Hansard: Debate on Vote No 38 – Water Appropriation Bill
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 21 May 2013
No summary available.
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 Take: 68
TUESDAY, 21 MAY 2013
PROCEEDINGS OF THE EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 10:00.
Prof L B G Ndabandaba, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
PODIUM TO BE USED WHEN DELIVERING SPEECHES
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): As discussed in the programming committee meeting last week Thursday, members are requested to use the podium when delivering their speeches in order for the proceedings to be more dignified.
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba)
Debate on Vote No 38 – Water Appropriation Bill:
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Hon House Chair, hon members, Deputy Minister, members of the portfolio committee, all our distinguished guests in the House, ladies and gentlemen, we as Water Affairs remain very committed to on focused on ensuring that water availability is not a constraint to economic development, which our country desperately needs.
The National Development Plan reiterates the scarcity of water in our country and the need to come up with creative water management programmes that will ensure water security in South Africa. Our response to this challenge as a department as well as the water sector was consolidated in the water conservation programme that I will outline in my speech. Starting immediately with that, as you know, in the last financial year, the department took water conservation to a higher level. We developed water conservation strategies for domestic, agricultural, mining and industry use.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Ongeorganiseerd! [Disorganised!]
Die MINISTER VAN WATERWESE EN OMGEWINGSAKE: Ongeorganiseerd? Ek is 'n bietjie georganiseerd. [Disorganised? I am somewhat organised.]
This year our message is that during this third decade of our democratic governance, we must assure all South Africans that we are making these efforts in relation to water conservation, as I stated, and the Deputy Minister will deal with that. We also spare no efforts in realising the well-resolved decision by our movement, the ANC, in ensuring that there is a better life for all.
For the past two decades we have seen a remarkable response in provision do water, in responding to the aspirations of our people. The strides we have made are huge and impactful, but have not adequately addressed the issues of equity and distribution. The opportunity is now on our doorstep as we approach the third decade of democratic governance, to do so with a clear resolution that this decade is going to be the decade of equity and distribution.
While we are extremely proud of the track record of delivering of services and take into cognisance all the challenges that lie ahead of us, while we are also saying that we need to work hard. We will therefore in this regard continue to deal with these challenges that face us along the entire water value chain, that is, from the source to the tap and back to the source. One of the major issues which will be given particular focus this year is the fact that we must address this issue of equity and redistribution in terms of both access to water for human consumption and productive needs.
This equity and redistribution paradigm must drive every policy aspect, planning and implementation decisions we make within the whole value chain. Let me just for a moment reflect on the progress we have made. In 1994, we started way below 60%, and we are now at 59% of access to clean drinking water provision in our country for people; 19 years later and not 40 years later. We are currently standing at a national average of 95.2%, coming from about 94.7% recently. This is a truly remarkable increase of 88%. We are proud of this particular achievement and the impact that it has had for many people in this country. [Applause.]
We have made progress and we commit to building towards the achievement, as stated in our mission, for a better life for all. Even as we celebrate these outstanding achievements, we are not naive and oblivious to the many challenges, as I have said. We know that our people continue to suffer from the grim reality of water scarcity, especially in far-flung areas of our country. The scourge of water shortages recently experienced in various provinces like North West and Mpumalanga and many others, as government, we are saying that we will redouble our efforts to attend to those challenges.
One major challenge which requires attention, as confirmed by the recent Census 2011 results is the issue of functionality of our municipal infrastructure. Census 2011 tells us that 86% of our households have functional water supplies. This means that about 9% to 10% of existing services are dysfunctional and a further 24% experience serious challenges. This requires urgent attention and intervention. We assure you that we will roll up our sleeves and work hard day and night, together with our stakeholders and government, to deal with these challenges.
The backlog now stands at 4.8% for us to reach universal access. However, we will not be complacent and not deal with those issues which are challenges in the system. The reality is that mainly the rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape there are still some people without access to clean water. We have a huge responsibility to attend to this challenge. It is my absolute pleasure to announce that from July this year we will begin with a new programme called the Interim Water Supply Programme in order to address these backlogs. In other words we are dealing with this problem from the bottom to get to this 4.3%. We will do that by attending to the 23 district municipalities prioritised by government.
This programme which will be funded through the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant, MWIG, which includes the development and upgrading of local water sources starting in areas with no water supply, water loss management and war on leaks which the Deputy Minister will talk about. An amount of R4.334 billion has been set aside by treasury for this work. Our water boards will play a pivotal role in terms of implementing this programme.
This programme is also going to require strong partnerships among ourselves as government, the private sector and nongovernmental organisations. A great deal of work is already underway with partners such as the Strategic Water Partners Network SA, which hosted a successful dialogue during the World Economic Forum here in Cape Town recently. This had started a few years ago, however.
We are proud to work with these partners of ours and we see some successes already in some of the work we are doing together. We are also mindful of the issues around water conservation and demand, which the Deputy Minister will talk about. While there are a number of programmes across municipalities and sectors to deal with the issue of water conservation, reports such as the one released by the Water Research Commission on the state of our nonrevenue water are a cause for concern. According to this report, we are losing about 36% of our clean water in the distribution system - clean water - and; we really need to do something about it.
We do not think that this problem is insurmountable; we have to deal with it in order to bring back the 36% of water leaking from our system. These are also causes of behavioural changes or led to by behavioural patterns that have a negative impact on the use of water. Again, in collaboration with the Strategic Water Partnership Network SA we are developing a strategy for an incentive-based system of water use efficiency currently referred to as the No Drop and No Leaks. The Deputy Minister will talk about this.
As we approach the end of the second decade of freedom and entering, as we do, the third decade, equity and redistribution must be high on our agenda. In the third decade equity and redistribution should be used to consolidate our gains and make sure that the country moves forward with even more vigour to ensure universal coverage. In our speech last year, we identified a turnaround process which we would like to report to you this morning we are doing through the business process re-engineering and is actually yielding good results.
We have certainly improved our internal controls and are more geared up now as a department to deliver the clean audit that we promised for 2014. We are better configured now both in terms of organisational systems and managerial competence to deliver quality services in the water sector. Our vacancy rate has also now stabilised and remains at an acceptable 10% in terms of the Department of Public Service and Administration, DPSA, threshold. Our financial controls have been significantly improved, compliance has improved and we have established a new governance structure, the Financial Misconduct Unit.
The expenditure pattern has also improved significantly in the past financial year. Remember that last year we received additional funds. As at the end of the previous financial year expenditure was standing at 90%. Now, in this financial year we are at 96%, even with an increased budget.
Our capacity and ability to deliver quality services will be dependent on our skills. Currently the learning academy that we know has a contingent of 536 active bursary holders and 418 of them have been absorbed in the department's training programme. One hundred and eighteen candidates have enrolled at various universities. Two hundred and seventy of them are in engineering, 241 are in sciences 25 in surveying.
Thus far we have appointed 166 graduates in permanent and/or candidate OSD engineering and science posts within the department. Candidates graduating from our learning academy will also be supplementing the skills required at municipal level. Another proud achievement is that the learning academy was awarded the Best Training Programme in the public sector, through the Achievers Awards Magazine and BHP Billiton.
We are proud of that achievement and we believe that it serves as an example in government. These awards honour these achievements, and the recognition we get comes through the programme that gives awards to companies, government departments who demonstrate their commitment to advance their employee skills base.
The head of our learning academy has also been selected to deliver the Best management practice paper at the 7th biennial International Water Association's Efficiency Conference. The paper is entitled "Scarce Skills Development for the Department of Water Affairs: - The Learning Academy Model.'' This is a very good achievement for us.
We are making great progress in various ways in skills development, and one shining example is in the person of one Xolani Mdletshe ...
... ukhona khona la. Awusukume bakubone. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
He is here in the gallery and we should say thank you to him. [Applause.] He is a product of this programme. Coming as he does from our own learning academy, Mdletshe has traversed a long and challenging road from university, through to being admitted professionally to the engineering field. We congratulate him and commit ourselves to producing more young engineers like our dear brother Mdletshe.
We will continue to work with all our partners in this sector to ensure that our skills base collaborate with professional institutions and thus produce and consolidate our work in the department. We are also very grateful for the contribution that the Water Research Commission, WRC, our research entity, is making to the skills base. The Water Research Commission has actually ensured that during the 2012-13 financial year 494 students were actively involved in funded research projects at Masters of science and doctoral levels.
Our skills improvement plan goes beyond our engineering and scientific fields. We have another 84 interns in various administrative posts. Recently we have advertised another 100 posts for interns in human resources and finance. Of these who are at the Water Research Commission, 42%, which amounts to 207, are female. Let us celebrate this success. [Applause.] Of course there are also people with disabilities amongst them.
Focusing on the department, I am pleased to report that within the management cadre of the department, we now have 139 senior managers, of whom 40% are female and about 83% are black. We are well on our way to achieving the 50% target. As you see, we have 40% females in senior management. With regard to water security, let me reiterate, equity and redistribution is at its heart.
Let me deal with the current myth regarding the mixed messages that we sometimes receive from the public space about our running out of water. Yes there may be water shortages, but running out of water completely in South Africa is a myth. You must have heard from one source or another people are saying that South Africa will run out of water in 2013, some say in 2015, some say in 2025, 2030 and so on depending on the source you are listening to.
Let me assure you as the custodian of water resources in our country, as we enter the third decade of equity and redistribution, South Africa will not run out of water in the next 100 years. This is not to say that there are no challenges regarding the availability of water resources. We are confident that because of our planning and future programmes in water management, and the development and management of infrastructure, we are geared towards sustainability and a secure future in terms of security of supply.
I am saying this because our research institution, the Water Research Commission, continues to lead national initiatives aimed at securing water. They have been tasked to do some study that will serve as a blueprint for water resource management decisions that we will have to make. They will also give us a picture of what our water resources look like. That study will be completed in 2016. we are going to move forward and review our water policy, undertake a legislative review and a review of our strategy.
Let me start with the easiest strategy. We all know by now that the national water resource strategy is under review and is about to be completed. From tomorrow we will have final discussions in the Cabinet. Thanks to the members of this august House and the portfolio committee for having pioneered it and ensuring that our people participated in this piece of work. We are going to be looking at water allocation and other legacy implications which advantage certain categories of people and sectors at the expense of the rest of the population.
Our water allocation reform programme is geared towards the achievement of this objective and will greatly be served by a tightened policy, and legislative environment, as we envisage in this regard. This review of our water policy will realistically identify what has and what has not worked in the last two decades of our democracy and therefore make suggestions going forward. We will make this work during the course of this year.
I am also delighted to report that, as I had indicated in the Budget Vote of 2012, we have reduced the number of catchment management Agencies, CMA, at the institutional realignment level from 19 to 9. The consolidating process is underway; the Breede-Overberg CMA is to include the Gouritz catchments and the Inkomati CMA, with the Usuthu catchments, is progressing well. I have already approved the Overberg and Gouritz CMAs for gazetting.
Last year I announced that we would investigate the restructuring of water boards to ensure that they are able to fund and develop the necessary bulk water infrastructure we need in this country. I have approved the proposals for this study to decrease the number of water boards from 12 to 9. We will come back to consult with this august House in that regards.
Regarding the building infrastructure to consolidate the gains of the last two decades, our budget has also significantly increased. Due this increased budget - you know what the figures are I am not going to into those details - . We are moving to support the programmes that have been announced by the President through the Strategic Integrated Projects, SIP 18, last year.
In collaboration the Departments of Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance, we are charged with the responsibility of integrating our work through infrastructure programmes. We are also leading the charge in relation to the SIP 18 and also championing the work around it. SIP 18 deals with sanitation and water.
Regarding capital investment in new water, the entire value chain, including the refurbishment of existing infrastructure, is projected to require an estimated R670 billion over the next 10 years. This means that it is an equivalent of R67 billion per year. Currently we have only 45% of that money. We will be able to raise money off-budget and from other sources of government, but this is a value chain requirement fund, which also includes maintenance. We are going to work hard to realise the needs and overcome the challenges we face.
