Responses to Questions for Oral Reply by Hon. Premier DD Mabuza
18 September 2012
1. Hon. P Ngobeni, ANC, to ask the Hon. Premier:
The state of health in the Bushbuckridge Municipality is of a great concern. There are three hospitals in the municipality but services rendered are not satisfactory:
- What could be the main cause of the long queues in these hospitals?
- The general shortage of doctors and nurses is the main contributory factor to long queues
- Patients are also bypassing community health centres and clinics to receive treatment directly from the hospitals
- Are there plans in place to remedy this situation?
Yes. We are currently improving the referral system to our hospitals and increasing the number of health professionals in the hospitals.
- What could be the cause of the continuous lack of medicines in these hospitals?
There is no continuous lack of medicines in our hospitals. Over the past year, our expenditure on medicines has increased by more than 100%. All facilities are at about 87% availability of essential drugs. The shortage of some medicines in our facilities is attributed to the national shortage due to poor supply by manufacturers.
- What plans are there in place to remedy the situation?
As from November 2012 direct delivery will be made to all clinics and community health centres instead of the current situation where delivery is made to hospitals
2. Hon KAP Madonsela, COPE MPL, to ask the Hon Premier
Recently the Auditor General (AG) Terence Nombembe released the 2010/2011 audit report on municipalities. In his media statement, the Auditor General said, “When officials and political leaders are not held accountable for their actions the perception could be created that such behaviour and its results are acceptable and tolerated. This could make even those people that are giving their best under trying circumstances despondent”
- Does the Premier agree with the statement? Give reasons for your response
Yes, the statement is correct. Accountability for results at all levels is critical towards improving governance and overall institutional performance. That is why we have always insisted in our engagements with municipalities that they need to provide political leadership to the institution and that there should be consequences for any failures.
Part of what needs to be done includes:
- Strengthening council oversight to ensure that the Executive is held accountable.
- Ensuring that the Executive holds the Administrative leadership accountable
As Government we are taking the findings of the Auditor General very seriously. To improve on oversight, Municipal Public Accounts Committees have been established for all municipalities in the Province. Their function is to play an oversight role in the Municipality. Political office Bearers and Administrators in a municipality will be held liable for unauthorized, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
- Which municipalities received disclaimer and qualified audit opinions?
The following local municipalities received qualified audit opinions:
- Emalahleni, and
- Thembisile Hani
The following local municipalities received disclaimers:
- Chief Albert Luthuli,
- Dr J S Moroka,
- Lekwa, Mkhondo,
- Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme,
- Umjindi, and
- Thaba Chweu
- What action will be taken for the above mentioned municipalities in line with the statement of the AG?
The MEC for Cogta and MEC of Finance have developed a comprehensive support programme to respond to various financial management and reporting challenges facing these municipalities.
Both MECs have visited all affected Municipalities and developed individual Action Plans to assist affected municipalities.
- Some of the mentioned above were under administration Section 139(b) prior to the 2011 elections, which ones were those and why did the Province withdraw the administration?
With regard to Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, Mkhondo, Thembisile Hani, Lekwa, Thaba Chweu, it must be noted these interventions were intended to run for a defined period of time. In all respects, the time for all these interventions came to an end, and the new leadership and administration was put in place to implement, deepen, and sustain institutional transformation for improved service delivery.
- Is the Province proud of the status of the municipalities mentioned in 4 above, if yes, why and if no why not?
Most of these municipalities are low capacity municipalities. Considering the capacity in these municipalities, it is understandable that they are finding it difficult to keep up with the new budget reforms and reporting requirements. The Operation Clean Audit Programme is now prioritizing these municipalities for specific support in overcoming these challenges
3. Hon. BT Shongwe, ANC, to ask the Hon Premier:
The shortage of water and sanitation is but some of the challenges faced by the people of Bushbuckridge Municipality:
- Is the Honorable Premier aware of the above-mentioned adverse situation?
- What plans are there to improve the situation especially Mandela, and Shatale villages where there has been no water since March 2012?
We need to properly account for the above mentioned areas in the following manner separately:
Mandela Village in Shatale
Whilst there has been enormous progress made with the construction of the Acornhoek Bulk Water Pipeline that has benefited amongst other villages, a large proportion of Shatale, a serious drawback happens when people take to themselves to settle in areas that were not initially planned for that purpose.
As a result, an informal settlement that emerges unexpectedly would immediately need basic services such as water and sanitation. This Mandela Village is a result of an unplanned settlement that has pushed government to reprioritize its development plans for providing services to the people. The water supply in this area is a challenge.
Currently water is supplied through a water tanker which is available weekly, and the Municipality is actually tasked to ensure that the services are rendered in this Village. There is an opportunity that through proper planning on Municipal Infrastructure Grant projects and the IDP, this matter would be amicably resolved.
