Transcript of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe being interviewed on SAFM's Morning Talk
17 August 2010Transcript of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe being interviewed on SAFM''s Morning Talk
17 August 2010
Presenter: We begin our conversation with the Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on all sorts of issues, both government and the ANC. Weíve had many ups and downs and its important to touch base and talk about where things stand at the moment. Government has its five main priorities that its outlined but implementation doesnít seem to be happening at all and there are many other issues that are being flagged and they are upcoming which you and I are concerned about, so lets talk about them. Give us a call Ė 0891 104207. Send us an SMS to 34701. You can email us at email@example.com. Weíre in conversation with Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe. He joins us from our studios in Parliament. Weíll take your calls as well on 0891 104207 and your SMSís on 34701. Deputy President good morning and thank you so much for making some time for us this morning.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Good morning Siki and good morning to your listeners. Thanks.
Presenter: Iíd like to get a sense from you what you think, where you think South Africa is at the moment. We seem to be at a crossroads right now. People are confused about what direction weíre taking and weíd like to hear where you think we stand right now.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Well, I think weíve just emerged from a very successful FIFA World Cup which generated lots of energy and a sense of national cohesion and belonging and I think where we are now is really to sustain that spirit by ensuring that in every project we engage in we once again ensure that there is full participation by the broadest cross section of communities here.
Presenter: Has anybody eroded some of those gains that youíre talking about, that the World Cup has given us because our discourse seems to have gone right back to where it was before June 11th?
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: No, above the hysteria really around the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal as well as the Protection of Information Bill and of course the deadlock in the public service and trade unions and barring those events I think thereís still lots of a sense of national cohesion and people are really ready and eager to find the positive things to do.
Presenter: What is your view on those issues particularly the Media Tribunal and the Protection of Information Bill?
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: As I said I think what is required is really to debate with a full understanding that freedom of expression, freedom of speech, free media, access to information, all these are matters that are enshrined in our constitution so we should proceed from that point of departure and debate as calmly as possible rather than to be hysterical about these issues, because itís a test of how we understand freedom of expression really and that we should be able to hear the other side, be ready to influence and be influenced by sheer facts. If the facts point us in one direction thatís the direction we should follow.
Presenter: And as you say, the way that we debate, you want the emotions taken out of it but what about bringing in ordinary people because the government talks about inclusive government, bringing in ordinary South Africans but in the discourse it seems the ordinary South African is left out of it.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Yes well, there are also language barriers so you see because most debates happen to take place in English and thereís very little debate taking place in vernaculars, the languages that ordinary people understand. That in itself is a limitation but you know, we have these institutions for instance, public institutions and platforms that we must put to good use to ensure that at the end when all is said and done we arrive at a decision that would be an approximation of what the broadest cross section of our population sees as the direction to follow.
Presenter: Should ordinary South Africans take it as a foregone conclusion that whatever the ANC decides is what is going to happen whether they like it or not?
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: No. I donít think thatís how it should be. You know one strength that we have as South Africans is that weíre a nation of activists and we are very passionate about whatever issue that we show interest in. The ANC has the majority seats in Parliament and even in Parliament parties with two or three seats still debate in the National Assembly as well as in the NCOP and in the legislatures and they do so with full understanding and confidence that the ANC can be influenced by facts and where [Unclear] arguments are presented.
Presenter: Lets talk a bit about where things stand right now. The ANC just over two years into its current administration, you highlighted five key priorities Ė they include decent work, crime, rural development among other things and poverty alleviation. Lets start with decent work. I mean, how do you create decent work when weíre losing hundreds of thousands of jobs almost every quarter?
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Yes. Youíll of course agree with me that the right to work is a fundamental right that all citizens who are not studying who need to engage in meaningful economic activity and be employed deserve to be employed in an environment that is safe, have all the rights including retirement and protection and so on. So thatís a goal that we have set as a priority. Of course when you have heavy unemployment people believe that any job under any circumstances will do. But the Minister of Labour will shut down any sweat shops that are not safe, that does not comply, if its in a building or its in a factory and its not safe and workers are exposed to hazards, heíll shut it down. Thereís no question about it. In the mining industry the safety commissioners will do the same if the working area can result in fatal accidents and so on. So these are rights which must always be balanced. That is why you need checks and balances in society. So its not a luxury to set a goal of creating decent work because the main point is that people must have the right to earn a living by contributing their labour power and expertise and do so in a safe environment.
Presenter: Well, you mentioned the public sector strike and just staying with decent work, the workers in the public service saying that they actually donít have decent pay. They donít have decent work. They are not valued. Weíve got teachers, weíve got nurses who are really essential services in my book and they feel that theyíre not actually being exposed to decent pay.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Yes Siki, thatís why the government recognises their right to bargain collectively and also recognises their right to withdraw their labour power if they are not satisfied with the conditions and like everything else in life, where improvement and progress is itself a function of how those so affected articulate their demands in the sharpest manner possible and I agree with you that ordinarily teachers in society are really the architects of the nation. They are the ones who produce responsible, educated, skilled citizens and therefore they should be rewarded handsomely for their efforts and contribution. And of course, you see the state of education. One of the reasons why education is a priority is that given our history, basic education in this country particularly with regard to the schools in the townships as well as in rural areas are in a [Unclear] state and needs surgical overhaul. That goes for personnel as well. You do find schools in rural areas that are led by principals who are dedicated who regard teaching as a call and they do everything in their power to ensure that the school is well managed, where the teachers are in class on time teaching and the learners are in school on time, learning. Then you get good results from such schools. And there are schools where there is anarchy so the situation is uneven and there should be a way in which the entire basic education system is overhauled for the better, including as I said, personnel.
Presenter: And talking about the schools where there is anarchy and we saw reports from some schools in Gauteng yesterday and schools in KwaZulu Natal where teachers basically went on the rampage, teachers who are affiliated or are members of SADTU which is an alliance partner or part of an alliance partner of the ANC. Is there a relationship breakdown between yourselves?
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: No not quite. SADTU is a trade union like any other trade union you find in the industrial sector. My understanding is that trade unions donít defend wrongdoing. If a member of a trade union reports for duty under the influence of liquor or on the wrong side of sobriety to put it more mildly, the union would not defend that kind of offence and that is why I am sure that the union will condemn those kinds of acts where people go on the rampage because it only serves to divert the attention from the real issues. When workers withdraw their labour power and they picket, all of that should happen in an orderly peaceful manner. There is no need for people to act in a manner which is offensive to other people and citizens because if you are involved in the strike you also need the sympathy and support of the general public.
Presenter: There are a number of other issues we need to touch on but we need to take calls as well Ė 0891 104207. Youíre listening to South Africaís news and information leader, thatís SAFM. Lets take a call from Mike in Cape Town. Hi Mike.
Caller: Hi Siki, thanks very much and morning Deputy President. I must admit I feel a little like Iím in a time warp here. I canít really understand or believe what the Deputy President is telling me. I was involved many years ago in fighting for press freedom along with many people who are now fairly high up in the ANC and I cannot understand where heís going with this press media bill. I want to make the point that thereís no crisis at the moment the country faces other than unemployment, strikes and thereís no other reason for this press bill being brought in and heís fooling himself if he thinks heís fooling South Africans that this bill is there for no other reason than to protect the ANC from the obvious chaos and the obvious corruption we see every other day. I open the Sunday Times on a Sunday and I see that President Zumaís son has just made R9.7 billion. I want to say that slowly so the people of South Africa can hear it -R9.7 billion. Now when that kind of plunder and looting is taking place Deputy President, please you know, I spent 15 years fighting apartheid. I did my little bit. I certainly wasnít in exile but I took a few smacks from the security police and I was threatened in jail. I did my time as best I can. And Iím begging you and the ANC. I fought this tooth and nail. I want to make a suggestion. Re-look at what youíre doing. The challenge is not the press. Its simply because you are so far down the road with corruption and you are so unable to take control of it that you need to cover it up. And you need to recognise that because itís a road to nowhere. You might hide it for a few years but I know from experience, when the National Party tried to shut down the press, they lost the battle, thanks to the ANC who fought them in exile and weíre going to go down the same road. Deputy President please, we need to re-look at this country, weíve got all the potential in the world. You need to take control of your party and we need to kill this corruption. I will be flying to Johannesburg tomorrow working for free for the government on BBEEE projects and I have to sit on the plane and read about people within your very own party that are stealing money from under the poor. And the poor are finding out about it and they not happy and thatís why youíre bringing in the bill. You arenít fooling anybody Deputy President. Please, take control of the country. Lets go forward.
