Budget Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure 2020: as a Department, the big vision is to create a safer province as well as promote innovation and culture. The Department is focused on staff development in order to adequately satisfy the needs of the citizens in the Province.
The Committee said the prevention violence against women and the reduction of gender-based violence must be included in the security plan. Previously when the Department made a presentation, it said it will be included in all votes and all Departments will be required to play its role where this is concerned.
The Committee was pleased the appointment of the Children’s Commissioner is prioritised, but wondered if the R8m allocated was enough for the whole year.
Members said there are not that many cases of the Corona virus in our country yet, but recalled the of an HIV scare, which was not taken into serious consideration until 600 000 people died in one year of the virus. They asked what preparations the Department made to deal with the possible outbreak of the Corona virus in the province.
The Committee said in the public domain, people spoke about work on a vaccine for the Corona virus, and asked if this was true. If not, what were the prospective costs involved to obtain such a vaccine, and what policy considerations and World Health Organisations (WHO) regulations are in place.
The Department said the Corona virus is one of many viruses citizens need assistance with. If it should become a national disaster, there are plans in place in order to deal with the virus. A certain amount of money is set aside annually to deal with emergencies and the health budget will not be further subdivided to deal with it. It is confident the Department of Health and the Health Minister are on top of things and is better equipped to provide any further commentary on this issue.
Budget Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure 2020
Mr A Joemat, Corporate Services, Western Cape Department of the Premier, said as a Department, the big vision is to create a safer Province and promote innovation and culture. The Department is focused on staff development to adequately satisfy the needs of citizens in the province. The Department consists of five components, each contributing to innovation and culture.
The Department of the Premier works hand in hand with the Department of Local Government, the Provincial Treasury, and the Department of Environmental Affairs.
In summary, the total vote of the Department is close to R1.7b, and the changes between the adjusted estimate and the main estimate is about 6.61%. This is just a notch above the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The Department earmarks almost all its monetary allocations and must provide exact reports on how money is used. Part of the shift in money is for the Children’s Commissioner, its staff component, and its accommodation. The Department is accountable to the Committee but also to the broader public, and must ensure that it adequately carries out its mandate and functions.
Mr P Marais (FF+) thanked the Department for making provisions available for the Children’s Commissioner. He asked when this appointment will be made and if the Department plans to reach out to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) who could assist. When the Children’s Commissioner is appointed, one of the main focal points must be the numbers of children who grow up on the streets.
Mr C Dugmore (ANC) asked the Department about the third focus area, which is to “create a safe and cohesive community by reducing violence against, and by, youth and children”. Preventing violence against women must be included in this list. Its absence is most likely an oversight because when the Department presented the safety plan, there was reassurance about the reduction of gender-based violence, and its inclusion in all votes, and that all Departments will be required to play a role.
It is beneficial from the perspective of innovation and culture to look at the approach around actually moving legislation to allow members to amend Money Bills, asking for specific examples of future spending of money in this component. He had yet to understand how safety and reducing violence are included in this vote in monetary terms. From a budgetary standpoint there must be actual information to show how much will be or has been spent on infrastructure in areas such as Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, where the crime rates are very high.
The Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, said the process of appointing the Children’s Commissioner could begin as soon as the first day of April. There was correspondence concerning the Environmental Commissioner, he (the Premier) attended a meeting on it recently, but he is still waiting for a formal response on the position.
The argument is that we have more legislation now, so the Department must look at if it will be effective to take money from somewhere else and allocate it to this issue, and if there is enough effective legislation around the matter.
The Premier said Mr Joemat of the Department of the Premier would address the other questions of the Committee.
Mr Joemat said the reality is, as a country we need help from a fiscal perspective. The Department will be back on the eighth day of April to give an update on its safety and efficiency plan, and what the Committee will see in that presentation is a focus on law enforcement, as well as a detailed account on the preventative measures planned. The Department will give an account of where money is allocated.
Making the province safer requires collective effort from National Government, Provincial Government, and civil society. The Department considers gender based violence a serious issue. The Premier and Mr Joemat had a three hour discussion with the Commission for Gender and the provincial representative on the policy it sent on this topic.
This meeting resulted in an extensive commentary and possible amendments to the policy to ensure plans for prevention come to fruition.
Mr R Allen (DA) said he is happy the Children’s Commissioner being prioritised, but wondered if the R8m allocated was enough for the whole year.
