Briefing on Strategic Plans by: Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG), Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) and National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL)

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

12 March 2012
Chairperson: Ms D Nlhengethwa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

With the Minister in attendance, the briefing on the Strategic Plans by the Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Traditional Affairs and National House of Traditional Leaders were presented.

The Department of Cooperative Governance would focus its resources towards fast-tracking the implementation of collective decisions to enhance the functioning of municipalities and to locate the role of traditional institutions within the broader agenda of Government. COGTA would provide a much focused support to 105 municipalities which were within the 23 priority District Municipalities identified by Cabinet as well as corresponding traditional communities.

The strategic goals of the Department of Cooperative Governance were to ensure implementation of a policy platform that provided a differentiated approach to municipal financing, planning and support, improved access to basic services, implementation of the Community Work Programme and deepening local democracy through a refined Ward Committee model. Other strategic goals include enhancing administrative and financial capabilities of municipalities, strengthening cooperative governance and providing oversight and support to provincial and local government, improving coordination of interventions impacting on local government and facilitating economic development at local level.

The Committee was informed that as per COGTA budget estimates the total to be appropriated for 2012/13 was R 54 715.6 million with the bulk of the expenditure going to Governance and Intergovernmental Relations (R 37 981.9 million) and Infrastructure and Economic Development (R 15 544.2 million) programmes. Budget estimates for 2013/14 and 2014/15 was pegged at R 58 804.1 million and R 63 821.9 million respectively. The programmes were: Administration, Policy, Research and Knowledge Management, Governance and Intergovernmental Relations, National Disaster Management Centre, Provincial and Municipal Government Support and Infrastructure and Economic Development.

The Department of Traditional Affairs spoke about its strategic goals: empowered traditional communities, effective governance systems for traditional affairs, sustainable partnerships and collaboration for service delivery, effective Department of Traditional Affairs and transformation of traditional authorities. Its programmes were: Research, Policy and Legislation, Institutional Support and Coordination and Transforming Traditional Authorities. Some of the planned activities under Research, Policy and Legislation included gazetting the formula for kingship/ queenship councils, the National Traditional Affairs Bill published and consulted on and an approved policy on male initiation. Activities under Institutional Support and Coordination included developing, implementing and reviewing Partnership Strategy and Traditional Affairs Sector Strategy. In addition to these activities was implementing a capacity building plan.

Transforming Traditional Authorities activities involved affirmation of the traditional and Khoisan communities through empowerment programme, restoration of the dignity of the traditional and Khoisan leaders and communities and partnerships and effective participation of the cultural, religious and linguistic communities in provincial and local government. The Department of Traditional Affairs concluded the presentation by stating that the Annual Performance Plan for the period 2012/13 provided an opportunity for all role-players across the spheres of government to provide support to communities which would receive the desired services, through organised and effective Government structures, operating efficiently, with infrastructure development as the centre of focus.

The National House of Traditional Leaders explained it derived its mandate from the Constitution and National House of Traditional Leaders Act, 2009. The strategic priorities for 2012-2015 were to promote cooperation between provincial houses and the NHTL, promote effective involvement of Traditional Leadership on the matters of service delivery and rural development, promote effective participation in policy and legislation development and implementation affecting traditional leadership and promote the custodianship of culture, customs, traditions and values in communities. In pursuit of some of these strategic objectives the NHTL would convene an annual conference of traditional leaders and identify, monitor and evaluate service delivery projects in traditional communities.

The Committee stated that the demon of corruption needed to be fought but it was not clear how the department would do this. They also observed that local government was faced with a problem of skills retention i.e engineers. What plans did the department have to deal with this problem? The Committee also asked if the department was planning on creating jobs aside from the ones created by the Community Work Programme (CWP).

Meeting report

Department of Cooperative Governance Annual Performance and Strategic Plans
Ms Tumi Mketi, Acting Director General: Department of Cooperative Governance (DoCG), made the presentation. The Committee was informed that for 2012/13 the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) would focus its resources towards fast-tracking the implementation of collective decisions to enhance the functioning of municipalities and to locate the role of our traditional institutions within the broader agenda of Government. COGTA would provide a much focused support to 105 municipalities which were within the 23 priority District Municipalities identified by Cabinet as well as corresponding traditional communities (see document for list of priority municipalities per province).

The strategic goals of the Department of Cooperative Governance were: to ensure implementation of a policy platform that provided a differentiated approach to municipal financing, planning and support, improved access to basic services, implementation of the Community Work Programme and deepening local democracy through a refined Ward Committee model. Other strategic goals include enhancing administrative and financial capabilities of municipalities, strengthening cooperative governance and providing oversight and support to provincial and local government, improving coordination of interventions impacting on local government and facilitating economic development at local level.

