The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) presented its first quarter analysis report for the year 2019/20 to the Committee, providing an overview of its financial and non-financial performance, its entities’ performance, governance issues, as well as its financial recovery plan.
The Department had under-spent on the compensation of employees and payment for capital assets.
Its spending for goods and services was in line with the planned expenditure for the period under review, but there had been overspending on transfers and subsidies.
The Department had R1.6 billion in accruals for the current financial year, which meant that the value of the budget was diminished by that amount. They had been created by work done but not paid for in the financial year it in which they were supposed to be paid. The Department’s was working with Treasury to address the matter.
Members were particularly concerned about how the Department was going to deal with the accrual situation, and how it would affect it the completion of its projects. They also asked about progress with the bucket eradication programme, the status of National Water and Sanitation Bill, delayed projects, water security, vacancies and the demographics of the Department’s internal construction unit. The overall financial viability of the Department was a concern for both the Members and officials.
The Committee agreed to a follow-up workshop with the Department so that in-depth information on projects and challenges within the Department could be fully discussed.
Deputy Minister’s opening remarks
Mr David Mahlobo, Deputy Minister: Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHWS), thanked the Chairperson for the support and guidance provided to the Department on the Annual Performance Plan (APP) briefings and on the budget speech process. While the documentation for the meeting today had been sent on time, there were a few corrections made after that, but it was not materially different from the initial version. The presentation covered the first quarter from 1 April to end June.
He outlined the sequence which the presentation would follow, saying he would begin by presenting the financial information. The Department was motivated by matters raised during engagements on departmental plans. The biggest worry was whether it was a going concern or not, and if it was resourced to do what it needed to. Members were reminded that this was the first quarter report since the transition to the new administration.
Some of the work done by the Department was done according to the Division of Revenue Act (DoRA), so there was money which had to be transferred to municipalities to perform their tasks. Members were asked to note the disjuncture, in that when national and provincial governments were in the first quarter, municipalities were in the final quarter of their financial year.
He added that the presentation would not be about the turn-around and stabilisation of the Department, but rather its performance in the last quarter, because the it wanted to come back at the Committee’s earliest convenience to discuss the turn-around adequately.
First Quarter Analysis Report
Mr Mbulelo Tshangana, Director General (DG): DHWS, said the audit process was near completion – the last meeting with the Auditor-General (AG) had been on Monday. The Department was comfortable with the work done so far in the area of governance.
In the period under review, the Department had also met with Treasury and other departments in the functional group concerning mostly the built environment budget. Departments here included Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Energy and Human Settlements. Despite fiscal belt tightening, the Department had prioritised certain projects.
He assured the Committee that the DHWS was hard at work and all assurance letters from the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA) had been responded to. The Department was part of a pilot for the new Public Audit Amendment Act, which gives the AGSA more power to act on material irregularities. This could lead to certificates of debt, which might lead to the attachment of a Director General’s assets or property.
Mr Frans Moatshe, Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO): DWS, began by looking at the financial performance per programme -- administration, water planning and information management, water infrastructure development and water sector regulation, and the total appropriated amounts for each programme. The presentation then touched on the consolidated departmental expenditure, planned expenditure versus actual expenditure and variance. Expenditures on economic classifications were also outlined. The financial performance of the infrastructure grants and the details of the transfers were indicated.
The Department had projected to spend R447.542 million on the compensation of employees (COE), but only R415.712 million was spent. This indicated the Department spent R31.83 million (7%) less than the planned expenditure/approved drawings. This was due to vacant posts within the Department across all programmes that were in various stages of recruitment. It was in the process of filling critical prioritised vacancies, with due consideration of the baseline allocation over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Under goods and services, the Department had now spent R318.422 million of the total planned expenditure/ approved drawings of R320.896 million on goods and services as at 30 June 2019. This indicated it had spent R2.474 million (1%) less than the planned expenditure/approved drawings, which was in line with the projected expenditure for the period.
The DHWS spent R1.613 billion of the planned expenditure of R1.598 billion on transfers and subsidies, which was R14.877 million (1%) more than projected. The higher than projected spending of R14.877 million was largely due to the payment of R10.237 million to Intellimali (Pty) Ltd for the previous academic year’s external bursaries.
