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Oral Replies by Deputy President David Mabuza in the National Assembly

On reforming and professionalising the public sector
Honourable Speaker
To begin with, the public sector under the democratic government has never had a deployment policy. We should not conflate formal public service policy concerns with party consultations aimed at increasing capability of the state.
Indeed the President, as leader of the governing party, made a submission to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Corruption, and Fraud in the Public Sector, including Organs of State, on issues and clarifications sought by the Commission regarding the party's position, and practise of pursuing its strategic transformation imperatives under "cadre deployment; however, the President was not outlining adopted government policy, but the position of the Governing party.
For our purposes, let us focus on the National Framework for the Professionalisation of the Public Sector, as adopted by Cabinet on the 19th October 2022. The Framework is a response to a discussion about reforming and professionalising the public sector, and emphasises a single public administration across all three government spheres and state-owned entities.
Honourable Speaker
In line with Section 195 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that demands an effective public administration, the Framework highlights the government's strategic commitment to build a capable, ethical, and developmental state. A state with substantial economic growth, structural changes in production patterns, and social equity measures. This capability will ensure our country's growth and prosperity for all citizens.
Through intergovernmental relations structures, there is consensus that the government should strengthen the skills, expertise, and capabilities of the public service at all levels to improve the quality of services. This includes developing leadership capacity, managerial competence, financial management skills, spatial planning skills, technical skills, and project execution skills, especially in infrastructure projects.
While acknowledging the need for demographic representation, there is also emphasis on meritocracy. In this regard, entry requirements would be tightened and be based on rigorous screening and appraisal that lead to merit-based middle and senior management appointments.
That is why, even though Cabinet appoints Directors-General and their deputies, recruitment and selection is guided by rules, and is carried out within strict recruitment procedures of public service and administration. To further enhance competencies, those in the public service, will be subjected to periodical assessment for up-skilling and retraining in order to enhance service delivery.
In this respect, the Framework is a concrete response to a discussion about reforming the public sector by enacting measures to advance its professionalisation.
Thank you!
20. Mr T S Mpanza (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:
On securing a conflict-free continent

Honourable Speaker
Our history as a country was characterised by repression, violence and bloodshed, which is why we consider diplomacy the best way to achieve peace, sustainable development, prosperity and nationhood. Therefore, our government’s philosophy and foreign policy remains firmly based on dialogue and peaceful means to the resolution of conflicts.
We remain committed to finding and pursuing "African solutions to Africa's problems." It is this posture that informs our outlook on all other platforms we participate in, wherein we see our role as representing the voice and interests of the whole of Africa.
Such posture is about mutually reinforcing cooperation on development issues than competition with the rest of our continent. We remain convinced that conflict stunts growth and development, and it is a recipe for disaster.
Honourable Speaker
The conflict in the Tigray region which has resulted in fatalities, widespread displacement of many people on the brink of famine and a humanitarian crisis, has the potential to destabilise the wider Horn of Africa region.
The role of South Africa in line with our foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict free continent, was to host the talks after accepting the African Union’s request for direct peace talks between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front following the outbreak of the conflict in November 2020.
The mediated talks held from 26 October to 02 November 2022, were facilitated by the African Union Special Envoy, former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, and supported by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
South Africa welcomes the historic agreement reached between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, for a permanent cessation of hostilities, the restoration of law and order, a coordinated programme of disarmament, and demobilisation and reintegration for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front combatants into the National Defence Force.
The parties intend implementing transitional measures that will include the restoration of constitutional order in the Tigray region, a framework for the settlement of political differences, and a transitional justice policy framework to ensure accountability, truth, reconciliation and healing.
A committee chaired by the African Union will be established to monitor and verify implementation of the agreement. The committee will include representatives from the government, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa.
It is our hope that the two parties will continue with negotiations and find common ground on the outstanding issues, in a spirit of reconciliation in order to reach a lasting political settlement, silence the guns, and put the country back on the path to peace, stability and development.
South Africa will continue to work with the African Union as a member of the Peace and Security Council, and share the country’s expertise in conflict resolution and negotiations. Such assistance could be made available, or facilitated by government, or non-governmental organisations in support of the African Union mediation efforts.
Thank you!
On delivery of socio-economic benefits for Military Veterans
Honourable Speaker
The history of our struggle for freedom and democracy cannot be told in its entirety without paying tribute to the bravery and selflessness of military veterans, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of  our freedom.
Since November 2020, as the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans, we have held continuous provincial consultations with various military veteran’s associations in order to solicit concerns and grievances of military veterans. In this regard, we have made great strides, especially in the socio-economic support, housing, and pension benefits.
