National Assembly - 24 May 2005

TUESDAY, 24 MAY 2005 __



The House met at 14:05.

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



                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr M J ELLIS: I move without notice:

That the House -

(1) notes with shock and with sorrow the deaths by drowning at Richards Bay of eight learners from the Ndlela High School in Mpumalanga at the weekend;

(2) commends the efforts of those people who tried in vain to save the lives of the drowning children;

(3) regrets the circumstances which led to children, unfamiliar with the sea, swimming at a beach with dangerous currents before lifeguards were on duty; and

(4) extends its sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, those survivors of the tragedy, and all the learners and staff of Ndlela High School as they come to terms with their loss.

Agreed to.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before we proceed to Members’ Statements, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome in the gallery Her Excellency Mrs Kumari Selja, Minister of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation in India. [Applause.]

                           CRISIS IN RUGBY

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr B M KOMPHELA (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the current state of affairs in the management of the SA Rugby Union has deteriorated to such an extent that it can only be described as chaotic. Accusations and counteraccusations of mismanagement and corruption are the order of the day and this cannot be allowed to continue unabatedly.

These accusations being levelled by fellow members of the management committee against one another are damning to the image of rugby in South Africa and the international arena. The levels of mistrust and lack of collective leadership in Saru were confirmed this morning at a briefing to the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation by Saru president Brian van Rooyen.

Rugby like any other sporting code is a national asset belonging to all people of South Africa and must be administered according to the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance. The ANC supports the recommendation made by the SA Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee through president Moss Mashishi, to secure rugby from the crises it finds itself in.

It is clear that a relationship of trust and mutual respect among members of the management committee has been fundamentally broken, and it can no longer function at all as an effective management committee of the leadership of rugby in the interests of rugby and anybody else. Thank you. [Applause.]

                     PRIVATE FUNDING TO THE ANC

                        (Member’s Statement) Dr P J RABIE (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, the DA is gravely concerned about allegations in the press that a state-owned enterprise made a donation to the ruling party just prior to the last general elections. We reiterate our call for an urgent judicial commission of enquiry into the Oilgate scandal whereby PetroSA allegedly paid R11m of taxpayers’ money to the ANC via a black economic empowerment firm.

The recent court-case ruling on the disclosure of private funders by political parties has no relation to this case. The private donations that parties received are a matter between the party and the donor. This is quite different from cases were taxpayers’ money is used to fund the party- political campaign. As a state-owned enterprise PetroSA is the national oil company of South Africa, ultimately owned by all South African citizens.

The transfer of taxpayers’ money from a parastatal to a political party must be strongly condemned by this House, by the South African government and by the President himself.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Dr R RABINOWITZ (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, South Africans are in the unfortunate position that there is complete polarisation in our debate on genetically modified organisms between those who are pro and those who are anti.

This is not a debate for politicians; it is one that should be influenced by science and scientists. And no less objective scientific bodies than the American Association of Scientists, agricultural associations in Europe and the British Medical Association are warning that there are inherent dangers in the use of GMOs if they are not adequately monitored and that their use is advancing more rapidly through the introduction of seeds and planted crops that have been consumed by the populace than our understanding of the consequences.

We cannot deny the fact that genes are switched on and off in harmonious ways in a balanced ecosystem to produce health or in an unnatural way to trigger possible activation of harmful proteins like the prions that cause mad cow disease; or that genes can be transferred horizontally into species that have no business having them there, and can affect the way indigenous species behave; or that ecosystems are disturbed by superbugs and superweeds and with them the diversity of nature, critical for survival, is interrupted; or that human disease patterns are changing and we are becoming susceptible to animal diseases and resistant to antibiotics; or that the use of GMOs in agriculture can drastically negatively affect small- scale farming; or that the regulatory mechanism monitoring the production of GMO plants grown here in South Africa or licensed here is weak.

Therefore the IFP calls on the Ministers of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and Trade and Industry, the groups representing AfricaBio, the Safe Food Coalition and all interested parties to come together in a transparent debate that leads to amendments of the GMO Act, better paper-tracing of GMOs and the monitoring thereof, and that until such time as this occurs we have a moratorium on the introduction of further crops that are grown in this country, until we are assured of better regulation of GMOs. [Time expired.]

                      CELEBRATION OF AFRICA DAY

                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms S D MOTUBATSE-HOUNKPATIN (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, tomorrow Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora will be celebrating 42 years of organised and formidable onslaught against slavery, colonialism and apartheid under the leadership of the OAU and now the African Union.

The ANC, together with other progressive-minded South Africans, will join the rest of the people from the continent in celebrating our achievements of the last 42 years. An overview of the past 10 years of our continent will show an overall forward march to the vision, aspirations and strategic goals of the pioneers of the struggle for liberation.

This year’s celebrations take place when Africans in Côte d’Ivoire are involved in serious engagements about implementing the peace programme they agreed upon. Tomorrow fellow Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo will celebrate the day with their brothers and sisters from the continent, full of hope because for the first time in many years they will enjoy the right to elect a government of their choice.

Today, we call upon all progressive-minded formations on the continent to join in finding solutions to the challenges facing the continent.

                     LAND DISPUTE IN WINTERVELD

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M DIKO (UDM): Madam Deputy Speaker, the UDM expresses its shock and dismay at the way in which government has dealt with the issue of Winterveld.

In 1998 a dispute started between landowners and tenants in Winterveld, outside the city of Tswane. In the year 2000 then Deputy President Mbeki met with the concerned people in the area and suggested ways of resolving the dispute. Later, however, the city of Tshwane decided that it would establish a township in the area and offered landowners R43 300 for their properties.

The owners, many of who are black, felt that this money was not sufficient given that the rental income, as well as the value of the structures on the land, far exceeded that sum. At this point the city already threatened expropriation of land.

From the outset it appeared that the predetermined outcome sought by the city would be expropriation. Various attempts to communicate with the city, provincial government and the national Minister, as well as the President, were unsuccessful. Now these black landowners are being forcefully deprived of their land.

This case, like that of the people of the Richtersveld, exposed a stark contradiction between government’s promises of redressing past wrongs while protecting current landownership. We have often heard that the goal of government policy is to increase black landownership, but here we have a startling example of the exact opposite being done and with incredibly cold- hearted determination.

It is a sad contradiction that the same city would pursue a name change supposedly to redress the wrongs of the past, but does not see its way clear to protect black landowners. Thank you. [Time expired.][Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs P DE LILLE (ID): Deputy Speaker, yesterday we saw the residents of Gugulethu and Khayelitsha protesting over the infamous bucket system that the government has still not upgraded. Similar protests are taking place around the country.

These demonstrations, once again, expose the failure of the municipalities to deliver on their mandate. People are becoming increasingly impatient with the excuse of lack of capacity. Lack of capacity is simply people not doing their jobs properly.

The local municipality in George, controlled by the DA, is one of the worst- run municipalities in this country. [Interjections.] My recent visit and public meeting in the area last night attest to the fact that the George Municipality still has to catch up with the rest of the country.

George is a good example of the hypocrisy of the DA, which always attacks the government for nondelivery, but, yet, in George they have failed to deliver. [Interjections.] George has put the DA firmly in the camp of the ANC for nondelivery.

In Maraiscamp people pay excessive amounts for their water accounts. It’s a shame on you to tax people, but pay people R1 200 per month. The contractor used the water in that area to build RDP houses and the people now have to pay for it. [Interjections.] To crown it all, the mayor in George is the third highest-paid mayor in this country. [Interjections.]

The only solution is for the ID to take control, rather than the DA or the ANC. [Interjections.] The only success we have had in George is that both these parties have created a significant mess, and it is only the ID that can clean it up. Thank you. [Interjections.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Dr C P MULDER (VF Plus): Mevrou die Adjunkspeaker, hoe gelyk is die politieke speelveld in die Suid-Afrikaanse demokrasie? Is ons verkiesings werklik vry en regverdig?

Een van die sekerste manier om ‘n onregverdige verkiesingsproses te verseker, is deur partye ongelyk te finansier. Ons sit reeds in Suid-Afrika met ‘n baie ongelyke situasie. Ja, geld word vanaf staatsweë aan partye beskikbaar gestel. Kyk mens egter na die formule wat gebruik word, dan kom die ongelykheid baie duidelik na vore.

Slegs 10% van die geld word gelykop verdeel, 90% word proporsioneel verdeel, en dit beteken dat die regerende ANC-party 70% van die 90% vir homself neem, maar daarmee is hulle ook nie tevrede nie. Die ANC moet die volgende vraag van die kiesers ondubbelsinnig antwoord: of hulle ‘n verdere R11 miljoen se staatsgeld vóór die 2004-verkiesing bekom het, want dit is duidelik hoe die transaksie gestruktureer is?

‘n Betaling van R15 miljoen is deur PetroSA aan Imvume gemaak op 19 Desember 2003. Hierdie betaling is skielik na ‘n ander rekening gemaak. Op 23 Desember 2003 word vier tjeks deur Sandi Majali ten bedrae van R4 miljoen, R3 miljoen, ‘n verdere R2 miljoen en wéér R2 miljoen aan die ANC gemaak – ‘n totaal van R11 miljoen.

Die feit dat die geld vanaf Imvume kom, maak nie dat dit skielik ophou om staatsgeld te wees nie, veral nie as Imvume onder ‘n valse voorwendsel PetroSA uit R15 miljoen bedrieg het nie. Die ANC se reaksie was om te ontken dat fondse van PetroSA ontvang is, maar dít is nie die vraag nie. Die vraag is baie eenvoudig, en die lede van die uitvoerende gesag is hier, hulle sal mos weet wat die antwoord is. Die vraag is: Is R11 miljoen na die ANC vanaf PetroSA via Imvume gekanaliseer, ja of nee? [Tussenwerpsels.] Tyd verstreke.

[Dr C P MULDER (FF PLUS): Madam Deputy Speaker, how level is the political playing field in the South African democracy? Are our elections really free and fair?

One of the surest ways of ensuring an unfair electoral process is to fund parties unequally. We already have a very unequal situation in South Africa. Yes, money is made available to parties via state organs, but if one looks at the formula applied, the inequality is very clear.

Only 10% of the money is divided equally, 90% is divided proportionately, and that means that the ruling ANC party takes 70% of the 90% for itself, and still they are not satisfied. The ANC must respond unambiguously to the following query by the electorate: did they obtain a further R11 million in state funds prior to the 2004 election, because that is clearly how the transaction was structured?

On 19 December 2003 a payment of R15 million was made by PetroSA to Imvume. This payment was suddenly transferred to another account. On 23 December 2003 four cheques in the amount of R4 million, R3 million, a further R2 million and yet another R2 million were made out to the ANC by Sandi Majali – a total of R11 million.

The fact that the money comes from Imvume does not suddenly stop it from being state funds, especially if Imvume cheated PetroSA out of R15 million under false pretences. The ANC’s response was to deny having received funds from PetroSA, but that is not the question. The question is very simple, and the members of the executive are present, they will surely know the answer. The question is: Was R11 million channelled to the ANC by PetroSA via Imvume, yes or no? [Interjections.][Time expired.]

                       EMPOWERMENT OF WORKERS

                        (Member’s Statement)

Dr E A SCHOEMAN (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, since its inception the ANC’s vision has been one of a society where economic prosperity, political stability and a vibrant democratic society are the norm and not the exception. To realise the above-stated objectives, the economic empowerment of ordinary workers is a necessity and not an option. This is contrary to what other members in this House would want us to believe.

We salute the remarkable example of the workers of the Longmore Forestry Station near Port Elizabeth. When these workers were retrenched they cashed in their severance packages and bought a stake in the underperforming state flower farm near Port Elizabeth. Since assuming the running of the flower farm the workers have turned the farm around into a world-class business. They have established a solid customer base in Somerset East, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Because of their success, the Department of Agriculture has given them a grant of R652 000 to further develop the farm.

This project, once again, demonstrates the confidence the ANC–led government has in the ordinary people of our country. This epitomises the message and concept of Vukuzenzele, a people’s contract to fight poverty and create work. Thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD (DA): One out of every two nurses’ positions in this country lies vacant today; that is 42 000 unfilled posts. Over 4 000 nurses left the public sector last year and if this trend continues the already appalling working conditions in our hospitals will worsen, prompting a snowballing of resignations. This country will be unable to sustain the necessary standards of service delivery and the DA considers it outrageous that after 11 years in the job this government has allowed this problem to reach this magnitude.

The Department of Health may well be working on a human resources strategy, but after over a decade one would have imagined that the days of ignoring nurses’ grievances would have passed, that their utterly appalling salaries would have been substantially increased and that the Minister would have been so ashamed by the pyjama protests that she would have increased their hopelessly inadequate uniform allowances.

The DA calls on this House to debate this issue as a matter of the gravest import. [Applause.]

                       INFLEXIBLE LABOUR LAWS

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr I S MFUNDISI (UCDP): Deputy Speaker, it is worth noting that the ANC has since decided to bite the bullet and bring forward the question of discussing the labour laws of this country for debate amongst the alliance partners.

While it may be early days we have noticed in pronouncements from Luthuli House that the ANC has a responsibility to workers, as well as investors. In his state of the nation address in 2003 and two subsequent ones the President called on Home Affairs to refine immigration policies and called on the Department of Labour to ameliorate labour relations to suit both workers and employers. Three weeks ago when the President addressed the conference of South African women entrepreneurs he put away the prepared speech and decried the inflexible labour laws and other legislation that do not assist the course of women in improving their lot. We in the UCDP are vindicated because even in our election manifesto we stated that for a government to succeed its labour laws and regulations should strive to strike a balance between the needs of the workforce and those of the people who provide jobs.

The high unemployment rate, whether as a result of a drop in jobs, the policies, or lack of skills because of inappropriate education, remains a problem of the government of the day. Let us hope, therefore, that the ANC will be able to prevail upon the alliance partners and show them that as a government the ANC has to address the interests and the needs of workers and employers by levelling the field for both parties. I thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms T E LISHIVHA (ANC): Ten-year-old Peace Mnisi from Acornhoek in Limpopo is going to represent our country in Italy in the Ciak Junior 2005. This is an international competition for young children that exposes them to hands- on television production.

Through the Freedom Charter the ANC signed a contract with the South African people, a commitment that says we will work together with our people to create conducive conditions and to develop our cultural heritage.

The title of the script that impressed the judges is Mbiya and his cow. In this script he narrates his daily experiences. The judges were impressed by his natural ability to narrate stories. The SABC has already adapted the script for documentation as a film.

This young boy from Ndabeni Primary School will be competing with 25 other children of his age from 15 other countries. In his own way he has given a living meaning to the words of the Freedom Charter, “The doors of learning and culture shall be opened”.

The ANC salutes the bravery and resilience of this young man and wishes him success in his first attempt to win the prize. I thank you. [Applause.]

                      USE OF “TSHWANE” BY SABC

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mev D VAN DER WALT (DA): Agb Adjunkspeaker, regerings- en semi- regeringsinstellings soos die SABC is net nog ‘n bewys van hoe die ANC sy mag misbruik om reëls en prosedures te veronagsaam.

Volgens dié twee dokumente, die Grondwet van Suid-Afrika en die Handboek van die Suid-Afrikaanse Plekname Raad, het geen uitsaaier en geen munisipaliteit die mag om self te besluit om ‘n pleknaam skielik te verander, en dat dié nuwe pleknaam gebruik moet word nie. Daardie mag behoort aan die Minister van Kuns en Kultuur.

Dit beteken dat die SABC níé die naam Tshwane in hul nuusbulletins kan, of mag, gebruik as die amptelike naam vir Pretoria nie. [Tussenwerpsels.] Die advertensiestandaarde-owerheid, ASA, het onlangs die “Tshwane as die hoofstad”-advertensie as misleidend verklaar, en beveel dat dit gestaak moet word.

Hoe kan ons van die publiek verwag om die landswette en ander reëls te volg as die SABC en magsbehepte ANC-beheerde Tshwane . . . [Tussenwerpsels.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mrs D VAN DER WALT (DA): Hon Deputy Speaker, government and semi- government institutions like the SABC are just further proof of how the ANC abuses its power to disregard rules and procedures.

According to these two documents, the Constitution of South Africa and the Handbook of the South African Geographical Names Council, no broadcaster or municipality has the right to decide to change the name of a place suddenly, and that this new name has to be used. That power belongs to the Minister of Arts and Culture.

This means that the SABC may not and cannot use the name Tshwane as the official name for Pretoria in their news bulletins. [Interjections.] The Advertising Standards Authority, ASA, recently declared the “Tshwane as the capital” advertisement to be misleading, and ordered that it should be stopped.

How can we expect the public to obey the laws and other rules of the country if the SABC and the power-hungry ANC-controlled Tshwane . . [Interjections.]]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon member! Hon members, even if you disagree with a member, allow that member to make their point, please. Please continue.

Mr M J ELLIS: Hear! Hear!

Mev D VAN DER WALT (DA): Dankie, Adjunkspeaker. Die advertensiestandaarde-owerheid, ASA, het onlangs die “Tshwane as die hoofstad”-advertensie as misleidend verklaar, en beveel dat dit gestaak moet word.

Hoe kan ons van die publiek verwag om die landswette en ander reëls te volg as die SABC en magsbehepte ANC-beheerde Tshwane-metroraad hulself nie daaraan steur nie. Is daar dan verskillende wette en reëls vir verskillende mense? [Tussenwerpsels.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mrs VAN DER WALT (DA): Thank you, Deputy Speaker.

The Advertising Standards Authority, ASA, recently declared the “Tshwane as the capital” advertisement to be misleading, and ordered that it should be stopped.

How can we expect the public to obey the laws and other rules of the country if the SABC and the power-hungry ANC-controlled Tshwane metro council ignore them? Are there different laws and rules for different people? [Interjections.]]

                          ASSISTANCE TO DRC

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M R SIKAKANE (ANC): The ANC commits itself to continue to lend support to countries seeking to build and strengthen national dialogue around the process of reconciliation, reconstruction and nation-building.

We welcome the announcement made by the Minister of Home Affairs, Comrade Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula last week during her Budget Vote debate, that her department will assist the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congolese people in their preparations for the general elections later this year.

The Department of Home Affairs will assist the Congolese in developing the population register and identification system as part of the overall preparations for the elections. This gesture is in pursuit of the vision of the Freedom Charter, which declares that there shall be peace and friendship.

The ANC joins the international community in applauding the Congolese for the sterling work they have done in writing their constitution. I thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mnu D C MABENA (ANC): Sekela lakaSomlomo, ngomhlaka-18 Meyi 2005 endaweni ye-Tswhane kwenzeke umlando. Abomasipala bengabada ye-Afrika ebabizwa nge- United Cities and Local Governments of Africa bazwene ngokukhetha uSodorobha we-The City of Tswane uFather Smangaliso Mkhatshwa njengoMongameli wokuthoma wehlangano le eqakathekileko.

Enye yeenhloso zehlangano le kukwabelana ngemicabango yokulwisa ubulwele bentumbantonga, ukwenza ncono iimpilo zabo Mma, ukuletha ngokurhaba iimfuno zabantu, nokusebenzisana neenhlangano ezinjenge Nepad, African Union ne- United Nations. Lokhu kusibonelo sokobana uMbuso odoswa phambili yi-ANC uzimisele ukwenza ncono impilo zabantu kunye nengabada yoke iphelele. Ngiyathokoza. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of Ndebele member’s statement follows.)

[Mr D C MABENA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, on 18 May 2005 at Tshwane history was made. South African municipalities under the name of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa agreed on the election of the mayor of the City of Tshwane, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, as the first President of this important organisation.

One of the objectives of this organisation is to share views on eradicating HIV/Aids, improving women’s lives, fast-tracking the needs of the people, and co-operating with organisations such as Nepad, the African Union and the United Nations.

This is an example of the fact that the ANC-led government is committed to bettering people’s lives throughout the country. I thank you. [Applause.]]

                           CRISIS IN RUGBY

                        (Minister’s Response)

The MINISTER OF SPORT AND RECREATION: Deputy Speaker, firstly, we want to support the statement that was made here by the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation. The decision taken by Sascoc is fully supported by us. This decision was not taken quickly without thinking about what we were doing. It was the product of a prolonged process of negotiation and counselling of that fraternity.

Since August last year we have met eight consecutive times, but they themselves concede that the sequel to that has been a continuation of the deterioration of the administrative systems and the relationship. We believe, and so does the SA Rugby Football Union leadership, that the breakdown of trust amongst them is completely irreparable.

The latest accusations and counteraccusations are very, very serious, and we have seen some of the documents they allude to. We believe that these detailed investigations, which are being proposed, will reveal the truth and get all those who are affected convicted. We can’t close an eye to what seems to be very serious whistle-blowing.

We support the proposal by Sascoc, and we will spare no effort in that our resolve will be undeterred in the investigations that must follow. [Applause.]


                        (Minister’s Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: Thank you, Madam. I just want to give a very short response to the hon Dr Rabinowitz’s statement on GMOs. In fact, she gave me an extended version of that statement during lunch. [Interjections.] She joined me where I was calmly sitting and eating. [Laughter.] The hon Holomisa agrees with me that I am completely . . . Now I will have to attack her to change this attitude of my comrades here.

The problem with the anti-GMO and pro-GMO lobbies is that the scientists themselves don’t agree. The one side, reputable and brilliant scientists, say yes, and the other side, other reputable scientists, say no.

This debate has also become, to some extent, politicised. I know Dr Rabinowitz wouldn’t be so irresponsible as to politicise this matter. What we need in this regard is to be cautious. I want to state to Parliament today that, indeed, we are cautious. We have legislation that has a lot of measures built into it that caution us with regard to the acceptance of GMO products in South Africa. This is also a question of the debate out there. People must convince each other. Then the role of government is to have a fair judgment on the matter, to give a fair administration that is responsible.

Will you allow me to say something about the UDM’s statement on Winterveld, as well, Madam?


The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS: I don’t want to go into detail, because that was actually a statement against the Municipality of Tshwane, but we are concerned about the whole position in Winterveld. It is an extremely valuable area, with extremely complicated problems. It has irrigation schemes that have fallen apart. It lends itself, ideally, to emerging farmers to settle there. The developing township there is part of the problem.

I would like to invite the member to write to me giving the particulars, as he stated them. We will attend to the matter and talk to Tshwane, as well, and make our input in that regard. Thank you, Madam. [Applause.]


                        OF “TSHWANE” BY SABC

                        (Minister’s Response)

TONA YA LEFAPHA LA THUTO: The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Mme Motlatsa-Sebui, ke batla go simolola go bolelela moemedi yo o emetseng ID gore George e tla tsewa ke ANC. Re tla baakanya dilo koo. [Legofi.]

Sabobedi, ke batla go bolelela motlotlegi yo o neng a bua ka Tshwane gore fa ke ntse ke bua kere Maaforika Borwa a tshwanetse go ithuta maleme a Aforika Borwa, ba tla iphitlhela ba re kgona fa ba itse go bua maleme a rona. Fa ba ne ba a itse, ba ne ba tla ithuta gore Tshwane ka Setswana ke yona Pretoria. Rona fa re bua ka Pretoria, re bua ka Tshwane ka Setswana. [Legofi.] [Setshego.] (Translation of Tswana Minister’s response follows.)

[The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to say to the ID representative that George will be taken over by the ANC. We will fix things there. [Applause.]

Secondly, I would like to say to the hon member who was speaking about Tshwane that, whilst I continue to say that South Africans should learn other South African languages, they will be able to deal with us if they know our languages. If they knew our languages they would know that Tshwane means Pretoria in Setswana. We refer to Pretoria as Tshwane in Setswana. [Laughter.] [Applause]]

                      CELEBRATION OF AFRICA DAY

                        (Minister’s Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Ms S C van der Merwe): Deputy Speaker, thank you very much. I would like to pass on our thanks and congratulations to the hon member Motubatse on her statement on Africa Day.

Also, I would just like to reiterate how we believe that it is indeed a day for celebration. The Department of Foreign Affairs will be celebrating Africa Day in a workshop with many of the African diplomats that are with us in our country.

We believe that we have achievements to celebrate, as she pointed out, in terms of our deliberations in the DRC and also in Côte d’Ivoire. Also, tomorrow we will be looking at making renewed efforts to solve the remaining problems of the African continent. We know that we can do this, and, in building our solidarity through the African Union, we can look to our challenges with confidence and indeed Africa Day will, in the future, be a day of celebration. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I now call the hon Minister Van Schalkwyk.

Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a matter of interest. I work out that that is five ministerial responses we’ve had. The hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs actually responded to two MPs, and there were three other Ministers speaking. So that actually is five responses already. I would suggest that that brings an end to statements for today.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am allowing the hon Van Schalkwyk . . [Interjections.]

Dr C P MULDER: Madam Speaker, may I address you on the same point of order?


Dr C P MULDER: Could we call on the DA to withdraw their point of order, because I think the executive is about to answer the question on the petrol problem? [Laughter.] [Applause.]

                            GMO PRODUCTS

                        (Minister’s Response)

The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Thank you to the hon member Mulder for giving me another portfolio. Madam Chairperson, with regard to the issue of GMOs, the hon member Rabinowitz addressed it to the Department of Agriculture and to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The Deputy Minister has already dealt with the issue from an agricultural point of view.

In legislation there is provision for a GMO council, and that department is the lead department, and all stakeholders serve on that GMO council. I would also just like to inform the House that in the new EIA regulations, we will specifically make provision for dealing with this issue. The hon member Durr has raised this issue before on more than one occasion in this House.

We will make provisions specifically for a new risk-assessment procedure in the new EIA regulations, and we will work closely with the Department of Agriculture on the proposed amendments in the new regulations to make sure that there is no overlapping or conflict between our two departments in dealing with the issue.

We have also created, in our department, a new directorate of biosafety, which will continue to deal with this issue. Earlier this week we also met with some of the NGOs that are active on this issue, and we will make sure from our side that we broaden and deepen the debate. It is important that this issue be debated, not behind closed doors, but as publicly as possible. Thank you. [Applause.]

                         APPROPRIATION BILL

Debate on Vote No 2 - Parliament:

The SPEAKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members of Parliament, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, and a very special greeting to the hon the Deputy President: today is exactly one year, one month, and one day since this House and its office-bearers were sworn in under the third democratic Parliament. [Applause.]

Over the past year we learnt many lessons. It has been a year of new challenges, growth and progress. We are confident that, as the country’s legislature, we are getting better equipped by the day to serve the needs of our people in a focused way.

Budget Vote No 2: Parliament, which I hereby table, is aimed at moving forward, ever on this path, improving the efficiency of Parliament and its administration. The overall theme that guides us this year, as we said in February, is “People’s Parliament: Voices of the People”. Our theme of the year fits into our new vision and mission, which is our lodestar as we enter the second year of the second decade of freedom.

