Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa: Reply to questions in National Assembly (NA)

16 November 2017

Questions 43
Nationa Building and Social Cohesion

Honourable Members,

We know only too well the roots of division, discord and social upheaval in our society.

They are rooted in a system defined by racism, patriarchy, inequality and other forms of intolerance.

As a country, we have embarked on a journey to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal and prosperous society.

There can be no doubt that we have made significant progress.

Both in attitudes and in the lived experience of our people, society has changed dramatically since 1994.

Today, we see forms of solidarity where diverse communities join together to advocate for particular causes that have greater societal impact.

The Fees Must Fall protests of 2015 saw students from diverse backgrounds mobilising in support of the interests of primarily poor students.

South Africans from all walks of life campaign against gender based violence, drug abuse and several other social ills.

A spike in the cases of racism lodged with the Equality Court may be an indication that South Africans are becoming less tolerant of racism and are using the institutional mechanisms available to them.

Instances of racism or violence against women cause outrage across society.

Despite our challenges, South Africans still believe in the need for social cohesion and nation building and are committed towards achieving it.

Government continues to engage South African society in a conversation on how to bridge the historical divisions.

The Department of Arts and Culture has its Social Cohesion community conversation programme, the Department of Justice has run anti-xenophobia campaigns and the Department of Women has led gender empowerment campaigns.

Government is looking at ways to strengthen the moral regeneration project through support to the Moral Regeneration Movement and similar civil society organisations.

Both the National Development Plan and the Medium Term Strategic Framework set out various measures to assess progress in advancing social cohesion.

These include:

Nation building is a multi-faceted and multi-layered process.

It both about removing the material inequalities that divide our people and confronting the attitudes that allow prejudice and violence to persist.

This places a responsibility on us to act with urgency and purpose to build a growing economy that creates jobs and is inclusive.

It also places a responsibility on us, particularly as public representatives, to confront all forms of corruption – both in the state and the private sector.

Corruption erodes the fabric of our society, weakens our sense of common purpose and undermines our shared values.

Most importantly, we have a responsibility to teach our children well.

They must learn to respect, value and protect the equal humanity of all people.

Only in that way, will we build a better society.

I thank you.

Question 44
Corruption in SOE`s

Honourable Members,

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on SOE Reform is responsible for the implementation of key recommendations of the Presidential Review Commission on State Owned Entities.

These relate to the overall design of our state ownership model to ensure that SOEs meet their economic and developmental mandates.

It is not the responsibility of the IMC, nor does it have any powers, to consider allegations of corruption in state-owned enterprises.

That is a question that should be addressed to the relevant shareholder Ministers.

As I have said before in this House, corruption in state owned enterprises is one of the greatest threats to effective governance and economic development.

The National Assembly must be commended for the work it is doing through, for example, the inquiry into Eskom to uncover the abuse of power and the theft of public resources by well-connected individuals.

Other institutions, especially the law enforcement agencies, need to pursue these allegations with equal vigour and determination.

Until people see that there are dire consequences for those who engage in such criminal behaviour, we will struggle to eradicate it.

I thank you.

Question 45
Collaboration on Social Challenges

Honourable Members,

If we are to overcome the significant economic and social challenges that our country faces, we need to identify those initiatives that have the greatest impact and work together to take them to scale.

The Harambee Solutions Exchange is an example of a platform that gathered multiple stakeholders to come up with a work programme that will deliver on key components of the National Development Plan, the recently approved Human Resource Development strategy and the 2013 Youth Accord.

Over two days of engagements, these stakeholders shared experiences, insights and results on ways to bridge the gap between learning and the workplace as a way to address youth unemployment.

Similar to the Youth Employment Service initiative that will soon begin operating, this speaks not only to the efficient use of limited public and private resources, but also to leadership, collaboration and a spirit of patriotism.

Alongside these ongoing efforts, through the Human Resource Development Council we also witness the great work that can be attained through collaboration in higher education institutions.

The Council champions an initiative that has seen a number of businesses supporting the activities of TVET colleges and universities.

Through this, students benefit by getting bursaries from industry.

Employees from the industry are able to provide lecturers as per their areas of practice.

Companies contribute towards building some of the infrastructure, for example workshops and classrooms, and donate equipment to the colleges to be used for practicals by the students.

Government alone cannot solve all the challenges that our country faces.

By working together, through sharing skills, expertise and resources, the social partners can develop solutions that are effective, sustainable and can have meaningful impact.

I thank you

Question 46
Technical Skills and Industry Needs

Honourable Members,

The Department of Higher Education and Training implemented a five-pronged plan to align skills planning with the needs of the relevant sector.

Firstly, a sector skills planning framework was implemented in April 2014 to improve the identification of sectoral skills needs.

Secondly, partnerships were introduced with universities to support and build the requisite research capacity in SETAs and the Department.

Thirdly, the SETA Grant regulations were reviewed to improve the quality of labour market information submitted to SETAs.

Fourthly, the Labour Market Intelligence Project identifies additional interventions to strengthen skills planning and alignment.

Lastly, sectoral planning is conducted as part of ongoing research to take account of occupational and structural shifts in the economy.

The National Skills Authority and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation is currently undertaking an evaluation of the skills development strategy, which will indicate the extent to which this approach is successful.

On the second part of the question, the quality of TVET college graduates is quite variable and is largely influenced by the quality of curriculum delivery.

Those colleges with good pass rates, coupled with quality practical training, tend to have more extensive and sustainable partnerships with industry and employers.

Partnerships are therefore critical for the absorption of TVET graduates into workplaces and the Department is working on the development of such a database to track the nature and scale of such partnerships.

With greater industry involvement and work placement opportunities, student employment prospects are enhanced.

The TVET sector has a goal of being responsive and relevant to the needs of the economy.

The Minister of Higher Education and Training has opened the doors of the TVET sector for the industry to participate in the revision of the curricula and the assessment.

In this way, we will maximise the economic return of the resources we invest in skills development and improve the ability of graduates to find employment in their fields of study.

I thank you.

Question 47
Cabinet Reshuffle

Honourable Members,

The President of the Republic informed me in October this year of his decision to make changes to his Cabinet.

On 17 October 2017, the day on which the changes to the Cabinet was announced, I informed the Speaker in writing of such changes, as is required by National Assembly Rule 352.

I will provide the Honourable Member with a copy of my letter to the Speaker.

I thank you.

Question 48
State Capture Commission of Inquiry

Honourable Members,

I have had no indication from the President of the Republic that he does not intend to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

As I have said before in this House, it is critical that such a commission should be established without any delay.

There is ample evidence of the capture of key state institutions to advance private interests.

This evidence suggests that efforts to divert public resources into the hands of a few families and individuals is continuing.

While a commission of inquiry is necessary to ensure that the extent and depth of state capture is fully revealed and for us to understand how it happened, the investigation and prosecution of those responsible does not need to wait for the commission.

Every credible allegation needs to be investigated thoroughly by law enforcement agencies and those who have broken the law should be criminally charged.

If we are to put a stop to corruption and state capture, it is essential that those who are involved are brought to book.

I thank you.