The joint meeting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces Appropriations Committees was convened on a virtual platform to consider the submissions by various civil society organisations on the 2020 medium term budget policy statement (MTBPS) and the Second Adjustments Appropriations Bill.
Civil society was aggrieved at the budget cuts to the Departments of Health, Education and Social Development, the South African Revenue Services (SARS), Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) and other key entities in order to fund the South African Airways (SAA) rescue plan. The effect of the reduction in the allocation of funds to key departments and entities negatively impacted service delivery to the poorest communities. The Committee was implored to engage National Treasury to reverse the budget cuts, as they posed a threat to state security.
The resistance by politicians to address the issue of participation by politically exposed persons (PEPs) in state tenders was raised as a serious concern by civil society organisations. It was deemed unconstitutional to defend the rights of politicians at the expense of the rest of the population. Members reasoned that it would be discriminatory to bar children and spouses of PEPs from state tenders.
The CECD advocated the creation of an early childhood development (ECD)-specific budget to fund ECD centres, as the government subsidy was not adequate to promote safe environments for all children.
Representatives of the civil society organisations expressed dissatisfaction about the insufficient time allocated for meaningful engagement. The Committee explained that it operated under constraints, but agreed to improve the conditions for proper deliberation and to make the process more inclusive by extending participation to citizens from the rural areas. The relevant departments would be requested to engage with stakeholders linked to their respective portfolios.
The Chairperson thanked the representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) for availing themselves and for sharing their work with the Committee.
Submission: Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
Ms Zukiswa Kota, Head: Monitoring and Advocacy Programme, PSAM, expressed the support of her organisation for the statement on fiscal governance and financial integrity made in a 2020 high-level panel report on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity, for achieving the 2030 agenda.
She said PSAM was concerned about curtailing the abilities of citizens to do oversight. Particular questions were raised about the unpreparedness of the health and the public service systems to deal with the pandemic.
The PSAM was alarmed about the R10.5 billion allocated for the South African Airways (SAA) business rescue plan, despite the evidence of it being a loss-making enterprise. In addition to analysing the opportunity costs, the Committees was urged to compel National Treasury and the Cabinet to scrutinise the political and administrative influences at play, and to offer alternative solutions.
It raised concerns about the R238 million decrease in the South African Revenue Service (SARS) budget allocation. The budget cuts needed to be reversed in order to address the illicit financial flows. Investment in SARS was an investment in the long-term stability of the country.
Calling for broader transparency and openness, it said there was room for national and provincial Treasury departments to channel funds towards curbing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. PSAM noted historical trends of non-disclosure -- for example, it was difficult to have a retrospective view of provincial data and to get an accurate picture of funding at the provincial level. The availability of data was an on-going question.
The budget allocation for Statistics SA had been reduced by R45 million to fund the SAA business rescue plan. A warning was issued that Stats SA would not be able to produce accurate data due to the on-going budget cuts.
Zero-based budgeting had proved to have some advantages, but there were also a multitude of potential disadvantages, such as being very expensive and time-consuming.
In conclusion, Ms Kota remarked that the AG’s office had established partnerships with communities. The PSAM reiterated the call of the late AG to strengthen the collaboration with communities, and called on the Committees to review the AG’s recommendations and to address the systemic reforms needed for better use of public resources.
Submission: C19 People’s Coalition
Dr Nimi Hoffmann, Policy Analyst: C19 People’s Coalition, said that the organisation had presented on the Division of Revenue Bill two weeks ago. The focus of this presentation was an analysis of the 2020 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure.
The organisation made the following recommendations:
Address illicit financial flows by reversing budget cuts to SARS and significantly increasing its resources. It was a non-negotiable component of prudent fiscal policy.
Deprioritise spending on defence in order to free up funds for deepening social policy and strengthening public administration.
Significantly reduce the use of consultants and outsourced services while consolidating and investing in a dedicated professional civil service.
Reverse cuts to the education cluster and reclassify basic education as a frontline service.
Reverse cuts to healthcare, remove medical aid tax credits, and prioritise resources for implementing the National Health Insurance plan.
Provide adequate budgets for Community Healthcare Worker (CHW) compensation as legally agreed upon in 2016. Universal Healthcare could be successful only if CHWs received adequate training, infection prevention, protective equipment and remuneration to provide frontline healthcare.
