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PUBLIC SERVICE SELECT COMMITTEE
5 March 2001
FINALISING OF LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING WORKSHOP ON 9 MARCH
Chairperson: Ms P C P Majodina
Documents handed out:
The strategic planning workshop will now take place on 12 March instead of 9 March. Ministers and/or Directors General from the Departments of Transport, Public Works and Housing are expected to brief the Committee on their programmes for this year. From these briefings, the Committee will draw up its programme for the year.
The Chairperson informed Members of the Planning Sub-Committee that the workshop slotted for 9 March has been postponed to Monday March 12, 2001 at Stellenbosch Lounge from 9am to 4pm. Leading the discussions on that day will be Ministers or their Directors General from the Departments of Transport, Public Works and Housing. Their brief is to present their programmes for 2001 to the Select Committee from which the Committee would chart its programme for 2001.
The Sub-Committee, led by the Chairperson, then discussed what issues should be tabled at the workshop:
Transport: (no bills referred to the Committee)
Under Transport, some of the issues to be discussed are:
- Taxi recapitalisation - (what is it about and how far has it gone?)
- Statement report by Minister on "taxi violence" in KwaZulu-Natal
- Restructuring of Spoornet (eg: how can a small farmer transport produce when lines are being closed down)
- Harbours - for the Ministry to give a full report of what is going on there.
Public Works: (no bills referred to the Committee)
Under Public Works issues to be discussed are:
- Rural roads (which can create jobs including outsourcing especially for SMMEs)
- Poverty alleviation programmes (referred to by the President in his State of the Nation address)
- Public property and Asset registration: mention has been made of state property being vandalised and the instance of state property being used as a shebeen. Some airports like those of Umtata and Pietermaritzburg are in a state of neglect and the Select Committee needs clarification on this. Mention was also made of how Members of Parliament on a visit to the Eastern Cape had found a cluster supposed to serve as a small business hive that was not being used (although it had been opened by the Minister). When MPs asked the locals why were they not using the cluster the answer was that the Department had never consulted them. The view expressed by committee members was that it appeared that the Department had had to quickly spend budget money before the end of a financial year to avoid under-spending and thus had not had time to consult properly. It was felt that such issues should be investigated at the workshop.
- Redivisioning of roads: The possibility of national government adopting some local and provincial roads needs to be discussed. This caretaking would be until provincial governments have built their own capacity and they are in a position to take over the running of the roads under their jurisdiction.
- Unused machinery: The Eastern Cape was cited again in this context. On the MPs' tour to the Eastern Cape, they discovered a grader that had been lying on the side of the road unused for some months because of a tyre puncture. Repairing it required taking the tyre some kilometers away to Umtata. As the grader was out of action, employees reported for work at twelve noon and knocked off at three in the afternoon. The Subcommittee felt that if such problems persist especially in the Eastern Cape, the NCOP should intervene and if necessary call for a snap debate at the National Assembly. The Subcommittee also felt that when it came to machinery, Departments were not networking with one another to find out who had what that the other required.
Housing: (only bill referred to the Committee is Housing Amendment Bill due for April. One of the issues pertaining to this bill is the restructuring of the Provincial Housing Board)
The Chairperson noted that the issue of land distribution was still a problem and needed to be discussed. She cited the case of RDP houses being located in an inappropriate area although available land belonging to a local council could be rezoned and used for building those houses.
The role of the SMMEs contracted to build the houses was also touched upon. It was proposed that department officials brief the Committee on what the role of the small business contractors is in the building of RDP houses.
Another point of note was that in principle low-cost houses were important but the issue of size uniformity was important. As Mr Mokoena (ANC) noted some people refer to these houses as "vez'inyawo" (showing feet) because of their smallness. The Chairperson put it this way; it makes no "sense to build three million houses when they are not different from shacks!"
The issue of building two to three story flats was proposed as an option "which saves land and are good for young people." It was suggested that at the workshop, they look at the Integrated Development Plan for local governments to ensure that it rather includes building houses where the people are instead of removing them to another place. Building RDP houses in rural communities should also be looked at. It was felt that if these RDP houses could be built in rural areas it would stem the flood to urban areas and the mushrooming of shacks in urban areas.
It was explained that the aim of the Housing Amendment Bill is to restrict owners from selling these RDP houses, a practice that has been going on for some time. It was proposed that the different Provincial Registration Deed Offices need to work together to create a single housing database to restrict the practice of selling and buying RDP houses unscrupulously.
Morning Plenary: Chairperson - Ms P C P Majodina
- Each Department will be give an hour for their presentation
- Ms B Thompson will Chair the Housing Commission. Members under her commission will be: Mr Raju (DP), Mr Nyakane, Ms Ntwanambi (ANC)
- Mr Mokoena will Chair the Public Works Commission. Members under his commission will be: Ms Versfeld (DP), Mr Mkhalipi (ANC), Mr Sulliman (ANC)
- Mr Marais will Chair the Transport Commission. Members under his commission will be Mr Suka (ANC), Dr Nel (NNP), Mr Maloyi (ANC), and one delegation from Gauteng.
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