The variance of R570.047 million in payment for capital assets was attributable to invoices certified, verified and approved for payment of work done on the Indirect (Schedule 6B) Regional Bulk Infrastructure and Water Services Infrastructure Grants to be paid by the provinces. The Department had finalised and sent infrastructure grant allocation letters to the regions, water boards and implementing agents (IAs). The expenditure was anticipated to improve during the coming months. On the over-spending on payments for financial assets, the Department had, during the period under review, incurred R490 000 as payments for financial assets. The expenditure incurred without the budget was attributable to debts that were long outstanding and uneconomical to recover, and had been written-off against the DHWS in terms of Treasury regulation 11.6, read in conjunction with sections 76(1)(e) and 76(4)(a) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
The presentation address the income and expenditure for the Water Trading Entity (WTE) for the period ending 30 June 2019, and the expenditure for augmentation funded projects for the period.
The budget would be made available during the mid-term budget adjustment/review process.
Mr L Basson (DA) wanted to raise a matter before the Department moved to the non-financial performance of the first quarter. He was particularly concerned about accruals. The Department had said R310 million had been spent on goods and services. This meant the Department did not perform 99% on that account, and an explanation for this was needed.
The Chairperson ruled that the Department should be allowed to complete its presentation before Members engaged in discussion.
Ms Babalwa Manyakanyaka, Chief Director, DWS, took the Committee through the non-financial performance of the Department for the quarter under review per programme.
Under Programme One, she directed Members’ attention to the DHWS’s contribution to Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) through its standardised procurement budgets, where it had overachieved on its target for procurement budget spending on qualifying small enterprises (QSEs) and exempted micro enterprises. It had not achieved its target on the international relations implementation plan.
For Programme Two, multiple targets had been achieved, such as completing the master plan for Operation Phakisa lab preparation, operating rules and specialist strategy studies for various water supply systems, updates on climate change for risk and vulnerability assessments, water and sanitation information systems maintained, large water supply systems assessed for water losses, and a number of district municipalities (DMs) with completed five-year water and sanitation services master plans. Targets had also been achieved for the water services and local water management and sanitation planning and management sub-programmes.
For the sub-programme on policy and dtrategy, the target for the development of the National Water
and Sanitation Bill had not been met due to fact that the processing of the Bill to Cabinet was put on hold until the finalisation of the Operation Phakisa master plan.
Programme Three was the infrastructure programme, where the focus was on the strategic infrastructure development and management sub-programme, which had partially achieved its targets.The indictors related to bulk water provision projects were partially achieved due to delays in tender processes and construction delays.
The target on the number of bulk raw water projects completed was not met due to contractual issues and delays with service providers. The targets for the sub-programme, operation of water services, were achieved except for the targets on the number of kilometres of conveyance systems rehabilitated and the number of job opportunities created through implementing operations of water resource infrastructure projects.
The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) sub-programme targets were met, except for the number of large regional bulk infrastructure project phases under construction, where the target was partially achieved.
All the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) sub-programme targets were achieved.
A highlight of Programme Four (water sector regulation) was the performance in the economic and social regulation sub-programme, which was on par. The target on the finalisation of applications for water use authorisation within 300 days had been partially achieved, as 133 of 181 applications were finalised within 300 days.
All the water supply services and sanitation regulation sub-programme targets were achieved, and for the compliance monitoring and enforcement sub-programme, the Department had managed go above its 80% target, with 82% of reported non-compliant cases investigated.
In the institutional oversight programme, the target for the establishment the National Water Infrastructure Agency (NWIA) and the number of Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) gazetted for establishment were achieved. The target for the number of regional water and wastewater utilities gazetted for establishment was not achieved due to processes being on hold.
The targets for the Water Trading Entity financial sub-programme were achieved in respect of the procurement budget spent on QSE and exempted micro enterprises. However, the target on the number of debtor days was not achieved.
For the water information management sub-programme, the target for the number of rivers in which the river eco-status monitoring programme implemented was achieved.
Mr Anil Singh, Deputy Director General (DDG): Regulations, DWS, presented on the water sector entities, and said that the Minister was the shareholder for the 14 entities. There were four categories of these entities: nine water boards, The Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), two catchment management agencies and the Water Research Commission (WRC). These entities were a going concern and reported to Parliament, as they were implementing arms of the DHWS. The Department was satisfied with the performance of the entities in terms of what they were doing overall to support it.
