February 17, 2019

NCOP returns to E Cape municipalities to monitor progress

Seven National Council of Provinces (NCOP) delegations returned to the Alfred Nzo District and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipalities where they held their November 2016 Taking Parliament to The People programme. But most delegates came away disappointed at the lack of progress they witnessed.

About 50 members of the NCOP, divided into seven groups and supported by their counterparts in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, spent three days inspecting the sites they had visited in 2016.

The NCOP has been conducting regular visits to remote rural areas to check on progress with service delivery and oversee cooperative government since 2002.

Taking Parliament to the People is a flagship programme of the NCOP which brings together all three spheres of government to help accelerate service delivery. It involves face-to-face engagement between the citizens in these rural areas and their representatives in Parliament and Provincial Legislatures. The aim is to identify service delivery challenges, recommend solutions recommended and generally track government’s efforts to improve the lives of the people.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) delegation was led by its Deputy Chairperson, Raseriti Tau. The delegates conducted inspection visits to service delivery sites identified for interventions in 2016. A series of report-back meetings were held with communities in six areas across the Alfred Nzo District and Buffalo City Metropolitan municipalities.

'We are not happy at all with what we saw during our visits. We expected better, but we saw the worst.'

Following visits to Nzululwazi Senior Secondary School and Emthonjeni Primary School in Umzimvubu Municipality, NCOP members expressed complete displeasure at the poor progress made on the issues raised during their 2016 Taking Parliament to the People programme.

The leader of the NCOP delegation to Umzimvubu, Tsapane Mampuru, said some of the NCOP recommendations were not implemented at all. She said: “Apart from the inroads made by the Departments of Health and Social Development, we are not happy at all with what we saw during our visits. We expected better, but we saw the worst.”

“We were still saddled with the ongoing challenges of water and sanitation and we feel that the dignity of the people has been compromised by those who were expected to act to alleviate the plight of learners in these schools,’ said Mampuru. The dilapidated toilets at Emthonjeni Primary School brought her to tears, leaving her with no words to express her disappointment.

One of the members of the NCOP delegation, Mntomuhle Khawula, attributed the lack of progress to poor “coordination among those having shared responsibilities on these matters. As such, the coordination on the ground is poor and worse than we expected.”

Khawula said: “The state of those toilets is appalling. They are a disaster that is waiting to happen. There is no human being that should be subjected to such conditions.”

The NCOP delegation in Mdantsane expressed displeasure to find projects in the same state of disrepair as when they first visited. On behalf of the NCOPs Select Committee on Education and Recreation the chairperson undertook to continue to monitor and follow up outstanding issues.

Both Ulwazi and Wongalethu High Schools still faced the challenges of dilapidated infrastructure and inadequate Learning Teaching Support Material that had been identified in 2016. The leader of the delegation, Lungelwa Zwane, also expressed displeasure that the department sent junior officials who had no authority to make commitments on behalf of the department. The only improvement evident was that fencing had been installed in these schools.

Learners were still crammed into dilapidated classrooms. The delegation acknowledged progress at Hlokoma High School and Vukuhambe Special School, but officials from the department were reprimanded for dragging their feet in implementing some projects. Both these schools need to be fenced immediately as crime is rife in that area and the schools are exposed to crime.

“The progress made shows that while today is bit better than yesterday, tomorrow can be even much better. However, there are still some outstanding issues and we will continue working towards ensuring that service delivery promises made to our people are implemented by all stakeholders concerned” said Ms Zwane.

The delegation that visited the Alfred Nzo District Municipality was disappointed that no action was taken to remedy the challenges identified at Mowa Primary School The NCOP made clear recommendations during its visit to the area in 2016 for the Department of Basic Education, at national to local level, to ensure that plans are put in place to build adequate ablution facilities, and for a budget to be made available to equip the school with adequate furniture and stationery.

The NCOP delegation described as unsatisfactory the fact that in two years none of the recommendations have been implemented.

The leader of the NCOP delegation, Eddie Makue said: “the delegation has instructed the Department of Basic Education through its Director-General to provide the NCOP with an explanation on why the recommendations had not been implemented, which official was responsible for this dereliction of duty, and what consequences will they face for not implementing these recommendations intended to better the lives of children at that school. The DG has been given a two-week deadline to provide the NCOP with an explanation.”

The delegation also inspected the Masakhane Early Child Development Centre (ECDC), where good progress was made in implementing the recommendations of the NCOP and the delegation were able to see evidence of the conditional grant from the Department of Social Development that has enabled the centre to admit more learners.

This successful model for early childhood development has been replicated across the province of the Eastern Cape, but the delegation wants ECDCs to remain open 265 days of the year instead of the current 209 days.

At the Imitha Yelanga ECDC, the delegation was concerned about the substandard workmanship in building the centre. The centre is relatively new but has large cracks that were caused by a storm, putting the lives of the children at the centre in danger.

“The Committee requested the Department of Public Works to provide, within two weeks, a report from the inspector and the contractor that built the structure, as well as outline measures it intends to take to rectify the defects,” Makue emphasised.

Information sourced from the Parliamentary Information Services at www.parliament.gov.za

Additional Info

  • Author: Moira Levy
Last modified on Thursday, 15 March 2018 22:07

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Notes from the House is an independent weekly email newsletter that tracks and monitors Parliament in its role of holding government to account and passing legislation to improve people’s lives. It aims to bring you the news from Parliament that you don’t get elsewhere. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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