Committee Reports

Public Works and Infrastructure

19 February 2020
Chairperson: Ms N Ntobongwana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee adopted the minutes of its previous meeting (27 November 2019) and its first term programme for 2020. Related to the programme, Members were particularly interested in the tabling of the Expropriation Bill and were concerned by its delay to June.

The Committee adopted its reports on the 2018/19 Fourth Quarter performance of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the Property Management Trading Entity. Members raised points relating to the Property portfolio, prosecution of fraud cases and the movable asset register. The Committee discussed the need for oversight of the Acacia Park parliamentary village.   

The Committee then adopted its report on the 2010/20 First and Second Quarter performance of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the Property Management Trading Entity. Members were concerned that targets were not met yet funding was allocated, under-expenditure, disciplinary processes, delay in signing the memorandum of agreement related to the Expanded Public Works Programme, stagnation of skills and employment in the Department and paying invoices in 30 days. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Members and addressed the statements made by former President FW de Klerk and the FW de Klerk Foundation that ‘Apartheid was not a crime against humanity’.

Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes dated 27 November 2019

The Secretary took the Committee through the minutes of the previous meeting held on 27 November 2019.

The minutes were adopted without amendment.

Committee Programme: First Term 2020  

The Secretary took the Committee through its first term programme. She noted changes to programme notably that the Expropriation Bill is likely to be tabled in Parliament in June 2020 (later than previously stated). The agenda item has thus been removed for the time being.

Ms M Hicklin (DA) remarked that, regarding the Strategy Planning Session scheduled for 18 March, she would not be able to participate on this day as she would be campaigning in Johannesburg for a by-election.

Ms A Siwisa (EFF) expressed her disappointment with the Department for the delay of the Expropriation Bill, as well as the lack of communication and follow-ups. She requested the Bill be brought to the attention of the Minister.

Mr E Mathebula (ANC) mentioned the strategy planning session, requesting whether the days during recess could be used for this. He also asked the Secretary when documents would be available ahead of the June Expropriation Bill meeting, requesting enough time be given to consider the documents.

The Chairperson remarked that the Bill would be processed along with the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution, which could be a reason for the delay. She asked the Committee whether it would be possible to meet during the constituency period (recess) as suggested. 

The Secretary responded to the matters of the strategy planning session, stating that she would liaise with the staff etc. if it would be possible to meet and be supported during the constituency period. Regarding the Expropriation Bill, the Secretary shared a digital timeline prior to the tabling of the Expropriation Bill. The Secretary added that at a coming consultation with Nedlac, changes may be seen to the Bill. This must still be gazetted by the Minister. Until this and other further aspects have been done, the delay to June is a more realistic date. She then promised that the timelines would be shared with Members after the meeting.

The first term programme was moved for adoption by Ms L Mjobo (ANC) and seconded by Ms Hicklin.

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the 2018/19 Fourth Quarter performance of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the Property Management Trading Entity, dated 06 November 2019

The Secretary took the Committee through the findings of the above report. She mentioned that financial figures had already been dealt with in a previous meeting and as such would not be dealt with in this meeting. The Secretary then invited discussion around findings and observations of the report, stating that she would go through the findings.

Findings highlighted by the Secretary included: 

- The Committee wanted to get an understanding of how much state-owned land parcels were in existence, both within and outside of the borders of the country. According to a report submitted to the Department by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), 13 properties that were in surplus at the time, five in Germany and five in Namibia

-In the report presented, a total of 4000 internship placements could not be made. According to the Committee, this scenario was unacceptable especially considering the current unemployment statistics in the country

-On fraud and corruption, 100% of cases that were reported had disciplinary hearings held. Specific statistics of the impact that the SIU investigations were having on alleged corrupt activities, were provided to the Committee. The Department reported at the time that another proclamation was on its way to the President regarding lifestyle audits of the DPWI and PMTE personnel and leadership. The Minister volunteered herself and all the Senior Management of the Department as the first layer of leadership to undergo such lifestyle audits

-Members expressed their concern that under-expenditure reported by the Department would have a negative impact on service delivery

-Regarding Parliamentary Villages, it was reported that R10 million was allocated, but that the state of the Acacia Park Village in particular, depicted a totally different picture. The Department had to explain what informed the allocation of funds to Members ’residences at the Parliamentary Villages, and how much was actually spent for this purpose. The Deputy Minister mentioned that there was a plan to refurbish the Parliamentary Villages. Members would be moved to the new apartments while the houses were being rebuilt using innovative, green building materials and systems

-The Department acknowledged that its Policy Unit lacked capacity. It was observed that there were two organograms that were presented by the Department, therefore the Committee wanted to establish why and when that would be sorted out

-The Department reported slow spending under Compensation of Employees and Goods and Services. This is mainly due to non-filling of vacancies or payment for goods and services under Programmes 1; 2; 3 and 4


Mr W Thring (ACDP) responded to the finding related to the Department’s role as a regulator and asked whether the property portfolio could be unpacked on how it could best be used, regulated and given guidance to be efficient.

