National Assembly - 30 August 2007



The House met at 14:03.

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




The ACTING SPEAKER: Hon members, I wish to announce that I have been informed that Mr I D Mogase has been appointed Chief Whip of the Majority Party with immediate effect. [Applause.] Congratulations, Mr Mogase. I wish you every success.



    Progress in terms of the empowerment and development of women
  1. Mrs N B Gxowa (ANC) asked the President of the Republic:

    (1) Whether our country is on course in terms of the empowerment and development of women; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details;

    (2) whether the Government intends putting in place any additional programmes and institutions to accelerate women’s development; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO1894E

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, Madam. I am told you are the Acting Speaker. I’m told that we have people in the gallery whom I’d like to welcome to Parliament. They are from around Cape Town, Athlone, Atlantis, Bellville South, Elsies River, Fisantekraal, Fish Hoek, Grassy Park, Gugulethu, Hout Bay, Khayelitsha, Kuils River, Langa, Manenberg, Mfuleni, Milnerton, Mitchells Plain, Mowbray, Muizenberg, New Crossroads, Philippi, Crossroads and Sea Point. I am very glad to see you here in the people’s Parliament. Welcome. [Applause.]

The hon Gxowa asked questions concerning issues about the empowerment and development of women. I have no hesitation in answering both questions that she posed in the affirmative. Yes, indeed, we are on course in terms of empowering women, and will continue to work to accelerate women’s development because, among the central tenets of our democracy, is the conscious and deliberate implementation of a programme to create a truly nonsexist society.

Among other things, our commitment to the promotion of gender equality has been demonstrated by the establishment of a comprehensive national machinery for the advancement of gender equality in our country. This commitment is further affirmed by the explicit focus on gender issues in all our policies - by ensuring that our policies are designed in a manner that helps us to root out gender discrimination and promote women’s rights, by the concrete projects in our programme of action around gender issues. Central to all this is ensuring that women are themselves integrally involved in the design and implementation of our policies.

As we know, about a third of the members of this House are women. Forty- three per cent of Cabinet members are women. Four of the premiers in our nine provinces are women. At the local government level, 40% of councillors are women. Three of our six metros are led by women mayors. In this regard, we have already surpassed the 2009 Declaration on Gender and Development, which calls for 30% representation of women in decision-making structures in the SADC community of nations.

Currently, our Parliament is ranked 10th out of 130 parliaments in the world in terms of women’s advancement in governance. Yet, as we have said in the past, this is still not enough. We need to do more to ensure increased participation of women in our politics. We can add to this the fact that our policies make a significant impact on the lives of our women. For instance, over 40% of households that have benefited from the housing programme are headed by women. There is free health care for pregnant mothers and children under the age of six. Women benefit from the provision of water, electricity and sanitation, which have, in real practical terms, improved the quality of life of the poor.

In addition, the progress in pushing back the frontiers of poverty, with clear benefits to millions of women in the country, is the direct outcome of the constitutional, legislative and programmatic initiatives that our government has put in place since the attainment of our democracy.

With regard to education, statistics indicate that girls tend to outnumber boys in secondary school enrolment. A larger proportion of females than males therefore benefit from secondary education. At the tertiary level, women account for more than 40% of total university enrolment. The ratio of female to male in the ages 15 to 24 years who completed Grade 7, as a measure of literacy, was 111 women to 100 men. Statistics SA’s twice-yearly labour force survey shows that a larger proportion of women than men have completed Grade 8.

At the same time, we need to move with the necessary speed to ensure greater empowerment in the economy. A recent study called the Nedbank Businesswomen’s Association: South African Women in Corporate Leadership Census shows that women constitute 19,8% of executive managers, and 10,7% of directors of the 372 companies surveyed.

These figures are an improvement on last year’s comparable figures. However, considering that 41,3% of the working population is female, these figures indicate that more work should still be done. The census ranks South Africa above Australia when it comes to the percentage of women who serve as board directors, and above the US, Canada and Australia when it comes to executive women managers.

We are still at the very beginning of the journey to attain gender equality. The majority of the poor are disproportionately women. The level of women’s participation in the economy is indeed woefully low, whether as employees in the most skilled categories or as managers and as entrepreneurs. For instance, a recent study on women entrepreneurs suggests that women comprise 83% of the informal economy, of whom 61% are African women, mostly in survivalist activity. The same report also underlines the need to promote entrepreneurship among women because it says that men are 1,7 times more likely than women to be involved in entrepreneurship.

Besides these challenges are the social pathologies that women still endure in our communities, including gender-based violence and abuse. As such, much more needs to be done to ensure that we create a society in which all human beings enjoy a dignified existence in all respects.

This brings me to the second part of the hon Gxowa’s question, and I will again cite a few examples to illustrate the issue about the additional work that needs to be done.

This clock is not working, Madam Acting Speaker.

The ACTING SPEAKER: We decided to keep it that way, because it’s not useful when the President is here. [Laughter.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: So, may I continue?

The ACTING SPEAKER: Yes, please.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: In recognising that we have many women in the marginal survivalist business category and underrepresented in enterprises higher up in the value chain, there are a number of specific programmes to support the creation of successful businesses run by women. For instance, a Women’s National Directory for Procurement Purposes has been finalised, and was launched last year.

The Presidential Women’s Working Group that met on 7 August this year considered the important initiative proposed by the women who participate in this working group to form a women’s retirement fund, and agreed that it should be launched. The fund will be focused on significantly improving social security and retirement provisions for women and vulnerable women workers. It will be managed by women, and invested in a way that benefits the women of South Africa.

The women leaders responsible for this initiative stated that a fund would, and I quote:

Harness the collective influence of current retirement savings of women to create a greater role for women, and increase security and retirement coverage and income security of vulnerable groups such as domestic workers and women in rural areas.

In addition, the meeting also discussed the Women Entrepreneurs Fund, championed by our Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe. This fund will provide finance and comprehensive support to women small and medium entrepreneurs, precisely for the women to empower and develop themselves, and break their subjection to an inherited and antidemocratic, unequal power relationship with the male species of our society.

Other key issues dealt with during the meeting include the need to pay extra attention to the matter of basic services for women in rural areas, such as the continuing challenge of access to water, sanitation and basic education, the role of families in girl-child education and upbringing, and violence against women, as well as challenges facing farm labourers.

In conclusion, precisely because the relations of patriarchy which necessitated the struggle for gender equality remain entrenched in our society, we do indeed need to intensify the struggle as an integral part of our effort, among other things, to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment. Thank you very much, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mrs N B GXOWA: Mr President, thank you very much for what the government has done already for women as this month, August, is a month in which we, the women of South Africa and the women in leadership, rededicate ourselves to work and improve on all the achievements that we have achieved for women.

Mr President, we appreciate the efforts that government has made to empower women. We are also aware that a lot of effort is put into the emancipation of women in rural areas. What efforts can be made to sustain such programmes in rural areas, and could government consider the deployment of community development workers to monitor and sustain developmental programmes in the rural areas? Thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Yes, indeed, hon member, the matter of rural development is of course one of our principal challenges, because these are the areas which reflect some of the worst levels in our country in terms of poverty and underdevelopment. They do require very special attention.

We have, as government, been discussing that specific matter of integrated rural development, which all of us know would have a positive impact, particularly on women, given the fact that women constitute the overwhelming number of people who are in these areas that we are talking about.

About two or three weeks ago, I was in Limpopo, and the provincial government had convened a meeting of all of the ward councillors and the community development workers deployed in the province to discuss the specific matter of the co-operation between them, because I’m sure the hon member knows that, in some areas, there are tensions that have arisen between the councillors and the community development workers.

They therefore decided to convene everybody in the province to discuss this matter because, quite correctly, the premier in the province and the government had taken the decision, which is precisely the point that the hon Gxowa indicates – that the CDWs have a very important role to play in terms of all of these rural areas, particularly in the province of Limpopo. Therefore, we couldn’t afford a situation of tension between them and the councillors.

I think we did agree with them that we would, all of us, throughout the country, have a look at the outcome of that meeting, which would seek to enhance co-operation between the councillors and the CDWs, in part to enhance the impact of the community development workers in terms of responding to the development challenges in the rural areas of Limpopo. We agreed with them that we would want to have a look at that report so that we can see in what ways we can communicate to the rest of the country such lessons as would have been derived from that process. I am saying that, essentially, I do indeed agree that we need to ensure that this development effort, in all its elements, including the intervention of the CDWs, does indeed focus on the rural areas.

Ms J A SEMPLE: Hon Acting Speaker, Mr President, many men in South Africa and indeed throughout the world still have a very patriarchal attitude towards women. If this was not so, we would not have to discuss the empowerment and development of women and programmes needed to empower them in this House today. To put it crudely, most men – indeed, a lot of men – believe that a woman’s place is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. This attitude applies to women in business and politics, and often women come to believe it themselves.

Does the President have any ideas on how this patriarchal attitude can be changed so that women can indeed take their place on an equal footing with men in society? Thank you. [Applause.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I indeed recognise the truth in a lot of what the hon member is saying. I would have been very, very pleased indeed if the hon member had said something about how to respond to this challenge. That would help.

I think that it is clear, when we talk about the kind of society that we are trying to create, that one of the things we have got to fight against is precisely this patriarchal attitude which produces these outcomes that she is talking about. The way we have dealt with it is that it is actually for us a constitutional requirement. Our Constitution says that we must produce a nonsexist society, so it’s not a matter of an option from that point of view.

Therefore, we asked what it is that we have to do in regard to that. As you know, when I stand, in these circumstances, I am representing the government and the Republic, not political parties, but I don’t know how many of our political parties have actually taken the decision to have gender equality in the composition of all their structures - their representatives that they deploy in government and all of that. [Applause.] That is an important intervention. It may very well be that we should come to some point quite soon when we follow the example that has been set by other African countries actually to address the matter of gender equality via a constitutional amendment. It may be that we are coming quite close to that.

That is an intervention that needs to be made, but I think the political parties in this Parliament do indeed need to take the decision to say, as political parties – and that includes the DA – let us have gender parity … [Applause] … starting first of all within our ranks, and then going into the other broader areas in terms of the people that we deploy. [Interjections.]

I am very glad the hon members of the DA here are heckling, and saying that they have the hon Sandra Botha here, a woman leader. Congratulations. I did say congratulations to her then. The hon Helen Zille is leader of the DA, and I said congratulations to her also. That’s an important step forward.

I think we might want to start with those interventions, and then of course we must, as government, pursue these various matters that I have spoken about, which are targeted not only at that parity in terms of representation such as we would have here, but also impacting on the actual life conditions of women. Rural women are the ones who go to fetch water in the rivers and the dams if there are no taps.

So, when we say clean water is delivered there, it impacts directly on women. When we say let’s electrify the villages, and use electricity to cook and all that, it’s to address this problem that it is the women who go to fetch firewood and spend lots of time burning this fire in order to cook, and therefore, all of these interventions are the ones we need to make so that indeed we transform the socioeconomic condition of women while at the same time ensuring that women assume their rightful place in terms of the leadership of our country. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Acting Speaker, hon President, I greet you in the name of Amakhosikazi! [Women!]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Malibongwe! [Praise!]

Ms S RAJBALLY: Your reply to this question has touched on most of my concerns, but just to have a little more clarity, I am still going to ask you a further question.

