Immigration Amendment Bill: Police Minister & Home Affairs Deputy Minister input; Home Affairs office accommodation: Minister of Public Works input

Home Affairs

26 February 2019
Chairperson: Mr D Gumede (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by the Departments of Police and Justice and Correctional Services on the consultation on the Immigration Bill. In light of the budget strains it was placing on SAPS, it was determined that the amendment was necessary but could not be finalised before the end of the parliamentary session. The amendment would be tabled soon after the elections and a much more complete Bill would be produced based on Security Cluster collaboration and input.

The Committee was briefed on the provision of office accommodation by the Department of Public Works to Home Affairs. Public Works was moving towards purpose built state owned properties in order to reduce the budget costs of leasing premises from private entities. This would ensure better location and pricing for new facilities.

The maintenance of facilities was critical. Currently, poor planning and due diligence meant that many recently constructed facilities were already requiring renovations as a result of there being no expert-led maintenance schemes.

The Department of Public Works sought to move towards small precincts which accommodated government offices in one place in close proximity with well-designed accessibility routes and specialised facilities.

Meeting report

As the Chairperson was unable to attend, the Committee elected Mr D Gumede (ANC) as Acting Chairperson as nominated by Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) and seconded by Ms D Raphuti (ANC).

Opening remarks
The Acting Chairperson thanked Members and recognised the immense service the departmental delegations provided to the public sector. The Department of Police would begin, followed by the Departments of Home Affairs and Public Works.

Deputy National Commissioner of Policing, Lieutenant General, Sehlahle Masemola, apologised on behalf of the Minister. SAPS National Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole would lead the delegation.

The Acting Chairperson noted that the meeting had arisen from legislation that could not be passed without consideration of its practical viability for implementation, given resource and capacity constraints. There had been realisation that there was a need to reassess resources and capacities before moving forward as it was of little use to formulate legislation without paying due regard to the required resources and capacities. Therefore, the Committee would be addressing those matters with the departments.

The law stated that there should be suitable detention mechanisms in place [for illegal immigrants], the Committee did not know whether such suitable detention facilities were available, and depending on the availability, this would affect whether the Committee adopted the Bill for implementation, improvised, or postponed the legislation. There were serious problems with immigration which required action. For this reason, the Department of Home Affairs was present.

The Acting Chairperson recognised the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Fatima Chohan.

Deputy Minister Chohan apologised on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs who had been unable to travel back from the Free State due to unforeseen circumstances.

SAPS Deputy National Commissioner on Immigration Amendment Bill
Lt Gen Sehlahle Masemola stated that illegal immigration was a challenge for the country, requiring real attention. To address the overall problem, the Justice Crime Prevention Security cluster needed to collaborate. Key challenges were capacity constraints in terms of personnel, as well as police station facilities, particularly cell areas. SAPS was however prepared to fulfil its constitutional mandate. Lt Gen Masemola handed over to Brigadier van Staden.

Brig Riaan van Staden, SAPS Division: Visible Policing, posed the question whether SAPS had the capacity to deal with the requirements of the Immigration Bill. He would look at challenges and recommendations, by detailing the process of arresting and detaining illegal foreigners, overview the detention facilities at stations and the legal requirements constraining the facilities and the differing requirements for illegal foreigners, the number of illegal foreigners detained, as well as challenges and recommendations from a SAPS perspective.

The Immigration Act placed very clear obligations on SAPS – including immigration officers on dealing with illegal foreigners. The Act was very specific in its stipulations of role requirements.

The Constitutional Court had declared Section 34(1)(b) and (d) of the Immigration Act unconstitutional. It had ordered that any illegal foreigner detained by SAPS be brought before a court in person within 48 hours of arrest unless the 48 hour period had expired outside of an ordinary court day, in which case it had to be at the soonest possible point after this deadline.

All people arrested by SAPS, irrespective of whether it was an illegal foreigner or suspected criminal, needed to be brought before the Court within 48 hours.

As soon as SAPS arrested an individual as an illegal foreigner in terms of the Immigration Act, in order to reduce opportunities for civil claims, the arresting officer needed to charge the individual. This importantly needed to be done before handing the suspect over to the Department of Home Affairs. These charges needed to be made in terms of Section 49(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, as well as opening a case docket in order to have a record of proceedings.

