The Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery met virtually to discuss its draft programme and receive a report on status update from the departments and provinces. In the discussion, it was suggested that perhaps Members should include meetings over the weekend in the draft programme, but the Co-Chairperson shared that, in his experience, Members tend not to be present over the weekend despite having committed to do so. It was resolved that the co-Chairpersons would give guidance on the programme and future meetings.
Members brought up several concerns over the status update report, and it was even suggested that said report be viewed with a lot of suspicion as there was a lot of incorrect information in there. Some Members asked for more information on the flood-affected areas, such as Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) and the North West as the status update report was lacking in this regard. Appreciation was shown to the Committee Members for all their efforts and contribution during such a troubling time.
[Please note: PMG did not cover the first 30 mins of the meeting]
Chairperson Frolick noted the Members who were absent with apology and then handed over to Mr Andile Sokomani, Committee Content Advisor, to give a presentation (which all the Committee Members received) on the status update report from departments and provinces.
Following the presentation, the Committee was taken through the Ad Hoc Committee draft programme.
Chairperson Nyambi suggested they apply to host some of the weekend meetings. He then opened the floor for Members to ask questions and give comment.
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) raised concern about the report (the status update report from departments and provinces) and said that everyone should view said report with great suspicion as there was a lot of incorrect information. Included among the incorrect information is the Auditor-General (AG) saying there has been nothing to report since August 2022. The AG briefed the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance on 09 May 2023 on the most recent report of the floods. The AG gave many findings of concern such as: the contractors who were government employees, contractors who were split to avoid tendering processes, and shocking statistics on houses which were actually supplied (e.g. in KZN, only 736 houses out of 1 800 were supplied). He believed that this report would prove useful to the Committee. Additionally, there were a number of roads which have still not been repaired. Lastly, the report discusses water and sanitation but does not mention sanitation at all. In eThekwini, only 23 of the wastewater treatment works are operational, and all were damaged by the floods. They needed to be urgently briefed on the sanitation part. He committed to availing himself over the weekends for meetings.
Mr F Du Toit (FF+, Free State) requested that they be provided with information on the North West province as there is none currently, apart from noting that only 80% of the projects have been completed. According to their knowledge, only one road was damaged by the floods. When they were at Deelpan, some of the roads listed as flood damaged were damaged due to historic neglect. In Klerksdorp, there, too, was damage. He suggested combining the North West visit with the Parys visit since they are neighbours.
Ms E Spies (DA) agreed that the COGTA Portfolio Committee were presented with a very concerning report by the AG and that everyone should have been privy to said report so that it could shed light on what is being dealt with by the Committee. She was okay with the programme as is.
Mr M Mashego (ANC) suggested that the co-Chairpersons work on the programme on behalf of the Committee. He thought visiting the sites in person would be better rather than relying on hearsay. He was concerned about the flood victims in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), and that funds should be directed there.
To this, Chairperson Nyambi promised to allow Chairperson Frolick to give his own views on the matter, and confirmed that they had been discussing the programme privately.
Chairperson Frolick acknowledged all the concerns and comments of the Members. He mentioned the pattern of Members indicating their availability and adopting a programme only not to be present at the oversight visits when the programme was eventually rolled out. He found this unacceptable. He reminded all that this was merely a draft programme still subject to confirmation. In his experience, the participation of Members was very low over the weekends. These were factors to be considered when suggesting working over the weekend period. Once confirmation had been sent out, it would be more clear as to when to meet and conduct oversight visits.
Chairperson Nyambi acknowledged those Members who have been wholly committed thus far and mentioned that Members need to be aware of the possibility of working outside of their usual working schedules. He encouraged the Members to give their maximum participation when the time should come to conduct oversight visits.
Mr Sokomani responded to the Members’ earlier comments; the report which was presented [to PC Cogta] on 09 May 2023 was not new at all; it was the same report which was presented on 31 August 2022. And since then, there had been no new issues which had emerged. The Department of Transport has provided an extensive report on the projects underway in the North West, and with permission from the co-Chairpersons, he would be happy to share this report with Mr Du Toit.
Ms Nola Matinise, Committee Secretary, noted all the comments made by the Members and said the team would be guided by the Committee. She clarified that the reason why there were not many meetings on the programme was because they were still waiting to receive guidance from the co-Chairpersons in terms of when the meetings should occur.
Chairperson Nyambi thanked the Members for their participation in these Committee meetings. He noted that Members in the past would struggle with commuting to the rural areas for oversight visits, but still, he was grateful for the Members’ contribution.
Noting no further questions or pressing matters from the Members, Chairperson Nyambi adjourned the meeting.
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.