The first thing I want to say, as far as empowerment and development of our women in South Africa is concerned, is that our three-day Women’s Parliament has proved this in respect of the attendance and participation, and for that we applaud our government. [Applause.] Hon President, what I would like clarity on is whether these additional programmes and institutions will also include covering the violence and abuse against women and preventative methods for the protection of our women in South Africa. I thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: The hon member knows that having run this campaign for some years of 16 days of activism in terms of violence against women and children, the government has said that we need to transform that into 365 days of activism in terms of violence against women and children, and that it clearly isn’t enough that we just have this campaign towards the end of the year during the 16 days, but that this be a campaign that we conduct every day. So, I think that is a very important intervention and, therefore, work is going on to translate that into real programmes.

In that context again, I would like to again make an appeal to our political parties: I think all of us by now are sufficiently familiar with the nature and the sociology of this violence against women and children. We have a pretty good idea of where it occurs, when it occurs and why it occurs. It is clear that an important element in the fight against violence against women has to be intervention with our communities. It has to be engaging the masses of our people in this struggle. It means the process of the mobilisation of our people to act against this, rather than saying: Well, there’s violence against women. Yes, we all recognise that. All of us say that it is unacceptable and very bad, and we leave it to the government to deal with the matter and the police.

It really has to be very much driven by what happens in our communities, and it is the political parties – not civil servants -that can mobilise the communities to confront this. That actually relates to other matters which are very important here because, again, a lot of this violence you would find – as I am sure all of us know – is also associated very closely with alcohol and drug abuse. Again, the only way to deal with those matters, in addition to whatever other interventions can be made from the government’s side, is that a critically important intervention in this is the involvement of the communities in this fight, not for 16 days in the year, but for 365 days in the year.

So, in that sense, I am saying that a large burden in terms of this fight – an important fight – must fall on the shoulders of our political parties and, really, that is the only way that we can move forward with the sort of speed and the critical outcomes that I am sure all of us are interested in. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Ms S C VOS: Acting Speaker, thank you, hon President. There is a view articulated by some that a proposal to subsume the existing Gender Commission into a broader human rights constitutional instrument would diffuse national focus on gender and indeed impinge on the current powers and functions of the Gender Commission. Could I ask you if you would support the undertaking of extensive research into the effectiveness or otherwise of the Gender Commission since its inception? Thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Acting Speaker, at the end of last week I received a copy of the report the hon Suzanne Vos refers to. I’m afraid I haven’t read it yet, but I will certainly do that. I certainly would be concerned - whatever the justification for the proposals that have been made in terms of that report - that we shouldn’t do anything that would dilute, minimise or downgrade the focus on the matter of the emancipation of women. [Applause.]

It is correct; we have all said that women’s rights are human rights. We all agree. But I don’t think it necessarily follows that because women’s rights are human rights, that the issue of the struggle for the emancipation of women should become a subdivision in the larger thing. I don’t think this is necessarily correct. I am quite certain, hon Vos, that if we wanted to assess the effectiveness of the Gender Commission, it wouldn’t need an extensive study. I think, as a country, we like all these extensive studies and spend a lot of time studying things and so on. [Laughter.]

I’m sure I can give you an assessment of the Gender Commission in two days

  • it doesn’t need anymore than that – including proposals as to what we might do to improve its effectiveness. As I said, I am terribly sorry, I haven’t read the report and I don’t know what it says, but I don’t think we can proceed from a position which would in any way whatsoever seek to minimise the kind of critical and strategic importance of the issue of gender emancipation, because it is actually integral to the definition of our democracy.

If you say we are a democratic society, you cannot say we are a democratic society when you’ve disempowered the majority of the people in the country. You can’t say you’re a nonracial society with the same effect on nonsexism, etc. The matter must remain very central, and I am sure we will all discuss this report. But I really hope that we would want to approach it, whatever the proposals contained in the report, in a manner that avoids unintended consequences. Thank you, Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

    Steps to address concerns raised in service-delivery protests
  1. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) asked the President of the Republic:

    Whether the Government is taking any steps to address the concerns raised in a number of service-delivery protests throughout the country; if not, why not; if so, what steps?NO1836E

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting President, we … [Interjections.] What did I say? [Laughter.]

The ACTING SPEAKER: I didn’t know that I was Acting President. [Laughter.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: No. I think you would make a very good Acting President. [Laughter.]

The ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you, sir.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: No, no – Acting Speaker – we did address, as you know, this matter when we dealt with parliamentary questions in May of this year. As we said then, we reconfirmed that, yes, indeed government continues to take steps to address concerns raised in the number of service- delivery protests.

These include the ongoing process of strengthening the capacity of our municipalities, which are the structures that I deal directly with in terms of many of our people that are faced with the challenges of service delivery. Initiatives, as the hon members know, introduced in this regard include Project Consolidate through which we have mobilised and deployed over 300 experts to over 80 municipalities. The impact of this intervention has been seen in improved financial and project management and, generally, in improved service delivery. Further, working with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, through the initiative called Siyenza Manje, in order to provide technical assistance to targeted municipalities, about 100 experts and graduates have already been deployed.

Again, I’d like to inform the House that our work in the local sphere of government is informed by the five-year local government strategic agenda, which was adopted last year, and whose central objective is to ensure that municipalities are provided with sufficient institutional capacity and resources necessary to discharge their obligations.

To help improve the work of these municipalities, government departments at provincial and national levels have indeed developed measures and implementation plans to ensure hands-on support to the local government structures. We have also ensured that public representatives engage communities on an ongoing basis through the imbizo programme. In this way, the citizens of our country are able to articulate their views and engage whatever problems they face at local level.

Again, as we have reported in this House and as was asked by the hon Gxowa, we have deployed community development workers so as to improve communication between government and the communities and help address problems as they arise. We are continuing to build more Thusong community centres, and the recent Cabinet lekgotla in July also adopted the decision to transform our post offices into such Thusong centres.

Further, the process of ensuring full participation of local people in issues affecting them continues, especially with the programme of strengthening the ward committees. In addition, because the problem of service delivery is, in some instances, due to corruption in some municipalities, we are giving this matter the necessary attention.

Accordingly, we have put various measures in place, including the adoption and implementation of the Public Service anticorruption strategy. But we should, at the same time, not lose sight of the fact that our government has indeed implemented extensive programmes since it came into office to ensure that the quality of life of all our people is improved, and the impact of these programmes can be seen across the country. This relates, for instance, to matters of electrification; it relates to matters of basic sanitation; it relates to matter of potable water. However, even given the progress that has made in this regard, government continues to work hard to further improve service delivery.

I’ve said what I’ve said to emphasise the point, firstly, that the work of providing services to all our citizens is indeed continuing apace. Therefore, for anyone to posit a notion of a crisis of service delivery in the country would be incorrect. Secondly, the facts that 15% of our households do not have access to potable water, that 30% do not have access to sanitation, and that 26% do not have access to electricity mean that we still have some way to go before we attain our objectives.

With regard to the protest to which the hon Leader of the Opposition has referred, our research points to the fact that in these localities, specific individual attributes or a combination of these manifest themselves. These include areas in which or near which there are service- delivery projects taking place, areas in which the condition of infrastructure to delivery services is suboptimal as a consequence of demand exceeding supply, and areas in which there is inadequate maintenance or illegal connections and usage. This includes areas in which there is poor communication around development plans of the various spheres of government, areas with manifestations of tension within and among political formations as well as organs of civil society, and areas in which specific organisations have chosen to exploit difficulties to create false expectations and ride on the wave of the resultant impatience.

What this communicates to us is that in each of these localities we need to develop specific interventions to address the specific issues that precipitate such protests. Many of these issues require action by government in terms of improving the functioning of the ward committees and communication structures and building capacity of institutions at the coalface of service delivery.

In many instances, political and community organisations have a critical role to play, and I do hope that the hon members, especially those with parliamentary constituency offices in these areas, will help ensure that these issues are addressed and that all of us indeed will conduct our work in such a way that the need for such protests is eliminated. Let me stop there for now, Madam Acting Speaker.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (Ms C-S Botha): Thank you, hon Acting Speaker. Mr President, may I point out that the DA achieved 100% women representation in leadership positions without changing the Constitution. Despite your reassurances, there have been 5 000 service-delivery protests in the past year – the highest in the world. To me, that sounds like a crisis.

The DA is convinced that the ANC policy of cadre deployment to managerial positions in preference to appointment on the basis of competency is at the heart of this problem. Would you personally be prepared to lead a focused initiative to replace incompetent or corrupt public representatives and public-sector officials, and, in this context, set measurable targets for the legacy you will leave your successor in 2009? Thank you. [Applause.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Speaker, I have indicated already, as the hon members know, today and on previous occasions about the work that the government is doing to improve the capacity of our system of local government. That’s why we are talking about Siyenza Manje, about Project Consolidate and so on, all of which are practical programmes focused on the deployment in municipalities of the people with the necessary skills. That’s practical work that is going on, and indeed I have spoken about this even today.

The government will continue that work. Part of the work that we do, even in the imbizo processes - whenever we interact with the municipalities and even when we are here in the Western Cape doing a provincial imbizo, but which also dealt with the municipalities in the province – in terms of one of the matters indeed that we discussed, as we would discuss in any of these izimbizo, is precisely this question: vacancies in terms of certain levels of management, vacancies in terms of various skills in the municipalities, vacancies in terms of technical sections.

This is precisely to see in what way all three spheres of government can assist the municipalities to meet this particular challenge. And it is a particular challenge. When we were in the Eastern Cape in a similar imbizo process, they gave us the example of the Municipality of Aliwal North, which had put out an advertisement for a chief financial officer, interviewed people and found the person – very good, very competent – who accepted the job. But, then, before he took it, he communicated with the municipality and said he had had a look around his rural area and that all sorts of social amenities were not there – cinemas, etc – and had rather decided to take a similar job at Port Alfred. So he was gone. That is a particular challenge.

This has nothing to do with cadre development and all of that. It’s clear that the municipality couldn’t solve this problem on its own. It wouldn’t have the resources to be able to retain or attract the CFO as compared to a wealthier municipality.

So, what I am saying is that yes, indeed, the government is intervening in this matter in all three spheres to ensure that our municipalities do have this capacity to be able to discharge their responsibilities to the citizens. But it is perfectly obvious that they would not be able to cope with this challenge on their own, except for the metros – the metros can.

But the rural municipalities in particular face a very, very difficult challenge in this regard. We are indeed responding to this. I think that it would be good indeed if our political parties, including the DA, had a look at this thing in its actuality – outside of the context of the political campaigns against one another – because it is a very, very important challenge. And, as part of trying to address it, for instance, we have looked at whether there should not be a strengthening of the district municipalities, which would then attract this professional and technical capacity and use the district municipalities to extend services professionally and technical services to the local municipalities as part of this challenge.

It’s a difficult challenge and, I think, it would be very good if the political parties had a look at this matter in its objective reality, while, of course, continuing with their political campaigns. In the end, what is going to solve the problem for us is a very, very close attention to meeting this resource deficiency in a sphere of local government that probably is not as well funded as it should be. That’s what I think. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Acting Speaker, hon President and hon members, what worries many is the anger, vandalism and signs of defiance that people have been displaying in these protests and marches, whether they be community marches, community protests, industrial action or crowds attending court cases. Sometimes the lack of decisive action by government to solve these issues, like Khutsong, lies at the heart of the escalating unrest. It creates a precedent that, in order to be heard, a community needs to resort to protests. Where we are fortunate in this country, however, is not that we don’t know who is doing this. The media has been helpful in pointing out to us the people and organisations that are doing this.