A few weeks ago Parliament, for the first time, adopted a vision and strategic objectives. These will guide the day-to-day activities for members and staff as we strive to improve service delivery for all South Africans. The vision of Parliament, just to remind hon members, is “to build an effective people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa”.

That is the vision of Parliament: a people’s Parliament with democratically elected representatives of the people, who are responsive to the needs of the people and are committed to building an open society based on the will of the people; a people’s Parliament that provides the legislative framework that deepens the transformation of the South African society into a non-racial and non-sexist society, where the country’s wealth shall be shared among all South Africans; a people’s Parliament co-operating with other spheres of government and overseeing executive action, as it deepens accountability and the consolidation towards a government of the people by the people.

This vision will be realised through the implementation of the following strategic objectives, which I will elaborate on: One, scrutinising and overseeing government’s actions; two, building a people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of all the people of South Africa; and three, building an effective and efficient institution.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Congress of the People, a historic assembly of South Africans that produced the principles, which have since become the solid foundation for the total emancipation of the people of South Africa. It was at that gathering in Kliptown that the voices of South Africans converged to give us the blocks on which today the South African Constitution firmly stands, tall and proud for all the world to see unfolding.

The Preamble of our Constitution declares: “We believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.” It was on 26 June 1955 when the Congress of the People said: “The people shall govern.”

Parliament’s primary focus is on the realisation of this clause through, among other things, the strengthening of Parliament’s oversight and accountability role over government. Hon members will remember that in 2004 we appointed a task team, led by hon House Chairperson Nhleko and hon Setona from the NCOP, which is looking at developing a model on issues of oversight and accountability. That work is still in progress.

One of the challenges preoccupying us as we march on into the second decade, is the need to strengthen the institutions of governance. We must strive for greater contact and communication with the public on everything we do. We must not think that there are things which are too complicated for our people. The Constitution enjoins us to uphold public participation, and here I would like to draw our attention, for example, to the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2003.

What inflicted a resounding defeat on the American-inspired coup plotters were the poorest, but politically alert and informed, ordinary citizens of Venezuela. [Applause.] When they were told that there was a new head of state, they said: “No, what happened to Chávez? We elected Chávez and we know that his term of office has not ended and he did not resign. We want him back here.” And Venezuela’s democracy was saved by ordinary people in the slums, because they understood their constitution and their democratic dispensation.

That is the importance of the people on the ground, being as well informed as we are on how our democracy works, how our Constitution works and the rights of South Africans, including the right of the public to inform our policies and laws. We must invest in this aspect. That is very, very important, hon members. We must pay more attention to citizens better understanding parliamentary processes, for their empowerment.

Our people were marginalised and rendered irrelevant to national and international discourse for centuries. This must change. “The people shall govern” means that our people are not just helpless and without views. After all, it is they who fought for this freedom and the dignity that the Constitution provides for us.

After the adoption of the parliamentary new governance structure at the end of last year, we established what we call the parliamentary oversight authority, until of course we consider hon Douglas Gibson’s proposal that we call it the parliamentary oversight management authority. [Interjections.] We will still consider your proposal, hon member. [Laughter.] Now he wants to go back to parliamentary directing authority, so that we can fit in the “DA”. [Interjections.]

The responsibility of this body is to ensure that quality services are provided by Parliament to members. This forum’s creation has removed the management and administrative matters of the institution from the Joint Rules Committee in order for the Joint Rules Committee to focus on the more strategic matters that need its attention. Secondly, it enables the Secretary to report on and have the necessary guidance on important matters that he cannot handle on his own.

The POA will oversee some of the following areas of work. With the objective of improving institutional governance and policies we have started the process of relooking at our policies to ensure that they are in line with the new dispensation created by the new governance model.

The next objective is implementing modern systems and technologies. The Secretary to Parliament has started implementing an IT strategy to improve technology in Parliament and this system is called the Master Systems Programme, or MSP. MSP will look at both the IT network and administrative systems of Parliament.

The third objective is improved human resource capacity and communication. We have realised a need to strengthen our communication tools from internal, as well as external levels.

Measures have been put in place by the Secretary to add more personnel and also to strengthen our media management capacity, so that we don’t only react to the news in the media, but are able to continuously inform the public about the work that hon members are doing. In this way we will see a proactive approach in the manner in which we communicate things in the future.

The fourth objective is the provision of adequate space, accommodation and other facilities for members. We are discussing with the Department of Public Works ways of acquiring more space to improve the environment that we work in.

The expected overall impact of these changes is for the parliamentary service to provide an efficient and effective people’s Parliament. A number of projects have been identified and are being exhibited outside this Chamber for all of us to see after this sitting. Please make a turn at the exhibition stands and interact with the parliamentary staff and let them explain how we are stepping into the 21st century.

In this regard, I don’t know whether any of you still remember that time when there was a great deal of nervousness all over the world about something called Y2K. At that time the presiding officers tried to find out from our IT staff members what the position of Parliament was in this regard. How ready were we in terms of this Y2K?

We found very calm members who said to us that we should not worry, because it doesn’t even faze Parliament, because Parliament is far below the level of even worrying about Y2K. Now at this point I believe we have already stepped into the 21st century, and if we were to be revisited by anything akin to Y2K, we would at least also panic along with everybody else in the world.

Parliament’s presiding officers interact with their provincial legislature counterparts through the Speakers’ Forum. This is a platform aimed at improving communication and interaction between legislatures for the good of the work of the legislative sector in building our democracy. The empowerment of office-bearers for the improvement of the institutions they lead is the key focus of its work.

The Speakers’ Forum has signed an agreement with the EU in terms of which an amount of (10 million, for the period 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2006, has been availed to us. One of the projects for which the money is earmarked is video-conferencing facilities to be set up for all 11 institutions.

We had hoped that these facilities would be in place at the end of 2005. However, the forum got a report on 13 May that a few institutions might hold things back unless some drastic measures are taken in relation to specific features in the legislatures. If even one legislature is not ready, we cannot implement it because it has to link all 11 institutions. For our part, as the NA, a room still has to be identified for the purpose of portfolio committees being able to link up with citizens across the country.

Another project that has been tabled and very positively received at the Speakers’ Forum is the Parliamentary Millennium Project, or PMP. Although we still have to popularise it even in our Parliament, we are happy to say that the provinces are excited about this nation-building project. It is a project which was launched in 2001 by the former presiding officers, and you will be glad, hon Minister of Education, to know that the PMP is alive and moving on.

The project aims to restore the dignity of all South Africans and deepen our democracy by promoting pride and ownership of our common African heritage and identity. In line with Parliament’s vision of being a people- centred and proactive organ of governance, the PMP is designed as an active intervention to facilitate public interaction related to the project’s co- objectives.

The PMP has enjoyed success in the programmes it has embarked on in the past. Of course, as I have already confessed, the biggest failure was to sell it effectively to you, hon members.

To facilitate greater public outreach with regard to its programmes, we are taking it to the provinces. Two key programmes identified to achieve this are the interlegislature exchange and the PMP public lecture series. The interlegislature exchange is championed by the Speakers’ Forum and constitutes collaborative activities between Parliament and the provincial legislatures within each province.

Activities forming part of this programme will include provincial exhibitions and public participation that will encourage a culture of open debate and dialogue among our people about our heritage, our understanding of our history, our different perspectives and how we share our destiny. We are expecting to launch the lecture series some time in September, and hon President Mbeki will deliver the first lecture.

As we said during the debate on the state of the nation address, this year’s People’s Assembly will be held at Kliptown at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication on 27 June 2005. For two nights MPs will be sleeping in Soweto. [Applause.] Parliament will be physically on the ground among our people day and night. This will be an experience of a lifetime. Like those who were at the Congress of the People, make sure you don’t miss out: “Walala-Wasala!” [You snooze, you lose!] If you choose to sleep in Sandton, you will pay for your own accommodation. [Applause.]

The title of this year’s People’s Assembly is: “People’s Voices Shaping the Future”. We have chosen four themes for this year, and they are: eradicating poverty and underdevelopment; safety and security; public participation; and “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity”.

The provincial legislatures are managing the process of selecting provincial participants that will engage in workshops with members of specific portfolio committees on Sunday, 26 June. Some MPs will be delegated to facilitate the workshops of stakeholders on that Sunday. Committee chairpersons are expected to play an active role in the workshops.

The countrywide electronically linked People’s Assembly will be on Monday, 27 June, in the new multipurpose hall at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication. Full participation of provincial legislatures through satellite link-up in all nine legislatures is being facilitated through provincial Speakers for the assembly on Monday, 27 June. All of us are expected to participate fully in the People’s Assembly and members are also expected to market the event in their constituencies. [Interjections.]

Madam Deputy Speaker, may I be protected?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are protected.

The SPEAKER: Increasingly, our capacity to respond to the international pressures for us to play a leading role, one way or another, is seriously tested. Not only are we continuously invited to participate in activities all over the globe, but the number of requests to receive delegations and visit other parliaments is also increasing.

Recently, the Secretary-General of the Interparliamentary Union, the IPU, told me that he would continue to call on us to be ready to receive delegations of parliaments from around the globe to come and see how we do things. He pointed out that there are things we do differently, and they believe better, and we are the only ones with whom they would like to exchange insights and perspectives on these matters.

Towards the end of last year, we started to restructure our international relations section to try to enable Parliament to respond to its international obligations and the expectations of the international community. We need to move away from administrative-type international work to being an active role-player in the project to build a better Africa and a better world.

Our international relations section is critical in this regard. The Joint Rules Committee took a resolution in 2005 that we must draft an international relations policy that will guide our participation in the regional, continental and global spheres, both in terms of our bilateral relations, as well as multilateral bodies we participate in. Work in this regard is under way and a draft policy document will be tabled for the consideration of the Joint Rules Committee before the end of the year.

We have extended an invitation to the hon Speaker of the Parliament of Côte d’Ivoire to visit our Parliament shortly to share perspectives on issues of common interest between our nations and parliaments. We will also be doing the same to the new Speaker of Burundi after their parliamentary elections in July this year. These are some of our efforts to contribute towards building a better co-ordinated and peaceful Africa.

I wish now to take this opportunity to draw attention to a resolution of the last session of the Pan-African Parliament on the signing of adherence to the African Peer Review Mechanism. The resolution appeals to all national parliaments of member states that have not signed the APRM to urge their governments to accede to the APRM as a demonstration of their commitment to democracy and good governance in Africa.

I am proud that South Africa signed the APRM in March 2003. What we now need is for our portfolio subcommittee on the African Union to advise us on the role of this Parliament in a South African APRM process. What are the plans, structures and timeframes that are envisaged? Are we ready or are we getting ready? We need a report from our committee on this as soon as possible.

On the basis of that report, the matter must then serve for debate in this House. I call upon the African intelligentsia to engage with the PAP so that they can contribute to its growth and effectiveness. The PAP is only 14 months old and is growing. It needs the support of all responsible Africans, as it is an initiative of the people of Africa.

In conclusion, I would like to say that what informs our approach to the future is not to soak in the debilitating poison of what might have gone wrong in the past, but to understand the lessons from any mistakes, pick them up and infuse them as wisdom that informs future actions.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Madam Speaker, your time has expired.

The SPEAKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, may I take from my 10 minutes at the end? I have 10 minutes still!

We are positive about the four years ahead of us. It is a time that dares us to act boldly and decisively, and to make the second decade of freedom an escalator to higher levels in our quest to improve the lot of our people. We must promote our vision and mission; this is what our people will judge us on. The Secretary to Parliament has been given a clear mandate to ensure that the parliamentary service delivers on these objectives in a strategic and efficient manner.

May I take this opportunity to thank the secretariat of Parliament, led by the Secretary, for their determination and hard work. [Applause.] May I also thank the whole parliamentary service, that is the whole staff of Parliament from caterers to cleaners, without whom there would not be a functioning Parliament. [Applause.] In that spirit, I call on all hon members in this House to accept this budget and help implement the vision of Parliament. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, Madam Speaker, hon members, comrades and friends, in rising to support Parliament’s budget we wish to begin by paying tribute to the generations of South Africans, black and white, who strove together, sparing nothing of their strength and courage to realise the vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa contained in the Freedom Charter.

We wish to pay special tribute to those volunteers who 50 years ago undertook the noble task of organising the Congress of the People at Kliptown, laying the foundation for the people’s Parliament, the budget of which we are debating here today. We pay tribute to those whose lives, blood, tears, solitary resolve and tortured screams made this vision a reality.

We wish to pay tribute to those members, former members and members of provincial legislatures who have passed away since the last time we debated Parliament’s budget: Joyce Kgoali, Dumisani Makhaye, Raymond Mhlaba, Bernard Molewa, Nelson Raju, Sheila Weinberg and Inkosi Hlengwa.

We also wish today to remember Comrade France Mohlala, the Chief Whip of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature, whose unwavering commitment, extraordinary bravery, keen talent and rich humanity were cruelly taken from us last Monday, 16 May 2005, when he passed away in an accident whilst executing his duties in the realisation of the vision of the Freedom Charter. Hamba Kahle Umkhonto! Robala ka Kgotso, Mogale wa Bagale! [Go well, comrade! Rest in peace, veteran of veterans!][Applause.]

We support Parliament’s budget because we believe that it starts - and we emphasise “starts” - to provide the resources necessary to realise the vision and mission that we have adopted of building an effective people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa.

Despite the claims by some that Parliament has become irrelevant, we believe that a democratic, representative, accessible, responsive, participatory and appropriately resourced people’s Parliament is indispensable to make real the demands that “The People Shall Govern!” and that “South Africa Belongs to All Who Live in It!”

As we enter our second decade of freedom we can look back with pride at the achievements of our first democratic Parliament. The writing of a new Constitution, the near complete overhaul of the legal superstructure of apartheid and its replacement with progressive, democratic laws that are in keeping with our Constitution and that give expression to the demands of the Freedom Charter. We can also take pride in the fact that we have made substantial gains in transforming Parliament from a racist, unrepresentative, closed institution that passed oppressive laws to an institution that is open, transparent, participatory and dedicated to the creation of a better life for all.

However, many challenges remain. We need collectively to utilise the vision and mission of Parliament that we have adopted to grapple with the following questions: Firstly, can we say that we have achieved a situation that the allocation of resources contained in Parliament’s budget is really aligned with the vision and mission for Parliament that we have adopted?

Secondly, can we say that Parliament’s policies, especially those that have to do with the allocation of resources to members, are aligned with this vision and mission that we have adopted? For example, does Parliament’s travel policy really take account of the reality that many members face on a daily basis when they try to do effective constituency work in vast rural areas? And, we sit with the policy that only pays for transport from Parliament to an airport, from another airport to home. [Applause.]

Does the allocation of resources such as telephone units and others to members who have been given responsibilities, such as Whips, really take into account what is expected of those members in terms of their duties, and not only to their parties but to the institution that they serve? Have we made sufficient use of information and communication technology to facilitate the work of members?

Thirdly, not all members and parties are equally resourced. There are historically advantaged and disadvantaged members and parties. Some members serve constituencies that are wealthy and small, both numerically and geographically. Others serve constituencies that are poor and vast. Have we given sufficient attention to addressing this reality in the formulae that we use to determine the allocation of allowances?

Fourthly, can we say that we have given sufficient priority to constituency work in terms of the allocation of financial resources, time in Parliament’s programme, procedures to take up and address constituency issues, institutional support for constituency work?

We welcome the fact that the strong representations that we made for a substantial increase in resources for constituency work have been heard and have resulted in the allocation of an additional R20 million for constituency work in this year’s parliamentary budget.

Others will speak at greater length about constituency work, but we wish to emphasise at this point that constituency work and oversight work by Parliament through its committees are flip sides of the same coin. They should be linked through the way that Parliament works and in the way that it allocates resources.

It is vitally important that members are able to provide the people with regular reports on the work of Parliament and that the constituency offices are able to serve as centres for the propagation of information on the work of Parliament and the state generally. The dissemination of this information should be able to take place through all media – print and electronic.

It is essential for the realisation of the demand that the people shall govern that members must be in a position to make it possible that the largest number of people, especially the poorest of the poor, participate actively in the work of Parliament.

Members must be given the capacity to assist both individual constituents, as well as communities, to solve problems. It is important that members are able to disseminate information about government programmes, especially those that are designed to fight poverty and create work. Members must also be able to assist people to access government services.

Members must have the capacity to monitor the work of state and parastatal institutions in their constituencies and assess the impact that government programmes are having in creating a better life for all. This includes the capacity to identify and expose those who are either unable or unwilling to commit to the principles of Batho Pele, or those who enrich themselves through corrupt practices at the expense of creating a better life for all.

In short, members must be in a position to be active agents and catalysts for development in their communities. They must be builders of the people’s contract to create work and fight poverty.

Fifthly, can we say that we have geared Parliament adequately to enable the massive public participation that is required for it to be a true people’s Parliament? Or will we only hear those who have the means to be heard? Are we following the examples set by the Congress of the People, where thousands of volunteers traversed the length and breadth of our country to collect demands from tens of thousands of their compatriots in factories, in villages, in ghettos, in suburbs, on farms, and brought them together in the Freedom Charter?

Does Parliament have the necessary infrastructure to communicate its work effectively to the masses of our people and for them to communicate with Parliament? The scaling down of live broadcasts of parliamentary work by the SABC is a cause for concern to all parties in this House.

Sixthly, have we developed a correct and common understanding of the nature of our oversight role as a Parliament? Or will our fate be to remain trapped in a sterile watchdog versus lapdog debate? Have we transformed the rules, procedures and mechanisms of Parliament sufficiently to enable us to do the kind of oversight work that the second decade of freedom demands of us?

Seventhly, have we developed the necessary mechanisms to ensure co- ordination between the NA and the NCOP and the relationship of co-operative governance with other spheres of government?

Eighthly, can we say that we have a sufficiently well-developed understanding of our role in international work to create a better Africa and a better world? Have we allocated the necessary resources, created the necessary capacity and mechanisms to do this work?

We trust that we will through our collective effort be able to provide answers to these pressing questions and solutions to these challenges.

We wish to thank the Secretary to Parliament, the Secretaries to the NA and the NCOP and all members of the Parliamentary Service: security personnel, catering staff, cleaners, service officers, Hansard staff, table staff, legal advisors, researchers, finance staff, staff in the Office of the Leader of Government Business, parliamentary liaison officers and other members of the parliamentary Public Service, in short all of those who work on a daily basis to make it possible for members of Parliament to serve the people of South Africa.

We would like to extend a special word of thanks to Mr Kallie Pauw and Ms Charlotte Rademeyer who have left the service of Parliament. We extend our best wishes to them. We welcome their successors and wish them everything of the best.

We wish to extend a very special word of thanks to Comrade Matthew Oliphant and all members of the ANC Caucus Support Staff, who are sitting in the gallery, administrative assistants, secretaries, personal assistants, financial and technical staff, researchers, political assistants and managers.

We also wish to thank, in absentia, all the administrators in our constituency offices. Comrades, thank you very much for your dedication and commitment to making it possible for us to serve the people of our country by creating a better life for all. [Applause.]

We wish to thank the media for the role that they play in disseminating the work of Parliament and also the wide range of organisations – academic, nongovernmental and community-based - that participate actively in the work of Parliament.

We also wish to thank the Whips of all parties for their collegiality and co-operation in ensuring the relatively smooth functioning of Parliament.

We wish to thank the Speaker of the NA, the Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP the House Chairpersons in the NA and NCOP, for the dynamic, principled and inspiring leadership they are providing to Parliament.

Last but not least I wish to thank the Chief Whip of the Majority Party for the leadership that he has provided to both the ANC Caucus, as well as the work of Parliament as an institution.

In conclusion, we call upon all members of this House to unite their sometimes considerable energy, never substantial resources and always amazing creativity behind the vision of building an effective people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa.

Let us mobilise all our constituencies behind the unifying demands of the Freedom Charter that “The People Shall Govern!” and that “South Africa Belongs to All who Live in It!” Let us mobilise them to participate actively in the process of making our Parliament a people’s Parliament.

Let us make it possible for future generations to say of us and our work in this Parliament that: They strove together, black and white, sparing nothing of their strength and courage to realise the vision of a united, non-racial and non-sexist, democratic South Africa. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Chairperson, I have only a fraction of the time that the hon Mr Nel had and therefore you will have to take the funny bits, the diplomatic bits and the nice bits as having been said.

It would, however, be churlish of me not to thank the presiding officers, all of whom are new, the Whips of all parties and all the officials at every level for what they do for us. Without them this place would not work.

I regret to have to say that Parliament and the governing party are falling prey to a sickness that overcomes every institution that is ruled by one party for too long. I am talking about the sickness of hubris, which means overweening arrogance and pride.

There are many examples of this. The first is the launch of the mission and vision of Parliament. This was an important occasion for celebration by all in Parliament, not only the ANC. Instead my party and other parties received invitations during the middle of yesterday morning to attend the launch at 18h00 yesterday evening. [Interjections.]

I have advised the Secretary to Parliament of my dismay at the bad manners and the incompetence displayed by his office. I must say I suspect that some of those responsible really do not care whether members of the Opposition are present or not. They unfortunately may be coming round to the view that Parliament belongs to the ANC and that the ANC is Parliament.

The second example is the parliamentary event that took place in Kliptown and there are others, which then took place in the nine provinces during June without any consultation with Parliament or with the Opposition or anybody else. [Interjections.] We are now told that chairpersons of committees and MPs are expected to do this and that Parliament will do this and that.

Who runs this place, madam? I would like to know who runs this place. [Interjections.] Is it the members of Parliament or is it somebody far away who says we expect and you will do? Now, what are we going to do? [Interjections.]

We are going to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Charter and most people in South Africa, black and white, hardly know about the Freedom Charter. [Interjections.] The ANC now refers to it in every speech and will fight the municipal elections on the basis of their Charter. A party in power for 11 years will present itself as a victim and an outsider fighting to get in there to put things right.

I want us to be clear about the Freedom Charter. It is a pamphlet drawn up by a political party, nothing more and nothing less. [Interjections.] Most of it is unexceptionable and we support it as well. All of the economic aspects are rubbish and they have been junked by the ANC anyway. [Applause.]

It is significant because it belongs to a political party that won power in South Africa. It does not supersede the Constitution and it is not more important than the Bible. The myth is that it was drawn up by a congress of the people all of whom wrote their suggestions on little pieces of paper. The truth is that it was a party political congress and the document was drawn up by Rusty Bernstein and his friends.

When Dr Buthelezi holds an imbizo it is condemned as an IFP meeting. When the ANC holds a meeting it becomes a congress of the people. [Interjections.] Nationwide celebrations to commemorate the drawing up of a political party pamphlet constitute an abuse of power and an abuse of public money. [Interjections.]

Instead of Parliament doing its job of exercising oversight over the executive, taxpayers will pay for more parties and hotel bills and hired cars and official transport, all to advance the interests of the ANC. None of this money and none of these celebrations will build a single extra house or a single extra classroom or create one job for the unemployed or put food in the tummy of an undernourished child. [Applause.]

The view of the ANC is that it is South Africa and South Africa is the ANC. But seven million South African voters did not register to vote and six million registered voters did not vote. That amount totals more than those who voted for the ANC. In addition, more than three million voters supported opposition parties. The ANC has a significant majority in Parliament, but it is not Parliament.

We see this attitude starting to creep in all over and we noticed it particularly with the parliamentary mission to Zimbabwe. It was an utter waste of money. I am so glad that I was not there. The ANC decided before the mission left - you might remember that I am a prohibited immigrant because I wanted to go and see for myself - that it would pronounce the election free and fair. I challenge you to deny that you had decided that. Our people might as well have stayed at home and spent the money on something worthwhile.

The attitude displayed by my honourable friend, the ANC Chief Whip, was that the majority was all and the views of the minority would be ignored. That is true and you know that it is true. [Interjections.]

I regret to say that the ANC is no different from the apartheid government in that they have become puffed up and arrogant. [Interjections.] They forget that just as the people gave them a mandate, the people can withdraw that mandate. It might be unthinkable to you now but the time will come when you will be out of the seats of power, and please just remember that the time will come. [Interjections.]

They told me for 30-40 years, you are wasting your time, you will never get the Nats out. You will never get them out. Kyk hoe lyk julle nou! [Just look and see what you look like now!] [Laughter.][Applause.]

The handling of the Travelgate affair has been a textbook case on how to lose respect for the institution of Parliament and for MPs. It is now 29 months since the scandal first came to light and to Parliament’s credit we are the ones who exposed it, but we know that a handful of MPs have entered into plea bargains, that Parliament now has an ad hoc disciplinary committee to deal with them, that a few more will face trial soon and that another 40 will face questioning about their implication in Star Travel. But nothing has been done about the dozens, including some very big fish indeed, who are involved with Bathong Travel. Nothing has been done about Bathong Travel. The Scorpions need to get a move on and Parliament needs to push for some progress.

The Scorpions have shown precious little sting in the tail. I am starting to regard the school bully as nothing but a 98-pound weakling. Unless we are careful, the whole of this Third Parliament will be overshadowed by whispers, allegations, plea bargains, trials and then appeals all the way up to the Chief Justice. This is not the example that Parliament should be setting to the people of South Africa. We can have fancy publications as much as we like, we can talk piously about missions and visions and all of that, but you are known by what you do and what we are doing here is demonstrating to the people of South Africa that months and years go by and people do not pay the price.

Parliament needs to show beyond all question that it does not tolerate corruption whether by officials or by MPs. It needs to show that MPs who steal the people’s money cannot simply carry on as though nothing has happened. [Applause.] If Parliament itself cannot expel corrupt MPs, and I understand that that is the case, then the party leaders must use their powers. Any MP who is convicted of stealing the people’s money must leave Parliament. [Applause.]

It is just a simple proposition and that is something that the people will all understand and will all relate to, and they will approve of that, much more than provincial legislature members running all over the place to go and spend the night in the townships. In fact, it might be very interesting for some of the Ministers to spend a night in the townships. Some of them have not been there for a long time. [Laughter.]

I believe that it is time that Parliament should start doing its proper job, legislate efficiently, carry out its oversight function properly in terms of the Constitution and do the things that we are sent here to do.

What we must try to do is to cut out some of the circuses and some of the games. What we must do is leave some of the celebrations and some of the parties to the new elite and get on with the job that we were sent here to do in the first place. [Applause.]

Mrs S A SEATON: Madam Speaker, Madam Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, hon members, we have come a long way over the past 11 years of democracy. We have achieved much and, yes, Parliament has a lot to be proud of. There is still much to be done, much to be improved and much that we cannot be proud of.

