National Assembly - 19 August 2010



The House met at 14:03.

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



The SPEAKER: Hon members, before we proceed with Questions, I wish to advise the House that I’ve received correspondence from certain Ministers, who were meant to respond to questions, indicating that they were unable to be present today. The Ministers concerned are the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Minister For the Public Service and Administration. The Ministers have asked for the questions to stand over.

Needless to say, I’m very concerned about the fact that Ministers are not available to respond to questions. To this effect, I will raise this concern with the hon Leader of Government Business, and I’m certain that the matter will receive his speedy attention.

I have also been informed that the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission is unable to attend today’s sitting. The Minister of Labour will respond to questions addressed to the Minister. [Interjections.] We are not voting on the matter, hon members. [Laughter.]

The first item on the Order Paper is questions addressed to the Deputy President.

Ms S V KALYAN: Speaker, may I address you on the point you have just raised?

The SPEAKER: Go ahead.

Ms S V KALYAN: Thank you. The DA echoes your concerns about the fact that Ministers are not available to answer questions. We would like to put on record that it’s the third time that the Minister in The Presidency: National Planning Commission and the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation have not presented themselves before this House to answer questions. We have also been informed that the Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration will answer questions on co-operative governance. We would like to know why that is going to happen because that particular portfolio has a Deputy Minister.

The SPEAKER: Hon member, I’ve said I’m going to raise the matter with the Deputy President, the Leader of Government Business, and we have expressed our collective concern. Thank you.

                      QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY


 Government’s standpoint on insistence of MDC on political, social,
economic, media and electoral reforms preceding general elections in
  1. Mr M B Skosana (IFP) asked the Deputy President:

    (1) (a) What is the Government’s standpoint on the insistence of the Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that there must be political, social, economic, media and electoral reforms preceding general elections in that country and (b) on what is this standpoint based;

    (2) whether he will make a statement in this regard? NO2603E

The SPEAKER: The first item on the Order Paper is questions addressed to the Deputy President. May I also repeat that members may press the “to talk” button on their desks if they wish to ask a supplementary question. The first supplementary question will go to the person who asked the initial question, and thereafter we will have three other questions. The first three that appear on my list are the ones that are going to get a green light from me. The first question has been asked by the hon M B Skosana.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, hon members, the three Zimbabwean political parties that comprise the inclusive government are bound by the Global Political Agreement to lead the country in a constitution-making process which, as we speak, is under way. The draft constitution will be subjected to a referendum leading to the elections.

Meanwhile, the parties have agreed to a set of measures which were negotiated among the three parties. Those measures include commissions on human rights, elections, media, land audit, anticorruption and Constitutional Amendment No 19, which gave rise to the inclusive government. These are instruments that are designed to level the political playing field. The reforms that the hon member refers to are part of the process that is already unfolding in Zimbabwe today. As South Africa we appreciate these developments which must lead to a free and fair election whose outcome will be credible and, hopefully, accepted by all parties participating in those elections. Thank you. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M J Skosana): Thank you, Mr Speaker, and Deputy President for the answer. In fact, my question was, to a large degree, very rhetorical. The group which insisted on this issue was the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, the one led by Prof Mutambara. I’m saying it’s rhetorical because I think the Deputy President will remember that even among the powerful nations that have strong regional and global influence – that would include the United States, Russia, China, India, etc - there are those who believe in a democracy-peace proposition, which means they insist on elections before peace. And there are those who believe in the peace-democracy proposition, which means they believe that there must be stability before there can be elections.

I know that South Africa is caught up within that type of paradigm.

The SPEAKER: Hon member, your one minute is up and that was not a supplementary question; it was a supplementary statement.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr J SKOSANA): Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: Hon Deputy President, you may wish to respond. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, I think I agree with the hon member’s line of analysis. Thank you.

The SPEAKER: On my screen I have the following: the hon Mokgalapa, followed by the hon Ngonyama, and the last question will go to the hon C Dudley, in that order.

Mr S MOKGALAPA: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon Deputy President, in view of government’s silence on the SADC Tribunal contravention by the Zimbabwean government, the question is: In what ways does the government regard Zimbabwe’s contravention of a 2008 SADC Tribunal ruling concerning the country’s land reform programme as having undermined the progress of political, social and economic reforms in Zimbabwe? Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Mokgalapa, recently, SADC leaders met in Namibia and they - among other things - agreed to give themselves a period of six months in which to review and address the standoff between the government of Zimbabwe and the regional tribunal. So we hope that, within these six months, an amicable solution will be found to these problems. Thank you.

Mr L S NGONYAMA: Hon Speaker, recognising that perception in politics is everything, can the Deputy President explain to this House how it is possible for the ANC-led government to be regarded as an impartial and honest broker when structures of the ANC are publicly pronouncing support for Zanu-PF? I thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Ngonyama. The role that South Africa plays as an honest broker and facilitator of the dialogue in Zimbabwe is one that is not at party-political level, but at government level. So, the government of South Africa is regarded as neutral because it relates to all parties in Zimbabwe. What NGOs do in their party-to-party relations has no impact on how the South African government is regarded. Thank you. [Applause.]

Ms C DUDLEY: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon Deputy President, does government agree with Zanu-PF’s assessment of the reason for economic failure and the stumbling block to reforms in Zimbabwe as being due to the shopping sanctions which have been externally placed on the elite? If so, how does government see the lifting of those sanctions benefiting the people of Zimbabwe and bringing reform? If not, what is government’s view with regard to this matter? Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, hon Dudley. The government’s view is that the problems of Zimbabwe cannot be solely attributed to the tastes of Ministers in Zimbabwe. However, the “smart sanctions”, so-called, affect free flow of capital and goods into Zimbabwe. It is really the view of the government that the process of dialogue in Zimbabwe - which is all- inclusive of all parties, including the MDC in its two forms - has called for these sanctions to be lifted precisely because we think Zimbabwe is on the right path towards recovery. We think that these sanctions retard progress that would otherwise be achieved so that the situation in Zimbabwe normalises or is normalised as soon as possible. That’s the view of our government and that is why, together with SADC and the African union, we have called upon the European Union, the United Kingdom, as well as the US to reconsider their position regarding these “smart sanctions”. Thank you.

Investigation into, and steps taken to help, growing number of poor white people

  1. Dr C P Mulder (FF Plus) asked the Deputy President:

    Whether the Government, in its war on poverty, has (a) launched any investigation into and (b) taken any steps to help the growing number of poor white people; if not, why not, in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case? NO2540E

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon speaker, hon members, and hon Mulder, this government is engaged in a war on poverty in our country regardless of the race or religion of the people affected. The way the War on Poverty works is that the poorest wards in our country have been identified using Statistics SA’s Provincial Poverty Index. Since the unit of intervention is the household, every household and family that lives in these targeted poor wards across South Africa is thus eligible for all government service interventions, irrespective of race, religion, social or political persuasion.

So, to reiterate, government attends to the needs of all its citizens regardless of their race. Poor white people are as entitled to government services as any other race group of our nation. Basic services are a constitutional right and the War on Poverty uses a needs-based approach to service delivery co-ordination.

Government actively discourages a return to the old dispensation where skin colour was the sole determinant of access to social services, as well as the quality thereof. As President Jacob Zuma said when visiting the poor white community of Bethlehem earlier this year, this government is determined to fight and eradicate poverty in every community and every corner of this society. Our efforts in this regard will not be driven by considerations of race, colour or creed. It is therefore important that the fight to eradicate poverty becomes not just a government fight. It should be a fight in which South Africans from all walks of life collectively come together to wage and win this war. I thank you.

Dr C P MULDER: Thank you, Mr Speaker and thank you, Deputy President, for your answer. It is exactly what I expected. However, as far as I am concerned, it is not necessarily what we are experiencing in practice out there, and that is what I want to take up with you.

The fact of the matter is that President Zuma visited an area around Pretoria called Wesmoot on 30 March. The President undertook to do certain investigations into the problems the people face there. It is now five months after the visit, and we have had nothing and no reply back from the Presidency. In that specific area, there are 5 000 whites living in informal housing; and in and around Pretoria, there are now more than 70 informal settlements where whites are residing.

The Bureau of Market Research indicated that there are more than 650 000 whites, 16 years and older, that have no income whatsoever. According to the Institute of Race Relations, there has been an increase of more than 95% in white poverty, and we have more than 430 000 poor whites at this stage.

The President says that government does not make any distinction, but in practice we see something different. There are certain projects where government departments get involved, like Social Development and Agriculture, for example, in Limpopo. But we are not aware of any projects from government’s side in terms of what we experience in respect of white poverty.

Arising out of the hon Deputy President’s reply, my question, basically, was whether the government is prepared to investigate this issue because it is becoming more and more serious. I want to ask again: Is government prepared that we investigate this issue and see what the actual facts are? Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon Mulder, as I said, we follow Statistics SA’s Provincial Poverty Index. Just to illustrate the point that I am making, outside Kroonstad in the Free State, there is an old township called Marabastad. This is a very, very old township. When I visited the area last year, the houses there were disintegrating. I am happy to share with you that there are RDP houses that are being constructed in the area, and homeless white families, 74 of them from Kroonstad, are being allocated houses there and have accepted taking ownership of those houses.

That indicates, in practical terms, that these services are not meant for only one race group, but we follow Statistics SA’s Provincial Poverty Index. If there are people who are poor and deserving of this intervention in a particular area or town, that happens to them as well because the target is the household. And in each household we try to identify change agents.

Tomorrow and on Saturday, I will be going to Plettenberg Bay and Bitou with the Premier of the Western Cape to do exactly the same thing. We go from household to household to establish whether we can assist the families to free them from this grip of poverty. I thank you.

Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Mhlonishwa Somlomo, namhlanje sifuna ukukhuluma isiBhunu. [Hon Speaker, I want to speak Afrikaans today.]

Meneer die Speaker, armoede is ’n verskynsel wat nie kleur ken nie. Ek wil met die agb adjunkpresident saamstem. Hy ken nie kleur nie. Ons is almal arm of ryk. Ek wil ook met dr Mulder saamstem, dat daar iets aan wit armoede gedoen moet word. Terwyl ons vandag oor wit armoede praat, kom ons bespreek dit deeglik. Ons praat baie keer oor armoede oor die algemeen, maar om te dink dat daar ’n 150% groei in Afrikaner armoede die afgelope klompie jare was en dat daar omtrent 600 000 arm blankes is skokkend. Ek wil ook sê dat daar rondom Pretoria 77 plakkerskampe is en landswyd is daar 470 blanke plakkerskampe.

