Department of Water Affairs and Forestry Annual Report: briefing

Water and Sanitation

15 October 2006
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Meeting report

WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 October 2006
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY ANNUAL REPORT: BRIEFING

Acting Chairperson: Ms C September (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Introduction from the Minister Powerpoint presentation
Introduction from the Director General Powerpoint presentation
Programme One: Administration and Corporate Services Powerpoint presentation
Programme One: Corporate Services Powerpoint presentation
Programme Two: Water Resource Management presentation
Programme Two: National Water Resources Infrastructure Branch Powerpoint presentation
Programme Three: Water Services Powerpoint presentation
Programme Four: Forestry Powerpoint Presentation

SUMMARY
The Minister of Water Affairs noted the achievements and challenges that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry had faced during the financial year. The good work of the Department was undermined by a qualified audit report but the financial situation was being worked on. The Department hoped to meet its 2007 target for eradication of the bucket system. Staff profiles and equality were improved although skilled employees remained dominated by white males.

The Director General, reported on strategies for change in financial management. The Department was focusing on water resource infrastructure, relationships with local government and stakeholders and other countries. The Acting Chief Financial Officer set out the Auditor General’s findings, a seven point plan for the Department and expenditure trends. He explained the under spending. There was no suggestion of a misuse of funds. A SAP accounting system had been introduced.  Asset management strategy and an Audit Steering Committee had been set up. The presentation on Corporate Services noted that regions had a partnership with a tertiary institution providing bursaries and a talent pipeline, that a Gender/Disability Directorate had been created. Decision making had been streamlined. Human resource issues were outlined and explained. Performance was being improved by increasing accountability department wide through quarterly progress reports. Questions asked by Members addressed the challenges, the Auditor General’s report, and the vacancies and retention of staff. School sanitation was raised as a priority. Further questions were asked on the water boards and functioning, and the functioning of the audit committee.

A further briefing addressed water resource management, noting that there were still some restrictions and the Department was allied to other Departments. Provincial breakdowns of progress were given. 254 licences had been authorised in the year. Feasibility studies were being done for long term planning. The shortage of engineers was a problem and there had been under spending on dam safety. There were many challenges with the relationship between water boards and water service authorities. The National Water Resource Initiative (NWRI) was outlined and statistics and overviews of the various projects were presented. Questions by Members related to harvesting of rainwater, illegal dams, the viability and performance of water boards, and drought relief. It was clear that many questions could not be addressed in the short time available. The Chairperson said that in future the Water Users Associations must be invited.

A briefing on water services and forestry noted that about 78% of the population was now serviced with free basic water. The effectiveness of programmes depended on the support that DWAF gave to local government. The water summits were successful and there were also education programs. Mpumalanga had been successful in the eradication of the bucket system because there had been political buy-in. In Forestry, BEE was a major focus as well as sustainable management of plantations. Long term timber planning, the profile of Forestry and National Fire Danger Rating systems were priority areas. Questions by Members addressed school water provision, the responsibilities of municipalities, bursaries, and the need to protect indigenous forests. The under spending and tariff structures were of concern.

The Committee commended the Department upon its new commitment to take financial management further, and the Minister reiterated that the qualified report was unfortunate, but the commitments by the Department were serious and sincere.

MINUTES
The Chairperson welcomed all those present. It was the first official submission of the Annual Report from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The theme that the Committee had chosen for the submission was ‘Socio-economic growth and service delivery toward rural development’. The Committee had made various oversight visits during the last few years and rural issues had emerged as the most important. The Minister was welcomed; as it was her first meeting with the Portfolio Committee. The leaders of the water boards were asked to introduce themselves and the Deputy Director Generals were introduced.

Presentation by Hon Minister of Water Affairs
The Hon. Minister Lindiwe B Hendricks welcomed everyone present and said that she hoped the meeting was the first of many constructive engagements with the Committee. She noted the achievements and challenges that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) had faced during the financial year and compared the strategy plan from the start of the year. Sanitation and Water provision were the key visions. The Annual Report did not reflect all the achievements that the Department had made, as more people now had basic access to water. DWAF hoped to complete the new forestry branch creation and a dedicated Deputy Director General would be appointed. More information on water resource access would follow. Despite the good work that the Department had done, the qualified audit report undermined this. She assured the Committee that work was being done to turn the financial situation around. The Director General and the Minister had signed an agreement that linked the financial condition of the Department to the DG’s personal performance appraisal. The next key challenge was the eradication of the bucket system by 2007. Mpumalanga had already met this target. The 2005 deadline for schools access to sanitation had been missed. Public works needed to be involved. This had a ripple effect on learners, and a new target needed to be made. The profile of senior management had a good spread of blacks and females but more were needed in middle management and the skilled employee sector, which remained dominated by white males. The Department was going through a transition to become a regulator and supporter in the sector. She reiterated that the Annual Report did not reflect fully the progress being made to meet targets and improve the financial situation.

