Budget vote speech: Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 18 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure

This department has a long history of being on the receiving end of negative audit outcomes from the Auditor General.

The MEC is tasked with the unenviable mammoth task.

With its reconfiguration to include other responsibilities such as roads and infrastructure it may well be that we will continue with the negative audit outcomes until this trend is decidedly reversed.

The R2.7 billion allocated to this department must be monitored to the cent and that includes the assets of this newly configured department.

The basis for negative outcomes is clearly there for everyone to see, what remains is the plan to deal with these.

Honourable members

  • We need a concrete plan to deal with the chaotic immovable asset register,
  • The leases under this department are not properly managed,
  • Infrastructure delivery is compromised due to lack of adequate capacity,
  • Failure to collect arrear rental means that the department has become a cash cow for free riders.
  • The serial under capacity in the office of the CFO must be urgently attended to.

It cannot be that the department engages the services of external companies such as PWC Rokoma to deal with its audit issues when these duties need to be performed internally.

Honourable Speaker,

The Limpopo  Development Plan, leaving aside the fact that it still needs to be adopted by this house as the provincial government policy, identifies that at least 222 registered built environment are required for the roll out of our infrastructure plans.

Currently there is only 18 and this means that the deficiency runs to over 200 shortages.

The MEC must tell us the plans he has to correct this.

The administration of the Road Agency Limpopo, an entity which falls under this department leaves a lot to be desired.

It too has been receiving disclaimers for the past years in the past.

Many pertinent questions arise out of this quagmire.

The most important omission MEC is that in your budget speech you indicate that R1.2 billion will be transferred to RAL and yet this is nowhere reflected on its APP.

How are we to exercise oversight on this staggering figure?

Has the department checked the cost analysis of engaging consultants to implement its projects as against other indicators such as value for money, and other legislative compliance?

Honourable members,

What I have just mentioned ties intricately with the vacancy rate of this entity must be solved as a matter of urgency.

Our province is replete with the so-called Bermuda roads.

To fix them needs a proper supply management in the roll out of RAL’s projects.

However it appears that only to require declarations of interests do not suffice as this has happened in the past but now a more stringent approach is needed.

The DA fully agrees with the committee that the EPWP jobs cannot be used for narrow partisan patronage system where favour the governing party’s supporters are employed to the exclusion of the others.

This department as the custodian of this EPWP must ensure that apolitical job appointments filter through in all departments, state entities and our municipalities.

If we fail to do this we will be complicit in the nullification of the rights of freedom of political association which so many died in defence of.

On this score the NDP says and I quote “ a professional public service is one where people are recruited and promoted on the basis of merit and potential, rather than connections or political allegiance. This requires rigorous and transparent recruitment mechanisms.” End quote

Honourable members

This injunction applies to EPWP jobs from the department itself down to jobs where ward councillors dispense these opportunities.