Found this on the Parliamentary monitoring Group website. The meeting was held on the 9th of May 2012
There is a specific reference to the renegotiation of FF's contract. I rather like the bit about SAWS (the client) having to meet targets and possibly facing a financial penalty. Shouldn't it be FF (The service provider) that should meet targets
Sounds a bit like the tail wagging the dog to me.
I've quoted some other paragraphs and highlighted some sentences that grabbed my attention.
http://www.pmg.org.za/report/20120509-a ... e-hearings
SAWS: Financial information
SAWS discussed its budget for 2012-13. The operating expenditure (opex) grant was reduced by R10 million from 2010/11 to 2011/12. SAWS had compensated for this by cutting on administrative expenses, as most money had been allocated towards the Waterkloof Land Development Project. SAWS was grateful for the funding it had received from Government, though it would work to urge the DEA and the National Treasury to increase funding so that SAWS operations could continue. SAWS relied heavily on aviation for its revenue, though it planned to generate more income through other commercial entities. Income on investment interest was said to decrease as capital had been withdrawn in order to roll out the numerous operations of SAWS. As a result of fewer grants, operational expenditure decreased as many operations had to be shelved, though these could not be delayed indefinitely.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) said she was glad SAWS was dealing with the issue of a lack of scientists, as the organisation desperately needed people trained in maths and science. Also, it was good that schools and universities were being involved, as they were very valuable to SAWS.
She requested more information on the training of pilots and stressed the importance of informing aviation entities about weather conditions, as this ensured the safety of passengers on board flights.
Dr Winifred Jordaan, SAWS Head of Training, said that pilot training included the training of all aviation personnel. The training had been tightened over the last few years because during discussions between the National Civil Aviation Authority and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) it was said that SAWS was not strict enough on testing the competencies of aviation personnel. SAWS had thus updated its competency tests, which now formed part of the training of South African Air Force personnel. SAWS was not involved in the training of commercial pilots, which fell under the mandate of private pilot training schools. However, training of its personnel was a key priority area for SAWS.
SAWS responded to the issue of aviation dangers. Aircraft accidents were sometimes due to technical failures, but could also sometimes be caused by irresponsible behaviour of pilots. Meteorologists could only recommend where they thought pilots should or should not fly, but in the end the pilot would make up his or her own mind.
Mr Morgan asked SAWS to brief the Committee on the renegotiation of its contract with Future Foresight. Why was there a need to terminate the contract? Had a date been set to terminate the contract? Was there any update on the contract since the renegotiation took place?
SAWS replied that the organisation formed partnerships with other companies such as MTN and Vodacom. In terms of the commercial contracts with such companies, such as the one with Future Foresight, SAWS was required to meet certain targets. However, due to a lack of funding, SAWS was unable to meet these targets and thus liable to a financial penalty. Consequently, instead of terminating the contract entirely, it was decided to renegotiate the contract so that targets were set at lower levels.
Mr Morgan wanted to know whether SAWS charged an administrative cost for providing weather information to companies that used the data for their own commercial gain.
SAWS responded to this by saying that the fees charged for providing data depended on whether the data was raw or processed, the latter type being charged more. SAWS said, however, that data provided to university students for research was provided free of charge.
Mr Morgan asked how SAWS planned to increase its commercial revenue, whether it would hike existing prices or attempt to get new clients with new business opportunities.
To this issue, Dr Makuleni responded by saying that SAWS would not increase its prices. Instead, it would expand its business into untapped industries such as that of mining and construction. She mentioned how US weather services were able to ask low prices because they were fully subsidised by the US government, and seeing as these companies had access to South African markets, SAWS could thus not afford to increase its prices, due to the competition posed by alternative weather services.
Here's one that I rather like. I think it would be more suited to a FutureForesight type of contract. I'm sure that the community leader will need a Pajero 4x4 in addition to the cell phone that SAWS would obviously have to sponsor.
How about the idea to identify foggy areas and "harvest" the water sources (sic). Is there technology for harvesting low flying clouds
They would need to bottle it pretty quickly so that it doesn't evaporate when the air warms up
Dr Makuleni briefed the Committee on a new initiative of SAWS, namely community rainfall stations. She said this project was particularly important in rural areas near rivers where rainfall was abundant. Members of the community would identify a community leader who would assist the Disaster Management Authorities in monitoring rainfall levels. This information could then be communicated further via cellphones. However, funding was needed for SAWS to implement this pilot project. She said SAWS had managed to get R2.4 million in funding from the Water Research Commission to implement a project in collaboration with the University of Pretoria. The project entailed identifying foggy areas, for example Venda in Limpopo, and then harvesting the fog to collect water sources.