Briefing by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Mr Jabulani Sindane, Director General, DWAF, stated that his briefing would focus on finance and corporate issues, water and forestry. At the outset he commented on the qualified audit report, which had embarrassed the Department, especially since it was not the first time this had happened. He had made a personal and financial commitment, through his performance appraisal, to turn it around. Business as usual clearly was not working and the Department needed changes. They had to improve areas of policy, put systems in place and provide high quality information. DWAF was not working alone and had met with the Office of the Auditor General and the Accountant General. DWAF was looking for expertise outside the Department, like retired accountants. It had introduced performance based management so that accountability was at a higher level. He had agreed with the Minister on his performance agreement. Similar agreements would be made with the Deputy Director Generals. The Department could not do all the work themselves and it had to filter down to provincial and municipal levels. It was upgrading the relationships with the Department of Land Affairs especially with regard to emerging farmers. People with access to land must also have access to water. It was upgrading the monitoring system. Members had been worried about the Water Boards in the past. The relationships must be tightened up and focused. Water resource infrastructure was a focus especially for the construction of the De Hoop Dam. DWAF was a sector leader and water was a cross cutting issue. Local Government relationships were proceeding well. The Organs of Civil Society were a major stakeholder and must work together. DWAF was utilising Local Government but must do better to reinforce capacity. The Department was also active internationally with bordering countries, the SADC region and globally, especially in forestry. It was involved in the African Forest Law Enforcement initiative and the international best forestry practices.

Mr Trevor Balzer (Acting Chief Financial Officer, DWAF) presented on the financial state of the Department over the last year and compared it to previous years. He covered the Annual financial statements, the Auditor General’s findings, a seven point plan for the department and expenditure trends for the various programs within DWAF. There had been no wasteful or fruitless expenditure even though the Auditor’s report reflected poorly on DWAF. In the 2005/2006 year only 94.4% of funding was spent. The Exchequer account was qualified. The Auditor General had very specific technical needs for the report, requiring international standards, even if systems were not in place to meet them. There was no suggestion of a misuse of funds. A SAP accounting system had been introduced so the system had changed to help in future. The Seven Point Plan was made up of restructuring: to separate roles and responsibilities and meet PFMA requirements; relationship with the Accountant General; and initiation of a one year contract with the National Accounting Firm. SAP was introduced on 4 October 2006 as the necessary infrastructure and support had to be built. This was a world class system and there would be no excuses in future for systems not being in place. Extensive training for SAP users had been done, including Super users (internal) and Power users (external). Asset management strategy had been set upto account for all the Department’s assets, and an Audit Steering Committee and Auditor General meetings would provide feedback. With regard to the budget, 94.4% was spent, with Administration and Water resources under spending by the largest margins. There had been a very large decrease in theft and losses in this year compared with the last. Under expenditure in Administration was due to the slow transfer of staff to the municipalities. Water resource Management under-spending was due to vacant posts not being filled. The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was responsible for the decrease in spending. Forestry spending had increased and there was a roll over of funds to pay for the YORCOR claim. DWAF should be able to start mitigating running on deficit. The Equipment Trading Account would be merged with the Water Trading Account.

Ms NJ Ngele (Deputy Director General Corporate Services, DWAF) said that the Minister and Director General had already touched on some of the issues in Corporate Services. Each region had a partnership with a tertiary institution providing bursaries and a talent pipeline. DWAF had created a Gender/Disability Directorate as well as a Forestry branch. It was streamlining decision making for accountability at different levels. There was a turnaround in human resources as the technical workforce aged. Since human resources were the bedrock of an organisation, it was important to have performance by being both ruthless and constructive. There was a scarce skills allowance from Government for the education of scientists and engineers. Experienced mentors were being put in place and the regional offices were being strengthened. Under spending in administration was due to unions stalling over transfers of workers in Water Management Agencies. Performance was being improved by increasing accountability department wide through quarterly progress reports. This was a new approach and was for all DDGs. DWAF must be a good place to work or transformation could not occur.

