Oral Replies By Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, National Assembly

12 August 2015

Question 1

With reference to the National Development Plan’s emphasis that the need for a strong relationship between the technical and vocational education and training colleges and industry to (a) improve the quality of training, (b) ensure faster absorption of graduates in the job market and (c) assist with determining the skills demands that exist in the labour market, what measures are in place to ensure that these partnerships materialise and are sustained?

Reply by Deputy President Ramaphosa:

Honourable Members,

Government has prioritised the expansion and development of TVET colleges as a cornerstone of the national effort to meet our human resource needs. Providing our people with skills that are relevant and meaningful is a national priority. This we do to enable them to find employment and expand their opportunities.

There is a strong link between the quality of teaching in TVET colleges and the development of skills suitable for the demands of the job market. Many of our universities are developing qualifications for TVET lecturers.

The Department of Higher Education and Training is focusing more on improving performance management and professional development of TVET lecturers. To ensure lecturers are kept abreast with latest trends in industry, a project has been launched through the Education, Training and Development Practices SETA to place lecturers in industry.

This project was initiated in five TVET colleges and is expanding on an annual basis. The Department of Higher Education and Training has been running a campaign to encourage the recruitment by industry of TVET college graduates.

Students are assisted to obtain internships through Work Integrated Learning, which is done in collaboration with a number of SETAs. To align the work of TVET colleges with the needs of industry more directly – and to ensure that industry expertise and resources are being used in colleges – the Human Resource Development Council is piloting a TVET adoption programme.

This programme encourages companies and industry bodies to form adoption partnerships with TVET colleges to assist colleges to improve their training programmes. These adoption partnerships will assist in addressing challenges of poor administration, management, governance and infrastructure.

We expect that companies that adopt TVET colleges in areas near their operations will provide students with practical learning opportunities. They will also help to develop teaching-learning material and build the institutional management capacity of TVET colleges.

These colleges will then have a greater chance of producing graduates that have the relevant skills that the labour market will be able to absorb. We call on companies across all sectors of the economy to see TVET colleges as a source of well-trained graduates. TVET colleges are the institutions that will produce the employees of tomorrow.

They are critical to the growth of businesses and the further development of key sectors of the economy. It is essential therefore that we work together – government, business and other stakeholders – to improve the scale, quality and relevance of our TVET college system.

I thank you.

Question 2

Whether, with regard to his statement that South Africa is at the cutting edge of immigration and visa regulations (details furnished), he has been briefed on the progress of the current deliberations on and reviews of the visa regulations of the Department of Home Affairs?

Reply by Deputy President Ramaphosa:

Honourable Members,

Yes, I have been briefed.

As President Jacob Zuma indicated yesterday, government has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee to examine and remedy any potential unintended consequences resulting from the implementation of the immigration regulations.

The Immigration Act and its regulations are aimed at striking a balance between the need to protect our sovereignty and national security, to advance the national development agenda and to honour our international obligations.

As a country, we cannot compromise on our sovereignty or our security. Nor can we ignore the economic and social effects of any measures we adopt. The Inter-Ministerial Committee therefore needs to examine all available evidence on the impact of the introduction of these new regulations and take steps to mitigate any negative consequences.

It should be noted that alongside the implementation of the new regulations, government is introducing several measures to improve the efficiency, security and accessibility of our immigration processes.

The Minister of Home Affairs will be able to provide further information on this. Government is aware of the concerns that have been raised about some of the new regulations. The process being led by the Inter-Ministerial Committee aims to address these and any other related concerns in a methodical, rational and balanced manner.

I thank you.

Question 3

(1) Which aspects of the 5-10 Year Strategic Programme on co-operation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa were discussed during his official visit to China;

(2) what were the key outcomes of the bilateral discussions with the People’s Republic of China that would be given priority by the Government during the remainder of 2015;

(3) since his reply to oral question 12 on 10 June 2015, what key lessons did he learn during his meeting with the Chairperson of the Chinese State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission in respect of how South Africa can enhance the performance of its state-owned companies?

Reply for Deputy President Ramaphosa:

Honourable Members,

The main purpose of our visit to China was to review progress made in the implementation of the Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation signed by President Jacob Zuma and President Xi Jinping, with specific focus on China’s experience in the management of state-owned companies.

The following aspects of the Strategic Programme were discussed:

  • Alignment of industries to accelerate South Africa’s industrialisation process
  • Enhancement of cooperation in special economic zones
  • Enhancement of Ocean Economy cooperation
  • Infrastructure development
  • Human resource and skills cooperation
  • Concessionary finance

Among the key outcomes from bilateral discussions was a commitment from China to cooperate with South Africa in promoting industrialisation and improving our economic capacity and ability to create jobs.

