The Chairperson briefed the Committee on the meeting held on 5 September where quarter 3 and 4 reports as well as the North-West oversight were discussed.
Members raised the issue that there were instances where the Committee had to play the role of local government in dealing with the bucket eradication programme. There was no clear allocation of roles between the Committee and local government. The problems that the Committee is faced with arose from the local government’s failure to perform its functions and this was negatively affecting the bucket eradication budget as its scope now includes bulk services, which was not part of the original scope.
It was proposed, and agreed, that the Committee postpone what was on the agenda for the week of 3 October 2017 due to the Department’s absence.
The Committee discussed its programme for the week of 3 October when it returns for review and adoption of its mid-term budget adjustments and to continue what was supposed to be dealt with in this meeting. Members agreed to meet on Thursday 5 October in the event that there is no caucus on that day.
The Chairperson announced a planned study tour to in Argentina in conjunction with the Argentinian National Water Plan. There is a conference in Germany concerning climate change, dates were not mentioned.
He further announced that Water Research Commission invited the Committee to a symposium from the 18-20 September. The Committee was also invited to attend the Appropriations meeting next week. The Committee confirmed that it would attend both.
The Chairperson said the Department was scheduled to have an engagement with the Appropriations Committee and enquired whether it had apologised for its absence.
This meeting would look at aspects of appropriation and the Committee should have an in-house administrative exercise that focuses on reports and outstanding minutes as those two issues have not been looked at yet. In Parliament the previous day, the Members had dealt with quarter 3 and 4 reports and also discussed a workshop that was held, as well as the Committee’s oversight visit to North West.
Mr L Basson (DA) said he had written to the Chairperson last week concerning the issue of the lack of water supply and sanitation. The issue could not be addressed as the relevant Department was absent.
Mr H Chauke (ANC) agreed and added that the Committee ends up dealing with Local government related issues. He proposed that the Committee invite local government to discuss its respective role. The problems that the Committee is trying to solve now emanated from local government’s failure to fulfil its role.
Mr Basson mentioned that the issue of bucket system eradication is not a Water and Sanitation function and should be dealt with by local government.
Ms T Baker (DA) added that the scope for the bucket eradication programme now includes bulk services, which was not part of the original scope and negatively affects its budget.
The Chairperson said the issue of waste water is an issue of sanitation, and new water is essentially treated or purified waste water. Sanitation is a concurrent function between Local government and Provincial government and a delineation of roles and responsibilities needs to be made for each of these bodies to effectively better the lives of the people. In addition, two new issues emanated from the discussion, the issue of coordination between the Committee and Local government and that of the bucket eradication programme.
Mr Basson proposed that the meeting be adjourned in order for the Committee to attend the Standing Committee on Appropriations meeting, where it will get more information and possibly add some input because what was on the agenda can be dealt with in the coming weeks. The Committee agreed.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee should adopt a programme for October when it returns from recess. The challenge is that it is rushed by legislative obligations and is required to immediately work on its mid-term budget adjustment. On the 11 of October it is required to review and adopt the budget.
Ms Baker asked whether it would be possible for the Committee to meet on 3 October.
Mr Mnguni replied that some Members have other meetings to attend. However, the Committee has a lot of work to do and could meet on the 4th.
The Committee subsequently agreed to meet on 5 October.
Mr Basson added that in the event that there is no caucus on that week, the work that was supposed to be covered this week could be done then.
The Chairperson announced that the Water Research Commission had extended an invitation to the Committee to a symposium to be held from 18 to 20 September. The Committee was obliged to attend.
The Standing Committee on Appropriations also invited the Committee to its meeting next week.
There is a Conference in Germany concerning climate change.
Argentina will be launching a National Water Plan similar to what the Department is working on. Therefore, Members will have to attend to learn more about what is supposed to go into the plan. This will be in conjunction with the planned study tour around the same time.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee and the meeting was adjourned.