Proceedings of national assembly




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9 JUNE 2011 PAGE: of 113

THURSDAY, 9 JUNE 2011

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PROCEEDINGS OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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The House met at 14:15.
The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr D C SMILES: Madam Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates underspending by the Department of Basic Education, its effect on education outcomes and solutions to improve the situation.
I thank you.
Mrs S P KOPANE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:

That the House debates how states entering into bilateral treaties with South Africa will be held accountable for the moral and political obligations resulting from these treaties.


I thank you.
Mr P VAN DALEN: Madam Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the security breaches that took place at South Africa’s nuclear installation at Pelindaba, and possible solutions.
I thank you.
Mr N J J van R KOORNHOF: Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of Cope:
That the House debates the Eastern Cape Education Department which has paid more than R7 million in salaries to officials who are sitting at home.
Mr C M MONI: Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of this House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House debates the development of a comprehensive remand system to correct offending behaviour of our youth.
CONGRATULATIONS TO VIVA RIVA
(Draft Resolution)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -


    1. notes that Viva Riva, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, won the first ever MTV Best African Movie award at the prestigious annual MTV Movie Awards ceremony on 5 June 2011;




    1. further notes that the South African movie Life Above All was also nominated for the MTV Best African Movie award;




    1. recognises the importance of developing a successful film industry on the African continent;




    1. congratulates all those involved in the production of Riva Viva as well as the Congolese movie industry for this achievement; and




    1. further congratulates all the other nominees for this award, including the cast and director of the South African movie Life Above All.

Agreed to.


APPOINTMENT OF SIZA MZIMELA AS BOARD MEMBER OF IATA
(Draft Resolution)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes that the Chief Executive Officer of South African Airways, Siza Mzimela, has been appointed a member of the International Air Transport Association’s (Iata's) board of directors;
(2) further notes that Mzimela is the first woman to be appointed to the board in 67 years;


      1. recognises that her appointment to the board of Iata is a confirmation of the sterling work she is doing as CEO of SAA;

      2. further recognises that her appointment is not only a benefit for SAA but for Africa as a whole, because it provides us a platform to give input to the industry on the things that are important for the African continent; and




      1. congratulates Mzimela on her appointment and wishes her well with her new responsibility.

Agreed to.


CONTRATULATIONS TO AWETHU
(Draft Resolution)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -


    1. notes that the social enterprise Awethu is the winner of the prestigious 2011 Echoing Green Fellowship, recognised as the most established bench-markers of social entrepreneurship ideas;




    1. further notes that the Johannesburg-based Awethu, which aims to equip young entrepreneurs from poor communities, competed against 2 854 concepts from over 100 different countries;




    1. congratulates Awethu for this achievement and their dedication to finding new ideas to fight poverty; and




    1. wishes Awethu well in their future endeavors.

Agreed to.


MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late Mr Wendy Ramokgadi)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes with sadness the untimely passing of Wendy Ramokgadi, creator of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Diski Dance, on Friday 27 May 2011 at the age of 46, shortly after arriving from Hong Kong where he was invited by the South African Consular General to perform;


    1. further notes that Wendy Ramokgadi started dancing at a very young age, having been influenced by the late Michael Jackson, hence he got the name the “Michael Jackson of Soweto” during the eighties;




    1. recalls that in 2009 he was assigned to create a dance for the 2010 World Cup, which was later known as the Diski Dance, and that it was performed throughout the country and abroad prior to and during the World Cup, whence there he got the name Mr Diski Dance;




    1. further recalls that he later became a choreographer for Mango Groove, Chicco, Rebecca, Brenda Fassie and HHP, to mention but a few, and was also the principal choreographer of the Telkom Charity Cup since its inception;




    1. believes that he brought to the youth, and to all of us, the fact that hard work, perseverance and faith are key to success - values that we should uphold as we continue to celebrate the successes of the World Cup; and




    1. conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife, family and friends as well as to his fans.

Agreed to.


MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late Mr Arthur Goldreich)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes that Arthur Goldreich, an anti-apartheid activist, died on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 in Tel Aviv, Israel, at the age of 82 as a result of Alzheimer’s disease;
(2) remembers that Goldreich and Harold Wolpe had secretly bought Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia outside Johannesburg as headquarters for the underground Communist Party where he provided a secret hideout for Nelson Mandela and other ANC members at the time when Mandela was the object of a frantic nationwide search by police at the height of apartheid in 1961;
(3) further remembers that he was a member of the Congress of Democrats who became one of the first members of the ANC’s armed wing, uMkhonto weSizwe, and who, along with Govan Mbeki and Joe Slovo, was one of the main proponents of Operation Mayibuye, a plan to establish guerrilla fighting units throughout South Africa;
(4) recalls that he had left the country after the raid in July 1963, where he was one of 17 ANC members, including Harold Wolpe, Mosie Moola and Abdulhay Jassat who were arrested, and that one month later the four broke out of the Marshall Square Police Station after bribing officers, whereupon Goldreich managed to flee to Swaziland disguised as a priest;
(5) believes that his legacy will remain with us and will serve as a reminder of his selfless contribution and that Goldreich is the epitome of a committed servant of the people and will go down in history as one of the rare breeds of revolutionaries that changed the course of South African history, because not only did he sacrifice his privileges as a white South African but bore the pain of fighting against apartheid, and as a member of the ANC and uMkhonto weSizwe he was prepared to pay the ultimate price he paid for his beliefs and the belief in freedom; and


    1. conveys its condolences to his family, friends and comrades.

