Commission for Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Municipal Demarcation Board, South African Cities Network 2011 Strategic Plans, with the Deputy Minister

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

23 May 2011
Chairperson: Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee received strategic plan briefings from the Commission for the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the Municipal Demarcation Board and the SA Cities Network.

The Commission for the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities had received R3 million at the intervention of the Committee towards the end of 2010 and the money had been greatly appreciated. The allocation had been spent by the Commission in two months. The Commission was not represented widely enough in the country and there were constraints placed on the Commission due to underfunding. An Ubuntu Summit had been planned by the Commission for later in the year in which the Commission would assist and empower newly elected councillors. The Commission would seek to institute seven programmes to meet its strategic objectives. The Commission was unable to provide budget allocations for each of its proposed programmes as those would be provided in its business plan. The business plan would be formulated upon the Commission receiving additional funds which it anticipated receiving. Both the Chairperson and the Deputy Minister offered comment on the effectiveness of some Chapter 9 institutions. The Deputy Minister commented on the need to have a deeper conversation on the pragmatism of having some of the Chapter 9 institutions.

The South African Cities Network (SACN) presented its business plan. The Network existed to promote good governance and management in South African cities, analyse strategic challenges facing cities, and promote shared learning partnerships amongst the different spheres of government to support the management of South African cities. The SACN had been allocated R26 million for the 2011/12 fiscal year and stated that it was R1.2 million below its required target. Member municipalities were mostly paid up on their subscriptions, with some exceptions. In the period 2011-16, the SACN proposed that in order to become effective, focus needed to bias itself on changing policy response and practitioner behaviour by deepening knowledge sharing across the all spheres of government.

The SACN identified three key research agenda issues for local government in the form of three work streams: Workstream 1 (Acting with Better Understanding) Adopt an urban development policy regime which strengthened productive and sustainable urban spaces. Provide local government indicators that allowed better governance and interpretation at varied scales.  Workstream 2 (Changing Built Environment Function) Addressing issues of land and land-use management and increasing city efficiency by improving public transport.  Workstream 3 (unhesitant in dealing with Vulnerability) Understanding better and improving its financing model, improving management of its natural resource base and improving its understanding of rural/urban interdependence & interface. It would have to build dedicated and focused human capacity and promote socio-political stability. It would have to address land and land-use management. It would have to ensure dedicated and focused human capacity for local government. It would have to improve the public transportation system as well as use the Department of Human Settlements to create social cohesion.

The Municipal Demarcation Board aimed to perform in such a way so as to empower municipalities to fulfil their constitutional mandate. The MDB had established six themes for its strategic plan. Theme 1 would be the determination and re-determination of municipal boundaries and categorisation and re-categorisation of municipalities. Theme 2 would be the assessment of the capacity of metropolitan, district and local municipalities. Theme 3 would be the implementation of effective and efficient organisational processes, systems and practices. Theme 4 would be to ensure good governance. Theme 5 would be to ensure sound financial management and Theme 6 would be the improvement of stakeholder relations.

The MDB had received a budget allocation of R37.1 million for 2010/11. In total, it had R37.9 million at its disposal. The MDB had spent R36 million and had amassed a surplus of R1.9 million. It had spent within its budget. The Board had been allocated R39.9 million for the 2011/12 MTEF period, R40.8 for 2012/13, and R43.058 for 2013/14.

Members sought an explanation of staff costs versus operational costs for the Commission. They asked how the R3 million that the Commission had received towards the end of 2011/12 had been spent and what programmes had been in place at the time. They asked whether it was true that the Commission had been allocated R800 000 for the 2011/12 financial year. They asked the Commission to provide an example of a conflict which it had resolved.

Members asked what criteria were used to have nine city officials and two Deputy Ministers on the SACN Board. They asked how municipalities financed themselves where there was no revenue. They asked whether the SACN would be able to find the R1.2 million shortfall highlighted in its presentation.

Members congratulated the Municipal Demarcation Board on its budget surplus. They asked if the Board had met the legislative demand for consultation. They asked if the Board would ever link weak municipalities with stronger municipalities in its demarcation process. They asked what determined ward limitation. They asked what the state of health of the MDB board was.

