14 June 2017

South Africa: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa - Reply to Questions in the National Assembly

press release

Question 1

Public perceptions of corporate capture of state-owned enterprises (SOEs)

Honourable Members,

Various allegations have been made in the public domain - and much evidence has been published - about undue influence by some firms and private individuals over non-transparent appointments and procurement decisions within key organs of state and some state-owned enterprises.

The allegations are a matter of grave concern.

State capture, in whatever form it takes, is abhorrent and it is something that we cannot tolerate as South Africans.

Among the urgent steps we need to take is to establish a judicial commission of inquiry to probe claims of corporate capture of state institutions.

President Jacob Zuma as the head of state and government, who has the power in terms of Section 84(f) of the Constitution to establish such a commission, has indicated that he is not opposed to the establishment of such a commission and that he is consulting with his legal advisers about this matter.

It is in the interests of all South Africans that the commission be set up as quickly as possible so that all those who have evidence can present that evidence to a competent body and those allegedly implicated have an opportunity to respond to allegations made against them.

At the same time, it is critical that the law enforcement agencies give these allegations their full attention.

We welcome the announcement by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation that they have begun investigations into these matters.

The veracity of the claims need to be established.

Where crimes have been committed, those responsible must be prosecuted.

One of the important pillars of our democracy is the rule of law.

It is important that South Africa should be a country that is regulated by the rule of law.

In matters like these, the law should be allowed to take its course.

Alongside this work, government is paying specific attention to strengthening the governance, financial management and the functioning of state owned enterprises.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on SOE Reform is engaged in the implementation of various Cabinet decisions taken in November last year.

These include the adoption of a guideline for the remuneration and incentive standards for directors of SOEs and a private sector participation framework for infrastructure delivery.

The IMC has also been overseeing a consultation process on a guide for the appointment of boards and executive officers, to ensure consistency and transparency and reduce opportunities for manipulation.

Consultation is also underway on a new government shareholder policy, which would result in overarching SOE legislation.

It is expected that this policy will improve oversight of SOEs, ensure more effective deployment and management of public resources and achieve better coordination of the commercial and social mandates of SOEs.

Together, these measures should reduce the potential for SOEs to be captured by corporate or private interests.

However, it is essential that we attend to the allegations that are currently in the public domain with purpose and determination if we are to restore confidence in our SOEs.

I thank you.

Question 2

The implementation of the Integrated Plan of Action to Fight Gender Based Violence, 2013-2018

Honourable Members,

Violence against women is an affront to all South Africans.

Apart from its devastating impact on the individuals affected, it undermines our efforts to build a caring society in which the dignity and rights of all are respected and upheld.

If we are to succeed in overcoming gender based violence, we need to understand and effectively address its causes, implement measures to reduce the potential for gender based violence, and ensure proper support for survivors and others affected.

The National Development Plan aspires to create a society where women can walk freely in the streets and children can play safely outside.

The Integrated Plan of Action to fight Gender Based Violence 2013-2018 therefore aims to transform attitudes, practices and behaviours.

It aims to ensure better access to support services for women and children at risk and provide long-term care, support and empowerment services for survivors of gender based violence.

The plan aims to ensure that women and children are better protected from violence through a strengthened system with supportive legislative, policy, institutional frameworks, adequate resources, organisational capacity and a comprehensive evidence base.

Work is currently underway to review the Integrated Plan of Action, taking into consideration lessons learnt and recommendations from the diagnostic review.

As part of a broader campaign to empower adolescent girls and young women, the "She Conquers" campaign works to reduce new HIV infections, teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates, and sexual and gender-based violence.

Government has also launched the National Dialogues on Violence Against Women, which are a mode of engagement with communities to find the reason for violence against women and children and develop common solutions.

The respective ministers have reported to this House on progress made in our programmes to address violence against women and children.

These engagements with the National Assembly have helped to inform the conceptualisation of some of these programmes and campaigns.

The struggle against gender based violence cannot be left to government alone or to the public representatives in this House.

It must be embraced by all South Africans - men, in particular - to ensure that we act decisively to end it.

I thank you.

Question 3

Government programme to eradicate poverty amongst pensioners of SOEs

Honourable Members,

The challenge of ensuring that employees in both the public and private sector are adequately cared for in retirement is currently confronting many countries across the world.

Due to advances in health care, many pensioners are living longer than a generation ago.

Many countries have ageing populations.

South Africa has the additional challenge of widespread poverty, unemployment and racialised inequality - with significant historical discrepancies in the pension arrangements for black and white South Africans.

As a result, the majority of pensioners in this country rely on state pensions.

With respect to the question posed by the Honourable Member, I am informed that the pension provisions for employees of state owned enterprises are protected in terms of the rules of the funds and the funds are responsibly managed.

I am aware of long-standing challenges with respect to pensioners that are part of the Transport Pension Fund and the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund.

I am also aware that a class action has been instituted on this matter.

Whether or not it is heard depends on legal challenges to it that I understand have been referred to the Constitutional Court.

The Department of Public Enterprises is best placed to give you an update on that litigation to which Transnet is a party.

