ATC100302: Report Oversight Visit to Eastern Cape from 1 – 3 February 2010

Public Works and Infrastructure

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works on the oversight visit to the Eastern Cape from 1 – 3 February 2010, dated 02 March 2010


1.       Introduction


The Department of Public Works was tasked by the President of the Republic of South Africa to create 500 000 work opportunities by the end of December 2009 through phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP 2).  Pursuant to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works’ legislative mandate and through the Committee’s interactions with the Department of Public Works (DPW), the Committee decided to undertake an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape Province to monitor progress made and experience the challenges faced by that Province in the roll out of the EPWP 2 programme and also in the eradication of mud schools and other unsafe structures.



A multi party delegation undertook an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape Province on the from1 – 3 February 2010. The delegation was composed of:


Hon G G Oliphant (ANC), Chairperson and leader of the delegation, Hon C D Kekana (ANC), Hon N M Madlala (ANC), Hon T H Magama (ANC), Hon N D Ngcengwane (ANC), Hon N T November (ANC), Hon N J Masango (DA), Hon W Rabotapi (DA),

Hon L Gaehler (UDM), Hon P B Mnguni (COPE).


The following support staff from Parliament accompanied the delegation:

Miss A Busakwe (Committee Secretary), Miss S Goba (Committee Assistant) and Miss I Stephney (Committee Researcher).


The following officials also accompanied the delegation: Mr G Moso: Parliamentary Liaison Officer in the Office of the Minister, Ms M Motumi: Parliamentary Liaison Officer in the Office of the Deputy Minister, Ms C Mavi: DPW Intergovernmental Relations Unit, Mr X Nkwali: Independent Development Trust (IDT) Regional General Manager, Mr M Makupula: Eastern Cape Programme Portfolio Manager from the IDT, Mr E Masibi: Contractor Registrations Manager at the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Mr R Raphiri: Procurement Manager (CIDB), Mr S Ndamase: Parliamentary Liaison Officer in the Office of the MEC (Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Public Works), Mr B Makhwabe: Senior Manager EPWP, Mr K Kostile: EPWP Assistant Manager, Ms N Ndlela: EPWP Assistant Manager, Mr J Lloyd: Communications Manager, Mr X Mkiwane: EPWP Unit, Mr W Tutani: EPWP Unit and Ms Y Stengile.



2. Terms of reference


The overall objective of the oversight visit to the Eastern Cape Province was for the committee to exercise its oversight mandate over the Department of Public Works with regards to the performance of the Expanded Public Works Programme phase 2 (EPWP 2); the eradication of mud schools and other inappropriate structures and thereafter compile a report with findings and recommendations to Parliament for the Minister of the Department of Public Works to take the necessary actions in assisting the Province.



3. Summary


The Committee met with the MEC for Public Works, Ms P Majodina, the Head of the Public Works Department in the Province, Mr B Gxilishe and other Senior Managers in the Eastern Cape Department of Public Works.  A presentation on EPWP 2 and a progress report on the eradication of mud schools were presented.


Members of the Provincial Standing Committee on Public Works could not be part of the Portfolio Committee’s oversight visit due to their Provincial Parliament Programme.


The MEC announced that as of 1 April 2010 the Department’s name will change to the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works. This is in an effort to group together the infrastructure departments.


Day one of the oversight visit of the Portfolio Committee coincided with the first day of training for the National Youth Service (NYS) recruits in the Province. These young people had an opportunity to meet with the members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works who motivated them into working hard in improving their skills by furthering their studies and by being dedicated in their jobs.  The NYS programme in the Eastern Cape was launched in November 2009 and 500 young people were recruited to be part of the programme from 27 000 applicants. The programme is a joint venture between the Department of Public Works, the then Umsobomvu and the National Youth Commission which have since changed and collaborated to form the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). These young people will be trained over a period of three months and thereafter be dispersed to different government buildings in the Province where they will be working as general workers. The Department is committed into skilling these young people and study bursaries will be offered to them.


Presentation on EPWP 2:  The Province reported an achievement of 78% on work opportunities reported against target in the infrastructure sector. Out of the allocated R83, 551.00 incentives grant only R 22, 889.00 were used by the Province at the time of the visit. Performance at Public Body level was reported to be uneven both at Municipal and Departmental levels. The challenges faced by Public Bodies in implementing EPWP 2 were highlighted and measures to address these challenges were also identified. The Provincial Department of Public Works will complement the technical staff provided by the National Department of Public Works in collaboration with the Development Bank South Africa (DBSA) Siyenza Manje programme in supporting municipalities technically. Provincial Department of Public Works staff is deployed to capture information on sites and partnerships are to be created with the National Department of Public Works to train officials in labour-intensive methods of construction.


