National Assembly - 21 November 2008



The House met at 09:04.

The House Chairperson Mr A C Nel took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.



                         (Draft Resolution)

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chair, I move without notice:

That after the Third Order precedence be given to Orders No 11 and 12 under Further Business.

Agreed to.

                         SUSPENSION OF RULES
                         (Draft Resolution)

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move that the Order printed in the name of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party be adopted.

That the House —

 1) suspends Rule 253(1)(b), which  provides  that  the  debate  on  the
    Second Reading of a Bill that has not been referred to  a  committee
    may not commence before at least three  working  days  have  elapsed
    since the Bill was introduced, for the purposes  of  conducting  the
    Second Reading debate on the National Youth Development Agency  Bill
    [B 82 – 2008] (National Assembly – proposed sec 75) today;

 2) subject to the concurrence of the  National  Council  of  Provinces,
    suspends Joint Rule 154(2), which provides that  the  Joint  Tagging
    Mechanism may not classify a Bill before the expiry  of  the  period
    stated in the Announcements,  Tablings  and  Committee  Reports,  in
    respect of the  Bill  (see  Announcements,  Tablings  and  Committee
    Reports, 20 November 2008, p 2321); and

 3) subject to the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces, for
    the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate  today  on  the
    above-mentioned Bill, suspends Joint  Rule  220(2),  which  requires
    that a translation of a Bill’s official text  must  be  received  by
    Parliament at least three days before the  formal  consideration  of
    the Bill by the House in which it was introduced.

Agreed to.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mnr R D PIETERSE (ANC): Voorsitter, die ANC glo dat kommunikasie ’n belangrike rol speel in die verdieping van ons demokrasie, die aansporing van ’n kultuur van menseregte, en ’n sleutelpilaar is in die transformasie van ons land.

Daar is egter steeds menige Suid-Afrikaners, wat vernaamlik woonagtig is in plattelandse gebiede, wat tot op hede nie die voorreg het om televisie te kyk of om na ’n radio te luister nie. Daar word geraam dat omtrent vyf miljoen Suid-Afrikaners nie toegang het tot radio of televisie nie.

Met die uitdaging geïdentifiseer, het die Departement van Kommunikasie, die SABC en Sentech, as staatsbeheerde maatskappy, saamgestaan om hierdie uitdaging aan te spreek. Tydens een van die talle ANC-izimbizo het die gemeenskap in Heuningsvlei gesê dat hulle nie deel van ’n breë Suid- Afrikaanse familie voel nie aangesien hulle nie bewus is van die aangeleenthede van die land nie, omdat hulle nie toegang tot hierdie informasie het nie.

Die regering, gelei deur die ANC, is egter vasbeslote om te verseker dat die kommunikasie en verspreiding van informasie elke deel van ons land bereik om sodoende demokrasie te versterk. Amandla! (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement follows.)

[Mr R D PIETERSE (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC believes that communication plays an important role in strengthening our democracy and promoting a culture of human rights. It’s also a key pillar in the transformation of our country.

There are, however, to date, a great number of South Africans, residing mainly in rural areas, who still do not have the privilege of watching television or listening to a radio. It is estimated that approximately five million South Africans do not have access to radio or television.

The identification of this challenge led the Department of Communication, the SABC, and Sentech, as a company managed by the government, to join hands in addressing this challenge. During one of the many ANC izimbizo, the community of Heuningsvlei said that they do not feel part of a greater South African family, since they are not aware of matters regarding the country because they have no access to this information.

The government, led by the ANC, is, however, determined to ensure that communication reaches every corner of our country and that the dissemination of information takes place, so as to strengthen our democracy. [Amandla!]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs S V KALYAN (DA): Chairperson, 18 matric pupils from Ballito in KwaZulu- Natal may have to repeat this year as the school they have been attending is not registered with the Department of Education.

The school principal downloaded fake and fraudulent papers from the Internet, pasted the Department of Education logo on them and gave them to the pupils to write matric. The papers had no security features such as the barcode, and the matric examination numbers issued were also fake. The situation was discovered quite by accident when a parent of one of the affected learners happened to see a paper written by another school and realised that the two papers were completely different.

Whilst a case of fraud against the principal has been lodged, the impact on the learners is, indeed, far-reaching. It is hoped that the Minister of Education will consider the matter and allow the learners to take special supplementary examinations early next year in an effort to reduce the damage.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr E J LUCAS (IFP): Chairperson, the alarming rate at which the price of crude oil increased earlier this year left many people in shock and caused most businesses to raise the prices of their goods significantly in order to cover their costs and earn a profit.

As per usual, those who were most harshly affected by these increases were the poorest members of our society, as the high cost of fuel, combined with the shortage of certain basic food types, made everyday necessities unaffordable.

The decreases in the price of crude have been just as sudden and significant as the increases were. While I do understand the volatility of the rand has a great impact, the prices of petrol and diesel have dropped and it seems as if they will continue to do so.

While this has provided some relief for car owners, the benefits have not translated into noticeable decreases in the prices of essential goods and services, such as transportation, which consume the biggest portion of these consumers’ disposable income. Thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms N D NGCENGWANE (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC believes that combating poverty is not a gesture of charity; it is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right: the right to dignity and a decent life.

While poverty persists, there is no true freedom. Statistics SA last Tuesday launched a new survey to be known as the Living Conditions Survey, LCS. The survey is aimed at collecting data to measure the extent of poverty in South Africa. The data will be collected from 30 000 households through a combination of questionnaires and diaries during the survey period, which will run over 12 months.

This survey will cover people from all walks of life in both rural and urban areas, while also allowing for a deeper understanding of the nature of poverty in relation to the major shifts in policy and trends in the economy. It will also indicate other ways of dealing with poverty in a wider approach and will seek to understand the people’s own understanding of poverty.

The ANC’s responses to poverty seek to empower people to access economic opportunities while creating a comprehensive social safety net to protect the most vulnerable in our society. This survey will enhance our efforts to fight poverty. I thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr I S MFUNDISI (UCDP): The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, has, at the request of the national Department of Education, examined the education system in South Africa. The report has praise for education reform since 1994 in the areas of legislation, policy development, curriculum reform and delivery of education.

There are, however, challenges that still stare the department in the face, such as education outcomes and labour market relevance. It has been reported widely that outcomes of our education system leave much to be desired. Pupils from our schools are still being churned out illiterate and innumerate. It will not do us any good to keep saying we are doing our best when that best is worse than was offered in the past.

Legions of the unemployed keep swelling the ranks of the jobless. Greater efforts have to be mounted to ensure that teaching is effective. After all, if children are poorly taught, they will remain a generation of liabilities as they cannot be recalled, as is done with defective products. If they battle at school, they may not be interested in Adult Basic Education and Training when they grow older, let alone wish to continue private studies to improve their lot.

According to that report of the OECD, the national and provincial Departments of Education have yet to come up with ways and means of promoting and supporting changes in the interest of all young people and others – all this in the face of shortages of financial and human resources.

We in the UCDP know that education is still in the process of transition and it will take time and adequate resources, coupled with nerves of steel, for policy-makers to make that reform a reality. I thank you. [Time expired.]


                        (Member’s Statement) Mrs R J MASHIGO (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC-led government will continuously strive to reduce cases of TB, diabetes, malnutrition, maternal death and malaria. Over and above this, the impact of the HIV and Aids pandemic requires a massive joint effort of state and all sectors of society so as to reverse and finally eradicate it.

Government will intensify its implementation of the comprehensive strategy against this pandemic and mobilise all sectors and all citizens to play their role.

Last Friday, 14 November, health Ministers from the SADC area marked malaria day by spraying houses at Mamnfene Village in Northern KwaZulu- Natal Village in Northern KwaZulu-Natal with DDT pesticide. Spraying houses with this pesticide is one of the easiest ways in which malaria - a disease which kills hundreds of people in the region every year - can be prevented.

Malaria-prone countries are caught in a vicious cycle of disease and poverty, which slows the country’s economic growth, discourages foreign investment and tourism and affects the development of territories and people’s choices of economic activities.

However, they acknowledge the increased investment that has been made and the political commitment of governments of the region, the continent and at international level.

The significant decline in the parasite prevalence since the commencement of the Lubombo Special Development Initiative, which promotes the use of indoor residual spraying, demonstrates clearly the power of united action of all the countries in the SADC region. Thank you very much, Chairperson.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms M M MDLALOSE (Nadeco): Chairperson, Nadeco believes that the family is the essential unit in building a society, community or nation. With the 16 Days of Activism approaching, we wish to remind all parents, uncles, aunties and grandparents that we need to raise the self-esteem of our children …

… bazihloniphe. Asigqugquzele uthando,ukuzihlonipha, ukuzethemba, nokufunda kanye nokuthanda ukusebenza kubantwana. Loko kuzosiza ukunciphisa udlame nokungaziphathi kahle esizweni. Ngiyabonga. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)

[… so that they can respect themselves. Let us instil in our youth love, self-respect, and confidence and promote education as well as the culture of working. That will help in reducing violence and misbehaviour in society. Thank you.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms H WEBER (DA): Chairperson, the absolute lawlessness in Kungwini, Gauteng, is reaching proportions never seen before in a civilised society. A farmer was murdered last week and another was seriously injured and his wife murdered yesterday. An old man died and was left on the pavement for about three hours before anybody came to remove the body. This is beside the spate of rapes and robberies in and around the town.

The DA offers its condolence to all the families affected by these atrocities and calls upon the Department of Safety and Security to address this serious state of affairs.

Adding to this state of lawlessness, on Monday the municipal offices were held up shortly before 9:00 by armed robbers who allegedly stole R200 000. The DA wants to know: Where were the security guards who are employed at great expense and why was such a large amount of money not banked before the weekend? By all accounts such an amount is not covered by insurance due to negligence on the part of the personnel.

Many questions need to be answered, including how long it took the police to arrive at the municipal offices, given that the police station is roughly 200 metres away from the municipal offices. Thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms M W MAKGATE (ANC): Chairperson, a UN draft report has revealed that South Africa has made strides in creating opportunities for marginalised South Africans, including women and children.

The draft report on the progress made in the implementation of the Sida Report, released by the Minister in the Presidency, Manto Tshabalala- Msimang, in Pretoria on Friday, highlighted the strides made by South Africa in mainstreaming equal rights for men and women and its continued efforts to eliminate any gender-based discrimination.

Some of the critical findings of the draft report indicate that South Africa has increasingly created opportunities for mainstreaming gender equality goals and that the attitudes regarding the place of women in society has generally improved. It also showed that significant progress has been made in protecting the rights of women workers, particularly domestic workers.

The ANC-led government has long realised and appreciated the real and potential role of women and that their liberation from patriarchy was and should be an integral part of the new democracy. The report confirms the correctness of our efforts. I thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms S P LEBENYA (IFP): Chairperson, the IFP today pays tribute to the IFP stalwart Comrade Zenzele Phakathi, who passed away late last week. Comrade Phakathi was the former IFP Youth Brigade chairperson from 1987 to 1999. He was a member of the IFP Youth Brigade national executive committee; he was an IFP Youth Brigade publicity secretary. He was a former IFP Youth Brigade provincial chairperson. Comrade Phakathi was the chairperson of the national youth development forum and he was also the co-founder of the IFP Alliance Student Movement, Sadesmo. He was a former chairperson of the youth commission in KwaZulu-Natal.

We pay homage to an honourable servant of our party and a man whose dedication and commitment to serving our nation and our young people, in particular, was exemplary. Comrade Phakathi was a great politician, a man of integrity and honour. He will be sorely missed.

The IFP will forever treasure the contribution that Comrade Phakathi made to the struggle of youth development in South Africa. Comrade Phakathi was a youth development activist and he strongly believed that youth development should focus on education and training, job creation and enabling young people to realise their full potential.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M M DIKGACWI (ANC): Chairperson, during yesterday’s sitting of the House, the hon Mr Spies submitted a statement on behalf of the FF Plus that pointed to alleged comments made by an ANC member serving on the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation. The basis of the statement is highly questionable since the hon Spies did not attend the committee meeting. In fact, the FF Plus is not part of the committee.

It is unfortunate and disingenuous for the FF Plus to be a conduit used by conservative elements in the media which have lost all objectivity in dealing with the state of rugby.

Where was the FF Plus when Saru questioned the coaching credentials of Peter De Villiers upon his appointment as national coach by stating that he was appointed for reasons other than rugby? What position did the FF Plus take when Ziningi Shibambo was humiliated and abused by white male spectators at Coca Cola Park? What did the FF Plus say when Llewellyn Lewinson, the chairman of the East Rand Rugby Club, a black spectator, was abused and beaten up in front of his wife and children after the Falcons lost to the Platinum Leopards at Bosman stadium in Brakpan last month? What did the FF Plus say when a black spectator was knocked unconscious by a group of white men after the Currie Cup final last month? These are the realities we need to tackle head-on to address inequity and racism in rugby. The truth may be uncomfortable and painful to some, but it must be spoken.

The ANC will continue to be the voice of the marginalised, the voiceless and the oppressed. Amandla! [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mnr W P DOMAN (DA): Voorsitter, die VF Plus was ook minus die waarheid oor hulle ledeverklaring hier in die Parlement by monde van die agb Spies oor Midvaal-munisipaliteit wat deur die DA regeer word. Die agb lid het beweer dat Midvaal-munisipaliteit net van een prokureur, wat ’n groot DA- ondersteuner is, gebruik maak. Die waarheid is dat die munisipaliteit van sewe prokureursfirmas gebruik maak.

Die agb lid het verder beweer dat dieselfde prokureur ’n kontrak met die munisipaliteit het om sierstene te verskaf ter verfraaiing van die dorp. Dit is van alle waarheid ontbloot, die prokureur het nog nooit enige ander kontrak hoegenaamd behalwe vir prokureurswerk met die munisipaliteit gehad nie.

Die agb lid het ook ’n ou koei van 2005 bygetrek in sy verklaring, naamlik dat die burgemeester van munisipale vervoer en munisipale werkers gebruik gemaak het om bome by haar woning te laat plant. Die plaaslike Speaker het die saak al lankal ondersoek en bevind dat die burgemeester totaal onskuldig is.

Die VF Plus moet oppas dat hulle nie bekend word as die “VF Minus die Waarheid” nie. Indien hulle voortgaan met hulle ongekontroleerde wilde bewerings, sal hulle “Plus” verander in ’n minus by die stembus. Miskien is dit suur druiwe, want by Midvaal-munisipaliteit het die VF Plus agteruit geboer van een na nul verteenwoordigers met die laaste verkiesing. Die Afrikaners daar stem vir die DA.

Daar is genoeg wat verkeerd is in die landadministrasie dat die VF Plus, minus die waarheid, na strooihalms gryp. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement follows.)

