Department's Objectives and Strategy for 2001/2

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

08 May 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 May 2001
BUDGET REVIEW BY DEPARTMENT

Chairperson: Mr Y Carrim

Relevant Documents
2001 Estimates of Budget Expenditure
Budget Review - Chapter Seven: Provincial and Local Government

Department’s Report on Activities for the 2001/2 Financial Year (
see Appendix of 8/5/01)
Department Representivity Chart
Rural Development and Urban Renewal Strategy Powerpoint presentation
Innovation in Municipal Infrastructure Development : Implementing CMIP and LEDF
Traditional Authorities Draft Bill (see Appendix)

SUMMARY
The Committee was briefed on the restructuring of the Department and the progress of internal transformation. Members voiced concern over the lack of representation of disabled people and that the Department was lagging behind in terms of fulfilling racial quotas. The Department presented its strategy for Integrated Rural Development and the Urban Renewal Strategy. In the discussion of this strategy, issues arose around capacity-building and co-ordination of municipalities and the role of the National Department in ensuring that the strategies are implemented at local level. The Department also presented its strategy for implementing the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme and Local Economic Development. Members voiced concern over the apparent discrepancy in funding and development that favoured urban over rural areas. Finally, the Director General commented on the draft Traditional Authorities Bill.

MINUTES

Presentation
Mr G Mokate, Deputy Director General in charge of Support Services, addressed the Committee on the process of transformation and restructuring within the Department.

Mr Mokate explained that the mandate of the Department had shifted from dealing with constitutional issues to issues relating to the Provincial and Local spheres of Government. Mr Mokate said that stakeholders had identified the key issue as being the extent to which the government has become integrated in order to ensure efficient service delivery. Mr Mokate stressed that integration required reorganisation and added that Public Service Regulations and the Public Finance Management Act had the effect of decentralising management and making management directly accountable. Mr Mokate contended that these policies had changed the mindset and culture of the Department.

Mr Mokate informed the committee that the department’s strategy had been refined and that the strategy could now be legislated upon. Mr Mokate also claimed that the department was succeeding in cultivating a ‘culture of planning’ and a line of accountability. The Director General added that interaction between the Ministry and the Department had improved. Mr Mokate explained that restructuring within the Department had taken place to satisfy structural objectives. To this end, Mr Mokate said that staff had been absorbed into the new structure without retrenchment and that training programmes had been put in place to increase the capacity of staff. Furthermore, Mr Mokate stated that this process of restructuring had finished two months ago and that the present objective was to fill the seventy-seven vacant posts.

Mr Mokate then briefed the Committee on the representivity of the Department. Currently, 45% of the management posts are vacant. Mr Mokate stated that only 10% of the 55% occupied management posts were occupied by women - Mr Mokate emphasised that this figure was unacceptable in terms of the law and in terms of the objectives of the Department. Mr Mokate indicated that the department was making every effort to address this problem but that the issue arose out of the absorption process. In terms of race, Mr Mokate said that the Department satisfied current legal requirements and was therefore focusing on attaining the long term promotion of Department staff .

Mr Mokate said that integration and co-ordination within the Department would depend on how the three main branches of the Department (Governance and Development, Institutional Reform and Support and Support Services) developed internally. Mr Mokate confirmed plans to introduce effective information systems and management systems that would ensure effective communication with other levels of government.

Discussion
The Director General, Mr Z Titus, reminded members that the Department was concerned with co-ordination and not implementation. Furthermore, Mr Titus insisted that there was no crisis in the current staffing configuration. Mr Titus contended that it was the role of the Independent Development Trust to supplement and support Provincial and Local Government. Mr Titus added that two ministers have been deployed in each province to support this initiative as have support teams based in Pretoria who assess progress in the nodes identified for development in the Integrated Rural Development Programme.

Ms R Southgate (ACDP) questioned why only Black and White classifications were outlined in the representivity document, and not Coloured and Indian.

Ms Borman (DP) commented that restructuring usually results in low morale in departments due to staff insecurity. Ms Borman then asked what priority the Department places upon qualifications and skills in recruitment.

Mr Ngubeni (ANC) asked whether further classification in the Representivity document ( the addition of Coloured and Indian classification) would necessarily require the addition of Zulus, Shangaan and Greeks. Mr Ngubeni expressed the view that there was no need to broaden the classification since everybody knew the meaning of Black and White.