As ’n mens daarna kyk, mnr die Speaker, dan het jy pyn in jou hart oor hierdie armoede. Daarom doen ons ’n beroep op die regering om ook te kyk na wit armoede.

Ek wil afsluit deur te sê ons bring hulde aan die vakunie Solidariteit, wat ’n spesiale afdeling, die Helpende Hand, het. Hulle reik die hand uit na wit armoede toe, onder andere, en hulle verdien ons groot dank en waardering vir die goeie werk wat hulle doen om armoede te bestry. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[Mr Speaker, poverty is a phenomenon that doesn’t know colour. I want to concur with the hon Deputy President. It doesn’t know colour. We are all rich or poor. I also want to agree with Dr Mulder that something should be done about white poverty. While we are talking about white poverty, let us discuss it properly. We often talk about poverty in general, but to think that there has been an increase of over 150% in Afrikaner poverty over the past few years, and that there are about 600 000 poor whites, is shocking. I also want to add that there are 77 squatter camps around Pretoria and countrywide there are 470 white squatter camps.

Looking at it, Mr Speaker, one feels pain in one’s heart about this poverty. That is why we are appealing to the government to take a look at white poverty as well.

I want to conclude by saying that we pay tribute to the trade union Solidarity, which has a special section called the Helping Hand. Their hand has been reaching out to white poverty, among others, and they deserve our thanks and appreciation for the good work that is being done by them in combating poverty.]

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Speaker and hon Van der Merwe. As I have stated, there is no barrier based on skin colour with regard to these interventions, whatsoever. The fact that we follow Statistics SA’s Provincial Poverty Index simply means that we have not been able to go to those areas, but there is absolutely no barrier to these communities accessing similar interventions, even now. What really needs to happen is that these communities have got to apply for RDP houses if, for instance, they are squatting, and so on, and those would be provided.

If they can afford rental stock, the Minister of Human Settlements will be able to ensure that they are included on the list of those who do not quite qualify for RDP houses and bonds from the banks. The Minister of Human Settlements is targeting precisely that category of people in that gap market. However, if they have absolutely no income stream, they apply for RDP houses. As I said, in Marabastad in Kroonstad, 74 of them have done so and are being allocated houses. Thank you.

Ms C M P KOTSI: Thank you, Speaker. Hon Deputy President, I fully agree with you that it is not only poverty of the white people that has to be taken into account, but that of all our people in South Africa. The key question should be whether any steps have been taken to help the growing number of all the people, given that the gap of South Africa’s Gini coefficient continues to widen and is at 0.679 at present. The other issue is that 40% of the population lives in the rural areas. Out of that, only 10% is economically active. What strategy is there in terms of closing this gap and dealing with the 30% that is not economically active? Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Kotsi. The growth path deals precisely with the issues that you are raising, and the Minister of Economic Development has worked out a detailed manner in which we will be able to address this challenge of the widening gap between the affluent section of the South African population and the poorest of the poor. The point, however, is that wherever we find poverty, we should be able to tackle it. At the moment, we, as it were, freeze poverty through the various social grants and other government assistance. The idea is to empower household members, particularly with education and skills, so that this poverty is not transmitted from one generation to the next. So, that is the kind of intervention we are looking at. Thank you.

Mrs H LAMOELA: Speaker, hon Deputy President, poverty affects everyone in South Africa; it knows no boundaries. It is a disgrace that a party in the ANC government has racialised poverty in their question to you. For the record, the DA wants to eradicate poverty in the country. No person or individual should suffer the indignity of poverty. Only through job creation can we solve this problem. One way of stimulating job growth in our country is through wage subsidies. My question then is: When will the ANC government implement such wage subsidies? I thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon members, the most effective way of addressing poverty in the country is really to provide bulk economic and social infrastructure because the … [Interjections.] Let me finish here.

The SPEAKER: Order! hon members. You ask a question and expect answers. Before they answer, you interject! Order!

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Speaker, for protecting me. I was just developing the point that, for as long as the physical infrastructure - whether one is in a plane or on the ground - says we have two nations in one country, that is the affluent nation and the poor nation, so shall our fault lines ever be yawning. And that why it is important to ensure that, first and foremost, all South Africans have tarred streets, waterborne sewer systems, potable water, and electricity. After that, we would be able to unleash and harness the energies of our people to address the problem of youth unemployment, and so on.

The interventions that the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans is initiating to address unemployed youth would make merely a dent in the total of 2,8 million youth up to the age of 24 that are without jobs, not in training or at any college, and so on.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Finance announced that, as government, we would be prepared to consider subsidising the earnings of young people who have skills and qualifications but lack experience. This will enable young people to gain that requisite experience and be in a position to be employable. They also get caught between a rock and a hard place because companies stipulate experience as a requirement, which they do not have and cannot have unless they are given the opportunity and privilege to serve, even at subsidised earnings.

This was met with protestations from organised labour, but that does not mean that is the last word on this matter. As government, we are still committed to ensuring that we address this matter and implement what the Minister of Finance announced. We are quite committed because, if we did not do that, this youth would forever remain on the margins. It is important for us to get them. The economy needs them and their skills. It is important that we take that … [Time expired.]

Steps to prolong unity of nation and focus particularly on needs of the poor, following successful hosting of 2010 Fifa World Cup Soccer tournament

  1. Dr G W Koornhof (ANC) asked the Deputy President:

    Following the successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Soccer tournament, what steps will the Government take to prolong the unity of the nation, with particular focus on the needs of poor people? NO2610E

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Speaker and hon members, as we heard in the debate in this Chamber yesterday, the South African government was inspired by the enthusiasm displayed by the people of this country, from all races and walks of life, in the build-up to and throughout the course of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

To capitalise on the positive mood that prevailed in the run-up and throughout the event, the South African government is in liaison with the International Marketing Council to conceptualise a programme aimed at building on the enthusiasm of South Africans which was expressed in their cohesion as a nation, united under a common flag and anthem. This programme will seek to develop and entrench a national brand of ubuntu, unity through our diversity, innovation and creativity, and of possibilities. A campaign has already been developed and will be launched within the next few weeks.

In addition, government supports other initiatives by the private sector, which are currently under way, that encourage South Africans to build on this spirit even after the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. Some private businesses continue to infuse the flying of the national flag in their campaigns, and we encourage others to do likewise.

We have seen the flying of the flag in the last few days, especially in the build-up to and during the friendly match between our national football team, Bafana Bafana, and their Ghanaian counterparts, the Black Stars, on 11 August 2010. Thank you.

Dr G W KOORNHOF: Thank you, Deputy President, for the reply and the steps that you’ve outlined. Apart from gaining the admiration of the world in staging this very successful event, the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has demonstrated that there is a need and, indeed, a willingness to reach out to one another and work together. As a matter of fact, the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup reiterated the motto on our coat of arms: Diverse People Unite.

My question to the Deputy President is: Shouldn’t we consider capturing and institutionalising this growth in unity that we have demonstrated by, for instance, establishing a task team in the Presidency within the National Planning Commission? Such a task group can, for instance, identify areas such as sport, education, housing, peace and security, and even tourism in different spheres of government to include all role-players and, especially, to focus on the needs of the poor people because this is where our challenge lies. Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Koornhof, the idea of establishing a special task team in the National Planning Commission has not been entertained by Cabinet, and it is an idea, perhaps, that you’ve planted now. I would just like to say that the lessons of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup will not be lost to government because, in preparing for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, we were able to work within very tight timeframes and to have interspherical co-ordination from national down to host city level, which is local government.

We believe that need we to identify major projects that are catalytic. For example, if we were to say that our next “Fifa World Cup” is to provide poor communities in rural areas and in the townships with bulk economic and social infrastructure so that, as I said, none of our people should be without access to potable water, proper sanitation and an environment that is liveable. If we were to do that and tackle it in the same spirit by harnessing the available talent in the country from engineers, and so on, I think we would enhance our chances of cementing the unity of our nation.

The fact is that the Bulls were able to take the semi-final and final of the Super 14 rugby tournament to Orlando Stadium and, whilst there, then had the privilege of interacting with Sowetans. In Pretoria, a pint of beer costs R25. In Soweto, two quarts of beer cost R30. So, they were very happy, and I think that we can have integration. [Laughter.] We can really have national unity. Our people can live cheek by jowl, and we will be a truly happy nation, if the infrastructure is there. One of the things that cause people to migrate away from the depressed areas is absence of infrastructure. Thank you.

Mr T D LEE: Mr Deputy President, for a short while during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, South Africans were a very happy family, and South Africa was a very happy place, even for the poor. Why was that, Mr Deputy President? It was because we delivered on time for Fifa. We did everything to please Fifa. We were determined to meet their deadlines. Now, Mr Deputy President, my question to you is: When will the government start showing the same determination to expedite the delivery of services to the poor on time again? When and why don’t we stick to timeframes when it comes to the poor? The poor people of this country are becoming restive again. Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Lee, I couldn’t agree with you more that this is what we should do. This is a very important lesson that we need to draw from the experience of hosting the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. There are all of these concurrent competencies, and so on. We need to cut across that administrative and bureaucratic need to account and ensure that we process matters within the shortest possible time and also look at the quality of the projects and what is being delivered.

This weekend I spent time in a place called Namibia in Mangaung, Free State. It is called Namibia, but it is in Mangaung. We’re a wonderful country. [Laughter.] A place that used to be an informal settlement is now formalised. There are RDP houses, and the people there are happy. They said to me that their experience of the new sewer system that they have is that they get rain from the ground and not from the heavens because the sewer system blocks. It does so because the pipes used are narrow.

The contract was given and the civil engineering company laid out the sewer system, the pipes, and so on, but cut costs by utilising narrow pipes. It is very clear that they are already blocking today. In the next 10 years when the population density increases, it would be a disaster.

So, the province has to pull all of that out and replace it with pipes of a better quality. That is a lesson that, for every major project, we must have a team that monitors from day one that those who have won the contract deliver in accordance with specifications. That is what we need to do. Of course, as Premier Zille indicated here yesterday, the time taken to process simple applications is just too inordinate for us to be efficient. We need to address those bottlenecks. Thank you.

