National Assembly - 29 October 2009

                      THURSDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2009


The House met at 14:00.

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


                          NOTICES OF MOTION

Mr S B FARROW: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:

That the House –

(1)    debates the transport logistics for the upcoming Fifa World Cup
     specifically as it pertains to the integrated rapid transport
     systems; and

(2)    comes up with possible solutions to ensure that safe, efficient
     and quality transport measures are in place. Rev K R J MESHOE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ACDP:

That the House debates reasons why people who applied for RDP houses in 1994 are still on the waiting list, with particular reference to Eldorado Park residents who also applied in 1994 but have not received houses and, as a result, now allege that they are being discriminated against and that government does not care for them.

Ms E MORE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:

That the House -

(1) debates the negative impact that the national shortage of allied medical professionals in the country – particularly radiographers – has on national health care and service delivery; and

(2) comes up with possible solutions to increase the number of these critical professionals.


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr M WATERS: Speaker, I move without notice on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Opposition:

That the House –

  1) notes with pride that a South African doctor, Dr Linda-Gail Bekker,
     has won the Royal Society Award for HIV and TB infection research;

(2) further notes that Bekker’s research focused on how TB epidemiology has changed in the HIV era with a specific focus on the six-fold increase South Africa has seen over the past 20 years;

(3) commends Bekker for her innovative thought and research into finding novel answers and effective strategies to turn the unacceptably high HIV and TB infection figures in South Africa around;

(4) congratulates her on winning this award; and

(5) encourages her to keep up the important contribution she is making in the fight against this insidious disease.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mrs C DUDLEY: Speaker, I move without notice on behalf of the ACDP:

That the House –

  1) acknowledges that October is International Marine Month;

  2) further acknowledges that Africa’s first - and largest -
     transfrontier marine conservation area has been established,
     connecting iSimangaliso Wetland Park, one of South Africa’s world
     heritage sites, with Mozambique’s first marine conservancy, the
     Ponta do Ouro;

  3) notes that this creates a vast protected marine area covering 300km
     of unbroken coastline and near pristine beaches, from St Lucia in
     the south to Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve;

  4) further notes that this reserve protects an important feeding area
     for turtle, dugong and migratory birds including the flamingo, and
     the highest latitude coral reefs in the world; and
  5) congratulates the Ponta do Ouro/Kosi Bay Transfrontier Conservation
     Task Team and South African and Mozambican environment ministries
     and other private entities involved in establishing the park.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

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

That the House -

  1) notes with concern the leaking of mathematics, physical science and
     accounting examination papers in Mpumalanga;

  2) further notes that this kind of behaviour is allegedly presumed  to
     have also spread to Durban and Newcastle, though  this  is  without
     substantial evidence; and

  3) condemns this unbecoming  behaviour  of  stealing  the  examination
     papers with the contempt it deserves.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr M WATERS: Speaker, I move without notice on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Opposition:

That the House -

  1) notes with pride that 31 South African beaches, of which 7  are  in
     and around Cape Town, are to receive  Blue  Flag  status  from  the
     Foundation for Environmental Education;

  2) further notes that this status is only awarded to those beaches
     that manage to meet certain standards of cleanliness and
     environmental management;

  3) congratulates those responsible for the upkeep  and  management  of
     these national treasures; and

  4) encourages all beachgoers to respect the environment and contribute
     to the cleanliness of our beaches.


                         (Draft Resolution)

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

That the House -

  1) notes that  on  21  October  2009  ANC  stalwart  Albertina  Sisulu
     celebrated her 91st birthday;

  2) further notes the recent award that was bestowed upon her by Denosa
     in recognition of her contribution to the transformation  of  South
     Africa’s health care system;

  3) acknowledges that MaSisulu -

        a) has a special place of honour in the long and difficult
           struggle in South Africa and has been at the forefront of the
           struggle for more than half a century and suffered cruel and
           vengeful persecution by the racist regime;

        b) spent 10 years under house arrest and raised 5 children as
           well as nieces, nephews and grandchildren while her husband
           spent 25 years as a political prisoner; and

        c) refused to be intimidated and never wavered in her commitment
           to the struggle for freedom and nonracism;

  4) congratulates her on her birthday and on her award; and

  5) wishes her many more years of health.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

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

That the House -

  1) notes that the month of October marks the 10th anniversary of the
     South Africa–Nigeria Binational Commission, BNC;

  2) further notes that the Binational Commission was established in
     October 1999 as a means to provide a framework for collaboration
     between the two countries so as to maximise the potential for
     business and development in South Africa and in Nigeria;

  3) acknowledges that Nigeria is regarded as the 12th largest producer
     of petroleum in the world and that petroleum accounts for about 40
     percent of its GDP;

  4) further acknowledges that there are currently more than 100 South
     African companies operating in Nigeria compared to 4 before 1999
     and that since the establishment of the Binational Commission 41
     memoranda of understanding have been signed or are under
     consideration in areas such as education, arts and culture, mining
     and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters; and

 5) wishes the two countries long and prosperous mutual relations.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

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

That the House -

  1) notes that South Africa has moved into the top 10 ranking of
     countries where women face the least discrimination, according to
     the latest World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index;

  2) further notes that the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index
     measures economic participation and opportunity, educational
     attainment, political empowerment, health and survival of women in
     134 countries;

  3) recognises that postapartheid South Africa stands out as a country
     with a very progressive stance not only on the representation of
     women in decision-making structures, but also across all sectors of
     society; and

  4) urges all South Africans to take pride in our achievement as one of
     the top 10 countries where women face the least discrimination and
     to recommit ourselves to work even harder in eradicating the
     remaining attitudes, beliefs, myths and practices that still
     inhibit the freedom of women.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party I move without notice:

That the House -

  1) notes that the President of the Republic of South Africa has, in
     terms of the Constitution and the Joint Rules, called a Joint
     Sitting of the two Houses for Wednesday, 11 November 2009, at 14:00
     to bid farewell to hon Mr Justice Pius Langa, the retired Chief
     Justice of the Republic of South Africa, and to welcome Chief
     Justice Sandile Ngcobo; and

  2) resolves, subject to the concurrence of the National Council of
     Provinces, to invite retired Chief Justice Langa and Chief Justice
     Ngcobo to attend and participate in the Joint Sitting of the Houses
     on 11 November 2009.

Agreed to.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs M WENGER (DA): Mr Speaker, the referendum of the town of Matatiele is under way, and it has thus far been fraught with problems and controversy. Firstly, there was confusion over when people were allowed to cast their votes. Four days were set aside in 162 voting districts, which were grouped into two of 81 each. The first set was meant to vote on Wednesday and Thursday, and the second on Friday and Saturday.

Matatiele was meant to fall into the second group voting on Friday. However, the polling stations at Matatiele were opened on Wednesday instead of Friday, causing huge confusion in the community. After heated arguments, objections were received from the ANC and the SACP, and a station closed at 11:10. Not all voters were able to cast their votes as a result.

Secondly, the normal Electoral Act rules were not applied. Ballot boxes were not sealed and the anonymity of voters was not upheld, as the forms on which the voters had to cast their votes had the ID numbers and the zip code on them.

Finally, I’ve also been reliably informed that at the bottom of the ballot paper there was a box which was marked to indicate whether the voter was a registered voter or not.

We want the referendum to go ahead, but we believe that this referendum has so far not been conducted fairly and could leave voters open to intimidation. It’s not necessary to know what they voted for and what their decision was. We call on government to apply normal electoral rules to this referendum and not to confuse the community by further changing the days of the voting districts. Thank you. [Time expired.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr D A KGANARE (Cope): Speaker, Cope will believe that this government is sincere in its promise to root out corruption and nepotism when we see it happening. Corruption is a monster; it must be brought down.

The municipality of Setsoto in the Free State suspended the municipal manager for, amongst other things, inefficiency; nonperformance; misuse of MIG, or municipal infrastructure grant, funds; irregular payment of R500 000 to a firm of attorneys; and unilaterally appointing a dismissed employee as a consultant. The House must note that the council was unanimous in its decision to suspend the municipal manager. However, the regional secretary of the ANC and the MEC, who indicated that they had a mandate from the premier, stepped in to demand a reversal of the decision on the basis that this was an ANC matter. Councillors were threatened with dismissal if they didn’t have a change of heart.

As I stand here, this very municipality is applying for a bank overdraft of R36 million to pay salaries. It is in a deep crisis. How much deeper will it be allowed to go? Considering the role of the ANC in the fiasco that is unfolding there, Cope is asking for the role of the premier and the MEC to be investigated at once. The situation is serious and heads must roll.

However, we are waiting to see if the President will take any action as he has said that he is against corruption. Thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr E NYEKEMBA (ANC): Speaker, in order to avoid the exploitation of workers, ensure decent work for all workers and protect employment relations, last week the Department of Labour sent out inspectors to conduct inspections at shopping malls, targeting mainly restaurants, to ensure compliance with labour legislation by employers.

The planned inspections were triggered by the exploitation and casualisation of workers in the hospitality sector, as well as the existence of other irregularities relating to hours of work, payment for overtime and the maintenance of machinery used in restaurants.

The inspections took place in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. The ANC supports this initiative and views it as in accordance with one of its key priority areas, namely decent work that embraces the need for more jobs and better quality jobs. Thank you, Speaker. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mnu V B NDLOVU (IFP): Somlomo, neNdlu ehloniphekile, thina njengeqembu leNkatha Yenkululeko sifuna ukuncoma kakhulu amaphoyisa ngomsebenzi awenzile ukuthi abambe izidakamizwa ezitholakele, ikakhulukazi ukusebenza ngokuzimisela kwamaphoyisa.

Siyancoma futhi ukuthi kubekhona amaphoyisa aboshwayo ngokudayisa zona izidakamizwa lezo ebezigcinile ngendlela engafanele. Sicela uNgqongqoshe waloMnyango enze isiqiniseko sokuthi lawo maphoyisa ayaboshwa ngokuthi adayise izidakamizwa ebezithathwe kwabanye. Angakwazi ukuholelwa, a hlale emakhaya kuze kuphele izinsuku zawo lapho ayotholakala khona anecala. Axoshwe khona. Ngiyathokoza.[Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu member’s statement follows.)

[Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Speaker, and this august House, the Inkatha Freedom Party would like to commend the police for their determination in confiscating the drugs that were found.

We also commend the arrests of the police officers who were selling the very drugs that they unlawfully kept. We request the Minister of this department to make sure that those police officers are convicted for selling drugs that were confiscated from others. They should be suspended without pay until proven guilty, and be expelled from the force. Thank you. [Applause.]]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M H HOOSEN (ID): The ID would like to call on responsible leaders throughout our country to stand behind the Free State University Vice Chancellor, Jonathan Jansen, in the same way as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has done.

While we have made it clear that we disagree with the decision to drop the internal disciplinary charges against the Reitz four and that the full might of the law must be brought down upon them, those who are calling for his head must back off and allow the professor’s process to run its course.

Calling for the rector to be shot and killed does not in any way contribute to national unity or reconciliation. This is a process that plans to turn this highly conservative campus into a 50-50 integration model which insists that students study a language other than their own.

Jansen has also asked the university council to direct a portion of his salary towards helping poor students. The ID therefore calls for calm and common sense from all our leaders to allow Jansen to finish the difficult task that lies ahead of him. I thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Ms M C DUBE (ANC): The ANC proceeds from the premise that a rising quality of life also means improvement in the safety and security of citizens in their homes and environments where they live, work and engage in extramural activities. Since the launch of the shopping mall crime awareness campaign, more than 500 people have been put behind bars for various crimes including cash-in- transit heists, house break-ins and hijacking, as well as smash-and-grabs, shoplifting and assault. The operation aims to increase community involvement in the fight against crime, educate them about the role of crime prevention and policing that is conducted by the SA Police Service in conjunction with the Johannesburg Metro Police, the Johannesburg Emergency Service and certain government departments.

The operation forms part of the efforts to beef up law enforcement ahead of the festive season. The department also decided to start this operation a little earlier this year due to the recent spate of crimes in shopping malls. The ANC supports the effort of many who are already involved in the fight against crime, like the community police forums and radio stations … [Time expired.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr N T GODI (APC): Speaker, the APC would like to congratulate Judge Willie Seriti on his appointment as chairperson of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers. The APC wishes him every success in this challenging responsibility.

His work has however been made easier by the foundational work done by his predecessor, Judge Dikgang Moseneke, in fundamentally restructuring remuneration packages for public office bearers.

The APC believes, however, that he has a groundbreaking responsibility to incorporate, for the first time, in his recommendations the remuneration packages for headmen and headwomen who have been illegally and unjustifiably omitted in recommendations from the commission all these years.

Headmen and headwomen constitute the underclass and the motive force of the institution of traditional leadership. They represent the closest leadership to the people.

They have been earning salaries that, in some instances, are as low as R1 083 per month, with no increase for the past decade. If the commission is to break new ground, it will be in how it handles this issue.

The APC calls upon the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to co-operate fully and assist that process. Thank you.


                        (Member’s Statement) Mnr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Meneer die Speaker, die IFP het kennis geneem van die nuutste pogings wat die regering aanwend om misdaad te bekamp: Die meer geld wat beskikbaar gestel word en die planne om meer polisie te kry.

Maar dit is ook ’n feit dat die regering nou vir ’n tydperk van 15 jaar lank misluk om die stryd teen misdaad te wen. Die tyd het aangebreek dat daar ’n nuwe plan kom, ’n nuwe plan wat ’n einde sal bring aan misdaad in hierdie land.

Ons kry nie die oorsese beleggings wat ons moet kry nie; ons het net hierdie probleme omdat die regering met die misdaad probleem misluk. (Translation of member’s statement follows.)

[Mr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Mr Speaker, the IFP has taken note of the latest attempts being made by government to combat crime: the appropriation of more money and the plans to employ more police officers.

However, it is also a fact that the government has been failing now for a period of 15 years to prevail in the war against crime. The time has come for a new plan to be devised, a new plan which will bring an end to crime in this country.

We are unable to get the foreign investments which we should be getting; we only have these problems because the government has failed to deal with the problem of crime.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr G LEKGETHO (ANC): Speaker, due to the changing nature of crime in South Africa, the ANC views business – particularly the banking sector – as an important role-player in government’s goal to deal effectively with crime. It is important to constantly evaluate the approach police are taking to fight this scourge.

Recent crime statistics have shown a sharp increase in crimes committed against businesses in South Africa, with robberies increasing by a staggering 41,5% between April 2008 and March 2009.

The ANC believes that crime cannot be allowed to be a hindrance between the financial institutions and the societies they serve.

Our many engagements with business and civil society have resulted in the gaining and sharing of valuable insights which have helped in reducing and dealing with some of these heinous crimes.

The ANC further believes that an effective partnership between government and the business sector is crucial in ensuring that South Africa remains a safe place in which to do business. I thank you. [Applause.] UNACCEPTABLE PAYOUTS BY TRANSNET PENSION FUND

                        (Member’s Statement)

Dr S M VAN DYK (DA): Agb Speaker, aangesien dit die Week van Bejaardes in Suid-Afrika is, is dit ook belangrik om te verwys na die lot en welvaart van die pensioenarisse van Transnet se Tweede Vastevoordeel-pensioenfonds.

Kragtens wetgewing ontvang hierdie pensioenarisse slegs ’n verhoging van 2% in hul pensioen per jaar. Die fonds met 80 000 lede is een van die grootste pensioenfondse in Suid-Afrika, maar die gemiddelde pensioen is net R2 833 per maand. Nadat mediese bydraes en munisipale tariewe afgetrek word, moet baie van hierdie pensioenarisse met minder as R1 000 per maand oorleef en dit is onaanvaarbaar.

Kragtens wetgewing waarborg Transnet die verpligtinge van hierdie fonds. Kragtens wetgewing, waarborg die staat weer op sy beurt die verpligtinge van Transnet. Ondanks die beloftes van verskeie Ministers, vanaf 1990 tot die algemene verkiesing vanjaar, is daar niks gedoen om die lot van hierdie pensioenarisse te verlig nie.

Die swak bestuur van die ou Suid-Afrikaanse vervoerdiens, Transnet, en die raad van trustees van dié fonds, het daartoe gelei dat dié fonds sedert 1990, byna meer as R25 miljard se skade gely het. Dit het daartoe gelei dat 40% van hierdie pensioenarisse tans minder kry as die staat se maatskaplike welsynspensioen. Hulle kry wel ’n karige bonussie, maar dit is net eenmalig en dit verhoog nie die salarisskaal waarop pensioene bereken word nie.

Die DA is baie bly en verheug dat die Komitee oor Openbare Ondernemings in die Parlement eenparig nou ’n besluit geneem het om hierdie wetgewing te wysig, sodat pensioene met ‘n verhoging van 2% per jaar aangepas word na ’n inflasieverwante pensioenverhoging per jaar.

Die DA doen ’n beroep op die komitee dat dié wysiging van die wet so gou as moontlik plaasvind ten einde die lot van die mense te verlig. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement follows.)

[Dr S M VAN DYK (DA): Hon Speaker, since it’s the Week of the Aged, it is important also to refer to the fate and wellbeing of pensioners of Transnet’s second defined benefit pension fund.

In terms of legislation these pensioners are only receiving a 2% annual increase. The fund has 80 000 members and is considered one of the biggest pension funds in South Africa, but the average pension amount to a paltry R2 833 per month. Many of these pensioners have to survive on less than R1 000 a month after medical contributions and municipal rates have been deducted, and that is unacceptable.

In terms of legislation Transnet guarantees all obligations of this fund. And from their side, government guarantees the obligations of Transnet. Notwithstanding many promises from various Ministers since 1990 up to the general election this year, very little has been done to improve the plight of these pensioners.

Poor management of this fund by the previous South African transport services, Transnet and the board of trustees has resulted in a loss of nearly R25 billion, since 1990. This has resulted in 40% of these pensioners currently receiving a pension which is less than the state’s social welfare pension. They do receive a meagre bonus, but this is a once- off payment and does not increase the salary scale used to calculate pensions.

The DA is very pleased that the committee on Public Enterprises in Parliament has unanimously decided to amend this legislation so that pensions with an annual increase of 2% would be adjusted to an annual inflation-related pension.

The DA urges the committee to finalise this amendment as soon as possible in order to alleviate the plight of these people. I thank you.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mr M E GEORGE (Cope): Speaker, this past Sunday, City Press carried an article under the heading, “Pakistani mafia rules”. If it is factually correct, the content of the story has grave implications for us. The article alleges that syndicates, through bribing officials of Home Affairs, walked out of detention to unleash a wave of terror throughout South Africa, leaving in their wake a host of murders, kidnappings, drug-and people-smuggling operations and robberies, as well as bribery and corruption. It alleges further that Lindela Repatriation Centre is a centre where money is key because according to the department’s countercorruption unit earlier this year, at least 46 illegal foreigners have greased the palms of corrupt officials and guards to walk out of detention centres.

Cope, as a consequence of what is being publicly reported, urgently demands that Home Affairs expose these syndicates and deport their members. Cope further calls on Home Affairs, with the assistance of the police, to trace and detain all these dangerous illegal immigrants and subject all corrupt officials immediately to the full rigour of the law. Furthermore, Cope strongly believes that government must assess whether the countercorruption unit is making any progress in their task to fight corruption in government. I thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs T E KENYE (ANC): Speaker, projects generate income and boost public hospitals. The ANC is determined to end the huge inequalities that exist in the public and private sectors by making sure that these sectors work together.

Health reforms involve the mobilisation of available resources in both public and private health sectors to ensure improved health outcomes for all South Africans. The Gauteng department of health and social development has in the last financial year generated R76 million from a project which bridges the gap between public and private health sectors. The Folateng project, a revenue-creating initiative launched by the department a few years ago, consists of Folateng units which are situated in four of Gauteng’s public hospitals and serve as a bridge between public and private health sectors. The money generated from these units makes the acquisition of major items of medical equipment more affordable to participating hospitals and allows members of the community who can afford it an opportunity to receive high-level medical care at a rate lower than that of private hospitals.

The ANC believes that improving the quality of health care is an integral part of implementing the national health insurance for the achievement of access to health care for all. Thank you. [Applause.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs A T LOVEMORE (DA): Hon Speaker, the Sunday’s River Valley Municipality in citrus country in the Eastern Cape comprises, inter alia, the towns of Addo, Kirkwood and Paterson. The number of guesthouses in the picturesque town of Kirkwood attests to the thriving hub that this municipality was just over a year ago. That was before cadre deployment broke the back of the municipality.

Mr Siphiwe Sohena left the employ of the Nelson Mandela Municipality with the seriously tarnished reputation. He was then, amazingly, appointed as municipal manager of the Sunday’s River Valley Municipality. Within a year he had turned a thriving rural community into a faction-based, bankrupt, potholed, near-disaster area with no one other than himself and those close to him benefiting.

Mr Sohena was subject to disciplinary procedures and was dismissed by the council after being found guilty of 11 counts of corruption and maladministration. The local council has accepted the offer of the MEC for local government to second an official from the district municipality to act as municipal manager, combined with a loan of R26 million to keep operations running. However, the ANC regional executive committee has rejected this and has redeployed Mr Sohena as municipal manager. Whether they have the power to do this is highly questionable.

Mr Sohena is back in his office. He has stated that only a cheque of R3 million for alleged wrongful dismissal and defamation will entice him to leave. He had demanded and obtained an additional R98 000 as payment for the three months that he was off after having been fired.

He is in his office and very few other seniors … [Time expired.]


                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs B TINTO (ANC): Speaker, on Sunday 24 October 2009 the community of Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Helderberg region in the Western Cape woke up to the grisly discovery of the lifeless body of a seven-year-old girl in a shallow grave. According to the police, Juanita Josephs was raped before she was killed.

This deed was inflicted by people known to her family. Fortunately, the perpetrators were arrested by the police. As we continue to strengthen our request to build a society whose norms and values are premised on the right to life, those amongst us who harm the vulnerable and do not respect the rights of our women and children should be banished from society.

As we embark on the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, starting on 29 October, all South Africans should proactively be protagonists of a society that is free from violence against women and children, embracing the spirit and the letter of our constitutional democracy.

We urge the Josephs family to be strong in these trying times. They have the support of all South Africans. To the perpetrators, justice will be served and you do not belong to our community. Thank you.

                    EXERCISE INDIAN OCEAN WAVE 09

                        (Member’s Statement)

Mrs M S MANGENA (ANC): Hon Speaker, the ANC welcomes the step taken by 18 countries bordering the Indian Ocean, including South Africa, by taking part in an exercise to test a tsunami early warning system on Wednesday, 14 October 2009.

This is dubbed Exercise Indian Ocean Wave 09 by the United Nations. This UN- backed initiative will simulate a warning for a tsunami similar to the 2004 wave which killed more than 300 000 people. The exercise was aimed at testing alarm procedures and overall preparedness of countries along the Indian Ocean.

This was the first comprehensive test and evaluation of the warning system. The test came two weeks after a tsunami smashed into the Pacific islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, killing about 183 people.

The ANC hopes that the success of this exercise will play a major role in saving human life as the hottest temperatures ever have been measured in the last decade, as have the most intense storms as well as the most destructive floods and the longest lasting drought, all of which jeopardise human settlement, livelihood and infrastructure, particularly in the low- lying coastal areas. Thank you.




                    EXERCISE INDIAN OCEAN WAVE 09

                        (Minister’s Response) The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Chairperson, I would like to respond to at least four of the issues that were raised. The hon Nyekemba spoke about the important raids conducted by the Department of Labour on a number of shopping malls in several cities of our country. This is very important. When we talk about crime and acts of illegality, we forget about those committed against working-class people.

There is a debate in this House around whether labour brokers should be regulated or banned. But, whether they are banned or regulated, unless there is a capacity to effectively inspect what is going on in places of production, whether in shopping malls, on farms or in the minibus sector, regulations will not be effective. This is important.

Hon Godi welcomed and saluted the appointment of Judge Seriti. But he would, wouldn’t he? Because Judge Seriti would now be determining the remuneration packages for us public representatives. We hope that all of us, in this House, will support him in his work. We need, also, to support him in the difficult challenge in this year.

He will have to look at effective salaries for public representatives, bearing in mind that we do carry difficult tasks and challenges but at the same time keeping in mind that we are in a climate of recession. We hope that the energy that some members of the opposition have brought to bear around executive packages is equally brought to bear around the general remuneration of public representatives.

Hon Kenye raised the issue of the public health system and the critical importance of supporting it. Sixty percent of all health resources, including personnel, money, clinics, beds, etc, are used by the 14% of South Africans who are on medical aid. The rest of South Africans have to depend on the remaining 40%.

The medical aid situation is in dire straits at present. In 1994, 25% of South Africans were on medical aids and now it is down at 14% and dropping as they become unaffordable. Building and rebuilding the public health care system is important and, if not, we will all be in trouble.

Hon Mangena talked about the important tsunami exercise which happened yesterday where South Africa was an active partner, with a number of other Indian Ocean countries, in testing our readiness to deal with a tsunami situation. This is a broader international responsibility that South Africa is undertaking in terms of the maritime sector search, rescue and disaster management.

Yesterday government launched an exercise in the Drakensberg to deal with aviation rescue and search operations. We have the co-operation of all our neighbouring countries, including Ghana and Madagascar. In our search and rescue operations, which are linked to the tsunami matter which was mentioned by hon Mangena, some 250 lives have been saved halfway across the Atlantic and halfway across the Indian Ocean. These are some of the responsibilities that South Africa is accepting. The tsunami exercise needs to be understood as part and parcel of these responsibilities.

We often underrate and do not understand the enormous international role that South Africa is playing in some of these critical areas. Thank you.






                        (Minister’s Response)

The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Chairperson, a number of members have commented on crime ranging from drugs, heists, transnational crimes and syndicates to crimes against business. What is important is that there is no place for the mafia or Pakistani mafia in South Africa. We must work together to ensure that we are hard on these criminals and protect our innocent citizens.

As government, we are increasing our capacity and co-ordination in dealing with crime. This is very important, instead of acting in isolation. Part of the strategy is to try and effectively deal with violent crimes particularly trio crimes. We hope that members will support us in this. Part of the problem is that if we can reduce the number of guns that are in circulation, we will go a long way in reducing these violent crimes affecting our society.

We must also agree to reduce the number of Okapi knives which are in circulation in South Africa. These are the two instruments which are used in most of the violent crimes we are facing in our country.

In order to deal with organised networks we have to tighten our border control management system. That is why we are working towards the single border management agency by the end of this December. Our agencies that are working on our border closed these loopholes which were exploited by these transnational crime syndicates.

I agree with the member from the ANC that what is critical for us as members is the issue of partnership with the stakeholders, particularly, in the community in dealing with crime. We hope that as members of this august House we will play our role in mobilising communities, business, the church and religious organisations to form this partnership so that we can assist our law-enforcement agencies in stamping out crime.

We are confident as government that with the strategies we are putting in place there will be no room for criminals, but there will be a place for safety for all our citizens. Thank you.


                        (Minister’s Response)

The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Chairperson, I am compelled to support the hon member from the DA, with respect to the municipality of Sunday’s River Valley. President Zuma is committed to the fight against corruption, as is Minister Shiceka. They are both fully aware that if we have persons in local government or at any sphere of government who are not committed honestly to serving communities and who don’t have the competence required to execute that particular task, clearly we cannot, as politicians, support such people and, therefore, I have no doubt that the African National Congress will act to ensure that we have persons able to carry out their tasks deployed to that municipality. It is not the fact of deployment which is a problem. It is the fact of not linking the skills required to the deployment, and I am sure that this will be addressed by my organisation. I have no doubt that it will be addressed. [Applause.]

With respect to the University of the Free State, I am aware that Comrade Julius Malema is apparently in discussion with the vice chancellor and leadership of that university [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please!

The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: I’m sure … [Applause.] … and I have no doubt that those young people will support the vice chancellor in reaching an understanding that actions of racism require not just reconciliation but contrition as well. I am sure they will persuade the vice chancellor that the young men who were involved in the awful task and scenes that all of us are fully aware will seek forgiveness while they are given forgiveness by others, and I am sure Malema and those accompanying him will ensure that the vice chancellor understands all aspects relevant to this issue and not just attention given to those who committed the awful act. [Applause.]

I will communicate the concerns that have been raised with respect to the referendum in Matatiele to my colleague, Minister Shiceka. We would want to ensure that what has been a very difficult process is carried out properly and in a manner that ensures that everyone enjoys their democratic rights. So, I am sure, if there is any flawed process the hon Minister will ensure that it is corrected.

We also would support the IFP’s praise for those policemen and policewomen who do their job assiduously and arrest those who commit crime, and we hope that as we do our constituency work, we will communicate to policemen and policewomen our support for them as they fight crime and our rejection of any corruption in our Police Service.

I believe, Chairperson, that I have covered the issues that had been left untouched by my colleagues; the hon Cwele addressed the other matters. I think, with regard to the matter of the pension of Transnet and other public institutions, we have found that there are problems where, just as we approached the democratic elections, managers gave themselves pension rights, which they knew a future state would not be able to afford, and you find the lower level workers are the ones most negatively impacted by that administrative crookery. I believe this must be addressed, and I’m sure the current leadership of Transnet, supported by the Minister of Public Enterprises, will ensure that a just resolution is found to that problem. [Applause.]

                           COMMITTEE, 2009

There was no debate.


That the report be adopted.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.


Mr N T GODI: Chairperson, comrades and hon members, I am privileged to present to the House the first report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, being the first one for the fourth Parliament.

It will be recalled that it was in the third Parliament that the convention to have debates on the Scopa reports when they come before the House was started. The intention of debating is not to grandstand, nit-pick or engage in party politics around the issues in the report, but solely to use the platform of the House to highlight the important work that Scopa does as a committee of Parliament, and as a chance to enhance public awareness thereof.

In the third Parliament, we had consolidated within the committee this perspective which we have already spoken about in this committee. We believe that this does go a long way in enhancing our work. We are still of the view that more could and should be done to place Scopa in its proper position as a protector of the public purse, and we believe that the fourth Parliament has that unique opportunity and responsibility to finally close the cold and bitter chapter of the second Parliament arising out of the challenges around the arms deal.

Chief Whip, in your absence, and all parties in this House, I want to thank you on behalf of the committee for having taken the first step in the direction of issues of time allocation, as well as speakers. I’m sure that we will bring to your consideration other issues of relevance in due course.

Today, we are presenting before the House the report of the Auditor-General on a performance audit of service delivery at police stations and the ten thousand one hundred and eleven, generally known as 10111, the call centres of the SA Police.

We are in engagement with the police management on the report, and therefore this report before the House does not only reflect what the Auditor-General said in his report, but also takes into account the responses from police management during the hearing, as well as additional information they sent to us after the hearing.

I must state that the police, from the time of the then national commissioner, Jackie Selebi, have always responded timeously to any request for additional information. This has greatly assisted our work.

The overall picture that emerges form this report shows weaknesses and omissions that could have been avoided. Except for sector policing, not all the areas of challenge pointed to a lack of policy or procedural guidelines, but to a lack of implementation and effective management or supervision. This is a recurrent theme, not only for the police, but throughout the Public Service.

We are certain that if the recommendations that are contained in this report are implemented, the weaknesses and the concerns raised by the Auditor-General will be eliminated.

The issues identified by the Auditor-General and contained in this report deal with important issues of police work like sector policing; vehicle management, which includes the fitting and functioning of the automated vehicle location system, repairs of vehicles, control weaknesses with regard to vehicle registers, keys and garaging authorities; training, that is in-service training for police officers; community service centres; lack of compliance with the obligations imposed by the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 and National Instruction 7/1999; the issuing of bulletproof vests to officers; and the optimal functionality of the 10111 call centres.

I’m sure that my comrades in the committee will elaborate on the substance of the issues and, most importantly, the recommendations.

Lastly, the last paragraph of our report imposes timeframes. The accounting officer must submit to the National Assembly, within 60 days of this report being adopted by the House, a report on progress made in implementing these recommendations.

The issue of timeframes is going to be a permanent feature in all our reports to ensure that departments take our recommendations seriously. The responsibility, beyond today, lies with the Speaker’s Office to ensure that it has the requisite capacity and systems to track resolutions adopted by this House.

I therefore present to the House Scopa’s first report for adoption. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr A R AINSLIE: House Chairperson, members, in its 2009 election manifesto, the ANC stated boldly that fighting crime and fighting the causes of crime will be a priority of the ANC government in the next five years. Therefore, it is appropriate that the very first Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, report tabled in the House today deals with service delivery at police stations and police 10111 call centres.

This police audit is a performance audit as opposed to what can be called compliance audits. Compliance audits are mainly concerned with ensuring that the rands and cents of expenditure add up and that laws such as the Public Finance Management Act are adhered to. Performance audits, on the other hand, go further and assess whether there is value for money. As departments and entities hopefully and increasingly meet compliance criteria, we are likely to see more value-for-money performance audits.

It could be useful, therefore, as this police audit is the first to be dealt with by Scopa, to identify any lessons we have learned in our engagement with the department and apply such lessons to future engagements between Scopa and departments. I would suggest that there are three lessons we learned in our engagement with the Police department which we can usefully apply to future interrogations of audit reports: Firstly, and this is a lesson for Scopa, members of Scopa may be clear and specific on what it is that departments must answer to; but we must ensure that departments are also quite clear on what is required of them. At our first meeting with the police in July, we seemed to be speaking at cross purposes. The result was that the hearing had to be abandoned. Scopa needs to seriously consider supplying the department and entities that appear before it with a predetermined set of key questions, in particular those matters that require detailed responses.

Secondly, and this is a lesson for departments, departments need to have read and understood the Auditor-General’s report and be as thoroughly prepared as Scopa to engage on the report. This might sound very obvious, but in all the hearings we had this year, it has been apparent that either the Auditor-General’s report has not been understood or there has been a lack of preparation.

The audit report makes specific findings. Departments need to be ready to give reasons for shortcomings and the remedial actions that have been taken in those regards. Perhaps we need to recirculate to departments our very useful little booklet published by Scopa in 2003 titled Guidelines for Accounting Officers, Ministers and Other Persons Appearing before the Committee. The booklet sets out very succinctly Scopa’s mandate and role, its procedures and what is required of accounting officers and others appearing before it. The key to what is expected of accounting officers is contained on page 15, section 3 of the handbook. Accounting officers called to give evidence before Scopa will be expected to furnish Scopa with explanations with regard to any irregularities or problems to which their attention has been drawn by the Auditor-General in the audited financial statements of the relevant department and any other matter identified by Scopa.

It is probably this “any other matter identified by Scopa” which could be the cause of our difficulty in the hearing with the police. In fact, in all of the hearings we had this year, officials may have been unprepared for these “other matters”. Therefore, my earlier suggestion that these “other matters” be formulated in specific questions and be communicated to officials before the hearing applies in this regard.

Thirdly, there is also a lesson for Ministries and portfolio committees. After our unsuccessful hearing with the police, the Minister and the Deputy Minister and the chairperson of the portfolio committee intervened to ensure that the issues raised in the Auditor-General’s report and subsequently by Scopa were properly addressed.

The role of relevant portfolio committees in matters brought before Scopa is especially important. This will be more so in the case of performance audits. We must ensure that the portfolio committees play a more active role in discussions around audit reports, which needs to go beyond merely inviting the chairs of the portfolio committee to attend Scopa hearings. Portfolio committees, after all, have overall oversight responsibility for relevant departments on an ongoing basis. Therefore, there needs to be a closer working relationship between Scopa and portfolio committees from the very first briefing by the Auditor-General to the formulation of recommendations to be considered by the House. These are some of the lessons we can apply going forward.

In the few minutes remaining, I want to deal with a finding in the Auditor- General’s report that there was a lack of an approved policy for sector policing. My colleagues speaking in the debate will deal with a number of other key findings made by the Auditor-General, and listed in the report tabled today.

Sector policing is a major tool in the fight against crime. It is an approach to policing where services of an area of a police station are divided into smaller manageable areas known as sectors. Resources are allocated according to the sectors’ crime trends. The sector commander and the community become active partners in ensuring local safety and security.

At a hearing with the police on 1 July, this became a major issue of concern. It became apparent that members of the police delegation themselves disagreed as to whether there was policy or not. They gave contradictory replies to questions and the committee was left in the dark as to whether there was policy and whether it was being implemented. To the credit of the Minister, Deputy Minister and the chairperson of the portfolio committee who almost immediately intervened in the matter, the important issue of sector policing has been clarified, together with other matters, in a comprehensive document from the police.

The committee was informed that national instructions on sector policing were approved on 13 July and had already been circulated to all provincial and station commissioners. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts was also informed that the policy on sector policing will be implemented and rolled out to all 1 116 police stations within the next three years. We were also informed that a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of sector policing has been developed. This monitoring mechanism will be implemented at all levels in the police force, from national to station level. An important aspect of compliance with sector policing is that performance agreements for provincial commissioners and operational plans for station commissioners include indicators according to which they will be assessed.

In conclusion, I can do no better than to quote from Deputy President Motlanthe in giving a keynote address at the annual Association of Public Accounts Committees, Apac, conference in Cape Town on 28 September 2009 when he said:

It is crucial that public accounts committees do not only react to bad management and corruption but also assist in ensuring that financial affairs are managed properly. Public accounts committees must scrutinise problem areas within departments and public entities, and propose corrective action and changes where required.

I believe that the report Scopa tabled before you today is testimony to the fact that we have diligently executed the Deputy President’s instructions. [Interjections.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Mr M H STEELE: Madam Chairperson, hon members, this report before the House marks a mid-point in a process which began more than two years ago. I use the word “mid-point” deliberately because this is not the end of the process, nor is it the beginning. If we take our oversight and our accountability seriously, this is an ongoing process which is going to use this report that we table today in a productive and useful way.

In July 2007 the DA spokesperson on the SA Police Service, the hon Kohler- Barnard, wrote to the Auditor-General requesting that his office implement a case study audit of selected police stations to determine their performance. The DA’s request for a special audit was repeated in September 2007 following the annual report on the SAPS which stated that there was a lack of monitoring of policies, procedures and standing instructions.

In June 2008 the DA requested that the audit should focus particularly on the 10111 call centres, this following alarming information received from members of the public and serving officers of poor service levels and a lack of police responsiveness.

The Auditor-General’s final report of March 2009 which was considered before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, this year reveals, amongst other problems, systemic service delivery failures, particularly in the performance of the 10111 call centres, and a failure to develop and implement a coherent sector policing policy.

Scopa reports usually deal with audit irregularities such as the failure to maintain proper records of assets. It is rare that an audit report deals with what are, literally, life or death matters, and this is exactly what the 10111 call centres do on a daily basis. When a member of the public is faced with a critical emergency and people call 10111, they need help and they need it really fast; not 30 or 40 minutes later, or worse, not at all. The norm for reaction time to a code A complaint is six minutes. At one audited centre the response time ranged from 11 to 66 minutes, with none approaching the prescribed norm. Even worse, this deficiency was noted at no less than eight out of the nine audited call centres.

Sector policing policy was also sharply criticised by the Auditor-General. Inconsistencies in the implementation of sector policing and resource allocation are arising between different police stations, with no proper explanation for this discrepancy being provided. This discrepancy could, of course, put a crime victim in a life-threatening situation if they happen to be in the wrong sector in terms of resource allocation.

Scopa’s recommendations to the House will require the SAPS management to report to Parliament on exactly what plans they have implemented to address each of the identified deficiencies. Both Scopa and the Portfolio Committee on Police will have a role to play in holding the SAPS leadership accountable. We believe that if this report leads to a serious engagement with the problems of the police management structures, accountability and service delivery, then it will have achieved some useful purpose.

In commending this report to the House, I would like to thank the other members of Scopa for the spirit of co-operation and consensus-seeking that characterised our discussions. I look forward to further engagement with the police on the subject of this report. Thank you.

Mr L RAMATLAKANE: House Chairperson, the lives of all South African citizens depend on the work that policemen and women do. Crime-fighting is a national priority and an essential service. There can be no compromises, cutting of corners or excuses raised. Because the work of the police is of the highest precedence, everything has to run smoothly as they must be 100% prepared and equipped to bring criminals to book. But there are still too many reports of serious deficiencies and nonadherence to keeping up the standards. The report of the Auditor-General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, has an overload of these. It is unacceptable and utterly disappointing that the very people who are the last barrier between us and chaos are not rendering the expected and demanded quality of service due to all the deficiencies listed in the report.

There are many recommendations to ensure conformity and progress. But the true test will be if the political leadership, starting from the Minister, takes full responsibility in ensuring enforcement and proper control. We have to keep our men and women in uniform optimally trained, equipped, and empowered to do sterling work against the evil people who rob and rape the innocent. When I say this, I first want to commend all the police personnel who are loyal to our country, Constitution and citizens. They protect us and hunt down the perpetrators.

But it is the exposed weaknesses in this report that are in the spotlight today. No member of the police can do a good job if there is no proper policy to ensure that sector policing functions optimally with due resource allocations. Well-kept vehicles are vital. Broken ones cannot wait too long before their service intervals. Weak controls of vehicle registers are still prevalent. Private use or abuse of state vehicles must be stopped. Too many operational members still do not have driving licences, despite programmes to address this.

Although we need a maximum number of crime fighters at the front line, they must not stay away from training and capacity-building. The front desk to the community may not go without water, electric power, working telephones and computers.

