THURSDAY, 29 JANUARY 2009 by JRl4M9Cu

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 64

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                       THURSDAY, 29 JANUARY 2009

                                  ____



                  PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

                                  ____



The House met at 14:01.



The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a

moment of silence for prayers or meditation.



ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.



                              NEW MEMBERS



The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I have to announce that the

vacancies that occurred due to the resignations of Mr M E George, Ms

N M Mahlawe and Ms M A Njobe, and loss of membership of the National

Assembly by Mr S L Dithebe have been filled by the nomination with

effect from 27 January 2009 of Mr D R Rwexu, Mr J M Matshoba, Ms A D

N Qikani and Mr D Erleigh respectively.



In terms of section 48 of the Constitution, members of the National

Assembly must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and

obedience to the Constitution before they begin to perform their

functions in the Assembly.
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The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: The members are waiting

outside to be sworn in. [Laughter.]



The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.



Ningixolele inkonyane ithuka isisila. [Please bear with me, I am

still new.]



Would two members please accompany the new members into the Chamber?

[Applause.]



                                  OATH



Mr D R Rwexu, Mr J M Matshoba, Ms A D N Qikani and Mr D Erleigh,

accompanied by Mr J L Fubbs and Ms N D Ngcengwane, made and

subscribed the oath and took their seats.



                            NOTICES OF MOTION



Mrs C DUDLEY: Madam Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the ACDP I give

notice that I shall move:



  That the House –
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  (1)   noting that the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatima

        Hajaig is alleged to have made anti-Semitic comments at a

        public meeting in December;



  (2)   noting that such comments have caused the SA Jewish Board of

        Deputies to lay a formal complaint with the SA Human Rights

        Commission;



  (3)   calls upon the Deputy Minister to withdraw the comments and

        apologise to the Jewish community if such remarks were made;

        and



  (4)   calls upon this House to debate the rising levels of anti-

        Semitism both locally and internationally.



Thank you.



The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: I hereby give notice that I intend

moving the following motion:



  That the House-



  (1)   debates the current crisis surrounding the government’s

        provision of bus subsidies to bus operations; and



  (2)   considers possible solutions to this crisis.
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Thank you.



                         MOTION OF CONDOLENCE



                       (The late Mr Jan Van Eck)



The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Deputy Speaker, I

move without notice:



  That the House –



  (1)   notes with profound sadness the untimely death of Comrade Jan

        Van Eck, who passed away on Tuesday, 27 January 2009;



  (2)   further notes that Van Eck became a Member of Parliament in

        1986 representing the Claremont constituency and in 1992

        joined the ANC together with four other Democratic Party MPs;



  (3)   recognises that for his principled stance against the

        National Party and its policy of apartheid, as such, he was

        ordered out of Parliament twice by the Speaker for refusing

        to withdraw ``unparliamentary’’ criticism of NP leaders on

        their complicity in police brutality towards activists;



  (4)   recalls that, over the past nine years, Van Eck’s role in

        Burundi was described as: ``What was in the beginning a
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        relatively-speaking passive, `listening’ one, to that of a

        resource person on conflict resolution and negotiations, and

        more recently that of an active though informal, independent

        peace facilitator.’’;



  (5)   believes that his efforts were aimed at contributing towards

        reconciliation, ongoing negotiations, the search for home-

        grown compromise solutions and the progressive development of

        a democratic culture amongst the countries of the Great Lakes

        and Burundi in particular;



  (6)   remembers that Van Eck was a man of principle, peace, justice

        and a leader of integrity who has devoted his life for the

        betterment of others and that his honesty, objectivity and

        dedication helped him in getting closer to the real truth

        regarding the fears, concerns and objectives of the different

        and opposing parties than most other international players;



  (7)   further remembers that Van Eck was also recently named a Paul

        Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary

        International `` … in appreciation of tangible and

        significant assistance given for the furtherance of better

        understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the

        world.’’; and
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  (8)   conveys its condolences to the Van Eck family and the African

        National Congress, and wants to assure them that the loss

        they sustained is not theirs alone but equally felt by

        Parliament.



Agreed to.



                       SECOND-HAND GOODS BILL



                         (Draft Resolution)



The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Deputy Speaker, I

move without notice:



  That the House -



  (1)   notes that it agreed to the establishment of the Mediation

        Committee on the Second-Hand Goods Bill [B 2D - 2008] (sec

        76(1)) on 27 January 2009 and that the composition of the

        committee was not complete;



  (2)   elects the following member, as nominated by his party, as a

        representative in the Assembly component of the committee:

        Mahote, S (ANC); and
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  (3)   elects the following member as an alternate member: Mabena D

        C (ANC).



Agreed to.



   EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR REPORT OF AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE TO

  CONSIDER MATTERS IN TERMS OF SECTION 12 OF NATIONAL PROSECUTING

                            AUTHORITY ACT



                         (Draft Resolution)



The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Deputy Speaker,

on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, I move:



  That the House, subject to the concurrence of the National Council

  of Provinces and notwithstanding the decision of the Speaker of

  the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council

  of Provinces ratified by the House on 27 January 2009, which inter

  alia specified that the Ad Hoc Joint Committee to consider Matters

  in terms of Section 12 of National Prosecuting Authority Act has

  to report by 9 February 2009, extends the deadline to 11 February

  2009.



Agreed to.
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CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF JOINT CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE IN

        TERMS OF SECTION 45(1)(C) OF THE CONSTITUTION FOR 2007



                          (Draft Resolution)



The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:



  That the House revives the following item, which was on the Order

  Paper and that lapsed at the end of the 2008 annual session, for

  consideration by the National Assembly:



  (1)   Consideration of Report of Joint Constitutional Review

        Committee in terms of section 45(1)(c) of Constitution for

        2007 (Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports, 26 June

        2008, p 1437).



Agreed to.



                     ANC VICTORY IN BY-ELECTIONS



                         (Member’s Statement)



Ms J L FUBBS (ANC): Hon Deputy Speaker, members of the House, it is

really a celebratory day for the ANC, which won 23 out of 27

contested wards yesterday. [Applause.] This again demonstrates
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unequivocally the confidence and trust the people of South Africa

have in their organisation, the ANC.



As a mass-based organisation rooted among the people of our country,

it reaches out to every sector of society and indeed every corner of

our country. Yes, we do have the capacity to bring all the members

of our society together to make changes happen faster. We can do

this together.



Recently in the Northern Cape, the most hotly contested of all

provinces, the ANC vindicated itself and won 11 out of 15 words,

with one result unknown. [Applause.] Claims that the ANC has been

losing support in the province, have been a gross exaggeration of

the facts on the ground. It is time where you all consulted our

people effectively.



As the ANC prepares for the next general election it will mobilise

the members and supporters ... [Interjections.] [Time expired.]



  CONTENDERS FOR POST OF NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mr L K JOUBERT (DA): Deputy Speaker, the DA notes reports in the

press that Advocate Musi Mkhiza is a contender to succeed Vusi

Pikoli as the National Director of Public Prosecutions. We note this
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with serious concern. Mr Mkhize is a former legal representative of

Mr Jacob Zuma and should, under no circumstances, be put in a

position to decide whether his former client is to be charged with

783 counts of fraud, bribery and corruption.



Further, we believe Mr Mkhize’s disciplinary record disqualifies him

from the National Director of Public Prosecutions post, since the

National Prosecuting Authority Act requires an individual appointed

as national director to be a fit and proper person of

conscientiousness and integrity. The DA does not believe that the

President should have the sole prerogative to appoint the NDPP, and

as such we will submit draft legislation to curtail the President’s

powers in this regard at the earliest possible opportunity. I thank

you. [Applause.]



