Division of Revenue Bill: Departments of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs and Public Works comments

Standing Committee on Appropriations

23 February 2010
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Department of Public Works submitted their comments on the draft Division of Revenue Bill to the Committee.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs reported that it was engaged in an unprecedented bilateral process at the highest level with the National Treasury, but unfortunately the two parties were still in this process of policy dialogue. The Department’s approach to the Bill was that there should be a single window of co-ordination towards local government in South Africa. The Department still saw fragmentation in the Bill.  The Department also believed that it had been entrusted with resources; it saw its role as following ‘the rand to the ground’ at community level, not as a mere ‘post office’. The Department had forwarded comments on the Bill, with particular reference to the Municipal Infrastructure Grant and Municipal Infrastructure Grant for Cities, to the National Treasury in August 2009. However, the Division of Revenue Bill [B 4-2010] published on 22 January 2010 had not taken into account the Department’s comments on issues related to the monitoring and reporting on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant and Municipal Infrastructure Grant for Cities. The Department recommended the removal of the whole Clause 9(2)(a) and (b). With regard to Clause 11(2)(b) the Department recommended the removal of the contentious issues that were still under discussion, regarding Municipal Infrastructure Grant for Cities reporting, from the current Bill. It proposed that these issues be incorporated in the framework of the grants to be finalised in April 2010. With regard to Clause 16(3)(b), which required informing the relevant provincial treasury and the National Treasury, the Department proposed that a notice in this regard should be given to the provincial departments responsible with the relevant grant. The Department proposed a new Clause 26(2).  The Department had received a new grant towards the community works programme, which would enable it to create job opportunities. The Department of Public Works would second an official to help in this programme. The Department was still discussing with the National Treasury the Department’s view that a Schedule 7 approach was needed. An enabling mechanism was needed within the law. The Department expressed confidence that the issues under discussion between the Ministers would be resolved soon and could be incorporated in the Bill once finalised.

The discussion by Members focused on the dispute between the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the National Treasury on their respective roles in managing grants. The Department alleged that  the National Treasury wanted to be ‘a player and a referee at the same time’. The Committee warned that these differences should have been resolved previously. A resolution must be found by Friday, 26 February 2010, in order that the Committee could complete the Bill. If the Bill were not passed, deliberations on the Appropriations Bill could not begin.

The Department of Public Works reported that it welcomed the Bill. Challenges remained on issues of operation and communications. This Department explained the devolution of property rate funds and devolved budgets to give background on the progress of other grants. The Department had addressed a shortfall in co-operation with the National Treasury. The Department administered four grants in terms of the Bill. Those were the Devolution of Property Rate Funds, the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) Incentive Grant to Provinces (Infrastructure); the EPWP Incentive Grant to Municipalities (Infrastructure); and the EPWP Grant for the Social Sector. The Devolution of Property Rate Funds had been introduced to facilitate responsibility for the transfer of property rates to the provinces, and to enable provincial accounting officers to be fully accountable for their expenditure and payment of provincial property rates. Progress to date, roll over made by Treasury to provinces, and conditional grants were described. The Department was now in the second phase of the EPWP Infrastructure Incentive. The aim of this phase was to create two million full time equivalent work opportunities for poor and unemployed people in South Africa so as to contribute to halving unemployment by 2014 through the delivery of public and community services. Changes in 2010 to the incentive grant for the provinces were described. These included low cost housing projects funded through the Department of Human Settlements. Changes to the Incentive Grant for Municipalities for 2010 were described.

Members asked the Department to define work opportunity and labour intensiveness, and about the challenges of the devolution of property rates and the solutions proposed. A Member noted that the assets register had not been compiled and asked on what basis the Department billed Government departments. Members also asked about the social sector grant, about monitoring, and for assurance that the Department was giving good value for money from its budget. The Chairperson said that the Committee’s frustration was that people planned, but when the time came for results, little had been accomplished in terms of realistic planning. The Committee said it was not acceptable to allocate funds and only thereafter ask communities for their views on how the money should be spent. In response to questions raised, the Department also elaborated further on work opportunities, technical support, and whether projects could always be realised through labour intensive policies. There was insufficient time to address all issues in detail.


Meeting report

Draft Division of Revenue Bill (DoRB)
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson advised that the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) would deliver its presentation on the Division of Revenue Bill [B 4-2010] (DoRB, the Bill) first, and the National Treasury would participate. He expected COGTA to explain a number of changes, particularly in their budgets and in some of the grants.

