The Committee met to be presented with the performance of Parliament for quarter one of 2023/24 and for an update on the restoration of the precinct. Parliament reported on planned improvements for reporting with more detailed indicators and outcomes. Members were taken through key highlights and activities during the term. Overall, Parliament achieved 63.33% of targets in the quarter.
Members asked about the rate of unanswered questions by the Executive, implementation of the Zondo recommendations and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) withdrawal from assisting Members with international travel arrangements. Concerns were raised regarding the budget and the overspend on compensation of employees. Members were enthused by new reporting strategies of alignment with outcomes. Members asked about key vacancies.
The Committee was provided with a detailed update on the restoration project, with work completed on the 4th and 5th floors of 90 Plein Street with offices and committee meeting rooms now available. Members were updated on the removal of rubble and recovery of assets and installation of the roof.
Members were concerned that the project was behind schedule and requested more regular oversight visits. Concerns were also raised about the regular removal of rubble. A request was made for an update on the internal investigation into the fire.
Chairperson Mabe reminded all about the National Assembly Sitting which followed directly after the meeting. She then asked for the meeting agenda to be flighted so that it could be adopted.
The meeting agenda was adopted and Members were taken through the apologies for the meeting.
Mr Amos Masondo, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), was asked to lay the ground for the presentation. He reminded all of the fire incident at Parliament. This was a terrible incident. The Parliament they were in strived for parliamentary diplomacy, so their work continued. The case of the fire incident continued to unfold. There was a lot of anticipation and expectation. There was an expectation of no compromise to quality, and for the repair work to be carried out in the stipulated timeframe.
Parliament First Quarterly Report for 2023/24
Planned improvements for reporting
- Align reporting to new macro framework for Parliament
- Focus on the transformative work of Parliament, thus the impact on everyday lives of people – measured by the NDP impact indicators of poverty, unemployment and inequality. (Impact-driven and citizen-orientated reporting by Parliament)
- Establish new outcome indicators, relating to the oversight work of Parliament, as translated into the performance of the Executive, specifically focussing on the MTSF indicators, as tabled in Parliament.
- Include/develop indicators of specific focus, as per the oversight priorities.
- The State Capture Commission Recommendations: In April 2023, the Rules Committee adopted 11 out of 19 recommendations related to Parliament. Law enforcement agencies received the most recommendations for independent investigation and possible prosecution. Parliament proposed 22 committees to oversee Executive action on the President's Response Plan and Commission's recommendations. The quarterly report on implementation of President’s Plan on recommendations of the State Capture Commission completed.
- Section 194 Enquiry: The section 194 Ad hoc Committee inquiry into the fitness to hold Office of Public Protector continued during the quarter with an initial end date of 30 April moving to the end of August due to several court challenges to the process and delays in the legal representation including the issue of payment of legal fees.
- Accountability for lack of responsiveness of the Executive: As per Rule 136, a report is published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports document and the Leader of Government Business is informed of the Members of the Cabinet who delay answering parliamentary questions
- The Portfolio Committee on Police and Correctional Services’ oversight over the escape of Thabo Bester from a correctional facility. The committee’s handling of this oversight received many positive reviews as the members in consort highlighted key deficiencies in the process. The support provided by the content team to prepare the committee for this oversight was well received.
- The appointment of the SABC Board members. The President acceded to the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies proposed names for the board. The entity was left functioning without a board for six months and civil society submitted an application to the Constitutional Court directing the President to perform his constitutional duties and to appoint the board as unanimously recommended by Parliament.
- Oversight in relation to the Energy Crisis: Questions to the President were related to matters of national and international concern. They ranged from the appointment of the Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, his location in The Presidency and timeframes within which he should produce results.
