Meeting SummaryRepresentatives of the Ingonyama Trust Board and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform made presentations to the Portfolio Committee on Rural and Land Reforms.
The Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) reported that the board had finalised only one of its Cooperation Agreements out of the proposed three. It had exceeded its target on the number of approved land tenure applications and had approved 213 as against 175 proposed. The process of consolidating the title deed into 300 title deeds, rather than 1 491, had been reviewed, and it had been decided that the cost involved outweighed any benefits to be derived from the project.
Total annual income generated (non-mining income) had exceeded the projected amount. Due to a change in legislation, royalties were now paid by mining operators directly to the State, so actual income generated from mining royalties had been far less than the expected income for the year.
The Department’s operational plan provided a strategic overview and key priority areas, focusing on the contribution of the Department to address the triple challenges currently facing
The report on state land transfers provided a detailed progress report per province and a table of all land claims countrywide. The report on out of court settlements indicated that the Department was currently handling 309 cases in the Land Claims Court, although the figure was not static as cases were filed or withdrawn on a daily basis. The issues for determination in the cases ranged from referral and review cases, to direct access cases, matters to compel payment of the purchase price; and other declaratory interdicts. The report detailed the statistics per province on each of the cases. Of the 309 cases, a total of 30 had been identified for possible out of court settlement.
Members noted with dismay that the presentations of the board lacked essential details, such as the names of cities where its proposed projects were to be implemented, with the result that the Committee had no information to work with on future oversight visits to ensure that these projects were actually being carried out. Concern was expressed that the income of the ITB was declining alarmingly. Members questioned why the board had set extremely low targets and remarked that when its targets were compared with its actual achievements, the targets it had set were in fact meaningless. Members questioned why the ITB had not taken into consideration the cost implications of consolidating title deeds before including it in its annual performance plan, and cast doubts on its processes in assisting persons making applications for funding.
Members were disappointed with the quality of the Department’s presentation on its operational plan, as it lacked substance and the necessary details one expected to be included. It was a mere repetition of the Department’s annual performance plan. The Department was asked how it had arrived at the statistic of 2.7m hectares of unsurveyed land. Members queried whether the legal and constitutional issues around the Spacial Planning Land Use Management Bill had been resolved, and whether the Department was mindful of the fast approaching deadline given to it by the Constitutional Court.
The Chairperson welcomed all present and invited representatives of the Ingonyama Trust Board to make their presentation.
Ingonyama Trust Board Fourth Quarter Performance Report
Ms Belinda Benson, Head Real Estate, presented the Ingonyama Trust Board’s (ITB’s) Fourth Quarter Performance Report and Close Out Report for 2012/13. The ITB held 2,7m hectares of land in trust with 1 491 titles to the land. Most of the land was located in local municipal areas, and 249 traditional councils had jurisdiction on the ITB land.
The ITB had finalized only one of its Cooperation Agreements out of the proposed three. The board had exceeded its target on the number of approved land tenure applications and had approved 213 as against 175 proposed. The process of consolidating the title deed into 300 title deeds, rather than 1 491, had been reviewed, and it had been decided that the cost involved outweighed any benefits to be derived from the project.
The quarterly target of 175 recorded land tenure records entered into the information system had been exceeded, with 204 entries having been made. Instead of the projected five road shows, 21 had been conducted. Of the projected 85% of applications received from communities, 80% had been approved by the Board to be paid out. Total annual income generated (non-mining income) had exceeded the projected amount. Due to a change in legislation, royalties were now paid by mining operators directly to the State, so actual income generated from mining royalties had been far less than the expected income for the year.
The Presentation also dealt with the Close out Report for 2011/12. One Cooperation Agreement had been signed, but the target on approved land tenure applications by the Board had not been met, with 618 applications being approved compared to the targeted 700. The target for the identification of exclusive land parcels, with tailor-made land management plans developed and implemented, was far exceeded; 21 land parcels had been identified, compared to the two targeted. This was mainly due to the process of verifying all the land parcels that had been transferred by the Department during the year.
