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Oral Replies by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly

23 August 2017, Parliament, Cape Town

QUESTION

  • 25. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the Deputy President:

Whether he offered the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms B Mbete, his considered views on whether to allow the motion of no confidence in the President of the Republic on 8 August 2017 to be conducted by secret ballot in accordance with his role as Leader of Government Business as required by Rule 129(2) of the National Assembly; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

NO2553E

Honourable Members,

As required by Rule 129(2) of the National Assembly, I was consulted on the scheduling of the motion of no confidence that was debated and voted on in this House on 8 August 2017, prior to the sheduling of the motion.

As the Leader of Government Business, I was not consulted by the Speaker on how the vote should be conducted.

As you are no doubt aware, the Constitutional Court made it clear that the decision on whether or not to conduct the vote on the motion of no confidence by secret or open ballot was the Speaker's to make.

I thank you.

QUESTION

  • 26. Ms P Bhengu-Kombe (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

With reference to his speech at the launch of the National Campaign against Violence towards Women and Children on 30 July 2017 in which he said that to end violence against women and children, patriarchy in all its forms and manifestations need to be confronted,

(a) what are the major manifestations of patriarchy in the South African society that must be confronted and
(b) how is the Government, together with civil society, planning to reverse entrenched patriarchal relations and attitudes in our society focusing on the family unit?

NO2549E

Honourable Members,

Our efforts to build a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society are undermined by the persistence of patriarchal structures and practices.

It is therefore essential that we work to eradicate patriarchy in its many forms.

To a significant extent, patriarchy continues to define relations within the home, where women are often consigned to perform unpaid domestic labour.

This limits their opportunities to find other paid work or to access education opportunities.

The unequal economic relations in the home are extended to the exclusion and segregation of women in the paid labor force.

Women in South Africa continue to face challenges in accessing senior management and decision-making positions.

In many cases, they earn less than men for similar work.

The Report on the Status of Women shows that where women are employed, it is often in precarious and insecure positions.

As a result, women are more likely to live below the poverty line than males, with rural women more vulnerable than their urban counterparts.

Patriarchal relations also affect institutions like the state, where men tend to dominate and where, despite formal equality, there is often a bias against women in the provision of services.

Gender-based violence is one of the most alarming manifestations of patriarchy.

It is exacerbated by institutional norms and social conditioning which pressure men to have political, financial and social dominion over women.

Because the various forms of patriarchy are inter-related, government has been working with civil society to deal with the challenge holistically.

While the family unit is an important starting point, we cannot focus only on the family in attempts to reverse patriarchal attitudes.

The democratic government has promulgated a number of legislative instruments to address the structural manifestations of patriarchy.

Our efforts have included the provision of more affordable and responsive finance, ensuring women are the primary beneficiaries of government's social grants, mobilising women farmers into agricultural cooperatives, and improving access to basic and tertiary education for girls and young women.

In February this year, the Department of Higher Education embarked on its Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Dialogues in institutions of higher learning and TVET campuses to address the challenges faced by students and staff members regarding gender-based violence.

This programme complements the 'She Conquers' campaign launched last year, which aims to empower young women to make decisions that reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection and violence and improve their educational and economic position.

In 2016, government launched a series of national dialogues to look at the root causes of violence and other forms of abuse against women and children.

These dialogues aim to understand the lived experiences of women, children and community members and lessons that can be learnt in addressing them.

Through partnerships with men's organisations, men are challenging themselves and other men on patriarchal attitudes.

The ability of these interventions to efficiently reverse patriarchal relations, however, depends on the collective commitment of our society.

We therefore welcome the fact that Parliament is hosting an International Woman's Conference next week that will reflect on the progress made on the continent in absorbing woman into the economy and in creating gender sensitive working environments.

The struggle against patriarchy is being taken up across society, in public institutions, in the media and in homes.

Working together, as women and men, we will succeed in building a non-sexist society in which all will enjoy equal rights and opportunities.

I thank you.

QUESTION

  • 27. Mr M A Plouamma (Agang SA) to ask the Deputy President:

(a) How long has he known about a certain family's (name furnished) alleged influence at Eskom and
(b) what action has he taken to stop this rot?

NO2552E

Honourable Members,

Any knowledge that I have about the alleged influence of a certain family at Eskom has been obtained from published reports on the matter.