Move to a guaranteed income for all. Given unprecedented unemployment, instead of taking grants away after January 2021, South Africa must build on these to provide a dignified basic income guarantee (BIG) that was universal, unconditional and redistributive. It should finance this grant through an annual progressive wealth tax, and increasing personal income tax for the top 2% of earners.
Initiate a formal enquiry into which conditional grants had been subject to delays in payment and the reasons for delays.
Rigorous questioning of large energy projects by Members of Parliament about the cost implications of such projects.
Enable disaster relief measures for the OR Tambo District Municipality. Members were called on to recognise that the region had been hit by a tornado and nearly 400 people had been left homeless.
Wage bill: A freeze in the wage bill was tantamount to breaking the social compact, as the most impacted frontline public servants were medical staff and teachers.
Illicit financial flows: In order to address the capacity at SARS more, and not less, money was needed.
Basic education: The budget cuts should be reversed in order to safeguard institutional capacity. Basic education should be reclassified as a frontline department in the fight against Covid-19.
Health care: The coalition called on the Committee to provide adequate budgets for community health care in order to compensate health care workers in terms of a 2016 legal agreement.
Social development: Social spending was not charity. Payment of social grants laid the foundation for the basic income grant.
In conclusion, Dr Hoffman called for the prioritisation of a people-centred administration. She requested that responses to civil society concerns be made public as a sign of democratic accountability.
Mr D Joseph (DA) argued that government allowed for public participation, and queried the C19 People’s Coalition’s statement about the lack of public participation opportunities. He agreed that too much money was spent on consultants and litigation. He asked the PSAM to explain their view of fiscal governance, financial integrity and zero-based budgeting. He sought clarity on the measurements or targets used by PSAM to assess the status of openness and transparency of government.Mr O Mathafa (ANC) agreed with the PSAM regarding the prevention of illicit financial flows, and stated that it was important for the Committees to consider the recommendations. He proposed that National Treasury should be requested to provide a report on how they detect and prevent illicit financial flows. He asked if there were other initiatives that could be recommended to promote transparency in government.
Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) said that the enquiry into delays in conditional grant transfers revealed that some delays emanated from non-compliance by the receiving entity. He asked what immediate interventions could be implemented, since the medium term budget policy statement (MTBPS) was already in place. He enquired from the C19 People’s Coalition what sort of assistance they were providing to the destitute hit by the tornado in the OR Tambo region.
Mr D Ryder (DA, Gauteng) sought clarity on the effectiveness of existing entities to combat illicit financial flows. He did not see the benefit of the large expense allocated to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), and questioned why the FIC had not raised red flags about the corruption that was being revealed at the Zondo Commission. He noted an anomaly in the presentation, in which the defence budget was bemoaned while many people were complaining about border control. He asked what the thinking was in this regard as the poorest communities needed more, and not less, defence.
Mr Y Carrim (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) broadly agreed with the content of the presentations, but said that he would appreciate it if suggestions could be made about what government was supposed to do to address the multiple issues. On the issue of illicit financial flows, he said that SARS had been finding its feet in the last two years. Cases had been referred to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), who unfortunately lacked the capacity to deal with such cases. He said that South Africa remained in a leading position on the issue of openness and transparency, which National Treasury should be credited for.
Mr Ryder said that the PSAM had highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of zero-based budgeting. He proposed that more information was needed from both critics and supporters of zero-based budgeting to allow for a more informed discussion.
The Chairperson wanted to know whether the PSAM and C19 People’s Coalition had interactions with National Treasury, other than through the parliamentary process. He questioned whether the problem of tax administration was only of a financial nature. He held a different view, and said that in many instances, problems could not be reduced to financial solutions only. The budget cuts in education and health were recurring issues in both presentations. He asked how South Africa compared to other countries in this regard. He found the presentations thin on proposals for alternative resources for government funds, and cautioned against identifying financial resources as the only problem.
Ms Kota thanked Members for the questions and said that they provided food for thought.
Fiscal governance and financial integrity: Although mechanisms were in place to track isolated expenses at the provincial and municipal level, gaps were noted in terms of PSAM observations. For example, the ability to track funds was quite difficult for people outside the government system. PSAM did have the capacity to track the information, but found the process unnecessarily difficult.
Openness and transparency: While reporting requirements existed, it was difficult to get extensive yearly reports without connections. The information on government websites was patchy and not easily accessible. It was therefore not about regulatory requirements, but also about accessibility.
Illicit financial flows: It was encouraging to hear the emphasis that Members placed on this issue and to hear that the bill on public procurement was receiving attention. The concern was about ensuring high quality data for better analysis to link companies to illicit financial flows.
