Parliament, Thursday, 6 August 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) today received briefings from the Gauteng Provincial Government on its plans to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on cooperative governance, human settlements and social development.

The MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Mr Lebogang Maile, led the provincial government’s delegation that appeared before the committee. Also present in the virtual meeting was the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the Deputy Ministers of the department, Mr Obed Bapela and Mr Parks Tau.

Presenting the report to the committee on all the areas, Mr Maile told the committee that the province has anchored its Covid-19 strategies on a six-pillar plan which is informed by the National Development Plan. On human settlements, he said there is a de-densification plan in place and that there are close to 700 informal settlements in the Gauteng Province.

Asked to explain the Ward-Based War Rooms and their achievements, Mr Maile said these structures are driven by councillors. He told the committee that they assist the government for communication and the implementation of its programmes, among other things. He said the government used these structures for the distribution of all the Covid-19-related assistance to the residents, for example.

On the question on evictions of people during the lockdown, Mr Maile said the government doesn’t evict people who occupied land before the lockdown, but is evicting the people who occupy houses and the land illegally. He said there are also evictions that are carried out according to court orders.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Faith Muthambi, told the delegation that there will be a joint meeting of the committee and the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements. She said the province will be called to report on the Ekhuruleni’s ward 68 evictions and all the other evictions which have taken place during the lockdown in the province.

The committee heard that the homeless people in the shelters receive three meals a day. MEC Nomathamsanqa Mokgethi explained the criterion which the provincial government used for the provision of food and its distribution to the people. On non-adherence to social distancing when people queue for services, MEC Mokgethi admitted that this is a problem and assured the committee that her department is working with the communities to address it.

The committee wanted to know the reasons why the homeless people were fleeing from the shelters and was concerned that there was a lack of a tracing strategy in place to monitor those who tested positive and fled. And further wanted to know if records were kept of all the homeless people in the shelters.
MEC Mokgethi said that files for all the people in the shelters will be kept and mass screening and testing will be undertaken. She assured the committee that the Department of Home Affairs will come on board to provide identity documents to the homeless people in the shelters.

On questions which the committee asked on health, the Acting MEC, Mr Jacob Mamabolo, said it is not appropriate to respond to the questions as there are investigations underway on the same matters and that would create an impression of parallelism on the matters.

Ms Muthambi, highlighted the critical role of the taxi industry in Gauteng and the fact that there are many taxi associations in the province. She asked MEC Mamabolo if the support provided by the government for the taxi industry, actually reaches the intended recipients. MEC Mamabolo told the committee that the provincial government has a good working relationship with the taxi industry and that everything that is allocated to the industry reaches the industry.

Ms Muthambi appreciated the province on its plans on Covid-19. “We are noting the swift action you have taken as a province in addressing the Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption. We have also noted your improvements on the municipal audit outcomes,” said Ms Muthambi. She said the meeting of the committee with the province was not the last one. “We are going to indicate to you the next one in good time,” she added.


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