The Deputy Minister acknowledged that the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Sicelo Shiceka, was on special leave while being investigated by the Public Protector as requested by Parliament’s Ethics Joint Standing Committee. He reported that the work of the Ministry and Department was up to date, as well as the preparations for elections.
The Department of Traditional Affairs presented its Strategic Plan to the Committee. An important highlight of the plan was the decision to legislate initiation and traditional circumcision practices. The Department was aiming at producing a policy framework by September 2011 and to develop a Bill by 2012. The Department also wanted to co-produce a documentary film to put the traditional practice of ukuthwala, tshobediso or marriage by abduction into perspective.
Another strategic goal was to bring the traditional leadership of the Khoi-San into the mainstream of Traditional Leadership structures. It was planning to institute an information system to be used by traditional leaders to record and archive genealogies in traditional communities in order to prevent succession disputes.
Members asked why the Khoi-San were not included in the traditional governance structures in the first place. Members asked whether the Ministry for Women and organisations that worked with abused women and children had been consulted on the Department of Traditional Affairs’ plans with ukuthwala.
The Strategic Plan of the Department of Cooperative Governance contained six programmes. Programme I was Administration and the Department was going to implement an anti-corruption strategy in March 2012. Programme 2 was policy research and knowledge and under this programme the Department was assessing the ICT capabilities of the poorest municipalities. Programme 3 was Governance and Intergovernmental relationships and under this programme, the Department wanted to implement the Community Development Workers Programme (CDWP) Policy Framework by 10 March 2012 in 10% of identified municipalities. Programme 4 was the National Disaster Management Centre and one of its targets was that 40 centres had to be established by 31 March 2012. Programme 5 was Provincial and Municipal Government Support and one of its targets was that critical posts would be filled by competent staff in 70 municipalities. Programme 6 was Infrastructure and Economic Development and under this programme the Department would support the distribution of basic water services to 96% of households.
Members asked from when the Corruption Inspectorate (Programme 1) would it be operational, who would decide what was investigated, what skills would the personnel possess, how would it interact with other law enforcement agencies and would it have credibility, as it would seem the Department was investigating itself.
Before presenting its Annual Performance Plan, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) looked at its achievements in 2010 in terms of municipal service delivery, social cohesion, economic development, labour relations, municipal governance and inter-governmental relations, capacity building and institutional development, climate change response, and internal capacity and corporate governance. The SALGA Annual Performance Plan 2011/12 was aligned to the Delivery Agreement of the Minister. Its ten priorities and their outcomes were outlined. For each priority, five targets had been set and these were explained. Finally, its role in the local government elections was discussed. SALGA had developed a Transition Management Framework to support municipalities through the this period: both pre, during and post election. A detailed explanation of the 2011 Councillor Induction Programme was provided. The SALGA budget and its constraints were explained.
The Committee asked if it was part of induction to show new councillors what the audit opinion of their municipality was, so that incoming councillors knew the financial status. Members asked on what basis a city could withdraw from a national structure for local government such as SALGA. A special session was suggested to discuss SALGA’s funding conundrum. SALGA was criticised for not communicating sufficiently about its challenges.
The Chairperson welcomed everybody and gave the floor to the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Yunus Carrim.
Deputy Minister comments
Deputy Minister Carrim said that everyone was aware of the issues around the Minister, through the media. He said that the Acting Minister, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister and the Department were working on a response to the Public Protector. The Joint Ethics Standing Committee had referred the matter to the Public Protector and she had indicated that she would pursue the matter. [The Minister was under investigation by the Public Protector after being accused of abuse of public funds.] The presidential spokesperson had said that the President was aware of the situation, and took it very seriously. The President was expecting a reply from the Minister concerning these allegations and he, the Acting Minister and the Department was working on that response as well. The Minister was on special leave and he was meant to rest and recuperate. He was relieved of all work responsibilities until he was fully functional and able to work again. The Ministry supported the fact that he had to be given the space to recuperate and accepted that some of the issues would only be fully addressed once he was able to work again.
As far as the work of Department was concerned, everything was on course. The Chairperson would be aware that the Ministry and Department had fulfilled all its obligations with regards to the elections. The Municipal Property Rates Bill was taken through the Governance and Administration Cabinet Committee last week and would be up for consideration by Cabinet on 20 April 2011. With the Municipal Interventions Bill, the Department was unlikely to meet the June deadline, as it was still consulting with stakeholders. With the Traditional Leadership and Governance Bill the Department was following the Discussion Document route. The National House of Traditional Leaders was to be consulted during April 2011. The Deputy Minister and the Acting Minister were going to attend. The Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims, which dealt with challenges around who was a legitimate traditional leader or not, was on course. The Commission had been in the Western Cape already. Everything was on course and Parliament would be the final judge.
The Chairperson said that he was in touch with the Chairperson of the Joint Ethics Standing Committee who had sent a request to the Public Protector for review and consideration. He would keep the Portfolio Committee posted with regards to developments. He would speak to both chairpersons of the Ethics Joint Standing Committee, Mr Turok (NA) and Mr Mashile (NCOP), regarding the issue and all would cooperate towards its resolution.
Strategic Plan presentation by the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA)
Dr Masenjana Sibanda, Deputy Director General, Department of Traditional Affairs, outlined in broad strokes its strategic plan (see the documentation for details.) A few issues stood out on the Department’s agenda.
The first issue was initiation. In recent times there had been waves of botched initiation procedures, where young men were mutilated or died as a result of infections sustained during circumcisions. The Department was aiming at producing a policy framework by September 2011 and to develop a Bill by 2012.