                     ECONOMIC STATUS IN SOUTH AFRICA



                          (Member’s Statement)



Mr H J BEKKER (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, the IFP has noted the

indexes indicating that inflation in South Africa is indeed slowing

down. The annual rise in the Consumer Price Index inflation gauge

targeted for monetary policy is down to 10,3% from the previous

12,1% in November.
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The headline consumer price index which will replace the CPIX as the

official inflation target has indeed slowed down to 9,5% as against

the 11,8% in November. With inflation dropping down to more

acceptable levels and against the backdrop of international economic

turmoil, it would be prudent for the Governor of the Reserve Bank to

seriously consider dropping the repo rate by a full 100 points,

which will practically mean a one per cent drop at the next meeting

of the monetary policy committee.



Indeed, I believe there is sufficient scope for the Governor to even

consider a larger cut in the repo rate in the months to come.

Consideration must be given to the fact that the South African

economy has to remain internationally competitive, whereas most of

the larger world economies have dropped their bank rates

dramatically to even as low as a base rate of one to two per cent.



It is simply imperative that South Africa must remain competitive,

particularly with regard to our export markets. [Time expired.]



                        FIGHT AGAINST CRIME



                        (Member’s Statement)



Ms M M SOTYU (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC views crime as a

major national challenge and the fight against crime and its causes

remain a priority of our government for the next five years. As a
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result of this commitment the ANC government has established an

integrated and seamless National Criminal Justice System Information

Technology database containing all information relevant to the

Criminal Justice System and reviews and harmonises the template for

gathering information relating to the criminal justice system.



The ANC believes that the national struggle for freedom was the

critical overarching vehicle to bring about peace, security and

stability to our society. In dealing with issues of crime, the ANC

proceeds from the premise that a rising quality of life also means

improvement in the safety and security of citizens in their homes

and environs where they live, work and engage in extramural

activities.



However, government cannot fight crime alone. A critical focus

therefore must be placed on mobilising society to make life

difficult for criminals in our midst; mobilising communities and the

establishment of street committees to assist law enforcement

agencies.



The ANC-led government’s overall programme of national democracy and

transformation will eradicate the conditions that breed social

crime, so shall our contribution also create an environment of

peace, stability, economic growth and social development in South

Africa and on the rest of the continent. I thank you. [Applause.]
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                     2010 WORLD CUP SAFETY PLAN



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mrs C DUDLEY (ACDP): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ACDP is alarmed that

South Africa’s current 2010 World Cup Safety Plan has not

sufficiently provided for the rights and safety of young people. Nor

do we have an effective regulatory system to monitor pornography

sites and sex offenders, whose activity is likely to rise along with

other exploitive crime as we approach the World Cup.



The ACDP is, however, pleased to hear that the United Nations

Campaign led by former Springbok Rugby Captain, Dawie de Villiers,

to stamp out sexual exploitation is making a major international

impact; and establishing a global code of ethics for tourism which

reflects the responsibilities of all stakeholders. But what is South

Africa’s position? On the one hand we hear statements by the former

chief of police and some ANC Members of Parliament supporting the

legalising of prostitution for the 2010 World Cup; while on the

other, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development

expresses the admirable intention to have new legislation on human

trafficking in place by the end of the year.



Clearly a contradictory position, as it is impossible to separate

issues of prostitution and human trafficking. Surely, in an Africa

where the shame and tragedy of the slave trade is still so keenly
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felt, we should be passionately protecting the rights of all our

people against slavery and exploitation of every kind. The public is

unmistakably against proposals to legalise prostitution and there

are concerns that, with less than 500 days to the World Cup and with

the high rate of Aids deaths, the government is not taking this

issue seriously enough. What is government’s position and what are

its intentions?



The ACDP also calls on all parties to be upfront with the electorate

on these issues. Thank you.



            CALL ON LARGE COMPANIES TO LOWER FOOD PRICES



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mnr I E JENNER (OD): Speaker, die Onafhanklike Demokrate is

bekommerd oor die steeds stygende voedselpryse wat talle Suid-

Afrikaners in behoeftigheid gedompel het.



Die OD veg aanhoudend vir die reg van ons mense om nie hul sakke

leeg hoef te maak net sodat hulle die basiese items kan koop nie.

Dis egter `n verligting en verblydend om te hoor dat daar groot

maatskappye is wat daartoe verbind is om ons mense se

lewensstandaard en nood te verlig. Meer gesprekke van hierdie aard

moet plaasvind sodat ons mense se belange eerste kan kom, en dan

moet die daad by die woord gevoeg word om dit te laat geskied.
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Ons doen ook ’n beroep op groothandelaars om nie net aan winste te

dink nie, maar om op ons mense se swaarkry te fokus, en meer

ondersteuning word benodig om te verseker dat hulle kos kan

bekostig.



Die grootste uitdaging in ons land is dat armoede, wat geen kleur of

partypolitieke assosiasie ken nie, steeds die grootste bedreiging

is. Die platteland word die ergste hierdeur geraak omdat daar min,

of bykans geen, ekonomiese aktiwiteite plaasvind nie. Die inwoners

van ons land se hoop is op ons gerig om hulle omstandighede

indringend te verander. (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement

follows.)



[Mr I E JENNER (ID): Speaker, the Independent Democrats are

concerned about the ever-increasing food prices that have plunged

many South Africans into indigence.



The ID is continually fighting for the rights of our people to not

have to empty their pockets simply to buy the basics. It is,

however, a relief and gladdening to hear that there are big

companies that are committed to uplifting our people’s standard of

living and alleviating their need. More discussions of this nature

should take place so that our people’s interests can come first, and

words must then be put into action for this to be realised.
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We also want to appeal to wholesalers to not only think of profits,

but to focus on our people’s suffering, and more support is needed

to ensure that they can afford food.



The greatest challenge in our country is that poverty, which knows

no colour or party-political association, remains the biggest

threat. The rural areas are the worst affected, as very little, or

almost no economic activity takes place there. The hopes of the

inhabitants of our country are directed at us to change their

circumstances significantly.]



                    CHALLENGES OF FOOD SECURITY



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mrs N M TWALA (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC is committed to

creating an environment that ensures that there is adequate food

available to all; that we grow our own food and protect the poor

communities from the rising prices of food and eradicate hunger.



In response to challenges arising from food security, the ANC

government will embark on the following, amongst other things:



Introduce “food for all” programmes to procure and distribute basic

food at affordable prices to poor households and communities; the

government will develop an appropriate institutional approach for
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the implementation of this programme; introduce measures to improve

the logistics of food distribution such as transportation,

warehousing, procurement and outsourcing in order to reduce food

prices in the long term; continued enforcement of stronger

competition measures will be used to act against food cartels who

collude to inflate food prices.



The ANC welcomes the commitment made by Pick `n Pay to summon their

suppliers to look at how come food prices go up while the

international oil prices go down. We call upon other retailers to

emulate this example set by Pick `n Pay.



                    BUS COMPANIES SUBSIDY CRISIS



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mr I S MFUNDISI (UCDP): Deputy Speaker, the plight of the working

poor is exacerbated by the ANC-led government that owes bus

companies over R1,5 billion in subsidies. Much as the country, led

by the ANC government, may try to look good to the world by ensuring

that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA,

2010 World Cup becomes a success, that may also fail as workers may

not make it to work and, therefore, not have the stadiums completed

on time.
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The UCDP calls on government and the Department of Transport, in

particular, to do their utmost to find money and meet their

contractual obligation to the transport service providers. Pleading

poverty is out of the question as services have been rendered as

agreed to by the department. We support the bus companies that have

gone to court in an effort to extract what is due to them from the

radical central government.



It is unthinkable that a Black-led government would ever mete out

such treatment to people who try to lead an honest living and at the

same time provide employment to citizens of the country. If the bus

companies stop operating at the end of this month, as they

threatened to do, many people will not make it to work and

production will fall as most work in the industries is on the

shoulders of the black commuters.



The UCDP puts it to government to do all they can to seek a

political solution to the imminent crisis, lest we have chaos in

this country on the eve of the Confederations Cup. I thank you.



             FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN INDIA AND SOUTH AFRICA



                        (Member’s Statement)



Ms S RAJBALLY (MF): Madam Deputy Speaker, on 2 January 2009, India

celebrated the auspicious occasion of global friendship day in
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Delhi, North India and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt Sheila

Dikshit and Dr Bhishma Narain Singh, former governor of Tamil Nadu

and Assam, proudly presented a lifetime achievement award

certificate of excellence to our very own hon MEC for Sports and

Recreation, KwaZulu-Natal, leader of the MF, Mr Amichand Rajbansi.



We take this opportunity to thank the hon Chief Minister of Delhi

for honouring our MEC and recognising his valuable friendship and

contribution from within and beyond South Africa. We further take

this opportunity to congratulate hon Rajbansi on his auspicious

award and wish him the very best in his continued striving,

dedication and commitment with regard to our people. We invite the

House to consider making such honorary awards that follow India’s

example of appreciating the contributions from within and abroad.

Thank you.



                     INVESTIGATION OF ARMS DEAL



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mr E W TRENT (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, almost four years ago the

DA released what we believe to be enough evidence to justify a

further investigation into the arms deal. At the time, we also

predicted that the arms deal would not go away. Indeed, it has not.

These are just a few of the issues that have emerged since then.

Jacob Zuma said in March 2008 that if he is convicted on charges, he
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will expose others; recommendations concerning the appointment of a

commission of inquiry made by Judge Nicholson on 12 September 2008,

at which the ANC rejoiced; some of the assets of Fana Hlongwane, an

advisor to the then Minister of Defence, have been frozen pursuant

to a court order obtained in November 2008, following his alleged

involvement in corrupt dealings in connection with the arms deal.

The Sunday Times published a report in August 2008, to the effect

that former President Mbeki received a bribe of R30 million, of

which he passed R28 million to the ANC. No action against any person

involved has ever been instituted by anybody.



In this report we ask for an independent panel, that Parliament

should continue to exercise its oversight role with respect to the

arms deal, including a debate on the adoption of a resolution

calling for the appointment of a judicial commission.



On Tuesday this week, I gave notice of a motion that this matter be

debated by the National Assembly. In so doing, the DA has opened a

window of opportunity for this matter to be debated publicly. The

ANC must stop running away from this issue. [Time expired.]



                            JOB CREATION



                        (Member’s Statement)
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Mr D C MABENA (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, decent work is the

foundation of the ANC-led war against poverty and inequality, and

its promotion is the cornerstone of all our efforts. Due to the ANC-

led government, sound management of the economy and better use of

our national resources has seen the economy grow every year since

1994.



In recent years the economy has, for the first time, been creating

jobs faster than the rate at which new people have entered the job

market. On average, half a million new jobs have been added to the

economy every year since 2004, reducing unemployment from 31% in

2003 to 23% in 2007.



There is still much to do to reach our goals and new challenges have

arisen. We have to ensure that we grow the economy to meet the needs

of our people squarely. Lasting victory over poverty and hunger

requires the creation of decent work opportunities and sustainable

livelihoods.



The creation of decent work remains the primary focus of the

economic policies of the ANC-led government by ensuring that

macroeconomic policy is informed by the priorities that have been

set out in this manifesto. The Expanded Public Works Programme

created a million work opportunities a year ahead of its target.



Ngiyathokoza. [Thank you.]
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                       FIGHT AGAINST CHOLERA



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mr M W SIBUYANA (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the IFP, I

stand to commend the good work of the medical, nursing and

administrative staff of both Mapulaneng and Matikwana hospitals in

their daunting task of handling and administering the influx of

patients suffering from cholera in the region of Bushbuckridge in

Mpumalanga province. Regrettably, the area has no clean water supply

and the people depend on water from rivers and wells, which become

polluted during rainy days.



Hospitals have the responsibility for treating cholera. The

Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and local communities are

responsible to see to it that people’s basic rights to cholera-free

water supply are not infringed. I call upon all officials to rise

above petty party politics on issues of national interest. Thank

you.



                       HEALTH CARE INSURANCE



                        (Member’s Statement)



Ms R J MASHIGO (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the statement will be on

Health Care Insurance. The Freedom Charter commits the ANC-led
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government to a preventative health scheme run by the state, free

medical care and hospitalisation provided for all, with special care

for mothers and children.



The ANC believes that South Africa commands huge health care

resources compared with many. Yet the bulk of these resources are in

the private sector and serve a minority of the population, thereby

undermining this country’s ability to provide quality health care

and improved health outcomes.



The ANC, however, is determined to end the huge inequalities that

exist in the public and private sector by making sure that these

sectors work together. We will introduce a National Health Insurance

system which will be phased in over the next five years.



The health insurance system will be publicly funded and publicly

administered and will provide every South African with access to

quality health care, which will be free at the point of delivery.

People will have a choice of which service provider to use within

their district.



A social solidarity principle will be applied and those who are

eligible to contribute will be required to do so. Access to health

care will not be according to payment. The ANC will improve quality

standards for both public and private sectors, which will include

specific targets for the provision of adequate numbers of workers at
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all levels of the health care system, including recruitment,

treatment and the filling of all vacant posts. Thank you.



                           MATRIC RESULTS



                        (Member’s Statement)



Mr G G BOINAMO (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, the Western Cape

Education department is making absurd excuses to avoid conducting a

simple enquiry into the 2008 matric marking process to establish

whether or not marking standards were lowered. Its refusal to do

this investigation suggests that it knows full well that there were

problems with the process. It is in the interests of everyone in

South Africa that the matric results be seen as the credible and

accurate reflection of matriculants’ skills.



Learners who have worked hard and done well do not deserve to have

the value of their hard work undermined by inflated pass marks given

to others. Employers, trainers and tertiary institutions must know

they can use the matric exam to evaluate the learners properly.



The DA received several reports earlier this year from exam markers,

who for obvious reasons wish to remain anonymous, that they had been

instructed by their supervisors to raise the marks of weak students.

We have over the past few days received several similar complaints

from others.
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It would be easy for the department to corroborate this by pulling a

random sample of weak students’ marks, having them independently

evaluated and releasing the results to the public. This would put

the controversy to an end once and for all. But it continues to

refuse to do so and continues to evade its responsibility to do its

duty to guarantee the credibility of the results by accusing the DA

of fabrication. [Time expired.]

                  HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN SRI LANKA



                        (Member’s Statement)

Adv Z L MADASA (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC wishes to

express a very serious concern at the unfolding humanitarian crisis

that is emerging in Sri Lanka. This war between the Tamil Tigers and

the Sri Lankan government has been going on well over 27 years and

has resulted in hundreds of deaths of civilians from both sides of

the conflict and much destruction in the country.



The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, is regarded by the Tamil

people of Sri Lanka as their authentic liberation organisation who

is fighting for their inalienable right to self-determination. The

continued conflict in Sri Lanka has been cited by the human rights

watch international monitoring mechanism as a conflict now reaching

unacceptable, wanton destruction of lives and property.



The African National Congress urges all parties in the conflict,

both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan
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government, to immediately institute a ceasefire and to allow

humanitarian aid and assistance to be brought to the civilians

caught in the conflict and who are in need, and to immediately

return to the negotiating table and resume a peaceful process of

finding a lasting political solution. Thank you. [Applause.]



                   FIRST ORDER OF THE DAY TO STAND OVER



The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, I have been informed that

the first Order will stand over. The Secretary will read the second

to sixth Orders.



OVERSIGHT VISIT TO NEW GENERATION CORRECTIONAL CENTRE BEING BUILT IN

                                KIMBERLEY



  OVERSIGHT VISIT TO BRANDFORT AND GROOTVLEI CORRECTIONAL CENTRES



    BUDGET VOTE 18 AND THE 2008/9-2012/13 STRATEGIC PLAN OF THE

                   DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES



         ANNUAL REPORT OF JUDICIAL INSPECTORATE OF PRISONS



 UNANNOUNCED VISIT TO FOLLOW-UP ON CONDITIONS AT POLLSMOOR HOSPITAL

                                 SECTIONS

  (Consideration of Reports of Portfolio Committee on Correctional

                                Services)
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Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order, we didn’t

seem to have Ministerial responses to the statements today. Was

there a reason for that?