Family violence is still not taken seriously enough. All police members should be trained to deal with domestic violence appropriately within the guidelines and the law.

Our operational members also need proper protection. Why they are not issued with bulletproof vests that are also welldesigned to fit policewomen, is beyond comprehension.

We support this report of Scopa and we are looking forward to further engagement with the process. I thank you. [Applause.]

Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI: Madam Chairperson, for a medical practitioner to be able to cure a patient, he or she not only needs to come up with the correct diagnosis, but must have the right tools at his or her disposal to treat the patient. In a similar vein, in a country where crime is rampant, our policemen and women need to be equipped and skilled to fight crime successfully and vigorously.

Yet, if we ask the ordinary man in the street whether they believe that the SA Police Service is adequately equipped and skilled to protect them, or whether they believe that phoning the 10111 centre will get them the help they need, we will be greeted with a resounding no. Today violent crime is the cancer that erodes the fabric of the nation. Rampant crime prevents us from classifying our country as a normal democracy or a country at peace with itself. We live in a country where criminals rob us of our precious lives and property.

A quick look at the findings of the Auditor-General’s report adds to this list of woes and does not give one any comfort that our police force is up to the task of fighting crime successfully. The report revealed that, due to a lack of an approved policy, there were inconsistencies in the implementation of sector policing and in the resource allocation between different police stations. Furthermore, there were instances where operational members did not possess driving licences. The report also revealed that there was nonattendance and noncompliance with regard to training courses, while not all the SAPS members were being issued with bulletproof vests.

With regard to the 10111 call centres, the report found, shockingly, that there is no fully functional 10111 call centre in Mpumalanga province. With regard to the other call centres there were deficiencies when it comes to the reaction time between the call centre and the policing units. What, then, must be done to keep us safe and secure and to improve the effectiveness of the SAPS?

The IFP believes that we need, first and foremost, to develop a highly qualified, well-paid and highly motivated cadre of crime fighters to make South Africa a safe place. We need to upgrade our training system with a special focus on investigative skills and forensics. Government must provide adequate resources for effective, efficient and professional policing. This must be extended to our 10111 call centres as well.

The report also suggests that sector policing is not working in its current form. We are therefore calling for policing powers to be decentralised, even to the local level. We therefore urge government to look at this report and to recognise the urgent need to fix the many problems that are currently paralysing and rendering the SAPS ineffective. Only then will we be able to start making headway in our fight against rampant crime in South Africa. I thank you, Chair.

Mr M H HOOSEN: Chairperson, we must thank the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, for the work they have done in interrogating this report of the Auditor-General which has presented shocking results. Many South Africans have become accustomed to police arriving at a crime scene many hours after the crime was reported. In some instances, especially where I come from, you call the police today and they arrive the next day. Now we know that the reason for this is not just because they don’t have vehicles, which is a common excuse we get. The real reason is that there are hundreds of police officers who still cannot drive or do not even have driving licences, or the vehicles are used to fetch colleagues from their homes. We know now that the real reason so many police officers are being slaughtered by criminals is because many of them don’t have bulletproof vests.

It is sickening that 98% of the police stations surveyed show that proper procedures have not been followed in respective domestic violence cases. When you read the results of this report, you realise just why we are unable to reduce the high levels of crime in our country, especially when simple records of meetings are not being kept.

If we do not address the shortcomings and the recommendations of Scopa in this report in an urgent basis, our fight against crime will amount to absolutely nothing. Thank you.

Ms T D CHILOANE: Thank you, Chairperson and hon members. The special performance audit undertaken by the Auditor-General rightly chooses to limit the scope to those areas directly affecting members of the public.

Our committee deals with numbers and technical details not for its own sake, but to better serve the interests of our people. This is important to remember, particularly as the performance audit was focused on a government body, the SA Police Service, entrusted with the immense responsibility of protecting the lives of all citizens.

This is a responsibility and a justified expectation on the part of all our people. That is one of the values encapsulated in the Constitution of the democratic, nonracial and nonsexist South Africa.

I have chosen to focus on the following areas covered in the audit: training, domestic violence, community service centres and 10111 call centres. Before I elaborate on the shortcomings identified by the Auditor- General on each of these, I must first point out that the audit was carried out in five police stations and one 10111 call centre per province. This gives us a sample of 45 police stations and nine 10111 call centres. I must also commend the management of the SAPS for a speedy response to some of these issues raised not only in the audit, but also in the committee’s hearings. I shall refer to some of those as I continue in the detailed report.

On training, the Auditor-General found that in the vital area of training, information available was not accurately updated to reflect all training courses attended by members, thereby compromising the accuracy of management information. More troubling were the instances where there was nonattendance and noncompletion of certain courses. Since 2004, the SAPS has developed 20 outcomes-based programmes which focus on specific needs within the organisation.

The feedback from the department is that in the 2008-09 financial year, a total of 105 670 individual members were trained and there were 208 754 training interventions.

In light of these figures, the committee is of the view that appropriate training should be available to all members within reasonable timeframes, and the training database should be rectified and recorded correctly. More importantly, the training budget must be properly utilised; failing which appropriate disciplinary measures must be instituted against those responsible.

On domestic violence, I don’t need to remind members of this House what a blight this is on our country. The SAPS is involved in various activities relating to social crime prevention, especially the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 that imposes certain obligations on the SAPS members who receive complaints of domestic violence.

National Instruction No 7 of 1999 introduced prescribed recording of incidents reported to the police. Sadly, according to the Auditor-General’s audit, citizens reporting domestic violence are still being let down, notwithstanding the existence of measures intended to alleviate their plight.

The committee therefore recommends that a progress report on domestic violence, regarding the number and particulars of matters reported, should be submitted to the National Assembly after the adoption of this report by the House.

On community service centres, I think most of us will agree that, in essence, the community centres are the front lines of police stations. It is the first interface that the public has when reporting complaints to the police. It is imperative therefore that I mention briefly some of the Auditor-General’s findings. The layout of community service centres did not cater for persons with disabilities; basic infrastructure such water, electricity, telephones and computers in some centres was not in good working condition; proper identification parade rooms did not exist and service charters in relation to the public were not prominently displayed; and some holding cells could not be used due to dilapidation.

Whilst the committee notes that police stations built since 2003 have incorporated access and ablution facilities for people living with disabilities, we strongly recommend, as a matter of urgency, the prioritisation of upgrades for all centres with deficiencies, be it ramps for access, telephones, computers, etc.

With regard to the 10111 call centres, if community centres are the front line for the public, a telephone call to the police is the second most widely used way to communicate with the police. We all have experience of being put on hold by call centres. Well, with the SAPS it should never happen as it could literally be a matter of life and death.

It came as a shock therefore when the Auditor-General reported that Mpumalanga does not have a fully functional 10111 call centre. The flagship Gauteng call centre, identified as a model for other provinces, has seven reaction talk groups which had not been activated despite the centre being equipped with both equipment and systems necessary for its activation. These are crucial as they facilitate communication between call centres and policing units outside the ambit of the call centre. The minimum service level of 90% was not adhered to at six of the nine call centres audited nationally.

The committee, fully cognisant of the role that 10111 call centres play, calls upon the SAPS management to ensure that reliable information and statistics are generated to permit proper management and monitoring of call centre performance. Appropriate training should be provided to members at centres so that the public can get a return on this investment. Further, we recommend that the accounting officer submit a report on all the recommendations in this report within 60 days after its adoption. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, one of the principal roles of the state is to safeguard its citizens. However, we all accept that the levels of crime are unacceptably high and that citizens do not feel safe in their homes, on the road or at their businesses. It is for this reason that this report is opportune.

Serious deficiencies regarding sector policing, vehicle management, training and community service centres were highlighted.

The ACDP particularly welcomes the attention given to reporting on deficiencies in training, in reporting to Parliament on domestic violence issues, and more seriously, various instances of operational members not being issued with bulletproof vests and deficiencies with 10111 call centres.

The ACDP commends the department on its speedy response on some of the issues highlighted. The question arises, however, as to why it took a special Auditor-General’s report and then the Scopa hearing to bring the spotlight to bear on these issues. Surely, the portfolio committee should also have looked into these issues. Possibly they did, but not with the desired outcome leading to the request for the Auditor-General to investigate. Well done, hon Dianne Kohler-Barnard, for bringing this issue to Parliament and to the attention of the Auditor-General and Scopa.

One wonders how many of the members who died or were injured in the line of duty could have been protected had they been properly trained and equipped. Considering the seriousness of these issues, the ACDP fully supports Scopa’s recommendation that the department’s accounting officers submit a report on all these outstanding issues to this House within 60 days after the adoption of this report. I trust that the portfolio committee will also follow up and work with Scopa in this area.

In conclusion, I wish Inspector Uncle Charles Verryne of the Parliamentary Police Unit a very happy retirement tomorrow after more than 30 years of service, many of them here in Parliament, and I am sure many of you have seen him walking around very smartly in his full dress and his medals. That is an example of a very dedicated and committed official. I wish him well with his retirement. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, true accolades, indeed, must be awarded to all policemen and policewomen for an excellent job working under difficult circumstances. The MF is glad to note in view of the report that the department is addressing some of the fundamental issues that have a negative impact on service delivery.

Policies, monitoring controls and procedures are very important to ensure efficient and effective management of daily activities. We note that the call centre causes difficulty, leading to havoc. This needs to be given attention. The problem of service delivery is the lack of logistical support services such as vehicles, manpower, etc. These need urgent attention.

There is no sense in having more policemen when you have fewer facilities. The MF hopes that all the deficiencies are addressed and systems are put in place speedily. We welcome the fact that the issue of sector policing has been resolved. This has a tremendous impact on safety and security at a local level.

We welcome the report and thank the committee led by hon Godi for excellent work done. Thank you.

Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD: Chairperson, on 6 September 2006, the DA pointed out for the first time that the extraordinarily expensive experiment, the 10111 call centres, was an unutterable failure. Naturally, because the ANC is convinced that any criticism of its performance is an attack on its very foundations, the information and the facts put forward by the DA were ignored.

However, hon members, the Auditor-General and his reports cannot be ignored. These reports are fundamental in drawing attention to problems at hand. The Auditor-General agreed to do this report at our request and has agreed to undertake various other investigations, one of which will now feature in the SAPS’s annual report regarding the correct recording of crime statistics. We have seen a few ANC members promise to fall on their swords should they fail in their duties as public servants. Gauteng community safety MEC, Firoz Cachalia, said he would resign from office if he failed to achieve the targets he set for the province in his crime strategy. The previous Minister, Charles Nqakula, of course did not. One of the many promises the MEC made was that he would improve the functioning of the 10111 call centres.

Sadly, the ANC today works on the premise of their collective so that no individual is ever held accountable. The MEC failed, yet he is still collecting his cheque monthly, now as the Gauteng Economic development MEC, in much the same way that those convicted in the Travelgate matter and for the many other felonies the DA has detailed sit unashamedly in this House.

When we requested a full audit of the 10111 emergency response systems, it was because we believed that such an audit was imperative, given, firstly, the inordinate amount of public money spent on the systems and, secondly, the endless complaints from the public in this regard. The reality is that not one single shift in the 10111 centres investigated came even close to reaching the minimum stipulated service level of 90% - not even close.

If anyone in this room could explain how a service level of 39% during the busiest time of the day, from 2:00 pm until 10:00 pm, is acceptable, I would like to hear the explanation. Mostly, no one bothers to answer the phone and if they do, frankly, one wishes they hadn’t bothered. The calls are frequently answered with merely a grunt and an utter debacle ensues while the disaster they are so desperate to report plays out in front of the citizen’s eyes.

Even our most civic-minded citizens finally throw in the towel when they have wasted endless time repeating their ID numbers and personal details to someone incapable of taking them down, who then puts them on hold simply to get rid of them.

Of course, in the unlikely event that one manages to navigate one’s way through all the levels and grab the gold ring, it is only to discover that it is brass. Our citizens have found out the hard way that no one can be told about their plight because police vehicles are not all equipped with radios and have to use their own private cellphones to communicate. Certainly, this is the case at the West Rand Flying Squad. So, the entire debacle grinds to a halt there.

The SAPS has spent, at latest count, R600 million on the Gauteng 10111 system, an amount next to which the excesses in relation to five-star hotels, pimp-my-ride vehicles and new mansions by the Minister, his deputy and the National Police Commissioner pale into insignificance.

Seventy-nine percent of the calls made to 10111 centres are abandoned by frantic citizens who actually believed that there was a number that they could call if they had an emergency. Will it take a 2010 visitor, as they seem to have a far greater value than the average South African citizen, to be hung up on when they make an emergency call to wake the members of the current governing party out of their stupor in this regard?

I have refused to stay quiet when I’ve heard sobbing, recently widowed women on the phone relating tales of how they were put on hold six times while their husband, who was shot, bled to death in their arms. That is my job, and it is my sincere wish that today someone, anyone, within the ranks of the ANC, will actually stand up and do theirs. [Applause.]

Mr M I MALALE: House Chairperson, colleagues, no amount of revolutionary proclamations will adequately articulate the melancholy causing pain to our people as a consequence of crime in our society. Crime subscribes to no ideology or social class. It is a common experience of all members of society from all walks of life. Therefore, all of us have a political and social duty to roll up our sleeves and join in the collective slog to combat the scourge of crime.

A lot of the points that I thought I was going to traverse were covered by colleagues who are members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, who clearly had a very constructive engagement with the Ministry of Police and the National Police Commissioner.

When an audit was undertaken by the Auditor-General in relation to fleet management, there were 13 631 police vehicles that had the so-called automatic vehicle location system.

In terms of this system, the police are able to locate a police vehicle. They are able to determine the speed profile of the car and to know whether it is travelling beyond the boundaries it is supposed to be operating in. When we met with the police, they reported that 24 254 vehicles now have that system. This is progressive improvement. [Applause.] Yet, as Scopa, we feel that more is required, particularly in relation to operational vehicles, so that we are able to track the performance of our deployed police.

