Tag: state of the nation

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s Parliamentary Replies in the National Assembly

 

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe responds to questions in Parliament, 6 March 2013

6 Mar 2013

1.  Ms N Gina (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

What measures does he, as chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council, intend to implement to ensure that the recognition of prior learning is (a) prioritised and (b) sped up with regard to people who have gained skills and experience working as artisans (details furnished) for some time, but who have no formal qualification?

REPLY

Honourable Member, the Human Resource Development Council on 15 June 2012, after a thorough multi-stakeholder consultative process, endorsed the Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning system.

In support of the endorsement by the Council, the Department of Higher Education and Training allocated an amount of R41 million for the development of a national artisan recognition of prior learning system for the period 2012 – 2015.

The project will develop an advisor training programme and produce toolkits for specific trades to assist Further Education and Training Colleges in the certification of candidates with prior leaning experience.

I am informed by the Department of Higher Education and Training that a pilot phase of the project is scheduled to start in April this year and more than 4000 applications have been received from artisan assistants who wish to participate in the programme.

I thank you.

2. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the Deputy President:

What official duties did he perform between 23 December 2012 and 4 January 2013?

REPLY

Honourable Member, I did not perform any official duties between 23 December 2012 and 4 January 2013. Honourable Speaker, two weeks ago, during the debate on the State of the Nation Address in this House, Honourable Maynier stated that he would be asking me a question regarding my holiday to the Seychelles.

Although he has not asked that specific question from the onset, I wish to alleviate his anxiety and respond to it.

In terms of government policy duly adopted by Cabinet, transport for the Deputy President, whether for official or private purposes, is the responsibility of the State.

The State also has a duty to provide security for the Deputy President at all times, whether he is engaged in official duties or while he is on leave. This policy was reaffirmed by Cabinet on 20 March 2007.

All matters pertaining to transport and security of the Deputy President are handled by the competent state organs.  The South African Police Service is responsible for security, including ground transport, while the South African National Defence Force is responsible for air transport.

The Deputy President has no role whatsoever in the planning and carrying out of operations concerning his own transport and security.  These matters, including deployment of personnel and equipment as well as related costs are managed by the competent state organs.

I thank you.

3. Mr L S Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Deputy President:

Whether the Anti-Poverty Programme, including the War on Poverty Campaign, involves the issue of empowerment through (a) land tenure and (b) ownership of the rural land; if not, why not, in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

REPLY

Honourable Member, the Anti-Poverty Programme is not a stand alone programme with a set of projects and a budget. Rather, it is about the coordination of various interventions through targeting poverty alleviation. More so, the programme also encourages a coordinated approach to the involvement of stakeholders in poverty alleviation initiatives.

Within this broader Anti-Poverty Programme, the War on Poverty Campaign identifies citizens who are entitled to various government services but for some reason are unable to receive them. The programme has placed special focus on identifying change agents in poor households with the objective of assisting them to spearhead change in the situations in which they find themselves.

Thus, while the War on Poverty Campaign does not focus on empowerment through land tenure and ownership of rural land, it goes without saying that access to land is an important element in ensuring that people have food security and it further ensures sustainable livelihoods, all of which ultimately result in poverty alleviation.

The main programme to empower people in terms of land reform is the Recapitalisation and Development programme, which provides training and infrastructural support to emerging farmers.

Furthermore, the Comprehensive Rural Development programme provides support to rural communities through the facilitation of social and economic infrastructure to enable the creation of sustainable livelihoods.

During my visits to some of the poorest districts in the country, I have been encouraged to see that where people have access to land, regardless of its size, efforts are underway to develop community food gardens that provide food not only for the household, but in some instances are a viable commercial venture.

These initiatives must be supported and replicated in all poor communities as this advances self-sufficiency and goes a long way towards restoring people’s dignity as they can now provide for the nutritional needs of their families.

