Council of Built Environment and all six professional councils: governance and reporting relations within and outside the CBE, with Deputy Minister
Public Works and Infrastructure
23 August 2016
Chairperson: Mr B Martins (ANC)
The Council of Built Environment and all six professional councils briefed the Committee on governance and reporting relations within and outside of the Council, in the presence of the Deputy Minister, Mr Jeremy Cronin. The Department of Public Works was implementing an approved policy framework that guides oversight on the DPW public entities, with particular focus on areas such as, among others, board appointments, vetting of board members, induction of new board members, planning and performance reviews of the entities covered in the policy framework. Legislation for each of the Department of Public Works public entities requires that the appointment of all Board / Council members should be approved by the Minister of Public Works. All newly appointed Board members undergo a well-structured induction programme overseen by the Department. Strategic planning for the public entities of the Department ensured synergy between the strategic planning of the Department and that of its entities, the CEOs of Department’s public entities attend the Annual DPW Strategic Planning session (Lekgotla).
The Council is responsible to oversee the performance of the six BEPCs on behalf of the Department. The Council is therefore required to provide guidance to the Built Environment Professional Councils on matters related to the alignment of their strategic plans with the Policy Statement of the Minister and the policy priorities of government in general. Oversight on the implementation of the strategic plans of BEPCs is also conducted by the Council. The quarterly performance reports that the Council of Built Environment presents at the Quarterly Performance Review meetings between the Director-General and the Chief Executive Officer of the Council incorporate the performance of the BEPCs. One of the concerns the Department has registered regarding the oversight of the BEPCs is that their respective Acts do not require their strategic plans to be approved by the Minister and to be tabled in Parliament.
The Department highlighted that Council had experienced governance challenges over several years. The Minister and Department senior officials have actively engaged with these challenges. The interventions included, among others, ensuring that Council members receive effective induction at the beginning of their term of office. While the challenges manifest themselves as strains between the Board and senior administrative staff, the Department believes that the root of the problem may well be systemic, hence the proposal to review the Built Environment Professions legislation. The Department will now review the CBE Act to address the various challenges within the regulatory environment that have been experienced within the built environment over the past few years.
The Council pointed out that the six BEPCs were generally at differentiated levels of compliance with the National Treasury format and information requirements for Annual Reports, Annual Performance Plans and Strategic Plans. As part of the implementation, the BEPCs received the National Treasury template for the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Annual Report for reporting purposes. The Council and the six BEPCs have begun the process of establishing a Transformation Steering Committee, with representation of high level stakeholders that will meet on a regular basis to drive the Transformation Agenda in a top-down approach. The Committee will convene for the first time on 27 September 2016. As a priority, the Committee will discuss findings from the current study titled “Status of Transformation within the South African Built Environment” and decide on a way forward. The Council aims to include additional stakeholders on the Committee, as the need arises and based on recommendations received. The BEPCs have established partnerships with the industry to strengthen Transformation initiatives: placing of interns; supporting and mentoring students through student chapters.
Members wanted to know whether the Committee could have access to the quarterly performance reports of the public entities that are submitted to the Department as this could be the role of the Committee to perform oversight. The Department should explain to the Committee on the existing strain between the CBE Board and administrative staff as this issue was particularly concerning. It was also concerning to hear that the Engineering Council of South Africa had rejected about 51 of the 170 prior-learning applications, especially when the country was in dire need of engineers. What was the problem in these applications? What was the way forward in dealing with the problems that were identified?
Some Members asked whether there was a specific reason why the private sector was not included in the composition of the Committee as it was mainly focused on government institutions including the Treasury, the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Higher Education and Training. It was important for the Committee to know the reasons why the Competition Commissioner was reluctant to give the Council adequate funding. Members also requested that the Department should brief the Committee on the major stumbling block to transformation in the built environment and come up with the mechanisms to address this challenge. Some Members asked how Engineering Council of South Africa was able to advertise its training programmes and workshops in rural areas.
