Department of Public Works: Budget vote 9 2012/13 tabled by MEC Sisi Mabe, Wesselsbron
19 Mar 2012
Honourable Deputy Speaker of the Provincial Legislature
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors and Mayors Present
Leaders of the Opposition Parties
Traditional Leaders Present
Director-General and Heads of Departments
Senior Managers and general staff
Our invited business people
Our strategic partners
Free State Community at Large
Comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen
It is just over a year from the time when I first stood before this honourable house to table the budget vote of the Department of Public Works. The budget vote speech as we know Speaker, represent departmental targets and programs aligned to budget allocated to a department in a particular financial year.
We draw courage from the knowledge that we are given this opportunity in just over a day before our country will be commemorating Human Rights Day, which to the majority of us represent a painful past.
This day was deliberately chosen as our Human Rights Day to honour the people who were massacred at Sharpeville on March 21, 1960, as well as all other patriots who had paid with their lives for the attainment of our freedom. This was a struggle to end white minority colonial domination and racial discrimination, a struggle for the liberation of Black people in general and Africans in particular.
It was not a struggle to replace white domination with black domination, precisely because the very essence of our struggle for liberation was to end racism in all its forms. Throughout its history, our democratic movement the African National Congress upheld and defended this position without wavering. This is why even this year as it celebrates 100 years of its existence, overwhelming majority of our people still regard it as their beacon of hope.
Looking back on the 2011/12 financial year, the department realised some considerable achievements, but there were challenges too.
The department has implemented several major projects aimed not only at creating many job opportunities, but also to provide the much needed social infrastructure such as schools and healthcare facilities. Among some of the major projects we have undertaken includes the completion of the first phase of the state-of-the art Test ground in Harrismith, the upgrading of Boitumelo Hospital in Kroonstad, the ongoing construction of new hospitals in Trompsburg and Ladybrand, completion of Elizabeth Ross Hospital in Qwa Qwa and Thebe Hospital in Harrismith, completion of the new multipurpose community hall in Makgolokeng as part of our contribution to development of rural areas, the completion of 12 additional classrooms in Thaba Nchu as well as the construction of two new state-of-the art schools in Mangaung. As part of our contribution to the centennial celebrations, we purchased on behalf of the provincial government the Wesleyan church and effected some renovations leading towards 8 January 2012 whilst it is still maintaining its original form as a heritage site.
Our progress is not limited to these projects only; I hope client Departments will talk to some of these projects when they table their budget votes. Under Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) we had a target of 26,979 in terms of creation of work opportunities in this financial year. We are proud Speaker to pronounce that we succeeded in almost doubling the set target by far, since 43,473 work opportunities have been created. Of importance from the latter is that 10 777 Full time equivalent work opportunities were realised.
We will continue to emphasise the fact that EPWP should be understood as one amongst several government’ strategies used as a vehicle to help our communities to tackle poverty; unemployment and lack of skills by way of creation of short-term and ongoing job opportunities. Employment of a significant number of unemployed locals constitute a critical feature through which an EPWP compliant project or work can be measured.
The department has contributed to the achievement of the provincial work opportunities target through the implementation of the following Flagship Programmes:
Cemetery Maintenance Programme was launched in May 2011 as part of the expansion in the environment and culture sector and it created a total of 310 work opportunities.
Food for Waste Programme was further introduced in Metsimaholo and Ngwathe after its launch in Masilonyana resulting in the creation of 380 work opportunities.
Community Work Programme
The department sustained the employment of 462 workers under the Community Work Programme in Hennenman, Batho Location, Jacobsdal and Jagersfontein.
National Youth Service Programme
The department selected 236 youth for training in skills required in the build
Environment, namely, civil and building, plumbing and electrical engineering. The electrical apprenticeship which started in February 2010 in partnership with Centlec is coming to an end in December 2012. Upon completion the 13 learners will be employed by the department to address shortage of qualified artisans.
New Venture Creation Learnership Programme
We are continuing with the New Venture Creation Learnership Programme at NQF Level 4 and 30 young emerging entrepreneurs are benefiting from the programme.