The new decade should see the accentuation of our seamless infrastructure model of to manage our water. As we build this infrastructure, we will integrate and ensure that people who never had water are now catered for.
From a water infrastructure perspective, all our programmes, the Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme, the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Programme, the Interim Water Supply Programme and all the large augmentation schemes form the contingent development infrastructure that must drive this single initiative to achieve our development objectives based on the need for equity and redistribution. These infrastructure projects are constructed through a mix of departmental construction and the use of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, TCTA. Members of the TCTA and the board are working very hard to help us in that regard.
I am now giving on account of the large infrastructure that we implemented last year. I am going to run through these issues. Remember that we also spoke about the De Hoop Dam. The mayor is here in the gallery. We thank the mayor and the Premier for their hard work they engaged in with us. [Applause.] The De Hoop Dam is currently at 16.85% full, while approximately 58.55 million cubic metres of water have been stored. The work to connect the water treatment plant at Steelpoort to the De Hoop Dam has already started and is expected to be complete by September next year. Certain areas like Jane Furse will be supplied with water from July this year. As we celebrate, in Steelpoort, which is part of the Sekuruwe region, people never used to have water but now they will begin to have water. The pipeline to Sekuruwe in the Waterberg and Pruissen in the Capricorn areas is also planned to start during this year.
These bulk water pipelines which are the veins to get domestic water to mostly needy communities in that area will be implemented as well. The government has spent R4.5 billion on the project, and will benefit more than 2 million people in the Sekhukhune, Capricorn and Waterberg areas. The Komati Water System Augmentation Project, KSWAP, has been completed. We have handed over the pipelines that have been supporting Eskom's Duva and Matla Power Stations and Kusile Power Plant. There is also a 10% allocation of water to the communities in that area that has been completed, as we announced last year.
The Mooi-uMngeni Transfer Scheme will increase the yield of water through the Spring Grove Dam. It will input about 60 million cubic metres thereby increasing the system yield to 394 million cubic metres per annum. The project will benefit the economic hub of KwaZulu-Natal comprising six municipalities, eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality; uMgungundlovu District Municipality; Msunduzi Local Municipality; Ugu District Municipality and Sisonke Local Municipality as well as iLembe District Municipality. We are at work supporting the developmental load of our country.
With regard to Lesotho, I am happy to announce that after this august House has completed the gratification process, the Lesotho government has come back to say that they are ready. We received a letter yesterday which says that South Africa should continue with the work it is doing. [Applause.]
The 46 km pipeline, and pump station from the Mokolo Dam to the Lephalale area mainly for the use of Eskom and the new Medupi Power Station is now underway. Just a few days ago the first 6.6% of the pipeline was connected to the existing pipeline, increasing water availability by 36%. Again this is a delivery on which we said last year we would report back.
Regarding the Clanwilliam Dam, plans are in place. The construction of the N7 road that we are deviating is underway. The actual construction of raising the dam wall will start in April 2014. With regard to the Mzimvubu Dam, a plan which some of us say was started in 1963, when I was in Sub A, is now being realised. By April next year this construction will start to consolidate our development, the Ntabelanga Dam on the Tsitsa River. In the first phase we are planning three dams in this area in the first phase, and further work will be done in this regard.
The water board has done a great deal of work by supporting infrastructure. They have further generated R10.5 billion from water sales during this financial year. They have invested a further R2.1 billion in infrastructure development and a further R3.3 billion for the next financial year. They have been able to reduce the debt to R2 billion and we are now where a debt of R1.3 billion is owed to our water boards. It is still much but we are working very hard to reduce it, especially as it was over R2 billion.
We are greatly appreciative of the fact that our water boards are supporting our municipalities in the blue and green drops. We also appreciate that their projects throughout the country amount to millions of rands. You will also find that in you documentation. Regarding the Dam Safety Rehabilitation Programme, we are rehabilitating 359 dams and major conveyance systems and we are making great strides in that regard.
The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant forms part of our major programme. We are currently focusing on the Ludeke Dam in the Alfred Nzo District; the Paterson Bulk Water Supply Scheme in Cacadu, just to name but a few in Eastern Cape; the Ncorha Bulk Water Scheme in Chris Hani, and the Mncwasa Water Project in OR Tambo District. In addition other work will be done throughout the country and that process as well as this project will create 4 986 jobs in the 2012-13 financial year. This will be linked to equitable distribution of water to people who do not have water.
As South Africa, we are engaging on an international level. We are working in various commissions, including in the SADC region and the whole world. We are also participating in Amcow Water as part of our work of ensuring that the water services are consolidated throughout the country and throughout the continent, working on a common development plan. We are also looking at the compliance with and monitoring of use authorisation. As you know, there are Blue Scorpions who are dealing with various cases, some of whom have got to court and were successfully prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA.
We are currently supporting local municipalities and we accept and appreciate the work done by our portfolio committee to ensure that the necessary alignment and funding supporting the department is actually done in an integrated manner. We do need that kind of integration. With regard to the work we are doing on the Blue Drop/Green Drop, results will be released. South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the 186 countries of the world where you can drink tap water. [Applause.]
With regard to pollution and water quality we are hard at work working with Cogta, and in fact the Municipal Information Systems Association, Misa, which is a new institution that has been set up and are two of the leaders in that integration, to ensure that our municipalities are supported in the Green Drop and the Blue Drop. We are also working hard on the acid mine drainage. In the first phase we have been able to contain the problem of acid mine drainage but now we are working on a long-term solution, on which we have been able to brief the members of the portfolio committee. We hope and are confident that the work we are doing will yield good results. We also see this is as a source of additional water.
The work of the department is ongoing and we would like to conclude by saying that this third decade will focus on ensuring that those of our people who never used to have water, will have water Reallocation is done by law and through the law, as we will be reviewing the legislation as well as doing a policy review through the National Water Resource Strategy. We will not have been able to do all this work that we are doing if it was not from the support of this portfolio committee. We would like to thank you, chair, and hon members for the good support we enjoy. This is not easy work to do, but with the professionalism do the various members under the leadership of our acting Director-General who is here, Trevor Balzer, and the entire staff of the department and the water boards, We are doing it. We also thank the family of Water Affairs and the sector in its entirety. Thank you very much. South Africa is certainly going into a higher trajectory as we move on together. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr J H DE LANGE /Mia (Afr)// JN (Eng&Zul) / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Adv J H DE LANGE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, our esteemed water sector family, comrades and friends, ladies and gentlemen, may I extend to all of you, on behalf of the portfolio committee, a warm welcome to this annual debate of the Budget Vote of the Department of Water Affairs.
I rise on this occasion on behalf of the ANC and hopefully the whole portfolio committee in support of this 2013-2014 Budget Vote allocation to the department. In the last few years the portfolio committee reported that we were dealing with a department which was terminally ill and in deep trouble, facing a myriad of major challenges, each of which could on its own be crippling to any kind of recovery, but collectively almost seemed intractable. Firstly, we were faced with a serious leadership crisis at senior management level, as most of the top leadership of the department had either been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing, or were under investigation, removed from performing certain tasks, because of alleged acts of dishonesty, mainly during the procurement processes. The leadership crisis which created huge instability and uncertainty in the department, for all intents and purposes is something of the past, with a last few issues which require wrapping up.
Secondly, the financial management system of the department was either nonexistent or seriously dysfunctional, meaning that the main account had received a qualified audit report for a few years, whilst the Water Trading Entity, had received a disqualification on its audit report for many years in a row. It was understandably with great elation that the portfolio committee learnt last year that the department's main account and its WTE account had turned their financial management matters around to the extent that both accounts had received an unqualified report with many matters of emphasis. Happily, we can announce that this positive trend has continued and even became better this year with the accounts still being unqualified, but with fewer matters of emphasis. [Applause.] Thirdly, many aspects of the department's core functions were being crisis-managed, some facing serious degrees of serious dysfunctionality. I have dealt with some of those extensively last year, and do not wish to do so again this year.
It would therefore be understood that the portfolio committee approached this years budget hearings with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Would the positive upward curve of last year have strengthened and deepened, or would matters have gone backwards again? I can happily and unequivocally report that our engagements with the Minister and the department have been robust, honest, open and transparent, with the department being forthcoming to engage on its weaknesses, challenges and even mistakes. In fact, this year I found the hearings even more useful, productive and encouraging as we were able, for the first time ever, to engage with the methodology of the department in setting its strategic goals and performance targets.
I can unequivocally state that the portfolio committee was pleasantly surprised with the depth and understanding of the vision and professionalism of the input the department placed before us. If the department can deliver on this vision, then the future of the water sector looks rosy and is something to look forward to and to be achieved in all haste. It is in this context that the portfolio committee further acknowledges that the definite, positive, upward trend in the work and the activities of the department it discerned last year has deepened and even strengthened this year and pledges to remain in partnership with the department to progressively and decisively move towards operating at its optimal abilities to serve the nation and our people in creating an efficient, effective and sustainable water sector, which delivers on the developmental needs of an country.
Let me also at the outset thank my longsuffering committee. This committee is one that works very hard. As you know, it is the only committee in Parliament that actually oversees two departments and not only one. So, we do double the work, we get the same salaries as everyone else. [Laughter.] I firstly want to say that every single member in my committee, across party lines is extremely diligent, attends the extra meetings that we have above other committees and that their participation is vigorous and at all times of the standard we expect. I particularly want to emphasise here, the intellectual vigour with which our committee tackles the issues but more importantly, the intellectual honesty which is displayed in tackling the issues, while still remaining true to the mandate from your parties. It's exemplary the way that all parties in our committee deal with these issues intellectually in a very honest manner. I really want to thank all the leaders of all the parties in the committee. I owe them a debt of gratitude for working so hard, for making my life much easier and supporting me in what we are trying to achieve in the committee.
I particularly also want to thank Mr Gareth Morgan, who you know has taken a leave of absence from Parliament, for his excellent leadership in the committee and for his huge endeavours in contributing to making this department much better. Then, I also want to congratulate his substitute, hon Rodgers, for the tremendous way he stepped into Mr Morgan's boots – and he is already acting like a veteran in the committee.
Lastly, of course, we want to thank the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the department for the excellent manner in which they engage with us always, always being available to provide us with any information we need and always prepared to listen to whatever suggestions we may have.
I want to start this year by saying something about our research capacity in water science and water technology. It is clear that, as a water scarce country, South Africa's water challenge is a complex one. It should also be clear that South Africa's ability to successfully meet its water challenges will have an empowering effect globally, particularly in Africa, as we engage the uncertainties of climate change and weather variability with an increasing occurrence of flood and drought events, with ever greater intensity.
At the centre of our ability to ensure that our new strategy results in genuine improvement in the lives of our people is the development and use of very good and relevant water science and technology. South Africa has the unique benefit of a national water research agency, our Water Research Commission, WRC. Both the chairperson and the CEO are here – you are welcome. The Water Research Commission concentrates the efforts of the South African water research community's efforts on keeping South Africa's water science on the cutting edge internationally and relevant to the country's needs. Water science in South Africa is highly productive, ranking 19th in the world on the ISI index and producing 1,69% of ISI papers globally.
This indicates that our laboratory knowledge is not only good but world class. The challenge that we need to engage with, and we have been very explicit with the Water Research Commission during their briefings to Parliament, is to make that knowledge much more accessible to our people, to the real economy and for the achievement of government's goals. We are happy to say that there is a positive response with the WRC's Knowledge Tree concept that details the connection between water research and the outcomes of the impact thereof. We are also pleased to see the expansion of partnerships with other government departments, the private sector and civil society in this process. We are also aware of the fact that the valorisation of research and the realisation of innovation in products and services in the real economy require serious investment.
