Deputy President David Mabuza: Reply to questions in National Assembly

12 September 2018

25. Mr J H Steenhuisen (DA) to ask the Deputy President:
Since his reply to question 17 for oral reply in the National Assembly on 29 May 2018, what steps has the Government taken to establish mechanisms to ensure that provincial governments strengthen financial controls and implement sound financial management systems to stem the tide of irregular and unauthorised expenditure? NO2783E

Madam Speaker,

We undoubtedly have a sound legislative framework and robust legal instruments to advance sound financial management, as these were precisely designed to inhibit irregular and unauthorised expenditure.

In terms of section 38 (1) (a) (i) of the PFMA, the accounting officer of a department must ensure that the department has and maintains effective, efficient and transparent systems of financial and risk management and internal control. The responsibility to strengthen financial controls and implement sound financial management systems therefore lies with the accounting officers of departments.

However, provincial government departments have to strengthen their capacity, tighten their processes and internal controls which will enable compliance with the key legislation, resulting in sound financial management and ultimately improved service delivery to our people.

What this requires of all of us public representatives as well as officials in the public service, is to exercise the necessary political and administrative leadership that is based on a culture of honesty, ethical business practices and good governance. We should be uncompromising of anyone who violates internal controls, and where these controls are weak they should be strengthened.

We must ensure that all of us individually commit to accountability, good governance and consequence management if we are to achieve our objective of clean government, we must be able to deliver the necessary services to the people who need them most.

Our call as government therefore is for all our national and provincial government departments to implement the recommendations contained in the Auditor-General`s report, so that we can strengthen our accountability and improve our capacity to deliver much needed services to our people.

Honourable Members,

We are still concerned about the level of unauthorized expenditure which continues to indicate weaknesses in our systems of internal control. However, we are pleased that it reflects a downward trend compared to 2013 levels.

The unauthorised expenditure in provinces has decreased considerably over a period of 5 years by over R10.2 billion when comparing March 2013 (R14.9 billion) and March 2018 (R4.7 billion).

Provinces are managing to contain levels over expenditure by implementing cost containment measures and ensuring that personnel expenditure budgets are reduced to align with existing fiscal constraints. More work still needs to be done to eliminate unauthorized expenditure.

The National Treasury is working closely with Provincial Treasuries to ensure that budget commitments in Provinces do not exceed available financial resources allocated to each province. Expenditure is closely monitored through In-Year-Monitoring reports to provide early warning signals where internal controls are beginning to collapse.

Our major concern is the occurrence of irregular expenditure which continues to point to weaknesses in the supply chain management environment across government.

Irregular expenditure occurs mostly as a result of non-compliance with Supply Chain Management policies and procedures. In this regard, the Office of Chief Procurement Officer continues to implement initiatives aimed at modernizing public procurement through the use of technology to automate procurement processes and simplify processes in a manner that ensures that compliance is improved.

The Central Supplier Database is a critical platform to verify and validate institutions and individuals who can provide goods and services to government. This continues to be an important mechanism that lays a solid basis for strong internal controls to prevent fraudulent and bogus transactions.

The National Treasury is also supporting provinces by providing guidelines on how to deal with cases of irregular expenditure and unauthorized expenditure. It has recently developed a Compliance Framework to assist accounting officers and accounting authorities of PFMA compliant institutions to improve their level of compliance.

More importantly, the National Treasury is working with Provinces to build the capacity of Supply Chain Management Practioners through the provision of ongoing training interventions.

Over and above these measures, government is committed to rooting out corrupt malpractices where supply chain management processes are violated to benefit certain individuals. Where wrong-doing has been detected, the law must take its course.

Thank YOU!

26. Ms P Bhengu (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:
In light of the scourge of abuse of women and children and the moral decay in our society, which are matters that he raised in his speech on the occasion of the Inter-Faith National Prayer Day for moral regeneration and the end of violence against women and children (details furnished), as well as the tragic death of a young Rhodes University student, Khensani Maseko, how does the Government intend to deal with the scourge? NO2785E

Madam Speaker,
As government we have acknowledged that we live in a society largely characterised by extremely high levels of violence against women and the increasing escalation of abuse of our young children. Crimes against women and children that include, abductions, trafficking, femicide, murder, rape and other `contact` crimes remain a reality for far too many, and this scourge is a serious indictment against all of us.

We are concerned that sexual assault cases have increased by 8.2% according to the recent figures published by the SAPS yesterday. Rape has increased by increased by 0.5%. Sadly, this is not only about numbers only, but real people whose lives have been affected by these dastardly deeds perpetrated against them.

