Author: ACDP

ACDP encouraged by renewed focus on escalating statistics of rape and kidnapping of children

ACDP MP and member of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Cheryllyn Dudley, at briefings yesterday on the interventions taken to deal with the escalating statistics of rape and kidnapping of children asked the Department of Social Development, the South African Human Rights Commission, and the Commission for Gender Equality and the Committee to “investigate what part legislation is playing in causing statutory rape to be condoned by all who should be exposing it and protecting our young people.  We have a situation where an abuser can take a 12-year-old for an abortion and no questions are asked”.

Dudley said, “the interactions were less like a briefing and more like an interrogation of efforts to date which revealed unanimous agreement that a combined all-out effort – to move from expressing horror at the attacks taking place on children to actually providing help and protection – must be our urgent and all-consuming priority.  We cannot continue as normal while so many children’s lives are a living hell”.

Dudley also called for “an adequate budget to employ increased numbers of social workers – and create a system that is proactive and preventative – to be found in budgets across departments including Social Development, Health, Justice, Safety and Security, Water & Sanitation, Housing, and Home Affairs”.

On three occasions last year Dudley addressed the National Assembly on the harms of pornography for society, especially vulnerable groups like women and children. “The impact on society is in fact no secret and violence against women also impacts tragically on their children”, she said. “Pornography use is rife in South Africa. While we are in the top 20 of all countries in the world, we are number 1 in the world for accessing pornography via smart phones.  Much credible research confirms the link between adult pornography and violence against women and children and that allowing potential rapists to access pornography, significantly increases the likelihood of them going out and raping.”

The ACDP has called, and continues to call for a full-scale investigation into the public health costs and social consequences of adults’ use of and exposure to pornography across South Africa.  “We believe this would reveal the immeasurable harm it is causing both women and children.”

The Constitutional Court in De Reuck v Director of Public Prosecutions 2004 (1) SA 406 (CC) held that the limitation of pornography “does not implicate the core values of the right [to freedom of expression]” and that pornography is, “for the most part, expression of little value which is found on the periphery of the right”.

5 July 2018

Mashaba does not run Johannesburg alone

The ACDP notes with regret the proposed suspension of the City of Johannesburg MMC for health for her comments on Israel.

The ACDP respects the right of the DA to discipline a member for violation of their own policy. However, the ACDP wishes to remind Mayor Mashaba that Johannesburg City policy is not DA policy. The coalition partners have never discussed the city position on Israel much less agreed on the Mayor’s position. Until such time as all parties have discussed and agreed on a position there is no City Policy towards Israel.

The ACDP also wishes to remind Mayor Mashaba that an MMC cannot be suspended by him alone but must have the support of council. The ACDP will not support this suspension.

The ACDP points out that the DA is bound to discuss issues with its coalition partners before making announcements in council.

12 June 2018

ACDP notes tight Parliament budget will offer little relief for Parliamentary support services

Parliament’s budget is expected to provide the support services required by Parliament to fulfil its constitutional functions, assist political parties represented in Parliament to secure administrative support, service constituents, and provide members of Parliament with the necessary facilities.

The ACDP welcomes the speakers’ recognition of the needs with regard to crucial support services that are under tremendous strain. The tight budget is sadly going to offer no real relief. Legal Services is a good example. This office provides an ongoing range of specialised services that includes oral and written advice to committees; advice to the Joint Tagging Mechanism on the classification of Bills, drafting Bills of exceptionally high quality, as well as drafting contracts and policies; amongst other ad hoc services.  Not to mention legal support when committees are conducting constitutionally mandated oversight of the Executive.

I have only realised recently, that this small team in legal services also manages all the litigation against Parliament and I can only imagine what a huge task this is. I was shocked to find out that all these services, which each one of the team always delivers in a professional and competent manner, are provided by only 8 legal advisers and 3 senior legal advisers under the stewardship of the Chief Legal Adviser.

