Questions for Oral Reply by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

9 September 2015

17. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the Deputy President:

In view of several recent findings by the Public Protector, such as those in the recent report into the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, that indicate that there is gross corruption and financial mismanagement in many government departments and state-owned enterprises, what is he doing to institutionalise best practice models in the Public Service in this regard?

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REPLY:

Honourable Members,

The institutionalisation of best practice models is a process that always focuses attention on what needs to be done.

The main focus of the Office of the Deputy President is on the national roll-out of a best practice model of integrated service delivery along the lines of the Operation Sukuma Sakhe programme in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Operation Sukuma Sakhe approach embraces community partnership.

It supports the coordinated implementation of service delivery interventions aimed at curbing social ills, including unemployment, inequality and poverty, HIV and AIDS, and crime and corruption.

The greater involvement of communities in the provision of services should contribute to greater transparency and accountability and reduce opportunities for corruption.

Beyond the work being undertaken by the Office of the Deputy President, government more broadly has identified the fight against corruption as a priority.

The diagnostic report of the National Planning Commission indicates that South Africa suffers from high levels of corruption that undermine the rule of law and hinder development and socioeconomic transformation.

We have in place a number of mechanisms and programmes to both prevent and detect corruption and financial mismanagement, and to take action against those found responsible.

Since we took over from the deeply corrupt apartheid system, we have put in place several accountability mechanisms.

The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, the Protected Disclosures Act, the Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Finance Management Act are all aimed at reducing the scope for corrupt activity.

Oversight institutions such as the Auditor-General and the Public Protector play a critical role in ensuring transparency and accountability.

A significant development is the establishment of the office of the Chief Procurement Officer in National Treasury.

This office uses strategic sourcing and purchasing of common goods to achieve efficiency and value for money.

It is implementing a Central Supplier Database to prevent duplication, increase supplier management efficiency, and reduce the potential for the abuse of government’s procurement processes.

Ultimately, corruption will not be defeated unless we all play our part.

Business needs to join government in stamping out corruption wherever it manifests itself.

The private sector needs to accept that a great deal of corruption involves criminal collusion between business people and public servants.

It needs to acknowledge the extent of so-called ‘white collar crime’ and work with the agencies of the state to root it out.

We have to empower our people to make use of the mechanisms available to them to report corruption and we need to empower the relevant institutions to act against corruption.

We need to address gaps in our laws and procedures, and continuously act to promote transparency and accountability.

I thank you.

18. Mr N F Shivambu (EFF) to ask the Deputy President:

Whether, in view of the fact that the National Development Plan (NDP) goals are based on a 5% economic growth and the fact that the country will not achieve such economic growth, with the result that the NDP goals will not be achieved, the Government intends to abandon the NDP and replace it with a more radical economic policy framework that will be driven by the state and not the private sector; if not, why not?

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REPLY:

Honourable Members,

Like many other countries, our economy faces a number of challenges that contribute to low levels of economic growth.

Some of these challenges are domestic.

We have a large skills deficit, systemic unemployment, low levels of domestic savings, energy constraints, low levels of fixed investment and labour relations issues.

Other challenges are external.

These include a plunge in commodity prices, lower demand from China and other emerging economies, and rising interest rates in some developed economies like the United States.

We are determined to address these challenges so that we can accelerate economic growth to achieve the levels envisaged in the National Development Plan.

The nine-point plan announced by President Jacob Zuma in the State of the Nation Address is specifically designed to address these challenges and boost economic growth and job creation.

This government is committed to a mixed economy that facilitates and enhances the participation of both the public and private sectors.

As we note in the National Development Plan, South Africa requires both a capable and developmental state, able to act to redress historical inequities and a vibrant and thriving private sector able to invest, employ people and penetrate global markets.

The National Development Plan recognises the need for sustained state participation in the economy not in opposition to, but in partnership with, the private sector.

The state is already making a significant contribution to economic activity.

The state is investing in infrastructure as a key driver of inclusive growth.

It is currently investing large amounts in infrastructure for the supply of energy, transport systems, telecommunications and the supply of water.

Government promotes economic transformation by supporting small business, cooperatives and will be developing black industrialists.

Government has implemented several measures to attract both foreign and domestic investment.

We have been successful, often in partnership with state-owned development finance institutions such as the IDC and the DBSA, to lift the overall rate of investment.

Government also intervenes to deal with the challenges of specific sectors of the economy.