Agreed to.


Mrs M T KUBAYI: Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House debates the strengthening of gender equality in the private and public sector.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That can be submitted to the Secretary. Can we move to the next item?
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late Mr Peter Paul Pietersen)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes with sadness the death of Peter Paul Pietersen, who tragically died of a heart failure on 5 June 2011, at the age of 36;
(2) acknowledges that Mr Pietersen spent 17 years on the staff of Parliament;
(3) appreciates his commitment to the parliamentary service, first as a Service Officer and then Chamber Assistant of this House; and
(4) conveys its deepest condolences to his family, including his ten-year-old daughter, Zoe, and his colleagues.
Agreed to.
PRECEDENCE TO STATEMENT BY MINISTER IN PRESIDENCY
(Draft Resolution)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House, notwithstanding Rule 29 of the National Assembly, which provides the sequence of proceedings for the House, gives precedence to the statement by the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission, to make a statement before Members’ Statements.
Agreed to.
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late Mrs Albertina Sisulu)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -


  1. notes with a deep sense of sadness the sudden passing on of the ANC stalwart Mama Albertina Sisulu on 2 June 2011 at the age of 92;




  1. further notes that Mama Albertina Sisulu was born in the Transkei on 21 October 1918 as the second child of Bonilizwe and Monica Thethiwe and that, after the death of both her parents, Mama Sisulu, who was then 11 years old, took over the responsibility of looking after her brothers and sisters, and while she also had planned on becoming a nun, decided to become a nurse instead in order to financially support her siblings in their studies, and that in 1944 she married Walter Sisulu;




  1. recognises that in 1955 Mama Albertina joined the ANC Women's League and in 1956, together with Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Amina Cachalia, led thousands of women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria during the famous Women's March to protest against blacks being forced to carry the notorious passbooks;




  1. further recognises that during the height of repression, bannings, arrests and killings, she emerged steadfast and filled the void left by the forceful exiling and imprisonment of leaders like Mandela, Tambo and others, and that she was one of the founding members of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and gave guidance to young activists and leaders of progressive organisations, including Cosas, Sayco, Azaso, civic formations and many women’s organisations throughout the country; and while she was not only giving political guidance, she was also being a mother figure to most activists, and that it was a combination of these two qualities, political and parental roles, that made it possible for her as a leader of the UDF to sustain a concerted campaign by all South Africans against the tri-cameral apartheid parliamentary system;




  1. remembers that Mama Sisulu was the only female delegate at the official launch of the ANC Youth League on 10 September 1944 and 19 June 1963 and became the first woman to be imprisoned under the notorious 90 Day Act which allowed the state to hold suspects for 90 days without being charged, that she was banned in August 1964 for five years and confined to the magisterial district of Johannesburg, which complicated visits to Robben Island where her husband, Walter Sisulu, was serving a life sentence as a result of the Rivonia trial and that she was banned for a continuous 18-year stretch, from 1963 until Walter’s release in 1989, having spent time in and out of jail, the longest period being eight months after attending the funeral of ANC Women’s League veteran Rose Mbele;




  1. further remembers that for more than 50 years, Mama Albertina committed herself to The Albertina Sisulu Foundation which works to improve the lives of small children and old people and that she was honoured for her commitment to the anti-apartheid struggle and her role as a social worker when the World Peace Council, based in Basel, Switzerland, elected her president from 1993 to 1996;




  1. recalls that in 1991 Mama Albertina was elected to serve on the ANC’s national executive committee, alongside Walter Sisulu, who was elected as ANC Deputy President, and that, when in April 1994 the Sisulus observed the transition of their country in its first democratic elections, Albertina became a Member of Parliament and served Parliament until 1999;




  1. acknowledges that while her family has lost a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother, the ANC and the country have lost an irreplaceable leader, a role model and a constant example of dedication and selflessness; and




  1. conveys its heartfelt condolences to the Sisulu family, friends and comrades in the ANC, the Women’s League, the Youth League and the Alliance.

I thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.