I have the utmost respect for you as Speaker, madam, because you are a compassionate person who is always readily open to suggestions, considerate with the concerns of others and acutely aware of the needs and wellbeing of individuals in Parliament. I have had the benefit of having worked very closely with you over the past 11 years and have always found you to be very accommodating with regard to progress and to the development of our Parliament. When I raise concerns today I do so knowing that you will accept that there is no ill intention from our side, but a genuine concern that all is not well in the state of our Parliament.

It is true that we have developed tremendously over the past 11 years and more specifically over this past year. We have seen the advent of our Parliament directing authority, or whatever we are going to call it. We have seen us taking Parliament to the people. We have seen the launch of our vision and mission, which has taken an awfully long time. We have seen changes to our parliamentary staff – considerable changes - and I would want to commend the many loyal, dedicated officials who have continued to serve this Parliament and the members with distinction over the years.

We need to thank those officials who have always gone that extra mile and I would especially mention the Secretary to the NA and his staff. We extend our appreciation to them and we want to thank them and those who have sought to rectify wrongs and have taken bold steps to ensure improvement in processes that have caused concern.

I would also like to thank the Chief Financial Officer who has sought to improve the capabilities of his staff and closed the cracks in the system, such as the issues that have led to the travel scam being brought to the fore, clearly indicating how excessive sums of money have been squandered as a result of years of undetected abuse of systems that were previously in place.

We have seen members of Parliament trained in many areas of parliamentary work. We have seen individuals specialise in specific issues and we have experienced interaction with the international parliamentary community through various conferences, the IPU, the CPA, AU, PAP, etc. But Mr Nel asked the question, and so do I: Do we really understand our international role?

There are still members of Parliament who are not familiar with the workings of Parliament. They do not understand the Rules of Parliament and there are those that don’t take their obligations seriously. There is a great need for further training but committee-specific training is what, I believe, we need. We also need to help our members and train them with our IT equipment so that they can really be empowered.

Training that we have in general where we ask a group of people to go along and listen to something and we have all levels of people together, is not going to help. We need to start offering training in party caucuses where there can be one-on-one training so that members can learn at the pace that they need to.

Whilst on the issue of IT, our network system has improved tremendously over the past years but it still leaves a great deal to be desired. The system is mostly inaccessible, slow, certainly not user-friendly and frankly does not begin to measure up to world parliamentary standards. Moreover, it does not really assist to make our communication all that much better. I believe that our network is to be run by Sita. I express serious concern that we are going to have the security of individuals’ personal e- mails being scrutinised by a government agency.

Communication in Parliament is very poor. Despite the many innovations that have been introduced into this Parliament, we still get to hear about important matters and events and meetings on the day that they are scheduled to take place, instead of having been given timeous notice; a classic example being the launch of the vision and mission of Parliament - as Mr Douglas Gibson has mentioned – yesterday evening, followed by a dinner with the presiding officers. It was suddenly sprung on us at the eleventh hour. This was something that we have all worked long and hard for over a period of time and most of us would have liked to be there, but were unable to do so, because we did not have sufficient notice.

The general administration of Parliament is not what it should be. In fact, at times it is appalling. Meetings are called without prior notice or very short notice. We receive long agendas on the day or the day before the meeting with numerous important and lengthy attachments that one has not had the time to peruse, therefore rendering the meeting unsuccessful and perpetrating the growing tendency to talk the talk, but not to walk the walk.

We continue to take decisions to bring about change but continue to stay where we are on many important matters. For years we have discussed the need for members to be empowered to do their parliamentary work effectively. The committees need to be adequately resourced with facilities, with dedicated researchers and secretaries. The Whips need to be empowered to attend to their duties effectively.

It is understandable that this all requires adequate finance, which is not always there. When members need to travel and there are no tickets for them to do their constituency work - I don’t think the public begins to realise the extent that our members travel on a weekly basis, backwards and forwards, trying to balance the work of Parliament and their constituencies

  • they have to fork out money out of their own pockets, on a regular basis, as Mr Nel has also mentioned.

Then we hear that there is probably going to be an accumulated roll-over of R114 million this year. That is appalling. To think that we have got all this that needs to be done, that we have insufficient facilities for members, and yet we have this awfully large sum of money that is being rolled over. We cannot allow this to continue. Yes, we do have new computers and printers, equipment that members have to pay for, albeit at a depreciated rate. This equipment is not up to the specifications that members had requested.

Decisions are taken without consultation with members as to what equipment they will get. For example, we requested an HP 4 in 1 printer for members: a printer/scanner/fax/copier at a cost of approximately R2 000. What did we get? A pathetic, small, portable printer that is so slow and inadequate, and it costs the same, if not more. Why do officials do this? Why don’t they take cognisance of what the members say they need?

Hansard continues to be horribly out of date. Whilst we supposedly have simultaneous interpreting, the quality leaves a great deal to be desired.

We need to seriously address the inadequacies in the administration of Parliament and its members. There is the issue of salaries. Really and truly, this has been going on for 10 years now and nothing has really happened. We need to take this further. We need to push these issues. The general public are truly under the impression that members of Parliament live in the lap of luxury, without taking into account that members run two homes, two cars, are travelling backwards and forwards on a weekly basis, trying to do the work that they are expected to do.

The public does not realise the state of our homes in our parliamentary villages. Members deserve to be fairly remunerated and they deserve to earn a decent pension at the end of their political careers, and we need to do something about that as a matter of extreme urgency. It is time to take the bull by the horns and provide this Parliament and its members with adequate facilities, equipment and resources. Members should all be provided with personal secretaries, as happens in other parliaments around the world.

Let us not see roll-overs like this again. In future, let us spend our budgetary allocation effectively and to the betterment of Parliament, providing the necessary tools for members to be effective, for Parliament to truly deliver to the people of South Africa.

We need to ensure that our decisions are carried through, that our plans are realised, that this Parliament really does become a model to the world of how Parliament should function. We need to ensure that the communication is improved. We need to play a genuine oversight role on the executive. We need to ensure that not only are our committees fully functional, but are also totally effective. We need to ensure that we have a Parliament that all South Africans can be proud of.

I thank all the staff for what they have done. I don’t have the time to mention the many people that we would like to thank. I thank them all. I thank you, Madam Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the presiding officers of the NCOP and the chairpersons of committees, the Whips of the different parties for the co-operation that we have had all along the way.

We wish you well, Madam Speaker. We thank you for your dedication and commitment to this Parliament and to its members. With these few words and expressions of some concern, the IFP supports the Budget Vote. [Applause.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you very much, Chairperson. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People at Kliptown in 1955. As a fitting tribute to the 50 000 volunteers who campaigned for the demands of the Charter, it is correct that the role of the People’s Charter should occupy a central place in this august House. Comrades, it is not our fault at all that when our fathers were walking the length and breadth of this country consulting the people Mr Gibson and his friends were enjoying the niceties of ill-gotten privileges and wealth. [Applause.]

The fact that they did not attend the launch of the vision of Parliament yesterday has nothing to do with when the invitation was received. It has to do with their opposition to that vision. When you speak of the “people”, they think you are speaking about the rich people. The events of this weekend and the so-called imbizo show the clever, thin line, where you try to exploit the potential differences that exist between the ANC and the IFP in your imagination. Now you are trying that same experiment again. You lost badly.

As we speak, you are the smallest opposition party in the world. [Laughter.] When you stand here, the way, the loud voice, the confidence and so on, people might think you really command a substantial following in this country . . . [Interjections.] . . . but you don’t. And you behave in a surprising manner. When it is about the Travelgate incident and the plea- bargaining of the people, you say: Kill them! Crucify them! Hang them! When one of your members leaves a delegation paid for with taxpayers’ money in Zimbabwe to attend the birthday of a three-year-old, that is corruption. [Laughter.] It is equally corrupt when the institution to which you are deployed . . . [Interjections.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Chairperson, the hon the Chief Whip has just accused a member of this House, in fact a member of the DA, of corruption. He knows that that is unparliamentary and he knows that what he said is totally untrue. He also knows that the member repaid his S & T allowances long before it was asked for. [Interjections.] I am asking you to instruct the hon Chief Whip to withdraw his unparliamentary remarks.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms C-S Botha): Hon member, we will give a considered ruling on this issue. We will consult the Hansard.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: It is corruption, Madam, to leave an institution to which you were deployed. The people out there expect us to be here from 7 to 7, but you run away. You receive something that is of critical importance to the direction of this country. You run away and come and say, “No, we received the invitation too late.”

What are your priorities, sir? What are your priorities? You are a public representative, first and foremost. I think some of the issues that are being raised have validity. I don’t think this is a proper platform. We will engage at another stage.

We need to say, Madam, when you took over as the Speaker of this august House, there was fresh air. The people are happy. People love your leadership. People respect the organisation that has deployed you to that responsibility. [Applause.] It is unfortunate to them when it is convenient.

The Secretary to Parliament has shown great passion to bring about this vision; this vision that speaks to the needs of the people of this country. When it is suitable to him then he is an ANC person, when he delivers, he belongs to the institution. So, well done. Anyway, if the DA can ever agree with what you do, that is the time for you to get very, very worried. [Applause.]

Our people fought heroic struggles against the forces of slavery, colonialism and apartheid to assert their birthright as a people. The defeat of our people in the wars of resistance bequeathed valuable lessons to generations of freedom fighters. The birth of the ANC in 1912 gave a new impetus to the struggle for national liberation and heralded the renaissance of the African continent. The lyrics of Enoch Sontonga’s Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica, reverberated throughout the continent proclaiming the inevitability of victory over the forces of colonialism.

The forerunner to the Freedom Charter, the African Claims in South Africa in 1943, articulated the aspirations of Africans in opposition to white supremacy, with some form of it that keeps coming true. Inspired by the defeat of German fascism and the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the ANC, the Coloured People’s Organisation, the SA Indian Congress and the Congress of White Democrats forged a united front against apartheid.

The draconian laws of the apartheid regime failed to cow our people into submission. Professor Z K Matthews displayed the hallmarks of a revolutionary intellectual when he captured the mood of the rising people. In this regard Professor Matthews mooted the basic idea of the Congress of the People in his presidential address to the Cape annual conference in August 1953, held in Cradock, where I come from.

The ANC canvassed for the Congress of the People in the congress movement. The National Action Council of the Congress of the People consisting of the ANC, the SA Indian Congress, the Congress of White Democrats and the Coloured People’s Organisation was formed. In a clarion call to the people of South Africa, the National Action Council declared: Let us organise together for the Congress of the People. Let us speak of freedom. Let us work together for the Freedom Charter. That is the clarion call that must unite us. That is the clarion call that must unite all peace-loving South Africans to motivate them to this historic congress, a replica of which will be held on 27 June, as a fitting tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

The Freedom Charter encapsulates the moral vision of our people and the fundamental aspirations of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa that belongs to all who live in it. The assertion that the people shall govern signifies the restoration of the sovereignty of our people. In struggle our people reclaimed their birthright to determine their destiny.

To us in the ANC, the constitutional negotiations in the Constitutional Assembly were not merely clever draftings by experts. In reality, the deliberations of the ANC were informed by the vision of the Freedom Charter. In this connection the democratic Constitution correctly asserts: We, the people of South Africa recognise the injustices of our past, believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

In his appraisal of the historical significance of the Freedom Charter, Nelson Mandela wrote in June 1956: “Freedom in our lifetime.” As people’s representatives, the critical question is, what is our understanding of freedom? As the ANC we believe that freedom is about participatory democracy and representative democracy and, above all, fundamental human rights. Fundamental human rights are inalienable and are about food, housing, health, education and the overall welfare of the human being.

Parliament as the supreme tribunal of our people occupies a pivotal role in the realisation of freedom. Indeed, the vision of Parliament enjoins us to build an effective people’s Parliament, that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of our country.

What this means is that the people’s Parliament must be accessible to the majority of our people. Vehicles of participatory democracy such as ward committees, community development workers, community police forums, health committees, school governing bodies, developmental committees, etc, must be harnessed into the activities of Parliament.

Of critical importance is the role of Parliament’s constituency offices in galvanising organs of participatory democracy. The role of Parliament in the implementation of the people’s contract to create work and fight poverty is a critical one. Legislation emanating from Parliament must be consistent with the requirements of the people’s contract to create work and fight poverty.

The oversight function of Parliament should ensure that public resources are utilised in terms of legislation. Parliamentary constituency offices should be adequately resourced to fulfil the role of incubators in the implementation of the people’s contract to create work and fight poverty.

In support of your Budget Vote, Madam Speaker, allow me to congratulate you and the Deputy Speaker on your sterling leadership of this august institution. The launch of the new mission and vision of Parliament attests to a historic milestone in the transformation of Parliament. Madam Speaker, you are assured of our unflinching support in our collective efforts to build a caring society. I thank you. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms C-S BOTHA): Hon Chief Whip, would you just keep your place at the podium for a moment, please. I wish to address you. To accuse a member of corruption can only be done by way of a substantive motion. Such a reference in a general debate is not in order. I must request the hon Chief Whip therefore to withdraw his remark.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: For fear of wasting time, Madam, I withdraw. [Applause.]

Mr G T MADIKIZA: Chairperson, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and members, the importance of this Budget Vote is that it is an expression of how seriously we take the role of Parliament as an integral institution of democracy and expression of the people’s will.

To the extent that each of us should be representing our voters, this institution’s budget should be about capacitating MPs. In budgetary, legislative and oversight processes, MPs should be empowered by this budget to fulfil their role as custodians of their voters’ aspirations and needs.

It does not bode well, therefore, when one of this institution’s projected committee budgets is cut by more than 50%. Over and above the above duties, MPs are expected to reach out to the citizens of this country and bring government closer to the people. This is partly achieved through committee study tours, but the bulk of this vital work falls to individual MPs in their various constituencies.

In this regard, the parliamentary budget falls short of the implications of this task. The constituency allowance is simply inadequate, which means that the MPs who are conscientious about constituency work are forced to dig into their own pockets to travel throughout large constituencies and operate effective offices there.

It is for this reason that there has been a hue and cry from members from various forums and elsewhere, because we cannot stomach the idea of neglecting vital duties, but financially we are not in a position to attend to them properly.

Whilst these critical financial and administrative challenges threaten to undermine the success of this institution, the continuing saga of travel voucher abuse has brought this institution into disrepute as far as the general public is concerned. Surveys on public perceptions of corruption in our country indicate that MPs and Parliament are among the most distrusted institutions. How individual parties choose to deal with those found guilty of corruption will set a precedent for the entire country.

Who are we to preach to the private sector, provincial government or municipalities about corruption and mismanagement when political parties at national level are not seen to act strongly against corrupt MPs? When parties are seen to be protecting corrupt MPs we should not wonder why a host of municipalities have not . . . [Time expired.] We support the budget. Thank you. [Applause.]

Nksz P TSHWETE: Sihlalo, Sekela-Mongameli, Baphathiswa, ooSekela- Baphathiswa aba lapha, malungu ePalamente, namhlanje sinochulumanco novuyo kuba i-ANC izizalisekisile izinto ezathethwa eKliptown, kubandakanywa leyo ethi: “The people shall govern” [“Abantu baya kulawula”]. Siyavuya kuba imithetho ebekiweyo ePalamente iyinxalenye yezimvo zabantu. Iimbizo ezabizwa yi-ANC nezabandakanya abantu zibe neziqhamo namhlanje.

Noxa kunjalo, kufanele ukuba siqinise ekubeni abantu bethu bathabathe inxaxheba kuba ngabo bafundileyo nabaneentsiba kuphela abathi beze apha, babeke izimvo zabo ngokubhekisele kule mithetho. Into ethetha ukuba iPalamente kufuneka ibone ukuba beza njani na abantu ngobuninzi babo. Siyayibulela nenxaxheba yeembizo. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Ms P TSHWETE: Chairperson, Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers who are present here, members of Parliament, we are happy that the ANC government fulfils what was said in Kliptown, including the fact that: “The people shall govern”.

We are happy that people’s views are part and parcel of the laws tabled at Parliament. These are the fruits of what the ANC called imbizos, which involved everybody.

Nevertheless, we must be certain that all people attend the debates to air their views, and not only the learned and well-off people. Therefore, it is advisable for Parliament to make itself accessible to the majority of the people. We are thankful for the role played by imbizos.]

No one can deny the fact that Parliament is now totally different from what it was during the apartheid period. Before 1994 Parliament was solely looked at for creating legislation to oppress black people in the form of the Bantu Education Act, the Land Act of 1913 and the Group Areas Act.

Namhlanje ohloniphekileyo uMnu Gibson uyoyika xa kuthethwa ngeSoweto, ndawo leyo eya khiwa ngabo phantsi kwe-Group Areas Act. Ngabo abasisa eSoweto. Sasifuna ukuhlala edolophini, kodwa bayenza into yokuba sihlale eSoweto. Namhlanje uthi aBaphathiswa bayoyika ukuya eSoweto.

ABaphathiswa bakhulele khona bevasela evasikomini, ngoko ke bayayazi le ndawo. Ngoo musa ukwakha indawo uze ujike ungafuni ukuba baye kuyo. Bayayazi iSoweto, bakhulele kuyo.

Ndigqithe apho. Ndifuna ukugxininisa ekubeni kwixesha elizayo kufuneka singayikopi imithetho yakudala yocalucalulo engekasuswa, eyaphunyezwa phambi kuka-1994, eyasetyenziselwa ukucinezela abantu. Siyayiqonda ukuba ngo-1994 kwakusekutsha kakhulu, ngoko ezinye izinto zeenziwa phantsi kwefuthe laloo nyaka, ixesha apho iPalamente yayinamakhosikazi amahlanu kuphela kunye namadoda angama-300. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Today hon Gibson becomes frightened when people talk of Soweto, a place created by them under the Group Areas Act. It was they who led us there. We wanted to live in the suburbs, but they made it possible to stay in Soweto. He says the Ministers are afraid to visit Soweto.

The Ministers grew up there, and therefore they know the place. Hence it is advisable not to build a place you would not like to visit. They know Soweto; they grew up there.

Let me progress to another point. I want to stress that we must not copy old apartheid laws, passed before 1994, that were used to suppress us. We understand that everything was new and some laws were passed with five women and 300 men in Parliament.]

It was only male-dominated and largely white.

Namhlanje bayoyika xa sihleli sithe nqwadalala simnyama apha ePalamente. Sanukoyika, asikaphathi siseza kuphatha.

Sifuna ukunixelela ukuba abantu abafika apha ngo-1994 bayasibalisela ukuba kwakunzima ukufumana izindlu zangasese zabasetyhini, kuba kaloku amakhosikazi ayemahlanu torho, ngoko zaziza kwakhelwa bani ezo zindlu zangasese.

Namhlanje urhulumente ophetheyo we-ANC ubonile ukuba nabantu esithi xa sibabiza sithi ngabantu abakhubazekileyo mababe yinxalenye yabantu bale Palamente. Leyo yinto esingazange siyibone ngaphambili. Siyabulela ke ngaloo nto kwi-ANC. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Siyazibulela iinzame zenu enizenzileyo zokuba kulungiswE izakhiwo ukwenzela ukuba abakhubazekileyo bakwazi ukufikelela kuyo yonke indawo, kubekho iilifti, babe nee-ofisi zabo, kunye nezitulo ezilungiselelwe bona ukuze bakwazi ukuhlala kakuhle apha. Siyayibulela loo nto. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Today, they are scared when they see us blacks sitting here in Parliament. Do not be scared we have not yet governed, but we are still going to govern.

People who arrived in Parliament in 1994 tell us an embarrassing story about the unavailability of toilets for the five women.

The ANC-led government is treating people with disabilities with dignity and letting them be part of Parliament. It was never like that before. We thank the ANC-led government for that. [Applause].

We are thankful for the efforts that are being made to make this place accessible to people with disabilities. Lifts, suitable offices, and chairs that cater for their needs are available. We thank you for that].

I would like to thank members of Parliament who have heeded the ANC call to use indigenous languages in their debates. This results in people now understanding the debates in Parliament, and not being left out of political and social issues happening in the country.

Ndifuna ukuthi gqabagqaba kuba iintetho zam ezininzi ziye zathathwa, ngoko ke ndiza kwaleka umsundulu kwinto esele ithethiwe. Ndicela ukuba imithetho esiyibhalayo apha ePalamente ingabhalwa ngeelwimi ezimbini kuphela koko nezinye iilwimi mazisetyenziswe. Ndicela ukugqitha apho ndikhawulezile, ndixele ihashe lesibonda. Uyakulazi ke uNkosi uHolomisa elo hashe. [Kwahlekwa.]

Ndigqithe ndichaza okokuqala ukuba iDA ephikele ukusoloko ibonisa icala elinye ngamalungu ePalamente likhona elinye. Ndicela ukuwachaza lamalungu ukuba asebenza njani na. Thina xa sithetha ngenqila yonyulo (constituency), le nto esithi lutshintsho (transformation), sithetha ngabantu abakwazi ukuya ezilalini bafike babethe epokothweni bathengele abantu ukutya ezi- ofisini zabo kumvuzo ongekhoyo phofu ke Somlomo. [Kwaqhwatywa.]

Siyacela ke Somlomo, namhlanje sele inguwe okhoyo uyinxalenye yanakhosikazi, ulilwele olu dabi, uyibone into yokuba batsala nzima abantu ePalamente. Sicela ukuba njengokuba siyinto yokuthengisa amaphepha, iphepha lingathethwa xa kungekho lungu lePalamente, ushishino lungahambi, abantwana abathengisa amaphepha abatyi, bayatya ngathi abantu abathengisa amaphepha. Ukuba kwiphepha elingaphambili lephepha kukho ilingu lePalamente liyathengwa elo phepha. [Kwaqhatywa.]

Sicela ukuba abaphandi (researchers) abakhoyo, ukuxhasana nemisebenzi okanye intsebenziswano namalungu ePalamente zongezwe kuba kaloku siyalwa, sixhithaxhwithane ngomphandi omnye. Siyalwa ngo nobhala kuba mnye kumalungu amane namahlanu. Sicela ukuba bongezwe. Ndigqithile ke nalapho ndixele ela hashi lesibonda bendithethe ngalo.

Kukho ingxaki enkulu ke apha Sekela Mongameli. Kukho okungahambi kakhuhle kwezinto okuthile. Ingaba yintoni ebangela loo nto? Ndiyalikrwaqula ixesha. Yintoni ebangela ukuba xa ilungu le Palamente lilapha kulamalungu mahlanu . . . Ukuba singabuza nje kumalungu ePalamente ukuba laa malungu ayelapha ngaphambili ingaba aphila yintoni? Ngehle akasenayo nento yokutya. Yintoni into ebangela ukuba umntu asebenze ePalamente iminyaka elishumi elishumi aphume eyinkwamba engenanto? Kutheni singalungiseleli ukuba umntu xa ephumile aphume ekwazi . . . [Kwaqhwatywa.] Ndicela ukugqitha kancinci kule nto ngoba izakundilibazisa. Ningaqhwabi nizakundibhudisa. [Kwahlekwa.]

Ndicela ukubuza apha kumalungu ePalamente, kuba nam ndingumthunywa omele abahlali abatsala nzima, ukuba aba Bantu, imanejala zikaMasipala abasebenzisa ezimoto kuthethwa ngazo yiDA, besoloko bethyolwa ngokutya imali, abangomavolontiya bayabhatalwa. Bazithenga ngeemali zabo ezimoto kufuneka nijonge kuqala ukuba ityiwe na imali kuqala phambi kokuba nithethe loo nto. Yenzeni le nto yokuba nimise iinguqu korhulumente bamaphandle ngokuthuma abantwana batoyitoyele izindlu esitratweni. Zange sike silwele izindlu thina singaka nje kodwa abantwana abaphaya beneminyaka eli14 ukuya kwi15. siyayibona loo nto. Banikeni ama-R10 ukuba bayokutshisa amatayala esitalatweni, sizakubafumana thina singukhongolozi. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[I want to briefly add to what has already been said. I want to ask that legislation be published not only in two languages but in other languages as well. I will quickly pass over this point like a headman’s horse. Hon Holomisa will know that horse. [Applause.]

The DA always shows one side of members of Parliament, whereas there is another side. I want to explain how these members work. When we speak of constituency work and transformation, we speak of people who would go to the rural areas and buy food for people in the offices who do not earn much of a salary, Speaker. [Applause.]

Speaker, we ask you today as women to fight this battle of difficult working conditions suffered by members of Parliament. We notice that members of Parliament are the key aspect in the selling of newspapers. If members of Parliament were not on the front page, the newspapers would not sell. Therefore, the newspaper vendors benefit from our appearance in the newspapers. [Applause.]

The number of researchers who help members in their work must be increased, as we always fight over one researcher. We clash over secretaries, as four or five members share a secretary. We would like to increase their number. Proceeding fast, like the headman’s horse.

There is a huge concern here, Deputy President. Things are not going as expected. What causes that? I am looking at the time. If we ask the five members . . . If we ask members of Parliament how former members of Parliament support themselves financially, we may find out that they do not have anything with which to support themselves. What makes members who have worked for Parliament for more than ten years come out bankrupt? Why don’t we prepare them so that when they leave they are . . . [Applause.] I want to proceed, as this point will be a setback to me. Do not applaud, as you are disturbing me. [Applause.]

I want to put a question to the members of Parliament because I am a representative of people who are struggling. Municipal managers who are accused of the mismanagement of funds are not volunteers but earn salaries. The issue of misuse of funds must be looked at before accusing them, because they purchase cars from their own salaries. Should we carry on sabotaging the transformation of local government by driving children to toyi-toyi for houses in the streets? We never fought for houses at a young age, but children of 14 to 15 years do so. We are aware of that. Give them R10,00 to go and burn tyres in the streets, and we will find them as the ANC government.]

This, Deputy President, might sound silly but it is true. You fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg – fine – you might be in the economy class as a member’s guest, who is in the business class – an official.

Buza Sekela-Mongameli elisebe ubugqiba kulwa nalo ngenxa yokungahambi komsebenzi, kodwa niyafika kwisikhululo seenqwelo-moya ungena kudidi labezoshishino kwinqwelomoya. Sele unentloni nokumjonga lomsebenzi kuba ubumbethile kakhulu. Sele uchwechwa ukungena kudidi loqoqosho.[Kwahlekwa.] Yintoni ebangela loo nto? Kutheni le nto singena sidima kangaka? Sicela ntonbi kaMbethe uke ubuyise isidima sethu. Sifuna ukuziva singamalungu ePalamente.[Kwaqhwatywa.]

