Deputy Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity given to participate in this debate. Our Constitution enjoins the NCOP to provide the national forum for public consideration of issues affecting the provinces.
As part of responding to this constitutional injunction, the NCOP took the Taking Parliament to the People programme to the Free State in November 2010. This was the second activity since we adopted the new approach at the beginning of the term. The new approach was informed by our deliberations during the strategic plans sessions which were held in August 2009, where it was agreed that the Taking Parliament to the People programme should be preceded by intensive preplanning activities, including research and public engagements.
Hon members, I hope you will agree with me that this new approach, which we introduced in Limpopo early last year, is working. Preliminary activities in the Free State culminated in the public meeting held on 2 October. During this public meeting people raised a number of issues that helped to shape the programme of that particular Taking Parliament to the People visit, because we wanted the people to own the programme, and not have us telling them what we are going to do to them.
Therefore, I am very proud to announce that the people of the Free State actually had drawn up that programme and interacted with us very effectively. As a consequence, the agenda for the programme which took place on 15 to 19 November, under the theme All Spheres of Government Working Together to Speed Up the Delivery of Services, focused on the following issues: enhancing co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations; accelerating delivery of basic services; promoting development through empowering rural communities; improving the health profile of citizens; strengthening the skills and human resource base; speeding up delivery of Public Works projects, quality human settlements and local economic development; ensuring sustainable resource management and use; intensifying the fight against crime and corruption; and building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.
These topics were used to guide the public hearings, which entailed direct interaction between the people and their leaders from three spheres of government as well as oversight work in the form of site visits. The issues picked up during the course of our visits were indeed not new or unique. They have been raised, perhaps in different ways, in the provinces we visited before under the auspices of the NCOP's flagship programme Taking Parliament to the People.
For example, they related to common challenges such as poor road infrastructure; challenges with regard to provision of electricity; crippling unemployment, especially among the youth; housing, especially with regard to the management of beneficiaries; land reform processes, including farm evictions; school infrastructure; provision of health care, especially the need for improved access to health services; poor condition of water treatment facilities and related challenges with regard to sanitation; the need for the creation of a caring environment, especially user-friendly facilities for people with disabilities and support to self- help initiatives, especially in relation to social and economic development.
In order to respond to these challenges, some interventions and commitments were made. These include, but are not limited to the following: Firstly, in order to address the challenge where some municipalities do not have the capacity to implement programmes that require specialised skills, a commitment was made to the effect that such municipalities would be identified and the necessary assistance galvanised.
Secondly, in response to the plight of the people who have been without electricity for more than 10 years, the Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality undertook to ensure that electricity is installed, thus bringing a better life to the people who had no electricity before.
Thirdly, the premier committed himself to ensuring that the elderly were given priority when allocating houses, and to ensuring that the construction companies that do not complete housing projects or that carry out shoddy work were prosecuted and blacklisted.
Fourthly, in respect of outstanding land claims and with the view to facilitating rural development, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform has put the Free State on the priority list. People had raised the issue of the slow pace in the resolution of land claims and we hope that the intervention by the department will respond to this challenge.
Fifthly, a group of youths running the Pigzone Farmers' Project in Phumelela Local Municipality will receive assistance with regard to infrastructure and professional support, as the department of agriculture in the province has committed itself to funding the environmental impact study and the project as a way of supporting this initiative.
Sixthly, allegations of practitioners working few hours, particularly in the health sector, which is one of the priorities of government, are going to be investigated by the relevant MEC in that province.
Seventhly, police patrols in the Qwaqwa area are going to be introduced to deal with the issue of rising crime levels. The police patrols will be working with community police forums.
Eighthly, the Minister of Social Development has undertaken to provide stipends to all the caregivers at the Limakatso Disabled Centre in Harrismith, which is one of the places we visited during the week as part of our oversight function.
What was more gratifying, over and above witnessing direct accountability of government to the people, was the acknowledgement of the leadership of the different spheres of government that co-operation was crucial in improving the delivery of services. This is key to ensure a seamless and effective system of government operating at different spheres within the context of a unified state, as Premier Magashule stated.
The NCOP has the responsibility to promote co-operation in and co- ordination of service delivery efforts by all the three spheres of government. Through our committees, we will monitor the responses by the three spheres of government to the issues that were raised by the people. We will then go back again towards the end of 2011 to see to what extent these interventions have changed the lives of the people for the better.
In fact, the premier has challenged us to go back in August this year to check the progress. This will form part of the continuous engagement with the province for the duration of the fourth term of Parliament, as many of the issues raised require short-, medium- and long-term solutions.
It is due to the sterling work and co-operation by the different role- players and stakeholders, especially the people, that the Free State programme was, by many standards, the most successful Taking Parliament to the People programme in the history of the NCOP. However, the success of the visit will depend on how the collective attend to the issues raised by the people.
As presiding officers, we are convinced that there are many ways in which we can improve follow-up on issues that are raised during our Taking Parliament to the People programme. Besides strengthening committees' oversight work in this area, we can use the Provincial Week to conduct follow-ups.
Delegates have a primary responsibility to bring to this House challenges faced by the provinces, especially on issues that have been brought to us. I am happy that some members of the Limpopo delegation are in the Sekhukhune district currently, to follow up on the issues raised during our visit there in March. I will personally be taking the two House Chairpersons on Tuesday next week. We will be on the ground to deal with some of the work that has been done. This is in preparation for the meeting of the leadership of the NCOP at the provincial local government that will be taking place in due course.
Committees are expected to develop a detailed follow-up programme in respect of the provinces we have touched so far. This must include areas that were touched in the Third Parliament to ensure continuity and responsiveness.
I hereby place before this House the draft report on the Taking Parliament to the People programme held in the Free State for consideration. Just to alert the House, the presiding officers have decided this morning that our next Taking Parliament to the People programme visit will be to KwaZulu- Natal in November. Thank you very much.
Hon Deputy Chair, we are delighted to be invited to this House to reflect on the visit by the NCOP to our province, in particular to the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality. This is one of the highly poverty-stricken areas of our country which needs a special focus by our government.
We are still thrilled by a decision of this august House to continue to take Parliament to the people. This remains a powerful tool in bringing all spheres of government under one roof to deliberate on improving access to basic services for our people. We saw participatory democracy in play, where communities could engage their leaders on almost every aspect of governance that has a bearing on their daily lives. We could see the enthusiasm of our people to gather more information about their government through attending, in large numbers, both plenary and sector-specific meetings.
The display of music and cultural activities on the opening day further re- engineered the spirit of the communities in a positive direction. The advance visit by the committee of the NCOP was able to focus the engagement with the community on matters that they raised earlier to see and observe whether some of their challenges had been speedily attended to. Some of the regular irritants of the community, such as potholes, illegal dumping, and bad village roads, were attended to in advance and gave the communities a lot of confidence in the NCOP visit. We are following up on these matters to ensure that what has been achieved is sustained.
National Ministers have developed follow-up programmes to enable their departments to attend to matters on which they made commitments. Key to this is a basket of services that has been identified to change the lives of the people of Maluti-A-Phofung for the better.
The Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality has intensified its programme of fixing village roads to enhance access to various villages in Qwaqwa. The electrification programme to ensure access to electricity has also been intensified this year. During the visit most rural communities were complaining about not being able to cross over to the other village during rainy periods. This complaint had been attended to by the installation of movable steel bridges in various villages in Qwaqwa.
Some communities were complaining bitterly about access to potable water. The municipality has initiated a big water scheme from the Sterkfontein Dam to bring permanent relief from the problem of water shortages in the area of Qwaqwa. The collaboration between government and traditional leaders in relation to service delivery has been enhanced by the NCOP visit. The Department of Social Development has started to collaborate with the traditional leaders around pension pay points and food parcel distribution through the use of various traditional council offices to provide this service. The Department of Economic Development is also reorganising the communities into co-operatives to leverage the job opportunities in these areas and to maximize local economic development initiatives.
Through the community works programme, over a thousand youths have been engaged in the Maluti-A-Phofung area as an intervention to mitigate the effects of unemployment. There has also been a drive to engage these rural youth in the capacity-building programmes through the department of agriculture and rural development. A considerable number of the youths have been trained at Thaba Nchu College on the rural development programme. This has been recruited from Qwaqwa as a nodal point to provide them with survival skills.
In an attempt to heed the call of homelessness in the area, as articulated by the communities during the NCOP visit, the Department of Human Settlements has allocated over a thousand housing subsidies to this area. This will not only address homelessness, but will also bring temporary relief to the unemployed. Key to this has also been the engagement of building contractors from the area to build these houses as a mechanism to grow the economy of this area.
The Department of Basic Education has also intensified its effort in the area to promote the culture of teaching and learning. At the beginning of the school term this year, the focus was the district of Thabo Mofutsanyana which did not perform well in Grade 12 results. The focus has been to supply the area with learner teacher support material on time. This area is contributing a significant number of the Dinaledi schools, and has been a focal point in our endeavour to promote mathematics and science in schools.