The Committee was informed that as per COGTA budget estimates the total to be appropriated for 2012/13 was R 54 715.6 million with the bulk of the expenditure going to Governance and Intergovernmental Relations (R 37 981.9 million) and Infrastructure and Economic Development (R 15 544.2 million) programmes. Budget estimates for 2013/14 and 2014/15 was pegged at R 58 804.1 million and R 63 821.9 million respectively. Its programmes were Administration, Policy, Research and Knowledge Management, Governance and Intergovernmental Relations, National Disaster Management Centre, Provincial and Municipal Government Support and Infrastructure and Economic Development.

Some of the activities under Administration included supporting provinces and municipalities with communication capacity, implementing the revised Internal Audit and Risk Management plan and fraud prevention Plan, ensuring established and functional financial governance structures and clean audit opinion. Activities under Policy, Research and Knowledge Management included developing knowledge management strategy and supporting ICT development at municipal level. Governance and Intergovernmental Relations activities involved developing a White Paper on Cooperative Governance, ensuring Draft Bill on National Monitoring, Support and Intervention in provinces and municipalities developed, ensuring Bill on the refined legislative framework for ward committees and community participation, municipalities supported with monitoring of Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) expenditure and Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill finalised for consideration by Cabinet.

The programme on the National Disaster Management Centre involved activities such as the amendment of the Disaster Management Act, revised Fire Services legislation and developing Integrated National Disaster Risk Management Education and Training Framework. Provincial and Municipal Government Support would involve developing regulations setting uniform standards for all municipal employees, monitoring municipalities to fill vacancies in terms of Municipal Systems Amendment Act and a National Framework on the professionalisation of local government. Lastly the programme on Infrastructure and Economic Development would involve activities such as work opportunities created through the Community Work Programme, Business Development Forums supported in district municipalities and District Rural Municipalities supported to improve on MIG non-financial performance.

Discussion
Mr J Matshoba (ANC) asked if the department was planning on creating jobs aside from the ones created by the Community Work Programme (CWP).

The Minister,
Mr Richard Baloyi, replied that the CWP was previously under the Presidency but was now under COGTA. This was not the only initiative the department was undertaking to create jobs. In the sprit of cooperative governance, it was the responsibility of COGTA to make it a point that the labour intensive policies that the government had developed were applied.

Mr G Buinamo observed that communities were destroying things that had been built because of disputes that they had. It was important to instil some sense of responsibility in the communities so that they appreciate what they had.

The Minister replied that he agreed with the Member. There was need to build confidence between the people and government in the municipalities.

Mr Buinamo said that the department needed to control land. Some communities settled on private property and demanded services which were not possible. The department should regulate land.

The Minister agreed that the department needed to manage issues around land use and forceful settlements. Some of the land occupied by force belonged to municipalities and traditional communities. Municipalities and traditional communities needed to be inspired to address this issue.

Ms W Nelson (ANC) observed that there was a problem with spatial integration despite this being on the agenda since 1994. There was a need to narrow down to what was meant by spatial integration.

The Minister replied that the issue of spatial integration was something that the department needed to do. The idea was to create towns without townships. It was not a question of developing townships far away but a question of integration.

Ms Nelson asked how the department was going to ensure the implementation of the turn around strategy.

The Minister replied that the Department took a decision that it would not focus on processes with regard to the turn around strategy but would focus on what was being done to get things done. Five points that needed to be done had been identified.

Mr C Msimang (IFP) observed that the department seemed to be concentrating more on municipalities but there had been criticism on the lack of focus on provinces. Was there a plan to also focus on provinces?

The Minister replied that the Department was not only focusing on municipalities. The department was looking at National and provincial in as far as they support the local area. The issues being raised in relation to municipalities also applied to provinces.

Mr Msimang said that the role of Community Development Workers (CDW) should be highlighted in terms of the Community Work Programme.

The Minister agreed with the Member. CDW would be integrated as they were supposed to operate as agents of the intergovernmental service delivery model.

Mr Msimang said that the demon of corruption must be fought but from the presentation it was not clear how (most Members rejected this point).

The Minister replied that the Department would have a session that would include civil society to address the issue of corruption. Chapter 9s and departments needed to be brought on board to fight corruption. Corruption needed to be eradicated in all its forms.

Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) said that if only vacancies could be filled up there would be progress in municipalities.

The Minister replied stating that he agreed with the position of Ms Ditshetelo.

Mr J Steenhuizen (DA) observed that local government was faced with a problem of skills retention i.e engineers. What plans did the department have to deal with this problem?