Ndicela phambi kokuba ndihlale phantsi Mhlalingaphambili, ndibalise nje ibalana lam elincinci. Ndohlwaya Qabane uStofile isebe ngomsebenzi ongenziwayo kweleZempilo. Bafika bona abasebenzi besebe bangena kudidi lwaboshishino, kodwa Mna ndinelelaboqoqosho. Ndacinga mna ukuba ngekhadi lam lemboleko-mali (credit card) ndizakuzenza ngcono ndinyuse itikiti lam. Kwathiwa, ‘Hayi uxolo sisi ikhadi alithathwa.’Ndayitshintsha inqwelo-moya ngenxa yentloni ndakhwela elandelayo. Andikagqibi kodwa ke ndiyaluxhasa olu hlalo lwabiwo-mali. [Kwahlekwa.][Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Imagine, Deputy President, that you visit a department and you reprimand the department because of poor service delivery, and then you meet the officials at the airport in business class. One becomes shy to face the officials because of the previous happenings. Then one decides to go to economy class. [Applause.] What causes that? Why are we not treated with dignity? We ask you, Miss Mbethe, to restore our dignity. We want to be treated as members of Parliament. [Applause.]

Before I sit down, Speaker, I want to narrate an anecdote. I reprimanded Comrade Stofile for slow service delivery in the Department of Health. Before the flight officials from the same department arrived and they went to board in business class, while I had to go to economy class. I tried to use my credit card to change the class but it was rejected, since the card was not acceptable. I had to change the actual flight to the next one. I am not finished, but I support the Budget Vote. [Laughter.] [Applause.]]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Hallo, sir. Hon member, please do proceed.

Mr A HARDING: I’m just waiting for the noise to die down, Mr Chair. The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Please proceed, sir. [Interjections.]

Mr A HARDING: Ag, man, who asked you.

Mr Chair, the new vision of Parliament is to build an effective people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all of the people of South Africa.

Now, all of us in this House, and I mean all of us, have an essential responsibility to do all in our power to strive towards this vision. We, in the ID, are supportive of the pursuance of this vision, irrespective of whether we were invited to the launch or not.

We are, in any case, too busy building the ID to be worried about parties that we are invited to or not. [Interjections.] You don’t have anything to go to, and that is the reason you are worried about parties instead of building your party. [Laughter.]

Let me raise a number of concerns, though. Firstly, MPs from opposition parties need more support in order for them to play a more effective role in our young democracy. We need better support from Parliament with regard to our general support staff, researchers, training and development, and constituency and parliamentary allowances.

This is the only way MPs can become more efficient as national representatives of the people of this country. Parliament has, during this term, set itself the target of focusing on oversight. Oversight can only be done effectively with proper resourcing.

Secondly, and linked to my first point, MPs definitely require more financial support to do their constituency work. Currently, they are incurring expenses while fulfilling their constitutional duties, for example, when going on constituency work in remote areas, to name but one example.

Much has been said about unspent money in the parliamentary budget, and the Speaker’s Office is well aware of the battle that I have been fighting over the past number of months with regard to resourcing and proper support for the hon Vincent Gore.

The overall message that the ID wants to convey is that Parliament must improve on the current support structures that it provides to political parties, especially opposition parties. That excludes useless opposition parties, such as the Official Opposition. [Interjections.]

Political theory, as well as reality, has proved that the strength of democracy lies within the strength and effectiveness of the opposition, and they lack these.

The ID, therefore, asserts that those people responsible for functions that manage and direct Parliament should take our concerns seriously. Only then can the opposition be empowered to ultimately contribute to building an effective people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M R BALOYI: Chairperson and the House, ndza mi losa [greetings]. In giving meaning to the concept of participatory democracy, the Freedom Charter states that the people shall govern.

I stand here, 50 years since the adoption of this historic people’s charter, to speak on facts to confirm that it is true that the people are governing and that they only had that opportunity just 11 years ago.

I confirm that the right to vote and to be voted for is a reality in South Africa today. This Parliament, the provincial legislatures and our three- tier system of government are products of this fact; that the people are governing. We are here in the numbers that we are, some in the majority and growing even from within, others in the minority and diminishing from within, at the dawn of reality.

We keep on doing so because it was the people’s choice that brought about this people’s Parliament. It is the people who said that the ANC should have majority status all over the country. It is true, hon Gibson, that the people really know and understand what the Freedom Charter is all about.

Our democratic dispensation is based on the principles of public accountability, responsiveness to public needs and openness to public scrutiny. Ours is a genuine democracy, not the fallacies that from day-to- day cheat the world by preaching democracy when they are autocrats of the worst order, and whose agenda is dominated by the destabilisation of other states.

Our achievement of the reality of government by the people is sometimes limited by the uneven playing field, which is a manifestation of historical imbalances created by apartheid.

I ntiyiso leswaku vanhu hinkwavo va na lunghele ro hoxa xandla eka vufambisi bya tiko. Migingiriko ya tihuvo ta vaaka-tiko ya vonakala eka swa tidyondzo, hi vito ra ti-School Governing Bodies, eka vuhlayiseki, hi vito ta ti-CPF, eka swa masipala, hi vito ta ti-ward committees, eka swa rihanyu, hi vito ra tihuvo ta swibedhlele, eka tiprojekte, hi vito ra ti- project steering committees, ku hlaya I ku xurha!

Ko va ntsena leswaku nsele wa xiloyi wa khale ka mfumo wa xihlawuhlawu wu hi dlele. U ta kuma leswaku hambiloko tihuvo leti ti ri kona, a hi hinkwako laha ti tirhaka hi ku hetiseka, ngopfu-ngopfu eka tindhawu ta le makaya, laha vutivi bya kona byi nga bya ndzilo wa xitsayitsayi.

Tin’wana ta tihuvo leti a ti tivi na matimaba ya tona hi ku hetiseka. Hi ndlela ya xikombiso, loko ho pima matirhele ya SGB ya xikolo xa le henhla xa Matome Malatji na ya xikolo xa le henhla xa Frans Du toit, le Phalaborwa laha ku nga na constituency ya mina, hi ta vona leswaku va-Frans Du toit va nga yimela mhaka ya vona hi matimba yo kota ku tlula na valawuri va xifundzha. (Translation of Tsonga paragraphs follows.)

[It is true that all people have a right to contribute to the running of the country. Efforts of community organisations can be seen in educational matters through the school governing bodies, in security matters through the CPFs, in municipal matters through ward committees, in health matters through hospital boards, in projects through project steering committees, and so on and so forth.

It’s just that the cruelty of the then apartheid government destroyed us. You may find that even though these organisations exist, it is not in all places that they are fully effective, especially in rural areas, where there is a scarcity of knowledge.

Some of these organisations don’t even know their powers in full. By way of example, if we compare the manner in which the SGBs of Matome Malatji and Frans du Toit high schools, respectively, operate in Phalaborwa, my constituency, we will notice that Frans du Toit can defend their case better than even provincial managers.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Order! Hon member, could you wait just a second. There seems to be a mix-up with regard to interpreting. For the benefit of hon members, on your desk there is a channel written as Xit, before English or Afrikaans. So, if you switch on to that one you will get the interpreting. Please continue, sir.

Mr M R BALOYI: That is my language, which is an official language, hon Gibson.

Loko ho pima matirhelo ya ti-SGB letimbirhi ndzi vulavulaka ha tona, leyin’wana ya xikolo xa le henhla xa Matome Malatji, kasi leyin’wana ya xiloko xa le henhla xa Frans Du toit, leswi kumekaka eka ndhawu yin’we ya Phalaborwa, hi ta kuma leswaku eka matirhelo ya swona swa hambana.

Mhaka a hi leswaku lava va valungu va lo tlhariha ngopfu, ntiyiso hileswaku va ha nandziheriwa hi nkufumelo wa xihlawuhlawu, lowu a wu va pomperile vulombe eka vutomi bya vona. Lava va ka hina vona va hlanganile no tirha hi timhaka leti va nga ri ki na vutivi byo enta eka tona, tani hileswi ntshikeleo wa xihlawuhlawu wu nga heta hi vona.

Hambiswiritano, ntirho wa vukorhokeli bya tiko wu ya emahlweni. Vanhu va hoxa xandla eka vufambisi bya tiko. Loko ndzi burisanile na Chief Executive Officer wa xibedhlele xa Khensani eGiyani . . . [Nkavanyeto.] (Translation of Tsonga paragraphs follows.)

[When we compare the workings of the two SGBs, namely those of the Matome Malatji and Frans du Toit high schools in the same place, Phalaborwa, we will find that they perform differently.

It is not because whites are more intelligent; the truth is that they are still benefiting from the legacy of apartheid, which had pumped honey into their lives. Our people find themselves doing things they have no deeper knowledge of, because the repressive nature of apartheid destroyed them.

Nevertheless, national delivery continues. People are contributing in the running of the country. After holding discussions with the Chief Executive Officer of Nkhensani hospital in Giyani . . . [Interjections.]] The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, on a point of order: I think the instruction you gave us regarding interpreting is wrong, sir.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): I realised that after we had mentioned that you could obtain the interpretation from the Xit channel, they then switched back to the English channel. So hon members, you can now get the interpretation from the English channel. I apologise. [Laughter.]

Nkul M R BALOYI: Xichangana i xilungu! Hambiswiritano, ntirho wa vukorhokeli bya tiko wu ya emahlweni. Loko ndzi burisanile na Chief Executive Officer wa xibedhlele xa Giyani, Nkul Ernest Mboweni, u ndzi byerile leswaku huvo ya xibedhlele yi va pfuna hi ndlela leyi hlamarisaka eka vulawuri bya xibedhlela na leswaku vanhu hi ku angarhela va nga swi kota ku nghenisa mavonele ya vona eka timhaka ta xibedhlele hi ku tirhisa yona bodo leyi. (Translation of Tsonga paragraph follows.)

[Mr M R BALOYI: It is just the same! Delivery goes on, regardless. While speaking with the Chief Executive Officer of Nkhensani hospital, Mr Ernest Mboweni, he told me that the hospital board assists them in a big way in the administration of the hospital and that through this board, the general public are able to raise their views on hospital matters.]

At their meeting two weeks ago, the community-policing forum attached to the Phalaborwa police station identified a need to instruct me to facilitate the active participation of the Department of Home Affairs in the area forums so as to ensure a holistic approach in dealing with questions of crime prevention.

These people are governing; this is a fact. It is in the nature of our democracy that public participation becomes a cornerstone for the operation of our people’s Parliament.

One of the very important and strategic interventions to facilitate public participation is the practical implementation of the concept of constituency work as an extension of Parliament to ensure that people access public representatives to seek advice, get information, raise issues with them, get assisted with the establishment of projects, seek interventions to facilitate service delivery by government and agents of government, and parastatals, and influence the activities of private-sector establishments.

Constituency work, by its nature, is performed at any place and time a public representative interacts with individual members of the community, with organised formations representing particular interests or with a broader community.

Hi Muqhivela wa vhiki leri nga hela, ndzi hlanganile na Nkul Xibelana Maluleke na Jim wa ka Ndhwandhwe, laha a hi ri enkosini exitandini xa Chiawelo. Vakulukumba lava va ndzi byerile leswaku vanhu va xaniseka hi ku pfumeleka ka mati, ku fikela laha va hakelaka swimalana swa vona swa vusiwana, va hakelela ku kuma mati leswaku va kota ku hanya. Kumbe va xava mati eka vanhu lava va tiborheleke wona. Ndzi tibohile loko ndzi hlangana na vona, tani hi muyimeri wa vanhu wa ntiyiso, leswaku vanhu mhaka leyi ndzi ta yi teka ndzi yi yisa emahlweni eka vatindzawulo ta mati naswona hi ta yi endla hi nkani ya marahani!

Hi yona constituency work ya kona leyi, a ku na yin’wana! Swirho swa Palamende, a hi tirheleni vanhu, va lo hi hlawula hi minhlangano ya hina. Hambi ha yi tiva Freedom Charter, Nkul Gibson, kumbe a hi yi tivi, a hi tirheni! (Translation of Tsonga paragraphs follows.)

[On Saturday last week, at a funeral at Chiawelo village, I met Mr Xibelana Maluleke and Jim Ndhwandhwe. These gentlemen told me that people were suffering from a lack of water, to the point of having to buy water with their meagre money in order to survive, or having to buy water from people with water pumps in their yards. I committed myself, like a true public representative, to take this matter up with the Department of Water Affairs, and said that we would force the issue!

This is constituency work, and nothing else! Members of Parliament, let us serve the people; they elected us through our parties. Whether or not we know the Freedom Charter, Mr Gibson, let us work!] Members of Parliament, particularly ANC public representatives, are actively engaged with the challenges of constituency work. This is a fact. We have constituency offices in all nine provinces. [Interjections.]

Mr M J ELLIS: So do we.

Mr M R BALOYI: I doubt it. During the constituency period members of the ANC, as public representatives deployed to those offices, are readily available to the people. We can confirm that a constituency period is not a holiday for members; it is that time that they have to be out there in the communities to service the people.

The challenge that is a reality is that these offices are not equipped enough to be able to render the services expected. Some of the offices do not have basic facilities.

Can you imagine a community member visiting an office just to make a copy, only to find that there is no photocopier? Another one would visit the office to get a copy of a speech of a Minister of his or her choice, only to be told that there are no such facilities, and that such speeches are not there. The last one would like to sift through a parliamentary Hansard for academic or other purposes, only to be told that we cannot afford to send copies of Hansard to all constituency offices. These are issues that we need to actually take into consideration as we deal with the budget process. It is true that when we talk of constituency, as the ANC, we mean that we do it. And it is through interaction with these people, as we do constituency work, that they confirm to us that they know what the Freedom Charter is.

Va swi tiva leswaku tindlu leti hi va akelaka tona hi leti hi nga va tshembisa hi ku ya hi Freedom Charter loko hi te: “There shall be houses . . .”

Va swi tiva leswaku mpfumelelo lowu va nga na wona sweswi, wa ku nghena eswikolweni leswi a va nga pfumeleriwi khale, va va na wona hi ku va hi va byerle leswaku: “The doors of learning and culture shall be opened.”

Va swi tiva leswaku ku thleriseriwa ka misava ka vona, leyi a va tekeriwile yona hi vakokwana wa wena, yi vuyiseriwa eka vona hi ku va hi vurile hi Freedom Charter leswaku: “The land shall be shared amongst those who work it.” (Translation of Tsonga paragraphs follows.)

[They know that the houses we are building them are the ones we promised them on the strength of the Freedom Charter when we said: “There shall be houses . . .”

They know that the freedom they now have to attend schools to which they were previously refused admission, is because of what we told them: “The doors of learning and culture shall be opened.”

They know that the restitution of their land, which was taken from them by your grandparents, is because of what we said, through the Freedom Charter: “The land shall be shared amongst those who work it.”]

The people know the Freedom Charter, and we support the Budget Vote as the ANC. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mnr C H F GREYLING: Voorsitter, die primêre doel van hierdie begrotingspos is om die nodige finansiële steun aan die Parlement te verleen ten einde sy grondwetlike funksies in terme van die Grondwet te verrig, ook om aan politieke partye die administratiewe steun te verleen om hul kiesers te dien en om lede van die nodige fasiliteite te voorsien. Dié geld wat deur die belastingbetalers aan ons toevertrou word, moet dus nie slegs op ’n deursigtige wyse nie, maar ook verantwoordelik bestee word. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)

[Mr C H F GREYLING: Chairperson, the primary aim of this Budget Vote is to give the necessary financial support to Parliament in order for it to execute its constitutional functions in terms of the Constitution, as well as to give political parties the administrative support to enable them to serve their electorate and to provide members with the necessary facilities. This money that has been entrusted to us by the taxpayers must therefore not only be spent in a transparent manner, but also in a responsible manner.]

Since 1994 Parliament’s overriding policy has been to build a democratic Parliament that is transparent and responsive to the electorate, and which follows a legislative agenda aimed at accelerating the transformation of the South African society. Recent years have seen an increased focus on Parliament’s oversight role, its participation in international organisations, and it also increasingly encouraged public participation in its work.

Early in 2003, Parliament started to articulate a new vision, which was finally adopted by both Houses of Parliament on 22 February this year. In the words of our presiding officers, our new vision is clear, and I do not need to quote the vision again.

Flowing from this we learnt that a pilot project would be launched that includes the setting up of Parliamentary information offices in the nine provinces, aimed at bringing MPs closer to the public. However, Parliament still needs to address key issues, like the implementation of the new governance policy, modern technology systems, improving the human resources capacity, as well as internal and external communications.

When we looked back over the past financial year we noticed, among others, the following achievements: We hosted the inaugural session of the Pan- African Parliament, as well as the second session, in Midrand, launched the new mace for the NA and hosted the People’s Assembly.

Ten opsigte van ander werksaamhede kan van die volgende kennis geneem word

  • vir diegene wat dink daar word nie gewerk in die Parlement nie: daar was 49 sittings van die NV en vyf gesamentlike sittings, 24 konsepwette is ingedien en 40 wette gedruk, bykans 2 000 vrae en 223 mosies is geprosesseer, 210 jaarverslae en verskeie internasionale verdrae in terme van die Grondwet is ter tafel gelê. Op twee na het ons 28 000 besoekers aan die Parlement geregistreer, terwyl 20 miljoen radioluisteraars in die 11 amptelike tale bereik is met radioveldtogte.

As simbool van Suid-Afrika se jong demokrasie, en as vertoonvenster van ons Grondwet en sy beginsels, funksioneer ons Parlement in die geheel gesien dus goed. Die strategiese raamwerk wat in die vorm van ’n kaart die doelwitte vir die toekoms uiteensit is tydig en noodsaaklik, aangesien dit die nuwe missie en visie weerspieël.

Ter afsluiting wil ek graag ons dank en waardering teenoor die Sekretaris van die Parlement, die Sekretaris van die NV en al hul personeel uitspreek vir hul werk en ywer om die Parlement se werksaamhede te laat vlot. Aan die Hoofsweep en Adjunkhoofsweep van die Meerderheidsparty: dankie vir die samewerking in die Hoofswepe Forum; asook dank aan al die swepe van die ander partye, ook aan die Hoofsweep van die Grootste Opposisieparty.

Laaste, maar nie die minste nie, dankie aan die Speaker, die Adjunkspeaker en voorsitters van kommittees vir die wyse waarop u u ampte beklee, weliswaar soms onder baie moeilike omstandighede. Ons is dankbaar vir die besondere manier waarop u hierdie skip met sy kosbare vrag bestuur. Baie dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Regarding other business, the following can be noted – for those who think that no work is being done in Parliament: There were 49 sittings of the NA and five joint sittings, 24 draft Acts were presented and 40 Acts were printed, almost 2 000 questions and 223 motions were processed, and 210 annual reports and various international treaties in terms of the Constitution were tabled. Two short of 28 000 visitors to Parliament were registered by us, while 20 million radio listeners were reached in the 11 official languages with radio campaigns.

As a symbol of the young democracy of South Africa, and as the showcase of our Constitution and its principles, our Parliament, viewed in its entirety, therefore functions well. The strategic framework that details our future goals in the form of a map is timely and necessary, as it reflects the new mission and vision. In conclusion I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the Secretary to Parliament, the Secretary of the NA and all their staff for their work and diligence in making the business of the Parliament go smoothly. To the Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: thank you for the co-operation in the Chief Whips’ Forum; thanks also to all the whips of the other parties, as well as the Chief Whip of the Largest Opposition Party.

Last but not least, thanks to the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and chairpersons of committees for the manner in which you occupy your office, admittedly sometimes in very trying circumstances. We are grateful for the particular manner in which you guide this ship with its precious cargo. Thank you very much.]

Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, hon Speaker, Ministers and members, it is commendable to note the amount of time and effort that has gone into the production of a strategic plan for Parliament. The ACDP has been involved in several of these work sessions and deliberations that have led to the strategic direction and objectives as contained in the two documents entitled “Mapping the Future”.

Finding consensus amongst 13 political parties is not easy. However, the process was fully consultative, and the views of all parties were entertained. I remember the time when we argued for days on the vision of Parliament. Our contribution to the vision of Parliament was very similar to the one we state in the “Mapping the Future” documents. We proposed that the vision read: “To build an effective Parliament of the People”, instead of “People’s Parliament”.

So, although we did not get the exact wording of our choice we managed to drive home the idea that Parliament must be a servant of the people, and that public representatives must be servant leaders. That is why we fully support the notion that Parliament must be responsive to the needs of the people, not just the needs of some people only, but the needs of all the people of our country.

We come from a past where Parliament was not as inclusive as it is today. We thank God that we have moved on. We do not want to dwell on the past, because the youth of today are future orientated. They ask questions such as: What will our country and our Parliament be like in the next five to ten years? That is why the strategic plan for Parliament 2004-08 is such a vital document.

The third strategic objective, namely to build an effective and efficient institution through the service-delivery improvement programme, is a very important objective. May I suggest that another deliverable be added to the projects under this objective, namely to improve the movement of MPs and staff members throughout the multilevel buildings of Parliament by ensuring that the lifts remain in a safe, working condition when we need them. [Laughter.] The lifts in the Marks Building are out of order at least once a week and they remain unused for at least a day or two at a time. The ACDP is also concerned about the R140 million parliamentary roll-over. We believe it is important for management to diligently spend the money as planned for the needed services. Secondly, the services provided by Hansard can be improved. We are still receiving bound copies of Hansard many months after the debates took place. We are still not well served by notices of extremely important meetings, and it is true that we received the notice about the launch only yesterday, on the day it took place.

Security at the Marks Building is not adequate, and sometimes the doors of the members’ entrance are left open early in the morning without the presence of security officials.

In conclusion, I wish to thank the presiding officers of the NA, the Secretary to Parliament and management, the Whips of all parties and the officials for their hard work. I thank you.

Mrs M S MAINE: Chairperson, hon members, the idea of a people’s parliament has been at the centre of the ANC’s political vision. It was included in the Freedom Charter of 1955, of which we are celebrating the 50th anniversary this year. In the Freedom Charter the people of South Africa declared that: “The people shall govern.” With this clause, the Freedom Charter boldly asserts that: “All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country.”

Since that declaration in the Freedom Charter it has been the ANC’s strategy that a democratic government should be driven by the needs of the people. Even when we compiled our first manifesto in 1994, we went to find out what people would really want the government to do for them. This has been proved to be the correct strategy, as the people have voted us into power since 1994, and our support from the people is growing each year. The DA is a witness of our success.

After the defeat of apartheid, it was our strategic task, as the ANC, to transfer power to the people and to defend and consolidate the political victory.

We see Parliament playing a crucial role in transferring power to the people. We believe that Parliament has to be used in identifying the needs of the people, in articulating their experiences and views and thus in determining the national political agenda. To be able to do that, this implies that our Parliament has to be transformed and to be designed as an institution to reflect our people’s ideals and interests.

No one in this House can deny the fact that our democratic Parliament has really changed from the old one, which people did not have access to. The only time people came close to Parliament was when they were toyi-toying outside the gates of Parliament against the oppressive laws it enacted.

In keeping with the vision of the ANC, the doors of Parliament were opened to people when we came into power. Since 1994, our approach was to change Parliament into a people’s parliament. A range of initiatives has been established to make people feel it is their Parliament and that they own it. People began to have their voices heard in Parliament, not only through elected representatives, but also through access to its deliberations by the right to speak and make representations in committees.

It is our Constitution, which is based on the vision of the Freedom Charter, which has created an obligation for parliamentary committees to be open to the public. The public is not only allowed to come to committee meetings, but also to listen to debates in Parliament and to tour Parliament. It is a very good picture to see a group of pupils or people from different backgrounds visiting Parliament.

Due to the large number of people coming to visit, new infrastructure had to be created for the many guided tours. They inform the public of the changes to the Constitution and laws that are being considered by Parliament. They also, in liaison with committees, inform the public of what is happening, and invite people to participate in the law-making process.

However, despite this initiative, Parliament is still not accessible to communities living further away from Parliament and poor communities in rural areas. This became more evident during the public hearings on the Communal Land Rights Bill, as some communities who wanted to present their views in person during public hearings could not afford to come to Parliament.

At this point, let me commend those NGOs who take it upon themselves to bring communities who live far away to attend public hearings. However, the problem with this arrangement is that only people who support the views of the NGOs have their views presented, whereas those who oppose those views do not have the opportunity.

Allow me to commend Parliament for the initiative it has taken to take Parliament to the people. Parliament does not wait for people to come to Parliament. Through the Parliament to the People programme in the NCOP, members of Parliament conduct debates in the different provinces where the people are. This is a very good programme that has directly linked Parliament, and our democracy, to the people in every corner of our country. It will be good for the programme to be extended to the NA.

The new vision of Parliament, to bring Parliament closer to the people, is becoming a reality. It was said that a pilot project would be launched during this financial year. This project involves setting up Parliamentary information offices in different places and will help to ensure that MPs are closer to the public.

Modulasetulo, le fa re na le tsotlhe tseo, re na le maloko a a nang le mathata a ditlamelwana tse di sa tshwaneng le tsa ba bangwe mo gare ga rona. Re na le maloko a difofu mme Palamente e dirang go bona gore leloko la yona la sefofu, le bona thuso ka go nna le mokganni le mothusi wa leruri mme a duelwa ke Palamente. (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)

[Chairperson, even though we have all those things, we have members who have problems with resources, and who are not the same as the rest of us. We have members of Parliament who are blind; what is Parliament doing to assist them with permanent chauffeurs and helpers who are paid by Parliament?]

Madam Speaker, I hope you are listening. [Interjections.]

Ga jaana, re bona maloko a rona a thuswa ke maloko a mangwe. Re dumela, jaaka ANC, gore seo ga se a tshwanela go diragala. Jaaka setšhaba, rena le batho ba ba buang ka matsogo, sign language, leloko, Comrade Wilma, o na le bathusi ba ba mo thusang mme re dumela gore puo ya mofuta o ga e felele fela mo go ena.

Mo nageng, baagi ba rona ba dimumu, ga ba na tlhaloso gotswa mo Palamenteng le fa e le mo thelebišeneng ya bosetšhaba. Go ya ka rona, batho ba ba timiwa ditshwanelo tsa bona mme seo se re tshwenya thata jaaka mokgatlho. Palamente ga e kake ya nna Palamente ya batho fa e sa tlhokomele maloko a yona, ka gonne ke bona ba dirang gore go nne le Palamente. Ka jalo, jaaka ANC, re kopa gore tseo di tsewe-tsia ka bonako jo bo kgonagalang.

Re tshwanetse gore kwa bofelong, jaaka mokgatlho wa ANC, re sikare le tsona dimaumau tse, tse re nang le tsona ka fa gare ga rona gore re age Palamente. Eseng Palamente ya aforika Borwa fela, mme Palamente ya batho ba Aforika.

Ka nako e go neng go fetolwa Molaotheo le melawana, batho ba bantsi ba ne ba tshwanetse go amogela gore le bona ba tshwanetse go fetoga. Re tsibosa digatamarukhwana le diganana tse re sa ntseng re na le tsona mo gare ga rona gore ba a tshwanelwa ke go fetoga. Ba ba sa batleng go fetoga ba tswe ba tsamae. Ba ba batlang go fetoga mme ba sa itse gore jang, re tla ba direla karo ya go ba jalela boboko jo boša. Ke a leboga. [Legofi.] (Translation of Tswana paragraphs follows.)

