Select Committees' Joint Business Planning Session

NCOP Security and Justice

14 March 2011
Chairperson: Mr T Mofokeng (Free State, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The two Select Committees, on Security and Constitutional Development, and on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, held a joint Business Planning Session. The Content Advisor for the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs outlined its strategic plans, including an explanation of the purpose and strategic objectives of the plans, and the difference between strategic and operational plans. He also explained the legislative powers of the Committee. He indicated the strategic priorities of the two main departments that reported to the Committee, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), and highlighted the most important aspects of their operational plans, and how they in turn impacted on the operational plans of the Committee. He also explained how the Committee would exercise its monitoring and oversight, and emphasised the building of partnerships and collaboration to ensure cooperative governance. He also outlined the main features of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) that would affect the Committee, emphasising the need to contribute to job creation and bring down the vacancies in COGTA, while the DPSA would coordinate and facilitate job opportunities in the public service. This Committee would need to do ongoing project management, to build up systematic oversight, and would need to prioritise and track issues, as well as set up a mechanism to interrogate budgets and reports in a consistent way, investigate plans to improve service delivery and assess any shortfall. Members were not sure how the Committee would monitor. Members suggested that the Committee would also need to look into service delivery protests of 2010, and would need to play a role in monitoring the setting up and capacitation of new ward councils and committees, in development of uniform standards for indigent policies, and Local Economic Development, whilst also ensuring that communities participated in drawing Integrated Development Plans. Members noted that interventions should be at grassroots level, and that the Committee should focus not only on municipalities in trouble, but those who were achieving well. The African Peer Review Mechanism must also receive attention. Members thought that the departments must commit to the Committee’s requirements, and the role of the South African Local Government Association, and its role in the NCOP itself, must be clarified, while the role of cooperatives was also important. Members also agreed that oversight visits should be conducted to all nine provinces.

An overall strategic plan policy document and a draft Strategic Plan for 2011 to 2014 was then presented for the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development. The presenters emphasised that the two would be unified into one document. The first presentation outlined the strategic objectives of the NCOP and related these to the work of the Committee. The second presentation focused on the strategic plans for this Committee and detailed each of the strategic objectives and intended goals, linked to the mandate of the Committee, its functions and those of the departments that reported to it, and detailing also the entities over which it exercised oversight. Members commented that it was critical for the Committee to engage in the budgetary process, and also emphasised the need for the Select Committee to ensure that it received reports on international agreements in order that it could get briefings from the departments and ensure that the international obligations were being properly performed, as this had been problematic in the past. Members also noted that the departments in the Security cluster mostly were national departments, but there were still some provincial issues to be addressed, including staffing and levels, participation in committees and representation on specific provincial issues. Concerns were expressed about the need to interact properly with the Chapter 9 institutions, as this related directly to service delivery. Members stressed that Members should be put in a position to engage with annual reports at an earlier stage and discussed whether there should not be more room for provincial input. They asked that the role on international agreements must be included in the strategic plan of the Committee, and also raised concerns around matters linked to transformation of the security services in all provinces.

Meeting report

Chairpersons’ opening remarks
Co-Chairperson Mr M Mokgobi welcomed Members and informed them that the meeting was a joint business planning session for the two Committees.

Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Business Plan: Content Advisor’s briefing
Mr Nkosana Mfuku, Parliamentary Content Adviser for Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, noted that his presentation would focus on several areas, including the difference between strategic and operational plans, the legislative powers of the Committee, strategic priorities of the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), highlights of the operational plans of those departments and the strategic priorities of the Committee. He also would deal with the strategic priorities of the Committee, the 2011 operational plan of the Committee, the 2011 State of the Nation Address, strategic monitoring and oversight of departments’ operational plans, and the building of partnerships and collaboration.

Mr Mfuku noted that the Committee, to achieve optimal impact, must plan and implement oversight systematically. In order to do so, it must have a strategic plan and operational oversight agenda. The Operational Plan would be used as a guiding document over the 2011/12 financial year. The Strategic Plan provided a conceptual analysis, which was infused from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Strategic Plan.

The purpose and objective of the Strategic Plan was to provide guidance on the political mandate of the Committee over the next five years, and was drawn to cover 2009 to 2014. It would also provide a blueprint that defined the Committee’s strategic path in pursuit of the Fourth Parliament’s developmental agenda, and would highlight and indicate departmental policy instruments that must be monitored by the Committee in 2011/12.

Mr Mfuku noted the difference between the Strategic and Operational plans. The Strategic Plan focused more on determination of where an institution was headed over the next three to five years, so it involved an examination of where the institution was at present, where it wanted to go, and how to get there. On the other hand, the Operational Plan looked at how the work would be achieved, and the flow of work, from first input to end result. The Operational Plan was the basis and justification for the annual requests for operating budgets.