Through  these consultations, we are able to  consolidate the concerns of military veterans on a variety of issues, including but not limited to the housing and pension benefits. The consultations have also assisted us a great deal in understanding challenges faced by Military Veterans better, some of which, may require policy intervention.
We have also established different work streams, drawn from a cross-section of government departments and provinces. These workstreams are specifically tasked to streamline certain service delivery nodes. These are:
a.   Legislative Review
b.   Pension and Benefits
c.   Database Verification, Cleansing and Enhancement
d.   Heritage, Memorialization and Burial Support
e.   Socio-Economic Support
f.   Organizational Redesign
g.   Communication
Furthermore, the Presidential Task Team has held consultations with Premiers and representatives of military veterans in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, the North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Western Cape and most recently, in KwaZulu-Natal. We are also planning to visit the Northern Cape province before the end of November 2022.
During these consultations, we have discussed ways through which various provincial stakeholders could better support the Department of Military Veterans in enhancing the quality of services it provides.
We have also agreed on the necessity to develop a coordination framework located within the Offices of the Premier, so that the  affairs of military veterans across the provinces, could be achieved.
In relation to progress towards the delivery of socio-economic benefits, including that of pension and housing, the Presidential Task Team has established the Socio-Economic Work stream, and tasked it with the responsibility to facilitate the provisioning of pension, health, education, economic empowerment and housing benefits to military veterans.
In this regard, it is important for the house to note that the provisioning of Military-Veterans-Pension has already been prescribed in the legislation.
It is in pursuance of this legislative provision, that the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans approved the payment of this Military Veteran’s Pension, which led to the National Treasury to allocate funds for the current financial year and three outer years.
In order to facilitate payment of this pension, we have tasked the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, to finalise the enactment of the pre-requisite regulations that are necessary to guide the payment of this pension benefit.
Honourable Speaker
The legislative review workstream is yet another important work stream, which is tasked with the responsibility to develop implementation plans that are aimed at addressing policy and legislative shortcomings. This includes gathering submissions and public input on the Military Veterans' Amendment Bill.
In this regard, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans has emphasised the need to review the narrow definition a military veteran, and the enactment of polices that will set the qualifying criteria for beneficiaries.
It is also important to note that military veterans who had for one or other reason been omitted from the military veterans’ database are currently undergoing a new verification process. The Database Verification Panel, which is responsible for the verification task has already visited Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo.
Currently, there is a total of 44 369 military veterans whose details are contained in the Certified Personnel Register, who already qualify to receive benefits as prescribed in the legislation. There are also 1 225 new applications that have been assessed by the Database Verification Panel, of which:
· 92 of operatives that were either internally or externally trained, were recommended for inclusion;
· 110 ex-political prisoners were recommended for inclusion;
· 269 former Self Defence Unit members were recommended for inclusion; 
· 2 Amabutho members were recommended for inclusion; and 
· 752 applicants were declined.
The Department is also busy establishing an Appeals Board that will provide those that may not agree with the outcome of the Database Verification Team, an avenue to lodge an appeal.
Honourable Speaker
The provisioning of the housing benefit to military veterans is regulated by a housing policy that has been approved by the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans. According to this policy, military veterans are eligible to receive a house of 50 square meters.
It has come to our attention that in other cases, different provinces have offered military veterans with houses of higher meterage. As a Presidential Task Team, we continue to encourage provincial stakeholders to conform to national norms and to build houses for military veterans that are of the  same standard.
With regards to the provisioning of  the Health-Care Benefit, all military veterans can access support from the South African Military Services. Currently it is only military veterans, and not their spouses or dependents, that are eligible for assistance. This is a challenging situation for our military veterans, which we are still addressing.
In addition to the work we have outlined above, the Department of Military Veterans is working with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture on the programme of repatriating the remains of the fallen Military Veterans that have been left behind in other countries. A cost-effective model for the repatriation of the remains of our fallen heroes and heroines is currently being considered for Cabinet approval.
Working together with Military Veterans will hopefully provide positive results that contribute to their well-deserved socioeconomic improvement.
Thank you!
On service delivery in the Kopanong Local Municipality

Honourable Speaker
Reports of municipalities unable to fulfil their constitutional mandate generate our attention, and call for collective action to improve lives of millions of people.
In this way, the 2021 State of Local Government Report says that Kopanong Local Municipality is one of the municipalities that has been deemed dysfunctional and is facing many problems with service delivery, administration, financial management and governance.
According to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Kopanong Local Municipality owes Bloem Water 550 million Rands, resulting in a 30 percent water restriction being imposed by the Water Board.