Mr Marais said he was satisfied with the responses given by the Premier and Mr Joemat.
Mr Marais asked if police extensions will only be in Metropolitan areas or if it included increased police protection on farms and rural areas, and if the Department’s budget considered if people need to be quarantined. This should be a consideration even though there are not many cases of the Corona virus in our country yet. He recalled the time when he was the Member of Executive Council (MEC) for a short period and there was an HIV scare which was not taken into serious consideration until 600 000 people died in one year of the virus. He asked what preparations the Department made to deal with the possible outbreak of the Corona virus in the province.
The Premier said that in early February there was an Economist article around inner city housing development, and which cities got it right. Everyone should read it and circulate this article. This could be of some help with housing issues. One of the main concerns for the Department is to curb the murder rate. Together with the relevant municipalities the Department allocated a lot of money to the hotspot murder areas.
The province now has its first case of Corona virus. The first patient is a 36-year-old male who landed in the Province on the ninth day of March. He returned from Turkey and was screened. He tested positive for the virus. Preparations are in place at all airports and there is already a quarantine station set up at Tygerberg hospital.
The Premier asked to leave the meeting as he had to attend a press conference at Tygerberg.
Mr Dugmore said it was important to indicate the plans for public participation for this financial year because he was a battling to see any evidence of public participation, and this was a concern for him.
Mr Joemat said the Bill is advertised for any comment before it goes back to Parliament, and the Department dealt with it in an appropriate manner.
Mr Dugmore asked how exactly the Bill was advertised, if it was on a website, the newspaper, or some other form of advertising?
Now that the province has its first case of the Corona virus, the Chairperson asked what precautions are taken to protect the Departmental staff. On page six of the presentation, on the topic of Corporate Assurance and given the current economic environment, he asked what is being done to mitigate risk.
Mr Allen referred to page nine and priority number six of the presentation – he asked to what scope and extent social cohesion and community safety will be implemented, on a practical level.
Regarding separation of powers, Mr Dugmore asked what the protocol was when the Hawks and the Department conducted an investigation in the same area.
Mr Joemat said on Monday he called all of the Heads of Department together for a meeting to discuss the steps it must take to protect staff from the Corona virus. The Department agreed to revisit its own policy and regulations about leave and working from home, and it encouraged the Heads of Department to limit work related travel of staff members internationally, as well as encouraging staff to make the Department aware if staff decides to do any personal international travelling.
The Department withdrew two staff members who recently visited Italy and encouraged them to quarantine themselves. In spite of this, it is difficult to monitor activity, but the Department is nevertheless taking all necessary precautions.
Ms Zeenat Ishmail, Chief Director : Strategic Management Information, Department of the Premier, said the Department has a good relationship with the Hawks the same as any other party in the criminal justice system. The Department and the Hawks do not usually assist each other with the same investigations, they provide information where need be and access to certain places so there is not usually any conflict or coinciding cases of investigation.
Mr Dugmore said in the public domain people are speaking about work done on a vaccine for the Corona virus, and asked if this was true. If not, what would the prospective costs involved would be to obtain such a vaccine, and also what the policy considerations and World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations are in this regard.
Mr Marais said there is already a shortage of medication at the day hospitals for diseases like diabetes and other chronic illnesses. He asked if the Department had a plan B or C in case the Corona virus becomes a major issue in our country, where will the money come from to assist with this potential threat, will the money come from funds which are supposed to be allocated for basic health?
Mr Joemat said the Corona virus is just one of many viruses that citizens need assistance with, however, should it become a national disaster; there are plans in place in order to deal with the virus. A certain amount of money is set aside annually to deal with emergencies, the health budget will not be further subdivided to deal with this. He said he is confident the Department of Health and the Health Minister is on top of things and that they are more equipped to provide any further commentary on this issue.
Mr Dugmore referred to page 28 of the presentation and earmarked allocation to enable a citizen-centric culture, asking how this money will be spent and what will be done practically to promote this citizen-centric culture.
Mr Allen referred to page 34 of the presentation which deals with Corporate Communications, and asked what will be spent on external service providers, and if the service providers were informed of this already.
Mr Joemat said the Department has a current service provider and a new service provider will not be hired. He proposed remaining questions be answered in writing. The Chairperson agreed and thanked the Committee as well as the Department.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.