The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members, on behalf of the DA, it is indeed an honour to convey a message of condolence to the Sisulu family. Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, Mama Sisulu, was a moral compass for our nation. She was a fierce defender of freedom, and showed extraordinary fortitude during some of the most painful times in our country’s history.
Mama Sisulu was a nurse, a mentor, and a leader. But she was first a mother, wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. Despite being a single mother for most of her life, she offered love and care to those far beyond her immediate family, especially our country’s children.
Mama Sisulu was a Unicef patron; she spearheaded the establishment of the National Children’s Rights Committee, a body which helped to ensure that the principles of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child were incorporated into our country’s Constitution and Bill of Rights. During the transition to democracy, Mama Sisulu ensured that the needs of our children were prioritised. She believed that they had already paid too high a price in the country’s struggle for freedom.
The news of Mama Sisulu’s passing has been met with great sadness across the world. The outpouring of grief that we have seen in our own country is a testament to the significant role that Mama Sisulu played in shaping our nation. Today we have an opportunity to celebrate the life of an extraordinary woman who has gone to join the pantheon of great South Africans.
The Sisulu family has distinguished itself in the most exemplary fashion in service to our nation. Both Mama Sisulu and her late husband dedicated their lives to the pursuit of freedom and equality for all. Two of their children serve in this administration in the highest echelons of authority.
All Mama Sisulu’s children, and her extended family, are in our thoughts at this time. Our thoughts are also with the ANC, the organisation in which Mama Sisulu played such a vital role as a leader during the struggle and also became a mentor for many of you that are in this House today.
Mama Sisulu’s role in the UDF, where she served as co-president, was integral in bringing an end to apartheid. But what is truly remarkable is that, even after the fall of apartheid, Mama Sisulu continued to contribute to the development of our democracy in her capacity as an ANC MP. She never believed that her job was done.
Mama Sisulu was one of many South Africans who made immeasurable personal sacrifices to fight for the establishment of a free constitutional state in our country. She showed strength and courage, both in the face of the apartheid edifice and in times of personal struggle and tribulations.
The most fitting way that we as legislators can honour her legacy, and the legacy of other leaders of her time such as her husband, the late Walter Sisulu, the late Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, is by ensuring that those values for which these leaders fought are promoted and protected. We must ensure that the work of Parliament in providing oversight and promoting basic democratic principles is defended at all costs. We cannot allow the democratic advances that Mama Sisulu fought for to slip through our fingers and be replaced by populist politicking that serves only individual agendas.
Albertina Sisulu’s unique maternal manner made her the mother of our nation. She wore the mantle of matriarch in an inimitable fashion. She will be remembered for her courage and fearless determination to see South Africa transformed into a country for all its people.
We, however, do not despair of hope in our profound loss. The comforting words of the prophet Micah are indeed a source of solace: “When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”
Mama Sisulu is survived by her family, her friends and loved ones, and a nation indebted to her determination to see the vision of a free, democratic South Africa realised.
Allow me, Deputy Speaker and the bereaved Sisulu family, to invoke three verses of the original anthem of Africa, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, to pay tribute to our deceased mother and her life’s endeavours.
Yiza, Moya!

Sikelela, Nkosi, sikelela,

Yiza, Moya Oyingcwele
Nkosi, sikelela, thina,

Lusapho lwayo.

Sikelel’ amalinge ethu

Awomanyano nokuzakha

Awemfundo nemvisiswano uwasikelele.
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika

Cima bonk’ ubugwenxa bayo

Nezigqitho nezono zayo

Uyisikelele.


Lala ngoxolo, Mama Sisulu. Akuhlanga lungehlanga. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Come, Holy Spirit, come

Bless, oh God, bless

Come, Holy Spirit, come
Bless us, oh God

We, Africa’s family

Bless our initiatives

To unite and build

Bless our initiatives

Towards education and mutual understanding.


God bless Africa

Forgive all its evil

Its trespasses and sins

God bless Africa.