4. Ms H F Matlanyane (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

What (a) progress has been made in the War on Poverty Campaign (i) in broad terms and (ii) to improve the conditions of the unemployed youth and (b) challenges remain?

REPLY

Honourable Member, more than 316 000 households or 1.6 million people that live in poverty have been profiled in about 350 of the most deprived wards in the country to date.

The War on Poverty Campaign targets young people from poor households as change agents, given the potential that they represent to break the cycle of poverty in their households. We seek to improve the capability and opportunities of these young people, by connecting them to available opportunities, in order for them to rise from poverty, and in turn, to take their own families and communities out of poverty.

Thus, the role of the household change agent is to monitor and ensure that commitments made by both government and the households towards lifting the household out of poverty are on track.

Public employment through the Extended Public Work Programme, Community Works Programme and the National Rural Youth Service Corps are used as primary instruments to address the unemployment of household change agents.

The Community Works Programme provides up to one hundred and twenty working days per year for unemployed young people, while the National Rural Youth Service Corps has eleven thousand five hundred young people enlisted to undergo training in different areas of skills and expertise for a period of two years.

This period will be extended to four years to incorporate the placement of household change agents into work areas or to assist them to start small businesses.

Let us now look at just some examples of the work that Government has done particularly in rural communities to empower unemployed young people.Following our visit to uMsinga in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011, the then Deputy Minister of Public Works returned to that area to start a programme for the young people there.

In this regard the Department of Public Works recruited one hundred and ten change agents to work on the Departments’ Water Treatment Plant.  These young people were provided with a six month training programme during which period they received stipends.

Ten of these young people participated in an Internship Programme and five of them have since returned to school. On completion of the training programme, the remaining ninety five have been absorbed to continue working on the Water Treatment Plant and they were offered permanent employment.  As part of this initiative, thirty two qualified artisans and technicians were brought in to work as supervisors in the programme.

At Eshowe the Department of Public Works also recruited twenty young people for learnerships and six for internship programmes from the group identified as change agents.

At Gombani village, Vhembe District in Limpopo Province the Department of Public Works also started a project of “Women in Construction” in which they recruited forty eight women to build houses in their community.  These women have since built twenty two houses.  Twenty four young people were also recruited to work in the same project.

A similar project was also initiated at Port St. John in the Eastern Cape where a brick making machine was purchased through the support of the Department of Human Settlements to enable women to participate in alternative construction methods.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency
6 Mar 2013


Ndiza Lodge You will find Ndiza Lodge & Cabanas nestled onto the verge of the Wetlands. With easy access to the restaurants, supermarkets and rest of the town yet private and quiet. Contact: http://www.ndizalodge.co.za/ Amanda de Gaspary 083 442 1896 Email: info@ndizastlucia.co.za



Cabinet Lekgotla to measure progress

Pretoria – The review of state-owned entities, progress made on infrastructure and top government priorities will feature prominently at the Cabinet Lekgotla which began in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, told reporters at the start of the meeting that several reports indicating government’s progress on several issues will be discussed in the next two days.

“The Lekgotla will receive a report from the presidential review commission on parastatals as well as the report on the progress made by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC),” Chabane said.

There will also be deliberations on the administration’s progress in education, health, safety and security, fighting crime and corruption as well as job creation.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the Presidential State Owned Enterprises Review Committee in May 2010, to review the role of SOEs in the country.

The appointment of the committee was a response to the acknowledgement that there was a need to strengthen the role of SOEs to ensure that they respond to a clearly defined public mandate and support the developmental aspirations of government.

It was further guided by the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2009 to 2014.

The MTSF states the need for the review of state owned enterprises as part of the economic transformation agenda of government.

Government had found that while these entities remain financially viable, SOEs, development finance institutions as well as companies in which the state has a significant shareholding must respond to a clearly defined public mandate, and help government to build a developmental state.

The PICC, which is chaired by the President, was tasked to oversee the country’s infrastructure plan as part of speeding up progress on major infrastructure projects.

