Redetermination of the Boundaries of Cross-Boundary Municipalities Bill: voting; Address by the Minister

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

30 October 2000
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
31 0ctober 2000
REDETERMINATION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES BILL: VOTING; ADDRESS BY MINISTER

Documents handed out:
Redetermination of the Boundaries of Cross-Boundary Municipalities Bill [B69-2000]

Chairperson: Mr Y I Carrim

SUMMARY
The Committee voted unanimously in favour of the Bill without amendments. Minister Mufamadi thanked the committee for their co-operation in providing the necessary framework for the transition of local government. He emphasised that the new system of local government is highly complex. The Minister asked the committee to assist him in stabilising the new municipalities as they have the best insight into how the system of local government works. He noted that municipality facilitation committees have been established to provide assistance to new municipalities during and after elections.

Upcoming legislation in early 2001 will be the Property Rates Bill, the Bill establishing the Section 185 constitutional commission and the Municipal Finance Management Bill.
The committee's first meeting will probably be on 2 February 2001.

MINUTES
Redetermination of the Boundaries of Cross-Boundary Municipalities Bill
The meeting commenced with the Chair putting the Bill before the committee.
Initially the voting took place clause by clause and thereafter the Bill was voted on as a whole. The committee was unanimous in accepting the Bill.

Committee Programme 2001
The Chair informed the committee that they would be dealing with the Property Rates Bill and the Bill establishing the Section 185 constitutional commission [Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities] in late February 2001. He added that they would most probably also be working closely with the Finance Portfolio Committee on the Municipal Finance Management Bill as well.

Address by Minister Sydney Mufamadi
The Minister made a courtesy call to the committee before the members departed to their constituencies to assist with the local elections The Minister thanked the committee for their co-operation in providing the necessary framework for the transition of local government. There had been extreme pressure over the last few months to finalise the Municipal Systems Bill and the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill.

He emphasised that the new system of local government is highly complex and that it will only succeed if the relevant persons are able to operate it. The Department has looked at developing a structure of support for local government. They have established municipality facilitation committees in order to provide assistance during and after the elections to new municipalities. The Minister asked the committee to assist him in stabilising the new municipalities as they have the best insight into how the system of local government works.

Discussion
The Chair acknowledged that South Africa's system of local government seems to be the most complex in the world as compared to other systems he has come across in his travels abroad.

Mr Marais (ANC) asked about the activity of the facilitation committees.

The Minister answered that in the Free State local government is actively involved with facilitation committees. He added that this is the trend throughout South Africa, only the degree of interaction varies.

Mr Bhabha (ANC, Mphumalanga) stated that from a practitioner's point of view, the transition of local government is seen as an event and not as a process. The perception is that it is a once off thing and that everything would fall into place. Mr Bhabha emphasised the need for allowances to be made for the process to develop organically.

Minister Mufamadi agreed with Mr Bhabha that the process is an ongoing one. He stated that one of the reasons for weaknesses in local government, is the lack of support for systems of local government. The Minister stressed that the capacities of municipalities should be assessed before even deciding on what their functions should be. He informed members that a committee had been established to work out the cost implications of establishing the new municipalities. A report on that committee's findings would be submitted to Cabinet shortly.

The Chair thanked the Minister for addressing the committee. The committee will most probably next meet on the 2 February 2001.

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