Presentation on the eradication of mud schools: This programme is responsible for assisting the Department of Education with the eradication of mud and unsafe structures on a project basis as allocated to the Department of Public Works by the Department of Education. The schools built by the Department of Public Works are EPWP compliant. Challenges faced by the DPW are delays in payment from the client departments, budget constraints, insufficient resources, late submission of project list, delays in electricity connection and delays due to weather conditions.

The Committee visited various EPWP projects in the Amathole, O R Tambo and Alfred Nzo District Municipalies. Profiles of these projects will be given in detail in the report under findings and the challenges which were noted by the Committee will also be outlined in this report followed by the Committee recommendations.


4. Findings


4.1 Amathole District Municipality


Due to the ANC Lekgotla in the Province from 1 – 2 February 2010, the Executive Mayor and team were not available to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Public Works.



4.1.1 Ngcingcinikhwe Access Road


This is an EPWP Kamoso awards best innovative project in the infrastructure sector for 2009. The road is approximately 2.1 km between Ngcingcinikhwe and Evotini Villages, approximately 54 km’s from Butterworth in the Mnquma local Municipality. In 2007, the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport identified the requirement for all weather vehicular access to Ngcingcinikhwe village under the inaccessible roads programme. Previous attempts to build a road in this area failed because the road is fairly steep.

Previously the only access for the community was a badly eroded track, too steep for vehicles. Labour intensive construction methods were employed providing training and local work opportunities for 109 local unemployed people. The project had six committee members, seeing to the smooth running of the project.

This was a R3 million project. Road has concrete and paving blocks which guarantees that it will not wash away easily.


Requests from the Ngcingcinikhwe Community members:


  • That the road be built another kilometer further so that it can reach the last village;
  • There are water taps in the area but they are not getting any water from those taps and they request access to clean water from the government;
  • They request a clinic in their area, a school, electricity and sanitation;
  • This village of about 700 households complained that they will not be able to view the Soccer World Cup that will be hosted by South Africa as they do not have access to television;
  • They requested fencing for their communal garden so that they can start planting vegetables and benefit their community;



4.2 O R Tambo District Municipality


Councillor S Ntuli and the Chief Executive Officer of the O R Tambo Academic Hospital welcomed the members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works in the O R Tambo District Municipality and the Hospital.




4.2.1 Bityi Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) Sanitation Project (Ebhokisini Village)


The O R Tambo District Municipality signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Public Works in 2006. This project is under the Vukuphile learnership programme. The project started in June 2009. The initial contract with the 15 contractors who were awarded the tender by the District Municipality required construction of 515 VIP toilets per contractor and at the value of R3, 1 million per contractor. Specifications changed as the size of the toilets needed to be increased which means extra costs and that reduced the number of toilets to be constructed by each contractor to 414 structures. Training was provided for both the contractors and the supervisors. The supervisors received technical training equivalent to NQF level 4 and the Contractors received managerial training equivalent to NQF level 2. In learnership programmes prices get negotiated unlike the normal tendering process. The learners are paid R65.00 per day.


The workers in this project did not have the Personal Protective Clothing and the contractor the Committee met insisted that in the original tender document, the requirement to provide the personal protective clothing was not specified and was later included. The Committee observed that safety standards were not met on site. The contractor complained about the two months delay in payment. The community members had a number of complaints and some of the complaints were a result of poor communication between the District Municipality Officials and the community members.  There were problems and uncertainty around the standard of the toilets seats used, the digging of holes and payment for doing that, the type of soil these toilets are built in and the size of the toilets. Some of the residents claimed that these toilets were not safe and the toilet pits were shallow. The project facilitator from theDistrict Municipality claimed that a geotechnical investigation was done in the area and the toilets are built according to the results of the assessment done.



4.2.2 King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Clean Up Campaign


The project has employed 50 people, 18 males and 32 females who are responsible for cleaning the Umtata CBD and the surrounding areas (Mqanduli and Coffee Bay). These people do refuse collection and clean the refuse that has been illegally dumped. The project beneficiaries belong in one of two groups, one group is an initiative of the Department of Environmental Affairs called DEDEA and the other is Buyisela/Ndaloyethu concept. Those that are in the DEDEA group each earn R1 600.00 per month and the Buyisela beneficiaries earn R50.00 per day. The Dedea project started in June 2009 and the Buyisela project started in December 2009.


Some of the project beneficiaries were working without protective clothing due to procurement challenges within the Municipality. The Municipality was faced with a challenge of having an old fleet that was as old as 18 years and the Municipality budget could not accommodate the three year tender for the lease of transport. The land fill site used is not a permitted site and a new site given to the Municipality is under land claims and cannot be used until the land claim issue is sorted.

The workers asked for an increase in their stipend, for safety boots, vests, gloves and overalls and that the project be extended to be over six months.

The KSD Municipality was asked to compile a file with the necessary documentation supporting the challenges they have around acquiring of the landfill site.



