Hon Chairperson, hon members, acting director- general of the department, all senior managers, representatives of our public entities, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, we have entered a new phase of deepening our democracy, a period our hon President calls an era of renewal.
We have experienced the people's energetic expressions of their needs. We have heard their voices and seen a renewed vigour in how they participated in the recent election. They gave the majority party a mandate to translate policies into programmes of action so that the infrastructure of this country is properly developed and the people's lives are further improved.
I am sure no one will disagree with me when I say the world is a very different place to that of the last 15 years. Such a fundamental shift requires us to review, reshape and rejuvenate if we want to succeed and grow as individuals, as families, as departments and as a government.
For the Department of Public Works, it cannot be business as usual in such a time of change. Our response is essential if we are to rise to deliver what our President and the electorate expect from us. It is time for us to raise the bar in every aspect of our endeavours. It is time for the department to refine its focus, align its key competencies, upgrade its capabilities, measure its performance and deliver property development and management services that measure up to industry standards.
For us to be the service provider of choice and to stretch our budgets so we can deliver more, requires us to undertake a turnaround strategy. We will begin this process this year with the intention of improving our customer service, the conditions of the state's buildings, our delivery time on projects, cost efficiency and our productivity. Our aim is to do more with less and for all of us to learn the art of commitment to excellence. In this Budget debate, as the political leader of the Department of Public Works, I have to take into account the people's wishes. We therefore recall that through those resolutions many ordinary South Africans said that we should directly absorb the unemployed through the following: labour- intensive production methods and procurement policies; significant expansion of the Public Works programmes linked to the expansion of economic infrastructure, and meeting social needs with home-based care and early childhood development on a massive scale; a much larger national youth service ensuring the linkage of industrial strategy with key youth development programmes in the form of an integrated youth development strategy; and programmes that target the employment of women. These are the Polokwane resolutions under clause 2.7 in the ANC's conference resolution document.
The EPWP is a government-wide intervention to create both short-term and ongoing work opportunities. The target for Phase 1 was to create one million work opportunities and this was achieved a year ahead of schedule, and a total of 1,4 million work opportunities have been created by the end of the first five years.
The second phase of the programme was launched on 4 April 2009, and its distinguishing feature is the introduction of a fiscal incentive that will be available to support infrastructure projects funded by provinces and municipalities to create additional work opportunities. This year alone, the EPWP incentive bonus scheme targeting the provinces, local government and the nonstate sector will be R465 million, and the figure will increase exponentially every year until the 2011-12 financial year to cover the R4,1 billion allocated in the current Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
The EPWP II is now committed to increasing its target to create four million work opportunities for the unemployed by 2014, starting with an immediate target of creating 500 000 work opportunities in the first nine months of its implementation by December 2009.
The EPWP II is able to deliver because we have the systems for delivery in place. A monitoring and evaluation element will be added to the system to ensure responsiveness in the department. As the plan is rolled out, we shall have the necessary research capacity built into this system not only for regular report-backs but also to ensure that best-practice models are recorded so that further success can be ensured. In addition, we want to ensure that where backlogs and blockages exist, they are identified and improvement strategies implemented swiftly to ensure that the people benefit as soon as possible.
The four million job opportunities envisaged under the programme are a conservative estimate. Our country is rolling out the biggest infrastructure development programme in the developing world, so the infrastructure sector of the programme is again positioned to contribute more jobs, in excess of 2,3 million, followed by the environment and culture sector at 1,1 million and the social and the nongovernment sectors together yielding more than 1,3 million jobs. We are certain these figures are achievable, given what we have in our plans.
To facilitate implementation of the programme, protocol agreements with clear targets for each province and municipality, clarifying their contributions towards the creation of the four million work opportunities, will be signed with all Premiers and mayors. Every year the department manages hundreds of construction-based and related projects of varying values and sizes, ranging from simple repairs and maintenance to multimillion rand capital works projects. This is the portfolio that as a matter of policy will be regarded and treated as potential EPWP labour- intensive projects.
In this financial year the department is managing an allocation of R5,2 billion as part of this mandate. We shall continue with the skills development and job creation elements of our strategy in our haste to beat unemployment and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, MDG, by 2014.
An amount of R1,2 billion has been allocated for the Department of Public Works capital works programme, including the undertaking of some well-known ones such as the land ports of entry project, which is estimated at R570 million; the dolomite rehabilitation projects at R149 million; the prestige project at R230 million; and the apex priority projects.
In addition the department will be spending over a billion rand in the next three years to provide special and major capital projects on behalf of its client departments, under the ambit of the inner city regeneration programme and project management branch.