Otherwise, the formal settlement in Shatale has safe running water supplied from the bulk pipeline.
Mandela Village in Maviljan
We must acknowledge the serious problems faced by the community of Mandela Village in Maviljan. The sudden undersupply and shortage of water has been caused by the technical failure of the booster pumps in the nearby pump station. The Bushbuckridge Water Board was assigned with a responsibility to oversee the upgrading of the pumps. In the interim, the Municipality is supplying water through the water trucks.
- What could be the cause of the water crisis in Bushbuckridge and surrounding areas?
The challenges of Bushbuckridge are historical and are mostly common in the poverty pockets of the Province that emerged from the former homeland governments, the R293 towns and R188 towns.
The Nkomazi, Chief Albert Luthuli, Thembisile Hani and Dr J.S. Moroka are municipalities that share common features and Government would not compromise its continued fight against the same battle to deal with similar challenges for communities in those municipalities.
These areas arise as a result of apartheid spatial planning patterns. Where communities were allowed to settle on what was designed as farms without changing their land use.
- We are dealing with the apartheid legacy of Spatial Planning patterns. We must not forget that these rural areas of Bushbuckridge were taken as dense farm and homeland areas not so very long ago. The change in land use has not been applied or formed to address the current challenges.
- These unrecognized human settlements have high population density and weak infrastructure to deliver basic services. Infrastructure was mostly prioritized for agricultural purposes and the system has since been overburdened by the growing settlements and sudden escalating demand for water consumption.
- This impacts on their infrastructure provision for water and other amenities. The villages that were mostly small in size were supplied through pumping water from small streams and boreholes. But these settlements have since grown and invaded the mass of land that was previously made for grazing and dry land farming with little capital investment on the required infrastructure.
- It is during our dawn of democracy that lots of investments were made to improve lives of people in these areas: in Bushbuckridge for example.
- Inyaka dam was constructed at R 1 billion
- A pipeline was constructed from Inyaka Dam to Acornhoek at R 117 million
- Hoxane water scheme was extended to 45 Ml/day to a tune of R 70.46 million
- Pipelines was constructed between Hoxane and Lillydale to a tune of R 44.08 million
- Sewage facilities to a tune of R 29.45 million still under construction as part of extending the existing schemes in Bushbuckridge.
We are also aware that there is acute shortage of reticulation networks to all villages that have since expanded.
It is also intended that with the reticulation network, every single household should be reached connecting to the bulk connector networks, upgraded storage reservoirs to the distribution network that gradually feeds the household taps.
This work cannot be completed overnight. Government is equally desperate to accelerate all of these development plans in a short space of time. Later, I will outline the initiatives we have taken as Government to beat the accumulation of backlogs with time.
- Can the Hon. Premier outline for the benefit of the community some of his initiative he has undertaken to address the water challenge in the entire Bushbuckridge region?
We must bring to the attention of the House that the communities of Bushbuckridge have been taken seriously by Government. The Provincial Government in partnership with DWA has progressively monitored the continuity of the construction of Acornhoek Bulk Pipeline which will provide water to the nine (9) villages, namely, Shatale, Orinoco, A & B, Violet bank, Casteel, Craigburn, Tsakani and Acornhoek. This project will benefit not less than 264 384 people.
Currently, this Project is 70% complete and already communities in parts of Shatale are getting supply. DWA has promised to finish the project by December 2012.
The Hoxane project will also provide water to 10 villages, namely Madras, Cunningmore, Lillydale, Justicia, Newington, Huntington and Northern Nsikazi. More than 300 000 people will benefit.
Parts of the Communities of Madras, Cunningmore, Mkhuhlu, Newington and Croquetlawn are also getting supply from the project. These are bulk infrastructure projects rolledout from the Department of Water Affairs’ side.
Honourable Members, I have, together with my Provincial Government engaged MEGA to mobilize additional funding to accelerate the process of extending infrastructure to all our communities. The studies have shown that it would rather take a while, if we continue on the current pace, to reach all our communities in a short space of time.
As Government, we had to go back to the drawing board to see what interventions could be made to accelerate delivery. We have therefore decided to borrow additional funds through MEGA to help municipalities to accelerate infrastructure.
We have also made a call for municipalities to ensure that Operations and Maintenance Plans are in place, that repairs and water purifications are done, that where there are systems break-downs temporary measures are put in place immediately until the problems have been fixed.
In return, we urge communities to embrace the call to begin pay for services rendered to them in order to maintain infrastructure invested in their communities.
4. Hon. LT Maabane, ANC, to ask the Hon Premier:
Road infrastructure is a serious concern in the Bushbuckridge Municipality:
- Is the Honourable Premier aware of the bad road infrastructure in this municipality?