Arrest and detention of illegal foreigners involved administrative processing at police stations and immediately informing the local Home Affairs branch of the arrest in order to determine citizenship. This was in line with SAPS Standard Operating Procedures and National Instructions. The individual would then be detained in a facility determined by the Home Affairs Director General in terms of Section 34(1)(a). The facility should be in compliance with the standards protecting the person’s human rights and dignity.

In cases where the detainee’s citizenship could not be determined within 48 hours, the case would be remanded for further investigation by Home Affairs, not SAPS. The court would issue a J7 Detention Warrant indicating where the detainee could be held (SAPS, Correctional Services or Home Affairs facilities). Where a court finalises a case, the sentenced illegal foreigner would be taken to Correctional Services.

If an illegal foreigner completed this sentence and was awaiting deportation, whilst detained under the warrant issued by an immigration officer they would have to – within 48 hours after being received Home Affairs – be taken to court for finalisation of deportation, including documentation and notice issuing.

If a sentenced illegal foreigner was awaiting deportation in a police cell in terms of a warrant issued by Immigration Offices and requested that their detention for the purpose of deportation be confirmed by a court, SAPS would be required to notify Home Affairs immediately. If a further detention warrant was not obtained by SAPS within 48 hours of that request, the detainee would have to be released. This proved to be a challenge from a SAPS operational perspective.

Illegal foreigners awaiting deportation needed to be detained in a police cell in terms of a warrant issued by a court for the detention of the foreigner for 30 days. This could be extended to 90 days and more in some cases. This was where SAPS was experiencing serious challenges regarding further detention of illegal foreigners awaiting deportation.

SAPS currently had 1 148 police stations and 445 of those were identified and declared as adequate places of detention for illegal foreigners pending deportation or transfer to Lindela Holding Facility for the purpose of deportation. The 445 stations had been identified by the Home Affairs Director General.

Of the 1148 police stations, Eastern Cape had 58 out of 196 stations declared as adequate facilities, Free State had 41 out of 111 stations, Gauteng had 20 out of 142, Kwa-Zulu Natal had 49 out 186, Limpopo had 28 out of 102, Mpumalanga had 51 out of 88, North West had 28 out of 82, Northern Cape had 31 out of 91, and Western Cape had 139 out of 150.

SAPS had engaged the Department of Home Affairs in 2018 on the standards of detention because they were ultimately determined by Home Affairs. After the standards of detention were stipulated, appropriate stations conforming to the standards were identified and would then be formalised by a government gazette.

The requirements for holding facilities ensured adherence to human rights principles and standards were addressed by the Department of Home Affairs. Every detainee was required to be kept in a clean and tidy detention facility. Their clothing and bedding would be kept clean and tidy. The accommodation provided required adequate space, lighting, ventilation, sanitation, and general health conditions including access to basic health facilities. SAPS was responsible for paying for these services which was a critical challenge. Male and female detainees were required to be held separately from one another, the same applying to unaccompanied minors, while minors arrested with their parents were required to be held with their parents – this had serious implications for cell overcrowding and capacity constraints in facilities to fulfil these requirements of keeping the illegal foreigners separate from other detainees. Specific age, health, and security requirements needed to be applied in separating detainees (for example, contagious diseases). Every detainee required an adequate balanced diet in accordance with menus developed by health professionals.

SAPS currently did not have a computerised system managing persons in custody. SAPS had estimated the numbers of illegal foreigners detained nationally using month to month food claims expenditure from the provinces in 2017 and 2018. During this period it was estimated that SAPS detained on average 9000 illegal immigrants a month. The largest numbers of detainees were in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. SAPS had spent on average R1.7 million per month providing meals to these detainees. This excluded medical treatment and extensive transportation costs. This excluded capacity and human resources constraints. This had been verified for the month of July 2018.

SAPS believed it needed to receive money back from the Department of Home Affairs based on verified figures of expenditure.

In July 2018, of the 9103 illegal foreigners detained, 305 had been held in the Eastern Cape, Free State was 717, Gauteng was 2867, Kwa-Zulu Natal was 705, Limpopo 2812, Mpumalanga was 972, North West was 132, Northern Cape was 189, and Western Cape was 402.

These detainees were not the responsibility of SAPS despite their effects on its budget, resources and capacity.

Moreover, SAPS was struggling to maintain its facilities, some of which were national monuments which aggravated the problem.

These were the challenges from SAPS side. It did not have the resources to accommodate illegal foreigners. The problem also stemmed from the fact that SAPS was often the first to arrest illegal foreigners. Once the deportation process began, however, it became the responsibility of another department – the Department of Home Affairs from SAPS perspective.