Thus, all of us, especially men, have a responsibility to make every effort to ensure that such crimes do not go unreported and unpunished.

We need to strengthen our resolve to commit to building families, communities and workplaces that are cohesive, stable and peaceful. This ideal requires us to act with restraint, respect and compassion in all our interactions, so that we can model for our children the values that build strong character and ultimately healthy families.

Our response to the violence and abuse of women and children calls for an integrated and multi-faced approach.

As a society, we need to collectively deal with the social and cultural root causes that breed gender stereotypes which continue to relegate women and girls to the bottom of the social hierarchy.

No nation can succeed if it socializes its young boys to disrespect their mothers and sisters.

All sectors of society, including traditional leaders, must work together to inculcate a set of values that respect women as equal citizens who are entitled to all rights, freedoms, privileges and economic opportunities which men enjoy.

It is all about behaviour change. We need men in society to stand up and become agents of positive change.

As government, we are joining hands with the men`s sector within SANAC to champion change that focuses on building social values of respect and protection of women and children.

I was privileged to address the Men`s Summit and Expo on 24 August 2018 in Durban under the banner of “Men Championing Change”. These men acknowledged the pain and suffering visited on women and children and have committed to joining the fight to end these barbaric acts.
Through the Department of Social Development`s `Men`s Care` and `Men as Champions of Change` programmes, we are galvanising men to shift attitudes and behaviour and become change agents in communities.
The Department of Basic Education`s Girls and Boys Education Movement uses school-based clubs of learners to promote positive values and behaviour, human rights, dignity for all as well as mutual respect between girls and boys.
To highlight the plight of young women at our tertiary institutions, the Department of Higher Education embarked on its Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Dialogues in institutions of higher learning and TVET campuses to raise awareness and deal decisively with gender-based violence faced by students and staff members.

The Department of Women continues to roll out social campaigns and community dialogues to promote and raise awareness on socio-economic issues that continue to keep women subjugated to violence, and impoverishment.

As equal citizens, young girls must have access to quality education. For women to be free, they must access economic empowerment opportunities so that they are not perpetually dependent on men, even if it means tolerating the burden of abusive relationships.

More importantly, our criminal justice system must provide protection to women and children who are subjected to violence and abuse. Young women must be empowered to make decisions that reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection and violence.

Victims of violence and abuse must receive protection and the necessary psycho-social support.

For victims of violence, government established Thuthuzela Care Centres to provide support to victims of rape and gender-based violence.
Thuthuzela Care Centres are multi-disciplinary facilities that pull together a basket of services provided by various departments and agencies under one roof to ensure that victims are provided holistic support within a short space of time.
These Centres provide a one-stop hospital-based package of services to survivors of sexual violence. Services provided include, among others, medical, legal and psychological management support.
Across all Provinces, the Departments of Social Development have established Victim Empowerment Centres to support the victims of gender-based violence and sexual abuse with all the necessary psycho-social support.

In addition to these support measures, various pieces of legislation have been introduced to ensure that the rights of children are promoted and protected. These include the Children`s Act, the Child Justice Act, and the Sexual Offences Act. Early Childhood Development centres and policies that specifically protect children have also been introduced.

In giving effect to these laws, we have opened Social Offences Courts, which are child-friendly courts. We have increased probation officers who deal with cases of children and embarked on a campaign to distribute personal alarms to girls who walk long distances.

Further to this, Government is partnering with the National House of Traditional Leaders in terms of which training is provided to traditional leaders on gender-based violence and child abuse.

So as not to leave out the boy-child, in October this year, we will host the Boys Assembly that will escalate our interventions for boys to the same level as we have done for the girl-child.

Honourable Members,
As government, we want women`s voices to be heard. We will listen and respond to the cries of women and vulnerable children.

Recently, thousands of women mounted protests across the country as part of campaigns by #TheTotalShutdown movement.
Such courageous activism by women highlights the need for us as government to reflect on, and acknowledge, our shortcomings in adequately affording protection to so many women of this country.

However, we are a government that is responsive and we want to reiterate our determination to work with all South Africans to rid our country of this scourge.

In a memorandum that the women of our country handed over to the President at the Union Buildings, they called for a National Gender Summit at which they want to discuss matters of national importance about how South Africa can progress in advancing and protecting the rights of women.