Meeting report

Mr Yunus Carrim, Deputy Minister for COGTA commented on the local government elections. He said that the voter turnout and public participation in the polls had placed pressure on the government and political parties to deliver. He commended the peaceful and organised manner in which the election had been conducted.

The Chairperson commented that the work that had gone into putting together a report on the state of health of local government and the subsequent interaction with communities had played a part in galvanising communities to participate in the elections. 

Commission for Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission)
Reverend Wesley Mabuza, Chairperson: CRL Commission, commented that the spirit in which the local government elections had been held had been exemplary and wonderful. He stated that the Commission had received R3 million at the intervention of the Committee towards the end of 2010 and the money had been greatly appreciated. The allocation had been spent by the Commission in two months. The Commission was not represented widely enough in the country and there were constraints placed on the Commission due to underfunding. An Ubuntu Summit had been planned by the Commission for later in the year in which the Commission would assist and empower newly elected councillors.  

Advocate Pheagane Moreroa, Chief Executive Officer: CRL Commission, presented the Commission’s strategic plan, saying the Commission was mandated to strengthen constitutional democracy and to protect and promote cultural, religious and linguistic community rights. The Commission main challenge was funding as it did not have enough representation across the country.

The Commission would seek to institute seven programmes in order to meet its strategic objectives. The Commission was unable to provide budget allocations for each of its proposed programmes as that those would be provided in its business plan. The business plan would be formulated upon the Commission receiving additional funds which it anticipated receiving.

• Programme 1 Investigation and Conflict Resolution would focus on complaints submitted to the Commission. The Commission aimed to investigate 80% of all complaints it received within a 60-day period. The programme had a budget allocation of R1.2 million for 2011/12 of which R1.1 million would be spent on staff costs and R140 000 on operations.
• Programme 2 Research and Policy Development would aim to develop policies which could improve the focus and work of the Commission. R2.5 million was allocated in 2011/12 with R2.3 going towards staff costs and R170 000 on operational costs.
• Programme 3 Public Education and Advocacy aimed to create more public awareness for the work of the Commission and would seek to work extensively in communities. The allocation was R1.2 million for 2011/12 with R1.054 million going towards staff costs and R170 000 towards operations.
• Programme 4 Community Engagement would aim to increase recognition of the values and impact of cultural diversity and increase community engagement in the work of the Commission. The Commission had allocated R1.2 million for that programme with R1.055 million going towards staff costs and R170 000 for operations.
• Programme 5 Secretariat and Corporate Governance had the particular focus of increasing the Commission’s compliance with governance rules and implementation of approved decisions by management. The Commission aimed to have four plenaries and sittings with an established 22 committees. The Commission had R6.2 million allocated to the programme and R5.1 million would be allocated to staff costs and R1.065 million for operations.
• Programme 6 Corporate Services aimed to fill funded vacancies within the Commission amongst other goals. The Programme would receive R4.9 million for 2011/12 and R1.021 million would be allocated to staff costs and R3.9 million on operations.
• Programme 7 Financial Administration would seek to align the Commission with financial regulations and practices. The Commission had been allocated R4.7 million for that programme and R2.2 million would be allocated to staff costs and R2.5 million for operations.    

Discussion
Ms W Nelson (ANC) asked what the figures in Programme 1 were based on. She sought an explanation of staff costs versus operational costs in that programme.

Rev Mabuza replied that the costs of operations versus staff costs were driven by the need to attract and retain highly qualified staff. The Commission faced challenges with under-funding but the need to retain and attract qualified staff drove staff costing up.

Adv Moreroa replied that National Treasury had cut the budget allocation for the Commission by half a million Rand but staff salaries continued to rise due to causes outside the Commission’s purview. The Commission’s budget was relatively small but the demands on it were great.

Ms D Nhlengethwa (ANC) asked how the R3 million that the Commission had received had been spent and what programmes had been in place at the time. She asked if it was true that the Commission had been allocated R800 000 for 2011/12. She asked about the Commission’s targets and what informed them.