4.2.3 Ruze Junior Secondary School


The school was one of the unsafe structures. It was built of prefabricated material and had no windows and as a result most parents took their kids to better schools in the area. The school has 17 teachers and 600 learners. The new structure had 14 classrooms, toilets and a reception room.


The School Principal mentioned that they still needed furniture in the form of desks, chairs, tables, cabinets, security clerk and computers.


The community requested an access road to the T173 road, a traditional council hall and a resident for the Chief of the area with all the resources needed for the Chief to carry out his duties.


Dokodela Senior Primary School at Mhlanganweni location also needs renovations, the school is built in prefabs and it does not have decent and adequate furniture. The school has 175 learners and five teachers who teach Grade R to Grade six.


4.3 Alfred Nzo District Municipality


The Councilors in this District Municipality promised to take a step further in service delivery. There was a concern about the Department of Education not fully utilising their allocated budget which impacts negatively on the community. The Councilors promised to submit a list of schools and the EPWP 2 projects that need attention. A request was made that the rural municipalities should be given more funds for them to speed up service delivery.


4.3.1 Alfred Nzo VIP Sanitation Project


This Municipality was placed under an intervention in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution and after the interventions a new Senior Manager for Infrastructure Development and Municipal Services was hired in October 2009.


The district has been divided into seven zone centers where material is produced for the construction of VIP toilets. Two service providers were awarded the contracts, one service provider served five municipalities and the other served two municipalities. This project uses the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funds. The District Municipality acknowledged their failure to claim the R 28 million of the incentive grants.

The project visited by the Committee employed 150 people and machinery is used to produce bricks, one machine produces 6000 bricks per day. Slabs and toilet seats are also produced on site.


The project beneficiaries earn a stipend of R65.00 per day. There were also labourers who were paid R14.00 per task and that was viewed by the Committee as problematic as there were no clear measures in place to measure a task. The labourers on site did not have protective clothing.


The contractor building VIP toilets was asked to devise a method of changing the staff he employs, staff members should know how many months their contracts would be instead of continuous change which at times would come as a surprise to some of the people working in this project.



4.3.2 Msukeli Arts and Culture Centre


The Msukeli Arts and Culture Centre is a state of the art centre which was built to house different cooperatives and small businesses in the area. The centre was built and funded by the Alfred Nzo District Municipality at a cost of R10 million. The project started in the year 2006 and as time went on, they started to experience problems around management of the centre. The manager of the centre resigned and the community accused her of mismanagement of funds.


The centre owed Eskom and their electricity supply was cut. They can no longer afford diesel to pump the water and as a result most of the facilities in the centre are closed e.g. the restaurant, internet café, the hydroponics’ project, pottery, bead work and sewing centre.


The tunnels used for the planting of tomatoes were destroyed by the storm in 2009. There are 15 staff members who get paid stipends of R500.00, a caretaker who earns R3 500.00 and a gardener who earns R1000.00 per month.


When the project was fully functional, their arts and crafts used to be exhibited in different arts festivals including the Grahamstown arts festival.


On the 17 February 2010 a new board will be elected that will be responsible for the management of this facility.


The Mayor of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality together with the Alfred Nzo Development Agency were asked to assist in the management of the Msukeli Arts and Culture centre until a new board has been elected. The project must be run in a manner that would raise funds for the project and make it self sustainable by reviewing its revenue model from their business plan.



4.3.3 Brooksnek Junior Secondary School


The project started in October 2008 and will be completed on the 31 March 2010. This was one of the unsafe structures; the first school building was a mud structure which was later changed into a prefabricated structure. By the time of its eradication it was already collapsing and unsafe. The project consisted of 15 classrooms, 26 toilets and an Administration block. Project beneficiaries were trained in bricklaying, plastering and painting.


5. Conclusion


The Committee decided that it will do a follow up visit in the Province. The incentive grants given to Provinces under the EPWP 2 were under utilized by the Eastern Cape Province.


Capacity problems were noted in the Municipalities and in the Provincial Department of Public Works as this was also proved by the inability to fully utilise the incentive grants of the EPWP 2 programme. The Committee Chairperson emphasised government’s commitment in fighting poverty, rural development and ensuring good education for the children of our Country.


6. Recommendations



  • The Committee recommends that the social protection and community development cluster which comprises of a number of Government Departments should take into consideration and act upon the situation of the people of Ngcingcinikhwe village in Ndabakazi, Butterworth.


  • The Portfolio Committee on Public Works recommends that this report be adopted as the record of the House, the findings on it must be considered by the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Public Works and the National Department of Public Works for improvement on the implementation of EPWP 2 projects. Municipal projects to be monitored and municipalities are encouraged to report on their EPWP projects and communicate their challenges in writing with the Provincial Department of Public Works.

Report to be considered



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