Mr S N SWART: Speaker, arising from the Deputy President’s reply, would the Deputy President agree that there is a duty upon all leaders and politicians to continue with nation-building, particularly by avoiding making inflammatory and ill-considered statements which do irreparable harm to the cause of nation-building in the country? Deputy President, was it not noteworthy that during the successful 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, the normally strident voices of certain politicians and leaders were more constrained and constructive, including the silence of a prominent youth league president? Should we not all learn from that process as we contribute? It is not what we say, but how we say it. Thank you, Deputy President.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Swart, I agree with you that it is our duty and responsibility, all of us, to contribute towards nation-building, but, of course, we are who we are. Life would be very dull if we were all the same. In a manner of speaking, there are people who speak with a bit more exuberance. So, we must also learn how to live with such people here. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr P D DEXTER: Deputy President, we all agree that the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup was a success at many levels, and it taught us many important lessons as a country. One of the most important of these was that we, as a country, performed beyond everybody’s expectations when we had very tight and specific deadlines and targets to meet. Are we now setting deadlines for key performance areas in respect of achieving national unity and driving this from the highest office in the land? If so, what are some of the key areas that have been identified?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Dexter, yes there are outcomes that the President has agreed to with his Ministers, and contracts have been signed to that end. But the process of nation-building is an ongoing process; it’s not something that would simply admit to strict timeframes. When the Bulls go to Soweto, for instance, that’s a major contribution. It conveys, in a very practical way, a more positive message than what you and I can manage in a rally.

Therefore we have to take the contributions of all sections of society towards unity of South Africans as an important matter. Those of us who have public platforms as public representatives and as leaders must utilise these public platforms to convey this message of unity of our people all the time. Even as we differ or as we expose one another’s weaknesses, we must not forget to slide in the message that our people need to be united all the time. I think that is a task that we must all carry. Thank you.

 Particulars regarding steps taken to establish a code of ethics for
                        business and politics
  1. Rev K R J Meshoe (ACDP) asked the Deputy President: Whether, in light of his speech at the Regenesys graduation ceremony on 4 August 2010, he has taken any steps to establish a code of ethics for both business and politics; if not, why not; if so, (a) who are the drafters of the code and (b)(i) how will the code be enforced and (ii) by whom will it be enforced? NO2536E

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Speaker. Hon Rev Meshoe, at the Regenesys graduation ceremony to which you refer, I was addressing young management and leadership graduates. I encouraged them, as the leaders of tomorrow, to always engage in good governance practice, whether they are located in the private or public sectors.

I further conveyed that for any society to thrive, especially for the benefit of the poor, it has to have in place moderating mechanisms, plus checks and balances, because the system by its nature is imperfect. As the member should be aware, there are a number of initiatives and instruments, like the King Code, that promote ethical dealings by the business sector. Unless gaps are identified in these measures, among others, there is no need for further codes.

As for codes of ethics for politics, as the hon member is aware, there is the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, which was passed by this House; the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament, which is implemented by the Joint Ethics Committee of Parliament; as well as codes for Members of Provincial Legislatures and municipal councils. Unless otherwise determined by Parliament, there is no need for new codes.

However, hon member, let me reiterate that it is not so much the content of the existing codes - whether they be in the business or political spheres — but rather the adherence to and enforcement of these codes that is important. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs C DUDLEY: Hon Speaker, I give Rev Meshoe’s apologies. He couldn’t be here due to unforeseen circumstances. Thank you for your gracious response, hon Deputy President. I will pass the information on to the hon Rev Kenneth Meshoe.

The ACDP appreciates all efforts promoting ethical behaviour in government and society in general. Having had the opportunity to read your speech now, I have been inspired and encouraged. The following words of Dr Martin Luther King, which you began and ended your speech with, were particularly inspirational:

Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Expediency asks the question: Is it politic?. … But conscience asks the question: Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but because conscience tells one it is right. Thank you.

Mr M SWART: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Hon Deputy President, in your speech at the Regenesys graduation ceremony you said:

Each organisation and institution has an ethical culture which separates what is just and good from the bad and unjust.

And you continued to say –

We see a direct link in the practice of ethical leadership and transparent and representative governance.

We, in the DA, agree with the sentiments you expressed, but we would like to know from you, Mr Deputy President: How do you reconcile these statements about ethics, transparency and governance with the fact that the ANC continues to do business with government through its company, Chancellor House?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Swart, with regard to the ANC and Chancellor House story, Chancellor House does not do business with government. Chancellor House bought a stake in a company called Hitachi Power Africa. It is Hitachi Power Africa that won a contract to supply boilers to Eskom. That is the closest, closest, closest link between Chancellor House and any government institution. It is the closest. Besides that, there is none. Chancellor House does not chase after government contracts at all. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr N SINGH: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon Deputy President, you have referred to various pieces of legislation that would in effect promote an ethical code of conduct for both business and politics. However, in the recent past, we have had incidents of either senior Cabinet Ministers or directors- general or senior government officials either resigning from government or leaving government and, within a short space of time, joining companies which do business with government.

Would the hon Deputy President, in looking at the code of ethics, promote a cooling-off period where hon Cabinet Ministers or senior government officials do not involve themselves in business with companies for a period of 12 months or so, or any period that may be determined? Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Singh. Yes, indeed, there should be a cooling-off period because it would not be correct for any senior politician or manager to prepare ground and then move outside to collect what they would have prepared whilst in government. I think a cooling-off period is very important, and that ought to be followed.

However, of course, you will also take into account the fact that, normally, people are employed as senior managers in government departments either in accordance with their skills or in accordance with what they would have qualified for. When they then leave the Public Service, it is natural that they would also operate in the same space precisely because of their strong points, and so on. So, we also have to accept that such things will happen. However, a cooling-off period is definitely a necessity; I agree with you. Thank you.

Ms J D KILIAN: Speaker, the Deputy President has indicated that he believes that what Chancellor House is doing is okay because it has a specific interest in Hitachi, and is not directly doing business with government. Yet, the hon Deputy President must be aware that there are some other contracts — very controversial contracts — that have been awarded, and in respect of which the Public Protector has actually found that there are transgressions in the one instance, more so on the pronouncements made by the hon Minister of Communications.

In the other case, it was actually a saviour for the particular senior ANC politician who is the owner of SGL Engineering that municipal records could not really prove to the Public Protector what business he engaged in with local authorities. Can I just ask him whether he will assure us in this House today that government will close all those avenues within the codes of ethics, and implement very firm cooling-off periods so that we can avert the current insider trading that is taking place between senior officials and government? Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Kilian is now raising issues about business activities of members of the ANC, rather than Chancellor House. I want us to be clear about that. These are now individual members of the ANC who are in business, or who have interests in business entities. That is a very grey area for the simple reason that South Africans have a right to partake in the economy of the country without exception.

At certain times, the relatives, or individuals, or friends, or acquaintances of people who hold political office are reduced to automatons that have no lives, skills, and experience of their own. They are regarded as people who can only benefit from the fact that they are blood relatives or friends to political office bearers. This is a very difficult area. I would like us to look at it in a just manner which also takes into account that individuals grow differently. Even if people are born of the same mother, they may pursue completely different paths as they develop. Then later, by virtue of having someone in the family or within your circle of friends who is a political office bearer, you are debarred from all other activities.

I think it is a bit of a challenge. I do know that perhaps what should be helpful in such instances is that — and I don’t think this would be a difficulty, although it’s a prejudice, but it may be helpful — where such individuals who are relatives of prominent office bearers succeed in life, in one way or the other, there should be a body - perhaps the Public Protector or somebody like that - that will be allowed to check whether or not something untoward has happened. If something untoward has happened, then we take steps to correct it. If there has been undue facilitation, it must not be allowed.

However, when people succeed on merit, of their own volition and on their own initiative, and if they are cleared by a body such as the Public Protector, then there should be no insinuations and innuendos. Even though, on the one hand, we want to fight against corruption - which is a serious problem – on the other hand, if everything is called corruption, then that is a problem.

For example, I have seen my name attached to somebody who was a member of the trade union when I was the general secretary. People raised concerns that this person and the Deputy President were in the same union at some point. Bear in mind that the person in question has been in business for many years, and so on. I am just saying that there are those kinds of things that do not help us to zero in on the nub of the problem.

What we should be dealing with is how we shall ensure that there is no undue manipulation and influence of processes, so that the law or tender processes apply, and people have equal access to these. I think that is the issue that we must look into. Thank you. [Applause.]

                              Cluster 3


     Progress made in finalising anti-corruption strategic plan
  1. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) asked the Minister in the Presidency - Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency: Whether, with reference to his reply to question 1248 on 13 May 2010, any progress has been made since May 2010 in finalising the anti- corruption strategic plan; if not, why not; if so, why has it not been completed in view of the fight against crime and corruption being one of the Government’s twelve priority outcomes? NO2532E

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Hon Speaker, the anti-corruption interministerial committee has been established by Cabinet. Its main focus of work includes the following: to ensure a co-ordinated approach to fight corruption; to promote policy coherence and alignment on cross-cutting anticorruption programmes of government; to develop or enhance technical measures to curb corruption in both the public and private sector; to review procurement processes to prevent corrupt practices; to advise on weaknesses in the criminal justice system and how these would be addressed so as to ensure efficient prosecution; to ensure political co-ordination of anticorruption efforts in the international arena; to identify areas which may need to be prioritised; and to review current measures to improve on effectiveness and co-ordination.

The Cabinet didn’t think it was necessary for us to have a strategic plan, but rather indicated that what we need is action which is going to bring results as speedily as possible. Therefore, no strategic plan is being developed.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Minister, in the light of the fact that you say government is not going to have a strategic plan and that they want to be results-driven with regard to eradicating corruption; the recent embarrassing exposés that implicated the governing party, its affiliates and high-profile individuals in the abuse of political office for financial gain; and this week’s comments by the ANC spokesperson, Mr Jackson Mthembu, that “the ANC’s democratic government has made it fashionable to fight corruption”; my question is as follows: Is the governing party prepared to support the recently tabled Private Member’s Bill that seeks to ban political parties from tendering and contracting with government? If not, why not?

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Obviously, I can’t answer for the political party. Political parties have their own spokespersons or Chief Whips in Parliament to deal with these matters. [Applause.] The Bill, which I suppose is a Private Member’s Bill, will undergo appropriate processes, and parties will discuss what will happen to it. I can’t comment on behalf of political parties sitting here in Parliament. They have Chief Whips and leaders of political parties who can do that well. Thank you.