Another traditional practice that needed closer scrutiny in terms of how it was seen, was ukuthwala / tshobediso or marriage by abduction. It was one of the sources of marriage in traditional society. Recently there was an episode on Third Degree on TV, dealing with this issue. Dr Sibanda felt that the programme misrepresented the practice of tshobediso as practiced in the correct traditional way. What the programme depicted was situations where twelve-year-old girls were abducted and forced into marriage. Tsobediso as a traditional practice had principles and safeguards. As a result of this programme the Department was working with the television serial commission on the production of a video to counter the way Third Degree depicted the custom of ukuthwala and to put it in its proper perspective.
One of the strategic goals of the Department was to improve the developmental and governance capacity of traditional affairs, the institution of traditional leadership and to strengthen the Khoi-San leadership. Strategic Objective 3 stated that an advisory council on Khoi-San matters would be established in 2011/12. The council would vet traditional leaders for their credentials. By 2012/13, Khoi-San traditional structures had to participate in all spheres of government.
Strategic Objective 6 dealt with the establishment of Information Management Systems for the different levels of traditional leadership. It would be designed by 2011/12, developed by 2012/13 and piloted by 2013/14. Strategic Objective 6 also dealt with starting to use a software system called ‘My Heritage’ to record genealogies in traditional communities to prevent succession disputes.
Draft legislation to be tabled within the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2011-14 dealt with initiation, ukuthwala. Other policy initiatives to be concluded by the end of 2014:
- Policy on the mainstreaming of the Khoi-San Indigenous Knowledge Systems;
- A Discussion Document on Unity in Diversity; and
- Useful Guidelines on the Definition of Royal family.
The DTA would be allocated R22 million in 2011/12, R23 million in 2011/12 and R24.5 million in 2013/14.
The Chairperson asked what Dr Sibanda’s understanding was now that he worked with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. The DG said that areas of overlap existed between the Department of Traditional Affairs and the CRL Commission. Some interaction would have made it clear either way. He asked whether the allocation the DTA gave the Commission was adequate for it to function.
Dr Sibanda replied that there were overlaps with the CRLC. The CRLC dealt with advocacy work only. The DTA came up with the policy and the legislation. For example with the work on ukuthwala, the role of the CRL Commission was to do advocacy work in their drive to protect vulnerable groupings. He did not see overlaps, just complementary roles.
The Chairperson said that the question was misunderstood. The CRLC complained that it was underfunded. The DG said that the budget overlapped with the SA Language Board. There was no clear differentiation of duties, causing funding problems to arise. The question was: ’Was the funding adequate for the tasks the CRLC had to do?’
Dr Sibanda replied that from the meetings held with the CRLC, their budget only slightly increased. Government only paid salaries to the CRLC, it did not pay for their programmes.
The Chairperson asked why this organisation had to exist.
Dr Sibanda replied that the DTA gave CRL three million rand in 2010. Treasury gave them less and less money. He thought that in future the CRLC had to go to Treasury together with the backing of the Committee and the Department of CoGTA to argue for a more favourable budget allocation.
The Chairperson said that Dr Sibanda knew that there was a problem, but he did not put it in his presentation. So the Committee would be under the impression that the CRLC was lying, because the DTA did not report on the CRLC’s problem in its presentation. This was why the Committee wanted an evaluation presentation of the activities of departments and their subsidiary entities instead of just statements. Departments had to report on progress made and how challenges were handled.
The Deputy Minister said that when it came to statutory bodies, Parliament and CoGTA had to cooperate. The issue was not only whether they had enough money, but also what they were doing. As the executive authority, the Ministry and the Committee had some degree of oversight over them, but it was limited because the CRLC was a Chapter 9 Institution. Parliament was relied upon to subject them to scrutiny. His personal view was that it was supposed to do more, even with the limited budget, than what it was doing currently. In the Speaker’s Office, it was debated whether certain commissions were supposed to exist independently. There were suggestions that it had to merge with the Human Rights Commission. At the dawn of democracy, minority groups were insecure and unsure of their place in South Africa. The time had lapsed for some of these commissions, because the context in which they had been set up, had changed.
The Chairperson agreed that it was necessary to review the necessity for some of these structures and whether their current formats were suitable. The process of rationalising institutions had to be speeded up. Parliament could not create institutions, and then kill them by not funding them. This practice was frustrating the professionals who were employed there. The Committee had to make some recommendations in this regard.
The Deputy Minister said that over the years he had sat in the Chairperson’s position, asking the same questions. As Government, Ministers were dependant on Parliament. It would help if the Committee could make recommendations that said to Treasury to either fund the commission or rationalise it, but the current situation was untenable
The Chairperson asked whether the DTA was the right institution to deal with initiation, which was essentially a health issue. He asked whether the Department of Health was not better placed to deal with this issue.
The Chairperson asked who the DTA was working with on the issue of ukuthwala. Dr Sibanda correctly identified it as one form of marriage amongst others like civil partnerships, Muslim marriage, same sex marriage etc. Why did DTA have to deal with it and not the Department of Home Affairs (DHA)? It would be a neater law process, if all law dealing with marriage rested with DHA.
Dr Sibanda replied that the DTA was not working on the ukuthwala issue alone. The DTA have been liaising with the DHA and the Department of Justice (DoJ). Legislation dealing with marriage rested with the DHA. The DTA had developed a Discussion Document, took it to the DHA and said that the legislation needed to be amended to cater for this particular source of marriage. The DTA had collaborated on this issue with the CRLC, DoJ, DHA, Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Social Development.
The DoJ and DHA had brought the DTA’s proposals into the amendment on the law for customary law marriages. The DTA worked with the relevant Government Departments in order to amend laws in order to accommodate traditional practices.
Ms Nhlengethwa asked whether the DTA had consulted with non-government orgnasiations that worked with abused women and children, about ukuthwala. Were the DTA consulting with the Women’s Ministry, which was very vocal about the issue of ukuthwala, as well as the Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities?
Dr Sibanda replied that the DTA had consulted with the Ministry for Women, but not the Committee for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
The Chairperson said that he did not buy the propaganda that the Khoi-San had been excluded from the House of Traditional Leaders during the past 16 years. He said that Dr Sibanda had yielded to the call for them to be treated separately. The Khoi-San was as traditional as the Xhosa and Zulu. It was not a generic description only of ‘certain others’. They were always included according to the Constitution, but in practice not. This was a problem. They wanted to be included expressly as Khoi-San and not just as ‘other traditional communities’.
Dr Sibanda replied that no South African was excluded in the Constitution, in terms of the Bill of Rights. The complaint from the Khoi-San was that they wanted recognition of indigenous status in terms of UN instruments.
Dr Sibanda asked who was and who was not indigenous? Everybody in South Africa was an indigenous person. If only the Khoi-San was indigenous, then everyone else were colonialists and imperialists. CoGTA had done everything to bring the Khoi-San on board. They were being brought on board in terms of the Framework Act.
The Chairperson said that Dr Sibanda was yielding to propaganda from the UN. They were treating South Africa like other countries where there was a separate regime for indigenous people. In South Africa everybody had the same status. He did not understand why the Khoi-San were not included in the first place in the House of Traditional Leaders? Dr Sibanda talked about traditional communities as well as the Khoi-San, meaning they were not a traditional community. It was important to be aware of the language used. For example Madiba was Khoi! The UN wanted to treat all countries the same. Some were seen as indigenous and some not. This was UN propaganda.
The Deputy Minister said that in 2004, when Parliament processed the Traditional Leadership and Government Framework Act (TLGFA), the same question was asked. “Why was the Khoi-San not included in the TLGFA?” The Chairperson and the Deputy Minister was in the committee dealing with the National House of Traditional Leaders. The Deputy Minister said that he was not aware of this issue before, but it arose then. Parliament and Government had to be open and frank about the fact that there was resistance from both sides, from those who constituted the traditional house then, and from Khoi-San leaders. In 2004 the Khoi-San leaders met with the ANC Study Group. Sydney Mafumadi was the Minister then. The Tsivendas were there, why were the Khoi-San not there? The mood was not right then, but this was being addressed currently. The Khoi-San were not seen as a First Nation and treated as such in South Africa. It may or may not apply to other developing countries on the continent, but not to South Africa.
The Chairperson said that he had met the UN representative dealing with this issue and he asked why it was necessary for the Khoi-San to have special status if they were included in and protected by the Constitution.
Dr Sibanda replied that the DTA and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) would be going to New York to attend the UN Forum that dealt with this issue. This discussion would inform the DTA’s future communications with the UN Forum. DIRCO said that the Khoi-San people had attended this forum alone previously and they gave a slanted view of what was happening in South Africa. It was time for government to tell its side of the story.
The Chairperson said that Dr Sibanda had mentioned that the DTA wanted to build research capacity at a district level. Traditional Communities also lived within municipal boundaries, because the whole country was divided up into municipalities. There were no areas in the country that fell exclusively under traditional rule. When municipalities compiled data for the areas under their jurisdiction, traditional communities were included. He could not see how traditional communities could have a different profile from the municipal area in which it was situated. Municipalities complained about outdated information. He did not know whether the DTA had to develop the capacity or whether the DTA had to work with others, like local authorities, to do it.
Mr J Matshoba (ANC) referred to the Black Administration Act of 1927 and the Black Authorities Act of 1951 and said that the DTA was grappling with disputes about who was of royal blood and who not. When one asked “Who is a chief?”, there were no disputes. One had to start with the problem at the bottom and work up instead of starting at the top and working down.
Mr Matshoba said that in Butterworth some people said that they did not want to be ruled by chiefs. They were forced by traditional councils. People had to be free to decide whether they wanted to be ruled by a chief and traditional councils or not. Why were traditional laws being made while the people were indicating that they did not want to be ruled by chiefs and traditional councils?
There were two acts that governed Black Administration. The Black Administration Act of 1927 and the Black Authorities Act of 1951.These laws were repealed except for two clauses that dealt with the role of traditional leaders in the administration of traditional justice. These clauses were suspended pending the promulgation of the Traditional Courts Bill. Once this Bill was promulgated, these two clauses would fall away.
The Chairperson said that the TLGFA had been accused of retrogression, by legal experts, because of definitions that it introduced regarding traditional leadership. It had to be verified that the TLGFA did not have a disempowering effect on the people it sought to empower. He asked Dr Sibanda to have a look at it and if the Committee could do something about it, it would. The Chairperson had been working with people in the Department of Rural Development as well as the DoJ on this particular issue.
Mr Matsoba said that the scope of the DTA was too broad. When dealing with roads etc, this became the jurisdiction of Public Works.
Ms Nhlengethwa expected a programme to roll out the partnerships with Education etc that the DTA planned for in its Strategic Plan, which was absent.
Ms Nhlengethwa said that in the financial part of the Plan, she was not comfortable with the timeframes. DTA said that it would be doing assessment on the state of governance in the seven provinces for a year. She thought it took too long to develop the monitoring tool, because implementation would only happen in the second year. The process was too slow.
Dr Sibanda said that the DTA would re-look at the time-frames.
Dr Sibanda replied that he was aware that the data existed on a wall to wall basis. He said that CoGTA collected a lot of data that could be utilised to understand what was happening, because the amaKhosi and their communities existed within that local government framework. Research capacity needed to be strengthened in order to collect and update data at a local level.