The journey from the lab benchtop to the farm or factory floor or to government projects requires large investments. I would like to urge both government and the private sector to contribute to the further strengthening of South Africa's water science, technology and innovation through partnership and investment.
As members are aware, after two decades of democratic government in South Africa, our department is in the process of reviewing its policies, reviewing its legislative framework, and reviewing the National Water Resource Strategy, NWRS, against the lessons learnt in the last two decades. In this process, various policy issues have come under review and I wish to air the portfolio committee's engagements and views on these issues. How often do South Africans across party lines and across other differences say, we have very good policies in government but implementing these policies is our problem? The water sector is no different. There are many reasons for this challenge in the water sector, but I want to share some ideas on what I regard as one of the biggest reasons for this problem in the water sector.
Common wisdom in political philosophy circles is that the division of state power and the performing state functions at the lowest level of government possibly is good and should be encouraged. Although I agree with this general principle, in the real world we must also be aware that the unintended consequences of the fragmentation of state power could be debilitating for efficient and effective provisioning of government services. It is important that each country gets the right balance. The water sector in South Africa, I will argue, is such an example where the consequences have a debilitating impact.
In my view the unintended consequences of the fragmentation of state power in this water sector, arising from our constitutional framework, and funding, and other choices we have made in respect of our governance and institutional framework in the water sector, is a huge debilitating factor in achieving our goals and policies in the sector. I am not going to go into the whole constitutional dispensation, but you will understand that water is mainly a national competence to a large extent. But there is also the unusual provision in our Constitution where part of the water competence is given to local government to operate within a certain framework particularly water reticulation.
What you have in South Africa is a situation where there are policies and all the legal frameworks are designed at one level, which is the national level of government, but then the implementation of those policies is fragmented across a whole lot of governments, which is your department nationally plus at least more than 275 local governments. We then have 280 governments that implement, plus a whole lot of agencies, 12 water boards, two catchment management agencies, the TCTA and other agencies that are created. You have this whole fragmentation of state power, where we have pooled the policies together in one, but we then fragment the fragmentation and the funding of those lower down. Even if, say, 250 of your municipalities act perfectly in terms of water provisioning of water services, if the other 50 do not do it, then you have a crisis. That is really what we are dealing with here when I talk about the unintended consequences of the fragmentation of state power.
Now obviously in the short term there is not much we are going to do about this. We are not going to change the Constitution or the legal framework. What do we do? It is very important for us to be able to ameliorate these unintended consequences of the fragmentation of state power in our sector, that we start developing government tools and mechanisms to allow for the maximum co-ordination and management of all implementation agencies in the water sector to operate as one vehicle achieving the goals of our policies and our constitutional legal framework in the sector.
There are at least two areas which I'm going to raise today which need immediate change. The first one is the funding model that we use in this whole fragmented implementation system that we have. As you know, as far as local government is concerned, you know the local government funds itself to a large extent on its own and then gets part of an equitable share from National Treasury. The problem with the equitable share, although some of the money is set aside for water services, is that there is no condition that the municipality should spend it on water services. So, when the municipality sets up its budget. whatever we've agreed nationally, the money should go towards water services and if they don't want to spend it on water services, so be it.
We had a big problem particularly in weak local governments where there isn't a capacity, where they don't have a financial base of their own and they don't have financial statements that can back up and lend money - that those municipalities just go backwards and backwards. Then our funding model that we have created for creating water infrastructure doesn't facilitate them dealing with that because as political pressures on that municipality mount, they spend that money elsewhere, because there is no obligation to spend it on water.
We have engaged quite a lot with the Treasury about these issues in the last two years, and we are very happy to say that we've seen a new trend in the manner in which we are funding local government. You will see that Treasury has turned more and more to conditional grants, which we have advocated very strongly. You must make sure that, if you are planning nationally, so much must be spent on water infrastructure and water services that it is actually spent by the different levels of government and the different implementation agencies on what we've asked them to spend it on. You will find that there are original regional bulk infrastructure grants, RBIG, and your latest one, the municipal water infrastructure grants, are the kinds of grants and the kinds of the conditions that are now starting to shift our spending models and hopefully, we can start getting our agencies to pull in all these implementation agencies, about 280 or 300 of them, to all push in the same direction to achieve our policies and our water goals.
The second issue is to try and create centralised planning of our water infrastructure. I mean you get the absurd situation that one agency who must provide infrastructure from here to here, would make plans, would get a budget and do so. But the next agency from there has to then create the infrastructure to the end user, but hasn't got a budget and hasn't made plans for it. So, you put in one part of it and you don't do the other part. It is very important that, although each agency keeps its powers and its functions, that we start centralising the planning around the provisioning of infrastructure so that we make the plan centrally but we make sure that the implementation takes place at the levels that they should do. There are lot of issues we as the committee have discussed in this respect. We can share with you, but time does not allow for it.
Water boards are water utilities, which provide certain water services to mainly municipalities, when they are requested contracted to do so, for example, mainly providing bulk water to municipalities, some provisioning of infrastructure and some other water services. As the Minister said, there are 12 of these, but if truth be told, only a few of these are self-sustaining and have an independent economic viability, with only Rand Water and Umgeni Water being long established. In fact, Rand Water is older than 100 years, and our large corporation- like entities; while Lepelle Northern, Mhlathuze, Sedibeng, Bloem, and maybe Magalies Water Boards having real potential to be economically self-sustaining if we increase and change the mandate; whereas Pelladrift, Overberg, Botshelo, Amatola and Bushbuckridge, in their present form, are either terminally ill or have little such potential.
A few figures should suffice to underscore this prognosis. Of the 2,5 billion kilowatt of bulk water sold last year, 2 billion was sold by Rand Water and Umgeni Water – only by two. Of the R2 million spent on Capex projects last year, R1,8 million was spent by Rand Water and Umgeni Water. Of the R1,7 million surplus shown on the financial statements of the water boards last year, R1,37 million derives from Rand and Umgeni Water. It is not very difficult to see; you don't have to be a genius to work out that the two water boards really carry the bulk of what happens in the sector. The financial management of these institutions is relatively healthy; most of them except two are in good health; Botshelo and Amatole are really in a bad shape.
To further exacerbate matters, some of the worst performing water boards have huge amounts of arrears owing to them by municipalities, particularly Sedibeng, Bushbuckridge and Lepelle Northern water Boards. They are all owed R1,4 billion in arrears by municipalities. The Matjahabeng Municipality alone owes Sedibeng Water Board R500 million, of which R400 million is in arrears more than 120 days. The Bushbucksridge Municipality owes Bushbuckridge Water Board R250 million, of which almost R244 million is in arrears for more than 28 days, and the Mopani District Municipality owes the Lepelle Northern Water Board R177 million, of which almost R170 million is in arrears for more than 120 days.
The impression that has been created with me over a long period of time is that water boards mostly provide services to municipalities in rural areas. But, this impression was shattered this year when the department, in fact, brought us a table to show us that the water boards to a large extent provide services to Metros, huge cities and towns and very few services to municipalities and to rural areas. There is a huge growth potential for water boards to be able exactly to play a bigger role in weak municipalities. It is in the light of this situation that the portfolio committee supports the rationalisation of the Bushbuckridge, Botshelo and the Pelladrift into other water boards, but we do this conditionally on the fact that the department should draft a detailed implementation plan, considering all contingencies, including the future of all personnel after consultation with the affected water boards, setting out how the rationalisation of these three water boards will be proceeded with once consultation processes have been finalised.
The portfolio committee also further supports DWA's plans to rapidly expand the services and mandates of some of the water boards, especially into rural areas, and to pursue and devise further options to make the 10 smaller water boards economically viable. The expansion of Amatola and the Lepelle Northern into Eastern Cape and Limpopo are particularly good options. We are also saying that there are various other options, that we need to look at how to expand this whole functioning.
May I thank you; there are few other issues I had not dealt with, but they are in my paper. If you are interested in them, please read them. I appreciate your listening. [ Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs M WENGER / GG / END OF TAKE
"Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,28 May 2013,"Take 70 [Old Assembly Main].doc"
Mr J H DE LANGE
Mrs M WENGER: Chairperson, Madam Minister and hon guests, good morning. Accessibility to water is always and will be one of the commodities in our daily lives that is most important. The Hotspots Report issued by the Department of Water Affairs in February 2013 will verify this as access to water is critical, not only for our existence, but also for economic growth, food, energy, security and mining, amongst others.
Service delivery protests are on the rise and crisis management cannot be the order of the day any longer. I urge the Minister to ensure that proactive interventions replace reactive ones in order to eradicate the backlogs in and improve the living standards of our citizens.
Gaining Blue Drop certification is an indication that a stringent set of chemicals, biological and other requirements has been complied with. In the Eastern Cape a percentage as low as 5,9% for water quality was indicated, whilst the 2012 Blue Drop performance sees the DA-run Western Cape with a score of 94,2%.
The 2012 Blue Drop report shows four DA-run municipalities in the top 10 namely, City of Cape Town, Bitou, Witzenberg and George. In total, there are 8 in the top 20, including Overstrand, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay and Saldanha. Where the DA governs, it is progressively delivering access to water. We want to do this around the country too. South Africa has been categorised as the 30th driest country worldwide, posing a possible water crisis in the next decade if urgent steps are not taken.
The allocation of R38 billion over the next three financial years is a very welcome intervention to address water infrastructure and its implementation and support. Estimates show that in order to maintain and expand our water infrastructure, R570 billion will be needed over the next ten years. The government's National Development Plan highlighted water security as one of the challenges. The R12 billion second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project was approved in principle last week, which is sharply higher than the estimated R9 billion. The project is to be completed by 2020 to secure an additional water supply from Lesotho to Lephalale and Steelpoort.
As we are debating here today, in some areas globally demands already outstrip the supply, which in the next 10 to 20 years will continue to grow, leading to critical situations. The latest review if our water sector by Engineering News indicates that if no urgent action is taken, South Africa will experience a 17% gap between water demand and supply by 2030, equating to a water shortfall of 2,7 billion cubic metres.
Whilst we have met Millennium Development Goal No 7 well ahead of time, by halving the number of people who do not have access to safe drinking water, the 100% target by 2014 to address and resolve the backlogs will not be achieved due to two factors, namely, the reliability of data and urban sprawl for which no additional funding was made available by the National Treasury.
The 2011 Census figures show that between 2001 and 2011 the water provision backlog saw the biggest percentage point reduction in rural areas, a reduction of 21%, but the backlog is still at a staggering 41%. Rural areas continue to bear the brunt of the lack of delivery. The United Nations World Water Development Report in 2012 ranked South Africa 148th out of 180 countries for water availability per capita.
The department needs to look very seriously into the maintenance and upkeep as well as the sustainability of the infrastructure. With the introduction of the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant of some R603 million in 2013-14, the department has its work cut out to ensure that this is not wasted yet again on a system that will be obsolete and nonfunctional within a short space of time due to the shoddy and inferior workmanship that we have experienced in the past. The department must ensure that this water scheme is maintained and operated effectively.
Municipalities, in conjunction with water boards, are responsible for the provision of quality water, but they fail dismally due to lack of skills and maintenance, and the fact that the equitable share is not used for what it is intended. Equitable share must become a conditional grant and municipalities must account for it accordingly.
The new equitable share formula applies to households earning less than R2 300 per month. The R275 per household includes R87 for water, of which 10% is included for maintenance and R72 for sanitation. Who will monitor that this breakdown is spent correctly?
The City of Cape Town, together with the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, has taken the lead in addressing the problem of water losses through a new real time web-based information system that gives easy access to all relevant information for managing, operating and optimising the city's water supply resources. This should be used as a benchmark for effective resource management of the implementation of water security.
Page 947 of the Budget states that the department's legislative mandate is to ensure that the country's water resources are protected, managed, used, developed, conserved and controlled through regulating and supporting the delivery of water supply and sanitation. So why is sanitation with the Department of Human Settlements and not with the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs?
