2018 End of the Year Statement of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus
7 December 2018
1. Introductory Remarks
As 2018 draws to a close, the ANC Parliamentary Caucus appreciates that this year was dedicated to the celebration of the centenary of Mama Albertina Sisulu and Tata Nelson Mandela. Their contribution and legacy to the struggle for a liberated South Africa gave birth to our Constitution which today serves as a guiding light towards achieving a non-racial, non-sexist, united and a prosperous South Africa.
It is by true historic occasion that it was Mama Sisulu who nominated Tata Mandela as the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa in this Parliament in 1994. As we commemorate the 5th anniversary since the passing of one of the founding fathers of our parliamentary democracy, Tata Mandela, we do so knowing that as this Parliament, we have executed our legislative and oversight mandate in the interest of the people of our nation.
The last couple of weeks have been particularly demanding on Members of Parliament as both houses of Parliament had long sittings processing legislation and various reports. We salute our public representatives for the dedicated and selfless service rendered to the people of South Africa during this year of the 5th Democratic Parliamentary Term.
2. The Historic Amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution
This week, in the most historic development since the advent of our parliamentary democracy, Parliament considered and adopted the report of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee (JCRC) on the review of Section 25 of the Constitution, to expropriate land without compensation.
The adoption of this report is a culmination of a lengthy parliamentary process which commenced on 27 February 2018, where the NA adopted a motion to review Section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary, to sufficiently cater for the principle of land expropriation without compensation. The JCRC conducted an extensive public participation process which included a land colloquium, written and oral submissions, and held public hearings across the country. The overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa called for an amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution, so as to expedite the process of land reform in South Africa.
As a next step in this process, Parliament has established an Ad Hoc Committee to initiate and introduce legislation amending Section 25 of the Constitution and report back to Parliament by 31 March 2019. The ANC has deployed comrade Thoko Didiza, comrade Vincent Smith, comrade Stanford Maila, comrade Rosina Semenya, comrade Lindiwe Maseko, Phumzile J. Mnguni as voting members. Comrade Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila and comrade Nono Maloyi will also represent the ANC as non-voting members on the Ad Hoc Committee.
Through this amendment, Section 25 of the Constitution will make explicit that which is implicit in the Constitution, with regards to Expropriation of Land without Compensation, as a legitimate option for Land Reform, so as to address the historic wrongs caused by the arbitrary dispossession of land.
3. An Activist Parliament Through Transformative Legislation
A total of 23 Bills were passed by both houses of Parliament for the year of 2018. These include, among other, the Electoral Amendment Bill, the Competition Amendment Bill and the National Credit Amendment Bill.
We aim for this piece of legislation to be finalised and assented by the President in time for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections.
The Competition Amendment Bill, which was introduced in July 2018 as a prioritised Bill introduces significant new measures to address the lack of economic inclusion of black South Africans and the transformation of sectors of the economy that are highly concentrated.
While the National Credit Amendment Bill, which was a Committee Bill initiated by the ANC, provides debt relief measures for the poor and vulnerable workers.
We are pleased that legislation passed in the first half of the year have been assented by the President. The historic National Minimum Wage Bill and Public Audit Amendment have been signed into law. We also look forward to the signing of the ANC initiated Political Funding Bill which obliges political parties to be transparent about their sources of funding.
4. Conducting Enhanced Oversight
We are very proud of the vigorous and robust manner in which the ANC conducted parliament oversight in the year of 2018. This was demonstrated through various members of the Executive being called to account to Parliament on matters of national importance and public interest such as the Eskom Inquiry, the Inquiry into the Naturalisation of the Gupta Family and the VBS Mutual Bank.
The recommendations of the report include criminal investigations to be conducted to uncover possible fraud, corruption and other unlawful conduct. The report also recommended that the Eskom Board engage the Office of the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) in order to arrest the fruitless and wasteful expenditure annually incurred by the entity and that lifestyles audits be conducted on implicated individuals.
On the Inquiry into the Naturalisation of the Gupta family, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs is in the process of finalising the report to be presented to the National Assembly for adoption.
These key interventions were decisive in ensuring that Parliament delivers on its oversight mandate without fear or favour in the interest of the people it represents.
