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WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
27 October 2004
DEPARTMENT 2003-2004 ANNUAL REPORT
Annual Report Available
Presentation of the 2003-2004 Annual Report of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry by Department representative, Ms Maggie Modipa.
The Chair welcomed the Department representatives present and all members of the Committee. She excused the Department of Public Services and Administration for not being able to present its information that day, due to the complexity and length of its planned report. The Department had been unable to source the figures requested for the presentation by members of the Committee and it would present its report to the Committee as soon as all the information necessary for a complete and comprehensive presentation had been gathered.
Discussion After the presentation of the report the Chair entertained questions from the members of the Committee.
Mr P Mathebe (ANC) asked about the financial report in relation to the use, monitoring and management of funds. He enquired about the allocation of assets within the Department, and of the Department to their employees and other functionaries.
Ms Modipa responded that they had allocated housing to key personnel and also housed people not employed by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The Department was monitoring the flexibility of the current programmes of asset management, and in many cases the viability of selling these housing assets was being evaluated because the Department could not in all cases maintain these houses.
Mr Mathebe also asked about the numbers of Black farmers that the Department was allegedly supporting, and inquired about the criteria used to allocate aid to such farmers.
Ms Modipa stated that the vast majority, if not all, of the farmers being supported by the Department's programmes were Black, given the fact that they were the most commonly disadvantaged group. The criteria for allocating aid to these farmers were essentially lack of access to land and/or water and the desire to work in the farming industry.
Mr Mathebe asked the presenter to explain what was being done with regard to the communities surrounding the protected forestry areas and what kind of aid or support was provided to them.
Ms Modipa explained that the Department had empowerment programmes in place for these communities.
Ms D. van der Walt (DA) asked about the percentage of finances being utilised for other expenditures such as salaries, and the acquisition and monitoring of new supplies to the department, such as computers.
Ms Modipa offered to provide a detailed list. She mentioned that new Department policies regarding maintenance of government property were in place that governed how to deal with loss or negligence. Cases of negligence have been investigated and sanctions applied to individuals. The government had to replace lost assets in order to continue to function and provide its employees with the necessary tools.
Mr M.W. Sibuyana (IFP) asked how success was being measured on a regional manner. There was still a great number of houses and communities that did not have access to fresh water, and these communities should be accounted for when determining the success of the Department's programmes.
Ms Modipa indicated that the Department would have to consult its regional directors before it could provide the Committee with a concrete answer. Dams supplied regional needs. All communities in the adjacent regions or districts were not receiving these services. However, the exact information could only be provided by the regional directors.
Ms M.L. Ngwenya (ANC) complimented the presenters on their presentation and the improvements in the Department. She requested clarification about programmes motivating students to participate in regional courses and training. Ms Ngwenya also wished to know where exactly the regional offices were located and how they were being monitored.
Ms Modipa indicated that a complete compilation of the regional offices could be provided to the Committee in the form of a list of the addresses of these regional offices. The Department invested in potential employees and their education as a form of contractual investment, that would eventually result in a better and more efficient assortment of qualified employees and would speed the recruitment process in the future. She added that the Department chose very carefully whose education they invested in, because once the Department assisted and capacitated a person to become an asset to the Department, that person was obligated to work for it.
Other Committee members enquired about specific figures reflected in the Department's budgetary report.
The Chair ruled that members consult the report, where they would find answers to all those questions, rather than going into the detail of the figures. The Chair also suggested that the annual report be made more accessible and 'user friendly' for Members of Parliament, and that it be available to other entities that needed specific information from the document. The presenter agreed to this.
Ms M.N.S. Manana (ANC) enquired about corrective measures for performance management problems.
The presenter indicated that that process and status was confidential, due to the fact that there were other Departmental staff members in the hearing. Details could be provided to members upon request, but due to the presence of other individuals, the matter could not be discussed so casually.
The meeting adjourned.
This document was generated on: 2004-11-09 Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure that this information is accurate, but this report is not an official record of the meeting and therefore should not be regarded as a complete and correct record of the proceedings.