Mr Mfuku outlined the legislative powers of the Committee, which was empowered to perform oversight. Section 69 of the Constitution allowed the Committee to summon any person or institution to appear before it in order to give evidence, on oath or affirmation, or to produce a report or relevant documents to the Committee. The Committee was also empowered to receive petitions, representations or submissions from any interested person or institution.

He then detailed the strategic priorities of COGTA from 2009 to 2014, which included, in both provincial and local government, the building of a developmental state that was efficient, effective and responsive. COGTA aimed to strengthen accountability and clean government, to accelerate service delivery and to support the vulnerable. It further aimed to improve the developmental capability of the institution of traditional leadership, and to foster developmental partnerships, social cohesion and community mobilisation.

The strategic priorities of the DPSA from 2009 to 2014 revolved around the service delivery mechanisms that would ensure quality and access within an efficient environment, effective systems, structures and processes (including the provisioning of standard operating procedures), and a well functioning service through ICT connectivity at service delivery centres. It also aimed to facilitate effective entry into the public service through Human Resource Development (HRD) standards that would ensure cadre development, efficient human resources management practices that provided common norms and standards, and healthy and safe working environments for public servants. It also stressed appropriate delegations and decision making at government structures, adequate levels of transparency of administrative actions that ensured citizen engagement and public participation, effective tackling of corruption, and collaboration towards an improved public administration in Africa and the rest of the world.

He touched on the 2011/12 operational plan of COGTA, noting that it was characterised by a few new programmes and policy instruments. These included the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle to accelerate the provision of municipal infrastructure, the redirection of the infrastructure component of Siyenza Manje to the Department, a new grant that would assist in disaster relief and rehabilitation, and the establishment of offices across the country.

The 2011/12 operational plan of DPSA was distinguished by a special policy that focused on leading the process to finalise the debate on the Single Public Service. DPSA also noted the creation of a Special Anti-Corruption Unit, aimed to develop a strategy that would reduce the time taken to fill vacancies, to finalise the implementation of Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD), to implement an e-government prototype and to achieve ICT connectivity of Thusong Service Centres, schools and clinics. It further aimed to develop and implement a sustainable methodology to monitor compliance with signing of performance agreements.

The strategic priorities of the Select Committee were to process, scrutinise and pass legislation referred to it, to scrutinise and oversee executive action, to facilitate public participation in its processes, to consider international agreements referred to it, and to consider the budget vote of the reporting departments, COGTA and DPSA. The operational plan of the Committee for 2011/12 was focused mainly on ensuring intergovernmental checks and balances with regard to legislative and constitutional compliance, and holding joint oversight visits to identified municipalities to ensure that the Committee functioned systematically, rather than merely responding to crises. The Committee also aimed to contribute meaningfully to the quest for creating decent work and the implementation of intergovernmental programmes of support to the Institution of Traditional Leadership, to enable this to perform its constitutional mandate.

Mr Mfuku then outlined the main features of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) that would affect the Committee. The President had declared 2011 as the “year of job creation”, and called on both the public and the private sectors to contribute to the job creation drive that aimed to create five million jobs by 2020, bringing South Africa’s unemployment rate down to 15%. The Committee would have to monitor the filling of vacant positions by the departments, both to speed up service delivery and respond to the broad mandate of creating decent work. There were 307 vacancies in COGTA, of which 56 were at Senior Management Service (SMS) level, 60 at Middle Management Service (MMS) salary levels, and 191 below MMS salary level. Most of the vacancies were in Programme 1, which included administration. The DPSA would coordinate and facilitate the creation of job opportunities within the public services through the filling of all vacant positions.

Mr Mfuku noted that the Committee would need to do ongoing project management to build up a systematic basis of oversight over departments and their operational plans. The Committee, in order to make a significant impact, would need to prioritise and track issues. He suggested that when doing strategic monitoring and oversight of operational plans, the Committee should use a set mechanism to interrogate budget and annual reports, check whether every performance target that was specified in the Department’s strategic plan and the budget had been reported on, and assess the link between performance indicators in the Annual Report and the achievement of efficiency and effective service delivery. The Committee must also interrogate the plans for the Department to improve service delivery, assess explanations given for any failure to reach service delivery targets, consider the comments of the Auditor-General, and consider also what explanation might have been given for any under or over expenditure and the impact of this on service delivery.