[Mr W P DOMAN (DA): Chairperson, the FF Plus were also less than truthful about their member’s statement here in Parliament, delivered by hon Spies about the Midvaal Municipality that is managed by the DA. The hon member alleged that the Midvaal Municipality only uses the services of one attorney, who is a big DA supporter. The truth is that the municipality uses the services of seven legal firms.

The hon member further alleged that the same attorney has a contract with the municipality to provide ornamental stones to decorate the town. It is completely devoid of any truth, since the attorney has never had any other contract with the municipality, apart from rendering a legal service

The hon member also included some old story from 2005 in his statement, namely that the mayor made use of municipal transport and the services of municipal workers to plant trees at her house. The local Speaker had investigated the case long ago and came to the conclusion that the mayor is totally innocent.

The FF plus must be careful that they are not branded the “FF Minus the Truth”. If they continue with their uncontrolled and wild accusations, their “Plus” will change into a minus at the ballot-box. Maybe it is a case of sour grapes, because at Midvaal Municipality the FF Plus went downhill from one to zero representatives with the last election. The Afrikaners there vote for the DA.

There is enough at fault with the administration of the country that the FF Plus, minus the truth, grabs at straws. [Applause.]]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr G D SCHNEEMAN (ANC): Chairperson, the Eikenhof informal settlement, which falls within the Johannesburg municipal area, has been part of a DA ward for many years. Having been recently deployed to the Johannesburg South ANC parliamentary constituency office, PCO, a visit was undertaken to Eikenhof, where it was found that the community was living without access to sanitation.

The ANC PCO met with the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council to discuss the community’s needs. Within three weeks, chemical toilets were placed throughout Eikenhof. Additional water tanks are to be delivered, which will increase the supply of water.

Discussions are also taking place with City Power for the possible provision of high mast lights, which would improve the safety and security of residents. The community of Eikenhof has indicated that the provision of sanitation has restored their dignity. They further added that their trust in the ANC remains strong, as they know that the ANC cares and is committed to improving their living conditions and to the creation of a better life for all. Thank you. The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): As some parties didn’t use their slots, the ANC and DA have additional slots.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr H P MALULEKA (ANC): Chairperson, on 4 November 2008 the ANC Branch at Stanza Bopape Village in Tshwane, together with the Charity and Faith Mission Church, the municipal council, led by its mayor, and some embassies in the City of Tshwane, visited foreigners who had been displaced as a result of the so-called xenophobic attacks.

The Minister of Social Development and our Speaker took an active part in this process and gave their active support in helping with the resettlement process. Individuals and families who were identified for this resettlement were all successfully resettled. The ANC wishes to commend all those who participated in this humane act of solidarity. Thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M M SWATHE (DA): Chairperson, the municipality of Makhado in the Limpopo Province has a serious problem regarding unmaintained, aged sewerage infrastructure. The infrastructure is old and in a shocking state. Sewage runs through the streets unchecked. Sewerage plants and sewerage dams are not working. Pumps are broken. This has been a problem for seven years and nothing is being done about it.

Wetlands and boreholes around Makhado are contaminated and polluted by sewage that runs uncontrolled. People around dumping sites are in danger because rubbish and sewage run through their houses. Two rivers, the Tshipise and Nandoni, and the Albasini Dam are contaminated by sewage. Boreholes and underground water are polluted. People and animals use that water. Streams and wetlands are contaminated. Farmers use water for irrigation, which in the long run might put people’s lives at risk.

Sewage treatment plants are not working. The Municipality has neglected infrastructure. There is no maintenance by either the local or Vhembe District Municipality. It is the ordinary people who are suffering from these kinds of problems. Sewerage and toilet pipes are leaking. The University of Venda conducted research and found that the water tested positive for e-coli.

The DA urges the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry to take action in order to address this pressing issue and save lives. We do not want to react only when people are sick as a result of opportunistic diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. We’ve seen what happened at Ukhahlamba District Municipality, where babies lost their lives. We therefore want the Minister to take urgent action to address this problem before it is too late. The Minister must act against the responsible municipalities as her department is the custodian of water affairs and forestry. There is a high risk of damage to the veld and human life. Thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Minister’s Response)

The MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Chairperson, we note the statements made and commend members for raising issues of importance in this House.

We agree with the sentiments that reflect on hon members’ sense of responsibility as public representatives to be true to their conscience as agents of good governance and to be accountable in terms of their deployment as Members of Parliament, all of which is done in the spirit of patriotism.

Yes, hon Schneemann, the ANC lives and the ANC cares. On all those issues that have been raised, it may just be a question of information that as the ANC government we’ve actually acted, and we are acting, in some of those areas concerning which issues were raised.

One example is the Makhado Municipality in Limpopo, as indicated, where recently the ANC government has actually acted to address the situation. As I indicated, we will follow up on some of those other issues that have been raised in these statements. Thank you.


                        (Minister’s Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Dr R H Davies): Chairperson, I want to respond to the statement by Mr Lucas and to agree with him that the phenomenon he described is indeed a worrying one. The moment an imported item’s price goes up, all other users of these inputs put up their prices. But the moment the price goes down, well, then there is a long delay and a lot of stickiness in prices going down.

He is quite correct that there are other factors at work here, including the change in the value of the currency, and so on. But I think that in general this is a significant problem we are concerned about. As Mr Lucas knows, we don’t have any generalised price control in this country. So there is nothing we can do directly in terms of this. But I just want to say that through legislation passed in Parliament this year, we have strengthened the Competition Act. As the Ministry of Trade and Industry, we will be encouraging an energetic and proactive approach by the competition authorities, more so than they have been doing up to now, to look at any cases of collusion or where collusion is responsible for this situation and is keeping prices unfairly high.

We have also introduced consumer legislation which should strengthen the hands of consumers. I think we must be willing to use these instruments energetically in the interests of our people and to combat a situation where ordinary consumers are not going to benefit from a reduction in the oil price in particular. Thank you very much.


                        (Minister’s Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, I think I need to join the hon Lebenya in saluting Mr Zenzele Phakathi. Indeed, in my previous capacities as a young person, I had the honour to work with him on countless occasions.

Like all of us in our youth, he was quite militant, yet when the time for peace came, he was also able to lead his constituency to ensure that they also supported peace endeavours and that we smoked the peace pipe together. It is therefore appropriate that we should convey to his family and his organisation our deepest condolences and hope that many young people will draw lessons from his life. Thank you.


                        (Minister’s Response)

The MINISTER OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY: Chairperson, I rise to respond to the statement made by the DA around problems of pollution and contamination of our water resources, particularly in the area of Makhado.

I have said in this House before that there are municipalities that are struggling with the maintenance of infrastructure. We have intervened as a department. In terms of the allocations we received, we have R500 million that is to be invested in the refurbishment and upgrading of infrastructure. It is totally unacceptable that those municipalities that can afford to do this are not refurbishing or doing their operational maintenance.

So, we have decided, as a department, to be very strong in our regulatory function to the extent that we are going to have what we call an enforcement and compliance blitz week, from 24 to 28 November, during which we are going to go to all areas and all transgressors to issue them with directives and disconnect and break down structures that have been set up illegally - whether to steal water or divert water. We will accompany the police as they make arrests in cases where we have issued directives and no action has been taken by the transgressor.

We are going to take very serious steps from now onwards. We hope that those few municipalities – because there are very few areas that are noncompliant – will be assisted to comply. But in areas where they can afford to refurbish and upgrade infrastructure, we will definitely take serious action.

Regarding the toilet structures that have not been built correctly, I think we have to put this into context and say that having given 10 million more South Africans access to sanitation, some margin of error cannot be excluded. There are some cases and some areas that we are aware of where there has been substandard workmanship. But that cannot be placed at the door of the ANC, which has sought to deliver both water and sanitation to many more millions of people. In this case, whoever the contractor is must be brought to book to ensure that the shoddy workmanship is repaired. But if hon members want to join us throughout this enforcement blitz week, they can liaise with the portfolio committee, whose chair has been invited to these activities. Thank you, Chair. [Applause.]


The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): Order! hon members, yesterday during the Declaration of Vote by the hon D Kohler-Barnard on the South African Police Service Amendment Bill, the hon Landers raised a point of order and asked whether the hon member was misleading the House by stating that section 179(2) of the Constitution gave the Directorate of Special Operations authority to collect intelligence.

I undertook to study Hansard before ruling on the matter. Having now had an opportunity to study the unrevised Hansard, I wish to rule as follows: In the course of her speech, hon Kohler-Barnard indeed said that –

In terms of section 179(2) of the Constitution, provision was made for the intelligence-gathering function of the DSO.

It is clear that her interpretation of this particular constitutional provision differs from the view held by the hon Landers. However, asking the Chair to determine whether hon Kohler-Barnard was misleading the House or not, places the Chair in the position of having to play arbiter in regard to two contradicting arguments by the hon members.

It is not the function of the Chair to determine the veracity or otherwise of the views held and espoused by members of the House, however outlandish they may appear to be.


            (Consideration of Report of Ad Hoc Committee)

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): I’m informed that parties have requested the opportunity to make declarations on this matter.

Declarations of vote:

Ms M SMUTS: The Chapter 9 Institutions are independent and outside of government, which is why they are appointed by and accountable to Parliament. Today, we adopt the ad hoc committee’s recommendation to properly bring them home where they belong by establishing a unit on the constitutional and other independent bodies under the wing of the Speaker.

Parliament has not looked after the Chapter 9 Institutions properly, with the exception of the Auditor-General, who has a dedicated committee, and one or two others. The Chapter 9 Institutions have often been reduced to perfunctory hearings once or twice a year and are frequently neglected, specially by the admittedly overworked Justice Committee. For example, the Human Rights Commission Act predates the final Constitution and is hopelessly inadequate. It also provided our previous President with an excuse not to appoint the 11 commissioners we voted in at the last cycle when, in fact, he had no discretion on the matter. The Human Rights Commission has, therefore, been working with five commissioners all these years and lately with four.

So it is symptomatic of Parliament’s whole attitude to the Chapter 9 Institutions that the ad hoc committee report itself, this book, suffered the same neglect. We finished the work in July 2007, but this report very nearly expired with this Parliament.

We therefore welcome this resolution because the introduction of the unit now establishes a beachhead for further attention to be paid by the next Parliament to the book full of recommendations from Sello Dithebe, the hon Carol Johnson, the hon Jane Matsomela, a few others and me, as well as the little big man who likes publicity.

The very best recommendation in the entire report is repeated in the resolution, to my delight, and it is that money voted to the institution should be dealt with as part of Parliament’s Vote. Eddie Trent, who drove this issue in our ranks with me, will be as delighted as I am.

Bodies that are outside government should not be dependent on Ministries for the defence of their budget requests and the transfer of monies. We were delighted when the Treasury took the same view, because the fact is that the departments soon presume that bodies to which they transfer funds are agencies that are accountable to them – and that’s where the trouble starts. These bodies are accountable to us, we should look after them and I hope that this report is dealt with fully when the next Parliament comes back. In the meantime, we support this resolution with great acclaim.

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, much of what I wanted to say has already been said by Ms Smuts. I agree with her, so I won’t repeat it.

It was obviously necessary after almost 15 years of democracy to revise the Chapter 9 Institutions to determine whether they are still successful or not, and if so, to what degree, and what recommendations we should make.

I was privileged to serve on the committee as the representative of the IFP, and I wish to … [Interjections.] Yes, I attended all of them and I heard that in the Chief Whips’ Forum you said that we are not attending the Justice Committee while you bloody well know that we sit in the reference room. [Interjections.] I think you are very stupid!

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): Hon Van der Merwe, withdraw the word “bloody”. Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Of course, I will withdraw it. There are many other words I can think of to replace it. I wish to pay tribute to Prof Kader Asmal …

The CHIEF WHIP MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. Is it parliamentary for hon Van der Merwe to refer to hon members as stupid?

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: It is common cause that we all know that, Chair.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): No, no, Mr Van der Merwe. Withdraw the word “stupid”.

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Yes, I withdraw that, sir. But I think Mr Jeffery got the message.

Ms C B JOHNSON: Chairperson, the ad hoc committee had a very wide focus and we did a comprehensive review. We looked at, amongst other things, the mandate of the Chapter 9 bodies, their enabling legislation, budgets, reporting, levels of parliamentary oversight, public participation and involvement, as well as the appointments in terms of the office of commissioners.

As for the delay in the report, as members clearly can see, is not the type of report that one can pass in a committee, put in the ATCs and pass in the House the next day, simply because of the far-reaching implications and also because some of the recommendations require very long-term interventions, possibly legislative amendments, changes to budgets and reporting and possibly even constitutional amendments.

One of the problems that we identified is that there seems to be a lack of co-ordination, that the various Chapter 9s report to different portfolio committees, and for that reason we tried to come up with creative ways in which to solve this problem. We therefore thought to put in place a unit in the office of the Speaker as a central point to co-ordinate all the various functions and operations of the Chapter 9 committees.

This will enable Parliament to act proactively. For example, just to alert the House that next year in September, the terms of office of all the remaining commissioners on the Human Rights Commission will be expiring. We don’t want to leave the Human Rights Commission in a situation where it cannot function because the appointments have not been made timeously. So what the Unit in the office of the Speaker will do is it will put Parliament in a position to act proactively and to make the appointments timeously. We also believe that it will strengthen parliamentary oversight.

Just to respond to the hon Smuts on what she said about the attitude of Parliament: Parliament goes out of its way to strengthen the Chapter 9 Institutions and to assist and protect their independence and their dignity. For example, the House will recall that not too long ago when there were operational problems in the office of the Public Protector, this House established a special ad hoc committee to assist the Public Protector to sort out those problems. We then reconvened six months later to check on its progress.

With regard to the justice committee, we have taken up the issue about the Human Rights Commission Act. The Department of Justice has prepared a draft Bill that they will put to the justice committee.

I would like to thank Prof Asmal in absentia, members of the committee who worked extremely hard and also our support staff. Let us as Parliament remember that the Constitution in section 181 enjoins all of us to support, protect and strengthen the independence, dignity and effectiveness of all our Chapter 9s, and let us continue to do so. Thank you. [Applause.]


That the House —

 1) appreciates the extensive work done by the Ad Hoc Committee on
    Review of Chapter 9 and Associated Institutions in the execution of
    its mandate;

 2) recognises that a number of the recommendations contained in the
    Report will have far-reaching implications for Chapter 9 and
    Associated Institutions;

 3) notes that the Ad Hoc Committee, among others, recommends the
    establishment of a properly resourced Unit to co-ordinate all
    interactions between the National Assembly and state institutions
    strengthening democracy;

 4) adopts the recommendation in the Report pertaining to the
    establishment of the Unit on Constitutional Institutions and other
    Statutory Bodies;

 5) urges speedy establishment of the Unit on Constitutional
    Institutions and other Statutory Bodies and recommends that its
    location, structure and mandate be determined by the Speaker,
    having given due consideration to the National Assembly’s
    constitutional obligations with regard to Chapter 9 institutions,
    associated bodies and other statutory bodies;

 6) urges further that consideration be given to the implementation of
    the recommendation in the Report pertaining to budgets of the
    bodies reviewed being contained in a separate programme in
    Parliament’s budget vote, as envisaged by the Ad Hoc Committee; and

 7) resolves that the rest of the Report be held in abeyance with a
    view to allowing the Fourth Parliament to consider it in a manner
    it deems appropriate.