Ms Emilize Nezar, Chief Audit Executive: DWS, presented on governance issues, looking at the performance of governance structures. The Department had an established audit committee, and a renewed focus on audit and risk matters. There were regular engagements with the Special Investigating Authority (SIU) to fast track proclaimed investigations, as well as several internal governance structures, including implementation of combined assurance within the Department.
The presentation referred briefly to the audit committee. R320 000 had been recovered as a result of the forensic audit report, and debt acknowledgment of R622 000 in quarter one. The presentation looked at the forensic audit processes from 2012 to 2018/19, during which 84 officials were found guilty, and 13 were found not guilty after the disciplinary processes. 23 of these officials had resigned during the period. There were civil cases against these officials and the process was being dealt through the SIU, the Hawks and the SA Police Service (SAPS). The cases were followed up on a quarterly basis. Regarding disciplinary cases, there had been 13 dismissals, along with demotions and written warnings.
In quarter one, seven officials at senior management level, and six officials below this level, were currently facing disciplinary action within the Department. The cases were at various stages and some of these officials were still under suspension. With the recently completed forensic and risk investigation, 13 senior officials had been provided with the opportunity to respond to possible disciplinary action to be taken against them, and the disciplinary process would unfold.
The DG said the above information was important, as it showed the officials were not getting away with impunity, and serious consequence management was taking place in the Department.
The next item was about the financial recovery plan. Treasury had made it clear that any additional funding provided to the Department would be subject to a detailed financial recovery plan, given the challenge of accruals.
The Financial Recovery Plan
Mr Moatshe said the financial recovery plan had been developed by working with National Treasury. It had also been presented to the water boards. The sector plan also needed to be finalised within the coming month – dates had been set with Treasury. The plan would address the sector as a whole, including challenges involving the water boards.
The Department meets with Treasury twice a month to track the plan. The key elements of the plan include governance and compliance, asset and liability management to ensure it was in a position to account for its commitments, revenue enhancement and community participation. The Department had engaged the Chief Procurement Officer.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo added that the financial recovery plan was part of the implementation of a turnaround. The plan was clear and achievable. The Department was working closely with National Treasury, and would return to Parliament with legislation.
As part of recovery, the DHWS had done work it was not primarily responsible for, such as work that should be done by municipalities or water service authorities. It would always present its performance against this recovery plan.
Financial performance in the main draft report told a story. It was important to remember the difference in the financial year between national government and the municipalities, as this impacted on whether projects were carried out with grant funding.
With accruals, the plan had been revised downwards in order for the Department to meet its obligations in terms of the law. Accruals would remain a standing matter, and the intention was not to pick up new accruals.
Mr M Tseki (ANC) found the 16% expenditure level worrying, given what was planned in the APP. He questioned the difference between the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant and Water Service Infrastructure Grant.
There was the challenge of Hammanskraal, the Vaal and now recently the Duzi/uMsunduzi being filled with chemicals, where fish had died.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) referred to the Bucket Eradication Programme (BEP). She said the Minister had made it very clear in her budget vote speech that the Department would eradicate the bucket system within six months, but it did not seem that the Department was on pace with this, based on the presentation. How would this be done? Targets in the administration programme were not met due to vacancies, but the Department did not speak to any plans to address this challenge of vacancies. What was the ‘master plan’ in relation to Operation Phakisa all about?
Mr Basson said the total expenditure had been R2.5 billion in the first quarter, and R310 million of that was spent on accruals. He reminded the Department that in the fourth quarter, the Committee had decided the Department must show accruals separately where they were paid. If the payment for accruals was coming out of the expenditure as presented, the expenditure was actually on commitments prior to the current budget. The Department had the same problem last year – all its money was used on accruals and no projects went forward. Looking at the expenditure outlined in the presentation, one might say the Department was doing well, but were accruals coming out of this expenditure? Accruals must be shown separately. If there were savings, these also had to be shown to the Committee. Accruals were really disrupting everything in the Department and taking up a lot of the funds budgeted for the year. The accruals had to be paid out of the savings, and not out of regular expenditure, as this skewed the picture of true expenditure.
He asked if the problem with Bloem Water and Mangaung had been resolved.
The Chairperson interjected that the significance of Mr Basson’s question was not known by the entire Committee, and asked him to explain.
Mr Basson said it had been raised in the Minister’s budget speech.
The Chairperson said it should be discussed.
