We now come to the report for consideration as printed on the Order Paper. Just before I come to the names, I would like to welcome all the Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are present here. I'm very surprised at the attendance I see today in the House. Congratulations! [Applause.] It is not just Ministers; the provinces have attended very well today. This shows that we are going in the right direction.
Ministers and Deputy Ministers, this is your House. Whether invited or not, if you want to come and debate, you are allowed to participate in the debate of the House. Thank you very much. I now call upon the hon Mazosiwe to open the debate.
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister Mahlangu-Nkabinde, hon Deputy Ministers, members of the NCOP and special delegates, I am privileged to take part in this very important debate, which speaks to the core of the mandate of the NCOP.
We initiated Provincial Week with the sole intention of ensuring that the NCOP continues to be informed by the perspectives of and issues facing local communities. We did this because we recognised that the NCOP can only succeed as an important institution of our democracy when its programmes and activities are fundamentally shaped by a perspective once shared by Prof Christina Murray when she said the NCOP should serve as:
... the primary expression of the democratic will of the people of South Africa to take government closer to the people.
Indeed, we established Provincial Week in order to ensure that we remained central to the issues facing our people in the provinces. Our role as the NCOP is to ensure that issues raised by provinces, particularly challenges in the nine provinces, also find expression in the government's response and programmes to move away from our divided past and build a prosperous South Africa.
Provincial Week was established in line with the provision of the Constitution that obligates the NCOP to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. Provincial Week also serves as one of the mechanisms initiated by our Council in order to ensure that provincial delegates interact with provinces and report back on their activities in the NCOP with the aim of obtaining new mandates on issues to be placed on the national agenda.
Provincial Week provides a forum for the exchange and sharing of ideas and progress that has been made around service delivery issues and challenges that are confronting the provinces in fulfilling their mandates.
As our response to a call to build an activist Parliament, we revised Provincial Week with the intention of ensuring that it serves as a crucial forum for the NCOP and provinces to establish collaborative approaches in seeking solutions.
We must say without any fear of contradiction that since its inception Provincial Week has proved to be a success in giving provincial delegates to the NCOP information about the needs of the people in the provinces. It has enabled the NCOP to contribute to effective government by ensuring that provincial and local concerns are recognised in national policy-making.
In our last Provincial Week, which took place from 6 to 10 September 2010, permanent delegates, members of provincial legislatures and representatives of local government and other role-players engaged in a programme focusing on issues of common interest. In doing so they have also undertaken various site visits, facilitated public participation, conducted public hearings and held meetings with communities in poor and vulnerable rural areas.
The report we are tabling today clearly narrates the issues raised by provinces and the communities that were visited by various delegations. In many instances the report tells the story of a nation at work to create a better South Africa. It shows the commitment of our government to advancing the lives of our people and ensuring development in the areas where our people live. Our people spoke passionately about the projects initiated by government to ensure development in their communities.
Some communities spoke about the progress that our government is making in the delivery of services. They spoke about renovations that had been done in clinics, schools and other government buildings. They spoke about government assistance in agricultural projects and support to emerging farmers, agricultural co-operatives and indigent people.
If one reads the report of the South African Institute of Race Relations about this government's progress thus far, one sees it is immense. When you talk about water, housing, electricity and infrastructural development, you find this government has delivered so much that no other government in this country will ever surpass it. The government led by the ANC is really serious about service delivery.
The report is there for members to read. I read it last night and I've been reading it throughout. The statistics about service delivery in the country are very clear. If you challenge it, you will be ashamed to discover that the ANC government has, in fact, delivered very many projects in this country. No other government - I repeat, no other government - has done it before in this country. [Applause.]
In some instances our people spoke about the challenges they faced in their daily lives. They urged us to ensure that government, particularly municipalities, responded to the issues that continue to make their lives difficult. They spoke about projects that have not been completed, delays in payments to the contractors, a lack of roads, a lack of appropriate documentation to access government services, and so on.
We are not afraid to talk about these things here, because our main focus is where there are serious challenges in service delivery. Therefore, we stand here proud that we are raising these issues for us to continually address them, so that our people on the ground are satisfied with government service delivery.
When one analyses and considers the Provincial Week report, it is evident that the challenges and problems that provinces and municipalities, as well as communities, are faced with are transversal and not new. Most of such challenges and problems are overwhelming in the poor and vulnerable areas.
President Zuma, in his state of the nation address on 10 February 2011, referred to many of the issues and challenges mentioned in the report when he said, and I quote: While many South Africans celebrate the delivery of houses, electricity or water, there are yet many others who are still waiting.
The legacy of decades of apartheid underdevelopment and colonial oppression cannot be undone in only 17 years.
But we are forging ahead, determined to achieve our mission of building a better life for all.
When one looks at this, one is reminded of the continued persecution of the Nazis worldwide by the Jews all over the world. It really shows that the problem confronted by the Jews then really was serious - they were killed, maimed and so forth by the Nazi regime.
The kind of challenge we are faced with in regard to the destruction that apartheid caused in this country is almost similar in proportion, because apartheid really destroyed lives. Look at the human settlement patterns in this country and you will realise that the problem is far from over - we still have a lot of work to do. If you look at the economic balance of communities in this country you, will again realise that the problem is very far from over.
As the NCOP we are heeding the call of the President to ensure that programmes to respond to the challenges facing our people are developed. We were indeed humbled by the feedback given to the various delegations by our people and it is now time to ensure that all the issues that they raised are responded to and followed up by our Council. We are indeed happy with the presence of the various Ministries today, because this will certainly make our task easier.
Almost all provinces raised certain institutional and intergovernmental challenges, as well as challenges at the administrative level relating to matters such as conferral of mandates to the NCOP, participation of provinces in the NCOP and vice versa, liaison and interaction, video conferencing and co-ordination of programmes.
By us enhancing and improving communication between provinces and the NCOP and the appointment of provincial liaison officers, these challenges have to a large extent been resolved. However, the NCOP should allow provinces to enrich the national legislative process and prevent provinces from becoming parochial. This could sustain provincial governments as they carry out the major national responsibility of transforming in key areas.
In conclusion, we want to indicate that the report we are tabling today will be sent to the Leader of Government Business at the national level and to provinces to follow up. Some of the communities we visited are not only destitute but also desperate in their cry for a better life and there is a need to ensure that they too enjoy the fruits of our freedom. It is our task and duty to ensure that we do not fail them. We are doing this because it is our firm belief that the NCOP must serve as a beacon of hope to help these communities end their hardships. The NCOP must ensure that the theme of Provincial Week, "Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services and the living conditions of our people", becomes a reality.
It is imperative that programmes and strategies be facilitated, developed and implemented to ensure that the challenges and the plight of our communities, as well as provincial issues, are not only dealt with in our debates but also addressed. As the NCOP we have a constitutional duty to ensure that mechanisms are in place for the implementation of recommendations in the report and to monitor compliance therewith.
We want to appeal to the relevant Ministers, departments and provinces, as well as municipalities, to immediately respond to the issues raised in the report. They must engage at all levels and tap into all programmes and initiatives, including the programmes and initiatives announced by the President in his state of the nation address, to ensure that we respond to the issues raised by our people. I thank you, Chairperson. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, members of the NCOP, provincial leadership, I am humbled by the opportunity to stand here and represent the Eastern Cape in the debate on the NCOP Provincial Week report under the theme: "Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services and the living conditions of our people."
The NCOP delegation practically demonstrated the integrated approach that brought together members from the NCOP, members of the provincial legislatures, MPLs, mayors, members of the executive council, MECs, and councillors. I think the first objective of the team - that is, to strengthen relations between the spheres of government - was met.
Cacadu District is the largest in the province and the various municipal areas in the district are scattered. However, the budget does not speak to the size of the district and there is therefore a need to refresh the information that is currently used to allocate funds for the Cacadu District Municipality.
In regard to health issues, the following centres were visited: Settlers Hospital, Humansdorp Hospital, Andries Vosloo Hospital and Midland Hospital in Graaff-Reinet.
Obviously, these hospitals also experience the problem of water shortages, which is a critical dilemma in the area. However, it is pleasing to note that in spite of challenges, services are not compromised, especially primary health care services. There is a shortage of staff, especially nurses, and more so for specialised services like choice of termination of pregnancy. In the case of Settlers Hospital, for instance, there is no dental service.
As we all know, there is a high vacancy rate countrywide of professionals in the Health department - doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Following Provincial Week, and in line with the President's call for the filling of critical vacant posts, the Eastern Cape has embarked on a programme. Currently 260 nurses are ready to be deployed from the province's Lilitha Nursing College to all areas, especially the rural areas that have a need, including Cacadu.
With regard to human settlements, the Sunday's River Valley, Blue Crane Route and Ikwezi Local Municipalities were visited. In the Sunday's River Valley Local Municipality the building process was put on hold due to issues of financial mismanagement, capacity and a lack of proper procedures. Although an integrated approach is already in place, as the Treasury, the department of local government and the municipality are working together, the NCOP delegation proposed a much more co-ordinated approach.
The Blue Crane Route Local Municipality has been hardest hit by the water shortage in the district, with drought adding to the dilemma. The water infrastructure is old and impacts negatively on the water quality. Once more, an integrated approach, specifically an intervention by the Public Works programme, will assist the municipalities to deal with challenges related to job creation.
Ikwezi Local Municipality is internationally known for mohair production, but factors that include water shortage, poor quality of houses, etc, hinder the process. However, since the visit of the NCOP, the municipality has intervened on the issue of community lighting, and master lights have been erected.
On social development, the delegation visited the Port Alfred Diversion and Mentoring Programme, the Eagles Wings shelter in Jeffreys Bay and a developmental foster care centre in Port Alfred. Most of the centres, especially the one dealing with the youth on the wrong side of the law, do not enjoy the publicity that they deserve. Sometimes even the justice system is reluctant to release young offenders to the centre. More needs to be done to raise awareness of the programmes. The proposal that was put to the centres was that funds that had not been used in the previous financial year should be used to raise awareness of their programmes.
In conclusion, water is the most difficult and critical area for the entire district of Cacadu. The Cacadu District Municipality is not a water services authority. This is the only district in the Eastern Cape that is not a water services authority, in spite of a lack of capacity within local municipalities. The Eastern Cape supports the report. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Ministers present, all those present from the various provinces, hon members, in order to ensure that provinces play an integral role in the activities of the NCOP and that provincial delegates continue to keep abreast of developments in their provinces, the NCOP launched the practice of Provincial Week.
Provincial Week was established in line with the Constitution, which obligates the NCOP to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. Provincial Week provides a forum for the exchanging and sharing of ideas on progress around service delivery issues and challenges that confront the provinces.
During Provincial Week the permanent delegates of each province meet with various structures in their provinces, including the premiers, sometimes, the members of the executive council, various departments and provincial legislatures, as well as local government leaders and the SA Local Government Association, Salga. Provincial delegates, together with their provincial counterparts, also undertake oversight visits to communities or projects to ensure that the needs and challenges of the people are met and certain things are implemented. Our delegation, which visited the Free State province for the period from 7 to 10 September 2010, joined various portfolio committees in conducting oversight visits in the Thabo Mofutsanyana, Xhariep and Motheo districts.
Some of the sites visited by the various committees included district hospitals; various clinics; daycare centres; road, housing and construction projects; sewerage pump projects; tourism centres; and stock theft units. The various committees heard of many challenges, which have been noted, such as the quality of the work carried out, theft, vacant posts, shortages of nurses and doctors, shortages of medicines, etc. Meetings were also held at the Free State legislature, and various proposals and recommendations have been formulated and forwarded to the department and persons concerned.
The following were some of the challenges experienced during the Free State visits and some of these were my own experiences. Firstly, since the Free State delegation comprised three teams, which visited various sites, some committees had to wait for long periods before all the vehicles had returned, to change kombis before the next site visit. Secondly, what is needed is better involvement of Salga in portfolio committees, particularly on matters of co-operative governance and housing, as well as in other committees where needed. Thirdly, there should be better communication between ward committees and councillors. And, fourthly, there should be better support by the respective MECs and heads of departments, HODs, on the visits to various sites.
However, in this regard, MEC Ms Tsopo, to mention one, was very active with regard to matters relating to her department, and I must thank her.
The Auditor-General's report states that the Free State municipalities are amongst the worst in South Africa. More attention must be given to service delivery by municipalities in the various provinces.
The Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Sicelo Shiceka, recently stated that a good example of a municipality that had been turned around was the Kou-Kamma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape. However, the Naledi Local Municipality in the Free State, for example, still has raw sewerage running down the streets. It has a continuous water shortage and, in fact, Naledi Local Municipality owes the Bloem Water Board some R18 million. Roads are in a very poor state. The billing service for the few services rendered by the municipality has collapsed. So, no one pays their accounts anymore.
The NCOP is supposed to spend 70% of its time on oversight and the remaining 30% on legislation to strengthen the use and importance of Provincial Week. The NCOP must recognise that in order to fulfil its 70% objective, it must have a good working relationship with the provinces and local government. It must also ensure that provincial delegates interact with their provinces as provincial ambassadors of the NCOP, rather than as party representatives. I thank you.
Chairperson, hon members, let me immediately confess that it has been a lifelong ambition to speak in the NCOP and when I saw that we were being ushered into the Old Assembly Chamber, I was quite devastated. Clearly, there is a higher power at work here, trying to prevent me from giving this speech in the NCOP Chamber! Hon Chairperson, I don't know what that higher power is, but it is quite powerful. Nevertheless, let me thank you, Chairperson, and hon members, for this opportunity. I convey greetings to you.
I cannot but agree wholeheartedly with the Acting Chief Whip of the House when he talks about this House being a principal instrument of our democracy. I think all of us, as members from all political parties and all political persuasions, must reflect on the events that are unfolding every day to the north of us in countries where institutions such as this are absent. Then only will we really appreciate the true worth of the various voices and the expression that is allowed to pervade the institutions of government in this country in a free way, without us being persecuted, and in a constitutional democracy that has as its very engine room the rule of law. I think it is apt that we reflect this. Of course, it is also important that those of us who occupy certain positions in the executive are called to account to this august House for the performance of our departments. Therefore, to me Provincial Week is an excellent innovation by this House and I really wish to congratulate you on that.
I do have a few observations, though, and you will excuse my making them before I delve into those aspects in the report that pertain to the Home Affairs department.
Chairperson, the report - all of 195 pages long - is dated 6-10 September. One would imagine that that is when the visits actually took place. The report appeared in the ATC on 23 February, from what we could establish. Now, that is last week. Certainly, from my department's point of view, we received the report at precisely 1pm on 24 February, which was on Thursday afternoon last week. This left us with literally two working days within which to deal with the various aspects in the report. Happily for us, there are not many issues pertaining to Home Affairs in the report. I would imagine that those departments where there are many issues would require far more time to deal with the report. Incidentally, as my Minister had to be in Pretoria today, I was given the report yesterday to deal with, as is the lot of Deputy Ministers.
Ideally, given the obvious time, effort and resources that have gone into this Provincial Week, one would want this House to expect as much information from us here as possible. To enable us to do that, we need to review how we process these reports in future, so that the maximum amount of benefit is derived from them. Of course, I am aware that this House operates with a limited amount of resources. I know well from my experience of these benches that just compiling a 195-page report is in itself a massive task.
