With the Deputy Minister in attendance, a progress report on the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) was presented. This was aimed at creating vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and was divided into three phases. Phase One entailed meeting basic human needs, Phase Two was aimed at enterprise development and Phase Three centred on village industries and access to credit facilities. The achievements to date in job creation (National Rural Youth Service Corps, infrastructure, household and community profiling), food security , skills development, social infrastructure, water, economic infrastructure and ICT were outlined in general as well as per province. The 9 949 jobs included the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC), work on infrastructure, household and community profiling jobs. From now until 2014, the department intended to roll out the programme to 160 wards across the country, but in reality the Department would roll out more. The Department continued to play the role of catalyst, coordinator, initiator, facilitator and implementer.
Members asked what the training of the youth consisted of and what skills were acquired and what had happened to the 47 Village Viewing Areas established for the Soccer World Cup. They were especially concerned with the sustainability of programmes, arguing that allocating items to people and communities was easy, but the challenge lay in providing the necessary infrastructure and training in order to allow the people to maintain what they had received and to promote sustainability of the projects. Members sought confirmation that markets were being created for the produce of the rural communities. Many questions were asked about the Department’s role as catalyst and coordinator and Members were concerned about the budget and capacity of the Department as well as the input and responsibilities of other departments. They were concerned that the Department’s role was too crucial to the programme in that the projects could not be sustainable without continual government intervention. The members asked what role further education and training colleges would play in educating people in agriculture and tourism to create skills that would guarantee sustainability of the programme. Malawi’s “One Village, One Product” programme was suggested as a successful example to follow.
The Director-General presented on Communal Property Associations (CPAs). An Annual Report on these would be tabled by the Minister to Parliament in June 2011. In terms of CPAs the challenge faced by the Department at present was the fact that a group of people or community receiving land from government was required to establish a legal entity. However, legal entities were by their very nature Eurocentric and communities often did not understand the purpose of forming the entity. Due to the nature of conflicts in some CPAs, the Department had enlisted the services of a service provider called Mediation and Transformation Practice (MTP) to assist with mediation. A panel of mediators was found in all nine provinces. The Deputy Master of the Gauteng North High Court had written to the Director-General had requested a meeting about interventions on trusts for restitution and redistribution projects similar to what was being done for CPAs.
Members were concerned about what was happening with trusts, the appointment of the MTP, and the costs and time period involved. Members asked what plans were in place to ensure that the Department developed internal capacity to deal with CPA matters. They also enquired as to the training and guidance provided to trusts and CPAs. An update about the Richtersveld Community was requested.
The Department explained it had a branch responsible for social facilitation and the focus was to create land holding institutions rather than community institutions. Through the Recapitalisation and Development programme, the Department aimed to find a better way of dealing with land reform projects. The change in approach would lie especially in the fact that the government would gradually be phased out of the process and leave adequate skills in the communities.
Comprehensive Rural Development Programme: progress report
Mr Mduduzi Shabane, Director General: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, requested Ms Leona Archary, Acting Deputy Director-Genera: Rural Infrastructure Development, to present the presentation.
Ms Archary explained that the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) launched in August 2009 was aimed at creating vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities and was divided into three phases. Phase One entailed meeting basic human needs, Phase Two was aimed at enterprise development and Phase three centred on village industries and access to credit facilities. In 2009/10 the Department piloted the programme in 8 of the 9 Provinces in 29 Wards. In 2010/11 the aim was to roll out to 25 Wards but the department was now working towards 39 Wards.
Ms Archary proceeded to list the achievements to date, in terms of job creation (National Rural Youth Service Corps, infrastructure, household and community profiling), food security , skills development, social infrastructure, water, economic infrastructure and ICT. She noted the creation of 9 949 jobs and the training of 472 people. Furthermore, much work had been in done in creating social infrastructure and procuring water supply for rural communities. For example 100 rain water harvesting tanks were installed in Muyexe. In terms of Information and Communication Technology, three e-Rural Access Programme Centres (e-RAP Centres) had been completed and 47 Village Viewing Areas were established for the World Cup.
Ms Archary continued by giving specific information about every province, with regard to the status quo of the programme, social profiling, current projects and completed projects.
Key tasks outstanding at this stage were institutionalising the CRDP using the CRDP management system (rolling out of the Council of Stakeholders, Village Sector Committees and coordination across all spheres of government) and moving from Phase 1 (Meeting basic human needs) to Phase 2 (Sustainable enterprise development).