5. Holding the Executive Accountable
For the first time since the dawn of our democracy, the National Assembly adopted a report of the Rules Committee on the procedure to regulate Section 89 of the Constitution which speaks to the removal of a President; otherwise
referred to as an Impeachment process.
The new procedures provide for any member of the National Assembly to initiate, through a substantive motion, a process to remove a President in terms of Section 89. Once such a motion is submitted, the speaker of the National Assembly must refer it and any supporting evidence to a panel of three independent legal experts. The panel, which the Speaker appoints after consulting political parties represented in the Assembly, must assess if there is sufficient evidence for Parliament to proceed with a Section 89 inquiry and report back to Parliament.
Through the adoption of this procedure to regulate Section 89 of the Constitution, Parliament has adhered to the Constitutional Court order to put such a measure in place without delay.
In holding the Executive accountable, we have ensured that the Executive appeared before Parliament regularly to account on their work as our rules dictate. These appearances include committee meetings, Ministerial Statements and Oral Question and Answer Sessions. President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza made 6 appearances in both houses of parliament to reply to 85 oral questions. Ministers and Deputy Ministers replied to 497 oral questions in the National Assembly and NCOP.
Both houses of Parliament submitted a total 4 243 written questions to the Executive, of which 3 629 were replied to, with the outstanding 614 questions standing over until Parliament resumes. This is an 85.5% accountability rate of the Executive to Parliament.
We also had a number of Ministerial Statements delivered in the National Assembly on matters of public importance. The Minister of Higher Education and Training, comrade Naledi Pandor, made a statement on student funding and the Minister of Health, comrade Aaron Motsoaledi, made a statement on the outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa earlier in the year.
We commend the Executive for the commitment they have shown in accounting to Parliament and equally commend Parliamentarians for ensuring that the Executive is held accountable.
6. Public Participation as a Pillar of our Democracy
7. International Work as a Pillar of the ANC
As a pillar of the ANC in this phase of our struggle, the ANC Caucus has embarked on a number of international solidarity engagements to forge relations with progressive forces around the world. Last week, the ANC Caucus successfully hosted the Palestinian Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc (CRPB representing the HAMAS). This visit culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties on Monday, 03 December 2018.
The MOU is informed by the intention of both parties to develop mutual relations to serve the best interests of the South African and Palestinian peoples as both seek an end to the unjust Israeli blockade and occupation imposed on Palestinian territories.
The Parties agreed to exchange views and regularly consult on issues of mutual interest and exchange regular parliamentary visits between the two Parliaments. The ANC Caucus also committed to among other, establish a Friends of Palestine Committee in the South Africa Parliament and support the positions of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in international parliamentary platforms and organisations.
This year, the Chief Whips Forum, a consultative forum comprising of Chief Whips of represented parties in Parliament, embarked on a Chief Whips Study Tour to Ghana and the United Kingdom to learn from their Parliamentary processes at the beginning of the year.
Parliament approved and ratified ten international agreements during the year of 2018. These include, among other, the Treaty between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters-which will enable the two countries to assist each other in the investigation and prosecution of crimes through mutual legal assistance and the extradition of fugitives.
8. The ANC Rooted in Constituency Work
We wish our Members of Parliament well as they will be embarking on constituency work in their various constituencies around the country from next week.
9. Concluding Remarks
As we look back on the year that was, we remember those we have lost during the course of this year. Death has robbed us of six serving members of Caucus; namely, comrade Edna Molewa, comrade Nokhaya Mnisi, comrade Sibusiso Radebe, comrade Mam' Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, comrade Beatrice Ngcobo and comrade Fezeka Loliwe. The contributions of these comrades in the struggle against apartheid and their service to the people of South Africa will forever remain in our hearts. May their souls rest in peace.
We wish to thank all our MPs for their hard work and dedication during this year. We also thank our staff for their unwavering support and commitment in helping to advance the work of the ANC in Parliament.
We look forward to returning in the new year to conclude the work of this Fifth Parliament as we move towards the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections.
The ANC takes this opportunity to wish all people of South Africa a wonderful Festive Season and a prosperous New Year.
Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip