Deputy President David Mabuza: Reply to questions in National Council of Provinces

28 March 2018

Deputy President Mabuza responds to questions in the National Council of Provinces

Deputy President David Mabuza has called on South Africans to reflect on how to confront criminality that has invaded religious organisations, such as was the case recently at eNgcobo in the Eastern Cape.

Deputy President Mabuza issued this call this afternoon, Wednesday 28 March 2018, in his inaugural reply to questions in the National Council of Provinces.

Questions submitted by NCOP members ranged from the integrity of state-owned companies, to youth development, criminality in religious organisations a nd land expropriation.

Deputy President replied to questions as follows:

National Council of Provinces
Questions for oral reply
Deputy President

Question 1 – On short-/long-term government interventions to strengthen good governance in the public service and State-Owned Entities

As a developmental state, our transformative agenda of the state and economy requires public service cadres that are caring, skilled, professional, responsive and committed to the course.

For that to be realised, we need to continuously build a capable state staffed by people who have the appropriate orientation and commitment to public service. People who are willing to embrace the opportunity to transform and develop our country. People who are willing to serve for the purpose of taking our country to the next level of development and growth.

Furthermore, institutions like the Public Service Commission continue play a role of oversight in cases compliance, accountability and any breaches thereof. The financial disclosures managed by the Department of Public Service and Administration, are one of the mechanisms to promote clean governance and transparency in public service.

We regard Public Enterprises as a public good that is central in driving state-driven development. Through their various mandates and functions, we are able to drive socio-economic growth that is critical in enabling business and improving the quality of life of our people.

No developmental state can function without their strategic intervention, and as platforms to drive innovation and technological advances. In all hitherto industrial revolutions, State Owned Enterprises have been at the core of development and the provisioning of life-changing economic infrastructure. Accordingly, improving governance at SOEs is a must. It is an unequivocal imperative.

For our part as government we are putting in place mechanisms to detect and fight all shapes and forms of corruption. We wan t to stem the leakage and uproot corruption from our ranks, be it from a traffic official on the road, the teller at home affairs or the minister who colludes with private interest.

We are seeking out delinquent directors and public servants who are more invested in feathering their nests than servicing public interest. These governance failures have led to deteriorating SOC finances, crippling bailouts and have stunted our development progress.

We are working hard to change the governance landscape by implementing several initiatives in the short-to-medium term. This should bring the required stability to set SOEs a more sustainable path.

In the short-term, under the leadership of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on SOEs, we have capacitated the Board of SAA and the fast traction the appointment of the new CEO to oversee the implementation of the turnaround strategy.

We have done the same at Eskom Board and have set clear targets and parameters to pla n better for the built program to prevent future black-outs.

For a longer-term outlook we will focus on implementing the recommendations of Presidential Review Commission on SOEs. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on SOC Reforms has made considerable progress on this work.

We have completed a Government Shareholder Policy (GSP) which, is undergoing stakeholder consultation to enable the drafting of effective legislation.

Cabinet has endorsed a Private Sector Participation framework for infrastructure delivery led by the National Treasury.

We have also approved the Guide on the Remuneration and Incentives Standards for Non-Executive Directors, Executive Directors and Prescribed Officers of State-Owned Companies.

Cabinet has further developed the National Guide for the Appointment of Persons to Boards and Chief Executive Officers of State and State Controlled Institutions, which will regulate the appointment of CEOs.

It is important that we also clarify the policy and shareholder responsibilities of separate ministries. Whilst doing so, we will also improve policy coordination and streamline mandates for board appointments, powers and functions. We must do so, cognisant of the need to develop an adequate human resources strategy for skills development, promotion and retention of technical expertise.

Through these initiatives and others we will improve governance and return to the core business of making SOEs work of our people.

We must see our SOEs as quasi-private goods. They must create skills and economic infrastructure to enable business activity; to enable young people to work, think and generate ideas to spring development. They must answer to the challenges of inequality, unemployment and social dependency on the state.

This implies that the mandate of SOEs and their responsibilities are greater than the burden placed on the state.

When the private sector corrupts individuals within SOEs and the state, they poison the entire economy. And so, we must fight corruption in SOEs from all angles, the insidious culture of corruption must be confronted from all corruptors and corruptees.