Rev Mabuza responded that the Commission had been allocated R800 000 for 2011/12 over the 3 million it had received in 2010/11. The R3 million was issued after the allocations for 2011/12 had been made. The expenditure would be explained when the Commission submitted its quarterly report.   

Adv Moreroa responded that the Commission’s targets were set according to the previous year’s challenges and goals and were adjusted according to that.

Mr J Lorimer (DA) asked the Commission to provide an example of a conflict which it had resolved. 

Adv Moreroa replied that the Commission had assisted two students in separate cases that had been expelled from a school due to their hairstyle. The Commission had managed to get both students reinstated at their respective schools.

The Chairperson commented that the Commission’s strategic plan was based on assumptions which had yet to be met. The Commission had set out its plans based on allocations it hoped to get but had not yet secured. He highlighted an example of the Commission cost-cutting measures, saying the phone lines of its offices to restrict outgoing calls and to receive only incoming calls. Financial cuts seemed to be hindering the progress of the Commission. More introspection was needed to see what the necessity of some of the Chapter 9 institutions was.

Mr Carrim agreed with the Chairperson and said that there was general concern in government about some Chapter 9 institutions. Some of those institutions were not performing and there was a question as to whether they were all necessary. Mr Carrim would meet with Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Acting Minister of COGTA to discuss some of the Chapter 9 institutions and report back to the Committee on that meeting. The Department would strive to meet with the Commission to find out where it faced challenges and where it needed assistance. There would be a report back to the Committee in the second half of the year.

The Chairperson commented that the Commission shared similar concerns with other Chapter 9 institutions and more must be done to deal comprehensively with outstanding issues affecting those institutions.

Rev Mabuza agreed with the comments of both the Deputy Minister and the Chairperson and said that he could not overemphasise the importance of the Commission getting assistance. The Commission, along with other Chapter 9 institutions, would be meeting with the President on 10 June to discuss issues affecting them. He promised to report back on that meeting to the Committee.  

South African Cities Network briefing

Deputy Minister Carrim made initial remarks in his capacity as Chairperson of the South African Cities Network (SACN). He noted he would like to exit as Chairperson of the SACN after the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) had had its first post-election meeting. The Network had initially been chaired by mayors but due to the frequency and unpredictability of the mayors’ tenure, there had been frequent changes to the chair position. The SACN was looking to establish a better relationship with SALGA. The Network would be managed across a multiparty platform and would attempt to further the goal of improving local government within its mandate.

Mr Sithole Mbanga, Chief Executive Officer: SACN, presented the Committee with the Network’s strategic plan. The SACN existed to promote good governance and management in South African cities, analyse strategic challenges facing cities, and to promote shared learning partnerships between the different spheres of government to support the management of South African cities.

In the period 2011-16, the SACN would endeavour to understand member city typology. It would place emphasis on broadening its programmatic reach to non-traditional SACN member cities including cities in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Network would seek to change policy response and practitioner behaviour across the spheres of government by deepening knowledge sharing. The SACN had been allocated R26 million for the 2011/12 fiscal year and stated that it was R1.2 million below its required target. Member municipalities had mostly paid up their subscriptions, with the exception of some.  

The SACN described how it viewed the typology of South African cities. There were five categories which existed in the typology of the country. The first were city-regions characterised by large multi-nodal urban complexes with more than one million people and with significant and diverse economies. The second were cities characterised by multi-nodal areas with more than 400 000 people serving a bigger region and with high service indexes. The third were regional service centres made up of medium or high order towns, relatively high service indexes and towns which offered key service functions in more remote areas. The fourth were service towns with a narrow range of services and served to fulfil service function for communities within the vicinity of that town. The fifth were local/niche towns, smaller in terms of population and economic activity and which differed in economic rates.

The SACN highlighted the urban corridors and mega-regions in the world and showed how South Africa and the SADC region compared to the rest of the world in terms of urbanisation. The Network highlighted the spatial and population density gaps in certain municipalities where services were not provided to people living on the outskirts of urban centres due to a disparity in infrastructure development. Most major urban centres received more funding as compared to rural centres.

The Network identified three key research agenda issues for local government in the form of three work streams: Workstream 1 (Acting with Better Understanding) Adopt an urban development policy regime which strengthened productive and sustainable urban spaces. Provide local government indicators that allowed better governance and interpretation at varied scales.  Workstream 2 (Changing Built Environment Function) Addressing issues of land and land-use management and increasing city efficiency by improving public transport.  Workstream 3 (unhesitant in dealing with Vulnerability) Understanding better and improving its financing model, improving management of its natural resource base and improving its understanding of rural/urban interdependence & interface. It would have to build dedicated and focused human capacity and promote socio-political stability. It would have to address land and land-use management. It would have to ensure dedicated and focused human capacity for local government. It would have to improve the public transportation system as well as use the Department of Human Settlements to create social cohesion.

The SACN would look to implement four programmes which would target different areas to help it conduct its operations. Programme A would target metro cities; Programme B would target 21 of South Africa’s large municipalities. Programme C would target SADC and the African Continent and Programme D would target international cities.     
 
Discussion
Ms Nhlengethwa thanked the SACN for its comprehensive presentation. She commented that members of Parliament had had firsthand experiences with some of the statistics presented by the Network. She asked what criteria were used to have nine city officials and two Deputy Ministers on the Board of the SACN.  

Mr Mbanga replied that the SACN thought it was important to get statistics pertaining to wards and remote municipalities and issues affecting them. There was difficulty in getting those figures but the Network was attempting to establish a system that would make it possible to attain those statistics. The criterion had been determined by the Network’s constitution which denoted who sat on the board.

Mr J Matshoba (ANC) asked how local government municipalities financed themselves where there was no revenue.

Mr Mbanga replied that the larger municipalities tended to get more funding from government and had the ability to raise additional funds. Smaller municipalities relied predominantly on funding from government and had trouble raising funds for themselves.
 
The Chairperson commented that there were difficulties in local government which needed to be looked into by stakeholders to improve capacity at a district municipal level. The SACN should meet with municipalities to address the issue of out of date reports which presented statistics which were no longer accurate. He asked when COGTA would make its report on the state of municipalities’ public. He asked who the SACN consulted in conducting its work.     

Mr Mbanga replied that there was difficulty in providing assistance to municipalities in gathering up to date statistics. The SACN met with National Treasury to discuss how to improve work in municipalities and assess where there were deficiencies in capacity. The Network then provided that assessment to the relevant organisation or administrative body for their use. That was the basis of the Network’s work and focus. The SACN consulted various stakeholders and municipalities in the conduct of its work and it would continue to work to widen its consultative reach.  

Mr Carrim responded that the COGTA Report had been held up in Cabinet and would be available to the Committee as soon as it had been approved.

Mr Lorimer asked whether the SACN would be able to find the R1.2 million shortfall which it had highlighted in its presentation.

Mr Mbanga responded that 30% of the R1.2 million would be paid by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality which owed the SACN money. The rest of the shortfall would be paid up.

Mr Carrim said that he would meet with SALGA representatives to impress upon them the mandate and importance of the SACN before he abdicated the chairpersonship. He commented that the SACN was one of the most proficient organisations in its field and produced outstanding work.
 
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Carrim and thanked the SACN for its comprehensive presentation. He commented that in future funding for smaller municipalities should be looked into and adequately addressed. 

Briefing by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB)
Mr Landiwe Mahlangu, MDB Chairperson, said the MDB had existed for eleven years and had carried out sometimes contentious work. The Board had carried out demarcation work prior to the local government elections and were the silent partners to the Independent Electoral Commission in the conduct of those elections. The Board was aiming to restructure itself to optimise its work in future. The Board would need to have interaction with COGTA in order to discuss legislation needed to assist in the process of municipality demarcation. The issue of demarcation was emotive and the process needed to be streamlined.

