The Ad Hoc Committee on North West Intervention adopted its Draft Committee Report on the interventions in the North West Province. Members felt the report had thoroughly explained and adequately captured the intervention processes followed and it was a reflection of what the communities, IMTT, cabinet, and Committee witnessed. The only sticky point was the listing of the provincial department of education under departments placed under administration. Some members of the opposition felt the report of the AG exonerated the department of education from being placed under intervention. The Committee then agreed it was important to extricate areas that needed intervention within the education department to recover lost money on infrastructure, for example. During the discussion, one member had an issue with the organisation ‘Radical Economic Transformation Forces’ referenced in the report. The Committee was then briefed on why the September oversight visit was aborted.
Deliberations on the Committee’s Draft Report
The Chairperson, in his brief introductory remarks, stated that the North West intervention process was started on 9 May 2018 when the government decided to invoke section 100 (1) of the Constitution in the North West Provincial Government. The Committee worked with the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on the North West province to conduct performance assessments. The Committee had a meeting with the IMTT on 14 June 2018 and the North West Provincial delegation on 27 June 2018. During this meeting, the Committee also received input from National Treasury and the Auditor-General. The Committee met again with the IMTT on 16 August 2018 to receive a progress report. The Committee further conducted an oversight visit to North West during from 15 – 19 October 2018. During the oversight, the Committee conducted site visits around Mahikeng and Klerksdorp. The site visits included provincial departments which were under intervention in terms of Section 100(1)(b) like education, health, public works, roads and transport sectors, as well as the Department of Social Development given that labour unrest resulted in the shutdown of the district office. In order to cover maximum intervention sites, the delegation was divided into two groups – Group 1 was in Klerksdorp while Group 2 was in Mahikeng. The report has captured everything discussed since the first meeting between the role players.
The Chairperson then took the Committee through the report, page by page.
Mr O Terblanche (DA; Western Cape) wanted to know if it was true that killings and shooting also took place during the unrest.
Ms L Zwane (ANC; KZN) confirmed that this was true because it was mentioned during the oversight visit that some staff members were shot while on duty.
Mr J Nyambi (ANC; Mpumalanga) indicated the document was in line with the findings of the community, cabinet, and IMTT. It has got no contradictions. He was of the view it should be taken to the House because it was a true reflection of what the Committee witnessed.
Ms Zwane remarked that the report has thoroughly explained and adequately captured the processes followed for the interventions to proceed. She added there was nothing stopping the Committee from taking the document to the NCOP.
Mr M Khawula (IFP; KZN) commented there was nothing that really warranted intervention in the provincial education department. The scholar transport, for example, was not under education, but under a different department.
The Chairperson indicated this was not the last intervention in North West. More interventions were still going to continue.
Dr J Mthethwa (ANC; KZN) said the interventions should stay in order to recover money lost in the education department with regard to infrastructure.
Ms Zwane indicated it was important to pinpoint the area in which interventions should be made within the department. There were sections of the education department that needed interventions.
Mr Nyambi stated it was not necessary to interpret what Mr Khawula said because in their recommendations they would continue to review the interventions. In the next phase they would consider the details of what Mr Khawula stated. So, it was better to adopt the report before starting with the next phase.
Advocate Modibedi Phindela, NCOP Secretary, proposed that relevant select committees should continue with the interventions and matters raised in the report.
Mr S Mohai (ANC; Free State) said it was good that the Committee had an opportunity to discuss the report and Members were given time to read it. It was incorrect to suggest that when the report is tabled before the House, the Ad Hoc Committee would cease to exist. That was being pre-emptive. The main thing with North West was non-compliance with public funds and SCM prescripts, and irregular expenditure. He suggested the Committee to table the report before the House and indicate the next phase that needed intervention.
Mr Khawula maintained that ten departments of the province were under administration. Out of the ten departments, the department of education was the only one that does not deserve to be placed under administration. The AG report and other observations did not qualify the department of education to be under Section 100 1 (b).
Mr T Motlashuping (ANC; North West), who came late and left early, indicated he supported Mr Khawula’s view. He then asked the Chairperson in a harsh tone to explain who Radical Economic Transformation Forces were.
The Chairperson calmly said this was a group that made an input during the submissions as stated in the report.
Mr Mohai stated it must be acknowledged there was a great deal of work from the Committee. It was important that when a member asked for something to be removed from the report, the Committee would then consider that. But if a matter was raised in an aggressive manner, then that was not acceptable.
Dr Mthethwa proposed for the adoption of the report because Members had a chance to make submissions and were granted time to go through it to make a positive contribution.
Mr M Monakedi (ANC; Limpopo) seconded the idea for the adoption of the report, and he explained that the Radical Economic Transformation Forces was a group that made submissions.
The report was adopted with no amendments.
Postponement of the September oversight visit
A management official informed the Committee there were logistical problems regarding the trip. She stated senior management did not see the reason for the trip to happen and the short notice for the trip compounded matters. That was why it did not happen.
Mr Nyambi stated that should not be allowed to happen again because it was not necessary to call off the trip. The second time around everything was planned properly, and suggested the matter be closed.
Mr Terblanche agreed with Mr Nyambi.
The meeting was adjourned.