Water delivery challenges: Department of Water Affairs & National Treasury briefings, in presence of Minister of Water Affairs

Standing Committee on Appropriations

10 February 2014
Chairperson: Mr E Mshiyeni (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

National Treasury (NT) and the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) briefed the Committee on the efforts to resolve the challenges around delivery of water infrastructure, in the presence of the Minister of Water Affairs. It was noted by NT that approximately 25% of the DWA’s total budget was transferred to the Water Trading Entity (WTE) for the latter to construct, operate and maintain existing and new bulk raw water infrastructure such as dams, canals and reservoirs. Other funding for regional bulk infrastructure and support to the water sector in local government came via the DWA’s programme 4, which comprised a number of grants. It was emphasised that this represented only the spending by this Department on infrastructure and there were other projects ongoing in other areas. R2.56 billion had been transferred to the WTE, which had spent the bulk of the money, but it also earned money itself, through selling bulk raw water, bringing its total revenue up to about R7.7. billion. The current projects were described, including those handled by the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (which had borrowed money from the WTE) for raw water infrastructure and bulk water system distribution. There had been some problems identified in the processes in the past. The Director General was the Accounting Authority for both the DWA and WTE, but the possibility for shifting of funds was limited because most projects were earmarked and could be used only for the purposes stated, unless NT, through the adjusted appropriations, approved otherwise. The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant had previously been specifically and exclusively appropriated, but this had recently been changed at the request of DWA, to allow for more flexibility. Quarterly reporting was being done, on both financial and infrastructure targets, although WTE was not included in the initial reporting period. This would enable NT to better assess the spending and progress on projects. Another problem was the 511 vacant posts, which had not been filled during the business re-engineering process, and many of these were in scarce skills. NT emphasised the need for in-house training and an accelerated recruitment programme. Further challenges related to the need for better integrated planning, coordination and reporting in the sector, the fact that delays in one project had knock-on effects on others, underspending, and reporting not being as comprehensive as it should. Suggestions to meet the challenges were offered.

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) reported on budgets and expenditure, noting that by January 2014 the spending on the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant (MWIG) was at 70% spending, whilst the infrastructure projects had spent 69%. Funding had been transferred, in two quarters, to all municipalities, but in February 2014 funding f R220 million was withheld by the DWA due to some municipalities not submitting project plans or reports. DWA had called for intervention from NT also. In addition, 49% of municipalities who had received funding had only managed to spend 18% of the funds, and they were being engaged with to try to get them to review their business plans and ensure that they were delivering. There had been proposals for the splitting of the grant, under Schedule 5 and 6, to allow for better controls. The total allocated under the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant was R1 billion. For Accelerated would ensure better control over the grant, which could happen if it were a Schedule 6. For the financial year 2014/15, the Schedule 5(b) portion was allocated R534 million, and Schedule 6(b) portion  was allocated R524 million, making the total allocation for MWIG up to R1 billion. The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant allocation was R4.6 billion, and Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme was at R246 million. A major challenge was the local governments’ lack of accountability and poor implementation, which led to under-spending. DWA was focusing on the projects with the ability to spend more quickly, and had initiated standard reporting mechanisms into the municipalities, on a monthly basis.

The Department also explained that the implementation model for the internal Construction Unit had been changed, to address some problems with it in the past. The WTE was operating as a business unit with redefinition of the roles and responsibilities. The position of the various units, and what they managed, was described. All business units were handled by business managers. The Construction Management unit focused on the construction of new water resources infrastructure and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure. Because the former unit had previously executed and project managed the same project, with a challenge around segregation of duties, there were now appointed project managers. Proper project reporting was in place. The allocation of budget had been moved to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to ensure proper consultation and better alignment, and project costing was far more closely tied to Bill of Quantities. The Construction Unit had moved from an audit disclaimer in 2011/12 to an unqualified audit report with matters of emphasis in 2012/13, and the improvements were noted.