Motion agreed to.


        (Consideration of request for approval by Parliament)

There was no debate.

Amending Draft Notice and Schedule determining the rate at which salaries are payable to Constitutional Court Judges and Judges annually, with effect from 1 April 2008, approved.


                       (Consideration of Bill)

There was no debate.


That the Bill, as amended, be passed.

Motion agreed to.

Bill, as amended, accordingly passed.


                      (Consideration of Report)

There was no debate.


That the Report be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.


                       (Consideration of Bill)

There was no debate.


That the Bill, as amended, be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Bill, as amended, accordingly passed.


                       (Second Reading debate)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Deputy Chairperson, in 1996, implementing the injunctions of the RDP, the government adopted the National Youth Commission Act. This was a first in the history of this country and it established an institutional mechanism to address the socioeconomic aspirations of young people.

Of course, in acting in this way, government was determining that it should intervene immediately to reverse the socioeconomic marginalisation the youth suffered under apartheid and involve them in the processes of democratic transformation.

Basing itself on this understanding, the ANC considered youth development and youth mobilisation to be vital to the processes of fundamental social transformation in South Africa. To address the specific challenges faced by the youth was central to addressing the broader needs of the masses of the people, because the youth had fought for freedom as a central component part of these masses and not as an isolated or parallel sector.

You could not say to the youth that their aspirations would be addressed in the broader process of addressing the general needs of the general public without a targeted approach to what was a serious specific challenge.

Thus, youth development refers to the programme both to redress the grave effects of apartheid on the black youth in particular, and to empower the youth with the capacity fully and ably to participate in both society and the economy.

This is so because unless this is done, the youth will remain marginalised. Accordingly, Chapter 3 of the RDP said that youth development must generally focus more on education and training, job creation and enabling young people to realise their full potential and participate fully in the society and their future.

It must restore the hope of our youth in the future and in their capacity to channel their resourcefulness and energy into reconstruction and development. The RDP further noted that the high levels of youth unemployment require special programmes, and consequently directed that a National Youth Service Programme be established, and that such a programme be regarded not merely as a job creation measure but as youth development and capacity-building. To facilitate the establishment and implementation of this programme, the RDP then directed that a national institution must co-ordinate the programme in consultation with other sectors, and went on to say and, I quote:

Appropriate government departments must more fully represent youth
interests including through the allocation of resources to organisations
involved in youth work.

An autonomous youth council should be given support in co-ordinating
youth activities lobbying for the rights of our people and representing
South Africa internationally. A review of legislation affecting youth
and the implementation of youth service programmes must also be carried

What we are doing today in this House is to give effect to the injunctions of the RDP empowered by the experience of the past 12 years since the establishment of the National Youth Commission and 10 years since the Minister of Finance announced the intention to establish the Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

The truth is that during the past 12 years, we have tried to implement the letter of the RDP in its spirit to establish the legislation for the implementation of the Youth Development Programme, adopt the National Youth Policy, establish the National Youth Commission, adopt the National Youth Service Programme and establish an interdepartmental committee to ensure co- ordination between appropriate government departments so that they more strongly represent youth interests and strive for co-ordination between government and nongovernmental organisations to enhance youth development efforts better. What we are doing today is to review that experience, to improve the capacity we have, to pursue the ideals of the RDP and of youth development.

The National Youth Development Agency is an attempt to address the disjuncture that existed between the National Youth Commission, as a policy- making structure without implementing powers or capacity, and hence a limited budget, and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund as an implementing structure, albeit without a policy mandate.

This meant that we had a commission that could only think but had no capacity or mandate to implement its own thoughts, while the fund had to implement ideas conceived elsewhere.

The problem was that while the commission had the mandate spelt out in the commission, the fund had no similar mandate and had to make up its mandate as it went about its business.

Naturally, in this instance, because the two structures were independent of each other and had different political principles, mandates and programmes, whilst their field of work - youth development - was the same, there were unavoidable, unnecessary tensions and duplications. The National Youth Development Agency will, therefore, seek to address this problem. But we must avoid the danger of regarding it as a panacea for all the problems faced by the youth.

A perfect model for the implementation of youth development has not yet been achieved. Even the National Youth Development Agency itself, as we are establishing it today, would still again need to be remodelled in future to meet new challenges, learning from the experiences it will accumulate as it goes about its business.

Accordingly, and as part of its immediate responsibilities, it must implement an integrated youth development strategy. In broad terms, the National Youth Development Agency should exist for the purposes of implementing and investing in youth development programmes that promote participation in the formal labour market, entrepreneurship, human capital development, and access to information by young people through streamlined and targeted youth information programmes.

It must further support research and capacity-building projects. The establishment of the agency should be viewed as the inevitable revolution of youth development institutions in South Africa post 1994. Its establishment heralds a new era for youth development. It will continue to do the work of the previous institution in a co-ordinated and more integrated way.

Its structure provides for a better governance and management structure than the former institutions, enhancing the possibilities for planning monitoring and evaluation.

Finally, as we establish the National Youth Development Agency, we should commend the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu Youth Fund for the work they did and the millions of lives on which they impacted.

We should thank those structures for the genuine attempts they made to implement an important and difficult mandate without any models to learn from. But it is time for us to move on and learn from that experience and establish a better institution. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mr M JOHNSON: Chairperson, Ministers present, Deputy Ministers, hon members, comrades and friends, driven by what one of the revolutionaries of our time, Chè Guevara, offered us -

… a great sense of duty, a sense of duty towards a society we are building, towards our fellow human beings and towards all the people around the world.

Young men and women of this country joined the South African struggles for freedom and democracy.

Political struggles culminated in the 1994 democratic breakthrough, which marked the end of the system of apartheid colonialism. It was a historical breakthrough that ushered in an important epoch in the history of the majority of South African youth, in which youth development would become central to the developmental agenda of our state. Because of both the contributions the young people of our country made in bringing about freedom and democracy, and the challenges that continue to face them, we cannot watch and do nothing when these young heroes and heroines of our land require intervention from Parliament to further advance the struggles of young people.

It was both the socioeconomic challenges facing young people and the weaknesses within the existing institutions of youth development that necessitated the intervention of our democratic parliament. This is the context within which we should understand the resolution of Parliament on 23 September to establish a committee to process legislation to establish the National Youth Development Agency, which is the subject of our debate today.

Following this resolution of the House, our committee was established and in turn it constituted a technical team to assist it in drafting this legislation establishing the National Youth Development Agency. Indeed, this team helped this committee to consolidate ideas and the views of the committee members in developing draft legislation, which was later published for public comment and submissions.

Before the actual public hearings, this committee, through its chairperson, formally and informally consulted with those who are directly affected by this process. These included institutions such as the Umsobomvu Youth Fund; the National Youth Commission; the Minister in the Presidency, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang; and the Minister of Labour, hon Sheperd Mdladlana.

As for matters that will assist the committee in processing the legislation, while much may be said about initial misgivings that engulfed these consultations, they appear to have generated some results which, to an extent, have assisted the committee to understand the complex issues.

Subsequently, this committee consulted with various youth formations representing young people from across the country, which had converged in Birchwood, Johannesburg to attend a youth dialogue convened by the National Youth Commission on institutional arrangements for youth development in South Africa. The complex issues arising from this legislation also require us to consult with Nedlac. I must say that we have consulted Nedlac as well.

Following on our presentation and discussions, Nedlac never objected to the processing and even the finalisation of this legislation; instead it raised issues that it wanted to be addressed in the legislation. I must also mention that such issues are indeed taken care of in this Bill. In addition to written submissions on this legislation, our committee allowed various youth formations and individual young people - I repeat, individual - from all over the country to make oral representations during the public hearings.

In fact, the written and oral submissions received from youth commissions and individual young people from other organisations that deal with issues of young people, helped us in developing this legislation. Without fear of contradicting myself, let me say that in processing this legislation, our committee has taken into account many of the issues, concerns and proposals raised during the public hearings on this legislation. The committee has indeed consulted extensively on this legislation.

We developed this legislation we are debating today fully aware that young people require space, opportunity and support to maximise their collective and individual capacities, skills and abilities to develop themselves and society as a whole.

Understanding the challenges created by unintegrated institutional mechanisms for youth development, we now establish a new mechanism intended –

… to ensure seamless integration, sustainability and responsiveness to the demands and aspirations of young people in this country.

The new mechanism I am referring to is the National Youth Development Agency, which will exist as a unitary public entity. Such a public entity will ensure that youth development becomes central in the country’s development agenda. The agency will promote a uniform approach by organs of state, the private sector and nongovernmental organisations on youth development. It will initiate, design, co-ordinate and monitor all government programmes aimed at integrating youth into the economy and society in general. In particular, it will also help to develop an integrated youth development strategy and guidelines for the implementation of a national youth policy. Moreover, the legislation also empowers the agency to implement programmes aimed at developing the young people of this country.

However, critically important is that the agency needs to have the organisational, human and financial capacity to lead and guide youth development, especially internal capacity to implement, monitor and evaluate implementation on policy and programmes of youth development.

We understand that change creates uncertainties, fears and anxiety. It can never be an intention of Parliament to depress young people who are dedicated in these institutions to promote youth development in our country.

We therefore urge all of these young people, the young men and women working in these institutions and offices, which are directly affected by this process, to redouble their efforts in responding to the demands and aspirations of young people. They have contracts that are guiding them and they have benchmarks that they need to fulfil. They have nothing to fear, instead they have to continue working, knowing that we have included in the legislation provisions that protect the staff working in these institutions and offices.

In conclusion, let me say that the youth remain a cornerstone of our democracy. The future of this country depends on their willingness and participation. The youth remain central in transforming our society to improve the lives of our people, especially the poor and marginalised sections.

However, the youth must understand their duty to participate actively in the political, social and economic life of our country, to combat discrimination and racism and promote democratic values. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M M SWATHE: The DA welcomes the National Youth Development Agency Bill. The Bill provides for the establishment of the National Youth Development Agency, aimed at creating and promoting co–ordination in youth development matters. It provides for the objects and functions of the Agency; the manner in which it is to be managed and governed; the regulation of its staff matters and financial affairs; the administration of the fund, by the Agency, under a new name referred to in the Demutualisation Levy Act of 1998; repeal of the National Youth Commission Act of 1996; and provides for matters connected therewith.

The Bill sincerely addresses concerns of the youth by collapsing both those thorny bodies, the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and National Youth Commission. These two entities failed to implement and monitor youth development mandates. The spirit of the National Youth Development Agency Bill, if correctly implemented, will relieve ailing, unemployed, unskilled and poor youth from their sufferings. The youth will enjoy all the benefits directed at them through the development programmes initiated, such as the National Youth Policy and the Integrated Youth Development Strategy.

The DA, however, warns the ruling party not to abuse this National Youth Development Agency Bill by employing its members and ignoring youth from all walks of life. We say this, as the DA, having experienced the failure of Umsobomvu and the National Youth Commission, where positions were given according to political affiliation. The Bill emphasises merit rather than political connection.

The spirit and form of the Bill promise to resonate with youth development. It raises the hopes of all young South Africans who lost hope in government and its programmes. The objects of the Agency emphasise an open-opportunity society. It revives South Africa’s dreams of unity in diversity, democracy, new beginnings, hope and the rainbow nation. The Bill gives equal opportunities to all youth based on capabilities and relevant qualifications.

We support this Bill based on its liberal principles of clean governance, equality before the law and the open-opportunity society for all youth irrespective of race. The Bill encourages youth to work hard, study and pursue their dreams with the support it provides.

Re le ba DA, re rata go bona diphetogo. Re rata go bona Lekalatirelo la Setšhaba la Tlhabollo ya Bašwa le dira tše di latelago: le šomela baswa; le eba lentšu la baswa; le tšwela baswa ba dinagamagae mohola; le fihlelela baswa kamoka; gape le le kgauswi le baswa.

Re ile ra tshwenyega ka fao Tšhelete ya Umsobomvu ya Baswa le Khomišene ya Setšhaba ya Baswa di bego di šoma ka gona. Re le ba DA, re bone diphošo tše ntši go mekgatlo ye mebedi ye. Bjale re re go lekane. Re leboga go fedišwa ga Tšhelete ya Umsobomvu ya Baswa le Khomišene ya Setšhaba ya Baswa. Re amogela Lekalatirelo la Setšhaba la Tlhabollo ya Baswa leo re nago le kholofelo ya gore le tla fediša matshwenyego le dillo tša baswa. Re le ba DA, re kgopela gore Lekalatirelo la Setšhaba la Tlhabollo ya Baswa le tliše diphetogo go baswa ba Afrika-Borwa. Ke baswa ba Afrika-Borwa bao ba tlago kgona go tsebiša Lekalatirelo la Setšhaba la Tlhabollo ya Baswa ka mafokodi a lona gore le kgone go lokiša diphošo tša lona.

Rena ba DA re re Lekalatirelo la Setšhaba la Tlhabollo ya Baswa le swanetše go akaretša baswa ba mekgatlo kamoka ya dipolotiki, e sego mokgatlo wo o bušago fela. Re le ba DA, re re Lekalatirelo la Setšhaba la Tlhabollo ya Baswa le swanetše go ba lentšu la baswa kamoka ba Afrika-Borwa. [Tseno ganong.] Re thekga molao wo. Re a leboga. [Legoswi.] [Nako e fedile.] (Translation of Sepedi paragraphs follows.)

[As the DA, we want to see changes. We want to see the National Youth Development Agency doing the following: working for the youth; becoming the voice of the youth; benefiting youth from rural areas; being accessible to all the youth.

We were dissatisfied with the manner in which the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission operated. As the DA, we witnessed a lot of mistakes being made by these two associations. We now say it is enough. We are thankful that the National Youth Commission has been cancelled. We welcome the National Youth Development Agency, which we believe will bring about changes to the lives of the youth of South Africa. It is the youth of South Africa who will be able to inform the National Youth Development Agency of their problems in order to resolve those.

As the DA, we are saying that the National Youth Development Agency must cater for the youth from all political parties and not only for those from the ruling party. As the DA we are saying that the National Youth Development Agency must be the voice of all the youth in South Africa. [Interjections.] We support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.] [Time expired.]]