Briefing by the Department of Public Works
Ms Mandisa Fatyela-Linde, Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG): Policy; indicated that The Department was implementing an approved policy framework that guides oversight on the DPW public entities. Areas such as, among others, board appointments, vetting of board members, induction of new board members, planning and performance reviews of the entities are covered in the policy framework. The legislation for each of the DPW public entities requires that the appointment of all Board / Council members be approved by the Minister of Public Works. All newly appointed Board members undergo a well-structured induction programme overseen by the Department. The strategic planning for the public entities of the Department is to ensure synergy between the strategic planning of the Department and that of its entities, the CEOs of DPW public entities attend the Annual DPW Strategic Planning session (Lekgotla). These annual strategic planning sessions serve as the platform for the Minister to provide strategic direction to the entire DPW Family (which includes the Department and its entities). The Minister’s Policy Statement delivered as the key note address at these sessions serves as the base for all the DPW entities when they conduct their individual strategic planning sessions.
In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury Regulations, the shareholder’s compact is a requirement for public entities listed in Schedule 2, 3B and 3D of the PFMA. IDT is the only DPW public entity affected by this requirement because it is listed in Schedule 2. In order to strengthen the relationship between the Department and its entities and improve corporate governance, the Minister decided to implement the shareholder compact in the other three entities (CIDB, CBE and ASA) which are listed in Schedule 3A. In terms of the shareholder compacts the Minister is required to meet at least twice a year, with the Boards (represented by their Chairpersons) with the purpose of nurturing relations and maintaining regular contact to ensure that the Executive Authority is fully informed on the activities of DPW public entities at all relevant stages. It is a reflection of the expectations of each party, expressed in terms of outcomes and outputs that need to be achieved.
The primary responsibility of the CBE is to oversee the performance of the six BEPCs on behalf of the DPW. CBE is therefore required to provide guidance to the BEPCs on matters related to the alignment of their strategic plans with the Policy Statement of the Minister and the policy priorities of government in general. Oversight on the implementation of the strategic plans of BEPCs is also conducted by the CBE. The quarterly performance reports that the CBE presents at the Quarterly Performance Review meetings between the DG and the CEO of CBE incorporate the performance of the BEPCs. One of the concerns the Department has registered regarding the oversight of the BEPCs is that their respective Acts do not require their strategic plans to be approved by the Minister and to be tabled in Parliament. It is only their annual reports that are required to be tabled in Parliament. This is a policy gap which the Department is addressing in order to strengthen oversight on BEPCs.
Ms Fatyela highlighted that the CBE experienced governance challenges over several years. The Minister and DPW senior officials actively engaged with these challenges. The interventions included, among others, ensuring that Council members receive effective induction at the beginning of their term of office. While the challenges manifest themselves as strains between the Board and senior administrative staff, DPW believes that the root of the problem may well be systemic. Hence the proposal to review the Built Environment Professions legislation (covered in this presentation). In 1994 the Department commenced the process to align the regulation of the Built Environment Professionals (BEP) of Architects, Landscape Architect, Engineers, Property Valuers, Quantity Surveyors, and Construction Management by reviewing the merits and demerits of existing regulation and introducing new regulations. This Process culminated in the promulgation of seven pieces of legislation, six Acts each regulating the Built Environment Professions through the establishment of Statutory Councils, while the seventh established the Council for the Built Environment as an overarching body. The Department will now review the CBE Act to address the various challenges within the regulatory environment that have been experienced within the built environment over the past few years.
Roles and responsibilities of the departmental representatives in the boards of entities need to be reviewed to ensure their meaningful participation. There is a need for a closer monitoring of fees charged by BEPCs for membership of registered professionals and candidates to ensure that they remain affordable. To this effect, the Minister should be consulted prior to publishing these fees. The domination of the BEPCs in the Board of the CBE was a major concern as it renders the CBE ineffective. The BEPCs Acts require the annual reports of the Councils to be tabled in Parliament and not their strategic plans. The alignment of BEPCs planning processes to the policy priorities of Government was not yet achieved. The Department was also concerned that the BEPCs are not yet fully compliant to the PFMA. The issue of transformation of the BEPCs was moving at a slow pace.