- Restoration of Parliament: The project has achieved significant milestones, with an Infrastructure Programme Implementation Plan completed. Stages 1 to 4 of deliverables for restoring the 4th and 5th floors at 90 Plein Street, with 95% physical progress accomplished. Financial management practices have been implemented to ensure efficient resource allocation, with an expenditure rate of 8.8% primarily consisting of fees associated with the restoration work. Stage 1 deliverables for the repairs and upgrade of the Old Assembly and New Wing are complete, including establishing safe access routes, asset verification, and plans and specifications for rubble removal. Additionally, requirements have been gathered for IT and communication services, however, challenges such as delays in reconfiguration and asset verification have impacted the progress of the repairs and upgrade of the Old Assembly and New Wing
-Highlights included the debate of two matters of national importance: The economic impact of the financial action task force on grey listing; failure of government to extradite persons implicated in corruption
-Highlights included the adoption of Committee Reports: Reports ranged from oversight visits undertaken by committees to matters emanating from legislation, regulations, international agreements and appointment of candidates in terms of legislation
Oversight key activities:
-PC on Water and Sanitation conducted oversight visit to assess the bucket toilet eradication projects in Free State Province;
-PC on Human Settlements conducted oversight visit to Northern Cape and North West to assess the implementation of a comprehensive, integrated human settlements strategy in the province;
-PC on Water and Sanitation conducted oversight visit to Limpopo Province to assess progress in the department’s objectives of transferring water from Nando Dam to augment the Nsami Dam and the Middle Letaba water treatment works systems;
-PC on Health Oversight visit to Eastern Cape to assess progress made on the implementation of the Eastern Cape Department of Health and its four health facilities, namely: Hospitals of Uitenhage, Dora Nginza, Livingstone and Port Elizabeth
Legislation: key bills
-Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, so as to recognise South African Sign Language as one of the official languages of the Republic
-Eskom Debt Relief Bill: The Bill provides for a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund for debt relief for Eskom.
-National Health Insurance Bill: This Bill seeks to provide universal access to quality health care for all South Africans as enshrined in the Constitution,
-Municipal Fiscal Powers and Function Amendment Bill: The Bill requires that development charges are paid by both the public and private sectors, to ensure that a substantial portion of municipal bulk infrastructure investment can be financed on a “user pays “principle with the needs of poor households directly and transparently supported
-Division of Revenue Bill: The Bill provides for (a) the share of each sphere of government of the revenue raised nationally for the relevant financial year; (b) each province’s share of the provincial share of that revenue; and any other allocations to the provinces, local government or municipalities from the national government’s share of that revenue, and any conditions on which those allocations are or must be made
-Appropriation Bill: To appropriate funds from the National Revenue Fund for the requirements of the state for the 2023/24 financial year.
-Land Court Bill. The Bill provides for establishing a Land Court and appeals against decisions of the Land Court. This court and not the Land Claims Court created by the Restitution Act, should be the forum to deal with all land-related matters regulated by various acts.
The presentation took Members through the bills passed in the quarter, public hearings held, statutory appointments and international engagements.
Overall, Parliament achieved 63.33% of targets in the quarter – see attached for detailed performance per programme
Summary: Expenditure for Quarter 1
-Parliament spent 92 percent or R 588,978 million of its appropriated budget of R 639,351 million for the first quarter. It is projected that the full appropriated budget of R 4,351,486 will be spent at the end of the 2023/24 financial year
-The spending on direct charges is R 135,4 million or 110 percent of the first quarter budget of R 123,2 million. The overspending is attributable to the payment of the loss of office gratuities over and above the payment of Members' salaries. There is projected overspending of R 61.7 million at the end of the financial year, which is attributable to the increase in salaries of Members for the 2022/23 financial year, the payment of loss of office gratuities & exit gratuities and the budget reductions. This projected overspending will be a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund in line with section 23(4) of the FMPPLA.
See attached for full presentation
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) mentioned that only 80% of the National Assembly (NA) and NCOP questions were answered - what would the Speaker and Chair of the NCOP do to rectify this situation? It was very concerning that 352 questions remained unanswered.
To his recollection, there had been no implementation of the Zondo Commission suggestions to Parliament - was there any action thus far?
The [quarterly] report seemed to focus more on planning rather than implementation. There were two houses in Parliament (NA and NCOP), so to say that a certain Bill was passed because it went through one House was inaccurate as it needed to be passed through both Houses. He asked that this error be corrected.
Why did the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) withdraw from all the systems in international travelling in May 2023? He mentioned that he was a victim of the consequences of such a withdrawal. Had DIRCO been involved, he would not have suffered the consequences.
He said that Parliament was starting to become a rubbish site. There was disgraceful fencing on the bottom area of Parliament - all the litter there needed to be cleaned up promptly. This was shameful. When would the two Houses reclaim Parliament?
Ms O Maotwe (EFF) complimented the quarterly presentation, but how would all this be achieved? Would there be partnerships with data-driven institutions? Were more resources required? Claiming that access to electricity was at 40% when it was supposed to be 90% - how would this assist the Committee in holding the Minister of Electricity accountable?
She echoed the earlier comment about the unanswered questions - how would this be resolved so that all questions were answered?
She said it was unacceptable to go over the budget.
Mr X Qayiso (ANC) was happy that the manner of quarterly reporting had re-shifted. What were the key impact areas of Parliament, as prescribed by the Constitution? What were the challenges with the broadcasting strategy? Were all the targets for the July appointment met? Was there efficiency from the Secretary To Parliament (STP) in the administration of Parliament, and what measures were required to enhance it? What lessons had Parliament learnt in supporting ad hoc committees, especially in the removal of the Public Protector?
Was it taken into consideration that handicapped persons would be able to access the facilities after the restoration process was completed? He complimented the report on being progressive.
Ms D Dlakude (ANC) welcomed the quarterly presentation and the progress made so far. It was not fair to attend these public meetings only to say that Parliament had not achieved anything. The issues of judicial enquiries were being attended to - the Joint Ethics Committee dealt with such issues. The recommendations for the oversight came in when the Committee was already making changes. Achievements were definitely being made.
Ms Dlakude said a construction site would not be clean until all the work had been completed – she asked that Members please have patience and work within the stipulated timeframes.
The travel agencies which worked with the Members should be heavily monitored to ensure that there were no issues such as Members having to wait long hours during layovers. This was a huge inconvenience. She pleaded with the STP that the staff members who assisted the Members be assisted with the logistics of planning such trips, to allow for smooth operations.
Ms S Gwarube (DA) [poor connection] was impressed with linking substantive outcomes to Parliament. This was important to note. She looked forward to seeing the outcomes. She acknowledged the head of security in Parliament, who was recently appointed. Could the Committee get an overview of other critical post vacancies? The STP needed to be held accountable. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) indicated that there was overspending on the compensation of employees, due to the filling of posts. She reflected on the employees listed in the Annual Report - had there been any shift in the compensation of senior management?
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked to what extent the division of revenue has an impact on the developmental trends. This had been previously raised. Regarding the national study tours, were Members allowed to comment on their satisfaction in the surveys? What was the problem with the current bill in terms of the strategy of Parliament?
Responses were held over until the second presentation was completed.
Parliament’s Infrastructure Delivery Programme
The presentation gave the Committee a mid-term update on the progress of work packages, issues and challenges and planned activities.
The Infrastructure Programme Management Plan (IPMP) was completed and approved on 8 June 2023. Members were taken through the reconfiguration of the 4th and 5th floors of 90 Plein Street: 155 offices, 20 booths and two sign language studios are complete; 95 offices are fully furnished; two meeting rooms are complete and furnished (hybrid meeting equipment); three pause areas are complete and furnished. The 4th floor has 103 offices, a 16-seater boardroom, two pause areas and two storerooms. 57offices are bigger and have extra roundtables, each with four visitors chairs for meetings. 46 offices are slightly smaller and do not have roundtables for meetings. The 5th floor has 52 offices, a ten-seater boardroom, one pause area and one storeroom. 29 offices are bigger and have extra roundtables each with four visitors chairs for meetings. 23 offices are slightly smaller and do not have roundtables for meetings. The 20 Interpretation booths and two sign language studios are contained within the IT area. Hot desking solution (15) and a kitchenette were provided to IT in lieu of space surrendered for Members.
Members were updated on the rubble removal and recovery of assets:
- 70m3 of rubble was removed from roof (2nd floor)
- All electronics, fridges, and small furniture items were brought down to 1st and 2nd floors.
- All large furniture has been disassembled and left in their rooms.
- All chairs have been brought down to the ground floor.
- 160m3 of rubble was removed from floors 5,4,3,2 and 1.
- As above, electronics and furniture were brought down to collection points.
- All documents/personal items were boxed and tagged.
- 45% had been moved to containers at Hope Street Parking by 15/09/2023
- Collection rate by Members and staff delayed movement of other boxes
Rubble in the NA has been moved to strategic areas for ease of transportation to the skip via scaffolds. The contractor is also clearing way for the PSPs working on both buildings. The contractor is stabilising sections as per requirements of the PSPs.
Recovery of Assets & Personal Items
- Items were sorted according to type.
- Personal items were boxed and tagged for temporary holding arrangements at Hope Street Parking.
- Special wrapping was arranged for delicate items.
- Discussions were held with the Navy on storage and approval is pending.
- Alternative arrangements were made on a commercial front.
Removal of Debris & Installation of The Roof
- Electric metal cutters, grinders and mechanical means were used to clear way and remove the debris.
- The rubble was sorted and carried down with chutes and debris to the ground floor.
- The PSPs for the Old Assembly immediately came to conduct detailed assessments in these sections.
- Some walls were stabilised, and a crane was mobilised to hang trusses.
- The roof installation was at 25% as at 15/09/2023
Repairs & Upgrade of The Old Assembly (Oa) & National Assembly (Na)
- Repairs and Upgrade to OA: Like-for-like restoration and upgrade to NBR requirements.
- Repairs and Upgrade to NA (options)
- Demolish existing building and design & reconstruct.
- Demolish total internals and redesign of the building within
- Green Building Concepts
- Introduce solar on 90 Plein (tallest building)
- Design for optimum daylight
- Greening of spaces.
- Water harvesting
- Modern Architecture has impact on IEQ and productivity
- Site inspections were conducted by the NA professional team.
- The Structural Engineers produced all five floor plans with the correct measurements.
- All the columns and beams that are strategic to the NA were modelled.
- A methodology for systematically demolishing walls to create more space was prepared (if retaining the envelope is chosen as an option).
- Specialised services on topographical survey and CCTV footage of sewer system and stormwater pipes were conducted.
- The Architect’s 3D layout plan was completed and to be given to the Quantity Surveyor and PSPs to incorporate their designs.
- Preliminary designs on electrical and electronics have been completed
- The professional team was requested to phase the OA. (Subject to Viability Assessment)
- The team conducted initial assessments of the Old Assembly.
- Concepts were put together for building enhancements.
- The structural engineers have engaged a Seismic (Earthquake) Specialist to consider options for compliance with the latest building design codes.
- The civil engineer has reviewed the existing sewer and stormwater infrastructure to ensure that the underground infrastructure is in good condition.
- Mechanical assessment of the existing systems was conducted for compliance with latest regulations.
- The building fire emergency systems were assessed and concepts for fire rational designs have been prepared.
- The Quantity Surveyor has commenced with preparing a preliminary class 3 order of magnitude estimate.
- The Programme Infrastructure Management Plan (IPMP) was completed.
- This was aligned with the Parliament Macro Strategy.
- Collaborative arrangements were made with CPUT and Stellenbosch University for the restoration of the Old and New Assembly.
- This will involve Work Integrated Learning for their students and graduates.
- Lecturers will form part of the Gateway Review Panel.
- Universities will be given a platform to input designs and showcase their innovation.
- Arrangements were also made with TVET Colleges to place their graduates on the projects during construction as Technicians.
- A mentor will be enlisted to support the graduates
Master plan for the precinct
- A critical review was conducted on the St Nubians and the 2016 Space Utilisation Reports.
- Gaps were identified and the DBSA prepared a brief document for consultants.
- Ideas will be canvassed with South Africans on desired outcomes.
- DBSA is finalising procurement of PSPs
Total facilities management
- The TFM Concept will allow the User Accounting Officer to make input to Immovable Asset Management Strategy.
- The above will further ensure alignment to Parliament’s Macro Strategy and takeover of the TFM function.
- High-level assessments were conducted on the Villages.
- The early interventions were made on kitchens due to H&S risk and NBR noncompliance. The DBSA is reviewing the draft report and prepared by the PSPs. A draft report will be submitted to Parliament on 12/08/2023
- Presentations were made to the Chief Whips Forum and the Members Support Forum. Their inputs on needs were noted and to be incorporated in designs.
- The professional team was briefed to conduct a benchmarking exercise with other African parliaments and globally to assess how post-democracy designs can accommodate the rich and diverse tapestry of our heritage.
- Work with PCS to:
- Run a Webinar with SA Heritage Resources Agency to inform stakeholders on Heritage requirements and get buy-in on the design concepts – 27/09/2023 (SAHRA requested 1st week of October).
- Run a Webinar with chief architects/engineers and inform stakeholders of the concepts and justification for preferred options – 6/10/2023.
- Run talk shows with the SABC to inform the country of design options and solicit their inputs – 20/10/2023
- Engage with Universities on outreach programme
- Run a social media information campaign.
- It is recommended that the JSCFMP:
- Note the approved IPMP as required by Treasury.
- Notes progress on the Infrastructure Delivery Programme.
- Notes the approach to concept and viability stage.
- Gives input on the desired look and feel/concepts for the OA and the New NA to be considered under the concept and viability stage.
- Endorses the Green Building Concepts for incorporation into the upgrade of the Old Assembly and the New Wing.
- Endorses the stakeholder engagement plan (Details to be submitted separately)
See attached for presentation with images
Mr Brauteseth was optimistic about raising the new fence and hoped it would be a success. He noted that they were already two months behind schedule - could the Committee do an oversight visit every two months? Had any of the artwork in Parliament be removed? How was it being kept safe?
Ms Maotwe mentioned that it was inaccurate to say that there would be permanent rubble until the end of construction. What was the frequency of the rubble removal? Perhaps the contractor could liaise with the rubble remover on clearing the site? There should be management of rubble. There were certain days designated for rubble removal. The rubble could compromise the safety of those who frequented those areas.
Ms Gwarube asked for progress on the report of the internal investigation into the fire. It had been well over a year now.
Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) asked for clarity on the first contractor who decided to resign.
Responses from the STP
Mr Xolile George, Secretary to Parliament, responded by saying they had received correspondence from Dirco indicating that from 01 May 2023, Dirco would no longer be assisting with travel expenses and the like. Parliament was trying to absorb the logistical components. An update in this regard would be provided in the next meeting.
Rubble removal would indeed be regularly removed; he said Members should not worry about this. Once the go-ahead had been given, the STP would conduct an inspection on the rubble removal. He promised to share an update with the Committee on the fire investigation, after having attended the meeting.
Regarding the contractor who resigned, he said the contractor indicated that his order booking was too high. More orders came in which he had never anticipated, so he felt very overwhelmed and hence he resigned.
Chairperson Mahlangu mentioned that the office of the co-Chairpersons would liaise with the STP to adhere to the recommendations. The Committee was resolved to conduct physical oversight visits and provide updates.
Due to ongoing issues in their countries, the study tour to France and Belgium had been cancelled because the respective countries communicated that they could no longer accommodate the Committee. Nothing could be done about this if the hosts could not accommodate. She hoped they could end on a positive note towards the end of term.
Mr Brauteseth interjected to say that he was glad the Committee was progressing well.
Ms N Mahlo (ANC) too agreed that the Committee was progressing well.
It was agreed that the cancellation of the study tour would be communicated to the relevant authorities.
All were thanked for their time and participation in the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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