Chairperson, the Department of Public Works has a very strategic role to play in the development of this country. Led properly, the department can, on a massive scale, lead the qualitative growth of thousands of black businesses in the construction and building industry. It can also lead the process of ensuring that state functions are performed by those employed by the state.
This department can lead in the establishment of a state construction company that would lead infrastructure development in this country, instead of depending on the big construction firms that are milking the state dry through their corruption.
During this oversight visit, we found that the department has all but forgotten the strategic role it ought to play in developing the country. It is a wasteful department, negligent even of the resources it has at its disposal.
The following were picked up during the oversight visit to the department. The Molobi Housing Innovation Hub has various innovative housing structures that is suitable and sustainable for use in the South African weather, yet none of these are used by the Department of Human Settlements despite the department being invited in the past to view the houses.
Agreement for South Africa is supposed to lead with innovative, tested material to help build and provide houses and toilet facilities for the country. This does not happen. Instead, its focus is on testing for private companies and individuals.
The Telkom Tower building in Pretoria that is supposed to house the national SA Police Service, SAPS, is still under renovation and will not meet its deadline due to the slow progress of work.
With four entities that work parallel to each other, the department will forever face a crisis of not fulfilling its mandate.
We can resolve this by ensuring that there is close co-operation between the Independent Development Trust, IDT, Agreement for South Africa, ASA, the Council for the Built Environment, CBE and the Construction Industry Development Board, CIDB. The Independent Development Trust should be primarily responsible for identifying projects, Agreement South Africa must then provide suitable, innovative and sustainable material for these projects. The Construction Industry Development Board must provide contractors and engineers, and will ensure that there is a legislative framework in place.
But we know that this will not be considered so as to allow for tendering to continue and also for the looting of public funds to continue.
It is time we move away from tenders because they benefit only a few minorities and marginalise small businesses. It is time we use our own state-owned construction and building company to address the backlog in houses, schools, clinics, hospitals, proper toilet facilities and proper roads. Thank you. [Applause.]