The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform briefed Members on Outcome 7 of the Delivery Agreements, and explained that the targets were were organized into five outputs. These outputs were outlined and discussed together with challenges, findings, proposed remedial measures, and the institutionalization of Outcome 7.Delivery agreements were in place at the political level. The Department emphasized the need for these agreements to cascade into memoranda of understanding at the level of directors-general. The Department noted the need of various departments to appoint Outcome Leaders who would spearhead their department’s role in Outcome 7. A proposed road map for institutional development was outlined. As the coordinating department the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had to be realistic about its time-frames.
Members thought that progress would be difficult with one department assuming the coordinating role in a grand plan but without agreement between the other heads of department, noted that it was extremely difficult to read the progress report in its current format, asked what the difference was between small-holder farmers in sections 1.1 and 1.2 of the report, as the same number of applications had been approved but different figures had been noted, were concerned at the high number of duplications, asked the Department which other departments the Committee should approach to ensure comprehensive reporting, noted that there had been a lot of talk of cooperative governamce since 1994 but if there was still an issue with departments working together then it had to be asked what the President's role was in ensuring an appropriate level of accountability.
Outcome 7 of the Delivery Agreements: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform briefing
Mr Mduduzi Shabane, Director-General of the Department of Rural Development & Land Reform (DRDLF), explained that the report provided a systematic review of the Department’s outcome based approach. He explained that the reporting process for Outcome 7 had begun in October and reflected a period of three months. He went on to clarify that while the targets expressed in quarterly reports often varied substantially, when looking at projects were DRDLR was the coordinating department – for example, land acquisition – the targets would be much more focused and concise.
Mr S Meyer, Acting Deputy Director-General, DRDLR, began by providing a brief outline to his presentation. He first explained the goal of Outcome 7 – namely vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities. He highlighted that the DRDLR had been working with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Department of Cooperative Governance (DoCG), the Department of Social Development (DSD), the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) and others. He explained that Outcome 7 had been used as a vehicle to fast track service delivery in rural areas. His Department’s aim was to ensure that rural people’s quality of life, their access to quality services, livelihoods and income were improved.
Mr Meyer explained that Outcome 7 had been implemented through five outputs. Output 1 was sustainable agrarian reform with a thriving farming sector. DRDLR intended to achieve sustainable productivity, income generation, food security, job creation and economic viability of farms. Output 2 concerned improved access to affordable and diverse food. DRDLR intended to ensure food security in an effort to reduce hunger and malnutrition in rural areas. Output 3 concerned improved rural services to support livelihoods. DRDLR intended to improve the quality of life and livelihoods through the provision of quality basic services – namely, water, sanitation, electricity, etc. Output 4 concerned improved employment and skills development opportunities. DRDLR intended to achieve viable economic livelihoods and an improved quality of life. Last, Mr Meyer explained that Output 5 concerned enabling institutional environment for sustainable and inclusive growth. DRDLR intended to ensure that rural communities were mobilized to participate and improve their own development.
Next, Mr Meyer outlined and discussed the challenges the DRDLR faced when reporting. He emphasized that the Outcome 7 reporting mechanism was still largely ad hoc in nature – that is to say, reactive reporting and crisis management affected the quality of information gathered in the report. He noted that there had been a number of issues relating to methodology. There had been some discussion related to the definition of targets. The DRDLR had initially been undecided as to whether to use percentages or numerical indicators. Moreover, there had been some concern as to how to measure and report on multi-year projects. Mr Meyer went on to highlight other reporting challenges – namely, evidence based issues. He explained that the DRDLR had been focused to substantiate its figures with tangible evidence.
With respect to the findings of the report, Mr Meyer noted that the DRDLR had given particular attention to “shared” mandates – that is, results in departments implementing similar projects for similar beneficiary groups. In an effort to reduce the risk of duplication the DRDLR had made a conscious effort to provide comprehensive performance reports. MR Meyer explained that Outcome 7 reporting had not yet been fully institutionalized into the Department’s regular reporting processes. He noted that departmental planning had still been largely in isolation and had failed to make provisions for delivery overlaps. He admitted that the outcome-based approach still needed to be further embedded in the organizational functioning of participating departments – that is to say, there were still a number of information gaps as a result of the reporting templates.