The plan, first announced by Zuma in his State of the Nation address in February, lists 17 strategic integrated projects that cut across energy, transport and logistics infrastructure to schools, hospitals and nursing colleges. The projects cover economic and social infrastructure across all nine provinces, with an emphasis on undeveloped areas and opportunities. Energy projects will focus on supporting sustainable “green” energy initiatives through a diverse range of clean energy options.

The Lekgotla also takes place at time the country is still reeling in shock following the tragic killing last month of striking mine workers in Marikana, North West.

Asked if the meeting would discuss the Marikana tragedy, Chabane said: “While the issue is not part of the Lekgotla, Cabinet may request a report of the IMC (Inter-ministerial Committee) which deals with this matter so it may arise”. – SAnews.gov.za

Govt ups interaction with communities

By Estella Naicker

Utrecht – In a bid to increase citizens’ awareness of its programmes and to foster a culture of participation, government is embarking on a series of engagement seminars with communities around the country.

A visit by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to the Amajuba District on Friday was welcomed by citizens in the area, where he spearheaded a seminar at the Emadlangeni Town Hall.

Many people said that they finally felt more like active participants than just spectators to decisions taken by government.

The seminar, one of 30 that will take place throughout the country, forms part of a communications strategy adopted by Cabinet to host regular meetings between leaders of government and ordinary citizens.

It follows a similar one by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi to the Waterberg District in Limpopo.

“The sessions are intended to help citizens understand the decisions that are taken in government and how it will benefit their lives,” explained Michael Currin, Chief Director: Provincial Co-ordination and Programme Support at Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

While the seminar in Amajuba was intended to communicate the programmes of government following the State of the Nation Address, guests took full advantage of the opportunity to raise issues, demand answers and even offer solutions to common problems.

“Not only do I understand the State of the Nation Address a little better, but having the Minister come all the way to Utrecht to talk to us showed me that government really cares about us, even though we live in a rural area,” said Elizabeth Malinga, a beneficiary of a land claim.

Ian de Jager, a farmer in the area, said he already had a good grasp of the State of the Nation Address but still felt that the seminar was useful in making Minister Nkwinti aware of issues pertaining to the area.

“One of the more salient issues that was raised at the seminar is the fact that land reform needs to be done in such a manner that it gives people ownership with a sense of responsibility, and people must feel the full onus of that responsibility. It is very easy to transfer land but if it is not managed properly, it is a waste,” said De Jager.

He continued: “There was also one gentleman from Newcastle who said he had a group that was willing to offer hands-on training in farming to individuals, in conjunction with the training being offered at a tertiary institution, but the minister explained that the vehicle to drive that programme forward was not entirely in place.

“There are many stakeholders that are willing to participate … more needs to be done in a constructive manner, and funds need to be allocated appropriately.”

During the seminar, MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, Dr Meshack Radebe, dissuaded citizens from “always blaming government for their problems”.

“We will reap what we sow and if you do not plant, you cannot grow,” he said, encouraging citizens to take responsibility for their own futures.

He went on to explain that while President Jacob Zuma announced that 2011 was the year for creating jobs, 2012 would be the year for infrastructure development.

“People say there is a difference between the two but it is actually one thing,” said Radebe.

“Infrastructure development creates the opportunity for people to invest. We have learnt from the Soccer World Cup and we are now calling upon the public sector, the private sector and the parastatals to invest in infrastructure. This will generate huge opportunities for South African business.”

Nkwinti touched on the green paper on land reform when he took to the podium, saying the aim of the document was to bring municipalities, communities, the police, farm workers and farm owners under one institution to solve problems either socially or legally.

“It puts a measure of power both in the hands of the worker and in the hands of the farmer,” he said.

“The reason we have giants and dwarfs in this country can be traced back to land. The giants have land. Eighteen years after democracy, people are still marching in the streets with fake machine guns and it is not right. People don’t know how to respect property because they don’t have property,” he concluded.

