National Assembly: Questions for oral reply by President of South Africa, Mr President Jacob Zuma
13 Sep 2012
13. Ms C C September (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:
How does the Government plan to ensure that it continues to strengthen its support to the African Union following the appointment of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as chairperson of the African Union?
The election of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma heralds a new era for the continent as for the first time, the AU Commission will be led by a woman.
The AU, therefore, has affirmed its own resolution to make this a Decade of Women.
Minister Dlamini Zuma has also made history by being the first chairperson from the Southern African region. We congratulate her on her election.
As a loyal member of the AU, South Africa will play its role and provide support to make the institution successful in its programmes of promoting unity, peace, stability, prosperity and democracy in the continent.
Dr Dlamini Zuma has identified the following as priorities for the continent during her tenure, in which we will support her;
- The eradication of poverty and conflicts
- Building sustainable economies through infrastructure to promote intra-Africa trade, among others
- Consolidating democracy and good governance in our respective countries
- Promoting education, health, shelter and job creation
- Accelerating our integration in all spheres with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocks and
- Advancing and defending the interests of Africa in global affairs.
With regards to promoting economic development, there are some emerging positive trends that position Africa as the next big investment frontier over the next 50 years.
Africa is the third fastest growing region after Asia and the Middle East.
We will support the AU in taking advantage of these opportunities to further promote regional integration and theNew Partnership for Africa’s Development.
Currently moves are afoot to ensure a successful integration of the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community and SADC, which bring together a market of more than 600 million people.
With regards to infrastructure development, South Africa chairs the NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure and Championing Initiative.
We have been tasked with championing the North-South Corridor Road and Rail projects, which will extend from Cape Town and Durban to Cairo.
Work will also continue to strengthen the cooperation of Regional Economic Communities to ensure success.
At a political level we will play our role in promoting the voice of the continent in world affairs, and to eradicate interference in African affairs which we witnessed particularly last year in the cases of Libya or Cote d’ Ivoire.
We will also assist with capacity building and any other support the AU will require to achieve its objectives.
I thank you.
14. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether he, in pursuance of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, instructed his Ministers to provide funding and a budget for the Nkandla Mlalazi Smart Growth Centre; if not, what is the position in this regard, if so, which Ministers?
No. The President has not instructed Ministers to provide funding and a budget for the Nkandla- Mlalazi Smart Growth Centre.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is however supporting the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative with the detailed planning of the Nkandla initiative.
The department developed the model of the smart centre which was put on exhibition at the United Nations COP 17 conference to showcase the concept of green development.
To date, no other national departments have made commitments to the delivery of facilities and infrastructure on the site.
The smart centre is part of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government’s programme of the revival of small rural towns and the formalisation of rural unplanned towns and urban settlements.
The towns include Ndumo, Manguzi, Msinga, Mbumbulu,Nkandla, Charlestown, Jozini, Ngwavuma, Dududu, Weenen and Colenso.
It is important to emphasise that even at a national level, Nkandla is not the only district that is receiving attention for rural development.
There are actually 23 districts identified by government for interventions due to deep levels of poverty, scientifically established through thorough investigation.
In Masia in Limpopo, a multipurpose facility is being built.
In Diyatalawa and Makholokoeng, in the Free State government is building community infrastructure such as schools, crèches, a community hall, solar geysers, housing, two clinics and a dairy.
In Jacobsdal in the Free State, a multi-purpose community complex is being planned. It will include a crèche and a village viewing area.
The upgrading of the Ratanang Stadium is underway.
In Goedgedacht, in the Western Cape, we are building a Rural Leadership Youth Centre that will provide aftercare for small children and leadership for youth.
The Department of Rural Development is also in the process of purchasing an adjacent farm to develop amongst others a blacksmith museum and tourist centre, restaurant, market and to develop Agri-village for the current farm residents.
In Beaufort West, in the Western Cape, sports and recreational facilities for the youth will be built.
In Mbashe, Eastern Cape, we are working with the local community and the traditional authority to develop a Master plan for development projects, especially focusing on tourism and agriculture.
In Ludondolo in the Eastern Cape, the focus is on infrastructure development.
In July, I visited the area to assess progress with the building of the Dalibhungabridge in Mvezo and a 10 km access road that is currently under construction.
The river valley catalytic project has also been started in the village.
In addition, land is being prepared for community agricultural practices.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is working with the Sekhukhune district municipality in planning a rural node similar in size and scope to the Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre, for the Jane Furse township.
It is envisaged that this development will consist of government offices, recreational park, schools, a crèche, a shopping complex, a clinic and sports facilities.
In Mayflower in Mpumalanga we are revitalizing the town through the provision of infrastructure such as a bridge, road paving, upgrading of the sewer amongst others.
In Dysselsdorp in the Western Cape, revitalisation projects include 10 Sandbag houses, 90 rainwater harvesting tanks, a crèche, five renovated schools, an old age home as well as solar geysers to the home.
In Witzenberg in the Western Cape, we are building a walkway and recreational area for the youth.
In addition, phase two is underway and includes the development of a community area and swimming pool, houses for older persons, a crèche and the upgrading of the sewer system.