As a demonstration of our resolve, we are exploring every possibility to eke out an increased number of opportunities from our building programme in support of government's stated commitment to create decent jobs. Already a total of one hundred and eleven EPWP potential projects with a combined value in excess of R3 billion have been identified in the current financial year through the network of regional offices spread throughout the country, creating job opportunities for about 3 800 beneficiaries.
We are very aware of the fact that this department has in the past been heavily criticised for the poor state of maintenance of government fixed properties. As part of our strategy, we intend developing a prioritisation model for the use of planned maintenance to improve the conditions of state- owned assets this financial year.
The launch in 2008 of the National Infrastructure Maintenance Strategy, Nims, we believe, signals a resolute decisiveness to recognise the building maintenance industry as invaluable to the socioeconomic imperatives of the country. In conjunction with our public entities, the Construction Industry Development Board, CIDB, and the Council for the Built Environment, CBE, we envisage an effective roll-out of Nims with an emphasis on all spheres of government to implement proper plans, which will factor in maintenance of the public infrastructure.
In support of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy, the department developed the Energy Code of Conduct for equal application to custodians and users of government buildings. In recognition of this, the National Treasury has allocated R230 million in support of the Department of Public Works energy efficiency programme over the MTEF period. We are pleased to announce that this will enable the shared energy contracts to be extended to the other Department of Public Works regions.
The ANC conference resolution No 49 reads, and I quote, that the department should ensure the following: "Building of schools to replace mud schools must be included in the EPWP." With the launch of the programme to eradicate mud schools and other inadequately built school structures in 2007, through the Independent Development Trust, IDT, the department has taken steps towards aligning its programmes to rural poverty alleviation.
To date we have handed over eight of these schools, complete with access to solar energy, safe sanitation, IT resources, vegetable gardens and school furniture. We intend to hand over a further nine by the end of September 2009.
Africa is our home and we are proud to see that the first batch of the civil works for the construction of the Pan-African Parliament have begun at the site owned by the government near the head offices of the Development Bank of Southern Africa in Midrand, Gauteng. In Uganda, the department completed the construction of the Oliver Tambo Military School of Leadership for the benefit of the Uganda People's Defence Force at Kaweweta. The site has significance for our liberation because it housed our young cadres during difficult times of the struggle and many of them made ultimate sacrifices there.
In February this year, together with the Department of Defence, Public Works exhumed six graves of the fallen uMkhonto weSizwe soldiers from the capital, Kampala, for reinternment at the Heroes' Corner in Kaweweta, where they rejoined other fallen comrades. We thank the government of Uganda and their construction and built environment professionals for the job well executed.
Since the mid 1990s, the Department of Public Works has on behalf of the government been leading the campaign to regulate the built environment for growth, development and transformation. Most of the work in the industry over the last decade was based on the White Paper entitled "Creation of an Enabling Environment for the Reconstruction, Growth and Development in the Construction Industry". It is important that the industry reflects the transformation of our society on a broader scale. It is for this reason that we will establish a team that will undertake the White Paper review and help us to set our ship in the right direction.
I have over the last few months re-established a partnership with all our agencies in the built environment and am pleased with the progress some have made towards transformation and regulation of the industry. We will continue engaging with the Council for the Built Environment and the professional councils to transform the industry.
A milestone was reached when on 4 May 2009 the Construction Charter was gazetted, which commits both the construction industry and government to fulfilling transformation targets. We also hope to further the work on the Property Charter this year so that we can also celebrate its completion soon. Under the leadership of the CIDB, to date seven construction contact centres have been established and two more will be opened soon. Construction contact centres are central to building contractor capacity for effective public infrastructure delivery and job creation.
As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the board of Agrment South Africa, we have identified the need to increase the visibility, the role, the capacity and the contribution of this important institution. The board encourages innovation, research and development as well as technological improvements of nonstandard products mostly related to construction.
In conclusion, I am equally fortunate to have, as my colleague in Public Works, the hon Deputy Minister, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu. As part of turning the tide at Public Works, we together have examined the focus areas and agreed that our Deputy Minister will be responsible for the important asset management programme, which has as its key task the provision of a comprehensive asset register. The Deputy Minister will also be focusing on the Contractor Development Programme, the Property Incubator Programme and departmental governance regarding representation on various entity boards.
We all heard our hon President in his state of the nation address. He pledged, on behalf of all of us, to the people of this country, that this administration will insist on putting people first in service delivery, and we, as Public Works, have heeded that call.
Lastly, I would like to thank a very able team in the Ministry, in the department, all the senior managers and all the people who work for Public Works in the various provinces, our regional managers and last, but not least, my wife and my good family. Thank you. [Applause.]