SAPS was not permitted to detain any remand detainee – namely one awaiting trial – for longer than seven days as this was unconstitutional and infringed on the person’s human rights. The 30 days detention was not the responsibility of SAPS, it was the Department of Home Affairs’.

SAPS recommended the amendment of the Immigration Act to not allow for the detention of an illegal foreigner for a longer period in a police cell while awaiting deportation. This required that the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs had responsibility to determine location.

Moreover SAPS recommended that the 30 day extension period while awaiting deportation be reduced to a maximum of seven days in SAPS facilities. Within the seven days, the illegal foreigner needed to be taken to the Lindela Holding Facility. If Lindela had reached capacity, using Correctional Services facilities needed to be explored due to this being a specific category of detainee.

The Acting Chairperson welcomed the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, and said the Committee understood the difficulties faced by SAPS on this issue and appreciated the contribution.

Before moving to the discussion, Minister Cele was invited to add anything if he wished to.

Minister Cele apologised for arriving late from a prior meeting.

Ms T Kenye (ANC) thanked the delegation for the presentation. On Slide 11 food delivery was used as a means to determining the numbers of illegal foreigners held and the costs thereof. What entity was responsible for providing meal services? This related to corruption voiced in the presentation. Was any procurement followed to avoid corruption to determine if this monthly food cost was inflated?

Were there no figures for transport and medical costs? These had been identified as challenges yet had no figures associated with them.

There were large numbers of detainees held in provinces with relatively low numbers of classified detention facilities (slides 8 and 12 for Gauteng and Limpopo). How was SAPS managing these disproportionate numbers? Was there a system in place to manage and track repeat offending illegal foreigners?

Ms N Dambuza (ANC) said it was clear that there were capacity issues and that SAPS was overburdened. The budget for the Justice Cluster needed to be examined. She asked Home Affairs to confirm the 2017/18 deportation costs provided and if the Department of Home Affairs was contributing to these costs. This needed to be looked at seriously by Parliament, and discussed together with National Treasury. SAPS was not being taken seriously by Treasury. Parliament needed to ensure the line budgeting for the Justice Cluster was sufficient in order to share the responsibilities.

Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) said the Committee had called the delegations to assist with amendment of the Immigration Bill as a result of the Constitutional Court case. There was no time for the Committee to dwell on the details of the SAPS presentation. The Committee had wanted SAPS to assist the Committee with the amendment of the Immigration Bill. The Committee needed to respond to the Court by 30 March 2019. As such the information in the presentation was important but not relevant to the meeting.

Ms D Raphuti (ANC) emphasised security, safety and peace in South Africa, especially while Minister Cele was present. Given the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the fact that SAPS lacked a computerised database system for tracking detentions was hugely important. Undocumented foreign nationals posed a great threat to safety, security, and peace in South Africa, as well as the clear associated budget strains. Despite this, the issue needed to be handled carefully given the xenophobia issue but the demands on human resources and unemployment concerns could not be ignored and needed to be emphasised in response.

What could be done to ensure stability, peace and security by addressing this? Undocumented foreign nationals did not respect the rules and policies of South Africa. The Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill was supposed to have been passed already, and it was clearly critical that it be passed before Parliament dissolves. This could assist Southern African stability. Could SAPS not work towards alleviating youth unemployment by bringing in young people as security officers in SAPS? There was a need for patriotic citizens to enforce border security. It was not necessary to detain undocumented immigrants as such people displayed a lack of respect for South Africa.

Mr A Figlan (DA) said that there was no evidence of communication between the two departments; and that the security cluster needed to communicate with one another about problems. How are foreigners understood when they were detained? Payments for translators needed in such situations would impose additional costs. The recommendations would be more helpful if compiled together by the Department of Home Affairs and SAPS.

The Acting Chairperson sought to return to the focus of the meeting which was consultation on the Immigration Bill. The Committee had realised there could be problems with implementation of the Bill in its current form. There should be interaction in deciding whether to move on with the legislation, but available resources and capacities could not be overlooked in terms of producing a bill that was implementable. He asked the Home Affairs Deputy Minister to provide input

Home Affairs Ministry comments on Immigration Amendment Bill
Deputy Minister Chohan was not able to advise the Committee on whether there had been consultation between the two Departments, and invited Minister Cele to deal with that. The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, had however indicated to Ms Chohan that there had been the intention for cross-departmental consultation. The presentation reflected the reality on the ground of a lack of available facilities.