Mr Ngubeni referred toMr Titus’s comments on implementing structures, and said that he was not convinced that there was a unit that would ensure the implementation of the Departments strategy.

Mr Pheko (PAC) said that omission of disabled people was problematic and urged the Department to address this speedily.

Mr Mokate said that a report on disability would be provided in two weeks, however this would not directly address the discrepancy.

With regards to racial classification, Mr Mokate said that black and white were the standard classifications used in government., but agreed that a definition of these terms should have accompanied the document.

In replying to Ms Bormans question on representivity and skills, Mr Mokate said that all posts were considered in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and Public Service Regulations. Mr Mokate indicated that the Department was lagging behind due to considerations of qualifications and competency. He added that people considered representative still had to have the qualifications.

Mr Mokate said that there was a morale problem due to staff insecurity, but that morale had improved due to increased promotion prospects and training programmes.

The Chair agreed that it was not an easy task to ensure representivity but added that the Committee would require progress reports on the progress of recruiting women and disabled persons.

The Chair went further by stating that ‘black’ collectively includes the relatively privileged, specifically Coloured and Indian persons, and that using ‘black’ in this manner over-represented the previously disadvantaged. However, Mr Carrim expressed that this debate was concluded in 1994 and there was no need to continue with it. However, Mr Carrim went further and said that there was no longer a new guard and an old guard, but that we were rather all a new guard. He added that in his constituency, he found that the most co-operative people were Afrikaner women. Mr Carrim emphasised that delivery was the overriding concern and specifically the functioning of the Department in ensuring delivery.

Mr A Lyle (ANC) said that the Department had underspent in all four of its main programmes. Mr Lyle asked whether the under-spending was due to a lack of good planning or a failure by the Department to achieve its objectives.

The Chair agreed that underspending seemed more problematic in the Department of Provincial and Local Government as opposed to other Departments.

Mr Titus said that section 32 of the Public Finance Management Act legally obliged the Department to give detailed reports in all areas. Mr Titus asked the Committee to be identify specific programmes underspending.

The Chair replied that crucial areas such as Local Economic Development were suffering due to underspending.

Presentation : Integrated Rural Development Programme and the Urban Renewal Strategy
Mr E Africa presented these Department strategies to the Committee. (Refer to power point presentation)

Discussion
Mr M Bhabha (ANC) (Mpumalanga) said that a planning strategy in a particular node would involve other line departments and commented that this dualism could result in conflict. Mr Bhabha asked whether there was any mechanism in place to manage this potential conflict. Mr Bhabha also asked if it would be necessary to publicize the development of the process to municipalities to serve as a guideline for strategy implementation in their own district.

Rev A Goosen (ANC) asked how capacity building would be included in the programmes to ensure that the programmes were a success. In addition, Rev Goosen, asked where group B municipalities would fit into the programmes, being neither rural nor metropolitan municipalities.

Mr S Pheko (PAC) asked whether the Urban Renewal strategy entailed the removal of informal settlements. Mr Pheko argued that rural people have inferior police, education and health services and hence did not feel a part of the country. Mr Pheko suggested that it was unrealistic to claim that rural people had the potential to contribute towards global growth.

Mr B Solo (ANC) asked for clarity on the role of ABET and nutrition programmes in the Integrated Rural Development Programme since both ABET and the nutrition programmes had been disastrous. Mr Solo also contended that politicians rely on local officials to deliver and hence lack of delivery impacts upon politicians’ promises. Mr Solo urged the Department to intervene and insist that local officials explain lack of delivery to the people.

Ms G Borman (DP) asked if the notion of Sustainable Development within the programmes entailed self-sustainability.

An ANC member highlighted that some areas were heavily affected by re-occurring tornadoes and asked if there were plans to remove people from vulnerable areas.

Ms Lobe (ANC) asked why there was a decline in the Local Economic Development fund. She also asked if the Department could explain which indicators were used to identify the thirty nodes.

Mr Ngubene (ANC) asked when the commitment register would be available from National and Provincial Governments.

The Chair commented that communication amongst MP’s and Departments was crucial to the success of the programmes and added that the role of MPs was not to denigrate Departments but to take responsibility and focus on their constituency work. The Chair stated that the six month review would indicate the success or failure of the programme.