Rest in peace, Mama Sisulu. Please accept what has happened as fate. [Applause.]]
Mrs Z B N BALINDLELA: Somlomo, i-Cope idlulisa uvelwano kwi-ANC ngokushiywa kwayo sisithwalandwe, intandane yethu, uMama uNontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu. [Speaker, Cope sends its condolences to the ANC on the loss of their veteran and icon, our beloved Mama Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu.]
After the death of Comrade Steve Biko, the University of Fort Hare was never the same for us young, married, women academics. We searched high and low for an answer and the truth, until we found uMama.
Her leadership skills manifested themselves at an early age, when she was chosen as head girl in Standard 5 at Xolobe.
Eso sikolo sakhe sisekhona nanamhlanje kwesikaNkosi uMnyhila obenguninalume, eTsomo, kwaye sithiywe ngegama lakhe. [Her school still exists even today in the district of Nkosi Mnyhila, her uncle, at Tsomo, and it has been named after her.]
She never abandoned the poor.
Abantu baseXolobe, amaZotsho, bayayibulela intombi yabo uMaNdlangisa, uThole, kuba engakhange ayilibale intlupheko yabo ngokuthi abakhele esi sikolo esebenzisana namaziko abucala. [The people of Xolobe, the amaZotsho clan, are grateful to their daughter, MaNdlangisa, Thole, because she never forgot their poor conditions and she built a school with the assistance of private institutions.]
The hallmark of her leadership was her intrinsic humility, ingrained with deep love for her traditional values.
KwaMama akulityalwa mngqusho, akulityalwa mvubo, akulityalwa ntyabonyti. uMa ubesoloko esithanda isintu sakhe ngalo lonke ixesha. [At Mama’s home you would always find samp and beans, crumbly mealie meal porridge with sour milk, and melon. Mama always loved her culture and tradition.]
I am sure that many of our hon leaders here have seen that infectious smile whenever she was in her traditional wear.
UMama taught us good discipline. When we were young, as the ANC Women’s League, we went to a conference, eMalibongwe, in Amsterdam, followed by a conference in Botswana, to meet with our leaders in exile. UMama insisted that we, the delegation of young South African women, be exemplary in our behaviour.
Of course, one look of disapproval from uMama was enough to let you know that you had overstepped your boundary. Her disciplined upbringing and remarkable ability to care for others made her one of the most remarkable mothers in our country.
For two years after the release of our leaders we shared offices with uMama, as our leader, at what later became known as the Shell House ... apho sasikumgangatho we-17, ootata bethu bekowama-24. [... where we occupied the 17th floor, and our male counterparts the 24th.]
Mama Sisulu lived by the ethos of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfika. She hated racism with a passion. She wanted all the people of our country to rise above the racism that degraded our humanity. Her reach was broad and her persuasive influence was total. When a life has been lived as completely, courageously, honestly, selflessly and successfully as Mama’s, the correct response to the punctuation mark in that life is for us to carry on her legacy.
Thina ke besingamaphelo akhe kuba besibancinci. Ngoku kufuneka thina sikhulise la wethu amaphelo - ooNdabeni, ooMazibuko, oo-Adams, ooManana, ooBabalwa abahloniphekileyo – ngamaphelo ethu. Kufuneka sibenzele umzekelo wokuba umama ukhulisa njani na. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[We were like her last-born children because we were young. Now it is our turn to raise our own last-born children – such as hon Ndabeni, Mazibuko, Adams, Manana, and Babalwa – they are our last-born children. We must be exemplary and show them how a mother raises her children.]
The question worth asking is: Can we in honesty say that we too live by the values that she cherished and act with the courage that she showed? Our generation is so willing to compromise the truth and so ready to suppress that truth. In her remarkable life she showed how the truth sets a person free.
UMama leaves the world uncontaminated in any way and with her name unblemished in any manner. She departs with a perfect testimonial. Her name and what she stood for must be defended because they bore a remarkable similarity to the values that are enshrined in our Constitution.
One who followed her and one who abided by the spirit of the Constitution would have been companions on the same path. We mourn her loss, but let us never mourn the loss of the principles and values she stood for. That would be a loss too great for us to bear.
Ithi ke Ma i-Cope: “Hamba kakuhle. Lala ntombi, mzukulwana wakwaMnyhila, Thole, MaNdlangisa, maze’ ebhonxe amabele eyenyisa isizwe sonke.” Masimkhululeni ahambe kuba umzamo omhle uwuzamile; ugqatso ulufezile; ukholo ulugcinile. Okwethu kukubambelela. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Cope says to you, Mama: “Farewell. Rest in peace, beloved daughter, grandchild of Mnyhila, Thole, MaNdlangisa, a mother who fed the whole nation.” We need to let her go because she has fought a good fight, she has finished the race and has kept the faith. Ours is never to give up, but to hold on.]
I would like to sing:
Bambelela!

Khawubambelele,

Khawubambe, khawubambe,

Khawubambe, bamba, bamba

Bamba, bamba, bambelela!

(Translation of isiXhosa song follows.)
[Oh never give up!

Oh never give up!

