot hope to organise a properly managed introduction to community service by January.

Any attempt to do so will drive even more of our nurses overseas. Over 18 000 nursing posts in the public sector are vacant. Nurses go overseas because of poor working conditions and because many feel they are being treated with disdain and insensitivity by the Government.

Forcing mismanaged and disruptive community service on graduating nurses in January is hardly the right introduction to a nursing career in South Africa, and will confirm the worst fears of those who are already concerned about their future.

If the Minister insists on implementing her plan, she will succeed only in depriving our country of more desperately needed healthcare workers.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr P H K DITSHETELO(UCDP): Chairperson, the wall-to-wall nonracial municipalities introduced in 2000 have suffered casualties. Some municipalities are finding it difficult to keep their heads above water because of a lack of resources, while others are wallowing in the morass of ineptitude because of greed on the part of their councillors.

The Mamusa Municipality in Schweizer-Reneke, North West, which had to be dissolved by the MEC for Local Government because of in-fighting and corruption, has been reconstituted. We hope that the new council will have learnt from the mistakes of its predecessor.

We hope that the Mamusa municipality, like other deserving municipalities, will benefit from the R15 billion allocated to municipal infrastructure development launched by the Minister two weeks ago.

We call on those elected to the municipality to take office with responsibility. The department is called on to provide the necessary support systems to ailing municipalities as failure to do so tends to demoralise the residents in the affected municipalities. The question of double appointments to the same post, as was and is the case in some municipalities, should not be allowed to recur. All people need their services to improve their lives.

Let us hope, now that the UCDP is coming on board with the council, that they will serve as a catalyst, because the three parties that served in the last council thrived on differences rather than development. I thank you. [Time expired.]

                          GATUMBA MASSACRE

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr G P MNGOMEZULU (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC is shocked to learn from media reports about the recent massacre in Burundi of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We condemn unreservedly this heartless waste of human life. What was supposed to be a quiet and peaceful night turned out to be the worst in their lives since their arrival in Burundi. Their killers came in the dark of the night and hacked to death innocent people who were already victims of violent conflict in their motherland.

As is always the case in any conflict, women and children were the most affected. It appears that they were murdered because they are Banyamulenge and are said to have ties with the Tutsis of Rwanda. The killers argue that, because they are related to the Tutsis of Rwanda, they do not deserve the right to live.

We support the call made by our Government that the perpetrators should be brought before a court of law to account for this human rights abuse. We call upon the African Union and the entire international community to condemn this despicable act against human life. I thank you. [Applause.]

                     TAXPAYERS’ MONEY EMBEZZLED

                        (Member’s Statement)

Dr S M VAN DYK (DA): Agb Voorsitter, Rapport, een van die grootste naweekblaaie, berig op 22 Augustus 2004 oor miljoene rande se staatsgeld wat verduister word. Dit is kommerwekkend om daarop te let dat die media verwys na staatsamptenare se vindingrykheid om belastingbetalers se geld vas te lê.

Mnr Willie Hofmeyer se spesiale ondersoekeenheid berig van korrupsie en bedrog en verskeie openbare departemente wat tans ondersoek word om sodoende op staatsgeld te herwin.

Die ANC het tydens algemene verkiesing vroeër vanjaar weereens belowe om korrupsie in die openbare sektor te beveg. Ten spyte daarvan is die publiek geskok om sedertdien byna daagliks via die media te verneem van openbare korrupsie wat gepleeg word en dat die skuldiges dan in sommige gevalle blykbaar net verplaas, aangespreek of selfs na bewering bevorder word.

Terselfdertyd is ons bly om te hoor dat sover moontlik ondersoek ingestel word na openbare bedrog, maar die kiesers sal graag wil sien en hoor dat die skuldiges uitgewys word en aan die pen ry. Baie dankie. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)

[Dr S M VAN WDYK (DA): Hon Chairperson, Rapport, one of the largest weekend newspapers, reported on 22 August 2004 regarding millions of rands of state funds that are embezzled. It is worrying to note that the media refers to the ingenuity of state officials in getting hold of taxpayers’ money.

Mr Willie Hofmeyer’s special investigation unit reports corruption and fraud and various state departments are under investigation in order to recoverthe state’s money.

The ANC, during the general elections earlier this year, once again promised to fight corruption in the public sector. Despite this the public is shocked that since then they have to learn, almost on a daily basis via the media, reports about public corruption taking place and that about the guilty parties who are in some casesare apparently merelyjust transferred, addressed taken to task or even, it is allegedly, promoted.

At the same time we are glad to hear that insopublic fraud is being investigated as far as possible, but the voters would like to see and hear that guilty persons are exposed and that they are convicted. Thank you. [Applause.]]

                       ALLEVIATION OF POVERTY

                         Member’s Statement)

Ms M S MAINE (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC welcomes the continued efforts of government to uplift the poor from their conditions. The UN has declared this year to be the Year of the Family.