The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, we are now dealing with the second

to the sixth orders. You had an opportunity earlier to raise that

point.



Mr M J ELLIS: I don’t think there is anything in the rules that says

I can’t stand up later on and take a point of order on the same

issue. But this must be the first time ever that we have gone

through a process without one Ministerial response, and there must

be a reason for it.



The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, on that matter that has been raised

by hon Ellis, I have been advised that there is no Minister that is

at this point ready to respond to the statements. I would like,

then, to proceed with the Order of the Day.



Mr D V BLOEM: Madam Deputy Speaker, allow me to say good afternoon

to everybody present. Thank you very much for this opportunity to

present these five committee reports on behalf of the portfolio

committee to this House. The five reports are the visits to the New

Generation Prison being built in Kimberley, and so on. I think that

they have read these reports to the House.
29 JANUARY 2009                                            PAGE: 28 of 64




The reports are there for all of us to read. I’m not going to deal

with the reports in detail. We made recommendations on all of them.

[Interjections.] Can you please give me a chance?



However, I decided to deal with maybe one or two issues in these

reports.    And   the   first    one     will   be   our    visit   to   Grootvlei   and

Brandfort Prisons. One of the things that concerned the portfolio

committee very much was the awaiting-trial children and juveniles.



The committee raised the issue with the social workers and with the

staff present there. Why do we have so many children in this prison?

And this is what the social workers and correctional officers were

saying: that in most of the cases when these children appear in

court, when it is a black child, this child will be sent to prison.

When it is a white child, the courts are doing everything in their

power to see to it that this child must be diverted to community

things. This is one issue that really concerned the committee very

much.



On the unannounced visit to Pollsmoor, I’m going to deal with that

report. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa guarantees

every    sentenced      prisoner    the    provision,       at   state    expense,    of

adequate medical treatment.

Health     professionals    in     the    department,       as   well,    are   equally

expected by the relevant legislation, rules, regulations and their
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 29 of 64


councils at all times to practise their professions within the legal

frameworks.



In May 2007, the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services paid

an unannounced visit to Pollsmoor Correctional Centre. The purpose

for the visit was to assess the state and quality of health care

service at Medium A and the admission centre. The need for such a

visit was necessitated by a number of complaints the committee had

received from both the inmates and the medical staff. On that visit

the committee found the following: That the centre was crippled by

the chronic and severe shortage of health professionals; extremely

unprofessional and unethical conduct and practice by health

professionals was uncovered by the committee; poor supply and no

control of medications, including schedule six and seven drugs, were

easily identified; basic principles of medicine storage and handling

of expired medicines were not observed by the staff; basic

principles of record keeping were also not observed by the staff;

basic management principles of a ward or a unit were not

implemented; emergency equipment was incomplete and not in good

working order and not checked; this means that dealing with any

life-threatening emergency would have been very difficult for the

staff; wards and units were not providing a therapeutic or a healing

environment and patients’ files were incomplete.



Whilst appreciating and acknowledging the severe shortage of health

professionals, the committee was distressed by the high level of
29 JANUARY 2009                                             PAGE: 30 of 64


unprofessional, unethical conduct and the complete neglect of basic

health care principles by the health professionals in these centres.

The committee expressed its findings to the management and

recommends that the management should attend to those gross

shortcomings at least within a period of three months.



As such, on 27 November 2007, the committee undertook yet another

unannounced visit to the same centre with the intention of following

up on the recommendations made in May. During the November visit the

committee was pleased by a number of dramatic improvements that had

happened   within     a   space     of     five   months.    Drugs    storage        had    been

corrected.     The    hospital       had     a    fully    equipped        and    functioning

emergency trolley. Wards had been renovated. Twenty-four nurses had

been recruited through headhunting and advertising of posts.



The   committee      is   of   the       strong    view     that     the    department       of

correctional services should conduct inspections of all its health

facilities     in    order     to     assess      and     evaluate    the        standard    of

professional    practice,       the      quality    of     health    care        services   and

adherence to policies, amongst others.



It can’t be correct that things will be corrected only after the

portfolio committee’s visits. I am saying this because Modder B and

Barberton Prisons might be facing the same, if not worse, challenges

as Pollsmoor did in May.
29 JANUARY 2009                              PAGE: 31 of 64


However, as a committee, we want to thank the Pollsmoor management

for their swift and positive response to our recommendations. We

hope that they will continue with their good work. We will continue

to make unannounced follow-up visits. I want to thank everyone in

the committee for their hard work and I wish them well. Thank you

very much. [Applause.]



The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker I move:



 That the Reports be adopted.



Motion agreed to.



Reports accordingly adopted.



DEBATE ON WORKING TOWARDS A PEACEFUL ELECTION BY PROMOTING POLITICAL

    TOLERANCE AND ENSURING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FREEDOM OF

                               ASSOCIATION



Mr N SINGH: Thank you, Madam Speaker and colleagues; as political

parties, we are about to fight an all-important election, one that

will determine the future character of this country, either as a

vibrant multiparty democracy or a stagnant one-party state. Our

debate today, therefore, is one of critical importance as it goes to

the heart of the environment that will prevail in the next election

and whether our election will indeed be free and fair.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 32 of 64




A recurring theme among political parties and the media in recent

months has been the critical issue of avoiding pre-election violence

and acts of intimidation. Most parties have paid lip service to a

commitment to nonviolence, but it is clear that not all parties have

done enough to ensure that supporters at the grassroots level adhere

to this commitment. It is clear that there has been a disjuncture

between word and deed.



The IFP and other parties have already asked what specific measures

the Independent Electoral Commission will take to monitor and

prevent political intimidation and violence in the run-up to the

2009 election. Our concerns have not yet been fully allayed.



We believe that the media also plays a very critical role in working

towards ensuring peaceful elections. Earlier this week the IFP had

to defend itself against two false claims relating to political

intolerance which were broadcast on TV and published in various

newspapers. My colleague, hon S C Vos, will later expand on the

issue of advocacy journalism.



It was also suggested that the murder of a traditional leader,

Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi of KwaZulu-Natal, had to do with him parting

ways with the IFP to join the ANC. But in fact, the truth is that

Inkosi Zondi had no links with either the ANC or the IFP. So the
29 JANUARY 2009                              PAGE: 33 of 64


false claims, based on unjustified information, only served one

purpose, and that is to fuel political intolerance.



Furthermore, it had been claimed that the IFP attempted to disrupt

preparations of other political party events and that, as a party,

we have never had to endure disruption by ANC supporters in our

electioneering campaigns. These claims, too, were false. The truth

is that the IFP’s public meetings in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere are

routinely disrupted by rowdy ANC supporters.



In fact, many of our pre-election events in KwaZulu-Natal are never

complete without disturbances and intimidation by local ANC

supporters. Billboards have been set on fire and posters have also

been defaced. Today, I must therefore say that we must guard against

half truths and irresponsible political rhetoric because it can only

work against our shared common vision of a free and common election.



In his newsletter last month, our President, Prince Mangosuthu

Buthelezi, referred to hostilities surrounding the launch of COPE,

which, in our view, demonstrated that we still have far to go in

order to place nonracialism and a genuine respect of diversity,

including political choice, at the heart of our public disclosure.



Also, a few weeks ago, one of our IFP youth brigade leaders, Mr

Bonginkosi Dube, was murdered. A member of the ANC has confessed

that the murder was politically motivated.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 34 of 64




We can never let the dark days of politically motivated killings

return ever again. As political parties we have to ensure that we

act against rogue elements within our membership. Let us work

together and affirm today that as a country, we are committed to

political tolerance and freedom of expression which must be the core

principle of our democracy.



