Refurbishment a ' dysfunctional nightmare', claims opposition
AN AMOUNT of R9 million has been set aside for the rehabilitation of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, which is taking longer than planned.
DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, stated that the BP Jones building, where they were relocated to for the duration of the refurbishment of the legislature, was a “dysfunctional nightmare”.
“We are not satisfied with the current dysfunctional working environment that has been imposed upon us by this facility. Security is a nightmare and the members’ wing has no windows. The building is a health hazard.
“The legislature is supposed to be one of the highest oversight bodies in the country, yet its employees do not have the most basic tools to perform their duties. Internet access is regularly interrupted and telephone calls are a challenge as a result of inferior lines and continuous non-payment to the service provider.”
He also questioned the delays in the completion of the legislature precinct.
“There is an utter lack of clarity on when the offices will be relocated to the legislature precinct in Nobengula Street, despite being told that we would only be moved off-site for six months. After frequent delays in moving from the legislature precinct, we have now been at the BP Jones building for 17 months and there is no indication when it will be safe to move back.
“We seem to be getting excuses for the delay in completion all the time. If it is not waiting for special cement, then it is pre-payment issues or even talks of an impending dispute and termination of services”
Speaker Kenny Mmoiemang explained that the refurbishment of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature precinct would be funded from funds that were rolled over from the previous financial year.
“The structural defects project was initially scheduled for 12 months but is currently in its 18th month due to some unexpected delays. The challenges are being addressed to drive the project towards completion.
“These delays resulted in the further extension of the three temporary office accommodation rentals to allow for the business of the legislature to continue without interruption.
“It, however, has had unplanned monetary implications for the institution, which the administration is committed to resolving.”
Mmoeimang highlighted the importance of establishing a budget office at the legislature.
“Although provincial legislation needs to provide for this, the institution urgently needs to engage the budget office in Parliament and emulate its activities. Such an office will be an asset for the legislature as well as the administration of the Northern Cape provincial government.”
He urged provincial departments and municipalities to accelerate and fast track its response time to petitions.
“Service delivery unrest in our communities is not the answer to the frustrations of our community members. Let us rather utilise the petition system as it is one of the most effective tools to address our communities’ concerns and issues.”
Mmoiemang added that all Members of the provincial legislature, MECs as well as the premier, have disclosed their financial and business interests for the 2017/18 financial year.
He stated that the legislature had experienced a high institutional vacancy rate, particularly at management level.
“The process of reducing the vacancy rate and ensuring that the vacant funded positions are permanently filled is currently under way.”