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President Cyril Ramaphosa oral replies to questions in the National Assembly

13.        The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic: 
Whether, in light of the worrying statistic that around 27% of children under the age of five years old in the Republic are stunted, he has found that the Government is on track with its policy commitment to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, as espoused in the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security for the Republic of South Africa, 2018-2023; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? 

Honourable Members,
Child malnutrition is the one of the greatest impediments to the well-being of our people and the development of our society.
The fight against child poverty is therefore one of the priorities of this administration.
This is reflected in several social protection interventions to ensure that every child has access to adequate nutrition and decent housing, to free health care, education and child care. 
Over the years, we have increased the coverage of the Child Support Grant to protect poor and vulnerable children. 
To date, over 13 million children have access to the Child Support Grant, compared to 12.5 million in 2018.
Various independent research findings, including those conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), have confirmed that the Child Support Grant directly reduces poverty and vulnerability among children. 
The social assistance programme is complemented by other Government interventions, including the School Nutrition Programme and Community Nutrition and Development Centres that provide nutritious and healthy meals to vulnerable households.
The number of learners that receive free school meals has increased by half a million over the last four years, from 9.1 million in 2018 to 9.6 million now.
Government has adopted the 1,000 Days Campaign, which aims to improve the nutrition of pregnant women and children during the first 1,000 days of life to help ensure children get the best start to life and the opportunity to reach their full potential. 
This initiative is implemented by the departments of Social Development and Health, and it includes nutrition education and awareness for pregnant and lactating mothers, complimentary feeding support, and growth monitoring and nutrition counselling. 
The Department of Social Development is currently working on a maternal support policy to introduce state social assistance provision for vulnerable pregnant women. 
Once the policy has been finalised, it will be presented for approval by the relevant structures.
The Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey conducted between 2021 and 2022 concluded that despite significant investments in social grants, food insecurity and household and child hunger remained stubbornly high.
Child malnutrition is a product of poverty, unemployment and inequality in society.
Therefore, our interventions to support vulnerable children must be implemented alongside actions to drive inclusive economic growth, investment and job creation.
I thank you. 
14.        Mr J S Malema (EFF) to ask the President of the Republic: 
(1)        Whether, notwithstanding that he launched the Anti-Gang Unit on 2 November 2018 with the intention of disabling the criminal economy linked to gangsterism, the scourge continues unabated including, but not limited to, kidnapping, torturing of women and money laundering, he has assessed the reasons for its proliferation; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; 
(2)        whether he intends to introduce any new policy directives and or take any steps to curb the proliferation of the specified crimes in the Republic; if so, what policy directives and/or steps has he put in place and/or taken that will ensure that these crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted? 

Honourable Members,
Gangsterism, kidnapping and extortion is, in the main, undertaken by criminal enterprises that both threaten national security and erode the social fabric of communities.
The South African Police Service has established several initiatives to address gangsterism and the crimes associated with it. 
The capacitation of SAPS members to address gangsterism is a priority.
Since the Anti-Gang Unit was established in the Western Cape in November 2018, it has made 819 arrests for the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, 442 arrests for murder, 253 arrests for attempted murder and 1,387 arrests for drug-related crimes.
It has also confiscated large quantities of firearms, ammunition and drugs.
These figures demonstrate both the scale of the problem and the achievements of the Anti-Gang Unit.
The work of the unit includes integrated intelligence-led operations guided by regular interaction with stakeholders, information from informers and analysis of crime patterns and threats.
The organised, transnational and cybercrime approach involves the identification and investigation of organised crime threats. 
These multidisciplinary investigations are not limited to a specific geographical area and may cut across provincial and international borders. 
These investigations may include external stakeholders such as the National Prosecuting Authority and the Financial Intelligence Centre. 
The aim is to disrupt, neutralise and dismantle identified organised crime threats.
The operational approach is complemented by strategies to focus on specific violent crimes. 
For example, the SAPS has a plan to address gender-based violence and sexual offences, which emanates from the National Strategic Plan on GBV and Femicide. 
The GBV Action Plan is multi-sectoral and deals with domestic violence, sexual offences, human trafficking and serial rape.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – the Hawks – investigates money laundering and asset forfeiture on all national priority offences, including kidnapping. 
While crime rates remain extremely high, it is evident from the reports of the SAPS, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and other law enforcement entities that progress is being made in apprehending and prosecuting these criminals.
I thank you.
15.        Ms J C N Mkhwanazi (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic: 
In light of the announcement that the remaining units at Medupi and Kusile will be operational as quickly as possible, what (a) is the level of investment required to complete the remaining units and (b) guarantees does the Government have that the completion of the remaining units will contribute to the sustainability of electricity supply considering that the units that are already in commercial service at the specified power stations perform very poorly? 
Honourable Members,
According to the information received from Eskom, the remaining cost to complete Medupi is close to R19 billion. 
All six Medupi units have reached the stage of commercial operation, and the current focus is on completing the balance of plant and remedial works. 
The remaining cost to complete Kusile is R14 billion. 
Four out of six Kusile units are in commercial operation and the current focus is on completing the commissioning of the remaining two units.
Eskom’s intention is to complete the remaining scope of works at Medupi and Kusile within the current project budgets approved by the Eskom Board. 
Eskom is making steady progress in developing and implementing effective technical solutions to the major plant defects at Medupi and Kusile Power Stations. 
As a result, the availability and reliability of the commissioned units at Medupi and Kusile is improving. 
The effective correction of the major plant defects at Medupi and Kusile will ensure that the plants achieve their contractual performance, with improved reliability and availability factors. 
As an example, before the correction of the major plant defects, the energy availability factor at Medupi was 64 per cent measured over 12 months.
To date, in this financial year, the energy availability factor at Medupi is around 85 per cent. 
These figure excludes the impact of the turbine incident at Medupi unit 4, which is consequently currently offline for repairs. 
This plant performance improvement represents a significant improvement in the energy output for the station in support of the national grid.
I thank you.
16.        Mr S M Jafta (AIC) to ask the President of the Republic: 
Whether, following his scheduled bilateral meeting with the President of the United States of America (USA) on Friday, 16 September 2022, the Government is considering to leverage its crime intelligence by partnering with the USA in fighting illicit financial crimes such as base erosion, profit shifting and money laundering; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, will he consider proclaiming a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Agency in the Republic, to be located within the SA Revenue Service, to fight illicit financial crimes?

Honourable Members,
While the matter of illicit financial crimes was not discussed at the bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden, this matter has been discussed at G20 meetings, where the USA and South Africa are both members.
The discussions at the G20 are based on agreements that arise from the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. 
The Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting consists of 137 countries who collaborate on the implementation of 15 action items covering areas such as the digital economy, harmful tax practices, treaty abuse and dispute resolution.
The South African Revenue Service established an illicit economy unit two years ago and it is seized with fighting illicit financial crime. 
As part of a rebuilding process, SARS has also reconstituted the Customs and Excise Unit, Large Business and International Tax Unit and the High Wealth Individuals Unit.
These units operate distinctly but complement each other in the fight against illicit financial crime.
SARS cooperates with the United States’ Internal Revenue Service on matters such as benchmarking, training and investigations.
There is no reason to set up a separate agency within or outside SARS, which is the only organ of state administering our tax laws and hence implementing the laws we have enacted to give effect to the action items in Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. 
Government has adopted a whole-of-society approach to this matter. 
Industry, civil society, regulators, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies cooperate in two inter-agency working groups with the sole purpose of combating illicit economic activities. 
I thank you.  
17. Mr L N Mangcu (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic: 
Given the destruction of the railway infrastructure, in particular passenger rail infrastructure which is also utilised for freight, is it not time that the rail infrastructure be declared a national key point and that the theft and/or destruction of economic infrastructure that is key to economic growth is characterised as economic sabotage that attracts stiffer legal sanctions?  

