The draft Rural Development and Land Reform Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) 2012 was read through and considered before adopting it with amendments.
The Chairperson said that the purpose of that meeting was to consider the Budget Review and Recommendations Report of the Committee before it could be adopted and tabled in Parliament. The draft BRRR was the document which captured all the deliberations on the Department of Rural Development & Land Reform (DRDLR), Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, Ingonyama Trust Board 2011/12 Annual Reports and the recommendations of the Committee. He requested Members to read through the report applying their minds to the content of the report and if satisfied they would move page by page. As it would be the product of the Committee and known throughout the country, it was important for Members to apply their minds to that document.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) read the introduction which stated that the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (No 9 of 2009) required the National Assembly, through its Committees, to conduct an annual assessment of the performance of each National Department with regard to the Medium Term Estimates of Expenditure. This report accounted for the processes carried out by the Portfolio Committee during the assessment of performance of the DRDLR. It further proposed recommendations for a review of the budget for the department.
The role of the Committee as an extension of the National Assembly was governed by the Rules of the National Assembly to oversee the Portfolio of Rural Development and Land Reform. The Department had been mandated to carry out the coordination and implementation of rural development and land reform. That mandate was a transversal function that aimed to create and maintain an equitable and sustainable land dispensation. Furthermore, the Committee oversaw the work of the public entity and commissions that were linked to the department: the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights established in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, and the KwaZulu-Natal lngonyama Trust Board established in terms of the KwaZulu-Natal lngonyama Trust Act.
The Committee therefore considered legislation from the department and its entities, exercised oversight over implementation of the various programmes of the department and related entities, facilitated public participation, considered departmental budget votes, enquired and made recommendations about any aspect of the department, including its structure, functioning and policy. The Committee exercised its powers guided by the Constitution, statutes and the Rules of the National Assembly.
In view of this mandate and section 5 of Act 9 of 2009, the Committee had embarked on processes leading to this BRRR. The processes included analysis of the strategic plan of the department (including the Commission and the lngonyama Trust Board); consideration of their financial statements and programme performance; analysis of their audit reports from the Auditor-General South Africa; and consideration of other performance reports such as the Management Performance Assessment Report from the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME); and the Public Service Commission's Monitoring and Evaluation Report of the DRDLR, consideration of other sources such as the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the oversight reports of the Committee.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila continued that the mandate of the department was derived from the priorities of Government's Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). It coordinated implementation of Outcome 7 of the 12 Outcomes that the Government had set for 2009 - 2014. Outcome 7 was about rural development: the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and food security for all. The key outputs linked to this outcome were sustainable agrarian reform with a thriving farming sector, improved access to affordable and diverse food, improving rural services to support livelihoods, improved employment and skills development opportunities and enabling institutional environment for sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Strategic Plan of the DRDLR (2011 - 2014) and the Annual Performance Plan (APP) (2011/12) adopted Outcome 7 as their vision. Those documents stated that the vision of the department was "Vibrant, Equitable, and Sustainable Rural Communities" and the mission being to "initiate, facilitate, coordinate, catalyse and implement an integrated rural development programme". The vision and mission of the department was underpinned by the strategy of "agrarian transformation, interpreted to denote a rapid and fundamental change in the relations (systems and patterns of ownership and control) of land, livestock, cropping and community". This strategy aimed towards contributing in social cohesion and development. In the APP, the department interpreted social cohesion and development to mean shared growth and development, full employment, equity and cultural progress. The department developed the strategic outcome-oriented goals for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
Those goals were documented as follows:
▪ A sound corporate governance and service excellence through compliance with legal framework to be achieved by 201;
▪ A reformed policy, legislative and institutional environment by 2014;
▪ An effective land planning and administration that was biased towards rural areas;
▪ An integrated cooperative governance,
▪ An integrated institutional arrangement for effective cooperative governance and stakeholder participation by 2014;
▪ An increased access to and productive use of land by 2014;
▪ An improved access to affordable and diverse food by 2014;
▪ An improved rural services that support sustainable livelihoods by 2014;
▪ Improved access to sustainable employment and skills development opportunities by 2014.
The 2011/12 strategic priorities and measurable objectives in terms of both the strategic plan for the period between 2011 and 2014, and the APP had set out key priorities to ensure attainment of the strategic goals outlined above. Table 1 of this report outlined the overall strategic focus of the department in five programmatic areas. The pre-determined objectives, as outlined, addressed the key priorities which could be categorised into three main areas - land reform, farmer support, rural development and governance issues.
In terms of the analysis of the prevailing strategic plan and the annual performance plan, Ms Ngwenya-Mabila read that the prevailing strategic plan outlined the strategic focus of the department for the period between 2011 and 2014. The strategic focus was revised through the 2012/13 APP which spelt out the planned performance for the 2012/13 financial year.