Ms S P LEBENYA (IFP): Chairperson, hon members, as a member of the Ad hoc Committee on the National Youth Development Agency, the IFP had the opportunity not only to make an input but to listen to a plethora of vigorous inputs from South African youth at the public hearings held on Monday and Tuesday.

It is very clear that despite the ongoing youth crisis, a huge segment of our youth is extremely passionate and ready to get involved in issues of youth and economic development in general. I must say, it is unfortunate that the ad hoc committee presiding on this Bill was unable to afford civil society sufficient participation as well as to integrate some of the critical concerns arising from the civil society submissions.

Almost all submissions from youth activists and organisations reflected a kind of institution that would go beyond just merging the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu Youth Fund, that would give fresh impetus to youth development and above all, its implementation. The word “implement” was the youth catch phrase as everyone is weary of the failures of the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

Many of our young people are growing up along those roads, between multicoloured houses, in shacks and other vulnerable situations. Therefore, they demanded a well-formulated implementing institution rather than a mere co-ordination agency.

Our own youth in the IFP has been calling for a full-fledged youth ministry to implement youth development and take responsibility for all affairs. Regrettably, instead of outlining how the agency will unfold at provincial and local levels, the final draft of the Bill has totally removed any provisions relating to provinces.

The IFP believes the success of this legislation will depend on how the new agency relates to young people and how the entire government responds to the current economic crisis and gross socioeconomic inequalities in the country as a whole.

Taking note of the above concerns, the IFP recommends this Bill for approval. I thank you. [Time expired.]

Mr G T MADIKIZA: Chairperson, hon members, the National Youth Development Agency Bill seeks to create an apparently new structure to deal with the important question of youth and how their development is catered for within the greater context of government policy and administration.

Important issues that require attention include how national policies and decisions reflect the needs and inspirations of the youth. It is especially important that we create a democratic society that has legitimacy among the new generation if we expect them to carry forward the historic project of consolidating the freedom we attained in 1994.

Our concern lies not so much in the objectives of the Bill, but we are concerned that it merely seems to duplicate an existing structure that exists within the Presidency, and to collapse the Umsobomvu Youth Fund into this new structure.

It must be noted that both the commission and the fund have poor delivery track records and dubious fiscal management histories. However, these problems will not disappear with the establishment of this new structure. This is because these structures are transferred as they are into the new agency. The agency will inherit all the problems and weaknesses …

The UDM supports the Bill. [Time expired.]

Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, as a new democracy, we have been greatly challenged by our history and aims to institute policies that can inculcate in communities equal opportunity, freedom and unity. However, the realities of poverty create great imbalances throughout the nation and among our people.

It is as though in South Africa it is the drive to attain the best democracy that keeps us going. We as a nation, however, are the architects of tomorrow. It is our duty to steer the youth of today away from these challenges and support them in being great leaders, developers and organisers of the generation to follow them. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “A country that does not invest in its youth does not have a future.”

The MF applauds the introduction of the National Youth Agency Bill that will certainly assist us in addressing the challenges that we face with our youth today and enable them with the tools to cope with tomorrow. The MF is confident that this board shall deliver greatness to our youth. The MF will support the Bill. The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): While they are preparing I am going to ask the Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party to recommend a hat for the hon Bloem! [Laughter.]

Mrs W S NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN: Chairperson, the youth of today are our future and tomorrow’s leaders; and yet studies show that 70% of our country’s youth population remains unemployed.

In 1994, after our democratic breakthrough, a period of youth development became part of the developmental intervention of the democratic state. We saw the development of youth-focused policy and legislative frameworks. In 1996 the National Youth Commission Act saw the establishment of the National Youth Commission.

In 2001 government showed its commitment to development by establishing the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, through section 3 of the Demutualisation Levy Act, Act 50 of 1998. Money was put into this fund to fast-track mainstreaming youth economic participation in the country.

The mandate of the NYC was the establishment of a statutory body charged with formulating a national youth policy, co-ordinating the implementation of such a policy and lobbying and advocating for youth development in the country.

The mandate of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund states that the fund is established in accordance with such terms and conditions as the Minister of Finance may determine to fund national projects for skills development and job creation.

Unfortunately, there were weaknesses and limitations experienced by the NYC because of its limited mandate and the fact that it had no enforcing powers. The hon member from the IFP mentioned in her presentation that there were many failures from the NYC, and these were not failures on their part, but because of the limitations regarding the mandate within the Act. That was the reason for the limitations - because of the law.

The Umsobomvu Fund lacks a legal mandate for this fund to be regulated and therefore it regulated itself. The two institutions also literally ran parallel programmes and were at times duplicating each other’s mandate, yet they did not interact with each other or conduct joint planning sessions.

The youth convention and the ANC Polokwane conference renewed calls for a new agency to be set up. The Ad Hoc Committee on the National Youth Development Agency Bill had just completed its task in working on this Bill this week. Thirty-two written submissions were sent to the committee; 21 presentations only were made to the committee and many of them came from different youth formations as well as provincial youth commissions; and four individuals also made submissions.

The reasons for the submissions were for the ad hoc committee to hear the views of different youth formations and different individuals on the draft Bill. This Bill arose from the need to merge the two institutions, namely the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

The idea of the National Youth Development Agency will ensure seamless integration, sustainability and responsiveness to the demands and aspirations of South African youth.

The Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons oversees the work of both these agencies.

Concerns have been raised in the committee and brought forward to the committee, and these concerns were that the programmes of both the NYC and the UYF were not inclusive. They were not representative of all the youth of South Africa, especially youth with disabilities and the rural youth. There has not been enough public awareness about the work of the NYC and the UYF. This was evident when we as the JMC performed oversight work.

During the public hearings we noted that most of those presenting to the ad hoc committee agreed that a merging of the NYC and the UYF was needed. They were happy to support a new agency.

In the Bill, the objects of the agency are that they are to develop an integrated youth development plan and strategies for South Africa. They are to develop guidelines for implementation of youth development as well as initiate, design, and co-ordinate, evaluate and monitor all programmes aimed at integrating the youth into the economy and society of our country.

The agency will guide efforts and facilitate economic participation and empowerment, and achievement of education and training. It has to partner and assist organs of state, the private sector, the NGOs and community- based organisations on initiatives directed at attaining employment and skills development.

It will initiate programmes directed at poverty alleviation, urban and rural development and combating of crime, substance abuse and social decay amongst youth. It has to establish annual national priority programmes in respect of youth development and promote a uniform approach by all organs of state, the private sector and nongovernmental organisations to matters relating to or involving youth development. It must endeavour to promote the interests generally of the youth, particularly young people with disabilities.

In order for the agency to achieve these objectives, it will establish competencies and capabilities in its operations, including the following: It will be responsible for the national youth service and social cohesion, economic participation, policy, research and development, governance, training and development, youth advisory and information services and the national youth fund.

There has also been a concern and talk that the merger will cause staff members to lose their jobs and end contracts. The Bill specifically says in clause 21 that following section 197 of the Labour Relations Act, staff of the NYC and the UYF will be transferred to the agency. This should prevent any panic that might occur.

Committee members and those presenting their submissions were concerned that service delivery to the youth of South Africa, the national youth policy and integrated national youth strategy be implemented so that our youth can benefit.

Coming out of the presentations from the two institutions to the JMC it has been noted that there are government departments which do not take the needs of the youth seriously.

As chairperson of this committee, and as a member of the ad hoc committee that worked on this Bill, I hope that in its work this agency will take into consideration the need to fast-track services to the youth.

If I do not have another opportunity from this podium, I would like to thank the NYC and the UYF for all the work that they have done, in spite of the limitations and challenges that they faced. I wish you all the best. Thank you. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, I would also like to acknowledge the Deputy President of the ANC Youth League in the gallery. I understand he is such a tough lobbyist that some hon members have requested that he get a hat as a gift from the House!

I want also to thank all the hon members who participated in the discussion. I also would like to recommend a hat for Mr Swathe and to suggest to the hon Madikiza that he reads the Bill again because I don’t think it says the things that he was saying here. He probably read the wrong Bill. I would suggest to my former president there, Lulu Johnson, that he gives him the correct copy.

The National Youth Development Agency will combine rather than split the efforts of the previous structures. The weaknesses in the National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund did not exist because of the deliberate weaknesses in these organisations. It was because of the mandate that these organisations had.

The merger will result in a better-resourced and better-capacitated agency that will benefit from the collective experience of the two structures, which were accumulated over a period of about 10 years, and from leveraging the capacities of the two organisations towards a single goal.

Again the agency must not be regarded as a panacea to the problems of the youth. The labour market must still create jobs. Schools must still teach and offer good quality education. Universities must still develop skills and produce rounded, competent citizens. The agency will have to play its part in lobbying for youth development and in establishing some programmes and implementing those that they can afford within the limitations of the resources that they have.

In reality, the agency will not have all the resources it needs to be able to respond at once to the complex problems that young people in our country have. That would mean that all government departments, including the private sector, will have to play their part and not shirk their responsibilities simply because a national youth development agency already exists.

This is a new era which we are going to enter in the field of youth development. It was instructive that this agency was the idea of young people themselves, and we should commend the youth for their vigilance and for being alert and being able to voice the ideas and concerns they have about weaknesses in the structures and programmes that we have established. Thank you very much, and Merry Christmas to all. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

Bill read a second time.


                       (Consideration of Bill)

There was no debate.


That the Bill, as amended, be passed.

Motion agreed to.

Bill, as amended, accordingly passed.


                       (Consideration of Bill)

There was no debate.


That the Bill be passed.

Motion agreed to.

Bill, as amended, accordingly passed.


                       (Consideration of Bill)

There was no debate.


That the Bill, as amended, be passed.

Motion agreed to.

Bill, as amended, accordingly passed.


                      (Consideration of Report) There was no debate.


That the report be adopted.

Motion agreed to.


                             42 of 2000)

There was no debate.

Question put: That the Reports be adopted.

Agreed to. Reports accordingly adopted.

                          FAREWELL SPEECHES

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY: Chairperson, we are entering the season of peace and goodwill, and so this is the occasion for kind words of thanks and holiday good wishes.

You will probably, therefore, be relieved to hear that I will not be using this opportunity to refer to the fact that for the last five months of this year, Parliament has been inhibited from playing its rightful role of exercising oversight over the executive and bringing them to account by the fact that Parliament has hardly met.

I will also not use this opportunity to refer to the fact that the President has only appeared twice to answer oral questions, the Deputy President once and three government clusters only once. Neither will I be referring to the fact that the Scorpions Bills and Broadcasting Amendments Bills which were passed by Parliament were a blot on this Parliament’s copybook.

Nor even will I mention the fact that the integrity of this institution was further called into question by the termination of the mandate of the liquidators in the Travelgate matter and the purchase of the outstanding debt by Parliament.

I am not going to refer to any of these matters because this is the beginning of the season of peace and goodwill – and I do not want to pick a fight with the hon members on the opposite side of this House on this the last day of the session.

It’s in this spirit that I formally, from this podium, congratulate the new Chief and Deputy Whips of the Majority Party. I wish them peace in the New Year. I wish I could offer them prosperity as well, but the Moseneke Commission had other thoughts.

I do promise not to be extra difficult in respect of my dealing with the Chief Whip as I am hugely concerned that since my becoming Chief Whip of the DA, I have literally seen off two Chief Whips and one Acting Chief Whip of the ANC. I don’t know why I have this effect on people. But it must be either me or possibly all the turmoil that is in the ranks of the majority party. Now, who knows what’s going to happen in the New Year? I promise the new Chief Whip that I will do my best to co-operate.

Nonetheless, let me thank them for the good working relationship we have had while they were in the Office of the Chief Whip and wish them well. I have to say that when one looks at the two Chief Whips and one Acting Chief Whip, one left as a result of being in disgrace, one was demoted and one was promoted - so there you are!

I don’t want to speculate about the fact that the Hon Baleka Mbete also left her post during the course of this year. She has now become the Deputy President and I am sure it is only because of my very good working relationship with her that she has achieved such high office. We wish her well too.

To the new Speaker, may I congratulate her and wish her long life, long life, not only in her life but in her post as well, because I don’t know how long she will be there for.

The Christmas season is about giving and receiving presents. And when I look around the Chamber at this time in our political history, and more particularly, with an election looming, it reminds me of a family around a Christmas tree on Christmas morning – full of excitement and anticipation. As always, when Father Christmas delivers the presents some get more than they anticipate, others are disappointed - sometimes there are even tears.

The bigger brother is anticipating that because, being the oldest, he had in the past received a big present, he will once again receive a big present. What he doesn’t realise is that others in the family are now growing up and getting bigger – so I am afraid he will be disappointed. Even more so, because I don’t think he’s quite realised yet that there is a new baby in the house. I hope there won’t be too much disappointment for their side and I certainly hope there won’t be tears. I wish I could advise the older child to write urgently to Father Christmas to request him to deliver a bigger present, but I am a little afraid that Father Christmas might just ask why he should deliver a bigger present when the older brother himself has failed to deliver very much over the last 14 years.

But perhaps this Christmas allegory is a bit too complicated for the end of the session. Perhaps let me just take this opportunity to first of all thank all the DA officials, research staff, my own personal assistant, PA, and the DA Whips who helped me, and indeed all the Whips of all parties who co-operated so well in the interests of Parliament.

Let me also thank the Presiding Officers and all the staff of Parliament, from the most senior to the most junior, for doing their best to treat us with courtesy and consideration and for giving of their best.

Finally, then, may I take this opportunity to wish the Presiding Officers, all the hon members and all the staff a happy and blessed Christmas and a very good New Year. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, I want to say that Mr Davidson has done all the beautiful thank-yous and I don’t want to repeat them, except to say that we join with him in expressing all those thank-yous and words of appreciation to everybody. Therefore, what we should do today is to acknowledge that in the past year this Parliament has performed according to international parliamentary standards. [Applause.] And we can all be proud of this Parliament. We did have a number of exceptions to that rule, like the hon Mr Ellis, who I have heard is becoming an ambassador. Fortunately, he is leaving us. I believe he will be South Africa’s ambassador at Robben Island. We have several senior positions changing in Parliament. [Laughter.] [Interjections.]

Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, on a point of order, sir. The hon Van der Merwe will know the strict rule that when a person is appointed as an ambassador it is not allowed to be made public until such time as the President signs it. The President hasn’t yet signed my certificate. So, Mr Van der Merwe is totally out of order!

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): I am just wondering how we knew it, you see. [Laughter.]

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: I have this information from the Presidency and I know that … [Interjections.]

I went to the President and discussed the appointment of Mr Ellis and he asked me where we should send him. I firstly thought to Gough Island and then Robben Island, and the President has signed it. So, goodbye, Mike. [Laughter.]