Township Revitalisation Programme with budget allocation of R130 million is being implemented in towns such as: Bultfontein; Henenman; Odendulsrus; Virginia; Arlington; Parys; Batho Location in Bloemfoentein; Vredeford; Cornelia and Jaggersfontein with this yielding a total of 778 work opportunities. This is also an infrastructure programme that seeks to upgrade township streets from gravel to paved roads and the refurbishment of the local infrastructure such as community halls and recreational facilities. We are upbeat about this Programme Speaker because it has amongst other things allowed the department to affirm Youth-owned Enterprises while it simultaneously helped us to comply with the Premier’s injunction of enforcing massification as we undertake most of our projects.
Through our dedication as coordinators of EPWP we managed to increase the number of public bodies receiving and drawing the incentive grant. To date, provincial departments received R11,784 million and municipalities received R23,399 million.
In keeping with the spirit of cooperative governance the department has made timely payment to all municipalities accounts to ensure their economic viability in order for them to deliver quality services on time to their communities. To date R219,9 million has been paid by the Department for rates and taxes. There is however a process currently unfolding between the Department and Nala Local Municipality, which is intended to assist the Municipality to be able to invoice the department with regards to payment of services.
We were also able to keep to our commitment of gradually ensuring that the environment in which we operate as government is habitable thus we employed a number of 528 work-force comprising of gardeners and cleaners. At this point I am pleased to announce Speaker that we have already implemented the Premier’s SOPA directive by internally approving the redeployment to Qwa Qwa of all seven employees who had asked to be posted closer to their homes and families.
The department in terms of its human resources plan enhanced its capacity by appointing 35 qualified staff in architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, artisans, and works inspectors in both works and property management. In line with the Premiers injunctions for the year ending, we have absorbed 20 bursary holders who completed their studies in this financial year 2011/12, and 3 unemployed graduates who were identified during the meeting of the Executive Council with the unemployed graduates, namely, Matsatsi Mpeli who hails from Botshabelo and studied BSc Quantity Surveying as well as Mzi Bheqezi and Mohau Khomo who both pursued national diploma in building and are from Bloemfontein.
In the spirit of working together to achieve more, some of our candidate professionals are being mentored by registered professionals at DNL Quantity Surveyors, Dihlase Consulting Engineers, Mellet Quantity Surveyors, Rubiquant Quantity Surveyors, Moretlo Quantity Surveyors and Bigen Africa. We are grateful to this initiative and other companies will be approached to assist during the 2012/13 Financial Year.
Part-time bursaries were also awarded to 53 employees of the department during the year 2010/11 and a further 49 for the year 2011/12. Their areas of study are in finance, internal auditing, risk management, project management, legal studies, security risk management and key technical and professional fields. Of the 102 part-time bursary holders, 57 are women representing over 50% gender equity.
In this age of information technology, the department in enhancing its capacity for service delivery is implementing a new ITC system at a cost of R7 million, which will become operational on the 16 April 2012. This system is more stable, secure and cost effective whilst it provides better ICT security options. A dedicated ICT security specialist will ensure a secure IT environment.
Despite registering some successes the Department is still confronted with ongoing challenges, which require strong focus.
As the financial year that is about to come to an end progressed, we had to pause, sit down together with the management team and do a thorough scrutiny of our overall performance regarding our program of action. Underpinning our action was the persisting negative publicity about Public Works as a department and its mandate thus we needed first and foremost to answer whether we were contend with our existing plans and targets even when they were in most cases not helping the department to achieve its objectives.
Prominently the soul-searching action was about how we implement our mandate, hence Honourable Speaker; we think it is important to briefly outline what Public Works represent: “Under the apartheid rule, the Department of Public Works was always seen as a Cinderella (Someone or Something that has good qualities but is treated badly or is ignored) department, providing other government departments with traditional services. Its task was to “provide, maintain and manage…infrastructure for central government bodies” because the department acted “as the State experts in the field of fixed property, accommodation and related services”.