The Department of Health is championing its drive to revitalise primary health care facilities in Qwaqwa to improve the effectiveness of the clinics in the area, including the issues of working space, environment and safety at clinics. The campaign to fight the scourge of HIV and Aids in rural areas has been intensified in Qwaqwa, including the promotion of male circumcision.
Over 150 students from poverty-stricken families in Qwaqwa have been offered bursaries to pursue various careers at universities and technikons. A critical lesson learnt is that we need to dispatch our advance team in time to work with provincial officials in order to identify low-hanging fruits so that we strengthen the confidence of our people in the effectiveness of the programme of Taking Parliament to the People. It will also ensure that we provide sufficient time for sectoral meetings to afford communities enough time to engage on sector-specific issues.
We also need to involve ward councillors in this programme to foster more understanding around their constant interaction with the community at grass- roots level. The national departments must also receive the profile of the area in time and be able to package a basket of services which they will be able to make firm commitments on. This will strengthen the hand of the local municipality further in order to remove the focus only on councillors.
We remain committed as the Free State government to pursue all commitments that were made to the people of Maluti-A-Phofung during this visit, and further commit to redirect our resources to make immediate interventions on some critical challenges raised by these communities.
We remain convinced that the integrated development plans of municipalities remain key in ensuring that we deliver services in a co-ordinated manner to our people. Hon Deputy Chair, this visit has rightfully proved our belief that, working together, we can do more. Thank you. [Applause.]
Thank you, hon Chairperson. Deputy Chairperson, it is indeed a great honour and privilege today to be speaking on Taking Parliament to the People in the Free State from 15 to 19 November 2010. I am very pleased to have been able to commute to and from the venue in the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Phuthaditjhaba daily where the sittings took place.
I would be remiss in my duty as a citizen of South Africa if I did not mention the beauty of our beautiful nation as we were driven to the Golden Gate day after day. I will remember those scenes of the beautiful mountains for as long as I live. Having spoken about the Golden Gate and the beautiful mountains, it is sad to say that, unfortunately, the rest of Phuthaditjhaba is the direct opposite.
It is important that we hold these sittings and other committee meetings in public to allow our communities to participate and tell the government about their needs and aspirations. It was my first time participating in an NCOP Taking Parliament to the People event and indeed I discovered the importance for Parliament to touch base with the ordinary community members that trust government with their valuable vote and trust that government will, on their behalf and at all times, provide service delivery.
Public participation is important for government to know and feel what our people's needs are. We sometimes forget so quickly that consultation with the community is just as important as passing laws. I would like to quote the Freedom Charter: "The people shall govern." [Applause.]
Therefore it is imperative that we listen to the people and hear what they have to say and implement change where necessary. We should not be seen only when we need their vote to vote us into power and then forget about them or vanish into thin air until the next election.
Our theme for Taking Parliament to the People was apt, I thought, because indeed local government, provincial government and national government should be working together to deliver the services needed by the people of Phuthaditjhaba and everywhere else in South Africa.
The community of Phuthaditjhaba were clearly outspoken about certain areas that do not receive any delivery of services. The road infrastructure is very poor or nonexistent in many areas. A 15-minute drive took us more than an hour because of the poor condition of the gravel roads.
The youth voiced their unhappiness about unemployment and not being able to find employment although some of them had degrees and higher education diplomas. Once again, allow me to quote the Freedom Charter: "There shall be houses, security and comfort." Many people of Phuthaditjhaba do not subscribe to this quote as they are still waiting patiently for houses, security and comfort.
Informal settlements need to be formalised to allow the community to have the very basic essential services of electricity, sanitation, and running water from taps. The community expressed their concern regarding certain areas being upgraded whilst in other areas there is no development taking place; the situation has been like this for many years.
Some residents were older than 70 years and have been living in these conditions for as long as they can remember. Priority for houses should be given to the elderly and people living with disabilities. Infrastructure for disabled people is nonexistent as many people never leave their homes because of the bad roads and distances they have to travel to get to clinics, churches, shops and schools. There is a lack of public transport for the disabled; many stated that they needed wheelchairs and have been assessed as needing wheelchairs, but have not received them as promised.
Some were very fortunate on the last day when President Zuma donated some wheelchairs to the disabled. Disabled people have to queue for long hours to collect their grants. Paypoints need to be brought nearer or alternative arrangements need to be made to facilitate ease in receiving their grants on time.
The community expressed their unhappiness about the Expanded Public Works Programme which was not fair. Only certain groups of people benefit from these programmes. I was fortunate to be part of the oversight group that visited two schools where one school was well orchestrated because they did not have many needs.
However, what disturbed me at one of these schools was the hostel at the school where six-year-old children are not able to visit their parents regularly. They can only do this once a term due to the school not having funds to provide for the necessary transport to transport the children to and from their homes. Small children should not be allowed to be separated from their parents for such a long period. It is important for families to bond and therefore children should be allowed to visit their parents and siblings regularly.
The school also had a challenge of electricity cuts which affected the distribution of water to the school because water was pumped to the school using electricity. The school sometimes had no water for many days and this is not hygienic or safe for the children at the school.
The other school was clearly mismanaged because there were allegations about a blind teacher being on sick leave for more than three years. It was alleged that money was being paid to a service provider but the school did not receive any services for the money being transferred. Urgent intervention is needed in this regard.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the premier delivered an impressive speech regarding the achievements that have taken place, but much more needs to be done. It is a pity that Minister Sexwale had to reallocate millions in underspending with regard to houses to other provinces while the people of Phuthaditjhaba needed more.
Taking Parliament to the People in Phuthaditjhaba was an eye-opener and I hope that the premier listened, heard and will act on the voice of the people. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Deputy Chairperson, may I remind you that that was hon Abrahams' maiden speech in this House. [Applause.]
Thank you very much, hon Watson, we will look into it, thank you.
What do you want to look into? [Laughter.]
Deputy Chairperson, hon members of the NCOP, our hon Premiers of the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal present, as elected representatives of the people of the Northern Cape, we are mandated to implement policies and programmes that would lead to the overall improvement in the quality of the lives of our people.
Working together with our people, with the private sector and civil society organisations, we need to ensure that the economy grows at a higher rate, that the economy creates new jobs and continues to develop into a modern and internationally competitive economy.
The premier and the executive council, through the office of the premier, are ultimately responsible for ensuring that provincial government delivers on these priorities in a co-ordinated, integrated, effective and efficient manner.
This requires effective communication with the ordinary people of our province. It requires integration and co-ordination of our policies and programmes across all spheres of government, ensuring simultaneously that all vulnerable groups and their interests are adequately mainstreamed and addressed and that the spread of tuberculosis, HIV and Aids and sexually transmitted infections is contained more effectively.
I can proudly report that we are tackling these challenges with a sense of urgency to ensure that our programmes have a maximum and positive impact on the lives of the ordinary poor people of the province. Most of our programmes are in fact currently geared towards the most vulnerable sector of our society and that is the poor people living with disabilities, women, children and the elderly. I must emphasise that the Northern Cape government is a government that is people-centred and people-driven.
Our provincial government, through the Taking Parliament to the People programme, travelled the length and breadth of our province to engage directly with the communities that it serves and respond to the problems and challenges that they raise.
This programme has promoted a dynamic engagement between government and its constituencies. It has undoubtedly offered the communities a voice to instruct government about the service delivery areas in the remotest areas of the Northern Cape, thereby advancing with speed a key principle of this democratic government, which is to make inroads in the area of rural development.
The Northern Cape has, through the Expanded Public Works Programme, engaged in intensified labour methods to involve our people in the construction of roads and housing. This has created a number of job opportunities for our people and has simultaneously transferred much-needed skills to ordinary people.
We are thereby committed to ensure that cohesive, caring and sustainable communities are brought to the fore. Through the integrated development strategy, we are making sure the people have access to all the basic amenities such as decent housing, roads, electricity, shopping areas and places of worship. We have prioritised areas in the African working-class township such as Lerato Park in Kimberley and Ou Boks in Colesberg.
The province has intensified the fight against crime and corruption and we are determined to root out all the criminal elements in our society and create a safe and protected environment for our people to live in. We are pleased to report that our campaign around HIV and Aids testing and counselling has progressed very well. Many people in the Northern Cape have volunteered to be tested and know their status to ensure that government is able to provide better preventative and treatment methodologies.
Local government is another important sphere of government that is nearest to our people. We have instituted a local government turnaround strategy to strengthen the financial management, administrative capacity and also to improve the customer ethos of our local public servants.