Oh never, oh never, oh never,

Never, never, never, never,



Never give up!]
[Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon member. We have different ways of celebrating Mama Sisulu’s life. I thought that since this is the last day, we should just allow the member to sing.
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Ministers and hon members, on behalf of the IFP and myself, I express our deepest condolences to the Sisulu family on the passing away of Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu.
The news of Mama Sisulu’s passing last Thursday left me with a sense of enormous loss. My wife, Princess Irene, and I considered her a friend, but of course she was much more than that; she was one of the mothers of our democratic nation, birthing freedom through her unbending faith and convictions. It is true that there is no one more deserving of the title of “Mother of our Nation”.
Albertina blessed us with her strength, both as an individual and in the partnership with her beloved husband, Walter Sisulu. They will remain South African icons. Albertina and Walter were an inspiration to me from a young age, not only in their politics, but in their marriage as well. Indeed they gave us a love story that underpinned everything that they accomplished.
I shall forever be grateful to Mr Walter Sisulu for the guidance he gave me as a young man when he advised me, together with iNkosi Albert Luthuli and Mr Nelson Mandela, to take up my hereditary position as inkosi of the Buthelezi clan. That was more than half a century ago, but it began a lifetime of leadership for me.
Throughout the years that followed I often leaned on the wisdom of men like Walter Sisulu. Thus, Albertina Sisulu became someone whom I respected and admired, for she so ably complemented her husband’s strengths and supported him through the many dark nights of incarceration, suffering and exile.
In the midst of their fight for our freedom, Albertina managed to raise children of whom she and Walter could later be very proud. I am very proud of the fact that the hon Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, was prepared for her later responsibilities as my Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
I thank God that Albertina Sisulu lived to see our freedom and to serve in a democratic Parliament, which she did, as she did everything else, with distinction and integrity. All of us who served with her in this House are very proud and privileged to have served with her.
I’m also grateful that in the last 17 years of her life South Africa could honour her and her husband for the more than 70 years that they gave to the liberation struggle. She deserved every accolade we gave her, but the praises we bestowed on her in life and those that we pour upon her memory now actually pale into insignificance compared to the crown that she receives as she now steps into eternity.
May the Lord comfort the Sisulu children and grandchildren, for in truth there are many. May I express to the Chief Whip and members of the ANC our condolences for the loss of this stalwart. While our condolences go to the Sisulu family, we know that across our nation there are countless South Africans who consider themselves children and grandchildren of Albertina Sisulu because they sheltered in her care and thrived under her warmth. We thank the Sisulu family for giving us their mother.
Yebo, noma ngidlula ethunzini lokufa angiyikwesaba okubi ngoba Wena unami. Udek’ itafula phambi kwami naphambi kwezitha zami. Ugcobile ikhanda lami ngamafutha. Isitsha sami siyachichima, okuhle nomusa kuyangilandela izinsuku zonke zokuhamba kwami. Ngiyakuhlala endlini kaSimakade kuze kube sekupheleni kwezinsuku. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. [Applause.]]
Mr J J MCGLUWA: Hon Deputy Speaker, today the ID would like to extend our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Ma Albertina Sisulu, wife of the late Walter Sisulu. The name Albertina means “brilliant”, “intelligent”, “respectable”, “noble” and “famous”. Ma Sisulu embodied all of these characteristics and was true to the meaning of her name.
Yes, of course, her death has come as a great shock to those who were close to her, as well as to the entire nation. The moment I heard about the great loss for the Sisulu family, I placed my life on hold and took it upon myself to pay my last respects at the Sisulu family home in Johannesburg on Friday. This was all because she was not only amongst the best, but also the Mother of the Nation.
The Sisulu family have left their mark on South African history and have become prominent leaders in South African politics. One of Albertina Sisulu’s most famous quotes was:
Women are the people who are going to relieve us from all this oppression and depression. The rent boycott that is happening in Soweto now is alive because of the women. It is the women who are on the street committees educating the people to stand up and protect each other.
This was the cornerstone of the emancipation of South African women.
Ons dink vandag spesiaal aan die Speaker, Walter en Albertina Sisulu se seun Max, asook aan Lindiwe Sisulu, en ons bring hulde aan hulle en aan hul ouers, wat hulle grootgemaak het. Ma Sisulu het nie net kinders in die lewe gebring nie, maar het ook geboorte gegee aan ons nuwe demokrasie in Suid-Afrika.
Daarom glo ons dat haar kinders en haar nageslag sal voortbou op daardie nalatenskap. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Today we are particularly keeping the Speaker, Max, who is the son of Walter and Albertina Sisulu, as well as Lindiwe Sisulu in our thoughts, and we would like to pay tribute to them and their parents who raised them. Not only did Ma Sisulu give birth to children, but she also gave birth to our new democracy in South Africa.
Therefore we believe that her children and descendants will continue to build on that heritage.]
We salute you, Mother of the Nation. Hamba kahle. [Go well.] [Applause.]
Mr L B GAEHLER: Hon Deputy Speaker, to the family, the ANC and the friends of the late hon Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, who passed away on 2 June 2011, on behalf of the UDM, please accept our most sincere condolences on the loss of Mama Sisulu.
It is with a heavy heart that I stand here today once more to bid farewell to yet another struggle icon. Mama Sisulu’s death marks the end of an era of a fearless generation, one that former President Thabo Mbeki aptly described as “the generation of the titans that pulled us out of the abyss and placed us on the pedestal of hope on which we continue to rest”.
As a nation, we remain deeply indebted to this generation of titans who devoted their lives to the struggle for the liberation of our people. We remain eternally indebted to them for the freedom and democracy we now enjoy. All those who have had the privilege of working with Mama Sisulu can confirm her dedication to serving the people of South Africa.
We hope that these few words of comfort will mellow your sorrows and begin the process of healing.