At face value, the picture portrayed seems to indicate that citizens are not being listened to and hence they resort to protests against lack of service delivery. The second conclusion could be that there are forces that have identified an opportunity to vent their anger and frustration under the guise of community concerns when, in fact, they are engaged in settling political scores. In the …

The ACTING SPEAKER: Order! The time allocated has long expired.

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Can I ask the question? [Interjections.] I thought the President would give me the benefit of the doubt. Could I ask the question?

The ACTING SPEAKER: You should have just asked the question.

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Alright; could I ask it?

The ACTING SPEAKER: I’ll give you half a minute to do so.

Mr B H HOLOMISA: Thank you. In the event that the analysis of the security situation indicates that these protests are, in fact, politically motivated, what measures will government take?

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Well, Madam Acting Speaker, let me first of all agree very, very fully with hon member Bantu Holomisa about an unacceptable feature of some of these demonstrations, and he says that some of them are not connected to service-delivery protests. Indeed, even this afternoon, shortly before we came to the House, somebody on the radio was talking about similar conduct at football matches: that when teams lose, the police have to send in armoured vehicles to evacuate coaches from stadia, because the fans of the losing side … [Interjections.]

The ACTING SPEAKER: Order, hon members, please!

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: They did not say Pirates supporters. [Laughter.] But, I think, the hon member is actually drawing attention to a very important matter. You do have this unacceptable behaviour when people think that they are entitled to burn houses, to do all sorts of criminal things, in fact, in order to advance their interests. Indeed, I would want to agree that it’s absolutely the responsibility of our law-enforcement agencies to act very firmly against this kind of behaviour. There is nothing at all which says that because I’m protesting about something, then I’m entitled to break the law. This has included the killing of people. It cannot be right; it’s not right. And, indeed, I am sure the state must act with regard to that.

We haven’t, hon member, considered this as a matter that is of a security nature in that it poses a security threat, but rather in part as a matter that reflects perhaps a continuing challenge in terms of our understanding as a population of the meaning of democracy, with some people thinking that democracy - these freedoms and these rights that we have - is, in fact, unlimited and entitles us to do whatever; that as I march down the street and there’s a shop with jewellery on display I’m entitled to break the window and steal the jewellery.

There is something there with regards to our understanding of democracy and our responsibility as citizens that we have not quite done as a society, and it results in the wrong types of behaviour. I’m saying that we have not, as government, said that this is a security matter that must be responded to in a particular way.

So, with regard to answering your question specifically as to what we would do, I don’t know because we haven’t really gotten there. Certainly, we have asked that a more detailed study be made of these demonstrations because, in reality, in all instances – in absolutely all instances – what appears on television as these demonstrations is not always the communities. It would be a particular group.

You might have a community of half a million people, and get 200, 300 or 400 people demonstrating in the street – organised, put together by somebody. So to convey a notion of a mass rebellion is wrong. It doesn’t actually represent practically what is happening in our communities even if the complaints are legitimate. I am saying that perhaps we should discuss this. The study – which we have asked for to be conducted into the detail of these kinds of protests – may very well help us to come to some conclusions with regard to whether there are any security elements with regard to these demonstrations.

I think it would be important that everybody keep in mind the point that the hon Bantu Holomisa is making in that legitimate as our complaints may be, they don’t serve as entitlement to do illegal things. I think that that is very important. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Adv Z L MADASA: Ndiyabulela Mongameli nangona lo mbuzo sele uphendulwe kodwa ndiyacinga ukuba mandike ndiwubeke nangesintu. Kukho ifuthe elikhoyo, nekubonakala ukuba liyakhula, liphenjelelwa ngofunzeweni, abazibiza ukuba bazinkokheli zabahlali nangona kubonakala ukuba ingathi balwela izikhundla ezithile kunye namaqithiqithi ahamba nezizikhundla. Aba funzeweni balahlekisa abantu ukuba baqhankqalaze benze izidubedube endaweni yokuba babakhokele. Le nto aba funzeweni bayenzayo ifuna ukukhalinyelwa ingekade inwenwele kwilizwe lonke, igxobhe ulwawulo lukarhulumente. Zithini na ezakho izimvo Mongameli ngokuba aba funzeweni bangxoliswe, nathi sizinkokheli sifundise abantu ukuba ulawulo lwentando yesininzi lusebenza njani na. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[Adv Z L MADASA: Thank you Mr President. Even though this question has been answered I think I should state the question in vernacular. There is a revolving force that is spreading with the influence of certain anarchists who call themselves community leaders even though it is obvious that they are more concerned about certain positions and other benefits that come with those positions. These anarchists are actually misleading people, propelling them to protest and they are causing disorder instead of leading them. The behaviour of these anarchists needs to be curbed before it explodes throughout the country and thereby destabilises the government’s order. Mr President, what are your views on reprimanding these anarchists and our responsibility as leaders on educating people on the significance of democracy? [Applause.]]

The ACTING SPEAKER: Before the hon President responds to that, I just want to mention to the guests of the National Assembly that you are not allowed to participate in any debates by clapping hands.

uMONGAMELI WELIZWE: Sekela Somlomo, mandibulele, ndifunde nto ke namhlanje. Mandibulele mntakwethu uMadasa ukuba le nto le yenziwa ngofunzeweni. Ndithemba ke into yokuba sizinkokheli zala maqela alapha ePalamente siza kukhe siyisebenze le nto ukuze ilizwe lingamoshwa ngoofunzeweni ngoba bona ke bambalwa, thina sibaninzi kunabo. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you Deputy Speaker, I learnt something today. I thank brother Madasa for informing us that this is caused by anarchists. I hope that as leaders of all the political parties that are represented in Parliament, we will intervene as a unified force and in numbers to prevent our country from chaos caused by just a minority.]

The hon Madasa is very educated politically. He knows more than I do about what is happening with regard to abofunzenzweni [anarchists]. And, I am quite sure that the ANC, of which he is a member, like all the other political parties, will make sure that they intervene in a manner that ensures that people that fight for positions don’t misuse and abuse our people in order to achieve these partisan outcomes.

But, certainly, I think that the defence of our democracy is our collective responsibility, and we can’t allow it to be undermined by people who are ready to cause all manners of problems simply because of their pursuit of some selfish interests. Thanks, Acting Speaker.

Mnu M W SIBUYANA: Ndiyabulela Bambela Somlomo, mhlawumbi kuyakuba ngcono ndiyibeke ngesiXhosa. Siye sahamba saya eNgcobo, safika amakhosikazi esibalisela ukuba ahambile, aya kufuna amanzi emfuleni ebusuku, aze adibana nesiporho abe amadoda wona elele. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[Mr M W SIBUYANA: Thank you Deputy Speaker. It would probably be better for me to put this in isiXhosa. We went to Ngcobo and women there told us that they had gone to fetch water from the river at night, whilst their husbands were asleep, and they met a ghost.] Laha ndzi humaka kona wansati u fambile a ya ka mati enambyeni ivi a hojomela a fa. Ejoni, loko hi fambile hi ya languta timhaka ta mati kona, hi byeriwile kahle hi vamasipala leswaku loko va nga kumi mali yo engetela a va nga swi koti ku endla leswi Presidente a swi vuleke. Xana loko va nga swi koti ku fikelela swipimelo leswi, Presidente u ta thlerisela endzhaku nkarhi lowu a wu vekeke leswaku swilo swi hetisiwa? (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)

[Where I come from, a woman went to fetch water in the river where she accidentally plunged into the water and died. In Johannesburg, during our oversight visit on Water Affairs, we were informed by the municipality that if they did not receive additional funds they would be unable to reach the targets set by the President. If they are indeed unable to reach these targets, is the President going to extend the timeframe set to accommodate them?]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, the government is keeping a very close eye on the matter of these targets that we have set with regard to water delivery, with regard to sanitation, with regard to electricity and so on. Indeed, it is watching the progress that is being made relative to the targets that we have set and is continually assessing the matter of the availability of resources and the allocation of resources for the achievement of those targets.

We haven’t come to any position yet that we need to revise the targets, but certainly we take the position that because the targets have to do with changing the lives of the people for the better, which is why they are important, that we must then make sure that in terms of everything - financial resources, human resources, organisational structures and anything and everything that is relevant to this - we do indeed attend to all of those matters so that we reach the targets rather than revise them.

So, I would like to assure the hon member that yes, indeed, we are looking at this matter quite continually, quite closely, so that in the event that you can see that the resource allocations are inconsistent with the targets we want to achieve, that surely we would look at that. This is a matter that we really are keeping a very close eye on, and indeed discussed again at this last Cabinet lekgotla in July.

Bendingazi ke ukuba zisekhona iziporho eNgcobo. [I did not know that there were still ghosts in Ngcobo.]

In the past, yes, I knew they were there. [Laughter.] But it is clear that the modern developments haven’t yet caught up with Ingcobo [Butterworth] quite fully. That’s why these iziporho [ghosts] are still there.

Regarding the point that is made by the women, yes, indeed, the women are quite correct: we have to deal with the matter, as I was saying earlier, of the availability of potable water everywhere in our country, because the burden of fetching water from the rivers and so on indeed falls on women, and indeed the burden of coming across ghosts will also fall on women. So, I think, that to free them from both ghosts and this work, we do indeed need to address this matter of water delivery. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

     Establishment of a Ministry for Women and Rural Development
  1. Mr M B Skosana (IFP) asked the President of the Republic:

    Whether the Office of the President will consider establishing a Ministry for Women and Rural Development in order to intensify the fight against rural poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment and to enhance the general advancement of women; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?


The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, with regard to the question that the hon member asked about the possibility of establishing a Ministry for Women and Rural Development, I think the essence of the question is whether our country needs further institutional mechanisms to deal with the challenges of women’s advancement, as well as rural development. As we know with regard to the challenges facing women, we have established a number of organs to pay focused attention to this matter.

These include the Minister in the Presidency, the Office on the Status of Women in the Presidency, the gender focal points in national government departments, the Commission on Gender Equality, the Presidential Women’s Working Group and the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women at this legislative level. We are of the view that these various organs, for which the specific mandate is empowerment and development of women, including those in rural areas, have the competence to address the challenges to which the hon Skosana referred.

In addition, government ensures that policies of the different departments address themselves to the huge challenge of rural poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment, as well as the general advancement of women. One thing is certain - and I am sure all of us recognise this - and that is that we need to strengthen the capacity of the existing institutions to ensure that they perform their work better. We need to ensure better monitoring and evaluation and to improve the implementation of programmes and projects.

As new needs arise, as is the case with the DTI project to assist women entrepreneurs and the proposal on a women’s pension fund, specific institutional capacity may need to be created to carry out these tasks. As we gain further experience in implementing gender programmes, new insights may emerge about the efficacy of the structures that we have set up.

The hon Skosana may be well aware that the issue of a Ministry for Women has been raised, among other things, by the SA Women in Dialogue at their last annual conference at the beginning of July. The theme for this discussion was “From dialogue to development: Women uniting to eradicate poverty.” We recognised the importance of the various proposals that were made during this conference, as well as the survey process itself. Our government has interacted and continues to interact with Sawid. At all times, government strives to ensure that we have, as a country, a comprehensive and co-ordinated antipoverty programme, that we continually improve on the existing interventions and ensure better integration of all government programmes.