I wonder if, for instance, one of the things we can do is - after these visits and in a short and pithy way - to correspond by way of e-mail or just snail mail with the department concerned about the general issues that have arisen in the various provinces relating to that department. This will enable the department - within a very short space of time and certainly not four months later - to respond to some of these issues.
From the point of view of service delivery, certainly a quicker response time by departments will leave ordinary South Africans with a very positive impression of these provincial visits. They would say that it was after the NCOP had arrived and heard their complaints that they saw action.
So, I do think that all of that is something that we need to seriously consider. If we as part of the executive can assist in order to do things better, we will be very open to those suggestions from you as well.
I leave these suggestions with you, hon Chairperson and hon members, in the hope that you will consider them in light of our common objective, which is ultimately to enhance service delivery to our people.
With your permission, Chairperson, I turn now to the issues that pertain very directly to the Department of Home Affairs. Before I do so, may I just take this opportunity to thank my dedicated staff and officials, who literally tried to work all night yesterday to get some of this information to us.
I wish to refer to those places in the report where reference is made to issues that pertain to the Department of Home Affairs. I now refer to clause 13.1(iii). In this regard, we are referring to a place called Gwede Village, which is located in the North West, in the region of Klerksdorp. The report says, and I quote:
Many of the workers are not South African citizens and are therefore reliant on permits from the Department of Home Affairs. Long delays, however, exist with the renewal of such permits and they are pleading for assistance.
Furthermore, specifically in relation to a farm called Springvale Farm next to Khuma Location it goes on to say:
Many people are not South African citizens and are therefore reliant on a permit from the Department of Home Affairs. Despite the fact that they have been living in South Africa for many years, they cannot get a South African passport and long delays exist with the issuing and renewal of permits.
In response, let me point out that I have spoken to the head of the provincial office in Klerksdorp. I am told that the specific area we are dealing with is huge, and the biggest activity there is mining. Quite a few individuals who work on the mines come from places like Lesotho and Mozambique. These are essentially what we know as migrant workers coming from other places into our country and working on the mines. At the moment the area is enormously depressed because, I am told, a number of mines are now closing, and clearly the social impact of that is quite devastating. Given that these are migrant workers and often people who have low skills, it doesn't come as a surprise that these individuals do not qualify for work permits. If indeed they are in our country, they are exempt - because most of them are SADC nationals - from having to get visas to come into South Africa.
What this regime does is to allow in any SADC national except, I believe, for those from Angola and the DRC at this stage, and perhaps Madagascar. Other than that, all of the SADC countries enjoy a visa exemption regime in South Africa. What that does is allow people to "sojourn". This is the word that is used in the legislation, and I am still trying to understand what the word means. I was told by somebody in the Cape that in Afrikaans there is a word that is used and may come very close to the word "sojourn", and that word is "jol" [have fun]. So, whichever way you want to understand the word "sojourn", good luck with finding an acceptable definition of the word in the dictionary.
People can essentially come into our country without having to purchase a visa at the border and are able to visit our country for about 90 days, after which they go back to their countries of origin. I am told that in this area what often happens is that these workers come in on the basis of this visa exemption, work for about 90 days, go back for two weeks and then come back to work. So, they are constantly moving to and fro.
Hon members, on the issue of people not getting South African passports if you are a foreigner you are not entitled to a South African passport. I hope that takes care of that particular issue.
The second issue that was raised pertains to the Gert Sibande District in the Piet Retief area in Mpumalanga province. I see that there are some very specific cases relating to specific individuals. I am not too au fait with the Rules of the House. So, I won't be using the individuals' names. When I speak to these issues I will just use the alphabet. The report in paragraph 15.1(vii) begins by saying that many of the residents are not in possession of the South African identity document or a birth certificate and are therefore unable to access social grants, housing benefits and other forms of assistance. It continues and says that one resident, Ms D, claims that she has been living in South Africa since 1960 and that all her children were born in South Africa. Yet, she and her children are unable to obtain ID documents. It goes on to say that one Mr M alleges that the Department of Home Affairs refuses to issue him with a South African ID document because he is unable to prove that he was born in South Africa. His mother apparently died when he was a child and he does not have a death certificate for her. He also alleges that he could not write matric because he was not in possession of an ID document.
Chairperson, geographically speaking we are talking about an area that is close to the Swaziland border. I am going to begin with Mr M. We were unable to communicate with Mr M to get more details, because we didn't have a contact number, as none was provided to us.
Let me respond in this way. Currently, as you may know, we are in the midst of a campaign that our department has been conducting since March of last year and that is going to end at the end of this month. The campaign is called the National Population Registration Campaign. The strategic objective of this campaign remains the need for the consolidation of a secure and credible National Population Register. This campaign is targeted at securing the integrity of the National Population Register as South Africa's most reliable and important database for our population.
I think we must sit and consider just how important this database is. Without a secure National Population Register, pretty much none of government's services can actually be rendered in a way that allows for integrity to be woven through the system. As government, we will be able to better plan the delivery of quality services, such as access to child grants, health and housing, and education to all citizens if we have a National Population Register that is secure and has integrity, and on which all South African citizens are actually registered. So, it is part of our interest to ensure that all South African citizens do feature on this National Population Register.
Our campaign is specifically aimed at three things. The first is to eradicate the late registration of births. Those of you who have been to hospitals will probably have seen that we now have points at hospitals where we register births as soon as they happen in those hospitals. This is the whole point of it. We don't want registration of births beyond 30 days of children being born in this country. As South Africans, we have to get into a culture of making sure that our children, as soon as they are born, are registered as South African citizens and receive a birth certificate. We have been going around the country - in fact, tomorrow we'll be in KZN for two days, launching a stakeholder forum - and trying to galvanise support for this campaign.
The second objective of this campaign is to ensure that all new births are registered within 30 days of delivery - with immediate effect.
The third one is that all South Africans who turn 16 years of age and those above 16 years must receive ID documents. In the case of Mr M, I imagine that he is able to access his ID document based on the fact that he says he has been schooled in South Africa all of his life. All he really needs - and this is for the information of members in case they come to some kind of ... [Time expired.]
I'll do so, and perhaps what we'll do is table the rest of the specific responses.
As part of this National Population Registration Campaign, if you have somebody in good standing, such as a teacher, or a priest where you have been to church, who can verify that you have, in fact, been living in South Africa for longer than five years and so on, that is sufficient to allow you to get an ID document.
However, I must caution that this campaign comes to an end at the end of this month. Those of you who have constituencies and work there, when you encounter such individuals, please take this window of opportunity and get them registered. Thereafter, it will be much more difficult for people who do not have documents to get on to our register. That is as it should be.
Chairperson, I will not take any more of your time. You have been quite indulgent and I do thank you for this opportunity. [Applause.]
Thank you, Deputy Minister. I think it will be worthwhile getting your notes for Members of Parliament to use in their constituencies, so that they can guide us as we address the meetings, particularly in this week. I think it is very important for us all, as in the registration week we will be in our constituencies. Could we, all of us, just before we leave here, get the notes that the Deputy Minister has been speaking from?
The NCOP Chamber is undergoing a major refurbishing, Deputy Minister. That is why you were directed here. Very soon you will be there!
Chairperson, hon Ministers and hon members, it is an honour and a pleasure for me to present the report of the Gauteng provincial legislature to this august House. The report emphasises the programme of action of the legislature on delivery and oversight work as from May 2009. The report has been enriched by the state of the nation address and the address of the premier during the opening of the legislature.
The implementation of this programme is under way and has also been adopted by the executive council of the province. The 2009 - 14 programme of action isolates the following issues: the creation of decent work and building of a growing, inclusive economy; the promotion of quality education and skills development; health for all; stimulating rural development and food security; intensifying the fight against crime and corruption; building cohesive and sustainable communities; and strengthening the developmental state and good governance.
When the Premier of Gauteng, hon Nomvula Mokonyane, addressed the opening of the legislature sitting, she unveiled Vision 2055, indicating that the plans for delivering to the province were far-reaching. It is crucial for the legislature to consider the interests of the young generation and what legacy we are going to leave for them. She emphasised that the current provincial government does not wish to compromise the future of our young generation.
Such long-term planning will be characterised by phases and stages in between to ensure delivery of short-term projects as well. The provincial government of Gauteng has therefore been able to achieve the following, amongst others, in education: the early childhood education framework and implementation has been approved; 384 early childhood development, ECD, sites have been registered with the department, and 284 will be registered this year, 2011; 10 new schools are to be built during this financial year; and Grade R subsidies were granted to the 2 641 ECD centres.
With regard to health, 84 clinics operate on extended hours. The Johan Heyns Clinic, Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and the Chiawelo and Zola Clinics are now operating 24 hours a day. Sir, 500 000 people have undergone HIV testing, while 79,6% of TB patients have been cured.
With regard to the Safety and Security cluster, the provincial policing needs and priorities have been approved. There is improved co-ordination between the SA Police Service, SAPS, the provincial traffic police and the Metro Police, which has yielded positive and effective policing. Victim empowerment centres continue to provide support to victims of social crime. A new provincial commissioner of the SAPS has been appointed. He is Gen Mzwandile Petros.
With regard to job creation and decent work, support for the motor industry resulted in the Ford Company's investing in the production of motor vehicles in the province, with the Gauteng provincial government to develop a new supplier park in Silverton, Pretoria. Hon Chairperson, 300 new jobs have been unveiled. As a result, workers have been trained in the motor industry. Sir, 549 young people were employed via the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP. Other areas are rural development, sustainable settlement, housing and local government.
During Provincial Week, in which the NCOP delegates in the province participated and visited the City of Tshwane, the delegation consisted of Gauteng permanent delegates in the NCOP and members of the Gauteng provincial legislature. They visited projects undertaken and set up by the City of Tshwane. The aim of the projects was to improve delivery of services and living conditions of the people of the metro. The delegation met the then Mayor of Tshwane, the hon Gwen Ramokgopa, and her entire mayoral committee.
Some of the following projects were visited: Rooiwal Agri-Village, which comprises various farming activities and provides 10 vegetable planting production and five poultry units. Beneficiaries targeted included emerging farmers, agricultural co-operatives and indigent people. It is part and parcel of the programme for the Pretoria Metro to alleviate poverty.
The Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre was established by the metro to provide facilities for crafters and artists as a workshop and training venue. The facility is run as a public-private partnership. The centre consists of a kiosk, where local small business sell their traditional products to foreign tourists and the domestic market. It was indicated that the centre was the first of its kind in the country and that more of them would be established in Tshwane Metro.
With regard to the road infrastructure of Ga-Rankuwa, the poor road infrastructure was inherited from the former homeland of Bophuthatswana, whose leader was none other than Tautona Mookamedi Lucas Manyane Mangope. This continues to be a challenge to the residents.
The roads lack stormwater drainage and tarring. Houses and yards are flooded during the rainy seasons and the muddy, slippery roads become inaccessible. The Tshwane Metro started an infrastructure project in June 2010, with a budget of R16 million, to provide stormwater drainage, paving and tarring of roads. The metro required R358 million to upgrade all the roads of Ga-Rankuwa in Pretoria.
Other projects which were visited include Soshanguve Electricity Depot; the Klipkruisfontein Resort; the water reservoir; housing projects at Impumelelo Extension 2, where there were a number of problems, and KwaZenzele Agri-Village.
After concluding these visits, a number of recommendations were made. Owing to lack of time, Chairperson, I will isolate only a few.
Firstly, the delegates to the NCOP should be fully briefed on progress on such interactions to enable them to take matters further if necessary - that is, the Gauteng delegates of the NCOP. Secondly, the delegation should arrange a follow-up visit where possible. Thirdly, the municipality and provincial department should liaise closely with one another to resolve the issues and provide the delegation with a full report. Lastly, the municipality should actively engage with the Department of Agriculture to ensure the promotion of agricultural projects and food security in the community of KwaZenzele.
Another issue was a proposal to the effect that a workshop should be held as soon as possible to discuss, amongst others, the following issue: the equitable share formula, which the Gauteng province has actually mooted is quite unfair to the province, most particularly because of the migratory responsibilities of the province without the necessary funding being in place.
In conclusion, while good progress has been made with land restitution, where 99% of the claims have been resolved, the view was also expressed that the principle of willing-buyer, willing-seller, which is a constitutional matter, should be referred to the Joint Constitutional Review Committee.
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Ministers and MECs present, House Chairperson hon R J Tau, Acting Chief Whip hon Mazosiwe, SA Local Government Association, Salga, representative Cllr Mxolose, and permanent and special delegates present, I want to remind this House that since the inception of democracy our government has based its vision, programmes and policies on the 10 clauses of the Freedom Charter, which is the ANC's basic policy document, in an effort to ensure that it strengthened democracy so that there would be an acceleration of the programme of improvement in terms of the objective of "a better life for all".
Today we have achieved the just and equitable order that Comrade Oliver Tambo talked about, for which there was the ANC's commitment to the struggle. But the struggle is far from over - this is so because we have not yet achieved a better life for all of our people. We still have unacceptable levels of poverty and unemployment.
When we embarked on Provincial Week in September 2010, some of us were inspired and motivated by Oliver Tambo's words. We went on this oversight mission determined to help the ANC achieve its aim of making the lives of our people better.
We must acknowledge that Provincial Week, as a programme of the NCOP, will this year mark nine years since it came into existence in August 2002. As some of you might know, in symbolism, nine is the number of harmony. It represents inspiration and perfection of ideas.
There is no doubt in my mind that this year we as the NCOP will be inspired and will perfect this programme so that it yields the result of ensuring that the lives of our people are indeed made better. We must therefore thank those who initiated this programme before us and acknowledge its relevance and importance in the life of the NCOP.
It is no surprise that the NCOP is the House that sees the convergence of the three spheres of government. This is in line with section 40(1) of the Constitution, which provides:
In the Republic, government is constituted as national, provincial and local spheres of government which are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated.
Section 40(2) provides that all spheres of government must observe and adhere to the principles of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations, IGR, and must conduct their activities within these parameters.
The drafters of this Constitution placed the NCOP at the centre of intergovernmental relations and co-operative governance because they knew the power that this House would possess. And it is with this that we approached Provincial Week in September 2010, as the report we are debating today attests.
When we embarked on this Provincial Week we were, of course, guided by the theme "Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services and the living conditions of our people". This is the theme that echoes the ANC's commitment to ensuring that all the people of South Africa live better lives, as the Freedom Charter proclaimed in 1955. This theme played a critical role in guiding our meetings with our stakeholders in all the provinces, guiding all the topical issues that were discussed.
In the nine provincial reports there are many common issues of concern that were raised, such as that the allocation of the local government equitable share should be reviewed; participation of Salga in the NCOP should be looked at again; there should be better co-ordination of the NCOP programmes with those of provincial legislatures; and there should be improved interaction between the three spheres of government. The third point - better co-ordination of the NCOP programmes with those of provincial legislatures - was also mentioned in Limpopo last week.