After the seminar, guests said they wished they had more time in the discussion slot of the programme. Minister Nkwinti will return to the Amajuba District on March 22, when further discussions are expected to take place. – BuaNews

Govt serious about fighting crime, corruption – Zuma

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma says the fight against crime and corruption continues to top the agenda of government, with dozens of cases having been finalised in the past two years.

“We reiterate our undertaking we made in 2009 to combat crime in tender processes. Our announcement about vetting supply chain personnel is one of the interventions in this regard,” Zuma said on Thursday in Parliament in his reply to the debate on State of the Nation Address.

Members of the opposition had raised concerns on Wednesday about crime and corruption, particularly in the public sector.

But today, a calm looking Zuma singled out the Anti-Corruption Task Team as having done extremely well in dealing with graft in both the public and private sectors. The team, constituted by representatives from the security agencies, was currently investigating 45 corruption-related priority cases against 151 accused people, and assets in excess of R600 million have been seized.

Assets obtained through elicit means amounting to more than R1 billion have been forfeited by the state in the past two years. In addition, since the inception of the National Anti-corruption Hotline, which is managed by the Public Service Commission, 1 499 officials were charged with misconduct and corrupt activities at national and provincial government levels.

“We will not become complacent… We are increasing the number of skilled personnel in areas such as crime scene investigation, forensic analysis, finger printing and investigation, prosecutions and legal aid, which will further improve performance in this regard,” said the President.

The impact of the improvements in the investigative and forensic capacity was evident in the improved detection rates for serious crimes.

“The deployment of the South African Defence Force on the border is yielding results. We are clamping down on illicit economic and crime-related border activities,” Zuma said.

Also, the Correctional Services Department had introduced electronic monitoring of offenders who had been granted parole and reintegrated in society.

To promote access to justice, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development completed additions to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein as well as constructing a new wing in the Western Cape High Court.

Three new courts were also completed in Tsakane, Ntuzuma and Kagiso townships. The department will be completing the construction of a new High Court in Limpopo as well as a new court in Katlehong.

“We will also be starting with the construction of a new High Court in Mpumalanga, and that of new courts in Mamelodi, Port Shepstone, Dimbaza, Bityi and Plettenberg Bay,” said Zuma. – BuaNews

Govt pins hope on community jobs

By Chris Bathembu

Cape Town – Government wants to create more than 1.5 million job opportunities in the next two years through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which officials say has proved effective in the fight against poverty.

A review of the EPWP funding model, currently underway, is also expected to make it easy for municipalities to access start up grants to speed up community-based job creation projects.

Speaking during the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster media briefing on Tuesday, Public Works Minister Thembelani Nxesi said the review would allow municipalities to receive 40 percent of their allocated EPWP grant as start-up funding even if they don’t produce work plans which was previously the case.

“We have witnessed major weaknesses in the way the funding model was implemented, so with the review we will be providing technical assistance to the municipality to allow them to use the start-up funding to create the necessary jobs without having to wait,” Nxesi said.

The EPWP plays a crucial role in government’s job creation drive with half a million jobs created by the scheme in 2011. An estimated 79 000 work opportunities were created through community work programmes. About 1 335 jobs were facilitated by the National Youth Development Agency which also provided career guidance to more than 5000 young people in 2011.

Nxesi said a third quarter report, to be released in the next two weeks, would further show an increase in the number of jobs created through EPWP, mostly in rural communities across the country.

The target of 1.5 million jobs in EPWP by 2014 is said to have been influenced by the infrastructure programme announced by President Jacob Zuma last week.

During the State of the Nation Address last Thursday, Zuma unveiled plans to expand the country’s infrastructure programme as part of efforts to create five million jobs in this decade. Analysts have said the move will allow the state to play a more leading role in employment creation in the face of a weakening world economy and falling company profits.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who chairs the cluster, said the emphasis on infrastructure expansion in the State of the Nation Address created an ideal opportunity to introduce a labour intensive approach to development.

