Deputy President David Mabuza Replies to Oral Questions in The National Assembly
12 March 2019
QUESTION: On government’s commitment to implement land reform measures that will not result in social fractures and racial polarisation.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Deputy Speaker, we have stated on several occasions that accelerated land reform speaks to our collective national commitment to addressing the historical injustice of land dispossession by giving back land to those who were forcefully deprived of their land.
It is a genuine act of restoring dignity to those who suffered the indignity of subjugation and alienation from their land, thereby taking away their right to productively use this core asset for their self-advancement.
Therefore, addressing the land question requires that we ensure equitable access to land as part of the national imperative to build an inclusive and cohesive society. Fostering nation building and social cohesion must be anchored on broadening access to land and ensuring that land is made available for shared economic and social advancement.
Our collective action towards equitable access to land is on a critical path in our nation building efforts. Failure to address it now will continue to burden our national consciousness with guilt and neglect, and sow seeds of endless tensions and instability.
As patriotic South Africans who want to be part of the solution, we need to guard against those want to use the issue of land reform to divide us by framing land reform as a race-based punitive act against our White citizens who own land. This is far from the truth
We must desist from using land to fan the flames of hatred and distrust. We must work together to find lasting solutions.
Our people need land. Our people must have access to land for agricultural use, for human settlement, and for economic development. It is this reality that inspire our commitment in resolving the land question and making its access available for all.
As government, we are encouraged by White farmers and business leaders who have chosen to collaborate with government and become part of the solution as we tackle prevailing land reform challenges. On a daily basis, we are engaging with farmers who are pledging to donate land for redistribution. Some business leaders in the mining sector, have donated land as their contribution to addressing land reform.
As government, we are releasing land that is in the hands of the state in order to advance the objectives of land reform. We are addressing key development pressures around urban and rural human settlements, agricultural production, and enterprise development in general.
As part of building integrated and sustainable human settlements, there is renewed focus on investing in key infrastructure that supports growth, mobility and connectivity. Land redistribution must be accompanied by investment in water infrastructure, roads, and other supporting economic and social facilities.
Deputy Speaker, a well-managed land reform programme will pose no threat to the agricultural sector and the economy in general. Instead, broadening access to land and participation by new entrants in the sector will unleash additional productive capacity to enhance agricultural output and create jobs.
To ensure that emerging farmers succeed, comprehensive support will be provided so that restituted and redistributed land remains optimally productive. More importantly, our rural development focus will continue ensuring that communal land under the custodianship of traditional leaders is effectively utilised for agricultural production.
In this regard, government will continue to work collaboratively with traditional leaders to ensure that communal land is productively utilized.
Government is focusing on enhanced institutional coordination to ensure responsiveness to service delivery and support needs of farmers at local levels. ‘One Stop Service’ platforms are necessary to provide a comprehensive suite of farmer support services and ensure that resources earmarked for farmers reach farmers promptly and efficiently. This will foster integration and alignment in project execution and delivery of infrastructure, mechanisation and funding support for farmers.
Successful and progressive commercial farmers have already come forward to present various models of how we can deepen transformation as well as provision of mentorship in the agricultural sector.
Deputy Speaker, we have expressed on a number of occasions in this very House, that government is committed to undertaking land reform in an orderly manner that upholds the Constitution and ensures administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.
There is no need for anyone to be apprehensive about our approach to land reform. Having said that, we cannot be complacent in dealing with the factors that contribute to any form of societal polarisation. We must at all material times, guard against any attempts that seek to frame the issue of land reform as seeking to benefit private interests, but rather reiterate that land reform is a national imperative and therefore a priority in our country.
Our message to all South Africans is that we are relentless in our pursuit for justice through the restoration of land ownership by Black South Africans who were dispossessed of their land. In the same vein, we are committed to ensuring that our Constitution and the rule of law guide our actions towards a successful land reform programme.
I thank you.