Members asked about transfer of funds and spending on intended purposes, and what plans were in place to deal with coordination and reporting challenges. They wanted to know who was monitoring the transfers and the implementation of projects, and sought clarity on whether the construction and engineering units were internal, or whether work was being outsourced. Members questioned the filling of the vacancies, the time frames for doing so, and asked about employment of disabled people. They asked what projects had been completed, how many benefited, and whether the NT pilots on spending were to be rolled out. Members also asked about backlogs in water licensing, the role of the South African Local Government Association, how lack of accountability in the local government was being addressed, and for more clarity on the earmarking of projects. The Chairperson emphasised that the division of revenue aspects were indeed something that needed to be addressed, but of more import was the fact that the money must be spent on the ground where the projects were so badly needed. Whilst the Committee appreciated the progress, it felt that more was needed. Instead of withholding funding, it would prefer that capacity enhancement at local level be addressed.
 

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted that the meeting was starting late as the Committee was awaiting the Minister of Water Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa. He noted that the Department of Water Affairs (DWA or the Department) had not made its presentation available until this morning, would not go into the reasons, but warned the Department that in future it must have all presentations for this Committee available three days in advance of the meeting, to allow Members the opportunity to go through them in depth.

Delivery of Water Infrastructure: National Treasury (NT) briefing
Ms Marissa Moore, Chief Director: Urban Development and Infrastructure, National Treasury, indicated that the presentation would provide context of the internal capacity of the Construction Unit that was in the Water Trading Entity (WTE), together with budget and governance overviews, and the projects and plans.

Approximately 25% of the DWA’s total budget was transferred to the WTE to construct, operate and maintain existing and new bulk raw water infrastructure such as dams, canals and reservoirs. Ms Moore  added that there was also funding for regional bulk infrastructure and support to the water sector in local government, through Programme 4, which included the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG), Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant (MWIG), Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme (ACIP) , Rapid Response Unit and Water Service Projects. She emphasised that this was not the total infrastructure spend, but only the money that was being spent by the WTE.

The current transfer account towards water infrastructure management was R2.565 billion. WTE spent a very large percentage of the transfer budget and this was because it was “cheap money” and therefore would be spent first. However, she emphasised that this was a small portion of the total revenue, because the WTE earned money itself, through selling bulk raw water. Its income for this year was around R7.7 billion. The expenditure by the WTE of transferred funds had been consistently high. Approximately 86% of the transfer was allocated for infrastructure development that the WTE undertook on behalf of the Department of Water Affairs. 7% was for operational costs of the WTE. The remaining 7% was to service the loans in the Komati River Basin for the Driekoppies and Maguga Dams, situated on the border of South Africa and Swaziland.

Ms Moore gave a brief description of the areas in which the WTE operated, specifically focusing on the water value chain, as the areas of raw water resources, retail water and bulk water. The major players in raw water were WTE and Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA). They were handling the current projects in Limpopo, including De Hoop Dam (R3 billion), raising of the Clanwilliam Dam Wall (R1.8 billion) and N’wamita Dam (R1.7billion).  In the bulk water area, WTE also provided water systems for distribution. The key projects currently taking place in this regard included Nandoni Water Treatment Works, Inyaka Water Treatment Works and Hluhluwe Regional Water scheme. There were no currently-running projects in retail water.

Ms Moore said that there were certain problematic areas. The Director General of the DWA was regarded as the Accounting Officer for both the Department and WTE, as clearly stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), section 36. The possibilities for shifting of money were quite restricted, as the Appropriation Act, in section 5, clearly indicated that any savings for amounts appropriated as transfers could be used only for the same purpose, and amounts appropriated as capital payments could be used only within the same programme, with approval from the Minister of Finance. Furthermore, PFMA section 43 and Treasury Regulation 6.4 indicated that the earmarked funds could only be used for the purpose stated, unless there was prior approval from National Treasury.

National Treasury (NT) was very strict in terms of earmarking of funds. This happened largely for regional bulk projects. At the moment, the De Hoop Dam 2B was also earmarked. This meant, in practice, that the money could only be shifted to other projects with approval from NT. In practice, few WTE-implemented projects were earmarked, to allow flexibility within WTE to allocate funding, as it was recognised that the project plans might change throughout the year. The Appropriation Act also ensured that funding for capital was used specifically for capital. She also stressed that whilst the RBIG projects were previously specifically and exclusively appropriated, this had now been changed, at the specific request of the DWA, in order to allow for greater flexibility in prioritising projects, given the consistent high expenditure on this grant.

