South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Amendment Bill: finalisation; Department of Human Settlements Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2013

NCOP Public Services

23 April 2013
Chairperson: Mr M Sibande (Mpumalanga, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Transport provided feed back to the Committee on the responses received on the submissions to the Bill. No policy changes were made. Corrections in spelling and grammar were made to make the proposed legislation more user friendly.

The Committee considered and deliberated, and agreed to the Bill unanimously without amendments.

The national Department of Human Settlements (NDHS), briefed the Members on the Strategic and Annual Performance Plan 2013/16. The Department highlighted the vision and mission of the Department.  It highlighted the turnaround strategy of the Department and the new organogram that had been approved. The four programmes in the budget programme structure were presented. The Department discussed the 2013 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Human Settlements Development Grant Allocations to the Provinces and Metropolitan Councils.

Members were concerned with the backlog in the removal of the bucket system in two provinces and the term Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets. Members expressed their unhappiness with the poor quality of houses built and the necessity for the rectification programme. They asked what measures the Department was taking to improve the technical quality of houses been built. Instances in Mpumalanga were cited where houses had been flooded. A Member was also concerned about 500 poorly built houses in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had been demolished. Members raised concerns that tribal land was not been fully utilised properly in the North West and KZN for building of houses. A great concern was the lack of adequate land been acquired for housing and the fact that when it was acquired the municipalities were either bankrupt or lacked any bulk infrastructure and technical capacity to build the houses. Several Members queried why Manguang and Buffalo City were not listed as Metropolitan Councils in the Human Settlements Development Grants to Metropolitan Councils. The Members also were concerned about the poor state of the information technology  (IT) system in the Department could compromise the integrity of the data. They wanted to know how the enrolment and accreditation of service providers in the construction industry was being enforced and monitored. The Chairperson was unhappy that at least five out of six vacant positions in the Department were filled with acting positions and he believed that this situation made people reluctant to assume full responsibility for their actions in a position. Mr Zulu promised to provide the Committee with a finalised business plan by Friday 26 April after consolidating the Business Plan and dealing with all the stake holders he would return to present it to the Select Committee and the Provincial accounting officers of the Department of Human Settlements.                                    

Meeting report

South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Amendment Bill [B28-2012]: Department of Transport briefing
Adv Adam Masombuka, Director: Legislation, Department of Transport, gave the briefing on the finalised Bill.

The main purpose of the Bill was to amend the South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Act (No. 44 of 2002) so as to insert a definition, to effect certain technical corrections, to expand the composition of the South African Search and Rescue Organisation (SASAR), to provide for the management committee and sub committees of SASAR, to provide for SASAR to perform its function outside the Republic's search and rescue regions in accordance with the Conventions, to provide for the head of SASAR to appoint a designate to preside over any meeting of SASAR, to provide for the head of SASAR to determine the time and place of the first meeting of the sub committees of SASAR, to delete certain obsolete provisions , to compel all licence holders of aerodromes, airfields, or heliports to file emergency plans with the aeronautical rescue co ordination centre, to provide for the head SASAR to publish the contact details of the places where a person could report an aircraft or a vessel that was in distress, and to provide for matters connected therewith.          

Department of Transport Response to Submissions
Adv Masombuka stated in response to the submissions received on the Bill there were no policy changes, only corrections in spelling and grammar were made to make it more user friendly. He noted that no one was compelled to become a Member of SASAR as already most of them were state Members. There was a platform for anyone to join SASAR however those that wished to join must do so and had full authority.

Clause 1

Clause 1 sought to amend Section 1 of the Act by the insertion of the definition of regulations.

There was agreement on the Clause and it was accepted.

Clause 2 and 3
Clause 2 and 3 sought to amend Sections 2 and 4 by effecting certain technical corrections. There was agreement on the Clauses and it was accepted.

Clause 4
Clause 4 sought to amend Section 5 by substituting the former names of departments with the current names. Clause 4 also sought to amend Section 5 by providing for the establishment and composition of the management committee and sub - committees of SASAR.

This Clause was aged to and accepted.