Presenter: Okay. Iíll get a response for you Mike. Thanks. Thatís Mike in Cape Town. Iíll give you a moment Deputy President. Lets hear from Mr Pillay in East London. Morning!
Caller: Good morning Siki and good morning comrade Deputy President. First of all want to congratulate the Deputy President for showing an extraordinary calm during all these times you know. It needs to be appreciated. My question is very simple. You know, South Africa has been in a jungle relation for all the people in terms of the political terrain but what is happening around now is that, if I look at the ANC, all the political organisations the principle [Unclear]have been sorted with the might. I think it is a back [Unclear]. Iím an office bearer of the ANC. In all your summations in the [unclear] spectrum of the political terrain people donít want to be sent to the [Unclear]. And the past 16 years this was not the case. And its needs the statesmen like the old days, needs to come up. I think this is the worry inside of all of us. Being a citizen of this country, being a political activist, I feel thereís a lot of pain about.
Presenter: Thanks Mr Pillay. Siyanda.
Caller: Yes, good morning.
Caller: A few issues. The first one the Deputy PresidentÖ
Presenter: Wait, your line broke up there.
Caller: Hullo! I was saying that the Deputy President was in Grassville about two weeks ago. In that ward of Chief Albert Luthuli thereís been a demonstration and a petition signed by 2 000 people calling for an investigation into the activities of corruption of the current councillor. I was also one councillor there. The document was forged under my name. Iím requesting [Unclear] the MEC met about 3 000 residents who all of them called for the recalling of the councillor. She said she is going to investigate about two months ago. Nothing of that went. Iím requesting the Deputy President to come to [Unclear] particularly to hear the grievances of the people. He will be shocked about how that councillor is mistreating people and how the housing list was changed to take out those who do not support the councillor and put in those who are the colleagues of the councillor. The second issue, we have seen the sentencing of Jackie Selebi. We are worried that Glenn Agliotti who is a billionaire, his empire is not investigated and so on and so on. Why is it easy to sentence Selebi but it is difficult to investigate and sentence this drug baron? When you reach [Unclear] he revealed that there were physical attacks on the Deputy President when he assumed the role of the president after the [Unclear] of President Mbeki. What is his comment on these attacks on him?
Presenter: Lou, Durban!
Caller: Very shortly, let me just say to the Deputy President, greetings to him. One thing that I wanted to talk about Siki, one is the question of media freedom. [Unclear] every person in South Africa [Unclear] and the question of the media [Poor line reception] nobody raised the issue of how they are conducting it around the scandal issue. And on the second question, Iím having a problem with the strike because they are not children. They are not going to school. I wanted to check with the Deputy President [Unclear] what is their current [unclear] what they are doing right now because its [Unclear] the current minister [Unclear]. Thank you.
Presenter: Alright. Weíll take more calls and Iím going to give the Deputy President a chance to respond to issues raised by Mike, Mr Pillay, Siyanda as well as Lou and weíll take more calls. 21:52
Presenter: We will be taking your calls in conversation to the Deputy President of South Africa Mr Kgalema Motlanthe. Deputy President, let me give you a moment to respond but before that let me read you some of the SMSís because I think you can tie that in to your responses and as well...and Lee says: ďI was horrified to hear one union official saying education is not an essential service as if nursing. Surely this should be illegal". And someone says: " Can the Deputy President please clarify this: are they within the ANC not concerned that the movement is slowly becoming corrupt; it destroys what our heroes died for". That is S''the in KwaZulu Natal. Piet in Durban says: "Mr Deputy President, the press-ball is aimed at hiding corruption and looting - nothing else." And someone says: " .....[sic] police must be paid much more and government must halve their obscene salaries. And the ....mentality strikers must stop now; it is embarrassing...[sic]....And Dalene says: " Well said" and Matt from Cape Town:" We agree, 100%". It looks like corruption is top on the minds of South Africans, Mr Deputy President?
Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Yes, Siki, thank you very much and thanks to the listeners who phoned in now. Lets start with Mike. I think the important point to make here is access to information, freedom of expression, free media, eh, all these are enshrined in our constitution. That is our point of departure. And that it is not a useful way of debating when people, eh, simply conflate the proposed media appeals tribunals, you know, as a....its a resolution of an ANC conference in 52nd National Conference. And the Protection of Information Bill - because these are not one and the same thing. The Protection of Information Bill is a bill that is being piloted through parliament now. And the Assembly will deal with this matter accordingly because as I understand the problem with it or concerns raised about it is that people are saying the definition of the information that must be protected is too wide and open ended and also allows the officials in the bureaucracy to decide what must be protected. Because you see, Siki, even now as we speak there is protection of information. Cabinet''s decisions and deliberations are protected; they are secret. And every page that is presented is written "toxic read" and unless it is declassified itís an offence to access that and or publicize that. So, its not as though there isnít such limitations - such limitations are there and as I understand it, the problems and concerns that are raised are that this bill does not define the kinds of information that must be so classified and protected and by who. And so that debate must happen and I am sure that rationally the bill would be improved in parliament and that you know there are lots of processes before the President ascends to it to become law, people must ventilate at their views and make inputs. So it not as though this is written in stone; itís like any other bill - it is going to be processed the same way. If it is unconstitutional, it will not be certified in its current form. So, I donít think we should be alarmed and say this is the end of the road, you know and so on. We must just clinically deal with what is the weakness in the bill as it reads today - and deal with that, yes....
Presenter: And to deal with corruption?
Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: ....And on the other hand, okay, let me just finish this point. On the other hand, the media appeals tribunal is the proposal that the ANC is making, itís not to be made law yet and so on. Itís a debate because what the ANC is saying is that the self regulatory mechanisms that apply to only print media, not broadcasting, because broadcasting has the mechanisms that no one can fault. But the ANC takes the view the Press Council as well as the Ombudsman needs to be strengthened and that is what needs to be debated about. And I donít think that this is something to be alarmed about because you see when you speak of freedom of expression in a democracy you mean that there is going to be ideas. Some ideas may sound ridiculous but we must engage with them so that they are exposed for what they are if they are ridiculous and discard them. But we cannot have a situation in which the only way we find expression to our views is by campaigning because then there will be no dialogue and they will kill dialogue in society. So, I am just pleading that let''s have rational debates; let''s make our points as clearly as possible because to throw in BEE issues and so on into such a debate its merely to obfuscate issues and then the issue of corruption - corruption is of concern; its one of the five priorities that we have. At whatever level it manifests itself, it is something that we must fight against all of us and defeat corruption. And of course there is always the corruptor and the corruptee. And we must, you know, strengthen our ways of dealing with these things. And let me deal with Siyanda''s call about Ward10 councillor in Groutville. Only yesterday, the Minister of Human Settlements, because he said this Councillor is manipulating lists for, I suppose, housing and so on. The Minister of Human Settlements together with the Head of the Special Investigating Unit Willy Hofmeyer announced that they have already arrested and recovered lots of fund from those who were defrauding particularly the housing programs in the various provinces. So these matters I will refer to the Minister of Human Settlements so that it can be included in the brief of the Special Investigating Unit. Then the issue of Agliotti - as I understand it, Agliotti entered into a plea bargain with the NPA for him to have been used as a state witness in the trial of former Commissioner Jackie Selebi. And the judge in his judgment didnít think he was a credible witness. But, on the other hand, Siyanda complained that why is he not being charged? Of course he is on trial now in the Brett Kebble murder case. So that I think the NPA would be able to attend to. And then what he says about the attacks on me...
Presenter: Attacks on you Deputy President...
Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Well, you know, the Star Newspaper and Pretoria Newspapers ran false articles about me. I did say that I will refer the matter to the Press Ombudsman which we did - my lawyers wrote to the Press Ombudsman and the lawyers of the Star Newspaper and Pretoria Newspapers came and said they will print an apology - which they did. So, we withdrew the complaint to the Press Ombudsman. And that is how the matter was resolved
Presenter: And interventions in the strike and that the children are not going to school?
Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Well, yes. As I said, you know, we live in a democracy; trade unions have a right to bargain collectively. The essential services are also defined in law and in those essential services, normally the unions and employers enter into a minimum service level agreements to ensure that even the other workers go out on strike - those who are essential workers remain at their posts. Education is essential and it is a priority. But we have not been able to reach that minimum service level agreements with the teacher unions. And as someone said earlier on teachers are essential in society and I would be the first one to say that they deserve the best working conditions and salaries that are competitive. But, you know, the President can only ensure that the from government side, the bottom of the barrel is [agreed] sic to offer a reasonable package and as I understand it the unions have considered the current offer on the table. What they are concerned with now is that there are other issues that they need commitment on from the employer. And I think that they will go back to the bargaining table before going out on a full blown strike and I am quite confident that they will find each other.
Presenter: Let''s take your calls; we have Alfie in Ruimsig, Alfie?
Caller: Hi Siki, thanks for this coveted space. Deputy President, always a pleasure talking to you. I would like to remind you - post Mr Malema''s visit in Kagiso sometime ago - that is when I had chance to speak to the Deputy President and he was very unforgiving in terms of redressing the issues that, you know, had a negative effect on the smooth running of education in the country. And you had raised two issues. Without prejudice, I will raise the issue of Mittal-Steel in Vanderbijlpark especially in context of the newly acquired BBBEE, Mr Deputy President. I would like to remind you about [issues] sic of Iscor recently in the development of Vanderbijlpark as an area. And as far as I know with the little information that I have gathered is that the high level of unemployment that is affecting Vanderbijlpark has reached staggering percentages of up to 45% and the level of education is also under a serious severe strain. I am thinking that, this BBBEE deal, as to how can we have it structured so that it can affect positively material conditions of the people who live in the vicinity where these business is taking place. And lastly, on the issue of education, any negative rumblings whether its strikes or kids leaving school early, has a very serious implication on an imperative that is transition in such as education including health as an example. So I would believe that the Deputy President could put these matters high on the agenda of the ANC and the government to see how do we develop a structure that would contextualize the interpretation of the right to strike thereby you take the circumstances into consideration before you take a decision to strike on a matter that has a serious implication on the developmental state. Thank you Deputy President - I wish you all the best and strength in taking us forward as a nation.
Presenter: That is Alfie, Themba is in Alexandra.
Caller: Good Morning, and greetings to the Deputy President.
Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Greetings, Themba
Caller: And I hope your CV as the current coach for Bafana Bafana will be approved by SAFA and very soon you will be getting us good players.
Caller: I just want to say, Deputy President, well just as a comment, characters like Mike and the guy from KwaDukuza tends to mix things up. The issue of the media appeals tribunal is as necessary as 15 years ago. Take the recent case of Julius Malema. I mean everybody, as a result of the drivel in the media Julius Malema was corrupt. And if the Public Protector has cleared him, where is Joe Thloelo? I don''t see Joe Thloelo on TV saying we were wrong, the media was wrong - nothing!!!. In your case Deputy President, articles were ran left and right about you. Your dignity was really down and honestly for the first time today he heard that the apology was tendered by The Star. And that is the only punishment we can talk about. I just...look...i appreciate the fact that you have found it in your heart to take the insults and the humiliation and still forgive - I respect you for that. I donít want to be like that. I want to go to a place where I know that there will be outcomes from this type of behaviour. But what I have phoned for, Mr Deputy President, is simply the fact that it borders on education as well - I still donít understand "gore re makgowa na?" (translated: " are we white?") or are we Africans? Why is it so difficult for you guys, when you were President, when you were Deputy President and all guys in the opposition, why is it difficult to address the nation in an African language? Why are we so struggling to come across in English? How will other people respect African languages? How will they start learning African languages? We will still remain the outpost of Europe even 100 years after freedom. What nonsense is this, Mr Deputy President?
Presenter: Thanks, Themba. Motala, in Durban.