We all agree that the police are the front-line guardians of our laws. Therefore, their conduct must epitomise the highest moral rectitude and the National Police Commissioner should be able to act very swiftly against any police officers that are exposed abusing the limited resources for fighting crime in our country.

However, as we engage robustly on the performance of the police, we should also have space in our criticism to acknowledge some of the positive things that happen on the part of the police.

Yesterday, at Orlando Community Hall in Soweto, one former boxing champion, Baby Jake Matlala, was involved in an agonising five-hour training session with the police to make sure that, as our slogan says, Washa Tsotsi, the police on the ground are prepared to engage our enemy, namely crime. [Applause.] This is the duty of everybody.

Lastly, Parliament is the ultimate platform for intellectual combat and in the ANC … [Interjections.] … Whatever you call it. That’s why … [Interjections.] … You see, you are afforded your moment to waffle with little disturbance. [Laughter.] As I was saying, that is the purpose of Parliament, so that there could be clear intercourse between members of society about how to improve their land.

As Scopa, we feel that the bottlenecks that are there have to be dealt with effectively. It is not a lost opportunity that collapses at the feet of lamentations and trying to get a vote for distant elections. Thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.


That the report be adopted.

Motion agreed to. Report accordingly adopted.



Ms B THOMSON: Chairperson, hon members, our debate is focusing on the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. This is a national campaign which focuses primarily on generating an increased awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children, as well as society at large.

The incidents of violence perpetrated against women and children and the youth remain unacceptably high in our country. Former Minister Charles Nqakula stated that crime conducted in the country indicated that social crime, particularly the abuse of women and children, is highly problematic. Due to time constraints I will not dwell on the crime statistics.

Okuhle ngalo mkhankaso ukuthi usibandakanya sonke thina zinhlanga zalapha nanoma siqhamuka kuliphi iqembu lezombusazwe. Kuyinto enhle kakhulu le ngoba udlame olubhekiswe komama kanye nabantwana luyinto enzima kakhulu futhi ebuhlungu. Yingakho-ke kubalulekile ukuthi lo mkhakaso siwuphathise okwezikhali zamantungwa.

Lo mkhankaso siwusebenzisa njengelinye lamacebo ethu okuqeda udlame nokuhlukunyezwa komama nakubantwana. Ake sibuke into eyenzeke ngomhlaka 24 Okthoba kuwo lonyaka lapho kwabakhona abantu asebephelelwe unembeza ngoba bakwazi ukunukubeza umntwana oneminyaka eyisikhombisa kuphela baze bashabalalisa impilo yakhe imbala. Lokhu kwenzeke khona lapha eduze nathi. Lokhu kukhombisa ukucekelwa phansi kwamalungelo abantwana ngabantu abanezinhliziyo ezilukhuni ngendlela engelinganiswe nalutho. Abacwaningi bathi njalo emahoreni ayisithupha kubulawa owesifazane yilowo asuke ethandana naye. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[What is good about this campaign is that it involves everyone - this country’s different racial groups irrespective of political affiliation. And this is a very good thing as violence against women and children is a very difficult and painful thing. That is why it is very important that we handle this campaign with the urgency it deserves.

We use this campaign as one of our strategies for eliminating violence against women and children. Let us look at what happened on 24 October this year when people who do not have a conscience sexually abused and even killed a child who was only seven years old. This has happened close to us here. This is the cruellest violation of children’s rights perpetrated by the meanest people we have ever seen. The researchers say that every six hours a woman is killed by her partner.]

The campaign raises awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at local, national, regional and international levels. It also strengthens local work around violence against women. It establishes a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women and children. It provides a forum in which organisers can develop and share new and more effective strategies. It also demonstrates the solidarity of women around the world standing up against violence against women and children. It creates tools to put pressure on ourselves as government to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women and children.

Uma thina njengohulumeni sibeka uMthetho othile, lowo Mthetho usuke uyisu noma uyicebo lokulungisa izihibe noma izingqinamba ezimpilweni zabantu abathile. Thina-ke siyingxenye yaleNdlu sigixabezwe ngamandla okulandela ukuphenya, ukubuza kanye nokubheka ngeso lokhozi uma kunezinkomba zokuthi uMthetho obekiwe awuzifezi izinhloso zawo. Phela eyethu indaba icace bha kuhle kwekati elimhlophe ehlungwini. Eyethu indaba ukushintsha izimpilo zabantu zibe ngcono kunalokho eziyikho.

Ake ngithathe lomkhankaso esingawo namuhla ngiwuqhathanise nenhloso yecebo esalibopha eminyakeni eyishumi eyedlule - uMthetho Wokuhlukunyezwa Wasekhaya. Ngiyavuma ukuthi lo Mthetho ngeke ube nazo zonke izimpendulo zezinkinga esibhekene nazo. Kuyavela nokho ukuthi lo Mthetho awukwenzi ngokwanele lokhu obekelwe khona. Lokhu kusho ukuthi thina singamalungu aleNdlukazi sihlale phansi siwucubungule kabusha. Yikona-ke lokhu okuholele ekutheni ikomidi eliphathelene nomama, abantwana, intsha nabantu abaphila nokukhubazeka libone isidingo sokuba nembizo izolo nanamuhla ukuze sikwazi ukuhlanganisa amakhanda nalabo abathintekile.

Ake sibheke lezi zihibe ezidala ukuthi lo Mthetho ungasebenzi: Ingabe izinsiza zanele ukwenza lo Mthetho usebenze kahle? Ingabe amaphoyisa ethu aqeqeshwe ngokwanele ngalo Mthetho? Ingabe umhlukunyezwa uvikelekile kulezi zinswelaboya? Ingabe abesifazane abangamaphoyisa basetshenziswa ngokwanele ekubhekeleleni ngokusebenza kwalo Mthetho? Ingabe lo Mthetho ubhalwe ngezilimi eziqondwa abantu? Ingabe yonke iminyango engenelele iyakwazi yini efanele ikuphonse esivivaneni ukuze lo Mthetho usebenze na? Uhla lude kungashona ilanga.

Iminyango yonke ethintekayo iyacelwa ngokuzithoba ukuthi ibhukule, izibophe ziqine izinkalo ukuze lo Mthetho usebenze. Sikhuluma ngale Minyango elandelayo: UMnyango Wamaphoyisa, oWezobulungiswa, oWezempilo kanye noWezokuthuthukiswa Komphakathi njalo njalo. Ngiyaphinda futhi ngiqhathanisa umkhankaso esingawo nelinye icebo lethu esilibiza nge-SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Leli cebo ngelihle ngendlela emangalisayo lapho i-Southern African Development Community i-SADC ngamafishane isho ngazwi linye futhi izibophezela ngokulwa nodlame olubhekiswe komama nasebantwaneni. Ake ngithinte Isigaba sesi-3 sezinhloso zalosomqulu. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[If as a government we propose a certain Act, that Act is a plan or a strategy for correcting the wrongs in or removing obstacles from the lives of certain groups of people. And we, as part of this House, are given the authority to monitor, to investigate, and to find answers to certain issues and to scrutinise those if there is an indication that an Act that was proposed does not fulfil its objectives. Our mandate is crystal clear. Our mandate is to improve people’s lives.

Let me take the campaign which we are discussing here today and compare it with our strategic objectives that we committed ourselves to 10 years ago – the Domestic Violence Act. I know that this Act won’t have all the answers to all the problems we are facing. It is evident though that this Act is not doing enough in terms of fulfilling its objectives. This means that we, as the members of this august House, need to sit down and look at it again. This is what prompted the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities to arrange an imbizo which was held yesterday and today so that we can put our heads together with the concerned people.

Let us look at the obstacles that cause this Act to be ineffective: Are there enough facilities for the successful implementation of this Act? Are our police officers well informed about this Act? Are the victims protected from the criminals? Are our female police officers sufficiently deployed in overseeing the effective implementation of this Act? Is this Act written in a language that is understood by the people? Are the departments concerned aware of what they are supposed to do in order for this Act to work? The list is endless - I can spend the whole day on this.

All the departments concerned are humbly requested to pull themselves together, and to take it upon themselves to see to it that this Act is effective. The departments we are referring to are the following: the Department of Police, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Development, and others. I compare the campaign we are discussing with our other strategy, which is called the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. This is a wonderful strategy because the Southern African Development Community – SADC in short - pronounced in one voice that it is committed to fighting violence against women and children. Let me quote Article 3 of the objectives of this document.]

It is to provide for the empowerment of women, to eliminate discrimination and to achieve gender equality through the development and implementation of gender-responsive legislation, policies, programmes and projects. It is also to harmonise the implementation of the various instruments to which SADC member states have subscribed at regional, continental and international level on gender equality and equity, which, among others, are the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. For the sake of time, I will not mention all the protocols that are in place.

Other objectives are to address emerging gender issues and concerns; set realistic, measurable targets, timeframes and indicators for achieving gender equality and equity; strengthen, monitor and evaluate the progress made by member states towards reaching the targets and goals set out in the protocol, and to deepen regional integration, attain sustainable development and strengthen community-building.

Sengiphetha Sihlalo, ngibonga izinhlangano zemiphakathi, izinhlangano ezingekho ngaphansi kukahulumeni (NGOs), izinhlangano ezifana ne-ANCWL kanye nazo zonke engingazibalanga. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)

[In conclusion, Chairperson, I am thankful to the community organisations, the organisations which do not receive government funding, namely NGOs, organisations such as the ANCWL and all the other organisations that I have not mentioned here …]

… for creating a worldwide social conscience on the negative impact, both on social and economic life, of violence against women, and also for urging that programmes be put in place by other departments throughout the year to create an ongoing awareness.

Kolabo baba abavamise ukuba phambili ekuhlukunyezweni kwabesifazane sithi kubo mabashintshe indlela yokuziphatha futhi mabazi ukuthi siyabathanda futhi siyabahlonipha. Nathi ngokunjalo sifuna ukuthandwa nokuhlonishwa ukuze isithunzi sethu sihlale sivikelekile njalo.

Obaba abazithola besenkingeni yokuhlukunyezwa noma ngabe yingayiphi indlela sithanda ukuthi bazi ukuthi nabo bayingxenye yazakhamuzi zaseMzansi. Lo Mthetho ebengikhuluma ngawo uyabavikela nabo, ngakho-ke siyabanxusa ukuthi babe nesibindi, baphumele obala bangafeli ngaphakathi kuhle kwebutho likaShaka. Ngiyabonga kakhulu. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[To those men who are always at the forefront in abusing women, we would like to say that they need to change their ways and they must know that we love and respect them. We also need to be loved and respected so that our dignity can always be protected.

As for those men who find themselves in an abusive situation anyway, we would like them to know that they too are part of the South African citizenry. They too are protected by the same Act I was referring to. Therefore, we are pleading with them to be courageous and to come out in the open and not die a silent death like King Shaka’s army. Thank you very much.]

Mrs D ROBINSON: Chair and members, I spent yesterday in a public hearing dealing with the Domestic Violence Act. It was a harrowing experience listening to the sad accounts of what has happened in women’s lives, and I’m sorry that our Minister isn’t here today to listen to our debate.

It is obvious that gender-based violence is destroying individuals and communities. South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world in which all citizens are protected and entitled to basic necessities as well as having freedom of movement, expression, religious or sexual orientation. Pregnant women are provided with free health care and the right to terminate pregnancy. There are laws which make marital rape and violence illegal; laws which amend patriarchal customary traditions to ensure that women do not become property in marriage. And yet, according to the Medical Research Council, South Africa has the highest femicide rate in the world, with one woman being killed by her intimate partner every six hours. It also has the highest rape statistics for a country not at war, but the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders, Nicro, estimates that only one in 20 cases of rape are actually reported. Of reported cases, only 7% are successfully prosecuted.

According to the annual report of the SA Police Service for 2008-09, the number of crimes committed against women totalled 188 425. That’s 516 crimes against women per day. Although acts of violence against women occur across all socioeconomic, racial and cultural divides, poverty is an important factor in gender equality. Financial dependence, as well as a lack of access to education and resources often trap women in violent and oppressive relationships. Entrenched patriarchal beliefs, the stigma surrounding abused women, rape and HIV/Aids make these laws meaningless for many. This is one of the reasons why the 16 Days of Activism is so important. We need to draw attention to the underlying problems and find solutions.

The Constitution of South Africa is a document of transformation intended to address social and economic inequalities of the past, to reconstruct society, to transform the unequal power relations and eradicate all forms of discrimination. Unequal power relations lie at the heart of domestic violence. Women are expected to be sexually available and submissive. Woman lack economic, political, social and religious power and this leaves them vulnerable. Men are brought up to be tough, to fight and not to show their feelings. Mothers, bring up yours sons to show care and respect for others.

Fifty-three percent of women have no income and are totally dependent, so poverty has become feminised. Because of gender oppression, women do not appear to have the same value as men in society, so this makes men think that they have the right to beat women. Recognising these problems, government developed the Victims’ Charter, providing the right to be treated with fairness, respect, dignity and privacy and the right to receive protection, assistance, restitution and compensation.

This was a great step forward, but in our hearings we’ve been told that this does not work in practice. We heard how victims have struggled to get the SAPS to respond, either because there’s no vehicle available, or because the officer feels that the incident is a minor quarrel aggravated by alcohol abuse. Victims are not informed of their rights or advised about protection orders. It’s also been said that women must have deserved the beatings because they’ve been lazy or cheeky. Statements are often taken down incorrectly, because the police officers cannot speak the language of the complainants.

In one case that I know of, this led to the perpetrator being charged with assault instead of rape, and he was released. No crime kit was issued to the victim; no medical examination for rape was performed, nor was material sent away for forensic testing. Where is justice? Communication is vital. Officers must be able to speak the language of the area. Is there anyone to interpret in sign language for the deaf? Are female officers available in cases like these? Police must be sensitised and properly trained. Budgets need to be revised so that vehicles can be provided and adequate services rendered to all. The headlines in Tuesday’s Beeld read: “Polisie het my verkrag. Ma van drie is deur beamptes aangeval. Hoekom help die SAPD nie?” [Police raped me. Mother of three attacked by officers. Why does the SAPS not help?]

