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WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY AD HOC COMMITTEE
23 June 2004
COMMITTEE REPORT ON COMMITTEE PROGRAMME: ADOPTION
This is an edited version of a report produced by kind courtesy of Contact Trust: www.contacttrust.org.za
Chair: Mr Komphela (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Committee Report on Department budget
The Committee unanimously adopted the Committee Report on the Department budget. They also discussed the oversight tour as well as the programme for the next term.
Committee Report on Department budget
The Chairperson reported that the Chief Whip had congratulated the Committee on the high level of honest, robust debate in the budget discussions. The Chair felt the report was a fair reflection of the key issues raised by Members during the hearings.
Mr Simmons (NNP) noted that he had not received the report and so could not reflect on the minutes. Shireeen Cassiem, the Committee Clerk, said she had given the documents to Mr Gosforth. The Chair asked her to follow this up.
Mr Ramphele said that in principle he was happy to propose the adoption of the report. However, there needed to be some proofreading. This was seconded by Mr Maluleke, and the report was adopted unanimously.
Draft Committee programme
2 - 6 August - Study Tours
10 - 13 August - Study Tours
8 August - Briefing from SITA
25 August - Briefing from Working for Water
1 September - Briefing on Youth and Women in Water
8 September - Briefing by Rand Water Board
15 September - Briefing by Umgeni Water Board
The Chair felt it would be preferable to divide the draft study tour programme between two teams that would each visit four provinces. The Western Cape could be left until the Members had returned to Cape Town, and so everyone could be part of that tour for about three days. The would travel to outlying places such as Knysna. Those Members visiting the Free State should take their passports as they would be visiting the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).
The Chair continued that upcoming issues included sanitation in schools, the strategic plan of the Department and Water Boards. It was not just a question of adopting the programme - it was a work in progress. Leaders of the two groups would have to be strict time-keepers.
Chief Mathebe (ANC) suggested that all Members visit the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to see how South Africa had helped in the development of other countries.
Mrs. Ngwenya (ANC) gave some background on 'Youth and Women in Water', as she was a patron of the Water for Food Programme. They were involved in the collection of water for growing food. She asked the Committee to assist in persuading the Departments to lend more support. She also suggested that the Committee cover other Water Boards, for example the Amatola Water Board in the Eastern Cape.
The Chair agreed, saying that the Department had noted four weak boards that should be given an opportunity to speak. A Member asked whether the visits could include the waterboard of Bushbuckridge. The Chair agreed.
Chief Mathebe noted that it would be important to check progress by the Department before revisiting any areas. They needed to get a progress report from the Department on Umgeni Water.
A new Member asked about the Sitebeng Water Board in the North West. Communities had experienced difficulties as that Water Board had said it was independent and therefore did not have any obligations to them. She then asked who had been approached in the provinces regarding visits. The Chair clarified that this was a draft programme and no arrangements had yet been made.
A Member asked if the Sitebeng Water Board got money from the government and was thus accountable. The Chair noted that as public entities, the Water Boards were accountable even if they did not get money from the government Mr Phala (ANC) recalled that the Sitebeng Water Board was related to the Rand Water Board. He thought that they had visited the water board and been met by the Mayor.
The Chair said that it would be important to creatively interact with the communities to discuss their perspectives on the water boards. They should have a joint meeting with the Provincial and Local Government Committee in this regard.
Mr Ramphele suggested that if they all went to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, it should be the first stop so that newer Members could gain information from more experienced Members. The Chair said it would depend on what was most practical.
Ms Ngwenya noted that the Department tended to draw up the programme for provincial visits to the "greener pastures". She appreciated their expertise but felt that the Chair should scrutinise the programme.
A Member suggested that instead of being called 'groups', they should refer to 'teams'.
Another Member reminded the Committee that the last report on the Eastern Cape visit had been weak.
Mr T Brutus (Department Parliamentary Liaison Officer) mentioned that the Minister would soon be announcing the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS), and that Members would be asked about this. He also reminded Members that the first week of September was National Arbor Week, a flagship campaign of the Department.
The Chair asked that all Members give their details to Shireen so that Mr Brutus could contact them with the programme, adding that Members should act as rolemodels during National Arbor Week. He agreed that the National Water Resource Strategy would create interest, adding that the Minister would be presenting to the Committee on the issue.
Mr Rampele asked about the problems around sanitation in Khayelitsha. The Chair asked Mr Brutus to get more information for them on this, as the cause of the problem might not be water.
Mrs. Ngwenya queried whether the Committee had a large enough budget for the provincial visits. The Chair noted that it had been an unusual cycle for the Committee as it had not met during the elections etc, so there would be enough money for the visits, but that it should be wisely spent.
The meeting was adjourned.
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