Needless to say, it is vitally important that this matter is resolved without any further delay as it affects the living conditions of many elderly people.

I thank you.

Question 4

Participation of government at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 and the economic challenges facing the continent.

Honourable Members,

The World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Durban in May, attracted several Heads of State and Government, investors, policy makers, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives from the continent and beyond.

Once again, Team South Africa - consisting of government, labour, business and civil society - was able to effectively use WEF Africa as a platform to position South Africa as a destination for business and investment.

As in previous WEF events, South Africa was able to effectively present the country's economic strengths and engage meaningfully on its challenges.

In a global economic environment in which there is significant competition for investment and trade opportunities, the World Economic Forum has an essential role to play in exposing investors to what opportunities countries have to offer.

Several other African countries have been effectively using the World Economic Forum to showcase their economies and to present to the world the great potential that this continent possesses.

The WEF Africa meeting also provided an opportunity to deliberate on the challenges facing the continent - both economic and social - and the measures we need to take to address them.

There was a particular focus on creating the conditions necessary for the diversification of Africa's economies and the development of its industrial base.

The expansion of energy generating capacity and infrastructure was identified as essential to this effort, particularly the use of abundant renewable energy and the exploration of innovative financing mechanisms.

South Africa's experience in its renewable energy independent power producers programme was considered with particular interest.

A need was identified for the development of policies that deepen African financial markets for financial inclusion, particularly for SMMEs and entrepreneurs.

A consistent theme throughout this year's meeting was the role that research and innovation could play in stimulating economic growth and meeting some of the continent's most persistent social challenges.

As a consequence, there was much emphasis on improving education outcomes in science, technology and mathematics as part of Africa's preparation for the fourth industrial revolution.

The World Economic Forum on Africa meeting is a valuable platform to engage a broad range of political, social and economic actors on the challenges and opportunities on the continent.

While it cannot replace the work of continental and regional bodies, the relationships that are developed and the ideas generated during WEF Africa make an invaluable contribution to improving Africa's place in the world.

I thank you.

Question 5

Moral Regeneration Movement and restoration of ethics and morals in society

Honourable Members,

The on-going revelations about allegations of corporate capture of public institutions have undoubtedly - and understandably - undermined public confidence in the country's leaders.

It is therefore essential that these allegations are thoroughly investigated as a matter of urgency through a comprehensive, transparent and credible process.

As I indicated earlier, this should include the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry.

Allegations of criminal conduct should also be investigated by the relevant law enforcement agencies so that the law can take its course without fear or favour.

Efforts to promote ethical, moral leadership need to be strengthened.

This is an on-going process that requires the attention of all South Africans.

In fact, you will find honest, capable and committed leaders across South African society, in all communities, in all sectors, in government and in the political sphere.

There are leaders who are doing excellent work to build a better South Africa and improve the lives of our people.

These include elected officials, public servants, community leaders and civil society activists.

Now is the time for these people to come to the fore.

They must speak out against practices that undermine the rule of law, the integrity of our public institutions and the responsible use of our public resources.

They need to work to expose wrongdoing, ensure accountability and, where necessary, take corrective measures.

These leaders need to demonstrate to our people that there are ethical leaders in this country who are prepared to take up their interests and concerns.

These leaders need to give our people hope and encouragement.

This is not a responsibility that falls to one person.

It falls to all of us.

I thank you.

Question 6

The work of the Presidential Business Working Group and the incentives in the automobile industry

Honourable Members,

General Motors first conveyed its decision to withdraw from South Africa to the government on the 16th of May 2017, two days before the workforce was informed and the company made a public announcement to this effect.

General Motors indicated at the time that the company was in advanced negotiations regarding the sale of some General Motors assets to Isuzu.

The General Motors' decision comes on the back of sustained efforts by government in recent years to assist the company.

General Motors informs us that it has not performed well in the domestic market recently, both in terms of production and sales.

The manner and timing of the General Motors decision to withdraw from South Africa did not allow for any meaningful intervention prior to the decision.

Nevertheless an urgent process has been put in place by the Department of Trade and Industry to engage both General Motors and Isuzu with a view to ensure everything possible is done to support the production of Isuzu vehicles in South Africa.

They will also explore the possibility that a new investor can take over the part of the General Motors facility not sold to Isuzu to produce other vehicles, possibly in another market segment or as a contract manager.

An announcement will be made in this regard in due course.

The lesson which emerges from this experience is that the global automotive industry is a highly dynamic and competitive market in which companies make decisions based on their global strategies.

We are told that the decision by General Motors is informed by its global strategy, which includes exiting other markets such as Australia and India.

In an increasingly competitive global market, countries compete for investment and production in the context of decisions made by global manufacturers.

This is precisely why government is engaged in an automotive policy review and strategy process, working closely with a wide range of companies and industry associations.

This process will develop a 'Post 2020 Automotive Master-plan', which will serve before Cabinet later in the year.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

South Africa

President Jacob Zuma Assents to Criminal Procedure Amendment Act

President Jacob Zuma has in terms of section 84 (2) (a) of the of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Government of South Africa. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.