Mr Meyer then focused on areas of improvements: he explained that in order to ensure that reporting was credible the DRDLR had to provide a comprehensive Portfolio of Evidence (PoE). He stressed that there ought to be a standardized user friendly reporting template. Furthermore, there should be common key activities and performance indicators applied by all stakeholders. In addition, Mr Meyer emphasized that the terminology used in the template had to be much more appropriate and understandable by all. He explained that a cumulative reporting pattern had to be recommended to avoid the double counting of figures. Moreover, there had to be a verification of projects’ sites visited and the development of an information management system to ensure the credibility of reported information.
With regards to proposed remedial measures, Mr Meyer emphasized the importance of departments claiming ownership on information provided by their projects. He emphasized the need to refine the shared understanding of exactly what was being measured and why. Mr Meyer also suggested the introduction of monthly milestones for long term/multi-year projects in an effort to measure substantive progress.
Mr Meyer went on to discuss the institutionalization of Outcome 7. He explained that delivery agreements were in place at the political level. He emphasized the need for these agreements to cascade into memoranda of understanding (MOUs) at the levels of directors-general. He noted the need of various departments to appoint Outcome Leaders who would spearhead their department’s role in Outcome 7. Moreover, there was a need to develop synergy between Outcome 7 reporting and a monthly departmental reporting regime. Also, Mr Meyer noted that the performance agreements of output leaders should be amended to include Outcome 7 responsibilities.
Mr Meyer went on to outline a proposed road map for institutional development. He noted that the workshop to review and refine Delivery Agreements had been moved from 15 September to 7 October. He explained that as the coordinating department the DRDLR had to be realistic about the time-frames. He noted that the signing of MOUs between directors-general had recently been finalized in discussion. Mr Meyer emphasized the importance of Outcome 7 going “live” – that is, the opportunity for the public to go on-line and see the achievements of their respective Members of Parliament.
Next, Mr Meyer discussed the performance progress for the 3rd cycle. With respect to Output 1, Mr Meyer explained that the progress reports indicated that 33 560 hectares had been acquired which represented 11% of the annual target (303 612). Furthermore, 116 farms had been recapitalized which represented 30% of the annual target (387). Mr Meyer went on to note that support had been provided to 4 868 smallholder farmers against an annual target of 12 250. He highlighted that the type of support provided included agricultural inputs, skills and infrastructure. Moreover, 11 irrigation schemes were currently in the revitalization process against the target of 8.
With respect to Output 2, Mr Meyer noted that 600 household gardens had been established which represented 2.6% of the annual target. He also noted that 24 food security interventions were implemented which represented 0.5% of the annual target (5 343). Mr Meyer also noted that 6 545 households had been provided with production inputs, exceeding the annual target of 6 175 by 6%. He also noted that 10 654 households had accessed food through the Department of Social Development’s food relief & distribution programme. In addition, he noted that 144 708 people benefited from the soup kitchen as part of the community based food & nutrition programme.
With respect to Output 3, Mr Meyer highlighted that 88 boreholes had been provided in an effort to provide access to clean water. For improved agricultural activities, 237 km of fencing had been provided. He went on to note that 26 935 households and 594 communities had been profiled, as part of the war on poverty. In addition, three youth centers had been established and 20 youth forums were established and supported. In addition, 3 326 rainwater harvesting tanks had been established and there had been a 5% increase in households with access to sanitation services.
With respect to Output 4, Mr Meyer highlighted that Working for Fisheries had created 413 jobs. He also noted that the Community Works Programme had created 3 450 jobs which represented 86% of the annual target. In terms of rural people trained, Mr Meyer noted that 333 were mentored and empowered in various industries (arts, crafts, pig production, etc.). Furthermore, a total of 330 youth had been trained in vegetable production and 5 820 households were linked to economic opportunities. He also noted that 1 364 non-profit organizations (NPOs) had been funded and 7 956 National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) participants had been involved in the programme.
With respect to Output 5, Mr Meyer noted that the progress reports indicated that 3 701 people had been reached under the outreach programmes. In addition, he noted that 674 projects were assisted to register as non-profit organisations (NPOs), and 877 funded NPOs were trained.