Considering that there are approximately 54 portfolio committees and a single legal adviser can have up to ten Bills at any given time, the broad range of functions that this office provides with absolute proficiency is unthinkable and frankly unfair.  The unwanted thought is just how much longer this small team can survive the pressure let alone be expected to sustain the excellence that we have come to expect of them.

The ACDP urges management to support this office by increasing their capacity or we will all have to face the consequences. These men and women are at high risk of burnout. Our legal human resources are a scarce commodity. Not many want this stressful job and those that do probably won’t cut it as the demands and broad skills that have to be developed in a short space of time are almost too much to ask and we should not take this for granted.

The ACDP has been a source of additional stress in their lives in terms of the assistance I have had with drafting of private members bills over the years and yet I have always received the most professional and excellent service.  As my colleagues and I tend to participate on many committees apart from those we are a member of   when they are dealing with legislation which the ACDP has a special interest in, we are conscious of the never ending pressure on our law advisors.  The ACDP highly commends and respects these ‘super heros’ in our midst serving their country with humility, sacrifice and excellence.

We also want to thank all staff at Parliament and take a moment to commend our parliamentary researchers and content specialists – our experience through committee participation and working on detailed presentations has left us grateful for their talents and dedication.  Then there is our IT department that also appears to be stretched but doing a great job. I don’t envy them having to deal with MP’s anxiety and impatience when technology challenges occur.

Again, the ACDP appeals to management to support these offices and take care of our scarce resources.  We also call on Treasury to recognise the damage done to the country if the work of parliament is undermined by overly constrained budgets that lead to us ‘wearing out’ and losing valuable people.

Lastly the ACDP welcomes the speaker’s reference to constituency work and the less than adequate support due to budget constraints. This is unfortunate as the value of constituency involvement can be measured in people’s greater awareness of the importance of their participation in the processes of Parliament plus a growing respect for the institution of Parliament and the work members are doing.

The ACDP supports this budget which is not adequate to the job before us but we are committed to doing our part in:

– Strengthening oversight and accountability

– Enhancing public involvement

– Strengthening co-operative government and inter-governmental relations

– Deepening engagement in international participation

– and Improving the quality and impact of legislation.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Budget Vote 2: Parliament
22 May 2018

Correctional services budget cut of R605 million will worsen conditions of incarceration

The ACDP appreciates that there is government-wide fiscal consolidation and this has resulted in the Correctional Services budget being cut by R605 million for this financial year.

The department will be expected to do more with less. While all departments are affected by these reductions, the ACDP is concerned that funded posts will be reduced from 42,006 to 39,101 due to funding being withdrawn. This may well affect frontline service delivery and worsen safety and conditions of incarceration. The ANC-government must accept political responsibility for corruption and state capture and the R50 billion less collected by SARS. This has had a direct impact on all departments with a required R85 billion cut over the medium term.

This has partially resulted in non-compliance with the Saldanha Judgement relating to overcrowding in the prisons. While the Saldanha judgement relates to Pollsmoor, other inmates may bring similar court applications in other overcrowded centres. On a lighter note Pollsoor must be doing something right as four robbers who recently stole a vehicle in Cape Town fled into Pollsmoor in an attempt to escape. This is classic!  As if Pollsmoor was not already overcrowded.

We are also concerned about the recent escapes of inmates from Correctional Centres, including in Johannesburg and Pollsmoor. It appears that there are unconscionable wardens who assist with these escapes – with 34 officials charged for assisting escapees in 2014/15.  Thankfully, most of these escapees were re-arrested.

The reduced budget will also regrettably affect the Judicial Inspectorate (JICS) that investigates assaults, use of excessive force, unnatural deaths and torture.

The ACDP has long held the view that increased usage should be made of offender labour to deal with minor maintenance projects. We thus welcome the Minister’s commitment in this regard and commend the department on the productivity of its farms and factories that can result in self-sufficiency and generate revenue. We trust that revenue obtained is channelled to the department and not to the central fiscus.