The separation of the two functions is almost like a divorce, which is never amicable to say the least. I think it is time to kiss and make up and return sanitation to where it belongs, to the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. The department's overall budget has been increased from R8,993 billion in 2012-13 budget to R10,187 billion in 2013-14, reflecting an increase of R1,2 billion. This was necessary in order to fund bulk water infrastructure, infrastructure management and regional bulk infrastructure grant support programmes.
The budget sets out additional allocations of R1,5 billion in 2013-14, R2,9 billion in 2014-15 and R5,5 billion in 2015-16; R91,3 million over the mediumterm for improved conditions of service; R150 million in 2013-14 for acid mine drainage; R4,3 billion for the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant over the mediumterm to provide for interim water supply in rural households, as identified and prioritised by Cabinet, in the 23 district municipalities; R3,7 billion for the upgrade and refurbishment of six existing plants and bulk infrastructure projects; and Rl,5 billion is allocated for phase 2D upgrading of the Steelpoort to Mooihoek pipeline and the construction of a new pipeline from the Flag Boshielo Dam to Mokopane, of the De Hoop Dam's bulk distribution system.
The department's difficulty to attract and retain suitably qualified staff resulted in the budgeting of some R485 million for consultants, which represents almost 46% of the compensation of employees. This figure is at an unacceptably high level and we welcome Cabinet's decision to reduce this by R8,5 million in 2013-14. Whilst we understand that the department cannot function without suitably qualified engineers and technicians, the vacancies must be filled as a matter of urgency.
The establishment of the Business Process Re-engineering Committee was a move in the right direction to address the challenges in improving water democracy, governance of the water sector, optimising the water infrastructure and facilities, business process re-engineering, financial management and controls of the Auditor-General's annual audit.
The National Water Resource Strategy 2 was comprehensively reviewed in order to give guidance to all future priorities throughout the country in water resource management, but still needs to be adopted. The plan will also address the adoption of the nine catchment areas on a regional level within three years to provide regional bulk infrastructure and to support municipalities on bulk water provision.
The National Water Resource Strategy 2, NWRS 2, will also have to address the equity in allocations in order to address the historic imbalances. The Water Tribunal has become a nightmare. The board has not sat for well over a year and the backlog is mounting and litigations are the order of the day. We welcome the Business Process Re-engineering Committee, BPRC's proposal and assistance in establishing the interim dispute resolution mechanism.
Acid mine drainage is a problem not only in the Witwatersrand but also in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape. The rising mine water levels have the potential of polluting groundwater resources that could have devastating ecological impacts. We welcome the increase of R208 million to the initially allocated R225 million by the National Treasury to the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, TCTA, for the installation of pumps and on-site treatment plants, but this still leaves us with a shortfall of R492 million.
The department will also have to look into fast-tracking its labour relations processes as the lengthy delays of up to two years ... Thank you. [Interjections.] [Time Expired.] [Applause.]
Mr N J J van R KOORNHOF / Mpho .../TM / END OF TAKE
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Mrs "Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,21 May 2013,"[Take-71] [Old Assembly Main][90P-4-082A][gs].doc"
Mr N J J van R KOORNHOF: Chairperson, today I am standing in for Ms B L Ferguson, who is overseas. I am going to do my own speech and not hers. In August 2012, the Financial Mail had a very dramatic front page with the question: Is water in South Africa under pressure?
The hon Minister referred to that yesterday at a breakfast briefing she had held. Let's unpack this question. The conclusion of the article was because of years of neglect in vital areas of infrastructure, which happened before 1994. We might be on a brink of crisis. We can blame a little bit of this on apartheid. Unfortunately, however, since 1994 there also has been a little bit of neglect in terms of our infrastructure.
Failing infrastructure, neglect of timeous investment and bad management are the major culprits. Add to that an under-resourced national department and incompetent local municipalities many of whom have no capacity left, and add to that the state of our old dams, our canals, the pipelines, the tunnels, monitoring and treatment facilities, and according to Razina Munshi of the Financial Mail, there is a problem.
In fact, this was said yesterday by the Minister, that we need almost R700 billion over the next 8 to 10 years to address this backlog. We haven't got that money. The problem is very similar to what we have experienced with Eskom. We have waited for too long and delayed the decision to upgrade for too long, and now the problem exists. We cannot blame the Minister, but the problem is now on her desk and she must address it and hopefully she will try to do that.
We need economic growth in South Africa and without electricity and water it will not happen. Water is a vital component of economic growth, as is energy, and we must all realise that.
More than 75% of our water assets were constructed between 1960 and 1990. Our infrastructure is an average 40 years old. Dam walls can last for 300 years, but the national government water infrastructure replacement value is now set at R140 billion and it depreciates at a rate of R1,4 billion per year.
Add to this that the quality of our rivers is rapidly deteriorating, 82% of our rivers are threatened and 44% critically endangered. This is not an infrastructure problem, but a management one and that's making the problem even worse.
Last year, I asked the hon Minister, almost on my knees, to save the perennial rivers of the Kruger National Park. I do not think she has even visited the area. I do not think that anything has happened in one year to address the culprits in the catchment areas of these rivers. Agriculture and mining activities just carry on as before and it remains a crisis.
The Vaal River is under the strain from theft, leaks and pollution. This system supplies 45% of the South African population with water and 60% of the economy with water. If there is a river that should be a national key point, it is the Vaal River system. [Laughter.]
We are losing almost 37% of water through leaks; and R11 billion was lost just through leaks. Municipalities are failing us. Ordinary South Africans who steal water and do not report leaks fail their country. In Gauteng alone, we lost R7,8 billion in terms of theft and leaks; that is two and a half Hartebeespoort Dam.
Our conveyance systems are not in good order and in some instances not in place. That is why communities living next to big dams do not have clean water. Yes, our blue drop score is up to 88% and - congratulations on that – that is a big improvement. But our green drop assessment reports that 317 plants are in a critical condition.
Yes, between 1994 and 2012, water access rose from 60% to 95% for the population. The legacy of apartheid has almost been addressed, but the brunt is on the deep rural areas of South Africa. Hopefully the Minister will deal with that, and she said she would.
The challenge remains with municipalities that are not delivering. The infighting between municipalities that are sharing water resources and creating water shortages are driving the civil unrest. The Makhado and Vhembe Municipalities in Limpopo are a case in point.
There was no water in Colesberg for weeks. People are protesting and civil society is going to court to enforce their rights. Statistics show that service delivery protests now occur literally every second day in South Africa. More than 2 million South Africans have participated in it annually since 2008. The Wikipedia named us as the protest capital of the world, not good for our image as a destination that needs investment to grow the economy.
We cannot allow water to become a fuel for civil unrest. The department must take the lead at all levels to rescue us and protect all our water systems. What we would like to see is a far more aggressive approach against nonperforming municipalities and action against non-law-abiding farmers as well as mines in the catchment areas of our important rivers.
Let's see some action; let's see more Blue Scorpions. Let's build on what the hon De Lange has said, and he gave some directions here today. Let's pursue that. Let's appoint a permanent Director-General to this department; I think he has been acting for more than two years now. We owe it to ourselves and to generations to come. Let's treasure our water. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA / MALUTA ///tfm\\\ END OF TAKE
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"Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,21 May 2013,"[Take-72] [Old Assembly Main][90P-4-082A][gs].doc"
Mr N J J van R KOORNHOF
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA: Hon Chairperson and Minister, water is life. The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs is extremely active within the country and it is one of those departments that carry a heavy responsibility as they are tasked with providing access to clean drinkable water to our people. Post 1994, the department has ensured that more people have access to water than ever before and for this it must be applauded.
We must also congratulate the Rand and the Umgeni Water Boards, and other water boards that have excelled in providing our communities with access to clean water. Access to water is still a major issue, especially in rural areas, where infrastructure is mostly not upgraded, which forces people to still travel long distances in order to obtain water. Urban areas are also experiencing major water shortages, with the department seemingly incapable of keeping up with water demands as populations in the cities grow.
A lack of qualified individuals, poor maintenance of infrastructure and absence of political will have ensured that the department is constantly reacting to many water situations instead of proactively dealing with them. Without proper infrastructure, we will instantly be faced with residents around the country who are experiencing major water shortages.
Rustenburg residents had no water for 10 days, while those in Louis Trichardt faced 27 days without it. For those 27 days, hospital equipment could not be cleaned, exposing people to infections, and sewage flowed constantly in the streets, and public toilets were forced to close. Recently, the North Gauteng High Court has ordered the municipal manager of the Vhembe District Municipality, Mr Masala Makumule, to restore water to the community of Makhado in Limpopo within 90 days. Areas within these municipalities have been experiencing water shortages for years, while some have been completely without water for months.
The municipality uses tankers to supply water to the areas, but residents do not know the delivery schedules. It is disturbing that municipalities have to be taken to court in order for them to do what they are elected to do. Community members have been expressing major concerns about water being wasted due to the lack of action by municipalities in fixing leaking water pipes, specifically after countless reports have been sent to those in charge.
There is an extreme lack of leadership in the implementation in the national department's, regulations locally because more time is spent in denying the existence of problem than actually fixing it. If community members see that there is no actual action been taken to improve the supply of water, how can they support the department's major plans for water conservation?
Poor regulation of water treatment plants ensures that water shortages not only increase, but also that the purification of polluted water does not occur. Factories and other major businesses are the main culprits when it comes to polluting our water supplies. However, due to economic interests, some of them are not held responsible for their actions, and the main blame for polluting our water is shifted to households.
If nothing is done about cleaning up our rivers and stopping polluters, the water shortages will turn into a major crisis, which will result in the department deciding to build more dams and treatment facilities, the costs of which will be pushed onto the consumer. This cannot be allowed to happen.
In conclusion, the actions of the department to improve our water supply are commendable. However, in order to ensure that we do not end up having a water crisis, water conservation must be taken seriously by municipalities, more so than private households with no flow through the improving infrastructure, and dealing with water issues in communities urgently. Municipalities have added up as the biggest culprits when it comes to wasting water.
The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs is being run by the girls. There they are - look at them ... [Applause.] ... from the Minister, to the director-general, the deputy director-general, you name it! The girls are in charge. I have to support the Budget Vote. I thank you! [Applause.]
Ms J MANYANGE / LMM/.../TM / END OF TAKE
"Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,04 Jun 2013,"Take 73 [Old Assembly Main].doc"
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA
Ms J MANGANYE: Chairperson, before I start to speak, my surname is Manganye and not Manyengeja. [Laughter.] Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members of this august House, I rise on behalf of the ANC to support this budget, Budget Vote No 38.
In 2002 South Africa hosted the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. At this summit, former President Nelson Mandela said:
Among the many things I learnt as a President was the centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, the continent and the world.
My input will specifically be on the sphere of local government and it is in this context that we need to assess the performance of Water Affairs in delivering on its mandate. At its 53rd National Conference in Mangaung, the ANC addressed the complex challenges that confront local government and the impact that the local government has on the functioning of the other government departments. Water delivery and infrastructure roll-out at local government level depends greatly on local government's ability to rise to this challenge.
In Mangaung the conference also declared that there should be a differentiated local government model which should include municipalities exercising different powers and functions from a common list, with differences based on criteria such as human settlement types, spatial characteristics, economic activity, revenue base, finances and capacity.
The differentiated model of Mangaung includes scope of integrated development plans, IDPs, funding support and capacity-building. It called for new revenue-raising powers for some municipalities, and that certain strong local municipalities should not be located in the districts.
The other major area of local government which impacts upon water provision to communities that the conference addressed was municipal financing. It is acknowledged that there are major challenges in the local government financial system. They resolved that there needs to be a major review of the local government financial system, which should include a review of the equitable share formula and that municipalities should be able to maximise their own revenue. In addition, lowering of the costs of borrowing from the development finance institutions to municipalities should be instituted.
Importantly, it was recommended that a once-off grant to municipalities to offset the backlog in service delivery backlogs be introduced, which will greatly assist in the backlog of water infrastructure.
In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the Municipal Structure Act, municipalities have the executive authority and right to administer the provision of water services within their areas of jurisdiction. Water Affairs has therefore phased out its role as an implementing agent by transferring water schemes to the relevant municipalities. In terms of the Municipality Infrastructure Grant, the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant, the Rural Household Infrastructure Grant, the Water Services Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant, the Water Service Operating and Subsidy Grant and the Local Government Equitable Share, municipalities have all tremendously accelerated water service delivery across the country.
The planned outcome of the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant, for instance, has increased household access to water supply. This has happened through the development of new infrastructure or refurbishing and upgrading of existing infrastructures to those communities identified as not receiving basic water supply service.
We welcome the new seamless mechanism that will ensure that when water is delivered at the resource level, the municipality also immediately reticulates so that there is no dam or such a resource that stands unused. Given this mechanism, implemented with special focus on the rural community, we want to say that gone will be the days when the community will look at the dam or pipe while deriving no benefit from it.
Water and sanitation services are financed through the water and sanitation components in the local government equitable share and capital spending on water and sanitation assets are financed through the basic services component of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
Funding is supplemented by internal sources and external borrowing, with the exception of district municipalities, where less is spent on water and sanitation infrastructure than what is allocated through the water and sanitation component of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, MIG. This may be because the funds are being passed on to the local municipalities that are water services providers, or because the funding is being used for other municipal services.
Local Government Conditional Grants are being reformed to provide targeted support to different types of municipalities. In 2012-13 a new direct grant for water infrastructure administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs enabled the department to help municipalities to deliver clean drinking water to households.
Over the mediumterm, funds will be made available to reprioritise funds to be used to improve the sustainability of the municipal services by subsidising critical refurbishment projects, and combating wastage of water. The ANC-led government has already made substantial investments in the construction of local government infrastructure, committing over R100 billion for this purpose through direct and indirect conditional grants from 2007 until today.
These transfers have made a significant difference to the lives of South Africans who did not previously have access to municipal services. We acknowledge that nationally and locally in deep rural areas there remain 7% of the country without access to basic services. This is being worked on, as the Minister has already alluded to.
The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs submitted a request for R2 billion in the budget process for the 2013 mediumterm to accelerate the roll-out of water infrastructure and ensure all households have access to clean water. Given the large scale of backlogs revealed by the 2011 Census, R4,3 billion was proposed for this grant in the 2013 medium-term. Part of this will be funded through the reprioritisation of funds from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
The ANC-led government uses capacity-building grants to fund various programmes aimed at supporting municipalities. The 2013 Division of Revenue introduces a new grant, the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant, to be administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. The grant is aimed at accelerating the delivery of clean water to communities that do not have access to water. Minister, I think this will also make sure that the boreholes in villages like Lerume, Nkuzana and Rampampaspoort are functional and serviced.
Local government has taken access to clean water as a strategic priority, especially when considering objectives of the new Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant. According to the latest National Nonrevenue Water Assessment Report recently, released by the Water Research Commission, more than 50% of municipalities are challenged with providing a water balance.
Ha tinyungubyisa hi mitirho leyo saseka leyi endliwaka hi ndzawulo ku yisa mati eka vanhu. Hi hoyozela na makungu yo ndlandlamuxa vukorhokeri lebyi leswaku byi fikelela na laha mati ma nga si fikelelaka. Hi na ku tshemba leswaku hinkwaswo leswi vulavuriweke laha namuntlha swi ta endleke ku nga ri khale.
I therefore propose that whilst all these above initiatives are good, there is a definite need for cross-cutting collaboration on the above issues. These initiatives could address questions around the role of municipalities in infrastructure development, especially how to address the remaining backlogs and to maintain existing infrastructures.
In conclusion, I want to congratulate the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, the staff, the chairperson, hon Johnny de Lange and all the members of the portfolio committee. I also encore what the chairperson has mentioned, that this department is called a ``wholesaler'' because it does everything. Sometimes we as people don't understand how important water is. Therefore, from here all of us must go back and educate people at home that this is a scarce commodity in this country. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr B H HOLOMISA / NN / GC / END OF TAKE
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"Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,21 May 2013,"[Take-74] [Old Assembly Main][90P-4-082A][gs].doc"
Ms J MANGANYE
Mnu B H HOLOMISA: Mhlalingaphambili, Mphathiswa noSekela-Mphathiswa, malungu abekekileyo ale Ndlu, okokuqala, ndiphakamela ukuxhasa leVoti yoHlahlo-lwabiwo-mali yama-38 yeSebe leMicimbi yaManzi kunye nokusiNgqongileyo. Okwesibini ndiphakamela ukunika icebo. Andisayi kuya kwinto yokuba ubani uthini na yena. Okokugqibela ndiyathemba ukuba umbutho olawulayo uza kulithabatha eli cebo ndiza nalo.
Ukususela ngowe-1994 zikhona izinto ezintle esizibonayo ezenziweyo, kodwa kweli cala lokuba savumela ukuba sisuke kwinkqubo yamaphandle size kule nkqubo ikhoyo yamaphondo eyenziwe yambejembeje. Loo nto ibangele ukuba ukumanywa kwamaphandle kuninzi lweziseko eziluncedo nezophuhliso ebesele zikhona kweli lizwe, kurhuqe iinyawo. Le nto sithetha ngayo apha ngoku yamanzi nakwilokishi uyazibona ukuba azikade zidatyinisiwe kwezi ziseko ziluncedo nezophuhliso esele zikhona.
Ixhaphakile into yokuba ubone ifama yomntu omhlophe ngapha iselisa iinkomo amanzi acocekileyo, ilokishi kwelinye icala isokola ukufumana amanzi. Iyafana ke le nto nasezilalini. Ndicinga ukuba kuza kufuneka ukuba siphinde siyiqwalesele siyihlaziye le nkqubo. Ukuba sithi sasisophulela ngokuba kubekho amaphondo noorhulumente basemakhaya, yonke loo nto leyo, kodwa urhulumente wesizwe phantsi kwala komiti ikhokelwa nguMongameli yeziseko eziluncedo nezophuhliso, makhe abe nemephu yokumanya le mimandla.
Imali esiyibonayo eyinkunzi ephumayo iya kwiiprojekthi zomgangatho ophezulu zegcuntswana loohlohlesakhe, oololiwe abahamba ngesantya esiphezulu, kuphinde kuthiwe kulungiswa iindlela komaRhawutini, eThekwini nakoomaKapa. Abaya babehlala kulaa matyotyombe kowe-1984 ukuya kowe-1985 kooLanga nakooKhayelitsha basahlala kuwo. Uzibuze umbuzo othi, kutheni na uMphathiswa weSebe lezokuHlaliswa koLuntu leSizwe, uTokyo Sexwale, enganakuthi kwiphondo angaliphethanga, angenelele angenzi ngathi eli phondo ngumbuso ozilawulayo. Kutheni engakwazi ukuthi nantsi imali, zisa umhlaba, makwakhiwe izindlu. Hayini madoda; hayi khona! Khanibe ngathi niyayiqwalasela le nto. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [Kwaphela ixesha.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS / LN/Checked by Nobuntu / END OF TAKE
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"Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,21 May 2013,"[Take-75] [Old Assembly Main][90P-4-082A][gs].doc"
Mnu B H HOLOMISA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Hon Chairperson, Minister Molewa, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of the Portfolio Committee, MECs and mayors, chairpersons of nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, CEOs of water entities, NGOs and distinguished guests, we know that infrastructure is one of the important parts of delivering water. As we announced last year about the Nandoni Dam, I would like to update you that the pipeline construction that will help supply water from the Nandoni Dam to the communities around the Vhembe district has almost been completed.
The municipalities are currently busy with water reticulation through MTWA pipelines to supply communities. We will support municipalities with capacity to deliver on this important task. Also, the Mamitwa Dam, that we spoke about, which was announced during 2012-13, has now gone through the environmental impact assessments, EIAs, and detailed plans are now being finalised, to be followed by construction soon.
In the last financial year, the department took water conservation to higher levels. We developed water conservation strategies for domestic, agricultural, mining and industry water use, as we know that these sectors are major consumers of our water resources. They have been involved in the development of our National Water Resource Strategy, and some have even partnered with the department in funding some of our programmes.
Allow me to share with you some of the programmes that our department and partners have been implementing in the past financial year. With reference to the outcome of the results published by the Water Research Commission that so many have alluded to, we have now intensified one of our successful programmes, the War on Leaks Project. The programme reduces unaccounted for water through leaking pipes and taps, creates awareness among the users about using water efficiently, provides job opportunities, and equips our youth with skills that can be used in the job market. It doesn't help just to fix and not educate the communities on water conservation. So, those who are fixing must also educate the households they are assisting.
This programme would not have been successful without the political leadership. I have heartwarming examples of how this simple and community-based programme has worked so well in the Northern Cape, where we did door-to-door visits, educating household users about water conservation and fixing water leaks. Ms Louise Mouers, in the Northern Cape, will recall how we practically fixed a leaking tap and toilet in her house. In the Randfontein Local Municipality, our water conservation warriors visited and educated 3 017 households about water conservation. This door-to-door campaign is not about mobilising votes; it is about service delivery on the ground. With the limited funding mainly coming from the municipalities, we have created 70 job opportunities and facilitated accredited training for water conservation warriors. We are on a clear path to extending the implementation of this programme in 9 municipalities within the 24 priority district municipalities prioritised by our Cabinet. About 300 jobs will be created from this programme.
We are deeply indebted to and humbled by the continued support from our partners, Eskom, Sasol, municipalities, water boards and communities, to name but a few. Water conservation is one of the strongest pillars of our National Water Resource Strategy. We will continue to call for more partnerships for this programme.
We will continue with our Blue Bus campaign themed "Be Water Wise", which is aimed at creating awareness and educating South Africans about water use efficiency. We have mobilised artists acting in Muvhango, Tshisa, Home Affairs officials, members of society and others to be our water ambassadors using the Blue Bus. We are using other creative ideas to interact with communities, like industrial theatre, and these have proved to be effective tools of communicating. The success of our campaigns can be seen by the implementation of water conservation projects by various sectors. Annually, the department gives awards to municipalities, mines, industries, organisations in recognition for outstanding water conservation projects.
Last year, I reported that the department is involved in various interventions in partnership with district municipalities to ensure that communities have access to clean drinking water. During National Water Week 2013, we handed over the R18 million Mukula Bulk Water Supply project to the late Chief Takalani and the Mukula community. Unfortunately, he died just a week after we handed over this project. May his soul rest in peace. This project supplies safe drinking water to 17 villages. A total of 45 locals were employed during the implementation of this project. The project was jointly funded by the department and the Vhembe District Municipality.
Our partnership with traditional leaders yields great results. I intend to work with all local leaders and communities to address the new challenge of the vandalisation of infrastructure. A sustainable solution to protect community assets comes from communities themselves. The role of traditional leaders in service delivery cannot be underestimated.
We have been working with the Department of Science and Technology, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to investigate appropriate technologies for providing safe drinking water in rural areas. The first phase was successfully implemented in the Amathole and O R Tambo District Municipalities in the Eastern Cape, which provided communal water stations that benefitted 8 989 people. This project is a good example of how community-based knowledge can be merged with modern technology for sustainability. Experience from this project has formed a good basis for phase two, which is currently being undertaken at 11 sites across Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. These projects will reach approximately 25 000 people. The exciting part is that phase two will also tackle the operations and maintenance of infrastructure, which is a national problem that is a threat to our water infrastructure.
