Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works on its oversight visit
1. Introduction and background
The mandate of the Committee is guided by the Rules of Parliament promulgated in terms of the Constitution to play an oversight role over the Ministry, the Department of Public Works and its entities. The Committee exercises its monitoring role to contribute towards the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans. It scrutinises legislation and other policies that impact on the sphere of public works and facilitates interdepartmental and intergovernmental relations between all spheres of government. In doing oversight, the Committee is sensitive to provincial interests at the national level and at all times endeavours to understand international best practise relevant to its field of jurisdiction to serve all South Africans to its best.
The objectives of the visit were to verify the reports by the National Department of Public Works (NDPW) under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and also under the Provision of Land and Accommodation Programme.
The EPWP II reports from the NDPW on the incentive grant payments to municipalities prompted the visit. The Committee was on a fact-finding mission to verify whether:
a) Technical assistance was given to the municipalities
b) Data capturers were dispatched to all provinces by the NDPW, and
c) The plans to extend the scope of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, Act No.19 of 2007 to cover local government could be implemented in this period until 2014.
In order to
verify information on implementation, the Committee engaged with stakeholders
and entities in the construction industry. The NDPW has four entities reporting
to it, namely the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Independent
Development Trust (IDT), Agrèment South Africa (ASA)
and the Council for the Built Environment (CBE). The four entities have
different mandates but their work is for the empowerment of the people of
2. Summary of the Report
The Portfolio Committee on Public Works received briefings from the Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works (PDRPW) and from the different local municipalities that had been invited to be part of the meetings. The briefings were on phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP II), the roll out of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act (GIAMA) and the Asset Register in the Province. The visit included site visits to EPWP II projects so that the Committee could verify the information that the department presented to it.
3. Participants in the Visit
Members of the National Portfolio Committee on Public Works:
Hon M C Mabuza (ANC) Chairperson and leader of the delegation,
Hon N D Ngcengwane (ANC) Whip of the Committee,
Hon N M Madlala (ANC),
Hon N E Magubane (ANC),
Hon C Q Madlopha (ANC),
Hon N T November (ANC),
Hon M W Rabotapi (DA),
Hon P B Mnguni (COPE), and
Hon L B Gaehler (UDM).
Members of the Portfolio Committee on Roads and Public Works from the
Hon D Komose (ANC), Chairperson of the Committee,
Hon P Mpushe (ANC), Whip of the Committee,
Hon N Cingo (ANC),
Hon K Fihlani (ANC),
Hon N Mabandla (ANC), Hon M Mrara (ANC),
Hon J Bici (UDM),
Hon N Petela-Ngcanga (COPE) and,
Hon N Ndabeni (COPE).
Support staff from Parliament:
Ms I Stephney (Committee Researcher),
Ms A Busakwe (Committee Secretary), and
Ms V Makubalo (Committee Assistant).
Support Staff from the Eastern
Mr A Zixesha (Committee Researcher), and
Ms N Maninjwa (Committee Secretary).
Delegation from the Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works, under the leadership of Hon T Marawu (MEC for Roads and Public Works) and Mr B Gxilishe (Head of Department).
Officials from the National Department of Public Works and the Ministry of Public Works were also part of the oversight visit.
A number of
municipalities were invited to present on both their Asset Registers and the
implementation of EPWP II. Due to the adverse weather conditions at the time of
the oversight visit, not all municipalities were able to attend the meetings as
arranged, some had to present at a later stage while the
The following municipalities were able to engage with the Committee:
in the construction industry were invited to a public meeting that was held in
4. Progress on Phase Two of the Expanded Public Works Programme
Below are the reports that were presented before the Portfolio Committee on Public Works on the second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme. The reports are supported by projects that were visited, projects that were implemented by NDPW, PDRPW, different departments and the municipalities in the four sectors of the EPWP (Environment and Culture, Infrastructure, Social and Non-State Sector). The Non-State Sector programmes are implemented by the Independent Development Trust, an entity reporting to Public Works on behalf of the department.
4.1 Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works
goal of EPWP II was to create 4,5 million work
opportunities by 2014. Out of this national target, the
Coordination of the
EPWP is conducted at two levels: Provincial Steering Committee which is chaired
by Roads and Public Works and Regional Coordinating Committee which is
co-chaired by Roads and Public Works and a
4.1.4 In the 2010/11 financial year, a R60, 345 million wage incentive was allocated to provincial departments. Of the seven provincial government departments eligible, only four departments managed to perform at or beyond their threshold, thus accessing the incentive grant. Out of the possible R60, 354 to be drawn down by the Province, only R21 869 million.
