Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs: Committee Programme for 2012

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

05 February 2012
Chairperson: Ms D Nhlengethwa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to discuss and adopt its draft Programme for 2012. The Chairperson highlighted the Committee’s planned activities for the year- these included meetings, oversight visits and a study tour to France. Members approved the programme with amendments but noted that there could be further changes during the course of the year depending on new developments.

The Committee also touched on the training programme that would be provided for Members to enhance their knowledge and skills base in matters pertaining to local government legislation, local government budget, spending trends, and grading of municipalities.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks by Chairperson
The Chairperson welcomed the new Member- Mr J Steenhuisen (DA) - to the Committee. Thereafter, she explained that the purpose of the meeting was to adopt the yearly programme, which had emanated from the last strategic planning discussion the Committee had in November 2011. The Committee had to submit a quarterly programme as per the rules of Parliament but this could be amended during the course of the year depending on new developments.

Committee Programme 2012
The Chairperson requested Members to go through the programme and make amendments to it if they feel that it did not capture everything that was mentioned during the strategic planning session last year. These changes would be added to the programme before it is adopted.

She further noted that the Committee would be discussing the progress report on the implementation of the local government turnaround strategy in the following week. At the strategic planning meeting, the Committee had agreed that it would address all the issues that it was not satisfied with during the engagement with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) in the first term. Those issues would be the priority of the Committee and would be discussed in next week’s meeting. She again asked Members if they had any inputs they wanted to add or if the document should be accepted as it was.

Ms M Segale-Diswai (ANC) asked for clarity in light of what the Chairperson had said that the Committee Programme would be adopted on a quarterly basis because she had understood it as a yearly programme which needed to be adopted holistically.

The Chairperson clarified that the Committee need to approve the yearly programme and submit it to the authorities in term of the rules. In addition, there would be programmes drafted each quarter which could be reviewed and amended depending on developments and the work of the Committee.

The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee would receive a briefing from CoGTA on the impact of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on the Department on 21 February 2012.

Mr J Matshoba (ANC) reminded the Chairperson that the Department of Cooperative Governance and the Department of Traditional Affairs were separate entities therefore sought clarity on which one would address the Committee.

The Chairperson replied that both departments had been requested to address the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that the Minister of Finance would deliver the Budget Speech on 22 February 2012. On 28 February 2012, the Committee would receive a briefing from the National Treasury and the Office of the Auditor-General (AG) on the Budget process in terms of how Budget processes of CoGTA would be approached. Then on 6 March 2012, the Committee would be briefed by both departments on Budget Vote 3, their strategic plans and section 32 reports. On 13 March 2012, the Committee would be briefed by the following institutions- the South African Local Government Association (SALGA); the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB); the Commission for the promotion and protection of the rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission), National House of Traditional Leaders, and South African Cities Network (SACN). That would end the first quarter programme of the Committee.

The Chairperson noted that the constituency period would run from 20 March–13 April 2012. The draft Budget Vote Report would be distributed to Members by 23 March 2012. On 24 April 2012, there would be a briefing by the Department of Cooperative Governance on regulations for the appointment of Municipal Managers and other section 56 Managers. The Committee would also deal with some legislation in terms of municipal infrastructure where the department had to brief the Committee on the regulations that were required. The Committee would also request the Department to brief it on the pipeline legislation for the current year and the deadlines of legislations that were envisaged to be brought before the Committee.

On 8 May 2012, the Committee would be briefed by SALGA on the challenges relating to the draft regulations on the conditions of service of senior management in local government. On 15 May, there would be a briefing fro the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) on its report of local government hearings. On 22 May, the Committee would receive a progress report from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Department of Public Works on payment of intergovernmental debt. The Committee would also seek clarity on how far the Department had gone with the establishment of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency that would assist municipalities. On May 29, there would be a briefing from the National House of Traditional Leaders on challenges and successes experienced by the house and the establishment of Provincial Houses and working relations with the Department of Traditional Affairs.

On 6 June 2012, the Committee would be briefed on legislation, which would be confirmed at a later stage. On 12 of June, there would be a progress report from the Department of Cooperative Governance on the Anti Corruption Inspectorate (ACI). There would also be a briefing from SALGA on its National Anti Corruption Campaign. On the 19 of June, the Committee would engage itself on the discussion of the logistics for the study tour to France. From 25 June – 20 July 2012, there would be a constituency period where the Committee would embark on an international study tour, subject to approval. If the study tour to France was not approved then the Committee would embark on oversight visits to Provinces. That would bring to an end the second term programme of the Committee.