In terms of the 2012/13 APP, the strategic goals of the department had embraced the five outputs of Outcome 7. The 2012/13 APP stated that the department would upscale rural development programme directives of the July 2011 Cabinet Lekgotla. The Cabinet Lekgotla resolved that rural development programmes should be up-scaled. It further identified the 22 poorest districts in the country which rural development programmes should reach. In 2012/13, the department planned to contribute towards initiatives to address the triple challenge expressed by the President of South Africa in SONA, namely, inequality, unemployment and poverty. The SONA further criticized the Willing Buyer-Willing Seller approach to land reform, stating that it was inefficient and had held back the pace at which the state wished to redistribute land. In addition, the restitution processes were very slow. According to the Committee, the state should find mechanisms that would address the constraints to the current land reform programme.
The key priorities of the department remain unchanged, except for certain key strategic objectives as an attempt to ensure clearly defined objectives and measurable outputs. For the year 2012/13, greater emphasis of the department had been on policy and legislation development. The key policy documents to be finalised in 2012/13 were the Green Paper on Land Reform, with intentions to develop legislation to guide in the establishment of institutions proposed in the Green Paper; and the Green Paper on Rural Development would be finalised. The department had planned to produce 11 pieces of legislation and all of them to be submitted to Parliament by October 2012. By the 24 October 2012, when the Committee considered that report, only the Spatial Land Use Management Bill was tabled in the National Assembly and being processed by the Committee.
The plans of the department had considered policy developments that could impact positively on its mandate and functions. Such developments included the Diagnostic Report of the National Planning Commission. Discussions between the Committee and the department have also shown some attempt to align the Green Paper on Land Reform and the National Development Plan (NDP). This particularly related to proposals to "enable a more rapid transfer of agricultural land to black beneficiaries without distorting land markets or business confidence, establishment of institutional arrangements to monitor land markets against undue opportunism, corruption and speculation". Some of the Green Paper proposals included the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG). There was also recognition that land reform was a necessary mechanism through which the potential for a dynamic, growing and employment-creating agricultural sector could be unlocked. The Committee observed that the greatest challenge confronting the department was the lack of adequate capacity to coordinate all spheres of government to achieve rural development and land reform programmes that could result in inclusive economic growth and development. In addition, the current Green Paper lacked clear proposals on tenure security, yet the NDP recommended creation of tenure security for communal farmers, acknowledging that "tenure security was also vital to secure incomes for all existing farmers and for new entrants". The Committee therefore, argued that there needed to be a greater alignment between the Green Paper and the proposals of the NDP.
Mr Tshililo Manenzhe, Content Advisor of the Committee said that they had to rework the last paragraph based on some comments received from Members.
Mr A Trollip (DA) said he would support the inclusion of the last paragraph because it was better than the previous one that they had but he was confused by the first sentence of that paragraph. If he looked at what the department said it did, there were no indications that the plans of the department did consider policy development.
The Chairperson said it was why they were saying “the plan” because it was what the department was planning to do and it was not together with the Committee. As a Committee they were urging the department to align their plans with the NDP. Members should remember that when the department met with the Committee, the Committee had said to the department it should show how their plans impacted on the NDP and the New Growth Path (NGP), talking to what the department was actually doing.
Mr Trollip said that the last sentence of the last paragraph should read “however, the Committee argues that there needs to be a greater alignment between the Green Paper and the proposals of the NDP”.
The Chairperson said that was ok because “however” meant despite that, the Committee recommended to the department that since it did not achieve what it needed to achieve, it should go back to the drawing board to align its development plans with the NDP.
The Recommendations of the Committee, in view of its analysis of the various documents and its assessment of performance, included: -
▪ Introducing mechanisms to enhance effective coordination among the various spheres of government and integration of rural development at local and district levels in a manner that fosters intergovernmental approach to rural development;
▪ Developing and implementing strategies and plans to ensure the recruitment of highly skilled professionals and the development of an intensive programme for staff development to address capacity challenges in the area of policy development and monitoring and evaluation, as well as coordination of rural development programmes;
▪ Making a finding on the use of private consultants by the department;
▪ Submitting a programme that explained how it would achieve its targets;
▪ Settling all its debts and unnecessary interest;
▪ Build internal systems and capacity for the implementation of the Risk Management Strategy and fraud prevention.
Mr Tshililo Manenzhe, Committee Content Advisor, said that the Committee agreed that they would identify few but strong recommendations which would make a difference to the department.
The Chairperson said that all these recommendations were enabling recommendations and were summarising what was contained in the body of the report, and as a Committee they should be strategic when they were dealing with the department because it had not included all the information that was required by the Committee. For example, on the issue of capacity the Committee should enquire about the use of consultants by the department and, the information on performance monitoring from the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was also not included in the Annual Report of the department. And when they have got to deal with the issue of partnerships and capacity for planning they should tell the department to include a system which explained where the NARYSEC young people were, what training they were receiving and where they intended to deploy them and put them as enablers.
The Chairperson concluded that the amendments made would be circulated to Committee Members before the Report was tabled to the House.
The meeting was adjourned.
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