The report continues to tell how the woman, a mother of three, was raped and beaten and her husband attacked by the police, and then also cites reasons given by the police why they couldn’t help the couple. This is scandalous. Police must enforce the laws of the land; protectors must not become predators. Of course, not all police are like that. There are many dedicated, good and caring officers, but the rest must be investigated and retrained. We must eradicate the scourge of violence and commit ourselves to strengthening the SAPS and the judiciary. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Ms A MDA: Chairperson and colleagues, Cope believes that it is that time again when we unite as a nation for 16 days to condemn, curse and rebuke the devil of violence directed at women and children which continuously shows its ugly face in our society at large.

Domestic violence against women and children is one of the most brutal consequences of the economic, social, political and cultural inequalities that exist between sexes; yet, strong concerns voiced by development agencies and policy-makers have only emerged in relatively recent years. There is no mention of subjects in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Cedaw, apart from a brief reference to human trafficking.

In launching his new 2008 campaign “Unite to end violence against women”, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, observed that at least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. This is very traumatic and scary, but it is the reality that both women and children live to suffer from each day.

Many young women in this country have experienced violence, abuse, rape and sexual harassment, and these are the worst affected, but it is even worse when it comes to the scourge of HIV/Aids, which hits them hard, again. Daily they carry the scars of their suffering, often in solitary silence and without adequate counselling and support. They later vanish into their own shadows for fear of being judged and discriminated against.

The question that we should all answer is: When will these 16 Days of Activism bear results to the extent that men realise the gift that God gave this universe by creating women? Another question that we must answer is whether or not our society has accepted the cries, groans and screams of helpless and hopeless children who get kidnapped from playing fields and become subjected to the brutality and cruelty that a man can demonstrate. This is indeed a serious indictment on all of us. Cope acknowledges that both government and the organs of civil society may have responded as they should to confront these degrading and humiliating conditions facing our children and women, so that together we can build a better future. But, a more humane and caring society still needs to be built. More definitely still needs to be done and this year’s 16 Days of Activism should begin to show and showcase those that are going to bear the fruits.

I stand here today to challenge all South African men to respect the dignity of women; to pay their dues in maintenance and other aspects; to let every man stop abusing a woman or a child.

Elabadala lithi, “Utata ngumakhi wesizwe, umama yintyatyambo yelizwe, umntwana yinkokheli yelizwe langomso”. [The elders say, “A father is a nation-builder, a mother is a flower of the nation and a child is a future leader of the nation.”]

Let us all stop the stereotypes and chauvinistic attitudes and let us build one society. [Applause.]

Ms H N MAKHUBA: Chairperson, in describing liberalism, Alan Paton once said:

By liberalism I don’t mean the creed of any party or any century. I mean a generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, an attempt to comprehend otherness, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal of the worth and dignity of man, a repugnance for authoritarianism and a love of freedom.

Paton’s words may have been uttered nearly half a century before our first democratic election, yet they evoke the spirit of humanity and tolerance which characterises our progressive Constitution and Bill of Rights.

It is with a sense of awe that one considers the success of our highly heterogeneous nation in internalising the sense of what it means to be a South African over 14 years since the dawn of democracy in our country. Moreover, we have made considerable progress in inculcating a human rights- based culture amongst our citizenry; one which forcibly speaks out against violence against women and children.

Yet, I am saddened to say today, as we debate 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, that even though we have been more vocal in our condemnation of violence against women and children, the truth is that very little progress has been made in halting violence against this section of our society.

South Africa is still home to high levels of violence against its women and children, despite having a world-renowned Constitution and a legislative overhaul that safeguards women’s rights.

Unlike other crimes, victims of sexual offences and domestic violence are often highly stigmatised. Because far too many South Africans condone such violence, women often feel ashamed and remain silent. This leads to both rape and domestic violence being amongst the most underreported crimes in South Africa.

The abuse of our children has also become rife and endemic. I was shocked to read a report recently which said that the kidnapping and trafficking of children, child pornography and prostitution have become some of the biggest sources of revenue for gangs and syndicates in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

These findings follow a survey conducted by Molo Songololo, a nongovernmental organisation fighting against the abuse of children. The study, which looked at the trafficking of South African children for sexual purposes, found that children were often forced into prostitution by parents, family friends, gangs, syndicates and brothel owners. Girls between the ages of 12 and 16 years were the most vulnerable; they are abducted in broad daylight at shopping centres, taxi ranks and schools. The children are often gang-raped and forced into prostitution.

South Africa’s greatest problem is that we do not have laws against human trafficking. We must take note of these comments and take urgent action.

I often ask myself how we as politicians, the elected representatives of the people of South Africa, allowed a situation to occur where criminals rob us of our children and turn them into slaves and prostitutes.

It is obvious that more needs to be done to ensure that the decisions taken here at Parliament, and the policy and plans that are implemented, have the desired effect and actually benefit the women and children of our country who are in desperate need of help.

This will not be achieved through legislation and policy alone. A change in attitude and a greater commitment are needed by all South Africans, in all communities across South Africa, if gender equality and respect for children’s rights are to be achieved.

Momentum needs to be built from grass-roots level. Many of the stereotypes regarding those traditional roles of men and women are still prominent today and will persist and be passed on to future generations unless a concerted effort is made to change them.

The struggle for gender equality and children’s rights in South Africa is a battle that is far from over. We must intensify our efforts and turn the tide against one of the most heinous crimes in the world – women and child abuse. Let us all start by making a difference today. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M H HOOSEN: Chairperson, year after year leading up to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, we stand here and speak about all the atrocities that happen to them, but nothing ever changes. We hear the same speeches, the same statistics and put on the same concerned expressions, but nothing ever changes.

Almost every week we see stories in the media of women and children being raped and killed and it is clear that, as leaders and as a society, we have failed to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

So, surely, we can understand the frustration that led to an alleged rapist in the Eastern Cape who had been released on bail being stoned to death by a group of 38 women. These 38 women took the law into their own hands because they felt that we, as leaders, have failed them.

As a nation we have not even come close to turning the tide of this scourge of violence against the most vulnerable in our society and the ID believes that not only must women now stop covering their faces, but they must hit back and hit back hard.

These 16 days must not be used for the people of South Africa to relieve guilt and create media frenzies, but to find ways to put into place sustainable projects for the long term that will contribute significantly to a change in culture and mind-set.

As leaders sitting here today, we need to redouble our efforts because up until now we have failed to make a difference on the ground. Thank you.

Ms B T NGCOBO: Chairperson and hon members, my speech is on the impact of international treaties and instruments and I will cite a few examples.

Udlame olubhekiswe kubantu besifazane luyinto endala. Yimpica badala nje, endala kunolwandle futhi endala kunezintaba. Ayazi mingcele, ayazi mibala. Ziningi ke izinkomfa esezike zenzeka, zenzelwa khona ukuthi kuke kuxoxwe ngale ngwadla ebhekene nomhlaba.

Kulezi zinkomfa kuye kuvunyelwane ukuthi kuzokwenziya njani ukuze kubhekanwe nalezi zimo. Ukubala nje ezinye izindawo la kuke kwaba nezinkomfa khona: iseMexico ngo-1975, eCopenhagen ngo-1980, eNairobi ngo- 1985 nase Beijing ngo-1995, kodwa-ke zikhona nezinye izindawo eke yenzeka nakuzo. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[Violence towards women has been in existence for a long time. It is a sticky situation, older than the sea and older than the mountains too. It knows neither boundaries nor colour. There are quite a number of conferences that have taken place to discuss this mystery facing the world.

In these conferences some agreements are reached on how to tackle these situations. Let me mention some of the places where these conferences took place: in Mexico in 1975, in Copenhagen in 1980, in Nairobi in 1985 as well as in Beijing in 1995, but there are other places as well.]

South Africa has signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Cedaw, the optional protocol as well as the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to mention but a few. However, the SADC Optional Gender Protocol is still outstanding.

Women in Africa have used Cedaw and the Beijing platform as well as other human rights treaties to their advantage. Zambia ratified Cedaw in 1985. In 1991 it extended its bill of rights to cover sex discrimination. Sara Longwe, in the case of Lusaka International Hotel, which had a policy prohibiting women from entering a hotel unless accompanied by a man, took the case to the High Court. The High Court felt that the hotel was using an exclusionist policy which was discriminatory, and therefore ordered the country to have that scrapped.

In Botswana, in the case of Ms Unity Dow, she claimed that the Citizenship Act violated both constitutional and international law. The Appeals Court sited Cedaw in its opinion and invalidated the law as unconstitutional. In the case of E V Pastory in Tanzania and in the case of Venia Magaya in Zimbabwe, both were denied the right to own and dispose of land in their respective countries because they were women and equivalent to minors. The High Court held that the custom that denied women the right to own and dispose of land violated the bill of rights, Cedaw and other international treaties.

In Nigeria, in the case of Ugokwe, a local custom allowed a father to keep one of his daughters unmarried perpetually in his home to raise male children for him. The court found the custom to be discriminatory and violating the right to marry and to freedom of association, and thus declared the custom to be undesirable and unenforceable. Reference was made to Article 5 of Cedaw, which calls for the elimination of discriminatory practices.

South African women, like some of their continental counterparts, have to seriously consider using the tools of international and regional instruments in order to deal with violence against women in particular. This would include making it possible for the courts to begin to use Cedaw, so that they can fight their cases in line with the international treaties.

However, there are cases of violence against women inflicted by other women. For example, we are aware that in East Africa female genital mutilation is done and it is done by women to young women. But one of their kings, after reading Cedaw, felt that it was not fair for the women to do it and he made the enquiry that, if God put it there, why remove it now? So, he was talking around the custom and wondering why the women were doing it.

We are reading stories and we are hearing through television and other electronic media quite atrocious stories such as those about fathers who traffic their own daughters, and use them for sex slavery and procreation; and colonial systems with practical examples of trafficking, sex slavery and being used for exhibition purposes, as in the case of Sarah Baartman, whose remains were only returned to the country in 2002.

In countries which are war-torn and in which there are conflicts, children and women are exposed and endure all sorts of slavery, rape, infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted conditions, and they become pregnant and some of them are killed. About a week back two Sudanese women and a journalist were sentenced to 20 lashes and fined the equivalent of R780, allegedly for having committed an act of indecency by wearing pants at a party.

Muhammad Ali, the famous boxer, said: “I have one son and six mistakes”, meaning that he had only one son and six daughters. This is equivalent to being verbally violent to his daughters. Both Cedaw and the Beijing Platform for Action should become staple items in the libraries of women politicians; but not only women politicians, of all politicians and key decision-making people at all levels. If the rights of women should be protected meaningfully, these treaties should be popularised are to also used, even in courts, to address the very issues that are affecting women.

From here, where do we go as a country to deal with the struggle within a struggle of meaningful liberation and empowerment of women in a new dispensation? This is a war. And we have to seriously lobby for wars as well to stop on the continent. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, Henry Kissinger once declared that the battle of the sexes will never be won as there is far too much fraternising with the enemy. [Laughter.] Okay, I’m sorry; I admit, I did find that funny. But, sadly, what is amusing on the surface has a dark side as large numbers of women in abusive relationships choose, over and over again, not to report their abuser and not to follow through with criminal procedures.

They stay in these abusive relationships for many reasons, including economic dependence, lack of alternative accommodation, fear, pressure from family to make it work and of course love and the hope that the man will change.

Violence against women is a common phenomenon in South Africa and it is on the rise, yet the exact levels are not known, particularly as a result of underreporting.

Although both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, it is primarily perpetrated by men against women. South African research shows the range of abuses women experience to be quite extensive, including physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse, as well as stalking, forced isolation, intimidation, harassment, damage to property and other controlling behaviours.

A national study of female homicide in South Africa, as we heard earlier, found that a woman is killed by her intimate partner every six hours, making this the highest reported rate of intimate femicide in the world.

According to an SAPS report to the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security in August 2008, a total of 50 497 cases of domestic violence were reported between July and December 2007, but only 23% resulted in criminal cases being opened. Eighteen percent of protection order applicants who participated in an interview reported being threatened with severe injury by their partners if they returned to court to finalise the orders. And 10% indicated that they suffered worse abuse after not proceeding with the court action.

The Domestic Violence Act of 1998 was implemented in 1999, and 10 years on justice in this area still evades us. Lax police and court record-keeping; mismanagement; ignorance of the Act; apathy and resistance to domestic violence as a priority crime; lost documents; lack of photocopiers and malfunctioning equipment continue to cause delays and backlogs.

Of course, the system doesn’t always fail women and there are those who have received excellent service from the police. However, expectations placed on our overburdened and underresourced police and clerks of the court by the Act are clearly unattainable in the current circumstances.

Debates like this one today are important in highlighting this devastating reality. However, the ACDP would like to see parliamentary hearings taking place to review laws and other measures introduced to deal with gender- based violence and to assist in their effectiveness and impact on communities. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Chair, acts of gender-based violence violate a number of principles in a person’s life, including the right to life, equality and security of the person; equal protection under the law; and freedom from torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatments. It is on the rise in the refugee camps, remote areas – everywhere; even in rural areas. Even those tasked with protecting and assisting, for example aid workers, are in some cases perpetrators of gender-based violence.

It is interesting to observe that the Domestic Violence Act places obligations on the SAPS to deal with domestic violence matters and yet fails to do the same in respect of courts, which have a more vital role to play in dealing with matters of violence. Gender-based violence has psychological, social, medical and legal implications.

In certain instances, it contributes to the erosion of the social and economic fabric of society as women and girls play an important role in the maintenance of local economies. All this can be prevented through broad- based programmes designed and implemented proactively with the full participation of all members of communities, especially those most vulnerable. Most often it is the work of local women’s organisations that provide the most inspiring examples of efforts to combat gender-based violence.