Members expected to hear the Departments’ response to the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP). The National Council of Provinces had not been very comfortable with the incentives. Members were aware that the National Treasury had replaced levies with a grant, and understood that COGTA was introducing the sharing of a levy. Members expected information lastly on the rolls-over and their desirability, with reference to Section 44 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). The Committee did not agree with the National Treasury. There were 56 municipalities that were struggling. The Chairperson asked how this would apply to them. The issue, to the Committee’s way of thinking, was simple: if a municipality lacked the necessary capacity to perform its functions, the Constitution enjoined the other two spheres of Government to support it. The Constitution gave protection, while Parliament had a role to play.  Communities were protesting because municipalities were poor. The Committee’s recommendation was that the National Treasury and COGTA must work together with the provincial treasuries and the provincial departments of local government to support the municipalities.  People had a right to be able to remain in their municipalities without having to move elsewhere to receive support.

Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) presentation
Mr Elroy Africa, Acting Director General, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) said that COGTA was engaged in an unprecedented bilateral process at the highest level between itself and the National Treasury. The unfortunate part was that the two were still in this process of policy dialogue.

COGTA had engaged with the National Treasury on the equitable share. COGTA wanted to remind the Committee about the turnaround strategy to which COGTA had committed itself and in which it had renewed its commitment to work with the municipalities.

COGTA’s approach to the Bill was informed by the principle that there should be a single window of co-ordination with regard to local government in South Africa. COGTA still saw fragmentation in the Bill as it stood. COGTA also believed that it had been entrusted with resources, and wanted to be more than a mere post office; it wanted to follow ‘the rand to the ground’ at the level of the communities, whereas COGTA felt diminished in its role at present.

COGTA had received a new grant towards the community works programme, which would enable it to create job opportunities. However, COGTA had not brought details. The Department of Public Works would second an official to help in this programme.

COGTA was still discussing, with the National Treasury, COGTA’s view that a Schedule 7 approach was needed. It recommended that national Government should have the discretion to manage these funds, and sought a discussion in Parliament. Mr Africa suggested agreement by way of support. An enabling mechanism was needed within the law.

Dr Batandwa Siswana, Head of Operation Clean Audit 2014, COGTA, said that COGTA proposed removal of Clause 11 of the Bill.

COGTA had forwarded comments on the Bill, with particular reference to the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) and MIG for Cities, to National Treasury in August 2009. The National Treasury had informed COGTA on 16 November 2009 that MIG issues would be accommodated in the frameworks since the Bill itself would now accommodate Division of Revenue Act (DoRA) issues. COGTA had consulted sector departments as well as provincial governments on the envisaged changes. The MIG frameworks submitted to the National Treasury had incorporated inputs from all the sectors as well as provincial local government departments. However, the DoRB [B 4-2010] published on 22 January 2010 had not included COGTA’s input on issues related to the monitoring and reporting on the MIG and MIG for Cities.

Key issues for COGTA were the monitoring and coordination of the MIG for Cities (Clause 9); reporting by municipalities receiving MIG for Cities (Clause 11); communication regarding withholding of transfers (Clause 16); and preparation for next year’s budget (Clause 26)

Dr Siswana referred to Clause 9(2)(a), of which 9(2)(1)(b) did not apply to MIG for Cities. Municipalities that received MIG for Cities were required only to report expenditure and non-financial performance information against their capital budgets in accordance with the requirements of Section 71 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

This was one of the matters currently under discussion between COGTA and the National Treasury. The clause restricted COGTA, which was the transferring and coordinating department for the grant, to monitoring the funds it was transferring to municipalities. Furthermore the MFMA required all municipalities to submit Section 71 reports.

COGTA therefore recommended the removal of the whole Clause 9(2)(a) and (b)

With regard to Clause 11(2)(b), COGTA recommended the removal of the contentious issues that were still under discussion regarding MIG Cities reporting, from the current Bill. In this regard COGTA proposed that these issues be incorporated in the framework of the grants to be finalised in April 2010.

With regard to Clause 16(3)(b) which required informing the relevant provincial treasury and the National Treasury, COGTA proposed that a notice in this regard should be given to the provincial departments responsible with the relevant grant. The notice to National Treasury should be regarded as the notice to provincial treasuries.