As I said, this year we would like to improve Provincial Week as an oversight and public participation tool to ensure that our people do indeed get better lives. It is through dealing with these issues that we will achieve this. I know that the ANC, the party that listens, will indeed consider them. Parliament also, guided by the ANC, will, I'm sure, consider them. There are so many other issues that have been raised in the report which I would have liked to touch on, but I will leave them to the special delegates, because of time constraints.
In conclusion, I would like to say that this Provincial Week's report sets out to provide an account of key issues and concerns raised by people in the provinces. It is also a call to the ANC to accelerate service delivery to the people, just like Comrade Oliver Tambo made a call for acceleration of the struggle in 1980, when he declared that year "the Year of the Charter". I know the ANC will respond positively, just as it always does. I move that the House adopts the report. I thank you, Chairperson.
Hon Chairperson, I would like to thank Members of the NCOP for initiating this kind of debate. Thanks for the assurance that this is our House and that we should feel comfortable in coming to debate. I think it is very important, especially given the fact that the NCOP interacts much more closely with the people.
I also want to mention at the beginning that I'm humbled by the fact that the SA Local Government Association, Salga, is present here. We are not able to fulfil some of the Expanded Public Works Programmes, EPWP, and that is because some municipalities are not taking advantage of these programmes. Could Salga please make sure that municipalities are informed that this is another opportunity to create jobs for our people. If municipalities do not take advantage of this, our people will not have jobs.
We looked at the report. I don't want to complain, hon Chair, but I think that with Public Works being a custodian of property in the country and also paying rent, which is a contradiction in terms, perhaps the report was on its way to us but we didn't get it. I have looked into the report a little. Given the fact that ever since I got into this Ministry, I've been interacting with regions so that I am a little more familiar with the problems that exist out there, my comments will therefore address those.
You have seen that we have started addressing the creation of jobs in regard to the Department of Defence and Military Veterans. That was one of the very first projects that I had to get into, and I said that it was a baptism of fire. It doesn't look like I'm going to be parting from the fire any time soon! That was the first thing we did, and we can say with pride that our soldiers will be living in very good accommodation. [Applause.]
We have put the emphasis on employing more people, because we are trying to do away with outsourcing functions that could be handled by Public Works itself. We are paying double money for a lot of things that we should not be paying for. We are employing people who are artisans, and yet we outsource functions to other artisans outside. Hence the call that the Minister has been making - that we should get South Africans to work in South Africa. That is because we know what happens out there - people who end up getting the tenders will go to vulnerable non-South Africans and pay them peanuts, taking advantage of the fact that people are struggling here at home.
We have also looked at completing our asset register. We cannot continue to be told that our asset register is incomplete. We should also understand that not all South Africans are as loyal as some of us are in this House. There are those who have given themselves assets of the state illegally. Hence today - well, I had to respect the NCOP first - I was supposed to launch operation "Mazibuye izindlu zoMzantsi" [Assets of South Africa must be returned]. [Applause.]
We have launched the campaign and it will run for six months. It's an amnesty campaign where we are saying that those South Africans who would like to legitimise themselves should come forward and say, "I am staying in this house. I know very well that I'm not paying rent and I know very well that I haven't bought the house, but I would like the state to assist me."
However, we cannot have that period forever. As soon as the six-month period lapses in August, the law will kick in. This is what we are trying to say to South Africans. We think that once those buildings are back in our control we can use those buildings, rehabilitate them, lease them out, and get more South Africans to work in maintaining those buildings.
We have also decided that a lot of our children, especially those who are at tertiary level, are being taken for a ride when it comes to accommodation. I'm sure all of you have headaches when children go to universities and tertiary institutions. As custodians of the land and properties of the state, we need to be able to provide higher education with space and say that that is where you can get accommodation. Because it has been created by the state, it will also come with a subsidy. When we were attending tertiary institutions, the state looked after us. We are saying that we are bringing that back.
All this means that we have to employ as many people as possible. Those of you who heard me when I was speaking to Siki Mgabadeli on SAfm last week will know that I even said that because our uniform is orange, a lot of South Africans will have to start buying sunglasses because ...
... niya babona ukuba bagcwele yonke indawo. [... you can see they are all over the place.]
When you are in Mpumalanga, you find them. Go to the Eastern Cape and you find them. So, just get used to the fact that those orange overalls are something that we will be seeing every day. We will be making sure that a lot of our people are taken off the streets and away from begging and they can put food on their tables. Why are you not clapping your hands, hon members? [Applause.]
The President spoke of mud schools. We heard him very well when he said that we could not continue, 17 years into our democracy, and still have learners in mud schools. I understand very well, and the acting Chief Whip is right when he says that we inherited a mess from the apartheid regime. Otherwise we wouldn't be talking about what we are talking about now. Our children are learning in mud schools.
To that end, sir, we have started building 10 schools in the Eastern Cape. In the middle of April, if all goes well, we will be handing those schools over to the Eastern Cape. [Applause.]
We don't want to stop there because what I'm talking about is old money. I'm not here talking about the budget that we are going to be debating. This is money that we would not have spent if we had not rushed to do so. We know what happens if you don't spend money: You can't get more money because you have not shown a capacity for spending. So we have those schools.
When the Deputy President was in the North West a few days ago, on Saturday actually, we announced that we would also be building two schools there; two very beautiful, state-of-the-art schools, because you know that the Minister is very much married to five-star quality! If it's not five-star quality, the Minister gets uncomfortable.
Now, you must have seen that we are calling on all retired professionals in the built environment. We are saying that they should return. You may be a pensioner because of your age, but at heart you are very much involved in the built environment. So they are coming in. I can tell that lady who is wearing a protea T-shirt and was calling for artisans that we now have over 1000. Thank you, South Africa, for responding so well. [Applause.]
These are South Africans who are saying, "Even if you don't pay me, I've made money and I just need to mentor the young artisans and make sure that they are able to do their work in the correct manner." So we are very happy. We think that we are on the right track in terms of building capacity and also showing people that if we say that South Africa works because of Public Works, we are able to display and demonstrate and show that.
These projects that we are talking about are just pilot projects. During the budget we will be announcing how we are going to be rolling over, doubling and tripling the numbers that we are talking about. If the money and the land are there, the people are unemployed, and all these belong to the state of South Africa, why can't we combine them and have a win-win situation for everybody?
We think that it can be done. In the three months that we have been in office we have seen that it can be done. We think that we can say - unashamedly so - that we are promising you things that are going to change the face of our country, because Public Works is one of the departments that can change a number of things.
I have seen the concerns that you have raised, especially in the Free State. We have met with the MEC, and we met with the premier two weeks ago. There are a number of things that are happening there. We are putting in a new legislature in the Free State and, as a result, we need to employ as many people as possible. The land that the Free State needed belonged to national Public Works. We have signed it off and given it over to the Free State.
Ha re bapale, re a sebetsa. [Mahofi.] [We are not playing, we are working. [Applause.]]
Let me refer to the killing off - because some of these things are deliberate - of small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs, where SMMEs are not paid on time and they collapse and cannot rise again, because they don't have any other money to use. Public Works has launched a campaign called "Re Ya Patala" [We Pay]. The President says it must be within 30 days; but at Public Works we are giving ourselves a ceiling of 15 days, because we have seen that it can be done. We have also launched a competition among the units that we have at Public Works so that we see the bad guys and the good ones. This is so that when we punish people, we don't punish everybody.
There are many things that are going to happen. There are times that as a leader you need to take unpleasant decisions, and if you take unpleasant decisions, I expect hon members to say, yes, that was the right thing to do. Let's go out there and deal with corruption, thieves and people who make sure that money does not reach its intended goals. Let's make sure of that together, because I think I like your theme that when we work together, a number of things can be done. I would have loved to stay longer, hon members, but you do understand that I just came for the NCOP debate and also to encourage you that I really want to have very hands-on working relations with you.
All criticisms are welcome; I am big enough for that. I won't cry; I'm not a child. Bring them because I know that from them one can grow. Bring them and bring suggestions as well, because we only have one country. You and I, those of us who do not have more than one passport, have nowhere else to run to. This is our country and together we can build it, because it was in a mess when we took it over from the apartheid regime. We need to show them we are going to restore the confidence and the pride of our people. We are going to bring it back to our people.
Ubuntu re bo tlise hape bathong ba rona hore ba kgone ho bona hore re a ba rata le rona. [We should bring ubuntu to our people so that they can see that we also love them.]
I want to conclude by saying we are also doing planning. Maybe it is early for me to mention this, but it is something that has worried me for many years, even when I was a presiding officer nabo Ntate Mahlangu [with Mr Mahlangu]. Our Members of Parliament cannot use Parliament efficiently. Around four o'clock, we all have to rush to the buses. We can't use the libraries and the restaurants, and enjoy ourselves as MPs. [Interjections.]
Yes, Minister, you are right. We can't even call people after hours and say, "Come, let's just have a cup of coffee." What we see in other countries is this, and we have seen a lot. I worked very closely with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, where 150 parliaments are represented. I was an executive of that body. I travelled in those countries and I have seen the dignity with which MPs are treated. [Applause.]
We are trying this. We will be begging for more money and we are trying to get our Members of Parliament accommodated closer to Parliament. It is a process that we think can be done. It can be started. We are also in agreement with a number of people who hold land around here that it can be done.
Can you imagine going home and having supper between seven and eight and still walking back to your office and continuing to work? Here in this Parliament you can't do that because at times we have to be dragged out of the last meeting because of the buses. I think that with all these plans that we have, we are definitely going to bring back the dignity that Members of Parliament deserve. They deserve better. [Applause.] If the plan works, we would like to see Members of Parliament residing apart as Members of Parliament and the staff residing where the staff can reside. That can be done.
Public Works will be going from area to area. I told my staff that there's a lot of work to be done but I think I'm equal to the task. We will be knocking on doors in villages and everywhere. We have the 10 schools that we have started in the Eastern Cape.
We are also building bridges because we don't want to see what happened during the floods. We, together with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, have signed a memorandum of understanding, MOU. You'll be seeing us in your provinces, building bridges, making sure that when it rains, that doesn't mean it is the end of school for the children. At the end of the year we expect them to participate and compete with those who live in the comfort of Constantia. Then they are able to say that our children are faring badly when, in actual fact, it is the conditions under which they find themselves that are not conducive to learning and education.
I would like to end here and also say that any time there is a topic related to Public Works, members should please feel free to call me. When time permits, I will make sure that I make myself available. Thank you. [Applause.]
Minister, I must apologise. There are two of you who received the report very late. I really apologise. We will correct that error in the future and ensure that you receive it early. You must also remember that there are three Mahlangus in the House. If you say, "Viva!" I'm sure you are saying, "Viva!" to all of us, not just to one person.
Hon Chairperson, hon members, hon Ministers and hon Deputy Ministers, our constitutional mandate, as permanent delegates of the NCOP, is to represent the people at the provincial government level and to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. We therefore play a critical role in the process of holding government accountable, promoting good governance and enhancing service delivery. Provincial Week is one of the main mechanisms through which we perform this magnificent role.
Provincial Week is not a vacation. Often we forget what we have witnessed during this important oversight. We fail to remember the purpose for which we were sent. We are supposed to return with a strategy to deal with the issues that we have encountered. Unfortunately, this is where we fall short. Cope therefore calls for a regulatory mechanism to be incorporated.
In addition, our municipalities and metros are rife with corruption, inadequate skills, mismanagement and poor oversight. There is a lot of work that has to be done if we are to deliver to the people of South Africa.
This time around, in 2011, we must work collectively and do better. The NCOP has a responsibility to promote co-operation for and co-ordination of service delivery efforts. I thank you.
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, Provincial Week provided permanent delegates to the NCOP and members of provincial legislatures with an opportunity to undertake oversight visits and interact with communities in order to obtain first-hand information on the provincial issues that should be placed on the agenda of the NCOP.
We are pleased to join in the debate and reflect on Provincial Week, aimed at fostering closer links between politicians and the people. As we have repeatedly emphasised, the NCOP in particular is a critical platform for engagement to take place between national policy and legislative direction for the country, and the distinctive service preferences of provincial and local government and the people they represent.
Some of the salient remarks during that week focused a great deal on co- operation between the spheres of government and how the NCOP, provincial legislatures and local government could effectively work together to ensure that progress was made with regard to quality service delivery to communities in various provinces, that interaction at the level of the legislature and the NCOP was more frequent, and that the programme of the NCOP was forwarded in time to allow for proper planning and co-ordination.
Some provinces indicated the need for NCOP delegates, MPLs, provincial government and Salga to interact on a more regular basis on matters affecting the province that needed to be raised at the national level, and that programmes should be co-ordinated and aligned between the NCOP, provincial legislatures and local government. We agree. The NCOP Provincial Week programme was thus an important forum for the NCOP, provinces and local government to establish collaborative approaches in seeking solutions and devising mechanisms that will address the needs of the people of our country.
I want to focus on the critical issues that were raised. One of the critical issues raised in many provinces during that week reflected on the number of section 139 interventions. As Salga, we also expressed our concerns in this regard, in that the Constitution requires provincial governments to play an important role in monitoring and supporting local government, and in building the capacity of local government to fulfil its service delivery mandate. As a last resort, intervention is provided for in order to ultimately assist a municipality to become sustainable and self- sufficient.
Yet, interventions have become a real threat to the institutional integrity of local government. Few, if any, interventions have been successful in the sense of capacitating the municipality when the province leaves. Persistent interventions in some municipalities are a case in point. The same problems still exist and annual intervention is the norm. The effectiveness of interventions is highly questionable and they have no curative intent. Most are simply takeovers without the necessary skills transfers or continued support taking place. Alarmingly, there is an increase in the number of municipalities under section 139 interventions. Mechanisms, processes and procedures in terms of section 105 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act are often overlooked in favour of a section 106 investigation and/or a section 139 intervention. Of particular concern is that there is little evidence of provincial legislatures exercising oversight over provincial executives' actions in terms of section 139. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency as part of the broader approach to interventions. It does not necessarily have to be addressed by legislation. Provinces are, in our view, not checked on whether intervention is appropriate and whether support has first and consistently been offered. The aim of interventions must be restorative rather than punitive.
These interventions are evidence that provinces are struggling with their constitutional commitment to support municipalities. In fact, it is our view that the number of interventions is reflective of the inability of many provinces to fulfil their constitutional obligations to support and build the capacity of local government for it to fulfil its service delivery mandate. The Gauteng provincial government has but once used intervention because it believes in supporting municipalities to fulfil their obligations and further believes that interventions would be a negative reflection of its own inability to fulfil its constitutional mandate. We could not agree more. As we march towards the 2011 local government elections, we must ensure that the next term of municipal councils coming into office, which are the delivery agents of most government programmes, is characterised by national government and provincial governments that continually provide coherent support and an enabling policy - legislative and institutional support. The legislatures must be vigilant in checking the exercise of executive power and ensuring that coherent and focused support to municipalities from the other two spheres - rather than increasing the compliance burden and interventions - becomes the regular order of our business.
While efforts are afoot to introduce new intervention legislation, it is our view that legislation should be used to regulate and limit the exercise of power, but should not be thrown at any or all implementation problems, especially where the implementation of and adherence to current legislation is the problem. More laws cannot solve the problem. Parliament, the NCOP and provincial legislatures must ensure that the constitutional breadth of co-operative governance and support for one another first and foremost finds expression in our policy and legislative practice.
