ATC181017: Report of the Standing Committee on Appropriations on its Oversight visit to Free State Province from 13 to 17 August 2018, dated 17 October 2018

Standing Committee on Appropriations


The Standing Committee on Appropriations, having undertaken an oversight visit to the Free State Province from 13 to 17 August 2018, reports as follows:


1.         Introduction


The Standing Committee on Appropriations (the Committee) was established in terms of section 4(3) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, No.9 of 2009. The Act requires the Committee to focus on the following:


  • Spending issues;
  • Amendments to the Division of Revenue Bill, the Appropriation Bill, Supplementary Appropriation Bill and the Adjusted Appropriation Bill;
  • Recommendations of the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), including those referred to in the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act, 1997 (Act No. 97 of 1997);
  • Reports on actual expenditure published by the National Treasury (section 32 reports); and
  • Any other related matters.


Within the current difficult fiscal context and limited resources, the Committee is of the view that all programmes, projects and activities for the 2018 Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) should be rolled out in an effective and efficient manner, and in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. This means that all state agencies must take active steps to improve operational efficiencies and accelerate the effectiveness of service delivery and attain value for money.

The Committee undertook an oversight visit to the Free State province in order to visit the Tempe Military Base to ascertain the state and conditions of the Army Support Base (ASB), the 3 Military Hospital, and the Air Force Base Bloemspruit which are situated in Bloemfontein. The Committee visited the aforementioned facilities and met with the relevant senior officers on 13 August 2018.


The Committee also inspected the healthcare facilities to ascertain the conditions and quality of services rendered at the Dr JS Moroka in Thaba Nchu, Nelson Mandela Clinic in Edenburg and Phekolong Clinic in Reddersburg. The site visit was on 14 August 2018.


The Committee also embarked on a fact finding visit to the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and Setsoto Local Municipality on 15 and 16 August respectively to ascertain the status of the provision of sanitation services and the Bucket Eradication Programme (BEP). The Committee met with various stakeholders on 15 August 2018 at the Bram Fischer Building in Bloemfontein and undertook site inspections at Thaba Nchu, Botshabelo, Clocolan, Marquard and Senekal. The Committee was joined by the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation on 15 and 16 August 2018.


2.         Delegation


The delegation was as follows: Ms YN Phosa (Chairperson), Mr NE Gcwabaza (ANC), Ms D Senokoanyane (ANC), Ms MNS Manana (ANC), and Ms SCN Shope-Sithole. The delegation was accompanied by the following parliamentary officials: Mr D Arends (Committee Secretary), Mr T Masoeu (Content Advisor), Mr M Zamisa (Committee Researcher), Ms N Chaso (Committee Assistant), and Mr A Duka (Parliamentary Communication Specialist).


The delegation from the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation was as follows: Mr M Johnson (Chairperson), Mr D Mnguni, Ms HB Kekana, Ms NK Bilankulu, Mr LJ Basson, Ms C Visser, and Ms M Khawula. The delegation was accompanied by the following parliamentary officials: Ms M Solomons (Committee Secretary), Mr T Manungufala (Researcher), Ms S Dawood (Content Advisor), and Ms NB Twala (Committee Assistant).


The Committee met with the following stakeholders at the various sites and stakeholder meetings during the oversight visit:


Ministry of Defence: Mr P Nkabinde (Parliamentary Liaison Officer)


Department of Defence: Col. RE Aucamp (Counter Intelligence); Cpt SE Pula; Col. AT Motloung (Parliamentary Liaison Officer)


3 Military Hospital Bloemfontein: Maj. Me Schuster (HOD: Family Medicine); Col. WC Hendricks (Commanding Officer); Maj. R Coetzee (Corporate Communication); Ms KE Mokhuane (Assistant Nursing Manager); Ms J du Plessis (Maintenance); Maj. PL Kruger (SO Force Support)