COGTA proposed a new Clause 26(2) to read thus: ‘(a) the receiving officer of a Municipal Infrastructure Grant must by 30 May 2010 submit all technical reports to the sector department responsible for water services (DWA), sports and recreation, roads and transport for all projects to be implemented in 2011-2012; (i) the responsible sector department must evaluate the reports and provide final recommendation to the receiving officer by 31 July 2010;
(ii) the receiving officer of a Municipal Infrastructure Grant must, by 31 August 2010, submit all the project registration forms for the projects to be implemented in 2011/12 financial year to the provincial department of local government;
(iii) the provincial department must provide final recommendation to the receiving officer by 30 September 2010;
(iv) the receiving officer must submit to the national transferring officer by 31 October 2010 a detailed project implementation plan of all the projects to be implemented in the 2011/12 financial year. Such details should include timelines regarding project designs, initiation of procurement, and EIA approvals’.

COGTA thanked the Committee for the opportunity that it had provided for comment, and expressed confidence that the issues under discussion between the Ministers would be resolved soon and could be incorporated in the Bill once finalised.

Discussion
Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) said that apparently there were many unresolved issues. He had laboured to understand the dialogue on which COGTA had embarked and to engage with the presentation as it stood. Since there were so many issues remaining under discussion with the National Treasury, he was tempted to ask the National Treasury to respond; however, he did not think it was the Committee’s job to mediate between the National Treasury and COGTA. He asked if the National Treasury would agree with him that the Committee should not engage with the presentation as delivered, but rather send COGTA back to finalise their ‘raw product’, and  return to the Committee with a ‘finished product’ after concluding discussions with the National Treasury. This must be done by Monday 01 March 2010 to enable the Committee to complete the Bill by Tuesday 02 March 2010. 

Ms B Ngcobo (ANC) said that Mr Ramatlakane had covered her questions and that she agreed with him.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) said that the delegation had ‘tried their best’, but Members needed to know what COGTA was doing. She asked for a full report by Monday 01 March 2010. She commended COGTA’s recommendation to change Clause 26. There should be a single window of co-ordination.

The Chairperson asked how COGTA thought it could respond to the Members. He himself asked about the Bill, page 90, part 6. He thought that this was input to the division of revenue. The Committee had asked COGTA to return and solve those problems in 2007 and 2008.  The issue of accountability remained.

The Committee had assumed that COGTA had a finished product, that it had engaged over a period of time, and had wanted those issues resolved the previous August. He referred to the last bullet of the concluding remarks, and what the Committee had said the previous year. It was now necessary to begin again from scratch, although the Committee’s report must be compiled by Tuesday 02 March 2010. If the Division of Revenue Bill were not to be passed, the Appropriations Bill would be halted, since discussion on this was conditional upon the passing of the Division of Revenue Bill. He asked COGTA how its officials would respond if they were sitting in the places of the Members. The Committee found it unacceptable that COGTA and the National Treasury had not resolved their issues. It had been asked to deal with issues early, but had only engaged in August, and he noted that all parties should be working together. He demanded that COGTA and the National Treasury resolve their outstanding issues and inform the Committee of the outcome not later than Friday 26 February 2010.

Mr Kenneth Brown, Deputy Director General: Intergovernmental Relations, National Treasury, asked how officials could be expected to change a decision of Cabinet. He asked Members to help National Treasury officials to understand what powers the officials had to change a bill after it had been endorsed by Cabinet.

The Chairperson observed that Cabinet passed all bills that it received, but Parliament amended them.

Mr Brown agreed but asked if officials, who had an opportunity to modify a bill before its approval by Cabinet, could subsequently suggest additions. The role of the National Treasury was a concern.

The Chairperson asked the National Treasury not to address COGTA but to address the Members. He wanted the National Treasury to go further.

Mr Brown referred to Clause 9, and the previous day’s discussion in which Mr N Singh (IFP) had commented on the Municipal Finance Management Act, Section 28.

The Chairperson said that COGTA had not talked about that matter. He inferred that the National Treasury had intended to say that there had been an agreement between the National Treasury and COGTA before the Bill had been referred to Cabinet.

Mr Brown said that when a bill was drafted there would be both agreement and disagreement.  Those were the issues on which National Treasury and COGTA had differed; the Cabinet had decided to move forward.

The Chairperson said that this discussion was not helping the Committee. He wanted to know what the parties proposed to do about their disagreements. 

Mr Ramatlakane asked COGTA if its presentation represented the Department’s official view. It appeared from the National Treasury’s argument that COGTA was ‘breaking ranks’. He asked if the issue had been cleared by the Minister. He asked if Members could assume that COGTA had nothing further to say, and if Members could deal with this issue as they saw fit and leave the issue for the next cycle of the budget process. He deplored the Committee’s inability to make any progress.

