Department on Rural Development and Land Reform on matters raised by Auditor-General

Rural Development and Land Reform

29 February 2012
Chairperson: Mr P Sizani (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department’s Acting Chief Financial Officer reported on the qualification given by the Auditor-General, and the progress of the Department’s Management Action Plan to address the qualified audit and emphasis of matters. The qualification was due to the Immovable Asset Register. The Management Action Plan put in place research and analysis of the remaining 236 properties by 30 November 2011. The property description and registered owner name comparison were done using provincial deeds office. An Immovable Asset Register policy was drafted and would be implemented by 1 April 2012.

On emphasis of matters, attention was drawn to the un-surveyed land which was not recognised in the financial statements with only 2.8 million hectares being disclosed. Progress made by December 2011 was that 883 000 hectares of un-surveyed state land comprising of Administrative Areas and Spatial Development Frameworks (SDFs) were surveyed and approved. The Management Action Plan was to identify all land parcels acquired by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights and registered in the name of Government. A Restitution Technical Support Team was established to analyse expenditure made since 2009 and identify properties which had been registered in the name of the state that were not recorded in the asset register. All powers to negotiate settlements were centralised to the Regional Land Claims Commissioner. The R642m of the total R6.573bn restitution commitments had not been used due to changes in the restitution settlement options, community disputes, tribal disputes, family disputes and/or untraceable claimants. R73.4m had been incurred as fruitless and wasteful expenditure as a result of interest paid as compelled by the court for late settlement of land purchases. Continual engagement with the Auditor-General was encouraged, and the Office of the Accountant General was to be part of that process.

Members raised questions about how the Department was going to do the things it promised to do, and was it going to help the Department of Public Works sort out its mess, whether the Department new the value of a piece of land before negotiating a price with the owner; what had happened to 642m for settlements, the timeframes for the work in un-surveyed land, having an asset register without policy in place.

Meeting report


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