Daily Archives: November 18, 2016

Transport celebrates World Remembrance Day,

South Africa Commemorates World Remembrance Day

The National Department of Transport together with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and other stakeholders with a key role in road safety will commemorate the 2016 United Nations World Day of Remembrance at Kwandengezi Sports Ground, Kwandengezi Township in KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday, 20 November 2016, at 09h00.

The commemoration will be preceded by wreath-laying ceremony to be held at M13 Fields Hill in Pinetown, where a major car crash involving four taxis and a truck took place in 2013.

World Remembrance Day is marked to remember millions of people who were killed, injured and affected by road crashes on the roads worldwide. It is also used to reflect on the tremendous burden and costs which road crashes put on families and communities, while reigniting calls for all road users to halt the needless deaths and maiming.

The Department of Transport through its agency, the Road Accident Fund (RAF), will handover assistive devices to people who were seriously injured in road crashes on the day.

The World Remembrance Day will be followed by the 3rd Annual National Road Safety Summit that will take place from Monday 21 to Tuesday 22 November 2016 at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban.

The aim of the National Road Safety Summit is to address issues of road safety in the country and make contributions to the country’s road safety strategy that will assist with reducing the number of road carnages by half in 2020 as stipulated by the United Nations in the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

This year’s summit will reflect on the resolutions of the past summit, discuss progress and other road safety interventions that are underway.

Source: Government of South Africa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa: FEDUSA 6th National Congress

Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant,

President of FEDUSA, Mr Koos Bezuidenhout,

General Secretary of FEDUSA, Mr Dennis George,

President of COSATU, Mr Sdumo Dlamini,

President of NACTU, Mr Joseph Maqhekeni,

Leadership of SATUCC and ITUC Africa,

President of Business Unity South Africa, Mr Jabu Mabuza,

Delegates,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than sixty years ago, in the months leading up to the Congress of the People in Kliptown, a call went out to the people of South Africa.

It was a call for them to speak of their trials and tribulations, their hopes and aspirations.

It said:

We call the miners of coal, gold and diamonds.

Let us speak of the dark shafts, and the cold compounds far from our families.

Let us speak of heavy labour and long hours, and of men sent home to die.

Let us speak of rich masters and poor wages.

Let us speak of freedom.

Let us speak of the good things we make, and the bad conditions of our work.

Let us speak of the many passes and the few jobs.

Let us speak of foremen and of transport and of trade unions; of holidays and of houses.

Let us speak of freedom.

This was a clarion call for decent work and a decent life for all.

It is a call that resonates across time, and which finds expression here, in the 6th National Congress of Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA).

It was a call made by black and white South Africans for a fair and just society where the humanity and inherent dignity of workers is recognised, valued and promoted.

It was a call to end the exploitation of the working class.

It was a call to end inequality, poor wages and sub-human living conditions.

It is a call that we have yet to fully answer.

By placing the struggle for decent work at the centre of our national endeavour, FEDUSA – and the labour movement at large – is defining the path to a better society.

At its essence, decent work is about human solidarity and the partnerships we need to forge to lift the living standards of the South Africans who toil in our mines, factories, farms and harbours.

We look to this Congress to promote engagement among all social partners to urgently implement pro-poor programmes that advance social justice and social inclusion and enhance the quality of our freedom.

It should proclaim that no person can be free until all people are free.

The privileged in our society must realise that for as long as a decent life remains the preserve of a few, their prosperity will be fleeting.

They must realise that an injustice to one, is a threat to all.

They should pay heed to what the American abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, said more than a century ago.

He said:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

When we agreed in 1994 to form a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa, we rejected a society based on the oppression of one by another.

We entered into a social compact to create a more humane society that protects the most vulnerable among us.

Now, 22 years later, as we reflect on the tremendous achievements of our democracy, as we deliberate on the enormous challenges we must still overcome, let us resolve here that the time has come for a new social compact.

Let us resolve that the needs of our people are so great, the extent of their deprivation so severe and their desire for meaningful progress so relentless, that we must work with urgency to forge a social compact for profound economic change.

The prevailing economic environment makes this task all the more imperative.

South Africa’s economy, like the global economy, has slowed.

Global production is down and demand is weak.

This poses a severe challenge to our job creation efforts.

It undermines our poverty reduction programmes.

Currently, 5.7 million citizens want to work, but are unable to.

A further 2.4 million of our citizens are now discouraged from seeking employment.

Almost 45% of unemployed South Africans have been looking for work for more than three years.

Households are struggling to make ends meet.

Families are struggling to adequately nourish, clothe and educate their children.

Many businesses are experiencing difficulties.

Confidence is low.

Worries about a potential ratings downgrade are weighing heavily on the minds of citizens and investors alike.

And yet, this harsh reality presents a unique opportunity for us to work together to reshape our destiny.

We need greater collaboration among our social partners, capable leadership and a common vision.

We need decisive action to steer our country from despair to hope, from a narrative of lack to a story of opportunity, from a chronicle of deprivation to a testament of prosperity.

We have the means to make that a reality.

We have a commitment from all social partners and a shared interest in growing an inclusive economy, creating decent jobs and improving the living conditions of our people.

We also know what is possible.

Since President Jacob Zuma met with the CEOs of South Africa’s leading companies in February this year, government, business and labour have been working closely together on several measures to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

The social partners have undertaken joint roadshows to meet investors to answer their concerns and to present our shared approach to the economic challenges that confront us.

As part of these efforts, business has led the establishment of an investment fund to provide small businesses with access to finance.

Already, around R1.5 billion has been committed by several companies.

Consultation is continuing on a youth employment initiative, which will see companies coming forwards to place young people in one-year paid internships, giving them crucial exposure to the world of work and significantly improving their chances of finding permanent employment.

But the ambitious target of one million internships within three years will only be achieved if government, business and labour each play their part.

Another signal of the determination of the social partners to work together to build the economy are the deliberations in Nedlac on labour stability and a national minimum wage.

As the representatives of FEDUSA to the Committee of Principals would attest, we are extremely close to reaching agreement on measures to promote labour stability and strengthen collective bargaining.

The provisions contained in the draft code of conduct on collective bargaining, industrial action and picketing, together with significant improvements to the Labour Relations Act, present the promise of a new era in the South African labour market.

This weekend, the social partners at Nedlac will be considering the final report of the Advisory Panel on the introduction of a national minimum wage.

The panel’s recommendations – which are well researched, balanced and considered – give us confidence that agreement on the national minimum wage is imminent.

Agreement among the social partners on a national minimum wage will mark a seminal moment in our decades-long struggle to create decent work and a decent life for all.

After extensive, difficult and occasionally fraught deliberations, the social partners are poised – after more than 60 years – to realise one of the fundamental economic demands of the Freedom Charter.

In the work they have done, in the commitment they have shown, in the differences they have overcome, these constituencies have laid the ground for an enduring partnership to fundamentally transform our economy.

Through their efforts, a new social compact is taking form.

It is a social compact for decent work.

But it is far more than that.

For when more people have decent employment, we are better able to pursue sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Decent work improves incomes, which wage-earners and their families spend in the economy.

This spending fuels the growth of enterprise, especially small businesses.

Small businesses in turn are able to hire more people.

Decent work increases tax revenues that we can use to fund social measures to protect those who cannot find a job or are unable to work.

This is also a social compact for inclusive growth.

We can say our growth is inclusive if it takes place in areas where the poor live.

We can say our growth is inclusive when it creates jobs that are suited to the skills and capabilities of our people.

We can say that growth is inclusive when it reduces the prices of food, fuel, clothing and transport.

We can say that growth is inclusive when people have land, when they have a stake in the economy and when they are able to acquire skills.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is by working together that we will navigate through the current storms to achieve economic prosperity.

We are the engineers of sound macroeconomic policies that anchor our efforts to achieve inclusive growth.

We have a transparent monetary policy that enables citizens and foreign investors to make informed business decisions.

Our budget policy framework and budget statements continue to prioritise support to the poorest.

We continue to prioritise capital investment, while keeping debt service costs at manageable levels.

Our government is committed to cutting waste and improving efficiency in public spending, while protecting and improving social services for the poor.

We are continuing in our efforts to improve investor confidence and create an environment where businesses can thrive and employ more South Africans.

We are maintaining our massive investment in economic and social infrastructure.

Through our industrial policy, we are prioritising spending on growth-enhancing job creating activities.

We are succeeding in attracting new foreign investment into developing our industrial capacity.

It is by working together with all our social partners we can grow our economy faster and employ more people.

As an essential representative of the working people of this country, as a valued social partner and as an agent for economic and social change, FEDUSA needs to play a leading role in forging this new social compact.

It needs to continue to be a force for unity within the labour movement and a force for progress across society.

This Congress is a testament to the role that FEDUSA has to play in charting a new path for our country.

It is a testament to your commitment not only to advance the interests of your members, but to struggle tirelessly for a better and brighter future for all the people of South Africa.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

The Presidency on annual remuneration recommendations for 2016/17

Introduction

1. The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers (Commission) is established in terms of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers Act, 1997 (the Act). The Commission’s mandate is to make annual recommendations concerning salaries and/or the upper limits of the salaries, allowances, benefits, and the resources required by some public office-bearers (POBs) to enable them to perform their respective duties effectively.

2. The Commission submitted its 2016/17 recommendations to the President on 18 October 2016 and to the National Parliament on 03 November 2016. The recommendations were published in Government Gazette No. 40422 of 11 November 2016 and also uploaded in the Commission’s website.

3. Subsequent to the publication of the recommendations, the Commission received numerous enquiries and requests from other media houses to discuss these recommendations. As a result, the Commission resolved to convene the present press conference in order to brief the media.

Key considerations for making recommendations

4. In compliance with Section 8(6) of the Act, the Commission took the following factors into consideration when making the recommendations:

” the role, status, duties and responsibilities of the office bearers concerned;

” the affordability of different levels of remuneration of public bearers;

” current principles and levels of remuneration, particularly in respect of the organs state, and the society generally;

” inflationary increases;

” the available resources of the state; and

” other relevant factors which include the inputs from relevant stakeholders, the Commission’s past recommendations and determinations by institutions mandated to make determinations concerning salaries, allowances benefits and necessary resources for some POBs.

Consultations with stakeholders

5. In considering the 2016/17 recommendations, the Commission held statutory and courtesy consultations with the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, the Chief Justice, the Lower Courts Remuneration Committee (LCRC), and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

6. The Minister of Finance expressed serious concerns regarding the current state of the South African economy, the increasing constraints on the fiscus, the inflationary increases and the available resources of the state. Further, the Minister highlighted the significant impact of previous public service wage agreements on the economy.

7. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services highlighted amongst others, the inability of the POBs to negotiate their salaries, the current salary gaps within the judiciary, and the impact of inflation on the lower level POB’s. The Minister indicated his support for differentiated increases in terms of which the lower courts judiciary should benefit more from the adjustments.

8. The Chief Justice expressed his concerns regarding the state of the South African economy. The Chief Justice further indicated that given the state of the economy, the Judges’ views were that they would sacrifice an increase in their own remuneration. The Chief Justice requested that consideration be given to increasing the remuneration of the lower courts judiciary, by at least 5% or in line with inflation.

9. The Lower Courts Remuneration Committee highlighted a number of concerns with the overall remuneration structure and indicated its preference for an inflationary adjustment on current remuneration.

10. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) submitted a written feedback to the Commission about issues regarding the particular designations of Traditional Leaders. The Minister made a request on the recommendations for the remuneration, benefits and tools of trade for the Principal Traditional Leaders (PTL), and no comments regarding salaries of POBs in local government and other traditional leadership.

Annual remuneration recommendations for 2016/17

11. Having considered all the factors prescribed by the law, the Commission concluded that 6% would serve as an appropriate basis on which to measure the cost of living adjustment (COLA) in respect of the POBs. Accordingly, the Commission recommends the following cost of living adjustment(COLA) in respect of the POBs:

No adjustment (0%) to the remuneration of:

” All members of National Executive and Deputy Ministers

” All members of National Parliament

” All members of Provincial Executive and Legislature

” All Judges

” Local Government: Positions of Executive Mayor to Whip

” Traditional Leadership: Position of the King/Queen to Full-time Deputy Chairperson of Provincial House of Traditional Leaders

4% cost-of-living-adjustment to the remuneration of:

” Local Government: Municipal Councillor

6% cost-of-living-adjustment to the remuneration of:

” All Magistrates

” Full-time Members of the National House of Traditional Leaders(NHTL) to Headmen/ Headwomen, and sitting allowances of all members of National House of Traditional Leaders NHTL and Provincial House of Traditional Leaders

The remuneration scales are reflected in the gazette.

The Principal Traditional Leaders (PTL)

12. The Commission discussed the Minister’s request on the recommendations for the remuneration, benefits and tools of trade for the Principal Traditional Leaders (PTL). Due to lack of sufficient information and pending litigation, the Commission has decided to defer recommendations with respect to this position.

“Once-off gratuity payment” for non-returning municipal councillors post the 03 August 2016 local government elections

13. The Commission recommended that only non-returning Municipal Councillors who served for a minimum period of 24 consecutive months prior to the 03 August 2016 Local Government elections qualify to receive the “once-off gratuity payment”.

14. The payment of the “once-off gratuity” must be based on the basic salary and not the annual total remuneration package (ATRP) because the employer’s contributions towards the benefit funds are included in the total package. Accordingly, the Commission has recommended a formula to be used for the calculation of the “once off gratuity”. In terms of the formula, the once off gratuity should be paid as follows:

Gross Gratuity payment = [(N /N-factor) x (Basic salary x 3)} x pro-rata factor

Where:

” N represents the number of consecutive months that the Councillor served as a councillor (N to not less than 24)

” N-factor and Pro-Rata Factor depend on the number of completed months for the individual as set out in the table below

” Basic salary means the component of the salary that excludes a travel allowance (25% of the Annual Total Remuneration Package), a housing allowance, the municipal contribution to pension fund (15% of the basic salary), the municipal contribution to a medical aid scheme (2/3 of the membership fee) and any non-pensionable allowance

Conclusion

1. The Commission deems it necessary to highlight that the Commission is empowered to make recommendations regarding salaries, benefits and allowances of specific public office bearers, while the power to make determination of the salaries, benefits and allowances resides in different institutions at different levels of the POBs. Such institutions are bound to follow prescribed processes and to amongst others take into consideration the recommendations of the Commission when making determinations.

Source: Government of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma: Address at National Council of Provinces

Annual Address by President Jacob Zuma to the National Council of Provinces, East London

The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces,

Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,

Honourable Ministers and Premiers,

Deputy Ministers and MECs,

Members of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures,

Executive Mayors and the leadership of SALGA,

Traditional Leaders,

Councillors,

Mphakathi wase Buffalo City namaphethelo,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Molweni, Sanibonani, Dumelang,

We thank the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for bringing us together for another session of “Taking Parliament to the People.”

We meet in the beautiful home province of Oliver Reginald Tambo. Next year in October 2017, the country will celebrate the centenary of his illustrious life.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee has begun planning this momentous celebration or a national hero and a man who sacrificed a lot for the liberation of our country and people.

Chairperson,

One of the highlights of the year 2016, is that it marks the 20th anniversary of the signing into law of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, by President Nelson Mandela.

This took place in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996.

The Executive, Judiciary and Legislature and our people, will come together in Sharpeville on 10 December next month, to mark this historic occasion.

The anniversary is an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to building a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, as called upon by this progressive Constitution.

Honourable Members,

Just over three months ago, over 15 million South Africans come out to vote in the local government elections.

Of the 257 councils only two have not been constituted as a result of court processes, Nquthu Local Municipality and UMzinyathi District Municipality, both in KwaZulu-Natal.

The success in constituting councils means our local government sphere has come of age.

On the 9th of November the first by-elections of this new administration were held in 15 wards, across six provinces, and these also went well.

The task now is to continue improving the performance of local government so that services to our people can be delivered better and faster each day.

Inhloso ka-hulumeni ukuthi abantu baphile kangcono, bahlale ezindaweni ezinezidingo – ugesi, amanzi, imitholampilo, imigwaqo, izikole kanye nokuphepha kuphele ubugebengu.

Asisoze siphumule uma kusekhona abantu abalala bengadlile, abahlala ezindaweni ezingaphephile, abangenawo ugesi namanzi nezinye izidingo.

Kuningi osekwenziwe uhulumeni. Progress is being made in many areas.

Let me talk about housing for instance. Government has an impressive record of delivering over 4,3 million houses and subsidies since the dawn of democracy.

We are happy to announce that Eastern Cape Province has contributed close to six hundred thousand (600 000) housing units since 1994, providing shelter to more than two million people in the province.

Since the beginning of the current financial year, which is April 2016, we have successfully delivered more than one thousand five hundred houses and services to the people of various communities in the Buffalo City Metro at a cost of about one hundred and twenty five million rands.

The Government is also hard at work fast-tracking the issuing of title deeds to the beneficiaries of our Government subsidised houses.

Access to water remains a critical priority, not only now during the crippling drought but generally as an essential service for our people. Water is life and sanitation is dignity.

We expect to see the beginning of the construction of the Mzimvubu Dam. The detailed design work for this ground-breaking mega-project is already nearing completion.

The highly anticipated new Foxwood Dam in Adelaide and the Zalu Dam near Lusikisiki are also advancing well and are now in the planning stages.

The construction of the Xhora Dam is 57% complete while the Mbashe Dam also on schedule.

Other newly completed dams in this province are the Ludeke Dam at Bizana, which is now 100% complete and Mdwaka Dam which is 100% complete.

We are a nation at work, building a better life for and with our people.

Honourable Members,

I know that all of you care about the future of our youth and about education.

Our host, the Eastern Cape, has amongst the best schools and universities.

I am happy to report today, that this province is now the leading beneficiary of Government’s school infrastructure programme under the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, popularly known as ASIDI.

The objective of ASIDI is to build decent modern schools with water, sanitation and electricity.

It is also to replace schools constructed from inappropriate materials such as mud, plankie or asbestos structures with proper structures.

In the Eastern Cape alone, government has to date built one hundred and twenty six new state-of-the-art schools.

Just yesterday, the Basic Education Minister handed over yet another state-of-the-art school, namely Bhungu Primary School in Libode at the OR Tambo District Municipality.

The school boasts, amongst others, a nutrition centre, an internet connection, a science laboratory and a resource centre to name just a few.

This school shows how far we are prepared to go to provide a better education for our children in this country.

Nationally, to date, a total of two hundred and seventeen replacement state-of-the-art schools have been built and handed over to the communities.

And also since 2014, we have provided electricity to one hundred and eighty schools, sanitation to one hundred and sixty seven schools and water to another two hundred and forty eight schools.

At the same time, Government is aware of the perennial problems of shortages of vital resources, such as learning and teaching support materials, school furniture, and teachers.

The Basic Education Department has assured me that it has completed a comprehensive needs assessment for all schools in this province.

Together, with the Provincial authorities, they are in the process of addressing the identified needs. All hands are on deck to address the reported problems as they arise.

Compatriots,

We are a nation at work, building a better life, for and with our people.

Chairperson, Honourable members,

The fight against extreme poverty continues.

Government’s social assistance programme plays an important role in protecting the poorest households against poverty, supporting 17 million South Africans especially vulnerable children, older persons and people with disabilities.

In the Eastern Cape, government provides about three million social grants. With almost two million targeting poor and vulnerable children. Of these child beneficiaries, over twenty-five thousand are in grade 12 this year. Government has taken thus far, and will most likely continue support with other services such as NSFAS at tertiary level.

Within the Buffalo City Region, government provides social grants to about two hundred thousand child beneficiaries, located particularly in East London and King Williams Town to alleviate poverty.

Government is also keen to provide income generating opportunities for beneficiaries of the social grants.

Opportunities exist in the provision of school uniforms to vulnerable children, food to the network of food distribution centres and also the provision of other goods and services.

One hundred and thirty nine cooperatives in the Eastern Cape have been contracted to provide Social Relief of Distress packages or food parcels at a value of six million rand.

In 2013, Cabinet approved the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security, together with the Household Food and Nutrition Security Strategy.

In line with this policy, Food Distribution Centres were established, with food being bought from local producers and suppliers.

To date over 200 distribution centres have been established nationally and are operating at a budget of one hundred million rand. In the Eastern Cape, a total of 25 centres were established.

Six of these centres are in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, located in Embongweni, KwaZakhele, Dimbaza, Abbasford and two in East London.

Sithi komame masiwabenzise lamathuba afika nohulumeni, sixoshe indlala. Masakhe izakhiwo ezibizwa ngama-cooperatives silime, sidayisele uhulumeni, sixoshe nendlala emakhaya.

Akufuneki ukuthembela kuhulumeni kuphela. Amathuba avulekile manje okusebenza siziphilise.

Chairperson,

I believe that we all share the concern about the future of our youth and the need to provide the best opportunities for them which we did not have during our time.

We would like to reiterate that we have heard the legitimate concerns of our students who have been protesting about fees, especially students from poor households.

We all support the call to make education accessible to the poor, which is why we will continue to expand access for the poor through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

The scheme currently supports close to five hundred students at university and TVET colleges.

This year alone, NSFAS has disbursed loans and bursaries to the tune 14 billion rand.

Government will also provide an additional 9 billion rand for NSFAS over the period ahead, raising its funding by over 18 per cent a year to universities over the next three years.

Sifisa ukugcizelela ukuthi uhulumeni uyavuma ukuthi izingane eziphuma emakhaya ampofu kufanele zisizwe uma zifunda emanyuvesi nasemakolishi.

Uhlelo lwemali i-NSFAS luyaqhubeka nokusiza intsha. Siyaqhubeka futhi nokufuna amakhambi okusweleka kwemali yokufunda emakhaya amaningi. Kunekhomishana ehleli sikhuluma nje, eholwa ijaji uHeher ebheka ukuthi singayixazulula kanjani lenkinga.

Sinxusa izinhlangano zomphakathi neze mfundo zibambisane nekhomishane zihambise imibono khona ukuze izwe lithole ukusizakala.

Honourable Members,

Beyond higher education, we are acutely aware of the challenges particularly of unemployment among our youth.

Our university graduates sit in street corners and road pavements, crying out for something to do, anything.

Government is doing its best, working with business and labour, to create the right environment for job creation. We are also creating more opportunities for business to thrive.

Right here in the Eastern Cape, Government has, through the Department of Trade and Industry, made possible approximately 23 billion rand private sector investment through various incentive programmes that has supported over 33 000 jobs.

Over R9 billion of the investment was made available through the Automotive Incentive Scheme that supported investment from Mercedes Benz SA, Volkswagen South Africa, Goodyear South Africa and FAW Vehicle Manufacturer.

Last week, the trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies and the Eastern Cape government launched the Komani Industrial Park revitalisation project in Queenstown.

This is the fourth industrial park to be launched this year. To date, the four launched parks combined employ almost 40,000 people.

Indeed, we are a government at work, building a better life, with and for our people.

Chairperson,

Building a better life includes ensuring safety and security of the most vulnerable, especially women and children.

On 25 November the campaign of 16 days of activism of No Violence against women and children will begin.

We call on all our citizens to join hands with government and civil society organisations to fight the scourge of abuse and violence against women and children.

We urge the police to treat these cases with empathy, seriousness and urgency. Let us increase the conviction rates so that we eradicate this scourge.

Bakwethu,

Njengoba sesizowuqala umkhankaso wokulwa nokuhlukunyezwa kwabesifazane nezingane, sinxusa isizwe sonke ukuthi sibambisane nabomthetho ukulwa nalesisihluku kanye nobulwane obubhekiswe kwabesimame kanye nezingane. Uma sibambisene, sizokwazi ukubhekana nalenkinga siyinqobe.

Chairperson

Building a better life means ensuring that our Constitution and the laws of the land protect our people from the violation of their rights to human dignity and from discrimination on the basis of colour or race amongst others.

In this regard, allow me to strongly condemn the painful treatment meted out to Mr Victor Mlotshwa from Middleburg, who was beaten up, put in a coffin and threatened with being burned alive by two men who reportedly accused him of trespassing.

This incident, which was posted on social media, is shocking, painful and despicable in the extreme.

The incident is a reminder of the deep-seated racist attitudes that still prevail among some in our country, who still regard black people as lesser human beings.

The perpetrators of this crime and all others who commit various acts of racism in our non-racial democracy must face the full might of the law.

This incident is also a reminder of the need to continue fighting for a better life for farm workers. Given the secluded nature of farm work, many suffer in silence.

We have urged the Department of Labour and other departments to ensure improved monitoring of the working and living conditions of farm workers.

This matter has also brought into sharper focus the question of access to land by black people.

Since 1994, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform through the redistribution programme has transferred 4.7 million hectares of land. This is made up of five thousand two hundred and eighty one projects amounting to R12 billion.

More than one hundred and twenty thousand households have benefitted from the redistribution.

In addition to the above, the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights have transferred more than 1,9 million hectares to restitution beneficiaries since 1994.

The programme continues to be implemented and government will continue to process land claims and assist communities to get their land back.

Government continues to look for ways of speeding up the process and also to support those who have re-gained the land to use it profitably.

Honourable members

The promotion of access to justice is one of our key achievements of democracy.

On 29 November this year, we will reach another milestone as we open the Limpopo High Court.

This is the first High Court building to be constructed since 1994 and the first High Court for the people of Limpopo Province, who have had to travel to Gauteng before.

In terms of the jurisdiction, the court has its main seat in Polokwane and two local seats, in Lephalale and Thohoyandou.

The services that reside in the Limpopo High Court are the Master of the High Court, Office of the State Attorney, Legal Aid South Africa, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Provincial office of the Office of the Chief Justice, Office of the Family Advocate and the Directorate Legal Administration of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

We are very pleased to bring the wheels of justice closer to the people of the Limpopo Province.

Chairperson,

Let me also take this opportunity to remind Honourable Members that November is Disability Awareness Month, during which we promote equality and opportunities for persons with disability.

On the 3rd of December, the country will commemorate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

Malungu ahloniphekile nomphakathi,

Uhulumeni uyaqhubeka nokusebenza kanzima ukulungisa izimpilo zabantu. Abaningi sebekutholile ukusizakala. Siyazi futhi ukuthi baningi abasalinde izidingo nempilo engcono.

Ngeke siphumule uma impilo yabamnyama, ababecindezelwe, ingakafiki esimweni esigculisayo kwezomnotho nasekuhlaleni.

Njengoba siqhubeka nalomsebenzi wokwakha impilo engcono, sigqugquzela amazinga omathathu kahulumeni – owasekhaya, owezifundazwe nokazwelonke, ukuba basebenze nabantu ngaso sonke isikhathi.

Imihlangano mayibizwe kuxoxwe nabantu, babeke izimvo zabo ngezindawo abahlala kuzo.

Abantu akufanele baze bagcwale emgwaqeni bebhikisha ngenxa yokungalalelwa abaphathiswa emazingeni ahlukene.

Honourable members,

South Africa is a great country and has great people.

Our country has enormous potential and can be a real powerhouse of the continent and create a better life and prosperity for all.

To achieve the country’s true potential, we need to spend less time on political squabbles, and dedicate more effort to working and building our country together.

We have seen the value of working together, in the collaboration between government, business and labour to reignite growth and avoid a sovereign downgrade of our country.

We need to find ways of translating that spirit to all walks of life and to all battles that we need to fight as a nation.

We cannot defeat poverty, inequality and unemployment, if we continue to spend so much time fighting amongst ourselves.

Our country is a much better place to live in than it was before 1994.

An independent agency, the South African Institute of Race Relations, has pointed out in its latest report, that life in South Africa is much better since 1994.

We should build on these achievements as we create a more prosperous South Africa.

My plea is that we should unite, pull together, and build our country.

I thank you Chairperson for this opportunity to meet with the NCOP, once again on its important programme of Taking Parliament to the People.

I thank you all

Source: Government of South Africa

Gender Equality urges men to talk and stop male suicide

On 19 November 2016 the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) will be joining hands with South African men as well as with men representing more than 60 Countries to celebrate International Men’s Day under the theme “Stop Male Suicide”.

International Men’s Day focuses on raising awareness on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive role models. This year’s theme seeks to highlight the dangers that men are faced with in terms of suicide. Research has shown that the suicide rate is worse for men than women. Globally, male life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 69 years in comparison to 74 years for females.

The Commission for Gender Equality calls for men to “speak out” about the challenges they face in life. The voices of men should be heard, their positive role and contributions in our society must be recognized, men are humans who must be affirmed and accorded an opportunity to learn from various experiences. Men must be encouraged to deal with mental challenges that tend to result in suicide. The CGE is also cognizant of the fact that patriarchal upbringing has killed the softer side in men to engage on crucial issues as consequence die in silence. CGE is encouraging men to talk about suicide as help is always available.

In addition, any marginalisation of men could also have a ripple effect on the boy child who could assume suicide is the only solution when faced with challenges or difficulties. Therefore, society needs to embrace men, recognize their value, understand their needs and make an effort to both support them in realizing that they are an important component in the home, in society, in the world and have a meaningful role to play. Therefore, suicide is not an option.

In a society where the stereotype exists that “men don’t cry “has resulted in circumstances where men have been subjected to ridicule when they talk about domestic abuse and sexual violence in their homes. Due to some of these constraints many men have either continued or worse perished in silence. The CGE is of the view that platforms should be created for men and their diversity of viewpoints to engage on various topical issues in order to help address suicidal tendencies. We also call upon the police to be sensitive to men when they report issues of abuse instead of laughing or mocking them.

The Commission for Gender Equality throughout the 16 Days of Activism will also embark in legal clinics and outreach programmes that are geared into capacitating and educating men about issues relating to eliminating violence against women and Children. We assist men establish their own Men’s Forum wherein issues such as suicide could be discussed

Source: Government of South Africa