A recent example is the action taken by the state to bring relief to the steel industry.

This government is committed to addressing the real impediments to growth.

We are committed to ensuring that the state plays a leading role in stimulating economic growth and ensuring that it benefits all South Africans.

We seek economic growth that harnesses the resources and capabilities of – and maximises the potential of – both the public and private sectors.

This government has a clear and unequivocal mandate to implement the National Development Plan.

We will fulfil our mandate.

We will implement the NDP.

I thank you.

19. Mr M S A Masango (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

In light of the country having been consistent in advocating for the resolution of conflict through dialogue and peaceful means and the promotion of mutual friendship among the nations of the world in line with the premise that all nations have a shared responsibility to collectively improve the human condition, will he share with the House the rationale that underpins this international relations’ strategy and its effectiveness in advancing the national interest as well as the African Agenda?

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REPLY:

Honourable Members,

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter, which is the bedrock on which our democratic value system is founded.

The Charter affirms that South Africa and its people unequivocally pledge to respect the rights and sovereignty of all nations, and to recognise the independence and the right to self-determination of African nations.

The draft White Paper on South Africa’s Foreign Policy elaborates on this theme. It says:

“As a beneficiary of many acts of selfless solidarity in the past, South Africa believes strongly that what it wishes for its people should be what it wishes for the citizens of the world…

“In pursuing our national interests, our decisions are informed by a desire for a just, humane and equitable world order of greater security, peace, dialogue and economic justice.”

We are an African country, whose fortunes are inextricably connected to those of our sister countries in the region and the continent.

Our foreign policy engagements are therefore anchored on the African Agenda.

Paramount to the achievement of this agenda is the social and economic development of the continent and the promotion of peace, security and stability.

South Africa has been actively involved in initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

We have been centrally involved in the development and implementation of key instruments.

These include the AU Constitutive Act, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the African Peer Review Mechanism and the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.

At the level of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), we have been actively engaged in authoring its principal development and regional integration instruments.

South Africa has been part of African efforts to restore peace and stability in strife-torn countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and the Republic of Sudan.

The values that have guided our foreign policy engagements have led to the expansion of bilateral relations with other countries on the continent and have also led to enhancing trade and investment

While we can proudly celebrate the work we have done in the international sphere, we are acutely aware of the developmental and security challenges humanity faces.

We are nevertheless convinced that the approach we as a country have taken in forging relationships with rest of the world remains valid.

It is an approach that recognises the reality that states are interdependent.

It is an approach that promotes cooperation over competition and collaboration over confrontation.

It is an approach that advances the national interest while advancing the common interests of all nations.

I thank you.

20. Mr N Singh (IFP) to ask the Deputy President:

In view of the context of the current national effort aimed at exploring a new innovative way of growing the economy, as well as his recent visit to Japan, what have been the successes of the current national effort and the specified visit that he undertook, as well as the names of other countries that have been identified for this type of bilateral engagement aimed at improving the prospects of economic growth in the short and long term?

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REPLY:

Honourable Members,

South Africa’s engagements with other countries aim among other things to increase bilateral trade and investment.

They also provide an opportunity to share experiences on economic and social development.

The recent visit to Japan, for example, aimed to strengthen relationships with Japan and to identify opportunities for collaboration in the areas of innovation, technology transfer, minerals beneficiation, renewable energy, advanced manufacturing and agro-processing.

The visit contributed to the advancement of Africa's agenda by further strengthening the Tokyo International Conference on Africa (TICAD) partnership.

This partnership promotes trade, investment growth and infrastructure development on the African continent.

The Japanese government undertook to assist South Africa with its energy diversification efforts by transferring energy saving technology to South Africa.

It also committed to advancing the implementation of the Joint Study on Economic Cooperation and undertaking training programmes to up-skill South Africans in line with our black industrialists programme.

South Africa undertakes bilateral engagements with many countries to promote trade, investment, skills and technology transfer, and broader economic cooperation.

These engagements have resulted among other things in the deepening of business linkages, increased investment in South Africa, training opportunities for young South Africans in various fields, agreement on scientific and technological cooperation, and general promotion of South Africa as a desirable investment destination.

These engagements have also provided an opportunity to learn from the experiences of other countries that have been successful in pursuing economic growth and social development.

South Africa’s economic success depends in large measure on its ability to grow foreign direct investment and significantly expand and diversify its exports.

This makes such bilateral engagements ever more important and ever more valuable.

I thank you.