The Committee met to consider its final Report covering the work the Ad Hoc Joint Committee had done overseeing the flood disaster relief and recovery.
Having noted the devastating floods in the provinces of the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the North West in February 2023, and the consequent declaration of a national state of disaster on 13 February 2023, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces agreed that Parliament has a constitutional obligation to oversee the implementation of government relief measures to address the flood impact.
With the concurrence of both Houses of Parliament, and in accordance with Joint Rule 138 of the Joint Rules of Parliament, Parliament established the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery, whose main objectives are to:
- Oversee the response and implementation of the relief measures by government and affected provinces.
- Engage the relevant government departments and entities to assess the overall impact of the damage, response, and relief measures by government.
- Follow up on the recommendations contained in the Report adopted by both Houses in November 2022.
- Confer with relevant committees to facilitate coordinated oversight.
- Report on its work by 30 November 2023.
The Ad Hoc Joint Committee’s work follows up on that of the previous Ad Hoc Joint Committee, which was established as per ATC No.68 of 11 May 2022, with the main objective of assessing the extent and response to the damages incurred in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, North-West and the Eastern Cape following the flooding incidents experienced in April and May 2022.
In this regard, the Committee engaged the relevant sector departments, the affected municipalities, and other relevant organs of state, to assess the interventions instituted in the aftermath of the floods. This included convening and receiving briefings from the political heads of the relevant sectoral departments, the relevant Premiers, and the relevant MECs of the three affected provinces. The Committee also undertook fact-finding oversight visits to the affected areas, adopted and tabled its final Report to both Houses of Parliament.
Members were united in welcoming the comprehensive Report which was well-compiled. A few amendments were noted for inclusion. Members appreciated the work the Committee had done and its achievements despite many challenges.
Chairperson Frolick greeted everyone and explained the purpose of the meeting was to adopt the Report of the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery which looked at the flood disasters as well as the recovery. The Committee had done a lot of work, and a report was issued to all Members. He welcomed his Co-Chairperson on the platform.
Noting no absentees with apology, he requested that they be taken through only the salient issues of the Report, focusing specifically on the recommendations to be considered for adoption.
Report of the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery
Mr Andile Sokomani, Committee Researcher, took the Committee through its draft report on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery.
Mr F Du Toit (FF+, Free State) appreciated the Report and asked to include that the Department of Water and Sanitation be contacted to ask whether the Rand Water garage dam would be included in the Vaal River system for better regulation and monitoring, as this was a main contributing factor to the floods this year.
Ms E Spies (DA) noted that she joined the Committee late in the year, around May 2023. She applauded the Committee for the way meetings were conducted. The staff was outstanding and she was happy to work with them.
Mr M Mashego (ANC) said the Report was comprehensive. He understood the issue of the Vaal River. He was thankful for the work done despite the many challenges. This was a good report.
Chairperson Frolick acknowledged that Mr Mashego had to wake up early to be at the Polokwane Airport. He asked that Mr Sokomani respond to the aforementioned comments.
Mr Sokomani said the issue of the Free State was an oversight on their part and they would include it in the Report.
Regarding the response from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA): a response was indeed received and had been recorded in the Report. He was thankful for the positive feedback received on the Report.
Chairperson Frolick called for the adoption of the Report with its amendments.
The Report was duly adopted. Read final version here https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/5577/
He said the Committee had a good working relationship despite the struggles they endured. He was grateful for the attendance of the Members.
Co-Chairperson Nyambi thanked everyone for their time and participation and appreciated the Report.
Mr V Zungula (ATM) interjected to say that he agreed with the Report. He proposed having a Standing Committee which dealt with disasters. Every year, there was a disaster in the country. He acknowledged that COGTA was dealing with disasters, but it was also necessary for Parliament to intervene in such matters.
Co-Chairperson Nyambi responded that the Report would hopefully address some of the shortcomings raised by Mr Zungula, and such a report would guide the incoming Parliament and Committee. He was in agreement with all the Committee Members. There were those Members who were dedicated to the Committee and those who were not. It was a privilege to work with all the Members even with all the challenges. This was a learning experience for all. He was thankful for the Committee staff and did not take them for granted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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