Hon members, the farewell speeches we give today at the end of this Fourth Parliament call for us to be gracious in bidding farewell to all members, yet also expect us to be circumspect when looking back on the past five years.
It seems as if much time has passed since we hosted the very successful 2010 Fifa World Cup tournament. Indeed, we had a good story to tell then, and we could say proudly that South Africa was a better place in 2010 than it was in 1994.
In 2011 we hosted the successful 17th Conference of the Parties climate change talks in Durban, and we said then that we had a good story to tell and that the country was a better place than it was in 1994.
In 2012 Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, this country's former Minister of Home Affairs, was the first woman to be appointed to the critical post of Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Who could argue against this good story? And we all felt extremely proud that we had come so far since 1994.
Last year we hosted the fifth Brics Summit, Brics being the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of nations, under the theme: "Brics and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation". This summit completed the first cycle of Brics summits and was the first time that the summit was hosted on the African continent. This had specific relevance, given that it coincided with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Organisation of African Unity, which is now the African Union. Again, we can take pride in the path we have travelled since 1994. These achievements and many others are proof that we have many good stories to tell and that we have progressed as a nation in the past 20 years.
The story of this institution is also one in which many changes have been effected to bring this institution closer to the people. A critical question we must ask, though, as we move into the third decade of our democracy and into the Fifth Parliament is: Has the transformation of this institution given effect to our national democratic revolution and become responsive to the needs of our people?
The ANC-led government has always been guided by the need to transform Parliament by developing more efficient political structures and by ensuring that all Members of Parliament are more actively involved in, and empowered by, the transformation process. The strategic goal of the building of an activist and people-centred Parliament has been entrusted to the capable hands of all ANC deployees in Parliament, who have been tasked with defining the national transformation agenda.
These past five years have seen many key pieces of legislation being passed, much monitoring and evaluation of implementation through oversight visits, constituency work and committee work. The able leadership of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, of the House Chairpersons of both Houses and of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary to Parliament has steered us through some very contentious waters, and we would like to express our deep gratitude to them. [Applause.]
We commend Parliament for the advances that were made during this term and in taking forward the vision to build an effective people's Parliament that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa. We commend it in particular for launching the campaign to get the public involved in crafting the Public Participation Framework to ensure that public participation is meaningful and not confined only to providing the public with avenues to express their views on specific issues.
The successful hosting of the Globe International World Summit of Legislators on Climate Change in December 2011, which was held for the first time in South Africa, focused on climate change-related legislation in Globe's 17 partner countries. By all accounts that forum concluded on a positive note.
The sectoral Parliaments were hosted in this institution. In this regard, the Women's Parliament generated ground-breaking resolutions in 2012 in favour of mainstreaming gender equality. Another ground-breaking act was the establishment of the Budget Office in February last year, which will help to build the capacity of members to engage on economic and budget issues through regular training and workshops and to ensure that their work in overseeing the Budget is much more effective. The latter part of this term saw us embark upon a review of the Rules of Parliament. This has been long overdue, given the fact that over the 20 years of democracy Parliament's Rules and lessons learnt along the way necessitated a review. More recently, we adopted Parliament's leave and attendance policy. Here, again, the issue of discipline, particularly in this term of Parliament, rose to the fore because of a lack of discipline of members from all parties. We hope that in the Fifth Parliament the issue of attendance does not rear its head.
The same can be said of the code of ethics, which required the urgent attention of all political parties during this term. The ethics committee tabled the revised code of ethics document for discussion. This revised version has been given to all political parties.
In as much as these and many other developments speak to the strengthening of this institution, we should be frank in where they have not done so. In bidding goodbye to this term, we are aware that it would be remiss of us not to assist in constructively calling for improvement.
The issue around the quality of legislation and law-making gained prominence during this term, particularly when the weaknesses in many pieces of legislation were pointed out. We implore the next Parliament to invest more resources in developing law-making processes. In addition, the quality of committee reports must also be reviewed. The standard of the drafting and recording of all committee reports and minutes should be elevated, as the poor quality of these reports gives rise to many inaccuracies.
I cannot finish my speech within my given time. Thank you very much to you, the DA. It doesn't matter how hard you fought, it was a good fight in your own opinion. We respect the fact that you are not a sweetheart opposition. You are a good fighter. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
To my colleagues, thank you very much for entrusting me with the task of guiding members who go astray. Thank you very much. [Applause.] To the ANC, thank you, my organisation, for making me what I am. Thank you very much. [Applause.]