As I indicated in the state of the nation address in February, the work done by Sawid, together with various government departments and learning from countries such as Tunisia and Chile about the struggle against poverty, would help us better understand some of our own weaknesses.

Accordingly, we are working on addressing some of these weaknesses, which would help us to accelerate our development programmes so as to defeat poverty and underdevelopment, both in the urban and rural areas. Among other things, this work will ensure that we develop a better database of households living in poverty, identify and implement specific and relevant interventions and have better monitoring programmes on the impact of our interventions. We will also be in a better position to align our antipoverty programmes, maximise impact and avoid wastage and duplication. All these interventions that we identified in the state of the nation address and others, and others that have been ongoing are important elements in the fight against rural poverty, against unemployment and underdevelopment, and indeed are very central to the struggle for the empowerment of women. Thank you, Madam Acting Speaker.

Mr M B SKOSANA: Thank you, Acting Speaker, and thank you, Mr President. Well, I must say that my fox is wounded, shot by the President. The President has indeed outlined several programmes which have to do with this question of women’s empowerment and emancipation. I think mine was an additional viewpoint.

I looked at the situation in rural areas and I thought that in fact mine was in support of most of the people whom the President said raised this issue. I focused more appropriately on a resourced and empowered women agency; in this case I am looking at the Ministry for Women and Rural Development. It might be a simplistic view, but I think it has the potential to turn the rural economies around for the betterment of all. In the long run, I also believe that it has the potential to impact positively on what is happening in urban areas with regard to criminality, unemployment, poverty itself, homelessness and the proliferation of shacks. Acting Speaker, this cannot be a question. It is simply a plea to the President and government to also look at these viewpoints.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, the issues that the hon member raised are obviously important questions, both with regard to rural development and with regard to the impact on women and the consequent impact thereof in terms of what is happening in our urban areas. Obviously, these are all very important issues. It might help if the hon member had a look at some of the interventions that we have made. I am sure that the hon member, for instance, is familiar with the decision we took some time back – he was still part of government then – in terms of these integrated and sustainable rural development programmes. We identified particular rural areas which, on the basis of various criteria, seemed to be the rural areas that were most in need of these particular interventions.

The way we designed those programmes was indeed to make sure that we then have the necessary impact. This is because there were areas of the country – rural areas - that had the highest incidence of underdevelopment, of poverty and all of the negatives. I would accept that indeed the programmes that we have implemented in those areas have not moved as fast as they should. Indeed, we have sought to discuss this to see what it is that we could do in order to improve our performance. Perhaps the hon member can have a look at that to see in what ways we can improve our performance with regard to rural areas that have already been identified. This is not to say we have not done anything in other rural areas.

With regard to the areas that have been identified as priorities, we need to look at what is happening with regard to that, integrated within which would be this matter of women’s empowerment. I agree that we have not moved as fast as we should have, with regard to advancing development in these areas, even despite the fact that they were particularly selected as development nodes. I think it is within that context that we would be able to answer in a very practical way the correct appeal that the hon member makes.

The matter of this women’s Ministry, as I have indicated, has been raised and we had taken a decision originally in 1994, which I believe was correct, that the matter of women’s development as far as government is concerned is better placed in the Presidency. It relates to all departments of government that the hon member, I am sure, is familiar with.

The problem about a women’s Ministry – and I’m sure that we should discuss it; I’m not saying that I am ruling it out - is that Ministers are equal. You can have a woman Minister of Women’s Affairs. That Minister would not have any possibility to direct what the Minister of Finance says, because you are another Minister. Therefore we have taken a decision that it was better to place the issue of women’s development in the Presidency so that we can then make an impact on the entirety of government in all spheres with regard to that.

Now, one of the problems – which, again, I accept - has been that we have not given sufficient capacity and we have not built a sufficient departmental capacity in the Presidency to follow up on women’s matters. That is correct. I think the matter would need to be argued further as to why a Ministry of equal weight with other Ministries should be the one that should intervene on a matter that is, in fact, transversal.

People at Health must address women’s affairs; people at Trade and Industry must address women’s affairs; people at Finance must address women’s affairs; people at Water Affairs and Forestry must address women’s affairs; people at Sport and Recreation must address women’s affairs – even Ngconde Balfour at Correctional Services must address women’s affairs. Everybody must. Surely that must be the responsibility of the Presidency of the country to ensure that everybody responds to this challenge. That’s my view. I may very well be wrong in that a Ministry of women’s affairs would address this challenge better. I think if we increase our capacity to follow up on the implementation of the programmes and look at the outcomes we are achieving throughout all the spheres of government, we will make better progress with regard to both rural development and women’s empowerment. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Ms A M DREYER: Madam Acting Speaker, Phonane Sithole is a 40-year-old Sotho speaking woman; she lives in a shack with her eight children in the Diepsloot informal settlement in the north-western part of Johannesburg. She barely survives on government grants, but she supplements her income by doing washing for other residents in Diepsloot.

She is healthy and willing to work, and there are many people who would like to give her a job. However, overstrict employment conditions at the job entry level keep her unemployed. My question to the President is: When will the ANC government change employment conditions to make it easier for women like Phonane Sithole to find a job and regain their dignity? [Interjections.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I accept that the hon member is raising this matter out of genuine and serious concern. I accept that. It would help us a great deal if the hon member could indicate what it is that exists in government legislation, regulations and so on that makes it impossible for this lady in Diepsloot to get a job, as she indicated. It would be better because then we can act on that.

What we have decided, and we have said it here, is that we would ask our Minister of Labour to look at all of these questions that relate to the negative impact of the regulatory framework. This is because this is not a unilateral decision of government. That is part of what you have to understand, and I think that is part of what the hon Holomisa was trying to address. The way we have constructed our democracy is indeed that we must engage in these inclusive processes.

You know very well that the legislation and the interventions of that kind that come from the Minister of Labour have to go through Nedlac. Even with regard to this matter, you have to get into a discussion with all of the social partners that relate to this matter.

I am quite certain that if it was just government’s right to take any decision that it liked on this matter, of course we can take a decision tomorrow. It would really help a great deal if the hon member could say: Here is this case. She is clearly very familiar with this 40-year-old woman in Diepsloot. Go back to her and let us discuss that so that you can come back and say that these are the things that block the possibility of the lady of Diepsloot from getting a job. Then we can attend to that.

A political statement which talks about ANC government and all of that is not going to solve this problem. I really appeal to the hon member to proceed in that way. Thank you, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mr S N SWART: Thank you, Madam Acting Speaker. Arising from your response, hon President, some 11 million South Africans at present have access to social security grants, many of whom are rural women. Whilst the ACDP fully supports the provision of social security grants which are used to alleviate poverty, clearly, we as a nation need to ensure that as many people as possible, and where applicable, exit the social welfare grant system and enter the labour market to obtain employment.

During the state of the nation address earlier this year, Mr President, you indicated that the Expanded Public Works Programme, which is one of the main job creation strategies, needs to be: “retched upwards quite significantly to provide more and better jobs.” To what degree, hon President, has this occurred and are you satisfied that a sufficient amount of women will and are benefiting from the Expanded Public Works Programme, especially in the rural areas, or is this an area where we are not moving as fast as we should? Thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I would probably have said “ratcheted” up rather than “retched”. Indeed, we want to achieve that objective and some progress has been achieved with regard to that. It might be better that we arrange that the Minister of Public Works gives a report to Parliament about that. I am quite certain that my response to your question would not be sufficient. There certainly has been progress; certainly been ratcheting up; but the extent to which and the kinds of impacts and so on, I think you would need a more detailed and comprehensive report. We certainly can discuss this with the Minister of Public Works.

The hon member raised an important point about people exiting the system of social grants. Again, the Cabinet lekogtla in July discussed this specific question. In that context it discussed the need for us to ensure that we have a co-ordinated antipoverty programme. And, as I indicated in an earlier reply, that as part of that, we produce a detailed database of the households that depend on grants, so that we can come right down to that level of the household to say what we have done with regard to this specific household. I am sure that would include the lady in Diepsloot. What have we done with regard to this specific household to empower the household to exit the grant system? That is what we are working on now to ensure.

We have this comprehensive and co-ordinated antipoverty programme, an important element of which must be assisting people to exit the grant system. It means job opportunities, whether through the Expanded Public Works Programme, or any other job opportunity, etc. We are indeed looking into that particular matter. With regard to the specific question, I think it would be possible for government to give a detailed and comprehensive report as to what has happened with regard to the Expanded Public Works Programme, which, indeed, is being ratcheted up and is taking in more people, including women. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker.

Nkskz P TSHWETE: Bambela-Somlomo, ndicela ukubulela uMongameli ngengcaciso yakhe ecacileyo, ngakumbi impendulo yakhe ngokubhekisele kwiSebe lolawulo elijongene nemicimbi yamakhosikazi. Kodwa andikwazi ukuthula ndithi cwaka, ndingayivezi into yokuba ikhwelo lokuba kube kho iSebe lolawulo elijongene nemicimbi yamakhosikazi lenziwa yi-ANC kuqala, yibhasi eqhutywa yi-ANC.

Kuluvuyo ke ukufumanisa ukuba nayo i-IFP iyafuna ukukhwela kule bhasi ekudala ihamba. Kodwa ke ndiyabona ukuba uMongameli akade atsho ngelitsolileyo ukuba silicandelo lamakhosikazi le-ANC, sisebenzisana nemibutho engekho phantsi kukarhulumente, kudala sayibona imfuneko yobukho beSebe lolawulo elijongene nemicimbi yamakhosikazi.

Akude utsho, Mongameli, ukuba phaya kwiOfisi kaMongameli nazi izinto eniza kuzenza ngokubhekisele kwikhwelo lokusekwa kweli Sebe lolawulo. Siyayibona imizamo eyenziwayo ngokubhekisele kwintswela-ngqesho kwanemiba yamakhosikazi ekufuneka ishukuxwe ngamaSebe obuwakhankanyile afana nelikaMnu Balfour, kodwa ke ikhona into yokungaxoli, Mongameli, kuba awude utsho poqo ukuba phaya kwiOfisi yobOngameli nimi ndawoni ngokubhekisele kulo mba. Enkosi. [Laphela ixesha.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Ms P TSHWETE: Madam Acting Speaker, I would like to thank the President for his comprehensive explanation especially his response as far as the Office on the Status of Women in the Presidency. I just cannot keep and not reveal that the initiative to have a department that deals specifically with women’s development was first introduced by the ANC and is still driven by the ANC.

It gives me pleasure to discover that the IFP is interested in aligning itself with this initiative. But I notice that the President does not want to come right out and say that the ANC Women’s League interacts with organisations that are not part of government, and that we had long realised the need for a department that will deal with the status of women.

Mr President, you have not disclosed what process you are going to implement as the Presidency. We do recognise the attempts that are being made to address the issue of unemployment of women, which still needs to be given attention by the departments that you have mentioned such as Mr Balfour’s department, but we are not satisfied because you refuse to state blatantly what your position is as the Presidency concerning this issue. Thank you. [Time expired.]]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I did not mention the ANC Women’s League because I knew that the hon Pam Tshwete was here. [Laughter.] She would very well represent the ANC Women’s League. She is quite correct that indeed the ANC Women’s League had raised this particular matter.

