NEWS & ANALYSIS

I've never received payments as President... - Jacob Zuma

Other than those disclosed or reported to the necessary authorities, says President

QUESTIONS TO PRESIDENT JG ZUMA FOR ORAL REPLY

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THURSDAY, 2 NOVEMBER 2017

ê20. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

Whether at any time, since his appointment to the office of the President of the Republic of South Africa on 9 May 2009, he received any payment for any purpose from a certain person and/or the specified person’s company (name and details furnished); if so, what are the relevant details? NUO4031E

REPLY:

I did not receive any payments from private individuals or companies during my tenure as President of the Republic of South Africa other than those disclosed or reported to the necessary authorities.

I thank you.

ê21. Dr P J Groenewald (FF Plus) to ask the President of the Republic:

(1) When he intends appointing the National Commissioner of the SA Police Service (SAPS) in terms of section 207 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996;

(2) whether he has found any delay in the appointment to be to the disadvantage of the top management of the SAPS which exacerbates crime as a result; if not, what is the position in this regard? NO3474E

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

The process of recruiting the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service is progressing very well. We are conducting internal processes that will culminate in making the appointment. I intend to appoint the National Commissioner as soon as this process is finalised.

On 24 October 2017, the Minister of Police released the crime statistics for the financial year 2016/2017. The statistics show an increase in certain crimes and a decrease in others.

We commend the Minister of Police, the leadership and all policemen and women, as well as ordinary members of the public for their ongoing hard work in fighting crime.

The responsibility for confronting the scourge of crime and violence, while led by the police, is also a responsibility shared by all South Africans.

I thank you.

ê22. Mrs B L Abrahams (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:

With regard to the poverty study released by Statistics South Africa which revealed that rising poverty levels mostly affect children, black Africans, females, people from rural areas and those with little or no education (details furnished), what programmes have been implemented by the Government with regard to the fight against poverty to ensure that the fight is successful? NO3533E

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

Government has since 1994 introduced programmes aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. We have reduced the numbers of people experiencing the worst levels of income poverty significantly. Most of the achievements in reducing extreme levels of income poverty can be attributed to government’s comprehensive social protection programme.

This programme includes extensive income support programmes such as social grants, access to free education and primary health care for the poor and the working class and the provision of free basic municipal services to impoverished members of our society. 

Government provides social grants to seventeen million people, which translates to 31% of the population.

Over ten million of the recipients are orphans and vulnerable children. We recently celebrated with some university graduates who had been recipients of the Child Support Grant.

Over and above the social grants, government also provides support through the Social Relief of Distress programme to individuals and households faced with destitution, undue hardship and disasters such as fires and floods.

This support includes cash, food parcels or food vouchers and school uniforms that are provided to the distressed family for a minimum period of three and up to six months.

On education, over nine million children from impoverished households are exempted from paying school fees and they also receive free meals at school to ensure access to education regardless of the economic status of the parents.

Students from poor households attending technical and vocational education colleges also study for free to promote access to education.

Government also subsidises Early Childhood Development Centres and supports close to a million children of the poor and the working class attending these centres.

In addition, through the government’s Household Food and Nutrition Security Programme, more than 200 Community Nutrition and Development Centres provide over six million meals to more than three hundred thousand beneficiaries per annum.

Indigent households with no source of income do not pay for water, electricity, refuse collection and sanitation.

Free basic services are provided to over three point five million households.

Government also provides free health care to the poor by subsidising their hospital bills, depending on the individual’s income and guided by the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule Policy.

Importantly, Government also runs public employment and development programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Work Programme which provide regular work opportunities and training for thousands of people especially women and the youth.

As at the end of September 2017, the Community Work Programme has provided over two hundred and thirty thousand work opportunities. Over three million work opportunities have also been created in Phase Three of the Expanded Public Works Programme.

Some innovative programmes have also been introduced to support young people.

The War on Leaks programme run by the Department of Water and Sanitation is currently training ten thousand youth as artisans and plumbers in particular to curb water leaks. Other programmes target youth in rural areas to provide skills such as the National Rural Youth Service Corps programme which has helped thousands of youth.

These programmes alleviate poverty but more must be done to ensure prosperity and a better life on a sustainable basis.

The solution is to build an economy that is growing, which is inclusive and which benefits all citizens. It should also be an economy that supports aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to enable growth and job creation.

Work is continuing to boost economic growth through the implementation of our Nine Point Plan focusing on areas including manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, mining, telecommunications and others.

Ultimately, for us to totally lift the poor out of poverty, we have to ensure radical economic transformation.

The black majority must participate in the economy as owners, managers and controllers and benefit from the wealth of the country. They should not be workers only. Programmes such as promoting black industrialists and supporting black small businesses are aimed at changing the patterns of ownership so that we can see a difference in the lives of our people.

I thank you.

ê23. Ms D Carter (Cope) to ask the President of the Republic:

What is the Government’s position in respect of the findings contained in the Unburdening Panel report of the SA Council of Churches and the report of the academics titled Betrayal of the Promise: How the Nation is Being Stolen, which detail the emergence of a shadow state that feeds off the state by establishing a network of patronage, corruption and state capture (details furnished)? NO3546E

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

The Government is committed to fighting corruption in all its forms.

Since 2009 to date, I have signed eighty four proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate maladministration and corruption in government and state institutions.

The South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority have stated on record that they are investigating the allegations of the so-called state capture.