Mr D Powell, Director of Intergovernmental Relations Co-ordination and Implementation, argued that the analogy of the strategies was superficial as the successof the programmes depended upon many systems of government. Mr Powell contended that this factor afforded the programmes a degree of leverage which the RDP never had.

Mr Africa responded to questions over co-ordination saying that the Department had been allocated the co-ordinating role, but that the Department would perform its role within existing structures. Mr Africa insisted that the cluster system was fundamental to the success of co-ordinating the programmes.

Mr Africa said that the Department had not yet decided whether unique Integrated Development Programmes (IDPs) would be introduced to each municipality since there had been some problems with the interim IDPs. Mr Africa referred to the evident bias towards infrastructure type projects and less emphasis on social and economic development projects.

In response to the chairs request to ensure dialogue between MPs and the Department, Mr Africa said that briefing notes would be compiled on the Integrated Rural development Strategy so that its progress could be monitored.

Mr Africa also noted that national Ministers would play a role by regularly visiting provinces and municipalities and consequently applying pressure for the implementation of the programme. Furthermore, Mr Africa confirmed that the treasury had allocated R65 billion to the thirty nodes and that these funds would be used for capacity building and project initiation in these areas.

Mr Africa insisted that the involvement of category ‘B’ municipalities was crucial to the success of the programme.

In response to Mr Pheko’s question regarding the future of informal settlements in terms of the Urban Renewal Strategy, Mr Africa stated that a national strategy had not yet been crafted in this regard.

Mr Africa then informed the committee that the ABET and Nutrition programmes would still form part of the services available to each municipal department. Mr Africa explained that the Interim Integrated Development Programmes (IIDPs) were used to identify which services would apply to each area, according to the socio-demographic profile of each area. Mr Africa said that three scenarios had arisen out of the IIDPs. The first scenario ( a match) would occur when the needs identified by the IIDP matched the needs of the area identically. The second scenario ( a mis-match) would occur where the national Department provided funds for municipality programmes, but there was no demand for the programme. The third scenario ( also a mis-match) would occur where needs in an area were identified, but there were no national programmes available.

In response to Ms Borman’s question regarding self-sustainability, Mr Africa insisted that the rural and urban strategies were symbiotic and that the vision of the IRDS was to make the rural areas economically productive.

Mr Africa concluded that the urban and rural strategies would be demand driven in the medium to long term and were therefore bottom-up strategies. He added however, that since most municipalities could not articulate their own needs at this point, it was the responsibility of national and provincial government to aid municipalities in implementing their own strategies.

Presentation : Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme and Local Economic Development
Mr Africa presented these Department strategies to the Committee. (Refer to power-point presentation)

Discussion
Mr B Solo (ANC) said that a councillor had accused him of not finding jobs for the people and stressed that local authorities should be assisting young people in creating jobs for themselves.

The Chair warned of conflict in areas where different parties ran the municipality and the province. The Chair requested a review of steps being taken in this regard.

Mr Titus replied that this potential for conflict was a priority that had been identified by the Cabinet.

Mr Pheko (PAC) said that he noticed that 48% of the funds had been allocated in rural areas and asked which rural areas had been earmarked.

The Chair added that in his view CMIP had traditionally displayed an urban bias, but 48% was significant progress in this regard.

Ms Lobe (ANC) asked which municipalities had benefited from LED as she saw no evidence of improvement in the Orange Free State. Ms Lobe added that not every municipality had the capacity to draw up business plans nor had every municipality the expertise to do so. Ms Lobe highlighted a further problem in that some areas had good infrastructure, but poor socio-economic development.

Mr A Lyle (ANC) asked what formula would be used to disperse funds in the LED, within the CMIP.

Ms R Southgate (ACDP) requested the Department to explain the Municipal Infrastructure Framework and to outline their pilot projects.

Mr J Kgarimetsa (ANC) commented that the rural areas were not experiencing delivery and asked what promises the Department could make to MPs who have to face their constituencies.

An ANC member stated that the Councillors did not seem effective and asked what could be expected of them and how they could be monitored.

The Chair added that he could sense frustration on the part of members and insisted that members needed to be informed of developments on an ongoing basis. Mr Carrim stated that the RDP was successful in this regard as a result of greater publicity.