Mr N SINGH: Hon Minister, I would like to know if your office is going to investigate the number of cases that are outstanding for disciplinary and corruption practices by departmental officials because in the committee I serve we are told, on a regular basis, that there are cases which are not finalised in good time. Some of the departments are not aggressive in pursuing either disciplinary or criminal proceedings against officials who are allegedly corrupt. I want to know if your Ministry would take this forward.

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: If there are processes which are not moving with speed, they will be dealt with through another process, not this one. I have indicated the tasks of this committee.

However, we do interact with state agencies which deal with various cases. It is not our job to investigate. We ensure that those who are tasked with doing the job do it speedily and according to law. Thank you.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Minister, if you say that there is no need for a strategic plan to combat corruption, and that you are going to be result-oriented, how then do you determine what those results are? How do you embark on achieving the results that you want to achieve in eradicating corruption if there is no plan?

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: The hon member would remember that the issue of corruption falls within various areas of work of various institutions - the Police, the Public Service Commission, the Public Protector and everybody else. It doesn’t help us to develop more and more documents. What we need is an effective mechanism and the unlocking of bottlenecks which make it impossible for agencies to perform their work. That is what we are going to do, and that is how we are going to judge progress with regard to that work. Thank you. [Applause.]

Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: Chairperson, in the light of a number of strategies and ways of co-ordinating and combating corruption, can the Minister clarify to us if there is a time when government will take an approach of co-ordinating all activities, efforts, policies and strategies put in place to ensure that we deal with this problem of corruption that is facing us?

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: In my response to the principal question, I indicated that one of the tasks we are busy with is to review the current measures to improve on their effectiveness and co-ordination. Therefore, definitely, that is part of the work which we are doing to ensure that there is better co-ordination of anticorruption efforts by all agencies responsible for various aspects of the corruption sphere.

   Particulars regarding appointment of advisors in the Presidency
  1. Mr N Singh (IFP) asked the Minister in the Presidency - Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency:

    (a) How many advisors have been appointed in the Presidency, (b) what are the relevant details of (i) their salaries and (ii) their contracts and (c) what role does each fulfil? NO2521E

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Chairperson, the answer to the first part of the question is 12. To the second part the answer is as follows: eight advisors are to the President; one to the Deputy President; two to performance, monitoring and evaluation; and one to the National Planning Commission.

With regard to details of the expenditure and salaries, salaries are determined according regulations and they total to about R11 552 530 per annum. Their contracts are for the term of office of the principals, unless they are predetermined for earlier exit. Three of the advisors are seconded from various government institutions and departments. Four deal with special advisors work which is related to the offices they serve. One is for international relations. One is a legal advisor, one a political advisor, one an economic advisor, one a special envoy, one an advisor on communication, one on governance and one on security.

Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, it is difficult to absorb the answer, especially as we don’t have it in written form. However, what I would like the hon Minister to answer is: Is he aware whether these advisors have performance agreements that they signed with the principal officers, and is it necessary, with the extended Cabinet we have, that there be eight advisors to the President? Thank you.

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Hon Singh, with regard to your earlier comment, I can’t help it; it is the nature of the question. If the question is asked in such a manner that you need that many details, then there is nothing I can do except to provide those details. If you don’t follow, you cannot blame me for that.

As to whether it is necessary for the President to have so many advisors, I don’t know of any President in the world who does not have advisors on the various fields. You cannot specialise in everything. You need to have the best advice with regard to the various works the President has to perform. We think that the advisors are adequate. Sometimes there are areas on which the President may often need advice, which, as you can see, are not necessarily covered.

With regard to the question whether they have performance agreements, my reply is: Not as far as I know. Advisors work in a special way, but there are no performance agreements – at least in my case. I don’t know about others; I have not been able to check that. Thank you.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Minister, my figures indicate that R7 million would be spent on paying advisors to the President in the 2010- 11 financial year. However, I have it on very good authority from you that it is R11 million. Seeing that the President’s supplementary advice comes with a price tag of R11 million, which is R8 million more than we paid in the previous year, and the President’s transgression of the executive ethics code is handled, in part, by his own private attorney, Mr Michael Hulley, at the cost of the state, instead of one of the legal advisors currently employed by the state to supply supplementary legal advice to the President, why did the Presidency deem it necessary to get additional legal support when he has all the existing advice, a cost of at R11 million to the state?

The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: I thought the question was to the Presidency and not the President. That is why my figures will differ from yours. You might be referring to advice to the President while I encompassed everybody who works in the Presidency. I think that is the difference.

With regard to the question of why do we need further legal advice whereas we have legal advisors; you would know that, normally, you source out a particular legal advice if the services you have are not adequate. I think you know that one cannot always have adequate legal advice. [Interjections.] For example, when you seek legal opinion, you don’t necessarily depend on what you have, but you have to seek legal opinion from elsewhere as well. Therefore, I don’t see anything strange in seeking additional legal advice with regard to matters you are dealing with, even if you have the services. [Interjections.]

Plans to enforce departmental compliance with legislation on employment of persons with disabilities

  1. Mrs J M Maluleke (ANC) asked the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities:

    Whether she has any plans to compel departments to comply with legislation regarding the employment of persons with disabilities; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO2512E

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson and hon members, the Employment Equity Act of 1998 outlaws discrimination of any kind in the workplace, and promotes equal opportunities for all workers in the workplace. In 1995, the South African government adopted the White Paper on the Transformation of the Public Service that outlined government’s commitment to achieve a minimum of 2% representation of persons with disabilities in the Public Service by 2005.

However, as at December 2005, persons with disabilities constituted a mere 0,16% of Public Service personnel, which was well below the set target according to the Nedlac. For the period of 2008 to 2009, there were 2 410 employees with disabilities in the Public Service workplace out of a total number of more than 1,2 million, which translates to only 0,2%.

For the period of 2009 to 2010, there were only 2 838 employees with disabilities in the Public Service workplace, out of a total number of more than 1,91 million, which translates to only 0,24% representation of persons with disabilities. These statistics are available from the Public Service Commission report of 2008 and 2009.

In order to compel departments to comply with legislation regarding the employment of persons with disabilities, the Ministry for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is conducting oversight of the implementation of the employment of persons with disabilities. The department commits to take appropriate measures in reviewing current legislation; for example, the Integrated National Disability Strategy and the draft national disability policy in order to strengthen compliance mechanisms regarding their employment. Monitoring mechanisms of the implementation of employment equity are mainly by way of periodic reports. The department is currently working together with the Department of Public Service and Administration on the implementation of the job access strategy regarding recruitment, retention and reasonable accommodation, and general employment in the Public Service.

Article 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006, obliges governments to domesticate all issues affecting persons with disabilities in the convention, of which employment features are a major priority. It therefore gives a compelling reason for all departments to implement the disability employment targets which the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities may reveal with a view to increasing in the next financial year.

We have also started engaging with the Ministry for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as a way of developing proper targets that will be enforced for each department and all levels of government. [Time expired.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon members, I’ve got no members for supplementary questions. No, hon members, you must press the button.

Mrs P C DUNCAN: I did press the button.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): No, but there is nothing on the screen, except now - except now it shows up! Then I see hon member Duncan.

Mrs P C DUNCAN: Thank you, Chairperson. Minister, your Ministry is brand- new. However, in the more than one year of existence you had a golden opportunity to ensure that you adhere to legislation, which compels you to employ 2% of persons with disabilities. How do you justify the fact that you have failed to meet the 2% target?

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, I would wish your house, hon member, to be built in one day. There is always a process in establishing a department. You need to establish the foundation and ensure that structures and systems are put in place. For your information, hon member, we intend to have a summit on disability at the end of the year, which will look into a number of questions affecting disabilities and related problems.

Therefore my response is that we are on course with our programmes, and even in terms of developing legislation with regard to disability - we are working on that one. So, there is no failure on our part, we are on course and we are committed to ensuring that we achieve the objectives that this department was established for. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, I thank the hon Minister for her response. We, in this House, are glad that at last there is a Ministry that will focus on women, children and people with disabilities. But by your own admission, Madam Minister, I think the situation is far from satisfactory because 0,2% and 0,24% doesn’t give us a whiff of a pass, or even an average performance.

We trust that, in looking at this matter seriously, your department give priority to it, and will also look at the question of facilities. In this House we have been raising the issue of the lack of facilities; not only for officials, but for people with disabilities who go to government departments and buildings, Home Affairs, and so on. This is another area, I think, which your department has got to look into. Thank you.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Thank you, hon member, for the statement. I don’t believe it’s a question but a statement that supports the programme of government in ensuring that we achieve the targets that we have set ourselves.

However, I want to emphasise that it is not the responsibility of government alone; it is the responsibility of all of us as South Africans to ensure that people with disabilities access the workplace and are also part of the mainstream economy. So, all of us have got that kind of responsibility to ensure that we achieve those programmes. Thank you very much.

Mr W P DOMAN: Chairperson, I agree with the last opinion of the hon Minister that we should all do it, but government departments should set the trend. My question to the hon Minister is as follows: During this year, has her department established what the problems are that are causing this not to happen? Is the post not available? Do they not advertise it? Are the people not applying? Have you established what the real problem is and come up with some solutions?

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, I am not sure whether the question is about the department or about the fact that we are here discussing the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities access the labour market. I thought that was the issue we were addressing.

However, I wish to say to the hon member that the department, new as it is, is on course in terms of its programmes, priorities, and strategic plan. And, hopefully, we will be having a full complement of staff members by the end of this year. The process is unfolding and ongoing, and, in due course, people will know the outcome of those processes. I thank you. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon members, can I appeal to members not to press the button knowing very well that there is no supplementary question that one is going to ask.

Mr W P DOMAN: Chairperson, may I take that last follow-up question? My question relates to …

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): I have not yet answered whether you may pose a follow-up question or not. But you may now proceed! [Laughter.]

Mr W P DOMAN: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Hon Minister, my question relates to your department’s capacity to monitor the employment of persons with disabilities by other government departments. That is what I want to know. Is the problem due to the fact that the posts are not advertised by government departments? Is it due to the fact that people with disabilities do not apply? Have you, as the department, established what the problems are, and what are you going to do about them?