Briefing by the Council of Built Environment
Ms Priscilla Mdlalose, Acting Chief Executive Officer: CBE; mentioned that the Acts of BEPCs state that the councils must report, within six months from the close of each financial year, to the CBE with a report regarding its activities during that financial year, for the purpose of communicating to the Minister, information on matters of public importance acquired by councils in the course of the performance of their functions under their Acts. The six BEPCs are generally at differentiated levels of compliance with the National Treasury format and information requirements for Annual Reports (AR), Annual Performance Plans (APP) and Strategic Plans (SP). As part of the implementation, the BEPCs have received the National Treasury template for the SP, APP and AR for reporting purposes. The BEPCs were provided with the dates for submission of their AR and Quarterly Reports (QR). The alignment will be undertaken through the MTSF period, and not be a one-year process. Agreements will be reached with each professional council until total alignment and compliance with National Treasury framework is achieved over the medium term.
Ms Mdlalose clarified that the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) had a number of programmes aimed at advancing transformational goals. Amnesty is focused on increasing demographic representation (race and gender) or previously disadvantaged groups within the architectural profession. There is also a focus on ensuring that professionals must be registered to undertake work in the architectural profession. The SACAP transformation initiatives are focused on growing a pool of registered professionals by introducing new specified registration categories, new landscape related programmes/curricula to be established at learning sites. There would also be initiatives to introduce new landscape related programmes/curricula to be included in accreditation processes, identify programmes/courses for RPL and assist candidates who are struggling to complete the candidacy programme where possible.
The ECSA transformation initiatives are focused on:
- Capacity Building - ECSA, UJ and GDID student support programme
- Establishment of Sakhi Mfundo Education Trust
- New Registration System
- Review of the VA recognition framework
- Recording of interviews to monitor and promote transparency, and for consistent application of policy
- Engenius project focused on learners
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO) Africa Engineering Week
The CBE Grant of R947 000 contributed towards the successful Provincial awareness road shows on educating prospective applicants on the process, and for the administration of CHS during the first phase of implementation, through funding the following aspects. Council began implementing RPL on 1 May 2009; since then a sizeable number of applicants were recommended to pursue registration through this route. Some of the challenges they face are mainly apparent lack of support from current and previous employers and the difficulty in finding the compilation of the Portfolio of Evidence to be an onerous and highly demanding/involved process. SACPCMP held a conference focused on transformation of the project and construction management professions. The theme of the conference is “Growth, development and transformation of the Project and Construction Management Professions” and has consistently been the same for the previous three conferences. The conference has been preceded by Master Classes on cross-cutting matters within the industry. Council managed to attract, among others, local and international thought leaders, research institutions, registered professionals, leaders in state entities, academics, Voluntary Associations, labour and organised business. Post graduate students from accredited institutions were invited to scribe the conference proceedings and were also awarded the opportunity to engage with speakers and delegates.
Ms Mdlalose highlighted that a number of challenges were experienced by SACPCMP and these included:
- Resistance by recognised VAs to co-operate with the council on Transformation issues, especially the recording of interviews
- Financial challenges to implement Transformation projects
- Environmental Protection Act restrictive
- Few mentors and institutions available for candidates.
- Lack of funding.
- Some universities have a maximum intake of 35 students, resulting in low through-put rate (faculty promised to improve future intakes).
- Additional funding is required - limited resources placed an enormous strain on the financial resources of Council. This is further compounded by the Council’s resolution to heavily subsidise the application and registration fees for Construction Health and Safety Managers and Construction Health and Safety Officers categories, this due to their relatively low earning incomes that was deduced from a salary survey undertaken
The CBE and the six BEPCs have begun the process of establishing a Transformation Steering Committee (TSC), with representation of high level stakeholders, that will meet on a regular basis to drive the Transformation Agenda in a top-down approach. The TSC will convene for the first time on 27 September 2016. As a priority, the TSC will discuss the findings from the current study titled “Status of Transformation within the South African Built Environment” and decide on a way forward. The CBE aims to include additional stakeholders in the TSC, as the need arises and based on recommendations received. The BEPCs have established partnerships with the industry to strengthen Transformation initiatives: placing of interns; supporting and mentoring students through student chapters.