Zero-based budgeting: There was space for better deliberations, to build trust between civic actors and the public.
Resource distribution: The issue of financial resources was an important aspect, but the question of political barriers also needed attention. Saving could be made by making better use of funds, but very often funds were not being used prudently.
Public participation: There were opportunities in the Parliamentary space, but more efforts were needed to build meaningful public participation between National Treasury, civil actors and civil society organisations.
C19 People’s Coalition
Dr Hoffmann said that Members had raised excellent questions, but there was not enough time for meaningful engagement. She requested the Committee to set up time for further in-depth reflection and public deliberation on the substantive issues.
Public participation: The lack of rigour created obstacles for public participation, as indicated in the lack of detailed information regarding the reduction in the wage bill. The Committee was requested to create more spaces for civil society, as very few opportunities existed to participate in the budgeting process with National Treasury.
Trade-offs: As an alternative to wage bill cuts, the C19 People’s Coalition recommended that the highest paid public servants take a pay cut. A direct plea was made to Mr Ryder and Mr Carrim to cut their salaries before cutting the wages of teachers and nurses.
OR Tambo tornado: The C19 People’s Coalition had raised funds to assist the community, but it was not enough. The coalition was therefore reminding government of its responsibility.
Defence spending: The C19 People’s Coalition understood the question as an attempt to invite xenophobic sentiments, and rejected it as a form of hate mongering.
Resource distribution: The lack of political will played a role in resource distribution. 8% of national income was spent on the health budget, but not all was going to public health. The private sector captured the majority of it in terms of medical subsidies.
The Chairperson said that the organisations should write to the Committee about areas that were not adequately addressed, especially on the issue of public health. He found it encouraging to hear the views of young people on government issues. He agreed that more time was needed to interact with the organisations, but said that the Committee was constrained by Parliamentary processes and time limitations. He asked Members to note the concerns, and see how the Committee could improve in its responses.
Mr Carrim further commented that people from remote areas should also be accommodated and allowed to make their views known to Parliament.
Submission: Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA)
Mr Matt Johnston, Parliamentary Engagement Manager: OUTA, said that the wage bill was not sustainable in relation to the output for the expenditure.
Effectiveness and efficiency of public spending: Significant amounts were spent on the public service, but services delivered did not represent good value for money. OUTA supported the fiscal consolidation by government and was encouraging spending on information technology (IT), but cautioned that it must be shut down if it did not result in improved services.
Proposed adjustments: There was a need for adequate transparency of processes in relation to the public procurement bill. The rail infrastructure could benefit from a bailout. The wage bill was not set in stone and could still backfire if negotiations did not go as envisioned.
Performance measurement outcomes: There were no consequences in instances where targets were not met. Instead, targets were reduced. Where audit outcomes were not improving, officials should be disciplined or replaced.
Sectors to be reprioritised: There were serious concerns about the political will to adhere to public finance management regulations. OUTA requested that the public participation process be reviewed to allow ordinary citizens the opportunity to give input before budgets were finalised.
- Energy – underperforming entities were still receiving funding. OUTA bemoaned the escalation of costs related to mega-plant constructions such as Medupi and Kusile, as it led to tariff increases.
- Transport – OUTA recommended the regionalisation of the rail system, and called on the Finance Minister to renegotiate the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) bonds with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
- Water and Sanitation – this was a massive problem, and needed serious intervention.
- Local Government – OUTA recommended that the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) and the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) conduct research for options for a local government revenue model. The Committee was requested to play a stronger role at the provincial level.
Zero-based budgeting: OUTA supported zero-based budgeting, and believed it must be scrutinised.
Parliamentary oversight: Parliament had failed to intervene on issues of state capture and maladministration. OUTA called for more public engagement on the preparation of the annual Budget Review and Recommendations Reports (BRRR) process.
Audit outcomes: OUTA recognised the need for entities to look at audit outcomes in order to address the root causes of audit findings.
Public governance improvements: OUTA recommend that the Appropriations Committee conduct oversight visits to Provincial Treasuries to find out from them what they were doing to remedy the issues of worsening audit outcomes emanating from municipalities.
Submission: Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
Mr Matthew Parks, Deputy Parliamentary Coordinator: COSATU, thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to make the submission.
Austerity vs. stimulus: Workers needed to exist, and companies needed to grow in order to save the economy.