4.1.5 Out of the 25 municipalities eligible for the wage incentive, only 20 managed to perform beyond their threshold therefore accessing R 30, 293 million in 2010/11 municipal financial year. This amounted to 31 per cent of R 97 806 million allocated to the municipalities.
4.1.6 Analysis of causes for good performance on the EPWP incentive grant is on the following: employment and deployment of 30 data capturers to municipalities to assist with reporting by the Department of Roads and Public Works. The Department of Roads and Public Works embarked on road shows in all municipalities to sensitise them about phase II in general, and areas for improvement in particular. Establishment of Regional Coordinating Committees (RCCs) for identification and rectification of implementation challenges. RCCs also used to share best practice. Technical support provided to municipalities to enhance capacity to identify and implement EPWP amenable projects. Presence of dedicated political champion for EPWP.
In line with the
EPWP national summit resolutions: The province was going to convene the EPWP provincial
summit from 28 to 30 September 2011. The summit would review the implementation
of resolutions that were taken at the national EPWP summit that was held on 13 to
15 October 2010 in
4.1.8 The provincial Department of Roads and Public Works reported on its APTCoD Policy (Accelerated Professional and Trade Competency Development Programme). The Construction Industry Development (CIDP) is one of the core business programmes of the department. It is responsible amongst other things for determining and maintenance of building standards. Key to it is the sub-programme namely: APTCoD which is responsible for the revival of the artisan personnel and the professionals in the built environment.
The following institutions are identified to be key stakeholders in the process mapping to ensure adherence in line with the Manpower Training Act, 1981 (Act No. 56 of 1981), namely, INDLELA, further education and training (FET) colleges, tertiary institutions with building disciplines, building professional associations, Master Builders Association, and the Construction Education Training Authority and Services SETA. Learners are recruited from FET colleges with NQF level 2 in the following disciplines: bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry, electrical, mechanical, painting and plastering.
4.1.9 The Province reported that they were on course to achieve their five-year target in terms of EPWP II. Both the Province and the municipalities were not accessing the wage incentive grant optimally. Full potential for the creation of work opportunities in the Environment and Social sectors was yet to be realised. Heads of provincial government departments had been engaged in order to expand and mainstream EPWP in their departments. The department had started to train municipal officials on employment intense investments through the Technical Support Programme driven by the Department of Roads and Public Works. Participation of municipalities in RCCs needed to be improved. The department reported that the number of municipalities that were eligible for the wage incentive had increased though there was still scope for improvement.
4.1.10 The National Department of Public Works agreed to the presentation that was presented by the PDRPW as a true reflection of the reports they have been receiving from the Province. The low amounts drawn by the municipalities on the incentive grant payments reflected the poor reporting that was made by those municipalities.
The municipality reported that there was informal training provided on site and on the job without accredited certificates. The municipality had its own data capturers and no data capturers from the Department of Public Works. The municipality created entrepreneurs under their Vukuphile programme and had a plan to create co-operatives. Under the Vukuphile programme they could promote labour-intensive methods on projects and could also train contractors by teaching them business skills. Ten contractors were on CIDB level one – three were chosen from the Buffalo City by the National Department of Public Works in partnership with the Construction SETA to be trained on business skills and other areas; these would most likely be lifted to level six through this training opportunity.
4.2.1 Imizamo Yethu Day Care Centre, Mdantsane (Social Sector)
The Imizamo Yethu Early Childhood Development Centre received funding from the Department of Social Development. The Department changed the designation of the programme from that of an early childhood development centre to that of a service centre. The centre catered for children between the ages of zero and 4 years. The municipality boasted of their programmes in skilling young people and assisting them by providing bursaries and assisting them in registering companies.
The centre had submitted a request to the Department of Public Works to allocate the bungalows on site and that they be converted into classrooms. In 2009/10 the centre was evaluated by the Department of Public Works, however there was no response to the request.
The Department of Social Development
allocated an amount of R8 000 per month to the centre which paid for
administration, food and workers. While a number of elderly people worked at
the centre as assistants, there was not enough money to provide a meal for
them. The centre catered for all children who were brought to it, including
those children who did not receive the daily subsidy of R15 per child. This
meant that the centre’s resources were strained, as they had to make provision
for these children. The centre also received a once-off payment from the
There is approximately 320 kilometres (km) of un-surfaced roads in the municipality. In 2005 surfacing of 54 km was undertaken. The current project was begun in October 2010 and consisted of surfacing a 2 km road. The project value was reported to be R2.3 million. The project contractors were CIDB Grade 5 and the labour supervision’s qualification was NQF 4. The project created approximately 142 job opportunities and the stipend paid was between R90 and R120.