The apartheid ways of doing things resulted in neglect of Public Works as a whole. But the democratic government mandate has given Public Works to play a pivotal role in achieving the key objectives of Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), namely meeting basic needs, building the economy and the development of human resources. In summary, ours is to provide and manage accommodation on behalf of our sister departments, housing, land and other needs of the provincial government as a whole. We also coordinate the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in the province, and drive the transformation of the property and construction industries. These elements are central to the larger challenge of building a truly democratic South Africa.”
We thought it is of importance Speaker to remind ourselves of where we are coming from so that moving forward; we can make it our collective responsibility to cultivate optimism in terms of how the general public perceives Public Works as a department.
We were also confronted with a situation whereby the organisational capacity of our department was hugely compromised due to inability in certain instances to attract the requisite technical skills as well as protracted labour cases that involved suspension of some senior managers while others had to be dismissed from public service.
Honourable Speaker, recurring challenges have also been identified with regard to how Client departments and public bodies hamstrung Public Works capacity to complete construction of most infrastructure projects on time and maximise implementation of EPWP for realising creation of decent jobs and contribution towards skills development objectives. We therefore in a nutshell can programmatically capture them as follows:
Slow pace of transformation in property industry due to escalated property prices and difficulty for HDIs to access loans from financial institutions.
The department was unable to implement the Property Incubator Programme due to lack of requisite skills and funding, and the facilitator was only appointed towards the end of the year.
Lack of resources to meet the demand for EPWP opportunities, i.e. through National Youth Service and Contractor Development Programme.
Amongst the houses that the department had already earmarked for disposal, 29 houses in Wepener and 58 prefabricated houses in other municipalities could not be donated to current occupants as anticipated. Internal processes are underway however for this to be finally realised.
These are some of the challenges and limitations of the department that we hope in the next financial year 2012/13, will be rectified.
Having mentioned all the challenges above Speaker, we are equally alive to the fact that they on their own do not represent something peculiar to our province hence in atoning for some of them we are going to work with National Public Works as it implement its planned Turnaround Strategy aimed towards correcting ills in the department.
In his own words, the Minister of Public Works, honourable Thulas Nxesi says the Turnaround Strategy should amongst other things enable Public Works to:
Develop Collaboration and Synergy between national; provinces; municipalities and other stakeholders.
Address corruption in the department
- to ensure that Public Works as a Department succeed in bringing about change as opposed to relying on Consultants. This must be a process and not an event.
- to scrutinise the lease contracts already in existence for accurate accountability. This is something which as a department we have already started to implement Speaker as we will reflect later.
With an increased social spending on infrastructure development, the New Growth Path (NGP) implore us to “…shared determination to achieve a “step change” in growth and transformation of economic conditions”. This simply means that our plans must result in the twin outcome of economic growth and massive job creation.
The Department of Public Works is strategically placed to facilitate the achievement of the provincial government goals and priorities as pronounced by the honourable Premier during the state of the province address. Goals that focus on healthcare and quality education, skills development and training, tackling fraud and corruption and access to quality service delivery as the focus areas. We are charged with the repositioning of the socio-economic infrastructure in the social growth and development agenda of the province.
As mentioned, our programme of action for the year is guided by the injunctions contained in both the State of the Nation and State of the Province Addresses. In both addresses and the Budget addresses, infrastructure development has been identified as one of the main drivers for economic growth and job creation.
A strong administrative base is of cardinal importance for an organisation that is responsible for public infrastructure development and to lead on job creation efforts. The functions provided by this programme are implanted in a strong legislative framework and function as an integrated system in line with best practices, thereby ensuring good governance and for this programme to succeed an amount of R84, 290million is allocated. The provision of a favourable environment enables line management to optimise its outputs and focus on the department’s core functions to provide an efficient service to clients and communities, which will remain a focus of this programme during this financial year.
In the 2012/13 financial year, the department will continue to improve its capacity by appointing suitably qualified personnel in the fields of works infrastructure, property management, EPWP, supply chain management, finance, information technology, security management and the senior management service. Our skills development programme is on track and covers amongst others; professional registration, facilities management, risk management, service delivery for cleaners, supply chain management and skills programme 1 and 2 for security.
To address the shortage of artisans, the department has embarked upon a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program to identify tradesman aids that can qualify as fully-fledged artisans. Preparations are afoot for implementation of this program and the training is set to commence by May 2012.
