The Committee convened in a virtual meeting to consider and adopt the public works and infrastructure budget vote report for the 2021/22 financial year.
Members praised the composition of the report. A Member stated that the issue of gatekeeping in the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) lies with the individuals on the examining bodies. She highlighted that the excellent performance of the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) resulted in the issues of other councils flying under the radar.
Members expressed their concern with the reliance of the Independent Development Trust (IDT) on government grants. It was emphasised the Committee must ensure that the Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE) does not go down the same path as the IDT.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure on the 2021/2022 Budget Vote 13: Public Works and Infrastructure
Mr Shuaib Denyssen, Committee Content Advisor, informed Members of the process the meeting will follow. He then took the Committee through the report, page-by-page, while skipping over some aspects of the report that were not important for the purpose of this meeting.
A few aspects that were highlighted
-The PMTE is going down the same dangerous path as the IDT.
-Due to the continued weakness of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) reporting system, performance information continued to prevent a clean audit.
-In terms of the Council for the Built Environment (CBE), a matter that requires urgent attention is the need for consistent corporate leadership of the boards of each council.
(View the report for further detail.)
Ms S Graham (DA) thanked the Committee Content Advisor for compiling a very thorough and detailed report.
In relation to the gatekeeping in the SA Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), part of the issue lies with the people on the examining bodies. In the final stage of one’s recognition as a construction health agent, the interviewing body is comprised of members of the profession in question. Because the people trying to become agents are seen as competitors in the industry to those interviewing them, they may already have a vote against them and fail the assessment. This should be reflected in the report.
She agreed with the Committee Content Advisor that because the CBE performs well every year, the issues of the other councils have flown under the radar for a very long time. The issues around the SACPCMP started in 2014 when regulations were promulgated with respect to who would be recognised. In 2013, however, people who were on the board had been recognised under regulations that had not even been published yet. There should be a bigger focus on these councils and their accountability to this Committee and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), because these councils are supposed to assist in the transformation of the construction sector and have been ignored for far too long.
The boards and the councils must not contribute to unfair contribution and conflict of interest. This should be added to the report.
Ms M Hicklin (DA) thanked the support team for a phenomenally well-constructed document. She requested an emphasis in the report of the need to address leadership deficits across the board. This is one of the biggest issues within the DPWI, the Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE) and the CBE.
Regarding the issues around South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), in addition to “bullying”, the words “sexual harassment” should be added. Additionally, regarding the governance challenges that have taken place, the words “very serious” should be added. These challenges are not recent challenges that have been revealed as a result of the harassment. These are challenges that have been imminent for many years. The marginalisation of black women should also be added.
There is also a very strong trust deficit at SACAP and many other entities which must be addressed before it worsens.
Mr E Mathebula (ANC) stated that, in relation to the issue of misconduct by employees, it should be added in the recommendations that the Committee sticks to the time stipulated in its policies so that it has adequate time to deal with any instance of misconduct.
In addition, it should be added that there should be punitive measures implemented for departmental officials who do not meet their set targets within the stipulated timeframe. At the end of the day, the entire Department is seen to have underperformed and not simply the individual officials who do not achieve their targets.
Ms S Van Schalkwyk (ANC) stated that the DPWI does not take the issue of vacant posts seriously during deliberations with this Committee. A reason for this may be that there are vacancies at senior management level. A timeframe should be stipulated for the appointment of all senior management posts so that the Department does not have to be held back by those in acting roles.
Regarding the Independent Development Trust (IDT), it should be made self-sufficient and not reliant on government grants. This reliance was the reason that IDT had to be rescued. The current plans show that the IDT sees the government grants as something it is entitled to and not something which it is given to bail it out of financial difficulty.
Ms Hicklin added that one of the factors which contributed to the downfall of the IDT was its reliance on government money. The Committee must ensure that the PMTE does not face the same problems as the IDT.
The Committee Content Advisor stated that Members would not have to discuss the findings of the report as these findings are reflected within the recommendations. He requested confirmation to implement the amendments through the adoption of the report.
He also confirmed that Ms Hicklin’s concerns regarding the PMTE were warranted, as the trajectory and trends of the PMTE are the same as those of the IDT.
The Committee Secretary explained additional procedural matters regarding the adoption of the report and implementation of the amendments.
Ms Van Schalkwyk moved for the adoption of the report with amendments, seconded by Ms Graham.
The report was adopted with amendments.
Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes
Committee minutes dated 17 March 2021
The minutes were adopted.
Committee minutes dated 4 May 2021
The minutes were adopted.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Committee Secretary for her diligent work.
Mr W Thring (ACDP) explained that it would be preferable for himself, and possibly other Members in his circumstances, to receive the documents and presentations relating to an upcoming meeting either on the day of the meeting or the day before. This would make preparing for the meeting much easier. He submitted a request to have this change in administration implemented.
Ms Van Schalkwyk responded to Mr Thring by explaining that the Committee Secretary sends the relevant documentation with the link to the meeting. She stated that this system was sufficient, but was not opposed to the recommendation, however.
Mr Thring agreed that sending the relevant documentation with the link would be sufficient.
The Committee Secretary explained that the problem lies with the DPWI, not with the Committee’s administration team. The DPWI only sends the documents to the administration team a day or two before the meeting, and often at inconvenient times. The administration team must review these documents before forwarding them to Members in order to provide adequate content and research advice. This issue has been raised with the Minister but has not yet been resolved.
The new PLO of the DPWI is also experiencing challenges with the DPWI – she receives the documents from the DPWI late, and these documents must be reviewed by the Minister and referred back to the DPWI for further analysis and input before being sent to the Committee.
Ms Van Schalkwyk stated that the Committee must find a way around the issue as soon as possible because it makes matters very difficult for Members. She formally raised that this matter be referred to manco.
The Committee Secretary informed the Committee of an invitation to Members, from the Minister and the President, to the Tafelkop Farmers Title Deed Handover in Groblersdal, Limpopo. She requested the names of the Members who would be attending. She also reminded the Committee of the public hearing that is scheduled around the same period.
The Acting Chairperson stated that Ms Graham and Mr T Mashele (ANC) would be attending.
The Committee Secretary then arranged the itineraries of Ms Graham and Mr Mashele with the input of these Members.
The meeting was adjourned.
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