Municipal Infrastructure Investment Unit and National House of Traditional Leaders: budget

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

25 April 2002
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
26 April 2002
MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT UNIT AND NATIONAL HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS: BUDGET OVERVIEW


Chairperson: Mr Y I Carrim

Documents handed out
Municipal Infrastructure Investment Unit Budget Hearing April 2002
Annual Report of the National House of Traditional Leaders

SUMMARY
Municipal Infrastructure Investment Unit and National House of Traditional Leaders each presented their budget overview. The Committee was pleased with the progress of the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Unit.

The committee was however not satisfied with the National House of Traditional Leaders' annual report because it was not in standard form and had no financial statement. The National House of Traditional Leaders defended itself by explaining that it was not given proper resources and recognition. The Committee agreed that the issue would be taken to Parliament and be discussed in six months time.

MINUTES
Municipal Investment Unit
The Chairperson introduced delegates from the Municipal Investment Unit (MIIU): Ms Hesketh, Board Chair; Dr Leigland, Acting CEO; Ms Magugumela, Project Manager. Ms Hesketh lead the presentation by giving an overview of the structure and function of the MIIU. Dr Leigland presented the budget for the year 2001/2001 and summarised the budget for 2002/2003. Ms Magugumela gave an overview of the MIIU's performance and progress. Ms Hesketh concluded the presentation by outlining some of the challenges and the lessons that the MIIU had experienced and how they planned to move forward.

National House of Traditional Leaders
The National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) had six delegates and led by Inkosi Mzimela. Inkosi Mzimela presented the annual report. There was not financial statement because the Department administers the NHTL's budget. In the presentation Inkosi Mzimela emphasised that the NHTL faced the difficulty of being undermined and not given proper recognition and resources.

Discussion
Mr Sithole (ANC) commended the MIIU for the progress that they had made since their previous presentation. He was concerned about the role of MIIU in reaching and developing small rural municipalities.

The Chairperson was also concerned about rural municipalities and asked if the MIIU had thought of a way to include the private sector to invest in rural municipalities.

Ms Hesketh said that it was not easy to involve the private sector to invest in rural municipalities but that it did not mean the private sector could not add value to rural municipalities.

Dr. Leigland added that rural municipalities could benefit from cross subsidisation through intergovernmental transfers.

Mr Sithole also asked if the MIIU was still experiencing problems with negotiators as it did in the previous year.

Dr. Leigland cited two water concessions where there were only technical problems. He emphasised that the MIIU experienced problems in public relations whereby there were misleading reports and misunderstanding of the MIIU's functions.

The Chairperson asked if there was still resistance for Public-Private Partnerships by councillors. Had the issue of powers and functions been resolved?

Dr. Leigland said that the issue of demarcation of powers and function was still not yet finalised, but it was still in progress.

One member asked what was MIIU's concern about the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

Dr Leigland said that the MIIU invited SALGA to a conference but as yet there was no reply and that there seemed to be a communication problem.

The Chairperson felt strongly that SALGA should be informed about the dissatisfaction and be told to participate in the conference.

Ms Clelland agreed with the Chairperson although that it was too late for SALGA to participate in the conference.

The Chairperson disagreed that it was too late for SALGA to participate in the conference.

Mr Ngubeni commented that the MIIU should try to find ways to involve the private sector into rural municipalities. Urban projects could be linked to rural areas or use district municipalities to underwrite projects to rural areas. The MIIU should try to anticipate uncertainties in their business plans so that it could deal with unforeseen problems during implementation.

Ms Clelland asked why there were no job loses in the Dolphin and Nelspruit projects. What was MIIU's role in nodal points.

Dr. Leigland said that there were not job loses in the Dolphin and Nelspruit projects because nobody was retrenched (as stipulated in both contracts), instead more people were employed. He added that new management provided training for employees. On the second question he said that it was a challenge to work with nodal areas but that it was an area they would look into.

One member asked if the MIIU intended capacity building when reviewing restructuring strategies in IDP's. The response was in the negative.

Ms Clelland requested the MIIU to provide the committee with some of the results of their diagnostic studies. MIIU agreed.

Mr Kgarimetsa asked the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) how it could call visits to other countries an achievement.

Inkosi Mzimela said that links with foreign countries in any government department were necessary and actually happening and therefore said that it was the same as for the NHTL. He added that the trip had enhanced the relationship between the NHTL and traditional leaders outside South Africa.

Mr Kgarimetsa also asked about the role of the NHTL's chairperson on a daily basis and the NHTL' future activities and also wanted to know if the NHTL had ever presented a business plan to the Department.

Inkosi Mzimela said that his organisation was busy preparing for a series of strategic workshops and referred Mr Kgarimetsa to the Annual Report for the NHTL's activities.

Mr Kgarimetsa asked if the NHTL had assessed its capacity and needs.

Inkosi Mathanzima said that the organisation had undertaken capacity assessment with the Department and was advised by the Department to hold on until the issue of the role and functions of traditional leader was completed. The Chairperson suggested that this should be reported to parliament and that after six months the committee should meet with the Department and the NHTL to assess progress and to set off the ground the programme of capacity building.

Mr Sithole suggested that the next report of the NHTL should be coherent and in standard form.

Inkosi Mzimela commented that even though the committee wanted a co-operative relationship there were problems. The first one was negative attitudes of other levels of government in working with NHTL. The second one was mistrust. The third one was undermining traditional leaders. He was emphatic on the fact that the Department does not allow the NHTL to administer its own fund and yet expected to account for a budget.

The Chairperson said that the issue would be raised with Parliament.

Ms Clelland asked how the NHTL was working with local municipalities.

Inkosi Mzimela said that at the national level the attitude towards traditional leaders was positive. However, at the provincial and local level it was very negative. A traditional leader from Limpopo said that traditional leaders were once part of the local government but the problem was that they had no voting power, no compensation and no travelling allowance and therefore decided to withdraw until the issue of powers and functions of traditional leaders is completed.

The Chairperson reiterated the issue of the NHTL not being given proper resources and recognition and assured the NHTL that the matter would be solved soon.

The meeting was adjourned.

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