Provincial Roads Infrastructure in this Municipality is in a fair state and there are certain roads that are still under construction.
ii. When is the road linking Thulamahashe and Hluvukani going to be given the necessary attention?
Road D4400 stretches over 15km of gravel between Thulamahashe and Hluvukani. The road is being maintained through grading twice a month. The last grading was done on weekend of 09 September 2012.
iii. What could be the main cause of this road infrastructure crisis?
Most of the bridges damaged during flood are being repaired, including the bridges at Hluvukani, Cottenburg, Shere, Dumphries A and Boelane. Other bridge infrastructures are in design phase for reconstruction.
The road constructed between Rolle and Ximhongwe had problems and the current contractor was terminated in September 2012. It is 98% complete and a replacement contractor will be on site as soon as procurement is completed. The road from Ximhongwe to Oakley is under construction and will be completed this financial year.
iv. Are there any immediate plans in place to remedy this situation?
Public transport gravel roads are being graded at least once a month. The isolated potholes are patched on a continuous basis. Bridges such as Makoko and GreenValley/Moloro which were damaged by floods are being designed during this financial year for construction.
5. Hon. KAP Madonsela, COPE MPL, to ask the Hon Premier
Recently the North Gauteng High Court upheld its previous ruling compelling the Albert Luthuli municipality to supply residents of Carolina with water:
- Which level of Government is mandated to supply water to the community of Carolina?
Section 84 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act provides for the division of functions and powers between district and local municipalities. In terms of section 85 of the mentioned Act, all local municipalities in the Province are Water Services Authorities. Therefore, in this regard, Chief Albert Luthuli Local municipality is mandated to supply water to the community of Carolina.
- Why did the Albert Luthuli and Gert Sibande Municipalities challenge the former high court ruling?
The Gert Sibande District Municipality challenged the high court ruling because it is not the Water Service Authority in terms of the Provincial Powers and Functions.
On the other hand, Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality challenged the court order on the basis that no ruling was made against the Municipality. Therefore, the judge erred in ordering Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality to be jointly and severally liable for the costs.
- What support has been provided by the province to the municipality in order for them to be able to comply with their mandate (water supply)?
The following key interventions have been implemented:
- A task team was formed comprising both the local and district municipalities, COGTA, DWA and its Rapid Response Unit (Mpumamanzi), Inkomati Catchment Management Agency, the Department of Health, Mines, Councillors and Community Develoment Workers to support the municipality in addressing water challenges
- The municipality installed additional filters supplied by the DWA, a new package plant, and a rising main at a cost of R14.2mil to cope with the heavy metals that were contaminating the water from its source, Boesmanspruit Dam.
- Process controllers were also re-trained in order to sustain the operations at the plant. The amount spent was collectively from MIG funding, ACIP funding and the Gert Sibande District Municipality. The current value of water projects registered thus far for MIG funding amounts to R484mil.
The Municipality was also assisted to improve its operations and maintenance. We have further appointed water scientists and they regularly test the water to ensure that it remain at an acceptable consumption level. This appointment brings the number of the total employed to 7.
- Is the Province embarrassed about the action of these municipalities given the support mentioned above? If yes, how is the Province going to intervene in this regard?
The Province is focused and committed to resolving the challenges of access to clean and safe water. In this regard, we will continue to implement a comprehensive support programme to municipalities, including providing support to municipalities to register water infrastructure projects through MIG funding.
- The Judge ordered that the municipality should submit a portable water supply plan within 30 days. Is the statement correct, if yes, what role has been played by the Province in the development and monitoring of compliance to the plan?
The task team assisted the municipality to work out a plan to supply portable water and monitored the implementation of the plan frequently to ensure continuous provision of water through water tankers. Furthermore the task team monitored the work carried out to turn around the water situation at Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality.
6. Hon. NS Mtsweni, ANC, to ask the Hon Premier:
The people of Mpumalanga Province especially Bushbuckridge welcome the efforts of the Provincial government to build a Traffic Academy at Hoxani.
- When will the building process kick start?
The building processes will kick start in March 2013. The project will be done in phases to cater for budget availability.
Phase 1 A of the project will be implemented in the 2012/2013 financial year. The main activities will focus on the installation of bulk electricity supply and bulk water services infrastructure.
Phase 1 B of the project will be implemented in the 2013/14 financial year. The focus will be on the construction of the following:
Phase 2 will be implemented in the 2014/15 financial year. This phase will encompass the key activities such as
- Educational buildings.
- Accommodation Buildings.
- Fencing and gatehouse
- Shooting range.
- Construction of Advanced Driving Circuit
- K53 Truck Circuit
- Planning of this phase has commenced. All planning and design activities are scheduled to be completed by January 2013.