COSATU proposals on corruption: It had been frustrating to deal with government, which appeared less than enthusiastic to address the issue of corruption. It acknowledged the work of the new SARS commissioner, despite the budget cuts. Government was not moving with speed to implement the online procurement system to overhaul archaic systems. The President had spoken eloquently about barring politically exposed persons (PEPs) and children of politicians from state tenders. The participation of PEPs in state tenders would destroy the liberation movement.
Public service wage bill: COSATU was frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm by government to address the issues of declining capacity and service delivery. A wage freeze would result in a brain drain. It was not fair to compare the private sector to the public sector.
Auditor-General’s report: The Second Adjustment Bill contained no actions to address the findings in the AG’s report.
Austerity cuts: No explanation was given about the consequences of the cuts in municipal grants. Job losses in the tourism sector were extremely worrying. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was no longer able to service workers who lost their jobs.
Welcome shifts: Payment of the R350 grant was the genesis of the basic income grant, and needed to continue beyond January 2021.
Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan: COSATU supported the plan, but was not seeing enough investment in infrastructure programmes.
Eskom Social Compact: the draft bill was going to be signed by 8 December 2020, and government was expected to play its part in finalising the bill.
UIF Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS): COSATU thanked government for releasing additional money to fund relief payments for two more months.
Economic Relief: The relief package for companies needed to be extended beyond January 2021. The banks needed to assist in this regard. Commitment was needed from government, labour and the private sector.
Submission: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) South Africa
Ms Christine Muhigana, the UNICEF South Africa Representative, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to make the formal submission on the MTBPS and the second adjusted estimates for 2020.
UNICEF, as a partner of the SA Government, continued to support the Department of Social Development (DSD), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE), and contributed to efforts to alleviate the burden of the pandemic.
Hand washing facilities: Through UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response, 120 schools across seven provinces would be receiving access to hand washing facilities to keep schools safe and open.
Early Childhood Development: Poor access to early childhood education (ECD) impacted on the progress of children at the upper level of the schooling system. Early intervention was needed to secure the future human capital of the country.
Local Government funding model: Government should expedite reforms to the provincial equitable share formula. The needs of rural provinces should be taken into account in the distribution of provincial funding.
Submission: Western Cape Commissioner for Children (WCCC)
Ms Christina Nomdo, Western Cape Children’s Commissioner, remarked that her appointment as Commissioner for Children was the first in the history of South Africa.
Key messages included ensuring that the rights of children were realised; investment in socio-economic rights such as education, health and social welfare; investing in ECD; and obtaining technical support from the PBO on the impact of the MTBPS and the budget on the rights of children.
Recommendation: Extending the care giver grant (CGG) until March 2021 and increasing the amount to R581, on a par with the food poverty line.
Collaboration with key departments on ECD: The Commissioner said that reports of ECD being transferred to the DBE were not true. The budget policy must reflect a joint commitment to children in the earliest years of their lives.
Recommendation: Continued allocation of budgets in the Departments of Health, Education and Social Development.
Decreasing poverty and inequality: Disadvantaged learners needed financial commitment to decrease long term poverty and inequality.
Recommendation: Review the decision to reprioritise the funds to the South African Airways (SAA) bailout. It was inconceivable that school infrastructure was being sacrificed for the SAA bailout.
The Commissioner thanked Ms Tanja Ajam for the analysis of the budget included in the submission. In conclusion, she said that the submission would be incomplete if the voice of children was not brought to the fore. She told the Committee of the question raised by a child -- why could the Minister not write the budget in a child-friendly language?
Submission: Centre for Early Childhood Development (CECD)
Ms Yusrah Ehrenreich, Head: Advocacy, Lobbying and Social Justice Unit, CECD, was supported by the Director, Professor Eric Atmore. She thanked the Committee for the opportunity to make the presentation on the MTBPS as it related to early childhood development.
Key challenges: Insufficient funding for the national provision of ECD services to all South African children. The ECD subsidy in the Western Cape was R17 per child per day for 264 days a year. The subsidy was linked to a parental income means test. Other forms of government funding were limited to ad hoc funding for non-profit organisations for the implementation of ECD programmes.
Rate of return: The earlier the investment was made, the greater the social and economic return was in society. The statistics revealed a devastating situation of children in need of ECD care. Approximately 3.2 million children were unable to attend any form of ECD programme in South Africa. Over 75% of children that were able to access ECD care were accommodated in unregulated and unregistered programmes. Only 25% of the children were accessing the DSD’s early learning subsidy.