Akuhlanga lungehlanga; thuthuzelekani. Lala ngoxolo Ma Sisulu. Enkosi. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [Please accept what has happened as fate; be comforted. Rest in peace, Ma Sisulu. [Applause.]]
Dr C P MULDER: Agb Adjunkspeaker, agb kollegas, as die VF Plus wil ons ons baie graag vereenselwig met die mosie deur ons simpatie en meelewing met die familie van Albertina Sisulu uit te spreek. Die Sisulu-familie is ’n familie wat diep spore getrap het in die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek in die verlede, maar ook tans, en hulle sal waarskynlik ook in die toekoms diep spore trap.
Albertina Sisulu het haar lewe gewy aan dit waarin sy met oortuiging geglo het en sy het die voorreg gehad om op ’n relatief hoë ouderdom, die ouderdom van 76 in 1994, ’n lid te word van hierdie Parlement, waar sy gedien het tot aan die einde van 1999, toe sy 81 jaar oud was. Sy het die voorreg gehad om een te wees van daardie lede wat in 1994 na hierdie Parlement toe kon kom.
In die meeste organisasies is daar individue wat uitstaan soos ’n hoekpaal of ’n anker. Dit is duidelik as ’n mens na die lewe van Albertina Sisulu kyk, dat sy, in die stryd waarin sy gestaan het, binne haar party en binne die organisasie wat sy gedien het en die organisasies waarby sy betrokke was, so ’n hoekpaal was waarom mense bymekaargekom en vergader het.
As ons kyk na haar lewe, is dit duidelik dat haar lewe getuig het van toewyding en totale selfopoffering vir dit waarin sy geglo het.
Die VF Plus vereenselwig hom graag met die mosie wat vandag op die Ordelys is, waarin hulde aan haar gebring word. Ons dink aan die Sisulu-familie. Ons dink aan haar kinders, kleinkinders en al haar geliefdes. Ons betuig ook ons simpatie met die ANC, wat ’n kollega en ’n strydros verloor het. Baie dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Dr C P MULDER: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon colleagues, as the FF Plus we would very much like to associate ourselves with the motion by conveying our sympathy and empathy to the family of Albertina Sisulu. The Sisulu family is a family that have left their mark in South African politics in the past, are doing so at present, and are expected also to leave their mark in the future.
Albertina Sisulu dedicated her life to that in which she believed with conviction and in 1994, at the relatively advanced age of 76, she had the privilege of becoming a Member of this Parliament, in which she served up to the end of 1999, when she was already 81 years old. She had the privilege of being one of those members to be in a position to come to this Parliament in 1994.
In most organisations there are individuals who stand out, like a fencing-post, or an anchor. It is evident, when one considers the life of Albertina Sisulu, that she, in the struggle in which she was involved, in her party and in the organisation that she served and the organisations with which she was involved, was just such a fencing-post around which people gathered and congregated.
When we look at her life, it is evident that it testified to dedication and complete self-sacrifice for that in which she believed.
The FF Plus has the pleasure of associating itself with the motion on today’s Order Paper, in which tribute is paid to her. We are thinking of the Sisulu family. We are thinking of her children, grandchildren and all her loved ones. We are also expressing our sympathy to the ANC, who has lost a colleague and a stalwart. Thank you very much.]
Rev K R J MESHOE: Deputy Speaker, the ACDP, together with numerous South Africans and people from all over the world, received the news about Mama Albertina Sisulu’s sudden death with great sadness. I therefore, on behalf of the ACDP, wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Sisulu family, particularly our Speaker, hon Max Sisulu, and the hon Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, as well as the ANC and all Mama Sisulu’s friends and relatives.
Mama Sisulu was a great and extraordinary woman, an excellent example, both as a mother and a leader, who made extraordinary personal sacrifices so that all South Africans, regardless of race, creed or gender, could be part of the democracy we are enjoying today. In spite of the harassment she suffered at the hands of the apartheid security police, Mama Sisulu remained calm, composed and dignified at all times.
Her choice of nursing and midwifery as a career revealed her caring and loving heart. As a midwife, she not only helped mothers at the point of birth, but she also helped to birth the democratic South Africa we are enjoying today.
The ACDP will cherish the memory of this political stalwart for a long time. I will personally remember her as a mother who always addressed me as “my son”.
In 1994, during our early days in Parliament, when we still experienced some political intolerance, and some members were giving me a hard time, Mama Sisulu would always give me this advice, just like a genuine mother: “Don’t worry about it, my son; you are most welcome in this place. This is your Parliament.”
Mama Sisulu was a true Mother of the Nation. She never considered people’s political affiliation; she loved and cared for all. Our prayers are with the Sisulu family during this time of bereavement. The ACDP and all those who loved her say: “May her soul rest in peace.” [Applause.]
Mr L M MPHAHLELE: Hon Deputy Speaker, the PAC joins the nation in celebrating the life of a fearless fighter, a caring mother of the nation, a disciplined revolutionary and a selfless servant of the people. Comrade Albertina Sisulu left indelible footprints in the sands of memory – a legacy of respect, resilience and perseverance. She was the embodiment of the best her generation could give us and posterity will remember her as humble in greatness and great in humbleness.
To the Sisulu family: We hope that you will find solace in the fact that Mama Sisulu offered you the ecstasy of blood, and not the tyranny of blood. Emulating Mama Sisulu’s honest and incorruptible life is the greatest tribute the family and the nation can pay her.
Singumbutho wakwapoqo sithi: Hamba kahle MaNdlangisa, Thole, Qhaqhane, MaNtsulu. Enkosi. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [As the PAC, we want to say: Farewell MaNdlangisa, Thole, Qhaqhane, MaNtsulu. Thank you. [Applause.]]
Mr K J DIKOBO: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, the family of Mama Albertina Sisulu, distinguished guests: We received with sadness the news of the passing away of Mama Sisulu. I know that there might be those who ask: How can we be shocked by the passing away of a 92-year-old person? The truth is that, as human beings, we wish that the people we love could be with us forever.
We thank the late Mama Sisulu for her selfless service to the community. Mama Sisulu was a symbol of resistance. Against all odds, she lived a full life and was able to bring up children who are leaders in their own right.
She also defied statisticians, because we are told that life expectancy in South Africa is 51 years. We are glad that life comes from God and not from the statisticians, otherwise Mama Sisulu would have died long before I was born.