Mr Mfuku concluded that the Committee was also responsible for enhancing the values of co-operative governance and must therefore forge strategic relationships and partnerships with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

He added that the Committee also had to consider International Agreements referred to it, which would support Government’s international relations obligations, in order to establish partnerships, and draw lessons that would enhance the work of the Committee.

Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) welcomed the presentation, but noted that he was not sure how the Committee would be monitoring both departments and specifically their role in contributing to job creation.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) also welcomed the work put into this presentation. He added that it would also be important for the Committee to look into service delivery protests during 2010. The Committee needed to play a strategic monitoring role over how the ward councils were being set up, and COGTA would need to brief the Committee on this. He also thought that service delivery to vulnerable groups was important for the Committee, and that one of the strategic monitoring devices must look to development of uniform standards for indigent polices in the municipalities. He thought that, in terms of job creation, the Committee must also pay attention to Local Economic Development (LED). He was not sure whether this was effective in the history of local government, but he knew that special vehicles for infrastructure roll-out were being created. The Committee could incorporate this into its strategic intent of co-ordinating matters of economic development.

Mr Nzimande also thought that working strategic relationships should be established between the Committee and municipalities, so that they were properly capacitated in anticipation of the turnover following the local government elections. He pointed out that there would be new councillors, and there were already indications from political parties that their lists were dominated by women, so he anticipated at least a 70% turnover. The Committee and COGTA would have to assist in building the capacity of those new councillors, and the Committee should monitor that plans were created, and proper processes were followed.  

Mr T Mofokeng (ANC, Free State) also welcomed the presentation, and fully agreed with Mr Nzimande’s comments on the areas where the Committee needed to intervene. However, he stressed that any interventions should be at grass-roots, and that the Committee should not only be reacting to a crisis and visiting municipalities in trouble, but should also balance this with identification of those municipalities that were performing well, highlighting their achievements, and assisting the weaker municipalities to learn lessons from the better-performing ones, to try to achieve stability in the communities.

Mr B Nesi (ANC, Eastern Cape) thanked Mr Mfuku for a good presentation. He noted that service delivery protests really indicated that people felt that councillors were failing them, but many councillors were in fact not capacitated to deal with issues raised by the protesters. He anticipated more, and stronger, protests against councillors since people would vent their anger against those closest to them. COGTA and the Committee therefore needed to focus on capacitating the ward committees, so that communities themselves were participating in the formulation of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and knew what the priorities should be. Currently, many IDPs were drawn by consultants rather than with community involvement.

Mr Nzimande added that the Committee also needed to strengthen the role of the Committee and DPSA, and decide what role the Committee should play on the continent and internationally. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process had been closed in January, had been a tool also used by civil society, but it was not certain what was included in this. The process related to accountability. That was one of the Committee’s strategic areas for performance monitoring and evaluation. The APRM could be accepted as best practice, or could be used for self-criticism in Africa, and the Committee needed to pay particular attention to it.

The Co-Chairperson stressed that the Committee must find a way to make the departments commit to the Committee’s requirements, in order to effect real changes on the ground. It was also very important that the issues raised should be factored through the departments and their entities, even if those entities did not report directly to the Committee, so that the Committee received full information and monitored the work. He stressed that there should also be a common approach to indigent policy, which was important in serving the needs of the poor, but was currently lacking. The role of COGTA in regulating indigent policy must be established and this should also be clearly included in the Committee’s strategic plans. The question of SALGA being a partner of the Committee needed to be debated further, since SALGA got its budget from Parliament and thus had to account to the Committee. However, the Committee should be asking what SALGA was doing, its role in promotion of municipalities and how SALGA could be assisted to claim its role in the NCOP.

The Co-Chairperson also believed that there needed to be a strategy for co-operatives, to sell this idea in municipalities, and this could be done through interaction with various departments, especially the Department of Economic Development.

He further emphasised that the Committee must commit to doing oversight visits to all nine provinces and check all municipalities, isolating the best and those who were struggling, to find out what was happening on the ground. He thought the strategic plan of the Committee must capture that approach.

Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development: Strategic Plan discussion document and draft Strategic Plan 2011 – 2014
Mr Gurshwyn Dixon, Committee Secretary, Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, started by emphasising that the NCOP’s strategic framework plan aimed to guide Select Committees in the political mandate of the NCOP, and to maximise their impact in realising the mandate of Parliament. The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development represented a people’s Parliament. For this reason, it strove to transform society by establishing and monitoring norms based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. It also provided a national forum for public consideration of provincial issues, including participation of South Africans in its processes, through education, information and its role as the voice of the people. This Select Committee co-operated with other spheres of government as it deepened and entrenched democratic values, laid foundations for working with continental and international bodies to create a participatory world order, share experiences and learn from each other. The Committee also had to pass effective legislation aimed at improving governance. It would scrutinise and oversee executive action, and improve the quality of life of South African people, whilst building a united and democratic South Africa.

Mr Dixon outlined the strategic objectives of the NCOP for the Fourth Parliament. It aimed to promote provincial interests and adherence by the three spheres of government to the principles of co-operative government and intergovernmental relations. It would follow up on the implementation of government priorities as identified for the three spheres of government. It would enhance public participation programmes through education, especially in rural areas, and create forums for public consideration of issues affecting provinces. It would initiate and implement programmes aimed at assisting the vulnerable groups of society, building a Parliament that was responsive to the needs of the electorate. All those NCOP institutional objectives influenced the work of the Committee, and these were borne in mind when the Committee developed its own strategic plan to achieve its constitutional and political mandates.

The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development oversaw the Departments of Police (SAPS), Correctional Services and its entities (DCS), Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) and its entities, Defence and Military Veterans (DDMV), and the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). Sections 68 and 69 of the Constitution stipulated that the Committee was mandated to scrutinise and pass legislation, oversee government action, facilitate public participation in Parliamentary processes, promote co-operative government and international participation, consider international agreements referred to it, consider the budgets of departments in its portfolio, monitor the implementation of legislation, enhance and capacitate Committee Members’ knowledge base; and adhere to the State of the Nation Address priorities and objectives.

Mr Dixon firstly dealt with the objective of scrutinising and passing legislation, including legislative amendments, and said that the Committee must facilitate the passage of legislation by promoting public participation through provincial hearings. The monitoring of implementation of that legislation was another important aspect. The strategic objective of overseeing government action was informed by taking briefings from the reporting departments, on their strategic plans, budgets and annual financial statements, by monitoring the implementation of their strategic plans and by promoting public participation. When considering the departments’ budgets, the Committee aimed to ensure that the departments were adequately funded to fulfil their constitutional mandates. The strategic objective of promoting co-operative government and international participation was based on the promotion of the concurrent competencies set out in sections 205 to 208 of the Constitution, and by attending international and regional conferences. The Committee, when considering international agreements, aimed to assist government with realising international obligations in terms of section 231 of the Constitution. The goal to enhance knowledge of Members and capacitate them aimed to ensure that Members performed more efficiently and effectively, and to allow them to be briefed by researchers on issues affecting the Committee and the departments.

Mr Dixon noted that the SONA priorities aimed to ensure that departments would comply with implementation of the SONA objectives, which, for 2011, concentrated on job creation, the fight against crime, enhancing the capacity and effectiveness of police, especially detective services, forensic analysts and crime intelligence, further reducing the proliferation of illegal and legal firearms, and encouraging courts to function better and lessen backlogs at district and regional levels, which were proceeding well. The SONA also prioritised crimes against women and children, and provision of support through the Thuthuzela Care Centres, work with communities and other stakeholders to deal with drug peddling and drug abuse which were tearing some communities apart.

Ms Patricia Whittle, Parliamentary Researcher, tabled the Committee’s Draft Strategic Plan for 2011-2014, which would be fused with the Strategic Plan Discussion Document just presented by Mr Dixon.

Ms Whittle briefly outlined the mandate of the Select Committee, outlining the various departments and entities that reported to the Committee. She stressed that this document was more detailed in explaining the core functions of the Committee, the departments and entities over which the Committee exercised oversight. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) all reported to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. The Legal Aid Board / Legal Aid South Africa had been created as a body independent of government, in terms of the Legal Aid Act, to ensure the separation between the prosecuting arm of government and the defence of those requiring State-funded legal assistance. The Office of the Public Protector (OPP) was a Chapter 9 institution that aimed to strengthen constitutional democracy, by fulfilling its mandate of investigation, either its own initiative or on receipt of complaints from aggrieved persons, allegations of maladministration in connection with affairs of any institution, improper unlawful enrichment or receipt of any improper advantage, abuse or unjustifiable exercise of power.

The Committee would be assisted in achieving its core objectives, by being provided with research, legal and administrative support. She outlined that the first core objective was the giving of input from provinces into the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports (BRRR) on departmental budget votes, for consideration by departments and National Treasury. In the past, there was some question about the roles of select committee in the consideration of annual reports and budgets. The new budgetary processes clarified that the Select Committee must give input into the final report of the Appropriations Committee, so that provincial interests were expressed and considered. The Select Committee must focus on this during the coming budget cycle.