Bloemfontein Army Support Base: Brig. Gen. RV Ludonga; Lt. Col. LA Korh (Officer Commanding: Regiment President Steyn); Lt. Col. MSA Tseki (Officer Commanding: 1 South Mechanised Infantry Battalion);  Lt. Col. DL Romain (Officer Commanding: 1 Special Service Battalion); Mr S Jiyano (Officer Commanding); Mr PG Mangana (Officer Commanding: School of Armour); Col. GT Maso (Officer Commanding); Maj. CL Pretrius (Acting Officer Commanding: Facilitiy Management Service Centre); Lt. Col. XV Kose (Acting Officer Commanding: 44 Parachute Regiment); Maj. EL Swartbooi (Acting Second in Command); Col. MW Nondala (project Officer); Maj. BP Vanneel (Fleet Manager); WOI. KD radebe (Occupational Health and Safety); WOI. JH Wiese (Officer in charge: Emergency Services); Capt. VL Fokase (Human Resource Manager); Capt. KS Molebatsi (Technical Maintenance Officer); Chaplan M Goba (Military Chaplan); Lt. A Buys (Corporate Communication Functionary)


Air Force Base Bloemspruit: Col A Naik (Commanding Officer: Bloemspruit AFB); Lt. Col. F Grunewald (Base Aviation Safety Co-ordinator); Maj. JD Sterling (Operations Co-ordinator); Lt. Col. CT Motaung (Commanding Officer: 506 Squadron Protection); SWO. PC Makgoka (Regimental Warrant Officer); Lt. Col. DA Bellinger (Commanding Officer: 16 Squadron); Lt. Col. RM Buys (Air Wing Co-ordinator); Maj. DG Williams (Base OBS Officer); Maj. G Williams (Military Intelligence Officer); Mr ES van Eck (Aviation Section Head); Mr RC Griffin (Air Wing Technical Officer); Lt. Col. L Maku (Base logistics Co-ordinator); Lt. Col. S Gayiya (Commanding Officer: 6 Air Servicing Unit)


Department of Health: Mr R Morewane (Chief Director)


Department of Water and Sanitation: Dr T Ntili (Provincial Head: Free State); Ms T Mpotulo (Chief Engineer); Mr HM Shokane (Candidate Engineer); Mr MA Mohapi (Sanitation Manager); Ms MJ Manyama (Project Manager); Mr LG Crisp (Communication Manager); Me EM Mgwambani (Director: Water Regulation)


National Treasury: Ms A Xaba (Provincial Budget Analyst)


Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Mr MJ Toona (Director: Municipal Infrastructure); Ms M Macheli (Director: Local Government Improvement Programme); Ms M Machesi (Director: LGIP).


Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency: Mr KS Rapulane (Provincial Head: Free State); Mr WR McLeod (Civil Engineer).


Free State Department of Health: Ms NJ Ramarau-Makhoali (District Manager); Dr A Torres (CEO: Botshabelo Hospital); Ms MC Mosunkuta (Local Area Manager)


Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality: Ms S Mlamleli (Executive Mayor); Ms M Mahase (Member of Municipal Council, MMC, Social Community Service); Ms J Nothnagel (MMC: Rural Development); (Adv. TB Mea (Municipal Manager); Mr M Ndlovu (HOD: Engineering Services); Adv. MJN Phaladi (HOD: Human Settlements); Mr T Mabuza (Acting Head: Planning Services); Mr MM Fikizolo (Head: Administration in the Office of the Executive Mayor); Mr S More (head: Waste and Fleet); Mr JD Lamprecht (Division Head: Environmental Health); Mr P Moeti (Environmental Health Practitioner); Ms LA Sontashe (Environmental Health Practitioner); Ms P Moletsane (Environmental Health Practitioner); Ms N Lerotholi (Environmental Health Practitioner); Mr LN Ntlabezo (Manager: Sanitation); Ms BL Henama (General Manager: Social Development)


Setsoto Local Municipality: Ms N Maoke (Executive Mayor); Mr ST Ramakarane (Municipal Manager); Mr M Seliasi (MMC: Infrastructure); Ms SS Kunene (Manager: Project Management Unit)


South African Local Government Association, Free State: Mr MA Siyomzana (Chairperson: Governance and IGR); Mr CT Mbatha (Programme Manager: Municipal Finance)


Free State Provincial Legislature: Mr DE Janse van Vuuren (Member of Provincial Legislature, MPL, Finance and Provincial Public Accounts Committee); Mr K Morapela (MPL: Finance and Provincial Public Accounts Committee); Ms K Phukuntsi (MPL: Finance and Provincial Public Accounts Committee); Dr R Jankielsohn (MPL: Finance and Provincial Public Accounts Committee); Ms TJ Ramokhoase (MPL: House Chairperson); Ms SP Mokhesi (Researcher: Finance and Public Accounts Committee); Ms IS Moroketsi (Committee Coordinator); Mr MS Mamashie (Committee Coordinator); Ms M Senago (Researcher)


Dr JS Moroka Hospital: Mr MD Makgisa (Chief Executive Officer); Ms M Moroka (Head of Nursing); Mr ME Acting Head: Administration and Support)


Phekolong Clinic (Reddersburg): Ms I Rautenbach (Operations Manager)


Nelson Mandela Clinic (Edenburg): Ms L Moloi (Operations Manager)


Bloem Water: Mr TS Ngebeni (Executive Engineer and Projects)


South African Local Government Association: Mr SN Mavundla (Specialist: Municipal Health)


Water Research Commission: Dr S Pillay (Research Manager: Sanitation)


Vharanani Properties: Mr CM Mthombeni (Operations Director); Ms ME Sambo (Occupational Health and Safety Agent);


ISA and Partners Consulting Engineers: Mr CN Kimaru (Project Engineer);


3.         Defence and Military Veterans


The Committee approves an allocation of resources directed at financing the construction and maintenance of new and existing defence facilities. The Department’s infrastructure programme channels resources into the construction and refurbishment of military health facilities, the refurbishment of military bases and units, and improvements to accommodation, kitchen and security facilities.  Some of the largest infrastructure project over the MTEF period include refurbishing air force bases in Bloemspruit and Overberg, which are in the design and construction stages and expected to be completed in 2024/25 and 2020/21 respectively.


The Committee visited the Bloemfontein 3 Military Hospital, the Bloemfontein Army Support Base, and the Air Force Base Bloemspruit to assess the state of infrastructure. The Committee met with the relevant senior officials from the three stated facilities and requested them to identify the priority areas that required urgent attention.  


On 4 September 2018, the Committee also held a meeting with the Departments of Defence, Public Works, Health and National Treasury to furtherdiscuss the infrastructure refurbishment and maintenance challenges experienced at the defence facilities in Bloemfontein. The meeting was held in Parliament, and the main discussion points and key decisions forms part of the findings and recommendations of this report.


3.1        Bloemfontein 3 Military Hospital


The Committee received and deliberated on a presentation from the officials, and conducted a physical inspection of the 3 Military Hospital. Overall, the presentation and discussions centred on a bleak condition of the 3 Military Hospital. The issues raised included, among other things:


  • Poor workmanship by contractors including deviation from the original design, glaring and dangerous structural design issues (narrow corridors; inadequate size of lifts and hospital wards; insufficient space for offices, corridors and refrigeration; no mortuary, and laundry facilities etc.);
  • Poor maintenance and refurbishment (leaking roofs, burst water storage vessels, incorrect air-conditioning system, insufficient electrification). These challenges mainly resulted from slow response from the Department of Public Works as well as budget constraints; and
  • Poor Safety and Security (faulty alarm system, inadequate panic alarm system, poor fencing, dysfunctional boom gates, outdated technology for CCTV cameras).


On the basis of the above discussed and identified challenges, the following ten priority areas requiring urgent attention was submitted in respect of the 3 Military Hospital in Bloemfontein:


  • Department of Public Works (DPW) to perform an all-inclusive assessment of the facility with the aim to resolve all the inherent structural and design shortcomings;
  • To establish a 24 hour DPW maintenance control room on site, managed by a DPW technical team to resolve all maintenance issues as they occur. This facility should render the same level of services as rendered by the established control rooms at 1 and 2 Military Hospitals;
  • Urgent replacement/repair of the roofs of the main hospital building as well as the surrounding buildings. The vacant third floor can only be occupied and utilised, the rain damaged fire alarms on the third floor can be repaired and the proposed helipad can be built as soon as the roofs are replaced;
  • Urgent replacing of the Hot Water Storage Vessel on the fourth floor to stop all further leaks that can lead to further water damage;
  • To join the main hospital with a corridor to the Maternity Section to ensure a safe transportation of patients to the theatres and other sections of the hospital as was indicated in the original plans;
  • A total revamp of the Mfezi Living-In Quarters, which will eradicate the current plumbing and electricity issues;
  • Service and repair of all air-conditioning systems to ensure a healthy working environment and wound care. This will also prevent potential growth of harmful bacteria that could flourish in an uncontrolled environment.
  • Urgent replacement of five lead reinforced doors at the Radiology Section, which, were installed by the contractors during the building of the facility. These doors are very expensive and cannot be replaced from the 3 Military Hospital’s own budget;
  • A total security system upgrade; which must include alarm, CCTV, fire alarm, fire detection and access control systems with maintenance contracts to ensure the safety of all patients and staff members as well as to safeguard lifesaving equipment; and
  • The building of an on-site helipad for utilisation during disaster situations. Currently all helicopter medical evacuations are redirected to the nearby Tempe Sports grounds. From there patients are transported by outsourced ambulance services to the trauma facility which is not an ideal situation.