On the educational front, we will continue to provide assistance and support school principals, particularly in those underperforming schools. We are committed to increasingly provide training to our teachers with a particular focus on mathematics and science. Through the premier's bursary fund, we are consistent in our endeavour to offer bursaries to indigent students, therewith expanding the learner opportunities for our disadvantaged children. We are committed to produce the necessary skills and expertise that are relevant to the success and economic development of the Northern Cape province.
Despite the significant progress that we have made as a province to provide basic services to our people, a lot more still needs to be done. We need to create more job opportunities for our people to address the high levels of unemployment. This unemployment constitutes the single most significant threat to the democratic society which we want to build. This has worsened in the Northern Cape province, given the fact that over the last two decades our formal economy and primary sector in the province, that is mining, has been shedding jobs and many of our people and workers have been retrenched.
Our Balelapa Antipoverty Household Profiling project, which aims to profile all the poor households in the province with a view to provide a rapid expanded social package and assistance, is geared towards making sure that government responds faster and more appropriately to the grievances of the ordinary people in our province. We are committed to halve poverty by 2014 in the Northern Cape province through this programme of Balelapa.
All in all, as the provincial government of the Northern Cape, we are progressing fairly well in our ongoing engagements with the masses of our people. We see great meaning in this interaction and will pursue this even with a greater vigour in the year ahead, in order to build a new society, premised on the humane concept of building a national democratic society. Public participation in the affairs of government is critical in order to ensure that government listens and takes up issues raised by our ordinary people.
In the Northern Cape province of South Africa and in accordance with the precepts of the Freedom Charter adopted on 26 June 1955, "the people indeed are governing". Thank you. [Applause.]
May I please draw the attention of all the hon members to the twist that will take place in a short while. Hon Rasmeni was supposed to be taking the floor, but because of the timeframe I am going to ask hon Mkhize to be next.
Deputy Chairperson, hon Chairperson of the NCOP, colleagues in the House, I wish to, once again, congratulate my colleague hon Premier Jenkins on her election as the second Deputy Chair of the NCOP. We have trust and faith in her capacity to manage this portfolio and do us proud. It was a wise innovation for the NCOP to appoint premiers to this post on a rotational basis. The NCOP is a platform for provinces to express their views, raise their concerns and keep in touch with the discourse in different provinces through this forum.
We must commend the NCOP on the outreach programme that takes members out to meet communities. This will help the members to remain in touch with the provinces on whose behalf they serve, and encourage them to keep focused attention on the successes and shortfalls in service delivery, as well as remain true representatives of the people. This programme also demystifies the proceedings in this House and allows people to address the members directly or watch them in session. Thank you for the decision that you have just announced, hon Chairperson; we look forward to hosting the NCOP in November, in KwaZulu-Natal. [Applause.] KwaZulu-Natal has taken a strong stance to strengthen good governance in the provincial departments and strengthen the supervisory role over the municipalities. We have offered support to municipalities where poor capacity has been demonstrated and offered financial and administrative support where it was needed. By and large, we are convinced that most of the municipalities are doing a good job considering the high expectations and limited resources. Many councillors are fulfilling their mandates, despite a few bad apples that continue to give local government a bad name because of their conduct.
We have emphasised the eradication of fraud and corruption and thorough investigations are to be conducted on all allegations, and strong disciplinary action taken on offenders in both provincial and local government spheres.
We are grateful for the support that we received when the province was forced to invoke section 139 of the Constitution in four municipalities, namely uMhlabuyalingana, Indaka, uThukela and uMsunduzi. We have intervention teams in place in all municipalities. Mr Johann Mettler left uMsunduzi for personal reasons. We thank the SA Local Government Association, Salga, for offering us their services, and we thank Mr Mettler for being courageous enough to tackle the deep-seated challenges in uMsunduzi. He did this despite the unfriendly atmosphere that resulted from the tough stance he took to suspend some of the senior managers. We are determined to uproot fraud and corruption at all levels. The arm of justice has swung into action and we have witnessed dismissals of senior managers from the city council. We welcome Mr Sithole who has stepped in to replace Mr Mettler and urge all the members of the council, both councillors and officials, to offer him their best co-operation. We are not done yet; we shall stop when the place has been cleaned up.
We also warned other municipalities that we shall not hesitate to intervene if the situation so demands. I am fully briefed about the controversies around the audit report and the subsequent media reports, as well as the exchanges of various members within eThekwini Council. I am satisfied that the latest matter under discussion is still within the correct processes of the municipal mandate. Once these have been exhausted, the provincial government will exercise its options on whether or not and how to intervene. We are watching the situation with keen interest.
We wish to congratulate the President of our country, His Excellency J G Zuma, on a brilliant presentation of the state of the nation address. His focused approach has seen our government deliver effectively on the electoral mandate. The report on the achievements of government demonstrated good leadership and a clear vision as to where the country is going. We commit ourselves to working hard and delivering on his commitment for job creation. We shall have occasion to elaborate on the subject when we deliver our provincial address on 22 February.
I want to move to an issue that is a little outside the issues as we would have seen them. It was rather unfortunate that in the response to such an address some members decided to drag out matters that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. I was disappointed when hon Dr Buthelezi launched a vicious attack on the President and the ruling party, the ANC, accusing both the President and the party of fomenting divisions inside the IFP.
Hon Buthelezi referred to the confidential meeting between the two leaders and the reference of the President to internal matters of the IFP's leadership contests. There had been ongoing discussions between the leaders of the ANC and IFP and it should not be taken as though the meeting that was between these two ...
Chairperson, may I rise on a point of order, please?
Yes, hon member.
Chairperson, with all due respect to the hon premier, I think that the issue that he wants to raise is out of the ambit of this specific debate.
Hon member, I will give you a reply after this. Hon Mkhize, continue.
Thank you, Chairperson. This matter is on record in Hansard. I am not a member of the NA, but my name was mentioned and it was in the response to the state of the nation address, so there is nothing irrelevant about it. Members must keep track of what is going on in the other House. All the members of the hon member's party were listening when this matter was being discussed. [Interjections.]
Hon Buthelezi referred to a confidential meeting between the two leaders. We want to say that it is not like this discussion they had was actually convened to signal the support of the president or any of the factions within the IFP. One of the issues that has also arisen many times is the concern that Dr Buthelezi had raised about the legacy of his contribution to the liberation struggle, accusing members of the ANC of vilifying him. It would hardly have been surprising not to confidentially indicate the concern that a lot of similarly damaging attacks on hon Buthelezi were, of late, emanating from his party as a result of the contest of younger leaders. We have repeatedly indicated that the ANC has no preferences as to which faction or leader emerges victorious in the internal IFP leadership contest, and this remains the case. Seeing that all the accusations were made in the NA, I want to reiterate that we must repudiate them in this House as well, as there is no other platform to put them on record. [Applause.]
The ANC is not involved in inciting internal divisions within the IFP. We are, however, aware that whenever the leaders were seeking attention from their senior leaders, they used the ANC as a bogeyman in corridor gossip. This line seems to work every time.
Hon Buthelezi accused me, as the ANC provincial chairperson and Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, of having several meetings with Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi. For the record, this is a lie. Those who reported to Shenge knew that they were lying to him. There have never been such meetings. There are no meetings planned and there was never any attempt to hold such meetings. It pains me when a leader we respect is told such untruths and has to make a public statement based on incorrect information. It is also clear that the informants have been doing this for a long time in incremental binges and instalments. Shenge is welcome to table evidence to the Speaker of the NA as to where the statement was made.
The IFP has accused the ANC of offering kaMagwaza-Msibi a position as an MEC in return for her joining the ANC. This is scurrilous garbage and the documents are the work of disinformation peddlers who knew that the IFP would believe them. For the record, the ANC has no knowledge of such, nor was there any such offer. The national executive committee of the ANC never gets involved in interviews of any persons in preparation for them being appointed as MECs. The author obviously has no sense of the ANC processes.
Shenge has alleged that there are further confidential documents to prove that the ANC was plotting about kaMagwaza-Msibi and proceeded to read them into parliamentary Hansard records. For the record, these are also not true. The allegations are an insult to the ANC, and if they had been made to a private person, a lawsuit would have been won in court.
Hon member, your time has expired.
Thank you very much. My advice to the IFP is that they have a lot of people to distrust, but President Zuma is not one of them. They must leave Msholozi out of their internal politics. [Applause.]
Deputy Chairperson, before I start my formal time, a point of order: I just want to request you to make a ruling because you indicated that you would. [Interjections.]
Hon Sinclair, I took a decision and I hope after listening to the whole statement, it then becomes very clear that you were actually out of order. It was an irrelevant announcement, thank you. [Interjections.]
Thank you, Deputy Chairperson. Democracy has been labelled by many as a sacred instrument in the existence of modern nations. Churchill said that, "... democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried from time to time". We have a democracy in South Africa, although some claim that it is a pseudo-democracy manipulated by the ANC to bamboozle citizens time after time to vote for them in anticipation of the so-called better life for all. [Interjections.]