Ms D Nhlengethwa said that there were 64 posts. How many were funded for this financial year?
The Chairperson asked how many funded posts there were and why 30 posts were not filled.
Dr Sibanda replied that he would have to come back to the Committee on the posts situation.
The discussion on the strategic plan of DTA was concluded.
Strategic Plan Presentation by the Department of Cooperative Governance
Mr Elroy Africa, Director General, Department of Cooperative Governance said that the Minister had signed a performance agreement with the President. This had been translated into a delivery agreement between the Minister and MECs and MECs had subsequently signed delivery agreements with mayors in their provinces. These agreements directly informed how the department approached the work that it set out for the year.
The document was a revised strategic plan as well as a one-year business plan for the department. The third part of the document included budget estimates for the Department over the next three years.
The Strategic Plan contained six programmes. Programme I was Administration and the Department was going to implement an anti-corruption strategy in March 2012.Programme 2 was policy research and knowledge and under this programme the Department was assessing the ICT capabilities of the poorest municipalities. Programme 3 was Governance and Intergovernmental relationships and under this programme, the Department wanted to implement the Community Development Workers Programme (CDWP) Policy Framework by 10 March 2012 in 10% of identified municipalities. Programme 4 was the National Disaster Management Centre and under this programme, 40 centres had to be established by 31 March 2012.Programme 5 was Provincial and Municipal Government Support and under this programme critical posts would be filled by competent staff in 70 municipalities. Programme 6 was infrastructure and Economic Development and under this programme the Department would support the distribution of basic water services to 96% of households.
The Chairperson said that when Members responded to a presentation, they had to acknowledge what worked well, before criticising.
Ms Nhlengethwa said that her question emanated from an oversight trip that the Committee undertook to the Northern Cape after the parts along the Orange River were flooded. Programme 4, was the National Disaster Management Plan. She was glad for the increase in the budget allocation for Programme 5, but in the light of the distress caused by the floods, the response from national government was very slow. She wanted to check whether there would be an improvement, should something like that happen again.
Ms Lerato Thwane, Executive Manager Finance, said that the R 725 million for the Disaster Relief Branch was responsible for the first phase of relief. It was not meant for recovery and rehabilitation. Disaster Management was given R600 million for the recovery and rehabilitation process in the areas that flooded. This amount was in the National Treasury Budget Vote. The problem was how to assess the amount. Because the municipalities quoted inflated amounts, the Department recruited professional service providers (PSPs) to assess the damages on site and verify the quotations given by the municipalities. There were three stages to this process. Immediately after the disaster happened, there was a preliminary assessment. Then an on site assessment was done. Then the PSPs would give Disaster Management a verified accurate cost estimation of the damages. Four PSPs would conduct the verification process in eight affected provinces and 33 municipalities. On the 26 May 2011 the department would receive a draft report from the PSPs and would be submitting an application for funding to National Treasury. The access to the R600 million for recovery was based on this report. This process had been completed in eight municipalities. The Department had drafted a proposed allocation to the provinces. Last week letters were written to the Premiers to indicate to the Minister how they were going to spend the allocation. During the inter-ministerial meetings, three key areas were identified for repairs. This money was used to repair schools, roads and bridges as well as houses. Water Affairs funded the repairs to water supply infrastructure. The Department of Agriculture funded repairs to agricultural infrastructure.
Ms Thwane replied that the response was delayed because sector departments were supposed to have disaster management capacity at a local as well as provincial level, but they did not have. The Department recommended to the inter-ministerial meetings that sector departments had to capacitate themselves to respond to disasters, so that the national department had equipped people on the ground to liaise and coordinate with. Sector departments also had to submit disaster management plans. Thus far only Agriculture had submitted a disaster management plan. The Department also requested the sectors to submit response plans, which it had not received yet. Some departments had indicated how they intervened during the most recent disasters.
In terms of immediate relief, disaster management did well. The people were evacuated on time, they were given food parcels and shelter. The second phase, recovery and rehabilitation, was delayed because the national department needed sector departments to be part of it. Sector departments had no plan or budget for disaster management, and that was the problem.
The Chairperson said that he was really unhappy with the Disaster Management part of the performance of the Department. When the Act was promulgated (Disaster Management Act No 57 of 2002), the deadlines were given for disaster management centres to be built. The Committee was supposed to ask the DG why each district in the country still did not have a disaster management centre as the law required. The DG did not give any reasons for the delay in the implementation of the law. What problems in the Department had led to this delay?
Ms M Seqale-Deswai (ANC) said that one had to appreciate what DCoG did with the municipalities that had been flooded. The Department had sent officials to go and re-enforce municipalities. What she observed during the oversight visit to the flooded areas was that the informal settlements were the hardest hit. What did the DCoG do to ensure that people did not build informal settlements on flood plains of rivers or on banks of dams and reservoirs?
Ms Thwane replied that it was the responsibility of the municipality to make sure that people did not settle on flood plains of rivers or other areas prone to flooding. They needed to be evacuated immediately. The disaster management centres at a municipal level needed to advocate and educate people about high risk activities, but in most cases there were no disaster management centres and where they existed, there was no capacity for education and advocacy. Often the head of the centre was a traffic officer doing public safety and disaster management at the same time. SALGA had done a study on disaster management capacity at a municipal level and would be able to elaborate more. Municipalities complained that they had identified projects and put it forward as part of the Integrated Development Plan, but after approval, their projects were no longer part of the plan.
Ms Seqale-Deswai noticed that the top management and the delegation to Parliament were male. What was done about female representation? Women were good enough to act in the role, but not good enough to be appointed in the position.