Ms N Mvana (ANC) asked what the Department would do about accruals. Were there plans to correct irregular expenditure? Was the bucket eradication programme based on the situation prior to 1994, or on the current numbers?
Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) appreciated the efforts of the Department to resolve many challenges. Given the priority of the government regarding transformation and job creation, had it established a target for the financial year? The DHWS had to measure itself against the number of jobs it aimed to achieve so that there was a plan which drove the Department to meet the target. It could not operate according to luck, but according to plans and targets. Had it brought any polluters to book?
Ms L Arries (EFF) thought the 16% expenditure during quarter one was actually pathetic. She asked why the North West had received its R2 billion, given the explanation of the different financial years between national government and municipalities. Why did only the Free State and North West get allocated the actual expenditure for the bucket eradication programme? Some entities did not get their transfers and subsidies, such as in Limpopo – why was this the case? What progress had been made on the Lesotho Highlands Project?
Ms S Mokgotho (EFF) asked if the Department had a plan on how it would deal with accruals without taking it from expenditure intended for projects in future quarters. If this was the case, which projects would be put on hold to pay the accruals?
The spending for programme one, administration, had been lower than it was supposed to have been due to delays related to goods and services and vacant posts – why were there still vacant posts? In its previous meeting, the Committee had requested the Department fill all vacant posts quickly to carry out the work it planned to. Why were there delays in goods and services, such as procurement, in Programme One?
Mr M Mashego (ANC) thought the intention of the meeting was for the Department to respond to matters raised after the budget was passed. He questioned what the Department was going to do to change the status of targets not achieved.
Water reticulation was not the responsibility of the Department, but was the concern of authorities at the reticulation level -- local or district municipalities. The Department should intervene only when there was lack of plans, capacity or inability. Why was it accountable for failures of reticulation? Grants were given to municipalities to do the reticulation, but the Department ended up using its funds to do this work -- a kind of “double dipping.”
Regarding disciplinary cases, there was also the element of being constructive in nature and not just punitive.
The Chairperson said the Committee could have a Department that had accruals and overdrafts for no reason. It had to go back and work on these matters and the turnaround strategy, and report back to the Committee.
As indicated by Mr Basson, the Department could not use current expenditure to pay for accruals. It should rather come out of the savings. If the money for accruals came out of expenditure for current projects, would those projects still continue? This should be the question.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo responded that the Department was on a journey and, like a train, arrived at different stations. It did not hide its difficulties from the Committee – it exposed the degree and gravity of irregular expenditure. It had a primary mandate but got involved in a secondary mandate where expenses were incurred. The problem was that where the Department assisted municipalities, it did not get reimbursed. More of this could be discussed with the Committee.
In future presentations on performance, it would spend more time explaining targets which were not achieved and why – the Department would be guided by the Committee in this regard.
While expenditure for the quarter looked low, Members had to remember the Department was in transition following the election. However, if it continued at that pace, it would be in trouble.
In Hammanskraal and Umfeleni, the Department had got involved in a secondary mandate where a local problem quickly became a national one. It was often the case that when there was a local problem, it could quickly spread to impact the entire province, especially with polluted rivers flowing downstream and multiple provinces were affected. The funding required in this regard was great. The Department would like the opportunity to share hotspot matters with the Committee.
Mr Tshangana said that the biggest concern was the financial viability of the organization, according to all the questions asked. The issue of accruals had a bearing on the financial viability of the organisation.
To simplify, he explained that declared accruals for the current financial year were R1.6 billion, which meant that the value of the budget was diminished by R1.6 billion. In the Department’s bilateral engagement with Treasury, a lot of time had been spent on this matter. Accruals were values created by work done but not paid for in the financial year it was supposed to be paid. The longer there were delays in solving the matter, the more the value of the budget diminished. He made an example of the Giyani project, where there had been failures in the municipality because of irregularities, and consequence management had been required, so service providers could not be paid and accruals had increased.
On the schedules within the grants, he explained that the Schedule 5b of the grant was a direct grant to the municipalities. It was like the Human Settlements Development Grant that was disbursed to the provinces who were implementing the programmes on behalf of the National Department. The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant was disbursed to municipalities in three different tranches -- in August, November, and February. The 5b status of the grant meant that municipalities were the ones who did procurement and contract management.
Since the meeting was not about strategic planning, the Department would spend time to get to specifics and conditions and frameworks of the grants during the strategic planning session.
The reality was that the municipalities authorised by the Minister and the Systems and Structures Act of COGTA as water services authorities, were finding it difficult to execute those functions. The key question was what the Department could do to review the functions of municipalities and their classifications as water service authorities according to their capacity to execute their given functions.
Mr Tshangana said the failures of municipalities put a lot pressure on the Department’s targets and budget. The funds that were earmarked for its primary mandate had to be used to deal with secondary mandate matters, thus putting a strain on the DHWS. The issue would be presented on at the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) meeting.
On the bucket eradication programme, the Department had started slowly with procurement. It was hopeful that it could still meet the target, as materials had to be procured. It had a schedule of activities projected last week to discuss the target, which was for formal (established) townships with targets of more than 10 000 buckets in the Free State, and more than 2000 buckets in the Northern Cape. This was the reason why the budget targeted two provinces. This was not a moving target, but a stationary one which could be reduced. The moving target was in informal settlements, as it spoke to urbanisation.
The Department still believed that its target of bucket eradication would be met. The bigger part of this matter was the long-term vision that sewer systems had to be updated to accommodate the move from buckets to water-borne based sanitation. It could furnish the Committee with reports on its status in reaching this target.
On the filling of vacancies, the DDG of Corporate Services could add to the point that the Department was between a rock and a hard place. The COE budget had been cut, therefore it was in their interest that before filling positions, they look beyond the current financial year. The last option would be to fill positions with contract positions, which was not good, as they were senior management positions. The Department planned to prioritise critical positions that support the core business of the organisation, such as planning, infrastructure and regulations directors.
On the issue of Mangaung and Bloem Water, he said that the entities would meet in future and would focus on water pipelines. The longer the matter was delayed, the more the issues would escalate. At present, the Department had met these entities at an administrative level. The intentions were for Mangaung municipality and Bloem Water to collaborate and work together. The Minister assured the Committee that there would be a formal meeting.
On the Operation Phakisa master plan, he said the Department was still working on it, but perhaps his colleagues could talk about its timelines. The Department wanted to take it to Cabinet and have it implemented.
Mr Squire Mahlangu, Acting Director-General, DWS, said that the critical positions to be filled were mostly financial positions, such as CFO and Chief Director: Finance. The Department was currently reviewing its structure and would decide on the remaining positions available afterwards.
Mr Singh said the Department was happy with the work experience in general. The percentages not achieved represented some of the challenges that the water boards faced in terms of their revenue targets and services. It was something that the Department was going to address.
The Water Research Commission functioned through a a grant called the Water Research Levy that users paid. This created problems for the Commission, as the challenges in the collection rate from users affected this grant’s status.
The cause of the non-performance of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency was due to the CMA’s underdevelopment, as well as a revenue collection issue. The Department would provide details on the water entities at the workshop.
Ms Manyakanyaka responded on the question about the job creation target in the APP, and said that with the acceleration of bucket eradication programme, job opportunities would be created.
Mr Mahlobo said that the Department had to report more on matters related to jobs, especially the nature of the jobs -- such as whether they were for the short term or long term. This would be detailed in the future presentations. The Department planned to also report on the number of beneficiaries gaining access to the project, to measure progress.
The Chairperson requested a list of the water service authorities. as well as their challenges outlined.
On the issue Hammanskraal, she said increases in water tariffs to municipalities would affect ordinary people, as the beneficiaries would need to pay more. This would be a serious problem. The workshop would be used to understand the problem better and to find resolution as soon as possible so that beneficiaries did not have to pay more.
Ms Mokgotho said she was not satisfied with the Department’s response, as she wanted to know which projects had been put on hold because their money had been diverted to pay for accruals. Were these projects going to be done in the same time frame or discarded altogether because they had not been paid?
Ms Tseke referred to the failure to achieve two performance targets, and questioned if the unachieved projects would not add more to the financial burden on the budget. What been the cause of the delay to two water projects in the Eastern Cape, which were said to involve land-related matters?
The Mzimvubu Dam had been in the pipeline for a long time. She asked how much was initially allocated and how much was spent, and when the access to road would be completed.
With regard to the Vaal River, the Minister of Finance had given a directive to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to clean the river system, and funding was made available. How much was given for that project, and was the Department going to utilide the SANDF?
She enquired how much water the country had, and how much was needed to ensure the water security of the country.
Mr Mashego asked how much money was left to do other projects, in the light of accruals that diminished the Department’s budget. He asked what the demographic composition of the internal construction unit was.
A Department official responded that as of today the matter of accruals had been explained and discussed. At the next meeting, the Committee would receive a report on the servicing of accruals. He therefore suggested Members therefore stop referring to the matter.
The Department was in the process of submitting the National Water and Sanitation Bill to the Cabinet, but there had been no report on it. He asked where the Bill was now.
The status of waste water services had to be dealt with at the next meeting.
Ms Arries said that the Committee could not be told what to ask. If the EFF wanted to ask about the accruals, they would.
Mr Basson also said the remarks on accruals had been unfortunate, but the problem would not go away. It was ongoing and had to be addressed. He requested a report on how the accruals would be covered so that they were not there in the next financial year. How would the Department service its overdraft?
The Chairperson agreed that the issue of accruals would not go away. She applauded the DG for his guidance of the Department. The matters raised had to be further discussed at the workshop.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo concurred that the bigger issues would be discussed in detail at the workshop. The Department would consider the questions regarding water security, water entities’ functioning, the structures the Department owed, and the issues surrounding accruals.
The issue of accruals had been a phenomenon in government for a while, and the Department would give the Committee a report on some of the accruals incurred, how they were incurred and how to avoid them in future.
The municipalities owed the water boards, and the water boards owed the Department. It would deal with the issue to ensure that water tariffs remained reasonable for beneficiaries and did not become a problem for end users.
Mr Tshangana referred to the demographic break down of the construction unit, and said the team had been asked to bring the breakdown by various categories such as gender and race. A complete picture of how the unit was functioning, its management component as well as its procurement processes, would be provided.
He said the DHWS owed the SANDF money for their services in the Vaal, and it had requested the invoice to be itemised.
On the issue of Umzimvubu, senior officials had visited and looked at the site and its financial viability. The project would be repackaged differently, as it affected more structures and would need to be funded by the fiscus, as opposed to the private sector. He commented that there was a tight timeline to complete the project. The service provider had issues with interpreting the contract, as they claimed R70 million was owed for the services, and the Department had paid R47 million. The issue was at the arbitration stage.
On the question of the project budget, it would be was reckless to show any figures at this stage. Umzimvubu, Hammanskraal and many other projects would be elaborated on further at the workshop.
Mr Mashego asked if it had not been agreed that other questions would be packaged for the workshop.
Ms Tseke did not agree with Mr Mashego, because the matters had emanated from the quarterly report, and therefore the questions had to be answered and dealt with now.
Mr Leonardo Manus, Acting DDG: Infrastructure Development, (DWS) said that preemptive work had been done on plans for the access roads, and the Department’s construction unit had been appointed to do the implementation work. At this point, an environmental officer had to be appointed to ensure compliance with environmental concerns. On the land component of the project, he said should the land currently there be surveyed after the construction of the dam, any property on the impoundment side of the survey line would require negotiating with traditional authorities to ensure relocation.
Ms Mokgotho said that at the workshop, there had to be a clear profile of all the projects containing what they were, their challenges and how the Department would address them. She acknowledged the information about the projects given, but felt that more information was required to empower the Committee.
Ms Tseke asked whether the target for the number of bulk water projects not being achieved would not incur more extra costs for the Department.
Mr Manus said both bulk raw water projects had been delayed due to disputes between the contractors and the Department. On the possibility of incurring additional costs, it was possible, but more so for the Goedertrouw Dam project than the Hazelmere project. The Hazelmere project was at 95% completion and a settlement agreement may be reached with a contractor, therefore additional costs were not expected to be that high.
The Goedertrouw project was at 64% completion. The work was largely completed on the civil engineering component, but the electrical and mechanical engineering components still needed to be completed, and this would likely incur more costs in comparison to Hazelmere. In terms of risk management, it was better to not have the electrical and mechanical components implemented at this point in time, because there was a greater risk of possible vandalism that could occur while the projects were delayed, which might result in additional costs.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo gave thanks and requested the Committee, Ministry and the Department to communicate and exchange notes with each other on the agenda for the next meeting to ensure the engagement would be productive.
The Chairperson said it was important to consider how the water sector could be used to bring change in South Africa, narrow inequality, create jobs and deal with other challenges in the country. The Department had to ensure it met its commitments and addressed its challenges in order to achieve change.
The meeting was adjourned.
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