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, I indicated earlier on that, there is a process that is unfolding to ensure that measurable targets are put in place. We are working with the Ministry or Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to develop such measures.

We are also in the process of putting mechanisms in place to ensure that there is compliance. We all know that we have not done well as a country. There are a number of reasons for that. Hon members know that we have not achieved our … [Interjections.]

Now, the important thing to do is to ensure that all the departments comply with the set of targets and the mechanisms that are going to be put in place soon enough. These will be announced to the country to ensure that there is compliance around the 2% target that has been set for our country to reach. Thank you.

    Meetings and work timeframes of National Planning Commission
  1. Mr N Singh (IFP) asked the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission:

    (1) How many meetings of the National Planning Commission have been held;

    (2) whether any timeframes for the work of the NPC have been implemented; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO2520E

The MINISTER OF LABOUR (On behalf of the Minister in the Presidency- National Planning Commission): Chairperson, to date, the National Planning Commission held three meetings on a monthly basis. The first meeting was a two-day orientation session in May 2010, which was addressed by the President, who spelled out the commission’s mandate. The mandate that was given to the commission was that its vision and development plan should be finalised within 18 months after its appointment. Taking this deadline into account, the commission is in the process of finalising short-term deadlines to embark on the processes of consultation and discussions with various stakeholders in order to meet its mandate.

Furthermore, the commission is mandated to produce reports on issues relating to long-term development on an ongoing basis. Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, I know I can’t ask the hon Minister of Labour this question. But, in any event, I will ask the question and maybe he can give us a response through the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission. I would just like to know how often Parliament will be briefed on the working of the National Planning Commission. We did have an ad hoc committee that set up the commission. But I think as Parliament we have the right to be briefed at regular intervals about what the commission is doing without us having to ask questions in the House. Thank you.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon Minister, you may respond to the question or refer it to the Minister.

The MINISTER OF LABOUR (On behalf of the Minister in the Presidency- National Planning Commission): I can respond to the question. My understanding of Parliament is that, as Parliament requires briefings, they will be as regular as Parliament wants them.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Minister, you say that these report-backs will be as regular as Parliament would like to have them. Now, with regard to all other departments, Parliament interacts with them at various times of the year in various circles. The only department that does not have that interaction is the Presidency, where the National Planning Commission is situated. Would you not think it would be a good idea to have a portfolio committee that oversees the working of the Presidency and the two commissions that find themselves in that Presidency, especially seeing that they have a budget of R780 million in the Presidency to conduct the business that they are expected to conduct? Then there could be regular interaction with the National Planning Commission.

The MINISTER OF LABOUR (On behalf of the Minister in the Presidency- National Planning Commission): Chairperson, according to my little experience in Parliament since 1994, if there is any need for a portfolio committee, the Rules of Parliament can decide that.

Progress made, and timeframe regarding implementation of National Spatial Development Plan

  1. Dr G W Koornhof (ANC) asked the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission:

    (a) What progress has been made to implement a national spatial development plan, with specific reference to (i) coordinating government action to meet social, economic and environmental objectives, (ii) striking a balance between urban and rural development and (iii) identifying areas with demonstrated economic potential most favourable for overcoming poverty and (b) in what timeframe will action plans regarding the abovementioned aspects be implemented to ensure achieving South Africa Vision 2025? NO2518E

The MINISTER OF LABOUR (On behalf of the Minister in the Presidency- National Planning Commission): Chairperson, the National Planning Commission recently hosted a seminar on spatial planning. The seminar brought together academics, NGO representatives, development planning practitioners in the public and private sectors and representatives of the three spheres of government involved in planning.

Issues that emerged from that interaction include: one, getting around the rural-urban dichotomy and finding ways that recognise the spatial interdependences and linkages; two, getting the basics right by improving the turnaround times for decisions on development applications and dealing with duplicate processes; three, addressing the legislative impasse; four, changing incentives that shape the use and management of land; five, resolving ambiguities around roles and responsibilities of various actors; six, agreeing on a spatial vision for the country, and finally, putting in place spatial norms to guide the policies and strategies of all spatial actors.

Prior to the seminar, the Minister had discussions with his Cabinet colleagues, in particular Minister Nkwinti of Rural Development and Land Reform, Minister Sexwale of Human Settlements, Minister Sonjica of Water and Environmental Affairs and Minister Shiceka of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. They all shared the view that we need to act urgently to solve spatial planning issues. Thank you, Chairperson.

Dr G W KOORNHOF: Chairperson, I will not ask a follow-up question to the Minister, but I will just agree with the answer that the Minister has supplied to this House and welcome the seminar that took place.

I think it is important that we have a holistic approach to this situation. There is an urgent need to finalise a national urbanisation strategy, together with a comprehensive rural development strategy. We cannot plan unless we know where our people are going to live and work in future. Thank you.

The MINISTER OF LABOUR (On behalf of the Minister in the Presidency- National Planning Commission): Chairperson, I agree with the hon member on the need to strike a balance between urban and rural development. The emerging thinking - not only in this country, but globally - suggests that the urban-versus-rural approach is not a very useful one. Overplaying the differences tends to lead to inappropriate policies.

We all know how difficult this matter is; urban and rural areas are linked in a very complex way, but they provide inputs for activities taking place in the respective sectors. They provide labour, employment opportunities, as well as markets for goods and services produced in either of these sectors.

Therefore, the hon member is quite correct; we need not draw a big distinction between the two. We must link them up, otherwise the situation will be such that people will think that there are greener pastures in the cities and there is nothing in the rural areas. We need to make sure that we improve the life there so that our people also enjoy living in those rural areas. [Applause.]

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Chairperson, I was trying to get the service button off and then all the buttons went on.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): You then have to apologise to me.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Am I to apologise?

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Yes!

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I apologise. I was trying to get the service button off.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Okay, thank you. Take your seat.

Ms A STEYN: Thank you, House Chairperson. Hon Minister, I just want to find out whether you took the traditional leadership into consideration in this National Planning Commission and what the discussions around the traditional leadership were. The reason I’m asking this question is that most of the problems that we experience are in the rural areas under the traditional leadership. What were your discussions with traditional leaders? Thank you.

UMPHATHISWA WEZABASEBENZI (EMELE UMPHATHISWA KUBONGAMELI: IKOMISHONI YOCWANGCISO YESIZWE): NdinguDlamini, uJama kaSjadu, uZulu. Ngoko ke asingekhe sizilahlele ngaphandle iinkokeli zethu zemveli kuba kaloku uninzi lwazo luphaya emaphandleni. Asikwazi ukuthi xa sixoxa ngonxibelelwano phakathi kwamaphandle kunye needolophu sikhuphele ngaphandle iinkokeli zethu zemveli ezinjengooShenge. Soze siyenze loo nto. Kuyanyanzelekile ukuba uthetha-thethwano lwenzeke phakathi kweeNkosi, kwaye siyazi ukuba iingxaki ezithi zidale impixano ngamanye amaxesha ziyintaphane njengeentwala kubaThembu. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

[The MINISTER OF LABOUR (On behalf of the Minister in the Presidency- National Planning Commission): I am Dlamini, Jama kaSjadu, Zulu. Therefore we cannot sideline our traditional leaders because most of them are in the rural areas. When we debate about communication between rural and urban areas, we cannot exclude our traditional leaders such as Shenge. We will never do that. It must be enforced that there must be negotiations amongst Chiefs, and we are aware that sometimes problems that create conflict are immeasurable. [Applause.]]

Progress made in protecting children from harmful media content, and
        position regarding setting up of a reporting hotline
  1. Mrs C Dudley (ACDP) asked the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities:

    (1) What progress has been made (a) to remove pornography from media advertising and broadcast content, (b) to block gaps in the broadcasters’ code and (c) to curtail violent, graphic and gruesome images in broadcast content with a view to protecting children from harmful media content; (2) whether she intends setting up a reporting hotline to aid in implementing protective measures; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NO2519E

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, the Deputy Minister of Communications serves on the SABC board that ensures that pornography is not used in the media, advertising and broadcasting content in general.

The SABC board does the classification of films, videos, etc, for suitable viewership of all film material that is used by the SABC. The SABC board also encourages the public to inform it of any material broadcast by the SABC which it does not approve of. Any violent, graphic and gruesome images in broadcast content are censored by the SABC board before films can be published for children. Otherwise, members of the public are normally made aware of the age classification of the viewing material in order that parents can choose what they prefer to watch and what their children may watch.

The establishment of a reporting hotline is in the long-term plans of the Department of Women Children and People with Disabilities. However, we are happy that the presidential hotline is also assisting in ensuring that we are able to deal with a number of cases that are reported through that hotline. These are cases regarding women, children and people with disabilities who are in need of urgent government services and are referred to the department through nominated officials who work directly with the hotline. The official would then distribute such queries to relevant branches within the department as well as other departments.

The Film and Publication Board has also established the Internet hotline, which affords members of the public the opportunity to report online about any child pornography or sexual abuse images that are accidentally discovered on the Internet. In this regard, I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs on the contribution he has made in the fight against pornography for our children.

I also wish to state that there was an indication that another channel, which would have been accessible to children, would be opened on TV for viewers. All of us, especially government leading at the forefront, opposed that move which was to be introduced by M-Net. Therefore there are interventions which are being made in cognisance of the fact that we have to protect our children from pornography and ensure that they grow up in an environment that is conducive to their development and growth. Thank you.

Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, we know that various organisations and departments are rallying to support a move to draft a law that will be aimed at ensuring that Internet service providers filter all content on the web so that people across the country, particularly children, cannot access pornography on their cellphones or computers. The Department of Education, the Department of Communications, Childline South Africa, the cyber crime unit and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa are all among the stakeholders. What role will your department play in this regard and how do you see your Ministry actually working within the situation to bring about this law? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, I would like to thank the hon member for the question. I think the interventions that we need to make include raising awareness within our communities around this particular issue so that we all play a role in ensuring that children are protected from pornography. Government will continue doing what it has to do in terms of whatever legislative or policy framework interventions that would need to be looked at in that regard.

At the moment, in addition to what has been done by the SABC board and other stakeholders, we need to ensure that we create an environment that is conducive for our children. So, it is an effort that we all need to make to ensure that children are protected from easy access to pornographic material. Even with the cellphones which are so easily accessible to children, parents need to ensure that they too play a role to monitor and ensure that children do not go beyond what is expected of them in their usage of cellphones, and so on. Thank you, Chair.