There would be conferences and summits to expose students to the industry. The CBE formalised a partnership with the South African Council for Graduates Co-operative to support interns and candidates with their placements for experiential learning, source funding for bursaries and facilitate initiatives to support unemployed graduates. Partnerships with Departments to strengthen their technical capacity: Department of Defence, Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works, Department of Water and Sanitation, Transnet, Independent Development Trust (IDT). There are formalised partnerships with Universities of Technology: Tshwane University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, and Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein.
The Chairperson suggested that in the future the six councils be invited individually to make the presentation in order to be able to clearly discuss the issues that needed to be addressed.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked whether the Committee could have access to the quarterly performance reports of the public entities submitted to the Department as this could be the role of the Committee to perform an oversight. The Department should explain to the Committee the existing strain between the CBE Board and administrative staff as this issue was particularly concerning. It was also concerning to hear that the Engineering Council had rejected about 51 of the 170 prior-learning applications, especially when the country was in dire need of engineers. What was the problem in these applications? What was the way forward in dealing with the problems identified? It was reported that there were 211 disciplinary cases in the six councils and the majority of these cases were in the architectural arena. How long did it take to process and resolve these cases? How many of the cases had been finalised?
Ms Kohler-Barnard requested that the Committee should be briefed on the target of the CBE on achieving transformation in the Built Environment as it was difficult to measure whether there was progress or decline on achieving transformation. She expressed dismay upon hearing that the CBE had reported about 9230 deregistration and this was mainly caused by defaulting on the annual fees and failure to comply with the continuous professional development. There should be measures in place to deal with this recurring problem of deregistration of professionals.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) asked whether there was any specific reason why the private sector was not included in the composition of the TSC as it was mainly focused on government institutions including the Treasury, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). It would be important to know how the CBE was addressing the interest of the public as it looked that the focus was on the people who were already practitioners in the built environment. It was unclear as to how the public would benefit from the execution of the mandate of the CBE as the main focus seemed to be on transformation. The word “transformation” in our days seemed to have taken a precedent over the word “development”. There is still a certain group of people who immediately felt threatened by the word transformation. It would perhaps be helpful for “development” to be a buzzword in an industry that had been dominated by a certain sector for centuries.
Ms D Mathebe (ANC) welcomed the presentation that had been made as the information delved into a lot of issues. It would be important for the Committee to know the reasons why the competition commissioner was reluctant to give CBE adequate funding. On outreach of the councils, she wanted to know where the offices of the six councils were located for someone who wanted to do a registration process.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) was baffled by the fact that transformation in the built environment was particularly slow as she had recently attended the graduation ceremony at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and witnessed that there were many black graduates from the built environment. The Department should brief the Committee on the major stumbling block to transformation in the built environment and come up with the mechanisms to address this challenge.
Ms Mdlalose responded that the CBE realised that it was difficult to measure something without information. The Transformation Steering Committee decided to commission a baseline study in order to have the information on transformation in the built environment. The completion of the study would afford the CBE to be able to monitor progress made in regard to accelerating transformation in the sector. It was true that there was currently no concrete study on transformation and the targets in place for achieving transformation in the sector.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said she was under the impression that the figures of transformation that were provided were the existing figures. It was confusing as to why the CBE would commission a baseline study on the figures that the Committee had already been provided.
Ms Mdlalose replied that the numbers presented were those that had been registered but the issue was on the fact that there are still many professionals out there not registered with the councils. The commissioned study is to go out and start with the registration process of engineers within the professional councils and be able to come up with a target for achieving transformation. The figures provided were those of the current registered professionals. The mandate of the CBE is based on the protection of the public. In 2014, the architectural profession was sitting with 482 cases reported by members of the public. There was a backlog of 482 matters that needed to be dealt with when the forth term of council started. The spike in the number of professional conduct cases resolved would have been reported in the Annual Report. The CBE was currently working on reducing the backlog in the number of professional conduct cases and the investigation committee has looked at the two-pronged approach, focusing on cases reported and resolved. The CBE was proud of the fact that there had been successful conviction of an unregistered person who was undertaking work within the architectural profession. The rise of the spike in the number of professional conduct cases was because the CBE is now having a fully-functioning professional council Department.
Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know if the cases reported were those that were prosecuted. The Committee should be given information on penalties imposed to those that had been found guilty in the professional conduct cases.
Ms Mdlalose responded that it included the cases that had been reported and those that had been successfully prosecuted. The Committee would be provided with information on penalties imposed to those that had been found guilty in the professional conduct cases.
Ms Patience More, Registrar: SACQSP; replied that the Department should be taking the lead in accelerating transformation in the built environment. It must be commended that the sector was slowly but surely transforming and being able to integrate those that were previously disadvantaged. Transformation should move away from focusing on the colour of the skin and figures but how the councils conduct themselves in the engineering business council and the effectiveness of the councils. There should be a concerted effort by the councils to strengthen the relationships with the employers and challenging those in charge of the accreditation of the engineers.
Ms Nomvula Rakolote, Registrar: SACPCMP; indicated that the council was happy to see that there was an increase in the number of black graduates in the built environment but was also equally concerned about those who are not graduating because of lack of experiential learning. It was also concerning that there is often a gap between the time of graduation and the time of experiential learning, especially on those from the previously disadvantaged groups. SACPCMP started a student chapter that is located at various tertiary institutions with a focus on mentorship and experiential learning and assisting some of the graduates with the registration process. SACPCMP started a pilot programme with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the provincial government of Gauteng was to look at the placement of students so as to accelerate the registration of those students in the professional council. The Council was also particularly concerned that in some graduates there was lack of balance between the technical and business acumen. The Council was also conducting road-shows every year on specific matters, whether on the registration process or any of the public entities within the Department.
Ms Mdlalose mentioned that most of the offices of the councils are in around Pretoria and Johannesburg but the operation of the councils is in various provinces. There are specific seminars, workshops and consultations that are prioritised for rural areas.
Ms More responded that in relation to the deregistration of the professionals and candidates, SACQSP was engaging with Voluntary Associations (Vas), nationally, to engage with the private sector in terms of funding the candidates for their professional registration. There was also a request from Skills Education Training Authorities (SETA) to fund the candidates for the professional registration. There are a whole lot of candidates sitting in our system without progressing to the professional registration. There is also an effort to ensure that the registration process was able to accommodate those individuals in rural areas.
Mr Thabo Senaoane, Office Manager of the CEO: Engineering Council of South Africa; stated that the focus of CBE at the moment was on increasing awareness of the council on learners and students. There is project called “Engenius” where the focus is on reaching those far-flung areas where the council did workshops and challenged learners to come up with projects of an engineering nature. The Council visited places like Malamulele in Limpopo and QwaQwa in Free State and there was an interest from most of the learners.
The Chairperson wanted to know how ECSA was able to advertise its training programmes and workshops in rural areas.
Mr Senaoane replied that the advertisement was done through visiting schools centralised in a particular village or province. There was also an alternative of calling on all learners interested in the engineering sector in a community hall. The communication was also done in the villages around rural areas.
Mr K Adams (ANC) asked if the focus on the Recognition of Prior Learning was only done in schools as this was not clear in the presentation. What kind of support was received by ECSA from entities like Eskom and Transnet in order to further enhance the interest of learners in the field of engineering? He also requested information on what ECSA was doing to ensure that the engineering sector, particularly electrical engineering, was gender representative and able to integrate people with disabilities.
Mr Filtane wanted to know how CBE was aiming to address the issue of lack of funding within the Council.
Ms Bernadette Vollmer, Registrar: SACALAP; responded that one of the direct implications, which often led to deregistration of the professional councils was related to financial constraints. She highlighted that engagements could be made with the council to basically payoff the registration fee instead of being paid as a lump sum. A plan was n place to engage with the competition commission so as to address the issue of deregistration of the professional councils.