3.2        Bloemfontein Army Support Base


The Committee met with the various senior officials at the Bloemfontein Army Support Base (ASB) and deliberated on the presentation made. Following the presentation and discussion of the challenges, the Committee conducted a site inspection of the facilities at the ASB Bloemfontein. The following priority areas which required urgent attention were reported by the officials:


  • Refurbishment of the single living-in quarters block 10 and family married quarters house 5 in Thaba Nchu;
  • Refurbishment of 15 family married quarters, five in Tempe, five in Bloemfontein, and 5 in Thaba Nchu;
  • Revamping of kitchen equipment including cold rooms, walk-in fridges, tilting equipment and food preparation equipment;
  • Fencing around the General De Wet training area at De Brug;
  • Security systems in the Tempe military area and Department of Defence Mobilisation;
  • Fuel replenishment points (pumps and tanks) at the ASB Bloemfontein Supply Support Services;
  • Permanent accommodation at the shooting range of the General De Wet training area;
  • The sewerage and water pipe systems in the Tempe Military Base;
  • Vacant Public Service Act Personnel (PSAP) posts in Tempe Military Base and Department of Defence Mobilisation; and
  • Old and redundant Delta vehicles (sedan) and Bravo vehicles (freight carriers/logistical) in the Tempe Military area.


  1. Bloemspruit Air Force Base


The Committee met with the senior officials at the Air Force Base (AFB) Bloemspruit where it received a presentation on the condition of the facilities on site. The Committee also conducted a site inspection at the facilities at the Bloemspruit AFB. The below issues were reported by the AFB as requiring urgent attention.


Safeguarding of Bloemspruit AFB


  • The lack  of a boundary wall together with a damaged perimeter fence through which vehicles can enter makes securing Bloemspruit AFB’s assets virtually impossible.  506 Security Squadron is doing their utmost to provide some security to Bloemspruit AFB but unfortunately, with the lack of manpower and infrastructure, it is not enough to stop criminal activities within the base.  A wall should be built around the facility to secure all the assets including living quarters.
  • Lack of security equipment to control entry and exit to Bloemspruit AFB means that areas of the unit cannot be adequately secured.  With the correct monitoring equipment (e.g. Cameras, x-ray machines and entry/exit equipment), this can be controlled.
  • The fire detection system in some of the aircraft hangars which is not serviceable poses a serious risk in case of a fire.  Not all of the alarm systems are connected to the mimic board at the Fire Section.  Due to the value of the equipment being secured at Bloemspruit AFB, this should be repaired with a sense of urgency.


Accommodation/ Facilities


  • Refurbishing of the Officers Mess (living area), Senior Mess and Junior Mess is fundamental for the continued operation and utilisation of Bloemspruit AFB.  Senior military staff is forced to share living quarters with junior military staff due to the appalling state of accommodation facilities.
  •    Due to the numerous excavations that occurred during the replacement of the sewerage system but was never returned to the original condition,  holes and trenches on various roads leading to the different areas within the base and living areas are not in a suitable condition to travel on


Hangar/Aircraft Facilities


  • The Hangar facilities which were poorly constructed poses not only a health risk to members that work in certain hangars but also damage to aircraft engines due to flaking of the roof insulation.  This must be rectified to allow the units under command to effectively deliver on their mandate.
  • Aircraft Wash Bay at 87 Helicopter Flying School must be re built as it was being renovated but all work ceased due to unknown reasons.  16 Squadron requires urgent maintenance to its Wash Bay.  These facilities are essential for the proper maintenance to take place on the aircraft.


