The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements met to deal with outstanding minutes.
Tshwane's failure to appear before the Committee for a briefing due to financial constraints raised concerns, prompting a proposal to retain their funds until engagement. The Committee proposed visiting Tshwane to investigate water-related challenges leading to serious health concerns, and to invite other committees that may be interested in joining in the visit. They also decided that Tshwane's expenditure of the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) over the past five years should be researched.
The Committee adopted previous meeting minutes, except for 30 May, which required further amendment. A briefing on a submission call was given, and Members were reminded to prepare for their proposed overseas study visit.
The Chairperson opened the meeting by welcoming Members.
She said that meetings with the remaining metros were supposed to take place, but the metros could not be reached. As a result, that item had been swapped with a briefing from the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) on their intervention in a disaster. However, a letter had been received, stating that the Department was not ready. She therefore proposed that the agenda for the day focus on dealing with outstanding minutes, and getting an update on its submission on a Brazil study visit.
Ms Kholiswa Pasiya-Mndende, Committee Secretary, reported that the municipalities were available for a meeting next Wednesday (14 June), but Tshwane was not available for a physical meeting and could attend only virtually. Tshwane had indicated that they did not have sufficient funds to travel to Cape Town, so only Mangaung and the city of Johannesburg would be attending the meeting in person. She asked the Committee to decide on what to do about Tshwane.
There was supposed to be a meeting on Friday with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), but Adv Andy Mothibi and the team were unavailable. She suggested moving them to 5 July, and applying for a meeting to discuss the Talana community residential units (CRUs) and Duncan Village, as well as adding the departmental agenda on the intervention on flats. If approved, those two agenda items would be discussed on 5 July.
Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) said the Committee had previously made a formal decision that if the metros were unable to attend and provide a report, it became the Committee’s responsibility to retain and hold their funds until they engaged. It seemed their absence was attributed to their financial constraints. This situation was quite peculiar, and it raised a sense of curiosity. It was crucial for the Committee to reaffirm its formal decision and assess its relevance in this specific situation. She did not have any objections to the proposals made about the change of dates.
The Chairperson agreed with Ms Sihlwayi, and suggested that if Members agreed, they should go to Tshwane themselves. The Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) indicates that the DHS and the Committee were responsible for overseeing those grants. It was a problem that people in Tshwane were losing their lives due to dirty water being provided to them, despite resources being appropriated annually for Tshwane to upgrade their infrastructure. She suggested adding a request to have a meeting on 5 July, and requesting permission from Parliament to go to Tshwane to see why people were still dying, despite resources being appropriated annually.
Dr Z Mkhize (ANC) supported the proposal, and requested that research be done to understand the expenditure that had gone into improving the water and sanitation situation in Tshwane over the past five years. This would provide context for the current problems with water. The idea of visiting Tshwane and talking to the people was supported. Other portfolio committees, such as those dealing with water, sanitation or health, may be interested in being part of the visit. The intention was to follow where the funds were supposed to go and the impact on the community.
The Chairperson directed the Committee staff to amend the application to include a request for permission to go to Tshwane, as agreed by the Members, as Tshwane had indicated that they did not have money to travel to Cape Town. The agenda for 5 July should include a presentation by the DHS on the USDG that had been forwarded to Tshwane for the past five years. The projects funded by the USDG in Tshwane should be identified and visited to assess value for money. A meeting with Tshwane should also be planned.
The minutes of 3 May were considered for adoption. Ms M Makesini (EFF) moved for the adoption, and Mr C Malematja (ANC) seconded. The minutes were adopted.
The minutes of 9 May were considered for adoption. Ms Sihlwayi moved for the adoption, and Mr Malematja seconded. The minutes were adopted.
The minutes of 17 May were considered for adoption. Ms Makesini moved for the adoption, and Mr Malematja seconded. The minutes were adopted.
The minutes of 24 May were considered for adoption. Mr A Tseki (ANC) moved for the adoption, and Ms Makesini seconded. The minutes were adopted.
The minutes of 30 May were considered for adoption. The Chairperson and Ms Makesini raised issues with the proposed resolutions. The staff was directed to rewrite the resolutions and submit the minutes back to the Committee for adoption at a later date.
Briefing on submission call
The Chairperson asked Ms Pasiya-Mndende what the progress on the submission call was.
Ms Pasiya-Mndende said the application and the concept note were ready. She was still waiting for the goals so that she could add them to the applications for submission. She hoped to get them sometime during the day so that by the end of the week, the application would be with the House.
The Chairperson urged the Members to ensure they had their passports ready by the date of the overseas travel. She also urged the staff to discuss with the Whip of the Committee the dates of travel and the availability of every Member of the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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