What we experienced fulfilling the NCOP's mandate in terms of our oversight during the visit to the Free State was a week-long complaint session where the citizens bemoaned weak service delivery, dysfunctional municipalities, a breakdown of their relationship with the councillors, no jobs and economic opportunities and a government far removed from the people.
It is not enough that citizens of the country have the opportunity to vote every five years and then have to rely for their daily survival on promise after promise by government officials arriving in black cars as they are escorted by a blue light brigade. South Africans deserve better. This visit must be a wake-up call for all of us. Despite numerous undertakings, very few, if any, follow-up visits were done and a action plans implemented to remedy some of these crises identified.
However, we cannot debate this topic today and not draw on the similarities regarding developments in the Arab world. Incidents of violence and protests, very similar to the events that have led to regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt, have already started to emerge in these past days in South Africa. [Interjections.]
Tunisia and Egypt also had democratic dispensations that bordered on a pseudo-democratic party. Their leaders and governments, not long ago, proudly proclaimed - like in South Africa - that they and their government would govern to the end of time. [Interjections.] Those leaders also proclaimed with pride that if you supported them and what they believe, you would have a free pass to heaven. We now know that the people of Tunisia and Egypt took their fate into their own hands; their previous leaders and presidents are now history. This happened not through a democratic transition but a revolution that culminated in celebrations on Tahrir Square in Egypt. These dramatic events are not over yet and will have a rolling effect, even in South Africa.
The reality is that, if we do not act on what we have experienced in the Free State and see every day in terms of neglected service delivery, the protests that started in Tunisia will determine the future of South Africa. [Interjections.] Neither the ANC, nor the Democratic Alliance nor the Congress of the People will stop that wave of change fuelled by disillusioned and marginalised citizens of this country. Every elected representative and government official must realise that the moment of truth is here. The report and recommendations of the visit to the Free State must be a defining moment whereby government says, "We hear you and we will act swiftly." I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Deputy Chairperson, hon Chairperson, Premier Dr Mkhize, President Jacob Zuma in absentia, hon members of this august House and our delegates from Salga, let us jointly and severally take off our hats in saluting the members of the National Council of Provinces for the sterling work that they have done in the Free State province during the programme of Taking Parliament to the People in the week of 15 to 19 November 2010. We have read the report and it is indeed very comprehensive. It shows that our public representatives left no stone unturned.
I am encouraged by the fact that during the opening ceremony all the guest speakers expressed themselves differently, but they were all in agreement about the fact that South Africa is a democratic unitary state and that public participation and involvement is at the core of our democratic government. They further emphasised the fact that intergovernmental relations is the glue that keeps the three spheres of government together in line with the theme Enhancing Co-operative Government and Intergovernmental Relations. Indeed, the three spheres of government were under one roof. It is critically important that whilst we interact in that manner and make commitments, we should also monitor and evaluate the implementation of our commitments so as to avoid turning our debates into ordinary talk-shops without tangible results or outcomes.
Furthermore, the National Council of Provinces' activity is a direct continuation of what was termed as a call to the Congress of the People in 1955, which culminated in the formulation of the Freedom Charter. Our liberation forefathers laid down a well-designed pattern.
The people of the Free State province from all walks of life have spoken and their leaders have listened to their genuine concerns and grievances as expressed during the public hearings. The people took us to Parliament or legislatures through their secret vote and in turn the National Council of Provinces takes Parliament to the people. Certainly, this is a symbolic relationship that exists between us as public representatives and the voters.
The National Council of Provinces' report clearly demonstrates the fact that challenges that are being experienced by the people of the Free State are not unique to them. For instance, challenges of poor road infrastructure; inadequate provision of electricity; crippling unemployment, especially among the young people; abject poverty; housing problems; poor conditions of water treatment facilities; crime and so forth are also manifest in all provinces. It should be encouraging to all and sundry that the governing party is really doing its best within the available limited resources.
It should be appreciated that the responsible MEC and councillors during the National Council of Provinces outreach programme were given an opportunity to reply to the submissions of the people and made commitments, especially in areas of provision of basic services such as water, electricity, housing and local economic development. The NCOP should ensure that it monitors the implementation of those resolutions and commitments.
Furthermore, it is critically important on the land issue that the national Ministry for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, should really assist the municipalities, Salga and the demarcation board in attending to the concerns that were raised by the communities around demarcation processes. Those issues have the potential to cause havoc in various provinces.
I fully concur with hon Adv Mopeli, the chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, that the government should fast-track the implementation of section 20 of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003, which provides for various national and provincial departments to allocate roles and functions to traditional leaders and traditional councils whilst the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act provides for participation of traditional leaders in the area of municipal councils.
We need to monitor, on a regular basis, compliance with these pieces of legislation because they are key to fostering co-operative governance and we certainly need to improve the efficacy of the traditional leadership institution. We do not pay lip service in this regard.
We should draw inspiration from the following first cardinal clause of the Freedom Charter, which stipulates that:
The people shall govern! Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws; all people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country; the rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of race, colour or sex; all bodies of minority rule, advisory boards, councils and authorities shall be replaced by democratic organs of self-government.
The ANC of Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and many others is continuing to implement this fundamental clause, which is also enshrined in our democratic Constitution, which contains the internationally and continentally enviable Bill of Rights. I thank you very much. [Applause.]
Thank you, hon Deputy Chairperson, hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon members of the NCOP, hon members of the Free State provincial legislature, hon members and special delegates.
Modulasetulo, ke tsent?hit?we sekolo ke baruti ba kereke ya Roma. Bjale, gant?i ge ke etla mo NCOP, ke bona okare ke a rutullwa ka gore ga se nke ka bona temokrasi ya go bethana ka ditulo e sa le e e ba nna. [Disego.] Eup?a lehono mo re bot?wa ge e le gore mmu?o wa ANC o dira seo se bit?wago "pseudo democracy". Eup?a nna e sa le e e ba nna, ga se nke ka bona ANC e palelwa ke go swara khonferentshe ya yona. Ba bangwe ba bao ba bolelago ditaba t?e ke kgale re ba emet?e gore mohlomongwe e tla re ka le lengwe la mat?at?i ra ba hwet?a ba swere ya bona khonferentshe, moo ba tlo go bouta ka dipampiri t?a diboutu gore re kgone go hwet?a khonferentshe ya bona e t?welet?e.
Ka se sebaka ke rata go gopot?a ba bangwe ba Ntlo ye bao ba bolelago gore batho ke kgale ba se na dintlo ebile ba na le mengwaga ye 70 gore mmu?o wa ANC o na le mengwaga ye 15 fela. Bjale, ge motho yo a nago le mengwaga ye 70 a lla ka gore ga a na ntlo, se se ra gore mengwageng ye 55 ye a e phet?ego o be a se na ntlo. Se gape se ra gore ANC e tseleng ya go thu?a batho gore ba hwet?e dintlo le ditsela t?a go kgona go fihla mo ba dulago gona ka ge se e le seo se diraget?ego mengwageng ya go feta ge re be re sa le ka fase ga kgatelelo ye kgolo ya mmu?o wa kgale wa kgethologanyo. (Translation of Sepedi paragraphs follows.) [Chairperson, I attended a Catholic school. When I am in the NCOP, I deem it contrary to what I have learnt. Never in my life have I seen such a democracy where people fight each other with chairs. [Laughter.] Today we are told that the ANC-led government is practising what is called "pseudo- democracy". I have never seen the ANC failing to hold its conference. We have been hoping to see if some of the people who talk about these things will one day hold their own conference where they will cast their votes successfully on ballot papers.
At this point in time I would like to remind some members in this House, who keep on complaining that people don't have houses, that most of those people are 70 years old, while the ANC-led government is only 15 years old. It is obvious that a 70-year-old person lived for 55 years without a house. This means that the ANC is in the process of building houses for the people, as well as the necessary infrastructure, which they did not have during the apartheid regime.]
Hon Deputy Chairperson, it is indeed an honour and privilege, for and on behalf of the provincial legislature of Limpopo, for us to address this hon House, the National Council of Provinces, on this occasion of the debate of Taking Parliament to the People, a programme that was undertaken from 15 to 19 November 2010, in the Free State province.
It was indeed prudent and contextually relevant that this House saw it fit to have as the theme of that gathering "All Spheres of Government Working Together to Speed Up the Delivery of Services", focusing, amongst other things, on the following: co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations, provision of and accelerating service delivery, improvement of the health profile of our citizens, intensifying the fight against crime and corruption, and building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities. This process was indeed indicative of the commitment of the present government, as led by the ANC: The people shall govern!
The democratic process as provided through the Constitution of the Republic does not merely end at the polls. It is a process that also ensures that the input of our people goes deep into the decision-making processes at all levels of government.
