‘Department undermining parliament’ – Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation

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The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation resolved to cancel a meeting with the Department of Water and Sanitation for not providing the Committee with a report that was supposed to have been submitted over a month ago on Wednesday.

During an oversight meeting in North West from 20 to 22 September 2016, it was agreed that the Department of Water and Sanitation, Magalies Water, together with Madibeng and Kgetlengrivier Local Municipalities, will constitute a task team with the aim of drafting an intervention strategy to speed up water provision to the people of the two local municipalities.

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Chairperson of the Committee, Mlungisi Johnson, said, “At that meeting it was agreed that a report will be submitted to the Portfolio Committee on 28 October 2016. It is concerning that up until today the Committee has not received this progress report from the department despite repeated assurances by the department that the report will be sent. The Committee considers the actions of the department as evidence of direct undermining of the oversight work of the Committee,”

As a result, the Committee instructed the department to come back only when the report is submitted.

This action by the Committee follows a resolution taken by the Committee to strengthen its oversight work by ensuring that its work has timelines attached to it.

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The Committee has also instructed the officials of the department to pay for their travelling costs to the meeting as the cancellation of the meeting was a direct result of their actions.

“When that task team was constituted, we had as our main concern the changing of our people’s lives through the provision of water, which is constitutionally protected, to the people of the two local municipalities,” Johnson emphasised.

The Committee also cautioned against the relaxed manner at which the department seems to be addressing the matter while people of Kgetleng and Madibeng suffer as a result of lack of access to water.

“We are here to work and this must be evident in the manner that the department handles the instructions and recommendations of the Committee,” Mr Johnson concluded.

Statement issued by Parliamentary Communication Services