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PUBLIC WORKS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 March 2006
COMMITTEE REPORT ON OVERSIGHT VISITS: CONSIDERATION
Chairperson: Mr F Bhengu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Draft minutes of the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works held on 2 February 2006.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works on the oversight visit to all nine provinces between February and September 2005 (available shortly Committee Reports)
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works on the briefing by the Department of Public Works, the lndependent Development Trust (IDT) and the Construction Industry Board (CIB) on their Annual report dated 9 November 2005. (available shortly Committee Reports)
The Committee adopted minutes of previous meetings and also its Report on Oversight Visits to the Provinces.
The Chairperson began the meeting on a congratulatory note. He commended all the parties on their performance in the recent local government elections. The new Committee Secretary was formally introduced and welcomed.
Discussion and thoughtful consideration preceded the adoption of the draft minutes dated 2 February 2006 and the Oversight Report on the visit to all nine provinces. This resulted in the inclusion and formulation of new phrases, the exclusion of unnecessary ones and the correction of errors. To the Chairperson’s annoyance, an amended report on the briefing on the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) and the Construction Industry Board (CIB) was issued to Members without notification. This created confusion and resulted in discussion on this report transferred to the following day.
The Chair proposed, in order to avoid similar incidences in the future, that Members must receive copies of the minutes and all relevant documentation by the end of the week within which the meeting took place, so that they could properly prepare themselves for the following meeting. He noted that the Committee agreed to the proposal.
Mr Gogotya (ANC) voiced his concern regarding the attendance of opposition Members at Committee meetings. He lamented that their absence affected oversight and sometimes resulted in them missing meetings where crucial decisions had to be taken. He concluded that their presence was not a luxury but a necessity for good governance.
The Chairperson concurred with Mr. Gogotya's sentiments. He added that vibrancy, engagement and participation were needed from opposition Members.
Ms Nwamitwa-Silubana (ANC) asked whether the new Committee Secretary had undergone all the processes that were discussed and listed in the draft minutes of the previous meeting dated 2 February 2006. She stated that the problem with the previous Committee Secretary centred on capacitation, and asked whether the newly appointed Secretary had been capacitated accordingly.
Ms N Nonkelela (Control Committee Secretary) responded that they were still busy with the induction process and that it would be finalised by the beginning of April.
Mr Blanche (DA) cautioned the new Secretary against cancelling meetings without notification as was done previously. He advised that adequate notification be given when there are changes to the schedule, as he would like to be present at all meetings. The Chairperson agreed and with no objections, the draft minutes dated 2 February 2006 were adopted.
Mr F Bhengu turned attention to Consideration of Committee Reports on Oversight Visits and asked Members to provide comments and amendments.
Mr Blanche (DA) noticed an incorrect date on p.9 under 2.2.1. The date was changed from 28 September 2006 to 28 September 2004.
An ANC member made an addition on p.11 under H. He added ‘must be promoted elsewhere in the country’ after (owned and driven by the youth). He felt that such an excellent initiative should be implemented in other provinces.
One of the Members referred the Committee to bullet 5 on p.11 and stated that this was not an Expanded Public Works Project (EPWP). The Chairperson replied that the Minister informed him that they were erroneously shown this project as an EPWP.
Ms Nwamitwa-Silubana wanted the report to be structured to reflect the Members that were present in each province.
One of the Members stated that they received many complaints about exit programmes all over the country. He identified that a clear and workable programme needed to be established. The Chairperson agreed and asked Members to work on a formulation.
Dr Huang (ANC) questioned the accuracy of a series of dates (of the oversight visits). He suggested that these purported dates were incorrect and that this information needed to be rechecked.
Mr Blanche (DA) remarked that it would be important to return to the projects on an intermittent period to see if there were any shortcomings or if further assistance was required.
Mr Blanche noted that he came across sales people using open fires to prepare their meals. According to him, this was unhealthy and people needed to comply with a healthier alternative. He felt that the EPWP could assist in this regard by providing gas facilities, for example, at taxi ranks.
Members applauded the idea but also cautioned against encroaching on the terrain of local government.
Mr Likotsi (PAC) recommended that special incentives be given to successful projects.
Ms Nwamitwa-Silubana shared her sadness at the under-utilisation and depreciation of multipurpose and community purpose infrastructure. She asserted that it was insufficient for the Department to only budget for the infrastructural development of community centres and that these budgets should include maintenance for these facilities.
The report was accordingly adopted with amendments.
Despite the Chairperson's intention to continue the meeting, he abandoned this idea when he discovered that Members were given an amended report without notification.
The meeting was adjourned.
[Note: Committee clerk’s minutes state additionally that the chairperson presented the 2005/6 Annual Report of the Committee and it was considered. A number of amendments were effected and then deferred for the next meeting for adoption.]
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