Municipality reported on one EPWP project: the construction of a community hall
which was implemented by the
was established in March 1997, with a learner enrolment of 63 and three
educators and a principal. At the time one classroom was used at
Work done by the IDT on behalf of the client department, Department of Public Works:
18 new classrooms were built. 125 square meter admin block, soup kitchen, resource centre, 27 toilets, rain water tanks, electrical work done, fence erected and the school was also furnished. The construction budget at the time of the visit (excluding professional supervision and other costs) was R 9, 463, 907. 74.
Technology used by Uvuyo Group was the Uco Solidwall system. The building system comprises light weight steel frames that are then clad with fibre cement boards and filled with lightweight concrete mix. Fabrication of the steel superstructure is done entirely on site using locally trained labour. This system is compliant to international building standards and meets the testing requirements of SABS/SANS.
Construction started 1 March 2011. Partial beneficiary occupation achieved on the 8 June 2011 (handing over 9 classrooms for usage). Expected practical completion is 1 August 2011. On average 81 local labour employed and local labour fabricated and erected steel frames (special skills).
The municipality reported on its EPWP projects and took the delegation to two of its projects. They reported that most of their projects were funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEAT) and that the incentive grant payment went to DEAT as the grants to fund the projects came from them. The municipality had co-operatives that were registered. In terms of reporting, they reported that the reporting was very poor initially but the National Department of Public Works had intervened and provided training. One data capturer assisted the municipality in terms of reporting. The stipends paid on their projects varied from R 60 to R110 for all other project beneficiaries and R 160 for supervisors. The municipality over spent on their MIG funding by more than 100 per cent.
The National Department of Public Works reported that KSD municipality in the last financial year reported only on one EPWP project and the project was funded by the Department of Social Development and Education and they reported 19 work opportunities.
This was an EPWP project funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs. The project wais valued at R3 million and was being completed in four phases ending in March 2012. The first project employed 74 beneficiaries and very few people with disabilities. A machine was used to dig the sewage system and ablution facilities.
This was an EPWP project that was initiated to control soil erosion and consisted of planting flowers on the route towards the airport. The greening project employed 44 people. In total 172 people worked on different aspects of the project. The project was begun in May/June 2011 after a delay of two months and was to be completed in April 2012. The people employed stayed within walking distance of the project and all wards benefited. The people receive a stipend of between R70 and R75.
The municipality reported that its Infrastructure Development and Planning Unit experienced some difficulties in meeting targets due to scarce projects which were funded to be EPWP oriented only. About 291 000.00 incentive grant funded by the DPW was going to be utilised in job creation on walk ways, drainage, maintenance and more related tasks that do not need Plant and Machinery , so as to create more jobs for the local communities. The Municipality reported that they will start reporting on the food for waste programme in the 2011/12 financial year. The municipality had challenges in terms of reporting and in instances where reports were made on time, incentive grants delayed to reach the municipalities. The municipality reported that EPWP beneficiaries were paid between R70 per day and R 120 per day.
The municipality reported on their challenge with road maintenance and storm water drainage. The municipality was a depended on grants as it was a low revenue generation. Sanitation was a challenge for the municipality and they had to stop any further developments. The municipality had EPWP projects and also implemented on behalf of client departments.
The CBD Roads
This project was a block paving project using materials (blocks) that are approved by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and utilising 120 labourers. The project was scheduled for completion in December 2011 and consisted of cleaning drainage, ridge paving and 200m of underground water. The pipe and curbing as well as storm water drainage were all viewed as areas where skills were transferred.
The Municipality had plans to launch a brick making project and employing youth. The machines were to be purchased and the manufacturing of the bricks was to be supervised by the SABS to ensure the quality of the product. The sand and bricks were to be sourced locally.
4.6.2 Protection from soil erosion at second beach project, Port St Johns (Environment Sector)
This project was initiated by the Port St Johns municipality and it began in December 2010. The aim was to protect the beach against soil erosion. The project laid paving at 2nd Beach and provided gabion protection for the beach.