In conclusion, Provincial Week is a critical platform for consolidating the gains made to date by, firstly, communicating with each other, thereby giving ourselves the opportunity to address some of the fundamental constraints hampering government in our quest to effect development. We remain committed to working with the NCOP and our partners in government to speed up service delivery and realise the developmental vision of local government. Through our interaction and the 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.
Chairperson, Deputy Ministers and hon members, it is widely acknowledged that adequate shelter is a basic human right and basic need. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the right to adequate shelter has repeatedly been reaffirmed.
In South Africa, the right to housing is enshrined in the country's Constitution, with adequate shelter being central to everyone's quality of life, including health, economic, social and cultural aspects. Adequate shelter is more than a roof over one's head. That is why our national housing programme is not just about building houses but also about transforming our cities and towns into cohesive and nonracial communities.
In order to contribute to the end of the apartheid spatial arrangement, the ANC-led government is rolling out housing programmes closer to places of work and amenities. It is widely acknowledged that the shelter and housing needs of the largest section of our population are still unfulfilled and still growing.
Taking the case of Cape Town, 400 000 families are without adequate shelter, with a high annual rate of increase of 20 000 households per annum. This number is steadily growing. The ANC-led government has since 1994 been proactively engaged in the provision of housing to the poor, most significantly under the Reconstruction and Development Programme and, subsequently, the Breaking New Ground strategy.
The main approach to the housing problem is centered on the delivery of a finished building for the formerly disadvantaged to move into, with the beneficiaries sometimes getting a bonus in the form of work and training during the construction process.
It is in this context that the people remain expectant of government's delivering on housing and related services, repair and maintenance. It is a continuous programme, with buildings deteriorating fast in locations with high humidity and rainfall.
The National Framework for Sustainable Development adopted by the ANC-led government in June 2008 explicitly stated that South African cities and housing construction had to adopt sustainable resource-use guidelines. Since the promulgation of the Housing Act in 1997, housing policy development has increasingly emphasised the importance of sustainable livelihoods; such conditions were defined in the Act and subsequently further clarified with the policies and strategies, and also given content with the new funding arrangement.
The Comprehensive Housing Plan for the Development of Integrated Sustainable Human Settlements provides for not only the development of low- cost housing, medium-density accommodation and rental housing but also the promotion of the amenities to promote the achievement of a nonracial, integrated society. The current approach entails making available a top structure subsidy of R43 506 that must provide, as a minimum, a 40m2 gross area, two bedrooms, a separate bathroom with a toilet, shower and hand basin, and a combined kitchen and living area.
In Provincial Week of 6 to 10 September 2010, we visited all the provinces to do just that. We met with the leaders of various provincial legislatures and interacted with communities, in order to obtain first-hand information on the provincial issues and to ascertain that progress is being made in meeting the needs of the people and ensuring development in the communities where the people live.
Chairperson, we observed that KwaZulu-Natal had the largest backlogs in regard to housing delivery, while in Gauteng the Lufhereng Integrated Housing Development Project was launched, which will provide 24 000 housing opportunities for various market segments and will take approximately 7 to 10 years to complete. Sir, 37 mixed housing projects were developed, 153 serviced stands were completed, 300 houses were completed, and 2 446 houses have already been allocated to beneficiaries.
We observed that in the Limpopo area of the Waterberg District, where people are living in extreme poverty, an urgent need for housing exists. In the North West province 6 557 houses were constructed, 20 emerging women constructors were trained by the department and received practical training on site under mentorship, and six municipalities had been assisted with the completion of their housing sector plans.
Chairperson, I am only going to refer to the following issues of a general nature that were identified to a greater or lesser degree in all provinces. Housing backlogs are not only a challenge to one or two provinces but to the country as a whole, the reason being that some municipalities simply fail to submit business plans for their housing delivery.
There are also concerns about the quality of workmanship and materials used in the construction of houses that cause unacceptable defects such as roof leaks, damp walls, eroding foundations and cracks in the outer walls. Other structural problems arise as a result of poor soil conditions.
There are challenges with the transfer of the properties and issuing of the rates clearance certificates, while transfer to beneficiaries is delayed due to legal issues relating to the land.
Another challenge is the system and programme to deal with flood damage and other disasters, as well as insufficient funding in that regard.
The increase in the number of backyard dwellers raises concern, as these people are often neglected in the process of identifying beneficiaries for housing. Also of concern is the constant eviction and removal of, and lack of support and services to, backyard dwellers by the City of Cape Town and the provincial government, as well as a serious lack of housing, while existing houses are dilapidated and in a poor state of repair.
Chairperson, it is recommended, among others, that whilst the municipalities' building inspectors monitor the quality of the workmanship, the ultimate jurisdiction over and responsibility for this must rest with the provincial quality assurance unit and the material is to be specified by the province.
Also the projects are to be assessed on an ongoing basis, especially in regard to poor workmanship, and the National Home Builders Registration Council, NHBRC, is to be engaged with.
A further recommendation is that houses with serious structural defects or damage should be demolished and rebuilt.
Poor workmanship and inferior quality of materials should be identified - closer investigation is required - and the possibility of recovering damages should be investigated.
All projects should be evaluated to improve efficiency and to determine the quality and ensure that timelines are met.
The municipalities and provincial departments of housing should liaise closely ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Chairperson, Acting Chief Whip, members of the provincial executive councils, permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, sanibonani, ake nginibingelele egameni leNkosi [greetings; let me greet you in the name of the Lord].
The last time I debated in the NCOP I was the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry. Now I am in the Department of Social Development.
I also want to register the fact that I received the report only yesterday. However, that does not matter - I have perused it and must commend the members of the NCOP for exercising their oversight role in a diligent manner.
On behalf of Minister Dlamini and myself, I thank all hon members under the leadership of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Chief Whip for bringing to our attention challenges faced by our communities. We as Social Development have to start somewhere, and the report is going to assist us a great deal in fighting poverty. This is a tool for us.
The theme of the report, "Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services and the living conditions of our people", is exactly how we want to do our work. It is you, members of this House, who must act as our eyes and ears in bringing matters to our attention. We are there for you - we are available. More importantly, it is you who must hold us accountable as a department. Ask tough questions and demand honest answers. Do not hesitate to instruct us and direct us to where the challenges are.
Minister Dlamini will be tabling the ministerial budget, probably in April, where detailed plans will be outlined, and I would not like to pre-empt what we will say as a department. However, I have noted some challenges in the report, mainly those related to social workers, projects for youth at risk and early childhood centres that are struggling.
What I missed in the report, especially in the area where I know there is a major problem, is the issue alcohol and substance abuse. This is a major problem and I expected a stronger focus on these two very serious social ills. The Western Cape report does refer to a few programmes aimed at targeting the youth in addressing substance abuse issues, things like tik, wonga, nyaope and dagga. Our children are dying and we need to rescue them from this deadly disease called drugs.
The reason I am so concerned is that, in the 2011 state of the nation address President Zuma said:
We will work with communities and other key stakeholders to deal with drug peddling and drug abuse, which are tearing some communities apart.
He went on to say:
My visit to a drug rehabilitation centre in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday convinced me that we need more energy in the fight against drug abuse and drug peddling in our communities.
He said, furthermore:
I have directed our police force to deal decisively with people who sell drugs to children in Cape Town and other areas. We will also not tolerate tavern owners who sell alcohol to children.
While I acknowledge that this report is from the previous year, this problem has been escalating for years, therefore prompting the President to mention it. If we do not fight alcohol and drug abuse, we have no future. Our children are dying one by one.
The Department of Social Development is supporting the Soul City, Phuza Wize campaign, as well as the Soul Buddyz campaign, the latter being an intervention for children from their pre-teens. We launched that campaign late last year.
From the report it is obvious that not only hon members but all of us - Ministers, Deputy Ministers and, more so, officials - must get out of our offices and go into the communities to see what is happening on a regular basis.
In this way we will not let good community initiatives, like the early childhood centre started in 1984 by the Roman Catholic Church in Makwateng, or the one founded in 1995, experience the difficulties they do. Let us not become spectators. This is an open invitation to join us at any time and play in whatever position you are in. I will now personally intervene and take officials from provincial and national offices to see if we cannot come up with a better solution than to say that the three facilities must amalgamate, because such a move will result in unemployment.
We need collective wisdom to tackle social problems. We need all the spheres of government, together with communities and community-based organisations, and even the private sector, to deal decisively with the social challenges as mentioned in the report. This is a campaign for all of us.
In this regard I have indicated to the officials that we have to embark on a programme of taking the department to the people. As soon as the budget is tabled, this programme will commence. [Applause.] I will, personally, lead this initiative on behalf of the Ministry. As I said last time when I was at the DTI, I am not an office Minister, and I am saying it again.
Phumani emahhovisi. [Ihlombe.] [Get out of the offices. [Applause.]]
These visits will complement visits made by others, like the visits that gave rise to this report. For these interactions to be successful, I will call for the assistance of hon members to guide us where necessary. It would probably assist us to visit those communities and facilities mentioned in the report as a start.
We acknowledge that there are serious capacity challenges that are related to social workers. We also acknowledge that there are dedicated individuals who continue to do their best under difficult circumstances. In order to address the challenge of a shortage of qualified professionals, the Department of Social Development has a bursary scheme for those who want to become social workers.
Niwuhlabe niwulawule, bangene bafunde. [Ihlombe.] [Spread the word, they must come and study. [Applause.]]
Minister Dlamini has also met with veteran social workers and asked for their assistance in mentoring the ones starting off in the profession. This is an ongoing process in our endeavour to ensure faster improvement in living conditions and the delivery of services to our people.
The President has urged us to link welfare grant recipients with economic opportunities. We have every intention of doing just that, by encouraging the creation of social co-operatives and giving information and assistance to communities to start engaging in economic opportunities. Since this is not our core business as a department, we have to link up with departments in the economic cluster to assist. We are not removing grants but we are saying people must augment what they are getting.
We once again thank the NCOP, including officials who participated in this provincial visit, for the report. I will ensure that we engage in some follow-up activities, during which we can report back to the House on matters brought to our attention. It will not only be follow-ups but also start to deal with the challenges.
Ekugcineni thina uma singasakwazi ukuzoma kule Ndlu sizoswela abaholi abazoma kule Ndlu ngoba bona bazobe balahlekelwe yingqondo. Ayihlome-ke bakwethu, ayihlome ihlasele. Ngalokhu engikushilo manje ngisho ukuthi siyawusekela lo mbiko sizoqhubeka siwufunde. Sizoqhubeka futhi senze lokhu esibona ukuthi kuyizinselele ezivela kulo mbiko. Sizoqhubeka sisize abantu abaphansi emakhaya ukuthi baphendule izimpilo zabo, ikakhulukazi kuguquke isimo sengqondo. Ngiyawusekela lo mbiko. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.) [People, we must take steps and work. Enough has been said; we now need to take steps and work. We need to develop our people where they are and haul them out of poverty so that they are able to do things for themselves and make a living because they have the skills to do that.
I invite every community to fight against poverty and alcohol abuse - alcohol abuse by children, the youth and pregnant women. We must fight against it and show them that there is a better way to live. We must fight drug abuse - drugs are taken by schoolchildren, especially in black communities - because when our children take drugs they become mentally disturbed.
In the end, when we can no longer stand before this House, we will not have leaders who will stand before this House because they will be mentally challenged. Let us be ready; let the gloves come off. Having said that, we support the report and we will continue to read it. We will carry on and deal with what seem to be the challenges cropping up in this report. We will continue to help in transforming people's lives in the rural areas, especially in respect of a mental transformation. I support this report. [Applause.]]
UMntwana M M M ZULU: Sihlalo, amaPhini oNgqongqoshe akhona kule Ndlu namhlanje, omele i-SA Local Government Association, i-Salga, ngokwami ukubona iSonto lezifundazwe yisonto elibalulekile ukuze kubhekwe ukuthi kwenzekani ezifundazweni njengoba simele izifundazwe kule Ndlu.
[Prince M M M ZULU: Chairperson, Deputy Ministers in our midst, the representative of the SA Local Government Association, in my view, Provincial Week is important in order to look at what is happening in the provinces. After all, as we are representing the provinces in this House.
It is appreciated that the Ministers and the premiers in the provinces get the opportunity to tell us what challenges the provinces face. There are a few things that worry me as a human being. When the government that we elected requests to see a representative from the municipality, then Salga sends an employee who occupies a very low position and whom we can't even ask why the municipality doesn't perform well.
This is what is worrying me - the undermining of the people who are sent to find out what is happening. When we are there, we are not in a court of law where people are prosecuted, but we only want to know how the government's funds are being spent.
I thank the Deputy Minister of Social Development and I'm happy that she said she would follow up on the report and all the challenges that come with it so that our people can be assisted. I also thank you for saying that all those who wish to become social workers must go to school. This is a clear indication of where we are headed.
But then I sometimes notice that our government employees behave like politicians. If we come to monitor how government operates, they behave like politicians. As public servants, they are supposed to work with loyalty and to listen to people. We are also not supposed to disturb the running of government, but observe how government works in order to make some suggestions on how the people could be assisted. We do not go to the police because we are not their supervisors. We do not have the right to be supervisors. As I am uneducated, I can't manage educated men, who talk about certain things. Therefore, I thank the Minister for clearly mentioning this and that you will follow up. I have a problem relating to human settlement. As we are approaching the elections, there are people who are promising to build houses for some people, but they are not even councillors. Even the traditional leaders in the rural areas in the royal homestead are not councillors and therefore cannot promise development. Even the king, who is my brother, cannot promise development because he has no budget specifically for development. The Department of Human Settlements must address this, because the deception of our people fuels their anger when they don't get what was promised to them. These issues need to be addressed.
Even I can go to Cape Town and then to KwaZulu-Natal and say that I will build houses, but I must be arrested because I'm a criminal and do not have the budget. The Minister is also expecting a budget from a certain department. Not every person - I, for example - who is a Member of Parliament or of the provincial legislature has a budget. These things need to be addressed because they exist. People are tired of being deceived and those people will end up burning and blaming us for not wanting to give them development.
I also support this important report and it has indicated that there are some challenges facing you. I also believe, hon Minister, that you will address these challenges because you voluntarily admitted that it might be that you are falling short in some respects. Thank you. [Time expired.]]
Chairperson, hon members, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Provincial Week is indeed a barometer for the government to see how far the vision of government has been accomplished and implemented.
During our Provincial Week in the Northern Cape, we met with district and local municipalities in the Kgalagadi District Municipality. We also met with mining houses and listened to their vision and plans to create jobs and uplift our people's lives. The mining houses play a critical role in the Northern Cape. The mining houses are building quality houses and they are involved in improving infrastructure.
Hon Chairperson, the only problem that we were faced with during our Provincial Week was with John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality. According to the Auditor-General's report, the local municipalities' finances are in order but it looks like the district municipalities must learn from the local municipalities. The mining houses have even offered their chief financial officers to assist and help them with how to do their finances.
The workers of Kumba Iron Ore Ltd are shareholders. Every fourth year in November, each worker has benefited by about 0,01% of the profits made by the mine, irrespective of his or her position or how long he or she has been working there.