With regard to the policy process, she explained that pilots had assisted in enhancing the current policy process and the draft CRDP policy in the following areas: youth employment; the need for clear institutional guidelines; move from village to ward level intervention and the need for alignment of the CRDP with the delivery agreement process.
Ms Archary concluded by explaining that between 2010 and 2014, the department initially intended to roll out the programme to 160 wards across the country, but in reality the department would now roll out to more. The job creation model was to be implemented in all wards. The Department was currently aligning the CRDP to the delivery agreement process. In all areas, the Department continued to play the role of catalyst, coordinator, initiator, facilitator and implementer.
Mr N Mandela (ANC) complimented the Department for an excellent report. He referred to the 472 people that had been trained and asked what qualifications they had received and what skills they had acquired.
Ms Archary said that the skills that the youths acquired through the training were household and community profiling skills. She noted that it was an accredited programme.
Mr Mandela asked what was currently being done with the 47 Village Viewing Areas that were established for the World Cup. Had these areas been restored to the communities and who was taking responsibility of ownership and maintenance of these Village Viewing Areas? Lastly, how were they being utilised at present and enhancing the lives of the people in the communities?
Ms Archary explained that in most cases the viewing areas were formally handed over to schools in the areas. In other cases it was handed over to the local municipality. The Department was working with such municipalities to develop and utilise the areas effectively.
Mr Mandela referred to the implementation of programmes that the Committee had seen on oversight visits, in terms of which communities were given livestock, but no other implements and facilities for them to manage their livestock, for example dipping stations and grazing areas.
Ms Archary answered that often in cases where families and communities were given livestock, it was in the context of an emergency food security intervention. Accordingly it was not always then possible to secure and provide all the necessary facilities and infrastructure immediately. However, the Department was working with the Department of Agriculture to improve the programme in this respect.
Mr Mandela said that another problematic issue that the Committee had identified on such oversight visits related to the poultry given to families. How did the Department go about identifying families as eligible beneficiaries for poultry projects. He noted that he had seen rich people receive poultry from these projects, while their impoverished neighbours did not.
Mr Shabane responded that people were at the centre of CRDP and that every intervention commenced with social profiling to determine the socio economic needs and the entire environment for each community. It was possible that some other departments, who were not informed about the social profiling, would come and do work in the same areas which might contradict the conclusions that the Department had reached through social profiling, but that that would be the exception.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked what impact the training was making in the reduction of the high rate of unemployment.
Secondly, with the aim of the programme to ensure food security and self-sustainability, the challenge was to ensure that there was a market for the produce. In this regard what role was the Department of Trade and Industry playing to ensure that there was a market for the selling of the produce.
Ms Archary answered that the Department partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry in order to ensure that markets were created for the produce. Farmers were mobilised and capacitated to produce for the agripark and accordingly, their production was linked to a market and they were not just producing for production’s sake.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked who decided what agricultural inputs were allocated to which areas and whether Committee members were involved in this process.
Ms Archary answered that the Department of Agriculture (working with its Committees) was responsible for these decisions
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked to what extent the impact of the work was being monitored.
Ms Archary answered that the Department had set baseline data for each project and on a quarterly basis a monitoring and evaluation team checked that the Department had done what it said it would.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila noted that the rain water harvesting tanks installed in Muyexe was a short term solution and asked what the long term plan was in order to ensure that the people of rural areas had an adequate supply of water.
Ms Archary conceded that the water tanks presented only a short term intervention, but supplying water to all the communities was very challenging as some areas did not even have suitable underground water that could be utilised. However, she reassured the Committee that the Department was working with others in order to find a solution to the problem.
Lastly, Ms Ngwenya-Mabila noted that the e-RAP centre in Limpopo was operational, and asked how many people were working there, whether they had been trained and lastly whether the communities were aware of the e-RAP centre.
Ms Archary answered that each e-RAP centre had a forum of people trained and that the Department was training them on a continual basis after their initial training to ensure that their skills did not become outdated.
Ms L Mazibuko (DA) referred to the conclusion of the presentation which stated the Department continued to play the role of catalyst coordinator, initiator, facilitator and implementer. She noted that this had serious implications for sustainability, because it meant that the Department would need to be at the centre of every step of every project and that all progress would accordingly be dependent on action by the Department. She asked what the Department was doing to ensure that they implemented projects that did not need continual government intervention.