Lastly, I believe as political leaders of various political parties,

we must send out a clear message today to those who do not adhere to

the basic principles of democracy, free assembly and free speech

that they will be strictly disciplined and they will face the full

brunt of the law.



Furthermore, the IFP appeals to the hon Minister of Safety and

Security, provincial MECs and other stakeholders to ensure the

impartiality of our security forces in the run-up to the 2009

elections. This will also be a very critical element that will

determine whether or not we are able to deliver a free and fair

election, in which all members of the electorate have the ability to

make informed choices and exercise their right to vote for their

chosen parties without fear of intimidation. Prevention is always

better than cure. [Time expired.]

Ms M M SOTYU: Chairperson, believe me, I won’t address you as Madam

Deputy Speaker. When we went to the polls on 27 April 1994, we did

so as a nation in awe of our first taste of democracy. Against all
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 35 of 64


odds and despite all prophecies of doom, our first democratic

elections were conducted in an exemplary manner, as an example to

the world. Since then, we have continued the tradition of tolerance,

pride and dignity with each election that we have had.



Who of us here can forget the image of a person being brought to the

polling station, old and weak, pushed in a wheelbarrow by a family

member, in order to be able to exercise his democratic right for the

first time in his life? How can we forget the image of an old grey-

haired man on crutches supported by a youth, exercising his right

for which so many have laid down their lives.



We remember the long queues up and down the perimeters of the

polling stations, multitudes waiting patiently, and sometimes in

silence, for their turn to cast their votes for the first time,

without any fear. This year will be no different from those times.



It would be wrong of us not to acknowledge the role of the

Independent Electoral Commission in all our elections, and what a

success story they have been and still are today. None of our

democratic victories would have been possible without the

commitment, professionalism and dedication of the group of women and

men who, behind the scenes, put together what we sometimes take for

granted.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 36 of 64


They have not only been responsible for every election since 1994,

but have also displayed the true spirit of ubuntu. They have become

a beacon of hope for many people on our continent by assisting and

ensuring free, fair and democratic elections. This year will be no

different from those times.



It would be disingenuous of any of us to stand on this podium and

not acknowledge the role of our security forces, and more

specifically members of the SA Police Service, in ensuring that each

one of us, no matter what political party one belongs to or

supports, can exercise his or her democratic right in a free, safe

and secure environment.



Our men and women in blue overcame all the challenges and threats

that were there prior to and during the 1994 elections with dignity

and pride. Our police have demonstrated and assured us that

political parties are free to communicate their messages in the most

remote areas. Most political parties have had their peaceful rallies

in most provinces with overwhelming attendance and with no violence

reported, in preparation for the upcoming 2009 elections.



The ANC-led government, as in the past, will again support and

ensure full mobilisation of security forces and the SA Police

Service in this election to ensure that they act speedily and

effectively against anybody who tries to compromise the final

results of these elections.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 37 of 64




Fifteen years later, our debates have become more vigorous, our

resolve more intense and our democracy more mature. During these 15

years many things have happened; new players have joined the field

with their own hopes and aspirations. Every party must be allowed to

convey its messages in every corner of our country with no fear or

intimidation.



Sinoxanduva siyi-ANC, ngakumbi singabemi boMzantsi Afrika. Amehlo

elizwe lonke ajolise kuthi. Indlela esiza kuluphatha ngayo olu nyulo

yiyo eza kusetyenziswa ukukhangela ukuba uluntu luza kube

lukhuselekile na xa siza kube siququzelela umdlalo weHlabathi

weBhola eKhatywayo wama-2010. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph

follows.)



[We have a responsibility as the ANC, especially since we are the

citizens of South Africa. The whole country is looking upon us. The

way we are going to conduct these elections will be used to

determine the safety of the people when we will be hosting the 2010

Soccer World Cup.]



Let each political party inside and outside Parliament play its role

in ensuring that we have peaceful elections. We owe it to our

forebears and to our heroes. We owe it to the images and memories of

the 1994 elections and the future of our country and nation.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 38 of 64


The local government by-elections held today or yesterday are a

testimony to the fact that the ANC is the future of this country.

The people of this country have spoken and they will speak again in

April 2009. The people of this country will always support the ANC.

I thank you.



Mr J SELFE: Chairperson, as all of us in this House know, we are

approaching an election later this year - one which will probably be

one of the most significant since 1994. Considering our nation’s

history of conflict and injustice, it is remarkable that we have

managed to hold elections that are more or less peaceful, that are

characterised by greater or lesser degrees of tolerance and that

are, by and large, efficiently administered and widely regarded as

legitimate.



This is something we should, however, never take for granted. The

manner in which we conduct our elections in South Africa stands in

stark contrast to many other countries. Since 2000 there have been

disputed elections in Cambodia, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Peru,

Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Kenya. Disputed

elections are not the preserve of developing or newly democratised

countries. The accounts of electoral fraud over many years and at

all levels of government in the United States would make any decent

election observer’s hair stand on end. Election disputes in these

countries have ranged from electoral fraud - that is ballot

stuffing, inaccurate voters’ rolls, repeat voting and discrepancies
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 39 of 64


in results - through to claims of inequitable access to the media,

to campaign finance and to the voter registration process.



The most serious election disputes arise when the climate in which

the election takes place is characterised by violence, intimidation

and abduction. Some incidences of this sort of violence and

intimidation have occurred in South Africa in our past and we pray

that they do not continue in our future. Some of the worst examples

of these have occurred and continue to occur right on our doorstep

in Zimbabwe, where the elections of 2000, 2005 and 2008 were widely

condemned as rigged. Thousands of Zimbabwean people have been

abducted, tortured, humiliated, intimidated and in some cases

murdered, in an effort to prop up the corrupt and violent regime of

Robert Mugabe. The silence and inaction of the government of South

Africa while all this was happening has damaged our reputation as a

country that promotes freedom and democracy. We must never go down

that road in South Africa! Democracy is a fragile plant; it must be

nurtured and protected. It is very easily destroyed. The first test

of any democracy is the ability to hold successful elections.



Successful elections are characterised by a number of features:

Firstly, there needs to be a wide acceptance of what is known as the

rules of the game. This includes permissible and prohibited conduct

as well as a mechanism for policing and enforcing the rules in an

even-handed and transparent manner by the IEC and by the security

forces.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 40 of 64




Secondly, one requires an informed and involved public. This means

that there must be programmes of voter education. It means that the

media in general, and the public broadcaster in particular, must

present the public with the issues and the options in a way that

enables voters to be able to make informed choices. In this respect,

the SABC needs to be commended on the actions that they have

recently taken. We are already enjoying, and will continue to enjoy,

more debates between political parties and we will be having

televised town hall meetings. New mechanisms have been put in place

and an independent media monitoring body will measure election

coverage for fairness. The DA has encouraged the SABC to build

periodic, at least monthly, reports into the tender so that these

can be conveyed to the public. A complaints officer has been

appointed specifically for political parties with a 72-hour

turnaround target in dealing with complaints.



Thirdly, one needs an election infrastructure that delivers ballots

to stations, that ensures that the stations open and close on time,

that are protected so that voters feel safe and believe that their

votes will be secret and that deliver a result that is credible and

legitimate.



Fourthly, we have to have a voters’ roll that reflects accurately

the population who are eligible to vote and which makes it

impossible for people who are not on the roll to vote.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 41 of 64




Lastly, we require scrutiny of the registration and voting processes

by agents of the parties and NGOs that ensure that vote rigging and

manipulation of the processes are identified and can be interdicted

at the level of the voting station. This scrutiny must be supported

by access to party liaison mechanisms and, where these are

insufficient, to the electoral court.