China has agreed and committed to share its experience and expertise on special economic zones. It has agreed to encourage its companies to invest in South Africa’s special economic zones and science and technology parks.

China has also agreed to share its experience and assist South Africa in expediting the implementation of our ocean economy programme. An important area of cooperation is in the development of the skills needed for South Africa’s economic growth and development.

The area of vocational training was highlighted as important for the implementation of our industrialisation programme. China has offered thousands of training opportunities over the next 5 years. We also spent time talking to the Chinese Academy of Governance.

They agreed to place South African government officials and SOE executives on leadership training programmes. Initiatives are already underway to finalise relevant training programmes for public service managers.

The delegation met with China’s State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission – known as SASAC – which oversees 111 national state-owned entities.

Some aspects of China’s approach to SOEs are worth noting.

There is, for example, a standard approach to governance processes and structure across all SOEs supervised by SASAC. The Commission also oversees performance assessment, training and remuneration of SOE executive management.

The success of many of China’s SOEs is due in part to the reform of their shareholding system. In some cases, this has included the introduction of strategic investors and the listing of some SOEs in capital markets.

We will continue engagements with the Commission to deepen our understanding of the Chinese SOE model. This aims to enhance the capacity of the state to position SOEs to drive industrialisation and unlock private sector investment between the two countries.

I thank you.

Question 4

(1) What recommendations did he make to the SADC Double Troika Summit of the Heads of State held on 3 July 2015, regarding the political impasse in the Kingdom of Lesotho;

(2) what are the terms of reference of the commission of inquiry established by the specified Summit regarding the death of Brigadier Mahao of the Kingdom of Lesotho;

(3) have any preliminary details been given regarding the approved oversight committee that will be established as an early warning system about events that signal potential instability in the region? NO3214E

Reply by Deputy President Ramaphosa:

Honourable Members,

The SADC Observer Mission made recommendations for the Kingdom of Lesotho to consider effecting constitutional and security reforms. Many stakeholders with whom the Mission interacted during its tenure, such as the churches, traditional leaders, business and NGOS, consistently expressed the need for such reforms to be effected.

In his inauguration speech, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asserted the Lesotho government’s commitment to pursuing such reforms. The former Prime Minister, Dr Tom Thabane, has also supported the proposal for constitutional and security reforms.

The recommendations made by the facilitation team were informed by the experience of the SADC Mission on the ground and in fulfilment of the mandate of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and Cooperation to promote long term political and security stability.

The recommendations included:

  • refining the respective roles of the Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Mounted Police Service to remove any overlap between the two forces’ mandates,
  • reforms to Parliamentary rules as they affect coalition governments, motions of no confidence, the prorogation of Parliament and the issue of floor crossing,
  • judicial, civil service and media reforms,
  • processes that could be followed in ensuring an inclusive process for the formulation and adoption of the reforms.

These recommendations were accepted by the SADC Double Troika Summit, who urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to implement them as soon as possible. This process is in the hands of the Basotho, and SADC will assist wherever possible.

The Summit decided on the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the death of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, former Lt. Gen., and matters relating to the broader security environment.

The terms of reference for the Commission, adopted on a provisional basis to allow for their expansion and modification once the Commission was established, were to:

  • review the investigations conducted by the Lesotho Defence Force into the alleged mutiny plot, covering also the alleged kidnapping of former members of the LDF and alleged killings of members of the opposition;
  • investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao;
  • investigate the legality and the manner of the appointment of Brigadier Mahao in 2014 and his demotion and removal as head of the Lesotho Defence Force in 2015;
  • investigate the legality and the manner of the removal of Lt. Gen. Kamoli as head of the Lesotho Defence Force in 2014, and his reappointment in 2015; and
  • investigate the allegations by opposition parties and civil society that Lt. Gen. Kamoli’s reappointment has resulted in divisions in the Lesotho Defence Force, and has led to political and security instability.

There have been proposals from government and opposition parties that the terms of reference be fine-tuned. This will be considered by the SADC Double Troika Summit scheduled for 16 August.

The Commission has started its work. It is headed by Botswana High Court Judge Mpaphi Phumaphi, and includes experts from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi and South Africa in fields such as law, criminal investigation and forensic science.

An Oversight Committee was also established by the Extraordinary Summit held on 3 July 2015. It is meant to act as an early warning mechanism in the event of instability and intervene as appropriate in consultation with the SADC Facilitator.

It will be led by a political appointee and include political, intelligence, police and military components. It will assist in ensuring SADC is able to respond timeously to any signs of political and security instability.

It will further work on pushing forward the recommendations approved by the Summit for constitutional reforms in Lesotho. These two mechanisms combined will allow SADC to support Lesotho in ensuring long term political and security stability by being alert to developments and addressing the root causes of recent political and security challenges.

I thank you.

Issued by the Presidency