Mrs H H MALGAS: Thank you Chairperson. Minister, we would like to know, as the ANC, how you see the involvement of the community. You just said it broadly, but, specifically, how do you see it with regard to legislations, policies, including the moral regeneration programme of government pertaining to society as a whole in speedily minimising the further spread of pornographic material, whether it is in print or electronic media? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, as I have indicated earlier, this is a collective responsibility of all South Africans and, therefore, the role of the community is very critical in this regard. I think that the Moral Regeneration Movement, led by the Deputy President will assist us in moving forward in this regard to ensure that there is participation of all. Communities will also be able to raise their issues and voices with regard to these matters and play a part in ensuring that there is awareness. They will also be able to educate their children on the dangers of accessing pornographic material. So, it is a responsibility that we all have to share, including communities. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mnu M MNQASELA: Sihlalo, xa uMphathiswa ethetha ngalo mcimbi womnathazwe ndinethemba lokuba uyayazi into yokuba phaya kum elalini eQolombana kuTsolo azikho iikhompyutha. Loo nto ke ithetha ukuba abantu abakwindawo ezisemaphandleni abasayi kukhawuleza bayixele ingxaki enje ngale. Kanti ke, imicimbi yamanyala nemiboniso bhanya-bhanya evela koomabonakude nakwiselula yinto echaphazela wonke umntu kwaye ekufuneka siyiqwalasele.

Ndifuna ukuqonda ke ukuba siyibeka esweni njani into yokuba lo mnathazwe uyabakhusela abantwana kwaye zidandalaziswa kakuhle zonke ezi zinto. Kwaye siza kubona njani ukuba abantwana bakhuseleka ngokwenene kwizinto ezifana nezi. Enkosi kakhulu.

UMPHATHISWA WEZABASETYHINI, ABANTWANA KUNYE NABANTU ABAKHUBAZEKILEYO: Sihlalo, ndiyabulela kakhulu kwilungu elihlonophekileyo. Kukho inombolo yomnxeba engahlawulelwayo ekhoyo eyenzelwe wonke umntu, kuquka nabantu abahlala emaphandleni ezindaweni ekuthiwa kusemakhaya. Kufuneka bayisebenzise loo nombolo yomnxeba ingahlawulelwayo ukuze bakwazi ukuncedakala nabo xa befuna ukuveza iingxaki ezifana nezi. Ukwaleka apho, kuza kufuneka ukuba sibe nephulo lokwazisa eliza kuthetha ngezi zinto. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)

[Mr M MNQASELA: Chairperson, when the Minister speaks about this Internet issue, I hope she knows that in my village, Qolombana in Tsolo, there are no computers. That means people in the rural areas will not immediately report such a problem. However, pornography and film material screened on television and cellular phones is something that affects everybody and we need to pay special attention to it.

I would like to know how we should monitor the safety of Internet use in respect of our children and ensure that there is transparency as far as this is concerned. In addition, how are we going to ensure that children are safe from undesirable material such as this?

The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Chairperson, I would like to thank the hon member. There is a toll free number for everybody, including people who reside in the rural areas. They must use that toll free number in order for them to get help when they want to report problems and incidents such as these. In addition, we must have a campaign to raise awareness which will address these issues …]

… and we are also working with the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs to ensure that we run such a campaign around these particular matters, like access to pornography. Such a campaign will also take us to provinces. Thank you, hon Chairperson. [Applause.]

Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Madam Deputy Speaker, as one who had the privilege of drafting the original Films and Publications Act in 1996, I am a little scared and terrified of the blurring of some lines which are quite fundamental. For example, the Minister says that the SABC censors programmes and that government tells them not to run some. In terms of the law, that is illegal because the censorship is based on the fact that certain material is not desirable to government or to others. I think that the issue of pornography is a difficult one. It also tests the divide between freedom and authority.

Now, the question to the Minister is: On what authority does the government go beyond the legislative parameter and not interfere in communication between consenting adults, above and beyond protecting children from those communications? Where is that line set and how is it enforced if it is not the one which is in the Act and is left to the authority and prerogatives of the Film and Publication Board?

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, I think that was more of a comment than a question, unless I am mistaken.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): If the Minister wants to comment, she can do so. But there was a question that was raised by the hon member. Hon Ambrosini, can you repeat your question, only the question?

Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Minister, the job is for the Film and Publication Board. How government takes the job beyond that is a matter of policy, not of illegality. How does a moral judgement come into the picture?

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Thank you; initially you asked only one question.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, there are a lot of pieces of legislation currently in the country that help us to deal with all these questions around pornography and the protection of children. Therefore, even the Film and Publication Board does have a role in terms of the classification of films, videos, and so on, as we have indicated earlier. There is a commitment from government, as we have seen in the past, to ensure that we protect our children and use the current legislation in place to protect children and prevent easy access to pornography. Thank you.

Position regarding achievement of Millennium Development Goals concerning gender equality and empowerment of women

  1. Mrs D Robinson (DA) asked the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities:

    Whether the Government will achieve the Millennium Development Goals with regard to (a) gender equality and (b) the empowerment of women; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO2531E

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, with regard to Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality and women empowerment, South Africa has met the indicators on equity enrolment ratio between girls and boys at the 20% level of schooling, that is the number of girls that are enrolled is more than that of boys.

With regard to the indicator on women in political positions, South Africa is on track towards reaching parity by the year 2015. Presently, South Africa stands at 44% in terms of women who are in the national Parliament.

However, in terms of indicators on employment of women in other sectors, including the private sector, and so on, there is a concern. South Africa is far from reaching parity in decision-making structures of companies in the private sector.

There is growth in the employment of women, but this figure still remains lower than that of men. We are in no position to state categorically that Millennium Development Goal 3 can be achieved, but we are getting there.

Women can only be empowered if the present indicators are attained because, in its current standing, this goal lacks other critical elements such as addressing violence against women and children. Thank you.

Mrs P C DUNCAN: Minister, although the strides made by South Africa regarding the education of women and girls can be acknowledged - as you also said today - their disabled counterparts, however, lag behind significantly. What engagements have you had with the Ministers of Basic and Higher Education to increase school attendance of girls and young women with disabilities? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Chairperson, firstly, there is an engagement that is going on currently in terms of ensuring that the targets, as I have indicated earlier, are met. Secondly, there is a commitment by government to ensure that our children access education.

I also want to go back to other creative measures that we are discussing, including the 1Goal campaign that was launched during the Fifa World Cup last month, to ensure that children with disabilities are able to access the opportunities in education and, in fact, go to school like other children.

So, in terms of basic education, there is a programme that outlines how children with disabilities need to be assisted to ensure that they too access educational opportunities. Thank you.

Mrs C DUDLEY: Hon Minister, something that is seriously working against these goals at this present moment are the strikes and protest that are disrupting services and impacting on women, children, the disabled, the aged, etc. For example, yesterday and today, in Witbank where my constituency’s offices are, protesters stormed the building and took over the offices of the South African Social Security Agency, Sassa, and all other offices. People were intimidated by protesters who were carrying sticks, threatening and removing the women who were working there. They removed and destroyed the files, and completely trashed the offices.

There are going to be a lot of people expecting grants to be paid, and there will be no information to be able to work with. This is going to be seriously disruptive.

The police responded extremely weakly and are still not responding with any enthusiasm to the situation. What would your department be able to do in terms of exerting pressure in this situation now to ensure that people who choose to go to work and the surrounding offices where people are not meant to be at work are actually protected? Thank you.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, the summit of disability that I referred to earlier on in my earlier presentation seeks to address all such questions that arise from concerns about what we need to do in terms of ensuring that we implement the UNCRPD, including children.

With regard to that, hon Chairperson, we want to ensure that South Africa develops a plan of action which will take forward the UNCRPD and also promote the rights of all children, including those with disabilities.

So, there is a programme in place, which we are working on. Hopefully, on 2 and 3 December, we will be having such a summit which will also help us to deliberate on measures that we need to put in place to reach the target that we set for ourselves for people with disabilities in the labour market as well. Thank you.

Mr L S NGONYAMA: Hon Minister, my observation is that this is a very important subject. However, every time we listen to responses on the matter, we hear broad responses, not scientific and empirical evidence as to how many people and what percentages we have in each and every sector. Are we really making a very strong impact? Are the various government departments called upon to come up with evidence of transformation regarding the gender equality?

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon member, I think your question is a new question. Nevertheless, I will allow the Minister to respond if she wants to do so.

The MINISTER OF WOMEN CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, it is an important question. I want to state that there is evidence. There is evidence on the participation of women in the public sector and in terms of the private sector. The information that we don’t have as yet is how far civil society goes to ensure that they too come to the party in terms of womens participation.

In terms of the programme that we have, I hope that, soon after having gone through the necessary processes, Parliament later this year will discuss the question of the Gender Equality Bill, which we believe will take us forward in the struggle for women’s empowerment and gender equality in our society.

We need to engage with these matters and appreciate the progress that the country has made since 1994. The evidence is there, but we need to move beyond what we have achieved and achieve even more, especially in the private sector, as well as in civil society. Thank you.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Thank you, hon Minister. Hon members, that concludes the time for questions. The replies that have been received will be printed in Hansard.


                          NOTICES OF MOTION

Mrs C DUDLEY: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of ACDP:

That the House –

(1) notes the publishing of the book Gukurahundi, an account of the widespread atrocities that took place between 1980 and 1988 in Matebeleland, Zimbabwe, where an estimated 20 000 people died under the terror of the Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, and his army;

(2) acknowledges the pain and suffering of a people whose cries were not and are not being heard, for mass killings still continue to take place along with forced labour, beating, torture and sexual abuse, at the Mashonaland Marange diamond fields, allegedly again on President Mugabe’s orders;

(3) congratulates the author for relating the terror inflicted on the people of Matebeleland from 1980 to 1988; and

(4) further congratulates Elinor Sisulu for courageously writing the foreword.

Thank you.

Mr P S SIZANI: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of ANC:

That the House debates rural development plans to help with the implementation of large-scale programmes to establish new small farm holders and improve the productivity of existing small-scale farmers and subsistence farmers and their integration into the formal value chain that links them with markets.

Thank you.

Ms F I CHOHAN: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:

That the House debates the plans of the Department of Basic Education to increase the pass rate of the matric cohort in 2010.