4.6.3 Side walk from Mpantu to town, Port St Johns (Environment and Culture Sector)
This project was reported to be labouring intensive. Work was done in-house and no contractors were appointed by the municipality. At a later stage block paving was to be added in the project. It was reported that the project had 20 beneficiaries. The project duration was supposed to be three months but it was envisaged to escalate due to weather. The Committee suggested that municipality approaches hardware shops, requesting assistance in the eradication of potholes. The Members of the Provincial Legislature promised to make follow-up on progress.
The municipality had plans to implement its EPWP projects from the MIG funding. The projects of the municipality were on initiation stages and not on the tender stages at the time. There was one data capturer from the Department of Public Works that assisted the municipality.
The municipality had EPWP projects and implementing for the client departments. This is one of the municipalities that needed assistance from in terms of training and reporting.
4.8.1 Siyakhana Home Based Care Centre, Mbizana (Social Sector)
The project received donations from the AIDS foundation and they received donations from the municipality from time to time. The project was for HIV positive people. They received incentive grants as the project reported in terms of the EPWP principles and guidelines.
4.8.2 St Faith Home Based Care Centre, Mbizana (Social Sector)
At the St Faith HBC the project beneficiaries complained that they did not have fencing and as a result they could not do food gardening. The implementing department did not provide food parcels.
The municipality reported that they were receiving assistance in terms of implementing their EPWP projects from the Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works. They had received a total of R 54 000 .00 on incentive grant funding. The municipality did not have an EPWP coordinator as a result the programme was attached to the Municipal manager’s office at some point. At the time of the visit, an EPWP coordinator had just started working for the municipality. The municipality did not really understand the EPWP principles and the political leadership of the municipality did not fully understand the programme. The municipality was in a process of reviewing tender documents to make them EPWP compliant. It was reported that the municipality had 12 infrastructure projects, two in the social sector and four from the environment and culture sector.
The municipality presented on the projects that the Portfolio Committee would visit. These projects consisted of the following:
4.9.1 The Washiywa fencing project (infrastructure Sector)
The project had a budget of R60 000 to fence a 50 by 50 hectares of which a total of R37 245 was utilised. It utilised local labour: a total of 18 people of which 10 were youth. However during the oversight the Committee was unable to determine if an actual project existed. The Committee concluded that not having viewed the actual project that it therefore did not exist.
4.9.2 Ndakeni Access Road (Infrastructure Sector)
The project entailed the construction of an access road at an estimated R3.6 million from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). Contractor appointed at an estimated R2.8 million and a consultant (professional engineer) at an estimated R408 689. The project at the time of the visit was mostly machine-based and intended to employ labourers at a later stage.
The Committee suggested that the issue of utilising consultants on projects needs to be reviewed by the municipality. When consultants are employed they must provide skills development on the projects. An effort must be made to include people with disabilities on projects.
The staff from the municipality implemented the project. The contract amount was R 320 000 and 41 people were employed. The Committee asked the municipality to make projects EPWP compliant and to include people with disabilities. The designs of the project were to be made labour compliant and the consultants assisting on the projects were to be told on the EPWP specifications as the Committee felt that the construction of access roads did not need the involvement of consultants.
The municipality had a few EPWP projects. It also needed training on the EPWP principles, in terms of reporting and getting assistance from data capturers.
4.10.1 Umzimvubu bridge
The components to build the bridge were provided by the Department of Defence and the labour was undertaken by 35 soldiers and 10 beneficiaries. The beneficiaries were paid a daily rate of R215 which is the rate paid to soldiers by the Department of Defence. These beneficiaries received training in the construction and maintenance of the bridge. At the conclusion of the oversight it was reported that the maintenance plan for the bridge must still be submitted to the municipality.
The Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works identified projects that were reported by this municipality for the visit. Unfortunately those projects could not be visited due to unavailability of municipal officials.
Hlwahlwazi is the name of the village where the school is located. The school was started in the early 1940s and moved to the current site in 1948. over the years the school has suffered neglect, relying on mud and other inappropriate structures provided by the Community. Despite these challenges, the school has over the years grown its enrolment to the current 735 learners. Classes are from grade R to grade 9.
The school was selected to benefit from the Alternative Technology Programme by the Department of Education from the priority list of schools that needed urgent intervention.
Work done by the IDT on behalf of the client department, Department of Public Works:
22 new classrooms were built, 5 renovated classrooms, double grade R, Multi purpose centre, Fencing, Furniture and Stormwater Reticulation. The Construction budget (excluding supervision and other costs) were R 9, 813, 586. R 500 000 was spent on local labour since the start of the project and R 1, 250 million was spent on local empowerment since the start of the project.
used to build the school by Novodomus Group included
Vela steel building system combined with Ikhaya
brick. The Vela Steel Building System is based on the Structural Insulated
Panels (SIP) incorporating a steel frames within composite wall panels
comprising Magnesium Oxide board and a polyurethane core with polystyrene
blanks between panel cavities. The walls are finished with waterproof paint. Ikhaya Brick utilises soil-cement blocks for erection of
external and internal walls for detached single storey buildings. These systems
comply to SABS, NHBRC and Agrèment
Construction started March 2011. All major construction activities were completed for all new blocks at the time of the visit. Minor works were underway. Completion of new blocks were expected by 5 August 2011 and completion of toilet block was expected by 12 August 2011.
The municipality reported that it had EPWP projects. It was getting assistance in terms of training and reporting from both the Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works and also the Regional Department of Public Works.
5. Progress on the Asset Register and the roll-out of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act (No. 19 of 2007)
The presentation on the Asset Register highlighted several challenges including the status of certain assets, the different levels of custodianship, vesting status of properties and the drawn-out process to complete the vesting.
5.1 Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works
The presentation on the Government Immovable Asset Management Act (No. 19 of 2007) and the status of the Asset Register highlighted the following:
5.1.2 The issuing of certificates related to the vesting of immovable assets is a challenge as the Department only received five vesting certificates in the 2009/10 financial year. This has improved in the new financial year as 70 certificates were received.
The definition of State land is unclear.
The land in the
5.1.4 According to Proclamation 67 of 1995, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is the custodian of all the former homelands.
5.1.5 The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is responsible for administering the Public Land Information Database, (which contains information on all municipal land and parastatals) and is linked to all Deeds Offices. It was reported that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform intends to discontinue the Database.
5.1.7 The servitudes (which consist of power lines and water pipes) are known if they were captured by the Deeds Office. However, there are servitudes that were not surveyed or captured on the title deeds.
5.1.8 All un-surveyed land by default is unregistered and therefore does not have a title deed.
5.1.9 There is a challenge in the province with surveying the land as there are only 9 qualified land surveyors in the province and only one university offers land surveying.
5.1.10 The lands of the R293 Townships were transferred to Municipalities but the rights were not transferred.
present all land transfers made in terms of the former
5.1.12 The lease budget is R140 million and consists of 93 leases from private landowners which are 64 per cent Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) compliant.
5.1.13 There are approximately 800 leases and consist of people in government houses or renting shops. A service provider has been appointed to verify the properties being leased.
5.1.14 At the conclusion of the presentation by the Senior Manager for Asset Registers, the Portfolio Committee on Public Works requested that additional information be made available to the Portfolio Committee as this will assist it in the formulations of its recommendations. The information was forwarded electronically after the oversight and following below is the response:
Quitrent Title relates to a kind of
tenure (Permission to Occupy) that was issued by a magistrate (to a person of
at least 18 years or older) in the late 1880s up until 1936 in terms of the
The Quitrent remains problematic as the tenure status of these properties remains unresolved by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. There are many state domestic functions (for example Umtata Dam, schools, etc.) which are located on quitrent land. The challenges are as follows:
a) The original quitrent land uses do not exist anymore.
b) Recipients of Quitrents are most probably no longer alive.
c) New survey diagrams cannot be framed or surveyed and approved for state functions where there are underlying quitrent diagrams.
d) The vesting and subsequent upgrading of the Immovable Asset Register cannot be completed.
e) Ownership of all
Most Coastal Reserves (especially
between the Umzimbuvu River Mouth and Boesmans River Mouth is not surveyed. There are portions of
the coastal belt that are sensitive for nature conservation, and currently
managed by the
g) The Department of Roads and Public Works, in co-operation with the Office of the Chief Surveyor-General is in the process of verifying such areas to be surveyed and registered.
h) Areas managed by the ECPTA are regarded as provincial land in terms of the Constitution and the custodianship thereof lies with the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works in terms of Act 7 of 2000.
i) Other parts of the coastal reserve, including Admiralty Reserves, which are not included under the areas managed by ECPTA falls under the custodianship of the national government that is the National Department of Public Works and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in former Transkei and Ciskei coasts.
5.1.15 The National Department of Public Works agreed that no one really knows how much land the department owns. The department reported that it was in a process of advertising for a tender where there will be a dedicated person that will be focusing only on operation bring back and engage the municipalities with regards to state owned properties. The department agreed that there were still challenges in terms of the Asset Register and the implementation of GIAMA.