Our approach in government is to treat all forms of corruption in SOEs as a crime.

Thank you very much.

Question 2 – On alleged criminal activities at SOEs

Honourable Members, in the State of the Nation Address, the Honourable President indicated, amongst others, the following:

This is the year that we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions

The recent action we have taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore its financial position is just the beginning

The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly. The Commission is critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.

The incidences of malfeasance at State Owned Companies (SOC) that have been covered widely in the media, is somethi ng that Government takes very seriously. In certain instances where forensic and criminal investigations had already been conducted, culpability steps have been taken to ensure that individuals cited by these investigation, at both the Board and Executive level, are removed through proper process from their positions through suspensions and the institution of disciplinary hearings.

With regard to Eskom, actions were taken against Mr Anoj Singh (CFO), Mr Matshela Koko (Acting CEO) and Mr Sean Maritz (Acting CEO). These executives subsequently resigned. At South African Express, actions were taken against Mr Mark Shelly (CFO), Mr Brian Van Wyk (General Manager:Commercial) and these officials also resigned.

In the process we have had some of these individuals opting to resign from their positions before disciplinary hearing could sit to determine their guilt. The criminal justice system will be pursuing these individuals to ensure that resources are recovered and th at these people are declared deliquent directors and barred from serving on Boards in the future.

With regard to the matter of criminal cases, a lot of work is unfolding to go through the forensic investigation reports commissioned in the last five years to identify instances where the full might of the law was not unleashed on those that have wasted limited public resources, and further investigations will be undertaken to ensure that those cases that have been overlooked are urgently attended to.

As this work unfolds there will certainly be criminal cases opened with relevant authorities (South African Police Services, Hawks, Company and Intellectual Property Commission and others) to ensure that those implicated get to account for their actions.

Thank you very much.

Question 3 – On government programmes with deliverable outcomes that address challenges that are facing the youth.

Honourable Members, the dreams and wishes of our young people must be the glue that unites and binds all South Africans, black and white.

Nearly twenty-four years into freedom, poverty still stands between our youth and their aspirations. It is they who suffer the burden of unemployment, lack of skills, diseases, and crime.

No stone must be left unturned by members of this august House to usher in a new era of hope and development for our youth.

To succeed, we must use evidence and data to sharpen our policy instruments to achieve the greatest success in improving the lives and opportunities of our youth.

This evidence shows that in our country, poverty, unemployment, and social exclusion has an identity. It is black. It is African. It is also sadly female, rural, and young.

In July 2017 Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) put our population at 56.52 million.

Black Africans constitute more than 80% of the total population at 46 million. Five million South Africans are Coloureds, and they are the second largest population group. We further know that children and young people form the majority of South Africans.

In 2016, Stats SA revealed in its “Social Profile of the Youth, 2009-2014” report that there are about 20 million young people between the ages of 15 and 34. This age group constitutes more than a third or around 36% of the entire population. They make the face of unemployment at around 70% of our unemployed population.

This report by Stats SA also shows that, since 2012, the Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) rate has remained around 30%.

Even more alarming is that “of the 3.7 million unemployed youth in 2014, only 1.6 million (or 48.3%) had worked before.”

According to Stats SA Quartely Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate for youths aged 15 to 34 stood at 38.6%.

It also noted that of the 10,3 million young persons a ged 15-24 years, about 30% were not in employment, education or training.

In August last year, Stats SA released the Poverty Trends Report. The Report revealed that poverty levels are on the rise and that today, more than half of South Africans live in poverty.

Stats SA observed that “In general, children (aged 17 years and younger), black Africans, females, people from rural areas, those living in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, and those with little or no education are the main victims in the ongoing struggle against poverty “.

The underdevelopment of the South African people, their economy, and potential was structural and achieved over many centuries of national oppression and social exclusion.

To free the immense potential of our people, especially the poor majority black youth, we must address the structural factors pertaining to skills development, education, and economic inclusion.

We need policy interventions and programmes that will revitalize rural economies and include young people in local economic development initiatives.

Honourable Members, South Africa’s slow and weak economic growth has had an adverse impact on job creation and youth employment.

