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Oral replies to questions in the National Assembly by President Jacob Zuma

31 August 2017

14. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

Whether, since his appointment as President of the Republic on 6 May 2009 and with particular reference to sections 96(2)(b) and (c) of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996, which stipulate that Cabinet members should not act in any way that is inconsistent with their office, or expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests, or use their position or any information entrusted to them to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person, he, as head of Cabinet, instructed or influenced any state department or entity to award contracts and/or agreements for the purpose of conducting business with any (a) member of his immediate and extended family and (b) businesses and/or corporations with ties to his family members or relatives; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

I wish to make it categorically clear that I have never instructed or directed any state institution to give contracts to anyone whatsoever.

Having said this, the issues raised by the Leader of the Opposition in his question are similar to the issues that were investigated by the Public Protector in her Report entitled State of Capture. I have stated on numerous occasions my intention to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate matters raised in the report. I am pursuing this course. I deem this to be in the public interest and in the cause of good governance and accountability.

I thank you.

15. Mr E Kekana (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:

(1) Whether, in light of the remarks that he made at the meeting of BRICS Leaders at the recent G20 Summit in July 2017, particularly his commitment that, as the Co-Chair of the G20 Development Working Group, South Africa will continue to highlight the concept of inclusivity as it impacts on Africa and the developing world so that it permeates throughout G20 initiatives, there is any evidence that the G20 embraces the concept of inclusivity in general and with respect to Africa in particular;

(2) what are the G20 development initiatives that have started in Africa since South Africa became Co-Chair of the G20 Development Working Group?

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

South Africa, as the only African member of the G20, uses her participation to advance the African agenda of sustainable development, inclusive growth, the reduction of inequality and the promotion of a just economic world order.
Sustainable inclusive development was given deeper meaning and emphasis during the Chinese Presidency of the G20 last year and was taken further during the German Presidency this year.

During the last summit in Hamburg, Germany, the G20 launched the G20 Africa Partnership, which strives to renew efforts for sustainable economic development in Africa.

This initiative is designed to support private investment, sustainable infrastructure development and employment in African countries. Investment compacts have already been committed to by a few African countries.

A number of projects have been adopted as part of the G20 Africa Partnership, aimed at ensuring the inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable groups in our society. These include the Hashtag Skills for girls, the G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment and the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative.

South Africa uses its position as co-chair of the G20 Development Working Group to promote pro-poor and pro-Africa projects. The Working Group launched the important G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and the least developed countries. The focus is on women and youth to particularly promote science, technology and innovation as critical means for industrialisation.

South Africa also uses the position of co-chair of the Development Working Group to advocate support for Low Income and Developing Countries to secure energy security, food security, infrastructure development and to mobilise domestic resources.

Honourable Speaker,

As co-chair of the G20 Development Working Group, South Africa also introduced initiatives to address cross-border financial flows derived from illicit activities.

These include comprehensive financial regulatory reforms, efforts to make the international tax system more transparent as well as tackling corruption in both the public and private sectors.

The G20 has also agreed that Low Income and Developing Countries especially in Africa must be assisted with tax administration capacity challenges so that they do not lose much-needed revenue.

I have recently appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee co-chaired by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Finance, whose task is to ensure that the G20 resolutions that promote a better life for our people are implemented.

I thank you.

  • 16. Ms R M M Lesoma (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:

With regard to monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, which all aim to improve governance and service delivery outcomes, what key issues are emerging for the results of the Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Programme and other supporting monitoring mechanisms?

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

Government monitoring and evaluation programmes have become invaluable tools in helping us to identify service delivery successes as well as challenges, with the aim of improving governance and service delivery to our people.

The Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme was launched in July 2012. Through this programme the President visits communities to inspect and assess progress made in delivering basic services to the people.

The Siyahlola visits focus on specific basic service delivery issues such as water, electricity, education, health or any other issue that a particular community has raised as a concern, or which government undertook to act upon.

Government departments and agencies undertake follow ups after the Presidential visit and ensure that issues raised by the community are attended to.

Since the beginning of this year, the Siyahlola visits have been undertaken focusing on the fight against crime at kwaMhlabuyalingana in KZN where the community had complained about the theft of vehicles which are taken to Mozambique, and to Soshanguve in Tshwane, where the community faces serious challenges relating to drug abuse and resultant crimes.