South Africa has been hailed for its progressive Constitution that entrenches gender equality, and the number of women in Parliament has risen substantially since 1994, creating a formidable force for legislative change. Changing laws can be swift; changing the mind-set that often nullifies these impressive gains is another issue altogether.

In a country long sickened by frighteningly high levels of domestic violence, one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa is closing the gap between the rhetoric of gender equality and the reality on the ground.

The UCDP believes that a rocky road lies ahead and that although we cannot stop gender violence, we can start to minimise it by working together and making a difference in the lives of these battered women and children. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs S P KOPANE: Hon Chairperson, let me start off by taking this opportunity to remind members about the contributions made and the role played by the women of our country to build this democracy that is failing them today. It should be understood that the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings was an action by South African women from all walks of life representing political, nonpolitical, rural, religious and other formations, who were driven by nothing else but the conviction of righteousness.

These women, regardless of their differences in colour or creed, and particular political affiliation, responded to the situation prevailing in the country then. They set an agenda for today’s generation: to stand together and to continue fighting for what is right and just in our modern society. This struggle, therefore, can neither be a sectoral celebration nor can it be claimed by a single or particular body.

Motsamaisi wa dipuisano ya kgabane ha re ntse re tshwaya matsatsi a 16 mabapi le boitseko bo kgahlanong le tlhekefetso ya basadi le bana; bana naheng ena ya haeso ba ntse ba le ka mosing ka lebaka la molao wa bana oo sepheo sa ona ho tse ding tse ngata e neng ele ho ngodisa batho ba sa tshwanelang ho sebetsa le bana, empa ho fihlela ha honajwale molao ona ha o eso ka ba o fetiswa.

Karabelo ya Letona la Ntshetsopele ya Setjhaba le bontsha hore marangrang a elekteroniki a etsang hore lesedi lena le arolelwane le mafapha a kang la Toka le Ntshetsopele ya Molaotheo le Lefapha la Sepolesa a tla qala ho sebetsa nakong ya dilemo tse hlano. Hona ho bolela hore molao ona, o tla nka dilemo tse leshome hore o kene tshebetsong. Re le mokga wa DA re fumana sena haholo se sa amoheleha hobane seo re se bonang ha se taba ya hore ha re na tjhelete empa e le manganga a sepolotiki a ho se batle ho etsa mosebetsi. Mme ka ena nako … [Kena hanong.] (Translation of Sesotho paragraphs follows.)

[Hon Chairperson, as we are busy celebrating the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, the children of our country still find themselves at a disadvantage as a result of a legislation whose purpose, among other things, is to register those individuals who are not supposed to work with children. But up until now this legislation has not been passed.

The response of the Minister of Social Development indicates that the network system that will allow for sharing of information between departments such as the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Department of Police will only start working in the next five years. This means that this legislation will take 10 years before it is implemented. As the DA we find this totally unacceptable because according to our observation this is not because there is no money, but it is because of the political stubbornness of not wanting to perform some duties. Yet this is the time … [Interjections.]]

Mr R A P TROLLIP: Chairperson, we find it very difficult to follow the debate; there is no interpreting service. I hear that there is someone in the interpreting booth, but it seems that the person is unable to interpret. So, the members don’t have the benefit of following what’s being said. [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): All right, we will follow up on that issue and just check what is happening. However, we will have to continue, and I hope that they are listening and they will catch up. [Interjections.]

There are interpreters in the booth, I understand, but they are battling to catch up with the speed of the member. We will then have to ask the member to slow down a bit so that the interpreters can catch up and indeed do the work. Let’s see if we will still experience the same problem if the hon member slows down a bit. If so, then we will have to address the matter later. Hon member, I will be patient with you.

Mof S P KOPANE: Motsamaisi wa dipuisano, taba ya bohlokwa ke hore ha re keng re bee bana pele. Re ke re tloheleng ho dulela ho inanatha ka ho potoloha ha metjha e fapaneng ya mmuso. Kamehla ho tlalehwa dinyewe tse ka bang mashome a tsheletseng tsa ho betwa ha bana diteitsheneng tse fapaneng tsa mapolesa naheng ena ya haeso. Ebang mekgatlo eo eseng ya mmuso le e meng e sebetsang ka bana e sa kgone ho fumana lesedi lena la bahlekefetsi, sena se bea bana tlokotsing mme sena se bolela hore re tla hlolwa ke ho lwantsha ntwa ya batho ba hlekefetsang bana naheng ya haeso.

Mmuso ke kgale o hulanya maoto tabeng ena, batho ba kgathetse jwale mme seo ba se batlang ke diketso. A molao ona o ke o qale ho sebetsa. Ke mohlolo o moholo hore re bolellwe hore rejisetara ya naha e mabapi le ditlolo tsa diketso tsa motabo e tla fumaneha feela ka selemo sa 2014. Sena se bolela hore ho tla be ho fetile dilemo tse pedi kamora tshepiso e neng e etswe ke Letona hore molao ona o tla ba teng ka Phupjane selemong sena. Taba ena e lokela hore e tshwelwe ka mathe ruri. (Translation of Sesotho paragraphs follows.)

[Mrs S P KOPANE: Chairperson, the most important issue is that we should put children first. We must stop beating about the bush about the different strategies of government. Every day there are about 60 child rape cases that are reported at different police stations in our country. If the nongovernmental organisations and others that work with children cannot find information on these child molesters, this puts the children in grave danger and it also means that we will be unsuccessful in the battle against people who abuse children in our country.

The government has been dragging its feet for too long on this issue and the people are fed up because what they want to see is action. This legislation must start working. It is really shocking to be told that the national register on sexual offenders will only be available in the year

  1. This then means that two years will have passed since the promise was made by the Minister that this legislation will be promulgated in June this year. This matter must be scoffed at indeed.]

Violence against women and children is a scourge in our country. It poses a significant threat to human rights and the development of women and girls. It is clear that women suffer a very high level of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.

As we embark on activism against women abuse, we must never forget or ignore the fact that our women, mothers, sisters and girl-children are still faced with the challenges of poverty, unemployment and high sexual exploitation. In the workplace in particular, women are expected to provide sexual favours in exchange for better positions and benefits, are abused and used as sex objects and become victims of HIV/Aids.

The DA believes that people cannot take advantage of opportunities if their lives are under siege, if their rights are not respected by fellow citizens or if their vision is limited by fear. Yet the web of terror that crime throws over women and children is so strong and far-reaching that no one is unaffected by it.

Ha ke phethela, ke nako jwale ya hore basadi bohle ka ho fapana, haholoholo ba ditulong tsa boetapele, ba eme mmoho ho netefatsa hore maemo ana a ditaba a a ntlafatswa. Re lokela ho toboketsa bohlokwa ba thuto hore re hlole ho se tsebe ho bala le ho ngola ha basadi le ho se nkelwe hloohong hwa basadi. Re lokela ho tsepamisa maikutlo hodima ntlafatso ya banana le basadi metseng ya mahae.

Re lokela ho lwanela ditokelo tsa basadi le tshehetso malapeng, polokeho le tshireletseho, menyetla le phihlello ditshehetsong tsa bana hore basadi le bona ba ke ba lokolohe. Ba tle ba tsebe ho intshetsa pele ka mokgwa wa porofeshene. Re lokela ho aha Afrika ena kaofela mmoho re le setjhaba hore bana ba rona ba tle ba be le bokamoso bo tjhatsi, mme ebe naha eo e leng hore re le batho re tla hlomphana ka ho sa eng kae. Ke a leboha. [Mahofi.] (Translation of Sesotho paragraphs follows.)

[As I conclude, it is now time for all women in their various leadership positions to stand up together to ensure that this state of affairs is improved. We have to emphasise the importance of education so that we can overcome illiteracy among women as well as the fact that women are not taken seriously. We have to focus attention on the development of young girls and women in the rural areas.

We also have to fight for the rights of women to family support, safety and security, opportunities and access to child support in order for women to be unburdened, so that they can advance in their professional careers. We have to build all of Africa together as a nation so that our children should have a bright future. This should be a country where we always show respect to one another. I thank you. [Applause.]]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! I hope that things were better after the hon member slowed down. Those are the challenges we have to face.

Nksz N N SIBHIDA: Sihlalo, malungu abekekileyo, maqabane nezihlobo, bantu belizwe lakuthi, ndivumeleni ndinibulise ngale mva kwemini egameni loomama nabantwana abaphethwe gadalala. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[Ms N N SIBHIDA: Chairperson, hon members, comrades and friends, fellow countrymen, allow me to greet you this afternoon in the name of the abused women and children.]

Chairperson, hon Kopane, in her speech, forgot to mention that those women who marched in 1956 were led by the ANC. [Applause.]

I’m happy and honoured to address you in October, a month in which South Africans and people of the world celebrate the contribution of Oliver Tambo to the advancement of the cause of humanity.

Comrade O R, as he was commonly called, was a people’s leader, a hero who dedicated his life to the struggle for liberation and freedom of the oppressed people in South Africa and beyond. Comrade O R knew that the system of colonialism and apartheid did not only create racial and class contradictions, but also created gender contradiction, as a result of which the majority of South African women were subjected to triple oppression. Had he been alive today, he would have been central in struggles against gender-based violence. Let us do what Comrade O R would have liked to see us doing.

Because of discrimination and the inhuman treatment of the majority of people under the apartheid system, we in the ANC believe that human dignity should be central to the values that underpin a free and democratic South Africa. Human dignity is an important value which we ensured would be at the heart of our constitutional democracy.

Our perspective in this debate derives from the Freedom Charter which envisions a society where a bill of rights guarantees fundamental rights and freedom for all. I’m talking of an inclusive society in which the dignity of all people must enjoy respect. This perspective informs our awareness of issues such as trafficking in women and children and allows us to understand them as violations of human dignity.

From the perspective of Darwinism, these vulnerable sections of our population would be doomed to perish because of their situation in society. However, our struggle continues to assert the humanness of the human spirit, and the search for societies at peace within and among themselves.

As South Africans, we are hard at work building and developing a society underpinned by values of human dignity, ubuntu, caring for all the people, especially the most vulnerable such as women and children. These women and children are vulnerable not because of their own choosing, but because they were born into and exist in societies characterised by violence against the most vulnerable people.

Trafficking in human beings and the combating of this phenomenon has received much attention and gathered momentum in the recent past. With the adoption of international instruments such as the UN Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, countries demonstrate a political commitment to combat human trafficking. This commitment also finds expression in continental instruments such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

We would remember that the African Union, in 2002, reaffirmed the commitment to combat trafficking on the continent, as states identified the elimination of child trafficking as a priority in their respective countries.

With the ratification of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, South Africa embarked on a law reform process which will culminate in the passing of antitrafficking legislation. While our country has not yet passed comprehensive legislation on trafficking in persons, processes on developing such legislation are at a very advanced stage.

However, we have passed the Children’s Act, which gives effect to the UN Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, thereby criminalising child trafficking and imposing a fine or imprisonment in respect of this crime.

While poverty may be recognised as the most visible cause of trafficking in human beings, it is the vulnerability of women and children which makes them easy targets of trafficking in human beings.

Varying degrees in stability, oppression and discrimination as well as social and cultural prejudices place women and children at greater risk. Sexual exploitation, in particular prostitution, is the most widely documented form of exploitation for trafficked women and children in Africa. Young women and children are often exploited sexually by being coerced or forced to participate in degrading activities such as prostitution, sexual servitude or the production of pornographic materials.

Some of the children are trafficked from their homes to work as domestic workers and labourers. Some commentators have linked human trafficking to the demand for particular body organs of human beings, which are supposedly required for traditional practices such as rituals and magic.

In dealing with trafficking in women and children, let us move forward with a common understanding that violence against the most vulnerable in society, especially women and children, requires us to redouble our efforts in advancing the interests of these people in our society.

As Members of Parliament, we embody the hopes and aspirations of the people. If we do not advance their cause, we would be failing to discharge our responsibilities as public representatives in this Parliament. Thank you.

Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, the MF notes that violence against women and children is a common phenomenon in South Africa. The campaign is indeed very important, to inculcate a culture of awareness amongst South Africans, as violence manifests itself for South African society and delivers a negative impact on vulnerable groups.

As legal experts believe that the law is one-sided, it is a necessary form of social mobilisation because levels of violence across the world have become unacceptably high. Violence perpetuated against women and girls is so widespread that it constitutes a global epidemic in its own right.

The MF sadly notes that one in every five women have experienced physical violence, and that every six hours a woman is killed by her intimate partner. Victimisation indicates that children are still four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than adults. The murder of a seven- year-old girl near Sir Lowry’s Pass village on 24 October 2009 was another indictment of the situation regarding children’s rights. The rights of women and children are fundamental human rights enshrined in and protected by the Constitution.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that if we have to teach real peace in this world and carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. The MF makes this call, not only to government, but to all citizens of South Africa, to play their part in eliminating the scourge of violence. We will and can build a caring and peaceful society that protects women and children from all forms of abuse.

The MF challenges perpetrators of these offences to change their barbaric behaviours. Let us all engage actively with men and boys in the discourse of combating violence in our homes, communities and in the workplace. Finally, happiness is when what you think, say and do is in harmony. I thank you. [Applause.]

Ms L H ADAMS: Hon Chairperson, Cope supports the realisation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in all our communities. While South Africans remind themselves of the right to freedom of equality, many communities still accept gender-based violence. Approaching the courts, be it in criminal or civil procedures, also does not solve the problem at the time it needs to. We live in a violent society and therefore our measures to address gender-based violence should be in accordance with the crime committed.

It is indeed so that education will play a big role in the realisation of the right to equality, but the question that we need to address is: How do we ensure that equality prevails in our violent communities irrespective of our gender? The discrimination of women is a violation of our human rights. To kill a lesbian is not just a murder, but a crime that is fuelled by hate. Cope supports the creation of legislation to eradicate this hate. There is no specific hate crimes legislation in South Africa.