The Chairperson referred to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), according to which a Director-general or Acting Director-general was the accounting officer. The Committee did not question that role. He did not want to stretch the discussion to include such a debate. COGTA must respond to the issues raised. Mr Ramatlakane was amplifying what the National Treasury had said. The Minister had tabled this in the House. Mr Africa had said that the document had been finalised by the Cabinet. This implied an agreement between the National Treasury and COGTA on how to take the differences forward.

Mr Africa replied that it was correct to say that a Cabinet decision bound the Executive. COGTA had come to give its views on the Bill. Mr Brown had not been ‘useful’ on the second issue. Mr Africa asked how COGTA could respond to a letter that the Committee had sent to it. Departments did not have the right to comment on something passed by the Executive. If there had been issues previously, they should have gone through that process. COGTA was possibly breaking ranks, but this was a difficult question that he could not answer. COGTA had come to Parliament to give its views on issues that it had raised in the past. However, Mr Africa was confident that COGTA could return with a resolution of the issue.

The Chairperson said that he had thought that the national transferring officer was the National Treasury; however, it now appeared that COGTA held this role. Addressing Mr Ramatlakane, he said that the Committee agreed with COGTA that it was responsible for the issues that it was raising and that he was not denying that he was sympathetic. He referred to a previous State of the Nation Address in which the President had said that departments must no longer work in silos. Each department had a certain responsibility to control funds. COGTA appeared to be asking for funds. These were not powers that were absolute. However, the Committee needed to come to some conclusion. 

Mr Africa said that COGTA was engaged in an unprecedented and unparalleled bilateral process. COGTA took issue with the National Treasury for wanting to manage grants that COGTA thought should be managed by COGTA. The National Treasury wanted to be a player and a referee at the same time. He asked that COGTA be given the funds. He assured the Committee that COGTA was committed absolutely to working together with all roleplayers. He agreed with the Chairperson that COGTA should ‘see the big picture’ but asserted that COGTA should not be excluded from the process. He asked if was not possible to ensure that the reports came both to the National Treasury and COGTA. 

Mr Brown acknowledged Mr Ramatlakane’s view and suggested taking the tabled Bill as embodying the statement of Cabinet that the Department should resolve these issues in time for the next bill, and in future involving Parliament at an earlier stage. He doubted that National Treasury could finalise the issues before the Committee was due to finalise the Bill.

Ms Mashigo said that there was a little disagreement between COGTA and the National Treasury. The Committee would hold them accountable. She called on Members to agree with COGTA that those issues of the people must not be ignored. It was important to do what the Committee thought right. Members needed to tell constituents that they were going to contact COGTA. Members were answerable to their constituents. It would not be acceptable to tell them that the Committee had to pass the Bill because it had only a few days in which to do so. These were technicalities.

Mr Ramatlakane said that the differences between the National Treasury and COGTA were not small and would not be resolved in the meeting. According to National Treasury, the differences would not be resolved between the present time and the following week. The Committee was obliged to work with what was on the table. Moreover, there was no time to allow feedback. Any further feedback must be accepted as no more than a comment and should not be binding on the Committee.

Mr Bongani Khumalo, Deputy Chairperson, Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), gave the Commission’s view that a comprehensive review and approach were needed. Mr Ramatlakane had suggested a way forward.

The Chairperson said that the FFC’s view was helpful. Mr Africa had been correct to raise with Parliament issues with which COGTA was not happy. On 04 March the National Assembly was due to vote on the Bill. He said that the discussion that COGTA had held in 2009 must continue, but with a shorter timeframe, and the Committee would sit with COGTA ‘to thrash out’ those areas if not resolved.

Mr Brown said that he could discuss matters with COGTA after the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked COGTA and said that all must work together. 

The Chairperson asked COGTA and National Treasury to respond on the foregoing issues by Friday 26 February 2010.

Department of Public Works (DPW) presentation
The Chairperson asked the Department to tell the Committee about its Extended Public Works Incentive. People were demanding decent jobs. There was a move from the old way of giving only three weeks to a longer period and a labour intensive approach.

Mr Sam Vakela, Acting Director-General, Department of Public Works, said that the Department of Public Works (DPW) welcomed the Bill, which it believed would assist it to progress, in particular with regard to the property rates, the incentive grant to the provinces, and the social sector. Challenges, however, centred on issues of operation and communications.