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked the presenters for the spirit and nature of the briefings, which had changed substantially from previous presentations. 

Mr J Arendse (ANC) asked whether an increase in funding would enable the Department to adequately address their challenges.

Mr Sindane replied that there were different ways to top up funding. DWAF was transforming and transferring and each division should be accountable. There was a constitutional imperative to filter money down to municipalities.

Mr K Moonsamy (ANC) commented that DWAF had come a long way with more than 10 million people getting access to clean water. He believed that the Director General’s reference to lack of technical policy was important. He asked what the internal audit committee did. He felt that if work was not carried out this was a management problem. He sought clarification on the meaning of ‘technical’ and ‘capacity’, and asked how many vacancies there were, as this must affect DWAF’s functioning.

Mr Moonsamy asked for elaboration on the revisiting of organisational structures. He noted that Mpumulanga had managed to achieve success.

Mr Sindane replied that in order to attract competent people, DWAF wanted to upgrade so it did not set up for failure. This is what was meant by revisiting the structure.

Mr Moonsamy commented that school sanitation should be a priority.

Mr Sindane noted that in the following week, the Free State had a summit on the bucket system eradication. Mpumalanga representatives would be there to share their success and be involved in the summit. The same would happen for other provinces.

Mr Moonsamy was happy to note the number of women in the Department.

Ms D Van der Walt (DA) apologised for having to leave early. She told the Minister that the Committee had faith in her. It was unfortunate that the Minister was often blamed for shortcomings in achieving targets with local government.

Ms van der Walt commented that forestry and access could not go another year without being settled. Some Water Boards were a big problem, as the Committee had seen during oversights. The Committee needed quarterly reports on the finances and progress on the Seven Point Plan.

Ms van der Walt asked where, with regard to Corporate Services; the Committee fitted into all the bills. She had problems with the tender awards in forestry but would deal with that at a later stage.

Mr B G Mosala (ANC) asked if the retention strategy mentioned was ready and had been developed. He called for a time frame.

Mr Mosala was concerned that recruitment was not properly done, and urged that problems must be dealt with and sped up.

Mr Sindane pointed out that the recruitment strategy would only work if DWAF appointed and retained the appropriate people. It was thinking of taking engineers out of their positions and putting them into a learning unit to teach others. This would then not be threatening for the engineers, who would feel that young people were taking their jobs. DWAF had already signed an agreement to this effect with the University of the Western Cape. A new idea would be to open the doors to all qualified people to gain a critical mass to mitigate losses to the private sector.

Ms Ngele added that there was a strategy in place to deal with vacancies. DWAF was moving from being implementers to being regulators. The Committee should be able to see a shift in the paradigm in the Department. Parliament had a strategy to match capabilities and needs. DWAF previously had 3000 extra employees, but Cabinet reassigned them. DWAF needed to identify what skills were needed for the coming years. Much more consultation and compliance was needed to set up a good retention strategy.

Mr Mosala asked where entities had fallen short, as they needed to do more.

The Chairperson commented favourably on the technical quality of the report, saying that the Department had obviously put much effort into it. However, it did not reflect what DWAF had done, except for their finances. Entities reported to the Minister, and she asked what tools did the Committee had on oversights. She commented that there was a large difference between water boards.

The Chairperson was heartened that the Department would do more on finances to deal with the current situation. Last year the Committee had been harsh with the Department on the Annual Report, and wanted to be assured this year that the same problems would not be raised again next year.  DWAF must not bring excuses. She asked for specific explanation of the terms of reference of the auditor committee and its composition and functioning.

The Chairperson asked for explanation of the debts written off and attempts for recovery. She asked why overpaid salaries were not recoverable

Mr Moonsamy asked for clarification on thefts and losses

Mr Balzer confirmed that there was a Steering and Internal Audit Committee. The Steering Committee was for guidance. It was new and composed of DWAF members and external people. It would strengthen with regional members in the coming years. Salary overpayment was listed in page 113 of the Annual Report. Recovery took place over time and only the CFO could write it off once he had had consultation with the relevant people.

Mr Sindane noted that some debt was from municipalities owing water boards, so some debt had to be written off. DWAF did not have numbers for the amount of fraud, but there had been one conviction for salary fraud and DWAF would supply more information about this. DWAF had restructured the finances and regions. There were many things that DWAF was doing that were not included in the financial report.