A total of 1 270 land tenure records had been entered into the land tenure information system, compared to the target of 700, while 18 road shows had been conducted, against the targeted five. The target had been exceeded due to the additional resources employed in the training section. In addition, 88% of applications received from communities were approved by the Board to be paid out, compared to the 80% targeted.
Ingonyama Trust Board Draft Annual Financial Statements
Mr Ngqabutho Bhebhe, Chief Executive Officer, presented the draft annual financial statements of the ITB as at 31 March 2012.
The summary of the financial performance for 2011/12 was as follows:
Revenue, including transfer payments, increased by 2.34%; revenue, excluding transfers decreased by 6.63%; net profit decreased by 41.29%; rental income (non-mining) increased by 5.16%; royalty income decreased by 30.36%; and investment income decreased by 13.72%. Total expenditure increased by 8.97%; trust fund expenditure increased by 1.17%; transfer payment expenditure increased by 38.98%; provision for disbursement of funds decreased by 10.91%; secretariat administration costs increased by 52.06%; and actual payments to community beneficiaries increased by 35.58%.
(For details of financials see attached document).
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform 2012/13 Operational Plan
Ms Ntsiki Mashiya, Deputy Director General Support Services, presented the 2012/13 Operational Plan of the Department. The presentation discussed the strategic overview and key priority areas, focusing on the contribution of the Department to address the triple challenges currently facing
The operation plan was outlined, per programme. However, the Committee requested the Department to halt the presentation after committee Members had expressed disappointment with the quality of the presentation. They opined that it lacked substance and the necessary details expected to be included in an operational plan, and was a mere repetition of the Department’s annual performance plan.
Progress Report on
Ms Nomfundo Gobodo, Chief Land Claims Commissioner, presented the progress report on state land transfers and out of court settlements. The report on state land transfers provided a detailed progress report per province and a table of all land claims countrywide (see attached document).
The report on out of court settlements indicated that the Department was currently handling 309 cases in the Land Claims Court, although the figure was not static as cases were filed or withdrawn on a daily basis. The issues for determination in the cases ranged from referral and review cases, to direct access cases, matters to compel payment of the purchase price; and other declaratory interdicts. The report detailed the statistics per province on each of the cases. Of the 309 cases, a total of 30 had been identified for possible out of court settlement.
The Department presented it strategies to manage all outstanding claims, including creating an enabling environment for the reduction and management of liability and commitments; recruitment and continuous development and training of legal officers; identifying and managing legal risks; and developing pro forma documents and uniform processes. For litigation management, the Department’s plans included ensuring the identified 309 outstanding claims were dealt with proactively and with strict compliance with legal prescripts; the 30 identified out of court settlements were given swift attention till finalization; and the 98 land rights management matters were properly monitored.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) questioned the ITB on its proposed timeline for finalizing its cooperation agreements and for finalizing stakeholder consultation.
Ms Benson responded that the last two cooperation agreements (for
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked what the financial implications were for the ITB exceeding its proposed target of five road shows and holding 21 road shows instead.
Ms Benson replied that the initial budget had covered all 21 road shows. The training officers of the ITB had been deployed to interact with the communities and the road shows were not all large shows, some had simply been community meetings in town halls, etc.
Mr Bhebhe added that the ITB’s ability to exceed its targets by such a wide margin was mainly because it had employed additional staff in existing vacancies within the organogram, so the transfer amounts had increased in terms of utilization.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila questioned why the ITB had not taken into consideration the cost implications of consolidating title deeds before including them in its Annual Performance Plan (APP).
Ms Benson conceded that the ITB should in fact had taken note of this before including it in its APP. It would not be included in future APP’s of the Board.
The Chairperson questioned if this was a decision taken by the Board.
Ms Benson responded in the affirmative.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila sought clarification on whether the amount reflected in the ITB’s financial statement under “royalty revenue” covered only mining.
Ms Benson clarified that by virtue of a recent Act of Parliament, royalties were no longer payable to the ITB, but were instead paid directly to the State.
Mr Bhebhe added that although royalties were no longer payable to the ITB, the ITB had discovered that some of the mining companies operated without proper leases and it was therefore on a drive to ensure they all signed leases.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila questioned the ITB on its processes in assisting persons making applications to it, to ensure all the required documentation was attached to the applications.
