hon Chairperson, Members of Cabinet, MECs, the chairperson and members of the portfolio committee. Let me also recognise the people in the gallery, the chairpersons and CEOs of all public
entities and professional councils, representatives of the Auditor General's office, members of the audit committee, Director General and all senior members in the department as well as heads of departments from the provincial department, participants from Department of Public Works' Young Professionals programme and also representatives from the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, colleagues and friends.
Please accept an apology on behalf the Deputy Minister, Kiviet, who cannot be here tonight because she has bereavement in the family.
The Sixth Administration of the democratic government of South Africa has begun its work in an era of fiscal constraint following years of economic decline. President Ramaphosa has been leading the drive to stimulate the economy, but it is incumbent on all patriotic South Africans to contribute to our recovery and to the restoration of national pride and hope.
"Now is the time to focus on implementation," the President said in his state of the nation address last month. "It is time to
make choices." As part of the reconfiguration of government, over and above the historic role of the Department of Public Works, the function of infrastructure co-ordination was assigned to my department which is now called the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
In addition to this function, the department has been assigned the responsibility to co-ordinate the Infrastructure Delivery Management System, IDMS, a function previously performed by the National Treasury as well as the transfer of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission, PICC, previously performed by the former Department of Economic Development.
South Africa must invest more in infrastructure to create conditions conducive for the economy to grow and also invest wisely. Infrastructure is a critical area of investment that supports structural transformation, growth and job creation. It is essential to our economic rejuvenation.
In addition, an infrastructure investment fund of R100 billion has been established as a commitment from government.
Chairperson, the President has set the focus of the Sixth Administration on seven priorities: Economic transformation and job creation; education, skills and health; consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services; spatial integration, human settlements and local government; social cohesion and safe communities; a capable, ethical and developmental state; and a better Africa and world.
I have, since that time, recalibrated the department's Annual Performance Plan for this financial year to specifically address the seven priorities. All our programmes and policies across the department and its entities are now in direct pursuit of these overarching tasks.
The processes of reconfiguration of the department to accommodate the additional functions of IDMS and PICC co- ordination are being managed through the process of the National Macro-Organisation of Government set by the Presidency. In line with their timeframes, these are set to be concluded by December of 2019. The budget that I present to you, therefore, primarily concerns the functions of the old department.
Let me start with the main Vote - the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure Vote. The budget allocation for the main Vote for the current financial year 2019-20 is R7,8 billion. A portion of 86% of this allocation is allocated for transfers, the bulk of which is R4,2 billion towards the support of the Property Management Trading Entity and other departmental entities; Construction Industry Development Board, Council for the Built Environment, and Agrment SA. We have also put aside R2,3 billion for the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP. The balance of R1,1 billion is spread out to fund policy and skills development, strengthen governance, risk and compliance, and fight against corruption.
Chairperson, allow me to briefly focus on the EPWP. Hon members, our country continues to confront the scourge of unemployment and poverty. Given the significance of the EPWP programme in this regard, I will be directly involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the programme. During phase three of the EPWP, covering the previous five financial years, more than 4,5 million beneficiaries have been positively impacted on.
This number comprises 66% women, 44% youth and 1% people living with disabilities. It is our target in this current financial year to create another 8 200 new work opportunities and we will increase the participation of disabled people to more than 2% within the next two years.
Phase four will be replicating and expanding existing initiatives such as safety programmes, early childhood development, tourism programme and road and building maintenance programmes. In addition, we will improve youth participation through expanding youth programmes such as the national youth service, youth environmental service and youth ambassadors.
We project that over the five years of implementation, a total of R41 billion will be transferred to EPWP programmes. I have emphasised that the involvement of intermediaries must be minimised to maximise the benefit of money to the beneficiaries. Of the R2,3 billion assigned to the programme in this financial year, approximately R700 million goes to intermediaries.
Measures are in place to deal with the following pitfalls which have been experienced in the past: Under-reporting by public bodies such as national departments, provincial departments and municipalities in terms of the work opportunities created. Concerns exist in terms of patronage in the recruitment of participants, the lack of transparency in recruitment and inconsistency also in the recruitment process.
We also find non-compliance of public bodies to the ministerial determination on EPWP, which results in auditing findings. Examples include: projects are not being reported; not all participants that worked on a project are recorded; there is poor record keeping of documents such as attendance; and ghosts EPWP workers are being paid.
Some of these problems continue to occur even today. It is also a matter of great concern that some municipalities use their EPWP allocations to fund core business of the municipalities instead of employing people at decent rates and placing them on municipal wage bill. This practice of using EPWP allocations to perform core functions must stop
Let me turn to fraud and corruption. South Africans are sick and tired of fraud and corruption in the public service. Transparency is the most important deterrent to corruption. As such, I have already requested my officials in the department to put measures in place for public scrutiny of our supply chain management processes.