This includes the Public Protector's 'State of Capture' report and several media articles produced by investigative journalists.

As I have said in this House before, it is critical that a judicial commission of inquiry be established as a matter of urgency to probe these and other claims of corporate capture of state institutions.

The law enforcement agencies need to give these allegations their full attention.

Where crimes have been committed, those responsible must be prosecuted.

Parliament should be commended for initiating its own inquiries into some of these matters.

These allegations are so serious and their implications so far-reaching that they need to be thoroughly investigated without fear or favour.

I thank you.

QUESTION

  • 28. Mr N E Gcwabaza (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

With reference to the 14-Point Plan that was developed by the Minister of Finance as part of the economic transformation cluster, which is intended to move our economy out of technical recession and which relates to the recapitalisation of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and government guarantees as well as broader state-owned enterprise reform,

(a) what can be done to ensure investor confidence in the SOEs and
(b) what steps has the Government taken to stabilise SOEs in terms of governance and recapitalisation to advance structural economic transformation and economic growth?

NO2550E

Honourable Members,

One of the measures to improve confidence in state owned enterprises is the ongoing implementation of SOE reform, which, among things, aims to stabilise finances, governance and operations.

As part of the Presidential Review Committee recommendations, the Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Deputy President has developed several measures to advance the reform of SOEs.

In July 2017, the Minister of Finance provided time frames for the implementation of 14 critical measures to rebuild investor confidence, including steps to stabilise and reform SOEs.

As has been reported before, Cabinet has considered guidelines for the remuneration of SOE directors and executives and a guide for the appointment of SOE boards and executive officers.

These are intended to ensure consistency, transparency and probity in all matters relating to appointments and remuneration.

Cabinet also considered a private sector participation framework, which provides guidance on how to involve the private sector in new public infrastructure programmes.

The IMC is also coordinating work on the development of a new shareholder policy for government that will improve coordination, oversight and the effective allocation of resources.

The first phase of the reform is focusing on the major commercial SOEs that are the backbone for our infrastructure development.

The IMC has approved a structure that categorises SOEs into nine sectors to allow for the optimisation of State intervention in each sector.

The prioritised sectors have been identified based on their potential to contirbute to re-industrialisation and create jobs.

The work being done in the short to medium term is consolidation, realignment and merger of certain SOEs concentrating on the airlines, state mining assets and telecommunications.

The development of the optimal structure for SAA, SA Express and Mango has been concluded, and the Ministers of Finance and Public Enterprises will present the proposed recommendations to the IMC and Cabinet soon.

There are also proposals for financial support to some SOEs.

In light of what is envisaged in the draft Shareholder Policy, providing financial support to SOEs must be matched against the entity's potential to remain sustainable and wean itself off government support.

The IMC is considering various alternative and innovative instruments to fund SOEs, including leveraging on the private sector participation framework on which National Treasury is engaging with various departments and state owned enterprises.

The criteria for support is currently being developed and, once finalised, will be taken through the necessary approval processes and presented to Cabinet.

State owned enterprises have significant potential to drive higher levels of economic growth, job creation and development.

Through the work being done by the IMC on SOE reform, we are confident that we will soon be able to more effectively realise that potential.

I thank you.

QUESTION

  • 29. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the Deputy President:

With reference to South Africa's ever-growing unemployment rate, which is currently at a 14-year high of 27,7%, what steps has Government taken since 1 January 2017 to properly address this crisis?

NO2554E

Honourable Members,

Unemployment - particularly youth unemployment - is undoubtedly the greatest challenge facing South Africa today.

If we are to effectively address, we need to understand it.

Since adoption of the New Growth Path in October 2010 we have created two and a half million jobs; that's about 420 000 a year.

Our economy has been creating jobs but not at the rate required to match demand for work.

That is why government, business and labour have been working on measures to promote investment, stimulate growth and create jobs.

The nine-point plan announced by President Jacob Zuma in the 2015 State of the Nation Address is being implemented and yielding important results.

In line with the plan, we have largely addressed the energy constraints the economy was facing two years ago.

Around 11,000 MW have been added since 2013.

In addressing workplace conflict, we have reached groundbreaking agreements with our social partners on labour stability.

The infrastructure programme is gathering pace, providing essential economic and social infrastructure, stimulating economic activity and creating jobs.

The ease of doing business has improved with the establishment of Invest SA and the special economic zones are attracting investment into the manufacturing sector.