Mr Balzer added that with regard to the budget for 07/08, there was a decision to reduce it by 8% to compensate for the capacity gap. The question on theft and losses was covered in the Note 7 in the Notes to Finances in the Annual Report. There was a difficulty in recovering the money as sometimes the fraudulent people did not have assets or the money to repay.

Mr Sindane replied that DWAF had had much discussion about what should be incorporated in the presentations. Some questions that the Committee had sent prior to the meeting had been dealt with in the presentations especially with regards the Audit outcome and the steps to fix it. After the other presentations, other of the Committees questions should be answered and he would field those that were left out. He suggested that the structure of the Annual Report be workshopped in the future.

With regard to the internal audit, he hoped to ensure the finances of DWAF were carried out according to the rules and regulations. The relationship with the Office of the Auditor General had been identified as very important to develop. Capacity was reinforced in areas lacking information on funds being used properly. The quality of this information had improved.  Policy had not been implemented where there was a lack of management. Training for SAP must be at all levels. The plan did not work, but it was not a malicious mistake.

Mr Sindane then noted, in answer to some of the questions above, that various institutions of water did not have good relationships and this was the fault of the Department. There was confusion about the role of authority and service provider. DWAF was trying to help municipalities in their role and authority and to hold the service providers accountable. Some relationships had been soured and the boards ran with the role. Some schemes from water boards were transferred to municipalities and DWAF did not act fast enough to help the relationships. There were multiple service providers scattered around and it was difficult to communicate and manage them. DWAF was now aware of and would address the problem.

The Minister said that Mr Moonsamy had raised a core issue. DWAF was a state and not a company. There was a lack of Bathu Pele culture. DWAF must change its reports to the Committee. She confirmed that DWAF was both committed and capable. It could not guarantee a clean Audit Report for the next year but the picture would be completely different, especially with problems of impunity. There were 16 000 people in DWAF and there were now between five and six thousand. She used the analogy that DWAF was an elephant and it was the work of all to make it dance. Things needed to be turned around in a good way so that everyone was taken along.

Mr Mosala commented on the passion that the Department showed and said that he had no doubt that next time the Committee would be far more satisfied.

The Chairperson asked about under spending. She stressed that the Committee needed an overall answer in a quarterly report, and instead of reporting on spending, DWAF must report on how they were avoiding getting a Qualified Audit Report. She asked how good work and finances were interrelated.

Mr Sindane again replied that he wanted to avoid miscommunication between the Portfolio Committee and the Department. More discussion was needed to clarify that the same information that is presented is in the Annual Report.

Ms Lishivha asked about the difference in administration figures for different years.

Mr Balzer suggested that both questions would become clearer in subsequent presentations.

The Chairperson asked when there would be a CFO for DWAF.

Mr Sindane said DWAF needed to complete the process. The current CFO had been suspended and the formal processes were slow.

The Chairperson did not feel that this answer was not good enough. DWAF should ask public services for help because in the meanwhile it was paying someone who was not fully accountable because he is only in an acting position. This had been going on for two years already.

Briefing by the Department on Water Resource Management
Ms Barbara Schreiner (DDG: Forestry and Water Resource Management, DWAF) reported that rainfall had been better this year. There were still restrictions in some parts, and storage levels ranged between 67-90% in dams. For Water Allocation Reform, DWAF needed to align with the Departments of Agriculture and Land Affairs. There were discrepancies between water use and the claims. She gave a provincial breakdown of major progress taking place and reported that 254 licences had been authorised in the year. Feasibility studies were being done for long term planning, up to 25 years. A problem had been that engineers were lost to the Football World Cup and Gautrain projects. Working For Water exceeded its target by 103%. Under spending on dam safety was due to not spending drought relief money. It would be rolled over to the next year. The Catchment Management Agencies were represented before the Committee for the first time. There were still challenges in the Irrigation boards and Water User Association restructure. Various loans had been made from the state, the Land Bank and from a Partnership with Rand Merchant Bank. Human Resources were a challenge and data had been collected to monitor water resources. Review and oversight of entities had not been included in the Annual Report but it should be. Regulation was needed, not just oversight. There were many challenges with the relationship between water boards and water service authorities. They needed institutional reform to make the water boards perform.

