Hon Speaker, Madam Premier, Members of the Executive Committee, Members of the Legislature, departmental officials and guests – good afternoon.
It is shameful that this report has to be debated and approved by this legislature 17 months after the committee oversight visit took place.
Speaker, there must be a quicker process to debate committee reports in this parliament after oversight visits.
The delay in debating this report so many months after the committee visits makes a mockery of the Legislative processes in the province.
I wish to focus this speech on the lack of interdepartmental/governmental relations in this province.
This problem is highlighted many times in the report before us.
Speaker, the good news in this report is the many references to job creation.
We applaud this action and hope that many more citizens of this province will share in these employment opportunities.
Speaker, this report also contains alarming information!
What is most concerning are the many references made to schools where projects are failing or such schools which have inadequate facilities.
The report refers to lack of communication and inter-relations between departments as a cause of these problems.
As politicians we are failing the learners of this province (our future leaders and contributors to the economy) if we deny learners acceptable, secure and equipped learning facilities.
The difficulties learners face at the school mentioned in the report is sad.
The opportunity to better themselves to become proud citizens of this country in the future is being denied to them.
Speaker, there are 11 examples of where late payment or non-payment of suppliers and EPWP workers took place.
There are 8 cases where lack of IGR (Intergovernmental Relations) and lack of communication took place between the department and contractors or interested parties to construction projects.
If one refers to page 4 of the report under finding c) it is stated “that there is lack of communication between the Department of Education and school management.”
On page 6 finding a) alludes to another case of no proper working relations between a school and the consultant.
With reference to page 8 of the report finding d) there is again reference to bad Intergovernmental relations between the department and local municipalities.
Similarly Speaker on page 10 point 19 finding 2 a) states that Ntsika Yethu Local Municipality is unaware the Department of Public Works is involved in the construction of the Cofimvaba library.
I illustrate one last point in this regard on page 13 point 26(1) referring to Edelweiss Primary school in Molteno.
It is stated that “the biggest challenge facing the project was the lack of intergovernmental relations”.
What can be done to improve working relationships between Public Works and other departments in the province?
The answer is to improve IGR (Intergovernmental Relations) between Public Works and all other departments in the province.
In terms of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act part 3, the Premier is mandated to have an Intergovernmental Forum.
Speaker, this legislature hears little of this body, what it is doing and what it is achieving.
Are MEC’s that serve on this forum aware of the problems in their departments and do they bring such problems to the forum for solving on a regular basis?
Is this information then passed to the Director Generals (DG’s) or Heads of Department?
Speaker, there needs to be an overhaul of Intergovernmental Legislation in this country and province.
If the legislation was amended there would be less “departmental shocker reports” like the one before us today.
Susan D. Philips, an Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University in Canada talks about “Institutional Federalism” when referring to inter-governmental relations.
Philips alludes to fixing inter-governmental problems by “involving citizens in the policy process”.
As our Constitution mandates public participation in affairs of State why can’t both the President’s IGR forum and the Premier’s Forum include members of the public to guide and assist these forums – similar to what our ward committee system is mandated to operate?
Speaker, Public Works in this province needs a shake up and needs to become far more aware of and accountable to the citizens of this province than as is stated in this report.
I thank you.