Funding of community ECD centres: Many centres needed financial support to set-up the facilities. The funding of SAA should not be done at the expense of government’s constitutional duty to fulfil the right to education. The CECD called on government to find alternative sources to fund SAA.
Increase per-child subsidy: Parliament and National Treasury should increase expenditure on the ECD sector. Non-centre-based centres should be included in the per-child subsidy.
ECD-specific budget: An ECD-specific budget should be created to fund grants for learning and infrastructure development at ECD centres.
Mr Moletsane asked whether OUTA could propose concrete steps to address the growing debt issue. He asked COSATU to explain whether people who were doing business with the state before becoming a PEP should also be barred from state tenders. He queried whether barring people with family members in politics was not discriminatory. He asked UNICEF to indicate which two provinces were excluded from being provided with hand washing facilities.
Mr Ryder requested COSATU to share the Eskom Compact with the Committee. He agreed that the Loan Guarantee Scheme was not working, and that something needed to be unblocked. He asked whether the move towards ECD funding was a good indication that upward movement was the correct way to go, or whether the focus should be on funding across the board.
Mr X Qayiso (ANC) wanted to understand OUTA’s proposal for the establishment of investigations into the hiring practices at departments that had been restructured as state capture manoeuvres. The Committee was researching various financing models for local government, and was taking the proposals made seriously. He asked for an explanation as to how zero-based budgeting could be operationalised in the budget cycle. He agreed with several of the proposals made by COSATU, but found a contradiction on the issue of saving jobs. It could not be right to talk about restructuring at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as it was the opposite of what government intended with the economic recovery plan. It was his view that the private sector was contributing to the economic decline by not contributing to economic investment in the country. He asked why COSATU was not commenting on the position of SA Express workers.
Mr Joseph thanked the stakeholders for their input and proposed that the Committee engage with the Chairpersons of the respective Committees with which they normally dealt. The issue of collective bargaining was a matter of principle, and could create stability in the labour environment if it were addressed. He congratulated Ms Nomdo on her appointment as Commissioner for Children, and asked whether she had established links with other structures in the country. He asked whether the issue of the 3.2 million unregistered children had been reported to the DSD.
Ms D Peters (ANC) thanked all the presenters, and valued the consistency in the concerns raised in comparison with their previous presentations. She agreed that more time was needed for meaningful engagement, and that it should include other Committees directly involved, such as the Social Development and Health committees. She congratulated COSATU for not only criticising, but also making recommendations. She enquired whether the Western Cape Commissioner for Children was working with other provinces. There need not be competition, as the same standards should apply to all provinces. She asked OUTA to explain how the wage bill should be addressed from their point of view. Workers at SA Express had not been paid since March, causing their pensions to be affected. She asked what COSATU’s position was on both the SA Express and SABC workers.
Mr E Njadu (ANC, Western Cape) welcomed the presentations, and proposed that in future, all departments should engage with the stakeholders. He wanted clarity from OUTA regarding alternative funding sources by government, other than shifting funds from national, local and provincial government. He welcomed the solutions proposed by COSATU and an explanation on how experienced workers could be attracted and retained to face the current economic challenges.
Mr Carrim said that the organisations were doing good work and needed to engage robustly but cooperatively with the Committee. If possible, all the recommendations would be implemented. However, the Committee operated under constraints which it did not communicate effectively to stakeholders. The Committee agreed with the proposals, but were stuck with dreadful choices. It was very difficult to allocate more time at this time of the year. The Committee needed to put pressure on other departments to engage with stakeholders. National Treasury should be queried on the level of MTBPS engagement with stakeholders.
The Chairperson said that the Committee agreed not to regard public participation as a tick box exercise and to not make it an elitist project, by accommodating people from rural areas. The Committee seemed not to be making progress on issues, and needed to share the frustrations of civil society with political and administrative leadership. He questioned whether OUTA was aware of the cross-subsidisation of commuter rail routes, and how regionalisation would deepen the marginalisation of certain provinces. He noted that many points were made about SAA’s debt, but the workers and supporting industries had not formed part of the discussion. He argued that the problems at SARS were not financially based only. He criticised COSATU for being silent on issues of business and state-owned entity (SOE) corruption.
Investigations into hiring practices: Mr Johnston replied that there must be consequences for state officials who under-perform.
The disclosure of PEPs was not adequate, as transparency did not mean accountability.