Clause 5
Clause 5 sought to amend Section 6 by providing for SASAR to perform its functions outside the Republic's search and rescue regions in accordance with the Conventions.

This Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 6
Clause 6 sought to amend Section 7 by providing for the designate of the head of SASAR to preside over any meeting of SASAR if he or she was unable to preside over that meeting.

This Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 7
Clause 7 sought to provide for the head of SASAR to determine the time and place of the first meeting of the sub - committees of SASAR. It also sought to amend Section 8 by the substitution of subsections (2), (3), (4) and (7) to provide for the determination of the time and place of the meetings of the sub - committees of SASAR.

This Clause was accepted.

Clause 8, 9, 10 and 11
Clauses 8, 9, 10 and 11 sought to amend Sections 11, 12, 13 and 15 by effecting certain technical corrections.

All these Clauses were agreed to and accepted.

Clause 12
Clause 12 sought to amend Section 16 by the deletion of subsection (5), which provided for the authorisation that must be obtained from the head of SASAR prior to the commencement of search and rescue operations contemplated in Section 16(4) of the Act. Clause 12 also sought to effect certain technical corrections.

The Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 13
Clause 13 sought to amend Section 17 by providing for the substitution for the South African Civil Aviation Authority Act (Act No.40 of 1998) by the Civil Aviation Act 2009 (No.13 of 2009) .The South African Civil Aviation Authority Act had been repealed by Section 166 (2) of the Civil Aviation Act.

The Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 14
Clause 14 sought to amend Section 18 by compelling licence holders of aerodromes, airfields, heliports to file emergency plans and any amendments thereto with the aeronautical rescue coordination centre. Cause 14 also sought to delete Section 18(2) of the Act.

This Clause was agreed and accepted.

Clause 15
Clause 15 sought to amend Section 19 by providing for a person who believed that an aircraft was in distress to report the occurrence at the rescue coordination centre, port centre or airport. Clause 15 imposed a duty upon the head of SASAR to publish the contact details of the office or facilities to which a person could report an aircraft or vessel that was in distress.

In Clause 15 with reference to Section 19 the deletion of the word police station was rejected because it was reasoned that ordinary people would report to a police station.

The Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 16
Clause 16 sought to amend Section 20 by the substitution for the heading of Section 20. Clause 16 also sought to provide for the aeronautical and marine rescue coordination functionaries to report to the management committee.

This Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 17
Clause 17 sought to amend Section 22 by imposing a duty upon SASAR to furnish the Minister with any report, other than the report contemplated in Section 22 (1) (a) of the Act.  

This Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 18
Clause 18 sought to amend Section 23 by extending the scope of regulations to be made by the Minister.

This Clause was agreed to and accepted.

Clause 19
Clause 19 sought to provide for the substitution of certain expressions wherever they occurred in the Act.

This Clause was agreed to and accepted.

The Chairperson asked whether the Members wanted to clarify any points or had any comments on the Bill.

Mr H Groenwald (North West, DA) proposed that the Bill be adopted.

Ms L Mabija (Limpopo, ANC) supported the motion.

The Chairperson reported that the Committee had agreed unanimously to the Bill without amendments.

Department of Human Settlements Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2013
Mr Thabane Zulu, Director-General, national Department of Human Settlements (NDHS), gave a brief overview of the Strategic and Annual Performance Plan in which he shared the vision and mission. The mission was to facilitate the creation of sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life.

Mr Zulu stated that the Department had implemented a turnaround strategy with effect from 01 April 2012 in which a new organogram was approved by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). This organogram could be viewed in the presentation. The process of staff migration and personnel had been completed and National Treasury had approved a revised budget structure that was consistent with the strategic plan but not the organisational structure. A key issue was the matter of alignment of the strategies with plans, budgets and performance. He stated that a process would unfold to further refine strategies and alignment to national development goals and priorities in the Department which would include matters related to policy and strategic infrastructure development.

In 2013 a term report would be completed as well as the 20 year review of government. He noted the importance of Outcome 8, which was the facilitation, and provision of access to basic infrastructure, top structures and basic socio-economic amenities that contribute to the creation of sustainable human settlements. This outcome and the objectives in the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) received priority focus from the Department.