Mr Africa replied regarding the female representation in the organisation. At the level of DDG there was one female, the Chief Operating Officer, Dr Sebego. There were two other vacant DDG posts and the Department was trying its best to bring women on board there. From the level of Director upwards, the female representation was at least 40%.
A DCoG official gave the breakdown of employees in the Department. 53 out of 103 employees were women and there were 50 men, so the ratio was better than 50/50.
The DG said that in the National Disaster Management Centre, there was a new organogram. Two women were brought in at senior management level. They were Chief Directors.
The Chairperson asked what the highest post was for Disaster Management.
The DG replied that it was Deputy Director General and it was not filled. The Provincial and Local Government Support position was vacant as well. The CEO was acting in that position.
Mr J Lorrimer (DA) referred to page 20 on Programme 6. It said “Support the distribution of basic water services” and “Facilitate access to a basic level of sanitation“. He said that the deliverables looked ambitious and asked what ‘support and facilitate’ meant in that context.
Mr Ricardo Hansby, Deputy Director-General of Infrastructure and Economic Developments, DCoG, explained what was meant by facilitation and support. It had to be seen against the backdrop, as the DG said, that the Department itself was not always the primary implementer of many of these functions, when it came to water, sanitation, electrification etc. Disaster management only supported the line functions or sector departments in doing their work. In many cases municipalities themselves were responsible. It started with planning. Planning in general was about how best to facilitate access to basic services. The Department took it one step further, going to project level, to coordinate all relevant service providers in order to have an integrated approach to Human Settlements. It was also the Department’s function to remove blockages like non-cooperation by structures or service providers when it prevented municipalities from delivering services like water, sanitation, etc. It was about facilitation, but also about problem solving and being pro-active.
Mr Lorrimer asked for an explanation of ‘ward based cooperatives’.
Mr Hansby replied that cooperatives or social enterprises were a key part of the New Growth Path (NGP). Before the advent of the NGP, the Department started its own programme. The ward itself was a good platform to mobilize people, giving rise to ward-based cooperatives. It tied it to funding and opportunities.
Mr Lorrimer asked what Private-Public Procurement Managers Forums were (Programme 6, page 22,
Mr Hansby said that many institutions, including the World Bank, found that public procurement stimulated entrepreneurship and local production. It was important that government as well as big companies procured locally, so that the money stayed in that area, strengthening what was there. So those who procured on behalf of Government and big established business had to apply their minds and think what could be produced and procured locally.
Mr Lorrimer referred to the Corruption Inspectorate (Programme 1). From when would it be operational? Who would decide what was investigated? What kind of skills would the personnel possess? How would it interact with other law enforcement agencies? Would it have credibility, as it would seem that the Department would be investigating itself?
Mr Muthotho Sigidi, DDG: Governance and Inter-Governmental Relations, DcoG, replied that the Inspectorate rested on four pillars: prevention, detection, investigation and response. Currently the Department only did prevention. It was not equipped to do detection, investigation or response. The unit would bring the detection and investigation on board. It would work with the State Investigating Unit (SIU). When something had been detected and investigated, the department needed the capacity to respond to the issues investigated. How would one implement the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill which had been approved the last week, without these capacities? With the skills coming in, the Inspectorate would be able to execute the four pillars.
Ms M Wenger (DA) asked how the percentages were attained in Programme 3 and which municipalities were the ones in question here?
Ms W Nelson asked what criterion was going to be used to identify those percentages in Programme 3.
Mr Sigidi said regarding the percentages used, especially the municipal public accounts committees, that he was aware of the focus on 28 municipalities. Those municipalities would be chosen using a differentiated approach which divided municipalities into categories called b4, b3, b2, b1, and metros. How did they deal with percentages? Some provinces said that they could not establish municipal public accounts committees, because of the oversight committees that existed. Other municipalities had seven councillors. The guidelines said that in instances like those a differentiated approached had to be used.
Ms Nelson asked what the difference was between the development agencies and advisory councils? To her they seemed to be the same.
Mr Sigidi said government agencies had a problem of identifying and unlocking economic opportunities. This was an alternative approach to the same process. There was a lot of mistrust between government and the private sector. It hindered job creation. The Department needed to bring the captains of industry, commerce, agriculture and mining together. Government agencies were useless at identifying business opportunities. It needed an entrepreneurial mind to identify business opportunities at local level. There was no plan to displace the agencies, but input was needed from business side. Agencies were part of this process.
The Chairperson said that locally produced produce made the carbon footprint smaller so local manufacturing everywhere in the country would reduce the carbon footprint of the country.
Ms Nelson said that smaller municipalities did not have technical skills. Was there anything specific to address the technical skills shortage in smaller municipalities?
Ms Nelson said that in the North West, most municipalities had not submitted financial statements. Yet, many municipalities had staff seconded to them by the national department. She asked whether it was possible to see which municipalities had staff seconded to them, but still did not submit financial statements.
Mr Matshoba made a comment about disaster management and Programme 3 [inaudible].
Ms Nhlengethwa said that the previous week there was a local government’s summit in the area in which she did oversight. Seven municipalities in the district came together and some of them had been affected by service delivery protests. In their presentations they indicated that there were good improvements in service delivery. She was disturbed by what Ms Nelson said that some municipalities showed no improvement after staff was seconded to them. She asked the DG to request a detailed report to see whether the departmental interventions had an effect on service delivery.
Mr Ongama Mahlawe, Head of the Special Vehicle Programme DCoG, replied that the main motivation for the establishment of the special vehicle was to support smaller, lower capacity municipalities. The municipality was helped by the provision of technical skills, but also by second leg support, capacity building. By the time the seconded staff left, the local staff had acquired the skill.