Ms Moore stated that the quarterly performance reports from the DWA included reporting on the WTE, under programme 3, for Water Infrastructure Management. Both financial and infrastructure targets were included in the reporting. NT had requested that the DWA must also report on its monthly revenue and expenditure, as indicated in section 40 of the PFMA. The entity also reported annually. NT had embarked on a process to ensure that standardised performance reports by public entities and trading accounts were submitted quarterly. WTE was not included in the initial period. She added that there were also performance indicators around reporting, so that for WTE, there were certain expected reporting standards relating to the plans. This was critically important as such reports offered a sense of not only the money spent on key projects, but also the progress that had been made. 

Ms Moore mentioned that there has been a historic decline in the WTE personnel numbers, due to business engineering review processes, which did not enable the positions to be filled until the process was completed. The entity had an approved establishment of 4 205 posts, of which 3 694 were filled and 511 vacant, as at the end of November 2013. Most of the vacancies arose from staff turnover and inability to attract the required scarce skills, particularly at management level. She emphasised that vacancies should be filled over the medium term, through in-house training and an accelerated recruitment programme.

Ms Moore indicated there were numerous challenges that the Department had encountered. There were  many role players in the water sector and this made integrated planning, coordination and reporting very challenging. She also indicated that there was a problem arising from the “domino-effect” – if there was a delay in one project, then all the subsequent project phases were also delayed. The fact that projects were earmarked could also result in under-spending, especially if there were justifiable project delays. In addition, the entity reporting was sometimes not as comprehensive as departmental reporting. Many projects included both on-budget (social) and off-budget (user pay, commercial) components, which were not always aligned. The on-budget projects capital costs mostly had to be funded in full upfront, whereas off-budget funded projects could be funded over the lifetime of the asset.

Ms Moore added that there were, however, also different opportunities that were available to address these challenges. Firstly, there could be enhanced reporting by entities, as National Treasury was currently piloting an entity-reporting tool, which would be fully rolled out after the pilot. In cases where funding was committed – for instance, where pipes had been ordered and invoices submitted – NT would allow for rollover of funding to the next financial year, as indicated in Treasury Regulation 6.4. The improved revenue generation of the WTE allowed for co-funding of projects when needed, which lowered the reliance on the fiscus for up-front funding. The DWA was also using water boards and other implementing agents for regional bulk infrastructure projects. In addition, NT offered additional support to all Departments through Office of the Accountant General, Technical Assistance Unit, and also newly created Chief Procurement Officer.

The Department of Water Affairs  
Mr Trevor Balzer, Deputy Director General, Department of Water Affairs, apologised to the Members for the late delivery of the presentation. He briefly outlined the structure of the presentation, and the presenters.  

Ms Nthabiseng Fundakubi, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Water Affairs, dealt with the funding and allocation of earmarked funds. As at January 2014, the report on the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant (MWIG) noted 70% spending. Spending on the infrastructure projects was at 69%. In relation to MWIG, the Department had transferred funding in two quarters to the municipalities. The Department entered into an agreement with municipalities to submit monthly progress reports as well as a business plan. However, DWA was currently experiencing challenges in terms of the MWIG allocation transfers, because of late submission of project plans from the municipalities, and late submission also of the reports. The Department had told them that it was consequently intending to withhold funds. The DWA had been due to transfer the third quarter tranche to the municipalities on Friday 7 February, but was currently in fact withholding, and thus had not transferred R220 million. DWA had furthermore prepared a letter to the NT, calling for its intervention, as this was a Schedule 5 grant, and requesting whether NT would take it on.

She further explained that another reason for withholding the transfers was that, in the case of the 49% transfers made to the municipalities, only 18% had been spent, and it was a risky exercise to continuously transfer funds where there was no capacity to spend. The Department had projects that needed to be fast tracked to ensure that water would reach communities. It was thus engaging with the municipalities and encouraging them to review their business plans. DWA recognised that withholding of money did not get the projects done, so it was critically important to reach a stage where it could transfer the money to the projects that needed to progress. At the start of the MWIG allocation process, in July, R602 million was allocated. In order to try to deal with the challenges of MWIG, the Department had engaged with the NT as to whether it was possible to split the grant into two; to fall within Schedule 5 and Schedule 6. This would ensure better control over the grant, which could happen if it were a Schedule 6. For the financial year 2014/15, the Schedule 5(b) portion was allocated R534 million, and Schedule 6(b) portion  was allocated R524 million, making the total allocation for MWIG up to R1 billion.