The presentation had brought to light, contrary to Ms Mkhaliphi’s comment on its irrelevance to the Amendment Bill. Several challenges touched on the issues the Committee had not delved into such as the standards of detention facilities, who certified these, what the minimum requirements were. The problem was police cells were not designed for deportation purposes; these were for hardened criminals who could not be released on bail. There was no capacity for this across South Africa.

On the deportation of people who had served a sentence, the Committee had not adequately examined the two different types of detentions provided for in the Immigration Act. The first type of detention was one where an illegal immigrant was arrested for the purpose deportation. The second was the arrest of somebody who had perpetrated the crime of being in the country illegally. The problem was that where people were arrested for perpetrating a crime, this needed to be dealt with in a different manner than simply deportation. In this case, these people had to go to court within 48 hours, and may be sentenced. The problem occurred when they had served the sentence – they then had to be deported. The Amendment Bill was an opportunity for the departments to collaborate. There was no reason why in the Amendment Bill the Committee could provide that the administrative and bureaucratic processes for deportation should start at the point of arrest, rather than at the point of release following charging and serving of sentence. This had not been dealt with in the Amendment Bill.

Many areas had not been adequately dealt with in the Bill, and it was therefore prudent to approach the Constitutional Court to apply for an extension beyond June 2019. Many of the issues not captured in the Amendment Bill could be drafted and captured swiftly and could thus be tabled very soon after the elections.

Minister of Police comments on Immigration Amendment Bill
Minister Bheki Cele said there had not yet been a meeting with Minister Cwele. The entire Justice Cluster should have been involved in a meeting on the matter. The issue was serious, shown by the figures of the presentation. Bellville Detention Centre was full of foreign nationals. The matter of dealing with this in a way that avoided xenophobic accusations was mentioned again. Request for postponement was necessary only if it meant the Justice Cluster was able to come together.

Minister Cele suggested that to formalise the matter, the Chairperson wrote to the Cluster to ensure the matter was dealt with by all relevant parties. 

The Acting Chairperson said it was necessary to communicate with the population properly in order to contextualise the severity of the matters faced in order to avoid xenophobia.

Ms Mkhaliphi commented on the application to the Constitutional Court to postpone the amendment of the Immigration Act. This Bill could not lapse within the current Parliamentary session. The Committee needed to decide whether to meet the deadline set by the Court. The Bill could not be rushed due to its importance and its implications, however the Committee could not be held in contempt of the court either. Therefore deliberations needed to be made on whether to apply for an extension and return to it in the next parliamentary term to address the matter properly.

Ms Mkhaliphi asked how many of the 9000 monthly illegal immigrants were Africans and what made them want to come to South Africa, which would mean dealing with the underlying problem? Home Affairs Minister Cwele needed to provide political leadership. She noted the proposal from Police Minister Cele to take the matter forward by cabinet cluster and to allow time for reporting back.

The Parliamentary Law Advisor confirmed the requests for additional time to meet the court deadline had been heard. The Committee Bill that had not yet been introduced, meaning it had not been tabled in Parliament. Should the Committee decide that more time was needed and the Bill was not introduced before the current Parliament rose, the process would have to start afresh in the new Parliament.

The other avenue was that should the Bill be introduced in the National Assembly by the time Parliament rose, it would immediately go for its second reading on the date of introduction. If the Bill was adopted here, it would go to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). 

The Acting Chairperson said that there were two committee meetings left this term. The administration of the Bill would have to be dealt with together with the Department. This would be kept in mind as the Committee programmed to have the first and second readings of the Bill before leaving it at the NCOP. After 30 March there would be no plenary sitting of Parliament. Thus it would not make sense to have Committee meetings thereafter.

Deputy Minister Chohan thanked the Acting Chairperson and the Legal Advisor. The Department of Home Affairs had no issue with the Committee introducing a Bill, and no problem with a Bill coming from the Department for that matter. The problem was that the current version of the Bill was inadequate. If the Committee had decided to pursue the Bill, a half-baked Bill would go to the NCOP, which could not propose amendments to improve that Bill.  This would affect the implementation of the Bill as it would most likely not be solving the challenges it intended to do, quite possibly creating further complications.

The preference of Deputy Minister Chohan was that the Committee not process the current Bill and approach the Court for an extension. A worthwhile Committee or Department Bill needed to be put forward after the elections to address the challenges, only after consultation between all role players in the Cluster.