The Minister replied that the Department would deal with the issue of skills development. The programme on governance had a component on capacity building and skills development.

Mr Steenhuizen stated that there was a knock on effect with failed provinces on municipalities. Provinces needed to strengthen their oversight roles.

The Minister replied that the Department and provinces needed to agree that provinces not only had oversight responsibilities over local areas but had a responsibility to contribute in the development of the local areas. There should be a balance of the two.

Mr Steenhuizen asked the criterion used to identify the 105 municipalities.

The Minister replied that the Department would provide a written response outlining the criterion used to identify the 105 municipalities.

Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) Annual Performance and Strategic Plans
Prof Charles Nwaila, Director General: Department of Traditional Affairs outlined the strategic goals of the Department of Traditional Affairs: empowered traditional communities, effective governance systems for traditional affairs, sustainable partnerships and collaboration for service delivery, effective Department of Traditional Affairs and transformation of traditional authorities. Its programmes were: Research, Policy and Legislation, Institutional Support and Coordination and Transforming Traditional Authorities. Some of the activities under Research, Policy and Legislation included gazetting the formula for kingship/ queenship councils, the National Traditional Affairs Bill published and consulted on and an approved policy on male initiation. Activities under Institutional Support and Coordination included developing, implementing and reviewing the Partnership Strategy and Traditional Affairs Sector Strategy. In addition to these activities was implementing a capacity building plan.

Transforming Traditional Authorities activities involved affirmation of the traditional and Khoisan communities through empowerment programme, restoration of the dignity of the traditional and Khoisan leaders and communities and partnerships and effective participation of the cultural, religious and linguistic communities in provincial and local government. The Director General concluded by stating that the Annual Performance Plan for the period 2012/13 provided an opportunity for all role-players across the spheres of government to provide support to communities which would receive the desired services, through organised and effective government structures, with infrastructure development at the centre of focus.

Discussion
Mr Buinamo said that there was an overlap between functions of traditional leaders and local councillors. This needed to be resolved to ensure that municipalities worked well with traditional leaders without stepping on each other.

The Minister replied that the issue should not be approached as if it were pre-1994. The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act had been developed and the intention was to define the role. The Department was amending the Framework Act, National House Act and Structures Act to ensure defined mechanisms of participation at a local level.

Mr Msimang asked if there were any lessons that had been learnt with the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) that would be taken forward. How did the department ensure that traditional council and communities were consulted?

The Minister replied that IDP collaboration with traditional institutions was important. The amendment of the Act would locate how services with government and outside would be provided.

National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) Annual Performance and Strategic Plans
Dr Wilson Makgalancheche, NHTL Chief Executive Officer, said NHTL derived its mandate from the Constitution and the National House of Traditional Leaders Act, 2009. The vision of NHTL was to promote the development of the rural and traditional communities, participate in legislative and policy processes and promote the preservation of the African languages and cultures in line with Section 30 and 31 of the Constitution. The strategic priorities for 2012-2015 were to promote cooperation between Provincial Houses and the NHTL in order for the Houses to achieve their goals, promote effective involvement of Traditional Leadership on the matters of service delivery and rural development, promote effective participation in policy and legislation development and implementation affecting traditional leadership and promote the custodianship of culture, customs, traditions and values in communities. In pursuit of some of these strategic objectives, the NHTL would convene an annual conference of traditional leaders and identify, monitor and evaluate service delivery projects in traditional communities.

Discussion
Mr Buinamo sated that the House of Traditional Leaders was complaining of being an appendage to the department.

The Minister replied that there was a lot of work that was needed. Ownership of traditional matters should start from the Minister and Director General. There was a lot of work that needed to be done to the structure.

Mr Buinamo observed that there were no timelines in the performance plans.

Dr Makgalancheche replied that some dates in terms of the quarterly targets had been provided.

The Committee requested that the following questions be responded to in writing as time could not allow for oral responses.

The Chairperson asked the target for the Fire Services legislation

The Chairperson observed that there were no timelines for the Department of Traditional Affairs activities. Timelines would enable the Committee to monitor.

The Chairperson stated that there was aging infrastructure but municipalities did not allocate money for infrastructure maintenance.

The Chairperson observed that money allocated for disaster had reduced. Why had there been a reduction in light of the floods that were happening and general climate change.

Mr Buinamo asked what was happening with local houses at municipality level.

Mr Steenhuizen asked if there was a role that the National House of Traditional Leaders played with local elections as there had been disputes.

The Committee congratulated the Minister for taking the Committee and his department seriously. The Minister had not only been attending Committee meetings but had also been addressing the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.

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