Mr Hillary Monare, Chief Executive Officer: MDB, presented the Board’s strategic plan. The Board aimed to perform in such a way to empower municipalities to fulfil their constitutional mandate. The MDB had established six themes for its strategic plan. Theme 1: determination and re-determination of municipal boundaries and categorisation and re-categorisation of municipalities. Theme 2: assessment of the capacity of metropolitan, district and local municipalities. Theme 3: implementation of effective and efficient organisational processes, systems and practices. Theme 4: ensure good governance. Theme 5: ensure sound financial management and Theme 6: improve stakeholder relations.    

In accordance with Theme 1, the Board had resolved to adopt the position on the size of municipalities as espoused by the research work submitted. It would develop and clarify the work on demarcation criteria to enhance buy-in from stakeholders and hold public hearings for every boundary re-determination request case. In 2011/12, the MDB had allocated a total of R6.5 million to the accomplishment of Theme 1. In accordance with Theme 2, the Board would shift to a new and revised model of municipal capacity assessments following a comprehensive review of the previously used model. The Board would pursue a new approach to capacity assessments that would seek to address the limitation that capacity was insufficient information on which to make recommendations on reassuring a function. It would position the capacity assessment as a strategic resource and revise the capacity assessment model. The Board would allocate R5.1 million to the attainment of Theme 2. The MDB would seek to build its internal capacity to meet Theme 3. It would outline a plan of action to implement changes to its organisational structure. It would lead a full process to effect the changes that would be needed to restructure the Board’s internal machinery. The Board would allocate R13 013 million on staff salaries and R195 205 on staff training from a total allocation of R13 2 million set aside for Theme 3. The Board would allocate R5,9 million on administration.

In order to achieve Theme 4, the MDB would improve compliance with legal frameworks. It had put in place actions which would continue to solidify IT governance and contract management as well as risk assessment and risk management. The Board would allocate R4.2 million for that programme. The Board would institute sound financial management by managing resources to accomplish strategic goals in accordance with Theme 5. It would improve its financial planning and continue to ensure the adherence to laws, regulations and contractual obligations. The Board had allocated R2.9 million for 2011/12 for that theme. For the attainment of Theme 6, the Board would prepare a stakeholder management and governance framework. It would set up a stakeholder management unit including a budget for the entire service.

The MDB had received a budget allocation of R37,1 million for the 2010/11 MTEF period and had reported R37,9 million at its disposal as of 31 March 2011. The MDB had spent R36 million of its budget allocation and had amassed a surplus of R1,9 million. The Board had spent within its budget. The Board had been allocated R39,9 million for the 2011/12 MTEF period, R40,8 for 2012/13, and R43,058 for 2013/14.      

Discussion
Mr Lorimer congratulated the Board on its budget surplus. He asked if the Board had met the legislative demand for consultation. He asked if the Board would ever link weak municipalities with stronger municipalities in its demarcation process.

Mr Mahlangu responded that the Board had met legislative requirements through its consultative process but was seeking to increase the level of consultation in future prior to demarcation. There were occasions when the Board had linked weaker municipalities with stronger municipalities this had been done before at the behest of a provincial government and a municipality.  

Ms Nelson asked what determined ward delimitation.

Mr Mahlangu replied that ward delimitation was determined according to a voters roll and the number of people in a particular voting district. Demarcation was thus conducted in accordance with the roll and the size of the population in a particular voting district.

Mr Monare replied that the Board used voting districts to assist it with the ward delimitation process. The process would have to be looked at and improved.

Ms Nondumiso
Gwayi, Deputy Chairperson: MDB, replied that the Board provided municipalities with the criteria for what would be used for demarcation and then instructed them to retain those criteria. The Board encouraged municipalities to discuss how they wanted their wards to be constituted prior to the official demarcation process. 

The Chairperson asked what the state of health of the MDB board was.

Mr Mahlangu replied that the MDB’s board had ten members, nine of which were part time with the Chairperson being the only permanent member. The Board had faced its share of challenges but the effectiveness of the Board had not been affected.  

The Chairperson thanked the MDB for their presentation.

The meeting was adjourned.


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