In response, Ms Archary said that everything did not depend upon the Department and that the aim of CRDP was to ensure the reduction in dependency of the community and to empower communities to create their own jobs. By the time Phase 3 was reached, the government’s role would be minimal.
Mr Thembelani Nxesi, Deputy Minister of the Department, added that the Department was very involved in its projects in the beginning, but gradually handing over the community and other role players occurs. This was however a process that happened over time.
Ms Mazibuko then referred to the three phases of the programme and asked where education fitted in. She highlighted the importance of agricultural education in order to ensure sustainability. She noted that she did not see anything in the presentation about the Department’s commitment to the sustainable livelihood of agricultural colleges and that rural people would be able to access them. She also noted the importance of education in tourism. She asked whether there were any programmes in place with higher education facilities in order to give ordinary people in rural South Africa access to training that would ensure skills that could be absorbed into the community and therefore make people independent of perpetual government intervention.
Mr Shabane answered that the Department had had a meeting with the Department of Higher Education and Training. He said that the Department saw Further Education and Training Colleges (FETs) to be at the centre of skills development and job creation. In the past, the Department tried to engage the FETs, but they were not yet ready for such engagement at that stage. However, at present, four FETs in the Western Cape were ready to take in 600 youths and progress had been made in the other provinces in this regard. Mr Shabane emphasised that the Department had in place a formal agreement with the Department of Higher Education.
Mr Nxesi added that coordination was the key to success. Furthermore, the Government had the responsibility to capacitate FETs so that the people could be empowered to utilise the land. He also noted that Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) should contribute to the empowerment of these youths and run programmes in the areas. Lastly, Mr Nxesi stated that agriculture was the perfect niche for rural universities to specialise in and that they should also play a more prominent role. Mr Nxesi noted that all these strategies must be used to ensure education of the youth that would guarantee sustainability of the programme.
Ms A Steyn (DA) said that, in a written response to a question, the Minister informed her that 1 000 youths were identified per province for participation in job creation and youth involvement projects. She asked where these youths fitted into the CRDP. She also referred to the youths that were allegedly “dumped” on FET colleges without the colleges knowing what to do with the youths. She asked for an explanation regarding this matter.
Secondly, Ms Steyn noted that, during the Committee’s oversight visit in the Eastern Cape, it was clear to the Committee that it was necessary to drill boreholes and to put in fencing for the people and that it was not yet done. She said it seemed as if the sustainability side of the process was constantly put off to a later stage. In this light she asked how far the planning for the next phases was. She said that it was easy to implement the first phase of a project, but that the challenge was in implementing further phases. In order for this to succeed, planning was essential.
Mr Shabane answered that the Department had mainly been working on addressing basic needs as part of Phase One of the programme. However, they had tried to make sure that all the different phases would be implemented within the prescribed periods.
Ms Steyn asked how this programme linked with restitution and how far that process was. Lastly, she asked, for interest’s sake, whether the President lived in Nkandla, Ward 7.
Ms N November (ANC) said that she was very excited about the report and expressed her gratitude towards the Department. Her first question was whether there was any mentoring and monitoring of the people who had already been trained. Secondly, she asked whether provision was being made for disabled people to be part of the programme.
Ms Archary answered that a large number of youths that had been trained were already employed through the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) and received continual training in their jobs. Disabled people were also included as part of the NARYSEC youth programme.
Mr B Zulu (ANC) also referred to the fact that the Department was regarded as a catalyst department. He noted that this entailed vast involvement with other departments and asked whether the Department had the budget to do be able to deal with that responsibility. He emphasised the importance of communication with other departments in order to avoid duplication. He asked the Department to offer clarity on its approach.
Mr Shabane answered that this was a function of various state departments and that it had to work across various spheres of Government and Government Departments. Government had adopted an outcome based approach and that 12 outcomes were identified and that there were 12 coordinating ministers. The Department’s Ministry was the coordinating ministry for Outcome 7 which was vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and food security for all. The Department had already signed a delivery agreement with various government departments, including the Department of Trade and Industry, and that some other departments had done so too. An implementation forum for Outcome 7 was also agreed on and formally established. This implementation forum consisted of various national government departments, provincial Members of the Executive Committee (MECs) for Agriculture and Rural Development and mayors of district municipalities. In this way the Department hoped to achieve seamless integration of all the different role players. However, there was a lot more that had to be done in order to procure integration. Outcome 7 related to issues like food security and water in which the Department was not the leading department, but in terms of which the Department had the responsibility to coordinate the other departments. The Department was hoping that the other departments would sign their delivery agreements soon.