All these are mechanistic devices. The IEC and the Electoral Act do,

for the most part, deliver these outcomes, but these measures alone

will be insufficient to deliver a successful election, unless they

are accompanied by tolerance of opposing points of view and

differing ideas. In the open opportunity society we stand for,

debate and divergence produce better solutions to the challenges

that face us. Unfortunately, however, there is an intolerance of

debate and disagreement in many parts of our country and frequently

intolerance of different ideas is accompanied by a rhetoric that can

only serve to inflame emotions and provoke dissension.



When Mr Gwede Mantashe describes the DA as a party of “recycled

National Party members” and when the ANC Youth League Gauteng

leader, Jacob Kawe describes opposition parties as “cockroaches who

should be destroyed”, as he did at a Swapo rally last year, they

undermine the tolerance required for a successful democracy. When

Angie Motshega calls the leaders of Cope “dogs” and Buti Manamela

calls them “baboons”, they undermine the tolerance required to
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 42 of 64


sustain a successful democracy. When Julius Malema, the ANCYL

President, tells his organisation that “we are ready to take up arms

and kill for Jacob Zuma”, he is undermining the tolerance required

to sustain a successful democracy. When the Deputy Minister of

Foreign Affairs makes the comment she allegedly did, about Jewish

money controlling America and other Western countries, she fatally

undermines that tolerance.



The campaign which will culminate in the election later this year

has scarcely started, but the inflammatory rhetoric is in full

flood. We should be proud of the fact that in 1994, 1995, 1999,

2000, 2004 and 2006 we were able to hold relatively peaceful and

legitimate elections in South Africa. Each time we do so, the IEC

and the public broadcaster and the security forces get better at

their jobs. What will undermine a peaceful and legitimate election

are those in any party who inflame their followers and who think

that they have a monopoly on political virtue. Political leaders in

all parties have a duty to ensure that those who make such

statements are repudiated and disciplined and those who do not do so

will face electoral censure and the judgement of history. Thank you.

[Applause.]



Mr M H HOOSEN: Chairperson, as part of the leadership of the ID, I

would like to express our party’s full commitment to creating and

nurturing an environment which is conducive to holding free and fair

elections this year.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 43 of 64




The ID would like to call on all political parties and indeed the

South African public as a whole, to be tolerant towards those who,

by expressing different political beliefs from our own, are

practising their constitutional right to freedom of political

association.



We would like to call on all leaders of all parties to teach and

preach political tolerance so that we can avoid any disruption of

our democratic process. It is up to our leaders to lead by example

and to refrain from war talk and other acts of disruption that

prevent ordinary South Africans from holding or attending political

meetings and political conferences and ultimately from voting for

the party of their choice.



Political parties have the right to campaign in any community in the

country and we need a commitment from all parties and their leaders

that they will work hard to ensure that there are no no-go areas in

the run-up to the national elections.



The ID has repeatedly warned against any intimidation on political

grounds and we would like to reiterate that warning here again

today. It is our sincere hope that the 2009 elections will be an

opportunity for a mature exchange of ideas, where we will focus on

the different policy options open to our people, rather than on mud-

slinging and sensationalism.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 44 of 64




I would like to remind political parties and their leaders that we

are all, firstly, citizens of South Africa and thereafter members of

our political parties. The ID is a signatory to the Constitution and

we therefore take our mandate to contribute towards free and fair

elections very seriously.



Debate will become heated but, as leaders, we need to take control,

calm things down and restore order and normalcy in such situations.

I thank you.



Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, South Africans appear to have a new-found

enthusiasm for politics and, with elections around the corner, they

are debating issues and preferences passionately.



However, failure to practise political tolerance and failure to

respect freedom of association remain obstacles that erode any

democratic euphoria which may exist. Being able to accept that

people are entitled to their opinions, ideas, customs, practices and

religion, while maintaining the right to respectfully disagree,

seems to present a greater challenge to some than would be expected.



Tolerance or respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich

diversity of our country, must be promoted, defended and maintained

if we are to have a peaceful election. Political parties across the

board should be expected to respect the views of other parties and
29 JANUARY 2009                             PAGE: 45 of 64


to refrain from provoking individuals or groups intentionally.

Without safeguards for the free expression of divergent opinions, we

risk a tyranny of the majority or even, as we have seen in Zimbabwe,

a minority, if they refuse to relinquish power.



Freedom of association, which includes the right to voluntarily

form, join and participate in any association or to disassociate,

must also be protected and political parties have a responsibility

to liberate their members in this regard.



We can achieve a peaceful election, and choosing to value the

concepts of political tolerance and freedom of association is a key

element of that success. Thank you.



Mr I S MFUNDISI: Chairperson and hon members, the atmosphere is

thick and tense in South Africa as political parties gear themselves

up for the national and provincial elections.



We, in the UCDP, pray much for all involved to have the strength to

heed the words of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana,

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, when he said, “peaceful elections are the

responsibility of all.” It is not surprising that Ghana produced a

tight, tense, yet flawless election.



We maintain that, with the 1 700 voting stations set for the

forthcoming elections, there is no need to bus voters to the voting
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 46 of 64


stations. Those who want to vote should be able to do so freely and

should not be coerced into showing appreciation by voting for the

provider of the transport.



We may have differences of opinion on Zimbabwe but, in Zimbabwe,

people go to the election stations on foot; they are never bussed

in. Therefore, on election day, their results are trustworthy.



The media should also play a responsible role in the elections –

right from the run-up – by giving credible access to all political

parties. They should also report activities responsibly and

accurately so as to enable the electorate to make intelligent

choices.



Security agencies should create general peace by ensuring crowd

safety at all rallies and by exhibiting zero tolerance of all

inappropriate behaviour. It is unfortunate that, in some cases,

politicians themselves are our worst enemies because of the

irresponsible and reckless statements they make that fan the flames

of intolerance. They tend to disregard the golden rule that says,

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There is nothing wrong in people dissociating themselves from one

party in order to associate with another. Calling such individuals

dogs, baboons, witches or stooges polarises relations among the

electorate while it debases those who say those things.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 47 of 64


I have always wondered how people can disregard their own

legislation. The regulations, especially the code of conduct

contained in our Electoral Act, No 73 of 1998, as amended, spell out

clearly what has to be done in order to have a peaceful election.



If all parties can follow the letter and the spirit of the Act,

South Africa will enjoy going to the polls. If we take this

legislation and Dr Afari-Gyan’s words of wisdom to heart, there is

no reason why we should not have a peaceful and credible election. I

thank you.



Mrs M M MAUNYE: Chairperson, comrades, hon members, as we approach

this year’s general elections, I want to thank the ANC-led

government for the history of violence-free, fair and thriving

elections that we have had since 1994.



The promotion of political tolerance, freedom of expression and

respect among political parties is an important means of

establishing a culture conducive to acceptance of one’s freedom of

association.



Instead of allowing diversity of race and culture to become a

limiting factor in human exchange and development, we must refocus

our understanding, discern in such diversity the potential of mutual

enrichment, and realise that it is the interchange between great
29 JANUARY 2009                               PAGE: 48 of 64


traditions of human spirituality that offers the best prospect for

the persistence of the human spirit itself.



The ANC’s first elective conference in 1991 committed itself to

political tolerance and further defined it as follows:



 Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich

 diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways

 of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness,

 communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief.

 Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty; it

 is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance, the virtue

 that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the

 culture of war by a culture of peace.



Since its foundation, the ANC has fought for and upheld the right of

South Africans to vote, and be voted into positions of authority.

This found expression in the famous statement of the Freedom

Charter, that “the people shall govern”.



In the years before and after the 1994 elections, many of our people

died tragically as a result of political violence, and since 1993

the ANC has done everything to ensure that we have free and fair

elections.
29 JANUARY 2009                               PAGE: 49 of 64


The question we should repeatedly be asking ourselves as our

democracy matures is, how can intolerance be countered? And, based

on this, I will focus on these four points:



The first point is that fighting intolerance requires law. The ANC-

led government is responsible for enforcing human rights laws, for

banning and punishing hate crimes and discrimination against

minorities, whether these are committed by political parties,

individuals, NGOs or private organisations. The ANC-led government

has always ensured equal access to courts, human rights

commissioners or ombudsmen, so that people do not take justice into

their own hands and resort to violence to settle their disputes.