The DWA also allocated budget for ACIP programmes, for demand management, to refurbish waste water treatment, with a total budget allocation (for ACIP) as R246 million.

The budget allocation for RBIG projects was R4.6 billion.

The main challenges were the lack of accountability, especially in the local government, and poor implementation performance which led to under-spending. This could be solved by the municipalities enhancing planning, improving accountability and setting up implementation agencies at municipal level. In order to achieve efficiency, the Department also decided to reprioritise projects, and start with those that could be completed quicker. It wanted to spend more time on the control and reporting mechanisms, and she noted that the Department had initiated standard reporting mechanisms into the municipalities, on a monthly basis. There was also a need to assist the municipalities, around fast tracking the implementation of the projects.  

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister at this point and confirmed that the Committee had received notification that she would be late.

Ms Zandile Mathe, Deputy Director General, Department of Water Affairs, (DG) said that the Standing Committee on Appropriations had requested that the Department speak to questions on the management of the internal Construction Unit. However, she noted that this implementing model had since been changed. The WTE was now operating as a business unit and there had been redefinition of the roles and responsibilities of all business units. She emphasised that the Finance Unit and the National Water Resources Infrastructure (NWRI) branch were moved closer together, and the Department was basically looking at itself as an entity, with the Finance Unit handling the finance from revenue collection as well as managing the budget, headed by the Chief Financial Officer. On the operational side of the business, the Infrastructure Development unit was responsible for mega infrastructure projects, which were referred to as “clients”, and also for developing infrastructure. The Operational Business unit was responsible for the entire infrastructure that currently existed, and its role was to ensure that infrastructure was operational and properly maintained on regular basis. The Chief Directorates of Construction and Engineering were considered as service providers, and from now on the two business units were not budgeted for under the main budget of WTE.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) interjected at this point to ask for clarity on the flow of the presentation, and whether WTE was in anyway closely related to management of the Internal Construction Unit.    

Ms Mathe answered that within WTE there were business units that are headed by business managers. One dealt with infrastructure development, another dealt with operation of the infrastructure, and also construction engineering service. The intention of the presentation was to zoom into how construction engineering services related to the bigger entity.

Ms Mathe said that the total income, for 2013/14, of the WTE was projected to be R10 billion. For the National Water Resource Infrastructure the projection was R207 billion. ECC6 upgrade was R88 million and Proto-CMAs was at R147 million. The total WTE revenue was R7.8 billion. There was a loan of R4.1 billion to TCTA. 

The purpose of the Construction Management unit was to construct new water resources infrastructure and rehabilitate existing infrastructure to meet social water needs and facilitate economic growth and development. There were two existing Directorates – Construction Support, and Construction Equipment. The Construction Support was responsible for the construction of new water resources infrastructure, and also supplied administrative, human resources, financial, human relations support, and safety and security for the five Construction Units. Construction Equipment basically dealt with refurbishment of mechanical equipment, and also ensured the procurement, operation, maintenance, rebuilding and disposal of construction equipment. 

There were numerous challenges that the Department had managed to identify. Firstly, the Construction Unit tended to execute and project manage the same project. The challenges that were experienced on the governance level included the segregation of duties between the Construction Management Unit and Infrastructure Development Unit. However, it was indicated that there was progress on this challenge, as the appointed project managers were expected to report the progress on projects on a monthly basis, or when required.

Secondly, there had previously not been any proper project methodology in place. This impacted on projects monitoring, as Gantt charts and report plans were not easily available. The progress on this had been that the project methodology was now enforced; that the project plans and Gantt charts were being prepared and project progress were monitored on a regular basis.

Thirdly, there had formerly been challenges and hindering of progress in relation to financial management. The challenges involved the budget for new infrastructure, Dam Safety Rehabilitation Programme (DSRP) and Water Services, which resided within the control of the Construction Unit. This model resulted in the allocation of budget without consulting the experts. However, there had been progress on this challenge, as the allocation budget was now managed from the office of the Chief Financial Officer, and the budget resided with the Infrastructure Unit instead of the Construction Unit. The Construction Unit was paid based on the work done.