The inequalities in our country are still very great. It is crucial that government structures be strengthened to provide efficient services to all the people of the country, and every effort must be made to bridge the gap of inequality.
Listening to the hon Minister Mahlangu-Nkabinde's plans and vision for the department - to uplift our people by empowering them and to create decent jobs - is encouraging. How I wish that all Ministers could come and stand here and say, "Criticise me. I am big enough to listen." That is the sign of a leader. That is a sign of someone who takes the people's lives seriously and says, "Yes, I am the Minister, but I am a human being and I can also make mistakes. So, I need you to keep me on my toes in order for me to do my work better." How I wish that many Ministers would come to this Council and acknowledge that.
Let me just mention the example of the gym for Members of Parliament in this Parliament. [Interjections.] It is supposed to be the Members of Parliament's gym, but you cannot get in there, because it is not in a good enough state for Members of Parliament. This is a sign that planning must be done properly in order for us to set an example. They must treat us as Members of Parliament, because the people have trusted us to run this country as Members of Parliament.
Hon Chairperson, let me close by quoting from Ecclesiastes 9:14-16. I am a man who loves the Scriptures. I am crazy about the Word of God, and I believe that the Word of God is the ultimate authority. I quote:
There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength." But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
Chairperson, from 6 to 10 September 2010, members of this House travelled the length and the breadth of this country to investigate the core issues that have bedevilled our communities. Without doubt this genuine report is the culmination and the end product of that exercise. We are concerned that our processes are too slow in addressing their needs. We can no longer delay our people's social and economic emancipation.
Transport is a basic necessity for sustainable social and economic development. It plays a catalytic role in addressing poverty and development needs, as well as correcting spatial distortions. In practice, responsibility for the delivery of transport infrastructure falls mainly on the municipal and provincial spheres of government, assisted by the national Department of Public Works and the SA National Roads Agency.
Issues that have been raised cut across all provinces. The only difference is that they can be categorised into rural and urban challenges. We need to move with speed and sometimes also take bold and controversial decisions in the interests of our people.
We discovered that people in rural areas don't have access by road to their homesteads in provinces like Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, to mention but a few. This makes it difficult for them to receive essential services, as they are not accessible to ambulances, police vehicles and taxis. There are no bridges or pedestrian bridges that link them with other villages. During the rainy season people are cut off from civilisation. It becomes difficult for them to reach towns or adjacent townships. Worse still, pupils can't attend school. Some of those who attempt to go to school drown.
Our municipalities can't address these needs, either through a lack of funds or skills, or through bad planning. I'm happy because the Minister has responded to this. Public Works should be vigilant in the issuing of tenders for projects like the building, rehabilitation and paving of roads. Wrong choices lead to the noncompletion of projects, nonpayment of workers and noncompliance with labour laws, as has been experienced in the Free State. Some of these companies lack technical skills, which results in shoddy work that denies our people quality services.
Provincial and national roads have become death traps because roads are not maintained. Potholes have turned into death holes. We cannot build a successful economy when our roads are in such a mess. We must also be wary that roads that were built as infrastructure for the Fifa World Cup do not degenerate into such conditions.
The Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, was introduced to provide skills to those who did not have skills, workers and contractors, while at the same time addressing the backlogs that there were. However, those who acquired these skills cannot be absorbed into the mainstream labour force.
Some of our officials are prone to corruption and bribery, especially in the traffic department. They are milking our people dry because of their greediness. It is a cancer that should be nipped in the bud.
The other issue that was raised is the provision of scholar transport. There is no consistency in provinces with regard to the provision of scholar transport. It is left to the mercy of the provinces. When provinces have to cut budget spending, the first victim is scholar transport. This happens in the middle of the year and hampers pupils' progress.
In townships in provinces like Gauteng there is a lack of good roads and stormwater drainage system. When new townships are established, no infrastructure is provided.
But it is not all doom and gloom. We must be self-critical and also accept constructive criticism in order to constructively address these challenges that confront us. We have accomplished our mission by positively identifying these challenges, and we must now come up with solutions.
The procurement system needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. In the unveiling of the ANC local manifesto the President said that shoddy contractors faced being blacklisted, and changes to the tendering process would make the process more transparent at the local government level. He warned that contractors who failed to deliver work or performed poorly would be forbidden from doing business with any government structure. The onus is on departments to implement what the President has alluded to.
Municipalities should also be assisted with planning and budgetary processes.
These are some of the problems that are bedevilling our municipalities. They need to get their priorities right, because we cannot allow a situation where the building of offices is prioritised rather than providing access roads to communities who have been consistently asking for this facility for the past 17 years. Moreover, there must be strong monitoring by the national and provincial governments of these issues that have been raised.
We also need to bring services that have been outsourced back into our departments, like the Department of Public Works. We cannot allow our roads to be death traps, while in the previous regime structures like the Transvaal Provincial Administration, TPA, the Provincial Administration of the Orange Free State, PAO, the Cape Provincial Administration, CPA, and others successfully constructed and maintained roads. We need to bring them back immediately. In so doing we will be addressing what the President has said, that this year is the year of job creation.
Let me quote what the current Minister of Public Works has said:
The closure of these workshops meant unemployment for many skilled individuals. It also meant a loss of skills that are necessary to the development of our country.
I fully agree with you, hon Minister. Let us open these workshops and get people employed. Only then will our people receive quality service. Transnet is just a shadow of what the SA Railways was. It has become inefficient, unreliable and unsafe for commuters. If we can introduce Shinkansen, the speed train that we experienced in Tokyo, Japan, then our problems will be half won. If this train can cover a distance which takes one and a half hours by car in 18 minutes, then we have a solution to our transport problems.
On the issue of scholar transport, let me repeat what I said last year. Let the national Department of Transport take over.
We always say it is easier said than done. Let's change that and say it is easier done than said. The ball is in our court. Let the nation work.
Makusetshenzwe. [Ihlombe.] [Let us work. [Applause.]]
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Minister present, the SA Local Government Association, Salga, representative, permanent and special delegates, and distinguished guests, good afternoon.
It is a great honour for Limpopo to be given an opportunity to report on the Provincial Week activities which took place from 6 to 10 September 2010. The Constitution enjoins us all as stakeholders to transform our country for a better life for all. In this regard, the Preamble to the Constitution provides, amongst others, that:
We, the people of South Africa,
... through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to -
Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law.
As a legislative sector we do our bit to transform our society through mechanisms such as oversight. Oversight takes various forms. One such mechanism is Provincial Week, the report on which we are discussing today.
As provincial legislatures we are pleased that the NCOP has established this mechanism to solicit provincial interest and ensure that provincial delegates keep abreast with the developments, as well as the challenges, that face their provinces. It is very important that the link and the interaction between delegates and their provinces are maintained.
That is why, during the meeting with the Speaker, the Chief Whip and the chair of committees of the Limpopo provincial legislature during the Provincial Week of September 2010, the following issues were raised: the nonattendance at plenaries of special delegates of the NCOP - permanent delegates to the NCOP are also part of the provincial legislature; the need to review and report back on programmes such as Taking Parliament to the People; the need for better co-ordination and sharing of information regarding the processing of Bills; the addressing of the support structure and capacity; and the need for joint planning regarding the programmes of Taking Parliament to the People.
I am sure that members will agree with me that these issues are not unique to Limpopo, but cut across all provinces. However, the leadership in Limpopo raised them because they are concerned about the way that we are handling them. As the Limpopo legislature, we believe that we can do better than we are doing now.
All these issues have a common denominator, which is co-operation. There is a saying: if you want to be incrementally better, compete; if you want to be exponentially better, co-operate. As the Limpopo legislature we fully subscribe to this saying because we believe that with co-operation between the NCOP and provincial legislatures we will and we should achieve a better life for our people, as mandated by the Constitution.
Yes, shortcomings were identified during this visit, such as a shortage of nurses and doctors, and policemen and policewomen, and the fact that police stations are far from the people. It is important to report that the Limpopo legislature is hands-on on these issues. Ka Sepedi re re "sedikwa ga se na lebelo." Re boe re re "tau t?a hloka seboka di ?itwa ke nare e hlot?a." [In Sepedi we say "united we stand". We also say "divided we fall".]
With these phrases we emphasise co-operation, as it is so crucial in the lives of the legislative sector of South Africa. I am pleased that during the very same meeting between the NCOP delegates and the leadership of the provincial legislature the following recommendations were made: that monthly meetings be held between the permanent delegates of the NCOP and members of the legislature to resolve any issues and share experiences and matters of common interest, and that co-ordination and planning be improved.
We know that in some instances this might not be possible because of our busy schedules. However, we would like to make a request that we should try to make time for these engagements, because they are so crucial to our working together. As you know, working together we can do more.
I am glad to report that some progress has already been made with regard to some of these issues. For example, there are constant follow-up meetings and engagements with regard to report-backs on the issues raised during the Taking Parliament to the People programme that was held in Greater Tubatse in March 2010. This is the point that the leadership of the legislature was referring to when it said that there had to be a review of the report-back on Taking Parliament to the People. We would like to congratulate the NCOP for taking this initiative.
There are other challenges that are raised in the report that are peculiar to predominantly rural provinces such as ours. Whilst other provinces like Gauteng mostly deal with industry-related issues, our province has to deal with issues such as farm problems and rural development, and a lack of basics such as sanitation, water and electricity. However, all these challenges are rooted in one thing - the poverty of our people.
This poverty is as a result of joblessness, the rate of which is unacceptably high in South Africa. We are therefore supportive of the call by the ANC-led government, which has declared 2011 to be the year of job creation. We are willing and ready to help the government to meet this commitment because that is what our people expect of us as their representatives.
As the Limpopo province we are rising to these challenges. During his state of the province address, the Premier of Limpopo, Comrade Cassel Mathale, stated that during the 2010-2011 financial year we had managed to provide water and electricity to more than 1 million people. Other achieved milestones are captured in the provincial reports, such as the Medupi Power Station, which has created jobs for our people. This power station is still in its infancy but, hon members, watch this space. We are not going to rest on our laurels because there is still more than that to be done. The mining houses are also coming to the party. They realise that their companies continue to flourish because of the efforts of ordinary workers and they need to fulfil their social responsibility.
"Motho ke motho ka batho." [No man is an island.]
Hon Chairperson, on local government and housing I can speak the whole day, but it is important to note that in the delivery of houses Limpopo is the best. We all know that Minister Sexwale has redirected some funds to Limpopo for this aspect. It is in this spirit of working together that we as a provincial legislature have committed ourselves to helping this ANC- led government to succeed through proactive oversight. After all, our people expect all of us, whether in the executive or legislature, to help them in fighting and defeating the scourge of poverty.
Hon Chairperson, allow me to conclude my speech with this quote from former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela:
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.
Like Nelson Mandela, we must not rest until we have succeeded in defeating this poverty that has engulfed our people. Yes, we have defeated oppression and achieved freedom. Yes, we have achieved a just and equitable society, but there is still much more to be done.
So, we can only rest a little in order to reflect. That is why we are debating this report. It is to reflect. After this, we have to continue with this journey of fighting poverty. This journey is long but eventually we will succeed, like Nelson Mandela did. I thank you. [Applause.]
Chairperson, Acting Chief Whip, hon members of this House, and our member from the SA Local Government Association, Salga, Cllr Mxolose, I greet you this afternoon. I am very happy, Chairperson, that I am speaking after having been there, together with the NCOP, and "dirtied my hands" in the Free State, having been there and listened to the cries of our people as they face the challenges of these times, but also having a glimpse of hope, knowing full well that they are in good hands with the ANC government.
As I stand before you today, I have agreed with the Minister that the NCOP needs to buy me shoe polish! I've just arrived from the Langa N2 Gateway Project, Phase 3, in Joe Slovo. I am happy that this has now finally come to fruition. We've polished that project and it is now shining!
Today we had a sod-turning ceremony where we are building houses for the people of Joe Slovo in Langa, as per a court judgment. If we remember, the court judgment mandated us to build 1 500 units, but we went further, to build 2 846 housing units. [Applause.] We almost doubled the requirement!
We want to say also that when we are doing this work, building these houses, we'll be taking into account the concerns of backyard dwellers. So, in each project we'll take 50% of the target group from within that informal settlement, and also take 50% from the backyard dwellers.
This morning we had a four-dimensional approach, which means that we were there as the national department, the Minister and I, the province led by the premier, Helen Zille, the MEC for human settlements, Madikizela, and the community of Joe Slovo, demonstrating a spirit of positive partnership. It is for this reason that we invite the NCOP to put a little bit of dust on their shoes and visit Joe Slovo to see that development in action.
It is for this reason also that we as South Africans say that without doubt our future, especially the future of our children, is brighter today than ever before. Many more of our children have access to social amenities in the growing number of integrated human settlements that we are building across the country.
However, we do understand that the NCOP report speaks to the challenges that we face in this journey as we build this nation. What we want to say is that we also want to be honest. Where we make mistakes we'll admit them and ensure that we improve where we have erred, as demonstrated by what we did when we demolished the houses that were wrongly built.
You have seen the kind of corruption that the Minister is fighting within the department, and also with the contractors that build shoddy houses for our people. We want to say that we will continue making the kind of effort needed to make sure that the government, particularly this Parliament, gets value for money.
Moreover, as government we have placed the vulnerable sections of our communities, particularly the elderly, the disabled, women and the youth, at the centre of our programmes. Much of our effort goes towards ensuring that these vulnerable groups do not remain marginalised, as the Deputy Minister has said, but become part of government's integrated service delivery programmes to ensure that they have access to services and access to jobs. Therefore, in regard to government, we are continuing to monitor that process to ensure that our society is transformed day by day. Let us not focus too much attention on the magnitude of the backlogs that have been mentioned, particularly because they have been inherited. Let us also not focus on the limited resources that we have, but rather let us put our focus on the kind of finance that we have in our hands, and the kind of institutions that we have, and deliver what we can to our people. We want to make sure that in doing so we have an institutional framework that speaks for itself.
As the executive in the Department of Human Settlements we have reached out to our communities and have seen for ourselves what our people have gone through. We are of the view, however, that despite random expressions of dissatisfaction within communities around the issues of service delivery, particularly in housing, there is significant goodwill among our people. There are areas where people can see for themselves that the government is trying its utmost to meet their needs with limited resources.
As our people bear testimony to this delivery of services in the various communities, as is the case in Joe Slovo today, it is understandable that they will, at times, become impatient to be the immediate beneficiaries of service delivery. It is important that we work together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services. Our people must always be at the centre of development so that they can understand where there are bottlenecks and be a part of the solution in order to avoid a situation, as the hon member has said, where people promise that they are going to build them houses. If our people are part of that development they will understand that integrated development plans, IDPs, have mandated municipalities to build houses. But if they are not part of the development, people will lie to them because they don't understand what the plans of municipalities are. We are saying people must be at the centre of the development. It is they who must be part of shaping their destiny.
As I said earlier on, we should not pull each other down and allow things to get worse. If we are to achieve accelerated service delivery, we need to work together in partnership. There should be partnership between government, the private sector and our communities. Let us call upon our communities to refrain from venting their anger by destroying their own properties, as they will need these properties for their development.
