Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation Budget: Committee Report

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation

10 July 2019
Chairperson: Ms M Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met for the consideration and adoption of the Report on Budget Vote 36: Water and Sanitation and on the 2019/2020 Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Water and Sanitation.

As part of the deliberations, Members expressed views on observations and recommendations of the report. On Observations the Committee noted that the internal construction unit of the Department was unable to capacitate municipalities when needed. The Committee further raised concerns on water pollution. The pollution of water systems especially by industries affect the quality of water consumed by people. On Recommendations, Members expressed views on the leadership instabilities, and recommended that the Department should work with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to enhance its evaluation systems. The Department should also report on a quarterly basis on the eradication of the Bucket System. The Committee also noted that there should be an additional area of planning and effective financial management which is associated with budget for operation and maintenance. It was further recommended that the Department should monitor polluters.

The report was adopted with amendments.

The DA reserved its right on the report and the EFF abstained from articulating views on the report.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson affirmed a moment of silence before the meeting commenced. She welcomed everyone and noted the Committee had not received any apologies. The purpose of the meeting was to deliberate the draft Report on Budget Vote 36: Water and Sanitation and on the 2019/2020 Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Water and Sanitation which was to be put up for adoption following the deliberations.

The Chairperson introduced the new Committee Assistant to the committee. She declared that the Content Advisor will present the report and she would then open the floor for discussions after the presentation.

Presentation by the Content Advisor

Ms S Dawood, Content Advisor, took the Committee through the report item by item.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) raised a concern that the Advisor should move straight to page 13 on the observations and recommendations since the Committee have gone through the report

The Committee agreed.

Mr M Tseki (ANC) proposed that the Content Advisor should read the documents as it is written and not make any additions to it.

The Content Advisor continued with the presentation and made an addition in 9.2.1 of the report. The material uncertainty relating to the going concern and financial sustainability of the Department related to unfruitful, wasteful and irregular expenditure, and a qualified audit opinion for both the main account and water trading entity in the last four years.

Discussion

Observations

The Chairperson asked Members to give consideration to the Observations section before going throh the Recommendations.

Members noted some grammatical errors which had to be corrected.

Mr Tseki raised a concern that similar links should be collectively grouped in one description. He also noted that in 8.5, the Committee noted that the internal construction unit of the Department was unable to capacitate municipalities where capacity is needed. In 8.6 the Committee noted the funding of the Bucket Eradication Programme since its inception to date. He further raised a concern on water pollution, and pointed out that the pollution of water systems especially by industries affect the quality of water consumed by people. He made reference to the Minister’s presentation, where mention was made to the effect that polluters were not being observed.

Mr M Mashego (ANC) emphasised the need for robust financial management systems. Retired people should also assist the Department in ensuring performance management of finances.

Ms M Arries (EFF) proposed that the Committee should rather formulate the point made by Mr Mashego in the essence that all acting vacancies should be filled with immediate effect. He expressed his disagreement with the point made by Mr Mashego.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) echoed the point made by Mr Mashego on financial management systems and that retired people should assist the Department in ensuring the proper financial management.

The Chairperson suggested that they rather formulate the point by Mr Mashego as the commitment made by authority that financial management must be prioritised.

Mr Tseke said the Chairperson’s comment could be regarded as a recommendation.

Ms M Mohlala (EFF) said the Committee should make an observation that since numerous projects had been deferred, how would the Department be in a position to commence new ones? She made reference to Lesotho project that was deferred.

The Chairperson pointed out that the Deputy Minister did address Ms Mohlala’s concern during the APP presentation. Information regarding projects, its commencement dates and funding were given to the Committee. She also suggested that the Committee wait for the Minister to appear before Committee in three months’ time to seek clarity on this. She asked each party to indicate whether they accepted the Observations.

The ANC agreed.

The EFF abstained from articulating views on the report.

The DA reserved its right on the report

The Committee moved to Recommendations.

Recommendations

Mr M Tseki suggested that 9.3 be combined with 9.7.He further mentioned that the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation should work with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to enhance the evaluation systems in the former. He added the Department should provide a report on a quarterly basis on the eradication of the Bucket System. The Department should also monitor polluters.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) recommended that there be an extension in 9.2.1. The identified issues should be resolved with immediate effect. In 9.3 and 9.7, there should be an additional area of planning and effective financial management which is associated with the budget for operation and maintenance.

Ms Arries said municipalities should monitor water polluters. The Department does not have much control over water polluters.

The Chairperson asked each party whether they accept Recommendations.

The ANC agreed.

The EFF abstained from articulating views on the report.

The DA reserved its right on the report

Ms Arries proposed that they should add that new projects should commence after the deferred one had been dealt with.

Ms N Sihlwayi echoed Ms Arries’ views and added that there should be mechanisms put in place to ensure that the Department undertake carry out oversight exercises and implement infrastructure projects.

Mr S August (GOOD) wanted to know under which regulation the EFF was raising a point after they declared that they were abstaining.

The Chairperson advised the Committee to one agenda item at a time. She put the Report up for adoption.

Adoption of report

The majority agreed to the adoption of the report.

The EFF abstained from articulating views on the report.

The DA reserved its right on the report

The report was adopted with amendments.

The Chairperson, in closing, wished the Committee well on the Budget Vote Debate taking place on the 16th of July 2019.

The meeting was adjourned.

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