Formerly, the total project costing had been done without looking at the activities on the Bill of Quantities as that was not readily made available. This often resulted in under/over costing of the projects. The progress on this was that the projects were now costing at an activity level, based on the Bill of Quantities.

In 2011/12 the Construction Unit had obtained a disclaimer audit opinion, and there were a number of issues raised which included the fact that there was no policy in place to manage abnormal costs, a lack of proper costing system, not proper segregation of duties, and the fact that construction was making an internal profit. In addition, the audit report also showed that there were discrepancies on accounting and costing depreciation. The inability to separate operating and capital expenditure was identified. The matters had been addressed, and in 2012/13 the Construction Unit obtained an unqualified audit, although with matters of emphasis. Some of the issues identified were the abnormal costing policy, but it was also noted that the internal profits were eliminated, the accounting depreciation policy was aligned to the construction costing policy, and the internal order project was implemented to account for capital expenditure.

Discussion
Ms A Mfulo (ANC) wanted more elaboration on the NT presentation, asking whether expenditure of transferred funds was done according to the original purpose. She wanted to know what time frame was attached to the DWA filling the 511 vacant posts, as this had been a problem since the end of November 2013. She enquired how many employees were people with disability. She questioned the plans that were in place to deal with the problem of coordination and reporting challenges. She also asked what was happening around the piloting of an entity reporting tool, whether it was yet being rolled out or whether this was still in the planning stage – if so, how long it would take to adequately deal with that problem.

Ms Mfulo asked the DWA what had been done to solve the problem of late submission of reports, since this problem was identified as causing major inconveniences. She also asked about the solutions to solve lack of accountability and poor implementation, and wanted to know who was supposed to be implementing and ensuring that the transfers were in fact happening. She wanted clarity on whether the construction and engineers were service providers to the Department, or whether they were operating on their own. She requested the progress on the advertisement of the project management post, whether this had been done already or was only still in the planning stages, and the time-frame for completion of that. She wanted to know if the CMAs were part of the bigger or smaller projects, commenting that they were usually “at the bottom, getting a smaller fraction of the budget”. She wanted more clarity on the meaning of “abnormal cost policy” (slide15) and how the internal profit was eliminated.

Mr Balzer said that indeed the Department was performing poorly in terms of employing disabled people, as it had failed to meet the 2% target, and there were only 57 disabled people (0.7%) in the Department.

Minister Edna Molewa responded that there had been projects completed in the past six months, like Alfred Nzo in the Eastern Cape, which had benefitted around 2 083 households, as well as various projects in provinces like Northern Cape. She also emphasised that in the next two months more would have been completed.

Ms Lerato Mokoena, Programme Manager: Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant, DWA said that the employees of the Department comprised the largest percentage, so there were not many consultants. The main reason for the division of responsibility was to ensure efficiency during the operations and the division of the services. This was also to ensure clear roles and responsibilities on site, hence the roles of the engineers, contractor and project manager were now clearly defined. The ultimate aim was to ensure that the project was implemented according to what was agreed upon in the beginning of the project.

Ms Mokoena added that that there were significant improvements in the performance of the municipalities, as the audit reports showed more accountability and declines in irregular spending. One of the major issues with which the DWA was grappling was trying to get efficiency in the built environment and construction management, and the only way to regulate this was by imposing penalties. It was recognised that penalties could not be imposed on the DWA itself, but the HR unit had been asked t come up with incentives to encourage efficiency.

Ms Moore responded that there was money that was transferred and spent and other that generated own revenue, but she did not have the figures with her for the total revenue spend. An assessment of total expenditure against total performance was a process that ha just started, and the intention of this pilot was to get performance information from entities, in a standardised format. The pilot seemed to be successful, but it was still being reviewed, and if successful, would be rolled out from 1 April 2014. This pilot would allow the Department to release quarterly feedback on performance, and not just expenditure outcomes.  

Mr M Swart (DA) asked what the Department was doing to ensure there was no backlog in water licencing. He also raised the fear that the funds going to the local government were used for other activities like covering their overdraft. 

Mr Balzer responded that there were already 221 current water use licences in backlog, out of 5 000, but there were improvements on the water licensing, as the backlog was decreasing. He also emphasised that the Department made sure that the funds transferred to local government were used for their intended projects and if it was found that there was not spending in line with those intended projects, then the Accounting Officer had to assist the local government in making payments. This was a requirement of the Division of Revenue Act (DORA).