We need to come together and strengthen the partnership between the state and the citizens. I must emphasise that in this democracy people remain free to articulate their needs and their concerns, but they should do so in a responsible manner.
Since 1994 this government has invested around R85 billion in the provision of housing opportunities for qualifying citizens. There are a large number of people that have been assisted through various human settlement programmes. These are according to the requirement enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa, that of providing adequate shelter to the citizens. Where we have made mistakes, as I said earlier on, we take full responsibility and commit ourselves to rectifying them.
The Department of Human Settlements has begun reporting on the progress in relation to the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 8: Sustainable Human Settlements and Improved Quality of Household Life. Remember that this government has 12 outcomes and, as Human Settlements, we are part of Outcome 8. We have given a report in regard to progress that we have made already. We did that last week at Cabinet level.
Efforts are being made to ensure co-ordination in order to improve service delivery. In recent months, we have seen the establishment of the co- ordination of the metropolitan cities, that is Durban Metropolitan Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, the City of Cape Town, and the two emerging metros, which are Buffalo City Municipality and Mangaung Municipality, working as a collective. We commit ourselves as a department to fast-tracking accreditation of these municipalities so that service delivery can go to our people faster, without further hindrance.
One of the key objectives of this initiative is to ensure faster improvement of service delivery. As a direct result of intersphere collaboration, there are enhanced service delivery plans in terms of the plans that have been agreed to by all spheres of government. The implication of this is that the business of the Department of Human Settlements is not only about the construction of low-cost houses, but rather an overarching mandate that seeks to transform the human settlement landscape of our country. The success of this will come as a result of all the stakeholders and potential beneficiaries coming together and taking their respective responsibilities seriously.
On the matter of performance of the provincial departments, it must be noted, without going off at a tangent on this input, that, as an hon member has said, we have removed funding from one province to Limpopo. Our idea there is to ensure that we move on the Lephalale project, which will be on a similar scale to the N2 Gateway Project. We want to ensure that there is a project that speaks to human settlements and we see that Lephalale is going in that direction.
A significant recovery in housing delivery on a national basis has been indicated in the third quarter; this positive trend is expected to be sustained during the last quarter of the financial year. The interventions of the national department and the Ministry are apparently having the desired positive effect on the improvement of delivery of housing in all provinces.
Furthermore, we have given focused attention to certain issues, including removing the legislative frameworks that impede service delivery in respect of creating human settlements. The issue of funding for infrastructure impedes development, and in this regard the chairperson from the Eastern Cape spoke about the lack of water in Cacadu. We have a housing development in that area, but because we don't have funding for the bulk infrastructure, it impedes delivery. We have held negotiations with Treasury in order to ensure that we have funding for the bulk infrastructure.
Our national programme of upgrading informal settlements is at the centre of service delivery. Latest reports also include focused attention being given to the delivery of basic services in the form of serviced sites that are being completed in line with Outcome 8 targets. These serviced sites afford inhabitants in the informal settlements access to water and sanitation. This restores dignity, while improving the quality of life of our people. We do not only upgrade informal settlements - we upgrade them, but also build houses for people, where they live.
I have noted with great concern that the NCOP report itself, the 6 to 10 September report, speaks to the issue of housing built with no access roads, and houses built with inferior-quality material, which is why they leak and fall down in some instances. This is ironic, as these houses were built in 2007, after the passing of the Breaking New Ground legislation in 2004. To us, it is a worrying factor. It means that there is a breakdown of communication between the municipalities and the provinces and the various aspects of quality assurance - the quality assurance at the provincial level, the inspectorate at the municipality level, the National Home Builders Registration Council, NHBRC, and the Department of Human Settlements.
We are happy with this report, because we are going to take it back to the department. We are happy because there is a standing arrangement between ourselves and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, where Outcomes 8 and 9 enable us to sit as Ministers and MECs at Minmec and discuss some of these bottlenecks. We are not building houses in the air; we are building houses on the land of municipalities. Together, especially in the area of infrastructure, we can sit down and talk about this issue.
We believe that there are supposed to be housing specifications that all municipalities adhere to. Even contractors should be given clear housing specifications that speak to the issue of human settlement, namely Breaking New Ground. At this moment, in this municipality, it is not happening. If in 2007 they built houses of this nature, it means they do not know what we are talking about. We need to go back to basics and talk to these people and find out what went wrong.
In conclusion, we want to build on the foundation that has been developed for ensuring faster improvement of service delivery. We will deal with the report together with the Department of Cogta, as I have said. As a department, we also want to look at whether there is rot spoiling things in our department, so that we can take those people out and make sure that we put in people who care about our people, who put our people first. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, Deputy Ministers, members and guests, a Provincial Week for members from provincial legislatures and permanent delegates of the NCOP must have the outcome of resolutions being taken to better the situation at the various visit points touched on by them. If we are not able to achieve this, it will be a waste of time and money, and a failure in the oversight mandate that we as Members of Parliament have. If we are serious about our work and the mandate given by the electorate, we cannot allow this to happen without definite measures being taken.
An excellent institution we visited was the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology in the Western Cape. That institution does not have a structured face compared to the Model C schools we are used to seeing. It is an institution of excellence. It teaches mathematics and science to disadvantaged but talented learners.
The principal, teachers and learners showed us as South Africans that if you are dedicated, motivated and competent in the course followed, you can achieve excellent success. This is an example of an open opportunity society. They need our support to address the problem of high electricity bills and to provide learners with better classrooms and accommodation. I think the Western Cape government must see to that.
Corruption and maladministration are the root of destruction and the collapse of a community. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, in the Western Cape Legislature interrogated the officials and mayors of the Kannaland and Swellendam Local Municipalities respectively about their administration and financial status for 2007-08.
Can you believe that the officials and mayor of the Kannaland Local Municipality burnt all the documents with the financial information? The ANC administration in the province then, and the national government, did nothing to bring them to book. Now the DA administration in government has to deal with this issue and address their wrongdoings. The cherry on top of this corruption and maladministration is that the official who was responsible for the corruption and maladministration in Kannaland Local Municipality was appointed by another council. Hon Chairperson, can one be so stupid and arrogant? There must be something wrong.
A light in this dark and evil tunnel is that the current and previous officials have now been summoned to appear before Scopa in the Western Cape and to explain to them. We hope that those responsible for the ill practices will now be brought to book and pay for their actions. I think that in the next two weeks there will be a meeting with those officials and the mayors in the Western Cape. I hope this will be brought to an end. I thank you.
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, provincial members from various legislatures, Salga and members of the House, I am privileged to speak on behalf of this House on issues that are critical to service delivery.
Firstly, as the ANC we would like to congratulate members deployed in Parliament and in the legislatures for having done such good work thus far - 16 years, compared to the 300 years of deprivation.
As the ANC we speak here knowing full well that this is the year of the local government elections. We are convinced that the ANC, in terms of the judgment with regard to service delivery, has done well and that the people are ready in terms of the brief of that judgment to go to the polls with a smile. As we go to the local government elections, we go with a tool called the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, precisely because in regard to assessment and evaluation there are challenges that still need to be dealt with.
We would remember that in terms of demarcation the hold on all municipalities is new, precisely because it was brought by the democratic revolution. If it were not for that, we would not be solving these problems that are legacies of whoever has been removed from power in the past.
As the ANC we are indeed committed to making sure that our people are getting a better life. To realise that, we have embarked on the transformation of local government. It is only when local government is fully transformed that our people will reap for themselves what freedom is all about.
Once more, we would like to congratulate the deployed members, like the Deputy Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Yunus Carrim, for crafting, as part of correcting, the White Paper on Developmental Local Government of 1998. It is the framework that sets us off in creating municipalities as we see them today. Indeed, it is yielding much.
We would also want to offer congratulations on the system itself because, for the first time, after 300 years or so, the community and the citizens as stakeholders are able to engage in the resolution of socioeconomic matters of the heart. It is now 16 years and we are able to say that the municipalities are on a path of irreversible growth.
This year, with the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, we are seeing better development in our communities. We have been able to reduce 283 municipalities to a lower number, so that we are able to address apartheid spatial challenges that made it difficult for some of the municipalities to deliver services. When we go into the elections - and I can even refer to the past with the TRC and the 2000 elections, where we transformed municipalities - we always ululate because our elections will always be free and fair compared to those before 1994.
Everyone knows about the 2007 survey and the achievements of the ANC-led government. I am not going to bore you with the details. Of course, the hon Mazosiwe has already spoken about what we have achieved in regard to water, sanitation and so forth. I believe that everyone was listening. However, we still have challenges from province to province.
In terms of the Provincial Week report, we are constrained by a certain lack of service delivery as a result of the system and structural challenges that need to be dealt with. To confirm what the Eastern Cape delegate said about the Cacadu District Municipality, this is a municipality that has a lack of necessary funding. That is just an example. It is not the only district municipality in the country that is lacking funding. That is due to the division of revenue, which is under review, and we believe that as time goes on that problem will be solved. There is also the issue of the Blue Crane Municipality, where there is a lack of water as a result of droughts. As we have already been told, the water infrastructure is old and has been impacted negatively. There is also sewer spillage. We are happy because the provincial executive is drawing up a plan to ensure that these issues are indeed addressed.
Another issue that needs to be addressed in the Eastern Cape is that of houses. The Deputy Minister of Human Settlements is here to confirm what was said. In the Sundays River Valley Municipality there are problems with houses. We made a determination in the House that the housing issue should be addressed. Maybe we should recommend that before a municipality can be given a task, we should first assess its capacity. That is because there is an accreditation problem and the committee will start there. In some way or another, the municipality has been overburdened by what it is not able to do. That should also be looked into.
As government implements section 139, we will always come to the House and give a report. Our reports are based on a particular determination and brief. When we say there is a problem, it is because the problem is judged in terms of particular indicators and targets. It does not mean heaven and that everything is good. Because you come from a particular understanding and a particular mechanism, we are saying there is a particular problem and we therefore recommend a termination of what is happening. There are some other forces that would even like to politicise the scientific issues that are seen here. As an ANC-led government, we should contribute because we are observing how those deployed by us are handling the task.
As we moved on in the provincial report, we read about the issue of Public Works, especially the Expanded Public Works Programme. We would indeed recommend that because there are a lot of mistakes in that department, there should be a form of intergovernmental relations, IGR, between the municipality and the department.
There is also an issue around the information that flows from the department to the municipalities. We found that there were constraints and the municipalities were losing out. If we can strengthen the department's IGR with municipalities, we believe that there will be a lot of improvement. The department has the capacity for maintenance and paving, and it will assist where municipalities are in need.
We also want to recommend precisely because of the fact that we are going to the 2011 local government elections. As we have seen, some of the protests were genuine and some were what we call third forces, if we are to use a light word. Deputy Minister, we also recommend that because the period between now and June is going to be a period of political protests and nomination, we would like to see Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, and the Treasury really forming an advanced unit. If we don't do that, we will have an imbalance between the old and new calculations, and therefore lack capacity in terms of budgetary processes. We would like to recommend a unit, an advanced team, that would intervene in cases where municipalities are unable to pass budgets as a result of a particular experience. If that could happen, it might solve the problem.
The other issue is in Gauteng, in the Lesedi Local Municipality, where we have noted that there has been an improvement in housing delivery. However, I think we need to be briefed as to how far they are, precisely because in this one we want the Gauteng portfolio committee to ensure that on behalf of the NCOP it monitors the situation and makes recommendations. If need be, let us have an arrangement that is bilateral so that we can improve on that one.
As I have already indicated, the issue is always raised in regard to housing and it is the local municipalities that are suffering, but if they have accreditation we won't have a problem.
In the Western Cape, the Swellendam Local Municipality has its own problems, like financial management and a shortage of staff. We will also have to go deeper into this one in order to assist in regard to the provincial ... [Time expired.]
Hon Chairperson, may I join those who have spoken before me in commending the members of the NCOP for very successfully working together on the fast improvement of delivery of services and living conditions in this NCOP Provincial Week. I also confirm the fact that during the visit to the province of Mpumalanga the members of the NCOP met with the legislature, members of the executive council, the SA Local Government Association, Salga and four municipalities, as well as the public.
Several matters were raised by the municipalities, the executive and all forums that were present. Amongst them were the issues of a shortage of water, poverty, problems with the ward demarcations, scholar transport, health and education, joblessness, interventions in the municipalities in terms of section 139, and concerns on how those matters are being dealt with. I would like to confirm here that the matters contained in the report are indeed being taken seriously by the province, at the level of both the executive and the legislature and the municipalities.
As we are converging here today, the province is embarking on taking the legislature to the people in one of the municipalities, but it is not one of the municipalities that we visited. The municipality that we visited was actually visited earlier on, towards the end of last year, and I guess some of the issues that were raised with the members of the NCOP were reconfirmed by the people, and the province continues to intervene to assist in these situations. All of us will agree that at the centre of addressing these matters lies the question of our economy. Therefore, the economy lays a very firm foundation for creating jobs, dealing with problems and turning the tide, and improving the livelihoods of our people. We have made a commitment as a province that we need to work very hard, in line with what was said by the President and the Minister of Finance about improving the economic situation in the province, so that we are able to address the social ills that our people are confronted with.
Amongst the interventions that have been employed, in line with the national government's decisions, is the crafting of our own economic growth and development path, which seeks to deal with the problems relating to joblessness.
Some of the problems that have been identified are the challenges in the labour market, which are exacerbated by the low levels of skills and the high levels of unemployment among youth and women. The province recognises the strides made by government towards the provision of basic services, but also identifies the growing income inequalities and low infrastructure investment in rural areas as a legacy of apartheid, to which some of the speakers have already alluded.
Our challenge therefore is to support the national initiative of creating jobs. We will be working as a legislature and executive and municipalities in ensuring that we develop people who are in the labour market and therefore reduce the unemployment in the province.
There are certain plans that we have embarked upon, which are in line with the vision of the ANC. During the period of implementing the new Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Path, or MEGDP, the province will strengthen massive job creation in the areas of agriculture, agro- processing and forestry; mining, energy and mineral beneficiation; tourism and cultural industries; and manufacturing, especially in tooling, plastics, chemicals and biofuels.
With regard to the infrastructure, we hope to give serious attention to the Moloto Corridor in the Nkangala District; the establishment of industrial parks in the Govan Mbeki and Steve Tshwete Municipalities; the rehabilitation of the coal haulage road network in the area of Nkangala and Gert Sibande; the construction of the Kusile Power Station; and the rehabilitation of municipal utilities such as water, sewerage, drainage and electricity. I hope, for our province, that the next visit by the NCOP will go to this area where we are confronted by the huge destruction of our infrastructure by initiatives to generate power for our country and the subregion.
Ours continues to be a journey of determination and commitment to reducing unemployment and poverty. In order to realise the vision of decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods, we believe that Eskom's recommissioning of the three power stations in Camden, Grootvlei and Komati, and the construction of the Kusile Power Station in the province will go a long way towards contributing to job creation for our people.
During the state of the province address last Friday, Premier Mabuza announced that his government had created almost 30 000 job opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme, thereby providing much-needed relief to the poor in our province.
It should be noted that the mining, agriculture and manufacturing sectors remain some of the important drivers of economic growth and job creation in our province. The advent of the green economy also provides us with an opportunity to create more jobs in this emerging sector; hence the province will explore and exploit this lucrative sector.
