Address in the Debate: Budget Vote 6 - Public Works by UDM Member of Parliament (05 May 2010)

 

Chairperson, honourable Minister and Deputy Minister, and honourable Members

This debate must be seen in the context of the current state of the South African economy. Public Works is in the forefront of Government’s job creation initiatives, especially in the construction industry. Unfortunately the latest economic data paints a grim picture. Unemployment have risen in the past quarter. 171 000 jobs have been lost and the number of potentially productive adults who are jobless stand at 35%. That is a staggering 6 million unemployed people. The construction sector has seen a decline in jobs since the completion of the World Cup projects.

One of the major concerns we have is the shortage of skills within the Department. The long-term solution is a skills audit within Government, since this issue cuts across all Departments. The private sector should be involved in the process.

We would also argue that service providers such as consultants and contractors of the Department should provide opportunities for interns or apprentices. Such a policy will require proper monitoring and tracking, but we believe it could play a vital role in creating jobs and enhancing the skills available to the Department.

Chairperson it is shocking that Government still does not have a proper asset register, despite this being a longstanding issue. As a result Government continues to spend huge amounts on rentals whilst its own property is not properly utilised.

The Contractors Development Board (CIDB) needs to be restructured because it has failed to adequately uplift contractors, since most of these contractors are still stuck on the Grade-1 level at which the Board placed them upon registration years ago. The current board needs to be changed so that emerging contractors are represented.

I thank you.