The Chairperson said that it was useful that the questions and comments by the Members were based on practical work experiences. He liked the job creation focus. He believed that each programme had a job creation possibility. The Department referred to a new mandate. For a department to carry out its functioning, it had to be fully staffed.
The Chairperson wanted to talk about public participation. Municipalities were fixed on ward committees, while there were other forms of public participation forums that were not ward committee based, but were as valid as any other form. Was the bias justified? What about other forms of participation? Social networking played an important role in the way in which modern people communicated. The speed with which departments could respond was important. It was another way of soliciting support or getting feedback. What were the views of the Department on this issue?
The Chairperson asked whether the Department did not have any financial obligation towards the UCLGA programme, such as membership/joining fees, although South Africa did not host it.
The Deputy Minister explained that a South African delegation had gone to the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) conference last week. The current office of the UCLGA that used to be based in Tshwane, was based in Botswana. Its headquarters was in Rabat, Morocco. Any organisation which had its HQ in Morocco, was not recognised by the AU, because the AU did not recognise Morocco. There was a process underway to unite the two and have one UCLGA. Until there was clarity on its future, in terms of the PFMA, South Africa was not at liberty to pay the money. He would engage more with the Chairperson on this issue outside of the meeting.
The Chairperson said that the DG should have situated the strategic plan within the context of the reasons for the service delivery protests. An ad hoc parliamentary committee had been set up to address certain issues that lead to service delivery protests. The way in which the report was structured, did not make it easy to see how the strategic plan responded to the burning issues on the ground that caused service delivery protests. It also had to address the issues raised in the Budget Review Recommendation Reports. It had to report on the progress on issues the Ad Hoc Committee on Coordinated Oversight on Service Delivery had addressed. The report had to be evaluative.
Ms Nhlengethwa asked whether the new councillors were educated about the Municipal Systems Act.
The Deputy Minister said that there were different approaches. 65% of ANC councillors on the list were not currently serving councillors, which exaggerated the challenge. The ANC had started the training process of councillors. Between SALGA, National Treasury and CoGTA there was a commitment to make sure councillors were inducted into the system.
The Chairperson said to the DG that he did not explain what happened to the previous people who occupied these positions. People did not realise how crucial disaster management was. If it failed, the consequences were huge. In Ficksburg the Home Affairs office was burnt. In Durban a magistrate’s court was burnt down. The effects of climate change was weighing in although some people were sceptics about it. The message of the importance of disaster management had to be driven home to people who were responsible to prioritise.
Mr Matshoba asked whether the PSPs were paid from the budget of R600 million.
Ms Thwane said that the PSPs were paid from a separate budget.
The Deputy Minister said that the ward committee was too narrow. It had to be pursued further. Municipalities would not be able to deliver without wider community participation. The communities were shaping the space through the troubles and struggles. There were invited spaces, which Government created and invented spaces, shaped by the people through struggle, which were dialectically related to each other.
Mr Ongama Mahlawe, the head of the Special Vehicle Programme CoGTA, said that the Department agreed with the Learning Network that other forms of participation were needed. Together with SALGA, the Department was looking at the state of ICTs in municipalities. Social networking would then become a viable method of communication and participation.
The Chairperson said that an official from Manguang boasted to him about the swiftness with which their ICT system responded. It had an impact on the efficiency with which people could do their work.
The Chairperson noted that all questions were not answered.
The Deputy Minister said that when he was a Chairperson he did not allow questions to go unanswered during a meeting. He accepted it as his responsibility as the most senior official in the meeting to make sure that due process was followed and acknowledged that he was errant. He committed himself to answer the outstanding question in writing within a month.
The Chairperson said that the Department had records on how it was done in the past.
The discussion on the Strategic Plan of the DCoG was concluded.
The Chairperson announced that he received a formal apology from SALGA Chairperson, Amos Masondo. He was dealing with the Pikitup strike in Johannesburg.
South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Annual Performance Plan
The main focus of SALGA in the first quarter would be to manage the transition of leadership in municipalities. The new leaders would be trying to implement their elections manifesto while the public continually demanded for better service delivery. Part of this process would be the management of labour relations. It was the third year of the three year wage agreement between SALGA and SAMWU and related unions. SALGA together with other role players would have to manage the process of wage negotiations.
Mr George would explain more about councillor induction. This happened throughout the year commencing in July. This was part of the service delivery implementations plans and it was part of the financial reporting cycle to conclude work. SALGA was committed to outcome 9 which was to reform organised local government and to create a more effective, responsive and financially viable SALGA.
He stressed that SALGA was not responsible for service delivery towards the citizen. SALGA was there to service its members, municipalities in South Africa, regarding coordination, support, lobbying and capacity building.
SALGA laboured under chronic financial constraints. It would be elaborated upon by Mr George. SALGA achieved an unqualified audit report after years of disclaimers. The Organized Local Government Act needed to be reviewed. SALGA’s financial difficulties, based on its membership, could then be addressed. Once these had been achieved, SALGA might be able to achieve its objectives. It was still a challenge to you ensure validated audit reports based on evidence. This was linked to oversight. It would be achieved by looking at centres of excellence. They did not only rely on the Auditor General, they had external auditors and continual monitoring and oversight, and combined with presenting reports to institutions like this Committee.
South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Annual Performance Plan
Mr Xolile George, SALGA CEO, presented on SALGA’s Mandate and Strategic Priorities 2011/12. He looked at SALGA’s achievements in 2010 in terms of municipal service delivery, social cohesion, economic development, labour relations, municipal governance and inter-governmental relations, capacity building and institutional development, climate change response, and internal capacity and corporate governance. The SALGA Annual Performance Plan 2011/12 was aligned to the Delivery Agreement of the Minister: COGTA. The ten priorities and their outcomes were outlined. For each priority, five targets had been set and these were explained. Finally, its role in the local government elections was discussed. SALGA had developed a Transition Management Framework to support municipalities through this period: both pre, during and post election. A detailed explanation of the 2011 Councillor Induction Programme was provided. The SALGA budget and its constraints were explained (see both documents for details).