QUESTION: On government strategies to provide for a reliable and affordable supply of electricity.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Deputy Speaker, the Joint Special Cabinet Committee on Eskom was established by the President as a response to the recent electricity supply disruptions and their accompanying negative impact on the economy. This Committee is convened by the Deputy President and includes the Ministers of Public Enterprises, Energy, Transport, Finance, Police and State Security.
Honourable Members would appreciate that as this is a Special Cabinet Committee, it must report to the President and Cabinet on its work. Once it has finished with its assignment as dictated by Cabinet processes, the House will be informed through appropriate mechanisms.
Having said that, we wish to indicate to this House that some of the root causes of the current state of affairs with regard to electricity supply has been the growth of our population and extension of supply to all South Africans, and other factors including but not limited to governance, financial and operational challenges within Eskom.
Some of these challenges are driven by massive cost and time overruns on the new build program, collapse in governance, unsustainable debt levels, under-investment, and poor maintenance of plants which has led to increased diesel usage that is eroding Eskom’s cash position.
The other factors have been the declining electricity demand on the grid against increasing operational costs and rising debt. For example, we had an increase in the number of employees per 1000MW from 32 600 in 2007 to 48 600 in 2018 thereby increasing the wage bill. This has also been compounded by the steep unpredictable increases in electricity costs, leading to grid defections as consumers opt for self-supply in order to contain such increases.
As the President has stated in previous replies to this House, Eskom is a key component of our economy. As a country, we have to create jobs which includes embracing and advancing new technologies, reskilling and redeploying our workforce without protecting obsolete technologies that are not relevant for the economic challenges of the moment. To compliment this, government welcomes the role of private sector investment in energy generation infrastructure, including the role of Independent Power Producers. It is thus critical that Eskom’s financial position and future sustainability must be addressed.
Funding constraints within the organisation are resulting in less budget allocations to capital funding for the critical maintenance programme.
In short, Eskom is not generating sufficient cash to meet its operating costs and service its debt, and thus has been borrowing to make the principal and interest payments on its loans.
These financial challenges are the result of unsustainable operating costs caused by expensive coal contracts and overall operating inefficiencies. The escalating debt servicing costs for debt in excess of R400 billion will peak at almost R500 billion after the completion of Medupi and Kusile. Essentially, what it means is that contracting model used for the construction of Medupi and Kusile, did not achieve the objective of maximising local content in the build programme but instead enabled looting and corruption.
The other factor is the escalation of debt in some municipalities, which is a result of difficult economic conditions and the culture of non-payment in the country. In 2018 for example, this municipal debt had reached R28 billion.
On the operational side, more than half of Eskom’s fleet is over 37 years old and so these power stations are at a stage where they require significant refurbishment to maintain the same standard of performance.
The root causes of the current situation include a history of inadequate capacity to meet demand, as well as poor power station performance resulting from the inability to perform appropriate levels of maintenance.
When considering some of the structural challenges, Eskom’s business model is that of a vertically integrated monopoly characterised by lack of transparency, lack of agility, lack of operational excellence and wide spread wastage due to lack of accountability and consequence management, making it very difficult to steer the organisation into a long-term healthy path.
We are however, encouraged by what the Eskom Board Chairperson has said in his submission at the Zondo Commission that the Utility has already identified a number of areas amounting to billions of Rands of unjustifiable costs on the Medupi and Kusile build programme that they are making efforts to recover.
Going forward, Eskom has developed a detailed turnaround plan to address its structural, operational and financial challenges. Key to the success of this plan is a focus on driving efficiency and reducing costs, which will be achieved through the following initiatives:
- • Optimising primary energy costs through prudent long-term coal sourcing, investment in cost-plus mines and reducing the cost of logistics in terms of moving coal from mines to plants;
- • Refining capital efficiency by reprioritising capital expenditure and optimising contract management;
- • Driving operational and cost efficiency in procurement;
- • Growing revenue with pricing incentives and the pursuit of international sales and other new growth opportunities; and
- • Improving workforce efficiency by optimising personnel costs and re-aligning the human resource capacity to match the required performance expectations.