In last year's address, we indicated that we would provide hands-on support to the 24 district municipalities with water services backlogs. I am happy to report that the department, in conjunction with municipalities, conducted a study to assess communities without water supply. A comprehensive report that indicates areas without water and nonfunctional infrastructure has been developed. These studies led to the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant that the Minister referred to.
We have now brought rural women on board to prove that water resource management is not for engineers and scientists only. People with indigenous knowledge have a key role to play, hence the conceptualisation and implementation of the Adopt-a-River project. Hon member Koornhof, I thought you were worried about this. We are doing that. This project aims to clean polluted rivers whilst creating job opportunities and facilitating skills development for women also. It also educates communities residing along river catchments about the importance of water conservation. During the 2012-13 financial year, 24 rivers were cleaned, and 1 148 job opportunities for women were created.
Last year, I made the announcement that we would put some of these women in our skills development programme to tell the story that they were once river cleaners, but are now scientists. I am proud to report to you that 44 women who will go through our programme will be awarded bursaries in this financial year to study at universities and further education and training colleges. [Applause.]
I also need to convey appreciation for the partnership and support from the Birchwood Hotel, that adopted the Modderfontein River in Ekurhuleni. This is indeed a good example of goodwill from our partners in the private sector, especially the hospitality industry. We are calling more of them to come on board.
A total of 181 women from various municipalities in the Western Cape were trained as plumbers. They will be part of the War on Leaks programme in their respective municipalities. This milestone has been achieved through our partnership with the Development Bank of South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch. Furthermore, 214 women from the 9 provinces have been trained as process controllers. I extend a big thank you to the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority, LGSeta, for funding this project. We will continue with the Women in Water Awards, which is our annual event recognising outstanding women's projects aiming at addressing water challenges in their respective areas.
During Women's Month, we will host the Women Mayors' Dialogue to encourage them to champion water conservation, environmental, women and youth projects in their respective municipalities. We will continue with our Vision 2020 that educates Grades R to 12 learners about Integrated Water Resource Management, climate change and the environment, including water-related careers. We are grateful to our partners, which are the Department of Basic Education, the MTN Foundation, the Birchwood Hotel, Sasol, the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South African, Wessa, water boards and the Rand Water Foundation.
Our youth will converge again during the annual Youth Water Summit to present their action projects undertaken during the course of the year. They will also go on excursions to Rand Water, the Roodeplaat Dam and the South African Weather Service. Through this programme, we have achieved the following. In partnership with the MTN Foundation, we handed over 1 200 computers to 60 schools, connected them to the Internet and equipped with mathematics and science programmes for learners. Learners from rural schools can now connect with the world. During 2012, youth from various countries n the continent attended the Youth Summit and developed the Africa Youth Water Strategy, which is one of the projects of African Ministers' Council on Water, Amcow. This strategy will be launched during this year's Youth Summit to be held.
Through partnership with Wessa, we will implement the eco schools project targeting the national winners of various projects of the 2020 Vision programme. They will develop and implement action plans to address the water- and environment-related challenges in their respective schools and communities. They will participate in this project for three years. A curriculum aligned with water-related educational resource materials for Grades R to 9 learners has been developed.
In partnership with Sasol and the Metsimaholo Municipality, we implemented the War on Leaks project called Busa Metsi in 21 schools. Also, 89 bursaries have been awarded to learners for participating in the projects of the 2020 Vision programme to study water-related careers. This programme also serves as an incubator for our learning academy, which the Minister has alluded to.
Food and water security are inextricably linked. As a result, this government has taken a nexus approach, whereby the interdependency between water and food security is central in all interventions and plans. We provided support to 1 559 resource-poor farmers through the provision of irrigation pumps, the installation of hydroponic tanks, water supply and storage, operation and maintenance and subsidies on water use. We provided 4 068 rainwater harvesting tanks to schools and households. In our quest to deliver clean drinking water, to eradicate water leaks, and to conserve our water resources, we established partnerships with the following stakeholders: the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Science and Technology, municipalities, water boards, the MTN Foundation, Sasol, Eskom, the Wessa, the Birchwood Hotel, the SA Cities Network, the Rand Water Foundation and many others. I am through. I thank the Minister for her leadership, the staff, the director-general and all the partners. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mnr P J GROENEWALD / Kn / END OF TAKE
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"Old Assembly Main",Unrevised Hansard,21 May 2013,"[Take-76] [Old Assembly Main][90P-4-082A][gs].doc"
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, die departement bestee miljoene rande aan advertensies in nasionale media wat sê dat die volgende wêreldoorlog nie oor grond en persoonlikhede sal gaan nie, maar oor water. Die departement doen 'n beroep op mense om spaarsamig en verantwoordelik met water om te gaan.
Ek stem saam met die agb Minister. Ons moet spaarsamig en verantwoordelik met water in Suid-Afrika omgaan. Die vraag is egter, wat doen die departement? As u 'n beroep op die publiek doen om dit te doen, dan moet mens 'n voorbeeld stel. Daar is reeds daarna verwys, maar ek wil ook na die instandhouding van die kanale in Suid-Afrika verwys.
Ek gaan net na twee gevalle verwys, en dit is die Mooirivier- en Vaalharts-waterskemas. As u met boere gaan praat, dan sal hulle vir u na plekke toe neem waar die bome in die kanale groei. Van hulle sê dat hulle nie eintlik vir water hoef te betaal nie, want daar is genoegsame water wat deursyfer as gevolg van die swak instandhouding van ons waterkanale.
Die Minister doen 'n beroep op die publiek om water te bespaar, maar die departement doen nie sy werk om kanale behoorlik in stand te hou om sodoende water te bespaar nie. Dit is 'n aanklag teen die Minister en haar departement, en sy moet daadwerklik aandag daaraan gee.
Die ander aspek is die besoedeling van ons riviere. Dit is so dat as daar besoedeling plaasvind as gevolg van rioolwerke van munisipaliteite wat nie werk nie, dan reik die departement direktiewe uit. Dit is egter waar dit bly. Ek het 'n stukkie papier ontvang, maar die houding en hantering daarna deur sommige munispaliteite is, om die minste te sê, minagtend. Hulle steur hulle nie daaraan nie, want die besoedeling gaan net eenvoudig voort.
Die derde aspek, wat ek in my beperkte tyd wil aanraak, is dié van hidro-breking. Die Minister het wel gister die versekering vir die mense van Suid-Afrika gegee dat sy 100% seker sal maak dat daar nie besoedeling in ondergrondse water deur hidro-breking in die Karoo sal plaasvind nie. Ek wil vir die agb Minister sê dat haar sekretaris-generaal, Gwede Mantashe ... as iemand in Suid-Afrika geld het, dan is dit verstommend en skrikwekkend om te sien wat hulle kan doen.
Ek wil vir die agb Minister sê dat die maatskappye wat betrokke is by hidro-breking, beskou die geld van die Gupta's as kleingeld. Die persepsie begin ontstaan dat dit gaan oor watter kaders weer ontplooi kan word, of wie deur hidro-breking bevoordeel kan word. Die Minister sal na die studies moet kyk, want daar is studies wat bewys dat daar besoedeling is, en sy sal oop kaarte met die publiek moet speel, anders is dit weer 'n skandaal. Ek dank u. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Ms B J DLOMO
Mr P J GROENEWALD
Ms B J DLOMO: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister Molewa, hon Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi, hon members, our visitors in the gallery, ladies and gentlemen, the ANC, at its 2012 National Policy conference, debated at length about the achievements and challenges that underpin any future strategy in the provision of water infrastructure supply and water provision.
We believe that water is a critical, strategic natural resource. It is essential for growth and development, for the environment and health, as well as for the wellbeing of all the people of South Africa. Although this principle is generally accepted, it is not always well understood nor accepted.
South Africa is a developmental state and as such there is a need to define the role of this development state in managing water. Despite the fact that South Africa is a naturally water-stressed country, further challenged by the need to support growth and development, as well as potential climate change impact, the resource requires a concerted effort to give water as a resource the priority status and attention it deserves.
This situation is reflected through the manner in which this scarce resource is wasted. More than 35% of water is wasted per day. Water is polluted, degraded and inadequately financed. South Africa has a fairly well developed water management and infrastructure framework which has resulted in a perceived sense of water security, as well as a lack of appreciation for this critical, strategic resource.
In terms of the statistics released by Statistics SA last year, the ANC-led government has reached 97% of water provision. It is evident though, that of the 97%, only 48% represent the rural communities that have been reached. This is as a result of a lack of infrastructure in some of these areas and, more importantly, the still persistent skewed nature of the allocation of water.
While water plays a pivotal role in everyday life and in social and economic development, water resources and their management do not receive the attention and status they deserve. Despite its policy functions, water is not properly reflected in the macro and sector strategies. There are still challenges with regard to national budgets allocated to water resources for the development, management and protection which at most do not reflect the importance of water as a policy and a scarce resource.
Without a significant increase in investment in water infrastructure development and management, it will be very difficult to ensure and sustain water security for the achievement of economic growth and social development targets.
The challenges the ANC policy conference of 2012 identified are the central ones, which any debate for a developmental state on water provision should revolve around. These are, firstly, water pricing; secondly, opening licensing opportunities to historically disadvantaged individuals; thirdly, investigating the opportunity to change single-purpose dams into multipurpose dams to provide opportunities for the historically disadvantaged communities; fourthly, ensuring sustainable water infrastructure reticulation in rural areas; fifthly, ensuring that there is access to water and encouraging the full participation of our people in decision-making; and finally, ensuring that there is enforcement of the Water Services Act. This is what our ANC-led government is already addressing.
While there has been good progress in extending access to basic water and sanitation services, there has been a decline though in the overall number of households receiving free basic water and free basic sanitation. This is due to many municipalities moving away from providing these services free to all deserving households to targeting the provision of free services to indigent households only.
South Africa's critical infrastructure needs are in part the outcome of two decades of underinvestment, with public infrastructure spending tailing off from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. The ANC-led government began to increase capital spending, with a sharp rise after 2003 as prudent management of the economy created the fiscal space for long-term investment.
Capital spending on water infrastructure by the metros fell significantly in 2010-11, and did not recover from the 2008-09 levels of the medium term. However, spending on water infrastructure amongst the categories B and C municipalities is expected to increase significantly, and is already doing so in this period.
South Africa is facing a number of significant challenges in relation to water, both at the level of the resource as well as in the actual provision of water services by municipalities. Recent studies have estimated that demand for water in South Africa will exceed supply by 2025 if nothing is done to supplement current water resources. The sustainability of the sector as a whole is also at risk due to the poorly maintained and often ill-equipped infrastructure, general underpricing of water across the value chain and the deteriorating quality of sanitation services in a number of our municipalities.
Given that there has generally been a history of underinvestment and maintenance, and the renewal of assets in the water sector as a whole, it is critical that appropriate investments be made to upgrade existing infrastructure as many of these assets are approaching the end of their useful lives. Therefore, funding for the rehabilitation is required to ensure that the useful life of these assets are extended.
In his state of the nation address, our President, Jacob Zuma, emphasised the need and necessity for all our people across the country to access basic services such as water, through the National Development Plan, NDP. A number of infrastructure programmes are already being funded, are underway and are being implemented. The following are just a few of the programmes that I should mention, firstly, the construction of Umzimvubu and De Hoop Dams in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces respectively; secondly, the Clanwilliam Dam, located in the middle reaches of the Olifants River in the Western Cape, which provides water to poor farmers, and produces 70 million cubic metres of water per year, thereby promoting food security and employment by the time it is completed. This will provide permanent jobs to more than 2 500 people in the agricultural sector; thirdly, the infrastructure projects in the Limpopo province, such as the Molopo Dam on the Crocodile River, which already supplies water to the area around the Lephalale Local Municipality;
fourthly, the Tzaneen and Nwamitwa Dams for the Groot Letaba River are also helping with the growing demand for water, both in the domestic and agricultural sectors; and finally, the Nandoni pipeline water project is also very important in supplying water in the Vhembe District Municipality of Limpopo. Infrastructure development not only provides water, but also creates jobs and skills development, especially for the youth in our country.