We believe that socio-economic infrastructure is the heartbeat of any society and the means which enables communities not only to reach higher levels of growth and development, but to also build an integrated safety environment. The department is not only a custodian of public infrastructure development in the province, but also the social agent for job creation and skills development in the province.
We will in this financial year continue with maintenance, design, upgrading and construction of capital projects on behalf of client departments and our own on-going projects. In further contributing towards the legacy of the centenary we have started with the first phase of the construction of the new Legislature Building at Raamkraal in Bloemfontein.
It is of importance to indicate that infrastructure budgets and projects for client departments are not covered under this Departmental vote and will be announced by client departments themselves. This programme has been allocated R1,022,139 billion which in the main the department is going to use to fund the completion of its own ongoing projects. We want to urge client Departments to communicate their infrastructure needs timeously in order to improve planning and infrastructure delivery on our side.
As a build up to the annual construction week which happens in July, we are going to undertake monthly visits to all the projects that are currently under construction and officially handover those that are completed to respective client departments.
We will also strengthen our relationship with CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board) especially on the work of Contractor Development in general and the transformation of the construction industry.
Motsamaisi wa Dipuisano;
Profensi ya rona ka tlasa Lenaneo la Katoloso Ya Mesebetsi Ya Setjhaba (EPWP) selemong sa ditjhelete se tla simolla e lebelletswe ho theha menyetla ya mesebetsi e ka bang 36,533 mme re na le tshepo hore ha re sebetsa mmoho, sena re tla se fihlella. Ho phethahatsa mosebetsi wa yona, EPWP e abetswe R163 million selemong sa ditjhelete seo re se lebileng ebile mananeo a kang National Youth Service a tla fumantshwa ditjhelete ho tswa ditekanyetsong tsa yona EPWP.
Lefapha le tla ntshetsa pele lenaneo la Ntjhafatso Ya Ditoropo/Makeishini (Township Revitalisation Programme) ka ditekanyetso tse ballwang ho R100 million. Tse ding tsa ditoropo tse tla una molemo lenaneong lena di kenyelletsa:
- Thaba Nchu, e tla fumantshwa ditekanyetso tse lekanang le dimilione tse tsheletseng (R6million)
- Petursburg, e tla fumantshwa ditekanyetso tse lekanang le dimilione tse nne (R4million)
- Allanridge, e tla fumantshwa ditekanyetso tse lekanang le dimilione tse hlano (R5million)
Re tla etsa bonnete Motsamaisi wa Dipuisano hore mesebetsi e boletsweng re atleha ho e kenya tshebetsong ka mokgwa wa tshebediso ya baahi ba dibaka tse amehang (Labour Intensive Method) e le hore re hlahise mesebetsi e mengata jwaloka ha Mopremier a se a fane ka taelo! Re boetse re na le meralo ya ho ntshetsa pele lenaneo la tlhlwekiso le tlhokomelo ya mabitla ka hara ditoropo tse kang: Monyakeng (Wesselsbron); Petrusburg le Mmakwane Qwa Qwa mme ka boikitlaetso bona re tla hlahisa menyetla ya mesebetsi e ka bang makgolo a mabedi le mashome a mararo (230). Ditoropo tse kang: Hobhouse le Marabastaad (Kroonstad) le tsona di tla una molemo ha re tla be re sebetsa le National Department of Public Works ka letsholo la Food for Waste.
Under the Community Based Programmes, the department will continue to provide infrastructure whilst at the same time creating work opportunities through the construction of and upgrading of community halls in Botshabelo, and Warden. These two projects have been allocated R6 million and R2 million respectively.
Honourable Speaker, the Department of Public Works is responsible for the overall coordination of EPWP in the province. In improving this role we have already scheduled an EPWP Provincial Steering Committee meeting for 28 March, which will also pave way for the establishment of District Steering Committees. This will be done in response to the resolutions of the National EPWP Municipal Summit.