The second point is that laws are necessary but not sufficient for

countering political intolerance in individuals and organisational

attitudes. Intolerance is very often rooted in ignorance and fear –

fear of the unknown, of the other - other cultures, nations,

religions - and political rivalry.



Intolerance is also closely linked to an exaggerated sense of self-

worth and pride, whether personal, national or religious. These

notions are taught and learned at an early age. Therefore, greater

emphasis needs to be placed on educating more and better. Greater

efforts need to be made to teach our children about tolerance and

human rights, and about other ways of life. Children should be

encouraged at home and in school to be open-minded and curious.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 50 of 64




Education is a life-long experience and does not begin or end in

schools. Endeavours to build tolerance through education will not

succeed unless they reach all age groups, and take place everywhere:

at home, in schools, in the workplace, in law enforcement,

multipurpose centres and legal training.



Intolerance is most dangerous when it is exploited to fulfil the

political and territorial ambitions of an individual or groups of

individuals. Hatemongers often begin by identifying the public’s

tolerance threshold. They then develop fallacious arguments, lie

with statistics and manipulate public opinion with misinformation

and prejudice. The most efficient way that the ANC-led government

has dealt with the matter was to limit the influence of hatemongers

by developing policies that generate and promote press freedom and

press pluralism, in order to allow the public to differentiate

between facts and opinions.



The last point is that intolerance in a society is the sum total of

the intolerance of its individual members. Prejudice, stereotyping,

stigmatising, insults and racial jokes are examples of individual

expressions of intolerance to which some people are subjected daily.

Intolerance breeds intolerance. It leaves its victims in pursuit of

revenge. In order to fight intolerance, individuals should become

aware of the link between their behaviour and the vicious cycle of

mistrust and violence in society. Each one of us should begin by
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 51 of 64


asking: Am I a tolerant person? Am I a stereotypical person? Do I

reject those who are different from me? Do I blame my problems on

them?



An ANC-led government has passed the necessary legislation and

subsequent amended legislation to make it illegal for anybody to

unlawfully take away or diminish the very rights that are inherent

in the practice of democracy.



The guarantees of these rights are anchored in the provisions of the

Electoral Act and the Electoral Code of Conduct, which promote

conditions conducive to free and fair elections, including tolerance

of democratic political activity, free political campaigning and

open public debate.



The ANC, therefore, requests all political parties to honour their

pledge, made in Durban in November 2008 at the IEC pre-election

conference, to respect political differences and desist from using

violent tactics in the run-up to the 2009 general elections.



At that occasion, the ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairperson,

Comrade Zweli Mkhize, reaffirmed the ANC’s belief in freedom of

choice and freedom of association and recommitted his party to a

nonviolent and peaceful campaign by stating that for a democracy to

prosper, we need an unhindered reflection of the people's will at

the voting booth. We in the ANC will take firm action against any of
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 52 of 64


our members who do anything that undermines the attainment of a

truly free, fair and peaceful election.



The ANC-led government has also, in the past, and will now, in this

important general election which takes place soon, ensure the full

mobilisation of the security forces and the South African Police

Service to ensure that they are able to speedily and effectively act

against anybody who tries to compromise the final outcome of

results. Thank you.



Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, I am so pleased that this topic has been

raised, especially when in the past political relations have been

anything but what the topic suggests.



The pulling off of posters and the blasphemous ill-truths that rally

political parties to be at each other’s throats are what I refer to.

It is obviously expected in a diverse society such as ours that

there will be great diversity in political views, values and plans

to address sustainable delivery. However, we have learned to respect

our citizenry’s freedom of choice without the ill-fated temptation

to ridicule other parties so as to attract people into yours.



In this same diverse society we respect that citizens have different

needs and, similarly, we as political parties have our strengths and

weaknesses in this regard. However, I invite all to embrace this

election with dignity and respect; dignity and respect for our
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 53 of 64


citizens, ourselves and each other. The wheels of success cannot do

without any of us, and the wheels of success will only turn when we

all rest our hands on them.



Let’s do away with the opportunistic bullies who find no dishonour

in defaming and degrading those of us who work feverishly at

delivering to our people, and while we remain focused on our

commitments to the people, they remain driven to dominate power and

get rid of anyone in the way of doing so. It is crucial that we

instil in our people a similar tolerance and encourage a dignified

and respectable election climate by exhibiting such tolerance here

on this podium first.



While the Minority Front certainly enjoys freedom of speech, we do

not encourage this as a right to impose on anyone’s dignity and

self-respect. We certainly hope that all parties shall join together

in committing to this tolerance and paving the way to a free, fair,

peaceful and democratic election for 2009. Chairperson, yes,

together we can. I thank you.



Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, to ensure a peaceful and politically

tolerant election, we need to operate in a culture of freedom. The

Federation of Democrats, a member of the Christian Democratic

Alliance, further believes that the Independent Electoral Commission

conducts its business as independently as possible to ensure a free

and fair election.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 54 of 64




However, when it comes to the SABC, the struggle for free and fair

political coverage still continues. The SABC is not a neutral

information service, but a broadcaster too politically embedded to

appreciate freedom of ideas and association. Recently I voted

against the amendment to the Telecommunications Act to defend the

independence of the SABC board.



A case in point that I would like to mention here is the kind of

coverage we receive, or more correctly the absence thereof, in

respect of broadcasting political party footage on the SABC’s debate

on election issues. I wish to bring to the attention of this House

that the footage that was taken of our input on the debate on

education on Sunday, 25 January 2009, was not broadcast.



Why should the SABC go through all the pretentious effort to

interview me in my parliamentary office and not broadcast the

interview? Is it because I took an opposing view to the education

system? The SABC’s excuse is that the selection of parties to take

part in the elections debate is an editorial one. That sounds more

like political censorship.



The SABC can give editorial leeway to the Congress of the People,

Cope, whilst the Christian Democratic Alliance, CDA, of which the

Federal Democrats is a member, is overlooked by the SABC; given the

fact that Cope, like the CDA, must still contest the elections to
29 JANUARY 2009                                 PAGE: 55 of 64


gain representation in Parliament. So, on what basis did the SABC

make the editorial decision, one might ask?



A free and tolerant society that respects the political views of

others is not only a requirement; it must also be ingrained in the

business ethics of state institutions and other public corporations.

Thank you.




Nmz J B SIBANYONI: Ngilothjisa uSihlalo namalunga woke wePalamende.

Isihloko esikhuluma ngaso namhlanjesi siqakatheke khulu kwamabala;

sithi:



   Ukusebenzela amakhetho anokuthula ngokukhuthaza ukuzwana

   kezepolotiki ngokuqinisekisa ilungelo lokukhuluma

   ngokutjhaphuluka nokuzibandakanya.




Inarha yeSewula Afrika iyinarha ehle nekarisako. Yinarha esibonelo

eenarheni ezinye ze-Afrika nangaphetjheya. Isikhathi esigadungileko

phambi   kwamakhetho   wango-1994,   khabe   kusikhathi   esibudisi   khulu.

Soke siyakwazi okwakhulunywa ngaphambi kwe-Truth and Reconciliation

Commission, i-TRC. Sithi into efana naleyo ingabe isenzeka godu.

(Translation of isiNdebele paragraphs follows.)



[Mr J B SIBANYONI: I greet the Chairperson and all Members of

Parliament. Today’s topic is of paramount importance, as it says:
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 56 of 64




   Working towards peaceful elections in encouraging political

   tolerance by ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of

   association.



South Africa is a beautiful and interesting country. It is an

example to other African countries and abroad. The period before the

1994 elections was a very difficult time. We all know what was said

before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the TRC. We say such

situations should never prevail again.]



