Koukamma & Alfred Nzo Municipalities Section 139 interventions: Committee Report; National House of Traditional Leaders & Traditional Leadership & Governance Framework Amendment Bills: negotiating mandates

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Meeting Summary

Negotiating mandates were submitted by Free State, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West Province and the Northern Cape with comments. The Department was requested to draft responses to these comments before the deadline for final mandates in seven days. The Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo had requested an extension for the submission of their negotiating mandates. The Committee agreed to refer their request to the Management Committee for consideration. A member commented that the aim of negotiating mandates was to barter and he declared that the Committee had not bartered.

The Committee Oversight Visit Report to Koukamma and Alfred Nzo Municipalities were considered. Concerns were raised that the Alfred Nzo Municipality intervention mentioned in the recommendations was to expire on the 28 October 2009. The Committee was in agreement that extensions had to be given on the intervention contained in the Report as the expiry date was imminent. The Committee noted that it had requested quarterly reports to be submitted but no timeframes had been set in the Report. Members noted too that they had recommended that vacant posts be filled within the Municipality. The Chairperson asked Committee Staff to engage with the municipality and the MEC to obtain updates on issues such as the filling of vacancies and the submission of quarterly reports. Follow-ups were considered necessary and had to be planned soon. The Committee continued with the Koukamma Oversight Visit Report. Similar concerns as with Alfred Nzo Municipality over the expiration of the intervention and the need for updates were raised by the Committee. Members felt that follow-up on Koukamma Municipality was especially urgent. The issues pertaining to the Municipality were considered critical. Members felt that a meeting with the MEC was needed and that it be scheduled for the 28 October 2009. It was suggested that a second visit to Koukamma Municipality be undertaken by the Committee soon.

Meeting report

Consideration of oversight visit reports to Koukamma and Alfred Nzo Municipalities
The Committee considered its oversight visit reports to Koukamma and Alfred Nzo Municipalities. The Alfred Nzo report was considered first. The Chair noted that the recommendations made by the Committee in the Report were most important. He asked members for comment.

Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) referred to Point 9.2 of the Report dealing with the Committee’s recommendations and asked if the intention was that the Section 139 intervention should end on the 28 October 2009. He noted Point 9.3 which stated that the Caretaker Municipal Manager had to see to it that senior managerial positions were filled. He suggested that a sunset clause be included under Point 9.4 where the Committee requested quarterly progress reports. A time limit for such reports had to be set.

Mr Moses Manele, Committee Secretary, responded that at the time of the oversight visit, municipalities were already advertising vacant posts. He said that the Committee would keep track of the process.

The Chairperson said that it had to be taken into consideration that the Committee Oversight Reports were late. Timeframes needed to be set. Interventions by MECs had to have timeframes attached to them for example, six months. Extensions were needed given that there were delays. The original timeframe would expire on 28 October 2009. He suggested that the Committee Staff should engage with the municipalities and MECs to obtain updates and that quarterly reports could perhaps be received by email. Follow-up was necessary especially in relation to the Koukamma Municipality as it had many issues.

Mr Watson was not convinced and said that the request for quarterly reports was open-ended. When would the quarterly reports end? The interventions were scheduled to end on the 28 October 2009. He felt that follow-ups should be planned soon.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee had noted the Committee Report on the Alfred Nzo Municipality and drew the Committee’s attention to the Koukamma Municipality Committee Report.

Mr Watson pointed out that inputs by stakeholders and the community had called for the disbanding of the Koukamma Municipal Council. He said that the Louis Scheepers issue was important as he was manipulated by persons whom he was supposed to control. Mr Scheepers had to be replaced by someone stronger who was not open to manipulation.

Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) said that it was important to get updates on Koukamma Municipality. As with the Alfred Nzo Municipality, one needed to know when the intervention should end. He considered a follow-up on the Koukamma Municipality to be a priority. 

The Chairperson said that the inputs made by members about the Koukamma Municipality were noted. Engagement with the MEC was needed. He suggested a meeting with the MEC and the Committee clearly agreed that an update on Koukamma Municipality was needed. The Committee considered the Koukamma Municipality issue a critical one. He suggested that perhaps the Committee could visit Koukamma Municipality a second time before Christmas 2009.

Mr Watson felt that the need for a meeting with the MEC should be included as one of the recommendations in the Koukamma Municipality Committee Report. He said that it looked as if the situation at Koukamma was getting worse.

Mr Matila suggested that perhaps the MEC could be invited to appear before the Committee on the 28 October 2009.

The Chairperson suggested that a meeting with the MEC could be noted as a decision taken by the Committee within the Koukamma Municipality Committee Report.

Mr Watson felt it best if it was placed in the Report as a Committee recommendation.

Mr Matila asked what the difference was if it was placed in the Committee Report as a Committee recommendation or as a Committee decision. He felt that categorising it as a Committee decision was good enough.

Mr Watson said that he did not wish to come across as bombastic but asked that the follow-up be placed in the Committee Report as a recommendation.

The Chairperson stated that the MEC appearing before the Committee on 28 October 2009 was a Committee decision.

Mr Watson referred to Point 9.1.7 in the Koukamma Municipality Committee Report and said that a visit was to be made after the intervention.

Mr Manele said that an interim oversight visit or follow up to Koukamma was possible.

The Chairperson said that it was a special case as the matter was urgent; it could be called a special case.