Ms Cathy Motsisi, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Public Works, explained the devolution of property rate funds and devolved budgets, which had been included in the presentation to give a background on the progress of other grants. The Department had addressed the lack of co-operation with the National Treasury. There had been poor quality reporting and fragmented co-ordination. Invoices had not been submitted on time.

Mr Stanley Henderson, Acting Deputy Director-General, Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP), Department of Public Works, said that the Department had prepared a detailed presentation. However, he would highlight certain slides.

The Department of Public Works dealt with four grants in terms of the Bill. Those were the Devolution of Property Rate Funds Grant; the Extended Public Works Programme Incentive Grant to Provinces (Infrastructure); the EPWP Incentive Grant to Municipalities (Infrastructure); and the EPWP Grant for the Social Sector. (Slide 2)

The Devolution of Property Rate Funds had been introduced to facilitate responsibility for the transfer of property rates to the provinces, and to enable provincial accounting officers to be fully accountable for their expenditure and payment of provincial property rates. (Slide 4).

Progress to date, roll over made by Treasury to provinces, and conditional grants (MTEF)  were indicated. (Slides 5-7).

The Department was now in the second phase of the EPWP Infrastructure Incentive. The aim of this phase was to create two million full time equivalent (FTE) work opportunities for poor and unemployed people in South Africa so as to contribute to halving unemployment by 2014, through the delivery of public and community services. (See Slide 9). A FTE work opportunity was defined as a full year in the equivalent of full-time work. The second phase targets per sector and per year were indicated.

Mr Henderson highlighted second phase targets per sphere and per year. (See Slide 11).  EPWP Phase I had had a specific stipulation attached to MIG to implement infrastructure projects using ‘labour intensive methods’; but it had been found that the follow-through on EPWP guidelines had been uneven. The EPWP Incentive Grant was introduced in EPWP Phase II to reinforce and reward public bodies that actually implemented labour intensive methods and utilised their existing infrastructure allocations effectively to increase the labour content of infrastructure delivery; to ‘encourage’ public bodies to meet their targets or hold them accountable; and rapidly expand job creation.

Mr Henderson highlighted establishing the basis of participation, reporting, validation and compliance checks, and disbursement as key process points from the perspective of public bodies. It was necessary to assure all stakeholders that the Department audited all project data. The disbursement flow to provincial departments was explained. (See Slide 20).

Changes in 2010 to the incentive grant for the provinces were indicated. These included the inclusion of low cost housing projects funded through the Department of Human Settlements in the incentive. All reporting human settlement departments were evaluated for eligibility on the basis of meeting the threshold. None had met the threshold and were therefore all given a nominal incentive allocation. This at least gave these reporting departments access to the incentive if they met the threshold during the year. There would be discussions with provincial human settlement departments regarding the date required to confirm a reliable FTE factor and a threshold to enable the Department of Human Settlements to calculate incentive allocations and FTE targets, and to establish which projects would be eligible to be reported.

Changes to the Incentive Grant for Municipalities for 2010 were indicated on Slide 28. These involved shortening the period between reporting and eligibility to access the incentive. Other indicators were tabled for the Municipal Incentive Grant Allocations, and the EPWP Grant to Social Sector for the 2010-2011 financial year. Public bodies (provincial departments and municipalities) would be briefed about the 2010-2011 EPWP incentive framework requirements. Incentive agreements would be signed with eligible Public bodies for the 2010-2011 financial year. Technical support would be given to public bodies to report on EPWP in the 2010-2011 financial year so that more public bodies could be eligible for the incentive.

Discussion
Mr Ramatlakane asked the Department to define work opportunity, and labour intensiveness. Was there any guiding regulation that could be applied to more sectors? He asked if the Department had adopted the old labour intensive method of construction, and if the frame of agreement now informed the Department’s approach.

Mr N Singh (IFP) asked about the challenges of the devolution of property rates and the solutions proposed. The assets register had not been compiled. He asked on what basis the Department billed Government departments. The matter had gone to court in KwaZulu-Natal. Non-payment had become a vicious cycle.  There was a huge shortfall. He asked how these anomalies could be resolved. There were three infrastructure projects identified for 2010. He asked that people be employed for these, at least for 2010.

Mr Singh asked how a wage of R50 per day was accepted by the labour unions. He noted that Mr Henderson had also spoken about quality. Quality was liable to be compromised when a project did not use machinery; however, it was necessary to be labour intensive in order to create job opportunities. He asked about the non-state sector. He said that capacity would always be a problem. He asked what kind of assistance could be given to municipalities.

Ms Mashigo asked about the social sector grant.