Mr Isaac Nkosi, Chairperson of CBE; responded that the Council was working with the Department and BEPCs to address the issue of deregistration of the professional councils. CBE had already engaged with the competition commission and requested a report on why the ECSA had rejected about 51 of the 170 prior-learning applications. The issue of transformation was indeed quite high on the agenda and this might have resulted in the rejection of some of the prior learning applications. The issue of how the fees would be determined was also taken into consideration to avoid the situation where a number of project managers would set up prices that were anti-competitive. CBE would continue to ensure that measures were in place to deal with the issue of transformation of the built environment. Guidelines for the professional fees should be set in a framework that would ensure that there is no anti-competitive behaviour.
Ms Rakolote indicated that SACPCMP was intending to start with the registration of building inspectors with NHBRC. There is a possibility that the health and safety registration process could be halted irrespective of what it seeks to achieve because of the gazettes that had been introduced by the competition commission.
Mr Jeremy Cronin, Deputy Minister: DPW; stated that Public Works was mainly about the management of properties and the formation of the Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE) was at least able to professionalise the sector of property management. There should be policy making and regulation that is done in the public interest of the built environment professions as well the construction sector. The Department was appreciative of the role being played by the Committee in identifying all the issues that need to be addressed in the built environment. A very considerable effort had been pushed by the trade unions to push for the prioritisation of health and safety in the mining sector. However, the built environment was clearly lagging behind in this regard. It would be useful if the Committee could have a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Labour, Human Settlements, councils and trade unions so as to deal with the issue of health and safety in the built environment.
Deputy Minister Cronin said there was a need for gate-keeping in the built environment as this was also impacting on transformation and the prioritisation of safety and health in the sector. The matter of the suspended CEO was still not resolved and the Department was currently handling the matter. The Department would be looking at the current legislation and this would answer pertinent questions on whether the regulatory entities require board members. It would be interesting to know from the six professional councils on whether the Department was as dynamic and accessible as possible.
Ms Kohler-Barnard supported the proposal to have a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Human Settlements. There should also be a separate meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Higher Education and Training and Labour to look at the issue of not feeding in to the public entities.
Mr Filtane also supported the proposal to have a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Human Settlements as these committees are interrelated.
The Chairperson said the Committee would firstly need to engage with the relevant committees in order to request for a joint meeting.
Ms Marella O’Reilly, Registrar: SACAP; clarified that as much as there are fatalities and injuries in the built environment the engagement with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) could go a long way in also dealing with as many environmental incidents including water and sand pollution.
Ms Rakolote explained that all the councils existed before but they were only re-enacted in 1994 when we had our first democratic elections. It would be important for the Department to look at the structures that previously existed in the councils before focusing on the review of the legislation. The Department also needed to look at the model being used by the health professional councils with a particular focus on the independence of the board from the professional councils.
Ms Mdlalose said there is a transformation model within the CBE but there is still uncertainty on whether there is a buy-in for this model from the stakeholders. CBE started by engaging the councils and the focus from now on is to look outside the councils by engaging with government departments on the transformation agenda. The CBE was also trusting that the BEPC’s would bring together the VAs into the whole process of transformation. In essence, the Transformation Steering Committee was still a work in process. On the issue of funding, there was a strategy in place in trying to get partners in the projects that the CBE was undertaking so as to be able to leverage the resources. The CBE was also trying to get the VAs and SETA to provide assistance in some of the projects including the Maths and Science programmes.
Ms Kohler-Barnard requested that the Committee to be provided with the list of upcoming proposed legislation, with dates and clear timelines, as there seemed to be so much legislation outstanding.
The Chairperson said the Committee would look at its programme in order to try and get the individual councils to make their presentations.
The meeting was adjourned.
Martins, Mr BA
Adams, Mr F
Cronin, Mr JP
Filtane, Mr ML
Kohler-Barnard, Ms D
Kopane, Ms SP
Masehela, Ms E K M
Mathebe, Ms DH
Mjobo, Ms LN
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.