30 March 2021 - NW858
Hicklin, Ms MB to ask the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
(1)Whether she has been informed of challenges posed to the professional standing of female councillors in the SA Council for the Architectural Profession, (SACAP), particularly by their male counterparts; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) steps is she taking to protect female councillors from harassment by their male counterparts in SACAP and (b) policies are in place to protect whistle-blowers in SACAP; (2) whether she has been informed of allegations against the current President of SACAP relating to an abuse of power; if not, (a) why not and (b) how does she intend to go about addressing the matter; if so, what (i) policies are in place to address the abuse of junior employees by senior employees and (ii) anti-bullying policies are in place in the institution; (3) whether she has been informed of the governance challenges besetting the effective and efficient functioning of SACAP as a professional body; if so, what steps is her department taking to provide support to the entity to ensure effective running of the organisation?
The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure:
1. I have been informed by the Department of the alleged challenges in the SACAP and have:
a) Directed that an independent investigation of the allegations of harassment of the female councillors by their male counterparts be carried out. After receiving such allegations from the complainant, I have afforded the SACAP Council an opportunity to provide a report responding to the allegations and how the Council is dealing with the matter. After receiving the response from the Council President, I deemed it necessary to have an independent investigation conducted. Such a decision is however still to be communicated with the Council as part of consultation.
b) The powers of the Minister to perform an oversight responsibility over the SACAP are limited in terms of the Architectural Profession Act, 2000 (Act No. 47 of 2000). The SACAP Council has its own Code of Conduct, which all its members are supposed to comply with. Therefore, the Minister must rely on general good practice to perform this oversight role, as well as the framework for the oversight over public entities, albeit SACAP, like the other five built environment professions reporting to the Minister, are not listed as public entities, but rather statutory bodies that perform regulatory functions on behalf of the State.
2. Please refer to 1(a) above.
c) The Minister exercises oversight over the Council which in turn has oversight on the SACAP Executive Management. The Minister does not deal with the matters affecting the employees of SACAP, as this is the function of the SACAP Council and Executive Management.
d) There are no anti-bullying policies developed for the Professional Councils. Professional Councils develop their own policies which are approved by their respective Council members. In this instance, the SACAP Council has a Code of Conduct, which all its members must comply with.
3. The Minister has been informed about the governance challenges besetting the effective and efficient functioning of SACAP as a professional body and is in consultation with the Council to address those alleged challenges.