Oversight visit Report to De Hoop, Nandoni and Inyaka Dams; Third Quarter Expenditure Report for 2009/10 financial year

Standing Committee on Appropriations

27 May 2010
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to consider and adopt its Oversight visit Report to De Hoop, Nandoni and Inyaka Dams. Members mainly focused on the Recommendations in the report and inserted new wording to ensure that the Committee’s views were captured adequately. The Committee expressed concern about the time taken to complete Environmental Impact Assessments and said that the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs should attend to this urgently.

 

The Committee briefly deliberated on the Third Quarter Expenditure Report for 2009/10 Financial Year. Members voiced concern about government departments bypassing the Committee and approaching National Treasury directly regarding the rollover of funds. Members commented that the Money Bills Act put the Committee’s role at the centre of the budget process. The Committee decided to shelve the report, allow National Treasury to make its presentation on Tuesday, get an analysis of that presentation and then meet next Friday to consider and adopt the report.

Meeting report

Committee Report of Oversight visit to De Hoop, Nandoni and Inyaka Dams
The Chairperson referred to the Recommendations in the report and expressed concern about the time taken to complete the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). Projects were often delayed because the EIA process took such a long time and even impacted issues of development.


Mr M Swart (DA) added that mass housing was another area affected by EIA.

Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) raised a few points. Firstly, he referred to page 5 and suggested that wording be added to indicate that further technical tests to investigate the quality and pressure resistance of the pipes be held, because there was dispute over the quality of the pipe used.

Secondly, he stated that the Committee’s concern regarding the escalation of the cost of materials and the supply of water was not captured adequately in the report and proposed the following addition: “The Committee was concerned that this agreement between the supplier and the Department may lead to a possible delay with undetermined consequences.”


Thirdly, he referred to page six, and said that the Report should indicate that the delay in the commencement lead to an escalated cost of R2.6 billion from year one.

Finally, he proposed that recommendation number four ought to reflect that the Department must draw up a business plan which excluded the mines as a contributing party to the budget.

Mr Swart suggested that the words “and local authorities” be added to “mines”.

The Chairperson suggested that “concerns of the role of spheres of government” be changed to read “co-ordination within spheres of government”

The report was adopted.

Third Quarter Expenditure Report for 2009/10 Financial Year
The Chairperson said that National Treasury was ready to make a presentation to the Committee next Tuesday..

Mr Ramatlakane suggested amending the last bullet on page 12 from a “culture of acting” to “appointment of officials” and to include a sentence regarding the filling of departmental posts. The new insertion should read as follows: “Should the Department fail to fill a vacancy within a maximum period of nine months, the post should be scrapped”.

He also said it should be made clear that the “audit committee” referred to an internal departmental audit committee. One of the goals of the department should be to get a clean audit. He suggested that the last bullet on the last page read “adherence” rather than “improvement.”

The Chairperson said that recommendations of the Committee should be clearly written and not generalisations as this would help in holding departments to account during follow up meetings.

The Chairperson recommended that the Committee shelve the report, allow National Treasury to make its presentation on Tuesday, get an analysis of that presentation and then meet next Friday to consider and adopt the report.

Mr G Snell (ANC) suggested that the findings of the Committee be the analysis in the body of the report and should be followed by the list of recommendations which would make it easier to track during follow up. There was a need to put time frames so that the Committee administration could develop a tracking system.

The Chairperson said that the Fourth Quarter report could only be adopted in July. He raised concern over the issue of rollovers and how it could ensure that the Committee was consulted. What was the role of the Committee if departments went straight to the National Treasury if they wanted a rollover or a shifting of funds?

Mr Swart said that rollovers changed the budget and therefore should come to the Committee. He added that the issue of overspending needed to be discussed with Treasury.

Mr Snell commented that the Committee needed to get clarity about the allowed limits of overspending and rollovers.

Mr Swart and the Chairperson said that the Money Bills Act put the Committee’s role at the centre of the budget process.

It was agreed to shelve the report to the following Friday.

The meeting was adjourned.


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