4.         Free State Provincial Health Infrastructure


The focus of the Committee visit was also to assess the adequacy of health infrastructure and the maintenance thereof in the province.  The Free State Province has prioritised the following in terms of health services: eradication of all building, mechanical and electrical maintenance backlogs; eradication of backlogs in provision of medical equipment; implementation of the Free State Infrastructure Delivery Management Systems with all associated best practises to ensure effective and efficient management of all provincial health facilities as well as effective and efficient implementation of infrastructure projects and also to strengthen human resource capacity. The national department is in the process of finalising a 10-year infrastructure plan to determine areas with the greatest need for capital investments, based on population projections up to 2025.  Health infrastructure is the backbone of public health care, which is in turn the pillar of a vibrant, health and prosperous society and economy.


On 14 August 2018, the Committee visited and met officials from the Dr JS Moroka Hospital, Phekolong and Nelson Mandela Clinics. However, the Committee was concerned about the officials who seemed unprepared and unaware about the agreed dates for the visits. The Committee also expressed its dissatisfaction about the absence of officials from the Free State Provincial Department of Health.


4.1        Dr JS Moroka Hospital – Thaba Nchu


The Chief Executive Officer of the abovementioned facility made a presentation after which the Committee conducted a site inspection. The Committee found that there was no maintenance budget for the facility however the officials reported that there was an undertaking that the hospital would be fully revitalised in due course. The officials could however not provide the Committee with the timeframes and budget allocations for the said revitalisation of the hospital. The Committee viewed this as reflective of poor planning. The Committee also noted with concern the reported outstanding payment of overtime for staff amounting to about R950 000 which would have to be funded from the existing budget and would result in over expenditure of the allocation for the 2018/19 financial year. The Committee further expressed concerns at the reported staff shortage and leaking roofs within the facility.






4.2        Phekolong Clinic - Reddersburg


The Committee received a presentation from the Operations Manager and inspected the facility. Overall, the Committee was impressed with the state of the facility and the quality of the service it renders to the community. The facility had received gold status.



4.3        Nelson Mandela Clinic - Edenburg


The Committee found upon inspection that the facility was generally in a good condition and that it was an ideal clinic which has received gold status. The only challenge reported was staff shortages.


5.         Bucket Eradication Programme


The 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) target for sanitation is to increase the percentage of households with access to a functional sanitation service from 84% in 2013 to 90% by 2019 and to eliminate bucket sanitation in the formal areas. The Water Services Infrastructure Grant is used to support the completion of the bucket eradication programme in formal residential areas and has a total allocation R1.8 billion for the indirect portion of the grant while the direct portion receives R10.6 billion over the 2017 MTEF period.


The Water Services Infrastructure Grant is expected to be used to replace the remaining 11 844 bucket sanitation systems in Free State and Northern Cape with waterborne sanitation services in 2018/19, and to construct 180 small interim water and sanitation systems across the country. The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant funds the bulk infrastructure needed to provide reticulated water and sanitation services to individual households and where municipalities have the capacity to implement projects themselves, funds are transferred through a direct grant. The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant has a total allocation of R14.8 billion over the 2017 MTEF period. By the end of 2018/19, the Department of Water and Sanitation expects to have eradicated all bucket sanitation systems that were in existence in 2014. This was the basis for the Committee to visit the BEP sites in the Free State Province.


The Committee along with the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation received presentations from the Department of Water and Sanitation, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and the Water Research Commission (WRC) on 15 August 2018 at the Bram Fischer Building, Nelson Mandela Drive, Bloemfontein. The WRC gave an overview of the various sanitation options available to South Africa and also highlighted the challenges related to the usage of waterborne sewerage systems.


The Department of Water and Sanitation is responsible for implementing the Bucket Eradication Programme at the Setsoto Local Municipality whilst the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality receives funds through the Urban Settlements Development Grant and also uses own-funding to eradicate buckets and Ventilated Improved Pit Latrine (VIP) toilets.


The sections below would provide an overview of the implementation of the Bucket Eradication Programme at the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality as well as the Setsoto Local Municipality.


  1. Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality


The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality (Mangaung Metro) finances the reduction of buckets and Ventilated Improved Pit Latrine (VIP) toilets through the Urban Settlements Development Grant (the USDG) and own-funding. The said municipality received R742.826 million through the USDG for the 2018/19 financial year.