Ms F I CHOHAN: Chairperson, the last time Mr Van der Merwe gave us a cake was when he couldn’t see the President. I wonder if he would be so kind as to send us a cake again now that he has seen the President. [Laughter.]

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, I have specially taken a big, beautiful cake to the new Speaker. Both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker ate that cake in the Speaker’s office and I am sorry that you didn’t even get a crumb of it.

There have been a number of changes. I want to agree with Mr Davidson and congratulate the new Chief Whip and the Deputy Chief Whip, but also I want to pay special tribute to the former Speaker, now Deputy President, Baleka Mbete. Over many years as Deputy Speaker and then as Speaker, she was a big and shining diamond in our parliamentary crown. Thank you, Madam Deputy President, we are proud of you. [Applause.]

To Mr Andries Nel, who is now a presiding officer, congratulations on your well deserved promotion, Andries. [Applause.]

To the new Speaker, Madam Gwen, thank you very much for being the Speaker not only of one political party but of all members of Parliament. [Applause.]

Today is a very special day. It is the last sitting day of the year 2008. It is therefore not a day to criticise, although there might be room for criticism. I am not going to say this, and then, like Mr Davidson, take a few stabs - stabbing below the belt.

We are at the end of yet another year of service to the people of South Africa. I am sure we are all tired and looking forward to a well-deserved rest. And I am sure everyone has done his best including Dr Gawie, the CI governor; you have also worked hard.

Let us therefore pause for a moment on this last sitting day, and let us rather concentrate on fellowship, friendship and goodwill today. Let us today express good wishes, such as that we will all enjoy a well-deserved break as from today; that we will all enjoy a wonderful Christmas with our families; and that the Lord will bring us all back next year to resume our service to the people of our beloved land.

In conclusion, I wish to make a very sincere appeal to all members. After all, we are all colleagues no matter to which party we belong. My sincere appeal is about next year’s very important general election. My concern is that there are unfortunately already ominous signs of a very turbulent time ahead.

Therefore, let us all take a specific New Year’s resolution; namely, that we will conduct that election in a spirit of ubuntu. [Applause.]

Let us therefore refrain from personal attacks and insults and emotional electioneering. Let us, as members of Parliament and leaders, motivate and impress upon our party supporters to keep cool and ensure a peaceful election. Let us resolve to fight those elections in a manner that will demonstrate to the outside world, and in particular Africa and Zimbabwe, that South Africa has truly became a democratic country in which we respect one another and in which we respect and uphold the values of our Constitution. Let these be our sincere New Year’s resolutions. Go well and may God protect you. [Applause.]

Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, may I ask the hon Mr Van der Merwe a question?

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Mr Chairperson, I still have a few seconds left and as it is a very simple question that is normally put by this member I will take. [Applause.]

Mr M J ELLIS: It is a very simple question. [Laughter.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): In the first place you have no seconds left, but you may take the question. [Laughter.] Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, Mr Van der Merwe is quite right, it is a very simple question. Shouldn’t we be using this opportunity, Mr Van der Merwe, to say goodbye to you once and for all, or do you intend coming back again? [Laughter.]

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, I wish once again to announce my retirement. I will retire on the day that I die. [Laughter.] [Applause.]

Mr G T MADIKIZA: Chairperson, hon members, first let me join my colleagues in congratulating our colleagues on their new appointments, which they deserve. The end of another year has arrived, perhaps more rapidly than expected because of the many dramatic political and legislative developments that we have experienced.

This year Parliament has succeeded in processing a significantly larger portion of legislation than previously. However, it has come at a price in terms of quality, because I fear that there has been an unseemly rush to process Bills that will later be open to legal challenges and require amendment or redrafting.

Another aspect of this legislative year that we need to take note of is that this year this House has been used by the ruling party to pursue dubious and ill-conceived political objectives by way of legislation. Two particular examples of this occurrence spring to mind: firstly, the disbandment of the Scorpions and secondly, the legislative intervention to remove the SABC Board.

We should probably bid farewell to many of our colleagues in the ruling party benches because one suspects that by early next year they will have resigned in order to pursue their politics under other auspices.

On this note, I want to appeal to all the hon members that we should recognise the need for mature and responsible political contest. It is our duty to ensure that our election campaigns do not degenerate into infantile name-calling, hate speech and the incitement of violence.

At this time of the year, three other important matters require mentioning. While we are in our constituencies we need to help spread the message. Firstly, on 1 December it is Aids Day. It is an opportunity to further raise awareness about the pandemic.

Secondly, the 16 days of activism campaign for no violence against women and children will be underway and again as leaders in our communities, we can help spread this important message. Finally, the holiday is a time for family relaxation but also a time when a large number of South Africans die on our roads. Let us practise and preach road safety, wherever we go. [Time expired.] Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, colleagues, between now and when we reconvene in February, I know there will be very little rest for most of us as we go into our constituencies and focus on party work in preparation for the 2009 national and provincial elections.

The Christmas season, however, is an important time of celebration for Christians as it marks the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The ACDP wishes all members of Parliament, officials, staff of Parliament and the people of South Africa a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2009.

This year has been an unusually interesting year in politics as events have taken some abrupt twists and turns, resulting in an exhilarating shaking up of democracy. Suddenly people are daring to hope that there is more to democracy than this thing we have experienced for the most part of the past 15 years.

I am reminded of the words by James Bovard - and you need to visualise this mental picture: “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” [Laughter.]

Happy Christmas, travel safely and God bless you all.

Nk M M MDLALOSE: Ngiyabingelela sibonge ukuqeda unyaka, obewunyaka noko obungelula, omude kuneminingi, obunezinkinga kanye nezimangaliso. Ngiyabonga kodwa ukufika kuleli thuba. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)

[Greetings to you all, and we are grateful for ending the year; a year that was not easy at all, that was longer than the rest, and which had problems and surprises. But I am grateful to reach this stage.]

May I also indulge your patience. Let us close our eyes and think of the last Christmas we had. I want to take this House on a journey, a journey into the time of lapho itshe lisancinzwa ngozipho [when a stone had to be raised with fingernails.]

Think of green scenery, colourful flowers, the rain, the sun, the beaches and the picnics. Do we remember when we had family, Christmas trees, the singing, the concerts, the jokes, the love overflowing, the food, the house calls and the spirit of sharing? Open your eyes.

As public representatives, may we revive that spirit in our constituencies, although there are economic constraints.

Ukujabula akuvinjwa ubuphofu, ukujabula buhamba nokufisa umoya omnandi nokwakha ubuhlobo obuqinile noma siqhutshwa ukuthi siyafuna ukusebenza ngokwepolitiki ake sikusebenzele kodwa ukujabula kwesizwe nabantu bakithi. Ake siwakhe umoya kakhisimuzi nomoya kaNcibijane omnandi. Khisimuzi omuhle malunga. Ngiyabonga. Merry Christmas. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)

[Happiness is not hindered by destitution; happiness is accompanied by a good spirit and the building of a strong relationship. Even though we are politically motivated, let us work to ensure the happiness of the nation and our fellow people. Let us revive the good spirit of Christmas and New Year. Merry Christmas, hon members. Thank you.]

Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, time never ceases to amaze me. How fast this year has passed and how fast have the past four years passed! It has been a productive, eventful year and the MF applauds all who have contributed to the effective running of both Houses in this national sphere of government.

I take this opportunity to thank our amazing Madam Speaker, Deputy Speaker, not forgetting our former Speaker, who is now the Deputy President of our country, and we are very proud of her. Furthermore, I extend thanks to the NA table, the Secretary to Parliament, the Secretary of the NA and to all Whips of all the political parties.

Committees have been hard at work fulfilling our parliamentary duties and introducing legislation that best delivered to our democracy. We applaud all committees and committee chairs for their hard work and dedication. We certainly cannot leave the House without thanking all our support staff and parliamentary staff who made our task so much easier. The service officers deserve special thanks.

I would like to wish all a safe and happy festive season. May all be surrounded by loved ones, laughter and great feasts. As we close the doors for 2008, may 2009 bring us much success, prosperity and joy. I wish a very Happy New Year to all. On 8 December Muslims will be celebrating Bakri Eid, and I say Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim citizens. The MF wishes all matriculants the best of luck and a prosperous future.

Lastly, we thank all our supporters and constituencies for their support and trust in our leadership. I profess our gratitude to them and guarantee them of our dedication and commitment.

Almighty God, I pray for Your guidance, blessing and care over South Africa and all those who live in it. Many thanks and much love to all of you. I thank you.

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY: Hon Chairperson, I would like to say, …

… bengicela ukuthi ngithi kwiNkatha Freedom Party dudu akwehlanga lungehlanga.[… condolences to the Inkatha Freedom Party.]

I am standing here before you today having filled the shoes that were generally too big to be filled. The shoes were for some time worn by the outgoing Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party, hon Mthethwa and hon Andries Nel, respectively. Their guidance on how to tie the shoelaces made it possible for us to assemble here today. To them I want to say: You have done a good job in the Whippery. [Applause.]

On behalf of the ANC, I would like to thank all members of this House for the good work done this year. I would like to thank the Table staff and the Secretary to the NA for the excellent work that they have done. They really go beyond the call of duty to assist in the smooth running of the House. I thank the service officers, all the staff members of Parliament and the staff of the various political parties for their assistance. We would like to thank members of the media for covering our proceedings and debates. We do not always agree with what they say, but we thank them for their work.

The ANC believes in the correctness of our policies, strategies and tactics. However, in the same breath, we also believe in constructive engagement which does not exclude criticism. The ANC believes that we learn more from mistakes than from success because he who has never made a mistake cannot make a discovery. This Parliament is an important body that allows us to learn from one another. In the process we say things that might hurt others. These things are not personal.

Let me highlight some of the important achievements of this Parliament since 1994. This Parliament has been led by women Speakers in an excellent manner. [Applause.] Leaders of various parties in this Parliament are women. We have increased the number of women chairpersons and whips in this Parliament since 1994.

The number of young people and people living with disabilities has increased since 1994. After the general election the ANC will ensure that 50% of the ANC public representatives and members of the national executives will be women. We are challenging all parties in this House, and those who want to be elected to this House, to do the same or even more.

This House has passed very progressive legislation such as the money Bill, the Child Justice Bill and many others that will change the course of history forever. We have been part of the initiative of promoting peace and democracy in Africa and in the rest of the world. These successes could only be achieved because of the commitment of all of us to create a better society.

The Freedom Charter declares that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. No government can just claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people. It is because of the will of the people that we are here today. It is because of the will of the people that we are the majority party.

It is because of the will of the people that there are minority parties, and we respect their right to be here and we will defend to the death their right to differ with us. We know that they will defend to the death our right to articulate and defend our policies as the majority party. This forces us into a healthy co-existence to build our democracy.

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate members of this House and those who have been appointed in terms of section 193 of the Constitution, who have been appointed to the Cabinet. We would also like to congratulate the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker and all other members who were given positions of responsibility during the term ending next year - and that includes members of the opposition.

We differ ideologically, tactically and strategically, but we are not enemies. We should not be enemies. [Applause.] We are just friends who see a society which we want to create differently. Let us all campaign vigorously but fairly. Our democracy is becoming stronger every day. As we go into recess and the constituency period we will miss the jokes of hon Van der Merwe and hon Dennis Bloem and of many others. [Applause.]

Our wish is that everybody would come back from the opposition parties after the elections, but that is not possible because as the ANC we are going to increase our majority. [Applause.] Unfortunately, that has implications for some of us.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Do not drink and drive. As we celebrate Christmas and the New Year, we must also remember that there are those in our country, in Africa and in the rest of the world, who go to bed without food. We must remember that there are those who die of treatable diseases because they have no money to buy drugs.

There are those who are being killed in civil wars. Let us redouble our efforts to build a caring nation. The contribution of each and every one of us is a victory for humankind. Let us go and be soldiers to implement the Freedom Charter. We part to meet and meet to part. Let us meet again and let joy be our watchword. Hambani kahle, tot siens. Goodbye. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, please! When you speak about enemies, we are not enemies. I remember this young person who was just elected to Parliament for the first time touring the House of Commons. Then he sits next to a stalwart who has been in Parliament for a long time.

Then he says to the stalwart, “It’s good now to sit here and watch your enemies.” He points at the opposition. The old stalwart said, “No, you got it wrong, my son.” He asks, “Why?” The old member answers. “That is the opposition party, the enemies are here behind you!” [Applause.] [Laughter.] I’m sure we all know that experience!

I am now going to read a message from the Speaker, who is not here. She asked me to convey this message to you. I’m going to read it to you unamended.

                      MESSAGE FROM THE SPEAKER

Human beings are by nature sentimental. We like to leave behind traces of our sojourn here on earth. That is why we even go to the extent of creating gadgets such as audio-recorders to record our voices and cameras to capture and save our images for posterity.

As a space inhabited by people, Parliament is therefore affected by such human behaviour. What is different, however, about recording specific epochs of Parliament’s lifetime is that we are registering a tiny footprint on a canvas of millions of years of civilisation.

But bear in mind that the small step we take and record in this regard is a significant contribution to the story of mankind. Therefore, I’m honoured that as I make my closing remarks of the proceedings of the National Assembly for the year 2008, I would also be exercising the singular honour and privilege of making reflection on the third Parliament as a whole.

Of course, we know that every institution has its lows and highs, but why concentrate on the bad when millions of South Africans have mandated us here to do only the good in creating a better life for all?

It is for this reason that I shall only give the highlights of the third Parliament, as follows, from the previous to the current juncture: That is, the successful implementation of a travel system for Members of Parliament and their dependants, 2005-06; the establishment of the Parliamentary Group on International Relations, the PGIR 2006; Parliament’s participation in the African Peer Review Mechanism process, 2006; the review of Chapter 9 and associated institutions by the ad hoc committee of the National Assembly, 2006-07; the setting up of parliamentary democracy offices in three provinces in 2008; the adoption of a new governance model for Parliament in 2007; the graduation of members from various learning opportunities, including the passing of the French language course by two members of this Parliament, that is hon J Fubbs and the hon C Johnson; hosting sectoral parliaments: the People’s Assembly, Women’s Parliament and Youth Parliament annually; the ten review publications celebrating Parliament’s achievement and challenges since 1994, which were launched in 2007, that is the institutional memory; hosting the 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in April 2008; Parliament’s ongoing participation in international parliamentary structures, including the Pan-African Parliament and SADC PF; the adoption of a report on the legislative process in Parliament by the Joint Task Team of the legislative process in Parliament for consideration by the fourth Parliament; the adoption by the Joint Rules Committee of the oversight and accountability model produced by the task team on oversight and accountability in 2008; the adoption by both Houses of Rules for the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, 2008; the processing of legislation, three Bills, to end floor-crossing, 2008; the processing of the Financial Administration of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Bill and the Financial Management Parliament Bill 2008; the establishment of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus.

I’m sure that these achievements and many others, which I had no time or space to cite, will give us a spring in our step as we go home to celebrate with our families and constituencies the objectives met and life well led for the year 2008.

As you indulge in all sorts of goodies, spare not only a thought for many South Africans who cannot afford a plate of bread at the end of the day, but give generously where you can to bring a smile to the face of a hungry child, for it is the plight of that child which got you here in this Assembly. Lifting that child from what seems to be a curse would even be more worthwhile than waiting for it to grow up first as a voter before you can even want to consider talking to it.

Hon members, let me also take this opportunity to say a special word of appreciation to officials of Parliament who are forever working hard to ensure that we discharge our duties. I want to thank the Secretary to Parliament, Mr Zingile Dingani, and his team, Mr Michael Coetzee, Mr Tango Lamani, Secretary to the National Assembly, Mr Kamal Mansura, and his team, all the divisional managers and the entire staff of Parliament and the staff in the Speaker’s office.

On that note, I would like to wish you all a wonderful festive season and a prosperous New Year.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Now that concludes the farewell speeches and the business for this session. The House will now rise. I’m sure you know that experience! [Applause.]

The House adjourned at 11:14. ____



National Assembly and National Council of Provinces ` The Speaker and the Chairperson

  1. Bills passed by Houses – to be submitted to President for assent
1) Bills passed by National Assembly on 21 November 2008:
      a) Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill [B 42D – 2008] (National
         Assembly – sec 75).

      b) Mine Health and Safety Amendment Bill [B 54D – 2008] (National
         Assembly – sec 75).

      c) National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute Bill [B 41D –
         2008] (National Assembly – sec 75).

      d) Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill [B
         10F – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75).

      e) Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of
         Communication-related Information Amendment Bill [B 9D – 2006]
         (National Assembly – sec 75).
  1. Classification of Bills by Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM)
(1)    The JTM in terms of Joint Rule 160(6) classified the following
     Bill as a section 75 Bill:

      a) National Youth Development Agency Bill [B 82 – 2008] (National
         Assembly – sec 75)


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

The Speaker and the Chairperson

  1. Report of the 2008 People’s Assembly.

CREDA INSERT - T081121e-insert1 – PAGE 2330


  1. Background

The concept of the People’s Assembly may be found in the ideals contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that positions our democracy as both representative and participatory. Accordingly, our system of government is based on the principles of the people’s representatives whose responsibility is to act in the people’s interest and the participation of the people in the process of decision making and broadening the range of people who have access to opportunities for such participation.

The People’s Assembly, in pursuance of the ideals of the Constitution, provides a vehicle that brings the people and their representatives together to debate challenges facing them. It provides a voice for the people to express themselves and to participate in seeking solutions to their challenges.

The People’s Assembly is also a fitting response to a commitment to build an effective People’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa.

To realise its commitment of being a Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the People, Parliament has, since 2004, been coming together with ordinary South Africans in the People’s Assemblies.

The People’s Assembly is a national event hosted by Parliament in one of the provinces. Participants in the Peoples’ Assembly are drawn from different provinces, the local municipality and members of Parliament and converge at the national event in the hosting province to deliberate on different topics. The results of the deliberations are presented and discussed in plenary where members of the Executive are invited to respond to questions and comments. The provincial legislatures, including the provincial legislature of the province in which the People’s Assembly is hosted, hold parallel provincial assemblies at the same time as the People’s Assembly. Participants at the provincial assemblies join the People’s Assembly via satellite link and participate in the discussions by making inputs and comments or by asking questions.

  1. Introduction

This is the fifth People’s Assembly to be held by the Third Parliament. The first People’s Assembly was held in Parliament in October 2004, and celebrated the 10th anniversary of our democracy and the adoption of the Constitution in 1996. The second People’s Assembly was held in Kliptown, Soweto, in 2005 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Congress of the People under the theme: “People’s Voices: Shaping the Future”. The third People’s Assembly was held in 2006 in Oudtshoorn under the theme: “all shall have equal rights” and provided an opportunity to review equality legislation passed by Parliament.

The fourth People’s Assembly was held in 2007 at Mbizana, Eastern Cape under the theme: “Masijule ngengxoxo Mzansi “. The occasion was also used to commemorate the life of O R Tambo by unveiling a plaque at his birthplace, Nkantolo.

The 2008 People’s Assembly was held in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga Province. Each province was represented by 15 participants. 136 participants were drawn from the wards of the Bushbuckridge municipality. About 150 members of Parliament also participated.

This year’s theme was “Parliament empowering communities for poverty eradication” and was discussed in three separate commissions under the following topics:

  1. Sustainable development

  2. Role of the public in poverty eradication

  3. Education and health in poverty eradication

The discussions in the commissions also reflected on the reports of previous People’s Assemblies relevant to the topics.

  1. Summary of activities

The People’s Assembly was preceded by a community meeting held at the Margaret Nanana Mhlanga Memorial Hall in Oakly, Mpumalanga on 11 September

  1. The purpose of the community meeting was to inform the community about the People’s Assembly and how they could participate in the oversight work that would be undertaken by committees of parliament prior to the commencement of the People’s Assembly.

The committees of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces undertook oversight work on 15 and 16 September. The committees visited various service delivery points in and around the Bushbuckridge municipal area that were relevant to the portfolios that were represented to gather firsthand information about issues affecting the community. The portfolios that were represented by the committees included social development, health, education, agriculture and land affairs, labour, water affairs, and trade and industry.

The People’s Assembly commenced with a plenary on 17 September where participants were welcomed and the objectives of the 2008 People’s Assembly explained. Thereafter participants attended discussions in commissions. On 18 September the People’s Assembly was linked, via satellite, with provincial assemblies. The Premier of the Province, Mr T S P Makwetla, addressed the People’s Assembly. A consolidated report of oversight work by parliamentary committees was presented. This was followed by presentation of reports from the commissions. Questions and comments were then entertained from the nine provincial sites and from the national site. Ministers present, the Premier, members of the provincial executive committee and members of Parliament responded to questions. Mr M J Mahlangu, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, gave a vote of thanks.


Chairperson: Ms P M Hollander, MP, Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces

Ms P M Hollander welcomed the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr M J Mahlangu, the Premier of Mpumalanga, T S P Makwetla, the Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature, Mrs Y N Phosa, the Acting Mayor of Bushbuckridge, Ms M S Mashego, all participating members of Parliament and members of the Provincial Legislature, representatives of the House of Traditional Leaders, Councillors and participants.

Ms Hollander thanked all participants for their support of parliamentary programmes in the province, and their participation in the People’s Assembly. She invited Mr M J Mahlangu, MP, to open the People’s Assembly and welcome participants.

  1. Opening and welcome

Mr Mahlangu welcomed the participants. He indicated that this was the fifth People’s Assembly and urged members of Parliament to pay attention to people’s concerns. He said that poverty eradication was not only a South African issue but a universal problem. The United Nations Development Programme had identified a lack of water and sanitation as the main two drivers of poverty worldwide.

Mr Mahlangu said that Parliament was keen to assist communities in their fight against poverty. There should be a visible legacy left behind by the occasion especially in light of the fact that this was the last People’s Assembly of the Third Parliament. He suggested that the concept of a People’s Assembly should be continued in the Fourth Parliament.

  1. Context and background to the People’s Assembly

Mr K O Bapela, House Chairperson in the National Assembly gave a brief presentation about the People’s Assembly.

Mr Bapela said that the Constitution enjoined Parliament to ensure public participation. This interaction and participation happened, among others, through the opportunity to make submissions to Parliament and its committees. People must have the opportunity to express their views on legislation and policies. Parliament initiated the People’s Assembly as a vehicle to fulfill people’s participation in parliamentary processes. He noted that the People’s Assembly was also a mechanism that was meant to assist parliamentarians to address challenges facing communities. Policies must be implemented with a view to improving people’s lives. Parliamentarians are public representatives and must deliver on promises made to the public. The idea was therefore that the People’s Assembly should give feedback to the communities, inter alia, on issues of service delivery.

  1. Input on how Parliament functions and the importance of public participation

Mr M B Skosana, House Chairperson in the National Assembly made a presentation on how Parliament functions and the importance of public participation.

Mr Skosana said that the National Assembly was elected to represent the people, to elect the President, to provide a national forum for public consideration of issues, to pass legislation, to scrutinise and to oversee executive action. By comparison the National Council of Provinces was elected to represent the provinces, to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government by participating in the national legislative process and by providing a national forum for public consideration of issues affecting provinces.

In terms of sections 57 and 70 of the Constitution, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces respectively, are separate and independent. The two Houses are thus not accountable to any of the other two arms of government, but are directly accountable to the electorate.

Mr Skosana went further to explain that Parliament functioned through its committees and that each House had its own separate committees. However, there were joint committees for joint business of both Houses.

Furthermore, section 59 of the Constitution provided that the National Assembly must facilitate public involvement in its processes and that of its committees, conduct its business in an open manner and hold its sittings and those of its committees in public. A number of measures were employed by Parliament to facilitate public participation, including public hearings, submissions, petitions, the People’s Assembly, the Youth Parliament and Taking Parliament to the People. Parliament had recently started the process of establishing Parliamentary Democracy Offices in different provinces. These offices were aimed at strengthening the link between Parliament and the people, especially in the remote rural areas of the various provinces. People can contact Parliament through these offices.

  1. Objectives and anticipated outcomes for 17 and 18 September

Mr G Q M Doidge, House Chairperson in the National Assembly took the participants through the programme for 17 and 18 September.

Mr Doidge explained that the objective of the People’s Assembly is for members of Parliament and communities to together identify challenges facing the people. Participants in the People’s Assembly are expected to make inputs on the challenges that they identify in each thematic area. The inputs would be reflected in a report that would be discussed in Parliament. Recommendations in the report would be forwarded to the Executive. Parliament would use the report to monitor Executive responses to some of the issues raised by participants.

  1. Commission breakaways

5.1 Commission one: Sustainable development

Chairperson: Mr L Zita, MP.

Mr L Zita made a brief introductory comment. He said that sustainable development is a pattern of resource usage that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs could be met not only in the present, but also in the indefinite future. Eradication of poverty is one of the biggest challenges confronting sustainable development in South Africa. Sustainable development can be conceptually deconstructed into three important parts: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and socio-political sustainability.

5.1.1 Inputs and comments

Environmental legislation, policies and programmes • The National Framework for Sustainable Development (NFSD) identifies key areas for intervention based on an integrated analysis of trends. • There is a mismatch between environmental policies and legislation on the one hand and practice on the other hand. • Planning capacity at the municipal level is generally poor, resulting in reactive rather than proactive approaches to the challenges of sustainable development. Consequently, Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) do not reflect local priorities or realities, where they do, they remain largely unimplemented due to lack of prior experience in operationalising development plans. • Environmental sustainability is often neglected in decision making. Decisions should result in good economic and environmental outcomes. • Environmental policies require review and innovative environmental programmes are required to reduce air pollution. • The Sustainable Development Policy has not yet been passed by Parliament; this results in conflicting mandates between departments.

Public education • Civil society organisations need to be strengthened to enhance their ability to monitor government and to interact on a more equal footing with the private sector. • There is a need to further develop the role of NGOs in public education. • Communities should be educated about sustainable development and the importance of integrating it into their lives. Projects will only succeed if communities are educated and consulted. • Education by the government on water and electricity use is urgently needed. • Communities are not educated, informed and developed. Information available at the national level is not disseminated to people at the local level.

The role of Parliament • Parliament and parliamentarians have an important role to play in enacting legislation that can lead to the attainment of sustainable development and reduction of poverty. • Parliament has a crucial role to play in the sustainable development agenda, not only on the national political stage, but also at the grassroots level, particularly given the enormity of development challenges faced by South Africa. • There is a need for collective responsibility between Cabinet, different government departments and Parliament as there are conflicting mandates in different departments. • There was concern regarding Hoedspruit having been removed from Mpumalanga.

Environmental beneficiation • Sustainable Development projects championed within communities need to be monitored and benefit the communities. Communities should be assisted to develop business plans in order for projects to succeed. • Communities should benefit in the commercial profitability of their resources and not only be utilised as workers. Skilled community members need to be involved in projects. • People should be skilled to run projects on farms. Individuals within the community should be targeted for specialised training required to make the project a success. • Most resources were taken away and the community did not get anything in return. When game reserves were established people were evicted, but after the development, workers and the community did not benefit from this development. • Developed countries are taking ownership of South Africa’s natural resources. People living next to these resources are very poor. • Foreign people own the wealth of communities and local involvement in development is limited. • Game lodges are owned by foreigners and locals do not benefit, not even through job creation. • There is a demand for land to be mined but locals do not reap the benefits. Mining companies do not reinvest in communities in which they are situated. • There is insufficient job creation and the lack of factories in Bushbuckridge impacts on the sustainability of the area. • Disabled people are skilled but have no work. • Unfair trading barriers must be removed. • People in Bushbuckridge own cattle but do not have profitable marketing opportunities. • People have been given land that is not productive and they do not know how to create a sustainable living from it.

Availability of infrastructure and land • An infrastructure development grant was given to Bushbuckridge as a presidential nodal point to address water shortages. • Land claims have resulted in investors withdrawing from the Bushbuckridge area. • Some of the land claims have not been considered or finalised. • There are no policy positions in municipalities regarding the need for land for development purposes. • The places declared as heritage sites are still inhabited or privatised. • Although funds are channelled to provision of infrastructures, defective structures are built. • The roads in Mapulaneng are bad, there is a lack of water (the town was without water for three months) and poor service delivery by the municipality. • Bushbuckridge is a dry area, even if it rains the boreholes are unable to retain water. Pipes were laid but water has not been supplied. • There is a need for roads, bridges and graveyards. • The demand for electricity is very high and sanitation projects are lagging behind. • The sale of developed land to foreigners results in minimal land being available to build houses for local people. • There is a lack of facilities for the community; there are no playgrounds for children and old age homes are only in towns and not in the rural areas where they are needed most.

Utilisation of resources • Trees are being cleared in residential areas and buildings are erected which results in global warming. • People are collecting sand for building; this has resulted in big holes developing behind houses.

Waste management • There is a problem with waste management, this includes household, medical and industrial waste. • The dumping of toxic waste is a health risk and the municipalities are not able to manage waste dumps. • Dustbins are only serviced once a month and there are no empty sites for the dumping of waste, more trucks are required to pick up waste. • Municipalities do not have the capability to deal with cleaning and cleansing of public areas.

5.1.2 Achievements • The various government departments are trying to redress the problems of the past. • Social welfare is providing support by protecting people who cannot take care of themselves, for example, via the child support grant. • The commitment to decrease green house gasses is an initiative that was started some time ago. • The NFSD has systems based on integration specifically for sustainable development. • People with HIV and Aids are recycling leaves and producing plastics out of the leaves. • As part of a poverty eradication project, plastics are collected and shoes and socks produced.