“It is envisaged that many EPWP work opportunities will be created,” she said. – BuaNews

State has the money to fund infrastructure – Gordhan

Cape Town – South Africa has the money to spend on the infrastructure projects in the five regions outlined by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address tonight, the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said.

“We already know that for the past five or six years that for every three-year period we have had something around R800 billion to R900 billion being spent, largely by our state-owned enterprises (on infrastructure).

“So we’ve demonstrated the ability to bring resources in which is what will be required to get these projects going,” Gordhan told BuaNews, stressing that these key infrastructure projects would be developed over a number of years.

Among other things, the projects would help develop better economic links between outlying areas and the main urban centre and to make it easier for companies to export and do business locally, he said.

“If we get this right it means that many areas of the country will have a heightened level of economic opportunity and there will be all sorts of job opportunities and there will be opportunities for people to manufacture the things that go into the investment in the infrastructure development that has been outlined,” he said.

Gordhan also defended the state getting more involved in the economy.

“You know if the state didn’t get involved in all the economies of the world, particularly the major ones, since in 2008 you would have had no economy or country left,” he said, pointing out that it was the state backed by tax-payers’ money that helped save banks in the 2008 financial crisis.

“So the story about the state getting too involved is an old story, what we need is the right balance,” he pointed out.

Speaking on the night, the leader of the opposition Lindiwe Mazibuko, although welcoming the announcement by Zuma of the infrastructure projects, said it was not clear from where the funding for the infrastructure projects outlined by Zuma would be sourced.

“In fact a quick look actually shows that we are about R300 billion short, so I’m curious to see how that will be dealt with in the budget,” said Mazibuko.

Her concern on where the funding would come from for the infrastructure projects was echoed by Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, who added that corruption in the procurement system also risked raising the cost of these projects. – BuaNews

Take advantage of infrastructure projects – Zuma

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans to take advantage of the opportunities that will be created by a massive new infrastructure build programme.

Addressing a breakfast event at Grand West Casino hosted by the New Age newspaper, Zuma said South Africans should take advantage of the “window period” created by the government with his announcement in the State of the Nation Address yesterday on infrastructure projects, and participate in building the economy.

Last night, Zuma announced that the country would spend billions of rands over the coming years on rail, road, and economic links in five regions in the country and on building new universities and refurbishing hospitals.

“We believe it [the key infrastructure projects] is going to change the economic landscape of the country and connect it to the continent,” said Zuma, adding that it was now clear for anyone where investment had to be placed in the economy.

“There are massive opportunities that are coming, let us take advantage,” he said, pointing out that for example South Africa had a significant coastline but was not servicing commercial shipping on a big scale.

He said the setting up of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission in September last year showed that it was “no longer business as usual” for government, as the commission had already started identifying projects which had clear timeframes.

Zuma called on big companies to help develop small businesses and pointed out that large firm that did so would benefit and grow bigger.

South African firms should also enter Africa with more vigor, he said, adding that the continent was one of the most promising investment regions in the world at the moment.

He said while many felt that South Africa was not a powerful country, he believed otherwise.

“I believe we are very big. I have always said if Japan, an island economy, can grow, why can’t we?” said Zuma of one of the countries that rapidly rebuilt itself after the Second World War to become one of the biggest economies in the world by the 1980s.

He believed South Africa had made progress but added that the country still faced challenges.

With rapid urbanisation following the end of apartheid, the country found itself with a major infrastructure shortage, he said.

In answer to a question on why the country did not create many jobs last year, Zuma said he believed that South Africa “did very well” in the face of the challenges globally.

“The fact that we were able to create jobs even in that situation tells you that we didn’t do too badly.”

In answer to a question from a caller on whether factories that were closed down in Queenstown and Butterworth in the Eastern Cape would be started up again, Zuma said the government would be revitalising the rural areas and stimulating economic growth there.

