By Hon. Langa Bodlani:
Ladies and Gentlemen
When the MEC delivered his budget speech for 2014/15 he assured the province that and I quote “we have plans in place to address the shortcomings the department has faced in the past. These plans address capacitation challenges as well as delivery challenges where infrastructure is concerned”.
It now appears that this assurance was no more than an empty promise.
The only visible and tangible plans so far achieved are the billboards in the province advertising the faces of the Premier, MEC and RAL’s CEO.
You see one as you drive on the Mandela Road from Seshego.
You wonder how much does it cost to maintain those billboards when our communities are up in arms in violent protests over bad roads infrastructure.
The MEC has assured us that R30 million has been set aside in this financial year to recruit built environment professionals.
This was the committee’s concern that if this matter of capacitation was not achieved, completion of designs would not be done in time.
This shortage is identified in the Limpopo Development Plan which posits on page 102 that “the provincial government requires at least two hundred and twenty two (222) registered built environment professional employees. However it currently has only eighteen (18) qualified professional employees relating to infrastructure”
The LDP underscores these constraints as the ‘primary cause of under spending on conditional grants, which is the main source of funding for capital expenditure.
We want to know MEC how have you proceeded with the recruitment of built environment professionals up to so far?
In the 4th Quarterly reports, the department failed to complete its projects planned for both in house projects and road infrastructure projects.
Honourable members as I said,
It appears that the only projects the department is able to effectively complete are the billboards depicting their faces.
Again it appears that all the sources for bad negative AG opinions seem to be resurfacing in the quarters we are now debating.
Reliable asset register for the province was still an issue that the committee grappled with.
Again the issues pertaining to revenue collection as a result of government leases remain a thorn.
What further emerges from these reports is the issue of non-payment of contractors.
Whilst all measures must be taken to ensure that no one is paid without doing work, we must also be aware that those who have done proper work are not punished.
The reports under review all urge the department to appoint capable contractors.
We now must be way passed this sort of urging.
What we now must be saying rather is that should officials appoint contractors who do not fulfil the job specs, severe consequences will ensue against them.
We cannot continue as though we are hapless in the face of poor service delivery when monies are paid to contractors who cannot fulfil what they have been paid for.
MEC we must start taking action against the poor contractors and those who appoint them.