Mr G Snell (ANC) asked the reason why the Construction Unit was not separated completely from the Business Unit, for it was possible that it might be able to tender with the municipalities for a cheaper price. He also asked how the Department would solve the issue of and fill the 511 vacant positions.

Ms Mokoena responded that the 511 vacancies were mostly for technical skills, and indicated that there was a serious shortage of skills in the country. Although there were quality engineers, they were being taken by the private sector as the public sector salaries were not competitive enough. There was a programme in place to accelerate the registration of graduate training to deal with the issue of scarce skills. She emphasised, however, that the registration of graduate training was a slow process and DWA needed to find an accelerated programme. There was also another initiative to target students from Grade 10, so that by the time they finished their matric, there was already a pool ready to be accepted into the universities. There were also plans to bring back retired engineers, not specifically to handle the work themselves, but rather to assist in accelerating the registration of graduates programme.   

Mr J Gelderblom (ANC) wanted to know the role of South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in relation to the Department.

Mr Balzer responded that both the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) and MWIG were complementary, in a sense that if there was underperformance in MIG, then that would directly impact on MWIG. He indicated again that there had been engagement with the National Treasury for MWIG to become a Schedule 5 grant, and there was recognition that some of the municipalities might not perform well. The  24 worst-performing District Municipalities had been targeted. However, despite this recognition, the DWA continued to give them money to spend, but had discovered, after six months, that there were problems. For the 2014/15 year the Department decided to introduce a 50/50 split between Schedule 5 and 6 grants and the main reason for that was to allow  those Municipalities that were performing to be left to Schedule 5. This meant that when there was, for instance, only 18% expenditure, not all the municipalities were showing poor performance, as there were certainly some who were performing better.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) also asked about the Department’s plan to overcome the issue of shortage of scarce skills, and whether this matter could be dealt with urgently. She also asked how the Department would deal with the non-accountability at the municipal level. She also wanted clarity on the earmarking of projects, and especially on how earmarked projects allowed for flexibility with WTE.

Ms Mokoena responded that there were improvements at the municipal level as the audit outcomes showed an improvement in accountability. She also re-emphasised her earlier point, and said that DWA had already elaborated on the plans and initiatives that were introduced to overcome the issue of shortage of skills, especially engineers.

Ms Moore replied that where there was still earmarking, especially in the RBIG projects, if the spending of money was delayed there could be transfer to another project, but the point was that there was a process to be followed, and the matter must be brought back to the Committee during the adjustment budget process, before the money could be transferred to other projects.

The Chairperson asked how to deal with capacity in poorly performing municipalities to ensure that they were able to deliver. He also raised a concern over the division of revenue, and emphasised that whether Schedule 5 or Schedule 6 was used was not so important; as long as the money was going to be used to help the country to deliver – he felt that the division of revenue aspects were a topic to be discussed on another day.

The Chairperson indicated that the Construction Unit was important, but he emphasised that there was a need to stress the importance of accountability and efficiency. He indicated that the Department needed to devise ways of managing expensive professionals, like the town planners and engineers, as he was not sure whether the Department needed those professionals on a permanent basis.    

The Minister thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to share the findings and she wished the Committee well in the year, saying that their input could help the Department to improve.

The Chairperson also thanked the Minister for her presence, saying that although these meetings were usually only attended by Accounting Officers, her presence was useful.

The Chairperson said that the Committee appreciated the progress that had been made, especially around MWIG, but felt that there was room for improvement. One issue that the Department grappled with every year was that of getting support at the municipal level. He suggested that, instead of withholding funds for the municipalities, the Department needed to deal with capacity enhancement at municipal level and try to engage with the problem as soon as possible, to ensure that the resources would be spent. He noted the challenges with Schedules 5 and 6 and the Committee agreed that there would have to be further engagement on that when dealing with the 2014 Division of Revenue Bill. He also mentioned that the Committee, during oversight visits, had noted in-fighting in some areas and hoped that the Committee would also be able to deal with that. He expressed the Committee’s appreciation for the improvements to the Internal Construction Unit. He felt that there could be improvements on the expenditure on MIG, as the need on the ground was enormous, so that any under-spending needed to be corrected.

The meeting was adjourned.    

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