In reponse to whether the government would be considering nationalisation, he said nationalisation was not the government’s policy.

“We have been saying this inside the country and outside the country. It doesn’t mean because one [ANC member] has a view, that it is national policy,” he said, adding that the government’s policy was one of a mixed economy where the state and business partnered together.

In answer to another question from someone on the floor on what keeps him awake at night, Zuma said it was the problem of the poor.

“Every night I think what can we do to alleviate their plight,” he said. – BuaNews

Implementation should be at core of Zuma’s address

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address should focus on implementation policies and programmes that have been agreed to, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said on Wednesday.

“In President Zuma’s third year in office, 2012 must be a year of ‘game change’ for implementation. Business expects the address to give a comprehensive platform on which business, government, labour and community can continue to position South Africa on a higher, more inclusive and job-rich growth path – and expediting what has been agreed in programmes such as the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan,” said Busa.

President Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address in Parliament tomorrow evening.

Busa said it hoped the overall message of the address will underpin investor confidence and the role of business in order to strengthen economic recovery and promote growth. It also hoped that the address will throw its weight behind strengthening an entrepreneurial culture.

“The prioritisation of job creation, poverty reduction, education, economic transformation, infrastructural development and growth must be invested with a new sense of urgency. We believe it is in small business that the greatest potential lies for realising South Africa’s employment targets,” it said.

The address will be delivered at 7pm and broadcast live on SABC television and radio and streamed on www.info.gov.za. – BuaNews

Probe into Limpopo finances set to go deeper

By Chris Bathembu

Polokwane – Public Works Minister Thembelani Nxesi says an extensive investigation will reveal whether there has been an inappropriate use of funds by the department’s Limpopo provincial office.

This follows claims that contracts amounting to millions of rands had been awarded irregularly.

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale has said the provincial administration will cooperate with the national government in resolving the matter.

Nxesi disclosed on Thursday that the Limpopo Public Works Department awarded security contracts worth R1.8 million each month without following proper procedures.

He was addressing the media on the decision by Cabinet to implement a section 100 (1)(b) intervention in the Limpopo government in the wake of a financial meltdown in the province.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had earlier said national government had to take emergency measures towards the end of last year after it became apparent that the province was bankrupt. It also became clear that the province would not be able to pay teachers, doctors, social workers and other public sector employees.

“I need to emphasise that an investigation needs to get to the bottom of this. R1.8 million per month, not per year but per month, had been awarded for security contracts since 2010,” Nxesi said of the investigation.

He could not dwell on the scope of the probe, only saying that officials had agreed to cooperate with law enforcement agencies “as we try to get to the bottom of this”.

He has since taken over the responsibilities of the Public Works MEC in the province as reports painted a desperate state of finances in Limpopo. Nxesi said his office had also identified a number of risks in a report sent to him in December last year.

“Risks relating to lease management systems, infrastructure planning and project management, and supply chain management were regarded as critical to the province’s cash crisis,” he said.

His team had also identified weaknesses in asset management, with some provincial departments acquiring and registering immovable assets without the provincial Public Works Department being part of the deals.

In a separate investigation, the Department of Basic Education has set up a task team to deal with, among others, claims that there were about 200 “ghost teachers” in Limpopo who were being paid but were nowhere to be found.

“We know they are being paid but you can’t find them anywhere, they are not there,” Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said. She said the task team will also deal with reports that certain schools in the province did not receive any transfer of funds during the 2011 school year in accordance with the national norms and standards.

“The department has assessed how it could and should intervene to ensure that learner resources such as textbooks and stationery are delivered to schools,” said Motshekga.

Contrary to media reports, she said, workbooks on literacy and numeracy and other learners support materials were being delivered to all government schools in Limpopo. The national department was also assisting in ensuring school nutrition and scholar transport were in place. – BuaNews