Despite setbacks, such as the ratings agency downgrades and the onset of recession, the necessary work to strengthen the economy has continued.

In July, the Minister of Finance outlined a series of measures to unlock growth and promote investor confidence.

Government departments are involved in a range of initiatives to scale up entrepreneurship, increase the level of investment in the economy, promote more beneficiation of raw materials into finished goods, strengthen economic links with the rest of the African continent, and promote higher levels of industrial innovation.

These complement the employment effects of our infrastructure investment programme, funding for industrial development through entities like the IDC, and measures to promote market competition.

Through the CEO Initiative, government is working with business and labour on practical measures to stimulate growth.

These include promoting investment in key sectors and the establishment of a fund to finance small businesses with high growth potential.

The private sector has contributed R1.5 billion to this fund.

A board is in place, a chief executive has been appointed and infrastructure is being finalised.

Extensive technical work has been done towards finalising a robust model for the Youth Employment Service, which will place unemployed young people into paid internships in companies.

We remain confident that this programme will be able to create up to 1 million such internships over three years.

Other measures being undertaken by government include implementation of the Preferential Procurement Regulations that introduced the 30% set aside for small enterprises, accelerating the implementation of the Agri-Parks programme, and increasing land redistribution and support to smallholder farmers.

We are making progress with rolling-out the Black Industrialists programme.

To date, we have supported over 50 black industrialists, attracting over R50 billion in investment and creating around 20,000 jobs.

These programmes are expanding the potential of our economy and creating opportunities for our people to either find employment or to establish viable businesses.

If we are to be a successful country, the creation of jobs must be at the centre of all our actions in government, business, labour and communities.

We need to continue our collaboration on practical measures that grow the economy and reduce unemployment.

We are making progress, but we need to do much more.

I thank you.

QUESTION

  • 30. Mrs J D Kilian (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

In view of his welcoming remarks at the 2017 graduation ceremony at the University of Mpumalanga where he called on the graduates to innovate, contribute and create new opportunities for inclusive and sustainable development and in view of his role as Chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa,

(a) what is the Government doing to encourage the post-school education sector to align its programmes to support the Human Resource Development Strategy of our country and
(b) how is the Government handling the phenomenon of unemployed university and college graduates?

NO2551E

Honourable Members,

The Department of Higher Education and Training steers the development of higher education programmes through enrolment planning and funding.

The Department interacts with institutions on key priority areas emanating from, among others, the Human Resource Development Strategy and the National Development Plan.

Through these engagements universities are required to plan their enrolments to be responsive to the developmental needs of the country.

Universities are funded in relation to agreements on enrolment, graduation targets and research publication output.

This process assists government in ensuring alignment between the high level human resource needs of the country, as expressed in the HRDSA Strategy, and the outputs of institutions.

While it is necessary to address the challenge of unemployed university and college graduates, it is important not to overstate the problem.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the last quarter, unemployment among individuals holding university degrees is just over 7%, while unemployment among individuals holding other post-secondary qualifications such as diplomas and certificates is 17%.

On the other hand unemployment among matriculants runs at 28%, while 33% of those with less than matric are unemployed.

Lack of education is therefore the first hurdle towards finding employment.

We are therefore working not only to increase number of young people who access training opportunities but also to improve the quality and outcomes of such opportunities.

Government recognises that work experience is another critical ingredient for reducing youth unemployment.

Government is actively engaging with the private sector to create pathways to the world of work through SETAs, graduate development programmes and internships.

Through the envisaged Youth Employment Service, government and business are collaborating to give South Africa's youth quality work experience.

It is our hope that this initiative will be finalised in the next few months so that we can start to recruit young people into the world of work.

There are also a variety of private and public sector programmes that support young people to become successful enterpreneurs.

Government has introduced the Entrepreneurship in Higher Education project to enhance and position entrepreneurship and innovation within university curricula.

This coming Saturday, I will visit False Bay TVET College here in Cape Town, accompanied by a number of Cabinet colleagues and private sector partners to address the issue of youth employability.

We will be hosting a Youth Career Expo involving learners from Cape Town townships and beyond.

We will expose them to various post-school education opportunities and help them make informed career choices, apply for study in colleges and universities and access NSFAS support.

Our youth are willing and ready to work.

Ours is to make opportunities and pathways available.

I thank you.

     
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