5.1.3 Recommendations • There is a need for collective responsibility for environmental governance. The environment is not the responsibility of one department. Greater integration between departments needs to be championed at Cabinet level. • The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism should embark on workshops to raise environmental awareness. • Parliament should consider a process to adjust provincial boundaries in order to bring Hoedspruit back into Mpumalanga. • The allocation of land subsequent to claims being processed should be monitored by government. Land is sold by claimants just months after receipt, because the new owners are not in a position to manage the land or to ensure sustainability. Attempts should be made to retain and attract investors when land claims are finalised. • The expertise to manage farms should be maintained after land claims have been finalised and people with managerial and other needed skills should be retained on a salary basis. • Basic infrastructure should be addressed as rural development is a key pillar in the fight against poverty. • When development is taking place and roads are built, the landscape should be taken into consideration as it might have an impact on the biodiversity of the area. • Corridors should be created to ensure the free flow of animals. • Proper consultation should take place between the owners of mines and the communities. Communities should share in the wealth created by mines. • Attention should be given to areas where trees are cleared and buildings erected to reduce the impact of global warming. • Climate change should be studied in order to minimise rural migration and the community should be informed and educated when climate change issues are being considered. • There should be monitoring of projects in general and the unsuccessful projects should be evaluated to establish the reason for the failure. The benefits of projects should be transferred to the community. • People at grass-roots level should be consulted on projects as they have a better knowledge of the needs of their communities. Communities must also have the opportunity to identify projects for themselves and seek funding. • When projects are started the community should be consulted and participants should be trained in order to assist them in the development of sustainable projects. • Investors should be encouraged to invest near the townships where people are residing. • Field officers should be appointed to monitor projects and give guidance to ensure that projects facilitate sustainable development within the community. • The youth and the elderly should be employed at legal dump sites. • People should be educated to recycle and recycling initiatives should be embarked upon. • The number of refuse trucks should be increased to ensure that waste is removed on a regular basis. • A dam would solve the water shortage problem in the area; the river Balula can be used to feed the dam. This should also assist with the creation of jobs. • The community should have shares in new developments and ventures, that is, game reserves and people should benefit from the influx of tourists. • People should be educated on the environment, namely the impact of development and how to conserve the environment. • Solar energy should be introduced as few people can afford electricity. • Available resources should be regulated and monitored to ensure its sustainable use.

5.2 Commission two: The role of the public in poverty eradication Co-Chairpersons: Mr S L Tsenoli, MP. Mr S Shiceka, MP.

At the commencement of the session, the co-chairpersons emphasised that the discussion of the commission should primarily focus on the role of the public in eradicating poverty, as much had been said in various forums about the role of government in alleviating poverty amongst poor communities. However, they said that participants were not censored from re- articulating the role of government in this regard.

5.2.1 Inputs and comments

Natural resources • There was overwhelming consensus that Bushbuckridge has suitable land for farming and good potential for tourism. • Communities should be mobilised to identify and protect indigenous knowledge and traditional medicines with a long term view of protecting them from commercial piracy. • In the past many projects had failed but it is not clear what caused those failures.

Utilisation of available sport facilities Existing sport facilities in communities should be identified for utilisation by the youth. A campaign encouraging the youth to participate in sport should be started as some youth may succeed in sport and financially uplift themselves and their families. The campaign may also discourage youth from delinquency and thus discourage them from participating in illegal activities such as drug abuse. Institutions such as government departments and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund can be approached for assistance in this regard.

Lack of essential documents • The oversight visits by portfolio committees revealed that almost a quarter of the residents of Bushbuckridge do not have one or the other necessary documents such as an identity book, birth certificate, etc. It was emphasised that without these documents, community members will not be able to access government services such as old age pensions, grants, housing and other services. • It was felt that information on government services is centralized and ordinary people, especially in rural areas, are not able to access it. • In general there is a lack of civil education on government services and as a result communities do not understand the policies and programmes of government. Where available, officials manning these offices do not adhere to Batho Pele principles.

Delayed processing of land claims applications Progress on the finalisation of land claims is not being reported. For years now, despite the expectations created by the government, communities that had lodged land claims have no land to farm or work.

Disabled people • Disabled people are not adequately recognised and assisted by both the public and government. • Disabled people are often not able to access government buildings and consequently they cannot access services provided by government to the public. Government departments need to adhere to and implement policies on disabilities. Communities should acknowledge and support disabled people. • There was a call for funding to train disabled people. Communities need to be tolerant towards disabled people.

Foreign-owned businesses • Many foreign nationals own businesses within communities, but they are not committed to developing entrepreneurial skills or provide employment to any of the members of the communities who accommodate them. • In some instance foreigners’ operations also have a negative impact on the environment.

Adult basic education and training teachers • A concern was raised about fulltime teachers who are also employed by Abet Centers as Adult Basic Education and Training teachers after normal school hours. This affected the quality of work of these teachers at both levels. • Currently Abet teachers in other provinces such as Gauteng are paid slightly higher than those employed in Mpumalanga. This disparity in salaries resulted in a high turnover and brain drain by qualified teachers to other province.

Establishment of firefighting teams During Autumn, Mpumalanga is susceptible to raging veld fires which usually ravage natural resources such as forestry, vegetation, agricultural crops and live stock. This results in loss of revenue and jobs for the people of the province and thus add to the outflow of scarce skills. Former farm workers There are a number of unemployed and skilled former farm workers in the community, who had been exploited on farms or badly treated as labour tenants in the previous dispensation. There was a need to develop special programmes to encourage them to rejoin farming.

Other comments and concerns • A new definition of poverty was necessary in order to identify the poorest of the poor in relation to urban and rural areas. This delineation would help allocate the necessary resources on the basis of established need. • Allegations were made that some councillors take and implement other people’s ideas for personal benefit. • Communities should be involved in the development and finalisation of IDPs. In order for communities to be involved, IPDs of municipalities should address challenges in relation to provision of resources for communities. • Bushbuckridge suffers from lack of resources such as water, roads, electricity etc. and this contributes hugely to poverty. • Communities must also focus on other opportunities such as mining and not only farming. • Communities must mobilise against corruption and nepotism to retain the gains brought about by government services. • NOGs should form clusters in order to avoid unnecessary competition in providing services especially to the youth. • Leaders do not disseminate information to the public and sometimes do not allow the public to participate in public participation programmes. • Establishment of mini-factories in residential areas should be encouraged. These factories can manufacture things like window and door frames etc. 5.2.2 Recommendations • Communities should be encouraged to form business co-operatives. In addition, training in entrepreneurial and managerial skills should be provided in order to make entrepreneurs sustainable. • There should be continuous monitoring and evaluation of the co- operatives by both communities and government. Government projects must not only benefit the politically connected as is the case currently. They must be accessible to all qualifying business co- operatives in order to benefit broader society. • People whose ideas were stolen by councillors should report the matter to the relevant authorities, for example the Mayor, Members of the Executive Council or members of Parliament. • Funding should be sourced for managerial, financial and project management skills training. • Markets should be identified for selling community products. • The stringent government procurement policies must be reviewed. • Primary and secondary schools should introduce relevant agricultural and tourism programmes as soon as possible. To augment the basic agricultural knowledge acquired at school level, closed education institutions such as the former Bushbuckridge College of Education, the venue for the People’s Assembly event, must be revived as agricultural training institutions. • Where possible, multipurpose centers should be utilised to educate the youth about the importance of farming and agriculture. • Mobile and/or satellite offices must be established and manned by trained officials who will train and help the poor through workshops and other forums. Municipalities, Sector Education and Training Authorities and NGOs must also assist in the training of communities. • The government must expedite the processing of land claim applications. A commission of enquiry should be established to investigate the delay around the processing of these applications. • Businesses owned by foreign nationals should be adequately regulated regardless of the size and a special surcharge should be implemented for entrepreneurial skills training of local communities. Communities must also tap into the knowledge and skills of these foreign nationals so that when they leave the country, the skills remain. • Uniform standards for employment of Abet teachers should be established by the national Department of Education as a matter of urgency. In addition, Abet teachers should be trained further to meet the current skills demands. • Government must improve rural communication and contact networks. • Communities must establish fire fighting teams in order to manage veld fires in the area. The government and the private sector could be approached to assist where necessary.

5.3 Commission three: The role of education and health in poverty eradication

Co- Chairpersons: Prof S M Mayathula, MP. Ms J Masilo, MP.

The commission decided to divide the topic into two sub–topics as follows: “the role of education in poverty eradication” and the “role of health in poverty eradication”. The role of education in poverty eradication was considered first.

5.3.1 The role of education in poverty eradication

Prof Mayatula, in his introductory remarks noted that previous People’s Assemblies identified the strengthening of Abet programmes which were not adequately rolled out in rural areas as one of the key areas for intervention. The issue of inclusive education was also mentioned. Inputs and comments

School buildings and infrastructure • As a result of the drying-up of bore-holes and mismanagement of water resources in the Bushbuckridge area most schools do not have a constant supply of water. • Despite being on a priority list for renovations, poorly built and dilapidated school buildings have not yet being renovated. • Mud schools built by the community are in a state of collapse and pose a danger to learners, as a result schooling takes place under trees and/or in tents. • The Portfolio Committee on Education had observed a shortage of schools in the Bushbuckridge area and overcrowding in existing schools.

Early childhood development and reception level • Government must establish more early childhood development centres. • Grade R teachers are paid their salaries after three months of work, which makes them unable to support their families. • Some Grade R teachers earn up to R1000 per month. Failure to pay them good salaries demotivates them and affects their performance in class. • Some Grade R teachers are paid by School Governing Bodies.

School nutrition • Nutrition at schools is not being adequately provided. Instead of being served at least three different fresh vegetables per week as per the requirement, learners are only served butternut. • Caregivers in the school nutrition scheme, especially those who look after learners who have a learning disability, need to be remunerated. • The R400 per month stipend paid to school nutrition caregivers is too little to be an effective poverty eradication tool.

Learners with disabilities • Volunteers who care for people with disabilities, such as the volunteers of the Lulekani Project, should be paid a stipend because they provide a very important service to the community. • There is no access to educational facilities, especially for people with disabilities. • There is also no transport for people with disabilities to travel to education institutions and even to government events that are hosted by the Department of Education. • In spite of the fact that Further Education and Training (FET) colleges are funded by Government, they do not accommodate people with disabilities. • People with disabilities, especially the visually impaired, are not granted bursaries by the department or by private companies. • The visually impaired cannot study mathematics and science because educational institutions do not have assistive devices, therefore people with disabilities will always be trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty. • There are no higher learning institutions for people with disabilities, especially the deaf and the visually impaired. The government should make existing institutions of higher learning accessible to people with disabilities by providing assistive devices such as sign language interpreting, Braille etc. • There is no specialised transport for learners to travel to tertiary institutions. • There is no proper infrastructure to cater for people with disabilities at the existing schools, especially for the deaf and the visually impaired. • There are no wheelchair ramps in educational facilities and some buildings are not complete. • The deaf and the blind are excluded from the few learnership programmes available. • Sign language is not taught at lower levels of education.

Adult basic education and training Women and the elderly travel long distances to access Abet facilities, this poses a safety risk.

Availability of teachers, quality of education and free and compulsory education • There is a shortage of mathematics and science teachers which leads to learners obtaining poor results in those subjects. • The criteria for the appointment of senior teachers are not clear. • There is no career guidance to assist learners to select subjects that will afford them good job opportunities. • There is a lack of learner support material. • There are delays in the provision of free and compulsory education by government. • There is no consistency between the curriculum at secondary school level and tertiary level. • There is only one Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust which offers skills development in the province instead of four as planned; • There is no trade centre in Mpumalanga to accommodate technical students in order to do trade tests to prepare for employment on completion of their studies. • There are no libraries and laboratories in the communities to assist learners with their studies. • Schools in the Bushbuckridge area are classified into quintiles one, two and three. Schools in the region suffer on account of cross provincial border anomalies, for example, schools which had been classified as quintile 2 schools while under Limpopo, are now categorised as quintile 3 schools under Mpumalanga, and as a result lose out on being classified as ‘No fee’ schools. This results in young learners having to cross busy national or main roads running through the village in order to get to suitable schools.

Learners with learning difficulties • There are no trained professionals who can identify children with learning disabilities at schools. This results in such learners dropping out as they cannot cope as a result of their difficulties. • There is a need for the establishment of centres which will assist learners with learning disabilities with language competency and skills. • There is also a need for the establishment of a centre which will train teachers to educate learners who have learning disabilities.

Institutions of higher learning • There are no universities in Mpumalanga. • Tertiary institutions such as Hoshane and Mapulaneng were closed down and they have become white elephants. That decision should be revisited with the aim of reviving them. • Tertiary education is expensive and unaffordable even to middle class parents.

Learner pregnancy • There’s an alarming increase in teenage pregnancy in schools, which also raises the issue of increased vulnerability of learners to HIV/Aids. • Pregnant learners are not allowed to write their examinations, this may exacerbate the levels of illiteracy and may lead to increased poverty among the youths. Responses

• Section 29(1) of the Constitution of  the  Republic  provides  that  “
  everyone has the right to a basic  education,  including  adult  basic
  education”. To this end government is providing Abet free of charge
• Grade Rs have to move away from  communities  and  become  part  of  a
  formal school curriculum. This will ensure free education from Grade R
  to Grade 9.
• Prioritisation of schools for upgrading is done  at  the  regional  or
  school circuit level, not at provincial level. School  principals  and
  School Governing Bodies must ensure that  their  schools  are  on  the
  priority list, and they must insist on getting a copy of the list from
• Ramps  will  be  installed  for  people  with  disabilities  in  those
  facilities that have none.
•  The  teacher  colleges  were  not  closed  but  attached   to   other
  institutions of higher learning.
• The department will look at the issue of stipends for school nutrition
  caregivers and learnership programmes.  Specific  cases  such  as  the
  Lulekani project will be followed up.
• The department will address the issue of overcrowding  in  schools,  a
  problem which MPs themselves observed during committee  visits  around
  the Bushbuckridge area. In one instance the ratio was 53 classes to 20
• Learner have to be an all-rounder at secondary school  level  so  that
  they are able to adjust or  go  to  any  area.  The  Revised  National
  Curriculum Statement (RNCS) is designed to develop  learners  so  that
  they start thinking as if they were at tertiary level.
• There is no specific criterion set out for the appointment of a senior
  teacher. Like everyone else, teachers compete for positions  based  on
• The age of children who receive a social grant is currently up  to  14
  years of age. From 2009 onwards it will go up by one year  every  year
  until it reaches 18 years.
• The department will provide  teachers  with  the  skills  to  identify
  learners with a learning disabilities.
• The department will look at the  issue  of  bringing  higher  learning
  institutions for the disabled closer to the communities, and  look  at
  providing transport in the meanwhile.
• There are no-fee schools that communities have  to  utilise  to  avoid
  expensive school fees. This means that from Grade R up until  Grade  9
  government has introduced free  education  which  should  benefit  the
  poor. For tertiary education,  government  has  set  up  the  National
  Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in order to  assist  students  at
  public higher education institutions with loans and bursaries.
• Compulsory education will be introduced in phases.
• The 7% used  for  administration  by  the  department  in  the  school
  nutrition scheme is not a national norm.  This  means  that  provinces
  have the latitude to increase this figure in order to be able  to  pay
  stipends of more than R400  to  volunteer  caregivers  in  the  school
  nutrition scheme. Recommendations • Provincial departments should urgently consider rebuilding collapsing schools and replacing mud-built structures. • Schools without water supply should be supplied with boreholes and tanks. • The recruitment of qualified mathematics and science teachers should be prioritised. • The proper supply of fresh produce to the schools should be regularly done and closely monitored. • Speed humps should be erected on the roads to avoid learners being hit by vehicles when crossing the roads on their way to school. • Transport should be provided for the disabled and the elderly in order to attend schools and other departmental activities. • The department should involve the communities in identifying what could be done to stop teenage pregnancies. • Libraries and laboratories need to be built nearer to the communities.

