29 JANUARY 2009 PAGE: 1 of 64
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.
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
Would two members please accompany the new members into the Chamber?
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
(3) calls upon the Deputy Minister to withdraw the comments and
apologise to the Jewish community if such remarks were made;
(4) calls upon this House to debate the rising levels of anti-
Semitism both locally and internationally.
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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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
(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
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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
SECOND-HAND GOODS BILL
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
EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR REPORT OF AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE TO
CONSIDER MATTERS IN TERMS OF SECTION 12 OF NATIONAL PROSECUTING
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
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CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF JOINT CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE IN
TERMS OF SECTION 45(1)(C) OF THE CONSTITUTION FOR 2007
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).
ANC VICTORY IN BY-ELECTIONS
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
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
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
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
ECONOMIC STATUS IN SOUTH AFRICA
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
[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
CHALLENGES OF FOOD SECURITY
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
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
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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
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.
INVESTIGATION OF ARMS DEAL
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.]
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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
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
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
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
HEALTH CARE INSURANCE
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
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.
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
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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
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
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
(Consideration of Reports of Portfolio Committee on Correctional
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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
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.
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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
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
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councils at all times to practise their professions within the legal
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
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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.
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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
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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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
[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.
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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
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
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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
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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
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.
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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
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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.
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.
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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
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.
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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
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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
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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
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.
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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
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
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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
Nmz J B SIBANYONI: Ngilothjisa uSihlalo namalunga woke wePalamende.
Isihloko esikhuluma ngaso namhlanjesi siqakatheke khulu kwamabala;
Ukusebenzela amakhetho anokuthula ngokukhuthaza ukuzwana
kezepolotiki ngokuqinisekisa ilungelo lokukhuluma
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:
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Working towards peaceful elections in encouraging political
tolerance by ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of
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
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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
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importance of the electoral process to the success of our democratic
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.
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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
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
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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
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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
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
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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
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
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
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and the role of the media in this regard has yet to be truthfully
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.
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The House adjourned at 15:44.