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WATER AND FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
31 October 2007
DEPARTMENT’S ADJUSTED NATIONAL EXPENDITURE PRIORITIES: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms C September (ANC)
Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure of Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Audio recording of meeting
The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry tabled its figures for the adjusted national expenditure, indicating that this would include R556.1 million. National Treasury had approved rollover of R314 million from the previous to the current financial year. In addition an amount of R14 million that had been allocated to the Department of Provincial and Local Government had been later transferred back to Department of Water Affairs and Forestry for the Working on Fire programme. Additional salary adjustments were sought. Details of the amounts requested from Cabinet, together with reasons, were tabled, and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework figures were also given. The Forestry Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter was outlined. The Department warned that there could not be continued reliance on donor funds, and that additional human capital had to be found, as also additional funding for functions in connection with the World Cup. Questions were asked on the Fire funding moved to the Department, the rollovers and the reason for continuous rollovers, the apparent lack of planning on dams, for a number of functions within the Department, and the costs across the three year cycle were tabled. It was noted that the Department had a role to play in finding water and sanitation for the forthcoming 2010 World Cup and would need additional funding for that function. Questions were raised on the Fire funding shifted, the rollovers, the reasons for continued requests for rollovers, the apparent lack of planning on dams, and the reasons why the budget concentrated on domestic water use.
Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) Briefing
Mr Onesmus Ayaya, Chief Financial Officer, DWAF, indicated that R556.1 million would be included in the adjusted national expenditure. National Treasury had approved that an unspent amount of R314 million could be rolled over from the previous to the current financial year. He also indicated the R14 million that the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) had been asked to spend e on the Working on Fire Programme was then later transferred back to the Department of Water and Forestry (DWAF). In terms of salary adjustments: an additional amount of R21.4 million was allocated to DWAF to accommodate the higher costs of the public service salary adjustments.
Details of the amounts requested from Cabinet for the current drought, management of forestry, Working for Water, and Working for Fire were tabled. Further amounts were requested for unforeseen and unavoidable occurrences, and these were approved at R161.9 million.
Mr Ayaya tabled the Medium Term Expenditure Framework budget bids were tabled, and detailed the intended deliverables for the Working for Water, Working on Fire, Working on Wetlands and Working on Woodlands (see attached presentation).
The National Bulk Water figures for 2008 /09 were tabled by province. The deliverables for Trees for Food were also outlined. This aimed at the development of the project plan, the development of provincial greening plans, the development and implementation of provincial tree distribution and planting programmes.
The Forestry BEEE Charter consisted of the Charter Council, Constitution and governance structure for the council, Council business plan, budget and SLA, admin support and infrastructure, overall forest development, research and capacity building and the progress reporting systems and procedures.
It was noted that donor funds could not continue to be relied upon yet certain projects as set out were currently reliant on private donor funding. Others were on hold until more certainty on funding could be found. It was noted that additional human capital had to be found for a number of functions within the Department, and the costs across the three-year cycle were tabled. It was noted that the Department had a role to play in finding water and sanitation for the forthcoming 2010 World Cup and would need additional funding for that function.
Mr J Arendse (ANC) wanted more clarity on the R14m fire funds shifted to the Department and he also asked if this was now going an ongoing matter.
Mr Ayaya responded by confirming the amount of R14m.
Ms Thandeka Mbassa, Deputy Director General, DWAF, said that her Department would now be responsible for the fire funds, as this was a priority issues that was also contributing to the creation of jobs.
Mr K Moonsamy (ANC) requested further information on the rollover issue and he asked if the Department perhaps knew whether this would continue. He also wanted to know what the national work infrastructure entailed, and he requested the Department to look deeper into the 2010 issue.
The Chairperson commented that this year was the first year that the budget contained less rollover and requested the Department to elaborate as to why it was continuously requesting rollovers. In particular, she asked why the work on the dams was categorised as a rollover because according to her understanding a dam could not be started today and be completed tomorrow, so that there should be proper planning.
Mr M Sibuyana (ANC) wanted to know why the funds for the budget only concentrated on water for domestic use and less on water for economic use.
Mr Ayaya noted the point for domestic use, but it was further said that Department did also cater for the rural areas, and that was included in the Masibambane programme.
The meeting was adjourned.
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