Ms S Graham (DA) raised a point of clarity, stating that the R10 million discussed did not include transport - that was a separate budget. She then emphasised the importance of capacitation that should be raised as a point of concern for the Committee.

Ms Hicklin noted underutilisation and fraud cases, requesting to know how many had been sent for prosecution. She then mentioned parliamentary villages, which she said cost millions. The department would save in excess of R240 million per year if a stipulated amount (i.e. R15 000) was given for individuals to find accommodation themselves.

Mr P van Staden (FF+) raised a point about 6.2, regarding the timeline. Regarding 6.6, he expressed the need for urgent intervention on this matter         

Mr Thring expressed support for his colleagues, adding frustration about no fibre or Wi-Fi connection at Acacia Park. The lack of capacity of the Policy Unit indicates widening cracks – he was concerned by deterioration on this front.   

Ms Siwisa suggested the Chairperson write a letter to the Minister. She also expressed concern about safety issues in Acacia Park.

Mr van Staden reiterated concerns about broken alarms, telephones and other security issues at Acacia Park.

Ms Graham said she has a breakdown of these matters, which she offered to be shared through the Chairperson.

The Chairperson said Parliament was still denying them (as officials and MPs) the ability to go to Acacia Park and perform oversight.

Mr M Nxumalo (IFP) stated that it should not be required to be asked to perform oversight, as it forms part of the job of MPs.

Mr M Tshwaku (EFF) asserted that the Committee should take action on this matter.

Ms S Kopane (DA) agreed stating that there should not have to be a request for Members of Parliament to ‘perform their function’ by overseeing Acacia Park.

Ms S Van Schalkwyk (ANC) requested a follow-up on how far the Department is with seeking a movable asset register.

Ms Kopane requested Members be invited to the Scopa meeting in order to receive important details.

The Secretary noted the comments, stating that the matters were dealt with in the Committee reports, and that answers would be provided in the resolutions document that would be provided in the following meeting.

The report was moved for adoption by Ms Mjobo and seconded by Ms Hicklin. 

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the 2019/20 First and Second Quarter performance of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the Property Management Trading Entity, dated 27 November 2019

The Secretary then took the Committee through the 2019/20 First and Second Quarter Report.


Mr Thring raised concerns about targets not being met, describing it as unacceptable. He then addressed under-expenditure (R170 million up to quarter two) as a cause for concern, especially where posts are not filled. He noted further concerns about money allocated and job opportunities not coming to fruition. He then noted corrections to the report.

Ms Graham raised concerns about the Inter-Government Relations (IGR) Policy and Legislation, noting funds allocated yet targets not met. Additionally, 460 vacancies needed to be addressed as a shortfall. Regarding disciplinary processes - when there are allegations of corruption, charges should be laid externally with police.

Ms Hicklin mentioned the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), stating that there has been a delay in signing the memorandum of agreement. She condemned the stagnation of skills and employment in the Department.

Mr Mathebula raised a point about corrupt officials, proposing that the Department use it’s legislation to address officials who ‘jump ship’ and leave the Department after they perform corrupt acts. Regarding 30 day invoicing, he requested a policy position on this matter (that an invoice must be paid within 30 days) – otherwise there is a risk of overspending.

Ms Kopane raised a point of clarity about the report.

The Secretary addressed the points made stating that the coming reports would also address this.  In response to the point about officials ‘jumping ship’, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) are responsible for what happens to officials who are alleged to have defrauded a department. The Secretary addressed the late payment of invoices, leading to under-expenditure.

The Committee Content Advisor then addressed questions about late payments, the public works academy and non-state sector. He stressed that the next quarter’s report, to be released on 4 March 2020, must include all these issues.

The Secretary then noted the similarities between the two reports, pre-empting the unfortunate likeliness that similar issues would be evident in the following quarter’s report.

The report was moved for adopted by Mr Thring and seconded by Ms Mjobo.

The meeting was adjourned.



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