According to research, masculinity is a key to our understanding of hate crimes and gender-based violence. We understand hate crimes broadly. It is not just about one person saying “I am a lesbian”, and the other saying “I hate lesbians”, killing or raping them. It is about gender presentation; subverting male power in society; about women who don’t need men, either for financial support or sexual pleasure; about women who wear clothes that are considered unfeminine, or drink in taverns late at night, or fight back when attacked.

Cope wants to know how we define a hate crime. Of course the police and prosecutors will refuse to investigate on the basis of hate if our definitions of the various crimes end without current common law definitions. Even to institute a civil suit will not remedy the situation, especially where the perpetrator does not even have the money to pay for the civil suit.

Statistics also further prove that perpetrators of hate crimes are themselves scared of something they don’t know, fuelled by the inability to accept their own sexuality. Our communities in townships and rural areas need more education in this regard. It is in these communities that higher levels of homophobic hate crimes occur. It is also here where we find that schools show higher levels of gender abuse. In conclusion, I reiterate that we must prosecute all hate crimes against lesbians. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs D A SCHÄFER: Chairperson, it is that time of the year again, when we all focus on eradicating the scourge of violence against women and children, which unquestionably destroys communities, as it undermines the very people who nurture our children and influence the way they see the world. For me the real issue, in fact the only issue, is what has been achieved for women to date, and what happens to our commitment during the other 349 days of the year. The answer in South Africa, unfortunately, is very little.

Our Constitution provides that all people are equal before the law. But what does this mean for South African women and children in reality? The Domestic Violence Act has been in operation since 15 December 1999; nearly 10 years. Yet, every year there are still cases reported by the ICD of numerous police stations that are noncompliant with the terms of the legislation.

When they get caught out, they apply for exemption, which is often granted. Why there is even a provision for exemption is beyond me. Why bother enacting provisions to protect women and then allow the police to refuse to comply with them? It is quite clear that the SA Police Service is not committed to implementing this Act, and accordingly is not concerned about violence against women. There are still women who are turned away, with police refusing to open dockets or serve protection orders.

When the very people who are supposed to maintain law and order, and protect those who cannot protect themselves, refuse to do so, what hope do we have? When women are able to summon the courage to leave an abusive situation, there are hardly any shelters where they can go with their children. Most shelters will only accommodate the women. This must change if we are to end this destructive cycle.

Women and girls are continually targeted for sexual abuse in particular. How has South Africa addressed this issue? We closed down the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, FCS units, or in some places, kept them technically in existence, with sufficient resources to make them absolutely meaningless. The results are that we still have 6 women and 2 children a day, being murdered, 74 women and 419 children a day being assaulted, and 82 women and 55 children a day being sexually assaulted. And those are only the reported cases.

Another crime that has been rearing its ugly head more and more often is human trafficking, which mostly involves women. Serious concerns have been raised, in particular for the 2010 World Cup. One would have expected government and the SAPS to have a very comprehensive plan in place by now to deal with that. Let us look at the facts. Last year, the police managed to report a grand total of 29 cases of sexual trafficking. Of these, 19 ended up in court and 5 resulted in convictions. This amidst reports of 1 000 Mozambicans alone crossing our borders every year for the purpose of sexual trafficking.

A deputy provincial commissioner in the Western Cape, and a woman at that, has recently been reported as saying, “All we have to deal with human trafficking is the Sexual Offences Amendment Act”. This Act contains an entire section on sexual trafficking, which gives ample guidelines on how to take action. It also seems that she has never heard of the Constitution, which prohibits slavery, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and the Criminal Procedure Act. Perhaps it is no wonder that they have achieved this astonishing number of arrests, if the senior provincial leadership does not even know what legislation is available.

Notwithstanding why the police and the SA National Defence Force are still arguing about who should or shouldn’t control the borders, whilst traffickers continue unabated, why is the promised human trafficking legislation still not before this House? This has led to our country, in 2008, being placed on a special watch list by the US state department, for the fourth consecutive year, as a result of the inability to exhibit efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The answer can only be that South Africa is not serious about human trafficking.

The Internet and cellphone industries are routinely abused by well- resourced paedophile groups with little fear of being caught. We need to do more to empower the police to bring them to book. But again, legislation is not the panacea for all these ills, unless we have the will and capacity to implement it.

We have a Maintenance Act. How many women are struggling every day because their partners have refused to pay them the amount due on time or at all? The court system is so overloaded and dysfunctional that they can go for months without relief, and the men just laugh literally all the way to the bank. Equal before the law? I think not.

A prime example of how this type of violence destroys communities is an example that has unfortunately recently been brought to my attention. A five-year-old girl had been abused by both her mother’s boyfriend and her half-sister’s boyfriend. When she reported this to her mother, her mother threatened her if she told anybody about it. What kind of a view of life is this little girl going to have? Unless we all generally accept that gender- based violence is wrong and commit to eradicating it, we will never make progress. We all have a responsibility to make this work. Nothing less than sustained action for 365 days a year will do. I thank you. [Applause.] Mrs M C MABUZA: Chairperson, the issue of witchcraft has and continues to be a subject of contention in many societies. And here in South Africa 14 years into our democracy vast numbers of people in their communities are still victims of witchcraft accusations and in some instances there have been cases of lost lives.

The members of communities that are severely affected are women. For instance, in his book The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, published in 1987 Levack writes on page 11 that the witchcraft accusations that were prevalent in Europe tended to produce large numbers of criminals and innocent victims of a deluded judiciary system and an oppressive legal system.

Levack further notes that the years 1542 to 1735 formed a period of English history when witchcraft remained a statutory crime punishable by death. Moreover, these years marked a significant increase in the number of witch- hunts and prosecutions.

Shocking as this statement is, it shows that contrary to some common generalisations the belief in witchcraft was not exclusively African. It has been a problem that haunted many societies for decades and is unfortunately still prevalent in many societies today. According to Reuters, 23 September 2009, the murder and persecution of women and children accused of being witches is spreading around the world and destroying the lives of millions of people.

Regarding the role of gender in witchcraft accusations, as already indicated, in incidences of witchcraft accusations within the community, women are the victims and communities, through vigilante groups or mobs, often attack the accused women. Following such accusations, the victims are brought to community meetings if lucky, but in most cases the mob burns their property and in some cases end up burning the accused or beating them to death.

The most striking thing about the women accused of witchcraft is that there has never been a point at which any accuser or member of the community provided any substantial evidence to prove their accusations. The only thing that is common in these kinds of witchcraft accusations is that members of the community often associate witchcraft with the physical features of the accused. The features indicated include women that are not good-looking, women that are old and women that are too dark in complexion, amongst others.

Most women that are victims of witchcraft accusations are often found in rural communities where poverty is rife. In urban areas, it is not common to find incidents of mob killings based on witchcraft accusations. In addition, where physical features are not a factor, jealousy also seems to fuel accusations of witchcraft directed at women whose families are doing well and are more successful.

Writing about witchcraft, Karlsen asserts in her 1998 book The Devil in the Shape of a Woman that there is a tendency in most societies to associate witchcraft with women rather than men. Although it is not clear as to why society tends to hold this perception, statistics show that witchcraft accusations tend to be directed at women. To illustrate this, Karlsen draws from the historical data of witchcraft cases in New England: of the 344 cases in which residents of New England were accused of witchcraft between the years 1620 and 1725, it emerged that 78% were female, and that roughly half of the accused men were husbands, sons or friends of female witches; that the majority were over the age of 40, that is past child-bearing age; and single, widowed or divorced women were proportionately over-represented among those accused of witchcraft.

In reference to our country, Singer, in 2000, in an article in the Christian Science Monitor also showed that more women, as compared to men, tend to be accused of witchcraft. To illustrate the gravity of the problem in South Africa, Singer used the Limpopo experience as an example, where he writes that:

More than 500 people, mostly women, were accused of witchcraft and killed by mobs here between 1990 and 1995. Even more lost their homes and their possessions when they were either run out of town or had their homes torched.

Such incidents were also rife in Mopani and Vhembe in Limpopo in our country. This led to an international conference on witchcraft held in June 1988 at the University of Venda in the Vhembe district, attended by various stakeholders whose resolutions and recommendations should be pursued.

Notwithstanding the various pieces of legislation on witchcraft suppressions that were passed early at 1735 in England and 1957 in South Africa to deal with the problem, women continue to bear the brunt and stigma of being labelled witches in our society. Ironically, the word “witch”, strictly used for females, is more frequently used than “wizard” referring to males, to describe the act of witchcraft.

For instance, the image of women who breastfeed their children for witchcraft purposes is common in African witchcraft stories and folklore, hence serious acts of witchcraft are described as having being inherited from the mother rather than the father. For example, there are common statements like “sucking witchcraft from the mother’s breast”. It is dangerous statements like these that reinforce societal beliefs about women as symbols of witchcraft. Unless one is reading Harry Potter, in most movies or books the character of a witch is normally played by a woman.

Throughout history, women were seen as lower-ranked people and also possessing a greater instinct for evil than men. This means that whenever they attempted to be equal to men, they had to be a witch. As already indicated, the term “witch” is also an image of women, and thus made them even more accusable. Historically, most natural healers were women not men, and so were accused of being witches because of their different healing methods.

Women have often been made scapegoats throughout history, mainly because they were vulnerable and could not defend themselves. Drawing from the Salem experience, Karlsen, in 1998, notes that there was a correlation between witchcraft and aberrations in the traditional line of property transmission. She notes that property, particularly land, typically went to the male relatives after the death of a parent. In the cases of many women who were accused of witchcraft Karlsen discovered a pattern of women standing to inherit in the absence of male heirs.

It is clear from these issues that are raised here that accusations of witchcraft have mostly been based on an attempt by society to oppress and suppress women. Portraying the image of a woman as more prone to evil has always been used as a basis for justifying why women should not participate in, or benefit from, certain societal initiatives. For example, there are customs that do not allow women to go to the graveyard when someone has died because of an accident instead of natural causes. Given some of the reasons already stated, it has become more convenient to point at women as witches.

Regarding the beatings and burning, the media abound with stories of women in various communities in our country who have been beaten up after they had been accused of witchcraft. In the worst cases women have been burned to death on the basis of witchcraft accusations that are not verifiable.

In some communities throughout Africa, when someone has been identified as a witch, they are often banished from the community or, worse still, in some parts of Africa imprisoned without trial. This negatively affects women and children who are often at the receiving end of such injustices.

It was recommended that the issue of killings and destruction of property by community mobs, so-called mob justice, cannot go unchallenged where women lose their lives and property and leave their children orphaned because of perpetrators whose accusations are not based on fact or proof.

South Africa is a democratic country with a supreme Constitution that, through the Bill of Rights, accords every individual living in this country the right to life without fear of intimidation or being subjected to unfair discrimination on the basis of their gender, culture, physical appearance, conscience or belief.

The state is supposed to respect, protect, promote and fulfil each individual’s rights as stated in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, and yet in this country we still have mob justice where defenceless women are robbed of the right to life by being brutally assaulted and killed on the basis of suspicion.

Despite the Constitution guaranteeing every individual in the country the right to a fair trial, where everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, most women accused of witchcraft are never given the chance of a fair trial before a court of law or even traditional authorities. Instead, mobs take the law into their own hands, and little is being done about the issue.

The fact that most of these atrocities happen in rural areas to illiterate rural women who do not know their rights, makes the problem even more worthy of discussion and attention. It is therefore in this light that I am forwarding the following recommendations in order to address this issue of continuously persecuting and killing women on the basis of unfounded accusations of witchcraft.

There is a need to educate society on the problem of engendering witchcraft and its dangers, as well as the associated discrimination against women. This education should also form part of the curricula on gender studies in schools as well as in institutions of higher learning.

Communities and traditional leaders should be engaged through workshops and capacity-building through training programmes in order to dispel the myth that women are witches because they are widowed, too dark, old or not good- looking. Everybody must be educated about the Constitution and the rights of citizens.

The media in all forms must be actively and appropriately utilised to educate society about the dangers of engendering witchcraft instead of just reporting stories of people who got killed or banished from their homes because of witchcraft accusations.

These endeavours will assist in changing the stereotypes that portray women as witches who should be assaulted or killed. Thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

The House adjourned at 16:49. ____



National Assembly

The Speaker

  1. Referral to Committees of papers tabled

    1) The following paper is referred to the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology for consideration and report and to the Standing Committee on Finance:

    a) Report of the Research and Development Tax Incentive Programme
       and Trends in Research and Development Expenditure in South
       Africa for 2007-08.

    2) The following paper is referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans:

    (a)      The President of the Republic submitted a letter dated  19
       October 2009 to the Speaker of the National Assembly,  informing
       members of the Assembly of the extension of  the  employment  of
       the SA National Defence Force for service in fulfillment of  the
       international  obligations  of  the  Republic  of  South  Africa
       towards the government of the Republic of Mozambique in  support
       of the national elections in Mozambique.

    3) The following paper is referred to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs for consideration and report. The Report of the Independent Auditors is referred to the Committee on Public Accounts for consideration:

    (a)      Report and Financial Statements of the Inkomati  Catchment
       Management Agency for  2008-09,  including  the  Report  of  the
       Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements and Performance
       Information for 2008-09 [RP147-2009]. TABLINGS

National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

  1. The Minister of Human Settlements
(a)     Report and Financial Statements of the National Home Builders
    Registration Council (NHBRC) for 2008-2009, including the Report of
    the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2008-2009.

National Assembly

  1. The Speaker
(a)     Report of the Public Service Commission (PSC) on an  Assessment
    of the Impact of the Work  of  the  Public  Service  Commission  on
    Public Policy and Practice in South Africa [RP 108-2009].

(b)     Report of the Public Service Commission (PSC) on the Evaluation
    of Service Delivery  at  the  Department  of  Home  Affairs:   Visa
    Applications and Port Control [RP 17-2009].


National Assembly

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