The Municipality had identified approximately 756 properties which were owned by the National and Provincial Departments of Public Works. These included Police Stations, Hospitals and Schools which needed to be transferred back to the National and Provincial Departments. An approximately R2.9 billion worth of assets was not recorded in the Municipality’s Asset Register, as a result the Municipality received a qualified audit opinion for the 2010/11.
The municipality reported that a multi-year programme was envisaged to address the underground assets. The state of the land and electricity assets of the municipality led to it receiving a qualification from the Auditor-General. The Municipality had applied to the Department of Public Works and the department of Rural Development and Land Reform for disposal of land assets within its jurisdiction. The municipality had experienced protracted processes in acquiring land parcels from the national and provincial Government. The municipality believed that the opportunity presented by the Portfolio Committee will assist in unlocking the long outstanding barrier for the municipality to acquire land parcels owned by the state within the Buffalo Coty Metro jurisdiction area. This was in line with Section 3 (d) (ii) of GIAMA.
The municipality reported that the property, plant and equipment as of 30 June 2011 was valued at R 53 million and that the total value of the municipalities Asset Register stood at R 639 million. Challenges with the Asset register were the incomplete and inconsistent information that was needed for validation of information. Service providers that were hired by the Municipality were in the process of mapping underground assets.
The Asset Register of the Municipality was not in a usable state and received a disclaimer due to it not being GRAP 17 compliant. In terms having been appointed to assist in the completion of the Asset Register. The Municipality reported that the Asset Register was 90 per cent complete and that there was a draft Asset Register. The Municipality also requested assistance from the Provincial and National Departments of Public Works towards the completion of its Asset Register. The Municipality was unable to maintain the property that was transferred to the local municipality, and these were in a state of collapse. There was a question about the ownership of the Railway Cottages as well as the dilapidated Police Residence. In addition there were Department of Agriculture houses and offices that were vacant.
The Municipality had identified buildings belonging to both the National and Provincial Departments of Public Works. The properties belonging to the National Department total 14; while that belonging to the Province totals 58 properties. There was no Asset Management Unit in place before 2009. This was a challenge for the Municipality considering the requirement of the implementation of the provisions of Government Immovable Asset Management Act (No. 19 of 2007).
The municipality had an existing Asset Register compiled by the municipality and consultants. However the report was not ready at the time of the oversight, as the Register was in the evaluation stage with consultants working on it on-site. The value of the municipality’s assets was calculated at approximately R90 million. An initial land audit report indicates that the municipality identified a number of dilapidated buildings which belong to the National Department of Public Works. The municipality wishes to have these assets transferred to it. An additional challenge faced by the municipality was the role of traditional leaders and the existence of land claims in the area. It was reported that most of the land in the municipality falls under the Traditional Council and that there is infighting amongst the groups on the Council.
6. Issues raised in an open meeting with the construction stakeholders
6.1 The Stakeholders from the construction industry reported that there were three issues of concern which were highlighted as early as 2009 at the Construction Stakeholders Forum Conference, namely: access to finance; Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Contractor Development Programme whereby small contractors were not mentored; and contractors from other areas appointed at the expense of contractors from the local areas. The stakeholders wanted local contractors to consist of 40 per cent of the total work allocated. The criterion used by the CIDB to evaluate contractors was mainly focused on turnover, but the stakeholders suggested that the quality of work and experience of the contractors should be considered as a criterion.
6.2 They also argued that since Government was the one paying for the work, the contractors should receive their payments within 14 days, instead of the long delays, which took up to two months.
6.3 A document containing the resolutions for the third contractors’ conference, 16 – 18 September 2009 that was attended by the PDRPW was submitted to the Committee.
6.4 A submission was also submitted by the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC). The NAFCOC submission addressed the following issues:
a) They have asked the government to come up with a political programme and programme of action that they has to address the imbalances that exist in the industry .They said this because if there was no strategic political programme and political will to develop black contractors then they would be where they were for ever and ever .
b) They have asked the question why the Department of Education and Department of Health were building schools, renovate schools, build hospitals and clinics when that function was the function of Public Works, why cant the 2 departments mentioned above and other departments focus on their core function and let Roads and Public Works focus on their core mandate.
c) Why the IDT and Coega implementing agents were not given funds as it used to be in the past for the projects they were been assigned to do? Instead money was kept in the different departments, delayed payments for contractors and the funds ended up being used for other things.