Mr Xolile George said that some aspects of councillor support remained unresolved. SALGA was working with different bodies, CoGTA as a body as well as the Commission on the Remuneration of Councillors, linking it with the ongoing capacity support for councillors.
The councillor induction programme would commence in July with various learning events to cross-pollinate municipalities on areas of HIV/AIDS, climate change and public participation. SALGA was involved in various climate change events like COP17 where the city of Durban would be the next host. SALGA has contributed to the Green Paper on Climate Change, bringing to the fore the implications for local governments in the Climate Response Plan. SALGA had been involved in various climate change initiatives, amongst others the COP17, the Greening Summit and an expo focussing on entrepreneurial opportunities around climate change.
SALGA has a pre-, during and post-election plan. Post election, the councillor induction plan would be implemented. There was a plan in place (see document). He did not elaborate on the councillor induction plan because of time constraints.
Mr George said that SALGA‘s work was undermined due to its dire lack of resources. It had to scrounge for resources in order to perform its constitutional role. The Committee had agreed that it had a compelling case. SALGA was engaging with CoGTA and National Treasury in its quest to resolve its financial difficulties. It had some relief in certain instances when there were challenges. It had developed a comprehensive funding model. It remained optimistic about a positive outcome.
On 19 April 2011, it had received only 7% of levies due. Only after municipalities had passed their budgets, some as late as August, levies would be paid. Even then, municipalities might not pay the full amount. SALGA’s membership was voluntary. It placed SALGA in a compromised situation. SALGA had appealed for collective support to reverse the current untenable situation.
[The 61 municipalities in KZN fomed KWAzulu NAtal LOcal Government Association (KWANALOGA), operated as an entity on its own and did not pay membership fees to SALGA. www.kwanaloga.gov.za. Political processes had been deployed in order to resolve the situation. Thus far it had caused a lot of harm. The City of Cape Town had also stopped paying SALGA membership fees.]
Ms Nhlengethwa congratulated SALGA on its audit improvement from disclaimer to unqualified. She said that SALGA referred to a Women’s Summit in the presentation. Why had the women from the Committee not been invited, even as observers.
Mr Xolile George said that the Committee did not get an invitation to the Women’s Summit because of an oversight by the organising team and this would be corrected in future. He did not have the list of stakeholders. It was a capacity building workshop to workshop the plan in each province.
Ms Nhlengethwa said that an HR strategy without time frames was a mere wish list. It needed time frames.
Ms Nhlengethwa asked about Councillor Support. She asked for a breakdown. In this presentation there was none.
Ms Nelson asked if SALGA received its levies from municipalities, especially low capacity municipalities. What percentage came in?
Mr George replied that SALGA levies were structured so that a percentage came from the local level, another from district level and another from the metros. For the Metros there was a flat rate. A few years ago it was R6 million, but it had increased along with inflation. Districts municipalities paid 0.05% of the wage bill and local municipalities 0.04% of the wage bill. The skills levy for the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) was 1% of the overall budget of the municipality.
Ms Nelson asked about the Auditor General presentation, if it was part of induction to show the councillors what the audit opinion of their municipality was, so that incoming councillors knew the financial status.
Mr George said that there would be instances where the training would focus on a metro as a unit of training. There would be instances where the training would happen simultaneously at all three levels. The Women’s Summit also wanted to introduce an innovation this year. It wanted to use outgoing councillors or councillors with experience in certain portfolios. SALGA was working on the methodologies now. It was working with the Local Government SETA as well as CoGTA. SALGA was also engaging with PALAMA and Vulindlela Academies. Treasury would do training on the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
Mr George said on audit outcomes that SALGA had an annual Budget Week running over two weeks in each province during which key issues were targeted. Good municipalities helped bad municipalities. This was done, but SALGA would be looking at other measures as well to improve levies.
Mr Johann Mettler, Executive Director, SALGA, said that audit opinions were part of induction. After the councillors were elected, municipal managers had to tell them about the state of play within the municipality. Audit opinions had to be explained and what the administration planned to do about it. Training was procured through National Treasury, where finance councillors would train councillors in public finance. At a much broader level, when it came to councillor induction, all councillors were given financial management training. They were taught about audit opinions and what would be in general required of councillors in that regard.
Ms Seqale-Deswai appreciated that SALGA had said what was planned and achieved, but she was not satisfied with the fact that it did not state its challenges and what it did not achieve.
The SALGA delegate did not know how to respond to that question. He would respond in the context of planning.
The Chairperson wanted to address the situation in KZN, while the Director General was still present. This was a big challenge which needed to be resolved decisively. The Constitution only recognized one local authority body within the province. On what basis could a city withdraw from a national structure? From where did they get the mandate to do that? One observation of the Auditor General was that this action was gross non-compliance with the law. How did their non-compliance with the law impact on their service delivery capacity? The challenges of SALGA were pointed out. The challenges were disregard of the law and non-payment of fees. He was concerned about what SALGA as an organisation said about this issue in its meetings. He wanted to link up to the issues raised. The DTA felt that research capacity had to be built and expanded at a district level. The socio-economic profiles of areas governed by chiefs could be researched via this avenue. The Local Government Learning Network was a SALGA structure. He was not sure what it did.
