The Committee had scheduled the meeting to discuss and agree on a format that the Committee’s Report on the oversight visits to the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal to Parliament would take. The Chairperson guided the process and suggested a format that the Report should take. Amongst the things to consider in drafting the Report was that during certain parts of the oversight visits, the Committee had to split into two groups. The consequence was that certain members did not necessarily see what other members did. The Report should not only be reflective of the experiences of only a few members but of the Committee as a collective. It should state what the Committee had seen as a whole. The stance that the Committee took should be a singular one. The issue was whether what the Committee had seen was in line with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s strategic plan and budget. Members found the suggested format agreeable and it was agreed that recommendations and comments by members should be forwarded to the Committee Secretary for incorporation into a comprehensive Report. The Committee would consider the Report at their next meeting, on Wednesday 12 May 2010.
One of the major observations by the Committee during the oversight visit was that that social mobilising and community profiling took too long. The result was to have quick win projects whilst community profiling was being done. The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) set up projects. A council of stakeholders was also set up to manage the process. The CRDP was a tool to measure the Department’s progress.
Members were concerned that preliminary work in the areas visited were lacking and there was also a lack of co-ordination. The question was even asked whether the problems members had seen was not because there was no one to prioritise what was in the Comprehensive Rural Development Plan.
Committee Report on oversight visits to the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal
The Chairperson said that the present meeting had been scheduled with the intention of members agreeing on a format that the Oversight Visit Committee Report to Parliament would take. He added that there were policy traits that government wished to test to implement a comprehensive rural development programme. The Committee had visited two pilot sites with a view of checking on what was being tested. Amongst the things to consider in drafting the Report was that during certain parts of the oversight visits, the Committee had to split into two groups. The consequence was that certain members did not necessarily see what other members did. The Report should not only be reflective of the experiences of only a few members but of the Committee as a collective. It should state what the Committee had seen as a whole. The stance that the Committee took should be a singular one. Another consideration would be in terms of what the Committee saw. The Committee had to interpret what it saw in terms of the Department if Rural Development and Land Reform’s strategic plan and budget. The issue was whether what the Committee had seen was in line with the Strategic Plan and Budget.
The present meeting had to be seen as a report compiling preliminary meeting. He asked members if there was agreement on the approach taken. The Chairperson continued by proposing that the Committee follow a certain format in drafting the Report. The reason why members undertook the oversight visit could be included under the headings of background and introduction in the Report. It could also include what the Committee’s understanding of a rural development programme in terms of the Strategic Plan was. Land reform and restitution was seen as part of a comprehensive rural development plan. It was not merely about recapitalisation only but included rural development.
A further consideration was why the Committee had chosen to visit the areas in question and ultimately what had the Committee seen on the visits. What the Committee had seen could be included in the Report as observations. The question was perhaps what structures were in place or were not in place in those areas visited. The task of the Committee was to test the collective inputs of all spheres of government. The issue was whether pilots had been started and what was being initiated. Once the observations of the Committee were recorded, recommendations by the Committee could be made and included. The recommendations by members would be responsive to what members had picked up on monitoring what was happening on the ground.
The current draft of the Report would be worked on along the lines as outlined which would ultimately be the basis for a comprehensive report by the Committee.
The Chairperson asked members if they were in agreement with the format that he had proposed. Members were encouraged to make suggestions as the format proposed was not cast in stone.
Members found the format proposed to be agreeable.
Ms P De Lille (ID) noted that Members had received two drafts of the Report. How did the latter one vary from the one that had been initially received? She proposed that the Committee work through the Report item for item.
The Chairperson responded that the initial Report was incomplete. The latter one contained more information and for now would be called Draft 2. He agreed with Ms De Lille that the Report should be worked through by Members. It was however felt that members should work through the Report privately and if any recommendations and comments wished to be made it should be forwarded to the Committee Secretary. The comments and recommendations would be incorporated into the final Report.
Mr M Dandala (COPE) apologised for being late for the meeting and respectfully requested the Chairperson to repeat the earlier comments that had been made during his absence.
The Chairperson noted that the essence of what he had said earlier was that social mobilising and community profiling took too long. The result was to have quick win projects whilst community profiling was being done. The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) set up projects. A council of stakeholders was also set up to manage the process. The CRDP was a tool to measure the Department’s progress. In the Eastern Cape, the Committee had seen a great deal of individual projects. One person was handed projects and he employed people to do the work. The Committee felt that this was not the correct route to go. Projects should be spread across more individuals in order to create opportunities for more people.
Mr Z Mandela (ANC) said that the Committee had seen some of the projects. What was evident was that there was a lack of preliminary work. He asked what profiling was done to prioritise issues.
The Chairperson noted that the Mthontlo Department of Agriculture was running the projects. There was however agreements with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. The bottom line was that the CRDP had not been implemented as yet. There were no pilot projects either. Community mobilisation was however taking place. Muyexe Municipality however had one pilot project, the rest was community mobilisation. The Committee was not saying that it was comprehensive rural development but it was a pilot nevertheless.
Mr Dandala apologised in advance for not being able to attend the Committee’s scheduled meeting the following week on Wednesday 12 May 2010. He was puzzled by the fact that there was no free standing agent from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in the Eastern Cape. Another department was performing the co-ordination function. Did it not defeat the purpose of what was being tried to be achieved? It was a matter of great concern. He asked whether the problems members had seen was not because there was no one to prioritise what was in the CRDP.
The Chairperson shared Mr Dandala’s concern. He did point out that a rural development team was being put together.
Mr B Zulu (ANC) agreed that Mr Dandala’s concern was valid. The Department should be a catalyst for all other departments like education and health for example.
Mr M Swathe (DA) suggested that perhaps the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform should be invited to address the Committee over the issue. The Minister could perhaps shed light on what was to happen in all nine of the provinces involving all other government departments.
The Chairperson asked Members to forward their recommendations and comments to the Committee Secretary by Monday 10 May 2010. The final draft would be finalised the next day and on Wednesday 12 May 2010, the Committee would meet to consider the Report.
The meeting was adjourned.
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