There will be no secrecy in the award of tenders; from now on, members of the public will be allowed to observe the evaluation and adjudication of our bidding process. [Applause.] In his 2018 state of the nation address President Ramaphosa spoke of lifestyle audits for elected officials. So, I have instructed my department that such audits must be completed between August 2019 and June 2020, and that I want my lifestyle audit to be first.
Chairperson, we are doing all we can to recover looted money and stem the tide of wasteful and corrupt losses. There are presently 37 dockets registered with the police geared towards recovering about R29 million. The Special Investigation Unit, SIU, has conducted 2 325 investigations, finalising
approximately half of them and has referred the department R403 million that must be recovered.
We are also supporting the SIU in court processes to recover R155 million in excessive expenditure in the Nkandla project, and finalising outstanding disciplinary and criminal matters in this regard.
The department will also be implementing a consequence management unit to monitor the implementation of consequent management initiatives in the department. There must be consequences. Allow me to expand on two areas of particular concern: The irregular appointment of staff to the department, and also the Telkom towers debacle. I have recently been briefed on the outcome of the Public Service Commission, PSC, investigation initiated by my predecessor, Mr Thulas Nxesi, into irregular staff appointments between April 2017 and March 2018.
Phase one of the investigation has revealed that 11 of the 37 senior service managers were irregularly appointed, and the PSC recommended that corrective action be taken in terms of the
disciplinary code against members of staff who participated in the appointments. The PSC has further recommended that all the appointments be set aside.
Phase two of the investigation concerns itself with the appointment of 677 staff at levels below senior management services. The preliminary findings point to 94 staff having been irregularly appointed. I am awaiting the final report from the PSC.
Where wrongdoing is identified perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions. With regard to the Telkom towers, I had a meeting with my colleague yesterday, the cost of the Telkom towers has ballooned over the past four years from R600 million purchase price to R1,6 billion. Whilst the police continue to wait to take occupation of the premises, as an immediate action, I have instructed my department to withdraw all DPWI officials from the project. I have asked the Minister of police to do the same and withdraw all police officials and that we appoint a project manager from outside to continue to monitor the process.
We are hoping and also await information from the CEO of the Development Bank because the Development Bank acted as an implementing agency here. We await information from the CEO so that we can conclude our own internal investigation that is currently underway. [Applause.] In the meantime, I really feel sorry for our police men and women.
My department will also assess the current police accommodation at Veritats and Waghuis where police are operating under terrible conditions. Some of these buildings have been condemned. [Applause.] I want to use this opportunity to apologise to police men and women for the conditions that they have to endure, but as from tomorrow we are going out there to make an assessment.
Chairperson, the looting must stop. As public servants we must account to the people for the money we spend. Under our audit, positive audit outcomes are a litmus test of this department to improve our performance to the citizens. The citizens give public confidence to the work of the department. In this regard, I am aware that the audit outcomes of the main Vote and Property
Management Trading Entity, PMTE, have realised some improvements over the period of the turnaround strategy that started way back in 2012 by my predecessor.
Chairperson, my goal, however, is that both the main Vote and PMTE Vote should achieve unqualified to clean audit outcomes in the next financial year. To this end, all senior managers in the department will have a clean audit as a key performance indicator in their performance agreements.
Regarding professional and technical skills, which there is quite a lack of in the department, the department has, over the years, strengthened its skills pipeline in relation to build environment professional and technical skills. The interventions put into place include school-based programmes where the department identifies a category of maths and science learners from schools in disadvantaged communities.
These schools are then provided with support with enrichment programmes to ensure that their maths and science results improve especially to meet university entrance requirements. The
learners who embrace a career in the built environment are then placed on bursary programmes.
The 80 students who joined our youth bursary scheme in 2014 have graduated and are currently enrolled in the internship and Young Professionals Programme within the department and some of them are here tonight. Currently, together with Council for the Built Environment, the department is also supporting 333 more learners from disadvantaged communities as they start out on their journey to professional status in the built environment disciplines. In addition, 112 young professionals are participating in the department's technical candidacy programme, 124 young professionals attained professional registration, and
306 Artisan trainees obtained trade test certificates.
We are working to finalise the work for this financial year and we rollout a Public Works and Infrastructure Academy. This academy finds its place in the context of the state technical capacity building programme as mandated by the Cabinet Lekgotla of July 2015.
With regard to policy development, the recent reconfiguration of the state will refocus the work currently under way in relation to the departmental policy reforms. We are busy with a review of the ...