The Mangaung Metro reported that it had spent a total of R310.851 million on phases 1 and 2 on the bucket/VIP eradication between 2009 and 2014. It reported that 23 122 buckets/VIPs were eradicated from 2009 to 2018 and that 4 212 VIPs would be eradicated in the 2018/19 financial year. The municipality reported that phase 3 commenced in 2015 and has eradicated 9 646 buckets/VIPs to date. The expenditure on phase 3.1 for the period 2015 to 2018 was R839.904 million. The expenditure on phase 3.2 for the period 2018 to date was R10.209 million. Phase 3 would provide a total of 58 650 sites with waterborne sanitation and the municipality needed a budget of R4.1 billion for waterborne connections, R1 billion for bulk sanitation, and R1 billion for bulk water augmentation.


  1. Setsoto Local Municipality


Table 1 below provides an overview of the delivery progress reported by the Department of Water and Sanitation on 15 August 2018 in terms of the internal reticulation work for the Setsoto Local Municipality.





Not Flushing











In progress





In progress





In progress

Department of Water and Sanitation (2018)


The Committee visited project sites in Clocolan, Marquard and Senekal within the Setsoto Local Municipality. The main observations made at the afore-mentioned areas follow hereunder.


  1. Clocolan


The total project cost for Clocolan was R272.102 million of which R249.756 million had been spent at the time of the oversight visit. This area had full waterborne sanitation services with 1433 toilets however the installation of bulk infrastructure services still needed to be finalised thus resulting in sewerage spillages in the area.


It was reported that the initial contract included bulk infrastructure installation but that it was removed at a later stage by the DWS from the scope of work. To this end, the DWS would have to go through the entire procurement process to address the matter of the bulk infrastructure in the area as residents were flushing the toilets on internal reticulation hence the spillages. These spillages pose a serious health hazard to the community and the contractor, Vharanani Properties, undertook to redirect spillage away from residential areas to water stream. The said redirection process would be completed by the end of November 2018.


  1. Marquard


The DWS reported at the meeting held on 15 August 2018 that it had completed 583 toilets in the area and that all were flushing. The total projected cost of R6.219 million had been spent at the time of the oversight visit. However, the Committee found that none of the 583 toilets were flushing due to low water pressure. The DWS reported that a pumping station was in the process of being constructed to address the afore-mentioned situation but could not furnish the Committee with a definitive completion date. To this end, the community was using buckets until such time the issue of the water pressure would be resolved. Serious concerns were expressed that the BEP data provided by the DWS was not reliable and the Department was requested to disaggregate all data on the BEP programme in the Free State.


  1. Senekal


The reported total project cost for the eradication of buckets in Senekal was R226.180 million of which R100.878 million had been spent at the time of the oversight visit. From a target of 2913 toilets, it was reported that 2435 were still not flushing and that the area required bulk infrastructure to be installed. The project would be completed by the end of November, however, the residents would not be able to utilise the facilities as the bulk infrastructure would not have been installed. It was found that there was a lack of adequate education and public engagements with residents in the community, and there is a need for significant improvement from the local municipality in this regard.


  1. Water Research Commission


The Water Research Commission highlighted the following issues in developing countries surrounding the provision of sanitation services:


  • Significant investment for centralised sewerage infrastructure;
  • Several technical requirements need to be met (energy, pipes, water);
  • Even in developed countries, some are directly cross-subsidised to enable financial sustainability;
  • The World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children Fund reported that the cost per person for connecting to sewer networks was up to 50% higher than on-site alternatives;
  • Operating and Management issues included parts and spares availability, high-level operators & engineers needed, and sludge disposal issues; and
  • In South Africa there was a small percentage of plants which operated well and there was a critical shortage of skills for Operating and Maintenance.


The WRC further submitted that the current approaches to sanitation were civil engineering orientated and there were challenges with ownership and accountability after the bulk infrastructure has been developed. Rapid urbanization was also cited as being a challenge along with the disposal of fecal sludge. The WRC submitted that the Operating and Maintenance costs were often neglected in departmental and municipal budgets. To this end, WRC advocated for suitable technology alternatives which take user acceptance and available resources into account. Furthermore, the issue of the scarcity of water in certain regions of South Africa was highlighted as a major pitfall to waterborne sanitation services.