Education funding should start with ECD funding.
Restructuring of Local Government: The FFC and PBO must account on how the funding model would be made operational.
Public participation: OUTA implored the Committee to reconsider the public participation model in terms of time frames. The average person who was supposed to benefit from expenditure outcomes would give a clearer picture of where expenditure should be focused. Feedback from National Treasury was non-existent, but the Auditor-General’s office was much more responsive to the value that civil society could offer.
Wage bill: The reductions were not happening in a proper manner. A differential approach must be followed, in which the salaries of the highest earners should be cut, and non-performing officials must be removed. People should be re-skilled and not left behind.
Procurement bill: OUTA had given input to National Treasury, but was yet to see whether it was deemed important enough to be included in the bill.
Financial resources: OUTA queried the basis on which the reprioritising of funds took place, and suggested that the Auditor-General’s office had a very good answer to the problem of the shifting of funds.
Public engagement: OUTA would appreciate the efforts by the Committee to put pressure on other departments to engage with civil society.
PRASA: A review of the provincial equitable share formula could address the issue of the marginalisation of provinces. It was not fair to consider rural provinces on the same level as urban provinces.
SAA: Keeping SAA open for the past ten years had a much more dire effect on the public than the knock-on effect of closing it down.
Barring of PEPs from state tenders: Mr Parks said that this motion was not only a COSATU proposal. Existing laws were clearly insufficient, and the resistance from politicians was alarming. It was unconstitutional and immoral to protect and defend the rights of a few at the expense of the many.
Eskom bailouts were not sustainable, and all citizens must pay directly for the electricity used.
Loan Guarantee Scheme: Despite public announcements, there was no movement in the allocation of the funds. To date, only R16 billion of the R200 billion had been dispersed.
The Chairperson asked whether SOEs should also have access to the Loan Guarantee Scheme.
Mr Parks replied that there was an indication by the Finance Minister for this to happen, but to date the banks had not done so. Consequently, companies were closing and workers were losing jobs.
Job losses: COSATU was addressing job losses through the involvement of affiliated unions -- for example, the involvement of the Communications Union at the SABC. All entities were operational ten years ago, but workers were now being retrenched due to the looting that had happened. Alternatives to retrenchments needed to be investigated.
Collective bargaining was being undermined by government. Nurses and teachers could not be expected to take a salary cut if Ministers were not doing the same. The unions had therefore approached the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to force the government to engage.
PRASA: COSATU did not support the regionalisation of the railway routes, and blamed a failure by management for the lack of railway security.
SAA: there were good pockets of excellence within SAA structures, and it would boost the tourism industry.
Private company corruption: Not enough had been done to expose corruption at private companies. The fear of losing their jobs often prevented workers from reporting corruption.
UNICEF South Africa
Hand washing facilities: Mr Russell Wildeman, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF South Africa, replied that the Northern Cape and North West provinces had not received hand washing facilities, but it was merely due to resource limitation. The provinces would not be excluded from future interventions.
Early Childhood Development had been growing from a low base. The trade-off between ECD and higher levels of education was therefore not significant. Simultaneous funding could be done at both levels.
Local Government funding model: 70% of the South African population lived in urban areas. The new funding model must strike a balance between rural and urban development, and consider that most people lived in urban areas.
Mr Wildeman thanked the Committee on behalf of Ms Muhigana for the opportunity to present the submission, and agreed that it should not just be a technical exercise.
Early Childhood Development: Ms Ehrenreich agreed with Mr Wildeman on the issue of simultaneous funding at both the ECD and higher levels of education. The CECD welcomed the government subsidy, but said that it was not enough to promote safe environments for all children.
Mr Atmore corrected the figures quoted earlier, and said that 3.2 million children were not in any form of ECD care, and that 1.5 million children were in unregulated centres. He said that despite numerous letters, presentations made to the DSD were totally ignored. The CECD had not even had the courtesy of a response. A 15 000-signature petition had also been met with no response. He attributed the lack of response to a lack of interest from the Department and noted that in litigation on two occasions, the Department had been efficient in appointing legal counsel.
The Chairperson indicated that written submissions could be made for follow up responses. The respective Chairpersons of Committees would be informed of the issues raised by the civil society organisations that were linked to their portfolios.
In conclusion, he remarked that this was the last joint meeting of the year, and thanked the Members for their constructive engagement. He also thanked the support staff, and wished everyone a good and safe festive season.
The meeting was adjourned.
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