Honourable Members,
The protection of our rail infrastructure is vital for the functioning of our economy and for the well-being and development of our people.
We have therefore been working hard with several stakeholders to end the criminal destruction of this vital infrastructure.
We are seeing improvements with respect to the security of our rail lines. An example of this is the cooperation between Transnet and the South African Police Service to secure the North Rail Corridor, which has led to a significant reduction in crime and derailments.
The South African Police Service has established Economic Infrastructure Task Teams in 22 priority districts to tackle all crimes that damage the country’s economic assets.
As part of our concerted effort to curb these crimes, last month, government published draft proposals to address widespread theft of copper cable and other forms of metal from public infrastructure.
The draft measures propose a six-month export prohibition on scrap and waste metal, including copper cable, together with a permit system for export of specified semi-processed metal products.
In terms of the National Key Points Act, the rail network does not qualify for declaration as a national key point.
This is because it is not address-specific and would not be able to meet the minimum physical security standard required for implementation at a national key point facility.
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which is will replace the National Key Points Act, makes defines “infrastructure” to include any transport network or network for the delivery of electricity or water.
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, 2019 still needs to be operationalised in conjunction with the promulgation of the Regulations to the Act.
The Criminal Matters Amendment Act of 2015 provides for severe legal sanctions for acts of theft or destruction of economic infrastructure.
According to the Act any person who unlawfully and intentionally tampers with, damages or destroys essential infrastructure is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction for a period of up to 30 years, or in the case of a company, a fine not exceeding R100 million,
This essential infrastructure include infrastructure required for the provision of energy, transport, water, sanitation or communication.
In the financial year to date, 43 people have been convicted in terms of this Act for copper cable theft, theft of fuel from the Transnet pipeline and destruction of railway infrastructure.
Several of these people have received sentences of between 10 and 15 years and one was sentenced to 26 years imprisonment.
It is clear that government is serious about tackling economic sabotage and, while this remains a huge problem, our efforts are starting to show some results.
I thank you.
18. Mr J J Maake (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic: 
Whether the Government will prioritise any of the recommendations made by the Chairperson of the State Capture Commission, Chief Justice R M M Zondo, for immediate implementation? 

Honourable Members,
When I received the final report of the State Capture Commission in June 2022, I said that I would study the report and provide a comprehensive response and a plan for implementation within the court stipulated timeframe of four months.
This requires consideration of some 358 recommendations from the Commission.
These range in nature from recommended actions against alleged perpetrators and enablers of corruption, to the recovery of funds, to proposed reforms to prevent, detect and prosecute corruption in future.
The work that is currently underway to consider these recommendations does not mean that we have been waiting for the tabling of this response plan to start the process of implemention of recommendations made by the Commission. 
You may recall that I amended the regulations of the State Capture Commission in 2020 to permit sharing of information, records or documents with any law enforcement agency. 
This was to enable law enforcement agencies to proceed with investigations while the State Capture Commission was busy with its work. 
As a result, many of the recommendations for criminal investigation, prosecution and asset recovery contained in the Commission’s report were already receiving priority attention. 
Similarly, work is underway across government departments, agencies, state owned enterprises and Chapter 9 institutions on a range of interventions to respond to the Commission’s findings and recommendations. 
This includes reform of the intelligence services, various legislative reforms, new financial and governance controls, capacity building and improved coodination and information sharing to prevent state capture and corruption. 
The implementation plan that I will submit to Parliament will outline this ongoing work and will indicate which recommendations have been prioritised for implementation.
Our approach is guided by the need to ensure both that the perpetrators of state capture face the consequences of their actions and that we use this opportunity to design and implement far reaching reforms to prevent a future occurence. 
I thank you.