Mr Clarence Johnson, NEC Member, SALGA, thanked the Committee for the positive remarks about the unqualified audit opinion. Clean governance was achieved through common sense. Where there were incidents of non-compliance, the Auditor General report often said ‘No leadership was shown to act upon the matter’. KZN, as well as the City of Cape Town, did not pay their fees. With Cape Town the payments were sometimes delayed. If a legal process was started, it could be protracted. It would not advance the case. The benefits would be suspended that a member would have, for example representing a member in the bargaining council, which carried a cost to SALGA. The resultant effect would be a change in the organised local government legislation, which would make membership of SALGA compulsory by law.
Mr Mettler acknowledged that the question was directed at the DG about KZN. Kwanaloga was recognized as a body representing local government by the provincial government.
The Chairperson asked what had happened to the theme conferences that SALGA used to have. He was wondering whether it was not appropriate to push research capacity at the district level. Treasury had to be pressurised to fund it. If IDPs were planning tools for government, the information that it used had to be up to date, so it needed the researchers at that level.
He had listened to both SALGA and SAMWU’s presentations at the Climate Change summit. It was within the powers of municipalities to become a lot greener by making decisions from an ecologically more informed position. He advised SALGA to look at the SAMWU paper. It was very good.
The Chairperson said that the funding conundrum of SALGA required a special session with SALGA, the Committee and the Department. He agreed that the non-payment of fees was a symptom of a bigger illness. The AG’s fees as well. This would happen post-election.
Mr Johnson said that SALGA welcomed the special session to discuss the funding conundrum.
Mr Johnson said, regarding the research capacity, it had to be strategic centres of local government. These tools had to be developed for the local municipalities in the sphere of local government. It was a matter that affected local economic development. SALGA was assisting and supporting on informal trade. Up to date local economic development and job creation had not been properly defined. This was the reason for contestation. Different parties wanted to act. SALGA have engaged with the Ministers who organised COP17 and SALGA would demonstrate centres of excellence in South Africa.
Mr Johnson replied that the former Speaker of Dr Kenneth Kaunda district municipality was a prominent member of the District Learning Network.
The Chairperson asked whether it happened in the past or whether it still happened.
Mr Johnson said that it still happened, but it was not reported on. Members gave each other technological and institutional tools to resolve problems or work more efficiently and cheaply. There were 26 municipalities who received visits by different municipalities. His own municipality developed its performance management system for R10 000 instead of the R2 million that other municipalities paid for the same thing.
A SALGA delegate replied that the District Learning Network had been resuscitated. It was a deliberate move. In 2008 CoGTA and SALGA met and decided to review the knowledge sharing programme which had been running since 2004. The review was facilitated jointly by SALGA and CoGTA with funding by the German counterpart of SALGA, GTZ (now GIZ). They had then continued to fund SALGA in return to internalise that. Part of internalization was the review. It wanted to see what role it could play in the review that SALGA did together with CoGTA. The District Learning Network was one of a couple of learning networks.
The Chairperson said that SALGA and the municipalities had to build capacity at local government level. The Chairperson disagreed with him and said the delegate was changing the Chairperson’s recommendation.
The SALGA delegate said that the proposal to build research capacity in order to make inputs for guiding what SALGA and CoGTA did was a welcome proposal.
The SALGA delegate said that SALGA was not good at acknowledging its own progress and blowing its own horn. SALGA had 20 research projects. One of them was a migration study, done in October 2009. The feedback was in progress and it determined how SALGA saw the role of municipalities in the management of migration for social cohesion. That was the direction SALGA was moving into. It wanted to take decisions based on the results of sound research. The SALGA delegate referred to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the current year.
Mr Johnson said that what the CEO had alluded to was the cash flow issue. SALGA had to adjust programmes to funding that was available. Key Performance Indicators meant that in order to execute the performance plan, it had to be cash backed.
The strategic plan was as it stood, but everything was subject to review. It was one of the biggest governance challenges that it had.
Mr George said that SALGA had been accused of having an interest in wage increases for workers, because its fee was tied to the wage bill.
The Chairperson said that one of the reasons SALGA was having problems was that it was not communicating with the Committee as a crucial stakeholder. The Committee picked up vibes. It was a weak way to communicate. SALGA had never invited the Committee to meetings for the last five years. It was not just the body language; it was what SALGA was doing in practice.
Management of info was critical in SALGA’s own interest. The Committee was critical of the way SALGA managed its information. Its failure to communicate resulted in the fact that nobody knew what it was doing and thus it did not get support for the budget allocations that it was asking for. Yet it was unaware of the effect that its failure to communicate had on it.
The Committee wanted info about what the Learning Network had done over the last year. SALGA had to give a list of the research work it had been engaged in recently. SALGA had to get its website up and running.
There was a Presidential initiative around 14 districts. It was a pilot study assessing the alignment between National Spatial Development Perspectives, provincial development strategies and IDPs. That was work that was interesting. One of the concerns about incoming councils was that people stopped things that they did not originate. There was a delay in continuation of expenditure. Some were justified, some not. What did this tell us? The delay in the expenditure might be influenced by stopped and interrupted programs. This was the kind of information that the Committee would be interested in.
Mr Johnson said that once IDPs were adopted and budget approved, and performance targets had been set, an incoming minister could not change it. To change it would take a wide consultative process. One needed monitoring on the issue of continuity.
Mr George reinforced the appreciation for the objective criticism that the Committee offered. He realised it was necessary to strengthen the interface between the Committee and SALGA. He would look at it in a practical way.
The Chairperson commended Ms Nhlengethwa on the way she commented and the pertinent questions she asked. It created continuity in terms of things that stayed the same and things that changed
The Chairperson said that looking at resource allocations, municipalities themselves have a critical role to play. Managers had to run municipalities without people capacity. SALGA had to contribute towards creative solutions for municipalities to overcome their resource challenges.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.