In continuing to realise the Freedom Charter commitment of ensuring that the "mineral wealth beneath the soil ... shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole", we were humbled and honoured by the launch of the first-ever state mining company in Vlakfontein in Ogies by President Zuma last Saturday. We believe that the launch of the mine will create much-needed job opportunities for our people, especially unemployed youth, women and people with disabilities.
We are also positive that the establishment of the proposed University of Mpumalanga and the provincial tertiary hospital will also contribute towards increasing the required skills base for much-needed economic growth. We are informed that the process of establishing the said institutions is at an advanced stage.
President Zuma has declared 2011 the year of creating jobs. In order to fast-track this, the premier also announced measures to meet the national government halfway regarding the rolling out of projects and funding those projects for the province.
Amongst other issues that have been identified for funding are road construction and maintenance, particularly for the roads in Piet Retief, Witbank, Ermelo and Mashishing, which is one of the areas that members visited and where they raised several concerns; the paving of streets in human settlement areas; maintenance of public institutions such clinics, schools and government buildings; construction of schools and community health centres in rural areas and the People's Housing Process programme; and bulk water infrastructure. These, amongst other issues, were raised by communities, municipalities and members who attended the Provincial Week.
Our fight against poverty and the creation of sustainable livelihoods through food security remains the top priority on our list, especially for the people in the deep rural areas of our province. Through our Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, Masibuyele Emasimini, more poverty-stricken families are beginning to benefit. The programme encourages our people to till their land and produce food for their own livelihood; it also provides technical and infrastructure mechanisation, fencing and irrigation to the identified beneficiaries, which includes providing training for youth.
Our interventions through this strategy have also ensured investment in human capital development, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. This programme has been piloted in the deep rural Mkhondo municipality over the last two years, and the pilot phase is coming to an end at the end of this month.
The provincial administration has committed itself to rolling out interventions in six municipalities, which include Albert Luthuli, Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi, which was visited by the committee.
As I conclude, hon Chairperson, I would like to quote words that were delivered by one of our liberation stalwarts, Inkosi Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli, when addressing a public meeting organised by the SA Congress of Democrats in Johannesburg in 1958 ... [Interjections.]
The difficulties may be great, but nothing has beaten man if he has striven. ... There is a challenge which you and I must meet. We cannot dodge it. ... I cannot believe that all of us who are here will fail South Africa ... I believe we all will do our best - whatever the difficulties are ... Go in faith and believe in the sanity of posterity.
Hon Chairperson, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and hon members, today we are debating the report on the visit to the provinces. It is a very important report to inform the NCOP of what is happening in the provinces. It is evident that the state of service delivery throughout the Republic of South Africa is not of the required standard. Many reasons can be sought for why the existing situation prevails.
Our municipalities have a critical and immediate role to play in the welfare and development of all the people. Local government is both the most intimate sphere of government and the one that impacts most on the everyday lives of citizens.
We must strive for an open society which is founded on transparency, clean government and respect for the rule of law. In an open society the Constitution - which exists to guarantee our rights - sets out the responsibilities of government and citizens. It protects the ordinary people from abuse of power by those in government. It is respected and defended.
In an open society governments are accountable to the people who elected them. Those who are in power know that they have been elected to serve the people and the government. They know that if they fail to deliver adequately to the people they serve, they can be voted out of office just as easily as they were voted in.
An open-opportunity society is the vehicle through which people are empowered to live their lives, pursue their dreams, and develop their full potential. The DA believes that the role of local government is to provide every citizen with a minimum basic standard of quality services and resources with which to be able to do just that - a framework for choice.
To be successful one needs to realise that the key principles of providing good governance are: providing high-performance councillors, who do not fail because of cadre deployment, but are rather there on merit; councillors who avoid conflicts of interest and unproductive expenditure, such as expensive cars and functions; effective spending of available grants and funding, and not applying fraudulent practices; a fair and timely process for suspensions and dismissals, not redeployment of corrupt officials; providing a fair and rational indigency policy for the poor to ensure that the poor receive the money, not the local hyenas; and managing the supply chain well, with no contracts for politicians who enrich themselves.
In order to get the basic service delivery right you must: provide clean and potable water; improve sewerage and reduce water pollution; provide safe electricity - by paying for services and not by means of tampering; provide effective solid waste management; and manage housing developments, including fighting corrupt ways of allocating housing and nepotism.
To promote proper services and support to our people, solid co-operation and alignment amongst local government, provincial government and national government must be established.
I can only mention a few of the highlights of the visit to the Western Cape. The first was a visit to the Agricultural Research Council at Nietvoorbij. It's only for agriculture research and development. Nietvoorbij is currently working on fruit, crops, deciduous fruit, fynbos, wine and brandy, dried fruit and processed fruits. The institute is also responsible for the maintenance of gene banks, deciduous fruit, fynbos and vines, which are important national assets.
Funding remains a challenge as it is partially funded by external income and partially by parliamentary grant. Fifty per cent of the work of the institute relates to nutrition, food security and safety. The institute also assists in and facilitates obtaining resources for poor farmers.
Another very interesting visit was to the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology. What is very important there is that 311 students are accommodated. They are from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape and it is significant to note that the majority of the students come from families experiencing socioeconomic hardship. Two thirds of the students who excel in mathematics and science are rewarded with subsidies or grants and a total exemption from paying fees.
The question of backyard dwellers was also addressed. It is a national problem, but it has been decided to try to follow up on whether there was fairness in the allocation of subsidised houses; whether there were more affordable housing opportunities to ensure that people lived in well- located areas close to jobs, schools and transport; whether a better relationship between landlords and tenants could be facilitated; and the management of waiting lists.
Regarding safety and security, the Western Cape has a high occurrence of gangsterism. The following reasons for ongoing conflict were identified, namely old grudges between gangs, drug theft conflicts, influx of gangsters from neighbouring areas and orders from convicted drug lords.
Furthermore, the department of cultural affairs and sport is of the view that sports, arts and culture forums could play a major role in the upliftment of the quality of life in gang-infested areas. The strategy is to develop a set of cultural forums in which rural areas must explore the heritage and legacy of their community. Proposed initiatives include Easter festivals in many of the high-crime areas, mass participation in school sports and recreational activities, and opportunity development centres.
In conclusion, the Western Cape supports the report. I can assure you that it is doing everything within its powers and abilities to make the area a better one for living in for all people that we can support. That is the reason why so many people come to the Western Cape, namely to get a better living. Thank you.
Chairperson, Deputy Ministers, comrades and friends, that we have to work closer with the people and that we have to significantly improve service delivery and the living conditions of the people is glaringly obvious. This discussion, like other such discussions, is most welcome, because it comes out of an NCOP Provincial Week in which members interacted with communities to hear first-hand what ordinary people think, need and want.
Of course, it would be even more valuable if the discussions here were to lead to further concrete programmes of service delivery and development with concrete goals - not just by the executive but by Parliament too, and the NCOP in particular, since it is you who organised Provincial Week. I am very struck by what my comrade here said, that we often say it's easier said than done, but perhaps it's easier done than said. I hope that's true. I hope that it can become true. Ultimately, it's a matter of political will. If the NCOP leads in this regard, I think you will have made an important path for our country.
This is ever more important, it seems to me. It is not enough for Parliament and the executive to reach out to people, listen to them and promise to deliver. We need to act on these commitments, more decisively and faster than ever before. Time is running out fast. Indeed, last year we had the highest number of community protests in this country since 1994, and this despite the respite of the World Cup. Just look at Wesselton and Revelia now. Where next?
There are many different reasons for these protests. For what it's worth, I dealt with some of them in the NCOP budget last year. Clearly, the mobilisation of residents by different factions of the majority party to bolster their demands is part of the explanation. However, these factions will not be able to mobilise people unless people have legitimate grievances in the first place. People are not sheep; certainly not in this country. They weren't when we fought apartheid, and they aren't now when they challenge us. We should not run away from the reality that people are getting impatient with us, and that we have to deliver faster.
The value of your report is not just that it points to the advances we have certainly made since 1994, but in a very temperate, modest and sensible way it also focuses on the many challenges that you are putting before the executive, because ultimately it is we who must implement certain things. As the Ministers and members of the executive have said here today, we are very keen to work with you in doing so. Clearly, too, it's not for the executive alone to deliver. Parliament - the NCOP in particular, as well as the NA - has a crucial role to play in this regard.
As the Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we welcome this provincial report, as do my colleagues and comrades from other sections of the executive, particularly because many of the things that came out of your Provincial Week fit in with Outcome 9, for which we are responsible, which is to ensure an accountable, effective and efficient local government system. Much of what you say - frankly, many of the things that you say you discovered in September last year - also coincides with our Local Government Turnaround Strategy, which evolved from our State of Local Government Report, on which we dwell.
With the local government elections looming, issues of service delivery and development will be starkly in the public domain. We need to mobilise people, as the Chairperson said earlier, to register and vote in these elections. But we also need to mobilise them to play a consistent and active role in local government affairs. After all, we have made it clear, certainly under President Zuma, that the state alone cannot deliver enough.
We need the active participation of the people. We constantly say that together we can do more. We have no choice but to work actively with the people. They must be active in ward committees, school governing bodies, community police forums, health committees and the plethora of community fora, both statutory and nonstatutory, that are available.
This weekend, 5 and 6 March, as we all know, will be the last organised registration drive by the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC. The election date is likely to be promulgated next week, even if it is announced sooner. Once the election date is promulgated, the voters' roll will close. As public representatives, we need to do our utmost to get people to register this weekend, particularly the youth. Even if people feel that they don't want to vote, we must encourage them to register. To register is to give effect to your citizenship. It is to say: "I'm not just a resident of my South Africa, but a citizen." To vote is to give full expression to that citizenship, whichever party or individual you vote for. That is why the IEC logo, "Love your country", is especially apposite, because you are not a full citizen if you don't register, and you are an even fuller citizen if you vote, in my view.
There are people who feel that they don't want to register or vote. This right did not fall from the skies. It was fought for and is the outcome of a titanic struggle against apartheid. Solomon Mahlangu gave his life so that we can vote. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Hundreds of thousands of people engaged in mass action to secure this right to vote. We owe it to them to register and to vote.
There are people who say that they refuse to register and vote because of poor service delivery by local government or government in general. But that is precisely why they must register and vote, so that they can communicate that they, as part of the voters as a whole, are in charge; that this democracy is based on them; that it is theirs; it is they who decide on the public representatives; and it is to them that the representatives are accountable. How, by not voting, do people improve service delivery and development? Surely all they are doing is allowing others to decide for them who will represent them. If people don't vote, does it not reduce the credibility of their demands on public representatives? It's not as if, if they vote, they cannot also take part in service delivery campaigns and protests. These protests are an important part of a democracy, especially an emerging one like ours with its huge inequalities, provided that the protests are not violent and people are not coerced into taking part in them. Yes, protests are important, but so is voting. Protests are not a substitute for voting; they should be seen as complementary.
But for how long people may be prepared to see them as such depends on us, on politicians and civil servants, and on how fast we improve service delivery and development. There has been significant delivery since 1994, but it's not enough. President Zuma's government is certainly very frank, open and transparent in acknowledging this.
I want to respond to an hon member, I think it was Mr Worth of the DA. He pointed to municipalities that the Minister referred to. Yes, indeed, I don't think that the Minister was claiming that all is hunky-dory. What we seek to say is that with the Local Government Turnaround Strategy we are steadily, slowly - it's not going to happen overnight - addressing those issues. Reneva Fourie in the gallery, others and I have gone to Naledi several times in the last six to nine months and we are due to go there in the next two to three weeks. Working with people like you, Mr Worth, we can also, transcending our differences, address these issues collectively since they affect the country as a whole, as well as citizens, whichever party they come from.
Mr Mokgobi is absolutely right. In order to effect the transition seamlessly, effectively and efficiently from the current five-year term to the next five-year term, we have to work on a transition team. You'll be pleased to know that we are doing exactly that. Only now, an hour before I came here, I met with the director-general, the Minister's political adviser and the chief of staff to prepare a document along those lines, which we will bring before your committee and the committee of the National Assembly that has oversight over us.
I have read your report myself. The advantage of being a later speaker in a long debate is that you are able to read the report. I have browsed through and read substantial sections of it. Let me say that I am struck by various things.
The first one is water. Water keeps coming up as a big issue. I think that this is something that Minister Edna Molewa, we and others will have to work on together. We again in Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs see this repeatedly as an issue. If you think the power and energy challenges are major, what is looming in regard to water is actually going to be far worse. The United Nations says, for what it's worth, that wars in the future will not be over oil; they will be over water. So, water is a big challenge.
The second issue, once again, is that of funds. Municipalities do not have funds, you say. We are acutely aware of that. There is a major intergovernmental fiscal review and we would like to appear before your committee, Mr Mokgobi, to actually present to you what Deputy Minister Nene, Minister Gordhan, my Minister and we, as the two departments, have been doing in addressing that.
What is clear is that if we are serious about service delivery and development being implemented through municipal structures, we have to allocate more money. Equally, municipalities must use the money that they currently have, limited though it is, far more effectively - my comrade agrees - and far more productively than they do, which will increase their case for more support from the national fiscus. It is not just going to flow.
You point out in your report that several municipalities tell you, as we well know, that clearly the residents cannot pay because they don't have the money. One million people or more have been displaced from work over the last 16 to 18 months. Deputy Minister Ntuli will know more about that. We all know job creation; I was very impressed with Mr Mahlangu from Mpumalanga pointing to job creation. Obviously, when you made this provincial visit, this wasn't such a big issue; now it is. I think that job creation is something that the NCOP might want to consider pursuing in the work that you do in the provinces and municipalities.
On capacity issues, we are working with all relevant departments to actually have a national capacity-building programme that works in synergy and is coherent across several departments - Human Settlements, I understand, but more especially Treasury and Water Affairs, and so on.
With regard to infrastructure, we agree with you that this is a long-term plan. As you know, government is investing over R800 billion in that regard. There are some very moving things and one of the municipalities that you visited, Ikhwezi, you referred to as not even having a refuse truck. They use a bakkie. This is not acceptable. Can we do something about it? I see Sehlabi Mashile here. Can you note that? Can we work with the chairperson of the committee and do something about this? It is absurd that they are actually using a bakkie to manage refuse removal. Can we work with your committee, Mr Mokgobi, and settle this matter relatively soon?
We are struck by some very positive things. The intergovernmental relations framework in Gauteng is very good. Why can't it be used in other provinces? I don't think the other provinces - you know more than I do about this - are as advanced at this.
On the issue of the SA Local Government Association, Salga's, participation in Provincial Week, for what it's worth, as a member of the executive, I think that is crucial.
I see that you also went to my own municipality, Msunduzi. Chairperson of the NCOP, I must tell you that the chairperson of your committee did very good work when they had that inquiry into Msunduzi. He may not know that they were on the first pages of The Witness, the community newspapers, The Mercury and, I think, the Daily News the following morning. They were quite shaken.