I have also stated before this Parliament that I will establish a Commission of inquiry to investigate such allegations.

I will do so as soon as my application to review and set aside the relevant Public Protector’s remedial action is finalised. The matter was heard in Court on 24 and 25 October and we are still waiting for the judgment.

The authors of the two reports should provide their information to the above mentioned law enforcement agencies and also to the Commission as soon as it is established.

I thank you.

ê24. Ms P S Kekana (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:

How is the Presidency through the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission, with reference to the fact that the country’s economy slid into a technical recession in the 2016-17 financial year, with the second quarter of 2017 indicating that the economy is gradually moving out of the technical recession with a projected 2,5 % growth, and in light of the slower rate of global economic growth influenced by rising trends in unemployment, a reduction in global trade and poor productivity across advanced and developing economies which put greater pressure on the country’s economy, intending to further use infrastructure development to stimulate economic growth and create jobs? NO3534E

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

Investment in infrastructure plays a critical role in economic growth.

The increased investment in infrastructure in our country in recent years has served as an economic boost during the period when the economy was faced with enormous pressures.

When the commodity boom turned and mineral demand decreased a few years ago, this directly impacted on a number of mineral-exporting countries.

In our country, as a result of the additional infrastructure investment, the economy has maintained growth, though it was at modest levels, until this year.

Earlier this year, the economy went into a technical recession but recovered in the last quarter.

The direct impact of new infrastructure spend has been considerable. It has been estimated that the multiplier effect has been two hundred and sixty billion rand in the economy and this is associated with more than seven hundred thousand jobs that are sustained in the economy.

Parliament passed the Infrastructure Development Act to establish the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) which brings together national, provincial and local government to coordinate infrastructure development. The establishment of the PICC has yielded positive results and enables us to keep track of infrastructure spending and eliminate bottlenecks in the implementation of the projects.

The new market conditions have led to some State-Owned Companies reducing their new capital spending. This matter is now receiving attention as we need to ensure that the combination of public and private sector spending on infrastructure is stepped up.

Such spending is the equivalent of planting the seeds that will grow the economy.

Our unwavering commitment to infrastructure development was strongly demonstrated during the recent Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, when the Minister of Finance announced that nine hundred and forty eight billion rand will be spent on infrastructure over the next three years.

This will certainly result in further job creation and stimulation of economic growth.

I thank you.


ê25. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

What is the total amount in Rand of all legal costs incurred by (a) his Office and/or (b) the Presidency since 1 May 2009 in respect of the irrational decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to drop the 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him in his personal capacity? NO3475E

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

The litigation referred to was not at the instance of the President but was initiated by a political party.

The President has defended it, as he is entitled to do so, at State expense according to the Provisions of the State Attorney Act 56 of 1957.

This benefit is extended to all who are employed in the service of the state.

I thank you.

ê26. Mr M P Mapulane (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:

Whether, in view of indications by scientists that one of the major concerns of climate change is the increasing occurrence of extreme events such as the increased intensity of drought and severe storms, and given the fact that the Government has developed the necessary mitigation and adaptation policies and programmes, the Government is currently able to effectively manage the effects of climate change, especially its impact on the economy? NO3535E

REPLY:

Honourable Speaker,

There is scientific evidence that the African continent will continue to become warmer and at a rate somewhat higher than the zero point one five degree celcius per decade that has been observed to date.

The science also indicates that future climate will include an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

As a responsible global citizen, South Africa ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Combatting Climate Change in August 1997 and since then we have been working jointly with other nations of the world to address the global climate challenge.

Our initial climate change plan of action, published in 2004, was based on intensive consultation with communities, civil society and business.

Based on lessons learnt in implementing these efforts, we conducted a Long Term Mitigation Scenario study which informed our pre-2020 commitment that I announced at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference of Parties.

We committed to a thirty four percent deviation from a business as usual Greenhouse Gas Emission trajectory by 2020.

We are making great strides in addressing both the causes and impacts of climate change in all its dimensions, namely social, economic and environmental. Our effort to mitigate Greenhouse Gas emissions are across all sectors and spheres of government.

For example, we have developed improved public transport systems in our Metros such as Rea Vaya, Areyeng and the Gautrain.

Our building standards have been upgraded to international energy efficiency standards. The Green Building Council has certified a large number of energy efficient and water wise buildings.

Our Renewable Energy Programme is among the largest globally. Our Provinces and Cities have developed and are implementing intensive Climate Change Strategies and Action Plans.

We have developed a Climate Change Response Policy with a greenhouse gas emission reduction system framework, which was approved by the Cabinet in 2015.

The first phase of the system includes the allocation of carbon budgets to companies, setting desired emission reduction objectives and the development of the pollution prevention plan regulations in respect of greenhouse gases.

In order to implement our post 2020 action under the Paris Agreement, we have developed the draft Bill on Climate Change where we will ensure that from 2021, mandatory carbon budgets will be implemented in combination with a carbon tax.

We are developing a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which outlines the national climate change adaptation action and guides on on-going and future climate change adaptation efforts.

The Strategy aims to encourage synergy in climate change adaptation efforts at the national, provincial, and local level to address slow onset climate change and further to ensure that climate change is considered in disaster management planning by the National and Provincial Disaster Management Centres.

As part of this effort, the Department of Environmental Affairs is working with the South African Weather Service to develop a National Framework on Climate Services to improve the dissemination of early warnings to society at large.

I thank you.

Issued by The Presidency, 3 November 2017