The Chairperson said that the presentation was not clear in regard to monitoring. It was important that the reports obtained by the Department were accurate. He asked what the figures really meant.

Ms Motsisi confirmed that there was an asset register, which the Department used in the process of paying the property rates. Over time the Department had acquired new properties. There was indeed an asset register and it was the basis used for allocation. It was not directly allocated to each property. This was the reason for the shortfalls. The shortfall was for properties and the slow submission of invoices by municipalities. There was a system to pay the property rates.

Mr Henderson spoke to questions on work opportunities. He said that a work opportunity was any period of paid employment. The Department collected identity numbers. He explained the aim for the second phase. The Department had seen that the duration could be from four to six months.  In the social sector the Department had seen people working for up to 24 months. There was a code of good practice for labour intensive construction. Extensive research had shown that it was possible to achieve the same quality with proper supervision, so the Department had provided good technical support. The Department also accepted that not every project could be realised through labour intensive policies. Thus it was possible to build low-volume roads by labour-intensive means, but not those for high volumes of traffic. He replied about tripartite arrangements and partnerships. The idea had been mooted in the 2003 growth and development summit. The Department had identified towns which needed to be cleaned up, and had embarked on a food-for-waste programme based on a Brazilian model. There was a broader funding model. The argument was simply that the Department was under an obligation to encourage communities to recycle their waste. The Department paid R50 per day as the wage incentive. The focus had previously been on the public sector, but now there was a focus on the non-state sector, following a request from COGTA.

The Chairperson said that the Committee’s frustration was that people planned, but when the time came for results little was accomplished in terms of real planning. The Committee requested that the process include realistic planning. It was not acceptable to allocate funds and only thereafter ask communities for their views on how the money should be spent.

Mr Henderson replied that it was for the above reason that the Department had asked for proper project plans and to be able to establish a monitoring framework.  He spoke of the broader impact on communities. There was a problem with capacity. Therefore the Department’s technical assistance was even more relevant. The Department had found that there had been problems because of the built-in resistance. He replied to Mr Singh that even in the metropolitan areas the Department had to engage with communities. Because the allocations changed from year to year the Department had to recalculate from year to year, so there was a constant revisiting of the data. The incentives were based on past performance.

Ms Ngcobo asked if the Department had established good agreements with municipalities, and what the Department was expected to do. The Department was doing good work by giving people bread for a certain period of time. She asked if the Department could assure the Committee that it was giving value for money from its budget.

Mr Ramatlakane sought understanding of the comprehensive definition as the Department envisaged it. In housing there were so many opportunities. At some point, opportunities would be accepted as a service. He asked about the portability of skills; and suggested that perhaps on the next occasion all should speak from the same level. He asked lastly about the programme to accommodate young people in the job market.

Mr Singh said that there was an admission that the rural municipalities lacked capacity. He asked if this scheme was widely publicised, about past performance, and home care workers. He said that he was chairperson of a hospice organisation which engaged volunteers, and wondered if, for instance, they could  qualify for that payment.

Mr Henderson replied that the EPWP was in the second phase. The Department had learnt the lessons of the first phase. It was not always possible to provide every participant with meaningful training. Participants had indicated that they would like the training to be intensified. He said that the Department was at the end of the first year of the second phase. In some cases the Department could not provide meaningful training.

Mr Ramatlakane asked about the EPWP. He asked if there was an exit strategy, what the difference was, and what the practice had been.

The Chairperson asked about the founding documents which appeared to be missing. 

Mr Vakela said that the impression was that it was the first phase. In the second phase the Department would need to provide meaningful training to close the gap.

Mr Henderson noted that the Department sought to draw many people into the world of work through the EPWP. The not-for-profit sector could now access the funding.

The Chairperson questioned the value of R50 per day as paid in 2008, in terms of its value in 2010.

Mr Henderson said that it was necessary to distinguish clearly between the incentive and the wage range, which meant a payment of R50 per day.

The Chairperson complained that the language of parts of the presentation was unclear to Members.

Mr Vakela defined an incentive simply as a performance bonus over and above the amount that a person was going to be paid.

The Chairperson thanked the delegates. He said that Members should not be passive recipients, and, for that reason, had encouraged Mr Ramatlakane to table an alternative if he had one. The Department of Public Works was an interesting department for the Committee, which would continue engaging with it. The Committee sought more information, but time was insufficient. He said that all Members knew community-based organisations, and could be ‘free ambassadors’. If there was an opportunity to access a stipend, it would be a bonus or an incentive.

The meeting was adjourned.




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