Contribution made by UDM Member of Parliament, Mr ML Filtane, in the National Assembly

Honourable Chairperson
Minister and Deputy Minister
Honourable Members

This department is charged with the custodianship and management of government immovable assets; ancillary thereto, it takes initiatives to develop such infrastructure as may be needed by various government departments, from time to time. It must also reform and radically improve the construction sector of our economy.

This is a department that is consistently surrounded by allegations of fraud and corruption on a number of fronts like leasing of buildings and construction of new assets; add to that, a very inadequate mix of staffers to drive its programmes.

The staff inadequacy results, specifically in poor service delivery and poor financial controls.

It is against this backdrop that the United Democratic Movement (UDM) submits thus:

• The filling in of critical and strategic posts must be prioritised by the department so that lease agreements can be efficiently managed.
• Incentives need to be offered to enhance the recruitment and retention of appropriately qualified personnel.
• Some very experienced building contractors were strategically and cruelly eliminated from the CIDB system when it was established. As has been the case with land claims, the department is urged to re-convene another construction Indaba this financial year so that those who were left out earlier could find an opportunity to enter the system. That will constitute an element of radical change to the CIDB system. This CIDB is just not serving the purpose for which it was established in the first place. African contractors are seldom found in the grades higher than 1 and 2. The R827 billions set aside for this term will be a pie in the sky for them. The reason offered by the board for not effectively improving the qualifications for these African contractors to meet the procurement requirements are not convincing.
• The department should develop policy and legislation that supports the cause of improving the qualification levels of the African contractors.
• Transfers to provinces and municipalities need close monitoring to ensure in particular, that the EPWP funds and utilised for the development intentions that we intended and this is with specific reference to municipalities. This fund, we propose, should be linked to other socio economic programmes of local government. A policy will have to be developed to guide municipalities in this regard.
• We can’t over state the continued failure to pay service providers like contractors as per the generic government policy. In this regard, the department must put an end to this behaviour and toe the line of government.

Thank you