One of the most important tenets of our democracy is that inter and intragovernmental relations should be seamlessly linked, and that we should at all times avoid and ensure that none of us work in silos. It is therefore of the utmost importance that all spheres of government should heed the call for co-operative governance. Working together we can do more!
The Free State province and the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality in particular, is a vastly rural and poverty-stricken area, as acknowledged by the hon Councillor, Dr B E Mzangwa. The interventions made by the NCOP in this regard will go a long way in trying to address and redress the imbalances that were caused by the monstrous apartheid regime against the black majority of this country.
Our people have said, time and time again, that it is only the ANC that has been able to appreciate and provide solutions in tandem with the masses of our people for the betterment of our lives.
We must also indicate that, some time in May, we will be going to the polls. We want to call upon our masses to come in their numbers, and to come and vote correctly at the polls. They know what voting correctly is. I wouldn't want to indicate that, but their organisation is the organisation of Comrade Mandela; the organisation of Comrade Tambo and many others of our people.
Rural areas in our country have, as a way of life, developed a system of traditional leadership. [Interjections.] It is encouraging that I hear voices in this particular House that relate to issues that are happening elsewhere in Egypt, Israel, and probably some of these people should be reminded ...
You are confused!
... that the apartheid regime has been supported by other countries elsewhere. Some of the dictators that today are being dealt a blow by the masses of the people have been running together in cahoots with the apartheid regime. [Applause.] Therefore, we, as the ANC, are encouraging democracy to reign in those particular countries.
We will be one of the first organisations that would encourage people to take over government and take it into their own hands. [Interjections.] As I indicated, rural areas in our country have, as a way of life, developed a system of traditional leadership.
What about Zimbabwe? Why don't you relate to Zimbabwe? This is a contradictory statement!
Their dealings with our communities have at all times ensured that traditional leadership is involved and encouraged to participate fully, particularly at the level of Taking Parliament to the People.
It comes as no surprise, taking into account that at the historic moment in 1912, during the formation of the ruling party, the traditional leadership was at the forefront.
We have had intense interactions with the people of the Free State over a week. There was indeed good publicity around the event. Public interest was at its level best. Deliberations were done by the people and site visits were done by members in order to directly acquaint themselves with the situation.
At Diyatalawa, we experienced first-hand how partnership between communities, and in this instance a typical rural community and government, could yield good results. The community in this rural area has been able to build a good school that has all the elements of professionalism and good workmanship. Although, the school had not been finalised, it left one with a sense of dj vu.
In the vicinity, a housing project and a farming project are in the process of finalisation. I hope the Free State people have already finalised those particular issues. Thank you. [Applause.] [Time expired.]
Hon Chairperson, Members of the House and distinguished guests, our Taking Parliament to the People programme is a commitment to ensure that our communities have access to deepening participatory democracy and a people-centred government. Through the Taking Parliament to the People programme our people have the power to hold public representatives and public servants accountable in a constructive manner to ensure access to social services.
In this regard, members of the NCOP should not just conduct the programme as directed by section 72 of the Constitution, but on a continuous basis seek to meet the people's needs and aspirations through a mutual connection with them, with the purpose of alleviating poverty and accelerating service delivery.
Our movement declared this year a year for consolidating people's power for the national democratic society as we move towards 100 years of selfless people's struggle. As indicated in our January 8 Statement, we must make the decisive shift to a meaningful transformation and implement a programme that will ensure that the fruits of our political liberation are shared amongst all our people.
Our Fourth Parliament is expected to be more effective with regard to the Taking Parliament to the People programme. This is so in the context of transforming Parliament towards the notion of an activist Parliament. As Members of Parliament we need to have a shared understanding of what constitutes this activist Parliament.
From the Freedom Charter to the Reconstruction and Development Programme, RDP, until the present juncture, our movement has regarded health as a priority. It remains a basic need for our people and therefore it has been enshrined in our Constitution. What is critical is that we ensure that the majority of our people have access to quality health care, particularly the youth, women and children and people with disabilities.
We have never regarded health as a commodity and it should not be treated as such. Section 27(1) of the Constitution states that:
1) Everyone has the right to have access to -
a) health care services; including reproductive health care; b) sufficient food and water; and c) social security ...
The ANC seeks to ensure the necessary funding and delivery of health services for an efficient, equitable and sustainable health system. This is premised on the principle of the right to health, social solidarity and universal coverage. In 2010, all provinces vigorously promoted and conducted male circumcision, with KwaZulu-Natal taking the lead under the stewardship of the king himself.
In 2011 it has been reported that the Department of Health awarded a tender for the supply of antiretroviral medicines to the value of R4,2 billion over two years. This has resulted in savings of R4,7 billion which will enable the health sector to place more people on ARVs. Given our renewed campaign, we have made substantial progress in the fight against HIV and Aids. Communities in Phuthaditjhaba have attested to those successes and efforts.
In the 2011 state of the nation address, Comrade President Zuma proposed that this year the health sector will emphasise the appointment of appropriate and qualified personnel to the right positions. Our observation with the Taking Parliament to the People of the Free State confirmed some gaps in the area. The President seemed to be informed when he made the commitment to address them in his state of the nation address.
Our movement places Home Affairs as one of the key organs of the state in promoting constitutional multiparty democracy. Issuance of identity documents seeks to make our multiparty democracy vibrant and enable our people to access basic services. In a multiparty democracy the state becomes an important institution. It seeks to represent competing parties and individuals. Our Constitution is firm on citizens' right to vote. You know how we have struggled for the fundamental right of all citizens to exercise their right to vote for the government of their choice.
Our Taking Parliament to the People programme has revealed that some buildings of Home Affairs are located in awkward places, particularly for people with disabilities and the rural masses. We need to change this difficulty.
Our government is committed to expanding the child support grant to children over 14 years of age. We are committed to ensuring that in the next few years significant numbers of children from poor households aged between 15 and 18 years will benefit from the child support grant. We acknowledge that South Africa aspires to be a developmental state and not a welfare state; hence innovative means should be created to ensure that our people are financially self-reliant. The Free State communities have largely benefited from all these endeavours.
Last year we made a commitment to ensure that the girl-child should have equal access and opportunity to education and to minimise the dropout rate among girls. The South African Schools Act of 1996 made schooling compulsory for all children for a period of 10 years. It stated that there should be no discrimination between boys and girls. We then called for creative ways to empower the girl-child.
The president of the ANC Women's League argued that the Take a Girl-Child to Work campaign is one of many ways of achieving those goals, and that if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. We are still committed to those broader principles. Again the Free State visit is a good example of the work we have done on this front.
President Zuma stated that this year our focus on basic education is going to be on the Triple T - Teachers, Textbooks and Time. He reiterated the call that teachers should be at school, in class, on time, and teaching for at least seven hours a day. There is a renewed focus on higher education to expand access, especially for children of the poor, by providing loans and bursaries for qualifying final year students.
In conclusion, we must strengthen the Taking Parliament to the People programme for the benefit of our democracy. Popular participation of our people in governance could lead to greater transformation towards the goal of a better life for all to ensure a united democratic prosperous society. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mev A MARAIS (Wes-Kaap): Agb Adjunkvoorsitter, agb Sesele, die Speaker van die provinsiale wetgewer in die Vrystaat, het met insette verwys na die verskillende denkwyses rondom dienslewering voor 1994 en hoe die effek daarvan vandag nog gevoel word. Dit is daarom belangrik dat daar nie bloot net gekyk word na hoe om die huidige probleme op te los nie, maar ook na hoe om te verseker dat die besluite wat geneem word om die probleme aan te pak nie onnodige uitdagings in die toekoms tot gevolg sal h nie.
Dit verg verantwoordelike leiers wat hulself aanspreeklik en verantwoordbaar hou tot die gemeenskap wat hulle dien en wat binne die oppergesag van die reg funksioneer.
Vanuit die openbare verhore is dit skokkend om te sien hoe erg daar 'n gebrek aan dienslewering op verskeie terreine is. Die rimpeleffek hiervan word gevoel, nie net deur die verskeie departemente nie, maar meer belangrik het dit ook 'n daadwerklike nadelige effek op mense se lewens.
'n Voorbeeld hiervan is die gebrek aan padinfrastruktuur. As paaie ontoeganklik is vir voertuie, beteken dit ook dat nooddienste, ambulanse, brandweer- en beskermingsdienste nie betyds by mense kan uitkom nie. Mense met gestremdhede geniet ook nie dieselfde geleenthede as ander nie omdat hulle nie voldoende toegang het nie.
Die oplossing wat voorgestel word vir die spesifieke probleem is gereelde instandhouding deur die onderskeie verantwoordelike departmente. Gereelde instandhouding verg nie net die samewerking en kordinering van die verskillende departemente op die die regte tyd nie, maar ook voortdurende politieke wilskrag om te verseker dat probleme aangepak word.