The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs is well on its path of ensuring that all South Africans gain access to clean water. Thanks to this wonderful department for promoting effective and efficient water resource management to ensure sustainable economic and social development in line with the NDP 2030. The ANC supports Budget Vote No 38. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY / AZM MNGUNI/ Eng/ second speaker / TH [Afr] first speaker / END OF TAKE
Ms B J DLOMO
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, the ACDP notes the 3rd regional South African Young Water Professionals conference will take place at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape in July this year. The conference aims to further career development and young professional capacities, encouraging discourse on current and future water concerns. We welcome this initiative.
I heard the hon Minister briefly mentioning the recruitment of 160 people, which sounds like a move in the right direction. Is it true that most engineers in the Department of Water Affairs at the moment are in their late 50s and 60s, with very few younger engineers to pass institutional knowledge to? Even if engineers are employed now, a minimum of 10 years or an ideal of 15 to 20 years would be needed to adequately transfer skills. So, unless experienced engineers come back after 65, the institutional knowledge that we do have will be lost. For experienced engineers to continue after the age of 65, it may be necessary to give contracts of longer than two years and for the decision to be taken at the departmental rather than ministerial level. Do we have relevant incentives in place to entice this mature expertise to stay and mentor others? But, of course, first others must be employed. Are we doing enough to attract young people to this field? Are we headhunting outside of South Africa?
Because personnel from level 13 upward are subject to ministerial approval and a noticeable lack of in-depth scientific knowledge and skills is evident, the perception exists that skills and expertise are not the primary criteria in these appointments. What are we doing to change this? Has the department considered that the barrier to attracting skills could be the fact that there are only two ranks for engineers, namely production and chief engineer? Apparently there used to be four and that provided greater opportunity for recognition and promotion.
Now, I am told it can take 36 years to get to the top, according to the present system; which disadvantages existing staff in relation to newcomers that we would be headhunting. In years gone by, chief engineers had 25 years or more of experience and a new entrant to chief engineer now only needs six years' experience. This can be demoralising for the existing staff and probably should be taken into consideration.
What is the situation regarding salaries presently? How competitive are they compared to what is being offered by the private sector, for example? In one province, after advertising for production level engineers for 18 months, they were unable to attract a single engineer with professional status. We are told that not so long ago, 90 municipalities did not have a single professional water engineer and that very few of them had written operating procedures. The ACDP welcomes the new focus on correcting this situation.
We also welcome an increased number of conditional grants that will target the problems in the provinces and at local level better.
The ACDP previously raised concerns that we had not ...
We will be supporting this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs I C DITSHETELO
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Chairperson, it was with sadness we read about David Makele, a resident of Makana in Grahamstown, who collapsed and died in March 2013 while looking for water. This was after days of his and his community's having been without water. Beyond the rhetoric of access to clean water being a human right or constitutional right, water is first and foremost inherent to human survival, without having spoken of sophisticated constitutional terms. Anyone denied water has been denied life, and no one deserves such a denial. David Makele did not deserve such a denial, much worse for it to happen on the eve of National Water Week.
We not only need to value water as an essential tool to eradicate poverty, even though this is true, but we must also recognise and respect water as an enabler of life. A moral responsibility such as this, first and foremost, resides with this department. Being a state that would like to be seen as committed to human rights, it is absolutely unacceptable that many of our poor citizens are faced with having to deal with water outages and contaminated water supplies.
It is no wonder that service delivery protests have become more violent and brutal. Whether by commission or omission, denying people access to clean water is a threat not just to livelihood, but to the right to life of every citizen. Water is life.
The anger displayed in the recent months by protesters in Hammanskraal, North West, signals that people have had enough with being denied a right to life. What do you expect from people who have had no water supply for over two months? What should they do? Must they wait passively to perish as they continue consuming contaminated water from local unclean and unsafe streams?
Similarly, wastage of millions of litres of water due to improper equipment is a failure of this department and reflects gross inconsistencies in governance. How can we have areas whose problem is wastage of clean water and in the same country we have people dying and falling ill because they have no access to clean water?
The hardworking Minister inherited a crisis. Effective governance and management is essential for service delivery. Suspension of administrative heads in the department indicates maladministration and of course citizens bear the brunt. To have such administrative issues when there are warnings that South Africa may face a water crisis as a result of infrastructural backlogs is a shame.
The fact that the department spent R2 billion on consultants and staff travel claims is an embarrassment. The UCDP supports Budget Vote No 38. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr S B HUANG /Sam// JN-checked// END OF TAKE
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Mrs I C DITSHETELO:
Mr S B HUANG: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the ANC, to support Budget Vote No 38.
The achievement of the national water mandate is not only dependent on the effective performance of the Department of Water Affairs, but also on a number of other organs of state, including the water service authorities; catchment management agencies; the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, TCTA, water user associations; Komati Basin Water Authority; and the Water Research Commission.
Clear roles and responsibilities and the effective management of these institutions are, therefore, critical to the effective management of the sector as a whole. Currently, however, the water sector is grappling with a number of challenges, including the provision of financially sustainable and affordable water supply and sanitation to all South African residents, ensuring equitable access to water for productive and consumptive purposes as well as protecting water as an environmental resource. Climate variability and climate change pose additional challenges that the department must manage.
However, the department faces significant challenges affecting all the above-mentioned functions, including its responsibility to effectively support water services authorities in the delivery of water supply and sanitation. These challenges derive from pressures caused by internal factors in the sector, such as deteriorating raw water quality; dilapidated water resource infrastructure; poor performance within the water institutions; and the low levels of cost recovery.
The portfolio committee noted an increase in the budget of the department over the next three years, but questioned the current vacancy rate, which stood at 13%. Within the department itself, high levels of vacancies and high staff turnover, including at senior level, have led to low levels of performance. Poor revenue management has not only been a challenge for water services delivered through the department, but across the sector supply chain within the department itself.
The department continues to struggle to fill posts as there is a lack of technically skilled and experienced people in the country. The high levels of vacancies in the water sector are also due to the following: Ageing workforce and retirement, resignations; and challenges with the implementation of the occupation-specific dispensation, OSD. Some of the officials in the department do not meet the OSD requirement or the professions are not classified, such as biodiversity officers, which results in officials being underpaid, there is no personnel development and there are no promotion opportunities; and government remuneration packages are not market competitive. For instance, a financial officer in the Public Service earns two to three times less than the financial officer in the private sector.
The high level of vacancies rate prevents the Department of Water Affairs to deliver on its mandate of acting as the custodian of South Africa's water resources. Moreover, the following impacts would be experienced throughout the country: Inequitable water allocation to historically disadvantaged individuals due to delay in the processing of water use licences; poor socioeconomic and rural development conditions; job losses in other industries, since these industries would not be able to function optimally due to the lack of water allocation; social protests and strikes which have a far-reaching effect on the country's economy; and last but not least, negatively affected co-operative governance wherein there are existing memorandums of agreement or understanding.
Last month the department reported to the committee meeting, regarding the director-general's and the deputy director-general performance frameworks, that they would fill the deputy director-general's vacancy after 20 April 2013. I wish this matter could be sorted out. The portfolio committee was concerned about the lengthy period taken by the department to resolve disciplinary cases. The department needs to fast-track these cases and provide the portfolio committee with a progress report.
Chairperson, I also would like to express my concern about the acid mine water issue. The department is in a race against time to get pumps into place in Johannesburg before acid mine water decants into a part of the Witwatersrand that includes the Gold Reef City tourist attraction, flooding it. If the pumps are not in place in time and at the environmentally critical level, which for the central basin is 179 metres below the surface, then Gold Reef City will be sacrificed and acid water will pollute groundwater in the area.
The committee welcomes the number of interventions identified for each of the above challenges, and particularly notes that the Business Process Re-engineering Committee, BPRC, is not only identifying challenges and possible solutions, but that it is also working with the Minister and the department's officials to immediately implement some of the recommendations.
In order to improve the governance of water, the BPRC facilitated the decision to speedily roll out and manage the remaining seven catchment management agencies, CMAs, in an agreed plan, over three years. The efficient delivery of water resources management functions was emphasised to enable the recovery of water charges and address the 10% to 40% shortfall. The water boards have huge operating losses, which in turn may involve changes to the structure of the water boards. The Minister's speech has already highlighted that it will be reduced from 12 to 9.
The functional reorganisation facilitated by the BPRC will better enable the execution of the department's strategic plan to deliver improved services after several restructuring attempts. The BPRC's other intervention is to improve human resource management. The level of people skills and competencies must be present to enable sufficient human resource performance to realise the strategy.
The water board has had an outstanding debt from the municipality totalling the amount of R5,4 billion, and I would like the department to provide a detailed list of all institutions that owe the department money. This would enable the committee to conduct oversight that would enable us to ask why these entities are not paying and what measures are being taken to address this problem. The water boards are also facing the major challenge of staff shortages and skills gaps.
Chairperson, in conclusion, to ensure a sustainable supply of water to meet social needs and support economic growth as well as provide a comprehensive sanitation service, that enhances community wellbeing, reduces health care costs and improves productivity, the department should be managed, linking the whole water value chain.
I would like to repeat this: The ANC-led government supports Budget Vote No 38. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr F RODGERS / KC//A N N(ed) / END OF TAKE
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Mr C HUANG
Mr F A RODGERS: Molweni. [Good day.]
Good afternoon, Chairperson, Madam Minister, hon members and guests, in terms of section 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, all citizens should have the right to sufficient water. In 2004 the then president, Thabo Mbeki, in his state of the nation address told South Africans that within the next five years all households would have access to running water.
Nine years have passed since that speech and that objective and constitutional requirement has still not been attained. South Africa still has communities and numerous and vast rural areas that do not have access to potable water. This figure currently stands at 41%.
Apho ndihamba khona, ezilalini nasezilokishini, abantu bakhala njalo besithi abanamanzi.
I still see women of various ages who spend a third of their day carrying and fetching water from various sources. Some of this water is not suitable for human consumption, contaminated by industry, mining, farming, poor sanitation and poor infrastructure management. As a government, we have failed to uphold and implement our very own Constitution in terms of access to water.
The solution to the problem is not rocket science. We have an excellent five-year national water resource strategy. The challenge is to simply and effectively implement this plan. At the national level of government, we can plan, strategise and source funding, but without the commitment from the role-players through the chain of events, we cannot implement our plan. We cannot achieve our plan if we do not have the support, commitment and accountability of our water boards, our district municipalities and particularly our municipalities of local government. This is where the fundamental challenge lies with non or poor implementation of water projects and related services. A plan not implemented is a plan failed.
If one considers that the 12 water boards in South Africa had a collective budget to spend of almost R3 billion on capital projects in 2012, when in fact only 69% of that amount was spent. This equates to a spend of just over R2 billion, resulting in a massive shortfall of almost R1 billion. Little wonder then that we are unable to reach our objectives. Underexpenditure on capital projects is inexcusable and smacks of poor leadership and management in certain of our water boards, district municipalities and municipalities.
It is also alarming to note that currently outstanding debt owed to water boards stands at R2,3 billion of which R1,3 billion is in arrears. The bulk of this debt is owed by municipalities. Again, then, one can understand why certain of our water boards were unable to spend on their capital projects as the very money owed to them is currently funding their operation.
It is unacceptable that municipalities are not paying within the prescribed time for the purchase and supply of water. This is directly impacting on our mission and goals. A further hindrance to the debt collection is the lack of signed service level agreements with certain clients of the water boards. Clearly, again this is an indication of poor leadership and management, lack of planning and poor control. Another area of concern is the lack of effective metering and in some cases absolutely no metering of water supplied to clients at all. This from boards and municipalities.