Mama Albertina Sisulu was a shining example of a servant of the people. Azapo appreciates the service that she rendered, including the time that she worked with the then Azapo secretary for health, the late Comrade Abu Asvat, the people’s doctor.


We thank God for giving us Mama Sisulu. On behalf of Azapo, I convey a message of condolence to the family of Mama Albertina Sisulu, her political party, the ANC, and the people of South Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI: Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the APC we want to extend our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to the Sisulu family as well as to the ANC. We are here passing our salute to Mama Sisulu because she stood up and fought for freedom. She belonged to a generation of leaders and activists who rose to the challenge of their times - people who served and sacrificed their personal comforts for the sake of the nation.
She was amongst the fortunate ones who fought for freedom and lived to see it, and lived to contribute to the reconstruction of the country. She was one of the MPs who set up this new democratic Parliament.
She was a leader who, in public and in her conduct, exuded humbleness and never pursued an overtly sectarian approach. As Comrade Dikobo indicated, in Soweto in the 80s she worked in the private practice of Dr Asvat, who was a member of Azapo. When Mama Urbania Mothopeng, the wife of the late president of the PAC, Zephania Mothopeng, passed away, MaSisulu, together with MaTambo and others, were very conspicuous in their support and presence with the family until the funeral.
We believe it is imperative for us who remain behind to carry on the struggle that those of her generation so ably fought, to be comforted in the knowledge that, as Sobukwe said, “we are nothing but tools of history”. When we are gone, history shall find new tools. We believe that, indeed, her work and her life epitomise the saying “malibongwe igama lamakhosikazi!” [Praise the name of women!] Thank you. [Applause.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Deputy Speaker, I am exceptionally honoured to recognise the leader of our people, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, who chaired the Constitutional Assembly, which gave birth to our Constitution. He is still vigilant. He was the first to observe a textual mistake on our Order Paper. As a result of that, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to make a slight textual correction to the motion I moved. Mr Walter Sisulu was never a Member of Parliament. Therefore paragraph 7 should be corrected by the removal of this reference.
Mama Sisulu was born in 1918 and immediately lost both her parents, making it impossible for her to follow a career of her choice, also making her the earliest known child head of a family. She didn’t enjoy her youth.
In the 1940s, when she met Walter Sisulu, he was already involved in discussions for the founding of the ANC Youth League. She immediately became politically active. In 1944 she married Walter. Hardly four years into her marriage the National Party came into power on the platform of apartheid. A year thereafter, in 1948, she became active in the ANC Women’s League. In 1949, Walter was elected secretary-general of the ANC, which was a full-time position, which denied the family his income. She became the sole breadwinner. She helped found the nonracial Federation of South African Women, a federation which was the first to produce a charter of rights in 1954. In 1956, she became one of the leaders of the march to Pretoria.
During the treason trial, again, she was on her own, looking after the family. In the 60s she was detained many times, and ultimately her husband was sentenced and sent to Robben Island. She was left alone to look after the family, and also appreciated at that point in time that family and children meant South Africa and the children of South Africa. It is for that reason that she mentored generations of the youth that brought our freedom.
Born in 1918 to become a great mother and leader of the nation, Mama Sisulu left a great legacy of values to all South Africans, black and white, young and old. Mama was a phenomenal woman of vision and action. She was an embodiment of the moral vision of the National Liberation Movement expounded by O R Tambo and Rev Trevor Huddleston, the roots of her moral vision.
On 24 September 1987 the Rt Rev Archbishop Trevor Huddleston convened the International Conference on Children, Repression and the Law in Apartheid South Africa. In the words of the late President Reginald Oliver Tambo, the conference was convened, and I quote:
We meet because there is something that is happening to the hapless and the innocent that should not be allowed to happen. We meet because we recognize that our own lives have meaning only to the extent that they are used to create a social condition which will make the lives of the children happy, full and meaningful. We have gathered ourselves in Harare and on this particular occasion because we know that a grievous injustice is being done to all humanity.
Recalling the atrocities perpetrated on children by the inhuman apartheid system and the plight of children under this system, O R Tambo said, and I quote:
This terrible desolation defines for us what our struggle must be about. We cannot be true liberators unless the liberation we will achieve guarantees all children the rights to life, health, happiness and free development, respecting the individuality, inclinations and capacities of each child. Our liberation would be untrue to itself if it did not, among its first tasks, attend to the welfare of the millions of children whose lives have been stunted and turned into a terrible misery by the violence of the apartheid system.
In his call for national and international defence for children under the apartheid system, Tambo said, and I quote:
... our concern for the children, the inheritors of our future, cannot be postponed until the day we achieve our emancipation. That is why this conference ...
Referring to the Harare Conference –
... is being held. It should result in the greatest possible international mobilisation around the issue of the plight of the children of South Africa ...
He continued:
Inside our country, we, as well, have a responsibility to act now in defence of the children. There, too, we must rip off the cloak of silence which the Pretoria regime tries to drape around its horrendous misdeeds. The democratic movement must, in its entirety, join the campaign to force the racist regime to take its blood-stained hands off our people!
In his call to the Interfaith Movement, O R Tambo said, and I quote:
Other men and women of conscience must themselves join in this struggle because none can reckon themselves human and be unconcerned about what is happening to the young. We would expect that people of all faiths would feel moved by their own beliefs to say we too must be counted amongst those who stood up in defence of the children.