Wanneer ? mens kyk na gesondheidsdienslewering is dit 'n probleem wat noodlottige gevolge kan h. In wyk 9 is daar geen kliniek in die gebied nie. Mense word nie net van hul toegang tot basiese gesondheidsorg ontneem nie, maar ook van die moontlikheid om proaktief te kan optree om hul algemene gesondheid te verbeter.
Klinieke sowel as streekshospitale sukkel met die bestryding van die MIV/Vigs-pandemie. Op die grondvlak blyk dit 'n bestuursprobleem te wees, terwyl dit by die streekshospitaal blyk 'n vraag-en-aanbod-probleem te wees, waar hulle sukkel om aan die vraag na 'n diens van 24 uur per dag in sekere mediese dissiplines te voldoen.
Onvoldoende personeel of oneffektiewe personeel, soos in wyk 6 in Harrismith, waar gesondheidspersoneel nie toegewyd is nie en net tot 12h30 werk in plaas van normale werksure, is onaanvaarbaar en ongehoord. Dit is onaanvaarbaar, want hulle is nie effektief tot diens van die gemeenskap nie. Dit is 'n ongehoorde vlak van dienslewering vir enige gemeenskap.
Die voortdurende marginalisering van minderheidsgroepe, veral mense met gestremdhede, moet beveg word deur die Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling met 'n interdepartementele aanslag. Dit is skandelik dat mense met gestremdhede nie toegang het tot regeringsgeboue nie, dat hulle verder gemarginaliseer word wanneer dit kom by werkgeleenthede en dat hul behoefte aan vervoer nie op 'n afdoende manier aangepak word nie.
In 'n samelewing is gelyke toegang en gelyke geleenthede net so belangrik soos gelyke regte. Dieselfde geld vir geslagsgelykheid. In 'n bevolklng van 49 000 mense is daar slegs agt vroulike polisiebeamptes. So 'n situasie maak dit moeilik, veral vir vrouens, om misdade van 'n sensitiewe en persoonlike aard te rapporteer.
Verskeie beloftes word deurentyd gemaak in reaksie op die probleme wat openbaar gemaak is. Dit is belangrik om voortdurend aan te dring nie net op die beloftes wat gemaak is nie, maar ook op die vordering daarmee; dat die prosesse wat die beloftes voorafgaan, korrek is; dat die finansiering van die projekte deursigtig is sodat ander projekte nie van geld ontneem word of benadeel word nie; en dat tenderprosesse reg geskied om korrupsie te voorkom.
Tydens die President se onlangse staatsrede het hy 'n beroep gedoen om mense aan te stel met die toepaslike vaardighede op die toepaslike vlakke. Dit mag nie gebeur dat raadslede familielede in poste aanstel nie, ongeag hul ervaring of kwalifikasies. Effektiewe en doeltreffende bestuur kan aangespoor word deur die groot hoeveelheid vakatures te vul met mense wat vir die doel geskik is.
Daar is geleenthede wat onderbenut word. Die moontlikhede van private vennootskappe om die doeltreffende ontwikkeling van vaardighede en bemagtiging teweeg te bring, moet nie onderskat word nie. 'n Voorbeeld hiervan is die Departement van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye se vennootskap met 'n bekende kettingwinkel as afsetpunt vir produkte wat deur die Diyatalawa-landbougemeenskap gekweek word.
Gemeenskapsamewerking moet nagestreef word. Die volhoubaarheid van sulke programme vereis dit. Die beskerming van openbare geriewe teen vandalisme is in die beste belang van die gemeenskap om die optimale nut uit fasiliteite te verkry.
Gemeenskapsamewerking, private belegging en die herbou van die sosiale weefsel kan net plaasvind wanneer daar 'n regering aan bewind is wat bewys dat hulle ernstig is oor hul gemeenskap, ernstig is oor verantwoordbaarheid, en ernstig is oor dienslewering. Daar moet 'n regering wees wat verantwoordelike, "fit for purpose", oftewel doelgeskikte mense aanstel om die gemeenskap te dien, wat aan die gemeenskap verantwoordbaar is en binne die oppergesag van die reg funksioneer. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mrs A MARAIS (Western Cape): Hon Deputy Chairperson, hon Sesele, the Speaker of the Free State provincial legislature referred by way of input to the various schools of thought around service delivery prior to 1994, and how the effect thereof is still being felt today. It is therefore important not only to look at how we can solve current problems, but also to look at how to ensure that the decisions taken to address these problems do not result in unnecessary challenges in the future.
This requires responsible leaders who hold themselves accountable to the community they serve and who function within the supreme authority of the law.
It is shocking to learn from the public hearings how serious the lack of service delivery is in various fields. The ripple effect of this is not only felt in the different departments, but more importantly, it is having a detrimental effect on people's lives.
An example of this is the lack of road infrastructure. When roads are inaccessible to vehicles, this also means that emergency services, ambulances, fire and rescue services cannot reach people in time. People with disabilities also don't enjoy the same opportunities as others, because they have insufficient access.
The proposed solution to this specific problem is regular maintenance by the various departments responsible. Regular maintenance not only requires co-operation from and co-ordination with the different departments at the right time, but also a sustained political will to ensure that problems are addressed.
Looking at health service delivery, this is a problem that could have fatal consequences. There are no clinics in the vicinity of ward 9. People are not only denied access to their basic health care, but also to the opportunity of acting proactively in improving their general state of health.
Clinics as well as district hospitals are struggling to combat the HIV/Aids pandemic. At grass-roots level it appears to be a management problem, while at the level of district hospitals it appears to be a supply-and-demand problem, where they are struggling to meet the demands of delivering a service for 24 hours a day in certain medical disciplines.
Insufficient or ineffective staff members, such as in ward 6 in Harrismith, where health staff are not dedicated and only work until 12h30 instead of normal working hours, depict something unacceptable and unprecedented. This is unacceptable, because they are effectively not at the service of the community. This is an unprecedented level of service delivery for any community.
The continued marginalisation of minority groups, especially people with disabilities, must be combated by the Department of Social Development by way of an interdepartmental approach. It is a shame that people with disabilities have no access to government buildings, that they are further marginalised when it comes to job opportunities, and that their transport requirements are not effectively addressed.
Equal access and equal opportunities are just as important as equal rights in a society. The same applies to gender equality. In a population of 49 000 people there are only eight female police officers. Such a situation makes it difficult, especially for women, to report crimes of a sensitive and personal nature.
Various promises keep being made in reaction to the problems that have been uncovered. It is important to insist constantly not only on the promises that have been made, but also upon progress made; that the processes preceding these promises are correct; that funding of projects is transparent so that other projects are not deprived of money and are not disadvantaged; and that tender processes are properly followed in order to prevent corruption.
During the President's recent state of the nation address he made an appeal for the appointment of people with relevant skills at suitable levels. Councillors should not be appointing family members to posts, irrespective of their experience or qualifications. Effective and efficient management can be promoted by way of filling the large number of vacancies with persons who are fit for the purpose.
There are opportunities that are being underutilised. The opportunity for private partnerships to bring about effective skills development and empowerment should not be underestimated. An example of this is the partnership of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries with a well-known chain store as drop-off point for the products that are cultivated by the Diyatalawa agricultural community.
Community collaboration should be pursued. The sustainability of such programmes requires this. The protection of public spaces from vandalism is in the best interest of the community in order to obtain optimal benefit from these facilities. Community collaboration, private investment and the reconstruction of the fabric of society can only take place when there is a government in charge that proves to be serious about its community, serious about accountability, and serious about service delivery. There should be a government that appoints responsible people who are fit for the purpose of serving the community, that is accountable to the community, and that functions within the supreme authority of the law. [Applause.]]
UMntwana M M M ZULU: Phini likaSihlalo wale Ndlu namalungu ale Ndlu ahloniphekile, bab'umnumzane uMahlangu, ukuthatha iPhalamende liye kubantu kusiza indlela yokusebenza nokunikeza abantu bonke izwi, kanye nethuba lokubuka indlela izinsiza ezifinyelela ngayo kubantu okungukuthi abantu bayakwazi yini ukusizakala kohulumeni bezifundazwe noma kohulumeni basekhaya.
Ukubaluleka kwale Ndlu sikubona ngokuba yenze zonke lezi zidingo, ihlanganisa yonke imikhakha emithathu kahulumeni waleli lizwe. Le Ndlu ikwazi ukuthatha ndawonye imikhakha emithathu kahulumeni iyihlanganise ibhekane nezidingo zabantu.
Mhlonishwa noma nje ngidumele ngokushiwo uNdunankulu wesifundazwe sikababomkhulu lapha KwaZulu-Natali ekhuluma ngezinto ebezikhulunywa kuleya Ndlu engale zikhulunywa abaholi abathile. Lezi zinto zinezincwadi ezifungelwe bengingafuni ukuba ngiyeke ukuba yinkosana yakaMpande noma ngomunye wezinkosana zendlu kaMpande ngingene ezindabeni ezingcolile zezombusazwe.