The Department would use its 2103/14 financial year to embed the National Development Plan (NDP) in respect of strategy, policy and operations for sector and institutional transformation. Delivery targets agreed to by the Minister and President formed a key area of focus. He identified five key programmes and project activities –

- the implementation of the Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP).

- implementation of the management of the Rectification Programme

- a focus on the accreditation programme

- improving on the social and rental housing units delivered

- better and improved intergovernmental collaboration and coordination

The Department would focus on focus on Programmes including Youth Builds, Women’s Builds and the Each One, Settle One Programme. They improved output and target monitoring and include quality and value for money through its Programme Management Unit. He noted that the Department subscribed to the core values based on South Africa's Constitution which were accountability, fairness and equity, choice, quality and affordability, sustainability, innovation and the adherence to the Batho Pele principles.

Mr Nyameko Mbengo, Chief Director: Financial Management, NDHS then presented the current four programmes.

Programme 1: Administration

The purpose of this programme was to provide strategic leadership and administrative support services to the Department.

Programme 2: Human Settlements Policy, Strategy and Planning

The purpose of this programme was to manage the development and compliance with human settlements sector delivery frameworks and oversee integrated human settlements strategic and planning services.

Programme 3: Programme Deliver Support

The purpose was one of supporting the execution of human settlement programmes and projects and overseeing the implementation of the household sanitation programme.

Programme 4: Housing Development Finance

The purpose was to fund and monitor the delivery of all housing and human settlements programmes. It included improving access to housing finance and developing partnerships with the financial sector.

Four Human Settlement Priorities were highlighted by the Chief Director, these were:

- the upgrading of 400 000 households in informal settlements

- 20 000 units per annum of affordable rental houses

- national bulk infrastructure programme and increased access to basic services

- acquisition of 6250 hectares of state owned land

-supply of affordable housing finance for 600 000 households

The key performance indicators of the Department and the projected targets until 2015/16 were then presented to the Committee, (see document)

Ms Funani Matlatsi, Chief Financial Officer, NDHS, then proceeded to brief the Members of the Committee on the 2013 Medium Term Financial Allocation.

The total medium term estimate for the 2013/14 allocation was R 28 billion, which was further broken down into the biggest allocation of R 27 billion for Housing Development Finance. This amount was split up into four separate grants –

-Human Settlements Development Grant – R 17 billion

-Urban Settlements Development Grant – R 9 billion

- Rural Households Infrastructure Development – R 107 million

- Departmental Public Entities – R 1 billion

The percentages allocated for the 2013/14 financial year were –

Human Settlements Development Grant 60.42 %

Urban Settlements Development Grant 32.29 %

Department Operational 4.03 %

Departmental agencies 2.88%

Rural Households Infrastructure Development 0.38% 

In terms of the Human Settlements Development Grant the  R17 billion was allocated to the nine provinces with Gauteng receiving the majority share.

Mr Mahtlatsi then covered the goals of Human Settlements Development Grant which were the creation of sustainable human settlements that enabled an improved quality of household life. The purpose of the grant was to fund for the creation of sustainable human settlements. He identified Outcome 8 was the most critical one. This was the facilitation and provision of access to basic infrastructure, top structures and basic socio- economic amenities that contribute to the creation of sustainable human settlements. The grant also improved rates of employment and skills development in the delivery of infrastructure.

He identified eight national priority programme allocations in five provinces of which an amount of R 1 billion was to be spent. Mr Mahlatsi provided further details of a 20 % allocation to specific outcomes targets and the amount of money Human Settlements allocated to the 6 major Metropolitan Councils in South Africa. The Gauteng Metropolitan Councils were receiving the bulk of the funding.

The CFO noted that the business plan had allocated the following amounts of money to be spent –

- credit linked individual subsidy programme R 47 million to be spent

- financed linked individual subsidy programme R 112 million to be spent

- rectification programme R 430 million to be spent

- accreditation support to municipalities R 40 million to be spent

- blocked projects R184 million to be spent

- land parcels R 278 million to be spent

- rental and social housing R1.1 billion to be spent

- incremental housing programmes R 7.6 billion to be spent on upgrading

- rural housing programme R 811 million to be spent.

Mrs Sindisiwe Ngxongo, Chief Operating Officer, NDHS, then presented the current challenges in the human settlements Department. These were briefly –

Lack of bulk and link infrastructure and related funding to implement projects

Delays in the planning of supply chain management

Lack of technical capacity at provincial and municipal level

Poor alignment of strategic objectives and co-operation in programmes of provinces and municipalities

Inadequate medium and long term pipeline planning for programmes and projects

Deficiencies in data management

In order to counter the challenges NDHS had undertaken five interventions which were –

- Provinces and municipalities were to align all grants to ensure bulk infrastructure was in place beforehand

- Provinces and Municipalities must develop and align procurement plans

- Programme management Units were to be established

- Provinces were to utilise the HSS to administer and report on service delivery

- Feasibilities to ensure programme and project readiness

Mr Matlatsi briefly discussed the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) explaining that its purpose was to improve the efficiency and coordination of investments in the built environment. It provided large municipalities with appropriate resources and was an instrument for Metropolitan Councils to address linkages between public housing and economic growth. The main objective of the USDG was to integrate the release of well-located land to the function of planning. It also encouraged cities to be proactive developers of infrastructure on well-located land. It compelled improvement in development planning and also improved inter – governmental coordination of development

This was followed by the USDG allocations to each Metropolitan Council. (See document) 

Mr. Matlatsi highlighted the challenges of the USDG, which included lack of coordination and capacity, as well as land acquisition challenges. Interventions to help this included improving the alignment and coordination in implementation of USDG and removing capacity constraints.

The Department's support processes were highlighted and its systems for monitoring the implementation of the USDG were given.

Mr J Wallis, Acting Deputy Director-General: Project Management Unit (PMU), then gave an overview of the Rural Households Infrastructure Grant (RHIG). He briefly explained the purpose was to provide capital funding for the reduction of rural water and sanitation backlogs and to target existing households where bulk dependent services were not available. The amount of the grant for the year 2013/14 was R 106 million escalating to R118 million for the 2015/16 period. The RHIG allocations per municipality and province were analysed. (see document)

The Departments support to municipalities was highlighted. This was mainly a process of monitoring and evaluating business plans and the submission of reports to National Treasury.

The Department would prepare a payment schedule for the transfer of the grant to municipalities.  
The Chairperson then requested Members for comments and questions on the presentation.

Ms M Themba (ANC, Mpumalanga) queried the term Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets and asked for clarity. She noted that some people did not want these toilets adding that they were not really VIP toilets. Ms Themba asked how the Department monitored the human settlements infrastructure grant. She noted that houses had been built of which the interior was of very poor quality and when it rained they were flooded. She mentioned these houses were built in Bekisbesizwe Mpumalanga. She asked about the performance of the Metros with regard to delivery on the Human Settlements Development Grant. She asked which of the 25 municipalities were accredited. She asked for details of where the blocked projects were and when they would be unblocked. She wanted to know what were the Department's plans should municipalities fail to deliver on their targets. She noted that municipalities did not have land and infrastructure even though money was allocated to them. She asked how the Department was going to synergise its information technology (IT) system so that its data was correct. On accreditation she asked what system was in place to help municipalities with no systems. She noted that in the HSDG allocations to metro councils, Manguang was absent. She queried why certain houses were only half built in Manguang and wanted clarity on how the allocations were been used. She asked if research had been done on migration from rural areas to urban areas.

Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) asked how the Department controlled the quality of houses. He was worried about the upgrades and wondered if they were renovations of new houses. He noted 500 houses were demolished in KZN and demanded that there must be more people on the ground to ensure proper quality control. He stated that most of the municipalities were bankrupt and were using housing funds for other purposes. He noted that there must be a plan for giving the Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets to the municipalities’ and this must include provision of state land. He asked how the Department handled tenders for building projects and was there enough state land available for building houses. He asked how municipalities which were not using the HSDG were being assisted. He noted that in the tribal land of the North West Province there was no planning and infrastructure.

Mr Z Mlenzane (COPE, Eastern Cape) asked why the bucket system in the Eastern Cape was still not removed. The Department had missed its target for this he asked if it had revised its targets. He wanted to know what had happened since 2010 in the Eastern Cape regarding the Rural Households Infrastructure Development Programme now the Department had changed its approach. Were there any applications for a rollover of funds? Buffalo City was a recognised Metro yet it was not included in the HSDG allocations to metropolitan councils. He noted that the Service Delivery Business and Implementation Plan (SDBIP) adopted by the councils did not include for the ownership of mayors and councillors.

The Chairperson noted that people had complained about the VIP toilet programme and that Delmas residents were still using the bucket system. He asked if the House of Traditional Leaders was been consulted as a stakeholder in the tribal areas. He asked for clarity that the Programme Management Units were not a duplication of work. He was impressed by all the posts been filled but he noted that five out of six were all acting as full-time. He asked when they were going to be filled and he noted that it affected the service delivery because acting positions carried the risk of people not taking the responsibility. He stated that the issue of land occupied by other government departments in the Northern Cape remained a problem and asked for Departments plan on this. What do you do with people who do not qualify for a bond or RDP house? He wanted to know how the construction industry was been monitored. He asked what the Department was doing about the problem of poor quality housing in places in Mpumalanga. He noted that converting hostels into houses and charging people inflated prices was a problem and requested the Department to monitor the prices. He asked for clarity on whether the rollover of finances in the Free State was included in the budget.

Mr Zulu responded by noting the Department would prepare a business plan by Friday, and then it would allow all accounting officers to talk to it. Once the business plan was consolidated then the Department would present the National Business Plan to the Committee. He indicated that it would invite all the provincial accounting officers to the presentation.

In terms of the Rural Households Infrastructure Grant (RHIG) Programme one had to find a stable model of delivery, the challenge was putting a plan that monitors it by the different municipalities. This formed part of the Programme Monitoring Unit.

The Department was consolidating monitoring and evaluation systems and quality into a very comprehensive system so an immediate improvement could be made.

In the past poor service delivery was associated with houses and toilets and no new projects would progress until inspection and enrolment had been completed. This would avoid continuous rectification. The Department would ensure all new projects must be enrolled to subscribe to the standards of the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

Many projects were not enrolled in the past but people were paid, causing problems. The Department had encouraged all public works departments to have their own programme management units that would monitor and evaluate their own programmes as well as provincial programme management units.

Technical capacity was a national problem in the construction industry. We were implementing agents who must implement and identify technical problems through monitoring and evaluation. The problem that confronted government was the capacity to use the money properly and on the technical side proper standards were non-negotiable. Government was doing everything to ensure that the capacity was there.

On accreditation a vigorous process was done by the team of independent technical managers at all levels in municipalities. The Department was using South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) norms and standards but sometimes it was being dodged because the monitoring and evaluation team was not there doing an effective inspection on the ground.

The Housing Development Agency (HDA) was assigned responsibility for state owned land that was feasible for human settlement. Some of this land was very peripheral. Once this land was identified a plan was worked out for infrastructure with the municipalities.

The Department was consolidating the IT suppliers and eight assignments were identified to complete this programme which must be used by all provincial governments. The Department was busy with this and the Department had already set aside a budget for this. The Housing Subsidy System (HSS) was being utilised with the provincial governments human settlements departments and the system was not at the stage where it should be.

Tribal Land in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was a problem because ownership became the problem. This was a much-contested terrain and the Department had to engage with stakeholders and landowners to negotiate.

On the bucket system the Department was aware there was a backlog and it had set a deadline for 2014 for areas like Delmas, Mpumalanga, and the Eastern Cape to be complete.

In the Department there were vacant posts existing and all vacancies for funded posts were attended to. The process for making funds available for non-funded posts would be put in place so that the Department would fill all posts within four months.   

The Chairperson requested that Mr Zulu respond to the remaining outstanding Members' questions in writing due to the plenary meeting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) scheduled for 14h00 This was seconded and the Chairperson thanked the DG for the presentation.

The meeting was adjourned.


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