Ms Kenye agreed with Ms Chohan. The Cluster consultation was important. The Committee noted the Court deadline for the extension and the matter should be included in the Committee Legacy Report.

The Acting Chairperson said that the Cluster needed to collaborate. SAPS needed to check up on the computerisation of its systems. There were several configurations of problem and emergency situations that needed to be accounted for. It was clearly not possible to continue with the Bill, which would be included in Legacy Report for next Committee in the Sixth Parliament. 

The Minister of Public Works, Mr Thulas Nxesi, was welcomed to the meeting.

Home Affairs CFO on provision of Home Affairs office accommodation by Public Works
Home Affairs Deputy Director General: Finance and SCM (CFO), Mr Gordon Hollamby, introduced the delegation. The acting Head of Property Management and Trading Entity (PMTE), Mr Jacob Maroga, introduced the PMTE delegation. Mr Maroga, was present on behalf of the Public Works Director General.

Mr Hollamby said that two presentations had been submitted to the Committee by Public Works and PMTE, but there would only be one presentation to which both delegations to contribute to. The recommendations included the establishment of a task team which had been established in November 2018. 

In terms of the problem statement, the Department of Home Affairs had a limited footprint, as well as challenges of physical infrastructure and the Department’s lease portfolio.

The mandate to provide and manage accommodation on behalf of government rested with the Department of Public Works. In respect of the Department of Public Works’ future needs, it wanted to move towards purpose built state-owned accommodation which involved migration from leased premises to state owned.

Frontline offices should not be located in central business districts. There were issues with parking, traffic, and public nuisances at such facilities.

The Department of Home Affairs portfolio had 212 private leases and 109 state owned leases. At airports, sub premises were leased where there were ports of entry. The Department of Home Affairs head office was a leased building. Home Affairs accommodation budget was R458 million. The recorded shortfall was not a serious issue as the Department of Public Works had secured new lease agreements at reduced rates once the current leases had expired which would cover the shortfall.

The challenges with the Department of Public Works involved maintenance, health and safety, parking, time delays to renew leases, capital projects with long outstanding issues, and client forum meetings were not working particularly well at a regional and provincial level.

The consequences for the Department of Home Affairs included receiving notices from landlords, locking the Department out and refusing to continue lease agreements with the Department of Home Affairs. Some municipalities cut water and electricity supply to Home Affairs facilities. There were also labour issues where buildings were declared unsafe.

Clients spent long waiting times outside in poor conditions due to inability to accommodate them inside and the lengthy queueing. This was a reason for the preference to have campus-like state-owned facilities where clients could be accommodated inside buildings.

He noted key critical offices that required immediate attention. Many buildings were Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) non-compliant, and had been given closing notices by the Department of Labour. He noted the OHS non-compliant buildings by province. Keeping office interiors clean was not the Department of Public Works’ responsibility but Home Affairs.

There were also capital projects. Capital projects where new purpose built offices were being built, as well as refurbishment of state owned properties were outlined.

Maritime ports of entry were mostly leased from Transnet which added another party into the equation in terms of negotiations. Department of Home Affairs facilities needed to be at specific sites.

The recommendations and proposals stemmed from a meeting in 2018 between the Directors General of both the Departments of Home Affairs and Public Works. The joint task team had been established. Work was being done on the project execution plan with action items, dates and responsibilities.

There was a list of priority projects for permanent accommodation instead of leasing privately which linked back to the issue where the Director General of Public Works had agreed to claims that the Department of Home Affairs needed purpose built facilities rather than simply any state owned premises. This had been agreed at a meeting on 6 November 2018.

Mandates for National Treasury-driven lease renewals and renegotiations required work in order to ensure collaboration from Treasury in the coming financial year.

Work was being done on prototype offices of small, medium, and large categories as a blueprint to move forward. 

Minister of Public Works on provision of Home Affairs office accommodation by Public Works
Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi, only wished to amplify from the Department of Public Works’ perspective the issue of maintenance of state facilities. Maintenance required a government wide response.

Asset management strategy needed to be improved; maintenance funding and planning was not considered enough in terms of determining budgets. The third issue was of skills across the state. The fourth issue was the crisis of safety for buildings (the Department of Labour closed many Department of Home Affairs buildings for noncompliance) and moving forward there should be efforts towards a dispensation with the Department of Labour due to so many hotspots and the closures associated with them. The fifth was the issue of weak controls leading to cost inefficiencies and to fraud and corruption.