Rev A Goosen (ANC) asked the extent to which information was communicated between the Department and municipalities. Rev Goosen argued that MP’s were blamed for strategies which originated within Departments.

Ms Harrison commented on two issues- the role and mandate of Local Government and the allocation of funding. Ms Harrison suggested that the reliance on consultants to integrate finance across municipal departments posed a problem for management. Ms Harrison confirmed that funds for LED were dispersed by a direct transfer to municipalities and that supplying funds was demand-based.

With regards to responsibility, Ms Harrison said that the Department had published a quarterly newspaper which was distributed to all provincial departments and municipalities and that the Department held regular trade fairs in which all municipalities were invited to take part.

The Chair contended that publicity should not only refer to information disseminated to municipalities and provincial departments, but public awareness of delivery progress.

Mr Kruger highlighted that the ratio of urban and rural funding was skewed by Gauteng, as Gauteng accounted for 80 Percent of urban funding. Mr Kruger stated that more money was actually spent in rural areas and that it should be remembered that rural areas existed within metropolitan areas.

Mr Kruger emphasised that information was available for every project. He said that CMIP calendars had been distributed to all municipalities with a list of phone numbers and other information. Mr Kruger added that CMIP billboards would accompany projects and that there was also a CMIP website under construction. He said that all municipalities were aware and familiar with CMIP but that the challenge was to develop capacity building in each municipality.

Mr Titus commented on the tabling of the bill which refers to the role of traditional authorities and presented the Committee with the draft bill. He said that the previous draft bill had been rejected on 17 November 2000 as it was not in line with the Constitution since it did not allow for any participation of traditional leaders in government structures. Mr Titus highlighted that the bill was a stand alone bill and that it offered traditional leaders a choice to participate in municipal structures.

Mr Titus concluded the meeting by confirming that a detailed report would be made available to the committee on the matters raised and added that a draft programme has been prepared for ongoing meetings between the Portfolio Committee and the Department.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1:
BILL

To provide for the retention of the powers, functions and role of traditional authorities; to provide for the role of traditional authorities in local government matters; to foster and harmonise relationships between traditional authorities and municipal councils so as to enhance the spirit of co-operative governance between traditional authorities and municipal councils; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

BE IT ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, as follows:-

Definitions

1          In this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise-"Minister" means the national Minister responsible for local government;

"municipal council" means a municipal council referred to in section 157(1) of the Constitution;

"traditional authority" means a traditional authority envisaged in section 211(2) of the Constitution.

Role of traditional authorities

2. (1) A traditional authority continues to exist and to exercise powers and perform functions conferred upon it in terms of indigenous law, customs and statutory law consistent with the Constitution, which powers and functions may, without derogating from the powers of a municipal council, include-

(a)        such local government powers and functions as a municipal council may delegate to it in terms of subsection (2);

(b)        the fostering of good relations and a better understanding between the municipality and the people living in the area of the traditional authority, and for this purpose-

            (i)         promote an appreciation for the customs, traditions, beliefs and systems of

                        customary law that are observed in that area;

(ii)         educate people living in that area about programmes of the municipality affecting them, including the municipality's community participation programmes; and

(iii)        facilitate co-operation between the municipality and the people living in that area;

(c)        communicating decisions of a municipal council affecting the area of the traditional authority to the people living in that area;

(d)        communicating to a municipal council the views of the people living in the area of the traditional authority;

(e)        participating in development planning;

(f)         alerting a municipality to any hazard or calamity threatening the area of the traditional authority or the wellbeing of people living in that area; and

(g)        making recommendations to a municipality on any matter affecting the traditional authority's area of jurisdiction.

(2)        Subject to section 160(2) of the Constitution, a municipal council may, within a framework determined by the Minister, delegate any of its functions to a traditional authority within its area of jurisdiction.

(3)        A municipal council must consider a recommendation made in terms of subsection (1 )(g) and inform a traditional authority on any decision taken.

Relationship between traditional authorities and municipal councils

3. (1) Traditional authorities and municipal councils must exercise their powers and perform their functions in line with the spirit of co-operative governance as contained in the Constitution.

(2)        Traditional authorities and municipal councils must co-operate with one another in areas of common interest.

Short title

4.         This Act is called the Traditional Authorities' Powers and Functions Act, 2001.

 

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