Ngenxa yokuthi ngiphoxwa yisimo ukuthi ngingene kukho, ikhansela uMavundla ophethe isifunda okuthiwa yiBhambatha,uzazi kahle izinto ebezikade ziphikwa nguDokotela uMkhize. Umnumzane uMeshack Radebe wezokuThuthukiswa komPhakathi ukwazi ngamabizo akho lokhu, ngisho uMongameli wezwe! Mhlonishwa Mahlangu akukwazi ukuthi umuzi wenye indoda usha ubusuzobeka umbono kuyo ngento engahlangene nawe.
KwaZulu kwakungenziwa lokho. Ngisho obabomkhulu bethu thina balwa izimpi, kodwa kwakungasuki omunye umuntu azobatshela ukuthi kufanele benzeni. Akekho-ke ongebone ukuthi kulobo bugxobhogxobho obukhona ngeke kungakhonjwana ngezinhlamvu zamehlo. Mina ngiyihlonipha kakhulu le Ndlu ngoba obabomkhulu bonke balwa. Le Ndlu ngiyihloniphela ukuthi inakekele izifundazwe, imikhandlu yomasipala nohulumeni kaZwelonke ukuthi ziyalethwa yini izidingo zabantu.
Umhlonishwa uMkhize, uNdunankulu wami ngikhuluma kabi esehambile bekufuneka lezi zinto azishoyo kule Ndlu bekufuneka azikhuluma kwisifundazwe ngqo...[Ubuwelewele.]... kodwa-ke uma esezozikhuluma lapha kufuneka sikuphonsele inselele ngoba lezi zinto zifungelwe; uma-ke zifungelwe kumele zikhulunywe ngendlela.
Njengezithunywa ezimele izifundazwe kufuneka silethe izinhlupheko zabantu balezo zifundazwe, hhayi ukungcola kwezepolitiki ngoba kusha indlu nje, kukhona okuthile phakathi. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
IPHINI LIKASIHLALO WOMKHANDLU KAZWELONKE WEZIFUNDAZWE (Nkz T C Memela): Umntwana uZulu sizoyixoxa ekhaya, baba. Sizozilandela. (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Prince M M M ZULU: Deputy Chairperson of this House and hon members of this House, Mr Mahlangu, Taking Parliament to the People assists it in doing its work and gives people an opportunity to have a say and to view the way in which services are delivered to the people in regard to whether people are receiving services from the provincial and local governments.
The importance of this House is seen through performing all these tasks, incorporating all the three spheres of this country's government. This House is able to bring together all the three government spheres in order to address the people's needs.
Hon members, I am disappointed about what was said by the premier of my grandfather's province of KwaZulu-Natal, when he talked about issues raised by certain leaders in that House. These issues have affidavits; I didn't want to abandon my seniority as the Prince of the house of Mpande or one of the first-borns of the houses of Mpande and involve myself in dirty political affairs. I am compelled by the circumstances to get into them; Councillor Mavundla who is in charge of the Bhambatha region, knows well about the issues denied by Dr Mkhize. Mr Meshack Radebe of Social Development knows about all these issues, even the President of the country knows! Hon Mahlangu, it can't be proper that when another man's homestead is burning, you come and have an opinion about something which is none of your business.
In the olden days in KwaZulu that was not done. Even our grandfathers fought the wars, but no person could just come in and instruct them on what to do. It is clear then to everyone that in this conflict it is impossible that people are not going to be blaming one another. I respect this House because all my grandfathers fought. I respect this House and expect it to ensure that services are delivered to people by the provinces, local councils and national government.
I unfortunately mention all these things at a time when the hon Mkhize, my premier, has already departed, whereas all he said in this House, he should be saying directly to the province... [Interjections.]... but then, if he says them here we have to challenge them because these issues have sworn affidavits, hence they must be dealt with properly.
As representatives of the provinces, we must bring here the frustrations of the people of our provinces, not political dirt, because as the house burns, there is something inside. I thank you. [Applause.]
Prince Zulu, we will deal with these issues at home. We will follow up on them.]
Hon Deputy Chairperson, Chairperson and members, as we march towards the 2011 local elections, we are pleased to join in the debate and reflect on the initiative to take Parliament to the people and the report thereon and to foster closer links between politicians and the people. For us as executives in the provinces and municipalities, the report gives us an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and to confront the gaps in the service delivery chain.
The NCOP, in particular, plays a crucial role in forging coherent government for the country in that it is a platform for engagement to take place between national policy and legislative direction for the country. Indeed, the Taking Parliament to the People programme has given the NCOP a significant opportunity to promote dynamic interaction with provinces and municipalities, as a House bringing the NCOP closer to the provinces and municipalities
But, Deputy Chairperson, as indicated by Salga in our speech during that week, our greatest challenge as a government has been embracing the constitutional spirit and ethos of co-operative governance. Effective performance against our constitutional mandate requires a coherent and co- ordinated set of support initiatives among the spheres of government. The belief that we are one government is yet to be solidified in policy practice and implementation, as evidenced by the issues raised during that week. It is here that the legislative arm of the state plays a critical role in solidifying this culture in policy and legislation. We have spoken and written much on intergovernmental co-operation, but our policy and legislative practice often tell a different story.
The issues raised during the Taking Parliament to the People public hearings on local government matters, namely on roads, housing and land issues, are not new - and these are all concurrent functions. But it does highlight the interrelatedness of competencies between the spheres, necessitating a high degree of co-operation and synergy. The three-sphere system is a very complex system to operate, which results in inefficiencies, overlapping roles, long decision-making processes, weak information flows and the dispersal of public sector skills and experience within the state. Indeed, the ANC policy conference discussion document of 2007 noted then that:
The period of negotiations in 1991 defined the present form of government in South Africa. A decade of practice raises the question whether the form of state is still appropriate to the conditions prevailing in South Africa today. Practice also shows that in response to the concrete challenge of developing the country, the three-sphere system of government is in fact undergoing an evolution, some aspects of which have begun to transcend the existing form of state. In particular, the lessons of local government transformation have raised profound questions about the organisation and performance of the other two spheres of government.
In view of the 2011 local government elections and the key policy decisions which need to be made, we must revive the debate on the extent to which the powers and functions designated to local government enable it to effectively and efficiently meet its developmental mandate. There remains, in our view, a fundamental mismatch between the notion of developmental government and its powers.
As far back as 2001, the powers and functions debate was acknowledged at a special President's Co-ordinating Council, PCC, workshop held on 14 December 2001. At that meeting the PCC resolved that in order to build strong local government, its status must be enhanced within a stable co- operative governance framework. In giving effect to this objective, the current distribution of functions, including the powers and functions of local government, must be reassessed.
Deputy Chairperson, it is 10 years later and while the local government turnaround strategy promises to address these issues, the legislature must ensure that the policy framework and proposals put forward in fact meet our constitutional imperative and are ultimately conducive to efficient service delivery. Taking Parliament to the People is an important platform to gauge the extent of reforms needed to address the fundamental policy issues.
To some degree, the issues raised during that week also expose the weaknesses of communication between us and other spheres of government as well as within our communities. As government, it is our collective responsibility to moderate unrealistic policy expectations. Continuing to set abstract targets and policies, which apply across the board, irrespective of local government's actual capacity to deliver them, is a formula for unrealistic and unmet promises that will further undermine public confidence in local government. Simplifying or streamlining regulatory frameworks, policy goals and reporting systems wherever possible would also go a long way towards making things easier for municipalities to deliver on our mandate.
In conclusion, the Taking Parliament to the People programme was another successful engagement and is becoming a critical platform to gauge the gains made to date by highlighting some of the fundamental constraints hampering government in our quest to effect development. In the main, if we can foster a culture of oneness and support amongst the spheres, rather than focusing our energies on turf battles, it will go a long way to ensuring that we give effect to our developmental mandate. The legislative arm of the state plays an important role in ensuring that this culture is entrenched in the executive actions of their respective spheres.
Deputy Chairperson, we remain committed to working with the NCOP and our partners in government and the sectors to ensure an integrated approach to service delivery so that the developmental vision of local government, so eloquently articulated in the White Paper on local government, is realised.
Through our interaction and representation of our membership, Salga will continue to engage the national legislative process to ensure the institutional integrity of local government on the one hand and the efficacy of service delivery on the other. I thank you very much.
Hon Deputy Chairperson, Chairperson of the NCOP, hon premiers in absentia, MECs present, hon permanent delegates of the House, Salga representatives, distinguished guests, firstly, I must state that, as members of this House, we must read the NCOP Rules thoroughly. The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal is a member of this House and a leader of the ANC. [Applause.]