Ms J L FUBBS: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:

That the House debates the development of trading opportunities in informal settlements broadly.

Thank you.

Ms D CARTER: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of Cope:

That the House debates the unacceptable attack on matriculants of Scottburgh High School by labour union members picketing outside the G J Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal.

Thank you.

Mr T W NXESI: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:

That the House debates mainstreaming African jurisprudence for social cohesion, peace and harmony in society.

Mr N SINGH: Hon Chair, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the IFP:

That the House debates the extent of homeless street people in South Africa and tries to find solutions to alleviate their problems.


                         (Draft Resolution)

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

That the House –

   1) notes the devastating mudslide which hit Zhouqu, northwest of
      China's Gansu province, last week following torrential rain
      overnight, burying various houses and crushing buildings;

(2) further notes that over 1 248 people have died and more than 600 people are reported missing; and

(3) conveys its deepest sympathy and condolences to the government and people of China over the loss of life and devastation caused by the severe mudslide.


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mr W P DOMAN: Chairperson, I hereby move without notice:

That the House –

(1) notes that it has been three weeks since torrential monsoon rain in Pakistan triggered catastrophic floods in the Islamabad region, claiming the lives of at least 1 400 people and obliterating villages, infrastructure and farmlands within the region;

(2)     further notes that these floods have displaced 20 million people
     and are the worst natural disaster to hit Pakistan in the history
     of the county and that Pakistan urgently requires financial and
     medical aid to assist it to rebuild its economy and assist the 6
     million people who are at risk of contracting deadly water-borne
     diseases such as typhoid and cholera;

(3)     acknowledges that although the United Nations and World Bank
     have pledged to give international aid to Pakistan, the nation is
     facing an economic and health disaster of unprecedented
     proportions and has not yet received 50% of the aid which has been
     pledged to it by nations throughout the world;

(4)     conveys its deepest condolences and sympathies to the government
      and people of Pakistan for the death and devastation that these
      floods have caused; and

(5)     urges all world leaders to immediately provide international aid
      to Pakistan.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

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

That the House –

(1)     welcomes the appointment of Advocate Pansy Tlakula as the first
      female Vice Chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology;

(2)     recognises that Advocate Tlakula is no stranger to academia and
      once taught law at the North West University, then known as the
      University of Bophuthatswana, and as the then Chairperson of the
      Council of the University of the North West, led the team that
      negotiated the merger of the then North West and Potchefstroom
      Universities that formed the North-West University; and

(3)     congratulates Advocate Tlakula on her appointment and wishes
      her well in her new position.

Agreed to.


                         (Draft Resolution)

Mrs H N NDUDE: House Chairperson, I move without notice:

That the House –

(1) notes that Professor Eugene Cloete at Stellenbosch University has developed a tea bag-type filter that can cheaply and effectively remove contaminants, microbes and bacteria from dirty water to make it suitable for drinking and cooking; (2) recognises that this newly invented filter, which can clean a litre of the dirtiest water to about the same quality as bottled water, will signify a great breakthrough in the country’s struggle to bring clean water to every household; and

(3) requests the Department of Water Affairs to consider exploring the validity of the findings and the viability of its wide-scale use if the results do indeed measure up to the claims.

Agreed to.

Debate concluded.

The House adjourned at 16:16. ____

                      WEDNESDAY, 18 AUGUST 2010


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

The Speaker and the Chairperson

  1. Classification of Bills by Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM)
(1)    The JTM, in terms of Joint Rule 160(6), classified the following
     Bill as a section 75 Bill:

      a) Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Bill [B 23 – 2010] (National
         Assembly – sec 75). TABLINGS

National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

  1. The Minister of Finance

    (a) Report and Financial Statements of the Land Bank for 2009-2010, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank) for 2009-2010 [RP 95-2010].

  2. The Minister of Public Enterprises

 a) Report and Financial Statements  of  the  Broadband  Infraco  (Pty)
    Limited for 2009-2010, including  the  Report  of  the  Independent
    Auditors on the Financial Statements  and  Performance  Information
    for 2009-2010 [RP 170-2010].


National Assembly

  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform on the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill [B 13 – 2010] (National Assembly – sec 75), dated 17 August 2010:

    The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform,
    having considered the subject of the Deeds Registries Amendment
    Bill [B 13 – 2010] (National Assembly – sec 75), referred to it and
    classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75
    Bill, reports that it has agreed to the Bill [B13 - 2010] without
  2. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform on the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill [B 14 – 2010] (National Assembly – sec 75), dated 17 August 2010:

    The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform, having considered the subject of the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill [B14 – 2010] (National Assembly – sec 75), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75 Bill, reports that it has agreed to the Bill [B 14 - 2010] without amendments.

                      THURSDAY, 19 AUGUST 2010


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

The Speaker and the Chairperson

  1. Draft Bills submitted in terms of Joint Rule 159 (1) Local Government: Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill, 2010, submitted by the Minister of Home Affairs.
(2)    Refugees Amendment Bill, 2010, submitted by the Minister of Home
(3)    Immigration Amendment Bill, 2010, submitted by the Minister of
     Home Affairs.

    Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and the Select
    Committee on Social Services.


National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

  1. The Speaker and the Chairperson
(a)     Strategic Plan for the Fourth Parliament 2009-2014.

  Available on Parliament’s website:


National Assembly

  1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Labour on the oversight visit to Labour Centres in the Provinces from 17 – 21 May 2010
  2. Background In the 2010 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President announced that the current government administration should understand and be responsive to people’s needs. In so doing, it should work faster, harder and smarter. In response to the President’s call, the Department of Labour (DoL), in its 2010 Strategic Plan introduced the service delivery improvement programme highlighting specific areas of improvement and introducing various service delivery systems which are meant to address challenges with the hope of increasing the rate and quality of services and labour market information. As a result, the Portfolio Committee on Labour undertook to conduct an oversight visit to four Provinces, namely: North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng, with the intention of overseeing service provision through the Department of Labour’s labour centres and tusong centres.

    1. Objectives

The Portfolio Committee on Labour took a decision to undertake an oversight visit to the above-mentioned four Provinces to assess the work of the DoL against priorities as set in the strategic plan of 2010 -2015. The strategic plan includes: • Assessing if the Department has been able to reposition the Head Office, the provincial offices and labour centers for improved and effective service delivery • Evaluating if the Department has empowered its access points staff in delivering the entire suite of the DoL’s services and information inclusive of employment services, social security and labour protection service • Evaluate if mechanisms have been put in place by the Department in order to improve access to services and information and in addition to access if the Department has integrated service delivery centres close to the people and put in place multiple access channels across the country • Assess if both the Employment Services System and the Inspectorate Enforcement Case Management System has been enhanced in order to respond to clients’ needs and expectations for access to services and information • Assessing if measures have been put in place to encourage continuous learning and improvement, and innovation by those serving at the point of contact with the client

  1. Delegation The delegation of the committee composed of Ms L E Yengeni, ANC (Chairperson and Leader of the delegation), Ms A M Rantsolase, ANC, Ms A N Mnisi, ANC, Mr E Nyekemba, ANC, Ms L S Makhubela-Mashele, ANC, Ms D Tsotetsi, ANC, Ms F Khumalo, ANC, Mr I Ollis, DA, Mr A Louw, DA and Mr V Ndlovu, IFP. Ms A Kakaza, Acting Committee Secretary, Ms S Mkhize, Committee Researcher and Ms N Myovu, Committee Assistant.

  2. Findings

2.1 Rustenburg Labour Centre

The Committee visited this office which deals mostly with UIF claims and the following challenges were observed. • Upon arrival members of the committee were greeted by long ques mostly UIF applicants • Clients did not receive any assistance from the official • People were being sent from pillar to post • No assistance was given to those clients who cannot read or write instead they were sent back • Number of UIF beneficiaries complained of not receiving their benefits for over two months • The building or offices in the building were not accessible However the Management and officials of the centre were of the opinion that the problems identified emanate from the following challenges that make it difficult for them to do their job efficiently and effectively: • Not enough office space, due to small office space clients have to stand in long ques waiting for services and according to the officials of the center alternative accommodation was identified seven years ago but nothing has been done. • The labour centre offices are not accessible to old and disabled people as it is allocated on the first floor of the building • Operational design is centralised and as s result much minor decisions such as the buying of stationery have to be approved by the Provincial Office • Human Resource was also identified as a challenge. There is a shortage of staff especially on the front desk • Computer system was also identified as one of the challenges

After meeting with the management of the centre the committee noted that:

• The Rustenburg Labour Centre faces numerous structural challenges  due
  to the policy design guiding operational procedures. Such policies  do
  not take cognisance of the expanded services that labour centres  have
  to deliver due to the decentralisation  of  functions  from  the  Head
  Office and provincial offices. Whilst Labour  Centre  responsibilities
  have been expanded, the roles of managers have not  been  reviewed  to
  empower them with necessary authority to implement their new delegated

• When registering for the Unemployment  Insurance  benefits,  claimants
  have to automatically register with  the  Employment  Services  System
  (ESSA)  as  work-seekers.  Whereas  the  intention  was   to   improve
  coordination and efficiency of services provision, the system has  led
  to slow registration process leading to long queues.

2.2 Britz Labour Centre

These were challenges observed by the members of the committee upon arrival in the centre: • The issue of long ques was also a challenge in the centre • Shortage of human resource including computer was also identified • Most of claims were about companies who do not pay the workers • Some clients were complaining that they have been coming back to the centre for the 15th time for the same application • General shortage of vehicles, as inspectors and staff members have to alternate using the three available cars amongst eleven inspectors and two remaining cars for the rest of the staff • Due to the increasing demand for service provided by the labour centre which resulted to increase in the number of clients the office accommodation became a challenge • The labour centre does not have any security • The officials were not wearing their name tags in order for the public to identify them easily • Notice boards were written in English, no interpretation in the language that the majority of the clients understand • The ESSA system experiences systemic challenges and is still not fully utilised by the employers who should register vacancies and access the data base when recruiting prospective employees.

Management of the centre in the meeting with the members of the Committee also raised the issue of office space, shortage of staff, the computer system which was very slow and lack of enforcement from the companies which resulted in the delays on the processing and payments of claims.