Dr Cornelius Ruiters, Manager: Water Use, DWAF, presented on the Establishment of the National Water Resource Initiative (NWRI) branch of Water Resource Management. It was a two-phase establishment. The Berg River Water Project was going through environmental monitoring to be compliant with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). 46% of the jobs created were unskilled. Impounding of the reservoir will be completed by July 2007 and it would supply Cape Town. The raising of Flag Boshielo Dam was 94% completed, and the delay had been due to rain. The Olifants River Water Resource Development Plan included the De Hoop Dam. Planning for this dam was complete and construction was waiting for revision. That was why there was under spending. 65% of workers were local. DWAF had completed the labour procurement for the construction of the dam. VRESAP Project, which took water from the Vaal to the industrial area of Mpumalanga,  would be completed in October 2007. This was an important project for Sasol as the hydrogen was used to create 41% of South Africa’s fuel.

Discussion
Mr Moonsamy said that he was heartened to hear about the rainwater harvesting. It should be spread through the country. DWAF should also consider small dams and cannels to create jobs and to divert rivers from running in to the sea, and other ways of harvesting rain water. The Orange River should not be permitted simply to run into the sea. Mr Moonsamy asked for details on the illegal dams.

Ms Lishivha asked who was responsible for the safety of dams

Mr B Zulu (ANC) asked how many dams had been built since 1994 and whether South Africa was still relying on old dams.

Ms Schreiner thanked Mr Moonsamy for his comments on harvesting and conceded that there were many opportunities. There are plans to expand irrigation from the Orange River. There were various options to do this but the major focus was how to use water resources for poverty alleviation across the country. She did not have actual numbers of illegal dams because DWAF only know about the ones that have been found out. Illegal extraction was also a major concern. DWAF was responsible for dam safety of all dams of a certain size, within the National Water Resource Initiative.

Dr Ruiters added that there were about 18000 dams in South Africa but most of them were small. There were three categories of dam sizes; less than 5 meters, 5-30 meters and more than 30 meters. The first category had no safety requirements but the latter two require inspections. There were 350 large dams and the NWRI was responsible for the safety of these. KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo had the most dams and the Northern Cape had the least. The De Hoop Dam would be the first major dam built since 1994 excluding work done on the Lesotho Highlands Project.

Mr Sindane agreed that the safety of dams was the responsibility of DWAF. Gutters for harvesting rain water depended on the design of houses. Old houses had these, and DWAF would be discussing matters with the Department of Housing. The dams built were mostly single purpose dams and they needed to be converted to multipurpose ones. All dams were grounded in a municipality. Municipalities may, therefore, be better placed to communicate with the community and regulate dam safety.

Mr Moonsamy pointed out that most water boards were not compliant with the PFMA. He asked who had authority in this case. He also enquired how many Water Boards were not viable

Ms Schreiner said that
about two or three water boards were not viable as they received subsidies.

The Chairperson commented that in drought relief programmes municipalities suffered from a lack of funds and that it was clear that budgets needed to be increased during the dry season. She also asked what was being done to stop alien waterweeds.

Ms Schreiner replied that money for drought relief went into creating sustainable supply, not just emergency tanks if possible. Chemical, physical and biocontrol methods were employed to deal with waterweeds. These were paid for by the water users.

Mr Mosala asked for an indication of the findings of the forensic report

Ms Schreiner said that the forensic investigation results would be made available to the Committee.

Mr Mosala also asked for the content of the workshop on water board remuneration

Ms Schreiner replied that remuneration of the boards depends on the size of the board.

The Chairperson asked how the Department paid for people to attend water boards that did not even exist. She queried why the financial expenditures were uneven and asked how entities could know that they all have the same mandate.  She also asked if the Department picked up the disjunction between the two water acts. She asked what were the implications that different policies and frameworks had on spatial boundaries of water resource management.

Dr Ruiters pointed out that the budget for the NWRI is on page 98 of the Annual Report.


Ms Schneider said that she would come back with an exact answer fro the financial unevenness. Regulation of the mandate was done through discussions about policies with the water boards.

Mr Balzer added that there were uneven resources and so this varied year to year to make up for shortfalls. There would be no unevenness once expenditure equalled the income.

The Chairperson noted that there were major issues for discussion but that there was not sufficient time today. The Committee needed another opportunity to engage. She noted that the  Water Users Associations were unfortunately not invited.

Briefing on Water Services and Forestry
Ms T Mbassa , DDG Regions, DWAF, briefed the Committee on water services, focusing on water and sanitation provision and the achievements and challenges that these have presented. 74% to 78% of people were now serviced with free basic water. The effectiveness of programmes depended on the support that DWAF gave to local government. The Water summits were very successful and there were also education programs. Mpumalanga had been successful in the eradication of the bucket system because there had been political buy-in and additional funds were allocated to them from campaigning.

