The Committee discussed some of the observations and recommendations in the Committee Report on the oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Eastern Cape in August 2011 but deferred adoption. Some matters needed to be followed up on. The Committee agreed that it was better to focus on only one province per oversight visit. They planned to visit the
The Chairperson said it was crucial that the Committee facilitate a workshop with Provincial Departments to discuss the issues raised in the report and to get feedback. Another observation was the appointment of consultants for planning and design because in
The adoption of the Committee Programme was deferred to a later date because the Committee had received a memo from the House Chairperson asking it to adjust the programme. The Committee needed to identify areas of focus for the current year and include these in the programme. The Committee adopted all outstanding minutes from 12 April 2011 to 22 November 2011.
Committee Report on Oversight visit to
The Chairperson asked members to go through the report and its recommendations.
Mr Suka suggested the Committee staff should compile committee reports within a week of an oversight visit to avoid backlogs because the two reports before them were from July and August 2011. It was also important for the Committee to approve minutes soon after the meeting taking place during the course of the year to avoid backlogs in their work.
Mr De Freitas agreed with Mr Suka that the minutes should be approved during the course of the year but the difficulty in doing so was there had to be a quorum at their meetings. It was crucial Members commit themselves to having a quorum at meetings in order to immediately approve minutes.
The Chairperson noted that the two contributions from both Mr Suka and Mr De Freitas were not contradictory but complemented each other, and there was already a commitment from Members of the Portfolio Committee to attend meetings in order to approve minutes of the previous meeting. The Committee staff should ensure that all Members receive copies of the minutes beforehand to reduce the time it takes to read minutes in the meeting and to assist Members to identify problems beforehand. She emphasised that from then on the first item on the agenda of the meeting should be the approval of the previous meeting minutes before any other issue could be discussed.
Mr Lucas noted that he had read the report on oversight to KZN,
Ms Dlakude concurred with Mr Lucas on the issue of follow up. She suggested that when they do oversight visits they should target one Province at a time because they ended up not doing justice to the work that they were doing, they end up travelling a lot instead of doing the work they were supposed to do. For example, in
Mr De Freitas noted that since they were embarking on an oversight visit to the
Mr Suka noted the report had sound recommendations. He referred to their undertaking to assist some of the local municipalities such as the recommendation that the Committee explore ways in assisting
The Chairperson explained that at Mhlathuze a mining company want to work together with the Provincial Department of Transport and
Ms Ngele agreed about the need to follow up on matters in the areas the Committee had visited. In the
The Chairperson interjected that what Ms Dlakude and Mr De Freitas were saying was the way their oversight was planned, they spent more time travelling and less time doing their work.
Ms Ngele said she agreed with that. She referred the Committee to page 15 of the draft committee report which stated that the
The Chairperson requested Members to focus on page one of the report. They should look at what they had discovered and whether it related to what they had wanted to achieve through the visits. One of the reasons for the Committee’s oversight visits was to establish whether the Provincial Departments implementation strategies focussed on poverty reduction, job creation and cooperative economic development. So they were not just looking at road infrastructure per se but also its relationship with improved socio-economic conditions, local economic development and the principles of sustainable development in a developmental state. If they were not able to marry infrastructure development with socio-economic development, they would be missing the point. Otherwise they would remain with the same policy in transport which stated that a gravel road in the rural area could only be upgraded from gravel to black top if there were 200 cars using that road daily. If one defined transport as the heartbeat for social and economic development, surely there was something wrong with such a policy? Policy should be related to the definition of transport and the Committee should influence the change of that policy. They needed a policy that talked to transport as the heartbeat and facilitator of economic development as opposed to road transport infrastructure informed by the number of cars on that road.
She noted the Committee’s study tour to China whose model did not speak to the number of cars on the road but spoke to the unevenness of development and how they used transport infrastructure to attract investment into underdeveloped areas. Thus it was not just road infrastructure but road infrastructure in relation to the socio-economic conditions of the areas they sought to develop.
Mr Suka referred to the three objectives of the oversight visit and said surely it meant that the Committee had to follow up on these because these issues did not come out clearly from the visit to the Provinces. The Committee was kept in provincial boardrooms instead of going out to see what they wanted to see. Since it was now towards the end of the financial year, strides should have been made and the province should be asked to explain what they had received, how much they had spent, how many jobs they had created, and what was the rate of unemployment. And that would give them the appetite to go to a single Province to do an in-depth job that would have an impact on the local economic development of that particular area. The Committee should return and get a full briefing from each Province, then on the second day they should visit projects, and on the third day come home and assess what they had seen on the ground so as to iron out what the corrective measures were. The Committee also needed to interact with communities directly when they embarked on oversight visits, to hear from the people themselves who were affected by those socio-economic conditions.
Ms Dlakude proposed that as policy makers they should do away with allocating budgets according to population but rather allocate them according to backlog and resources otherwise poor Provinces would remain poor. That would assist in job creation and minimise the movement of people from rural to urban areas. It would minimise the informal settlements around cities and cities would be clean. As a Committee they should influence that the budget be allocated in terms of the backlog and this would go a long way in reducing poverty in
Mr Suka agreed that they should not be driven by statistics but rather by the needs of the people because currently the budget was allocated according to a formula which did not respond to the needs of the people.
The Chairperson proposed that they should re-look at the observations and recommendations of the report related to the Committee’s main objectives about the implementation strategy of road infrastructure and it having to relate to socio-economic conditions and job creation. It was crucial that the Committee facilitate a workshop with Provincial Departments to discuss the issues raised in the report and to get feedback. Another observation was the appointment of consultants for planning and design because in
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the adoption of the Committee Programme should be deferred to a later date. This was because he had received a memo from the House Chairperson indicating the Committee had to include other issues to it, which were required in the First Term Programme. The Committee needed to identify areas of focus for the current year and include these in the programme.
The Committee adopted the minutes of 12 April, 24 May, 8 and 21 June, 16 and 30 August, 13 September, 11, 12, 13, 18, 20 October, 1 and 22 November without amendments.
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Minister of Transport had phoned her asking to brief the Committee on a number of issues such as E-Tolling, the Road Transport Management Corporation (RTMC) and fatal road accident statistics. The Minister had wished to meet the Committee before releasing the stats and responding to the issue of E-Tolling. Unfortunately Parliament opened only after the statements were made. Nevertheless he had requested he brief the Committee before the strategic plan briefing by the Department of Transport.
The Committee agreed to meet with the Minister on 7 February 2011.
The meeting was adjourned.
[Apologies were noted from Ms N Mdaka (ANC), Mr S Farrow (DA), and Mr P Mbhele (COPE).]
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