The Committee met to consider and adopt its programme for the second-term. Members identified a few clashes and suggested that the Chairperson engage with the authorities in the National Assembly to resolve this. Given that this parliamentary session was short, Members debated about whether to meet during the constituency period, on weekends or after hours. The Committee postponed the adoption of the programme.
In addition, the Committee’s researcher briefly discussed the budget votes and strategic plans of the Departments of Transport, Human Settlements and Public Services for the 2010/2011 financial year.
The Department of Transport received R25 billion in the 2010/11 financial year. This allocation constituted 5.4% of the national budget by vote, before direct charges. The largest portion of the Department’s budget allocation went to the Public Transport Programme, followed by the Integrated Planning and Inter-Sphere Coordination Programme. The Department of Human Settlement was given a sum of R16.2 billion compared to the R14 billion in the previous financial year. That allocation constituted 3.5% of the national appropriation. The Department of Public Works was allocated R6.4 billion compared to R5.89 billion in the previous financial year. The Department’s allocation represented 1.4% of the national appropriation.
The Chairperson expressed the Committee’s condolences at the passing away of Dr Molefi Sefularo (Deputy Minister of Health). He commended all South Africans for exercising restraint over the death of the AWB leader, Mr Eugene Terreblanche. In particular, he praised the South African Communist Party for their conduct during this period.
Adoption of Committee Programme for the Second-Term
The Committee Secretary briefly outlined the Committee’s agenda for the second-term and in particular highlighting on which dates the debates would take place.
The Chairperson invited Members to give their inputs about the programme.
Mr R Tau (ANC;
The Chairperson replied that even though mistakes were made in terms of planning, the bulk of the blame laid with the departments who repeatedly postponed meetings. These concerns were nevertheless valid and would be referred to the Chairperson of Chairpersons and the respective whips for consideration. Finally, he proposed that the programme be adopted however subject to changes and further engagement with the House.
Mr D Veldman (COPE;
Mr Tau was convinced that the Committee’s whip would be able to defend the interests of the Committee in the National Assembly
Mr Z Mlenzana (COPE;
The Chairperson stated that members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) had been invited to join the oversight visits to the World Cup stadiums, however many could not attend as the invitation was sent at short notice. He proposed that the matter be discussed further at a later stage.
Mr Tau advised that constituency periods be used for what they were intended for and not to do committee work. Given that 2010 was a short year due to the World Cup tournament, Parliament should instead sit on weekends in order to make sure that mandates were carried through on time. Compromises should be made where necessary.
The Chairperson acknowledged Mr Tau’s recommendations and reminded Members that the parliamentary recess had also created minor setbacks in terms of the work that was supposed to have been done.
Ms R Rasmeni (ANC;
The Chairperson commented that absenteeism hampered the progress of the Committee. All Members were therefore encouraged to attend all the meetings.
Input by the Researcher on the Budget votes of the Departments of Transport, Human Settlements and Public Services for 2010/2011
At the outset, Mr Sifiso Ngesi, Committee Researcher, indicated that his presentation would be brief and would focus on the Research Unit’s findings. He added that he would not answer questions on behalf of the different departments.
Department of Transport
The strategic objectives of the Department of Transport set in the 2010/11 to 2012/13 Strategic Plan, werere as follows:
•Creating an efficient and integrated transport infrastructure network for social and economic development;
•Creating a transport sector that is safe and secure;
•Improving rural access, infrastructure and mobility;
•Improving public transport systems;
•Increasing the contribution to job creation, and
•Increasing the contribution to transport to environmental sustainability
Of the R461.5 billion total appropriation by vote (before direct charges), the Department of Transport received R25 billion in the 2010/11 financial year. This allocation constituted 5.4% of the national budget by vote, before direct charges. The largest portion of the Department’s budget allocation went to the Public Transport Programme, followed by the Integrated Planning and Inter-Sphere Coordination Programme. In proportion to the departmental budget, these two Programmes received R17.4 billion and R7 billion, representing 69.4% and 28% respectively. This budget allocation was informed by the Government’s resolve to revamp the public transport infrastructure, as stated in the Medium Term Strategic Framework. It was also in line with the State of the Nation Address which committed Government to maintaining and expanding the road network, as well as ensuring that the rail network was reliable and better integrated with sea ports. The Department was asked to present a report to Parliament of how the spending would be distributed.
Department of Human Settlement
The Department of Human Settlement was given a sum of R16.2 billion compared to the R14 billion in the previous financial year. That allocation constituted 3.5% of the national appropriation. The departmental expenditure was dominated by transfers and subsidies which constituted 95% of its total allocation representing R15.4 billion. The Department was also requested to present a report to Parliament of how the spending would be distributed.
Department of Public Works
The Department of Public Works aimed to focus on the areas of infrastructure development, skills development and job creation through the expansion of the public works programme. The Department was allocated R6.4 billion compared to R5.89 billion in the previous financial year. The Department’s allocation represented 1.4% of the national appropriation. Of concern was the contradiction and lack of clarity of the performance indicators provided in the Department’s strategic plan as well as indications of expenditure.
Mr Veldman commended the researcher on the good work done. He also encouraged Members to do their own research as well so that they could understand issues better.
Mr Mlenzana asked whether the Department for Human Settlement had been allocated funds for the demolition of poor-quality structures
Mr Ngesi replied that he was not in a position to answer Mr Mlenzana’s question. That question should be directed to the Department itself.
The meeting was adjourned.
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