Mr Shabane explained that thus far the Department had very successfully acted as catalyst in some projects and that it wanted to take the lessons learnt and replicate these everywhere. This could only be done if a programme management system was institutionalised, as was successfully done in Limpopo. The reason the Department was emphasising its coordinating function was because the Department realised that there were sector departments with specific mandates. The Department’s mandate was to work with them and to leverage their resources and involve them in its programmes.
Mr Nxesi added that coordinating the different departments and role players was the key to success.
Mr Zulu noted that the presentation did not mention all the areas where development was happening. He asked whether the Committee would be able to see all the development mentioned in the presentation, on its next oversight visit. On previous oversight visits, the Committee had come across some places where the programme still had to be implemented, where nothing had happened yet. As the Department was the catalyst department, it had to make things happen.
Mr Shabane replied that there were reasons why some projects took longer than others to be implemented and that in many cases a lot of preparatory work was necessary. He assured Mr Zulu that if he visited those same areas again, he would see progress.
Ms Steyn asked how far the Department was in the spending of its budget and noted the importance of not underspending like the previous year.
Mr Shabane answered that the Department was making progress with its budget expenditure and that it was under great pressure in that regard. There were teams in place to make sure that the budget was moved.
Mr Zulu noted that there were many boreholes in Kwazulu Natal and that these had cost a lot of money, but people were not trained to maintain the boreholes. Further, there were also many windmills, but no parts were available to repair these windmills. Accordingly, people were left without water for their livestock. Mr Zulu asked the Department to comment on these issues.
Ms Archary answered that she was aware that windmills were still being used and the Department was in the process of revising the matter. Community members were being trained in the maintenance of boreholes. Communities had to be able to maintain all the infrastructure that was set up.
Ms Steyn noted that her biggest concern about rural development was that other departments were not doing their jobs. The biggest problem did not lie with money, but with planning and implementation. She asked what the role of ministerial integrated development plans (IDPs) were in this regard and how it linked with municipal and provincial IDPs. Lastly, she said that the pace at which the Department was moving at present was too slow and that it would have to be accelerated.
Ms Archary answered that many municipalities were approaching the Department to obtain consent to use the Department’s model without it being present. The Department’s approach and model was thus being implemented on a municipal level without the Department having to implement it directly. The Department was thus trying to do what Ms Steyn suggested.
Mr Mandela asked for more detail about the visitor viewing areas in the Eastern Cape and where they were located. He noted that he wanted to visit these viewing areas.
Ms Archary answered that there were four viewing areas in the Eastern Cape and she undertook to provide him with further details after the meeting.
Mr Mandela referred to the “One Village, One Product” programme being run in Malawi and commended its success and productivity. He asked what was being produced as a result of the CRDP, how much of it was being produced and in which markets one could see the products. He emphasised the importance of ensuring that communities could sustain the projects that were started.
Ms Archary answered that the Department had seen a similar model to Malawi’s “One Village, One Product” programme in China and the Department was trying to achieve the same thing. The Department was driving communities towards such a goal, however, it was a process that took time.
Communal Property Associations presentation
Mr Shabane gave a brief introduction about the Communal Properties Associations Act, 28 of 1996 (CPA Act) and its application. The CPA Act required that the Department must monitor Communal Property Associations (CPAs) and must report via the Minister to Parliament on the status, performance, challenges and progress to date. Such a report was being compiled for the 2010 financial year and would be presented by the Minister in June 2011. He explained that the Deputy Master of the Gauteng North High Court had written to the Director-General of the Department, requesting a bilateral meeting with a view to discuss interventions on Trusts for restitution and redistribution projects similar to what was being done for CPAs.
Mr Shabane formulated the problem statement as follows: a group of people or community receiving land from government was required to establish a legal entity. However, legal entities were by their very nature Eurocentric and communities often did not understand the purpose of forming the entity. Due to the nature of conflicts in some CPAs, the Department had enlisted the services of a service provider called Mediation and Transformation Practice (MTP) to assist with mediation. There was also a panel of mediators which was found in all nine provinces.