Caller: Hallo. I am deeply concerned about the speed at which the status at Settlements is taking. It is unfortunately relatively slow whenever the matter concerned is affecting the majority poor in the country. On the other hand, when the more affluent societies is affected, then the action is quick. By way of illustration, with regards to the strike by public teachers -as long as the strike does not practically affect those more affluent people whose children are in private or model C schools - the settlement is slow. Only when it affects all of them and the matter is quickly solved - thank you
Presenter: Thank you, Motala, Lerato- Kempton Park
Caller: Greetings to your honourable guest. I am very excited that the Deputy President not so long ago was on SAFM on your show to address many SAFM listeners and he has once again came back to talk to us at the time when government is under fire regarding this media tribunal issue. However the issue that I want to raise with the Deputy President is a trend that I have noticed, Mr Deputy President, now yesterday there was a report that an MEC in the North West was fired and when I drive home in the North West I notice that roads are in disrepair. And not so long ago, there was an issue about mismanagement of funds in the Department of Roads and Infrastructure in the North West. So I am concerned that there is this political stick and rhetoric that is not necessarily helping South Africans. The department that is so key to the economy of a province...[where from time to time - :heads will roll"] sic. Heads had never rolled in important in key functions of government. But in some....not so critical ministries, we have an MEC fired. So I am just concerned that these tendencies and issues that crop up from time to time about factionalism within the government and the issues of....
[caller''s phone disconnected]
Presenter: Lerato? Okay, we have lost Lerato. We will take two more calls Mr Deputy President, we are running out of time - we have about five minutes left. I will ask our last two callers to be brief so that you will be able to deal with the issues. Caller in Randburg, please be brief?
Caller: Good Morning Siki and Mr Motlanthe.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Good Morning, Sir.
Caller: I used to be a great supporter of Mr Motlanthe until he fired Vusi Pikoli as well. I saw that as a serious compromising of our constitution, even. But that''s besides - I now believe that the latest proposal by the ANC to deal with the press are going to go into the threshold into tyranny, I am afraid. Because I donít think we can trust parliament to....because its been proven in the past - we cannot trust parliament to handle media tribunals. We know that such a media tribunal is suspect and not just suspect but it is the wrong thing to have. And there we are...so I donít want to go into the proving of how all of our democracy has been compromised because that will take too long. But I just want to say that thank you for letting me say that we are now threatened with a tyranny.
Presenter: Thanks, and caller in Mpumalanga - please be brief
Caller: Good morning Siki and good morning to the Honourable Deputy President.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Good Morning
Caller: There are two questions I want to ask of you. I want to run into detail but I donít have the time. The one is about our teachers. For teachers who are now on strike and are taking extra classes afterwards - it has happened last year [unclear caller reception] sic...three times the amount of money per hour and there might be [a contradiction on this] sic that they were paid from the ABET funds. I would like to go into more detail about the ABET teachers but I donít have the time. My second point is that we are always talking about creating jobs - I see people here who are getting, I think, its R400 a month cutting grass. I am surrounded here by one of them and I am in one of the nine townships; the roads are terrible and yet nobody is doing anything about it. So why don''t we give jobs - could be 200 people involved in one township for the whole ten years. These are decent jobs where they will get decent wages. I would please, Mr Deputy President, I would plead for something to be done about that.
Presenter: Thanks, Anne. That is Anne in Mpumalanga. Deputy President, can I ask if I could steal five minutes of your time after the news? Because I do not think we have enough time for you to respond before the news. We still have got about two minutes before the news; so let''s just deal with some of the issues that have been raised so far - education is top of the agenda.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: Yes, let''s start with Alfie. Alfie, raised the issue of empowering the community, for instance, in Vanderbijlpark, where he says that 45% of the people there are unemployed and that when Iscor was still in existence it used to have a very responsible program of empowering that community in Vanderbijlpark. Unfortunately, Mittal Steel which owns no part of old Iscor - old Iscor is now owned by what is called Kumba which is really an Anglo American subsidiary. And the other aspect of it is what Mittal is trying to lay its hands on. So I am not quite clear as to whether that is the responsibility of Iscor per se. So let''s deal with the issue in the general sense that when its the responsibility of the private sector because these are private sector companies and what is the responsibility of the public sector? I think one of the lessons that we should draw, as a country, as a nation, in the manner that we are prepared to host the FIFA world cup, is in provision of bulk economic and social infrastructure in the depressed areas - be it in the townships or the rural areas. I think it would be important to have an inter-spherical coordinating structure to deliver bulk economic and social infrastructure - that is roads, sewer, water, portable water, electricity, schools and clinics. That must be a national priority.
That must be the national priority so that the local municipalities could be tasked to look into the maintenance of that bulk infrastructure. I think we owe it to ourselves to handle this task because you know the various callers also referred to the state of roads and all of that. I have been to areas where - the Mt Frere in the Eastern Cape - its a wonderful school there and yet the teachers and the learners often have to go into the veld to relief themselves.
