Hon Deputy Speaker, hon colleagues of the ANC and hon members, the overview of the National Development Plan, NDP, quotes the Reconstruction and Development Programme as follows:
No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government.
The 2014 Budget Review acknowledges the progress that has been made in improving the lives of the people. However, there remains a high level of poverty, inequality and unemployment, especially amongst the young people of our country. It acknowledges that in many parts of our country, public services are uneven or of poor quality, and that our economy is not growing fast enough to meet the challenges we face.
Therefore, the 2014 Budget and this Division of Revenue Bill address these challenges over the mediumterm in line with South Africa's long-term framework for economic growth and social development - the NDP. This signals the beginning of the implementation of the NDP across government.
The NDP Vision 2030 clearly states that the fiscal policy would be expected to play a central role in influencing the pace at which the economy will grow and its capacity to deal with key challenges that will arise over the next two decades. Domestic challenges include poor education and health outcomes, the challenges of coping with rapid urbanisation, infrastructure capacity weaknesses coupled with inadequate investment levels as well as household and spatial inequalities.
The inadequacy of infrastructure, particularly with respect to port facilities, roads, rail, energy, water and sanitation can hamper the long- term growth potential. The other challenge identified refers to low expenditure of conditional grants intended to address national policy priorities.
But how does the government propose to respond to these challenges? Firstly, to address low spending on infrastructure, the 2013 Division of Revenue Act implored any provincial department or municipality intending to undertake any infrastructure project to submit a detailed plan two years prior to the year of proposed implementation. Secondly, in the event of the funds being stopped as a result of slow spending, the receiving officer must submit a report explaining why those funds were stopped; in other words, the receiving officer is given the responsibility of explaining why those funds were not spent.
A new sanitation grant has been introduced to eradicate the bucket system in the country over the next two years. This grant will be administered by the Human Settlements department in conjunction with the Department of Water Affairs and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. However, I am sure the next Parliament will have to review in the next two years whether these objectives have been achieved.
A new clause 14 of the Division of Revenue Bill institutionalises the Built Environment Performance Plan, BEPP, as a tool for changing the spatial development patterns of our cities. The BEPP bridges the gap between the IDP and the Budget, giving effect to the Spatial Development Framework. This is a very detailed programme designed, amongst others, to support integrated city development.
The NDP says, and I quote:
Urban sprawl should be contained and possibly reversed as denser forms of development are more efficient in terms of land usage, infrastructure usage and environmental protection. The major concentration of urban poor should be spatially linked into the mainstream of city life through investments in transport infrastructure and the connecting corridors of development.
This Division of Revenue Bill seeks to address this programme. The ANC-led government strengthened the social infrastructure by consolidating the health infrastructure grants into one in order to improve the efficacy and value for money, improving oversight of the education infrastructure grant and ensuring that resources were put aside for maintenance. Hon members, this budget provides more resources to the poorer municipalities so that those municipalities can deliver free basic services such as water, refuse removal and electricity to the poor municipalities, especially to the 23 indentified poor districts that have been prioritised, to ensure that there is running water in every household in the rural areas of our country. The DA rejects the extension of all services to the poor. [Interjections.] Yes, that's why yesterday you opposed the fiscal framework and today you will oppose the Division of Revenue Bill. So, it is simple. It means that you don't want the poor people of our country to receive services, otherwise you would not oppose the Division of Revenue Bill.
The DA fails here in Cape Town to provide these services to poorer communities. They want the national government in turn to deprive our people of these basic services. The poor people should know by now that the DA has no interest in providing them with these services. All they need is their vote. You will not fool our people in Manenberg, Mitchell's Plain, Khayelitsha and Nyanga. [Interjections.] No wonder crime is so high in those places. This government is committed to fighting crime and corruption and this Division of Revenue Bill provides for services to fight corruption by strengthening the Office of the Procurement-General. However, the DA rejects this. Again, yesterday, the DA voted against the Public Service Administration and Management Bill because it proposes to professionalise the Public Service in agreement with the unions. What does the DA do? It rejects the Bill so that it can cling to the past and continue to complain about services that are not being rendered.
The DA in the past few weeks opposed all the laws that aim to improve the lives of the poor. The DA in the Western Cape, for example, refuses to allow children from poor communities to be sent to Cuba to be trained as doctors. Yet, all the other provinces send the children to Cuba so that they can be trained as doctors. It is the only province that refuses to allow children to be sent to Cuba to be trained as doctors. All it wants is to supply the poor people with blue t-shirts. The ANC uses this budget as a tool to improve the lives of the poor, but the DA says no, that's not their constituency.
The DA opposes hon Swart's attempts through the ANC to provide universal access to health, which is the National Health Insurance, NHI. What do they want from the people? They want their votes, because if the NHI is provided, they will lose profits derived from their private health services. They fear a lot of people might be treated at these facilities. They reject all programmes intended to improve the lives of the poor.
Our manifesto says we must implement the NDP. The ANC government established the National Planning Commission and commissioned it to come up with the NDP. We are implementing the NDP, and not because the DA all of a sudden chooses to become the champions of the NDP as if they were implementing it in their own province. [Interjections.] No, you are not.
The Division of Revenue Bill enjoins the Department of Human Settlements to devolve the powers to deliver houses to the six metropolitan municipalities. Initially, as we know, some metros do not have the capacity to deliver houses ... [Interjections.] ... including Cape Town. The other metros are better off, because they are at level 2. I am not sure if Cape Town is at that same level. [Interjections.] I know it is not.
The government has created a capacity-building grant of R900 million over the MTEF period in order for the municipalities to receive a human settlements grant to be able to deliver houses. This process will accelerate the delivery of houses as most bulk infrastructure planning takes place at the local government level. The ANC welcomes steps taken by the National Treasury in creating direct grants that are ring-fenced for a specific purpose. The indirect grants are meant to support those municipalities that may not have sufficient capacity to deliver those services. This requirement is in line with section 154 of the Constitution which enjoins the national and provincial government to support local government to deliver services.
In conclusion, may I take this opportunity to thank the ANC for giving me the opportunity to be in this Parliament. Without the ANC, I would never have been able to speak on this podium. I would also like to thank my colleagues for the support they have given me over the years, especially my colleagues in the financial cluster, Comrade Mufamadi, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Comrade Charel De Beer, the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Finance, and Comrade Tebogo Chaane, the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Appropriations, as well as the study group led by the Whip, hon Mashigo.
I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to all the members of the committee with whom we have worked over the past five years, including the DA members, who have been very supportive in this work, though they change when they come to this House. I don't know whether they have two mandates, one mandate for the committee and one for the House. However, I thank you for your support over the years.
I would like to thank the staff for their hard work in ensuring that the work of the committee was achieved, and also my secretary, Mrs Kakaza. The ANC supports the Division of Revenue Bill. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]