Government has agreed that this National Gender Summit will take place soon to forge consensus on approaches to effectively and urgently deal with the crisis of gender-based violence, discrimination against women and gender disparities.

The recommendations of the Gender Summit must be comprehensive to guide the work of government and the activities of all stakeholders. Government is committed to doing its part through its policies, programmes and practices that significantly reduce levels of gender-based violence.

We are prepared to decisively act against perpetrators of violence, and provide the necessary support and protection to the survivors of violence.

Thank You!

27. Mr M A Plouamma (Agang) to ask the Deputy President:
In view of the findings in the media release of the Auditor-General of 23 May 2018 on the performance of Mpumalanga under his watch that the province had failed to address the delays in infrastructure development and basic service delivery, what will he do differently now in light of the national responsibilities assigned to him as Deputy President to promote social cohesion initiatives and lead the Government`s anti-poverty programmes? NO2788E

Madam Speaker;

It is true that there are notable challenges around the country as far as performance in the delivery of infrastructure projects is concerned. These challenges include limited capacity for infrastructure planning at institutional level, slow approval of projects, inadequate contract management and execution capacities and slow or non-payment of contractors.

Because of these challenges, the timely delivery of projects is impacted negatively leading to delays in the roll-out of infrastructure to meet required basic services to the people.
The findings of the Auditor General as reflected in the Media Release of 23 May 2018, with specific reference to Mpumalanga, on page 15 reads as following:

Overall the report of the Auditor General touches on very important aspects at the heart of infrastructure development and basic service delivery, namely – Leadership, Financial and Performance Management; and Governance. Not only do we agree with this opinion, but also support the recommendations of the Auditor-General in this report when he remarks:

To improve this situation, you would know that there is a Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Council that seeks to ensure integration and coordination of implementation of all infrastructure related projects. This also enables government to ensure proper alignment between national, provincial and local structures, including alignment of investment plans with funding allocation.

In practically addressing these challenges and making necessary improvements, we receive and scrutinise quarterly reports in Cabinet on the state of service delivery. In this instance, government has, through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, identified a number of interventions to support municipalities in executing their legislative mandates.

Among some of the key support measures, COGTA is working closely with all provinces and municipalities to focus on:
* Providing direct support to strengthen the capacity for infrastructure planning and delivery
* The deployment of technical support in municipal management, engineering and financial management
* Strengthening the effectiveness of intergovernmental structures in coordinating various local interventions for better impact in terms of service delivery

One of the areas of improvement that needs strengthening is to have a standardised and automated reporting mechanism to track project progress and performance. This should be complimented by the development of an early warning system to address any bottlenecks that may be identified.

We know, for example, that as part of the measures to achieve quick turn-around times in the delivery of infrastructure projects, Mpumalanga introduced standardised designs for schools, early childhood development centres, libraries and clinics. The outcome is that less time is spent at design stage, which accelerates implementation. This also cuts unnecessary expenses for professional fees.

Despite these challenges, we are encouraged by progress that we have made in the delivery of strategic and basic social infrastructure.

Since the development of the national infrastructure plan, government has made significant progress in terms of delivery of social infrastructure. We have been able to guide the development of operational plans and strategies to ensure integration of infrastructure plans over a longer period.

Honourable Members, can rest assured that our infrastructure delivery programme has contributed a lot in transforming a number of previously under-serviced areas in order to raise levels of development and ensure that equity and inclusive growth is achieved. Our focus on rural development is also contributing to job creation, local economic development and investment. To this end, construction has been the 2nd largest generator of new jobs in this administration.

Although it struggled during 2017, 85 000 new jobs have been created in the first six months of 2018 and 111 000 since September 2017. Construction has had the highest job creation rate of all ten industries reported in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. The jobs tracked by the PICC through the Strategic Integrated Projects has shown a similar increase since the quarter ending in September 2017, with 197 374 job opportunities in the quarter ending in March 2018.

In light of the responsibilities assigned to me by the President to promote social cohesion initiatives and lead the Government`s anti-poverty programmes, together with my Cabinet Colleagues, Premiers and Mayors, we are providing support to existing initiatives that will strengthen various instruments of service delivery.

In the execution of their line functions, Ministers have undertaken outreach visits in the provinces and municipalities to assess the delivery of services. As Deputy President, I am part of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee which is seized with finding solutions and better ways of accelerating infrastructure development.

Thank You!

Honourable Speaker,

Let me state at the outset that the root causes of poverty and inequality have to do with the unfair and unequal distribution of economic opportunities engendered by the history of land dispossession, lack of access to quality education and healthcare, as well as years of underdevelopment in former homelands and townships.

