Western Cape Appropriation Bill 2018, with Premier

Premier & Constitutional Matters (WCPP)

09 March 2018
Chairperson: Mr D Mitchell (DA)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

In the presence of the Premier, the Committee considered Vote 1: Premier in the schedule to the Western Cape Appropriation Bill, 2018.

The Premier, in her opening remarks, stated that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework allocation for 2018/19 was R1 486 193 000. The allocation would be R1 421 291 000 and R1 499 000 for 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively. There was a growing awareness of increasing public and internal client needs that required her office to respond innovatively, to enable the department to do more with few resources. The province was experiencing a water crisis, and her department would employ various austerity measures across the department.

The Committee considered the draft Vote 1 page by page.

Members posed questions for clarification with regard to reduction in the budget, managing the water crisis, relationship between local and provincial government, and legal services.

In response to a question for clarity on coordinated strategic leadership and good corporate governance, Ms Zille responded that the leadership was based on inter-governmental governance, mandate and frameworks, which were very complicated. Many people did not understand this complexity. There were certain responsibilities that fell on national government whereas some responsibilities fell within the mandate of local governments. The water purification or water and sanitation services were the responsibility of local government. The bulk water supply was the responsibility of national government. When disaster strikes, the first thing to do was to call on the national government to come in and do its work. The department had done what it was supposed to do to ensure that the water crisis had been managed. There was engagement with the Department of Water and Sanitation. Added to this, the department had been releasing water warnings and instructions which were not taken seriously by people. Due to the water problem, the tourism industry had been affected.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
Ms Helen Zille, Premier, Western Cape Provincial Parliament stated that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocation for 2018/19 was R1 486 193 000. The allocation would be R1 421 291 000 and R1 499 000 for 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively. There was a growing awareness of increasing public and internal client needs that required her office to respond innovatively, to enable the department to do more with few resources. The province was experiencing a water crisis, and her department would employ various austerity measures across the department. She thanked the department staff for their commitment, in particular the Director-General.

Mr K Magaxa (ANC) asked the reason for reduction in the budget.

Ms Zille responded that the cut in budget was a national trend. Each and every province had been required to reduce its budget.

Mr C Dugmore (ANC) remarked that the budget had been increased at a rate of 4% and asked how it had come to that.

Mr L Grootboom, DDG: PM, referred him to sub-heading four (reprioritisation) which talked about reprioritising funding among various programmes of the department.

Mr Dugmore asked questions on the provincial strategic plan, in particular, what it entailed, was public involved in its development, who was consulted in the drafting process and who would be involved in its implementation?

Ms Zille responded that the provincial strategic plan was drafted after an assessment of the needs of the public and what could be strategically prioritised. It was drafted on the basis of analysing what had been achieved and non-achieved in the previous term. Departmental objectives were also evaluated to determine where the department was in achieving them. They looked at areas that were progressing and those that were not progressing. It was safe to say that the new government would prioritise economic growth through creation of jobs and continue to implement its constitutional mandate by looking at where the department was and ensuring continuity and improvement. The drafting of the plan involved the understanding of the performance environment and where the department wanted to go to. Steps to be taken had been formulated.

Mr Dugmore asked for clarity on managing the water crisis.

Mr Grootboom responded that a good strategic plan was put in place under programme two (i.e. Provincial Strategic Management) that would deal effectively with the problem.

Ms Zille stated that her department took all steps that could have been taken in order to deal with the water crisis, including a high-level collaboration with Disaster Management.

Department of the Premier Vote 1
The Committee considered the document page by page.

Discussion
Mr Magaxa asked whether the issue of the water crisis should be not included on page 1.

Mr Dugmore asked for clarity on coordinated strategic leadership and good corporate governance.

Ms Zille responded that the leadership was based on inter-governmental governance, mandate and frameworks, which were very complicated. Many people did not understand this complexity. There were certain responsibilities that fell on national government whereas some responsibilities fell within the mandate of local governments. The water purification or water and sanitation services were the responsibility of local government. The bulk water supply was the responsibility of national government. When disaster strikes, the first thing to do was to call on the national government to come in and do its work. The department had done what it was supposed to do to ensure that the water crisis had been managed. There was engagement with the Department of Water and Sanitation. Added to this, the department had been releasing water warnings and instructions which were not taken seriously by people. Due to the water problem, the tourism industry had been affected.

Referring on page 4, Mr Magaxa asked a question on e-innovation.

Ms Zille responded that it was the installed base of end-user computers.

Referring on page 7, Mr Magaxa asked for clarity on the list of laws and policies applicable to the department and how languages such as Afrikaans and Isi-Xhosa featured in these laws and policies, especially, strategies giving effect to them.

Mr Grootboom responded that languages were constitutional and therefore the promotion of languages was also the responsibility of the department. A Bill on language would be submitted to Parliament in the Second Quarter. A policy position was based on legal advice received.

Ms D Gopie (ANC) referred to review of the 2017/18 financial year, on page 11, and asked how the department would be addressing the challenges it was facing.

Mr Magaxa asked what types of “demanded” legal services could cause delays in service delivery.

Mr Dugmore commented that the library was the responsibility of local government and asked whether there was cooperation between the provincial and local government with regard to managing libraries.

Mr Grootboom responded that there was a set of agreements that regulated the relationship between the local and provincial government. The departments were sometimes sued and thus engaged in litigations. Litigations could cause the services to be delayed. The objective of legal advice was to safeguard decisions from irregularities and/or legal challenges and to avoid irregular and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure that was incurred if actions and decisions were non-compliant with the Constitution or legislation.

Mr B Kivedo (DA) sought clarity on compensation of employees and what strategic programmes to strengthen the destination’s value position.

Referring to page 34, he asked the differences between departmental training and the Skills Education and Training Authority (SETA).

The Chairperson said that if there was no further question the meeting would be adjourned.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

Share this page: