Public Works & Infrastructure Budget Review and Recommendations Report

Public Works and Infrastructure

16 October 2019
Chairperson: Ms N Ntobogwana
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Meeting Summary

Available here once adopted: BRRR 2019 

The Committee met to consider and adopt the minutes of four of its meetings which took place in September and October, and to consider and adopt the Budget Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).

Members were generally happy with the minutes. There was some concern that the minutes were not reflecting all the issues being raised in the meetings. However, the Committee agreed that where both reports and minutes were provided, the reports needed to more specific about all the issues, while the minutes should just be summaries of the meetings. All the minutes were adopted, with few corrections made.

The BRRR was read through and explained. All amendments raised were accepted by the Committee, and the report was adopted.

Meeting report

Consideration and Adoption of Minutes

18 September 2019

The Chairperson asked the Members whether there were any concerns with the minutes of the 18 September 2019, and proceeded to read through the minutes with the Committee. 

Ms S Graham (DA) said that in all the minutes she was listed as Graham, not as Graham-Marais. She asked if this could be corrected.

The Chairperson accepted the correction. 

Ms Graham-Marais asked why Mr Johan Peterson, labelled as a “wine maker,” had been present at the meeting.

The Chairperson said that all meetings were open to the public, and anyone was allowed to attend.

She asked for a couple of grammatical corrections.

 The Chairperson accepted the corrections.

The Chairperson called for the adoption of the minutes, with the added corrections.

Ms L Mjobo (ANC) moved their the adoption, and Ms Graham-Marais seconded.

8 October 2019

The Chairperson moves to the second set of minutes for meetings which had occurred in October. The correction made by Ms Graham, in changing her name to Graham-Marais in the minutes, was acknowledged in all the minutes discussed.

Ms Graham-Marais asked for clarity on the meaning of “components” on the third and fourth pages.

Mr Shuaib Denyssen, Committee Content Adviser, said that the word referred to the components of the skills pipeline -- as a singular entity with different components.

The Chairperson asked for the adoption of the minutes with the added corrections.

Ms Mjobo moved their adoption, and Ms Graham-Marais seconded.

9 October 2019

Ms Graham-Marais asked for a correction to the sentence structure in the first line of the second page with the addition of "infrastructure and role capacity for management" in the sentence. She then said it was the provincial department that owed the entities, and not the national department, and thisd should be clarified in the minutes.

The Chairperson accepted the corrections.

Ms A Siwisa (EFF) said she had asked a question about how the miners had been assisted, but could not find the response in the minutes.

The Chairperson said that the chief executive officer (CEO) had alluded that as part of the agreement, they would make accommodation for the miners, which was the form of assistance that had been asked for.

The Chairperson asked for the adoption of the minutes, with the added correction.

Ms Mjobo moved the adoption, and Mr E Mathebula (ANC) seconded.

10 October 2019

Ms Graham-Marais asked for a correction to the spelling of ‘entities’ on page 1, and for a correction to the wording and sentence structure on page 3.

The Chairperson accepted the corrections.

The Chairperson raised the issue of the amended resolution which could not be seen on page 4.

The Committee agreed.

Ms Graham-Marais said that the minutes reflected only bits and pieces of what had occurred during the day.

Mr Denyssen acknowledged that all the concerns raised were in the BRRR, and that it should not be an issue, but these minutes should reflect that as well. It needed to be acknowledged in the adoption of these minutes that at least that these were not a true reflection of all the concerns raised in the meeting.

The Chairperson replied that these concerns were noted, but when there was a report and minutes, the Committee should better summarise the minutes and be more specific in the report given, as could be seen in the 60-page report provided to the Committee.

Mr Denyssen added to Ms Graham-Marais’ concerns that these minutes were important, and said they needed to be as brief as possible in order to put more information into the report. He added that the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) that also recorded all the proceedings, so there was a doubling up of the minutes.

The Chairperson asked for the adoption of the minutes. Ms Graham-Marais moved the adoption, and Ms Mjobo seconded.

Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure: BRRR  

The Chairperson asked Mr Denyssen to read through the report provided to the Committee.

He began to read through the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (2018-2019) of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the performance of the National Department of Public Works (DPW) and its entities.

Ms S van Schalkwyk (ANC) asked whether they should raise issues during the explanation of the report by Mr Denyssen, or whether concerns should be raised at the end of the report.

The Chairperson said that Mr Denyssen was not meant to comment on each page of the report but was doing so, and it became an issue of when to question the points being made, as the report itself was over 60-pages.

Mr Denyssen said there should not be a concern about this, as he was going page by page on just the essential sections of the report. It did not seem so yet because the beginning parts of the report were of importance.

The Chairperson acknowledged this, and ruled that questions would be raised at the end of the explanation of the report.

Mr Denyssen continued with his comments on the report.

Mr W Thring (ACDC) asks whether he had the correct document, as the final pages seemed to be missing in his hard-copy.

Mr Denyssen said that the final couple of pages concerning the findings and recommendations of the report were separate from the main document. This was because key changes needed to be made to the final documents. He had run out of these pages in printing and had had only one page left. He then moved next to Mr Thring so both could read through the final pages together.

Discussion


Ms Graham-Marais asked how long the Committee would have to wait after a certain quarter had concluded for the quarterly report, as the Committee had currently been waiting for an excessive amount of time. She also wanted to know whether the Committee could receive the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report, as that would allow for additional oversight by the Committee, and would be much appreciated.

She then asked for a correction on the project managers to project ratio as explained in the report, as it seemed to be the wrong way around. Finally, she added that it had to be reported that the Committee could not be given reports a day before the actual meetings if it was expect to provide quality oversight.  

Mr Thring asked for the quarterly reports provided this year, to which Ms Graham-Marais had alluded. He said there should be better audit measures for professional public works, and that if there were better audit measures there should not be any overlap or challenges. He raised concern over the poor resource allocation to the municipalities, as the resources provided to municipalities bring with them little auditing or oversight mechanisms.  His final recommendation was that there needed to be alignment with the DPW and the Departments of Education, as it had been mentioned but there was no proof in the findings.

Ms Van Schalkwyk raised concern over the legacy report, and said that the issues raised in the current report were different. She worried that those who saw them as a new Committee might take advantage of this and not actively takes steps to resolve the issues that had been raised in the previous report. A tracking mechanism needed to be implemented to ensure that the issues raised in the report were resolved.

The Chairperson said that if the issues raised in the legacy report were not currently in the reports given to them, they had been taken down and attention was currently being given to them. The legacy report had been given to every Member of the Committee, and she recommended that before the meeting, Members should read and compare the legacy report with other reports given to the Committee, and scrutinise the differences.

Ms Van Schalkwyk said that she understood that the Members had seen the report, but had yet to see the recommended tracking mechanisms. The contractor incubation programme could not be seen, and it should be included and resolved. The Independent Development Trust (IDT) programme must also be better implemented. Progress reports must be provided to the Committee to help it to see the implementation that had to occur in the current programmes.  

Mr T Mashele (ANC) said that one of the Committee’s main functions was oversight. This oversight mechanism had become difficult because the annual performance plan (APP) and the statistics given to the Committee were difficult to read. This report and the next APP were likely to be approved. He recommended that the Committee be vigilant, and if the Department failed to meet its APP goals, there should be greater consequences. The Committee had to show that they “had teeth to bite.” Additionally, these recommendations would be given to the Minister herself, and the Committee needed to recommend that she ensured that the boards of the entities were fully operational, and were providing consequence management. He finally recommended that these reports needed to be more specific, and that an entity could not state that funding had gone to infrastructure, but not allude to what the infrastructure was.

Ms Shabalala said she hoped the Committee’s main focus would be on the annual performance plan, as well as the targets. Maybe the APP should be presented at the next meeting, and the Department should be asked to provide clarity regarding the gaps that had been found in the report and the statistics. A concern was raised over the organogram provided, and she asked whether the vacancies had been filled. If so, would the budget provided to the Committee still be balanced?  She recommended that funds should be made available to in-source some of the workers who were currently being trained in the programmes provided. Concern had been expressed about the expanded public works programme (EPWP) as those who benefited were not left with much when the programme ended, and recommended that there should be better mechanisms for these people to find full-time employment, including in-sourcing.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mashele, and said that the Minister should report to the Committee. She provided a time-frame stating that this report should be presented by February 2020. Active steps needed to be taken to solve the board problem, and filling vacancies in important positions by February would be a positive achievement.

Ms Van Schalkwyk commented on the issues raised by Ms Shabalala, and said that participants in most of these EPWP programmes were transferred to companies in the private sector, and that the Committee did not have the power to change the structure of the programme after its conclusion.

Mr Denyssen said that he agrees to all the recommendations made by the Committee, and would have a completed document with the recommendations by tomorrow morning.

The report, with amendments, was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.   

 

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