With regard to steps that government might take to strengthen capacity in the Presidency to address the issue of women’s development, I want to leave that matter to Minister Essop Pahad. I am sure that he can address this matter quite competently. Minister Pahad, you have heard what the hon member said. They need to get some response as to what the Presidency intends to do to strengthen its capacity to address these challenges. I hope the hon member will accept that. He must tell everybody and not just the hon Pam Tshwete. The leader of the DA here is very interested also in this matter. She has just whispered that to me now. We can do that. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker.

 Progress made in implementation of government’s programme of action
  1. Ms N M Twala (ANC) asked the President of the Republic:

    Whether, following the July mid-year Cabinet lekgotla, the progress made in implementing the Government’s programme of action has been satisfactory; if not, (a) why not and (b) what interventions did the lekgotla identify to speed up progress in this regard? NO1895E

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, we held our media lekgotla during the last week of July, and, as is customary, we used the occasion to review reports on the implementation of the government’s programme of action. Subsequently, the clusters of departments submitted their latest round of reports to Cabinet.

And as you would know, Acting Speaker, Ministers have also been briefing the public during the course of this week on our latest programme of action reports, and summaries of the progress have been posted on the government website.

Generally, it would be fair to say that we are making good progress. The economy is doing well, and an increase in employment and in the extension of government’s social programmes, among other things, have made an impact on the overall struggle against poverty.

More specifically regarding the economic sector, the government has announced and launched a national industrial policy framework and the first annual industrial policy action plan. Within the action plan, we have identified four economic sectors where we intend to focus our development efforts. The sectors are capital goods, forestry and forest products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and the motor industry. These join the three areas of industrial policy support announced in the Asgisa programme. Of the three Asgisa sectors, tourism, business and outsourcing are progressing well while the biofuel strategy is almost complete, though it is a few months behind schedule.

Further, we have adopted a national public transport plan and are making considerable progress in its implementation. In the science and technology sector, we’ve adopted a 10-year plan to focus our research and development efforts, and we’ve agreed to establish a technology innovation agency to co- ordinate government efforts to stimulate research and development.

Important developments were also announced in our efforts to reduce the costs of telecommunications. The implementation of the Electronic Communications Act and planned new investments will support the continued reduction of telecommunications costs.

Another important development was the presentation of a draft national human resources development strategy to co-ordinate and prioritise our efforts in education and training. Discussions continue towards the urgent finalisation of this initiative.

Clearly, one area proceeding slowly in our efforts is to integrate infrastructure development planning. And we do hope to make more advances in this area during the remainder of this year. We have continued discussions on the related area of long-term planning and are exploring the manner in which this function might be accommodated in government.

As far as the social sector is concerned, we continue to make progress in the implementation of our social service programmes, including health, education and social grants. However, we continue to be concerned that too many South Africans are not able to progress out of the state of poverty on their own. And as I’ve just indicated, we reviewed some of our strategies in this area.

We had initial discussions on the need for and the design of a comprehensive antipoverty strategy, which would combine all of initiatives into a more systematic approach to reduce poverty. This includes welfare measures, infrastructure and social service provision and efforts to improve access to economic opportunities.

And we do expect that discussions of this matter will lead to the presentation of a draft strategy to Cabinet later this year.

We also discussed the need for some possible strategies in the field of improving social cohesion in our country. In this area, too, we expect significant progress before the end of the year.

As we reported shortly before the lekgotla, while our overall crime rate is considerably down over the past six or seven years, crime in some categories spiked during 2006. A major contributing factor was the security guards’ strike, and more recent trends suggest that we continue to make advances in our efforts to reduce crime.

And so, though we have made modest gains in our war on crime, the imperative to continue to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system remains. It is a priority of government to enhance the implementation of the ongoing interventions in this regard with a view to improving the safety and security of our people.

The government especially welcomes the partnership that is firming between itself and the business community, the religious leaders, the women’s groups and other community-based organisations.

We are also pleased with the progress in our efforts to improve the performance of the Home Affairs department, with the appointment of a new director-general and the development of a turnaround strategy. We expect to see the fruits of these interventions in the near future, with a more efficient delivery of services to our citizens and effective implementation of our revised immigration strategy.

Again, the lekgotla discussed extensively the challenges facing government in the area of governance and administration. We reiterated the observation that we have made in this House on various occasions, that strengthening the capacity and the organisation of the state remains the single most important task facing this government. Consequently, government has developed and is implementing various programmes in order to ensure that we do indeed meet this task.

Let me stop there, Madam Acting Speaker. There are some other areas I will indicate later regarding the issues that were addressed by the Cabinet lekgotla. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Nkskn N M TWALA: Enkosi, Mongameli, ngempendulo yakho ephangaleleyo. Umbuzo wam olandelayo uthi: Loluphi uhlobo lokujonga okanye lokufumana iinkcukacha ezinokuqinisekisa ukuba uphuhliso lweenkonzo luyaqhuba kuwo onke amanqanaba karhulumente? Yeyiphi indima, ukuba ikhona, enokudlalwa luluntu jikelele ekumiseleni iindlela zokuhlola inkqubela?

Ngaba nikhe nathethisana na noluntu ngokubanzi, nive ukuba lungancedisa njani na kule meko? Enkosi. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Ms N M TWALA: Thank you, Mr President, for your extensive response. My next question is: How else can we monitor or find information to ensure development of services in all spheres of government? What role, if any, can communities play in establishing monitoring processes of service delivery?

Have you had interaction with people and communities to find out how they could assist in this particular issue? Thank you.] The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I’ve been trying to indicate in earlier questions what government is doing with regard to these challenges of development and the work that is being done to ensure the involvement of people and communities. For instance, earlier we talked about the launching of a women entrepreneurs’ fund by the Department of Trade and Industry, the launch of a project coming out of the presidential women’s working group that has to do with women’s savings and how we might utilise those to have an impact on women. These are initiatives, particularly the second one, that come from the communities.

Addressing the matter of strengthening the capacity, for instance, of local government, has to do with also ensuring that local government is able to respond to these challenges of development. As the hon member would know, all of the local governments, apart from their IDPs, are supposed to have local economic development programmes, which are very important in terms of addressing this challenge that she addresses.

So, when the lekgotla looks at how we strengthen our system of governance and administration, one of the issues is to say that we need to strengthen it in all spheres of government in order to impact on the issue that she’s raising.

Again, as you would know, the lekgotla is attended not only by national government, but also by the premiers, representatives of Salga and the directors-general at provincial government, so that all spheres of government sit together to address this.

We have tried to address the mobilisation, as I say, of people, of communities and the rest of society to participate in this. That includes the mobilisation of the private sector, even – and I’m sure the hon member is familiar with this – in areas such as housing. For instance, when we were here in Cape Town during the provincial imbizo, indeed you had Nedbank and Old Mutual participating in a housing project here in Cape Town. The private sector mobilised to participate in this process of development is not just leaving this to government.

So, yes indeed, therefore, as government we have to look, are looking and have been looking at all spheres of government with regard to the development challenge, as well as this other question of trying to ensure that our people are not mere observers and recipients of development, but themselves participate. Indeed, in that context, again, I’m sure that the hon member would be aware that a lot of discussion that has taken place around the development, for instance of co-operatives, has been about finding ways and means of engaging our people within the development process. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker.

Mr K J MINNIE: Madam Acting Speaker, Mr President, during a cluster media briefing on 28 August 2007, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration stated that, and I quote: “The single Public Service is directly focused on decentralising” – and I repeat, decentralising, “government services so that they can be easily and simply accessed by the citizen.”

Mr President, the single Public Service is about centralisation and not decentralisation. On a daily basis in portfolio committees, we hear from directors-general that they cannot perform because of a lack of skills and capacity. Government plans, therefore, remain plans only, with no action.

My question to you, Mr President, is: How do you think that a single Public Service will bring action plans to fruition, given the fact that the skills and capacity shortages will remain, and given the poor performance by many central government departments at present? I thank you.

The ACTING SPEAKER: The question to the President is not necessarily related to the initial question, but the hon President will decide whether to respond to that or not.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Well, I was hoping, Madam Acting Speaker, that you were going to explain the question to me. I was very glad when you started off with “the question”. The question comprises many unrelated matters.

There is a challenge generally in government, in all spheres, to attract and retain skills – as I said, in all spheres of government. It has the worst impact at local government level. The matter we are addressing we must continue to address.

Indeed, there are other interventions that are being made with regard to this. This is something we have to address, and is a reflection of a skills shortage that is general in the country. It will reflect itself in the economy and it will reflect itself in all sorts of other areas. Indeed, I think all of us, as a country, have recognised this. So this is a matter that we have to address.

This matter is independent of the matter of a single Public Service. It’s something that we have to address, as the country is trying to address it. And, fortunately, in this regard, I’m very happy indeed to see that all sectors of society are responding to this matter as a national challenge, rather than a political matter.

For instance, just now, when we had a meeting of the Presidential International Advisory Council on Information Society, very important plans were announced by private companies to respond to this challenge of skills shortage as it impacts on their particular sector.

So, in addition to supporting government initiatives in this area, various companies announced plans that they have to set up their own training institutions, right up to the training of people to PhD level, to respond to this challenge. I’m saying I’m very glad indeed that South African society is responding to this challenge. It’s a common challenge, hon member, that is the skills shortage one, and must be addressed by all of us.

Regarding the matter of a single Public Service, I discussed earlier the example of the person that the Aliwal North Municipality tried to employ as their chief financial officer but who then went and got himself employed somewhere else.

Surely, it must be possible, within our system of government, to say: Here is a chief financial officer – maybe not a chief, but somebody with these particular skills - who sits in a department at headquarters in Pretoria. Why don’t we send this person to Aliwal North to give this capacity to this municipality to do that?

To do that would most certainly assist a great deal if you had an integrated Public Service covering all spheres of government. Quite why having one integrated Public Service is centralisation of anything, I don’t know.

Look at the actual situation now as it obtains between national and provincial government. National and provincial governments have one Public Service. In what way has the fact that you have one Public Service, both nationally and provincially, centralised power in actuality as an actual, real, practical situation, not speculative? What has happened?

I’m quite certain that the people who argue that a single Public Service means centralisation of power can’t answer that question. Here is a provincial government; it functions within the confines of the Constitution. There’s a Public Service that operates at provincial level, which is very much part of the same Public Service as at the national level, and it has not impacted in any way in terms of limiting the powers of the provincial government as defined by the Constitution. Why must this do this now with regard to local government?

So, the hon Minister for the Public Service and Administration was quite correct. This creation of the system would, among other things, allow for great mobility within our Public Service system and the possibility to easily shift people to areas where they are more needed, with all of the implications about pensions and this, that and the other. Therefore, this would empower government, as is the situation today with provincial government, to be able to do their work.

The hon member there spoke about the women of Engcobo who go to fetch water, ze badibane neziporho [and then come across ghosts]. This is another sporho. [Laughter.] People want to frighten themselves about something that doesn’t exist. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mr J BICI: Madam Acting Speaker, President, first of all I want to commend you for the respectful and humble manner in which you handle our questions. One would wish, especially from this side of the House, that that attitude prevails even if you are not here.

Mr President, in your responses you repeatedly mentioned government capacity, especially with regard to local government. Now, my question, Mr President, is: How effective is the capacitating of these officials? To me they have always been capacitated, but we don’t really see something happening. Do they really need only capacitating? Isn’t there anything else that they need? Don’t we need to investigate and see whether there’s nothing else we need to do besides capacitating them?