National House of Traditional Leaders Bill; Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill: Negotiating Mandates
The Chairperson pointed out that six of the provinces had forwarded their negotiating mandates to the Committee. The remaining three provinces had requested extensions. He asked provinces to present their negotiating mandates.

Free State Negotiating Mandates
The Free State supported both Bills.

Gauteng Negotiating Mandates
Gauteng supported the Bills but made recommendations in relation to both.

Eastern Cape Negotiating Mandates
The Eastern Cape supported the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill but was concerned over Clause 3(1) (a) and felt that every traditional leader must be eligible to be a member of the National House and this must not be limited to senior traditional leaders because it may happen that a traditional leader who was at a level lower than a senior traditional leader may have qualities and knowledge to better represent the Provincial House in the National House.

The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill was also supported but concerns were raised over the provision for the recognition and removal of principal traditional leaders (Clause 9A). The proposal was not supported as it attempted to establish another level of traditional leadership. This was not supported by the institution of traditional leadership as traditionally such a position did not exist. Traditional leadership positions must be limited to the King, Senior Traditional Leader and the headman. However the insertion of the new Chapter 6 of the Bill on the establishment of the reconfigured Commission on Traditional Leadership and Disputes and Claims was accepted.

Kwazulu-Natal Request for Extension
The Chairperson read out a request from the Kwazulu-Natal province for an extension on its negotiating mandates for both Bills.

Limpopo Request for Extension
The Limpopo province made a similar request for an extension as traditional leaders felt that they had not had sufficient time to consider the Bills.

Western Cape Request for Extension
The Chairperson noted that the Western Cape had requested an extension as the province would not be able to meet the deadline. He asked the Committee how it felt about the requests from KZN, Limpopo and Western Cape for extensions.

Mpumalanga Negotiating Mandates
Mr Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) said that the province supported both the Bills, provided that their inputs were taken into consideration.

However, he expressed disappointment with the Department in not assisting him with his briefing in the Province. The Department had reneged on its promise to help. The Department was however present at the public hearings.  There were some aspects that had elicited concern. The Mpumalanga Provincial House felt that the previous decisions of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims should be reviewed. He said that the Department had stated that the Commission was not to be disbanded. The issue was considered to be a critical one and Mr Watson had been asked to relay the Province’s concern to the Committee. Another point of contention for the Province was that when a king or queen passed away, the family should decide on who the successor should be and not Government.

Mr Watson referred to the requests for extensions by the three provinces and said that public participation should take its course. He felt that the Committee owed it to the provinces to give extensions where they were requested.

North West Negotiating Mandates
The North West accepted the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill with the exception of the proposed Clause 9A (2)-(5) in as far as it established a new tier in the levels of traditional leadership. The Province felt that it would lead to further division between traditional leaders. It also wished for greater clarity on the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims.

The North West Province accepted the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill.

Northern Cape Negotiating Mandates
The Northern Cape supported the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill. It also supported the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill but felt that the President should appoint the Commissioners of the Commission and not the Minister. The incumbents should be interviewed rather than nominated.

Mr Watson asked if the Northern Cape had held public hearings on the Bills as this was not reflected in the documents.

The Chairperson said that public hearings were a legal requirement of the process.

Mr Mokgobi requested that the Department draft a response to the comments made by the provinces. The comments made by the provinces would be forwarded to the Department.

Mr Matila said that even though all the comments made by provinces had not been discussed in the meeting, they were contained in the documents. He emphasised that the Committee needed feedback from the Department on the comments before final mandates were submitted.

The Chairperson emphasised that all issues raised would be noted. The Committee would require the Department’s views on the issues as the process unfolded. The Committee was seen to be the driver of the process.

Mr Mokgobi continued that the Committee should be in agreement to grant the requested extensions. He suggested that the Committee agree to refer the extension issue to the Management Committee for a decision.

Mr Watson pointed out that there were only seven days to deadline for the final mandates. If extensions were not to be granted, then time would run out.

The Chairperson responded that the Management Committee would decide on the issue.

Mr Watson asked the Committee Secretary to inform members of the outcome of the Management Committee’s decision.

A Department representative asked members to analyse and finalise recommendations in order for the Department to properly respond to them. Time was what was needed. He stated that as a matter of record the Department had not received any request from Mpumalanga Province for assistance with briefings. Those provinces that had requested assistance had obtained assistance. He nevertheless apologised to Mr Watson for the Department’s absence at his briefing.

The Chairperson said that the negotiating mandates would be forwarded to the Department. He felt that one week was sufficient for the Department to draft responses to the comments.

Mr T Chaane (ANC, NW) pointed out as a matter of record that it was not the province’s duty to request departmental assistance at provincial briefings in writing. The Department should have despatched officials to assist members with briefings in the provinces. He had called and asked the Department’s parliamentary liaison officer to provide assistance to members in the provinces during briefings. Provinces were urged to continue work on their final mandates even though an extension was still being considered.

Mr Watson said that the aim of negotiating mandates was to barter. The Committee had not bartered.

The Chairperson said that an extension for provinces was yet to be decided but Members had to continue to work within the provinces.

Adoption of Committee Programme
The Chairperson placed the Committee’s Draft Programme for Parliament’s Third Term before members for consideration. It was adopted with minor technical changes.

The meeting was adjourned.

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