6 November 1998
During the past half year the ANC passed a substantial number of Bills to further entrench
the rights of South African citizens as espoused in the Constitution and the Bill of
Rights. These Bills are aimed at eradicating the Apartheid legacy, democratising and
transforming our society to reflect the demographics, geographical, race and gender spread
of the country. Some of the legislation covers areas such as health, welfare, justice,
education, housing and crime where transformation was needed. Other legislation
strengthened already transformatory laws. These Bills reflect the ANCs commitment to
better the lives of all South Africans, especially the disadvantaged sections of society.
Labour Bills that will Bolster the Economy
The ANC believes that the emphasis of higher education must be shifted
to equip people with the skills to do a job and the ability to adapt to lifelong learning.
The Skills Development Bill will develop the skills of our workforce, increase the
quality of working life for workers, improve productivity in the workplace, promote
self-employment and the delivery of social services, and improve the employment prospects
of the disadvantaged through relevant training.
The ANC believes that in every workplace there should be a culture of
non-discrimination. The Employment Equity Bill will redress the imbalances of the
past without compromising the ability of business to function efficiently and profitably.
The Bill ensures that unqualified people are not simply employed to fill racial quotas,
but that qualified people from all sectors have equal opportunities to contribute to the
economic development of our nation.
Justice Bills to Protect Women and Children
The Maintenance Bill was introduced to rectify the
injustice of past practices, make the justice system more people-friendly and give
maintenance courts more powers to make orders against run-away parents. The Bill will
ensure that more children receive the maintenance money due to them. It guarantees equal
access for all women to protection from unjust treatment by people who undermine the
rights of women. With the Domestic Violence Bill the ANC makes very clear its
commitment to a criminal justice policy that caters for the special needs of women and
children. The Bill makes it clear that violence against women and children will neither be
excused nor tolerated.
National Environment Management Bill
The previous NP regime regarded the environment as secondary to
development and making profits. The ANC believes that development must be sustainable, so
that the needs of the people are met without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their needs. The Bill is proof that the ANC is making a concerted
effort to move away from the perceived conflict between development and conservation. For
the ANC, development involves economic progress and protecting our natural resources.
Education Bills to Open the Doors of Learning to All
The Employment of Educators Bill is a major step towards
regulating and stabilising the teaching profession. It clarifies the various crises,
conflicts and tensions in the education system. It further affirms the role of school
governing bodies in the appointment of teachers. The Bill provides a basis for conflict
resolution and redressing the inequalities inherited from Apartheid. The Further
Education and Training Bill will redress the imbalances of the past and address the
new challenges in education. Everyone has the right to further education and the State
must provide it.
The Broadcasting Bill
Under Apartheid, the State owned broadcasting in South Africa and used
it to promote and maintain its racist laws. The Bill ensures that the airwaves belong to
all our people, that communities define themselves in any way - religious or cultural -
and that the industry plays a developmental role in uplifting communities.
The ANC Government recognises that Apartheid caused imbalances in the
concentrations of ownership and control in the South African economy, there was poor
enforcement of anti-competitive trade practices and unfair restrictions on full and free
economic participation by all South Africans. The Competition Bill will ensure an
efficient, competitive economic environment. It balances the interests of workers, owners
and consumers and will be focussed on development. The Bill will establish independent
bodies to ensure that all South Africans have equal and fair opportunities to participate
in the economy.
Under Apartheid, liquor became a tool of discrimination. White bosses
used liquor to degrade and disempower blacks, especially with the introduction of the tot
system. It resulted in a lack of development and high levels of unemployment in poor,
black communities. The liquor industry became a source of massive economic wealth,
political power and benefits for rich, white people. The Liquor Bill will address the
tragic socio-economic effects of liquor in our communities while, at the same time,
recognising the economic benefits of the trade. The Bill will ensure effective control of
liquor by promoting compliance, applying penalties to violations and empowering previously
disadvantaged persons to access the industry.
Correctional Services Bill
The Correctional Services Bill represents a break with the past and
provide for a up-to-date correctional system that operates within the guidelines of the
new Constitution. It provides for mechanisms to prevent abuse of power and a fair and
simple system of deciding when prisoners should be released. The Bill will ensure that
prisoners receive opportunities for development, rehabilitation and economic reintegration
into society. It also imposes duties on prisoners to behave within certain guidelines and
defines punishment for contraventions of these guidelines.
Medical Schemes Bill
The intention of the Bill is to create a fair and just health system.
It will outlaw the exclusion of applicants on the basis of their race, sex, age, ethnic
origin, sexual orientation, disability and state of health. The Bill will also require
medical schemes to provide a core set of minimum benefits to members, and to ensure full
cover for benefits provided to members at public hospital level. It will further improve
management of schemes and ensure that consumers are adequately protected.
National Empowerment Fund Bill
This Bill will secure the future of South Africas NGOs, provide
for the promotion and facilitation of ownership of income generating funds by historically
disadvantaged persons. It will empower them to continue the major role they play in the
transformation of our society.
Prevention of Organised Crime Bill
This Bill provides a significant tool to Government in its ongoing
fight against the tide of crime. It outlaws gangs and membership to gangs. The Police
Services will be able to seize assets that were acquired through gang related activities.
It will make our streets and neighbourhoods safer for communities.
National Sport and Recreation Bill
The Bill provides for the promotion and development of sport and
recreation, measures that will correct the imbalances in sport and the promotion of equity
and democracy in sport and recreation. It will also put mechanisms for dispute resolution
Other Important Transformatory Legislation
The ANC also passed a number of other important transformatory Bills
that affirm the course of change and democracy that was set in 1994. Among those are the Open
Democracy, Municipal Structures, Municipal Demarcation, Sheriffs
and the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bills.
Most, if not all, of the crucial transformatory legislation that was
passed by Parliament in this session was, like in the past, opposed by the NP, DP and the
Freedom Front. It is evident that, in spite of the lip-service they pay to democracy,
transformation and justice, they are still trapped in the past. They cannot derail
transformation because of the ANCs commitment to the Constitution and the Bill of
Only the ANC has proven its capacity to fight for the poor and
disadvantaged. And the ANC has shown that step by step it is making South Africa a better
place for all its citizens.