Apartheid stripped people of their dignity, land, livelihood and overall means of production. It distorted the supply and demand patterns of the economy along racial lines. It undermined the asset base of individuals, households and communities through poor healthcare system, over-crowding, environmental degradation, the mis-match of resources and opportunities, race and gender discrimination and social isolation.

These triggers have shaped the nature of South Africa`s economy and society; and they represent apartheid`s legacy of inequality and poverty. Importantly, they have the potential to ensure the persistence of poverty even though many other aspects of the South African political economy are being transformed.

Apartheid spatial planning was a chief enabler of a system that was essentially designed to keep the black majority landless, unskilled and malnourished. Townships and Bantustans under the apartheid spatial planning framework, were designed simply to be pools of labour to service the main industrial and commercial areas without prospects for active participation in the mainstream economy.

Because of the combination of all of this, we had to come with interventions that will reverse the adverse impact of this painful past on our people. Inspired by the Freedom Charter, the Constitution as well as the National Development Plan, the narrowing of inequality, breaking down the barriers that hamper participation in the economy and reducing poverty have been consistent themes of our democratic government since 1994.

Our multi-faceted approach to addressing the challenges of poverty and inequality includes a number of instruments. We continue to reprioritise our budget so that it is pro-poor.

To this end, we opened access to education for all. We rolled-out early childhood education to promote holistic development that instils the culture of lifelong learning. We introduced no-fee schools for the poor. We implemented adult basic education to raise the levels of literacy amongst our adult population. We implemented school nutrition programmes to ensure that no child goes to school hungry. We have introduced free higher education for students from poor households.

South Africa has one of the largest social assistance programs in the world, covering more than 17 million beneficiaries. Similarly, government has put in place programmes that aim at improving access of the poor to other social services through the provision of improved sanitation, electricity, water, and access to health services.

We are making progress in expanding quality healthcare including the implementation of the National Health Insurance. In previously underdeveloped and underserviced areas, we have built transport infrastructure networks to connect communities and provide economic mobility.

Madam Speaker,

In the longer term, the sustainability of our efforts against poverty and inequality will depend on an economy that grows at sustainable levels to create sufficient employment for the majority of our people. Employment enables people to earn an income to support themselves and their families.

These services improve other aspects of life for the majority of our citizens. In an effort of empowering the recipients of social assistance and ensuring economic development in areas where these recipients reside, the Department of Social Development provides market opportunities to cooperatives through purchasing of food and school uniforms produced by these cooperatives.

Madam Speaker;

The upcoming Jobs Summit will also ensure that we continue on the path of addressing our country`s poverty and income distributions. The Summit will elevate the efforts focused on inclusive growth and correcting the issue of wage differentials. Further to this Summit and the Investment Conference we will continue to embark on a drive to attract investment into our economy.

Government realises that the National Minimum Wage Bill is one of the greatest contributors to poverty alleviation and reduction of income inequality. We have also introduced various government incentives to support entrepreneurship under the Department of Small Business Development.

We have also made interventions like the Expanded Public Works Programme, which provide income relief, skills development and opportunities to get into long-term gainful employment and creation of own enterprises.

Honourable Members,
There is no doubt that the sustainable path to addressing the challenge of poverty and inequality lies at the heart of our industrialization efforts to enhance greater levels of participation by historically disadvantaged economic citizens and marginalised regions of our country.

In this regard, we have made significant progress in directing strategic investments towards targeted areas in order to support economic growth and job creation.

The Special Economic Zone Programme was specifically developed to promote the creation of a regionally diversified industrial economy by establishing new industrial hubs in underdeveloped regions of the country.

The total number of designated Special Economic Zones has to date increased to nine (9). The majority of these were designated as IDZs and are presently in the process of transitioning their institutional, governance and ownership structures in compliance with the requirements of the SEZ Act. The designated SEZs continue to show a positive progress in terms of the number of investors operating in the zones. More importantly, there has also been a significant increase in the number and value of secured investment.

The number of operational investors in designated SEZs has increased from 72 to 80, with an investment value of over R10 billion. The number of direct jobs created to date is 13 722.

The number of secured or signed investors is 86, with a total investment value of R52.2 billion. These SEZs include Richards Bay IDZ (KZN), Saldanha Bay IDZ (Western Cape), Dube Trade Port SEZ (KZN), COEGA IDZ (Eastern Cape), East London IDZ (Eastern Cape), Gauteng IDZ (Gauteng), Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ (Free – State), Atlantis SEZ (Western Cape), Musina-Makhado SEZ (Limpopo).