The recent intervention by the MEC for Social Development in North West is another indication of the caring nature of our Government. On Sunday 15 August 2004, City Press reported on a family of five - triplets and their two parents. Both parents at that time were unemployed, poor and unable to feed these babies. The triplets were suffering from hunger and their parents did not know where their next meal would come from. The MEC donated food and clothing and further promised the family a proper house. Since the report appeared in City Press, many people and organisations have come forward and assisted the family. The father of the triplets has since then got a job with the local municipality.

The ANC appreciates the good work done by the MEC, the journalist from City Press, the staff and the editor of the newspaper. E ke yona konteraka ya batho. Mabogo dinku a a thebana. Ke a leboga. [Legofi.] [This is the real people’s contract. One hand washes the other. Thank you. [Applause.]]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr D C MABENA (ANC): Chairperson, women employees from Tshwane Metro’s housing division laid the first brick in a project to build a house for one of the poor families in Mamelodi East last week. The project is done in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and is intended to be under the people’s housing process. This exercise will encourage families to take part in building their own houses.

The building of this house is part of the metro’s activities for women’s month. Completion of this house is expected by the end of this month and it will be handed over to the beneficiary on 24 September 2004, to coincide with the Heritage Day celebrations.

We urge the private sector to participate in this people’s contract. Their role in building these houses will help in demystifying the myths in the townships and will make a huge difference. I thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr S B FARROW (DA): Chair, the DA was not surprised at the recent announcement by the Road Accident Fund board that nearly R1 billion of the Fund’s claims could be fraudulent.

It is shocking to know that almost one third of the nearly R3,5 billion awarded to the fund from the fuel levy is stolen. This translates into nearly 7c of the 21,5c paid by motorists for every litre of fuel put into their cars.

The fund is technically bankrupt, and there are over 350 000 accident victims on the RAF books waiting for their claims to be processed.

On 21 May 2004, Minister Radebe gave the RAF ten days to come up with new solutions to its financial woes. Subsequent to this, the Minister suspended the incumbency on the chairperson of the board, pending an enquiry. He must not stop there. The patience of South Africa’s motorists has run out.

For the past 10 years the ANC government has been capitulating to one internal investigation after another, without solutions. [Time expired.]


                       (Second Reading debate)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Thank you, Chairperson and hon members. Let me at the outset congratulate Mr Ben Martins on his appointment as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. I hope we will have just as good a working relationship with him as we did with the previous Chair, Dr Rob Davies.

It needs to be stated at the outset that the Companies Act was initially enacted in 1973. A mere reference to the cover page of the principal Act will reflect that, over a period of 31 years, it has been amended on approximately 35 occasions. By and large, most of these amendments have been specific in the sense that they were aimed at addressing certain practical, legal or technical situations if and when they arose.

This partly explains why the DTI is currently engaged in a holistic review of company law, which will ultimately result in substantial changes to the Companies Act of 1973. However, even though this extended review is expected to be finalised by the end of the year, the ultimate law reform may take even longer. It is therefore still necessary to effect certain amendments to the existing legislation so as to ensure that certain specific issues, in the main pertaining to corporate governance, are properly addressed.

In essence, what does this Bill before us do? The proposed amendments relate to three issues. The first one is the insertion of a provision to enhance the protection offered to bona fide purchasers of uncertificated securities and participants in STRATE. The second is the insertion of various provisions pertaining to disqualified or delinquent directors of companies. The third one is the removal of clauses and provisions in the Bill that have become obsolete.

The provision embodied in clause 2 of the Bill is in a sense an amplification of the principle that is found in section 91A of the Act. Section 91A(4)(c) provides that transfer of ownership in uncertificated securities shall occur irrespective of any fraud or illegality underlying such transaction, provided that a transferee who was party to or had knowledge of the fraud may not rely on this principle.

Legal opinion furnished in this respect is to the effect that, notwithstanding the provision of section 91A(4)(c), it may in law still be possible for an aggrieved party to approach a court of law for a rectification order. Such rectification order would then result in the reversal of the transaction concerned.

If we keep in mind that the marketplace demands legal certainty and investor confidence, such legal possibility should be excluded. This is what is provided for in clause 2 of the Bill.

Chairperson and hon members, the current provisions contained in the Act relating to delinquent directors are inadequate in that they do not expressly state that a disqualified person may not participate in the management of a company. In addition, section 219 requires a court-ordered exclusion to be obtained so as to prevent disqualified persons from acting as directors of companies or from being involved in the management of companies.

Section 218 of the Act currently precludes certain persons from being appointed or acting as directors of companies. However, this prohibition is restrictive in the sense that it does not preclude them from being concerned or taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of a company. Clause 3(b) of the Bill seeks to achieve exactly that, without embarking on lengthy litigation processes as provided for in section 219.

Clause 3(c) of the Bill contains a provision extending the grounds for disqualification to persons removed from positions of trust as a consequence of theft, fraud, forgery, uttering a forged document, corruption, or any other act involving dishonesty.

I need not inform hon members of the global phenomenon of companies collapsing as a result of improper or poor governance. This unfortunately results in the undermining of investor confidence and a deteriorating perception of the manner in which companies are conducted.