One cannot possibly run an effective service and determine the financial implication and costs if you do not know what is being consumed. Without this fundamental information it is impossible to determine correct costing and accurate billing. Therefore, it is not surprising that according to the National Treasury, some of our boards have failed to meet their key performance areas.
On the matter of the enormous amounts of money owed to water boards by the municipalities, the SA Local Government Association, Salga, remains silent and appears hellbent on protecting and trying to justify nonperforming and dysfunctional municipalities. Instead, it focuses its energy on trying to establish an independent water regulator to determine water prices. This is not going to address our challenge of supplying every home with water. If anything, it is creating another bureaucracy and just a further challenge and another sideshow. Two of Salga's mandates are clearly to transform local government to enable it to fulfil its developmental role and to develop capacity within municipalities.
Perhaps what Salga should do is go back to its purpose and its principle and assist those municipalities to assist us to deliver. Current infrastructure and water reticulation are in most cases poorly maintained. It is estimated that our overall water loss could be as high as 60%, resulting from failing and poor infrastructure, and compounded by incorrect or no metering.
In the municipal sector alone, this 60% would equate to R11 billion per annum that is lost. The current local government equitable share which is allocated to municipalities and assists approximately 59% of all the households in South Africa has a 10% factor built into it for the provision of maintenance. It is abundantly evident with failing water infrastructure in municipalities and the high water loss that this money is not being used for what it should be. The new municipal water infrastructure grant, which will be introduced and budgeted for 2013-14 of R603 million, increasing to R1 billion in the following year, is to address backlogs in 24 metros and district municipalities.
However, the challenge is whether these municipalities have the necessary skills and capacity to implement these projects. They have not succeeded to date, so what will change now? Is this justa a case of throwing money at the problem? Will Ugu and Sisonke District Municipalities just have bigger and better jazz festivals this year? Ugu is already spending R1 million on a jazz festival next month. Will our municipalities continue to employ incompetent and unskilled people in key positions, like in the recent court ruling regarding the previous municipal manager in Sisonke District Municipality, where the court found that he was incompetent? Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr J J SKOSANA / Nb / END OF TAKE
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Mr F RODGERS
Mr J J SKOSANA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister Molewa, hon Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi hon members, distinguished guests in the gallery, I greet you all this afternoon. The 52nd and 53rd National Conferences of the ANC in 2007 and 2012 respectively recognise that the South African water sector faces strategic challenges compounded by new threats arising from climate change. At the same time, we face major opportunities that can help transform the water sector into being a force for economic growth, job creation and equity.
The adopted frameworks for meeting the water needs of the poor are currently being challenged by the ever-increasing demands created by increasing urbanisation, industrialisation and the commercialisation of the agricultural sector. Existing policies and institutional arrangements are under severe pressure for the disregard for water rights, eroding commitments to redress inequity, outdated practices in and attitudes to the management of water resources, and the tendency to neglect the poor in policy and planning processes.
In essence, the water policy represents the consolidation of all postapartheid development efforts and is aimed at establishing an integrated and progressive water system. The opportunities for working towards eliminating water insecurity across all sections of society are also greater now than ever before.
Democratisation, despite its challenges, creates new opportunities for water management. With policies and institutions properly aligned, the process of democratisation can benefit people who were previously excluded from decision-making in their sector. Despite this notable legacy of apartheid, democratic practices are continuing to gain ground in the water sector in attracting stronger support. There has also been an increase in the role of water-use associations and community networks. The new policy approach is more inclined to create equity, with the focus on giving access to water to marginalised communities. By changing single-purpose dams into multipurpose dams, and allowing historically disadvantaged individuals and SMMEs use of water through relaxed licence allocations.
The ANC policy direction on water provision sets out an approach which seeks to increase access to the poor, whilst promoting effective and efficient water resource management and calls for efficient water use, reduction of pollution and water losses, improving of water productivity and the stretching of water resources. Management of water resources is required to take us to 2030 and beyond.
The 2012 national policy conference of the ANC spelled out the clear perspective in order to ensure that all people may access water. Its recommendations are as follows: legislative review that allows unused allocations to be removed from entitlement holders; the abolishment of water trading, reallocation of unutilised water capacity in agriculture and other sectors; water reticulation infrastructure to households in rural communities. I want to emphasise this - water reticulation infrastructure to households in rural communities. The rural communities were disadvantaged. Therefore, the infrastructure must be strengthened to reach those rural communities. That is what we, as the ANC, are saying. [Applause.]
The innovative use of indigenous knowledge in water management must speed up water location to the previously disadvantaged. We must speed up the process to address the problem of the people who were disadvantaged in the past.
Ensuring that this scarce resource is used equitably and sustainably in order to support the development objectives of the country, developing a turnaround policy for the following water boards and institutional realignment of the water boards' catchment management agencies and water user associations to municipalities to provinces - the Minister has explained that – the realignment of the water boards that do not have the capacity so that they can work in collaboration with those who do have the capacity, in order to deliver the services.
Placing the provision of water at the centre of the integrated development plan. Of our achievements in 1994 is that where only about 59% of South Africa's population had access to water supply infrastructure, which means that about 15,9 million people had no access to a basic water supply, in 2011, about 1,7 million had no access to water infrastructure, while slightly less than 2 million had access to infrastructure. That is below the minimum standard. Based on the availability of funding, backlog eradication targets for 2010-11 were set at 1,5 million people per year or 390 000 households, which suggests that South Africa will come very close to achieving its Millennium Development Goals in relation to access to water.
Let me pause in my speech for a while and try to respond to other issues that I heard being spoken of by one of our members of this portfolio committee. Some are not members, so I do not know what I should call them. [Interjections.] Let me start by responding to the question by the hon Wenger on service delivery protests. Yes, service delivery protests take place because these people were disadvantaged for quite a long time. As the ANC, we are responsible, and we are in charge, for addressing all of these problems facing our communities. We are in charge of giving every individual in this country clean water. I want to remind the DA that South Africa is not a federal state. We are a unitary state, therefore, as the DA, you cannot claim a victory in terms of water, while the ANC government is allocating money for water infrastructure in all provinces.
HON MEMBERS: Yes! [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Mr J J SKOSANA: The statistics that you are claiming are the statistics that must be claimed by the ANC, because the ANC is in charge. The ANC is responsible for allocating resources to all provinces. [Interjections.] The maintenance you spoke about, hon Wenger ... you see, it is not good to be spoonfed with information, while in the committee, you speak well, nicely and working very nicely. Here, you are carrying out the mandate of your portfolio committee. The department is responsible for maintaining all the water infrastructure. It has a plan for maintaining the infrastructure on the ground.
An HON MEMBER: It is not your money; it is the taxpayers' money! [Interjections.]
Mr J J SKOSANA: Hon Koornhof, the people in the rural areas are neglected, it is true. They were neglected by the apartheid government. In the ANC, we are taking all those people on board so that we can address their challenges. We are responsible. [Applause.] The infrastructure is old. Yes, of course it is old, but the ANC has a plan to address those challenges. [Interjections.]
I am not going to respond to the hon Holomisa in his absence. He has left this debate while it was in progress. I must say, if the hon Holomisa were attending our meetings, that advice could help.
However, he is not attending any meetings. He only debated in the budget we had last year. This year, he is coming here and talking about advice. He was given the task of running the Transkei homeland government, and he failed to deliver a drop of water. Even the Umzimvubu people did not have access to water from Umzimvubu. The ANC government is dealing with that, to make sure that people access water from the Umzimvubu. [Interjections.] Thank you very much, Minister.
Agb Groenewald, al die boere gaan vir water betaal. Jy moet vir hulle gaan sê. Al die boere gaan vir water betaal. Enigiemand wat water eet, moet daarvoor betaal! [Applous.] [Interjections.]
What are we, as the ANC, doing? The ANC is delivering on the same issues. The ANC has a plan to address all the challenges that affect our communities.
Coming to the critical matter of compliance, our water resources are under severe pressure from pollution by sewage, effluent discharge, industrial effluent, acid mine drainage and nonpoint source pollution by agriculture, mining and other land use activities. All these pollutants have a negative impact on health, economic growth and the ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. The awareness of quality water systems has improved and more emphasis has been placed on water resource protection as an important goal, not only to protect aquatic ecosystems, but also for socioeconomic and public health reasons.
Lastly active gold mining and the associated watering of mines along the East, Central and West Rand underground mining basins of the Witwatersrand goldfields have decreased considerably since the 1990s and essentially ceased in 2010. The underground voids are steadily filling with water, which interacts with the exposed rock to form acid mine drainage, which is characterised by an excessive concentration of dissolved metals and sulphate salts. In the case of the Western basin, the acid mine water gradually reached the surface and started to decant into the surface streams of the Crocodile River system in 2002.
I must say, however, that the ANC government under Minister Edna Molewa has put a task team together that will be responsible for dealing with issues related to acid mine drainage. Decanting is expected to start in the central basin in 2014.
The ANC supports the Budget Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
THE MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS /Robyn/ END OF TAKE
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Mr J J SKOSANA
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, I think hon member are going to have to listen so that you become a little wiser. [Interjections.]
Firstly, you are all agreed that there has been a drastic change in the lives of the people since water has been provided to them from 1994. None of us has a different view. Secondly, we are all agreed that there's still a lot that remains to be done. I stood on this podium and certainly alluded to those issues. I also put a plan that stated the changes, Mr Rodgers, which we will deliver. We will deliver on those plans, like we have delivered since 1994. [Applause.]
We have identified people in rural areas, 23 district municipalities prioritised, for catching up with the backlog that we are talking about. So nothing is new. There's nothing new in what we have heard here. You are just reiterating what we know and what we have planned. Thank you so much for that.
Hon Chair, you understand this problem. And thank you for really unpacking what the challenges are as you did, that we need to deal with in municipalities.
As hon members, I think we needed to have listened to what the hon Chair was saying. That's where the solution lies; not in howling about what municipalities did and so on. At some stage, I though I was in the wrong debate, because it sounded like I was in a Cogta debate. This is a Water Affairs debate.
So, Water Affairs has told you what we are going to do. The challenges ... [Interjections.] ... listen, so that you become clever. The challenges that are remaining at municipal level are going to be resolved through this initiative that the Chair has alluded to. Finish en klaar! [And that is that!] [Interjections.]
Now, listen to this. We sit with hon Wenger in the portfolio committee, but we certainly have never seen hon Rodgers in the portfolio committee which has the following to say. This department has actually made changes.
Because it's an election year, she stands on this podium to say things we have never heard about. We will go to the portfolio committee and discuss those things. That's fine. [Interjections.] Yes, but let me tell you the following. The best municipality that has performed this year, in terms of the Blue Drop, in terms of all improvements about water demand, is Ekurhuleni and not the Western Cape. [Applause.] Therefore, with the support by the Department of Water Affairs ... [Interjections.] ... we work all over. We do not single out municipalities in terms of what they have delivered. We work all over, throughout the country because we are providing water to the people.
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: Hon Chair, I rise on a point of order. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): Order, order!
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: No, I don't want to take a question, if one is going to be asked. [Interjections.] You have heard me. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): What's your point of order?
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: Hon Chairperson, on a point of order: A member on the other side of the House told a member on this side of the House to shut up. [Interjections.] I would like to know whether that's parliamentary. If it's not, the hon member should withdraw. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON(Prof L B G Ndabandaba): Order, hon members!
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, on a point of order: The hon member behind Mr Rodgers said twice to the other hon member there to shut up. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): Order, order, hon members! We cannot tolerate unprofessional language and language which is not acceptable in this debate. We shall look it up and then make a pronouncement, later. We thank the Minister for the contribution.
Members are reminded that the EPCs on National Treasury and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs will meet at 14:00 in the Old Assembly Chamber and E249 respectively.
The Committee rose at 12:45.
ARM / END OF TAKE
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