A visit was also undertaken to Nyanga in Cape Town which has been dubbed the murder capital of the country where people live in fear of attacks daily. The Presidential Siyahlola visit also took us to Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape to tackle crime.

Work is still ongoing in these areas to advance the fight against crime and also to deal with other socio-economic issues raised by the communities.

Other government monitoring mechanisms in place include the Presidential Imbizo Programme through which the President accompanied by Ministers, Premiers, Deputy Ministers, MECs and Mayors interacts with members of the community and hear their concerns and suggestions.

In addition to the Presidential Imbizo, the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) organises comprehensive and extensive formal Imbizo Focus Week programmes where Ministers and Deputy Ministers visit various communities for feedback and to monitor the implementation of programmes.

There is also the Presidential Hotline which citizens use to report service delivery challenges in their communities. As at the end of July 2017 the main issues citizens complained about were employment, housing, water, electricity and civic issues such as the need for birth certificates or identity documents.

In addition, over nine hundred government facilities have been visited through the DPME's Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring Programme which was launched in 2011. Service improvement programmes were agreed to for these facilities following the visits.

The Department of Public Service and Administration, (DPSA), leads the Batho Pele/People First programme of government, which promotes citizen care in the public service. Through Project Khaedu run by the DPSA, senior managers undergo training and visit the coalface, spending at least a week gaining a first-hand account of people's experience of government services.

The Department of Social Development runs project Mikondzo (meaning footprints) through which they visit communities and identify people in need of assistance including orphans and vulnerable children, the aged and infirm. Destitute families requiring food or medical care are identified during such visits and are given assistance.

Importantly, the Department of Cooperative Governance runs the Back to Basics programme aimed at monitoring and improving the performance of local government.

Offices of the Premier and Mayors also undertake direct monitoring of service delivery. A key factor that has arisen Honourable Speaker is the need to promote integrated planning and work among departments and among the three spheres of government.

It is for this reason that the Siyahlola and Imbizo Programmes, bring together all three spheres of government in addressing specific service delivery issues.

If people complain about water, they are likely to need electricity or transport as well which means all affected departments and spheres of government should work together, putting the citizen first.

We have also identified communication as a key challenge. Government may think a community needs a school first when they actually need a clinic first and the school later.

We will continue to use these programmes to improve governance and also to keep in close contact with the citizens that we serve.

I thank you.

  • 17. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

What are the reasons for his delay to sign a proclamation to mandate the Special Investigating Unit to investigate the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as requested by the SABC's Interim Board in May 2017?

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

The Proclamation has been signed and was referred to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for publication.

I thank you.

  • 18. Mr M A Dirks (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:

(a) What has he found to be the major achievements of Operation Phakisa to date and (b) what steps will be taken to reduce the bottlenecks of the specified programme to facilitate the achievement of the country's economic growth targets?

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

We launched Operation Phakisa in 2014 to promote faster implementation of the undertakings made in the National Development Plan to our people, to promote economic growth and job creation.

Operation Phakisa is unique in that it brings together sectors that hardly plan together - business, labour, academia, and government to work out the most ideal plans to achieve growth and development in a particular sector.

We have begun to implement the programme in six areas - the ocean economy, building ideal clinics, promoting information and communication technologies in schools, promoting growth in the mining sector as well as agriculture and rural development and biodiversity and tourism.

The ocean economy has attracted twenty four billion rand in investments. The Department of Trade and Industry has provided incentives to the value of four hundred and twenty eight million rand.

The global amount of twenty four billion rand consists of investments from different components of the Ocean Economy lab.

The Maritime Transport and Manufacturing Delivery Unit has secured investments to the value of 5,6 billion rand while the Oil and Gas component unlocked a total of 18,4 billion rand.

Aquaculture has raised four hundred and forty four million rand, Marine Protection Services and Governance thirty one million rand and Coastal and Marine Tourism 40 million rand.

Skills development is a core component of the Ocean Economy. A total of six hundred and fourteen women have been trained in the Marine Manufacturing and seven hundred and thirty-three women in the Marine Transport sector. More than a thousand youth have been trained in marine manufacturing and close to two thousand in Marine Transport sectors.

The Operation Phakisa Ideal Clinic Programme is aimed at improving quality of care at our Primary Health Care facilities.

An ideal clinic is one with good infrastructure, adequate staff, adequate medicine and supplies, good administrative processes and sufficient bulk supplies that use applicable clinical policies, protocols, guidelines, as well as partner and stakeholder support.