Presenter: I am going to have to ask you to pause there for a moment, Deputy President, if you don''t mind and then I will give you a chance after the news to pick up on other issues raised.
Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Thank you.
Presenter: And just wrapping up our discussion with the Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. A couple of issues that we have not dealt with- so we are going to do that now and then I will release the Deputy President. A couple more issues, I think, let''s just address them and we can wrap up our discussion, Deputy
President Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Yes, Alfie also raised the issue of, you know, costs of disruptions to education and health services. And I couldnít agree more with him on that point. But of course, you know, these are unions or workers rights to withdraw their powers also enshrined in the constitution. Though the reason why the essential services are excluded from the right to strike is one those that are limited under Section 36 of the Constitution. And them Themba, raised a very important point of language- and because we are a diverse nation, yes, indeed when we speak in any of the 11 official languages we lose some in the audience - some sections would be able to follow every wording you communicate- whether you are using an official language, English, Afrikaans or any of the African vernaculars. So its one of those challenges going forward that we will have to find a way of harmonizing so that there could be a language that is understood by people in the most remote corners of the country so that when they listen to the address, they can immediately engage with it. But unfortunately we pride ourselves for being a nation that is rich in our diversity. That services as a limitation but its a vary, of course. And Motala says the strikes are normally swiftly resolved when the striking teachers are those who would affect the learning of the children rich people. I donít think that applies to today because in the public bargaining chamber all the teacher unions are all represented across the various...people whether they are the urban areas, in the affluent areas or the rural areas - they are all represented equally. So in fact we would have hoped that bargaining negotiations could be resolved without the need to resort to strike action but the withdrawal of the labour power is provided for in the Labour Relations Act. And then Lerato in North West says he has just learnt that the MEC in the North West has been fired and that he drives on roads that are full of potholes and there he has never heard of heads rolling. I do know that the former HOD of the Department of Roads in the North West was not only dismissed but he would also be facing charges of wrongdoing. So, its not quite true but the point that I was making earlier on is that the construction of roads should really be a national priority, in my view. That is why I was speaking of the construction - delivery of bulk economic and social infrastructure. If we were to take that as our next, you know, major project; much more bigger than the FIFA world cup and tackle it with the same level of coordination and passion as well as...within set timelines - I think we can improve on the quality of lives of many of our people. The gentleman from Randburg, I missed his name...
President Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Sig, Yes. He says that we are on the threshold of tyranny and his swallow is this proposed media appeals tribunal. That has [swallowed]sic signals to him that we are on the brink of tyranny. I think he takes very dispassionate look at the make up of the South African democracy he will realize that we are far from moving into that direction and that, you know, we are a democracy and ideas that may sound quite ridiculous will be aired and ventilated. That is the essence of freedom of expression and unless we learn that lesson we will not be able to be alarmist in our approach and predict doom when the future may actually be more positive and brighter. He takes issue to the fact that the former National Director of Public Prosecutions was dismissed. I must just explain to him that the law as it stands - its the point a made much earlier when I was still the President - that the law as it stands of appointing of the National Director of Public Prosecutions is flawed because its a cut and paste. A National Director of Public Prosecutions is a political appointee. A President or whoever is the President can appoint whoever - the only requirement is that, that particular person should be a qualified advocate. So there is no major processes of interviews and selections and so on. And yet the aspect of how you dismiss such a political appointee was lifted from the provision that applies to judges. And we all know that the process of selecting judges is much more rigorous and in my contention, even in the past, is always that this NPA Act needs to be properly aligned and balanced. And just to complete the point, a President cannot dismiss a National Director of Public Prosecutions in the same way that he cannot dismiss a judge. And that is why the President will set up a commission which will assess whether such a person is fit and proper to hold such an office. And such a commission report will assist the President to make up his mind or her mind. And yet, the President has no final word in that. The President has to make a recommendation to parliament because the body which really dismisses a National Director of Public Prosecutions is the National Assembly
Presenter: Unfortunately we are out of time completely and would have loved to talk about Adult Basic Education and I think its something that we need to talk about. And I did promise Anne that we are going to have a full discussion on that one. But we are completely out of time. Deputy President, thank you very much for your time.
President Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe: Thank you, Siki and thank you to your listeners
Presenter: And that is the Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe