COMMITTEE ON WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY
REPORT TO THE SPEAKER
The Portfolio Committee herby reports the following:
Section 42 (4) of the Municipal Finance Management Act (The Act.) states that "The executive "authority of the organ of state must table the amendment and the documents... in Parliament or the relevant provincial legislature, as may be appropriate"
The report on bulk services tariff increases was tabled on the 13 March 2007 and referred to the Portfolio Committee on the 13 March 2007.
The Committee requested that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in future follow the process proposed by the Department to the Committee on the 16 May 2007, which incorporates consultation with the relevant stakeholders and citizenry of South Africa.
After consideration the Committee registers its concerns over the proposed 24 % increase in Botshelo's Bulk water tariff. The Committee notes that the increase was not guided by the guidelines contained in Section 42 of the Act. Adequate justification was not provided to support the 24% increase. Despite National Treasury having raised concerns over the tariff increase, the report was still tabled in Parliament, containing the proposed increase. The Committee is concerned that the increase is not in line with Government's inflation targeting goals, as outlined in Section 42 of the Act and therefore not justifiable.
The scope of the Committee's powers in relation to Section 42 of the Act does not empower the Committee to recommend, amend or reject the proposed bulk services increases.
It is therefore the opinion of the Committee that Speaker refers these concerns to the Minister as the power to refer the proposal back to the Board resides with the Minister, in terms of the Act.
The further recommends that the Act be examined with a view to propose amendments to clarify the role of Parliament in considering documents or reports tabled.