Clause 3(d) and (e) as well as clause 4(a) and (b) should be considered against this perspective. Collectively, these clauses would require the Registrar of the Court to notify the Registrar of Companies of the issue of sequestration orders, the issue of orders for the removal of a person from an office of trust on account of misconduct or of a conviction on certain offences.

These clauses put together, furthermore, place a statutory duty on the Registrar of Companies to notify each company which has as a director the person to whom the order or conviction relates. The relevant company is itself required, through this legislation, to notify all its shareholders of such notification.

In addition, it provides for directors or officers of a company to be held liable, jointly and severally, for all debts incurred by that company for the period during which such persons knew, or could reasonably be expected to have known, of any disqualification or contravention.

I want to make specific reference to the amendments agreed upon by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry in the National Assembly, as they are reflected in B10A-2004. I must say that these amendments have brought about very important changes to the position of a body corporate, the principle of investor notification in the event of irregularities and the legal liability attached to those guilty of such irregularities. I would like to thank the chairperson and all the members of the committee for their valuable contribution in this respect.

In conclusion, I want to refer to the issue of obsolete words or expressions. Very briefly, and in the same vein, I refer to clauses 1 and 5 of the Bill. They simply deal with terminology and expressions found in the principal Act that have become obsolete and need to be substituted.

We no longer have attorney-generals, but we have a Director of Public Prosecutions. We do not have supreme courts; we have different names that are applicable now. I hope that all parties present in this House are going to support this amending Bill. I thank you.

Mr B A D MARTINS: Chairperson, esteemed Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, hon members of Parliament. The apartheid state entrenched itself with a system of laws and practices that resulted in a dualistic economy and society that was characterised by disenfranchisement, grave inequalities and impoverishment.

Ten years down the road of democracy, the challenges of overcoming the aforementioned distortions in the South African economy still loom large. It is in this context that the Department of Trade and Industry is currently engaged with the general reform of corporate law. However, some provisions of the Companies Act, No 61 of 1973, have required immediate amendment to update company law in order to make companies more accountable and accessible to a broader section of ordinary South Africans, thereby promoting growth, employment, good corporate governance, international competitiveness and confidence in the South African economy.

The Companies Amendment Bill thus proposes a more inclusive concept of a company, which is broader than the traditional company law principles that only defined the relationship between the company, shareholders, directors and managers.

The Bill makes provision, amongst others, for stringent disclosure requirements, the optional representation of employees on a company’s board of directors, and lays down concise rules on accountability.

Taking into account the dialectic of the unity and interpenetration of the two spheres of the South African economy - the first, relatively advanced and skilled; and the second, mainly informal, marginalized and unskilled - I am of the opinion that the Companies Amendment Bill will lay the basis for promoting the competitiveness and development of South Africa’s economy, amongst other things, by doing the following.

Firstly, encouraging entrepreneurship and enterprise diversity by simplifying the formation of companies and reducing costs associated with the formalities of forming a company and maintaining its existence, thereby contributing to the creation of employment opportunities.

Secondly, promoting the efficiency of companies and their management.

Thirdly, encouraging transparency and high standards of corporate governance.

The ANC supports the passage of the Companies Amendment Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr L B LABUSCHAGNE: Chairperson, the DA will always support measures and legislation which are in the interest of South Africa for the simple reason that we believe in putting South Africa first, and if anyone takes the trouble to view the legislation that the DA has supported, it will find this to be a fact.

In the DA’s policy statement we clearly note that investors prefer certainty in and familiarity with the business environment within which they operate. Moreover, the formal norms applicable to corporate governance and business ethics impact on the confidence of investors.

We believe in a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in the private sector, in the need for tough penalties for commercial crimes and that, in this fast-changing world, new challenges to good corporate governance arise continually and must receive prompt attention.

The DA has spoken out against corruption and supported good governance and we are ad idem that good governance should equally apply to the private sector. It is through good corporate governance that we can attract investment. We cannot afford to have Enrons in South Africa. Directors should, like Caesar’s wife, be above suspicion.

Good, responsible directors and managers will not be affected by penalty provisions of this Bill. The DA recognises the need for company reform and has noted, as the previous speaker also went into some detail, that this process is now under way. It will be a long process and the process to amend the Companies Act, as required, must continue in the interim.

The provisions of this amending Bill, in section 91A of Act 61 of 1973, secures the title of bona fide purchases of dematerialised shares, thereby enhancing the integrity of the market. Once title is passed to a bona fide purchaser, his title will be unassailable. When one considers the number and value of the shares traded daily, and the fact that the value of dematerialised shares as a percentage of market capital is 94,78%, then one realises how important, nationally and internationally, market certainty is, and this Bill contributes thereto.

The provisions amending sections 218 and 219 of the Companies Act disqualify certain directors and officers not only from accepting an appointment as director, but they are also prohibited from being concerned with or participating in any way in the management of the company. This adds to good corporate governance.

