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FINANCE SELECT COMMITTEE
20 January 2005
HOUSING PROVINCIAL REPORTS
Chairperson: Mr T S Ralane
Documents handed out:
Free State Province: Conditional Grants presentation
Outcome of Conditional Grants and Capital Expenditure: National Treasury
Eastern Cape Province Housing Development Presentation
National Treasury and Free State presented the expenditure trends for provincial Housing budgets, capital assets and housing grants for the third quarter of 2005/6. The Eastern Cape was not permitted to present as it was represented only by its Head of Department and not its Member of the Executive Council. The KwaZulu Natal and North West were also invited to present but they failed to arrive.
Mr Chris Adams (Intergovernmental Relations, National Treasury) explained that spending for provincial Housing and Local Government Departments was 54% of the adjusted budget of R8.5bn. The provinces responsible for the lowest spending were Limpopo (40.7%), Free State (48.1%) and Mpumalanga (48.2%). The highest rates of spending were in the Northern Cape (70%) and the North West (63.7%)
Free State Province
Mr M Mafereka, Free State Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Housing) informed the Committee that a pilot housing project had been started in the province. Vacancies would be advertised in the Department. Work was being done with the ward committees and ward councilors to assist them with their waiting lists. He invited the committee to visit the province to see the work that had been completed as the provincial housing department had made progress and was delivering houses. He assured the Committee that the people in the province would be voting in the upcoming local government elections.
Mr W Wessels (Chief Financial Officer) said that during the 2005/06 financial year only the Integrated Housing and Human Settlement Development grant and the Human Settlement and Redevelopment grant had been allocated to the province. In addition to these grants the following were rolled over: Local Government Capacity Building Grant, Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG): Capacity Building Grant and MIG Management Fees.
The Chairperson commented that he hoped it would not take four years to train the new councillors.
Mr E Sogoni (ANC, Gauteng) commented that the new personnel posts would only be advertised in March. He wanted to know why the posts could not be advertised immediately so that appointments could be made by 1 April 2006. When the Free State had reported to the Committee in October the situation had looked very bleak. He asked how the skills which existed in the department were being utilised. He commented that there would be a rollover of funds again and felt that the rollover of money needed to be stopped.
Mr B Mkhaliphi (ANC, Mpumalanga) pointed out that expenditure was less than 50%.
The Chairperson asked what was being done in cooperation with its provincial treasury to ensure that expenditure was not less than 50%.
Mr Z Kolweni (ANC, North West) commented that the MEC was demonstrating his "hands on" approach. The proof of the pudding was in the eating and the Committee would be watching the MEC closely.
The Chairperson asked where the provincial department was in terms of accrediting municipalities and enquired if all of municipalities had been accredited.
Mr Mafereka replied to these questions stating that the presentation applied only to the period until end November 2005. During the Sixteen Days of Activism, sixteen houses had been built. This was not reflected in the report and would only be seen within the fourth quarter report, during which there would be over expenditure. The vacant posts would be advertised in February and some people would be appointed and working by the 1 March 2006. Previously, Treasury and Housing had not interacted with each other, however Treasury now sat in on their meetings so that it would be informed on how funds were being spent. Within municipalities, capacity was a problem, but within three years all municipalities in the province would be accredited.
The Chairperson said that they would insist that all provinces perform an audit of what skills they had available. This would allow them to see the capacity of the skills available to them. He said that the municipalities could not wait on SALGA. He knew that there was a pilot housing project underway in Gauteng as well as the Free State. The Committee has been invited to see the progress of both these projects. He commented that Kwazulu Natal has serious housing problems. He noted that the Free State MEC had said that there was movement in terms of housing projects in his province.
The MEC said that the results of the housing projects would be seen during the fourth quarter.
Mr E Sogoni wanted to know how Project Consolidate assisted government in assessing certain skills.
The MEC replied that Project Consolidate did an analysis of skills in the different sectors. He commented that there was a lot of resistance at provincial treasury and that this needed to change. Within the provincial treasury there were a lot of people who were not properly skilled.
The Chairperson said that the North West and Kwazulu Natal were not present at the meeting at all nor did they tender an apology and this was unacceptable. He was angry that the MEC for the Eastern Cape had sent an acting Head of Department instead of appearing himself at the meeting. The Committee Secretary was directed to write to North West, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal Housing Departments and ask them to give their reasons for not coming.
The meeting was adjourned.
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