We are concerned by the downward revision of a number of targets in the various programmes. There are also no performance indicators and targets for the Assurance Services despite the Committee’s recommendations in this regard.

The department has for several years been unable to meet its targets set to create additional bed-spaces. This has largely been due to the long delays in the completion of capital infrastructure projects. Regrettably, discussions between the Minister and the Minister of Public Works have borne little fruit.

The resulting overcrowding in our prisons remains a challenge, and is the root cause of health problems and the spread of diseases, particularly TB. We saw this for ourselves when we inspected prisons last year.

The ACDP believes that sections 63A and 62f of the Criminal Procedure Act must continually be applied to release those remand prisoners who are being detained at huge state expense, and who do not present a danger to society. There is also Section 49G of the Correctional Services Act, which seeks to limit the period of time that an accused is remanded in detention. The strict application of these provisions should result in a reduction in the number of remand prisoners and alleviate the overcrowded prison conditions.

The ultimate measure of this department’s success is whether it succeeds in preventing re-offending. Regrettably, attempts to reduce recidivism are adversely affected by overcrowding, vacancies, and the stigma attached to being a convicted criminal. The rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes, are then key in this regard.

We particularly support the increase in the number of restorative justice programs attended by victims, parolees and probationers.  Rehabilitation budgets cannot be underfunded as it will have a direct impact on the reintegration of offenders into society.

We also received a presentation from the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services. While we note that JICS is now a dedicated sub-programme, with an increased budget, we still believe it is not desirable that the Inspectorate is dependent on the department for its funding – it must be an independent inspectorate to operate effectively.

While this department is facing many challenges, the ACDP wishes to thank all those conscientious managers and staff members who under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions diligently do their work in trying to ensure that offenders are kept in safe, secure and humane custody, and undergo rehabilitation programmes.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Budget Vote 18: Correctional Services
17 May 2018

ACDP says Higher Education budget must move South Africa in direction of greater readiness to meet 21st century challenges

The ACDP supports the objective of this Higher Education budget in terms of not just expanding access and increasing student financial aid – but producing relevant mid- to high-level skills – which must move us in the direction of greater readiness to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  We also welcome the attention being given to Africanisation and the decolonisation of curricula.

The ACDP notes that the bulk of the departments substantial increase from R31.6 billion to R45.1 billion will be spent on transfers and subsidies to universities – this includes the additional R11.3 billion that government has allocated for university subsidies – to cover the 8 percent tuition fee increase in the 2018 academic year for undergraduate students from families with a combined annual income of between R350,000 and R600,000 – and to ensure that university operating costs are adequately covered.

The ACDP also notes the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will increase from R10.1 billion to R35.3 billion for the phasing in – over the next few years – of fee-free higher education and training for the poor and working class.

The ACDP fully supports the NDP requirement that expanded access to skills programmes must address the labour market’s need for intermediate skills and include a practical component.

The ACDP calls on the Minister to ensure that work opportunities and work placements for artisans are priorities alongside the expanding of skills training.

Transfers and subsidies to TVET colleges, show an increase from R1.5 billion to R6.8 billion by 2020/21 and R4.4 billion of this will go to refurbishing campus buildings, purchasing workshop equipment and maintaining facilities. We also note that an estimated 4 200 learners and 4 200 workers are expected to benefit from the National Skills Fund over this period – a small but welcome extra source of help in equipping a skilled workforce.

The ACDP welcomes all efforts to improve the skills of the lecturers and the performance of students, aimed at increasing the number of artisan learners qualifying. We are calling on the department to prioritise the development and implementation of a teaching and learning support plan for TVET colleges. We are also calling for Public TVET college examination centres to be monitored and assessed without delay.

The provision of fully subsidised higher education and training for all current and future undergraduate university and TVET college students from poor and working class families will begin in 2018 for 1st year and extended to second, third and fourth year students in subsequent years.