Speaker, we will also be hosting a Provincial EPWP Summit in April 2012. The objective of the Summit is to engage key stakeholders on the implementation of the provincial programme, with an emphasis on working together to achieve the EPWP targets for Phase 2, which covers the MTEF period and aims to create 4.5 million work opportunities for the poor and unemployed.
When it comes to property management, the department has already commenced a strategic process to review all current leased office accommodation with an intention of creating an integrated leasing strategy and accommodation plan whose main strategic intentions are:
- To provide the best fit for purpose of office accommodation to client user departments in line with their short, medium and long term accommodation requirements;
- To better align accommodation provision with the strategic service delivery objectives of the department and the various client user departments;
- To provide increased job creation opportunities within our local property sector; and
- Where possible, to identify opportunities for increased participation of BEE companies in the provision of office accommodation and property related services to the leased accommodation portfolio.
We must emphasise Speaker that we have initiated the above process precisely in line with the strategic objectives of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act (GIAMA); in pursuit of improved service delivery objectives to our people; broad objectives of Property Sector Transformation Charter and the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (BBBEE).
The key focus of our Transformation Project will not only be on improving the overall quality of accommodation and the value for money that the Government receives from its landlords but will also incorporate job creation initiatives and the development of emerging BEE property companies in the sector.
In this regard the Property Incubator Program (PIP) as announced in my budget speech of last year will form part of this very important Transformation Project.
Therefore we can reiterate Speaker; that the Transformation Project is currently underway and we expect the completion of the first phase of the Project during June in the coming year. We anticipate thereafter roll-out implementation of the Transformation Project as from July in the coming year, over a 3 year period.
Speaker; allow me to announce as well that in keeping with the spirit of cooperative governance, the Department is going to continue with its commitment with regards to payment of municipal rates, taxes, and other related services so as to ensure their economic viability which will manifest in the delivery ofquality services to their communities.
Lefapha le se le phetetse ditokisetso tsa nehelano kapa phetisetso ya semmuso matlo a 80 ho batho ba dulang ho ona mane Charlessville, Jaggersfontein kahona re boemong ba ho ka phatlalatsa hore hang feela ha kantoro ya State Attorney le yona e phethela mosebetsi wa yona, baahi bohle bao ditokomane tsa bona di ba dumellang ba ka lebella ho fumantshwa Dititle Deeds tsa bona mafelong a Mmesa (April) 2012.
While it remains our commitment to transform the property relations in the province, this time we have decided to prioritise verification and put proper management systems in place.
Honourable members, we are moving with speed to finalise the disposal of properties in the following areas for the financial year ahead: 17 Five roomed houses in Kenzietown, 7 Four roomed houses in Kenzietown and 60 houses in Charlesville. In this regard, the department has a plan already to work closely with the affected municipalities to iron out bottle necks such as outstanding payment of services by the current occupants.
The department is in a process of identifying properties for disposal while at the same time retaining strategic assets for government use.
We have also initiated a process of decentralising Government Offices to regions in line bringing services closer to the people.
Honourable Speaker; for the Department to fulfil all the above plans in the coming financial year, property management has been allocated an amount of R 231 399 000.00 million.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom”. These words of the greatest icon of our great generation, the stalwart of our revolution, freedom fighter and elder statesman, Rolihlahla Mandela, are the inspiring rallying call with which we present this budget vote. I’m honoured to table our department’s appropriation of R1,269,707 billion for the 2012/13 financial year. This represents a 0.31% increase compared to the previous financial year allocation.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Premier for his continued good leadership of the provincial government and for always being available to provide the necessary support and advice whenever required, albeit under trying demands of his work schedule.
My colleagues in the Executive Council for their invaluable advice, team-spirit and support.
I also thank all the honourable members of the Legislature and in particular the Chairperson Me. Mantoa Thoabala and members of the Portfolio Committee of Public Works, Economic Development Environmental Affairs and Tourism for their constructive and progressive oversight role.
I wish to thank my family for their continued unwavering support throughout my life and work demands.
Lastly, I would like to thank all the staff of the Department under the sterling leadership dof the Head of Department Mme Mokone Nthongoa.
Honourable Speaker and Honourable Members of the house,
I thank you.
Issued by: Free State Public Works
19 Mar 2012
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