Subsequently, the municipality is unable to service its debt and has resorted to water rationing to control its water supply. As part of a targeted intervention, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent has started to drill boreholes in areas such as Madikgetla, Trompsburg, and Sprinfontein, with completion expected by the end of this month. It is hoped that this project will bring the required relief to the affected areas.
We have further been advised that the municipality is presently unable to pay salaries and do so consistently. The inefficient collection of revenues is directly to blame for the financial difficulties faced by the municipality. Because of this, the municipality has not been able to function as well as it could, and as a result, municipal grants have been used to pay municipal employees' salaries.
To this end, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the Minister of Water and Sanitation are currently consulting with the Free State Provincial Government on whether to invoke Section 139 of the Constitution together with Section 63 of the Water Services Act for targeted intervention in the water and sanitation affairs of the municipality.
In order to fix this problem in the meantime, the National Treasury has issued a directive intended to prevent financial bailouts for municipalities. The Free State Government has also decided to implement Section 154 of Municipal Support in Kopanong, which include the following initiatives:
· A Technical Advisor stationed at the Provincial Treasury was appointed in October this year under the Municipal Finance Management Programme, to support Kopanong Local Municipality and any other municipalities in similar situation within the province.
· The Provincial Department of CoGTA has seconded senior officials to stabilise the administration, to act in the positions of Municipal Manager, Chief Financial Officer, and the Director responsible for Corporate Services.
· The Provincial Treasury will continue to provide support through training on revenue, budgets, accounting practices, Supply Chain Management, Risk and Internal Audit financial matters.
Furthermore, the South African Local Government Association will provide councillor support, capacitation and financial management. 
Honourable Speaker,
This is in addition to other measures that include the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent seconding a Professional Engineer and a Professional Town Planner to the Municipality for technical support. This support will eliminate backlogs in the municipality by funding and implementing water projects from its budget.
All these measures are aimed to help the municipality turn around and are likely to deliver positive outcomes over time, given that the political and administrative leadership are committed to correcting the identified difficulties through national and provincial support.
We should emphasise that municipalities must use the money they are allocated effectively and efficiently for the intended purposes. If not, there should be consequences.
Thank you!
On the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections 2017-2022
Honourable Speaker
HIV/AIDS and TB remains a key health challenge, particularly for our country, which still carries one of the highest burdens of the epidemic in the world.
We are encouraged by the strides we have made in our national response to end HIV/AIDS and TB as public health threat by 2030. The implementation of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections 2017 ‑ 2022 has had a positive impact on combatting HIV and AIDS in the last five years. To date, South Africa has the largest antiretroviral treatment in the world that has resulted in a significant increase in people who are living longer. 
As at August 2022, 94 percent of the estimated number of people living with HIV know their status, 76 percent of the people who know their status are on anti-retroviral treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment have suppressed viral loads.
Honourable Members,
Despite progress that we have attained to date, we remain concerned with the high rates of HIV infection among young people, especially adolescent girls and young women. These new HIV infections occur in young people aged 15 to 24, and according to the Thembisa 4.3 model, in 2019, there were roughly 14 000 new infections in young males and 55 000 in young women.
In this regard, SANAC launched the National Youth HIV Prevention Strategy for South Africa in June 2022 as a three-year Youth HIV Prevention Campaign that focuses on the integration of key health and social services and youth development programmes, social and behaviour change communication, and mobilisation for increased access to and improved quality of health products and services.
The campaign's ultimate objective is to reduce by 40 percent the prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among South African youth, primarily those between the ages of 15 and 24 and particularly among young women.
Also implemented were targeted social behaviour change programmes like "You Only Live Once," which aims to provide a secure and supportive environment in which young people can safely engage in conversation about HIV prevention. These conversation platforms allow the youth to learn, share their challenges and perspectives, and receive assistance where required.
The establishment of ‘youth zones’ within our facilities have contributed to ensuring that we broaden access to services targeted at young people. Youth zones are dedicated spaces providing a suite of services to young people who visit our facilities to interact with health professionals. These services include, among others, reproductive health and rights, safer sex and risk information, HIV testing, treatment, as well as mental health and substance abuse support.
Honourable Speaker
Despite South Africa being acknowledged internationally for its positioning and responsiveness to human rights, the National Strategic Plan admits that there are still large gaps to be overcome in the full implementation of the human rights agenda, particularly for key and vulnerable communities.