Ms B Schreiner presented on forestry. BEE was a major focus as well as sustainable management of plantations. Temporary unplanted areas (TUP) were problematic as they experienced far more fires and thefts. The Department had a strategy to combat long term timber shortages. The Forestry profile was being raised with a new website and other public access initiatives. The National Fire Danger Rating System will be implemented soon.

Discussion
 Mr Zulu asked how the responsibility of school water provision could be handed over to municipalities who lacked adequate capacity to do so.

Ms Mbassa said that there was no MEC of water in the provinces. The MECs were very busy with a huge work load. There were only problems in some of the provinces. The challenges faced the entire sector. DWAF was a sector leader so it must bring the stakeholders together and lead with solutions. DWAF had spent all their money budgeted for bucket eradication and were looking for more. DWAF would have to provide the bulk infrastructure and might well overspend this year. It was clear that there remained many issues to which DWAF needed to pay more attention.

Mr Sindane commented as a general matter of policy that DWAF might well need to rethink how effective the current plan for school water was. It was possible that maybe the municipalities should be involved. DWAF was making ground with education and sustainable projects.

Mr Zulu commented that the creation of bursaries showed that the Government was taking water seriously. He asked if sufficient young people were being educated to take responsibility in the future. He felt that there were perhaps not enough bursaries.

Ms Mbassa replied that the money for schools was with the provincial education system who were thus responsible. The Department made this decision and wanted to assist them. There were only five people for bursaries in the one specific programme, but this was one of many programmes which were working well.

Mr Zulu noted also that sustained effort must be taken to protect indigenous forest. He commented also that lantana was a big problem because it was so water-greedy and queried what was being done about such invasive plants and protection of forest.

 
Ms Schreiner said that damage to indigenous forests and alien invasives was a problem for diversity and water. Working for Water dealt with these issues. The Department in KwaZulu Natal also put a lot of money into alien clearing. Lantana was being dealt with by physical and biocontrol measures.

Ms Lishivha asked what happened to people who use firewood without a licence.

Ms Schreiner said that the harvesting of firewood with no licence was very difficult to monitor. This function was mostly transferred to the regions.

Mr Moonsamy also asked for an explanation why R2 million funding was described as secure but was not spent.

Ms Schreiner replied that the R2 million from the National Development Agency was being spent at the time.

Mr Moonsamy said that the theft reports were alarming, and asked how the challenges were being met

The Chairperson asked for an explanation of under spending from the DDG of Regions. She noted that only 7% of the bucket system eradication had been achieved in the 2005 Annual Report. She asked also for an explanation of the lack of work and lack of spending. She pointed out that the Constitution named water as a right. She pointed out that all debts must be recovered, and that if need be it was possible to tax water for this purpose.

Ms Schreiner said that the recreation trust fund had been resolved with the national treasury. It has been utilised in the information workshop. It was not a lot of money, and amounted to thousands.

The Chairperson asked when the tariff increase for water boards would be effective

Ms Schreiner said that tariff setting would be done by the end of September. DWAF was having major meetings with the water boards and discussing the matter with stake holders.

The Chairperson asked for an explanation of how DWAF was preventing the end user getting the negative effects of problems with water boards and supply.

Mr Sindane stated that there was an assumption that people who could not afford water would only use the allocated 6 kilolitres per household per month. This however had become problematic. Research would help. The system was that those that can pay must pay, but the implementation must be reconsidered. There was no obvious contradiction in the Act but there indeed arose problems when it came to implementation.

Mr J Doidge, visiting the Committee, asked if the Department had a strategy or plan for water storage in the former homelands. He noted that there was a lot of water now flowing into the sea and then there would be no water in the dry season. He asked what would be the correct procedure to discuss this.

Mr Sindane replied that there were water storage summits to examine water requirements. The regional office should get, and could then deal with the information.

The Chairperson thanked all presenters and hoped the rural areas would see change. The Committee was heartened by the fact that the Annual Report showed new commitment to take financial management further.

The Minister expressed her thanks and stated that the full presentations had expanded on her introduction. The health of an organisation showed through its financial statements and she reiterated that the qualified report was unfortunate, but she hoped the Committee was satisfied that service delivery on the ground was not affected. The commitments by the Department were serious and sincere.

The meeting was adjourned.


 

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