Government is doing a lot more throughout the country even beyond the few districts I have mentioned.
It is a pity that only Nkandla seems to generate interest.
I thank you.
15. Mr L N Diale (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether he has found that, following the Marikana tragedy, the Government is still on course on the issue of social cohesion and nation building; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what lessons have been learnt from the Marikana tragedy to ensure that a similar tragedy will not happen again?
The social cohesion and nation building programme of government and society is still on track. The tragedy should strengthen our resolve to build a better society.
I appointed a Commission of Inquiry to establish the facts about what transpired in Marikana.
The terms of reference were gazetted yesterday. Work is ongoing to sort out the logistical arrangements to enable the Commission to begin work very soon.
Government continues to support families of all 44 people who were killed in Marikana through the Inter-Ministerial Committee led by Minister in the Presidency, Mr Collins Chabane.
We also acknowledge the support provided by religious leaders.
Honourable Member, the tragedy has further highlighted the deepening levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country and the frustrations that this generates.
The reminder from the Marikana tragedy is that meaningful social cohesion will be achieved when we succeed in addressing socio-economic inequality, poverty and unemployment.
Our economy must grow and create more jobs to absorb the many unemployed and improve the standards of living.
Meaningful economic transformation also has to be visible.
The findings of the Employment Equity Commission, that there still remains a gross under-representation of black people, women and people with disabilities in key areas of the labour market, for example in management, should worry all of us.
The Western Cape Province in which we are meeting just now, is said to be the worst performing province both in the Public and Private Sector in respect of employing Black people, both men and women.
Together we must ensure that transformation takes root in order to promote economic and social development in our country.
Another lesson from Marikana is the need to accelerate the transformation of the mining sector and to strengthen the sector, which has been the backbone of our economy for more than a century.
The sector provides half a million direct jobs and a similar number of indirect jobs and is central to the country’s development goals.
We should work together as government, labour, business, political parties and all stakeholders to promote the adherence to the Constitution and laws of the land in dealing with labour disputes in the mining sector.
The worker demands for better wages can and should be addressed within the country’s labour relations framework.
The illegal strikes, the incitement and intimidation will not assist workers. Instead, it will make them and the country worse off.
The Department of Labour and institutions under its control such as the CCMA stand ready to assist in mediating between the parties.
Government is also continuously engaging mining companies to assess the implementation of the provisions of the Mining Charter to improve living conditions of workers.
In terms of the Charter, companies are required to implement measures to improve the standard of housing and living conditions for mine workers.
They must convert or upgrade hostels into family units, ensure one person per room and facilitate home ownership options for mine workers by 2014.
We continue working with the sector to monitor progress through the Department of Mineral Resources.
Fortunately Honourable Members, we met recently at the social cohesion summit in Kliptown in Soweto.
We agreed at the summit that we must build a caring and proud society based on the values enshrined in our Constitution, together.
We must put our country first and defend South Africa from the opportunism that will set us back many years.
I thank you.
16. Ms N Gina (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether, given the recent challenges that have been experienced in the Basic Education sector, he has found that, since his replies to question 3 on 15 March 2012 and question 11 on 20 May 2012, the Government is on course in meeting its targets in respect of education being one of the Government’s five priorities; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
Progress is being made in the education sector, although challenges remain in a number of provinces still.
We are doing well with promoting free basic education for all. Over eight million children are now in no-fee schools.
Our school nutrition programme feeds more than eight million children in more than 20 000 schools, increasing their performance in class.
We have impressive figures with early childhood development. Grade R enrolment has increased from 300 000 to more than 700 000 between 2003 and 2011.
We are therefore on track to meet our target of having 100% coverage for Grade R by 2014.
Work is ongoing to eradicate mud schools, with 8.2 billion rand having been allocated to the programme.
The matric percentage pass rate is on an upward trend. The pass rate was 67.8% in 2010 and 70.2% in 2011.
We are working on improving the quality of teaching maths and science as well as the teaching of literacy and numeracy.
We are also working hard to improve literacy and numeracy in primary schools given the fact that many of the learners who reach grade 12 operate at literacy levels below grade 12.
In this regard, we instituted Annual National Assessment tests.
For the first time we are now able to objectively assess the health of the education system below grade 12.
The 2011 results confirmed that levels of literacy and numeracy are very low.
For example, Grade 3 learner average scores are 28% and 35% for numeracy and literacy respectively.
These are the figures that were apparently used by the World Economic Forum recently. We want schools to use the results to produce school development plans.
Factors we are dealing with include school management, improving teacher training and increasing the levels of accountability in schools.
The schools must also have the tools of the trade, such as workbooks and textbooks.
The Department of Basic Education is working on improving the distribution logistics so that books arrive in schools on time next year to avoid the problems that arose in Limpopo and other provinces.
As members are aware, the national government has intervened to deal with severe managerial challenges faced by the Limpopo and Eastern Cape education departments.
The interventions in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo are focused on a number of issues, including over-expenditure, failure to deal with excess teachers, financial and supply chain management, and lack of delivery of learning and teaching materials.