In response to the disproportionately high prevalence of HIV among key and vulnerable populations, SANAC developed the National Sensitisation Training, which aims to reduce stigma and discrimination against those who are HIV-positive or TB-vulnerable. This is meant to make it easier for them to access justice and redress; and to foster an environment that upholds and protects their legal and human rights while preventing stigma and discrimination. In collaboration with partners, this programme has been rolled out in provinces to ensure that implementers are sensitised.
In addition, explicit inclusion and support of needle-and-syringe services in the country's National Strategic Plan is another hugely important intervention.  The Global Fund 2018 baseline assessment, indicated that people who inject drugs experience stigmatisation and discriminatory behaviour from healthcare professionals, which creates a barrier to accessing HIV and TB treatment.
For this reason, we have focused on holistic support to ensure that people who inject drugs have access to services, given the fact that they are at a high risk of HIV infection.
Honourable Members
Indeed, whilst we have made significant strides, there has been some impediments to our efforts to reduce HIV infections in the country. These include the COVID-19 pandemic that has hampered the ability of the health sector to achieve the 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets due to disruption of services, especially during the hard lockdown period.
The interruption of service delivery in the KwaZulu-Natal province due to the April 2022 floods also had a negative impact on the entire country’s performance in terms of HIV response since KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of people living with HIV in the country.
Gender-based violence and femicide also continues to be the main contributor to the increasing number of HIV cases. Together, we must fight this plague to promote healthy and cohesive communities. Stigma and discrimination at various levels of delivery in the health system also remain major impediments, especially for key and vulnerable populations including people with disability, sex workers, and people who inject drugs, among others.
The fight against HIV and AIDS can never be achieved without considerable effort, hard work, and dedication. It cannot be achieved without human agency and a change in behaviour. It requires all of us to pause, think, and reflect in order to ensure that, regardless of our station in life, age, class, or gender, we all take responsibility by testing for HIV, tuberculosis, and other ailments.
It is for this reason that SANAC has been holding a series of engagements with civil society, interfaith leaders, traditional leaders, traditional healthcare practitioners, and the private sector on the particular subject of addressing structural barriers and social determinants of the spread of HIV and AIDS. 
It is in working together that, as a country, we can make the necessary contribution towards the global goal of ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030.
Thank you!
On executive accountability to Parliament on the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption, and Fraud in the Public Sector
Honourable Speaker,
It remains our firm belief that executive accountability to Parliament promotes national unity and gives meaning to public participation in policy and legislative processes. In underscoring this fundamental democratic principle, we once more affirm the centrality of Parliament in ensuring that the accountability of the Executive is upheld at all times.
In line with this principle, on October 22, 2022, the President gave Parliament the Cabinet's response to the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption, and Fraud in the Public Sector.

Consequently, the President outlined the work and actions that has already been done by government departments, law enforcement agencies, state-owned companies, and Chapter 9 institutions to give effect to the Commission’s recommendations, including required reforms to prevent any future acts aimed at state capture.
Certain recommendations have a bearing on the interplay that exists between Parliament and the Executive Branch as a result of the Commission's investigation of the role and oversight responsibilities of Parliament.
These recommendations amongst others are:
· Parliament to consider establishing a committee for oversight over the President and the Presidency;
· Parliament to introduce a suitable tracking and monitoring system for implementation of corrective actions proposed by Parliament;
· Parliament to consider the principle of 'amendatory accountability' in an Act of Parliament;
· Parliament to consider additional measures involving the Speaker and the President to sanction non-compliant Ministers;
· Parliament to consider legislation or rules to deal with the late submission of reports by representatives of the Executive to Parliament;
· Parliament to consider legislative measures for non-attendance to Parliamentary responsibilities by Members of the Executive;
· Parliament to implement rules to assist it further in sanctioning Cabinet members for non-compliance; and
· Parliament to put in place mechanisms to prevent unlawful use, or abuse of power by the Executive.
Collectively, these issues are crucial to accountability, transparency, oversight, and improving legislative and executive democratic norms and practises.
In response to the Commission's findings and recommendations, government departments, law enforcement agencies, state-owned enterprises, and Chapter 9 institutions are working on a wide range of interventions.
We are mindful that Parliament will employ its very own procedures and processes in order to implement recommendations concerning the effective interplay between Parliament and the Executive Branch. This includes the issue of strengthening existing oversight mechanisms over the Presidency and the Executive.
As the leader of government business in Parliament, we will make every effort to cooperate with the Presiding Officers in order to put the Commission's recommendations about the work of the Executive and Ministerial branches into action.
We will also assist in advancing government's efforts to combat fraud and corruption across public and private sectors thereby improving public confidence in the value of democracy and rule of law. 
Thank you!