[At present the parliamentary members are being assisted by other members. We, as the ANC, believe that this must not happen. As a community we have sign language users; Comrade Wilma has people who are helping her, and we believe that kind of language does not end with her.

In our country our dumb citizens do not have any explanation from Parliament, or even from national television. According to us, those people are being deprived of their rights, and that disturbs us as a party. Parliament won’t be a people’s Parliament if it does not look after its members, because they are the ones who make Parliament. As the ANC, we say that that must be taken into consideration as soon as possible.

In the end we, as the ANC, must accommodate everybody so that we can build Parliament. This is not only the South African Parliament, but the Parliament of the people.

During the time when the Acts and the Constitution were changed, most people were supposed to accept that they must change too. We alert those refractory and political midgets who are still among us that they have to change. Those who don’t want to change must leave. As for those who want to change but do not know how, we will let them undergo an operation and implant a new brain in them. Thank you.]

Mr I S MFUNDISI: Chairperson and hon members, the second session of the third democratic Parliament of South Africa has brought to life some innovations, among them, an attempt to streamline the day-to-day running of the institution without compromising representivity in a multiparty institution.

Though well thought out, the new Parliamentary Oversight Management Authority continues to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some parties, as it consists mainly of members from three parties, leaving out others. In multiparty politics, control without representation is tyranny.

The vision and mission for Parliament, having been deliberated and debated by all parties, should serve to unify members of Parliament. As stated yesterday by the Secretary to Parliament, at the launch of the strategic map on the future of Parliament, the UCDP fully concurs that members of Parliament should serve the nation from a moral high ground in that their conduct and their integrity should be above board. We believe that the use of “hon” in addressing MPs must tie in with their conduct. It should not be used as a customary cliché to the point of degenerating into a malapropism.

We believe that the laws that we pass in this Parliament should be enacted in good faith. To mind comes the Act to change membership from one party to another, whether by councillors, MPLs or MPs. The spirit of the Act is that the crossing should be voluntary and not induced, but it has been reduced to favour parties with lots of money. People are being made offers. They are actually being bought to betray their parties and the electorate - all this being done by supposedly “honourable” people.

There are times one wonders why we should spend hours on end developing, revising and updating documents such as the decorum of members in the House, and thereafter some colleagues go on to talk to the gallery during their debates, and when called to order by the presiding officer, they argue that this is a people’s parliament. Convention has it that officers should be respected.

I shall not belabour the question of the abuse of travel vouchers, but that also touches on our honour as parliamentarians. Let us wait for the in- house disciplinary committee to present their findings. There have been complaints raised to the effect that the Marks Building is almost inaccessible after hours. More often than not, lifts are out of order. In fact, we are lucky that we have not had a casualty as a result thereof. This afternoon, only 30 minutes ago, the lift came down with me from the fourth floor and it stopped half a meter below floor level. You can just imagine what is going to happen one of these fine days.

That the dark spot is underneath the candle is really true. We have seen how employment premises have been raided by the inspectorate of the Department of Labour because of poor working conditions, yet right under the noses of the lawmakers we have this situation which we definitely have to improve. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr S K LOUW: Thank you, Chairperson. Chairperson, hon members, it is with great excitement that I participate in this very important Budget Vote and I support it. [Interjections.]

Mr M J ELLIS: You are so excited, Sam. I’m also excited.

Mr S K LOUW: Yes, indeed.

It is indeed exciting to focus on the role of programmes, as well as the technical committee, always bearing in mind that we have our organisational responsibilities that need to be implemented. Therefore, it is very important to remember that all parliamentarians have an accountability and constitutional responsibility towards their constituencies, which they must carry out.

The programme of Parliament must reflect the image of our country in terms of governance and ensure that issues must be taken forward, such as: How do we engage the public through public participation? What is the role of Parliament, and how do we understand the people’s view?

The programme must ensure that our people engage through proper debates in the Chamber, in community forums, public hearings, workshops and political schools, where they can learn and understand the policies of various political parties.

Our programme in Parliament, which shapes the direction and establishes practice in Parliament, should be based on government’s vision that the President articulated in the state of the nation address in February, which is to ensure that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.

As we move forward towards attaining the vision of government, the President articulated objectives that need to be achieved during each one of the years that make up our second decade of freedom. These objectives should be central to policies and programmes in Parliament. The laws and policies we pass in this Parliament should be leading towards attaining these objectives. As the President had said, the foundation, through the laws and policies we have passed in this first decade of democracy, has been laid. It is now time to implement the legislation and those policies.

As we approach the second decade, there has been a gradual shift from the focus on policy formulation to policy implementation and oversight, in line with the President’s call to shift the focus to implementation of our policies. This implies that the programme of Parliament should have less legislation and there should be amendments, which emanate from gaps identified during the implementation.

We expect in this second decade of democracy that the programme of Parliament should not be based on the information from the executive or programme of departments, as it has been in the past, but should rather be driven by an action programme of government.

This year we have to align our Parliament’s programme to meet the challenges of the second decade of freedom. Our programme must reflect the historic celebration of the adoption of the Freedom Charter on 26 June 1955 at the Congress of the People in Kliptown. Our programme must spell out our task as we pursue the goals spelt out in the Charter, that the people shall govern.

We must create space for our people to understand government’s view by engaging them in the people’s Parliament later this year. The programme must further ensure that people outside Parliament must follow the state of the nation address by the President, and even follow it on big screens at the taxi ranks. Our programme must be drawn up in such a way that we create space to involve ordinary South Africans.

The new programme of Parliament should focus on enhancing implementation of policies. This means that central to all committee programmes should be ensuring vigorous scrutiny of the government’s budget and oversight of its actions.

We need to increase our oversight capabilities to play a greater role in speeding up change and creating a better life for all. It is our duty as parliamentarians to ensure that the laws we pass here have the intended impact on the lives of our people.

Focus on oversight requires strengthening the capacity of committees to be able to undertake oversight work effectively. This will require an increase in the budget of Parliament, which should be allocated to committees.

Parliament’s programme must respond to the growing demand for participation in Africa and internationally. Our task as parliamentarians must reach even the global role-players in the UK, Asia and all other foreign stakeholders by engaging them through various programmes and ensuring that we carry the torch of peace, justice and democracy forward.

International treaties and various programmes are important to bring our country on board with other countries, especially on taxation, trade, and peace and security matters. As an important democratic country we must set a very good example to ensure our involvement in this process.

Our programme reflects on important events in the world and in Africa. The fact that IPU reports, SADC reports and resolutions, as well as Pan-African parliamentary issues, and Beijing +10 have been debated for a clear mandate before implementation is proof that our Parliament is involved in Africa and the world at large. We have a constitutional duty towards our constituency and to ensure that our people remain informed.

Die skakeling met die provinsiale wetgewers, sowel as met die plaaslike regering, is een van die belangrikste skakelings betreffende die program van die Parlement. Dit verseker ook dat beter koördinering daardeur geskied. Dit is van kardinale belang dat die Parlement na die mense buite uitreik. Verpligte toesighouding, waar die Parlement na die mense geneem word, is verpligtend om die gewone kiesers se mening te kry oor sake van landsbelang.

Die portefeuljekomitee se besoeke aan die verskillende provinsies word met groot entoesiasme verwelkom en maak die Parlement een van die mees vooruitstrewende parlemente wat demokrasie verwelkom.

Dit is ook belangrik om te gaan evalueer watter projekte die gemeenskap mee besig is, watter werkskeppingsprogramme hulle mee besig is. Ieder en elk het ‘n rol om te speel in dié program. Daarom kan die toesighoudingsbesoeke nie ligtelik opgeneem word nie. Die Parlement gee daardeur antwoord op die versoek van die mense.

Ons Parlement reflekteer ook die nuwe eise en verwelkom die verhoging in die begroting om te verseker dat die druk in die Parlement verlig moet word en behoue moet bly op die visie van ons Parlement, naamlik die Parlement van die mense vir die mense.

Ek wil by hierdie geleentheid my dank betuig aan die sekretariaat van die Parlement, die amptenare, en almal betrokke, vernaamlik die tegniese komitee. Ek vertrou dat die samewerking wat daar geskep is vorentoe altyd uitgedra sal word. Baie dankie. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[The interaction with the provincial legislatures, as well as with local government, is one of the most important interactions as far as the programme of Parliament is concerned. It also ensures that better co- ordination can thereby occur. It is of vital importance that Parliament reaches out to the people out there. Compulsory oversight, where Parliament is taken to the people, is compulsory to obtain the ordinary voter’s opinion about questions of national interest.

The portfolio committee’s visits to the different provinces are welcomed with great enthusiasm and make Parliament one of the most progressive parliaments that welcome democracy.

It is also important to evaluate which projects the community are engaged in, which job creation programmes they are engaged in. Each and every person has a role to play in this programme. For this reason the oversight visits cannot be taken lightly. Through them, Parliament answers the requests of the people.

Our Parliament also reflects the new demands and welcomes the increase in the budget to ensure that the pressure in Parliament is relieved and must remain on the vision of our Parliament, namely a Parliament of the people for the people.

On this occasion I also want to express my thanks to the secretariat of Parliament, the officials, and everyone involved, particularly the technical committee. I trust that the co-operation that has been created will always be carried on in the future. Thank you very much. [Applause.]]

Mr N T GODI: Thank you, Chairperson. Chair, comrades and hon members, in this debate last year the PAC stated, amongst others, that, other than the people, Parliament is one of the most critical cogs of our democracy; that it shall give expression to the people’s will by setting up structures and systems that give a platform and a voice to all our people.

We further stated that one of the challenges of the democratic Parliament is to ensure public participation in its activities in a manner that enhances its work and is responsive to the aspirations of the electorate. This, we believe, is still correct and will remain instructive for as long as we continue to be guided by the revolutionary mission that brought about our liberation.

Parliament’s strategic objectives, as outlined, which relate to deepening public access and participation in its activities, taking Parliament to the people through decentralised information centres, the organising of the people’s assemblies, and the pursuit of effective and rigorous oversight of the executive, have the unambiguous and unqualified support of the PAC.

The PAC would like a progressive decline in the amount of work done here with more time going to constituency work and portfolio committee oversight visits.

In fulfilling its mandate to facilities to members, we welcome the improvements made, but surely there is still room for improvement in facilities - as, I think, aptly outlined by Comrade Nel – and the question of language services, the telephone facilities, which we believe do require some element of radical restructuring.

We welcome the broadening of the range for the travel facilities. Its narrowness and vagueness have been the source of some of the problems we have encountered. As we leave the travel-voucher debacle behind us, let us all move forward with confidence and hope in the knowledge that there is a lot of good coming out of Parliament for the people, our country, our continent and our democracy to be overshadowed by this never-to-be-repeated incident.

When the democratic forces captured Parliament - that is politically - in 1994 it was not a ready-made instrument for people’s democracy. It had to be transformed. Over the years, to date and into the future, it must and will continue to involve. That is why the PAC was filled with pride and joy at the unveiling of the people’s mace and the new vision of Parliament, which irrevocably committed us to serve the people first. Abantu kuqala [people first], if we can borrow the campaign slogan of Zanu-PF.

The PAC urged then, as we do now, that the transformation of Parliament must continue with speed and depth. One of the conspicuous eyesores is Parliament’s emblem. Looking at it you see the symbols of our dispossession, oppression and exploitation, viz the British empire, Natal and Cape colonies, Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The PAC supports the budget. [Time expired.][Applause.]

Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, Madam Speaker, since 1994, the Parliament of our new democratic South Africa has worked hard to legislate a proper metamorphosis from the legacy of apartheid to transforming the legalities of South Africa into true democracy, thus upholding and exercising the true spirit, purport and values enshrined in our national Constitution of 1996.

To do so efficiently and effectively, a budget is awarded for Parliament. This allows for its smooth running through the necessary support for both the NA and the NCOP. Seeing that the MF is part of the NA, it supports our new vision for Parliament that was launched last July. We believe it sums up our true purpose in striving, as Parliament, for this democracy.

Further, the MF takes this opportunity to thank all those who worked hard to provide us, the members of Parliament, with the necessary facilities and service that enable us to fulfil our tasks effectively and efficiently. We acknowledge that there are a number of challenges that this year’s budget would hopefully address, such as implementing modern technologies and systems, and improving human resources, capacity and communications, to name a few.

We applaud the new initiatives, such as the video-conferencing system, electronic document management system, EDMS, institutional intranet, and the refurbishing of committee rooms. However, the lifts need to be seriously looked at. We acknowledge that the budget of Parliament has increased at an annual average of 22% from 2001-02 up to now. The need for this increase, in view of its uses, includes the structural reorganisation of Parliament, the purchasing of a new security system and the improvement of members’ facilities.

However, this year’s nominal increase is 17,55%. We acknowledge that the bulk goes to administration, followed by members’ facilities and then associated services. As one of the smaller parties in Parliament, the MF, however, requests that our minimal allocations be increased to amounts that would suffice for the effective and efficient running of our offices, to secure suitably qualified assistance, and to fulfil our democratic representation of those who have placed us here.

We thank the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, all the administrative staff, the Chief Whips’ forum, all the Chief Whips and whoever was instrumental in assisting us to do our job during this year. Thank you very much. The MF supports the Budget Vote. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Hon Chairperson, Madam Speaker, hon members, the ANC remains united and committed around a common vision of a better South Africa as articulated in the Freedom Charter, which is the foundation of our plans and programmes.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, our late president Oliver Tambo spelt out the true meaning of the Freedom Charter when he said, and I quote:

The Freedom Charter contains the fundamental perspective of the vast majority of the people of South Africa of the kind of liberation that all of us are fighting for. Hence it is not merely the Freedom Charter of the ANC and its allies; rather it is the charter of the people of South Africa for liberation. Because it came from the people, it remains still a people’s charter, the one basic political statement of our goals to which all genuinely democratic and patriotic forces of South Africa adhere.

In this year’s January 8 statement, the ANC said, and I quote:

The charter embodies a vision of an alternative society to the society we inherited. It constitutes the programme of the people of our country for the creation of a truly democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous country.

Today we continue with the legacy to carry out the dreams and aspirations of the people of that time, consistent with the aspirations of the Freedom Charter. Today we have the most democratic Constitution that was adopted in 1996, which provides the tools for achieving these objectives.

The Freedom Charter stipulates that, and I quote:

Only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief.

In this regard, our Constitution prescribes that Parliament, through its rules and orders, must ensure that it is representative, participatory, democratic, accountable, and transparent. To this end, we, the elected representatives, must strive for a Parliament that is proactive and responsive to the needs of the people.

Our Constitution gives meaningful expression . . .[Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Order! Hon members, you can converse, but not aloud. So, we shouldn’t hear you from where we are. Therefore we ask that you reduce your level of noise, please. Please continue, sir.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Thanks for that protection, Chair. Our Constitution gives meaningful expression to the aspirations of the Freedom Charter in that it requires the national Parliament to ensure that all people participate in the governance and administration of their country.

Through public participation in our parliamentary committees, there is an opportunity for all South Africans to participate and to determine the future of their country. To this end, I am pleased to report that some progress is being made, no matter how little it is, and there is some progress that we can report on.

Committees do most of the work of Parliament. Primarily, they conduct the work of passing legislation and the budget, carrying out oversight and encouraging public participation. As we move towards the second decade of our democracy, we are now looking at ways of improving how we conduct oversight and accountability through our unique and home-grown committee system.

In order to fulfil and give full meaning to the vision and mission of Parliament, its committees’ programmes should be responsive to the aspirations of the people, as reflected in the social contract between the ANC and the people of South Africa during the 2004 elections. Over the past 10 years, we have successfully passed the bulk of legislation to eradicate apartheid and to lay the foundations to achieve the vision enshrined in the Freedom Charter.

Our oversight is complementary to the work of the executive’s action. Its purpose is to go beyond oversight and it has to ensure effective service delivery in the spirit of co-operative governance by co-operating with all spheres in mutual trust and in good faith, fostering friendly relations, assisting and supporting, while informing and consulting one another on matters of common interest.

Our approach should be one that is not antagonistic, but should be constructive and persuasive. This will enable the executive to achieve the vision declared in the Freedom Charter and the social contract with the people. As we go on to the second decade of democracy, we are confronted by the challenge of ensuring that the policies of our movement become effective, through the parliamentary oversight activities. To this end, the structural realignment in Parliament is essential for advancing the goals of effective oversight.

We have to transform how we respond to the work of the institution and how we function. In this regard, we have noted that parliamentary systems, procedures, protocols and programming often make it difficult for committees to effectively perform their duties. Through the work of the task team on oversight and accountability, Parliament will be able to institutionalise oversight in committee activities. Already, committees are at the forefront of reporting on oversight carried out and there is evidence of best practice beginning to develop.

Progress within committees in the past year has been very encouraging. We have seen the tools of oversight such as estimates of national expenditure, departmental strategic plans and annual reports becoming the basis for interrogating the departments and submitting reports to the House for debate.

Co-ordination of committee oversight activities by the two Houses of Parliament poses a challenge to us. We need to develop a dynamic oversight model that allows us to pursue this in-house, as well as when we are visiting provinces and local government structures. Well-co-ordinated oversight with the other spheres will go a long way to ensure that we are in keeping with what the Constitution requires of us, that is to maintain the spirit of co-operative governance and being cognisant of the various levels of competence of the national, provincial and local government spheres.

Whilst the programme of Parliament is driven by the need to deliver on executive business timeously, it often makes it difficult for committees to conduct effective oversight. However, I am convinced that that matter is being addressed and we will soon see more time being given to committees to carry out this important work.

Accountability has mainly focused on topical issues such as those making news headlines, rather than those arising from fact-finding missions or visits by parliamentary committees and matters related to constituency work. The challenge for us is to have a proactive and meaningful accountability that significantly advances the social contract with the people, failing which we will be overtaken by citizens’ oversight. The citizenry of this country is vigilant and we applaud them for that.

The committee of chairpersons has, in the past financial year, made significant progress, such as making and considering proposals on research requirements for committees, committee personnel support models and proposals on travel policy, to mention a few. Several discussions have been held on how committees deal with multireferrals and other written instruments.

A project we have currently embarked on is business planning for committees that will culminate in the committee budgets for the year 2006-07. We must, at all costs, avoid the fiasco of the past budget process. We are pleased to report that this work has found its way into the Joint Rules Committee and will also inform the task team on oversight and accountability on what can be done to improve our functioning.

Madam Speaker, allow me to thank you for your leadership and your open-door policy, as well as the Deputy Speaker and my colleagues, House Chairpersons Botha and Nhleko in the NA, and the hon Oliphant and Setona in the NCOP. I want to thank all chairpersons for their co-operation and their support; and all the Chief Whips of all the parties; the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary and all divisional managers. A special thank you goes to Mrs Nomonde Keswa for having an open-door policy and always being willing to listen to us when, I think, we were being really difficult in the committee of chairpersons. Thank you very much.

My appreciation goes to all those that make it possible for us to function. I also want to take this opportunity to welcome Ms Zanele Mene and Mr Albert Mamabolo on their new appointments as head and unit managers, respectively, of the committees section. I must also thank Mr Ralph Yako and Mr Calvin Neluvhola for the contribution they made and I wish them well in their new deployments. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr P J NEFOLOVHODWE: Chairperson, it is now 11 years since the coming into being of a new democratic Parliament. Millions of our people, who had been crushed by apartheid oppression and, as such, have been politically dormant for many centuries, have awakened and are being drawn to parliamentary politics, not merely as voters but as champions of their own interests.

What is not clear to ordinary people are the various platforms that Parliament has created for them in order to participate in parliamentary processes. More often than not, it is the well organised that get to participate in the process of making laws through public hearings.

Azapo has noticed that it is largely representatives of the capitalist class, as well as the petty bourgeoisie that take up the opportunities that various parliamentary committees offer. The ordinary masses, the poor, because of their existential circumstances, are not able to participate fully and if they ever do, they are represented by people from the middle class in our society. It is for this reason that Azapo supports the intention of taking Parliament to the people.

Whilst taking Parliament to the people is a good idea, Azapo believes that care should be taken not to merely take Parliament to the people when elections are nearer. Our intention to connect with our people should be genuine, and motivated by our desire to make Parliament meaningful to the masses. This desire to make Parliament meaningful should be accompanied by the creation of platforms to enable the poor to interact with public representatives, and make Parliament accessible to them.

Azapo believes that Parliament should examine itself through this process of visiting the people and evaluate as to whether the laws we have passed are of any benefit to the poor of our country. In other words, we should be able, at some point, to check whether Parliament, as an institution, is articulating the wishes, desires and interests of the poor in our society.

To Azapo, governance is not merely the enactment of one set of laws and the political correctness of the laws, but governance is about the adaptation of laws and politics to the material circumstances of the country, primarily in order to solve its problems and to accommodate the yearnings of poor people in our country. Azapo supports the Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause]

Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, in her introductory remarks, Madam Speaker spoke at length about the mission and vision for Parliament and the need to ensure that Parliament serves the ordinary people of South Africa. In order to achieve this, ”Much attention has been given,” she said, “to strengthening the administrative arm of Parliament.” She also said that Parliament was now stepping into the 21st century in all respects.

Many of us work hard to make Parliament work and be the respectable and responsible body it should be. But, seriously, it is with regret that we have to say that far more hard work has to be done before we can say Parliament is a well-run institution.

Over recent years, MPs have become far more accepting of a constant lowering of standards of an institution in which more and more decisions are taken by a small group, and with less consultation with MPs.

The hon Douglas Gibson has referred to the decision to take Parliament to Soweto. But we have to ask: Who took that decision? What consultation was there? What process was followed in coming to that decision? And now we are told that a new travel system will be in place by the end of June. No one has consulted MPs on this system. No one has bothered to tell us how it is going to work. It will be imposed upon us without any proper discussion.

Even issues such as the Parliamentary dining room and the cost of lunches are a case in point. No one consulted MPs about the 20% increase in the cost of lunches. All we received was a note on the e-mail at the start of the constituency period telling us that prices were going up. Why? Who takes the decisions? Why is there no consultation? Why are we not informed properly about decisions of this nature?

I want to say to the hon Chief Whip of the ANC, the hon Mr Goniwe, we actually thought that your approach to opposition parties today – Mr Goniwe, if you would listen for a minute, sir – was absolutely shocking.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: I don’t listen . . [Inaudible.]

Mr M J ELLIS: Well, you should listen to this because it is certainly not nonsense. If you meant what you said about our role and you meant what you said about the organisation and administration of Parliament being so superb, to be absolutely honest with you, sir, you are hiding your head in the sand.

Your own members are as concerned and frustrated by much of what happens in Parliament as we are. So I say to you, again, sir, do not hide your head in the sand when it comes to issues of importance. And this applies to many decisions taken or which should be taken but are not, including salaries, pensions, members’ support, etc.

Whether we talk about important issues such as security in Parliament, Hansard, the functioning of the committee section or anything else, we have to say that, while we are spending time on issues such as the vision and mission for Parliament, Parliament is running down. The security system is a case in point – it is a farce.

Not long ago, many millions were spent on a state-of-the-art system, which has simply never worked. It appears to deteriorate and become less effective every single day. But then, as the UCDP has said, not even the lifts work in Parliament. So why should we have a security system that works as well?

The hon Seaton and the hon Green have made reference to the production of Hansard. Whether we talk about the unrevised copies, the soft-cover volumes or bound volumes, there have been problems for years. Despite promises, it just never gets fixed. But, apart from bound copies, I would say the most frustrating thing about Hansard is trying to get unrevised copies of speeches timeously. If they do arrive, even for checking, they are months out of date and the return date stamped on them has often passed by the time they arrive in our pigeonholes.

The hon Geoff Doidge has spent much time today talking about the committee section. The truth about the committee section is that it requires a back- to-basics policy in many respects. But I want to say to the hon Geoff Doidge that if it wasn’t for him, and a small and dedicated group of officials, I doubt if any committee in Parliament would ever sit. I want to pay him a compliment and thank him for the work that he does in that regard.

But it is clear that many more resources should be put into ensuring that the committee section is able to run properly. It is vital to the wellbeing of Parliament. But far too often, meetings are called without adequate notice, they are cancelled without warning; and members do not always know what is going on. It definitely requires a back-to-basics policy.

There are also other issues which need to be given attention, not least of all the extremely boring and inadequate system which we have had in place for the last few years, and which was introduced by the ANC to silence the opposition in terms of holding the executive to account. It is time to reassess what we have and to develop a system that truly gives opposition parties the opportunity to do their job properly. Question time should be a lively exchange of ideas and opinions. It is anything but as a result of the machinations of the ANC.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Order! Your time has expired.

Mr M J ELLIS: You want to take over already, sir. Can I step off the podium first. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Order! Hon member, your time has expired.

Dr M SEFULARO: Thank you very much, Chairperson, these rhetorical questions, when were we told, when was it decided, who was consulted?

Ho na le puo ya Setswana e reng e tlhokile mogatla ka ho romeletsa. [There is a Tswana expression which means that if you want something to be done right, you should rather do it yourself.]

You are not enough to attend to all these meetings where there are these consultations and notices, but the hon Speaker will deal with that.

Chairperson, when all is said and done, what we claim, advocate, defend, demand or justify, praise or condemn, oppose or support in this Parliament, is based on our values and world-view. It is about where we stand in relation to the nation, it is about the class into which we are born, the class with which we identify. It is about the choices we make and how we relate to this Parliament.

President Mbeki captured this most accurately in his response to the debate on the Presidency Budget Vote last year, when he said about the Leader of the Opposition: “To get there he believes that amongst other things he must convince us that the African majority in our country was not oppressed and exploited as Africans, but as individuals, and that the legacy of the past impacts on this majority not as Africans, but as individuals.”

So some would stand here and want to say that this House must not be concerned about communities, and that they must be concerned about individuals. They will come in here and jump up and down because of individuals. My colleagues and comrades in the ANC have explained the values, reasons and mechanisms that inform the manner in which we approach our duty as elected Parliamentary representatives.

The overriding message that you will have heard is that, above all, we are human and we are African. Because we are human, we believe that our Parliament should serve the affirmation of our fellow human beings, fellow South Africans and other humans who collectively make up the community of nations. As humans, we start by recognising the humanity of others, the right of others to full human rights as declared in the UN Charter on Human Rights.

As Africans, we identify our identity with duty and obligations to the people, the values, visions, aspirations and interests of Africa. Our approach to our solemn duty as elected representatives of our people, is framed, informed and guided by the following texts: the African claims, the Freedom Charter, the Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the OAU Charter, the AU Charter and other declarations.

The African Claims drafted under the leadership of the then ANC president, Dr A B Xuma, set out the aim and objectives of the ANC. The claims essentially made two basic demands. The first was the creation of a South Africa based on democracy, nonracism, nonsexism and equality. The second was that democracy meant that at least two basic conditions should be met: government based on the consent of the governed, and all racist laws that institutionalised inequality should be scraped.

The Freedom Charter has in each of its declarations a definition of who we are as a nation, but it also touches on key aspects of the lives of every individual, community, occupation and sector. It is in so many ways a translation of the African Claims and a distillation of the experiences, the wisdom, the vision and aspirations of our people. It is not a document that was produced by a small group of individuals, who sat in Cape Town like the smallest opposition, the DA. It is truly a people’s document. It does not belong to the ANC, and therefore we are right to place it in Parliament as a beacon of our policies and our programmes. [Applause.]

It is nothing like what that the DA is, a party without constituencies and without constituency offices. It is remarkable that the Freedom Charter, while it is original and based on the free will of the people, reaffirms the African Claims. It coincides with many charters of the UN. It coincides with the declarations on Human Rights, Children’s Rights and many other treaties to which we as Parliament, and as a nation, have become a signatory, and are thus jointly bound and responsible.

In addition to the African Claims and the Freedom Charter, the Preamble of our Constitution declares:

We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –

  Heal the divisions of the  past  and  establish  a  society  based  on
  democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;

  Lay the foundations  for  a  democratic  and  open  society  in  which
  government is based on the will of the people  and  every  citizen  is
  equally protected by law;

  Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential  of
  each person; and

  Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take  its  rightful
  place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

This coincides with the Freedom Charter; this is drawn from the Freedom Charter and we have every right therefore, as a Parliament and as a nation, to adopt the Freedom Charter as the basis of our action.

The DA was part of the adoption of this Constitution, but even if the DA was not there, the people of this country approved this Constitution, which is based on the Freedom Charter. And we shall therefore not apologise to the DA for advocating the Freedom Charter. We as the ANC are clear in our conscience and firm in our conviction that for as long as we are faithful to the values of the African Claims, the Freedom Charter, our Constitution and the mandate that we were given by the majority of our people, we shall continue to act in defence of the rights of our people.

I think the basic question is for the opposition to declare, fundamentally, whether they are opposed to the African Claims and to the Freedom Charter, although it seems that they have declared already that they are opposed to the Freedom Charter. But they have to, therefore, having opposed the Freedom Charter, go on to say that they oppose the Constitution of this country. They cannot counterpose the Freedom Charter and the Constitution; the Charter of the OAU; the Charter of the AU. You must say here whether you oppose those. And by so saying, you must declare whether you are African or not. [Applause.]

A very important and probably overriding question that all of us and especially the opposition parties must answer, is: What is it to be an African, to be truly South African and therefore African? This question is important because it requires that we examine the contradiction between our declarations and our actions. It requires that we examine, on the one hand, our protestations that we are patriotic South Africans, that we have the right to claim Africa as our home, as our roots and as our identity while, on the other hand, what we claim, advocate, defend, demand, justify, praise or condemn, oppose or support in this House speaks against this claim that we are South Africans or Africans, especially you the opposition.

You cannot claim to be South African and African if there is a contradiction between your claim and your actions in this Parliament. You will not be able to justify, to sustain for long, that you are a patriot and an African if you behave in a manner that says you are English, European or American in an African country, and your duty is to bring light where there is darkness, civilisation where there is savagery.

Your endless protestations about morality, ethics, corruption, good governance, human rights and so on, very often smack of this very tendency to resist the need to be truly South African and therefore African. It is based more often than not on continuing to see South Africa and Africa through foreign eyes, values and ideological spectacles.

Perhaps it will do the opposition good to listen to Marcel Proust when he advices that the only real voyage of discovery consists of not seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes in seeing the universe with the eyes of hundreds of others, in seeing the hundreds of universes that each of them sees. The problem is that you’ve been liberated for 10 years but you refuse to arrive at the point of liberation.

Le bone lefatshe la tshepiso, le gana go fitlha. [You have seen the Promised Land but you don’t want to reach it.]

The problem with the opposition and many of those who see our country, our Parliament and government through non-African eyes, is that they believe that the manner in which we have organised the peaceful settlement of apartheid, the Constitution of our country, our Parliament, our governance and our international relations are because we have exclusively, and perhaps more than any other nation, understood the lessons, the values and institutions, systems, ideologies and methods of the civilised West, or those in our country, or we have more in our country who understand the West or the North, or who understand English better.

Perhaps it is not surprising that we have been described as a miracle. A miracle is something declared when a person, biological or earthly system, behaves in a manner that defies its natural or normally predictable character. The manner in which we govern our country is not a miracle; it is because we are African. Many in this House, in the opposition particularly, believe together with some of our fellow citizens and individuals outside our country, that the redeeming factor in our decade of democracy is that from the onset we had a far more entrenched and numerically significant number of civilised institutions, systems and communities.

They may very well believe in a delusional manner that we had more leaders who were educated in the West, and therefore more articulate in Western philosophies, and perhaps the English language. It is about time that we reveal to them an eternal truth that it is because we are truly African that the first 10 years after apartheid have defied their preconceived, very often negative, notions of how an African country should evolve and progress forward.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr N P Nhleko): Order! Hon member your time has expired.

Dr M SEFULARO: Re tshehetsa budget ena, Mmusa kgotlha. [We support this budget, Chairperson.] [Applause.]

The SPEAKER: Chairperson, hon members, I’d really like to thank all hon members who participated in this debate. I believe that what we, the presiding officers and the Secretariat, should do is take the Hansard – and not wait for months for it – tomorrow, and start looking at every point that has been raised, whether as criticism or as proposals. We need to take each of those points seriously for the good of Parliament.

We will work through that, Secretary, and I will now try to respond to the points that I am able to respond to. For the rest, it really is just for us to implement and take them through the relevant forums where we can clarify things, because some of the things need clarification.

First, I believe we need to apologise for the late invitation to members of Parliament – all members of Parliament, by the way, not just opposition parties. All members of Parliament got a late invitation to last night’s launch of the vision and mission. We need to apologise for that. [Applause.] There is no saying . . .

. . . Kubonga mina baba . . .[. . . I thank you, father . . .]

I was asked, while I was standing here, who took the decision about the People’s Assembly going to Kliptown. I think I owe hon members a factual response on that particular matter. In my speech during the debate on the state of the nation address, I put forward, for the first time, the idea of aligning this year’s People’s Assembly with the 50th anniversary of the Congress of the People. Subsequently, the issue was discussed by the presiding officers in their weekly meeting, because the four presiding officers of both Houses meet every week.

Then, it was raised with the Mayor of Johannesburg, the provincial Speaker of Gauteng and the Premier of Gauteng, just so that we knew what they were planning. That was in April. They informed us that for the date we were targeting, the 26th, they had already planned something. Hence we moved it to 27 June so that it still remained as close to that date as possible. That is just factual information.

It is really because of the responsibility we have as presiding officers that we take some decisions and that we act on those decisions that we have decided on. We did inform hon members before they went on recess that we would give you more information, but that this was our plan. That is what we are doing. If you have leaders in positions who do not take decisions and act on them, what’s the point of having them? [Applause.] You might as well rule by a rally every day. [Interjections.] Indeed, what is the point? [Interjections.]

If you listened to me carefully, you will have heard that I did not even say anything about the Freedom Charter. I said that we are marking the 50th anniversary of the Congress of the People. I say that deliberately because, for us, it is very important to emphasise the gathering of the people, the coming together of the people, which resonates with the coming together of the voices of the people through this Parliament in the way we sit here and in the NCOP and in other legislatures. That is our focus as we look at marking this date.

I must also say that when we talk about public participation in South Africa, in the history that I am aware of, two occasions come to mind. The campaign that preceded the Congress of the People, the actual gathering of people in Kliptown, was one that happened throughout the country. The second occasion was the process leading up to formulating our Constitution, when we went the length and breadth of South Africa to canvas people’s views. I believe that’s something we should retain. We have got to find ways of infusing it in our parliamentary systems and processes.

That is why we believe that we need to mark the 50th anniversary of the Congress of the People by taking members of Parliament to where the people are. [Applause.]

I have noted a lot of proposals including, for instance, the issue of training members in caucus. I agree with you, hon Seaton. The Deputy Speaker and I will talk about this when we get the opportunity because I found, when I was still working in this area, that sometimes when you organise for some of the training to happen within the context of the caucus, members are freer and better able, at their own pace – as the hon Seaton said – to grapple with issues and to talk freely and ask questions and so on. So, we will apply our minds, depending on the training. Of course, there is some training that we have got to do together.

On the question of bad communication, I think there is no question that we have got to correct that.

Regarding the salaries of members, I want to report that we had occasion to have a meeting with Judge Moseneke recently. We found that perhaps the future looks brighter in terms of the approach of this particular judge, and some of the plans they have to try and understand better are what the work of MPs and politicians entail, as opposed to the annual process of getting consultants to come through very quickly and pretend they understand, and then there is some proposal that goes to the President, which has been happening for the past decade.

Judge Moseneke has been appointed Deputy Chief Justice. I hope that the successor, if he is going to be succeeded in this particular job, will hold to that approach, because I think it is the correct approach. When we arrived in 1994, for that very first time when there was going to be a report a year later, it was consultants who came here. They are blank about what we do as politicians. If you go back to saying, “Do we actually understand what politicians do?”, I think there will be better appreciation, not only by the commission, but also by South Africans as to what the work of MPs entails.

On the issue of policy for members with special needs, we already have a draft policy document that served before the Parliamentary Oversight Authority, and has now been referred to parties. We are now waiting for submissions from parties to inform us how they believe that policy should be formulated so that we can then adopt it as the Houses, and so that we can then proceed on that basis. It is a matter that we take very, very seriously.

Regarding the maintenance issues about the lifts and so on, these are valid concerns. However, Parliament’s own ability to deal with some of these things is constrained by the fact that it really is the domain of the Department of Public Works. It is a matter of ongoing engagement with the Department of Public Works. To say that it is not an easy thing is really an understatement, but we continue to hope that we will make some progress. We have structures so that we meet regularly and deal with those issues, but it hasn’t been easy.

There are lots of questions that have been raised relating to the underspending of R140 million. I have got lots of information here from the Secretary, which I am not about to venture into, because I need to have internalised these things so that they make sense to you because I’d rather not read them.

I do think that members of Parliament are owed a better understanding of how the budget is put together, because clearly, some of what has been raised here is a misunderstanding of what is in the documents. For instance, you will find that some of it is due to the fact that, last year, we had a very short year. So some of the money was not used, precisely because for many months we were out there not doing some of the things for which that money had been budgeted. It, therefore, was not spent.

There is R68 million for members’ facilities, mainly covering travel, parking and telephone costs. We had a short year – that’s what the Secretary tells me. We have R66 million left for projects that are ongoing. In other words, when a project is still ongoing, it will be reflected as though the money has not been used, because the money will only be paid when the project is finished. Does that make sense, hon members?


The SPEAKER: Yes. So, it will look as though it’s money that is not being utilised and yet we have budgeted for it. Maybe the project is happening over more than one year, and it’s only when the project has been finished that we pay for it, and that is the policy of the public sector.

Some of the points relate to proposed budgets that were proposed by committees, for instance. But, sometimes, even though we make proposals, it does not necessarily mean that that is what actually gets submitted to Treasury, because that has to then be weighed and considered in relation to the other competing challenges and pressures of Parliament. So, what you submitted might not be what gets considered at the end of the day. It’s not that the budget was cut.

Another point is that even with the budget that we submit to Treasury, we don’t necessarily get every cent of that. We must always remember that it’s a question of engagement with other competing interests and challenges of the country, because we get our allocation from the same national Budget from which all the other portfolios of government also have to get money so that they can implement the programme of the country.

I have an idea in my head that on issues of the budget, as I said earlier on, perhaps what we could do is make sure that we call a special meeting not only of just the budget forum or the POA or the Rules Committee, but maybe an extended forum, so that members are able to ask specific questions, get answers, get clarification so that we move together with an understanding of how these things work, who decides how much who gets and on what basis.

I want to say one thing: I believe that the budget process of this 2005-06 budget was the most consultative since we came to Parliament in 1994. That is just a fact. In fact, all the political parties in Parliament said that it was really the proper way to do it, because for the first time we came together on the basis of plans and projected strategic objectives. We said there were things that we needed to prioritise, and on that basis, we agreed on how we had to proceed, even though, at that point, we had not yet adopted our vision and strategic objectives.

I do want to say that if something goes wrong somewhere, it does not necessarily mean that there was something wrong with the process. The process itself must only improve. It cannot go back to what really was not correct in the past. I believe that I should end here, and I thank you.

On the issue of Hansard, I know it is a matter of ongoing interaction between myself and many members of the opposition, in particular. I do think that there are valid concerns that are being raised. But I do want to remind the House that for a long time, part of what was a problem with regard to language services in Parliament was the lack of a language policy in Parliament where, for most of the decade that we have been here, we were working on the basis of the pre-1994 language policy. So, staff of Parliament had been employed on the basis of proficiency in English and Afrikaans.

It was only two years ago, when we finally adopted the appropriate language policy that staff had to start planning a recruitment process and everything that goes with it. If, for instance, the new language policy means that we have to get 50 more staff members, do we have offices, do we have the equipment, where do we put them? Where exactly do we locate all these activities that are now the result of a new language policy? These are some of the challenges. A big institution like Parliament might seem to be in a position to do things and change them very quickly but, in fact, it’s easier said than done. So, we are still grappling with those matters.

We ask Mrs Keswa every time what the problem is with the Hansard. After we have spoken here in the House, the speech is transcribed. Somebody has to sit and look through it after our speeches are sent to us for corrections. Then somebody must edit. These processes take a long time, and there are only two or three editors. The question is: Why are we not employing more? I haven’t had an answer to that question yet, but the next time I stand here, I will be able to give it to you. I do appreciate and I know that the Secretariat and the members of staff are working very hard to correct these problems.

I must also share that in South Africa, nationally, language skills – interpretation, translation and so on – are in short supply. I am talking about the whole country. In the past decade, we found that we could perhaps go to the University of the Free State, but even that’s not sufficient. So, there is a challenge in the country. You’ll find that we usually have a problem with translations by departments of Bills into different languages. It is because of this problem.

It is a challenge that we as a society need to grapple with. In fact, we need to develop this skill for our country as we move forward, because now we are in an era of multilingualism because the policies that underpin what we are doing are not apartheid policies. The changes always come with new challenges.

On that note, I thank hon members for their input. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.



The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): I have a brief announcement to make to the House. Both the Speaker of the NA and the Chairperson of the NCOP invite all members of Parliament to attend a cocktail function on the occasion of the Parliament Budget Vote. That’s the good news. [Applause.]

The bad news is that it is after the House adjourns, and there is still another debate to follow! [Laughter.]


                       (Second Reading debate)

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Chairperson and hon members, the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill that is before this House is short in length. It’s brevity, however, must not cause us to underestimate the contribution that this Bill will make to the consolidation of the South African developmental state.

The Bill before the House is grounded in a thorough assessment of what 10 years of practice have proved to be best, efficient and workable. Careful thought went into its formulation in a process of intergovernmental consultation that was perhaps unprecedented in its thoroughness. Throughout its provisions innovation is balanced with continuity.

Building on our experience in the past decade, this Bill seeks to address current realities, but with an eye to the decade ahead of us. It is also the last constitutionally prescribed Act needed to complete the implementation of the Constitution as a whole. There is no doubt that this legislation will improve government’s overall capacity to implement its policies whose goal it is to provide a better life for all.

The President, in his 2005 state of the nation address to Parliament, identified the adoption of this Bill as one of the strategic tasks for government this year. We are able to report to the President that the NA will pass this legislation today.

It is fitting that we are completing the two-year-long process of writing this legislation here in Parliament today. Each of the three spheres of government has played its part in the production process. Parliament therefore has the opportunity now to elevate the critical issues of governance that are at stake in this legislation to the level of a national public debate.

We would hope that all institutions of state follow Parliament’s lead, that they internalise this legislation in their operations, conduct and actions so that the governance norms it provides take root in the conduct and practices of government in all three spheres.

The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill is nothing less than an opportunity for all of us to work as one government to create a better life for all our people. It therefore has a key place within our national effort to place our people, their wellbeing and prosperity at the centre of public life and state action. Therefore we will no longer hear phrases such as “unfunded mandate”.

Government leaders, both political and administrative, wherever they are stationed within our system of government, share the duty to use the public authority they hold in trust, their skills, ingenuity and influence to ensure that millions of poor South Africans receive public services and the opportunity for an economically productive life. The people, skills and budgets they command within our departments, state-owned enterprises and municipalities are a formidable force for positive change in the lives of millions of ordinary poor people.

How they use these resources means the difference between a life of human possibility or despair; clean or contaminated water; proper sanitation or the bucket system; a real dwelling or a shack; the freedom that comes with economic activity and a true escape from joblessness and poverty or a life with no possibility at all.

The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill provides an institutional framework for the national, provincial and local governments and all other organs of state to facilitate coherence, co-ordinate the implementation of policy and legislation, provide for effective delivery of services and generally to realise national priorities in core areas of social delivery.

National programmes for economic growth, reconstruction and development are implemented through the institutions of our three-tier system of government. Within our system national government is primarily responsible for establishing the policy and legislative framework that ensure national uniformity and social equity, while provinces and municipalities are in turn primarily responsible for service provision and implementation. For this reason, a major portion of the national Budget and expenditure efforts resides with these two spheres of government.

Our Constitution is therefore founded on a symbiotic relationship between the three spheres of government: All three spheres are distinctive and interrelated parts of one government, and duty-bound to co-operate with one another to provide coherency in the way government delivers services.

This formula offers us an opportunity to unlock the creativity and energy of collaboration and partnership while strengthening the performance and accountability of each sphere of government. Collective endeavour is therefore part of our overall constitutional design and it is essential if we are to achieve our goal of providing a seamless and expanding web of services to poor communities throughout the country.

We have made great strides in forging a system of government that can combine the required collective intergovernmental effort we seek with a clear division of labour that is essential to improving government performance. We have evolved, recognised and customary channels through which government transacts, co-ordinates and executes its core business. In many cases we have even begun to find solutions to complex problems that will inevitably arise in this complex field of practice, where more established democracies than ours are still struggling to put the question.

At this juncture, given the task at hand, resources and our general concern about delivery capacity, it is important that we ask ourselves whether we have fully developed our capability to set and execute key development priorities collectively within the three-tier system of government, whilst maintaining lines of decision and accountability. Are we managing service delivery and implementation in ways that make a great impact on poverty and underdevelopment, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries and uneven capacity?

If we can answer these questions affirmatively, it would be because the operation of our three-tier system effectively institutionalises a continuous process of collective dialogue within government about each sphere’s concrete plans, programmes and budgets, and because we have found ways and means to sustain that dialogue over time. These relations would translate into collective actions that are required to secure integrated results. No school would be built without there being concrete plans to provide that school with clean water, adequate sanitation and electricity supply.

Municipal integrated development plans and provincial growth and development plans would offer mutually reinforcing and forward-looking perspectives on the local economies of a province that would consistently engage national economic development priorities, projections and data.

Practice shows that there is no obvious utility to retaining the current approach to intergovernmental relations premised on large informal processes of interaction between spheres of government and self-regulation. Our system has evolved sufficiently to begin to codify near perfect institutional types. The task we are confronted with requires that we continually improve our overall institutional capacity as a state. The institutional predictability and coherence within our system of intergovernmental relations that this Bill promotes will boost overall state performance.

The Bill aims to support and strengthen three key elements in our system of co-operative governance. Firstly, the Bill is aimed at bringing predictability and stability in how the executive of three spheres of government interact and co-operate in the formulation and execution of policy in key areas of national priority. To this end it provides for the executive-to-executive institutions to ensure that there is a continuous, sustained and goal-directed process of dialogue between spheres of government that is a precondition for effective intergovernmental co- ordination.

This executive co-ordination involves the presidential meeting with premiers, which we call the PCC; the premiers meeting with mayors from metropolitan and district municipalities; and the district mayors meeting with local municipality mayors.

Secondly, the Bill provides for an opportunity for national and provincial spheres of government to support local government through ensuring that planning and implementation is informed by the needs of communities and by the growth potential of the various localities in the country.

We must therefore stress the importance of our system of government acknowledging municipal areas as impact zones for our development effort, and with that acknowledgement we must ensure the tightest possible fit between the plans and operations of our three spheres. That means we must internalise in our plans and operations the fact that municipalities are the developmental spaces shared by all spheres of government, but managed by municipal government.

Thirdly, the Bill provides an opportunity to improve the spatial targeting of government programmes that cut across jurisdictional boundaries, but converge in municipal spaces. This area of work is complemented by the initiative driven by the Presidency of ensuring integration and harmonisation of planning instruments and plans, IDP reviews and the Forum of SA Directors-General initiative to review state capability and capacity.

Achieving these objectives will demand decision and leadership, forging stronger forms of collaboration and partnership between the spheres when needed, boosting performance and accountability across the board, entrenching a service ethos in all areas of the Public Service, constituting core capabilities within the state and finding simpler, faster and more effective ways to get these things done.

This Bill is also a product of an extensive consultation process involving all three spheres of government. Two government-wide workshops were held that were chaired by the President and attended by all national Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers, MECs of local government and DGs. Numerous meetings were held with the Governance and Administration Cabinet Committee, the Local Government Minmec, Fosad and Salga. Several Premiers have even begun to outline the steps they will take to implement the legislation. There is therefore broad consensus and overwhelming support for this legislation within government.

The adoption of the Bill by the NA today, marks an important milestone in the history of intergovernmental relations in South Africa. More importantly, it confirms and reinforces government’s resolve to provide coherent government for the country as a whole, and its determination to address the challenges of poverty, marginalisation and underdevelopment through concerted and integrated state action.

We must congratulate the portfolio committee and all of its members for their rigorous examination of this legislation, led by Madam Ruth Bhengu, as well as for the sense of urgency they brought to proceedings. All parties, including those that will not support this Bill today, I am told, made important contributions to this legislation in its final form throughout committee proceedings.

There is still time for the nay-saying political parties to change their positions, and to support this Bill, for in truth this legislation is good for government in South Africa and for the people of this country, and there is nothing about it that warrants suspicion and mistrust.

We are confident that this legislation will assist our task to which all of us must turn our minds, talents and efforts if the masses of this country are to enjoy the benefits of their liberation, freedom and democracy. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr S A MSHUDULU: Chairperson, the hon Deputy Minister, members of this House and the nation at large, this debate takes place a month before the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter at the 1955 Congress of the People in Kliptown. It also takes place, not only in the year when the ANC celebrates its 93rd anniversary, but also on the eve of our local government elections.

Once more, the ANC recommits itself to realising, in practice, the call of the charter that the people shall govern. It further asserts, and I quote: “All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country”. As a movement, the ANC has made sustained efforts to reach out to our people and engage them directly in the system of government, including through the programmes of consultations, as in IDP forums, imbizos, Letsema, etc.

It advances decisively towards this vision by ensuring that the principle and practice of Batho Pele infuse our democratic state with a degree of energy capable of transforming the lives of our people.

This Bill, as outlined by the hon Deputy Minister, does not introduce something totally new, but it comes as a response to our Constitution in terms of section 41. I quote:

Section 41(2) of the Constitution requires an Act of Parliament to establish or provide for structures and institutions to promote and facilitate intergovernmental relations, and to provide for appropriate mechanisms and procedures to facilitate the settlement of intergovernmental disputes.

This provision is intended to formalise and entrench fundamental principles of our Constitution, in terms of three spheres of government, as earlier alluded to by the Deputy Chairperson, that are distinctive, interdependent and inter-related towards co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations.

This shall translate into each sphere of government, namely towards respecting the constitutional status, institutions, powers and functions of government in the other spheres. It is also in exercising their powers and performing their functions in a manner that does not encroach on the geographical functions or institutional integrity of government in other spheres.

Also, it is towards co-operation with another municipality or sphere in mutual trust and good faith, by assisting and supporting one another, by consulting one another on matters of common interest, by co-ordinating their actions and legislation with one another and adhering to agreed procedures, as is the case in terms of the Municipal Systems Act on agency agreement.

I will focus on part three in Chapter 2 of this Bill, as it relates to provincial intergovernmental forums. As this Bill applies to national organs of state and national governmental units, all provincial governments and all provincial organs of state, all municipalities and all municipal organs of state will have to take note. I’m raising this because during our engagement with the Bill, there was this confusion where some members, mostly from the opposition, believed that this Bill would apply to any other institution that is not mentioned here. I think that is very important.

The reason I bring this up, also, is that some structures already do exist. For instance, we have provincial intergovernmental forums. Here, in the Western Cape, they are called Provincial Advisory Forums. So, you will have uniformity. That is one way of calling them. This is evidence to the fact that we are not talking about something that is not in existence. In Gauteng and in the North West, they are called Provincial Intergovernmental Forums; in the Free State, they are called the Free State Local Government Association and the MEC and Local Government Forum; in the Eastern Cape, it’s a Memorandum of Understanding or Provincial Intergovernmental Committee.

Because of these inconsistencies, now is the time that these structures are given legitimacy and uniformity to prevail with formality and consistency. With the challenges facing some of our municipalities, as you would know, and many interventions that have been effected in terms of the Municipal Systems Act and the Structures Act, as well as section 100 and section 139 of our Constitution, this Bill has come at the right time.

I give this elaborate explanation as a deliberate gesture to empower our people in understanding what our ANC-led government has been doing in the last 10 years and what it will be doing in the next decade. In general, the absence of a structured relationship between local government and provincial government has resulted in programmes and policies in the provinces not being well co-ordinated. We have examples here, of urban renewal projects, as well as nodes, where monitoring, as well as communication, is a problem.

A critical shortcoming in the current intergovernmental relations systems, which I have just mentioned above, is the lack of properly co-ordinated and structured information systems, which are intended to facilitate provincial monitoring, the non-alignment of policies between local and provincial governments, the absence of early warning systems for looming crises, for instance in local government as is the case now, and the duplication of services. All the things I have just highlighted reflect on our report when we visit provinces, as well as the outcry by most members of Parliament who complain that departments do not talk to one another.

At provincial level, there is a Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum to promote and facilitate IGR between provinces and the local government in the province. Against this backdrop, our government’s decentralised, integrated developmental service delivery and the office of the Premier become very central and relevant. I can attest to this, as I come from Gauteng.

Noting that more than 60% of the national revenue is allocated to provinces through the office of the Premier, the nodes are better managed and monitored at this level. As the Deputy Minister has mentioned, whilst we have the structures at national level, we have nearly the same structures at provincial level, where the Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum is constituted by the Premier, who is the Chairperson, the MEC responsible for local government, any other MEC designated by the Premier, the Mayor of the district, as she mentioned earlier, the administrator in any municipality that is subjected to an intervention or a person designated by Salga.

The Premier may invite any person not mentioned, to a meeting. This is also very important because the fears of the opposition should be allayed, as there was this assumption that others might not be given the opportunity to be in a position to make presentations.

The role of the Premier, as you would know, relates to the implementation of the national policy; the matters arising from the President’s Co- ordinating Council; the drafting of the national policy; the implementation of the national policy; the development of provincial policy or legislation; co-ordination of provincial and municipal development planning; the co-ordination and alignment and many others. So, it is important that other provincial forums are consulted on this matter.

Also, the Premier convenes these meetings and determines the agenda. It was also clarified to the opposition that the department of the Premier is responsible for providing administrative and other support. I want to say that these interprovincial forums do exist and I want to give evidence to the fact that they are meant to strengthen all that has been covered.

Ke tla leka hore ke toboketse ka Sesotho. Ha nke ke qetele ka ho re, mang kapa mang ka hara Ntlo ena, ya ka phehisanang le seo ANC e se buang mona, le tsebe hore o a hlahlathela mme o matha ka thoko ho ditaba tseo Molao ona o di buang. Ditonakgolo tsa rona di amohetse ebile ba thabetse hore Molao ona o kenywe tshebetsong ka potlako. Mohlala o teng, ke ne ke o bala ho Delivery ya Motsheanong. (Translation of Sotho paragraph follows.)

[I will try to be brief in Sesotho. Let me conclude by saying that anybody in this House who objects to what the ANC says, must know that he or she is out of order and contrary to what this Bill says. Our premiers have accepted this Bill and are grateful that it will be implemented as soon as possible. There is an example that I want to read from the May issue of Delivery.]

That is the one that is in circulation, now. KwaZulu-Natal, through the Premier, S’bu Ndebele, agrees that . . .

. . . Molao ona o kopanya diprofensi le bomasepala. Tonakgolo Abrahim Rasool le yena o a dumela. Haholo, ha a kgotsofatswe ke hore ditjhelete di seke tsa sebediswa. Tonakgolo Sello Moloto, wa Limpopo, o re tsela ena ya diprofensi e tla tlisa bohlokwa ba ho sebedisana-mmoho ha mabatowa. Hape, Tonakgolo Edna Molewa, o re ho tla ba le sekolo sa hlabula sa IGR ho matlafatsa tshebedisano-mmoho ya bomasepala le ho matlafatsa basebetsi hore ba be le tsela e tshwanang ya tshebetso. Tonakgolo ya ka ya Gauteng, Mbhazima Shilowa, le ba bang le bona ba e tjhaetse monwana.

Ke re pele ya pele ka Intergovernmental Relations Bill. Amandla! [Mahofi.] (Translation of Sotho paragraphs follows.)

[. . . This Bill integrates provinces and municipalities. Premier Ebrahim Rasool also concurs. He is not satisfied that funds are not utilised. Premier Sello Moloto of Limpopo says this type of province will bring about regional co-operation. Again, Premier Edna Molewa says there shall be IGR summer schools to strengthen municipal co-operation and empower workers so that they have the same work routine. The Premier of Gauteng, Mbhazima Shilowa, and others have approved this.

I say forward, Intergovernmental Relations Bill. Amandla! [Applause.]]

Mnr W P DOMAN: Agb Voorsitter, die DA ondersteun dié wetsontwerp ten volle. Dit het baie goeie doelwitte soos wat die agb Adjunkminister uiteengesit het, en ons hoop dat dit ‘n goeie doel sal dien.

Ons is baie dankbaar dat die ANC, die DA en die IVP hartlik kon saamwerk in die portefeuljekomitee om ‘n hele aantal verbeterings aan die wetsontwerp te bring. Ons het ‘n hele paar uur daarmee gesit. Dit was goed om te ervaar dat dit nie gegaan het om wie ‘n wysiging voorstel nie, maar wat die meriete van die voorstel is.

Konsensus was aan die orde van die dag en dit was uiteindelik die departement wat die meeste teëgeskop het om die oorspronklike vorm te probeer behou. As verskoning is aangevoer dat die Kabinet, die President se koördinerende raad met die Premiers, en Salga, ensovoorts, almal geraadpleeg is en dít eenparig ondersteun het. Tog het ons veranderings aangebring waarvan die departement ook op die ou einde herken het dat van hulle baie goeie verbeterings was.

Dít beklemtoon maar net weer die waarde van onafhanklike denke, van deeglike woord vir woord oorweging in die komitee én dat ons as wetgewers uit ‘n ander hoek as die uitvoerende gesag moet kyk na wetgewing. Opvallend was die totale afwesigheid van al die klein partytjies in die komiteestadium, en dit het maar net weer onderstreep dat hulle nou nie al die gate hier by die Parlement kan toestop met beperkte verteenwoordiging nie. G’n wonder dat hulle net hier en daar in die ongeveer 35 parlementêre komitees ‘n bydrae lewer, en gewoonlik by dié waar hulle die meeste publisiteit kan kry. Maar, van ons as DA kan u maar vertrou dat ons orals teenwoordig sal wees en ‘n opbouende, onafhanklike rol sal speel. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mr W P DOMAN: Hon Chairperson, the DA fully supports this Bill. It has very good objectives, as the hon Deputy Minister has explained, and we hope that it will serve a good purpose.

We are very grateful that the ANC, the DA and the IFP were able to work together harmoniously in the portfolio committee in order to effect quite a number of improvements to the Bill. We struggled with it for a number of hours. It was pleasing to experience that it was not about who suggested an amendment, but rather what the merit of the suggestion was.

Consensus was the order of the day, and in the end it was the department that balked at it the most in an effort to retain the original form. As justification it was argued that the Cabinet, the President’s Co-ordinating Council - with the Premiers and Salga, etc – had been consulted and that they supported it unanimously. We did, however, make some amendments that in the end the department also agreed were very good amendments.

This once again emphasises the value of independent thinking, of thorough verbatim consideration in the committee, and the fact that as legislators we should look at legislation from a different angle than the executive authority. What was remarkable was the total absence of all the small parties in the committee stage, and this once again reiterated that they cannot fill all the gaps here at Parliament with limited representation. No wonder they only make contributions here and there in the approximately 35 parliamentary committees, and usually in those where they are able to get the most publicity. But from us as the DA you can rest assured that we will be ubiquitously present and will play a constructive, independent role.]

The Bill is necessary for improved alignment between the executives of the three spheres of government and co-ordination of their programmes. Implementation and spending of the full budgets are seriously lacking in many departments and specially shared responsibilities between spheres of government, like housing – and the hon Deputy Minister knows very well about housing – are suffering as a result. With this big picture in mind the DA really hopes that this Bill will give further impetus to delivery. The Bill is long overdue.

Almost all the forums that are mentioned in the Bill already exist and they should be utilised fully so that people on the ground can finally begin to enjoy the service delivery that has been denied to them. Hopefully the establishment of clear and binding implementation protocols – this is a new animal that is being introduced in this legislation - will further enhance governmental capacity to improve the lives of all South Africans.

One serious problem with the Bill is that local municipalities do not get official recognition in the Premiers Intergovernmental Forums. It is unclear why the metropolitan and district municipalities are recognised in the Premiers Intergovernmental Forums and the local municipalities are left out. This means that only 52 municipalities in the country are included and 232 municipalities will not enjoy first-hand liaison with the Premier and the provincial executives.

These 232 local municipalities form the backbone of local government. Unlike district municipalities, local municipalities are at the coalface of delivery and it is the local municipalities that are struggling with capacity problems. Out of all the government structures it is the local municipalities that would benefit most from direct liaison with the provincial executives.

Excluding these municipalities will seriously hamper the success of the Premiers forums. The only possible reason for their exclusion is that the Minister clings to the ideology of hierarchy that places district municipalities above local municipalities. The ANC attaches an imagined importance to their developmental role and oversight over local municipalities. The ANC’s logic is that because they span a number of local municipalities they must be more important. This misconception means, in practice, that district municipalities normally pay their municipal managers over R100 000 per annum more than the municipal managers in local municipalities.

The DA believes that the input of local municipalities is crucial. The mayors of local municipalities should therefore be present at each and every Premiers’ forum. And, of course, when we win back the Western Cape we will immediately include them in each and every forum that meets. [Interjections.]

Ons sal natuurlik ook wil terugkom met wetgewing, veral as ons die land ook wen, om dié stukkie te verander én te inisieer dat ons aan hierdie mense hul regmatige plek gee wat hul toekom. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)

[Of course, we would also like to return with legislation, especially if we win the country as well, to change this piece, as well as to initiate our giving back to these people the rightful place that is owed to them.]

I want to ask the Deputy Minister: Can a Premier enter into a protocol agreement with a mayor of a local municipality or with a group of them, or all of them? If the answer is yes – which I suspect it is – why are they excluded from the forum and must the Premier now negotiate with local mayors, outside of the forum, to enter into a protocol agreement? Why are they not present there where they can reach these agreements? If the answer is no, well, then, of course, this legislation, in relation to the Premiers’ forums, is really, totally irrelevant.

I suspect that all the ANC members in the committee agree with me on this point. One member of the ANC actually said that the end result of this would be that in the Free State the mayor of Mangaung, there in Bloemfontein, would be excluded, while the district mayor of the area will be included in the Premiers forum. The same will happen in the Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga, where there are no metros. The mayors of the main cities in these provinces will not be represented in these forums and have direct access to the Premiers and the executives.

Despite the fact that the committee was favourably disposed towards the inclusion of local mayors, the Minister refused to change this section to accommodate our wishes, and of course the ANC members were forced to toe the line.

The department’s justification was that local mayors could be invited at the discretion of a Premier. I know that the legislation makes provision for special invitation to anyone, but this is not the way to treat the mayors of local municipalities. Their inclusion should not depend on the whim of the Premiers.

In this regard, this legislation will cause further friction between these two categories of mayors. In practice, the Premiers would be fools to meet with only five to seven district mayors in the province, while 25 to 30 local mayors are left out. The District Intergovernmental Forums cannot fill this gap; they will meet there in the districts, only the mayors, on their own. They cannot fill this gap.

I am disappointed that Salga has said nothing about this matter – they let their 232 local mayors down. Salga, which should know better, have not applied their minds properly to this and are seemingly just toeing the ANC line.

The DA is also disappointed that the administrative responsibility for the Premiers Intergovernmental Forums has been left to the offices of the Premiers, instead of their respective local government departments. The local government departments in the provinces liaise with municipalities on a constant basis, they know the people and contact points, and they have the capacity. It is therefore quite sensible that they should be responsible for the administration of the Premiers Intergovernmental Forums.

At national level, the President’s office is not responsible for the administrative capacity of the President’s Co-ordinating Council; the Department of Provincial and Local Government is responsible, and the same should apply to provinces. We are worried that Premiers will have to create this capacity at extra cost. And, we really hope that sanity will prevail and that the Premiers will get the local government departments involved, and that they all invite the mayors of local municipalities.

Despite these few reservations I have outlined today, the DA wholeheartedly believes that this Bill goes a long way to give effect to the constitutional principle of co-operative governance, without necessarily impinging on the autonomy of municipalities and of provinces. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr P F SMITH: Chairperson, Deputy Minister, colleagues in the House, and from the department, I suspect that the IFP will be the only party today not supporting this Bill. So, I think it is very important to stress upfront that we are not opposed to co-operative governance at all. I do want to emphasise that there are obvious benefits in the organs of state in the three spheres working together in respect of common concerns on common goals.

The issue is simply that we are not sufficiently in agreement with the timing of the Bill’s introduction, or with government’s motivation for some of its provisions, as well as some of the content. We are not sufficiently in agreement with all of those to lend our support.

In respect of timing, our first choice would be to allow the further development of the informal IGR system a little bit more than at present. I want to make three points in that regard. The first is that there is a constitutional requirement that we legislated, but it does not indicate when. There is no particular reason why this Bill is constitutionally due in 2005 as opposed to the year 2000 or 2010. There is no particular injunction as to when it should occur. We believe there is time to let it run still.

The whole notion of an evolutionary course of IGR in this country has, in fact, been the way we have approached IGR to date. The department’s view is simply that we have now developed sufficient best practice to be able to concretise this law. This may well be true in respect of, for example, the PCC which has been running for a few years, for Minmecs, which have been around for 10 to 11 years. But, in respect of the relationship between provincial and local government or between different municipalities within local government IGR within those spheres, there is no best practice here. The system is only four years old.

As the previous speaker indicated, there are already conflicts of opinion, at least, as to whether the IGR structures you establish should in fact include or exclude local municipalities. The department cannot claim to us that the best practice dictates option A versus option B, because we have not yet had the best practice. So we say let it hang on a bit further before we concretise this.

In respect of government’s motivation for the Bill, over and above, of course, Chapter 3 requirements, anyway, we don’t believe that the informal system has in fact failed us. We actually believe that the department has deliberately overstated the weaknesses of the status quo with a view to justifying the Bill’s necessity.

If we believe the department, for example, then we must believe that the Presidency and the nine MECs are so incompetent that they won’t co-operate properly, unless this Bill is there to force them to co-operate. If we believe the department, then we have to accept the view that Minmecs are dysfunctional and only when the Minmecs are forced to toe some line that this Bill provides, will we get some form of co-ordinated delivery. This is really nonsensical and is very patronising to the political leadership of this country. So, again we are not very happy with that.

The third issue that we are not too happy with is the content of the Bill. Let me enumerate one or two problems very briefly. The first is that for us the IGR is a lot more than simply co-ordinated delivery. This Bill is essentially about co-ordinating government delivery. We think if you own an IGR Bill that encapsulates the intent of Chapter 3 you need to go beyond delivery. There is a lot more to IGR than delivery. So, it is a very narrow focus; we do not like that.

Secondly, we believe that this streamlining that is in the Bill is effected in the top-down fashion. In fact, during the deliberations, we used the term “militaristic”, and the ANC took exception. But effectively, what the Bill does is that they’ve got the general at the top and all his colonels and lieutenants, right down to the troops, all running with one particular programme - namely, co-ordinated delivery all the way through. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but it shouldn’t be the way the Bill is focused as far as we are concerned.

What is also highly problematic for us is, in fact, that there is an explicit, not even implicit, hierarchy of structures in the Bill. If you look at Chapter 3, it does not say that all three spheres are equal. Obviously patent is that they are not equal but, at least, we should have given them the same status.

What the Bill does, is to say that all these organs in government relations were established for a particular status, but when it comes to the PCC, for example, no, that is different. The PCC, well, we name it – we make special provision for everything it does – in fact, it’s the President’s committee to decide on issues that he decides on. Well, all the others are communally owned to discuss issues of mutual concern. So they jointly own structures. The PCC is not jointly owned. It’s the President’s baby to do as he sees fit and we don’t think that is appropriate either.

Lastly, in terms of content, all departments, this one too, of course, say that they have drawn a fair balance between prescription and enabling. We don’t believe that that is true. It is still too prescriptive. Yes, there are enabling elements to it but, for example, when you get to the level of detail, which says that the Bill must prescribe to the President of this country how to structure his agenda for his meetings - that’s what the Bill does - then that’s micro management really – it’s going crazy. So, again, we are not very happy with that.

In conclusion, we do believe in co-operative governance; we do believe that spheres should work together; we don’t believe that this Bill is necessary to achieve that objective, and when we get a decent Bill that meets our objections we will vote for it. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mr M DIKO: Chairperson, Deputy Minister, hon members, during the course of the debates on the various Budget Votes that were recently brought before this House, the UDM has on various occasions expressed concern about the amount of national budgets and responsibilities being devolved to lower tiers of government. We expressed those concerns because the perennial problems of a lack of skills, capacity, political will and effective management are experienced in most provinces and in a vast majority of local governments.

We have now learnt that in the past financial year the provinces have underspent by R1,8 billion on capital investment. Critical infrastructure development is not taking place, with education and health capital spending actually declining from the previous year. This is a horrible state of affairs, which makes a mockery of any good intentions of service delivery expressed at national government level.

It is therefore in this context that we welcome the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill as a possible solution. The Bill sets out to improve communication on policy, monitoring implementation, reducing duplication and addressing shortcomings or failures. These are noble goals that we wholeheartedly support.

We hope that this Bill will not create talk shops because that will be a waste of time and taxpayers’ money. We therefore appeal to government to ensure that the Bill is implemented with a strong focus on monitoring and corrective mechanisms. We do not need new structures to tell us that there are problems in delivery. We already know that. We need structures that can fix the problems.

The UDM supports the Bill. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

Mrs M M GUMEDE: Mgcinisihlalo ohloniphekileyo, Sekela likaNgqongqoshe, amalungu ePhalamende kanye nabo bonke abaseNdlini, angiqale nje ngokuthi ngiphawule ngokushiwo u-Doman. [Hon Chairperson, Deputy Minister, members of Parliament and everyone else in the House, let me just start by responding to Doman’s comment.]

We were forced to agree to the Bill. We told them clearly in the committee meeting that if we had to include 258 mayors of the local municipalities in the forum, that the forum would form a mass meeting. Maybe in his party he never attends a mass meeting, but then they want to turn that into a mass meeting. [Laughter.]

Unless as a young democracy we continue to stick to principles that build unity in our movement – a united and strong national government - and as part of the African community, we are likely to lose ourselves in the abyss of ideological confusion.

The unity of the South African nation, the epitome to which men and women were passionately attached and whose operative values served to bring enormous pressure to bear on the apartheid state, shall disintegrate on the altar of regional and self-interest.

Our purpose as the ANC government is to ensure that the principles implanted in the Freedom Charter of equality, humanity, equal conditions, the creation of equal opportunity and respect for all humanity remain our guiding principles.

These are not the values of the ANC; they are the fundamental perspectives that were pronounced upon by the people of South Africa in the People’s Charter way back in 1955, and rubber-stamped by those who were not born by then on 27 April 1994 to date. The ANC believes in these perspectives and its government shall implement them.

President Fidel Castro of Cuba, addressing the Young Communist League in Havana in December 2004, said: “We must work directly with the people on a one-by-one basis.” The work of convincing and persuading human beings one by one is historic. Religions were created in this way and have lasted thousands of years. And we must not sit back and start criticising, because a man who is full of criticism doesn’t have a value. [Laughter.]

As we celebrate 50 years of the charter our government’s principles of the Freedom Charter need that kind of work, the effect of which shall last many centuries after we have passed. The challenge remains the implementation of these ideas. The challenge remains a congruent strategy to oversee and ensure common understanding, common models of shared vision in delivering these ideas to our people. This legislation seeks to achieve this by streamlining the administrative tools of implementing government policies.

This law seeks to ensure that no district, region or province moves away from our national consciousness and national priorities. It shall glue together our administrations to foster a common destiny.

My particular areas of discussion shall be parts 1 and 2 of the Bill, which relate to national intergovernmental forums. The challenge for this model of government remains attaining uniformity in decentralisation. At the helm of the co-ordinating process shall be the President of our country who shall head the President’s Co-ordinating Council.

Sonke siyazi ukuthi izinkunzi ezimbili azibusi esibayeni esisodwa. [We all know that you cannot have two kings ruling the same nation.] So, the President is the one who is going to be the chair of this forum. The council shall consist of a 10-member team, straddling all spheres of government, to consider national policies and laws, and to evaluate implementation of the programmes.

The laws of separate development are gone, and now belong to the dustbin of history. For many years there was no sense of not working together between national, provincial and local government, so a clever man always changes his mind. [Laughter.]

The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill is intended to create a structural working environmental to achieve maximum efficiency in all government resources. The Bill will bring about accountability and proper service delivery from, in particular, provincial and local governments.

The President’s Co-ordinating Council is a consultative forum to raise matters of national interest with the provincial government and organised local government; and to consult provincial government and organised local government on the implementation of national policy and legislation in the provinces and municipalities.

We need to harmonise local government municipality bylaws with national policies on issues of traffic ordinances and ambulance services and to maintain law and order. The President’s Co-ordinating Council is a consultative forum to discuss performance in the provision of services in order to detect failures and to initiate preventive or corrective action, not to act as a lobbying structure as some people think. It is not a lobbying structure; it’s a structure that co-ordinates all the spheres of government to come together and have a common understanding. [Applause.]

Niyangilibazisa. [You are delaying me.] [Laughter.]

The above is important because the failure of provinces and municipalities to provide essential services such as water, electricity and health will impact negatively on the national government. The Bill addresses the issues of priorities, objectives and strategies across all spheres of governance. [Interjections.]

Ungangihlekisi. [Don’t make me laugh.]

The premier of a province convenes a draft of the agenda and the provincial intergovernmental forum in terms of the total effectiveness of good governance, and must report annually to the President’s Co-ordinating Council on progress with the implementation of national policy and legislation. The SA Local Government Association, Salga, represents the interests of local government in the country’s intergovernmental relations system with a united voice.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order, hon members! You’re conversing a bit too loudly. You’re interrupting the speaker at the podium.

Mrs M M GUMEDE: Oh, I thought, Chairperson . . . [Inaudible.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): No, you may continue.

Mrs M M GUMEDE: Ukuthi ngiwumkhokheli Sihlalo ngakho angikwazi ukukhulumela phansi. [It is because I am a leader in a women’s church society.] [Laughter.]

In February 2001 President Thabo Mbeki, in his address to Parliament, announced details of the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme and the Urban Renewal Programme. The provincial and district intergovernmental forums have a direct responsibility to make these programmes successful.

Furthermore, provincial intergovernmental forums must engage in information sharing, best practices and capacity-building. Provinces may establish interprovincial forums to promote and facilitate intergovernmental relations between them to deal with issues of cross-border economic programmes, poverty alleviation and job creation. South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

District intergovernmental forums are also important to effect service delivery programmes, Masakhane, Batho Pele and revenue collection. The mayor of the district council will convene all the mayors of local municipalities in the district to an intergovernmental forum. This is where all the mayors are going to be represented. [Applause.]

Service provision delivery programmes of the district should be key in the agenda of the district intergovernmental forums. The role and functions of the provincial and district intergovernmental forums may be the same, but what is most important is guaranteed, good and affordable service, good governance and service delivery – bringing about a better life for all, where we live. The people shall govern.

Batho batla busa ka go sa feleng. [The people shall govern.] [Applause.][ Laughter.]

Sengishilo ngathi izinkunzi ezimbili azibusi esibayeni esisodwa. [I have already said that you cannot have two kings ruling the same nation.]

Our President will be chair of this national forum, which will consist of the Deputy President, the Minister in the Presidency, and some designated Ministers, premiers of the nine provinces and a designated councillor from Salga who will give feedback to the councillors. The President will determine the agenda of the meeting, and any additions will be delivered through the Ministry at least two days before the said meeting. The President has the power to invite anybody not mentioned above to his meetings. Thanks very much, Chair. [Applause.]

Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, the ACDP welcomes the initiative taken by the Department of Provincial and Local Government to introduce legislation that will formally establish intergovernmental structures at all levels of government, and for the provision of appropriate mechanisms and procedures to facilitate the settlement of intergovernmental disputes.

We are of the view that this Bill facilitates and ensures coherent government, and will co-ordinate the process of policies, programmes and legislation. We trust that this will result in a more effective delivery of services at local government level.

In the past co-operation between the three spheres of government has been largely informal. The Department of Provincial and Local Government has expressed concern that such informality results in discretionary and ineffectively co-ordinated relations between the three spheres of government. It also hampers service delivery.

The Bill comes as a constitutional requirement that a law be passed to regulate intergovernmental co-operation. It also reflects an acknowledgement that poverty and underdevelopment are challenges best addressed by all spheres of government collectively and in a co-operative manner.

This Bill is an attempt to address the question of how best we can achieve key public objectives in a context where public authority is distributed amongst various spheres of government. It is common knowledge that service delivery has broken down in some provincial and local governments, especially municipalities in rural areas.

If we take on board the many recent demonstrations by various communities against lack of delivery by municipalities, especially in the delivery of housing, the need for this Bill becomes more apparent.

There are those amongst us who believe that the passing of this Bill will give the national government too much power in decision-making at provincial and local government level. But what options are available to a developmental government if all the policies are in place, sufficient funding is available, but many municipalities are unable to deliver much- needed services to their communities owing to lack of capacity to deliver, have huge roll-overs, and neither provincial nor national government may intervene?

It is with this in mind that the ACDP supports the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order, hon members! You’re conversing a bit too loudly.

Mr I S MFUNDISI: Chairperson and hon members, the Bill being debated today is the culmination of efforts to ensure that the state operates in tandem. We are aware that we have three tiers of government, as well as other organs of state.

The Bill also strives to give effect to Schedule 4 of the Constitution of the Republic, which deals with the functional areas of concurrent national, provincial and local government legislative competencies.

With an instrument such as this Bill, bodies such as the President’s Co- ordinating Council, the national intergovernmental fora, the provincial governmental fora and the municipal governmental fora are being regularised and legitimised so that their decisions can be binding and enforceable.

To the UCDP the passing of this Bill will assist in ensuring that service delivery is accelerated, as all heads of organs of state will be within easy reach of one another and decisions will be taken on a consensus basis.

We have no problem whatsoever that Premiers will be meeting with the executive mayors, as the executive mayors will in turn be meeting with the local mayors, and will, therefore, cascade decisions to them.

We, in the UCDP, believe that people have to be loved, respected, served, consulted and tolerated. This Bill, therefore, will ensure that intergovernmental relations are carried out in love and with respect, with the intention to serve people, after consulting with them and being tolerant of them if they do not understand. The UCDP supports the Bill. [Applause.]

Chief M NONKONYANA: Chairperson, hon Ministers, colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I think it is necessary for me to correct my colleague, the hon Doman. My colleagues have already done so, but I find it disturbing that a member of Parliament, worthy of the title, should come and stand on this podium and be ignorant about the Bill which he has been entrusted by this House to process. [Interjections.]

I say this because clauses 22 and 23 clearly set out the framework for the establishment of district intergovernmental forums with district mayors and local municipalities. Even a local municipality that has no mayor can have a councillor designated by that municipality - including an administrator in respect of those local municipalities where there has been an intervention in terms of section 139 of the Constitution. The hon member is ignorant about the provisions of this Bill. All I can say is that he must go and read, and not mislead the public. [Interjections.]

Why is he doing this? I think he is fond of doing this because during the previous debate he insulted our coloured compatriots from this part of the country by suggesting that they were out of their minds when they actually voted the ANC into power in this province. Yet he knows that, since 2004, people from this part of the world have tasted liberty for the first time. They are not going back to the period when you were actually administering this part of the region. For that reason . . . [Interjections.]

