Wednesday, 24 July 2019 14:31

The Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration and Public Works and Infrastructure welcomed the presentation by the Department of Public Works on its 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan.

Whilst the department presented a comprehensive plan for the year ahead, the committee will monitor the department quarter by quarter to ensure that targets which were presented are achieved.

Notably, the target of six million job opportunities for the next five years must be realised, as this goes towards alleviating the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The committee welcomed the transformation targets of 60% for women and youth for job opportunities.

The committee cautioned the department on irregular expenditure, unused vacant land and buildings, illegal occupation of buildings which could be used for government purposes, instead of leasing from the private sector.

The department must focus on taking back “hijacked buildings” which are illegal occupations of government property. The asset register has been audited and we are now aware of what government owns and therefore the department must be conscientious when leasing new buildings for government departments.

The committee acknowledged the lack of skills in the built environment and welcomed the Public Works Academy, which will be launched during this coming year.

Whilst the committee encouraged the department to fill critical and funded posts, the department must be mindful of the current fiscus and have a relook at the number of people in its delegation to Parliament. Today, 19 people attended the meeting which is unnecessary, and the core team which reports will be sufficient for future meetings.