When the NCOP held its programme of Taking Parliament to the People in the city of Phuthaditjhaba, Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality in the Free State province, it wanted to give the people of Phuthaditjhaba, and the Free State as a whole, an opportunity to make their voices heard and to have government committing itself to the delivery of quality services in areas that need serious intervention. The aim of our visit to Phuthaditjhaba was to promote public participation in parliamentary affairs as required by section 72 of the Constitution, as well as to assert the role of the NCOP in carrying out its oversight function.
It is now three months since our visit to the Free State. Today we are considering and debating a report that will be used as a tool to unblock the blockages of service delivery in the province of the Free State and Phuthaditjhaba in particular.
As the NCOP, we can say that we have benefited from the various issues raised by the communities about the delivery of quality and sustainable services. This has certainly enriched our oversight role and focus. We are confident that this report will assist the NCOP and its committees when they prepare for the follow-up visit scheduled later this year, as the Chairperson of the NCOP has recently alluded.
I will confine my input in this debate to issues of agriculture and rural development. Rural development is one of the five key priorities of our government. It was the main subject that dominated the programme during the public hearings and site visits. The President of the country called on the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform during his address to the NCOP in Phuthaditjhaba to revive some agricultural projects related to the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme, ISRDP, which has faltered. We are happy that the provincial department of agriculture and rural development of the Free State has committed that the agricultural projects would receive immediate attention.
We have also noted the major breakthrough that the same department has made by aligning its work in rural development with the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. This programme was launched in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, specifically in the areas of Diyatalawa and Makholokoeng. Rural development and land reform is indeed on our own priority list when it comes to our oversight work. This is because it is the third of the ten strategic priorities of government in terms of Medium- Term Strategic Framework, MTSF, 2009-14.
The NCOP and its committees will be monitoring, among other things, the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme which is an important intervention towards providing solutions to challenges of service delivery. We believe that the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme should include, but not be limited to, the improvement of economic infrastructure; the development of access roads; and fencing for agriculture, including community gardens, for purposes of securing food production and ensuring that every family has food.
The report that we are considering today reflects that the people from the rural areas of Phuthaditjhaba wish to have access to the following services: access to water; electricity; irrigation systems; support for local economic development, LED, programmes, and information and communications technology, ICT, systems. It is a fact that these rural areas do not have many of these services. In fact, these facilities are associated with urban life and not with the needs of people, irrespective of where they reside. This must change otherwise we will have perpetual migration from rural to urban areas.
We have been told that there are some developments that have taken place in areas of agriculture and rural development in Phuthaditjhaba since the NCOP visit in November. These developments are: co-ordination and implementation of the war on poverty, which the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has aligned and synergised with national practice; major work which has been undertaken in the area of rural development; food security, which has been promoted through the distribution of 10 680 seed packets; and 60 community gardens benefiting 655 participants have been established.
We are quite happy to learn about these interventions. The Freedom Charter declares that land shall be shared among those who work it. Therefore, there is no doubt that once rural areas are developed the exodus to cities will come to an end as rural areas will be appealing and self-sustaining.
In conclusion, the people of the Free State have spoken. We need to respond to their needs. In this regard, the NCOP made a number of recommendations which will require continuous monitoring to determine its impact on facilities and agricultural projects visited during the site visits. We must therefore facilitate the implementation of these recommendations and thus ensure that the people of rural Phuthaditjhaba and the surrounding areas lead the dignified lives that they deserve. Thank you. [Applause.]
Deputy Chair, I think I must just confess and say that it's quite interesting to participate in the debate, but being the last speaker in such an interesting debate is quite disempowering, because of the whole range of things that then get said in the process. It is for that reason, Deputy Chair and Chair of the Council, that I wish to put this speech of mine aside for a second. I think we need to deal with distortions, and correct things that are not said correctly.
I do not know where the hon Sinclair was when we undertook a vigorous programme of oversight, starting for instance with KwaZulu-Natal. I do not know whether he was part of the NCOP but hiding somewhere, because committees went back to KwaZulu-Natal, and made follow-ups. Therefore, to come, sit here and participate in such an important debate and begin to create an impression that we are grandstanding in front of the poor people and the working class, I think, shows you are not taking this House very seriously. So, it is very important that we correct that.
We went to the North West, making follow-ups, because if we leave these things unattended, they may end up in the files of the NCOP recorded as correct statements. We went back to the North West. I do not know where hon Sinclair was, whether he was in Taung where we did those follow-up visits, when we went back to our communities to check whether the commitments that were made by the departments, the Ministers, the MECs, and local municipalities happened.
I remember again, hon Sinclair, I think he was still a member of the ANC, when we went back to his own province, and that is the Northern Cape, when in actual fact that programme was a follow-up when we met with the people of the Northern Cape and looked at the report on issues that were taken up by the MEC, the Ministers and the municipalities. So, I think it is a distortion to be participating in this debate and begin to create an impression that we grandstand.
Again, why do we have to distort history? You want to lecture us on democracy, and quote one of the worst imperialists that this world has ever produced - Winston Churchill? What did he do for the world? What did he do to the poor of the world? The reason why he led the Allied forces against the fascism as advanced by Germany was in actual fact to protect the interests of the imperialists. That was the reason. He never did it in the best interests of the development of Africa. He didn't do that, and that is why even after the Second World War Africa did not benefit after that particular process under whose leadership the very same Winston Churchill, we are told, taught us about democracy. That is a distortion of history in itself.
I think it would not be fair to continue in the manner in which we are now. Yes, the ANC had said the people shall govern. We said that we would go out and educate our people about the kind of democracy that we want. Even when we took over power in 1994 we said ours is a constitutional democracy, and explained what shall define it. We even included in our Constitution that the President of the Republic shall only serve two terms. Now, how do you compare us with Egypt? How do you compare the President of South Africa with Hosni Mubarak? Where do you draw those conclusions? I think that is absolutely incorrect.
As I was listening to hon Sinclair at some point I got lost because he sounded like a real Marxist-Leninist, because he was beginning to lecture us around dialectal materialism, especially on the principle of quantity and quality. I was beginning to think, "Wow, did hon Sinclair join the SACP?" only to find out at the end that he was using that principle opportunistically to advance a particular ideological posture, and I do not think it is correct to agree with him on that particular matter.
There is no way that our democracy shall allow or degenerate to the point Egypt and Tunisia degenerated to. Our President has been very consistent throughout to say that our democracy shall allow people to demonstrate when they are not happy, and in actual fact he encouraged them to do so, but with responsibility. Do not destroy public property.
You have got the right - it is there in the Bill of Rights of South Africa and so forth. So, I really do not know where the hon Sinclair was.
Hon Abrahams, I would agree with you and take the point - you know these long holidays make us forget people's names - that the hon Watson said it was your maiden speech. I agree, but it is also important for us to check our history before we come to particular conclusions. If you had studied the history of Phuthaditjhaba or that particular area that we went to as the NCOP ... because it has always been a principle of the NCOP that when we go to provinces, we go to the poorest and the most disadvantaged areas, because that is where we think we can make an impact. That is exactly why we went to that particular area. For your information, history will teach that in actual fact, that area was neglected for many years as a self- governing territory. That is why we took over and removed those indunas and the so-called self-declared leaders and all that, because all they would do is to build stadiums, and ensure that they are bringing their people to those stadiums, and not address the fundamental socioeconomic conditions that our people are faced with. So, I just thought that it is important that we shouldn't lose sight of that particular history.
I think we have done very well, as the NCOP, in going out and ensuring that our people participate in all the activities and the life of the NCOP. It is for us now to further strengthen the kind of work that we have already done. There is a commitment that we have made. Yes, of course we went to the Free State; we listened to the people, and we will be going back. Committees will go back to the Free State to ensure that the commitments that were made are implemented by the provincial legislature of the Free State.
There is a very interesting issue, which I think needs to be treated as a matter of urgency. In one of the engagements we picked up that this piece of legislation that deals with the cross-border transportation and so forth is in actual fact disadvantaging the poor taxi operators between the border of Lesotho and the Free State. I am raising this in this debate so that it becomes a matter that we need to really make a follow-up on, and ensure that those people are really being taken care of and so forth. In conclusion, Chairperson, I can see your eyes are telling me something, let us just agree that at times anything that is untested is not a fact. Whether you have an affidavit or not, if it is not tested then it is not a fact. It will always be rumour there in the media, and we will treat it like that. For as long as it has not been tested in a court of law where the very same person who wrote that affidavit will stand up and say, "Yes, it is true; I agree with the contents of what I have signed for", it will remain a rumour. Therefore, Parliament cannot be used as a platform wherein rumour-mongering will be allowed. We can't do that. For that matter, we even proudly say it is in Hansard, but it is just a rumour. Thank you very much for the opportunity. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Report be adopted.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Report accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of Constitution.