STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS (2005) AND IT'S IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY

25 February 2005


1.
Mission of the Portfolio Committee

The mission of the Portfolio Committee is to work towards a goal of ensuring a better life for all the people of South Africa, and to ensure that everyone has the right to have access to clean and sufficient potable water and healthy sanitation facilities.


2.
Vision of the Portfolio Committee

In line with its constitutional obligations, the Committees vision is to ensure that South Africa is a country, that grows through sustainable development, for the benefit of all it's people. In addition, the Committee will strive to ensure that all households will have easy access, to clean running water by 2008.


3.
Core Objectives for the Portfolio Committee


4.
Issues pertinent to the work of the Portfolio Committee highlighted in the 2005 State of the Nation address:


5.
Implications for the Work of the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry:

5.1. Infrastructure

5.1.1. Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)

The need for local government to be brought on stream regarding the EPWP is important. The improvement of communications about the EPWP in collaboration with Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) between local government and communities is important.


In the infrastructure sector of the programme municipalities and local government need to adopt labour intensive methods on their infrastructure projects where technically and economically feasible, and to use the approved tendering guidelines for EPWP projects.


As part of its ongoing monitoring process the Committee should encourage the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) to play a more vigorous role in facilitating municipalities and local government's to become capacitated and more informed and more informed with regards to the EPWP and that GCIS is collaborated into the process.


5.1.2.
Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG)

The President has pointed out that there are approximately three-quarters of households that are receiving the free 6 kilolitres of water per month. This, however, is households that have the infrastructure to provide potable water. A key resource for municipalities to improve on the poor infrastructure in other areas is the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).


The Committee in collaboration with DWAF should therefore monitor progress made by municipalities in making optimal use of the MIG1 so that the bucket system and pit latrines, so commonly used in rural areas can be phased out. In addition, municipalities should be encouraged to see how they can make use of the R85 billion2, which will be provided by the South African Banks over a period of three years to finance infrastructure development in rural areas.


5.2.
Water Resources Management

Water resources in South Africa are limited and highly variable, the country's water resources would be sufficient to support social and economic development for the future provided they are judiciously managed, and wisely allocated. The fundamental objectives for managing South Africa's water resources are to achieve equitable access to water resources and their sustainable and efficient use.


The National Water Resources Management Strategy, (NWRS)have been adopted by Government to guide municipalities and local government on how to better manage water resources in South Africa. Municipalities and Local Government need to implement the NWRS with all urgency.


The Committee could request briefings or written reports from municipalities and local government regarding the implementation of the NWRS.


5.3.
Water Services Delivery

By December 2004 Government passed the 10 million mark in terms of South Africans who have gained access to potable water. It is therefore recommended that the Committee monitor progress made by municipalities and local government, to ensure that by 2008, all households would have access to clean running water. This would ensure that the fight against

cholera and other waterbome diseases are more effective.


5.4.
Transfer of Water Schemes

Although transfers of water schemes have been completed in certain areas, other areas are lagging far behind. DWAF had to complete these transfers this financial year (2005), but could not do so. DWAF has therefore requested from Treasury to complete the transfers by 2006.


It is therefore recommended that the Committee encourage DWAF to complete these transfers. DWAF could brief the Committee on progress made and provide the Committee with a report about progress made regarding the transfers.


5.5.
Catchment Management Agencies and Water User Associations

Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) and Water User Associations (WUAs) have been established in certain areas. However, other areas are still lagging behind. It is therefore recommended that DWAF monitor progress made in this regard and provide the Committee either trough reports or briefings about progress made in the establishment of these institutions.


5.7.
Sanitation

In his State of the Nation Address the President stated that municipalities and local government must ensure that the target of providing sanitation to 300 000 households per year is met as from 2007.


It is therefore recommended that the Committee request written reports and briefings from municipalities and local government on the progress made by them to reach the target of providing sanitation to the people.


5.8.
Capacity Building

The President has stated that the capacity within municipalities and local government need to be developed for them to deliver appropriate services to the people of South Africa.


It is therefore recommended that the Committee monitor progress made in this regard. Here DWAF can play an important role to facilitate and educate (i.e. educational programmes) municipalities and local government on capacity building programmes.