House Chair, thanks to permanent delegates and members of this House for your contributions and unanimous support for the Division of Revenue Bill 2012. Members indicated that this was a constitutional requirement also required by our Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act.
Judging by the debate we had earlier, this is a fitting date for this Bill to be considered and debated in this House. The progressive realisation of our people's aspiration of a better life is at the heart of the process of the equitable allocation of resources. The Division of Revenue Act is a primary vehicle driving the process of service delivery and makes a better life a reality. It is this engagement today and other intense processes that enrich the process and give elected representatives an opportunity to exercise their oversight and to express their views on the efficiency and efficacy of our fiscal framework. The freedom we celebrate tomorrow and the whole of this month, as we heard in the previous debate, finds expression in the extent to which our people have access to basic services.
Members made a number of observations on the division of revenue for this year. If I may just go through them, starting with the hon Chaane, the chairperson of the committee, whose committee I am truly indebted to for the work they have done - and this includes the select committee. He alluded to the intense process that unfolded for us to be where we are today. He also referred to scarce resources and unlimited needs - as we all know, that is the economic dilemma that we are facing. He stressed the point of accountability, which I think we are all in agreement on, in contrast to what another hon member referred to as a "collapse".
Comments on the failure of provinces to spend on infrastructure came from a number of members, particularly regarding capital expenditure, the diversion of funds and the inefficient allocation of resources to the detriment of the poor and those who need it most.
Hon Bekker referred to the implementation of the new development plan, saying the problem was with its implementation. He also alluded to the lack of capacity and skills. I want to assure hon Bekker, particularly on infrastructure, that one of the reasons for government introducing the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission is precisely to ensure that that delivery of infrastructure is done in a co-ordinated fashion and that we will get the maximum benefit out of the resources deployed. He also decried cadre deployment. He quoted the Minister's speech but forgot that the Minister went on to define what it was that we refer to as a "cadre". A "cadre" is a special type of a deployee. It is a special type of member of a particular organisation who is selfless, dedicated and works in the interests of others. The hon member must actually take that into account when he talks about cadre deployment. [Interjections.]
He also referred to the DA's 8% targeted growth. It's not about numbers; it's about the inclusive nature of such growth - how many people benefit from it and to what extent it addresses the triple challenge that we have as a country. He also says we must learn from our Brics partners. Our Brics partners are also learning from us, for your information. [Interjections.]
Comrade Dan referred to the problems that affect health in Gauteng. Comrade Papo also dealt with the matter. This matter is receiving attention and we are working with the provincial department in Gauteng to ensure that those problems are addressed. Let me hasten to add that this is not necessarily a funding challenge. There are many administrative challenges that will bring many cost savings into effect and we have begun to see them bear fruit. With the oversight of the committee, also in Gauteng, we have actually been assisted and are able to move in the right direction. The issue of the formula came up in a number of speeches. We accept that this is a matter that requires attention - and it is receiving attention. Salga, National Treasury and other stakeholders are working on this one.
Hon Van Rooyen talked about the issue of nonattendance, which was defended by the hon member from Salga. It is indeed sad that such an important workshop was not attended. Hon Van Rooyen also calls for the institutionalisation of a "smart state" - a state that is effective, efficient and actually deals with the issue of leakages; a state that ensures that we continue with our call of doing more with less. This is important because if we do not ensure that ever more scarce resources are spent efficiently, we are not likely to see results.
Regarding the issue of smaller provinces and the equitable share, attempts are being made to give an additional 11% to benefit smaller provinces. Regarding the issue of roads, you might now understand what we go through as National Treasury when everybody thinks we are not giving them enough. In Gauteng, we did not allocate enough to health, while in the Free State we did not allocate enough to roads. However, there is the "23 nonpriority roads" saga that we need to address, hence the intervention in the Free State. We are working very well with the department and it appreciates what we are doing in the Free State.
The issue of unfunded mandates is also an ongoing debate. These are some of the things we should also address among the departments when we talk about a state that really works. Regarding the issue of the revenue-raising capacity for municipalities, we should actually work very hard at making sure that municipalities are able to raise their own revenues so that they are able to augment the programmes.
Hon Papo spoke about the Budget and the consultation process being a long- term project.
The other thing I wish to draw the House's attention to is health, migration and the services provided by Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to people from other provinces too. We need to move with speed to make sure that we lay the foundation for the implementation of our NHI. If we do that, we will build this infrastructure and improve the level of health care and health services in all our areas. That would mean that people need not move to one province because that is where they find the level of service they require. Therefore we need to work together to make sure that our pilot projects for laying the foundation of the NHI are taken forward as expeditiously as possible.
Members also noted that there were three changes to the Division of Revenue Act - I do not want to go into that. I have also dealt with the issue of equitable share.
Hon Sinclair spoke about a very strange definition of patriotism. He says it is to protect the country from government. Mr Sinclair, government is the custodian of patriotism. We are a constitutional state. We gave it to you; it is there and we are here to protect you. It is government that will protect you, Mr Sinclair. You have a number of strange definitions. You even began to misinterpret the mandates of the Houses of Parliament. We have a Parliament with two Houses, Mr Sinclair. The Constitution talks about the mandate of Parliament, not of each House. The reason we have the NCOP is precisely because, as one of the members indicated, we are a unitary state that devolves powers to some of three spheres of government. We are one state. [Interjections.]
It will take time. In fact, I think you must organise a workshop, House Chair. Make sure you detain Mr Sinclair longer than the rest of the members, because you will need to start him on the basics of the Constitution before you come to the Rules of the House and other things. Thank you.
Hon Mashile also emphasised inefficiency in spending and that there was wastage. I am trying to recall which member actually went to the important workshop with the Auditor-General - and my apologies for not being able to attend that workshop. It was my fervent hope and wish to attend but unfortunately, because of matters beyond my control, I was not able to attend. The question he asked at the end of the day was: What do we do with these delinquents? What do we do with people who break the laws governing financial management? Hon Mashile answered the question. He said we should declare this year the year of law enforcement; the year when we ensure that those who break the law actually face the wrath of the law. Thank you very much. [Applause.]