To support the Turnaround Plan, Government has allocated R23 billion per year for the next three years. This allocation will allow Eskom to execute the Turnaround Plan thereby enabling the Utility to channel part of their revenue towards effective and prudent maintenance that has been compromised due to lack of adequate funding. This Turnaround Plan will address the immediate plant performance and coal quality challenges restoring the security of supply, and this will lay the foundation for addressing both the financial and operational sustainability.
An independent Technical Review Team has also been appointed to review the plan and evaluate the state of our power stations. The outcomes of this assessment will guide specific interventions at power station level to ensure that power supply disruptions are stabilised.
Ultimately, Eskom must implement programmes that will improve the culture of accountability, productivity and efficiency at the utility. Where appropriate, it will have to dispose of non-core assets and increase its efficiencies thereby alleviating its current liquidity challenges in the short-term.
I thank you.
QUESTION: On progress achieved on implementation of the programme “Cheka Impilo, Know Your Status”, which was the theme of the last World Aids Day.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Deputy Speaker, as Honourable Members are aware, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) is a multi-stakeholder body comprising members from government, civil society and other stakeholders established by the national Cabinet in 2000 to drive an enhanced response to HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in South Africa.
Among some of the recent decisions taken by the SANAC Inter-Ministerial Committee is the approval of South Africa’s participation at the 22nd International AIDS Conference held in July 2018 in the Netherlands. We also approved the establishment of the Resource Mobilisation Committee, chaired by the Minister of Health, to provide oversight on all financial arrangements relating to the implementation of the National Strategy Plan for HIV, TB and STIs.
Further, as the SANAC Inter-Ministerial Committee, we approved the Cheka Impilo Wellness Campaign with the aim of enrolling an additional 2 million people on anti-retroviral treatment by 2020 through the intensification of screening and testing for HIV, TB and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. This campaign is in response to the President’s call during his 2018 State of the Nation Address.
We subsequently launched the Cheka Impilo Campaign on the 19th of October 2018 during the Presidential Health Summit. This launch was followed by activations during World AIDS Day on the 1st of December 2018. We also hosted and participated in dialogues with civil society leaders including young people at the event.
We are making steady progress in our Campaign roll-out. In this regard, the Cheka Impilocampaign has been rolled out to all provinces with provincial launches held in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Rolling district activations have also been held in high burden HIV districts in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and North West provinces.
The private sector is also involved in the Chaka Impilo campaign in Mpumalanga and Limpopo as part of the pledge made on World AIDS Day 2018. Civil society sectors, which are part of SANAC, have intensified their Cheka Impilo health services demand activities in partnership with government departments.
The Sports, Arts and Culture civil society sector led an activation in the City of Johannesburg during the month of January this year. Traditional leaders in Mpumalanga are running a whole year programme leveraging on cultural activities called Imimemo.
Between October and December 2018, approximately 3.5 million HIV tests were conducted; more than 191 million male condoms were distributed; and more than 6.3 million female condoms were distributed.
In addition, more than 18 000 patients with TB were found as part of the efforts to find missing TB patients. These are people with TB who were not diagnosed, and therefore, not on treatment. On this coming Friday the 15th March, we will launch a rolling TB Campaign with Traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal. This is in response to the call made by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini during World TB Day in 2018 for traditional leaders to lead the fight against TB and HIV.
In terms of communication of the campaign, a number of taxis were branded with the Cheka Impilo logo with health messages, and; health education materials were printed and distributed during health activations.
Six episodes of the She Conquers docudramas have been produced focussing on young people. The entire series has been shown on Soweto TV. Other arrangements are being made to flight the series on other TV channels for broader reach to our people.
