Breede-Overberg and Inkomati Catchment Management Agencies: 2011/12 strategic plans, budgets, annual financial statements, key performance and priority areas

Water and Sanitation

07 June 2011
Chairperson: Mr J De Lange (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Water Affairs, Inkomati Catchment Management Agency, and the Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency made presentations to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs.

Both Catchment Management Agencies made detailed and impressive presentations to the Committee. However, serious concerns were raised by the Chairperson, including the reasoning behind the creation of Catchment Management Agencies themselves, and their reason for existence. The delegation of powers and responsibilities by the Department to agencies was heavily interrogated by Members.
Additionally both Catchment Management Agencies and the Department were requested to provide the Committee with more information on the measurement and metering of water use in South Africa, which was deemed to be a problem. Registration of the eleven categories of water users was also a problem to the functioning of Catchment Management Agencies.

Meeting report

Department of Water Affairs. Presentation
Ms Thoko Sigwaza, Chief Director: Institutional Oversight, briefed the Committee on the creation and performance of the Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs). These CMAs existed for three reasons. Firstly, to provide equitable access to water, secondly, to achieve sustainable use of water, and thirdly, to achieve efficient use of water. This was in view of delegating water resource management to the regional or catchment level and to involve local communities within the framework of the National Water Resources Strategy.
Ms Sigwaza outlined the powers and functions of the CMAs. Nineteen water management areas existed in South Africa in terms of Section 80 of the National Water Act. This had been reduced to nine in line with South Africa’s geographical and catchment boundaries. There were currently two operational CMAs, Inkomati and Breede-Overberg. Ms Sigwaza noted that there were three overall reasons for the delay in establishing the CMAs. There was a high learning curve, there was a lack of capacity in the areas being dealt with, and financial problems.
Ms Sigwaza briefly noted the Department’s delegated powers to the CMAs, the Department’s oversight role, strategic objectives, and budget highlights. Both functional CMAs had received unqualified audits in the recent past.
Challenges for the Department were to gazette the Catchment Management Strategy (CMS), the transfer of staff from the Department to the CMAs, and finally, allowing CMAs to bill for revenue collection to achieve financial sustainability.


Inkomati Catchment Management Agency: interaction with Board Chairperson
Ms Patience Nyakane-Maluka, Chairperson of the Board of the Inkomati Catchment Management Agency (ICMA) briefed the Committee on the performance of the ICMA based on its annual report for 2009/10.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka requested that the Committee visit the ICMA at some stage.
The Chairperson requested that Ms Nyakane-Maluka elaborate on the constitution and powers of the Board.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka noted that due to some deaths and other issues, there were currently eight members of the board, instead of fourteen as it should be. Strategic management was dictated by the Board. Committees within the Board existed in terms of specific issues and recommend action to the Board. 
The Chairperson asked whether the ICMA had developed any substantive policies on water, water licenses and so on.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka responded that none had been developed, but that there were various problems and that initiatives were being undertaken.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka noted that challenges existed. These were that there were currently two vacancies in the Board, a new governing Board was due to be appointed by the Minister in the financial year that was overdue, and that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) post was vacant.
The Chairperson asked for clarification about where decisions were taken, at Board level or at management level.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka replied that mostly decisions were escalated to the Board level.
The Chairperson noted that this would make it difficult to meet only four times a year.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka noted, however, that due to the challenges involved, the Board had met 28 times in the past year.


Inkomati Catchment Management Agency Annual Report and Strategic Plan: interaction with Acting CEO
Mr Brian Jackson, Acting CEO, ICMA briefed the Committee on the strategic action programmes, main outputs, staff requirements, budget, as well as the challenges of the Governing Board of the ICMA in terms of the ICMA Strategic Plan 2011/12 to 2013/14. This business plan was developed to enable good adaptive management with the help of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Mr Jackson noted that big issues were decided by the Governing Board, but that operational issues were dealt with in management.
Mr Jackson briefed the Committee on the projects that the Inkomati Catchment Management Agency was involved with.
Mr Jackson emphasized that budgets had been allocated for major projects. They included the verification of water use, as well as the cadastral update, amongst others.
Mr Jackson noted that the challenges to the ICMA were:
•The appointment of a CEO;
•Approval to gazette Cadastral Management System for public comment;
•Funding;
•Tariffs; and
•Staff transfer.
The Chairperson requested information on water use and the measurement of water use in the ICMA, especially with relation to the installation of water meters.
Mr Jackson responded that there were scientific measures that the ICMA used to gauge water use, as well as relying on community members informing CMAs and the Department, but that most water use in the country was not metered. Metering was a priority for the ICMA.

Mr Helgard Muller, Chief Director: Water Services, Department of Water Affairs, noted that legislation was being drawn up so that meter enforcement could be done correctly. The Vaal area had a major three year project to prevent illegal water use and ensure proper metering in the area.
Mr Jackson also added that meters were not always the answer, because there were people who had managed to get ‘around’ the meters and illegally used this water.
The Chairperson requested that a report be provided to the Committee on meters and their use in South Africa.


Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency. Briefing
Mr Neil Hamman, Chairperson of the Governing Board of the Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency (BOCMA) noted that there was a need for CMAs and requested that the Committee visit its particular area.
Mr Hamman noted that the board was made up of eleven members currently, and there were three committees. Mr Hamman agreed with the reduction of the number of CMAs. Mr Hamman also commented on the measurement of water use, particularly in relation to a ‘stream’ of water as it was previously done. It was important to start the metering process. The tender for a metering project had been started over an 18 month period starting from June 2011.
Mr Jan van Staden, Acting CEO, briefed the Committee on BOCMA’s functions, background, and description, as well as their role in the Water Value Chain. The area constituted approximately 20 000 square kilometers, where the dominant use of water was for agriculture, especially grapes and apples.
Mr Van Staden emphasized the Water Users Association’s role in the BOCMA area. International best practice was also followed. There was an extensive public participation to help registration of the eleven categories of water users.
Challenges to BOCMA included: building legitimacy and credibility because this was a relatively new CMA; involvement of stakeholders in decision making; financial challenges to enable BOCMA to raise funds themselves; water availability, deteriorating eco-systems, equity in water use, and the current state of water services infrastructure.
The total budget for the BOCMA was elaborated on. The total budget for 2012 was R18 093 250.00.
Ms Zanele Mngoma, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), BOCMA, briefed the Committee on the financial situation of BOCMA and noted that the BOCMA had had unqualified audit statements for the previous two years. 


Discussion
The Chairperson requested further information on the functions of the CMAs.
Ms Sigwaza replied that powers were exercised in terms of the delegation from the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, to deal with environmental issues and water provision.
Mr Muller further elaborated that CMAs made specific strategies in terms of their own catchment areas which must be in line with the national strategies.
The Chairperson asked why it seemed that these tasks had been reproduced and replicated by agencies which the Department should fulfill.
Mr Muller noted that at regional level most functions would be provided through the agencies eventually.
The Chairperson asked for elaboration on the thought process behind establishing CMAs.
Mr Muller replied that decentralization enabled public participation and encouraged local participation.
Mr Muller conceded that the Department were not performing at a local level. This process could be seen as job creation.
The Chairperson noted that phasing out regional offices, and the creation of a costly vehicle, with new management structures and boards seemed a difficult thing to understand. There were many Chiefs and few Indians.


Mr Muller answered that this was a decentralization of water affairs, that people in local areas should operate, manage and pay for their own affairs.
The Chairperson stated firmly that decentralization was not an adequate answer.
Mr Rashid Khan, Regional Head: Western Cape, Department of Water Affairs, replied that the Department did not want to manage local water resource management.
Mr G Morgan (DA) understood that a ‘catchment’ had yet to be properly defined. Nine regional offices were attached to political boundaries but catchment areas were not defined and often might overlap. Mr Morgan noted that a geographical boundary was different from a political boundary, and that this possibly affected the strategy of the Department.
The Chairperson asked how many catchment areas existed in South Africa.
Mr Muller answered that it depended on how catchment areas were defined and that there were in reality 19 in South Africa.
The Chairperson repeated his concerns regarding the delegation of functions to agencies from the Department which would create a cumbersome and expensive bureaucracy. This also created further work, more audits, and more management.
Mr Muller responded that the current legislation was being enacted but there was a policy and legislative review being undertaken.
Mr Morgan requested reasons why the seven CMAs that should have been created were not created. Why had only two been created to this point? Mr Morgan also requested comment on the institutionalization of conflict as opposed to collaboration especially where there was an asymmetry of power, especially in South Africa where there were certain legacies that affected the country.
Ms Sigwaza replied that the nature of water resource management dealt with very local issues. These issues were sometimes escalated to a national level.
The Chairperson noted that the Department entrenched conflict by not dealing with mediation and arbitration at a ground level. The DNA of the Department did not seem to have altered in time.

Mr Muller noted that the Department wanted issues to be dealt with at a local level, but that if necessary these issues could be taken to higher levels.
The Department commented that there was an ongoing legislative review, and that the Department had taken the comments on board.
Ms D Tsotetsi (ANC) asked whether there were any awareness campaigns for the Department to register and license water users.
The Department commented that emerging farmers were registered, and that community officers provided emerging farmers with support.
Mr Khan added that an open day had been held in the BOCMA area, amongst others, to register emerging farmers and the eleven categories of users.
The Chairperson noted that this seemed not to have been done in a systematic manner.
Mr Khan noted that not enough was being done to register users.
Ms Tsotetsi commented that language might be a barrier, and that radio should be used as a medium to reach these parties.
Mr Van Staden highlighted the fact that there were many roadshows since the inception of the BOCMA. Emerging farmers were represented on CMA, and especially BOCMA boards. This facilitated communication between BOCMA and people on the ground. BOCMA had also created an emerging farmer forum.
Mr Khan noted that without the CMAs, there would be no Catchment Management Strategy, which was an achievement in itself.
The Chairperson commented that the functions of the CMA were important. But the Chairperson noted that provincial structures were not fulfilling these functions well, so Government was creating an alternate structure which he had also encountered when dealing with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD).  Philosophically and strategically the Department needed to justify whether the CMA structure was the correct structure to fulfill these functions.
Ms D Mathebe (ANC) commented that the Department was making life difficult for CMAs. CMAs were being hampered by an inability to collect funds because they had to wait for Departmental allocation. The Department should be proactive in its actions.
Mr M Skosana (IFP) requested a water monitoring strategy from the Department, because it seemed as if this was an aspect that was not being correctly done.  Mr Skosana requested that an organogram be provided to the Committee. Mr Skosana noted that other regions in South Africa should follow the Western Cape’s lead and example and that the Department should make sure that the lead of the Western Cape was followed by the other areas of South Africa.
Ms Tsotetsi requested an audit of farms involved in water use and abuse.
Mr Morgan commented that this Agency was relatively well managed, but that there was a large proportion of South Africa that was not covered. What was happening in that large proportion where the Department managed water resources?
Mr Morgan suggested that the Committee visit the Department’s programmes in its future visits in Pretoria. The Department needed to give a national picture of water resources to the Committee.


The Chairperson noted that an urgent report needed to be provided to the Committee on what exactly the Departmental strategy was for metering, as well as other issues including the delegation of tasks from the Department to the CMAs for the meeting in July.
The Chairperson asked whether regional offices, where there was not a CMA, did local work.
Mr Jackson stated that this was the case.
The Chairperson noted that these issues were being raised but that decisions were not being taken and that the Chairperson’s views did not necessarily reflect those of his party.
The Chairperson reiterated his concerns with the concept of CMAs, but noted that the work done by the Agencies reflected in their presentations seemed to be well done.
The meeting was adjourned

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