Some of these IDZs/SEZs such as Musina-Makhado SEZ, Saldanha Bay IDZ, Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ and the Atlantis SEZ are in the previously marginalised areas.

Work is underway between the Department of Trade and Industry and the Provinces on the planning and implementation of SEZs in the following previously marginalised communities; Nkomazi (Mpumalanga), Bojanala (North West), Upington (Northern Cape) and Tubatse (Limpopo).

Additionally, in order to bring about full scale industrialisation and inclusive growth, government initiated a structured programme for the revitalisation of industrial parks located in old industrial areas across the country. The programme has identified 11 state-owned industrial parks to be revitalised and this is implemented through national government partnerships with the provinces, their agencies and municipalities.

I am advised by the Department of Trade and Industry that, to date, a total of 65 854 jobs have been created within these State Owned Industrial Parks across the country. These cover townships and underdeveloped areas such Botshabelo, Seshego, Garankuwa, Nkowankowa, Isithebe, to name but a few.

Thank You!

29. Mr D W Macpherson (DA) to ask the Deputy President:
Whether he, as part of his responsibilities to lead the Government`s anti-poverty programmes, will intervene in the ongoing dispute between the National Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry relating to the Employment Creation Fund in order to realise the Government`s goal of achieving decent employment through inclusive growth; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NO2784E

Madam Speaker,

The National Treasury suspended the release the Employment Creation Fund donor funds to the Department of Trade and Industry in order to initiate an independent performance audit of the programme. This was due to concerns raised relating to governance and compliance with financial and legal prescripts on the use of Official Development Assistance.

The audit identified a number of challenges in the Employment Creation Fund, which mostly related to compliance, accountability and good governance. Based on these findings, National Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry agreed that the findings and the recommendations of the audit be addressed before the release of further funding to the DTI.

With regard to the Employment Creation Fund, I have been advised by both Minister of Finance and Minister of Trade and Industry that their departments are working together to re-operationalize the fund as a matter of urgency. An action plan following all Employment Creation Fund audits has been agreed upon by both departments.

I am further aware that this matter has been referred to the Portfolio Committee and would suggest that it be addressed at such forum. I therefore believe that there is no need for the Deputy President to intervene in the Employment Creation Fund programme at this stage as an agreement on a joint way forward has been reached.

Thank You!

30. Mr M S A Masango (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:
With reference to the agreement signed in South Sudan during August 2018 (details furnished), what measures, both at the international level of the African Union and on the national level, has he found can be put in place to sustain what the AU Chairperson refers to as a momentum arising from the agreement, so as to ensure long-lasting peace in South Sudan? NO2787E

Honourable Speaker,

On 5 August 2018, the Parties have appended signatures to the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance. This has been hailed as a momentous achievement in the efforts to finding lasting peace in South Sudan.

Upon the signing on 27 June 2018 of the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement between Parties of the Conflict of South Sudan, and the signing on 5 August 2018 of the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance, our Government issued statements congratulating the parties to the Agreement and urged them to ensure that all signed agreements are complied with and fully implemented to ensure sustainable peace, security, stability and development of South Sudan.

In the same statements, we commended the leadership of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for their tireless efforts to facilitating peace and security in South Sudan. Also, at the level of the African Union, President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Chair of the High Level Ad hoc Committee of Heads of State and Government on South Sudan continues to support the peace process as led by IGAD.

In this regard, President Ramaphosa convened a meeting of the High Level Ad Hoc Committee of Heads of State and Government on the fringes of the June 2018 AU Summit in Mauritania to assess the peace and security developments in South Sudan.

In addition, President Ramaphosa appointed me to be his Special Envoy to South Sudan essentially to assist the Sudan Peoples` Liberation Movement (SPLM) to unite and reconcile in order to lead the reconstruction programme of South Sudan.

The Honourable Member would be aware be that this appointment coincided with a process where IGAD had brought together all the stakeholders in South Sudan to negotiate the latest agreements aimed at establishing a transitional government and finally end the conflict in South Sudan.

I thus took a conscious decision to delay my engagement on this matter to give the IGAD-led peace process time. I am nonetheless planning to visit South Sudan soon to meet with key stakeholders and consult with neighbouring countries. It is important to emphasise that our mandate is complementary and supportive of the efforts of the regional body, IGAD.

Thank You!