The committee noted that; • The frontline staff members were not properly monitored to ensure that they provide client-friendly services. People spend numerous hours in queues without being attended to, only to be turned back for minor queries that could have been spotted if there had been floor managers attending to the people. • The UIF processing system, i.e. the labour centres processing the manual data and the provincial offices processing the computerised data and the payment process, delay service provision as data gets lost therefore people are sent from pillar to post • The toilet facilities were not well maintained and out of order. The manager should fast track the process of maintaining the toilet facilities • Whilst there was visible signage that displays information on various services provided by the centre, it did not cater for the indigenous language users.

2.3 KwaMhlushwa Labour Centre

The labour centre mainly services the remote rural area, ideally applying the principle of taking the services closer to the people. The following were committee observations on arrival: • The office is situated next to the shebeen which is not conducive at all for both the clients and officials • Resources like computers and switch board facilities were in a very bad situation • Office space problem was identified as clients had to que outside the building • Notifications were not written in a language that clients would understand • Officials were not identifiable, not wearing their name tags • Clients were complaining about their forms being misplaced by the officials • No pre-screening in the ques, resulting in clients queing not knowing whether all the documents provided are correct • Staff shortage, as a result there are constant backlog in claims not captured • The general environmental hygiene does not promote healthy working conditions, for example there is no permanent cleaner in the centre, no fire extinguish in the building, there is one toilet shared between staff and clients and there are instances where there is no running water • Telephones were old and the switchboard was outdated and therefore regularly out of order However the Management of the centre when meeting with committee members identified the following challenges that were hampering the centre not to deliver effectively: • That the previous Director-General knew about the situation in this centre but up to date nothing has been done • The centre had also a problem of shortage of staff, which resulted in cancellation of the mobile labour centre • The office was supposed to capture applications and make payments, but due to shortage of staff it only captures and send the application to the Provincial Office for payment • Office space is a problem which results in clients queing outside the building • There were constant IT challenges which take long time to be fixed. This affects the Employment Services System (ESSA) programme performance as it relies on computer data capturing. There is one Siemens person based in Witbank assigned to repairs and programme computers, in addition IT contactors are reluctant to drive long distances to rural areas such as KwaMhlushwa office • The DoL introduced sophisticated programme such as ESSA whereas the IT software does not match the required tasks • Law Enforcement Inspectors do not have equipments such as laptops in order for them to do their job as most of the time they are working outside the office • There was a shortage of vehicles for inspectors

However, the committee noted the following: The general state of the office is unpleasant due to unhygienic and muddled conditions that workers and clients are exposed to daily. The committee acknowledged the urgency for the Department to sort the conditions of the offices, however felt that the manager and the staff had not taken any initiative to improve the conditions in the offices, such as littering on the floor, files clumsily placed on the floor, including confidential client information.

2.4 Nelspruit Provincial Office On arrival, the Committee recorded the following complains after interacted with clients in the Nelspruit Provincial Office: • No preference given to pregnant women or old people • The clients were complaining that the service was too slow, they have to wait in the que for a long time

In the meeting with Management of the centre the following challenges were identified in dealing with their day-to-day functioning. • Long queues as a result of insufficient accommodation. • As a result of the lack of facilities in the part-time offices, the staff has to travel to the office to perform data capturing • Due to the inherent systemic bureaucracy within the DoL, the regional offices are caught in the red tape processes, causing unnecessary delays to services.

2.5 Polokwane Labour Centre

The following were the challenges reported by the officials of the centre: • Demand for services has increased as a result of the decentralisation process. Although the demand has increased, the number of staff members has not increased. • Inspectors continue to find it difficult to access farms due to non- cooperation from farm owners. • Increase in non-compliance to minimum wage payments due to the growing number of people who are unemployed and living in poverty. • Shortage of inspection vehicles. As a result, the DoL through the 2010/11 budget will hire vehicles for the inspectorate service. • Increasing non-compliance to general basic working conditions from the immigrant employers. In response, the DoL and the Department of Home Affairs will conduct joint inspections in the province in order to assess and enforce compliance

2.6 Pretoria Labour Centre

According to the labour centre manager, the following challenges were identified: • There’s general non-compliance by employers with regards to the filling of the UIF declaration forms (UI-19). • Prevalence of labour broking activities within the cleaning and security sector, which undermines adherence to basic conditions of employment for workers. • Increasing number of retrenched job-seekers as a result of the economic recession. • Employers are not forthcoming in registering for the ESSA services. • Employers take advantage of statutory limitations, therefore not comply with legislative requirements. • Inspectors find it difficult to access private premises in order to enforce compliance within the domestic sector. • Rural residents travel to the city labour centre, avoiding their local labour centres due to the perception that urban-based centres process claims quicker. As a result of this influx, the centre has constant long queues.

However, these were the concerns raised by the committee members on site:

• Members received complaints from  clients  of  unanswered  switchboard
  calls. In response, it was answered that there is technical fault with
  the switchboard line which has been referred to the management support
• All written communication, including posters  or  notices  around  the
  office, was in English. Therefore not acknowledging the illiterate non-
  English speakers
• The Members were briefed of the impending  disciplinary  case  of  one
  staff member.  According to the labour centre manager, the  provincial
  office is handling the matter which has already commenced  in  January
  2010. Concerns about the disciplinary hearing delays were also  raised
  by Members, as the  hearing  was  initiated  in  June  2009,  but  not
  completed in almost a year.

2.7 Compensation Fund’s Offices (CF) These were concerns raised by the members of the portfolio committee regarding CF services:

• Whereas the majority of people interviewed by the Members praised  the
  manner in which the CF services  the  public,  there  were  criticisms
  about continuous long queues.
• Others complained about being sent  from  pillar  to  post,  with  the
  labour centres not disseminating accurate information  such  as  which
  forms people should bring when applying for CF benefits
• Others complained about the lengthy periods they had to wait for their
  benefits. One such example is the man who alleged to have been waiting
  for over 5 years for his benefits from the Fund.

The CFO of the Fund reiterated that some of the challenges are exacerbated by the high turnover amongst the casual staff. This affects the skills retention for labour centres.

2.7 The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)

The Johannesburg CCMA office is the biggest and seemingly the busiest in the country. It is also the biggest resolution centre in the world. According to the Senior Convenor Commissioner, Bheki Khumalo, the office receives more or less 3 000 cases per month. As a result the workload piles up and become too much to handle. Currently, there are 100 part-time commissioners, 30 full-time commissioners and close to 50 part-time interpreters.

• Due to the  large  number  of  staff  being  part-time,  it  is  quite
  difficult to establish and instil a strict organisational  culture  of
  discipline and certain values, such as the Batho Pele  (People  First)
  values. However, the  Members  also  appreciated  the  hard  work  and
  dedication of certain staff members who resumed work well before  time
  and were hospitable to both the members and the general members of the
  public, for example the receptionist.

• Numerous cases are postponed due to non-availability of employers  and
  due to commissioners who view this as  a  money-making  scheme,  since
  commissioners are paid per session they hold.

• Challenges of employers who do not honour the  settlement  agreements.
  As a result, the vulnerable workers struggle to enforce the agreements
  as such actions require more funds to pay the Sheriff  of  the  Court.
  Individual workers, who do not fall under  the  trade  union,  end  up
  paying close to R2 000 for the enforcement.

• The Johannesburg CCMA office has been said to be the worst  performing
  centre. As a result, the management has  embarked  on  the  turnaround
  strategy which includes designing permanent organisational  structures
  to support administrative  functions  regardless  who  the  individual
  manager is.

• In order to fast-track the case management process, each  Commissioner
  will have a number of specifically dedicated cases to manage. This  is
  a move away from the past practice where cases did not have  dedicated
  commissioners, resulting in the lengthy case management processes.

• There are instances whereby  commissioners  deliberately  delay  cases
  where they have conflict of interest. There is currently such  a  case
  with one commissioner going through the disciplinary process.

However, members of the committee were concerned about Labour Courts being taken over by the Department of Justice. The concern was what is going to happen to issues of labour enforcement laws which have been channel through labour courts.

  1. Conclusion

Members of the Committee having interacted with the people from the different labour centres recognised that service delivery is still lacking in some of the centres and what the National Department says is different from what the Members saw during the visit.

Whilst some labour centers have improved service delivery system, others continue to struggle due to non-empowerment of staff members to deliver on the entire suite of the Department of Labour’s services. Due to not understanding these services, the ill-informed staff members give wrong information to clients. As a result, people continuously travel back and forth the labour centres.

Due to the weaknesses in the IT system, some labour centers struggle to fully implement the Employment Services System, especially those located in the rural areas.

The optimal conceptual framework of the Employment Services System requires a full structural support, such as fully furnished spacious offices where people can fill forms without compromising their privacy. However, this systemic support for the ESSA has not yet been achieved in the labour centers.

The Department’s decentralisation process has overstretched the labour centre functions, but failed to empower the labour centre managers in order to enable them to make swift administrative decisions. As a result, the labour centers cannot address minor challenges due to red-tape Without underestimating the challenges identified in the urban based labour centers, the resource support appears to be biased towards them as opposed to the rural labour centers. As a result, the majority of rural based people travel to the urban areas in search of better services, therefore leading to long queues and deterioration of services provided as a result of overburdened infrastructure

There is general non-compliance with regard to the Unemployment Insurance Act, as commercial employers do not declare relevant information in order for employees to collect their benefits. As a result, claimants spent lengthy periods without receiving their benefits.

  1. Recommendations

The Department of Labour should address the situation in KwaMhlushwa Labour Centre as the Office was a disaster. There should be more personnel employed in the Labour centres, in order to curb long ques which are of great concern to Government.

The Department should look at the Siemens contract as it had come up clearly in most centres that there was a problem with IT services.

The Department should consider having more mobile centres especially in rural areas in order to bring the service closer to the people.

In instances where office accommodation is a challenge, the Minister of Labour should approach the Minister of Public Works to address and fast –track the issue of proper offices and facilities in the labour centres. The Department should address those challenges that can be resolved in the short term by the labour centres, such as the assignment of the floor manager to guide and assist people, given that the majority of service users are illiterate, old and disabled. In addition, the floor manager would have to ensure that the vulnerable groups including the old, disabled people and pregnant women are prioritised using the “express queues”.

The floor manager should be multi-lingual in order to accommodate all people who use the labour centre services. The Department should respond to all the recommendations in this report and report back to the Committee within 30 days after adoption of the report by the House.

Report to be considered.