- How long will the construction process be completed?
- Phase 1 A will be completed by the end of April 2013
- Phase 1B will be completed by the end of March 2014
- Phase 2 will be completed by the end of August 2015
What Developmental Benefits will the people of Mpumalanga and this region accrue from this initiative?
- The community will have a testing ground close by.
- The province will not be paying other provinces for the traffic training thereby keeping the revenue or savings within the province.
- It will improve the professionalism of the traffic profession
- It will create employment for the local people in terms of cleaning the college and providing security for the college.
- There will be a centre for overloading so this will be protecting the roads infrastructure as overloading of trucks will be checked.
7.Hon. VS Siwela, ANC, to ask the Hon Premier:
As part of the school reopening program in February, the Premier visited Mugena High School (Hluvukani village) in 2011, which was one of the underperforming schools with 16% in 2009 and 37% in 2010. But after Premier’s motivation the school got 70% matric pass rate in the 2011 matric results despite it facing major challenges as lack of library, laboratory, proper toilets for learners, sporting facilities and facing overcrowding:
- Is the Honourable Premier aware of the above – mentioned challenges at this school?
- What plans are there to improve on the 37-year-old infrastructure of this school?
Our analysis indicates that most of our schools, particularly in Bushbuckridge, have infrastructure challenges and Mugena is one of such schools. These schools were built by communities, homeland governments and in some instances have poor structural qualities.
For this reason, the department has been directed to scientifically assess the condition and space needs of all schools in the Province with a view to develop a Backlog Strategy. This assessment has been completed and has actually confirmed our own observation.
As government, we prioritized socio-economic infrastructure development to address challenges of underdevelopment, including dealing with infrastructure backlogs in education.
Mugena is one of the schools that have been prioritized during the term of this government. Bushbuckridge, in particular, is one of the areas targeted for comprehensive rural development interventions.
- What plans are there to bring a laboratory in place, a library, sports facilities and toilets to the school and its learners
Mugena will be provided with toilets in this financial year 2012/13 and will in 2013/14 receive a science laboratory. The other facilities will be part of the prioritisation in terms of the medium to long term Provincial Infrastructure Master Plan.
- As you have made a commitment Hon Premier after visiting this school, when can our government intervene to address all the challenges faced by this school?
The Department of Education has already planned to provide the school with toilets this year and a laboratory in the next financial year.
As I indicated earlier, future infrastructure development will be part of our long-term Infrastructure Master Plan
8 Hon. RM Mtshweni, ANC, to ask the Hon Premier:
The establishment of Bushbuckridge as a fully-fledged district municipality is part of the plans by the ANC led government to make sure there is better service delivery coordination for the people of these regions:
- Can the Honourable Premier give an indication as to how far is the process to establish Bushbuckridge as a District Municipality?
It should be noted that the name of the New District Municipality has not yet been finalised, however the application has included the incorporation of Bushbuckridge Local Municipality, the incorporation of Ward 1 of Mbombela Local Municipality into Bushbuckridge Local Municipality, Thaba Chweu Local Municipality and Emakhazeni Local Municipality.
Currently the application of the establishment of the New District has not been considered by the Municipal Demarcation Board and once that process has been completed, the Province will begin with the process of ensuring, come the New District will be in place.
The Honourable House should bear in mind that the process is reliant on the approval by the MDB, meaning that the motivation that the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will give must convince the Board to consider the application.
ii. How will such a decision impact positively to service delivery in this region?
The establishment of the proposed District Municipality will ease the burden of coordination from the Ehlanzeni and Nkangala District Municipalities and will enable the proposed District Municipality to easily co-ordinate the activities of three Local Municipalities, namely, Bushbuckridge, Thaba Chweu and Emakhazeni Local Municipalities.
Again it should be mentioned that there is a competition for resources within the Ehlanzeni and Nkangala District Municipalities given the fact that you have Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi Local Municipalities in Ehlanzeni District Municipality, and Thembisile Hani, Dr JS Moroka and Emakhazeni Local Municipalities in Nkangala District Municipality which are underdeveloped and lack adequate resources in providing services on a sustainable basis.
Therefore, the establishment of the New District Municipality will ease that competition for such resources. The establishment of the District has the potential of strengthening Ecotourism, Agriculture and Mining, and related industries to fight the scourge of poverty and unemployment in the area.
iii. How long shall it take for all processes and the construction of the District?
As earlier mentioned, the process is reliant on the approval of the application by the Municipal Demarcation Board. This application is still under consideration.
Once those processes have been approved, processes for the establishment of the New District Municipality shall begin. However, note should be taken that the New District Municipality shall only begin to operate after the 2016 Local Government Elections.
Issued by the Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government