The forthcoming Job Summit announced by the President in the State of the Nation Address which is convened to align the efforts of every sector and every stakeholder behind the imperatives of job creation must enable all social partners to agree on concrete actions to be implemented to meet the 5% economic growth envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP).

Vision 2030 of the NDP was crafted through what the National Planning Commission (NPC) called a “youth lens.”

In line with this vision to mainstream youth development, South Africa in 2015 adopted the National Youth Policy (NYP) 2020.

In the policy, young South Africans are saying, “We don’t want a hand-out. We want a hand-up.”

Our youth want to be v iewed as “assets of national development.” They demand that we recognise their agency, patriotism, inherent worth, and dignity.

This policy is premised on the need for integrated, holistic and sustainable development to free the potential of young people in their own development.

The policy is aimed at enhancing economic participation by young people, skills development, and offering second chance programmes, and increase number of learners who graduate.

It aims to improve the health status of young people, decrease HIV infection rates, and reduce teenage pregnancy.

Programmes that have become part of the strategy to improve the lot of young people include:

State sponsored opportunities for matric rewrites;

Substantial increase in the number of university students graduating from higher education, increasing by 6% from 180 822 in 2013 to 191 528 in 2015.

Learnerships, Internships and Artisan programmes;

The Employment Tax Incentive which came into effect on 1 January 2014, has had a positive impact on the number of youth jobs created.

Honourable Members, South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action and the New Growth Path recognise the importance of prioritising youth in job creation and enterprise development through government set asides.

Through the War on Leaks programme, we are training thousands of young people as plumbers and water agents.

Not less than 19 000 young people have been recruited by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform through the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC).

The Department of Human Settlements in partnership with the Real Estate sector has set itself the target of supporting not less than 18 000 young graduates and unemployed youth in enterprise development in real estate.

Initiatives like the “She Conquers Campaign” and DREAMS by the Department of Health and social partners are showing positive results in reducing the spread of HIV and creating economic opportunities for young girls and women.

Just yesterday, President Ramaphosa officially launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative.

This initiative will go far in offering work experience opportunities to a million young South Africans over the next three years.

We applaud the South African business sector for their commitment to improve the plight of unemployed young South Africans.

We urge many more to join this initiative and ensure that our youth are skilled on the job, that they are certificated, and that they are assisted to access full, decent employment at the end of their experiential learning.

The YES Initiative adds impetus to other initiatives like National Youth Development Agency, which was established to respond to and provide support to issues of youth development through lobbying and advocacy.

The NYDA has contributed in supporting youth owned enterprises through funding support that stimulates youth entrepreneurship and job creation. In the last financial year, it reported that 698 new youth enterprises were supported through grant funding, and a further 63 407 on business development support. This led to the creation of 3 718 jobs.

Having said this, we must accept that the NYDA is not performing at its full potential. Some improvements must be made especially on institutional strengthening so that the Agency plays a much more effective role in the mainstreaming of youth development issues, and it remains on the cutting of innovative means to respond to youth development challenges.

The implementation of these and other programmes not mentioned here is coordinated at the highest level through the Presidential Youth Working group.

The group also enables stra tegic conversations between young people, the executive and business on how to implement youth development interventions.

It also enables the discussion of collective action that aims at accelerating the empowerment of young people.

Thank you very much

Question 4 – On regulations over religious sector

Honourable Members, as government we have noted with grave concern the findings of the Commission for Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities regarding certain shocking and unacceptable practices carried out in the name of religion.

Unsuspecting victims have in some instances, been exposed to criminal activities – all in the name of religion. In extreme cases, acts of child abuse have also occurred.

The findings of the CRL Rights Commission are now in the public domain, following the release of their report and its subsequent tabling in Parliament. The legislature needs to process this report with diligence and urgency it deserves and create platforms for meaningful stakeholder engagements and public participation.

It is important that these engagements are allowed to proceed so that together as a nation we can find lasting solutions to this problem. While we have not as yet planned an audit of churches in this regard, we are very clear as government that where cults and criminal activities are pursued under the guise of religion, these should be reported without any delays so that the law can take its course.

