Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill: Premier

Premier & Constitutional Matters (WCPP)

07 December 2021
Chairperson: Ms M Wenger (DA) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary


 Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill

Publication: Western Cape Adjusted Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure, 2021

The Department of the Premier (DotP), Western Cape, presented the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill: Premier, to the Committee.

The DotP had a main Appropriation Budget of R1.75 billion. A total of R33.55 million was shifted among the various programmes. The DotP committed resources to the ablution facilities in the Wingfield site, and the repatriation of foreign nationals at the request of the National Ministry of Home Affairs.

All unspent funds in the DotP’s current financial year will be rolled-over to the next financial year. The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the implementation of most programmes in the DotP.

Members asked about roles and remuneration of wellness interns; the repatriation of foreign nationals; and the shifting of funds from Education to the Information Technology business process analysts.

The Committee expressed admiration and appreciation for the effective leadership, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meeting report

The Committee nominated Ms M Wenger (DA) as the Acting Chairperson, in place of Chairperson, Mr R Mackenzie (DA).

The Acting Chairperson welcomed Committee Members and also welcomed the delegation from the Department of the Premier (DotP).

Introductory remarks by the Premier and the Department of the Premier (DotP), Western Cape
Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, said the DotP had a main Appropriation Budget of R1.75 billion, which represents a decrease of R3.55 million. A total of R33.55 million was shifted among the various programmes. The Provincial Strategic Management Programme (PSMP) got R2.9 million.

Vote 7, which was social development, received R400 000 for the cost of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) summit.

The Development of Tourism Integrated Service Delivery (DTISD), Vote 12, received R2.5 million, while the Provincial Employee Aid (PEA) programme received R308 000, Vote 6.

Programme 4, Centre for E-innovation, received R36.76 million, and an amount of R1.4 million was shifted from Vote 4 (Community Safety), for software systems in relation to safety plan and safety projects.

An amount of R30.91 million was shifted from Vote 6 (Health) to Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing and Technical Services (MACCTS).

R2.6 million was shifted from Vote 9 (Environmental Affairs and Development Planning), to assist with the development and enhancement of Integrated Pollution and Waste Management system.

R1.2 million was shifted from Education to fund the procurement of Information Technology Business Process (ITBP) analysts.
R600 000 was shifted from Vote 13 (Cultural and Sport Implementation) to fund the archive web portal. There was a realignment of the provincial budget to the tune of R37.1 million, of which R11.5 million went towards compensation of employees (CoE). The DotP has not filled some senior, vacant positions because it aims to control the costs incurred in relation to the compensation of employees. Other departments should emulate the practice to ensure effective management of financial resources.

R1.5 million was earmarked for the Children’s Commissioner Fund (CCF), and another R2.5 million for the Children’s Provincial Revenue Fund. The progress of implementation was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. R1.1 million went to ECD partnership for setting up new offices for the Children’s Commissioner Fund.

R15 million went towards the Broadband Project. The Municipality Broadband Project received R7 million.

Some funding also went towards gifts, donations, and sponsorships. The DotP spent R99 000 on state funerals. Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, asked DotP to commit some funds to the ablution facilities at the Wingfield site, and for the repatriation of foreign nationals, which was done. The closure of the site and repatriation were challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Accounting Officer and Director-General of the DotP, Dr Harry Malila, said all funds saved because of under-spending in the current financial year will be carried forward to the 2022/ 23 financial year. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the DotP from implementing some of its programmes in the current financial year.

The Chairperson went through the document, referred to as the Blue Book (provincial revenue and expenditure), and urged Members to ask questions.

Mr P Marais (FF+) said he did not receive any such document and the Chairperson promised to give him a copy as soon as possible. He noted concern about the decision of the Premier to assist with the repatriation of foreign nationals. He asked which Minister made this request of the Premier. The repatriation of foreign nationals is a national function. He asked why the Province should help the National Department, given the budgetary constraints facing the Province.

Mr C Dugmore (ANC) asked for clarity about the Wellness Intern (WI) programme. He asked if the DotP paid the interns for the work done; and asked why the DotP shifted funds from Education, to fund the services of the IT Business Process analyst. He said he appreciated the support DotP gave to state funerals.

The Acting Chairperson wanted to know what the duration of the intervention was; what the criteria was for the selection of interns; which positions were advertised; if there were receipts for the gifts, donations, sponsorships, and for state funerals.

Dr Malila said the DotP was responsible for the wellness of people and employees in the Province. It therefore decided to engage wellness interns to cope with the psychological pressure experienced by employees in the Health (DoH), Education (DBE), and Social Development (DSD) departments.

The interns are professionals with degrees, and honours degrees in Psychology. Some already started, and about 20 will join the programme in January 2022 when school reopens. An amount of R2.1 million was earmarked for the programme. The duration of the intervention is 24 months, but the Department will only renew contracts at the end of the first year, for interns who worked satisfactorily. The DotP will work with the DBE, DoH, and DSD to monitor the performance of the interns. The positions were advertised, and all benefiting departments took part in the interview and selection process. The DotP paid for the service rendered by the interns, and payment differed depending on qualifications.

The Department utilises the services of business analysts because it has a transversal role. The DotP sources and provides specific skills which are lacking in other departments. The benefiting department is responsible for the payment of the business analysts. All gifts, donations, and sponsorships are adequately documented in the gift register. The Accounting Officer must authorise gifts in excess of a specified amount.

State funerals have specific criteria which must be fulfilled before approval is granted.

Premier Winde said the Province decided to assist with the repatriation process to maintain its international brand and enable the foreigners to leave in a dignified manner. It was a difficult decision, but the Province acted in its best interests. He commended the efforts of the DG during the whole process.

Mr Marais noted admiration and appreciation for the hard work and effective leadership of the Premier, especially during the difficult moments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the DotP for its presentation and the effective leadership of the DG.

Report of the Standing Committee on the Premier and Constitutional Matters on Vote 1: Premier in the Schedule to the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill [B6–2021]
The Committee adopted the report.

Mr Dugmore said the ANC did not support the Bill. The ANC requested the minority view be included in the report.

The Committee resolved to write a letter of appreciation to the Premier for his sterling performance and effective leadership.

Committee minutes dated 24 November 2021
The minutes were adopted.

Adjournment and Closure
The Acting Chairperson promised to get all necessary documents to Mr Marais as soon as possible.

She thanked all Members for attending and participating in the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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