Ms Benson replied that upon receipt of an application, the ITB notified the applicant that the application had been received. Where it was discovered that there was incomplete documentation, the ITB notified the applicant in writing of the outstanding documents.
Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) remarked that the procedures followed by the officers charged with responding to applications were questionable. No acknowledgements had been received for letters sent to the ITB requesting funding, nor directions given on the procedure.
Mr Bhebhe apologised to Mr Cebekhulu on behalf of the ITB for non-acknowledgement of the application. The issues raised by Mr Cebekhulu were among the issues identified by the ITB as a challenge, especially last year, when it did not have sufficient staff and was therefore unable to respond to all applications and enquiries appropriately. There was a lack of understanding amongst community leaders on what the ITB did, and its processes. The ITB did not fund claims for projects where there was no activity that generated funds within that traditional council. While the ITB recognised that mineral resources were not evenly distributed across all land under its trust, there were other business entities operating within these traditional councils (e.g. telecommunications) and these were alternative means to raise funds for the traditional councils. The onus, however, lay on the communities to ensure that these entities were registered in the communities through the ITB.
Mr Cebekhulu added that the issue of no responses being received to applications persisted, even when the applicant was from a community that had funds held in trust by the Board, and it was important to draw the attention of the ITB to this so that it ensured improvement in handling of its responses to applicants.
Mr Bhebhe responded that the ITB noted the concerns of Mr Cebekhulu.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila remarked that it would be helpful if a summary of the ITB’s financials were reflected in monetary value, rather than in percentages only.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila questioned the increase in expenditure of the ITB and asked how the increase had been covered.
Mr A Trollip (DA) remarked that the ITB’s reports lacked the details necessary for the Committee to make informed conclusions and the reports seemed to contradict themselves in terms of values.
Ms Benson apologised and explained that the ITB’s Fourth Quarter Performance Report and Close Out Report were prepared with a view to providing the Committee with statistics. The APP would flesh out the details missing in the reports.
Mr Trollip remarked with concern that from the financial statements presented to the Committee, the income of the ITB was declining alarmingly. He asked what plans the ITB had to address revenue issues, should the trend continue.
Ms Benson remarked that it was important for the Committee to consider that the 2.7m hectares of land which the ITB held in trust was mainly rural land and therefore not very viable economically. In the future, the ITB was hoping to attract private investments in partnership with the government. In reality, the land was used mainly for subsistence farming, and to increase the rentals would cause untold hardships to farmers who were barely managing to survive.
Mr Bhebhe added that the Board also shared the concerns expressed by Mr Trollip. The primary reason for the decline was that royalties were no longer paid to the ITB and were paid to directly to the State instead. New strategies were being developed to ensure that the ITB continued to generate revenue and that its balance sheet reflected that of a true business entity.
The Chairperson interjected and asked if the ITB had an obligation in terms of its Trust Deed to ensure it was a business concern.
Mr Bhebhe conceded that it was not necessarily one of the obligations of the ITB, but it was however important that the ITB maintained a reputation that it was able to sustain itself. It was worrisome when it looked like it was unable to do so.
The Chairperson questioned the Director-General of the Department, stating that the Department, in a previous presentation to the Committee, had indicated plans to absorb the ITB into the future Land Rights Board. However, the ITB seemed to be expanding and gravitating towards a function shift, as a parastatal running a business. What were the Department’s plans concerning the ITB?
Mr Mdududzi Shabane, Director General of the Department, responded that Mr Bhebhe had conceded it was not an obligation of the ITB and that since the legislation had changed, the ITB no longer generated as much as it used to through royalties. If Parliament passed the law establishing the Land Rights Board, the ITB would be converted to the Land Rights Board with clear purposes and would therefore have to be confined to the mandate within its establishing legislation. Most of the developmental work being pursued by the ITB under its Chairperson did not necessarily fall under the auspices of its mandate as created by law. The Department had taken note of the fears expressed by the Committee on the ITB.