As a delegate to the 1987 Harare Conference and a co-worker of Mama Sisulu on women’s and children’s rights, I stand before this House to attest that Mama Sisulu became the volunteer-in-chief in defence of children under apartheid repression.
She led us in the mobilisation of all progressive forces, including women’s and civic associations, NGOs, CBOs and faith-based organisations, for the defence of fundamental children’s rights. This mobilisation culminated in the establishment of the National Children’s Rights Committee, which established provincial structures rooted among the people.
As a founder and patron of the National Children’s Rights Committee, Mama taught us to appreciate that secular authorities and faith-based organisations have an identity of interest in defence of the inherent dignity of all children, both black and white; development of the full potential of all children; recovery of the humanity - ubuntu/botho - of all South African children; and improvement of the quality of their lives through quality education, health care, food security and job creation. She therefore mobilised all sectors of society, especially the interfaith movement, to tell the truth about the plight of children under the apartheid system and to act in their defence.
Mama also heeded O R Tambo’s call for international mobilisation around the issue of the plight of the children of South Africa. Under her leadership the National Children’s Rights Committee mobilised financial, administrative and humanitarian assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, for the defence of the children of South Africa. Through the NCRC, an umbrella organisation for civil society groups working for children’s rights, Mama Sisulu became instrumental in making sure that the principles of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child were included in the country’s democratic Constitution and the Bill of Rights. She also paved the way for Unicef to engage with and establish an office in the country.
Mama Sisulu also mobilised the Swedish Save the Children organisation to support public interest law organisations, notably the community law centre of the National Institute for Public Interest Law and Research, led by lawyers like J B Sibanyoni, a member of this House, and the community law centre at the University of the Western Cape, led by the late Comrade Dullah Omar. The institute published a book titled Women and Children in a Violent Society, after field work done under her leadership in the violence-torn KwaZulu-Natal province.
Unicef correctly described Mama Sisulu as a woman of great courage, conviction and passion, and a tireless advocate for South Africa’s children. As the NCRC’s patron and moral leader, Mama Sisulu was instrumental in ensuring that, after the country’s first democratic elections, the NCRC took centre stage, being transformed into the Children’s Desk in the Office of the President, as well as in all nine provincial premiers’ offices. This work laid the foundation for the National Programme of Action for Children, which mapped out plans for the realisation of all South Africa’s children’s rights.
As part of our tribute to Mama Sisulu, the ANC calls on the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities to table a progress report to Parliament in this regard.
President Jacob Zuma provided the framework for all sectors, including the National Interfaith Movement, to contribute to youth and child development when he invited all sectors in society to enter into a partnership with his administration for reconstruction, development and progress. The idea of a partnership between government and the National Interfaith Movement can be traced back to the 1997 National Religious Leaders Summit convened by our icon, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Mandela told the summit that political and faith leaders could not achieve their objectives in isolation; they needed to co-operate in a structured way through formations that were rooted among the people. He awakened politicians to the fact that social transformation could not be achieved without spiritual transformation, which he described as the reconstruction and development programme of the soul.
Given the deepening moral degeneration manifesting itself in teenage pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, neglect of child-headed families, abuse of women and children, illiteracy, skills shortage, and lack of psychosocial support for victims of social violence, the elders of our nation in the beyond will ask Mama Sisulu on her arrival: Where is the spiritual transformation plan of the National Interfaith Movement? Where is the memorandum of agreement between government and the National Interfaith Movement in defence of the youth and children?
Collaboration between the government and the National Interfaith Movement would not result in the co-option and domination of one by the other. The endorsement of Mandela’s call for spiritual transformation by President Zuma and the entire leadership of the ruling party, the ANC, testifies eloquently to the fact that government and the National Interfaith Movement are equally impelled to safeguard the unique dignity of every human being, to promote the immeasurable value of life of everyone, and to foster the common good. No further amount of interfaith dialogue can advance human dignity and the common good. What is now required is a social plan to address the spiritual and material needs of the children, the youth and the poorest of the poor.
President Jacob Zuma has already said that human development has a spiritual and material aspect, and called for a memorandum of agreement between government and the National Interfaith Movement for holistic human development and the creation of cohesive, caring and sustainable communities. In memory of Mama Albertina Sisulu, let us form this partnership and use it as a vehicle for preserving and developing her legacy to our youth and children.
To aid this process Parliament will hold a parliamentary interfaith indaba at the end of June, which will be followed by provincial interfaith round tables. These round tables will culminate in a Presidential Interfaith Summit on 25 August 2011, which will consolidate the National Interfaith Movement and adopt a programme of action for the creation of the cohesive, caring and sustainable communities that Mama Sisulu dreamt of and worked for throughout her life.
Let her spirit rest in peace. Lala ngoxolo, Mama Wethu! [Our Mother, rest in peace.]
Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The condolences of the House will be conveyed to the Sisulu family.
Debate concluded.
Motion agreed to, members standing.
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