I have received a report from the Presidential Task Team on the Limpopo challenge led by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene.
I am considering the report and will indicate the way forwardin due course.
We are continuing to work with the Eastern Cape as well to improve the situation in that province.
I thank you.
17. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1). What are the criteria he considered when he granted special remission of sentences as announced by him on 27 April 2012;
(2) whether he has been informed (a) how many of those who were released reoffended and (b) in what categories of crime they reoffended?
The granting of special remission of sentences, pardoning and many other forms of amnesty is a worldwide phenomenon or practice that Heads of Government or State undertake to commemorate Special Days in the history of their countries.
Special remissions have been granted on four occasions since 1994.
The remissions were announced on Freedom Day to encourage the offenders to turn a negative past into a positive future, for them to turn their backs on crime and become better citizens.
The remissions were granted in accordance with Section 84 (2) (j) of the Constitution of the Republic.
This was done to achieve a few objectives.
It was to provide the sentenced offenders a second opportunity to behave, repent and to become better and rehabilitated persons.
It was meant to reduce and relieve congestion and overcrowding in correctional facilities which currently stands at 34% above capacity.
Overcrowding adversely affects the ability of any correctional system to rehabilitate, train and secure offenders.
The President granted six months special remission of sentence to all offenders, probationers and parolees.
An additional twelve months special remission was granted to offenders who were not convicted of aggressive crimes, firearm related crimes, sexual offenses and drug related crimes.
Those declared as dangerous by the courts, those who were still at large after escaping or absconding, and those who evaded the justice system following their release on bail pending appeal against their convictions or sentences, were excluded from this special remission.
I have not been formally briefed yet on how many of those released have re-offended.
The Minister of Correctional Services is required to provide a Status Report to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster and the President three months after completion of the ten week special remission process which was completed on 6 July 2012.
Such a report is due in October 2012.
The following preliminary information has however been provided to the Presidency.
A total of 114 alleged re-offenders out of the 45 033 persons who were released during the ten week process, re-offended and were re-arrested.
They were re-arrested for crimes ranging from theft, house breaking, assault, drugs, rape.
It is unfortunate that some of them failed to positively use the opportunity granted to them. Instead they went on to commit new crimes and caused untold pain to families and society.
However there are also success stories.
Fredoleen Isaacs who was serving his sentence at St Albans Centre in Port Elizabeth is now a manager of a pharmacy.
Kassavan Naicker released from the Pietermaritzburg Correctional Centre is now his own boss working as an electrician, a skill he learned while incarcerated.
Vumokwakhe Mkhize also from Pietermaritzburg now owns a panel beating company, a skill also learned from correctional services.
Paul Evans from the Western Cape fruitfully used his time of incarceration to acquire a qualification in information technology through Unisa and is now employed at a company as head of IT.
I appeal to society to assist particularly those who will fall on hard times. They need all of us to successfully reintegrate and permanently divert them from the life of crime.
In this way we will be contributing immensely to the fight against crime in our country.
I thank you.
18. Mr M G P Lekota (Cope) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1)Whether the reference of his Minister of Police to the SA Police Service as a force represents a departure of the police from being a service to now being a paramilitary force with military designations and rank; if not, what is the position in this regard, if so, what are the relevant details;
(2)whether he intends instituting an investigation into the utilisation of the force deployed by the Technical Reaction Team (TRT) in enforcing the law; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?
The change in police ranks is an operational matter and has no Constitutional implications.
Section 199 (1) of the Constitution talks of a police service and, this will continue to be so.
As Government we have resolved to combat serious and violent crime by being tougher on criminals and organised crime syndicates.
The ranks were changed to send a message to criminals that government was getting tough on crime. This approach has borne results as evidenced by the reduction in the levels of serious crimes.
However, we have consistently stressed that the police must operate within the confines of the Constitution.
The issue of ranks on its own, cannot constitute militarisation. One can call the management of police by any other name, what is important, however, is the orientation of the police.
This change of Police ranks should also not be viewed in isolation of the other pillars of our strategy.
These include the strengthening of partnerships with communities, utilisation of intelligence as a nerve centre of policing and the review of the entire criminal justice system to make it more effective.
We have improved oversight mechanisms.
For example, two pieces of legislation were passed in 2010, namely the Civilian Secretariat for Police Act and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act.
These are aimed at ensuring that the police service remains accountable to the people, and that the police uphold the Constitution and adhere to the principles of a democratic dispensation.
If the Honourable Member is referring to any activities of the Tactical Response Team, we urge the Honourable Member to make use of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
The Directorate investigates alleged cases of police abuse independently from the police and without fear our favour.
All members of SAPS which includes the TRT, have to abide by the Code of Conduct of SAPS and are all subjected to the Disciplinary Code and Procedures of the organisation.
Any wrong doing by a TRT member will be investigated.
I must also add that complaints against the TRT must also be judged overall against successes they have scored in various parts of the country in dealing with cases of armed robbery, drug busts, rhino poaching, cash in transit heists and other similar serious violent crimes.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
13 Sep 2012
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