May I take this opportunity to congratulate you and your committee for the good work that you did. [Applause.] May I also say, though, that your report here does not report the depth and quality of the exchange that there was. It is too bland - there are severe challenges in Msunduzi. However, in fact, there has been steady and stable progress and we expect even more progress.
On page 78, section 2.2(iii) you say that the "process of electing members of the executive committees of municipal councils should be reconsidered". I am not exactly sure what this means and how you want this to be done. But, again, perhaps you can verbally alert us to this; you don't have to write. The point is to just communicate to us what you are saying.
If I understand you correctly, it's a concern of MEC Dube. If that's the case, we are seeking to address this. The Chairperson of the NCOP must accept some complicity. He was in the committee at the time when we shared the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, so he is as guilty as people like me and others who were in the committee at the time. He and I both have a vested interest in correcting our mistakes.
The one thing that is clear is that the law is not very clear! It says that parties are represented in an executive committee that is multiparty in proportion to the number of votes that they secure. If I'm entitled to three as a particular party, I can nominate three people. But the other seven who are a majority can turn down the three that I have nominated and say, "No, you are entitled to three, but not Mr A or B or C. It can maybe be Miss A or Mr Z." It was never intended that the majority should decide for the minority which three representatives they have in the council.
If that is what you are saying, it has been drawn to our attention and is part of the legislative work that we are planning to do after a certain party, whose name I shall not mention, celebrates its 100th anniversary next year and organises a conference in December next year. This time the conference is not going to focus on leadership issues, let me assure you, but on policy issues. We are looking for a mandate. Like in any democracy, government does not stand for election; the party does. The party has to give us guidance on these and other issues and we will address that. We are aware of that issue.
On the issue that my friend from the DA, Van Lingen, has raised about corruption, namely how a person is accused of maladministration or corruption in one municipality and he or she pops up in another, the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act that was before the NA committee is now dealing with that issue. That is going to be prevented. We are going to have a list of people who are accused of this, and the Minister will play some role in monitoring it together with the MECs.
I want to say that what strikes me here - unlike in the NA - is the extent of the much more harmonious exchange between the opposition parties. Many of the things that the opposition parties are saying - with a tinkering here and there because majority parties never want to admit we are failing in some respects - and the substance of what they are saying I don't think most of us will disagree with. What I think is that the opportunity is here for you to work harmoniously together.
It doesn't matter which party you are from. If there is no electricity, all of us have no electricity in a municipality. If, when you open the tap, the water is murky and brown, all of us - to a large extent, although the poor disproportionately - experience that. We have a vested interest that cuts across party-political divides.
You are what you are - the NCOP. You, more than the NA, are the institution of co-operative governance; rare, even unique in this world. We are not a federal state, nor are we a unitary state. We have struck on an innovative, unusual and imaginative system of co-operative governance that draws on the best of a federal system and the best of a unitary system. Your institution, more than any other, symbolises this.
Chairperson, I see that you are reaching out for your stopper. I am disappointed because you said to another Minister or Deputy Minister that you can show some latitude.
I'm teasing you - but I'm not, actually. The fact is that I think that you and I go back a very long way, unlike Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks here and Deputy Minister Ntuli. They didn't serve on the same committee as you and I did, so you should give me more time! [Laughter.]
Having said all of that, may I say that I would like to carry my time over to the next time I appear, and may I convey very good wishes from our Minister. He is regrettably not here, but he conveys his very good wishes to you. We thank you very much, and congratulations to you. [Applause.]
Excuse me, Mr Chair, I would just like to ask the hon Deputy Minister something. I am a bit confused about the member of our party that he was speaking about, because I don't know this person. Could he just clarify that for us, because I really don't know whom he spoke about? [Interjections.]
Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, House Chairpersons, Acting Chief Whip, permanent and special delegates of the NCOP, hon Minister in absentia and Deputy Ministers, representatives of Salga, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you most sincerely for the opportunity you have given us to come here to this important House. Over and above its lawmaking function, this House is charged with the important role of exercising oversight over government's implementation of laws and policies, as well as ensuring that provincial interests are taken into account in Parliament. I bring heartfelt greetings from the premier of our province, the hon Thandi Modise, who also happens to be the deputy secretary-general of the majority party.
We confirm that we had a successful and memorable Provincial Week from 6 to 10 September, in the year of our Lord, 2010. It was marked by fruitful, robust and honest interactions amongst all stakeholders. The theme was "Working together to ensure faster improvement in the delivery of services and the living conditions of our people". We further confirm that we have seen the report in this regard tabled in your august House and it is, indeed, a true reflection of what transpired on that occasion. We would like to focus our contribution to the debate this afternoon on the various challenges noted and recommendations made during that visit, as well as the strides that we have made as a province in addressing more than just the issues raised.
Various departments have gone through strategic makgotla, culminating in the recent provincial executive council lekgotla. Its main aim was to receive feedback on service delivery as espoused in the 10 priority objectives and the 12 priority outcomes of government. These reports further enhance our ability to provide a solution to the challenges of service delivery and to properly plan for the ensuing financial year. Allow me to briefly highlight some of the achievements registered during the year under review, as further enunciated in the state of the province address. These are, amongst others, registering an 8,2% improvement in the Grade 12 results. This is not an accident of history, but the result of a thorough, ongoing process of interventions spanning a period of four years in the form of the learner attainment improvement plan. Commentators, doomsayers and nostalgic armchair critics deliberately and selectively misinterpret the recent report of Umalusi on moderation. They only concentrate on the upward, and not the downward, moderation, and tend to suffer from memory lapses sometimes.
From 2002 to 2009, compared to other provinces, we recorded a modest provincial economic growth of 3,7%.
We have integrated the environmental and biodiversity sensitivity layers of the province into the spatial development plan and six municipalities are currently in the process of doing this.
We have distributed 1 947 bicycles to 45 schools, and also implemented scholar transport operations in the four districts to provide mobility to rural learners. The Gwede Village referred to in your report has also recently benefited from learner transport, as well as from vouchers distributed by the SA Social Security Agency, Sassa.
We have trained 620 farmers in the three district municipalities as part of the Western Frontier Beef Beneficiation programme.
We have upgraded the roads between Brits and Thabazimbi and between Kraalhoek and Mantserre.
We have ensured that 239 health facilities implement the basic antenatal care strategy. We have tested 95% of pregnant women for HIV, as against the target of 90%. We have also decreased the TB defaulter rate by 8,3% as against the target of 8%.
All 24 municipalities have established their integrated development plan, IDP, structures.
We have provided access to water to 60 548 households, and 12 631 households were provided with access to sanitation in the period under review. So much for the good news.
Though we have had these achievements, much still needs to be done. We acknowledge that our rural development initiatives have not reached the expected levels.
Similarly, we have not sufficiently engaged in partnerships with relevant stakeholders in this regard, but we insist on creating sustainable, effective and efficient local government systems. We must recognise the fact that our local government sphere has certain inherent weaknesses that continue to overshadow the painstaking work done by hardworking, honest and loyal men and women. In this regard, the provincial departments of finance and of local government and traditional affairs have been requested to work closely with municipalities to help build capacity in order to meet the social and developmental needs of the local communities.
Our road infrastructure leaves much to be desired, especially the roads leading to and in the seat of government, Mahikeng. To this end, in a joint programme with the district and local municipalities, we are engaging in a revitalisation project. The province is contributing R33 million, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality R16 million, and the City of Mafikeng R5 million. Given the state of our infrastructure, this is not enough, but it is a good start, and we are engaging other stakeholders in regard to coming on board.
The key aspects of the New Growth Path are the following. The first is to ensure that there is robust stimulation of the economic sector, enabling us to absorb lots of people into the labour market. With its advent, and given the fact that we are still recovering from the effects of the global financial meltdown, we believe that our provincial growth and development strategy has to be relevant to the challenges of the times. It is against this background that we have therefore resolved to review it in such a manner that we can pay particular attention to meaningful approaches to socioeconomic strategies. This we will do from 15 and 16 March this year. In this regard, we are also reviewing all state-owned enterprises to gear them to relevant development and to avoid unnecessary wastage through duplication.
In response to the problem of water shortages in the most rural parts of the province, we intend going into partnership with the ministry of agriculture in the Northern Cape province. Discussions are, in fact, already under way. All the water boards and water services authorities operating in the province are also coming to the party to ensure that we provide potable water to all our people. Having had due regard to the high level of water shortages in some areas while there is water in abundance in others, we are deploying our best strategies, including water cultivation, to address these.
We are going to do our utmost to create a good learning and teaching environment in all our schools. We are going to eradicate all mud schools in the province and provide decent shelter to all our learners; rid our schools of gangsterism and drugs; provide learner transport to all the schools which are not currently covered; ensure that we get the school nutrition programme back on track; and, in partnership with the mining houses and business in the province, we will be building and renovating several schools in the province.
We are improving and upgrading our health facilities through the hospital revitalisation programme and the revitalisation of the physical health infrastructure in general. We are, of course, guided by the 10-point plan in the fight against diseases and in the improvement of our health profile. Again, in this sector we have established good working relations with the private sector, particularly the mining sector, which has offered to build clinics in some of our communities.
In conclusion, we have taken note of all issues, specific challenges and recommendations made in the report on Provincial Week. Whilst we have actively dealt with most of these, we commit ourselves to continuing to endeavour to address all issues raised, and to provide proper feedback, issue by issue. I shall also ensure that in my other capacity as Leader of Government Business this report is properly processed through the legislature and its committees, and that feedback is given to this House.
In the past week we have been graced with the presence of a very large contingent of leadership, led by the Presidency. The result of this is delivery, delivery, and delivery. I thank you.
Chairperson, I think one must, on your behalf, officially thank the members of the executive who have clearly made it their responsibility to participate in this debate, because this is the kind of interaction that we would like to see more of as a House of Parliament.
I am saying this precisely because the governing party at its conference resolved that one of the key things it would do is to build a developmental state. In its characterisation of a developmental state it stated that one of the key things would be to ensure that it was a people-driven state. That is a state that takes the interests of the people along with it when doing its work. When it comes to issues of service delivery, the people are the voice into which the executive will tap in delivering these kinds of services. Beyond that it also gave a mandate to the members of the legislatures, saying that they needed to define their role in how to ensure that they strengthened and contributed to the development of this developmental state in terms of its character, form and content.
What we as legislatures then said was that our work was to build an activist Parliament. In the characterisation of this, or in trying to give content to this activist Parliament, we had already identified the fact that we as the NCOP had instruments that actually spoke to an activist Parliament. What is an activist parliament? It is a parliament that is there with the people. It is a parliament that works together with the people. It is a parliament that acquires knowledge and is guided by the wisdom of the ordinary people that have elected those public representatives to parliament, etc.
So, this debate is a reflection of those two things as we look at it: a state at the level of the executive that wants to be developmental in its character, and we as legislatures said this was our role as activists who were, when doing our oversight consistently, going to also strengthen what the executive were doing. It is in that sense that I, on behalf of the Chairperson of the NCOP, honestly and humbly thank the executive very much. We wish that we saw more of other members of the executive participating in the activities of the NCOP as well.
I must say that the debate was quite enriching and it sought to really speak to the kind of work that we need to do. As I was sitting here, I was already beginning to think about what the role of the committees of the NCOP would be; how we would ensure that the committees of the NCOP also spoke to this kind of report and what was happening in the provincial legislatures, the municipalities, etc.
I also thank the Leader of Government Business from the North West very much. It's like he was reading my mind, asking how we could ensure that we translated the kind of debate that we had today and see that it also took place in the provincial legislatures, so that provincial legislatures, while they might not have a debate as broad as we have had, might have one that specifically focused on issues that related to matters of the particular province.
This also speaks to what Limpopo was proposing in regard to the level of interface between the permanent delegates of the NCOP, the provincial legislatures and the local municipalities, which is something that we have consistently been preaching. As the Deputy Minister for Cogta has said, we have a unique House here, which should be utilised effectively to drive and deepen the intergovernmental relations programme. This is the platform that we need to use, so that there will be a level of interface between the two, in actual fact three Houses - the legislatures, the local municipalities and the NCOP - in regard to the level of work that we will be able to do.
It is for that reason that we say that through programmes such as Provincial Week we too support the commitment by the ANC, the ruling party, and we share the responsibility for the problems that people have experienced at all levels.
However, our oversight activities, as I have said before, must ensure that there is constant monitoring to make sure that our people continue to benefit from this advancement. It would be pointless for us to have these kinds of interactions and debates if the debates and interactions did not translate into concrete responses or concrete deliverables that would begin to advance or change the lives of our people very much for the better. Otherwise, it will not make any sense to an ordinary person who lives in Komatipoort or elsewhere. Committee meetings, plenaries and other forums must be able to guide us in making an assessment of the direction we are taking in resolving the challenges. We can only come up with a practical assessment if we continue to embrace the relationship already fostered and, of course, this strengthens Salga. We call upon provincial delegates, Whips and the legislatures at large to play a central role in ensuring that we succeed in our work.
Some of our committees have, of course, already visited certain provinces to look at similar issues to those highlighted in the report. Subsequently, our NCOP programme has reflected the intention of more committees to undertake the kind of work that we have already identified in our report.
I would like to re-emphasise the point of our calling upon members, as they go back to their committees, to ask the critical question that we need to ask: "Where does our programme reflect on issues related to Taking Parliament to the People, to Provincial Week? Do our committees speak to these kinds of things?" This is an emphasis on the part of the work that we are calling upon our members to do.
The NCOP commitment to effective public participation is one of the many ways that we hope to use to strengthen programmes such as Provincial Week in conjunction with Taking Parliament to the People. Our House in general is placing a strong emphasis on our public participation as a form of expression of people's power; hence the development of the public participation model. That is one of the things I want to call upon members to familiarise themselves with in the oversight model of Parliament.
It will also assist members in their committees to model their work and their programmes on the framework of the oversight model. If you don't do that, you do not align your work with the kind of model that we have adopted as Members of Parliament, and you tend to run the risk of doing something and thinking that you are doing what you intended to do, only to find that you are doing something totally different from what you are supposed to be doing. So, that is an area that we are appealing to members to familiarise themselves with.
We wish to take the model and, through the level of interfaces, work with our provinces and municipalities, and also begin to share this kind of model, because it will only strengthen the kind of work that we are doing when it comes to oversight. It is important that we do that. We have already heard the president of the ANC speaking to the question of the level at which the manifesto of the ANC relates to these matters.
I just want to touch on one thing. We should not leave this House with misconceptions, or having misled ourselves on concluding certain matters. I find it quite interesting that the DA acknowledges that they have visited a school and that in that school they have found a disparity, but they still, from their philosophical point of view, continue to say that that is a reflection of an open and equal society. What does it say to you as an individual if you do not even recognise that historically there have been disparities and therefore, as a result of these disparities and inequalities, we will not be able to treat matters in the same way?
There should be those who are given more resources in order to advance and reach those who already have. We don't have an equal society and we as public representatives cannot continue misleading our people out there and saying that it is about an equal opportunity society, when in actual fact we are grappling with high levels of inequality within that society.
So, it is quite misleading to misdirect such an important debate and want to drive it with a wrong ideological and philosophical posture of an equal opportunity society, when in actual fact we know the deep-rooted problem of our society is the inequalities that have been created as a result of class differentiation and the like within the society of South Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]