  1.      Overall Committee Observations and Findings


The observations and findings which were highlighted by the Committee during the deliberations with the various stakeholders and subsequent site visits are outlined below as per the three different themes for the oversight:


  1. Bloemfontein 3 Military Hospital


  1. The Committee found that infrastructure refurbishment and maintenance is the mandate of the Department of Public Works. The Committee therefore arranged a meeting between the Department of Defence (DOD) or the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) along with National Treasury and the Department of Health to discuss the challenges as outlined throughout the site visits. The outcomes of the said meeting that was held on 4 September 2018 in Parliament were as follows:
  • The cost escalations and implications for termination of contracts and the re-appointment of contractors as well as the unutilised or non-functional infrastructure due to incorrect design specifications for military hospitals was a cause of concern. The Committee viewed the aforementioned as fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
  • The Committee noted that the DOD has its own Medico Unit headed by the Surgeon-General and that both this unit and the Department of Health receive support from the Infrastructure Support Unit of the National Health Council/Minmec in terms of design specifications for health facilities.
  • The Committee noted with concern that the DOD transferred about
    R1.8 billion per annum to the DPW for infrastructure delivery needs as per the DOD maintenance plan. It was reported that DPW has accumulated unspent funds of R1,9 billion in recent years due to its lack of capacity to implement infrastructure delivery at SANDF facilities.
  • The Committee viewed the lack of capacity at the DPW to maintain DOD facilities and implement infrastructure projects as compromising to the mandate of the SANDF to keep the country secure. The Committee was further of the view that it was a security risk for the DPW to conduct work at SANDF facilities.
  • The Committee agreed that there should be an inter-ministerial committee between DOD and DPW to consider the devolving of the infrastructure delivery function from DPW to DOD and consult National Treasury accordingly.
    1. There was poor planning and consequence management for delinquent contractors by the Department of Public Works.
    2. Of concern to the Committee were the lack of a maintenance plan and procurement plan as well as the related budgets for these plans.
    3. There were slow responses by the Department of Public Works in respect of maintenance requests by the hospital. For instance, it took up to two years for the department to repair and maintain the roof of the hospital.
    4. There are serious concerns in respect of the compliance with National Core Standards for Health Establishments and other regulated standards. This poses a serious risk of litigation for the Department of Defence.


  1. Bloemfontein Army Support Base


  1. The Bloemfontein ASB requested a maintenance budget of R1.369 million for the 2018/19 financial year and was only allocated R560 250 which was subsequently reduced to R425 184. Of concern to the Committee were the lack of a maintenance plan and procurement plan as well as the related budgets for these plans. 
  2. The slow response by DPW to requests for maintenance and repairs was emphasised. The facility reported that it had no maintenance budget for infrastructure and that it only had R90 000 for minor repairs at the time of the oversight visit.
  3. Concerns were expressed that some SANDF members do not qualify for RDP housing and that it had 725 staff members in ASB Bloemfontein and could only house 186 families at the time of the oversight visit.
  4. The reduced budgets impacted negatively on the overall operations of the SANDF.
  5. There was a reported shortage of staff especially related to the Public Service Act Personnel (PSAP) members (i.e. gardeners, general cleaners etc).


  1. Bloemspruit Air Force Base


  1. Bloemspruit AFB has very expensive equipment yet the state of the security was in a poor condition which was a serious cause for concern.  The priority list of the Bloemspruit AFB submitted to the Committee lists security as the top concern which needed to be addressed. 
  2. There were challenges with planning and whilst the Independent Development Trust was appointed to refurbish the entire facility, timeframes and budgets have not been provided for the project.
  3. The upgrade of the sewerage and water services infrastructure is the responsibility of the DPW however the AFB was forced to use Jojo tanks due to recurring water shortages.
  4. The Bloemspruit AFB supported a number of youth empowerment initiatives such as Matric programmes yet the facility was falling into a state of disrepair.
  5. There was a lack of consequence management for delinquent contractors by the DPW. Of more concern, was the report that some sub-contractors have resorted to demolishing some newly installed fixtures due to non-payment by the main contractors.


  1. Bucket Eradication Programme


  1. Proper Sanitation means dignity for the citizens. This still does not reflect in the commitment and work ethic of DWS where poor planning has led to top structures being erected before bulk water and sanitation infrastructure has been installed in the Setsoto Local Municipality.


  1. There were projects which were not finalised due to incomplete bulk water and sanitation infrastructure and/or incomplete internal reticulation within Free State. These projects were in Reitz, Petrus Steyn, Arlington, Senekal, Clocolan, and Ficksburg. Completed top structures which are not yet functional due to lack of bulk infrastructure are being vandalised and this would result in delays of fully eradicating buckets within the province. Furthermore, this would result in fruitless and wasteful expenditure. 