The Acting Chairperson emphasised the need to work together for a better South Africa.

Deputy Minister Chohan thanked the delegations for the presentations and referred to the maintenance and development of unique infrastructure specifically designed for Home Affairs. The weakness of the Department of Home Affairs was its inability to prioritise or prioritising wrongly. There was underutilisation of many newly developed offices which had been constructed in poor locations, meaning poor accessibility left clients to continue to frequent older facilities. The Department of Public Works should be given more say in terms of conducting due diligence for new building locations and maintenance in order to ensure optimum service delivery.

Minister Nxesi said the general problem of government was of poor planning. This was a cross-departmental issue that Department of Public Works faced, with other departments changing specifications and requests halfway through construction processes.

The Department of Public Works needed more experts rather than administrators. This was particularly to ensure medium and long term maintenance through adequate planning mechanisms. The Department of Public Works required more specialised skills employees such as engineers, architects, property and project management. The Department of Public Works had not recruited efficiently. It had made a significant number of recruitments but not at the levels it required.

The joint task team that the Committee had heard in the presentation needed specialised built environment skills.

Small town facilities were a critical problem. The buildings being used were largely inadequate, often they were simply people leasing out a room in their house in order for departments to function. Moreover, the rental charges were often exorbitant. The Department of Public Works suggested construction of small precincts where department facilities could be clustered with specialised facilities in these locations.

Long term planning was needed to avert poor lease agreements and expenditure wastage in terms of poorly-located and designed constructions. Lease agreements had no facility management clauses attached to them. There had been investigations and many people had been charged in relation to these poor lease agreements. Moreover there had been movement towards yearly or even month to month leases in order to ensure proper oversight. A lease agreement framework had been developed in conjunction with Treasury which set out payment thresholds and conditions. This had been met with much opposition by many of the landlords.

The biggest challenge remained maintenance of facilities. Neglect of daily maintenance resulted in much more costly renovations. Maintaining current buildings should be the priority and ministers needed to demand monthly reports.

Mr Figlan reminded the Committee of the Thusong Centres project. What had happened to this project?

Ms Dambuza said the challenge was critical in small towns. Small facilities were at risk of weather and safety for queueing clients.

Department of Home Affairs officials had complained of offices being too small, therefore modernised systems could not be installed, thus meaning that those in rural areas were disadvantaged in the transition from green ID books to smart cards. Why had the Department of Home Affairs not collaborated with Department of Social Development for example in order to accommodate one another within buildings?

Ms Raphuti asked why government services facilities were not placed in strategic areas. This subjected people to lengthy travel times. This was poor planning due to poor scarce skill recruitment.

Leasing cost challenges was poor management and corruption. The Minister of Home Affairs needed to investigate leasing challenges. Moreover, specialists needed to ensure work was adequate.

The Acting Chairperson apologised that the Members were not being provided with lunch due to the spending cutbacks. The issues raised needed to be addressed in a structured, long term manner with jointly agreed to functions.

Ms Kenye asked if people who did not comply with legislation were sufficiently disciplined? This would set a standard of deterrence. How can there be legislation that is not complied with?

She referred to the health and safety challenges resulting from poor layout on pages 7 and 8 of the presentation.  The joint task committee needed to implement reforms in the short term as a matter of urgency to address these challenges. These short term plans needed to be in conjunction with long term planning involving funding and expertise.

Mr M Kekane (ANC) asked where the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), National Treasury and Public Commission reports on Public Works were. The Committee needed to understand what was happening in the Department of Public Works. He requested another meeting with a presentation by these relevant entities. Legal reports with the number of people who were disciplined were requested. Without this foundation it would mean the Committee would not make progress.

The Acting Chairperson summarised the joint efforts of departments; the joint task team agreed to deal with all issues raised. A project execution plan with action items, dates, and responsibilities had been created. They had finalised a list of priority projects for permanent accommodation solutions to replace lease agreements with private entities. The chief problem was that of planning which stemmed from capacity constraints. Compliance with the Public Finance Management Act was needed, particularly in relation to lease agreements. A modernisation programme was being implemented that required specific offices to fulfil functions. A medium to long term timeframe had been agreed.

Minister Nxesi said the SIU and Public Protector’s reports were available online. He suggested that the focus be on whether the recommendations in the presentation were implemented, and if not, why they were not.

The meeting was adjourned.


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