Moreover, the principle of making co-directors and officers of a company criminally accountable and personally liable for acts by disqualified directors is a positive development. The Bill provides for a wide-ranging series of notifications concerning court orders against directors, and for the DA’s amendments to notify shareholders as well - for which we thank our colleagues on the committee and the Minister. All these notifications will expand the element of transparency.

The DA supports the Bill in the interest of market certainty, transparency and good corporate governance. [Applause.]

Ms D M RAMODIBE: Chairperson and hon members of Parliament, the SA Companies Act of 1973 is 30 years old and has not been subjected to a comprehensive review to reflect the fundamental developments that have taken place in South Africa in these 10 years of democracy. The Act has been amended 34 times, but the model remains that of the 1962 Act.

Section 1 of the Companies Act, although the Bill seeks to substitute certain absolute expressions, was but one of the provisions of the Companies Act of 1973 that needed immediate attention as an interim measure.

The Department of Trade and Industry is currently reforming the corporate legislation. That will provide permanent solutions, but the process will take some time to finalise. In section 3(b) the Bill prevents companies from having delinquent directors to serve as directors. They will also be disqualified from being appointed or acting as directors, and section 3(c) also prevents companies from allowing unfit and improper directors to serve in the management of such companies. An unfit and improper director is a person who is removed, because of her conduct, from a position of trust due to theft, fraud, forgery or corruption, or any act involving dishonesty.

In terms of morality and ethics, I quote from the Moral Renewal of the Nation national document of the ANC:

The state is expected to act as the moral arbiter of the society, and it is entrusted with the supreme power to maintain the agreed norms of that society. When the state pursues policies that negate the social morality and values it is supposed to uphold, it loses its position as the arbiter of society. That is precisely what happened to the apartheid regime, and why the whole world found the state itself guilty of the ultimate crime of inhumanity.

In section 3(d), the Bill seeks to address the creation of a register of all sequestrated persons. The Registrar shall establish and maintain a register to record convictions such as sequestration, and the books shall be open to inspection.

This will contribute towards providing accessible, transparent, accountable and efficient access to redress for economic participants, and this will be in line with the state of the nation address.

In section 3(e) the Bill further strengthens and tightens restrictions of delinquency by stating that anyone found guilty of an offence shall be equally liable for the debts incurred by the company for the period that the disqualified person acted as a director.

This also contributes to the creation of investor confidence in the domestic market and encourages economic participation, which is also in line with creating work and fighting poverty in partnership with the people. I thank you. [Applause.]

Ms E S CHANG: Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister and colleagues, at the outset I would like to state that the IFP fully supports the amendments. These amendments are closely tied to a system of good governance and corporate ethics.

Despite the importance of corporate governance, from a risk management perspective, I wonder how many board meetings or high-level strategic plans actually deal with governance issues in a meaningful way. A simple answer would be, very few.

We know that Enron and its fairytale of spinning straw into gold sent shockwaves throughout the international community. The amendments to the Companies Act create a new kind of animal and align our law with international standards. International experience tells us that shareholders’ activism and engagement should be proactive, as opposed to being reactive. For example, one area is in the board’s composition. We are mindful of the concept of independence as defined in the second King report and in international best practice.

In the US, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Rules place several governance provisions on publicly traded companies. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Rules require companies to have a majority of independent directors on their boards, so as to increase the quality of the board and lessen the possibility of managing conflicts of interest.

Hon Deputy Minister, disclosure and accurate reporting are paramount to good corporate governance and this is not simply about financial reporting in its proper format, but it is also about statements on public interest issues, such as BEE and environmental laws. It is about responsible business.

The IFP believes that the shareholders and asset managers must exercise their vote in a proactive manner to ensure representation of truly independent directors and not delinquent directors. In doing so, there is likely to be a reduction in the incidence of corporation fraud. We know that there is no way to legislate morality, but we can control conflicts of interest with independence.

The IFP also supports the amendments to section 218 and 219, which disqualify certain persons appointed to act as a director of the company. As we kill mosquitoes by constant cleaning of stagnant waters, we have to cleanse the waters. The failure to implement good governance can result in a heavy cost beyond regulatory problems.

The whole idea of corporate conscience is embodied in governance procedures and reforms. Shareholders are to create an ethical identity into a corporate identity. We know that the new amendments are not foolproof. However, they will push companies towards disclosure and reduce fraud, also allowing for more effective market discipline. They supply a check and balance in the final analysis. Good governance promotes fundamental and universal human rights and also means the absence of corruption.

The IFP calls for a high standard of both corporate and professional ethics to be both promoted and maintained. This means preventing corruption through education, awareness-raising and ensuring adherence to strict procedures as we continue to combat corruption by relentlessly investigating and prosecuting cases.

It cannot be overstated, but the Enron Metals debacle and its repercussions will be with us for a long time. Deputy Minister, these amendments are a step in the right direction. Thank you! [Applause.]

Mr S J NJIKELANA: Chairperson, hon Ministers, Deputy Ministers, hon members and comrades, once again we are taking another formidable step to enhance the transformation of our economy through enabling legislation, and I quote:

Many businesses in South Africa pay mere lip service to ethics management, thus constituting a significant ethical risk.

This was stated by the Ethics Institute of South Africa on 10 October 2003 in Sandton.

It is therefore without doubt that an amendment of such nature had to be introduced so as not only to prepare for punitive measures against transgressors, but also to create a preventative measure for would-be transgressors. This amendment, therefore, wags a warning finger at any director or officer of a company who may know, or could reasonably be expected to know, of any contravention but does not abide by any court or legal order against those found to be contravening the law.

As expected, the ANC-led government had to persistently introduce, review and refine legislation that ensures that corruption is not swept under the carpet – a clear undertaking that is in keeping with the people’s contract, to which we committed ourselves during this year’s election.

The current Companies Act does, unfortunately, have a few loopholes which need to be tightened in specific areas. Such tightening is, however, done in the context of a comprehensive overhaul of corporate law, including policy. Specifically, the Companies Amendment Bill seeks to expand circumstances under which delinquent directors or officers of any company could be disqualified. Any form of misconduct or any other act involving dishonesty while conducting business within a company’s operations must be dealt with using appropriate punitive measures.

Investor confidence, both local and foreign, has pretty sensitive commercial eyes and ears. It sniffs and quickly picks up any untoward or unacceptable business practice, and the result is usually lamentable. The ANC-led government is committed to guarding against this; hence this Companies Amendment Bill.

In the past, it was possible for delinquent directors who were disqualified to engage in activities of a company through other surreptitious ways and means. Once again, this amendment attempts to broaden the scope of offences regarding the prohibition of disqualified persons from engaging in certain company-related activities. Particular reference is made regarding instances whereby delinquent persons engage either directly or indirectly in management activities within an affected company.

Somlomo, nangona esi sihlomelo somthetho sibonakala ngathi sincinane kuba singamaphepha amane kuphela, kodwa isithonga sokusebenza kwawo siza kuvakala ngamandla kwabo bagcwele ubuqhetseba nobuqhophololo. Ininzi imali echithwa ngabomthetho ukunqandana nokuleqana nezaphula-mthetho malunga nale miba ikwesi sihlomelo. Le mali ngeyichithwa kwiinkqubo zikarhulumente ezijongene nabahluphekileyo neempula zikalujaca.

UKhongolose akaludeleli uxanduva awalufumana njengelifa olufana nesibetho neenzingo, lisuka kwixesha lombuso wocalucalulo nengcinezelo. Futhi ezi nzingo zilungiswa sesi sihlomelo azizi kulunga ngomso. Siseza kunyuka iinduli, kodwa ke asinadyudyu, asinankantsi. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Madam Speaker, as much as this legal amendment appears to be small, because it is only four pages, its impact will be greatly felt by those who commit fraud and corruption. A lot of money is spent by law enforcers on combating and chasing criminals concerning issues mentioned in this amendment. This money could be used in the government’s poverty alleviation projects, which are meant for poor people.

The ANC does not underestimate the burden it received as an inheritance - which is like a punishment, accompanied by difficulties - from the government of apartheid and suppression. And the difficulties this amendment is addressing are not going to be corrected soon. We are still going to move uphill, but we are not afraid, we have no cramps.]

White-collar crime is costing South Africa billions of rands and will always pose a threat to investment of any sort. This Bill goes a long way in stemming such activities. Even the chief executive officer of Ethics South Africa, Mr Willem Landman, indicated in October 2003 that:

  Whilst most South African companies maintain admirable standards, our
  research has identified worrying ethical lapses.

Somlomo, nokuba singathini, asikwazi ukuyekela le nyhikithya yenziwa ngoonqal’intloko kwezoshishino. Esi sihlomelo sisekhondweni, sizama ukulungisa kanye oko. Ndiyabulela. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)

[Madam Speaker, no matter what we do or say, we cannot allow this disastrous practice done by the criminals in business. This amending Bill is in line with exactly what we are trying to correct. I thank you. [Applause.]]

Mr A HARDING: Mr Chair, the main purpose of this Bill is to replace some of the outdated provisions of the Companies Amendment Act. These legislative changes are necessary in the light of, inter alia, some of the corporate governance scandals.

Whilst the primary aim of the Bill is to ensure good corporate governance as part of the overall informative Companies Act, there is a limit to legislating for corporate governance. The ID is satisfied that the question of share transactions is dealt with, as well as with the measures that the Bill proposes for dealing with illegal transactions.

The Bill will see to it that the quality of directors appointed to boards will improve. People who are sequestrated will not be easily appointed to boards. Similarly, the fact that very few directors of listed companies know their actual fiduciary duties is alarming. The worrying factor is that people who come from the SMME sector and who had business failures in that sector will find it difficult to be appointed as directors. I state this in view of the fact that it is common knowledge that the SMME sector has a large measure of failed businesses, and I need not remind this House where the majority of those people come from.

The rationale why body corporates are not allowed to assist companies is not clear. In terms of section 218(1) a body corporate is prevented from directly or indirectly taking part in the management of a company. In practice, however, where a company does not have the required expertise, it normally obtains expertise from outside and most notably from body corporates. The question is, then: Why should any company not request specialist management services from a body corporate simply because of such a specialist corporate provision?

The issue of joint and several liability for debts incurred by the delinquent directors is fair and reasonable as it forces directors to peer- review each other’s performance at board level regarding the monitoring of finances of a company.

The ID supports this amending Bill, because it will enhance corporate governance objectives in a broader scope of corporate law reform in South Africa. Thank you very much.

Ms N P KHUNOU: Chairperson, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and hon members, I would like to start by quoting from an ANC document on moral renewal of the nation, and I quote:

  Corruption, criminality, tax evasions, fraud, rape, the abuse of women
  and children are the outward forms of a diseased social climate which
  affects all of us.

Having said this, it becomes our obligation to renew the morals of our society. This Government is committed to that, and the ANC leads. We cannot separate social transformation from spiritual transformation.

In order for me to clarify what I have talked about earlier, I would like to say that we need to educate our society and talk openly about corruption, fraud and ways to transform our society. In the past, individuals were left to act on their own, with no moral laws to guide them, no sense of responsibility and no awareness of guilt. The state set no moral standards but advocated an unethical position. When wrong was made right and the law was used for inhumane purposes, respect for the law collapsed. By becoming a law unto themselves, the law-enforcement agencies killed their consciences and engaged in unlawful acts.

This Bill that we are debating today prevents sequestrated directors from operating anywhere in the country. It actually enhances transparency and accountability. If a director has been sequestrated and has been in operation for five years, for instance, he will have to be liable for all debts incurred by the company for the period during which the disqualified person acted as a director. Even if he or she took part directly or indirectly, as far as the management of the company is concerned, he is liable.

In the past, after a director had been disqualified, he would still work in the company and not notify anyone, and least of all shareholders. According to the Bill, the Registrar of Companies should inform the company, so as to prevent such a particular individual from engaging in the said business activities. The shareholders should be notified as well.

The Bill seeks to substantiate the state of the nation address regarding good corporate law reform and good governance activism of economic citizens in South Africa. Since sequestrated directors will be listed, it will, for example, prevent black emerging companies from employing them.

In very extreme situations, vulnerable people tend to fall from the fray. They fall for these disqualified directors who always tell them about the experience they have had. Because of the notification, they will not be taken, anyway.

Re buile gore re batla go bona khumo ya naga e gola. Re batla go bona batho ba tswa mafatsheng a mangwe go tla go reka mo Aforika Borwa. Molao ona o fa bareki ba mafatshe a mangwe gore ba tshepe mmuso wa rona ka go tla ka se ba nang le sona go oketsa moruo wa naga ena. Sengwe gape se se etsang gore kgwebo tse potlana di se ke tsa tswelela pele ke ka ntlha ya gore ba kopana le magodu ana mme ba dire gore leruo le phutlhame. Tapole e e bodileng mo kgetseng e bodisa tse dingwe. Re tshwanetse go leka ka thata gore leruo la batho bantsho le oketsege gone bantsho e le bona ba leng bantsi mo Aforika Borwa. Mmuso ona o re rotloetsa go dira dilo tsotlhe mo pepeneneng. (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)

[We stated that we would like to see the country’s economy growing. We would like to see people from other countries coming to buy in South Africa. This Act gives buyers confidence in our government by bringing whatever they have into our country to increase our economic growth. Another factor that hampers the progress of small businesses is that they collaborate with these thieves and cause the economy to decline. One rotten potato in a bag spoils the rest. We have to do our best to ensure that black economic growth increases because they are in the majority in South Africa. This government encourages us to be transparent in everything we do.]

I won’t be doing justice to women if I don’t take into cognisance that this is Women’s Month. We must encourage more women to enter the business sector and encourage them to be directors of their companies by giving them the necessary skills to develop themselves. This legislation may also serve to pre-empt the risk faced by women, especially black women, through falling victim to abuse by unscrupulous and delinquent directors, given that women are entering the world of business in large numbers nowadays.

In conclusion, let me leave you with some food for thought. We live in such exciting times, where opportunities abound. Whether we are young or not so young, wealthy or less well-off, clever or just average, we are all alive. Therefore, let us make the most of it; let us be alive and well. The ANC supports the Bill. Thank you and God bless you all. [Applause.]

Mr M T LIKOTSI: Chairman and hon members, the PAC of Azania supports the Companies Amendment Bill, as tabled in this House. It must be noted that the Companies Act was enacted in 1973, with amendments made from 1974 to the year 2001.

The material conditions under which companies traded changed dramatically globally. The experiences of this period of time compelled us to revisit the Companies Act and adjust it accordingly. The amendment is a way of protecting the industry from unqualified persons being put in positions of trust. This will indirectly cover unsuspecting members of the community who may be preyed upon by these directors who are disqualified owing to unethical business behaviour.

Our country needs a major revamp in trade and industry to boost the economy and create the much-needed work for millions of unemployed struggling women, the youth and adults. The PAC will support all endeavours to totally liberate our people from all forms of economic exploitation. I thank you.

Miss S RAJBALLY: Thank you, Chairperson. The transformation, or rather reformation, of corporate law is on the drawing board and, hopefully, in due time, will be up for debate and legalised. The MF acknowledges the amendments made in this Bill, based on priority and urgency, with regard to section 91(a)(4) of the Companies Act 61 of 1973.

We support the amendment that requires a court not to remove the name of a person from the register of ownership of various securities, unless the name was fraudulently placed. Noting the huge value of such securities, we feel that greater caution needs to be exercised.

We further support the amendments made to sections 218 and 219 of the same Act, regarding the disqualification of directors of companies. We support the keeping of a register on such persons and have no objections to the possibility of accomplices or those with knowledge of such misrepresentations being punished.

Further, the liabilities or debts incurred by the company during the tenure of such disqualified directors are felt to be his or her sole responsibility and he or she needs to make compensation. Thus it is felt that persons, directors and officers who were aware of the offence should be punished, but should not share in the liabilities or costs incurred by the company as a result of the offence.

The MF calls for the drafting of the relevant corporate laws so as make this sector more efficient.

The MF supports the Companies Amendment Bill. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

Prof B TUROK: Chair, one can’t but be struck by the difference in tone of this debate about fraud in companies in the private sector with the tone of the debate that we had earlier this afternoon.

It is to be greatly welcomed that this House and, indeed, our committee, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, is able to discuss questions of fraud in the private sector in this dispassionate way. Also, it noted that in the committee itself we had full agreement across all parties and we discussed this issue in a calm, objective manner.

One would have hoped that the issues that came up earlier this afternoon could have been discussed in the same tone and in the same manner. We hope that the DA, when we come to discussing the parent Act, the Companies Act, will be as vehement in defending the criticisms and the supervision of the private sector as it has been regarding this particular amendment.

We note that the DA is very quick to attack the ANC, the government and, indeed, this House on questions of fraud of the kind that we discussed earlier. Is it going to be equally vehement when we come to discussing good governance and fraud in the private sector, particularly in the companies that are so often defended by the DA and, in fact, which in their policy documents do not feature when it comes to fraud, corruption and so on?

So, I want to issue a challenge before I deal with this particular Bill. Let us put the House on the alert and say that we will monitor the way the DA discusses the parent Act, the Companies Act . . . [Interjections.] [Applause.] . . . because this is a technical Bill which makes some adjustments here and there. But the Companies Act – let us alert the House

  • is a major piece of legislation that is going to deal with the whole socioeconomic structure of South Africa. Then we will see whether the DA is willing to criticise and be vigilant about good governance in the private sector. I wait to hear what will happen then. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

We are conscious that we are dealing with fraud in the private sector, particularly in the stock exchange. That is a major issue worldwide. Anybody who reads the international press and is conscious of the international media will know what shock waves went through the whole international financial system when Enron, WorldCom and Parmalat were disclosed as being major vehicles of fraud.

And the story goes on. The New York Stock Exchange itself is under constant examination, because there are funny things happening there and we are very anxious that we should not be tainted by that kind of behaviour in South Africa.

Indeed, when the committee discussed this particular Bill, we sought an assurance from the department and from STRATE, the people who run the stock exchange certification process, that our system is untainted. And, after some discussion – and we had to have a number of hearings – STRATE, which is the company that runs the certification of shares, assured us that indeed our performance was better than that of the UK or the USA at present. It’s because of this that we had multiparty agreement on this particular amendment, and this was very much welcomed.

Let me say quickly that the question of shared trading is a critical issue for our economy. It’s particularly sensitive, partly because of the volumes of trade that go on our stock exchange. Of course, it is nothing compared to the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange but, nevertheless, substantial volumes of trading go on to the extent of R2 billion a day on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

However, this is also owing to the speed of transfer of share ownership. As a result of the electronic system we installed two years ago, which replaced the paper transfers that identified ownership of shares, we now have a situation in which there are both massive volumes of transfers of shares on our stock exchange, as well as very speedy transfers. It is partly owing to the speed of transfer, in which no actual piece of paper is handed over from A to B, that all sorts of insecurities can arise. In this regard STRATE has assured us that, with the development of a higher level of technological capacity in South Africa and the careful arrangements of electronic transfers, we have now achieved a very high level of certainty that what goes on is sound and proper.

One of the points made in the Bill is that a person who acquires a share certificate or a share ownership is guaranteed to retain that, no matter if fraud took place along the way. We assume, in the law, that both the original owner and the new owner are innocent of any wrongdoing, but there may have been some faulty management along the way.

It seems to me that this Bill gives us a great deal of security and assurance. And let me say that this government, which brought this Bill before the House, happens to be an ANC government, which the DA forgets. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Chairperson, I would like to thank hon members and all parties for supporting this Amendment Bill. I really do agree with most of what was said by all of them. I agree with Mr Labuschagne that we expect and want good governance to be applicable not only the public sector but also in the private sector.