This year, South Africa will commemorate in Eastern Cape the World TB Day under the banner of the Cheka Impilo Campaign. The national theme for World TB Day is: “It’s Time! For religious leaders, parliamentarians and legislators to lead the fight to end TB in South Africa”. In line with this theme, we have engaged the religious sector across all faiths to include health, especially TB messages in their sermons during the week of the 22-24 March 2019.
Political leaders will visit various religious sites including churches, mosques and synagogues during that weekend. Minister Motsoaledi accompanied by other leaders, will visit the Anglican Church of Cape Town on Sunday, the 24th of March 2019, and will address the nation on this important matter.
We also request all political parties to include messages relating to health, including HIV, TB, diabetes and hypertension during the election campaign so that we encourage our people to get screened and tested as well as take up treatment if diagnosed with any of these ailments.
It is by confronting these epidemics head-on, including taking the right actions, that we will ensure a long and healthy life for all South Africans as envisaged in our National Development Plan.
This campaign is once again a good example of a government at work, having a strategic and targeted approach, and shows what we can achieve working together to advance the health of our people.
Let me conclude by saying to all our people, young and old: Cheka Impilo! Let us get our health checked. Let us take action once we know. Let us live smart and live healthy. Our tomorrow is counting on us!
I thank you.
QUESTION: On the work of the Special Cabinet Committee on Eskom.
REPLY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Deputy Speaker, to date, 2 meetings of the Special Cabinet Committee have been convened by the Deputy President, one on 21 February 2019 and the second one on the 5 March 2019. Apart from these meetings, has been the meetings of the Technical Team that is made up of Directors-General of the Departments constituting this Special Cabinet Committee.
In terms of the agenda for the first meeting of this Special Cabinet Committee, it included:
- The adoption of Terms of reference of the Committee;
- Eskom Operational Report;
- Meeting with Coal Miners;
- Meeting with the Engineers Community;
- Meeting with the Recognized Trade Unions;
- Support for Eskom turnaround;
- Visit to Power Stations; and
- Security at Power Stations.
The agenda for the second Special Cabinet Committee included:
- Updates on Eskom Operational Performance;
- Coal Supply Update;
- Appointment of Eskom Review Technical Team;
- The Build Programme;
- The Communication Plan, and
- Discussions on Site Visits.
I thank you
QUESTION: On progress achieved on the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Deputy Speaker, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform has been tasked with providing political oversight and leadership to ensure accelerated implementation of our land reform programme.
It provides a critical institutional mechanism for government’s response to addressing bottlenecks in the implementation of key measures to accelerate land reform. This Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform functions within the ambit of the present legislative framework, and it seeks to accelerate the delivery of land by unlocking the current hurdles and challenges that have resulted in the slow pace of land reform.
This is to give effect to the announcement by the President in his State of the Nation Address in February 2018 where he said that Government “would accelerate our land redistribution programme not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation”.
As part of this, land claims that have been outstanding for a while are expedited and finally land parcels are being delivered to the rightful beneficiaries. In cases where financial settlement is an option, those are also settled accordingly. On Saturday 9 March 2019, several communities in Gauteng were part of the celebrations in Mamelodi where the President handed over settled and finalised land claims to ten communities in that Province.
In the coming months, we will ensure that all settled and finalised land claim parcels are handed over to rightful owners. To expedite the resolution of land claims and land redistribution the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform, is paying particular attention to strengthening the capacity of the Office of the Valuer-General to speed up the process of valuations.
Alongside the handover of land parcels, the Inter-Ministerial Committee has been focusing on the development and implementation of a package of post-settlement support measures to enhance productivity of restituted land as well as communal land.
Over the last few months, this Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform has dealt wit the audit of land owned by government. Land parcels under the owners of various departments, municipalities and SOE’s have been identified. The process of physical verification of properties earmarked for redistribution is expected to be finalised soon.
