The National Home Builders Registration Council raised its concerns at the public hearings for the Geoscience Amendment Bill. One of the concerns of this organisation was that the legislation should make use of the term ‘mandatory’ consistently when referring to the Council for Geoscience as a mandatory national advisory authority. The organisation requested that it should be included on the Management Board as set out in clause 3(b). The motivation behind the inclusion of the National Home Builders Registration Council was that it operated as a regulating authority in residential development on a national basis. The Council for Geosciences lacked capacity to carry out the operations that it would be tasked with under the provisions in the legislation. It was not ideal for the Council for Geosciences to conduct investigations, review and provided comments on the same investigations.
The Committee questioned whether the Council for Geosciences would have the necessary capacity to carry out the functions assigned to it under the Bill. In addition, Members examined why the National Home Builders Registration Council wanted to be included on the Management Board as set out in clause 3(b) and what their role was the approval of developments where there was a prevalence of sinkholes.
National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) Presentation
Mr Fred Wagenaar, Manager: Technical Services, NHRBC, said that the NHRBC was primarily established to protect the interests of housing consumers and to regulate the home building industry. The NHRBC presented the following views on the Bill:
•It supported the reference to the Council for Geosciences (Council) as a mandatory national advisory authority in clause 2 of the Bill.
•The word ‘mandatory’ should be used consistently in the Bill when referring to the Council for Geosciences as a national advisory authority.
•The term ‘infrastructure and development’ should be used throughout the Bill as opposed to the current ‘infrastructural development’.
•The Management Board as per clause 3(b) made no provision for any representation from the Department of Human Settlements, or the NHBRC.
•Provision should be made for representation from the NHBRC, which operated as a regulating authority in residential development nationally.
•The provision in clause 4(5)(1)(A) would demand that extensive capacity be created by the Council for Geosciences. It could also delay infrastructure and development projects nationally. Clause 4(5)(1)(g) would be problematic as it called on the Council to conduct investigations, and then to review and provided comments on the same investigations. This would not be accepted in the built environment industry. It was recommended that the Council should concentrate on pre-feasibly investigations for strategic planning and mapping rather than detailed Phase 1and Phase 2 investigations.
•With regards to clause 5(b)(3), the Council should not review and recommend geotechnical reports.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) asked if the NHBRC was of the opinion that the Council should only focus on identifying geohazard conditions as opposed to conducting investigations and commenting on them due to a lack of capacity.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) referred to clause 4(5)(1)(g) and asked for clarity on the comments made by the NHRBC on this clause.
Mr M Sonto (ANC) asked what the comments of the NHBRC would be on the assertion by previous submitants that the Council lacked capacity and the requisite skill and also that the Council would unfairly gain an advantage in the private sector where it would compete.
Ms J Ngele (ANC) referred to clause 3(b) and asked if the NHBRC was now included on the Management Board.
M Wagenaar replied that the NHBRC was of the opinion that the Council had a very important function to fulfil. The functions of the Council should be on oversight based on its knowledge, history and competence. There was definitely a lack of capacity and a potential shortfall in terms of skills. On clause 4(5)(1)(g), the NHBRC definitely did not want the Council making pronunciations and revisions on its own investigations. The Council definitely lacked capacity and there was a bottleneck situation where information had to be provided by the Council. The NHBRC was still not included on the Management Board.
The Chairperson said that there was a prevalence of sinkholes in a lot of development areas. Was there any role played by the NHBRC in approving development in such areas. Where did the NHBRC stand in terms of People’s Housing Process (PHP) developments? Did the NHBRC believe that the management board had to have representations from all stakeholders in the development field?
Mr Wagenaar replied that the NHBRC was not involved in the developments in Khutsong, the West Rand and
The Chairperson said that one of the functions of the Council would be to conduct investigations and render specialised services to public and private institutions; the NHBRC was in disagreement with this, why?
Mr Wagenaar replied that the Council had to do a pre-feasibility study and mapping on a large scale, this would identify the geohazards. The provisions in the Bill should allow the Council to only do pre-feasibility studies and mapping on strategic master planning rather than detailed geotechnical investigations for Phase 1 and Phase 2 developments.
Mr P Poho (COPE) asked if the insistence on the use of the word ‘mandatory’ by NHBRC meant that other councils should not be consulted in a particular specialised field.
Mr Wagenaar replied that the use of the word ‘mandatory’ was important but it did not mean that other councils could not be consulted. The NHBRC wanted to ensure that there was a definite body that had to do reviews.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Wagenaar and asked the Construction Industry Development Board to present its submission.
Mr Ronnie Khoza, Chief Executive Officer, Construction Industry Board, informed the Chairperson that it was not in the nature or part of the function of the CIDB to make submissions based on commentary on Bills. It supported the submissions that had been made.
The Chairperson noted that some Members had to attend other meetings.
The meeting adjourned.
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