What Mr Njikelana said was also true. Although the legislation looks like a very small piece of amendment, the impact it will have on the market will be huge. No longer can corrupt or delinquent directors hop from one company to the other, messing up and messing shareholders around. There is now not only a warning for the corrupt director, but her or his co-directors are going to have to worry about her or his conduct and experience.

Ms Khunou is very correct that we need more women appointed to the boards of companies. We need to encourage, expose and train them so that when they sit as direct members of the boards and directors of companies they know exactly what to look for. Indeed you were correct to say that this is a very small piece of legislation trying to sort out corporate governance issues. It is interesting that Prof Turok said so as well, because when we come out with that we will finalise the review of the Companies Act that will shape the corporate world, because we also intend to utilise that piece of legislation to enhance our own BEE strategy. We are hoping that at that time they will understand, as they have understood today, that we do not only need well-functioning markets. In a country where investors can have confidence we also need the majority of our people to start participating in the economy. We hope they will support us when we try to put in those amendments in the larger legislation.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to everyone who participated. As Prof Turok said, there was a major consultation process with everyone on whom this Bill will impact. Whether you talk about the Reserve Bank, JSE, SARS, or the Standing Advisory Committee on Company Law, everyone was consulted and they were all agreed that this can’t wait. We need it like yesterday. We hope that it will make our markets certain and boost investor’s confidence, and that it will improve and encourage good governance in companies. I thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded

Bill read a second time.

The House adjourned at 17:14. ____


                       FRIDAY, 20 AUGUST 2004


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:

  1. Classification of Bills by Joint Tagging Mechanism:
 (1)    The Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) on 20 August 2004 in terms of
     Joint Rule 160(3) classified the following Bill as a section 75

     (i)     Companies Amendment Bill [B 10 - 2004] (National Assembly
          - sec 75).

 (2)    The Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) on 20 August 2004 in terms of
     Joint Rule 160(4), classified the following Bill as a section 76

     (i)     Sterilisation Amendment Bill [B 12 - 2004] (National
          Council of Provinces - sec 76).


National Assembly:

  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health on the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 66 - 2003] (National Assembly - sec 76), dated 17 August 2004:

    The Portfolio Committee on Health, having considered the subject of the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 66 - 2003] (National Assembly - sec 76), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 76 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments [B 66A - 2003].

 Note:        The Report on the above Bill that appeared in the
          2004 (p 528), contained an error in that it referred to the
          "Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism".
          The above Report is the correct version.
  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the Companies Amendment Bill [B 10 - 2004] (National Assembly - sec 75), dated 18 August 2004:

    The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, having considered the subject of the Companies Amendment Bill [B 10 - 2004] (National Assembly - sec 75), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments [B 10A - 2004].

                     MONDAY, 23 AUGUST 2004


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:

  1. The Minister of Health:
 Report and Financial Statements of the Compensation Commissioner for
 Occupational Diseases for 2002-2003, including the Report of the
 Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2002-2003.
  1. The Minister of Trade and Industry:
 Report and Financial Statements of the Export Credit Insurance
 Corporation of South Africa Limited (ECIC) for 2003-2004, including the
 Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2003-

                       TUESDAY, 24 AUGUST 2004


National Assembly:

  1. The Speaker:
 (a)    Report of the Public Service Commission on the Causes and Effect
     of Mobility amongst Senior Management Service and Professional
     Staff in the Public Service [RP 195-2003].

 (b)    Report of the Public Service Commission on the Investigation
     into the Re-employment of Persons Retired due to Ill-health [RP 32-

 (c)    Report of the Public Service Commission on the Management of
     Discipline in the Public Service [RP 141-2003].

 (d)    Report of the Public Service Commission on the Dispute
     Resolution Mechanisms in the Public Service [RP 198-2003].

 (e)    Report of the Public Service Commission on the Abilities of the
     Departments to deal with devolved authority regarding Remuneration
     and Conditions of Service.

 (f)    Report of the Public Service Commission on the Management of the
     Subsidized Motor Transport Scheme [RP 33-2004].

 (g)    Report of the Public Service Commission on Remunerative work
     outside the Public Service - An Investigation undertaken in the
     Gauteng Provincial Health Sector [RP 219-2003].


National Assembly:

  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Finance on the Convention between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, dated 24 August 2004:

    The Portfolio Committee on Finance, having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, referred to it, recommends that the House, in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution, approve the said Convention.

 Request to be considered.
  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Finance on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the State of Kuwait for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, dated 24 August 2004:

    The Portfolio Committee on Finance, having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the State of Kuwait for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, referred to it, recommends that the House, in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution, approve the said Agreement.

 Request to be considered.

CREDA PLEASE INSERT REPORT - Insert No 3 from “ATC0824e” CREDA PLEASE INSERT REPORT - Insert No 4 from “ATC0824e”