Similarly, government has not as yet decided to introduce added regulations over the religious sector as recommended by the CRL Rights Commission. The recommendations are only recent, and we believe that they should continue to be discussed with as many stakeholders as possible so that the corrective measures that ensue will have benefited from this rich dialogue.

In this regard, we have noted, for example, that Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has recommended, among others, that a National Consultative Conference be convened to explore, among others, the possibility of introducing a charter for self-regulation as well as a code of conduct for the religious sector.

Thank you very much

Question 5 – On lifestyle audit of National Executive

Honourable Members, the President correctly pronounced on this matter as a measure aimed at ensuring that ethical behaviour and social accountability are promoted within the public service.

The decision to start with this process at the level of the National Executive, is to provide leadership on this matter and to demonstrate our seriousness towards building public confidence and restoring public trust that has been undermined though continuous reports of maladministration, theft of public funds and acts of corruption to advance the interest of the select politically connected few.

The objective therefore is to ensure that those of us in government positions and other organs of state, are not being used for narrow personal gain at the expense of providing services to the public. We are currently finalising guidelines and protocols for this process. The honourable members can be rest assu red that this matter is receiving the priority it deserves.

Thank you very much

Question 6 – Expropriation of land without compensation

Honourable Members, yes, Government has engaged Traditional Leaders on the expropriation of land without compensation.

On 13 July 2017 the Minister for Public Works engaged with the Traditional Leaders on the Expropriation Bill in Cape Town. At that meeting, they strongly submitted that the expropriation of land must exclude communal land and that the State must decongest communal land by availing land through expropriation, to expand traditional communities as the current communal land is congested.

Further to this, when the 54th National Conference of the ANC resolved to implement the expropriation of land without compensation, the ANC leadership met with various traditional leaders around the country to share the outcomes of that conference and its implications for the work of government and those matters that impact on the current structure and systems of traditional leadership.

On 27th February 2018, the National Assembly voted in favour of a motion to accelerate equitable land redistribution through expropriation of land without compensation. During his reply to the debate on the opening on the National House of Traditional Leaders on 01 March 2018, the President made it clear that government will shortly initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders on the modalities through which the commitment can be effected meaningfully.

Since the process on expropriation of land without compensation is now underway, as Government we will be further engaging various stakeholders in society including Traditional leadership. We view traditional leaders as a critical stakeholder that should be engaged at all material times.

Just last week, I had an interaction with His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini during the observation of the International TB Day in Durban, wherein we agreed that we should meet to further discuss the implications of this resoluti on in as far as land under the jurisdiction of AmaKhosi is concerned.

Just yesterday, I also had interactions with the National House of Traditional Leadership and we engaged on the role that the leadership must play in the process. This will also include how to implement the land reforms in a manner that will address all concerns that are being raised.

Similar engagements with the House of Traditional Leadership will be undertaken to engage on the implications of this process and how we implement the land reform in a manner that addresses all the concerns that are being raised here.

Indeed our engagements with Traditional Leaders have included fostering a shared understanding on the ownership and usage of communal land in the sense that communal land ownership is in the hands of the communities who entrusted custodianship of such land under traditional leaders.

Traditional Councils administer the usage of land. In this regard, they issue permits for usage, called permission to occupy (PTO), which includes permission to use for residence, subsistence farming and other livelihoods.

Therefore, the approach is that community engagement should take place on issues of spatial planning intended for the usage of communal land such as planning for grazing, settlements, business and other means.

The current Expropriation Bill is meant to address the acquisition of additional communal land in instances where current owners, through dispossessing traditional communities of their land have acquired such land.

As far as the situation stands now, there has been consideration of policy or legislative interventions about the acquisition, ownership and usage of communal land. Traditional Leaders cannot sell communal land since such does not belong to them as individuals but to communities.

The Communal Land Tenure Bill has been proposed to regulate the ownership and usage of communal land and a system of the Tradi tional Council’s ownership and the administration of usage of such land is proposed in the said Bill.

As a matter of principle, Traditional Councils should consult communities on all matters concerning the administration of communal land for the benefit of communities, and as per traditional communities’ spatial plans put in place for development purposes.

Thank you very much.