Last but not least, community education and training colleges – which primarily target youths and adults who did not complete or attend school – will also see an increased budget.  The ACDP calls on the department to ensure previously developed regulations and policies for community education and training colleges are implemented without delay and for oversight reports to be produced in order to monitor and evaluate their performance.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Budget Vote 15: Higher Education and Training
17 May 2018

ACDP welcomes release of official statistics on farm murders and farm attacks in South Africa

The ACDP welcomes the release of official statistics concerning farm murders and farm attacks in South Africa by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the Police Commissioner, General Sithole.

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “it is my understanding that there is general acceptance that these latest statistics closely match other estimates and are being accepted as an accurate reflection of the situation”.

According to a written response to a question by the FF+, attacks increased last year (2017/18) to a total of 561, whilst there was a decrease in attacks over the previous three years. The figures show that over the last six years since 2012, there were 3059 attacks altogether – on average, that is 509,8 per year in which 338 people were killed (56,3 per year on average).

Most farm attacks according to this report, took place in the North West province (722 attacks) and Gauteng (644 attacks).  The province with the highest number of farm murders during this time, however, is Gauteng (69 murders) and then the North West and KwaZulu-Natal (61 murders each).

“The ACDP agrees that it is unfortunate that these statistics were not made available before now as this has caused much anxiety and has caused many South Africans to feel abandoned in their distress.  Relevant action including protection and preventative measures will now have a better chance of success as statistics on farm attacks and murders released by the government will confirm or place in perspective the statistics of other institutions.

“The ACDP commends this new administration on correcting this serious oversight and calls on government to follow this exercise with solid action and implementation plans including awareness campaigns that will instill confidence and help a section of our society who have felt neglected and marginalised, play a more positive role in striving for greater equality and building a peaceful, prosperous nation”, Dudley added.

7 May 2018

ACDP welcomes CCMA intervention in nationwide bus strike

The bus strike which is gathering momentum is the result of a wage dispute that affects over 80% of the country’s passenger buses with at least 50 bus companies not operating across the country. 

ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said today that “the ACDP welcomes action taken by  the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in order to assist in resolving this dispute which has the potential of adding to the countries economic woes. Thousands of commuters across the country have been affected and the impact on service delivery and productivity is yet to be ascertained”.

The CCMA was acting in terms of a section of the Labour Relations Act, which allows it to offer help in resolving a public interest dispute through conciliation.

Unions and employer associations are expected to meet at the bargaining table at 10:00 on Thursday as the nationwide bus strike enters its second day.  The talks are expected to take two days.

19 April 2018

ACDP congratulates State of Israel for achieving 70th birthday

On behalf of the African Christian Democratic Party, I wish to congratulate the State of Israel for achieving their 70th birthday with great success in spite of enemies who have continued to vow to annihilate them. This great achievement is a classic proof that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is well able to keep and protect His people.

The ACDP wishes to thank the democratic State of Israel for making the world a better place.

The exceptional creativity, innovations, and ingenuity of Israelis have been acknowledged by industry and world leaders time and time again. Israel is in the top 15 countries with the most number of Nobel Prize laureates per capita, a remarkable feat for such a small nation.

The compassion and love for life by Israelis is unparalleled in the Middle East. Israeli doctors treat and save the lives of Arabs from Palestinian Territories and Arab States in the Middle East on a daily basis. They do so because they have chosen to love even those who want to permanently remove them from the land that God gave to them as an inheritance forever.

Since its modern establishment in 1948, Israel has created a State with a vibrant economy that exports high tech innovations, vegetables, fruits, flowers, water and so much more to its neighbours and the world. Israel has caused the desert to bloom and serves as an example that nothing is impossible to them that believe.

We salute you, the people of Israel, for all your great achievements against all odds. Thank you for all that you have given the world. Thank you for showing us all that it is possible to love one’s enemies and to do good to those who hate you. May God continue to watch over you and protect you.


19 April 2018