5.3.2 The role of health in poverty eradication

Ms Masilo, in her introduction, detailed the relationship between poverty and health. She made particular reference to access to health, people with disabilities, communicable diseases such as HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. Comments and inputs

Availability of health care workers • There is a huge shortage of nurses, doctors and counsellors at clinics, especially in the rural areas. • Community workers and volunteers are not funded although they work 24 hours. • Nursing colleges are far from communities. • Doctors are imported from Cuba and other countries to overcome the existing shortage of medical personnel.

Availability of facilities, equipment and medicines • The Department of Health is always under funded. • Clinics often run out of medication and patients are offered only Panado. • Some clinics have no water supply, they have broken toilet seats and they have poor maintenance standards. • The lack of resources at clinics often result in patients having to bring their own stationery on which to write reports and records of their illnesses. • There are no telephone lines at some clinics as a result of theft and nurses are compelled to use their cellular phones to communicate with the department. • Mobile clinics do not arrive on the dates and times as scheduled. • Government needs to build more clinics as traveling becomes a problem for the elderly and the disabled, especially at Madjembeni village. • Medication is highly priced at the pharmacies. Government should do something to curb the unscrupulous behaviour of medical aid schemes. • There is a shortage of shoes for the people with disabilities at clinics and hospitals. • Some clinics do not have wheel chairs to assist patients. • There is a shortage of ambulances at clinics and hospitals. • There are long waiting lists for beds at hospitals to accommodate patients. • Some facilities at clinics are not conducive to the storing of certain medicines.

Disabled people • People with disabilities have no access to vital information regarding HIV/Aids. • Information is not available to the blind by means of Braille. • The blind cannot read the expiry dates on their medication, and there’s no sign language interpreting for those who cannot speak. • People with disabilities were previously trained on issues of HIV/Aids, but they are not appointed when positions become available.

Inadequate services • Operating times of clinics are a problem as some close at 3 or 5pm and do not open on weekends. • There is loss of confidence in clinics because of their poor performance in service delivery, resulting in people having to travel long distances in order to reach hospitals. • Hospitals do not accept patients without a referral letter from clinics. • People stay in long queues for the whole day after having travelled long distances. • The department is not assisting in fighting teenage pregnancy. • There is an alarming increase in teenage pregnancy in schools and, unfortunately, pregnancy goes along with HIV/Aids. • Teenage pregnancy exacerbates poverty because pregnant girls are not permitted to write exams. • The child support grant is too little, and this results in teenagers getting pregnant repeatedly in order to collect more grants. • Emphasis is put only on HIV/Aids, TB, malaria, etc, more emphasis should be put into addressing cancer because it also claims the lives of many people. Responses • Patients who are not on the critical list should be encouraged to go and convalesce at home in order to free up beds for those who are critical. • Parents, religious leaders and cultural organisations should encourage and promote celibacy among the youth to minimise the spread of HIV/Aids and teenage pregnancy. • The relevant parliamentary committee should ask the Department of Health to account better with regard to the monitoring of funds, because it is obvious that funds allocated for certain projects are not spent on those projects. • The department fails to pay its suppliers, therefore the suppliers do not deliver medicines at hospitals and clinics. • The department should provide assistive devices such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, etc. • Infrastructure at health facilities is vandalised by members of the communities in which those facilities are located. The Community Policing Forums must assist in curbing the vandalising of property in health facilities. Members of the community must desist from buying stolen window frames, doors etc, to discourage theft, and must act to protect public facilities because they have been provided for their benefit. • There is a general lack of hygiene at the Lydenburg and Sabie Hospitals. • People in rural areas suffer because local nurses prefer to go and serve in other provinces. • The local management structures in all provinces should know how to access specialist services such as laboratory and orthopedic services, if not, they should contact the Chief Director. Recommendations • Government should introduce a voucher or card system which could be used to purchase nappies, baby food, clothing and groceries, instead of giving out cash. • Clinics and hospitals can not afford to run out of medicines and stationery, especially medicines, therefore they need to conduct constant stock taking to avoid shortages. • Communities should accompany people who need interpretation to facilities. • Mobile clinics should inform the communities in time when they will not be available for the next date. • Clinics and hospitals should be maintained regularly. • Hospitals should not turn people who do not have a referral letter from clinics away. • Government should provide a 24-hour service at clinics. • Security should be beefed up at clinics, and where there is none, it should be provided. • The department should provide enough beds at hospitals to accommodate people. • Ambulances should be made available and even sourced from other provinces. • Provincial departments should attend to all the concerns raised and a task team should be formed to follow up on progress made. • Communities should submit their complaints to their constituency offices regarding these issues. • The department must train nurses who will serve their own provinces. Nurses should be proud of where they come from and should endeavour to uplift their own communities. • Government should establish nursing colleges in rural areas so that local children can serve their own communities. • Enough funds should be sourced for the department and be carefully monitored.


Chairperson: Mr M J Mahlangu, MP, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces

The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces took the Chair and invited Mr T S P Makwetla, the Premier of Mpumalaga to address the plenary.

  1. Address by Mr T S P Makwetla, MPL, Premier of Mpumalanga

The Premier of Mpumalanga, Mr Makwetla, indicated that the People’s Assembly provided ordinary people with an opportunity to interact with Parliament and express their views about poverty, service delivery and other challenges confronting them. For Parliament, the event was an opportunity to reach out and engage with communities from all walks of life in order to develop and formulate solutions to address poverty and development challenges facing the country. Furthermore, by holding the event annually, Parliament was strengthening its oversight role and enhancing accountability by government on development and service delivery commitments.

Mr Makwetla said that public participation in matters of development and service delivery was a critical hallmark of a democratic state that upholds the values of transparency and accountability to the electorate. Through the People’s Assembly law-makers were broadening opportunities for public participation.

He emphasised that it was crucial for government to implement the recommendations of the participants in order to tackle the challenges of underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment. The provincial government had already implemented an array of programmes such as infrastructure development, local economic development and created employment opportunities in order to tackle these challenges. It also has programmes to ensure access to quality education for all children and the sustainable provision of health care services to all communities, especially those that are economically depressed.

He further urged government to empower communities in an effort to fight poverty, unemployment and service delivery by increasing access to poverty alleviation programmes, self-employment and economic opportunities, access to finance and mentorship to support entrepreneurs and small businesses for the poor. Alongside these initiatives, there was still a need to enhance direct support to poor households through social grants and free basic services.

He reminded members of Parliament that the positive impact of the People’s Assembly on the people would depend on how government responded to the challenges that have been raised and follow up on issues raised. The government Mpumalanga province was committed to ensuring that all the issues raised by the communities were properly tracked and responded to by the relevant entities at various levels of government.

He concluded by thanking Parliament for choosing the Bushbuckridge municipality as a venue for the 2008 People’s Assembly.

  1. Address by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr M J Mahlangu, MP

Mr Mahlangu welcomed all the participants to the event and tendered an apology for the Speaker of the National Assembly who was unable to attend owing to ill-health.

He pointed out that this year’s People’s Assembly coincided with the marking of the United Nation’s International Day of Democracy and the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Democracy Day by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The reports of the previous People’s Assemblies, including the 2008 report, would be consolidated with a view to identifying the recurring challenges that needed to be addressed in order to achieve the goal of eradicating poverty and hunger.

The comprehensive report would be used to assist the Fourth Parliament to sharpen its response to the various challenges the nation faced. However, the current Parliament would still be seized with issues that were immediately before it.

Mr Mahlangu proceeded to welcome all the provinces to the national event.

  1. Presentation of the Consolidated Oversight report by committees

Mr T S Setona, House Chairperson in the National Council of Provinces, presented a consolidated committees’ report on the oversight visit to the Bushbuckridge municipality. He highlighted that an impression was created that the demarcation disputes which bedevilled the area for some time had immensely affected service delivery by government.

Some services had collapsed since the municipality had been taken back from Limpopo. As a result of unfinished projects there was a huge shortage of, for example, running water in the Bushbuckridge area and consequently health services centres such as hospitals and clinics were affected. He urged that this matter be attended to immediately.

He observed that some provincial departments had not been part of the oversight visits and senior officials from these departments had also not been part of the process.

The full report would be presented to Parliament for further consideration.

  1. Report back by commissions

4.1 Commission one: Sustainable development

Chairperson: Mr K O Bapela, MP, House Chairperson National Assembly

Councillor A Khoza presented a report on behalf of the commission. The following were some of the inputs made from the floor:

• Although the environment is important, the education system  does  not
  provide education on the environment and sustainable development.

• Often sustainable development is interpreted in a way  that  restricts
  development,  especially  of  people  in  rural  areas  who  are  more
  dependent on natural resources.

• People who continue to plough in  wetlands  should  be  provided  with
  alternative land.

• Sustainable development should not hamper  communities’  endeavour  to
  develop themselves.

• Aquatic live stock must be looked after as  some  of  them  are  being
  wiped out by factors such as global warming.

The following responses were received:

• The education curriculum does include education about the environment.
  However, the government still needs to do more to educate  communities
  about sustainable development, including ways of saving energy,  water
  and other resources.

• The government realises that climate change presents both threats  and
  opportunities. Communities have to find new ways  of  using  resources
  and create new resources such as renewable sources of energy.

• Some projects have not been continued because of  transborder  issues.
  There was a disjuncture when Bushbuckridge moved from Limpopo Province
  to Mpumalanga. However, the Mpumalanga government is  working  towards
  ensuring that important projects are continued.

4.2 Commission two: Role of the public in poverty eradication

Chairperson: Mr M B Skosana, MP, House Chairperson in the National Assembly

Councillor R Khumalo reported back on behalf of the commission. Participants made the following inputs:

• Public servants do not respect the Batho Pele principles.

• The Umsobomvu Youth Fund is not responsive enough to the needs of  the

• There are no proper support structures in  rural  areas  for  disabled
  people to articulate their needs. Some are still not  benefiting  from
  government services due to services not being user-friendly.

• The government should establish special programmes and enough  support
  structures for widows to earn a living. At present, widows  appear  to
  be sidelined by government.

• The  authorities  should  process  applications  for  mining  licenses

• Sustainability of  established  projects  and  provision  of  adequate
  resources to run them should be prioritised.

The following responses were received:

• There seems to be an information gap, people do not know what services
  are offered and how to access them. Parliamentarians should take steps
  to fill the gap.

• Early childhood development centers provide  an  opportunity  for  job
  creation for adults who run the centers.

• The youth should be encouraged to take up agriculture and  farming  as
  career options.

4.3 Commission three: The role of education and health in poverty eradication

Chairperson: Mr G Q M Doidge, MP, House Chairperson in the National Assembly

4.3.1 The role of education in poverty eradication

Mr R P Z van den Heever, MP, reported back on behalf of the commission on its discussions of the education sub-topic. The participants made the following inputs:

• Existing laws should be enforced  and  parents  held  accountable  for
  their children leaving school early.

• Schools should implement vocational guidance or training.

• The poor still lag behind in literacy and acquisition of skills.

• Nkomzi should be declared a no-fee school zone.

•  Government  schools  situated  in  rural  areas  must  include  sport
  activities  in  their  academic  curriculum.  Currently  learners  are
  excluded from participation in extramural activities.

• There is a proliferation of taverns next to school premises  and  this
  leads to drug and alcohol abuse by school pupils.

• Accessibility for disabled students  at  tertiary  institutions  is  a

• The Department of Education must  as  soon  as  possible  fulfill  its
  promise that each province will be given a director for agriculture in

These were some of the responses:

• The provinces are responsible for the implementation of the  education
  budget. The National Department has decided that some  schools  should
  be no-fee schools, the provincial departments  should  implement  that

• Disabled learners should have full access in schools.

• Tertiary institutions should be accessible to disabled students.

•  Statistics  do  not  support  the  claims  that  graduates  are   not

4.3.2 The role of health in poverty eradication

Ms F Mazibuko, MP, reported back on behalf of the commission on its discussion of the health sub-topic. The following were some of the inputs made:

• There was a general consensus that  the  lack  of  resources  such  as
  ambulances, furniture and stationery in rural clinics and shortage  of
  staff  such  as  nurses  and  doctors  resulted  in  overcrowding  and
  inadequate services. As a result some patients are turned back without

• Vacant posts had been left unfilled for quite some time.

• There was concern that senior citizens were being  abused  emotionally
  and financially with little being done by government to protect  them.
  Communities must be involved in the creation of safe  havens  for  the
  1. Way forward

Chairperson: Mr G Q M Doidge, MP, House Chairperson in the National Assembly

There was consensus that in the future, public participation processes such as the People’s Assembly must be devoted to ordinary people so that there would be more time for public representatives to listen to the issues affecting communities. Members of Parliament should minimise their contributions and allow the public more time to raise the challenges in their communities.

Provincial and local structures of government must also be actively involved so that they are able to accommodate community concerns in the programmes at provincial level.

In its outreach and public participation programmes, Parliament should endeavour to bridge the information gap by bringing all government agencies to engage with the people.

  1. Closing remarks

Mr M J Mahlangu, the Chairperson of the NCOP thanked all participants for taking part in the 2008 People’s Assembly. He emphasised that a consolidated report of the People’s Assembly would be prepared and once considered by Parliament would be sent to both National and Provincial governments for consideration of all issues raised. All members of Parliament and members of provincial legislatures must play a crucial role in implementing and monitoring the implementation of progress and projects on the ground. Parliament should consider reviewing the future of the People’s Assembly so as to increase time to fully process the issues that have been raised.