Devolution of the infrastructure maintenance function: DPWI & Department of Defence briefing, with Ministers

Standing Committee on Appropriations

02 September 2022
Chairperson: Ms S Buthelezi (ANC)

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Meeting Summary


The Standing Committee on Appropriations convened virtually for a briefing by the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) on the devolution of the infrastructure maintenance function from DPWI to the south African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The Committee considered the devolution a wise decision because the SANDF has the capacity to do maintenance work.

Members were informed that the devolution was awaiting concurrence between the Ministers of DPWI, DoD and National Treasury. The process was based on two pieces of legislation, i.e. section 19 (1)(a) of GIAMA and section 97 of the Constitution.

DPWI was instructed in July 2021 to put on hold projects that were in the design and development stages, pending the finalisation of the devolution process. The DPWI received 114 repairs and refurbishment requests from client departments for the 2022/23 financial year. Funds had been allocated for only 29 of the 114 projects.

The Minster of Public works and Infrastructure appealed for the stalling of projects to be lifted. She urged the DoD to provide the list of projects while the constitutional provisions are being attended to. DPWI offered professional and technical advice to assist the DoD.

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans indicated that she needed to review and expand the skill set in the Finance Department to ensure that the devolution of the infrastructure maintenance function occurs smoothly. She made an undertaking to provide the Committee with feedback within two months.

The Committee called for the urgent relocation of soldiers from the dolomite risk area at the Thaba Tshwane facility to prevent the lives of soldiers being endangered.

The Committee commended the Ministers of DPWI and SANDF for their leadership but noted with concern a level of disquiet and lack of cooperation between officials of the two departments. There was agreement that new members should be selected to serve on the Task Team which was responsible for coordination between the two departments.

The Committee said it was expecting evidence of closer cooperation between officials in the next meeting.

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