Hon Chairperson, Minister and Members

The United Democratic Movement supports the budget. However we want to drive home the following important issues for the department to pay the necessary attention to, during the current financial season.

• For the financial year 2014/15, the Minister committed the department to creation of over a million work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme as a contribution to the overall commitment to create 6 million work opportunities by 2019. In this regard, the department should quarterly and annually update its statistics against the targets and report accordingly.

• During our oversight visit to Pretoria, one eight storey building, in which the Council for the Built Environment is involved, was discovered to be socially unfriendly and non-compliant with basic prescripts governing and regulating conditions for buildings, private and public. This matter needs to be attended to urgently. One ablution facility and toilet to serve 32 tenants in one floor is just not acceptable.

• The Departmental Offices situated in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, has not been functioning optimally for a while, allegedly due to internal management challenges. This situation, if left unattended to, is compromising the efficiency and effectiveness of the department to render its services to its clientele. The Departmental Administrative Head should ensure that the situation is resolved.

• The department must move with speed in finalising all the outstanding lease agreements.

• The security of the Parliamentary villages remains a very sore and critical matter, this is notwithstanding all important decisions taken in the past. We still receive reports of break inns and uninvited visitors from outside in the middle of the night, risking the security of members. The department must ensure that once decisions are taken, they are implemented with the speedy they deserve. It must be remembered that this is classified as PRESTIGE PORTFOLIO of the department.
• We need to get an update reports on the suitability of all government buildings in terms of access by people with disability as regulated. The department undertook last year to ensure that all Government buildings are compliant.

• This budget, must also consider the funding framework for the Independent Development Trust. This should be consistent with the mandate of the IDT. The future of the employees of this entity remains uncertain, whilst this matter remains in limbo.

The UDM hopes that corruption that has been widely reported, painting the department as a heaven of corrupt activities, is being aggressively addressed at an accelerated pace.

I thank you.