Mr Meyer went on to highlight recommendations the DRDLR had suggested to ensure better quality reporting. These entailed that the Portfolio Committee endorse the reported findings as presented, in addition to supporting the remedial measures and proposed road maps to ensure proper implementation.
Ms A Steyn (DA) began by thanking the DRDLR for their presentation. She highlighted that it was nice having a grand plan with one department assuming the coordinating role but without agreement between the heads of department it would surely be difficult to move things forward. She asked the department who took responsibility for ensuring the “shared” vision was taken forward.
Ms Steyn also noted that it was extremely difficult to read the progress report in its current format. She suggested that where the DRDLR had written “No progress” it ought to specify which department had fallen short and the reasons for the shortcomings.
Ms Steyn also asked what the difference was between smallholder farmers in sections 1.1 and 1.2 of the report, as the same number of applications had been approved but different figures had been noted.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) expressed her concern at the high number of duplications. She explained that while there may be many challenges to reporting, as there are myriad projects taking place at one time, the DRDLR must deal with issues jointly with their collaborating departments. She asked the DRDLR which other departments the Committee should approach to ensure comprehensive reporting.
Ms H Matlanyane (ANC) noted that there had been a lot of talk of cooperative governing since 1994; however, if there was still an issue with departments working together then what was the role of the President in ensuring an appropriate level of accountability?
The Chairperson asked the DRDLR why it had begun their presentation with an analysis of the report before even presenting the findings from the report. He emphasized that the DRDLR project managers ought to be the lead organizers and should be ensuring resources were used appropriately.
Mr Shabane agreed that the DRDLR must definitely control the rural space in South Africa. He assured the Committee that measures were in place to strengthen the Department’s coordinating function. He explained that the outcome-based approach had come with its own challenges. He noted that the DRDLR operated at the level of district-municipalities, not local government – that is to say, it would be difficult to measure and maintain appropriate accountability at such levels.
Mr Shabane then explained that the President had allocated a coordinator for each department. These coordinators had an obligation report to Cabinet meetings to ensure that their respective departments were held accountable at all times.
Ms Leona Archery, Deputy Director-General: Rural Development, DRDLR, explained that the Department had set up a task team to work with 21 districts on social, agrarian, and economic transformation. She noted that the DRDLR had brought everyone together to work on getting information from each department so that by December the DRDLR could spatially map the resources that would be needed for the next 5-10 years.
Mr Meyer explained that in the Department’s first attempt to get joint planning underway it had called meetings to get comprehensive feedback from all other role players by the end of November. He noted that when the DRDLR looked at Outcome 7 in hindsight it realized that organization and planning needed to trickle down to the municipal level. He emphasized that while many municipalities lack the capacity, it was the responsibility of the DRDLR to build this capacity and coordinate what was happening in all rural areas. Moreover, Mr Meyer noted that provincial coordinators had faced their own unique challenges so the DRDLR must check that they were delivering services to their own municipalities to ensure the targets of Outcome 7 were consistently met.
In response to Ms Ngwenya-Mabila, Ms Ntsiki Mashiya, Deputy Director-General: Support Services, DRDLR, explained that the data template was not particularly helpful for oversight purposes. She suggested that the Committee ought to propose a Joint Planning & Monitoring Committee. She assured the Committee that the DRDLR would take measures to strengthen its coordinating approach but the problems was that many departments operated according to their own individual budgets laid out by the Treasury.
Ms Steyn asked what the role of the private sector was in this project, as the report had failed to mention anything of this nature.
Mr Meyer responded that when the private sector saw integrated service delivery taking place the DRDLR would see a lot more cooperation.
Dr Moshe Swartz, Deputy Director-General: Social, Technical, Rural Livelihoods and Institutional Facilitation (STRIF), DRDLR, explained that the phenomenon of coordination was going to continue to be an uphill battle. He suggested that members of the Portfolio Committee ought to meet with the Council of Stakeholders to propose a plan for inter-departmental implementation.
The Committee adopted its minutes of 14, 19 and 20 September, and 12 October 2011.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12h30.
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