The ANC-led government has passed the necessary legislation and

subsequent amended legislation to make it illegal for anybody to

unlawfully take away or diminish the very rights that are inherent

to the practice of democracy.



The guarantees of these rights are anchored in the provisions of the

Electoral Act and the Electoral Code of Conduct, which promote

conditions conducive to free and fair elections, including tolerance

of democratic political activity, free political campaigning and

open public debate.



Amongst other issues, the Code calls on everyone - every registered

political party and its candidates - to publicly state that everyone

has the full right to freely express their political beliefs and
29 JANUARY 2009                               PAGE: 57 of 64


opinions; to challenge and debate the political beliefs and opinions

of others; to publish and distribute election and campaign material,

including notices and advertisements; to lawfully erect banners,

billboards, placards and posters; to canvas support and recruit

members for a party and hold public meetings; to travel to and

attend public meetings.



In the context of peaceful, free and fair elections, freedom of

association would mean the freedom of an individual to support a

political party of his or her own choice. This freedom also finds

expression in the Electoral Code of Conduct, which, amongst others,

makes it illegal for anybody to compel or unlawfully persuade any

person to attend and participate in or not to attend and participate

in a political meeting, march, demonstration or any other political

event, by specifically prohibiting anyone from resorting to violence

and intimidation to influence the outcome of the elections; to deny

representatives or candidates of registered political parties

reasonable access to voters in public and in private places and to

unlawfully prevent the holding of a political meeting, match or

demonstration or any other political event.

The Electoral Act is very clear and specific about these matters. It

makes it a criminal offence to resort to such means and methods to

influence the outcome of elections. The law provides for the

punishment of anyone found guilty of violating any of these

provisions. The punishment of offenders derives from the central
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 58 of 64


importance of the electoral process to the success of our democratic

system.



We would never be able to say that we have a true democracy if our

people do not have the possibility to freely choose people who

represent them in our national, provincial and local legislatures.



The ANC is the party that gave birth to other parties since many

years ago. Such parties do not have any impact whatsoever on the ANC

in contesting elections. In three years’ time, the ANC will be 100

years old. It will be celebrating a centenary. One really cannot

compare a 10-day-old party with a 100-year-old party. Soon and very

soon, the ANC will prove this to all and sundry.



There is a freedom song that was sung in exile and inside South

Africa. It says words to this effect ...




  E-South Africa safa yinzondo.

  Amaphoyis’ azonda thina,

  I-CCB izonda thina,

  Nale-SADF izonda thina.



That was the situation in the past.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 59 of 64


Today, we are in a situation where we have a hostile media that

profiles and gives a lot of coverage to some parties that the media

wishes should win the elections.



We have a judiciary that always complains that the ANC is attacking

it and that that amounts to a threat towards the independence of the

judiciary. But luckily, we have the multitudes; we have the masses

that are with us as the ANC. East London is a living example. One

may ask, when the masses are behind us, who can stand against us?



In conclusion, I would like to point out that the ANC remains firmly

committed to a free and fair election campaign where all parties

will have access to voters. Our opponents can rest assured that we

will do everything in our power to protect their rights to campaign.

We have fought long and hard for the right to vote and all of us who

are serious about democracy must protect each other’s rights in the

electoral process.



However, during the last few weeks, the ANC has been criticised for

the actions of people who claim ANC membership. Our message to our

members is simple, namely that we would not tolerate any

intimidation, threat or violence against our opponents. ANC members

who break the provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct will be

disciplined by our structures as well as face prosecution for crimes

under the Electoral Act. We have nothing to gain from violence and

intimidation.
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 60 of 64




I think all of us, including those here in Parliament, should use

the word ``contest’’ the elections, and not ``fight’’ the elections.

We should not be saying we are going to a battle out there or going

to battle it out. No, no! That sends a wrong message to the people

on the ground who interpret it to mean real fighting - hence the

incidences before 1994; and hence what we had during the Truth and

Reconciliation Commission, TRC, process and what we had with my

colleague, hon Van der Merwe, during the applications for political

pardons. I will not disclose this but it is one and the same as what

was said in the TRC.



As the ANC, we know that “free, fair and peaceful” are the crucial

words for assessing the quality of elections. They denote the

international standards for measuring credibility at the ballot box.



Finally, I am glad to see that my former chairperson of the then

Pretoria subregion of the ANC, Comrade Paul Zondo, is back in

Parliament. We have been deployed with him to bring peace and

political tolerance during the days of the former Intando ye Sizwe

Party, IYP, together with the ANC and the alliance structures. I am

happy that there is a lot that we are going to do together here in

Parliament. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]



Ms S C VOS: Chairperson, the Inkatha Freedom Party thanks all who

have so positively participated in this debate. Many of us in this
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 61 of 64


honourable House – though so few at the moment – experienced the

horror, firsthand, of political intolerance and political violence

throughout our land, prior to our first post-apartheid elections in

1994.



We witnessed death and destruction and human suffering which

individuals, families and communities, to this day, remember as if

it were yesterday. Many continue to be the victims of this trauma

which affected many millions of lives.



Surely, what we are saying today is that this must never, ever,

happen again in our country, and it is up to us to ensure that it

never does. This is the commitment we must all make today. There are

others outside this honourable House who must also do so.



Let me put a human face on the reality of political intolerance. I

remember Dudu Dhlamini, a four-year-old girl, who was badly burned,

when the home in which she lived with her mother, was fire-bombed in

the early 1990s.



She was carried screaming into the nearby Kwesini hostel in the then

East Rand. There I found her lying on a concrete floor, her eyelids

melted beyond repair, the skin on her face suppurating and raw, her

tiny hands so burned that they had contracted into misshapen stumps.

I remember so vividly that there was a peach tree in flower outside

the hostel, and, as we bundled her into my car, my thoughts
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 62 of 64


fleetingly went to the flowers Dudu would never see. Today Dudu is

in a home for the blind. Her mother died a few years ago of

HIV/Aids.



To this day, I work as a trustee of the National Peace Accord Trust,

attempting to assist ex-combatants – ANC, Inkatha, PAC, Azapo, Black

Consciousness – whoever needs to receive the psychosocial help so

many desperately still require 15 years since our liberation. Our

work is far from over.



This human tragedy had its multifaceted causes and effects, but at

its root was one word: Politics. There were many actors in this blot

on our nation’s history and many wore various guises. While

politicians must shoulder much of the blame, there were others who

fanned the flames which condemned Dudu to a life of darkness and

pain.



The media took sides. Advocacy journalists took sides. They too

became political actors. Blatant lies became truths in which enemies

were somehow made to be inhuman, and so then grew the fiction which

became a reality that it was somehow right to kill the enemy.



Personal opinions were paraded as factual news stories which we

still see to this day. Tensions were escalated, which we still see

to this day. In the end, then, everybody had blood on their hands
29 JANUARY 2009                            PAGE: 63 of 64


and the role of the media in this regard has yet to be truthfully

exposed.



As we face what is probably the most important election in our

history since 1994, let us indeed work towards a peaceful election

by promoting political tolerance. We must recognise that, since

1994, there has been continuing, sporadic political violence and

intolerance which must be stopped.



Let us indeed work constructively with all the other actors in this

political drama – especially the media – because we are in a period

of political drama.



Our forthcoming elections do appear to have all the signs of

developing into a very serious political drama for various reasons,

including the fact that both IFP and ANC leaders have been killed

recently, and including the fact that political posters are already

being defaced. People are being called the most dreadful names, as

hon Selfe has just enumerated to us all.



Let us think before we speak and act. Let others, too, think of the

consequences of their own actions when they, too, play their own

roles in what should be an exemplary exercise in transparent

political participatory democracy. Thank you.



Debate concluded.
29 JANUARY 2009                 PAGE: 64 of 64




The House adjourned at 15:44.

								
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