was the role of Nurcha, were they not owned by
government? How many contractors did they finance in this area? Did they have
offices in the
e) With regards to the CIDB, the organisation that was literally killing black contractors and reverse every victory of this government, an organisation that perpetuate white domination in construction industry designed and approved by this government , where white contractors were protected for life .How many black contractors were in grade 1 and how much work had been advertised for grade 1, 2 and even grade 3 in newspapers, when will these contractors develop, how many jobs from grade 4 and up especially from grade 5 and up were advertised daily in newspapers and who own the companies who received those jobs? on a daily basis jobs were advertised for the bigger grades at the expense of the Small to Medium Enterprises, what cant government prescribe to these white companies to work with a certain number of small grades in all jobs permanently, how many white companies were doing jobs in our area currently, what about local black owned companies that had the same grades that lost money especially at municipality level, how much budget was allocated to the Eastern Cape?
6.5 The meeting with the stakeholders also raised a number of issues of concern including:
a) There was no clarity on how the CIDB’s grading system works.
b) There was no appeal system when contractors had been blacklisted.
c) External contractors were appointed, for example in the construction of gravel roads.
d) Lack of clarity on the criteria used by the Department of Public Works in the appointment of contractors between grades 4 and 5.
e) The Coega Industrial Development Zone was viewed as a project
set up to benefit
f) The CIDB Contractor Incubator Development Programme was faced with challenges at local government level.
g) The stakeholders requested clear timeframes from the Portfolio Committee on Public Works in terms of dealing with issues raised in the meeting concerning the CIDB. The CIDB was unfortunately not represented at the meeting.
7. Issues for Consideration following the Site Visits
The Committee raised a number of issues following the site visits:
7.1 The sites and projects identified were not strictly EPWP projects under Public Works. The officials from the PDRPW explained that they understood the oversight visit to entail site visits in all four sectors of the EPWP II programme and projects that were reporting under the programme, including those implemented by other departments.
7.2 It was unclear from some of the projects visited if there was a viable programme fostering skills development and creating the necessary job opportunities as requires.
7.3 The use of innovative construction technology was viewed as useful, but concerns were raised about the lifespan of the technologies used in comparison to utilising the conventional construction methods.
7.4 The short duration of work opportunities created on these sites utilising innovative technologies was of concern as it was contrary to the policy of creating work opportunities of longer duration and the transfer of skills as required by the EPWP principles.
7.5 The large outlay of money for the machine used in producing the steel plates meant that small businesses were unlikely to access the technology, unless it is subsidised.
7.6 The Mbizana Local Municipality indicated that very few residents had access to water or basic sanitation, with only five per cent and 49 per cent having access to these basic needs respectively.
There was concern
regarding the report of the
7.8 The use of consultants on projects was of concern, especially if there was no clear provision to ensure that the consultants transferred the skills to the municipality employees while on the project.
7.9 The use of people with disabilities had to be ensured, and it was suggested that organisations concerned with people with disabilities had to be contacted to provide lists of people who may be employed.
7.10 The Intergovernmental Relations were to be strengthened.
8. Issues for Consideration by other Committees and Departments
Site visits conducted by the Committee to EPWP II projects under the Social Sector including Early Childhood Development projects; HIV and AIDS awareness programmes; and Food for Waste, highlighted several issues that were the competency of the Departments of Social Development, Health and Home Affairs. Following below are some of the issues noted:
8.1 The subsidy of R15 per child per day for learners aged between zero to four years was insufficient to provide adequately for each child.
8.2 The requirement that both parents of children who were subsidised under the ECD programme needed to produce copies of their identity documents to be subsidised posed challenges for single parents.
8.3 The ECD centre that the Committee visited faced a challenge in terms of accessing the allocated R15 per child per day, where one of the parents happened to be employed, the subsidy got withheld.
8.4 The ECD practitioners reported that they had to pay for their own training.
8.5 The ECD practitioners did not receive stipends from the Department of Social Development for the services they offered.
8.6 Projects that were designated under the Social Sector of the EPWP appeared not to be viable projects. The Committee was concerned that the necessary monitoring of the projects was lacking.
8.7 The Department of Higher Education and Training needs to make provision for the training of practitioners working in ECD centres.
8.8 The capacity constraints experienced in terms of the lack of skilled personnel in many of the municipalities need to be addressed by the affected municipalities.
9.1 On phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme:
The oversight visit undertaken by the Committee highlighted a number of concerns regarding the proper implementation of the EPWP II programme. The National Department of Public Works had to ensure that training on EPWP principles was provided to the municipalities and also that the services of data capturers were made available to all municipalities.