The second objective was that the Committee should consider legislation of the departments reporting to it, after being referred by the National Assembly, within the stipulated time frames. The third objective was to facilitate provincial input into legislative and budget processes in Parliament. The fourth objective was to facilitate public participation in legislative and budget processes in Parliament. The fifth objective related to consideration of budgets, annual reports and strategic and annual performance plans of departments.

The sixth core objective was to interact with the departments and entities on their core mandates, as part of the Committee’s oversight. The seventh objective related to oversight visits to departments. Objective 8 was to provide feedback to the communities visited, in line with NCOP core objectives. Objective 9 was to initiate and prioritise efforts to assist vulnerable groups. Objective 10 was to prioritise fight against crime, by focusing on contact crime and violence against women and children. Those were also overlapping issues between the SAPS, DOJ and DCS.

Objective 11 related to victim support programmes. Objective 12 related to the fight against substance abuse and crime. Objective 13 was to strengthen community involvement in fighting crime, including through Community Police Forums (CPFs). Objective 14 was to strengthen relationships with the provincial legislatures. Objective 15 aimed to strengthen the relationship with the National Assembly. Objective 16 related to the strengthening of ties with civil society organisations. Objective 17 was to track responses to the Committee’s recommendations, resolutions and motions. Objective 18 was that oversight work should be informed by evidence-based research, looking at provincial profiles in order to identify problem areas. Objective 19 was to develop performance indicators for measuring impact of oversight work. Objective 20 was to improve planning and co-ordination of the work of government across all three spheres. Objective 21 was to follow up on implementation of government priorities.

Ms Whittle noted that some of the core objectives were also included already in the oversight function of the Committee.

The Chairperson welcomed the presentation.

Mr Nzimande also welcomed the presentation, but noted that there were some technical issues around how the Committee would perform its work.  Parliament was preparing for the critical work on budget processes, including the BRRR cycle, which expected Committees to perform certain activities. He also said that it was critical for the Committee to participate on outstanding agreements, and to receive reports timeously so that the departments could be requested to brief the Committee. South Africa had been criticised within the European and African Unions, because whilst it had been quick to become signatories to some agreements, its implementation of those agreements lagged behind and the Country reports were not always prepared on time. It was important for Parliament to take this seriously, since it ratified the agreements.

Mr Nzimande also referred to the issue of concurrent matters. The presentation had tried to emphasis the role of the Select committee in promoting provincial interests, as this was the mandate of the NCOP. This Select Committee included oversight over departments in the Security Cluster, and because they were National departments only, the question of representation in the provinces was not so important. However, there were still serious service delivery problems. For instance, no commissioners of the DCS had been seen for the past two years. He hoped that the DPSA would also be able to explain how the interests of the national Department of Justice were represented in the provinces. In the past there were provincial deputy directors, who were ranked in a certain way in the civil service. It would be quite interesting, when the Committee did oversight, to check who were the heads of justice at provincial level, at what level they were placed and whether they attended meetings, to enable the Committee to manage provincial service delivery issues and create a platform for matters to be brought to the attention of the Committee.

Mr Nzimande also raised a concern about the Chapter 9 institutions, such as the South African Human Rights Commission, and the Public Protector. It was important that there must also be interaction with these institutions, as this related to service delivery. For instance, the Committee had learnt, from the ICD, that ICD should be visible in and render services in all communities. It was important also that the Committee should partner strategically with other institutions to do oversight on their budgets and strategic plans. He hoped that the two strategic plan documents presented would be fused together in a final document that explained the core activities of the Committee.

Mr Matila also welcomed both presentations, and agreed that the two documents must be fused into one. The operational plans and quarterly programmes would speak to specific issues. It was also important that the Committee must be provided with annual reports and engage with them sooner, to be able to gauge the performance of departments. The question was also how space could be provided for provincial inputs, so it was important for the Committee to consult with the provinces so that they in turn could indicate weaknesses and advantages, and issues of importance for reaching specific goals highlighted in both presentations.

Mr Mokgobi had concerns around the Study Tours. The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional development played a vital role in security matters in the country. He asked how the Committee’s role in international agreements could be put into the strategic plan, so that its objectives would be realised.

Mr Nesi agreed with everything that was discussed. However, he had additional concerns around letters and complaints related to police in the Eastern Cape, which in turn related to transformation in the security forces. He asked the Committee how it could make sure that the relevant departments dealt with the issue of transformation in the security forces, and whether it could push for establishment of a structure dealing with transformation. This related not only to changing faces and colour of staff, but was crucial for improving security in the region and continent. These issues should be addressed not only in Eastern Cape, but in all provinces during oversight.

The Chairperson thanked the presenters and Members. He hoped that common understandings wee reached, and that both Committees would be effective.

The meeting was adjourned.


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