Some of this land lies in the margins of towns where the demand for land is highest. It is hoped that these land parcels will alleviate congestion and also facilitate the creation of integrated, sustainable human settlements.
State agricultural land parcels will be redistributed to support broadened participation of new entrants into the agricultural sector, and expand agro-based incubation programmes.
Lastly, the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform is complemented by the Panel of Experts on Land Reform and Agriculture that has a mandate to review the existing legal, policy and institutional approach to land reform, and advise government on matters pertaining to land reform in South Africa. The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform has engaged with the work of the Advisory Panel, and further discussions are planned to consider their final proposals for consideration by our government.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all key stakeholders and organisations who participated in various consultative engagements with the Panel of Experts on Land Reform and Agriculture. On our part as government, we hope that your inputs will go a long way in shaping the success of our land reform interventions in our country.
I thank you.
QUESTION: On the impact of implementation of the public employment programmes and the general service delivery in the North West province.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Madam House Chairperson, issues of service delivery in the North West Province were raised when various protest actions and destruction of property came to the fore. Our government made relevant interventions aimed at the time at addressing the plight of the affected communities with a view to stabilize the situation and ensure that democratic governance is upheld.
Subsequently, the President sent an Inter-Ministerial Task Team whose work led to the invocation of Section 100 (1) on the entire North West Province. In terms of that intervention, the national government sought to ensure that effectiveness of internal governance structures is enhanced, it focused on the strengthening of financial controls, governance and accountability within provincial government; and implementation of sound financial management systems among others.
The Inter-Ministerial Task Team ensured that all necessary interventions were implemented and whatever issues that were there are resolved. The Honourable Member would be aware that a new Premier was appointed in North West Province. Over the period, the Premier of that province and his Executive Council have ensured that service delivery to communities is improved.
The Honourable Member would also know that the work of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team for the North West Province is overseen by a multi-party Ad Hoc committee of the National Council Provinces under the rules of the NCOP and the Constitution.
At its last meeting with the Committee last month, the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on the North West Province was commended on its work in addressing the service delivery and governance failures in the Province. The report that details this progress is in the public domain, but I can summarise some of the successes that have been achieved:
- Medicine availability in hospitals is at 83% (up from 67% in April 2018);
- Key vacant executive positions are being filled in service delivery departments such as Roads and Public Works;
- Four out of five operating theatres in Mahikeng Hospital are now functional;
- Provincial road maintenance programme has been revived, with contractors now on site in 33 roads; and
- We have made progress in stabilising the finances of the Province, through improving controls to prevent unauthorised expenditure which was R384.8m during 2017/18).
In addition, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (The Hawks) is handling forty six cases involving theft, fraud and contraventions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 in relation to government contracts in the North West.
As for the roll-out of Public Employment Programme, this intervention continues to play a vital role towards alleviating poverty by creating work opportunities for the poor and unemployed people in the North West province. Training and enterprise development are also implemented in sector specific programmes to enhance service delivery and beneficiary well-being. During the first two quarters of the 2018/2019 financial year, the Expanded Public Works Programme created 51 583 work opportunities in the North West province, which is a 33% increase from the 34 527 work opportunities created during the same period in 2017/2018.
The above shows that 17 056 more work opportunities were created in the North West province during the first two quarters of 2018/19 compared to the same period in 2017/2018. The highest percentage (69%) of work opportunities beneficiaries were women, followed by the youth. In terms of training, the EPWP created 822 training opportunities in the North West province during the first two quarters of 2018/19, which is 587 more training opportunities compared to the same period in 2017/2018.
As national government, we are satisfied with the progress that has been recorded on the ground. This is testimony that the intervention we made was necessary to ensure that our people are not adversely impacted in accessing government services. As for ANC internal political processes, the party manages such through its own mechanisms. The Honourable Member can be rest assured that the ANC does not intend to negatively affect service delivery to our people.
Thank you very much.