The PDRPW reported that they were engaging other departments in terms of implementation of the EPWP II projects. The talks included concerns with regard to the low wage rates that were paid out to beneficiaries in the Social Sector (this included ECD practitioners) as well as the little amount paid out especially in rural areas compared to the urban areas.
On the meeting with the construction stakeholders:
The role of the CIDB in the construction sector was raised by stakeholders in the construction industry. The contractors expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the CIDB regulated contractors’ grading through its Register of Contractors. It was argued that the Register of Contractors disadvantaged emerging and lower graded contractors as they were slow to advance up the grading system.
9.2 On the Asset Register and GIAMA:
The Committee raised concerns with regard to the completion of the Asset Register. The completion of viable Asset Registers by the municipalities was not an easy task for most of the municipalities. The presentation that was made by the PDRPW on the GIAMA as well as progress made in completing a viable Asset Register highlighted the complexity and challenges experienced by the Province in this regard. The presentations that were received by the Committee did not give hope that the roll out of GIAMA to the local sphere of government was going to happen soon.
9.3 On the eradication of mud schools and other unsafe structures:
The Committee was encouraged by the speed with which the alternative construction technology could assist in the eradication of mud schools and other unsafe structures. However, the Committee raised concerns about the manner in which technology did not fulfil the requirement of the EPWP in the creation of job opportunities of longer duration as well as skills transfer. The Committee requested that a balance be made whereby technology would assist in providing efficient service delivery, while at the same time addressing the issues of job creation, skills development and poverty alleviation.
the findings of the Committee on its oversight visit to the
10.1 The implementation of Phase II of the EPWP at provincial and municipal level should be intensified. Its designated funding should be applied more efficiently and effectively to produce the necessary skills and job opportunities. The National Department of Public Works should ensure this goal is met by the end of the next financial year.
10.2 The monitoring of the projects by the National and Provincial Departments of Public Works must be substantially improved. Assistance by the NDPW’s EPWP branch to municipalities to ensure that the projects are implemented properly in a cost-effective manner must further be intensified.
10.3 Monitoring capacity at municipal level should be enhanced by the Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works to ensure that the reports given on projects are actual projects that are implementing EPWP according to the principles of utilising labour intensive construction methods, creating job opportunities and transfer of skills.
10.4 The stipend for all sectors should be reviewed, especially the manner in which it is disbursed to beneficiaries in the rural areas.
10.5 The EPWP reporting format needs to be more uniform. Assistance in terms of data capturing should be provided to all municipalities by the National Department of Public Works.
10.6 The challenges experienced by some municipalities in the compilation and management of their Asset Registers should be resolved. This will only be achieved by enabling legislation. The Committee recommends to the Minister of Public Works that the amendment of the current Government Immovable Asset Management Act should include local government.
10.7 The legislation governing the CIDB should be reviewed and amended by the Minister of Public Works.
10.8 The manner in which the CIDB grades contractors should be clarified in order to ensure the development and progress of previously disadvantaged individuals and ensure that they are afforded an opportunity to enter and advance in the construction industry. The National Department of Public Works should attend to the challenges that exist for contractors in terms of the current legislative mandate of the CIDB.
10.9 The intention of the EPWP, which is to create work opportunities, provide skills and alleviate poverty of communities, especially those in marginalised areas, should be fulfilled by the National Department of Public Works.
The Committee wishes to thank the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature and its Portfolio Committee on Roads and Public Works for taking an active part in the oversight visit. It therefore requests that, where possible, follow-ups be made with the Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works as well as the municipalities.
The Committee further wishes to thank the municipalities for their hospitality and willingness to share their successes and challenges in an effort to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.
Final acknowledgement goes to the stakeholders in the construction industry who took time off their busy schedules to share their frustrations and, most importantly, come with suggestions on ways of improving the status quo in the industry.
Report to be considered.
Abbreviations used in the report
APTCoD Accelerated Professional and Trade Competency Development Programme
CBE Council for the Built Environment
CIDB Construction Industry Development Board
DRDLR Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
ECD Early Childhood Development Centre
EPWP Expanded Public Works Programme
GIAMA Government Immovable Asset Management Act, No 19 of 2007
IDT Independent Development Trust
PDRPW Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works
RCCs Regional Coordinating Committees
SABS South African Bureau of Standards
The Committee National Portfolio Committee on Public Works
The Department National Department of Public Works