  1. The total expenditure to date on the Bucket Eradication Programme in Free State is R1.363 billion. Cost escalations were experienced within the province due to hard rock on some project sites as well as the non-payment of contractors by the DWS which resulted in delays. The DWS has however assured the Committee that irrespective of the reported challenges experienced, the projects under the Bucket Eradication Programme in Free State would be finalised by the end of March 2019.


  1. The effectiveness of current integrated planning fora within the province was a major cause for concern. DWS submitted that joint meetings were held between the Free State Provincial Treasury, Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Human Settlements, Bloem Water, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, and Free State Premier’s Office. The Committee established that this forum was clearly not effective and that there was a lack of collaboration with research and evidence from the Water Research Council which has been established to support the water sector.


  1. The Committee is seriously concerned about the unreliable information regarding the completed project especially in Marquard which has been furnished by the Department of Water and Sanitation at the meeting held on 15 August 2018. Furthermore, the Committee heard that the same presentation has been presented to the Finance and Provincial Public Accounts Committee in the Free State Legislature in October 2017.


  1. A total of 58 650 sites are to be provided with waterborne sanitation as part of phase 3 in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality. The backlog has been increasing due to the formalization of informal settlements and the amalgamation of Mangaung with the old Naledi Municipality and Soutpan which was part of the Masilonyana Municipality.


  1. The main challenge within the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality was VIP toilets (57 859 units) which totalled 97.6% of the overall backlog while buckets only constituted of 2.4% (1411 units) of the backlog. The Municipality has found it difficult to prioritise bucket eradication due to community unrest. Furthermore, communities have generally rejected alternative technologies on sanitation.


  1. The budget required, inclusive of bulk infrastructure, to eradicate the overall backlog of buckets and VIPs within Mangaung was R6 billion. The municipality did not provide timeframes regarding the completion of the project. Only 47 143 sites could be serviced with current space capacity at waste water works of the Mangaung Metro.


  1. Recommendations

The Committee having engaged with the above-mentioned stakeholders and undertaken site visits to various identified projects in the Free State Province, recommends as follows:

  1. That the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans should ensure the following:
    1. That the Supply Chain Management process as well as the short, medium and long term planning within South African National Defence Force (SANDF) be properly implemented.
    2. Budget reprioritisation processes should consider the cost implications on the SANDF facilities in the long term.


  1. That the Minister of Public Works should ensure the following:
    1. That consequence management be applied on delinquent contractors.
    2. That maintenance budgets be entrenched in annual performance plans and operational plans of institutions especially at health care facilities in the South African National Defence Force.


  1. That the Minister of Health should ensure the following:
    1. That adequate measures be introduced to strengthen the planning capacity at provincial and regional health offices.
    2. That comprehensive maintenance plans and budget implementation plans be made compulsory for all provincial health departments.
    3. That communication be strengthened by the Department of Health in respect of the Health Revitalisation Grant.


  1. That the Minister of Water and Sanitation should ensure the following:
    1. That the Bucket Eradication Programme be entrenched in the Annual Performance Plans of all water and sanitation stakeholders i.e. the Department of Water and Sanitation,  municipalities and Water Boards
    2. That consequence management be applied in respect of non-performing Department of Water and Sanitation officials especially those responsible for the poor planning in respect of the Bucket Eradication Programme which has led to top structures being erected before bulk water infrastructure has been installed.
    3. That consequence management be applied in respect of non-performing contractors and that money be recovered where possible.
    4. That the Department of Water and Sanitation furnishes the Committee with a comprehensive report on what is being done to share cost effective and best practice strategies across all municipalities in the rollout of the sanitation programme.   
    5. That the Department of Water and Sanitation conducts a comprehensive expenditure review of the water sector.
    6. That the construction of the water pump station in Marquard be expedited.

7.5        That the Auditor General South Africa consider conducting performance audits on the implementation of the Bucket Eradication Programme in the Free State Province.


8          Conclusion


The Committee undertook to have quarterly briefings with the Department of Water and Sanitation regarding the implementation progress in terms of the Bucket Eradication Programme in Free State.

The responses to the recommendations as set out in section 6 above by the relevant Executive Authorities must be sent to Parliament as well as the Committee within 60 days of the adoption of this report by the National Assembly.


Report to be considered.




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