I just want you to listen to what I am going to say. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa requires us to process a law for establishing structures and institutions to promote and facilitate intergovernmental relations, and to provide for appropriate mechanisms and procedures to facilitate the settlement of intergovernmental disputes.

The ANC government, as the custodian of the people’s Constitution and in line with the people’s contract, as set out in the 2004 manifesto, hereby delivers to all South Africans a law whose main objective is to make sure that all spheres of government share a common mission and a vision for delivering a better life to all South Africans. [Applause.]

South Africa is one country united in diversity. South African is one nation that shares a common goal and common vision to make South Africa a better country and to guarantee basic freedoms clearly set out in the Freedom Charter and strengthened, of course, in the Bill of Rights enshrined in our Constitution.

South Africa is one person with a head, a body and a leg, if you like. A person can only act and perform his or her activities well through the combination of co-ordination of the brain in the head and the pumping of the heart in the body, while standing on firm ground. The same must happen in the government of our country through having all spheres of government standing on their feet, having one heart and one mind. Simply put, the left hand must know what the right hand is doing, and each sphere of government or department should do likewise. Further, provincial administrations must relate to each other and so must the municipalities.

Allow me to demonstrate the importance of this by sharing with you and the nation my own experience in my own constituency. Almost four years ago I participated in the Budget Vote of the department. I reported enthusiastically on the delivery of water infrastructure to Bhala locality and expressed the excitement of the community about the matter as the ANC government was going to deliver clean water to them for the first time in the history of that community.

The Qaukeni local municipality spent money constructing the necessary infrastructure. Later, it transpired that electricity was necessary to generate the needed power to pump water and transport it into the village. Eskom was approached and it was stated that the area was under the jurisdiction of Eskom in KwaZulu-Natal – which had no immediate plans to deliver electricity to the area that is in the Eastern Cape.

Such an experience and many similar experiences all over South Africa will now be things of the past as the Bill charts the way forward for the co- operation of all, from local to provincial and national spheres of government. An integrated approach, vertically and horizontally, is the key to our success.

Above all, all the spheres must relate to each other. The ANC fully supports the view that the Presidential Co-ordinating Council, under the chairpersonship of our President, should lead government policy and constitute a nerve centre and a central command – in revolutionary terms – of the administrative machinery of our beloved country.

The Bill that we support, among other things that have been mentioned by our comrades, provides for the following points that are crucial: Where the implementation of a policy, the exercise of statutory power, performance of a statutory function or provision of a service depend on the participation of organs of state in different spheres of government, those organs of state must co-ordinate their actions in such a manner as may be appropriate or required in the circumstances, and may do so by entering into an implementation protocol.

Secondly, all organs of state must make every reasonable effort to avoid intergovernmental disputes when exercising statutory powers or performing their statutory functions, and settle intergovernmental disputes without resorting to judicial processes.

Thirdly, all organs of state, in regulating the exercise of statutory powers and functions, must agree on dispute settlement mechanisms and procedures that are appropriate. It’s very important that no sphere of government or organ of state may institute judicial proceedings in order to settle an intergovernmental dispute, unless the dispute has been declared in terms of the provisions of this Bill and all efforts to settle the dispute were unsuccessful.

There is a need to have a strong local government that must be characterised by a democratic value system, which must ensure that the people are governing. Local government is required by our Constitution to deliver services to communities within their areas of jurisdiction.

Disputes that emerge, more often that not, have the effect of diverting the money meant for delivery of the needed services to communities, especially the poor and needy. That money is often diverted to the rich and the haves, as the money that is needed ends up funding unnecessary and expensive litigation, and fighting for position either within the council or its administration.

The ANC calls upon all our leaders in this important sphere of government to realise that they are creatures of statutes and must at all times act within the ambit of their powers and functions as set out in this Constitution and the laws passed by this House, including this one. This would, in our view, assist in avoiding tedious, unnecessary and costly cases referred to our courts which have crippled some of our municipalities.

Further, local government is sometimes the agent of several provincial and national government departments, and logic dictates that competing interests sometimes emerge. Such interests must be considered and solutions found. The envisaged forums will enhance the needed co-operation to avoid disputes that may delay or inhibit the ANC’s desire to accelerate delivery to the poor and needy communities.

At this level of government, we sometimes expect disputes especially between local councils and district municipalities. The issue of a Big Brother or Big Sister, more often than not, rears its ugly head and has negative consequences that frustrate the ANC in its desire to fast-track delivery. When we established these structures, we never intended to create “municipaldoms” that are separate and distinct from each other, but tiers of government within one sphere with distinct and complementary roles.

The forum contemplated in the Bill will be able, in our view, to address some of the mischief and unintended consequences in this sphere. The ANC hopes that this forum will enhance the needed co-ordination, especially in the nodal points earmarked by the ANC government.

Provincial levels of government, being a sphere of government, must be similarly strong and efficient, particularly on all matters entrusted to them by the Constitution. The needed co-operation and co-ordination of programmes by the provincial departments need not be overemphasised. For instance, the building of a school, as the Deputy Minister clearly indicated, needs the Department of Education, the Department of Public Works and other sister departments regarding the necessary services.

The ANC believes that the provinces are not superhomeland administrations. They are a necessary link between the national and local spheres of government. We welcome the adoption of provincial growth and development strategies by provinces. Such development strategies are and must be informed by the mission and the vision of both the national and local spheres of government. The ANC supports the establishment of the forum under the chairpersonship of the Premier, so that all can, and must, pool their resources to improve administration and delivery of services to the electorate, the people of South Africa who live in the provinces.

I want to emphasise the importance of interprovincial relations by citing my own experience as a public representatives of the O T Tambo region in the Eastern Cape that shares a boundary with KwaZulu-Natal. For the past 11 years I, and many members of my constituency, have been using a national road from the region to eThekwini, Durban. Whenever we cross the Umthamvuna River one is struck by an alarming difference in the condition of the road that one travels on and the environment along the road.

On the side of my province, the road does not look good – I am putting this mildly – whereas, just across the bridge, when you enter KwaZulu-Natal the same road looks good and the environment is very bright. We contend, therefore, that these provincial forums will see to it that the need to talk to each other is attended to and taken care of, and will have a common strategy of delivering services to avoid the creation of a wrong impression that in South Africa we have areas for the rich, with impressive infrastructure, and others for the poor which have their own infrastructure. The ANC says all must share in the country’s wealth.

Regarding the national sphere, we would like to place on record that the intergovernmental forums contemplated in the Bill are structures that were established by the ANC government. The Bill is therefore a product of experience and distilled wisdom of the cadres of our movement, the ANC. In our view, these structures have been tested and there is no reason why they must not be trusted.

The provisions of the Bill are therefore intended to strengthen and empower the needed intergovernmental relations, with a view to having one government entrusted by one nation to deliver a better life for all on the basis of the Freedom Charter and the South African Constitution, and to ensure that our country is able to do so in an efficient and effective manner.

Our department, hon Deputy Minister, is entrusted with the task of facilitating this. In view of the praiseworthy manner in which the director- general and her section which is responsible for intergovernmental relations, have performed, we have no doubt, as the ANC, that the department will use its experience to advance the objectives of this Bill.

In conclusion, allow me to implore all those who would be involved for the first time in these structures to play their role as we believe that their contribution will enhance our vision of a developmental state committed to uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order!

Chief M NONKONYANA: All South Africans, including those living in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, have shown their utmost faith in the ANC . . .[Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Order! Hon member, your time has expired. [Applause.]

Mr M T LIKOTSI: Chairperson, this Bill is aimed at establishing frameworks for the three tiers of government in order to promote and facilitate intergovernmental relations.

It must be clearly understood by this House that a unitary state has one central government and not many governments. Azania, or South Africa, as her colonial name stands today, is a unitary state and is expected to be run as such.

The Bill clearly states that, in its meaning, relations means a relationship that arises between different governments and so forth in the conduct of their affairs. The PAC strongly contends that provinces and municipalities must not be regarded as governments but administrative appendages of the central government. We must uphold the principle of a unitary state or else falter and encourage anarchy, corruption and maladministration – as it presently tries to manifest itself in our country.

Democracy is a good global concept practiced by many countries worldwide but it is prone to abuse. To the USA, it means a sole right to abuse power and destroy weaker nations and countries, disguised as attempts to end terrorism, as seen in what happened in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. To the United Kingdom, democracy means freedom to collude freely with the USA and the gang, and destruction of defenceless children and women globally. That is precisely what they do, murder and murder all over the show. [Interjections.]

The PAC strongly believes that democracy is the means for recapturing a nation’s destroyed glory and dignity of human beings, and a very peaceful way of economic emancipation with the ultimate goal of land redistribution. Decentralisation of power should not be used as a way of re-establishing a democratic homeland . . .[Time expired.] Thank you very much. The PAC supports the Bill. [Interjections.] [Applause.] Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, the national Constitution of the Republic of South Africa governs as supreme law of the land, replacing the previous autocratic parliamentary sovereignty of the apartheid regime.

It is the spirit purported and values enshrined in this Constitution that make South Africa a true democracy. It is in the same Constitution that we are awarded our rights and freedoms as provided for in the Bill of Rights. Our government’s relations with its people, its functions and operations are all provided for in the Constitution.

The government of South Africa is based on a system of separation of powers where organs of state operate independently, yet co-operate with each other. In view of section 41(2), an active parliament needs to promote and ensure intergovernmental relations and also to address intergovernmental disputes by providing appropriate mechanisms and procedures to settle such disputes.

The MF acknowledges and accepts that the Bill under discussion provides for these constitutional requirements and is applicable to the three spheres of government, namely national, provincial and local government. It also deals with co-operation among these.

The MF agrees with the law advisers that in view of the above, it is not necessary to refer the Bill to the national House of Traditional Leaders since its provisions do not pertain to customary law or customs of traditional communities.

The MF hopes that the Bill will be applied effectively and efficiently to ensure co-operation between the various spheres of government and to assist in dispute resolution between others. Further, such resolutions should be made democratically and not autocratically. The MF supports the Bill. [Applause.]

Mr B M SOLO: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members of Parliament and fellow South Africans, again, at the beginning of the second decade, the ANC-led government is demonstrating its ability to guarantee that all South Africans will enjoy the right to take part in the administration of the country.

Our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities. South Africa belongs to all who live in it, as espoused by the historic document, the Freedom Charter, which remains the fundamental point of departure in our effort to create a caring society.

Building from experience through constitutional provisions, we introduce a Bill that will provide sound co-operative ethics in practice in an integrated way.

Allow me to address myself to a provision that relates to local government. We all know that at that level there are three tiers, local, district, and metropolitan municipalities. For purposes of this Bill, we will look at two tiers, that is local and district municipalities.

To ensure that these municipalities focus on and address the pressing developmental needs, the Bill has clear provisions in Part 4 of Chapter 2. This is in line with the hon President’s state of the nation address of 11 February 2005, where he said, and I quote: “We must achieve new and decisive advances towards building a strong and efficient democratic state that truly serves the interests of the people.” I think Peter is listening there.

These provisions provide for direct communication, co-operation and co- ordination, particularly for those in our communities that were previously disadvantaged.

Hon members and South Africans need to understand clearly the fact that the forum proposed here will bring together executives within a particular district. This is about executives sharing views on decisions that would enhance the wellbeing of our people. These engagements should not be seen as a tea party, a social club or imbizo. These are about development programmes.

The Bill goes further to provide measures to promote relations between two or more municipalities and facilitate intergovernmental relations between them. It also provides for intergovernmental technical support structures, including organised local government, to meet, engage, provide necessary support and learn about best practices.

Ngoku ke, uMhlekazi uPeter undikhumbuza esa sicengcelezo sasisithi: There are two black birds [Kukho iintaka ezimbini ezimnyama]. Uthi ke uPeter bona ngekhe bawuxhase lo Mthetho uyilwayo. Ndiyaqonda.

Kodwa yindoda endiyihlonipha kakhulu le, kwaye ikrelekrele. Inobuchule bokuthetha izinto izibeke ngendlela ethe gcaa. Kodwa namhlanje indiphoxile.[Kwahlekwa.]

Mhlawumbi apha entloko kaPeter kusagcwele imbizo. [Kwahlekwa.] Ucinga ukuba kufuneka nje sivele sibize iintlanganiso, sidibanise abantu ngathi sibiza imbizo. Hayi Peter, ngekhe siwuvumele umdudo woononkala.[Kwahlekwa.] (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Hon member, you remind me of the recitation that goes as follows: There are two blackbirds. Peter is telling us that they will not support this Budget Vote. I understand.

I respect this man because he is brilliant. He speaks very well and has a way of putting things clearly, but today he has disappointed me. [Laughter.]

He must still be thinking about imbizo. [Laughter.] He thinks that we can just call people to a meeting. We can never do that, Peter. We cannot allow ourselves to operate in a disorganised manner. [Laughter.]]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Please take your seat, hon member. Are you rising on a point of order, hon Smith?

Mr P F SMITH: Chairperson, will the hon member take a question?

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Will you take a question, hon Solo?

Mr B M SOLO: No, I will take it outside there, Chairperson.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order, hon Solo! When you address Peter, could you please address him as hon member, hon Smith or hon Peter?

Mnu B M SOLO: Inkathazo, bahlekazi, kukuba ndithe umhlekazi. [Kwahlekwa.] Ithi ke loo nto “honourable” [ohloniphekileyo]. Ndiyitolika ngokwam ke ngoku. Mhlekazi, masiyilungise loo ndawo.

Njengoko besenditshilo, le yindoda endiyihlonipha kakhulu. Ngoku uthi uPeter ngathi ixesha lokwenza izinto . . . Yho, uMhlekazi uPeter, uxolo. Nasemotweni i-timing ibethwa ngale ndlela uyibona ngayo. Akukho mlinganiselo wokuba sele ilungile ngoku, uya kubona wena ukuba isebenza njani uphinde uyichukumise. Ngoko ke ngekhe silazi elona xesha lifanelekileyo lokwazisa uMthetho oyilwayo.

Kodwa amava ethu asibonisile ukuba masiphephe imeko yokungalawuleki, nento yeembizo eziza kumane zibizwa nje, koko masibe neziseko eziza kuba nendlela ezibizwa ngayo.

Utshilo ngomlomo wakhe ukuba makubekho indlela ethile yokusebenza engenazimbophelelo. Kwixesha elininzi babekade besithi akukho ziseko okanye zinkqubo zikhoyo, koko kukho ukudideka. Ngoku, xa sibamamela sizilungisa zonke ezi zinto, uthi hayi masivule zibhuqe. Mhlawumbi ke sele beqhele kakhulu abahlekazi aba ukuvula zibhuqe, sivuke ngomso sele kubizwa imbizo. [Kwahlekwa.]

Masiboneni imizekelo ekhoyo. UMphathiswa wezeZindlu uwubeke kakuhle lo mba, wokuba kukho izinto ezenza ukuba singakwazi ukuqhubela phambili nenkqubo yokuphucula impilo yabantu bethu, ngakumbi kwicala lezeZindlu kukho imithetho eminye ongeke uyazi, nede yagqola kodwa xa kufuneka isetyenzisiwe iyakhutshwa phaya, ngakumbi kwicala lolwakhiwo lwezindlu. Kukho imithetho efana naleyo ibizwa ngokuba zii-ordinances nee-by-laws, eminye yayo midala kangangokuba ide yagqola, kodwa xa kufuneka kwenziwe izinto ezithile iyakhutshwa.

Akukho nto siyinyanzelisayo, silungisa indlela ukuze abantu bethu… Hayi ningakhathazeki, madoda, imbizo yinto ekhoyo, ibizwa kulo lonke jikelele. Kodwa ke apha ePalamente sifuna ukuba kubekho indlela efanelekileyo eza kulandelwa ngumntu wonke.

Akhukho nto itenxileyo ekubizweni kwembizo, kodwa ngelinye ixesha kungakho umdudo woononkala eburhulumenteni ukuba singaqhuba ulawulo ngendlela nje enobuxelegu.

Siyabulela ke, kumhlobo wam, uMhlekazi uDoman, noko uthethile namhlanje. Into endixakayo kukuba abalingane bakhe ngathi babaleke bonke. Andazi ke ukuba uza kuyithini le nto, nokuba useza kuyiphendula na.

Siyayibulela le nkxaso usunike yona, kodwa ndithemba elikhulu lokuba akukho nyawu lwemfene. Ndinethemba elikhulu lokuba uza kusebenzisana nathi apha. Sizimisele singurhulumente kaKhongolose ukusebenza ngendlela eyiyo nangokubambisana noorhulumente bamaphondo nabeZekhaya. Masiyibaleke le nto yobutshivela, njengalaa matshivela mathathu, uAndazi, uAsindim kunye noAndikhathali.

Ukuba lo Mthetho uyilwayo uwufunda holistically, ngokugqibeleleyo ngesilungu esikhulu, uthi ezi la maqonga kufuneka angapheleli kulaa ndlela abekwe ngayo. Nathi njengamalungu ePalamente kufuneka siye kuncedisa phaya ukulwa nobuhlwempu phakathi kwabantu bethu.

Ngoko ke sibiza yonke imibutho. Le ndoda ihleka kamnandi, ibuya embizweni. Xa ubuya embizweni kukho nomtshotsho phakathi. Sibalumkele ke ngoba ngathi imbizo le ibidibene nomtshotsho. Sizama ukuthi ke ngenye indlela siyabamema nabo ukuba masibambisaneni sakhe isizwe . . . (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.) [Mr B M SOLO: Hon members, maybe the problem is that I referred to you as sirs. [Laughter.] That actually means honourable. I have translated it for you personally now. Hon Chairperson, let it be recorded that I said honourable.

Earlier I said that I respect this gentleman. Peter now says that it seems the time for doing things that . . . Oh, hon Peter. I beg your pardon. The car timer is set and adjusted according to the way one wants it. We therefore cannot tell which is the appropriate time to introduce the Bill.

Our experience has taught us to avoid a situation where things would go out of control and where many meetings or izimbizo would be called even when there is no necessity for this. We should rather have structured methods by which we call them.

He said that there should be a certain structured and organised manner that is also not obligatory. Previously, and on a large number of occasions, they claimed that there were no structures and programmes, but only confusion. We listened to the mistakes they pointed out, and as we are now showing our commitment to change, they are telling us to just leave things open. Perhaps they have become used to things being left loose, and afterwards calling for an imbizo. [Laughter.]

Let us look at a few examples that exist. The Minister of Housing explained that there are some issues that are delaying the process of improving the lives of our people, especially with regard to housing development. There are very old pieces of legislation that one might not know about or understand that would be brought up and manipulated to suit certain circumstances such as housing development. There are ordinances and by- laws, and most of them very old that are only brought up to serve certain purposes.

We are not compelling anybody to do anything; we are only correcting things in order for our people . . . Please do not be concerned; izimbizo are called to sit everywhere in the country. In Parliament, however, there needs to be a process that should be followed by everybody.

There is nothing wrong with calling izimbizo, but we should be careful not to allow matters of governance to happen haphazardly.

I would like to thank hon Doman for his wise words today. I notice, however, that all his colleagues have left the House. I am wondering whether he will want to respond after this.

There is nothing unprocedural in calling for an imbizo, but sometimes things can be uncontrollable if we allow a situation where things are done haphazardly. I hope that he is going to work with us. The ANC-led government is committed to working in a co-ordinated manner and in collaboration with local government and Home Affairs. Let us not become irresponsible.

If you read this Bill holistically, you would understand that it says that we should not just talk on this podium. As members of Parliament, we should reach out to our people and assist in the fight against poverty.

This is a call to all the parties. This man over here is laughing because he has just come from an imbizo. After an imbizo there is usually time to sing and dance. We should be careful of them because it looks like during this imbizo there was singing and dancing. We are calling on them to join us and to build this country together . . .]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Order, hon Solo! Please take your seat.

Prince N E ZULU: Sihlalo ohloniphekile, isikhulumi sesikhulume kakhulu ngembizo ngakho-ke bengithi ake asitshele ukuthi udaba lwembizo luhlangana kanjani nenkulumompikiswano yezindlu? [Uhleko.] [Chairperson, the speaker has talked a lot about imbizos, but I would like to know the relevance of izimbizo to the debate on housing right now. [Laughter.]]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Hon member, could you stick to the debate, that is the Bill before the House.

Mnu B M SOLO: Hayi intle le nto, ngoba ngathi abantakwethu kulaa mbutho bebethe abahambisani nokuthi sakhe indlela yokubonisana nokusebenza singurhulumente kazwelonke, abamaphondo nabezekhaya. Ngoku ke mhlawumbi andiyivanga kakuhle le nto, ngoba xa ungayivanga kakuhle into uza kuyenza ngenye indlela, yembizo. [Kwahlekwa.] Ndizama ukulungisa loo nto ke, Mhlalingaphambili.

Ngamafutshane ndizama ukuthi asinakuvumela umdudo woononkala kweli lizwe. Kufuneka sibe nendlela ethe ngqo eza kwaziwa ngumntu wonke, singavuki nje sithi xa singaboni kakuhle sibe sesibiza iintlanganiso zomntu wonke. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Mr B M SOLO: This is working out well, and it seems that my colleagues who belong to the other party said that we should together establish a working relationship between the national Parliament, local and provincial governments. Perhaps I did not follow the discussion, and when that is the case, one is likely to miss the point. [Laughter.] I am trying to correct that, Chairperson.

In short I am saying that we cannot allow things to happen in an unco- ordinated fashion. We should have a clear framework on the basis of which we will work and call our meetings, and not just call people to gatherings.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Order!

Prince N E ZULU: Umhlonishwa lona osanda kukhuluma uhlanganisa imbizo nomsindo. Ake akuchaze futhi ukuthi usho ukuthini ngalokho – umsindo, imbizo nenkulumompikiswano yezezindlu lapha eNdlini? [Uhleko.] [Hon Chairperson, the speaker has said a lot about izimbizo. I therefore ask him to tell us how the izimbizo issue features in this housing debate. [Laughter.]]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Order! Hon member, I appealed to you earlier to reflect on the debate before the House, which is the Bill.

Mnu B M SOLO: Hayi, ndiyabulela. Ndiza kuzama ukucela uxolo kule Ndlu ngokuthi ndithethe ngembizo, ngoba yenye yeendlela abathi abantu bahlangane ngazo.

Kodwa ke endiyithethayo, bantakwethu, kukuba inene asinakuvumela umdudo woononkala. [Kwahlekwa.] Masibe nendlela ethe ecacisa ukuba oorhulumente baqhagamshelana njani na. Ixesha ke asinakukwazi ukulilinganisela, ukuba kufaneleke nini okanye akufanelekanga nini ukumisela umthetho. Oko kufuneka kucace.

Ndithanda ukubulela nomntakwethu uDiko, noko ubeke njengendoda. Iphi le nkwenkwe? [Kwahlekwa.]

Siyabulela, ngakumbi kumntakwethu uDoman. Ubonisile namhlanje ukuba mhlawumbi ubani anganegalelo elikhulu xa enokuzimisela ukuba kubekho intsebenziswano kweli lizwe, silungise iingxaki. Siyayazi sonke le ngxaki. Masingamane siphikisa nje kuba sifuna ukuphikisa. Andizi kuyibiza ke enye into, mhlawumbi iya kuthi ingawaphathi kakuhle amanye amadoda. Siyabulela kakhulu. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Mr B M SOLO: Thank you. I would like to apologise to the House for talking about imbizo; it is one of the processes that allows people to meet and discuss issues.

I would like to repeat, dear colleagues, that we cannot let things happen haphazardly. [Laughter.] We should establish a process through which the government will interact with the general public. We cannot determine the period during which we can do that. That should be clear.

Let me also thank hon Diko for his input, which was valuable. He spoke like a man. Where is this boy? [Laughter.]

We would like to thank hon Doman, too. He has indicated that everyone can add value to this country if we can all work together towards a common goal, and together provide solutions to our problems. All of us know this problem. People should not oppose things for the simple reason that they are the opposition. I would like to avoid mentioning the other thing in case some people do not find it easy to accept. Thank you very much. [Applause.]]

Mr S D MONTSITSI: Chairperson, may I rise on a point of order? It’s unfortunate the speaker has left the podium already. I just wanted to find out about the poem called Njalo Nje kukhona imbizo . . [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M DOIDGE): What is the point of order, hon member? [Laughter.]

Mr S D MONTSITSI: No, I wanted him to interpret the poem called Njalo Nje, kukhon’ imbizo.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M DOIDGE): I think you are correct. You missed the opportunity. He has left the podium. [Laughter.]

Mr M DIKO: Sorry, Chair. I was trying to raise my hand for quite a long time. On a point of order: The hon member said “Ipi lenkwenkwe uDiko.” Now I would like to know, ukuba uzondolusa nini? [when will you take me for initiation?][Laughter.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M DOIDGE): Order hon members! Please proceed, hon Deputy Minister.

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Chairperson and hon members, I would just like to say that this Bill that was tabled here today, and I certainly have no intentions of turning this Bill into a controversial Bill, is a very important Bill and it has no controversy around it, and I wish it to remain that way.

But, very briefly, I would like to thank all those members, as I have said in my speech earlier on, all those parties that are supporting the Bill. We thank them very much. I am not going to mention them by name. They know who they are but I would just like, in fact, to respond to Mr Doman from the DA.

Mr Doman, I think many of the members from the portfolio committee have responded to your concerns and I think they have actually outlined how that intergovernmental relationship is going to happen at the local level. I think that was clearly explained by the members of the portfolio committee and if perhaps you are not satisfied with that kind of explanation by the members you can invite the department to have a workshop for your or for your party. The department is more than willing to run a workshop for you to explain how this relationship of these three spheres would be run.

Now coming to Mr Smith, who is not supporting the Bill and it is his or his party’s democratic right to do so. But there is one question that I have for hon Mr Smith: What informs you of the timeframe? What informs your understanding that this is not the correct time? He did not explain to us as to why he came to that conclusion, because when this Bill was started the Minister got a letter from the past Constitutional Court president asking why this Bill was not finalised? Where is this Bill? The Constitutional Court was asking: Where is this Bill? That informed the department, but I do not understand what informs you as to whether this is the right or wrong time for this Bill.

Mr Diko, Mr Mfundisi and Mr Nonkonyana, thank you very much. And to all the others, I did say thank you very much earlier on.

Lastly, members, I would like to come to the interests of Mr Doman. What a statement he actually made here. I think it’s a very expensive statement to say that members of this party are stupid, by saying that they seem to toe the party line. It’s a very expensive statement, which actually brings back what was said in the past, namely that black people are stupid. It’s a very expensive statement and this party, the ANC, would not have survived the onslaught by the past regime if it had loose cannons in its midst. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

Debate concluded. Bill read a second time (Inkatha Freedom Party dissenting).

The House adjourned at 19:18.