The third term programme began on 7 August 2012 whereby the Committee would be briefed on the progress report from the Department of Cooperative Governance on Operation Clean Audit and on section 32 reports. On 14 August, there would be a briefing from SALGA on the following: the review of fiscal framework for local government, the differentiation priorities of funding mechanisms for infra-structural investment needs for different municipal categories, and Councillor support mechanisms. On 21 August, there would be a briefing from the Department of Cooperative Governance on the role and functions of Disaster Management Unit and the progress report on assistance to all disaster areas since 1999. On 28 August, the Committee would be briefed by the Department of Cooperative Governance on progress made with regard to the developing a formula or strategy for the funding of Ward Committees.

From 3 – 7 September 2012, the Committee would embark on oversight visits to the Western Cape, North West, Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces. The Committee would also make follow-ups to Provinces previously visited to check on progress made on recommendations raised with those Provinces. On 11 September, there would be a briefing from SALGA on legislative proposal for the review of Organised Local Government Legislation including delisting of SALGA as a national public entity. On 18 and 19 September, there would be Peoples Assemblies. From 25 September – 5 October 2012, there was a constituency period, and that would end the third term programme of the Committee.
From 8 – 12 October 2012, the Committee would embark on oversight visits to offices as part of the Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) process, of the following: the Department of Cooperate Governance; Department of Traditional Affairs; SALGA; MDB; CRL Commission; and SACN. On October 16, the Department of Cooperative Governance, SALGA and Department of Public Works would brief the Committee on the progress made with regard to the tariff/billing systems. On 23 October, the Department of Cooperative Governance, SALGA and FFC would brief the Committee on the progress made with regard to the Local Government Equitable Share/Funding Formula for municipalities. On 30 October, there would be a progress report on reaching of the Millennium Development Goals, (the progress report was not specified on the programme as from which department it would come from, it still needed to be verified).

The Chairperson noted that from 6 November 2012, the Committee would embark on oversight visits and engage with stakeholders and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). In those oversight visits, the Committee would also be checking if public participation in municipalities was taking place, and how municipalities have formed Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPAC). Because if they insisted on monitoring whether the municipalities did public participation, they would reduce issues of public protest in some municipalities.

The Chairperson reiterated that the Committee would make further amendments to the programme along the way. She asked for any mover for the adoption of the programme.

Mr Matshoba moved for the adoption of the programme.

Ms Segale-Diswai seconded the move.

The Committee adopted the programme with amendments

Proposed Study Tour to France
The Chairperson suggested that Members had to go back and go through the researched document from the Committee researcher so they could make some more inputs before it could be discussed in at the next meeting.

Oversight Visits to Provinces
The Chairperson drew Members attention to the fact that the Committee would be making follow-up visits to all the provinces it had previously visited. The researcher would conduct a proper research on the remaining provinces that still needed to be visited and advise the Committee on which ones to prioritise. The Committee had still not received all the reports on its previous engagements with the provinces.

Ms W Nelson (ANC) suggested that since some of the provinces had not been visited yet, the researcher should investigate if the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and other Committees had been there so that the Committee avoided duplication of duties.

The Chairperson agreed that in future the Committee should first consult with the NCOP before embarking on oversight visits in provinces to avoid such duplication.

Proposed Training Workshop
The Chairperson informed Members that there was a provision for Members to receive training in any kind of area they needed to understand. According to her, the Committee needed training on local government legislation so that it could enhance its oversight role and to ascertain compliance by the department and other stakeholders. The Committee would therefore put up its application for the training. A professional from one of the universities would train the Committee on financial management that would help Members to be able to understand and verify information on local government budget, its financial statements, spending trends of municipalities, the formula of funding, grading of municipalities, etc. The training was not catered for on the Parliamentary programme but could only be done during the weekends or the constituency periods.

Ms Nelson proposed that the Committee should indicate when it wanted to have this training and suggested it should be done early in the year so that Members could be prepared for the whole term. She also noted that in order to get a directive from Parliament there should be motivations from the Committee whether it should be done during the weekend or during the constituency period.

Mr Matshoba suggested that the training be done on the weekend before the budget votes.

The Chairperson proposed that the training be done outside Parliament to refresh Members’ minds. The Committee Secretary would interact with Members in terms of proposed dates and the number of Members that would attend.

Mr Matshoba proposed that all Members of the Committee should attend the training.

The Chairperson agreed with him and said that the application would request that all Members of should attend the training.

The meeting was adjourned.


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