Progress had been made in the sense that, in order to comply with the provisions of the CPA Act, the Department appointed three service providers to assist in compiling the Annual Report to Parliament. The deadline set for the completion of the Annual Report was 28 February 2011. The service providers had completed their investigation in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
Mr Shabane concluded that the Minister would table the Annual Report to Parliament in June 2011.
Ms Steyn asked whether the service providers that had been appointed were going to compile a report only on CPAs. She wanted to know what would happen in the cases where trusts were involved. She was aware of the fact that the Department did not have a mandate concerning the trusts, but wanted to know whether it was looking at legalities as the trusts were actually relevant in the bulk of land that was transferred.
Mr Shabane answered that the Department was only reporting on CPAs insofar as it had a legal obligation to report to Parliament. It was difficult to say what would be done about the trusts, before the Department had met with the Deputy Master of the Gauteng North High Court and the different offices and agreed on what work needed to be done. However, there was nothing stopping the department from assisting with regard to trusts in any other way, including extending the mediation facilities of the Department to where it was needed.
Ms Steyn asked what exactly MTP’s role would be in resolving the conflict in the CPAs and what the cost implications would be. She also wanted to know who MTP would consist of and whether the rural communities would have a say in it. She also asked for an update on what was going on in the Richtersveld Community and whether the Minister had visited the area.
Mr Shabane undertook to provide her with a written report regarding the Richtersveld Community.
Mr Mandela explained that the traditional leaders were very hostile, because they felt that they were being excluded from debates in the context of trusts and CPAs. He asked what the Department was doing to address such challenges.
Mr Mandela further noted that during an oversight visit to Barkley West, the Committee had come across a farm that had been handed over to the municipality. He asked why farms were being handed over to municipalities rather than the communities and asked how people could directly benefit from such land if it belonged to the municipality.
Mr Shabane undertook to investigate why the land was handed over to the municipality and said that they would report back on the issue. However, he reminded the Committee that, except for CPAs, there were also commonage grants in terms of which the Department acquired land and then transferred it to the municipality who managed it on the Department’s behalf.
Mr Mandela wanted to know what the role of the panel of mediators was and asked why they had not been effective thus far.
Mr Shabane explained that up until the present, the panel’s mandate was to work only on farms.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked how many members of the panel of mediators were allocated to each province. She asked if the people who were in need of the mediation accepted this panel. On what basis did the Department allocate work to the service providers? She asked how much the Department paid all the service providers and for how long they would be with the Department. What plans were in place to ensure that the Department developed the internal capacity to deal with CPA matters instead of outsourcing so much work?
Mr Shabane answered that three service providers were appointed for nine months through a tender process and the cost involved was R5.6 million. The Department had no intention to permanently outsource the work and that the plan was that government officials would eventually take over.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked if the service providers would be able to complete their report in time.
Mr Zulu noted that the Department started with trusts, later CPAs and then the legal panel. He asked whether the panel was being paid and what was being reached.
Mr Shabane answered that the panel had been in place for the last three years and that it was appointed through a tender process. He added that until the Department had a permanent structure in place to perform this function, this approach would be followed.
The Chairperson asked when land had to be given back to a community and whether the Department made sure that communities knew the risks involved with CPAs. Secondly, she asked whether there was any continual guidance and assistance to CPAs and trusts.
Mr Shabane answered that the Department had a branch responsible for social facilitation and that the focus was to create land holding institutions more than community institutions. Furthermore, he hoped that through the Recapitalisation and Development programme, the Department would find a better way of dealing with land reform projects. The change in approach would lie especially in the fact that the government would gradually be phased out of the process and leave adequate skills in the communities.
Ms H Matlanyana (ANC) posed a question and raised comments in her vernacular language.
Ms Steyn asked whether capitalisation was going to be discussed at the meeting and Mr Shabane answered in the negative.
She also asked where the Pro-active Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) land fitted into the whole picture.
Mr Shabane answered that it fell under the Recapitalisation and Development Programme.
The Committee Secretary announced that the Committee’s oversight visit to Limpopo was declined by the Deputy Speaker, who said that such a visit should be undertaken in the following year.
The meeting was adjourned.
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