For instance, at Engcobo, where they say there are spooks, the local government there is sitting on a guarantee of R350 million to develop that small dorpie near your home, Idutywa. However, the municipality is sitting on that; they are doing nothing about that. They are waiting for somebody they love to come and apply. In the meantime the money is there; and somebody wants to do development. Does that really mean that they need to be capacitated? Is there nothing else wrong? Thank you. [Time expired.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I don’t know. The hon member might be able to answer that question in that beyond capacity, as we have discussed it, there is something else that we are not attending to. It may very well be that there is, but I would hope that the hon member would help us to address that.

In terms of our experience – and the hon member is familiar with this – apart from reports that we get from the Department of Provincial and Local Government, etc, the direct intervention in and interaction with the municipalities do indeed raise very sharply this question of capacity of all sorts.

Today we’ve talked about capacity with regard to skills, and this is in section 57, isn’t it, which deals with managers? Always check on this: How many are there? What vacancies are there? What are we going to do to make sure that its management echelon is in place: professionals, engineers, people of that kind and then technicians, the maintenance people? Always check on this. This is one element of capacity, which we must address.

Another element of capacity is the political competence of your councillors: familiarity with the legislation that governs municipal government, familiarity with the obligations of municipal government with regard to all sorts of things and things like the council. So there is that capacity also. There is also the aspect of familiarity with a matter that is still in debate here in the Western Cape, for instance, namely the ward committees. What are these ward committees and how should they relate to the councils? How do they, together, relate to the communities? Capacity relates to understanding those things and implementing them.

One should understand, for instance, that legislation requires that the municipalities should provide ward committees with sufficient resources to be able to do their work. You find, in some instances, that they do not provide them with the required resources. So, I’m saying that it is capacity of different sorts that is required.

Indeed, even when you look at the question of municipalities, they draw up a local economic development plan. It’s called a local economic development plan. Every time we go to municipalities we study this plan. The fact that Ugu Municipality, for instance, decides to produce aeroplanes doesn’t make this a local economic development plan, because they can’t reproduce an aeroplane, never mind a bicycle. But this is a fake example because Ugu would never do that.

However, people would indicate such things, for instance, as part of the local economic development plan, and you can see that whoever did this knows nothing about economic development, but they have a plan – as is required. So, I’m saying, hon member, that there are capacities of all sorts that are required.

Now, it may very well be that if Engcobo Municipality is sitting with R350 million that they are not spending, this may reflect some capacity problem – what capacity, I don’t know. Maybe they are afraid of taking decisions, I don’t know, or maybe something else.

So, I’m saying that the hon member may indeed be able to identify that we need to intervene with regard to other capacities other than the capacities that we have normally been talking about, such as Project Consolidate, Siyenza Manje, etc. There may be other interventions that we are not making with regard to this capacity matter, as a result of which even with those interventions we are not making the progress we should be getting.

Indeed, I’d be very pleased if the hon member had some understanding of this that he would communicate it. I’m quite certain that all of us want to make progress with regard to these matters. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

 Report to SADC leaders following South Africa’s role as mediator in
          Zimbabwe, and steps to address crisis in Zimbabwe
  1. Mrs C Dudley (ACDP) asked the President of the Republic:

    (1) In light of the fact that the people of Zimbabwe are looking to Africa’s leaders to bring an end to the abuse of human rights and the economic meltdown in their country, what report was given to the Southern African Development Community leaders following the SADC mandate to South Africa to act as a mediator in Zimbabwe;

    (2) whether South Africa will be taking any further action to address (a) the crisis in Zimbabwe and (b) the recent escalation in the number of illegal immigrants to South Africa; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO1884E

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, with regard to these questions about Zimbabwe, let me start by reminding the hon members of the response I gave in this House earlier this year regarding the mandate given to us on the matter of Zimbabwe by the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government that convened in Dar es Salaam in March of this year.

Amongst other things, I said then that both the government of Zimbabwe and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC, had unconditionally accepted the decisions of the extraordinary summit, including our role as facilitator; that the Zimbabwean interlocutors had agreed that all of us should avoid conducting dialogue through the media as this would be counterproductive and have the potential to imperil the negotiations; and that the discussions themselves were proceeding very well. In terms of the brief given to us by the SADC summit, we were required to report on the work of the facilitation of the dialogue between government and the MDC to the organ of SADC, which we did during the course of the SADC summit in Lusaka, in that indeed numerous engagements had taken place between the interlocutors and the facilitation team and that these engagements had run smoothly and that some progress had been made.

The summit was also informed of the fruitful interface that had taken place between the facilitation team and representatives of civil-society organisations from Zimbabwe. This interface with the civil-society organisations occurred with the support of the parties to the dialogue – the parties that beforehand had concurred with the facilitation that some interaction with members of civil society was essential. This was so, if only, to ensure that any final outcome of the dialogue would enjoy the support of all the people of Zimbabwe and lead to the creation of an environment conducive to free and fair elections.

It is now a matter of record to quote from the communiqué of the Lusaka summit - that the summit welcomed the progress and encouraged the parties to expedite the process of negotiations and conclude the work as soon as possible so that the next elections are held in an atmosphere of peace, allowing the people of Zimbabwe to elect leaders of their choice in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. I wish to reiterate what I mentioned when I addressed this House on the same matter last June in that, as was the case with regard to the Dar es Salaam summit, President Mugabe participated in the recent Lusaka meeting and was therefore party to the decisions taken by the summit.

The hon Dudley will also recall that our assignment was limited to the facilitation of dialogue between the Zimbabwean government and the two factions of the MDC, and that it did not include dealing with what she describes as the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe. She will also be aware that the extraordinary summit in Dar es Salaam had asked the SADC Executive Secretary to undertake a study on the economic situation in Zimbabwe and propose measures on how SADC can assist Zimbabwe to recover economically.

I can inform the National Assembly that the executive secretary presented his report to the troika of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security which, in turn, reported on the Lusaka summit meeting which directed the SADC Ministers responsible for finance to use the report of the executive secretary to draw up, in consultation with the government of Zimbabwe, an economic plan to support Zimbabwe.

With regard to the second part of the question, in particular the reference to whether we will take any further action to address the crisis in Zimbabwe, I would like to say that we will act within the mandate and the decisions of our regional body, SADC. These include the process to identify measures that SADC should take to help with the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy.

Finally, it is quite evident that to the extent that some Zimbabweans have been illegally entering our country, our law-enforcement agencies have been and will continue to respond in accordance with the relevant laws of our country. I thank you, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mrs C DUDLEY: Thank you, hon Acting Speaker. Mr President, you and others have clearly said and we would agree that the Zimbabwean problem is a problem for an African solution, and it must be solved by Zimbabweans themselves. But the question that is on many people’s lips is what exactly you are meaning by this. I say this because when the people of Zimbabwe see themselves as having tried every possible peaceful means to bring about a solution, it’s rather confusing. If democratic, free and fair elections are not going to be an option, what actually is left for them to do? And I can’t believe that you are suggesting civil war or reverting to struggle tactics, etc. Even the SADC guidelines for free and fair elections - and they are guidelines that South Africa and Zimbabwe are party to - recognise that conditions in the run-up to elections are as important as the conditions on the day.

What are Zimbabweans to do, Mr President, when opposition leaders are beaten and killed; the rule of law is ignored; human civil liberties are abused; the voters’ roll is hugely questionable; the electoral body and the media are government controlled; gatherings are outlawed; and even prayer matters are shut down and people are thrown in jail. This even violates the SADC protocols. Where must they turn? Are measures in place? We would like to ask and hope to ensure that the conditions for free and fair elections will exist within the next few months, considering that elections are in six months’ time. Thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, we need to listen to the Zimbabweans on this matter. I think they must lead us in terms of what happens to Zimbabwe. The leading political parties - I was just saying now, responding to the hon member’s question - that is the ruling party and the two groups of the opposition MDC are meeting, have been meeting and will continue meeting to address, among other things, the need to create the necessary climate to ensure that the elections that are scheduled for March next year, presidential and parliamentary, take place in the proper atmosphere, that they are free and fair and so on. The Zimbabwean political leadership is quite convinced that it has the possibility to come to an agreement that would produce that outcome – that’s the Zimbabwean political leadership. You may think that they are wrong, but they don’t think they are wrong.

I just indicated in this response that we also met with Zimbabwean representatives of civil society, because they requested to participate in the negotiations, but it had been our view as a facilitator that they indeed needed to be involved but not necessarily in the manner in which they suggested.

Therefore we needed to engage them, and indeed they came. We engaged them and spent many hours with them discussing the totality of these things. They agreed that they would support this negotiation process that was taking place; that they agreed with the agenda that was put in place by the political leadership of Zimbabwe; that they would continue to maintain contact with the facilitation; and they were generally supportive. I’m saying that the Zimbabwean leadership, both political and NGO/civil society seemed to me, from all our interactions with them, quite convinced that they could and would agree among themselves on how to handle their situation, among other things, to ensure that they did indeed have free and fair elections. Now I believe the Zimbabweans about their own country.

I think when you don’t - you may very well not - when the leadership of Zanu PF, when the leadership of the MDC, and when the leadership of civil- society organisations all say that it is possible for us to get to this outcome and we are working together to get to that outcome, I believe them. We will continue to work with them - the ruling party, the opposition parties and civil society - to assist them to facilitate the outcome of that.

Indeed, as I was saying, when we reported to the SADC summit now in Lusaka, this is the reason why the summit welcomed the progress and encouraged the parties to expedite the process of negotiations and conclude work as soon as possible so that the next elections were held in an atmosphere of peace, allowing the people of Zimbabwe to elect the leaders of their choice in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. That’s what the region is addressing and that’s what the people of Zimbabwe are addressing. The ACDP may be addressing something else, but I think on this issue of Zimbabwe, let us at least have the humility to be led by the people of Zimbabwe. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mr T J LOUW: Acting Speaker, Mr President, good afternoon to you, sir. Recently, I led a delegation of the DA people up to the border of Zimbabwe. We went to Beit Bridge; we went to Messina; and we went to other areas around there. We interacted with a lot of people from Zimbabwe who live in the area. I can tell you, sir, that we spoke to brutalised, terrorised and often beaten people.

You say that we must listen to the people of Zimbabwe, sir. But the people that I spoke to and listened to told me stories of fear and hunger. I asked them why were they here. Why were they coming to this country? They said they had no food. Now, sir, this is a human tragedy; it’s not a party- political issue, and the DA, at all times, has sought to make that very clear. These are our countrymen. We are all Africans. We are neighbours. We owe it to the people of Zimbabwe and the people of South Africa too to do something about the problem.

You say that Zimbabwe must resolve its problems within Zimbabwe, sir. But how does that square up with your position in South Africa? If you look, our question to you would be this: Prior to 1994, the ANC in exile and in South Africa used the resources of the world to change its situation here - and rightly so. But we needed the resources of the world and pressure from other countries to change the regime here and make this country that we have today a far better place.

I ask you why can’t that be the situation with Zimbabwe when we have people literally dying on our border. We were told of people who are dying on those farms there. To sit back and do nothing, sir, is the worst kind of thing to do at all. Thank you. [Time expired.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Well, Madam Acting Speaker, let me repeat this. We are not going to be involved in any regime changes in Zimbabwe. We are not going to do that. We think it’s fundamentally wrong. We can’t take on our shoulders the decision to determine who shall govern the people of Zimbabwe. So, this is not going to happen. If the hon member is suggesting that - I heard him talking about changing regimes in Zimbabwe - it is not going to happen. We must be clear about that.

Then there are these comparisons that are made about … The hon member may remember this or not. There was a challenging moment here during the period of our negotiations when we had to deal with the question of sanctions. I don’t know if the hon member will remember that.

Part of the way that matter was presented was that the sanctions regime should be maintained until the process of change in South Africa had become irreversible. That was the word that was used – “irreversible”. How do you measure that? When does this process become irreversible, because it’s not a mathematical equation? This is the evolution of the political situation before the hon Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi decided to participate in the elections. It was a very difficult situation.

I’m referring to it because indeed in the end the position that we took was that – and this irreversibility thing didn’t come from here; it came from outside - rather than kind of say that, we would let the process of the dismantling of the sanctions regime be part of the process of changing the country. So, we integrated it in that way.

In the end, hon member, I’m saying that it was responding. This was responding to the fact that for the first time in centuries, the then South African government was engaging the rest of the leadership in the country in discussing change. So, you didn’t need sanctions. That’s why we removed them.

Now I am telling you that the opposition, the ruling party and NGOs are involved in this process, engaging one another to produce its outcome defined here in the SADC summit - and you say that we must impose sanctions. Why? To do what? To produce what outcome? [Interjections.] No, you can’t. I mean it doesn’t make sense. Here are Zimbabweans engaging one another, and you are saying “beat them with a stick in order to engage them”. They are engaging themselves.

Sure, there is a lot of hunger in Zimbabwe. We are all very familiar with what has happened to the Zimbabwe economy - which is why the SADC decided that we needed to take these particular steps, and I saw that yesterday. Our Minister of Finance here did address this matter to say yes, indeed, the Minister of Finance in the region would engage this and would produce various options. He did say, quite correctly, that in the end it would be a matter of the government of Zimbabwe to decide what it does - but the finance Ministers will do that. We are responding to the hunger.

We will continue to engage this political process which, among other things, is focused on this matter of, as stated at the SADC summit, ensuring that the next elections, parliamentary and presidential, in March 2008 are indeed of the kind and take place in the atmosphere that the SADC summit described. We will continue to focus on that. We will work on all of the Zimbabwean’s political and NGOs on that.

I am quite certain that the finance Ministers and the region, including our Minister of Finance here, will engage this economic challenge so that we can indeed then identify a specific programme to discuss this hunger problem that the hon member quite correctly identifies. These are the two tracks that we are going to have to follow with regard to Zimbabwe with as much vigour, with as much speed, and with as much of everything else as possible.

Regime change – no. That route we are not going to take. Beyond these two interventions, political and economic, I really don’t know what else we would be expected to do. Indeed, I do believe that to try to cook up some other intervention will not help us to solve the problem of Zimbabwe. Thanks, Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mr L M GREEN: Acting Speaker, I concur with the hon President that it is not the role of our government to actively advocate a regime change in Zimbabwe, but that it should be done by the Zimbabweans themselves through the ballot box.

Mr President, the President of Zimbabwe, however, has repeatedly blamed Western countries, like the United Kingdom and the USA, for Zimbabwe’s economic woes. Now, the theory is that sanctions are the main cause for Zimbabwean’s economic woes and not the economic policies of the Zimbabwean government.

You mentioned economic interventions on the part of our government and, of course, our nation. But what are the specific measures our government will be willing to take to assist the Zimbabweans with its failing economy, as well as the results of such an economy? Here, specifically, I refer to those who are crossing our borders because of hunger and because they need to feed their families. I thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, as I had indicated, the extraordinary SADC summit in Dar es Salaam in March asked the Executive Secretary of SADC to have a look at, examine and study the Zimbabwean economy with a view to elaborating on steps that the SADC region might take to assist Zimbabwe to overcome its economic problems. I indicated in my response that the Executive Secretary of SADC did indeed submit his report to the SADC Organ on Politics – which is the body that had authorised that study.

That report was then tabled to the full summit in Lusaka, which then took the decision that the finance Ministers must elaborate on its detailed programme of action based on that report and in consultation with the government of Zimbabwe. So, that is where we are with regard to this matter.

There are no separate South African government measures that are going to be taken with regard to the economy – separate and outside of that framework of the region. As I said, our own wish is that this process by the finance Ministers move forward as speedily as possible, because I think all of us recognise the urgency of the economic situation, so that we then do that detailed programme of action.

It is only after that that it would then be possible to say what possible specific roles South Africa may play in the context of such proposals as would have been made by the regional finance Ministers.

The report of the Executive Secretary of SADC is a comprehensive report about the economy of Zimbabwe. It is about all elements of that economy in a historical context: when did these problems start, why did they start, how do they manifest themselves, etc? Of course, it includes references to the fact – which is correct – that Zimbabwe has really, for all intents and purposes, lost all access to the international credit markets. So, everything has to be done in cash and that has an impact on the economy, as it must.

The impact on the Zimbabwe economy in terms of the response by the rest of the international community is part of the report. But, certainly, the report is not based on a notion that all that has gone wrong is sanctions. It is a comprehensive assessment of what has happened to the Zimbabwe economy over a period of time in order to arrive at the correct conclusions as to what you do to respond. That is the SADC position, and that is the position that would govern the manner in which our government responds. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker.

Ms K R MAGAU: Thank you, President, for the response on the Zimbabwe facilitation by SADC. Would the President agree with me when I say that perhaps it is about time that SADC looked at ways and means of speeding up integration of the people of the region in a manageable way, rather than arresting them, deporting them and putting them into refugee camps which, in most instances, do not have the desired results? Thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Yes, hon member, I think to some extent it is true that the people in the region are moving ahead of the political leadership. The fact of the matter is that we are focused on Zimbabwe, but people from other countries in the region and further north are entering this country from all sorts of areas. I am saying that to that extent perhaps the people are ahead of their political leadership in terms of that integration. They are busy integrating themselves while we are busy discussing this matter in big summits and conferences.

But, you know the decisions that have been taken in the region to address this matter of integration - specific decisions in that regard. Indeed, I would agree that we need to move to expedite those, and that includes economic integration. We need to move with some speed to integrate those, because I fully agree with the hon member that we do the arrests and the deportations, but the people are back here the following week. You rearrest them, send them out and they come back again. This is certainly not the most effective way to respond to this.

But, certainly, of course, we cannot allow the law to be broken and therefore must act against people coming into the country illegally, but there is a more fundamental challenge to address. The people are addressing it in their own way and will continue to do so. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Promotion of social cohesion in the naming of towns, cities and places

  1. Dr P W A Mulder (FF Plus) asked the President of the Republic:

    Whether, in the light of his reference to social cohesion in his state of the nation address this year, he will commit himself and the Government to find win-win solutions by giving recognition to the background, history and heroes of all communities as expressed in the naming of towns, cities and places through which successful social cohesion may be promoted; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO1888E The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, again, it is not the first time that we have in this House dealt with this matter of place names and the manner in which they should help to bring about social cohesion. I would therefore like to answer this question by reiterating what I have said in this House in the past - that to find win-win solutions is indeed to give recognition to the background, history, heroes and heroines of all communities when dealing with the matter of place-name changes.

So, indeed, government is committed to ensuring that the matter of place names contributes towards social cohesion. This means that all of us should accept that when we refer to the matter of South African history, we are speaking of the history of all the people of this country, including that rich history which for a long time was suppressed.

The reality is that today the names of towns, cities and many places in our country reflect mainly those of the minority of South Africans and not of all communities. As I’ve said before, in some instances these names give the impression that South Africa is a European outpost, rather than a truly African country.

As we speak in this House now, the names of cities, towns and streets in this country suggest that we are not giving sufficient recognition to the background, the heroes and the heroines, particularly of the black majority of this country. Indeed, most place names of cities and towns honour the history and heroes and heroines mainly of the Afrikaner and English people.

We have seen, in many instances, huge outcries and strong resistance from those communities whose names dominate the South African landscape whenever there is an initiative to recognise the history and heroes and heroines of the majority in our country. Clearly, this is an obstacle to the attainment of social cohesion because of this refusal to acknowledge the history of all the people of the country.

I am certain that members of this House would agree that the transformation of our landscape through place-name changes is not only an inevitable consequence of a healthy democracy, but is necessary in order to restore the dignity of all South Africans.

As we have said before, the current process of determining geographic and place names is important for our nation-building. Because of this, we have ensured that it is in line with United Nations resolutions on naming places and is also consistent with our Constitution.

This process, as we know, is guided by laws passed by this Parliament - the South African Geographical Names Council Act and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act. I really do believe, hon members, that if we can work together, not for narrow interests, but for the good of the country, we can use this matter to achieve the social cohesion to which the hon member refers.

Government is giving the necessary attention to this important matter of social cohesion. Again, as I’ve said, in our recent Cabinet lekgotla we once again deliberated extensively on this issue and agreed that we had to finalise an implementation framework for necessary campaigns and programmes that will strengthen our cohesion as a society. But this constitutes only government’s contribution to what should be a national campaign involving all sectors of society.

Earlier this year, during my response to the debate on the state of the nation address, I proposed that this House did something on this important question of social cohesion, and I do trust that Parliament will attend to this important matter. Thank you very much, Madam Acting Speaker.

Dr P W A MULDER: Acting Speaker and President, I broadly agree with what you are saying, if I hear you correctly. I’m not a European, so I suppose you’re not talking about Afrikaner names not being indigenous to Africa.

Yesterday we had a motion from the ANC in this House emphasising the importance of every cultural heritage of everyone being recognised in South Africa. The FF Plus totally agrees with that and we’ve said it more than once, and therefore I agree that everybody must be accommodated in South Africa.

But on Tuesday I was outside the court in Pretoria and I saw how strong the emotions were around these issues, with people becoming very emotional. Mr Blanco Mabaso, ANC secretary for that region, said they were going to change all the Afrikaner names and move all the Afrikaner statues.

This morning in an opinion poll in Beeld, 90% of the people said that the name of Pretoria should not be changed – on the other side. The point I would like to make, sir, is that what we are saying here - and what we are trying to solve here because we know the emotions out there - is not happening out there.

My question would be this: Isn’t it possible to create some mechanism to solve these problems, because I’m worried that the normal processes as they are out there – the laws that you mentioned – are not going to solve this. We’re going to be in this sort of debate for the next 20 years, struggling from Witbank to Nelspruit to Mpumalanga or wherever, in one fight after the other, and that’s not going to solve our problems in any way. So, isn’t it possible to get some mechanism that is going to solve it in a win-win situation in which everybody can feel accommodated so that we can continue with more important things than this. Thank you, sir.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Well, again, Madam Acting Speaker, I think it would be very good if the hon Pieter Mulder could indicate what this mechanism could be. Certainly, I wouldn’t object in principle to the establishment of some system or mechanism which would produce the sort of agreed outcomes, which I think all of us want, but what that mechanism might be beyond what is provided for in terms of our legislation, I don’t know.

I must emphasise this point: there are certain realities which we must confront together so that you have a situation in which the hon Pieter Mulder should say, “Standing, as I am, in the shoes of an Afrikaner, I believe that Pretoria must remain Pretoria.” And then the hon Pieter Mulder must say, “But now I’m going to put myself in the shoes of somebody else who is not an Afrikaner, and if I stand in his shoes I would say Pretoria must become Tshwane.” So the hon Pieter Mulder must then say, “Well, how do we resolve this problem?”

I’m trying to say that I think it’s critically important that in addressing these matters we don’t come at them as representatives of factions, but as having a common task to encourage national reconciliation and social cohesion. Necessarily that has to mean give and take. It can’t be avoided.

I don’t know whether people in Grahamstown love the name of Grahamstown. I don’t. I think the name Grahamstown must be changed, because Colonel Graham, after whom that town is named, did terrible things – bad things – in that conflict on the Eastern Cape border. But Colonel Graham was a member of the Scottish aristocracy. I would imagine, if there are any Scots in the country, they might feel very offended if we changed the name Grahamstown, in the same way that I’d be very, very offended that the name continues of this fellow who was a butcher. How do you square this circle?

I’m trying to say that I think that really to address this matter, let’s not come at it as saying, for example, “I am the special representative of the Venda people and I must fight to the death for this”, you know - whatever. This is because if we come at it like that we’re not going to solve this problem.

I must be able to say, understanding very well the concerns, passions and interests of the Afrikaner people, that this is what we must do, and not say that I’m delegating that matter to the hon Pieter Mulder. Can we come at it like that? Is it possible to have a mechanism that would enable us to achieve all that? I don’t know.

But I would most certainly appreciate any proposals, hon Pieter Mulder, about this thing, understanding that there’s an objective reality here which conveys a lot of the pain of the past, according to which an 1820 settler in the Eastern Cape would say, “Viva, Colonel Graham” while I would say, “Down with Colonel Graham.” [Applause.] What do we do about that, together?

Maybe, hon Pieter Mulder, some mechanism that you might propose could help us to address this. Thanks, Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Dr G W KOORNHOF: Madam Acting Speaker, hon President, thank you for your comprehensive reply. My question is: What can we as leaders, but also ordinary South Africans, do to enhance that which we have in common with one another – what you referred to in the state of the nation address as “promoting a common sense of belonging, reinforcing the glue that holds our nation together”?

Recognising the impact of apartheid, with particular reference to separate development, and recognising the significant progress that the majority of South Africans have made in building social cohesion since 1994, social cohesion must be seen in the broader context, not only in terms of city, town and street names. This House will, in due course, also discuss the issue of social cohesion as a member’s motion.

In this broader context, we must build a national identity and reach a national consensus as a nation, learning from one another, understanding our own past and together understanding our common future, and reach what you’ve just called an objective reality. I thank you.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Acting Speaker, I would agree very fully with the hon Koornhof in terms of this approach and, indeed, I’m very glad that he raised this matter again of a discussion that will take place here in Parliament to address this to be able to generate this national consensus that we need. And I really do hope that we would indeed address these challenges.

Our Constitution, for instance, says that we must build South Africa as a nonracial country. As a constitutional imperative it binds all of us. No doubt, Madam Acting Speaker, as you would know very well, all of us here and millions of South African’s outside of here, are all nonracialists, all committed to the creation of this nonracial society. I don’t know if there is anybody who would say otherwise. But once you go beyond the statement of “Yes, we want a nonracial South Africa,” once you come to the question, then what are you going to do practically to bring about that nonracial South Africa? Then we go in many different directions.

So I’m saying that I do hope that, indeed, as we engage to produce that national consensus, we would look at questions such as that.

Not long ago I had a meeting here in Cape Town with a broad section of what was called the institutional leadership in the province; not the political ones, but various social and other institutions in the province. One of the people there presented a very detailed and passionate account of how the coloured population in the Western Cape was being discriminated against, particularly by the provincial government. So I said to him, “You know, on the speech that you’ve just made, I can get somebody from Khayelitsha who would make exactly the same speech and instead of coloured have African, but it would be absolutely exactly the same speech, talking about how that population group is being discriminated against in the province.” That’s a reality. And so, what do we do?

We can only respond, hon Koornhof, in the manner that you’ve indicated: that we do work together to try to build a national consensus about all of this, because if we confront this issue of social cohesion from these particular trenches, whether they are racial or ethnic or regional or whatever, we wouldn’t solve it. To build that national consensus on this matter may very well be easier said than done, but let’s try. I do hope indeed that Parliament would attend to this. It would help a great deal. Thanks, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

Mrs D VAN DER WALT: Thank you, Madam Acting Speaker. Mr President, we all know that we are now living in a new democratic South Africa and the DA acknowledges that all names cannot simply remain the same and that change is necessary. But this change must include heroes and icons of all sectors of our society. The naming of our cities, towns and streets must be dealt with in a sensitive manner, and we cannot rush this important symbolic issue, which, if well handled, can be an important milestone of reconciliation and nation-building.

We agree with Mr Mandela when he said in 1997, “You can’t build a united nation on the basis of revenge.” But the reaction of your ANC colleagues – the mayor and an ANC party secretary in Pretoria, after the High Court decision against them on Tuesday - smacks of revenge.

Is the President prepared to consider consulting with the political parties who care about the matter to see whether we can perhaps reach consensus on an operational framework that will be reasonably acceptable to most South Africans?

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I had hoped, Madam Acting Speaker, that we were coming to some agreement about how to proceed with this, one of them being that Parliament would engage this matter with a view to seeing what proposals can be made. All the political parties are here. Let’s use this important institution to do that consultation and, indeed, government would then be very keenly interested to participate, follow and implement decisions that may come out of here.

I thought we were coming to that conclusion. I thought we were also coming to the conclusion that, as the hon Pieter Mulder indicated, it might be possible to elaborate some mechanism which would help us to move forward faster and in a less conflicting way on this matter and that indeed he would work on this. Perhaps that could also be put into this parliamentary process so that we produce this.

So, I really do want to think that that might be the best way to go rather than to organise some meeting between the President and the political parties. Let’s all sit here and think the matter through. I’m saying that I’m quite certain that government would want to listen very, very carefully to what the legislature might say on what is indeed a very important matter. Thank you, Madam Acting Speaker. [Applause.]

The House adjourned at 16:42. ____



National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

The Speaker and the Chairperson

  1. Introduction of Bill
 (1)    The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

     (a)     National Environmental Management Amendment Bill [B 36 –
          2007] (National Assembly– proposed sec 76) [Explanatory
          summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published
          in Government Gazette No 30142 of 3 August 2007.]

          Introduction and referral to the Portfolio Committee on
          Environmental Affairs and Tourism of the National Assembly, as
          well as referral to the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) for
          classification in terms of Joint Rule 160.

          In terms of Joint Rule 154 written views on the classification
          of the Bill may be submitted to the JTM within three
          parliamentary working days.
  1. Translations of Bills submitted
 (1)    The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development

     (a)     Wetsontwerp op die Suid-Afrikaanse Regterlike
          Opleidingsinstituut [W 4 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75).

          This is the official translation into Afrikaans of the South
          African Judicial Education Institute Bill [B 4 – 2007]
          (National Assembly – sec 75).

 (2)    The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development

     (a)     Wysigingswetsontwerp op die Herroeping van die Swart
          Administrasie Wet en Wysiging van Sekere Wette [W 34 – 2007]
          (National Assembly – sec 75).
          This is the official translation into Afrikaans of the Repeal
          of the Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws
          Amendment Bill [B 34 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75).

 (3)    The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development

     (a)     Wysigingswetsontwerp op die Strafreg (Seksuele Misdrywe) [W
          50 – 2003] (National Assembly – sec 75).

          This is the official translation into Afrikaans of the
          Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill [B 50 – 2003]
          (National Assembly – sec 75).


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

  1. The Minister of Finance
(a)     Report and Financial Statements of the Financial Intelligence
     Centre for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General
     on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 133-2007].
  1. The Minister of Labour
(a)     Report and Financial Statements of the Food and Beverages
     Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FoodBev-
     Seta) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General
     on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 65-2007].

(b)     Report and Financial Statements of the Insurance Sector
     Education and Training Authority (Inseta) for 2006-2007, including
     the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for
     2006-2007 [RP 67-2007].

(c)     Report and Financial Statements of the Services Sector
     Education and Training Authority (Services Seta) for 2006-2007,
     including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial
     Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 88-2007].

(d)     Report and Financial Statements of the Finance, Accounting,
     Management Consulting and other Financial Services Sector
     Education and Training Authority (FASSET) for 2006-2007, including
     the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for
     2006-2007 [RP 63-3007].

(e)     Report and Financial Statements of the Agricultural Sector
     Education and Training Authority (Agri-Seta) for 2006-2007,
     including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial
     Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 56-2007].

(f)     Report and Financial Statements of the Banking Sector Education
     and Training Authority (Bank-Seta) for 2006-2007, including the
     Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-
     2007 [RP 57-2007].

(g)     Report and Financial Statements of the Tourism, Hospitality and
     Sport Education and Training Authority (Theta) for 2006-2007,
     including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial
     Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 77-2007].

(h)     Report and Financial Statements of the Wholesale and Retail
     Sector Education and Training Authority (W&R-Seta) for 2006-2007,
     including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial
     Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 78-2007].

(i)     Report and Financial Statements of the Health and Welfare
     Sector Education and Training Authority (HW-Seta) for 2006-2007,
     including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial
     Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 66-2007].

(j)     Report and Financial Statements of the Education, Training and
     Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority
     (ETDP-Seta) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-
     General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 62-2007].
  1. The Minister of Arts and Culture
(a)     Report and Financial Statements of the National Museum –
     Bloemfontein for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-
     General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.

(b)     Report and Financial Statements of Artscape for 2006-2007,
     including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial
     Statements for 2006-2007.

(c)     Report and Financial Statements of the South African State
     Theatre for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General
     on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 156-2007].

(d)     Report and Financial Statements of the National Arts Council of
     South Africa (NAC) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the
     Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 186-

(e)     Report and Financial Statements of the Robben Island Museum for
     2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the
     Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 161-2007].

(f)     Report and Financial Statements of the Pan South African
     Language Board (Pansalb) for 2006-2007, including the Report of
     the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP

(g)     Report and Financial Statements of the William Humphreys Art
     Gallery for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General
     on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
  1. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
(a)     Report and Financial Statements of South African Tourism for
     2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the
     Financial Statements for 2006-2007.

(b)     Report and Financial Statements of the South African National
     Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) for 2006-2007, including the Report
     of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.

(c)     Report and Financial Statements of the Greater St Lucia Wetland
     Park Authority for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-
     General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.


National Assembly

  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Repeal of the Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws Amendment Bill [B 34 - 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75), dated 28 August 2007:

    The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the subject of the Repeal of the Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws Amendment Bill [B 34 - 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 75 Bill, endorses the classification of the Bill and reports the Bill without amendment.

  2. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport on the Transport Agencies General Laws Amendment Bill [B 27- 2007] (National Assembly- sec 75), dated 29 August 2007:

    The Portfolio Committee on Transport, having considered the subject of the Transport Agencies General Laws Amendment Bill [B 27 - 2007] (National Assembly - sec 75), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments [B 27A - 2007].

  3. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport on the Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments - 2004 (Ballast Water Management Convention), dated 29 August 2007:

    The Portfolio Committee on Transport, having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments - 2004 (Ballast Water Management Convention), referred to it, recommends that the House, in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution, approve the said Convention.

 Request to be considered.