All these elements are important in order to ensure the provision of quality health services to the community.

By the end of June 2017, a total of one thousand, one hundred and eight clinics in the public sector had achieved the ideal clinic status.

This performance translates to thirty two percent of the existing stock of three thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven Primary Health Care facilities.

The set target is that two thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three Primary Health Care facilities should reach the ideal status by March 2019.

Operation Phakisa in the Basic Education sector promotes the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for teaching and learning.

Since this Phakisa was launched in October 2015, a total of three thousand, four hundred and fifty-five schools have been connected to the internet and received devices.

Approximately fifty-four percent of the more than twenty five thousand schools had acquired connectivity through various technologies. A total of thirty one thousand, eight hundred teachers have been trained in various levels of ICT skills.

In this way, Honourable Speaker, the archaic methods of teaching and learning are being rapidly replaced as teachers and learners move towards 21st Century approaches.

Operation Phakisa Mining programmes await finalisation by the affected departments so that implementation can begin.

The main aim of Operation Phakisa in Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is to stimulate growth, foster job creation and instil transformation along the agriculture and rural development value chain, and to contribute to inclusive growth.

The work of Operation Phakisa on Biodiversity focuses of three work streams, which are Coastal and Marine Tourism; Bioprospecting; and Wildlife. Detailed implementation plans for this Operation Phakisa have been developed.

Honourable Speaker,

Inadequate funding for some projects emanating from different Operation Phakisa Programmes is a key challenge.

South Africa is utilising relations with our strategic partners to attract investment and funding, foster business partnerships and secure training opportunities.

Furthermore, we will also continue to engage directly with the private sector to understand their constraints and remove blockages in order to stimulate investments.

Government will also continue to invest in its infrastructure build programme to attract investments.

I thank you.

  • 19. Ms L L van der Merwe (IFP) to ask the President of the Republic:

(a) What progress has the Government made in the fight against gender-based violence in the period 1 August 2016 to 31 August 2017 and (b) with reference to the public statement made by the Minister of Social Development that she knows of senior Government leaders who are guilty of more serious crimes than the assault charge against the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, has he taken any steps to obtain information from the Minister of Social Development so that appropriate action may be taken to root out gender-based violence and abuse by leaders in Government?

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

Our country has made considerable progress in the fight against gender-based violence thanks to the collaboration on this programme by government, civil society and communities.

Given the high levels of domestic violence and also violence against women and children in general, Government has responded with legislation as well strengthening the criminal justice system, in addition to awareness campaigns such as the 16 Days of Activism of no Violence against Women and Children.

The Constitution of the Republic is the foremost law that enshrines the right of women to dignity, equality, security and other rights. We also have legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Protection from Harassment Act and the Amended Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act as instruments to be utilised for recourse.

Government has opened 60 Sexual Offences Courts. These Courts are aimed at increasing conviction rates and to minimise the secondary victimisation of rape survivors.

There are also Domestic Violence Courts in all Magistrate Courts which grant protection orders under both the Domestic Violence Act and the Protection from Harassment Act.

Further, the Family Violence and Child Protection Units have been re-introduced in Police Stations.

There are currently more than a thousand designated victim empowerment rooms at police stations for purposes of enabling statements of the survivors of sexual offences, domestic violence, trafficking and other traumatised individuals to be taken in private.

Where there are no designated victim friendly rooms, alternative arrangements must be made for the taking of statements in private.

There are specialised investigators who investigate sexual offences, some family-related crimes and all child abuse crimes.

In addition the the Hawks investigate all cases of human trafficking and organised crime.

Government has also established Thuthuzela Care Centres which operate as twenty-four hour daily Centres for victims of sexual assault and other related offences in order to provide comprehensive support to victims of violence.

The Centres are run in partnership between the Departments of Health, Social Development, Police and Justice and Constitutional Development.

As a result of dedicated investigations a total of five hundred and forty one life sentences were achieved during the past financial year.

Importantly, the police are being trained to implement these laws.

The curriculum at Police Training Centres now also includes a module on Gender-Based Violence and each police station has to ensure that all officers get this training.

We need to do a lot more still to change attitudes towards women.

More also needs to be done to empower women to report cases of abuse and for family members and others not to prevent women from reporting perpetrators if they are close to them or known to the family.

I thank you.

     
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