The Chairperson responded that vested interests were an issue that required careful handling, hence the need to bring it to the attention of the CEO.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) noted with dismay that the presentations of the ITB lacked essential details such as the names of cities where its proposed projects were to be implemented. She remarked that the Committee had no information to work with for future oversight visits, to ensure that these projects were actually being carried out.
Mr B Skosana (IFP) asked the Director-General why there was a reduction in the grants amount transferred to the ITB.
The Chairperson opined that the presentations from the ITB lacked essential details.
The Chairperson questioned why the ITB had set extremely low targets and remarked that when its targets were compared with the actual reality of its achievements, the targets it had set were in fact meaningless.
Discussion on the DRDLR 2012/13 Operational Plan
Mr Trollip expressed dissatisfaction at the operational plan presented by the Department and its lack of substance.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila noted with dissatisfaction that the plan was the same as its APP and was not SMART oriented. It was also lacking in essential details, such as district names where its projects were being carried out, which would negate the success of the Committee’s oversight visits.
The Chairperson agreed with the views expressed by Members, and added that the Committee expected to see details in the operational plan of the Department, and not a repetition of the contents of its APP.
Mr Shabane explained that in preparing the operational plan, the presentation was reduced to the barest minimum. A more detailed plan with the necessary documentation would be provided to the Committee.
The Chairperson questioned who would normally have the right to view the documents referred to.
Mr Shabane responded that they were internal performance monitoring documents.
The Chairperson further questioned if it was onerous for the Department to give the Committee the documents and whether the Minister had access to them.
Ms Mashiya confirmed the responses which Mr Shabane had given, and added that the documents had to go through internal audits and this had ultimately affected the content of the presentation to the Committee.
The Chairperson requested that all documents used in the preparation of the presentation be forwarded to the Committee.
Mr Trollip questioned whether the Department’s targets under its Strategic Objective 3.1 were realistic.
Mr Mmuso Riba, Chief Surveyor General of the Department, responded that the internal process targets set were within the ambit of the Department, provided the conveyancers had complied with the Law.
The Chairperson responded that the disclaimer in Mr Riba’s response complicated issues, and asked if this had been taken into consideration.
Mr Riba responded in the affirmative.
The Chairperson questioned how the Department had arrived at the statistic of 2.7m hectares of unsurveyed land.
Mr Riba responded that the spatial information map in the Surveyor General’s office had been super-imposed on the South African map and estimations had been made. He conceded that the estimated value could be lower by up to 5%.
Discussion on Progress Report on
The Chairperson questioned why the operational plan of the Department had failed to include details on the progress reports.
Mr Shabane responded that the Department would provide details on each of its programmes.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked for clarification on the action plan with provincial structures, to establish an office to effect transfers, and questioned the Department on its proposed timeline in concluding further research on claims by regional offices. She asked whether the past deadlines in the presentations had been met, such as the appointment of a new conveyancer by the end of February.
Ms Gobodo responded that the targets had been set at regional levels and requested the Committee’s indulgence to respond at a later date, after confirmation had been received from the regional offices whether or not the targets had been met.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked for further clarification on outsourcing for the establishment of a Legal Entity.
Mr Shabane explained that many claims had been settled, but a legal entity was required to which the Deeds Office could transfer the lands on behalf of the community. The Department planned to outsource help with drafting the constitution of the legal entity and the setting up of the entity.
Mr Trollip asked whether the legal and constitutional issues around the Spacial Planning Land Use Management Bill had been resolved and whether the Department was mindful of the fast approaching deadline given to it by the
Mr Shabane responded that the Bill was currently in the NCOP house, as it was a Section 76 Bill. The NCOP would be undertaking provincial consultations within the week in the
The Chairperson thanked all for their attendance. The meeting was adjourned.
- Ingonyama Trust Board Draft Annual Financial Statements 31 March 2012
- Eastern Cape
- Ingonyama Trust Board 4th Quarter Performance Report and Close Out Report- 2012/13
- Ingonyama Trust Board Operational Plan – 2012/13
- Progress report on Out of Court Settlement
- Restitution Monthly Status Repor, December 2011
- Presentation of the DRDLR 2012/13 Operational Plan
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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