The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) and the South African Cities Network (SACN) presented their 2013 Strategic Plans. The CRL Commission noted that it was shortly to hand over to a new Board, and outlined some of what it had done in the previous years, and suggested that there was a need for a turnaround. The budget was not presented in writing, only orally, and Members were severely critical of this, saying that it did not assist them in oversight. They were also unanimous in their criticism of the plan, of which only two pages was relevant to the strategic plan, and even then the lack of measurable objectives, time frames and concrete points made it fundamentally unsatisfactory. Some Members suggested that the CRL Commission must return with a new document that established clear linkages between the current plans and the plan covering the period 2011 to 2016 which was on the website, and questioned what the Auditor-General had said about the lack of focus. Although the CRL Commission undertook to send a number of further reports to the Committee, it was not happy with the presentation.
The SACN outlined that it was not truly representative of every municipality but focused on the nine major metros where the majority of the population resided. The presentation focused on the background of the SACN, its programmatic approach, its structure, discussed the categorisation of the different types of cities and outlined which cities fell within SACN’s scope. The presentation covered the research agenda of SACN and what the research was aimed at achieving. The 2012-2016 Strategy Framework was described in detail, with particular reference to improving the image of local government. The scope of SACN and its alignment with South African Local Government Association (SALGA) was also discussed. The relationship between the two was brought into question again during the discussions, when SACN indicated that a number of the questions asked fell more properly into SALGA’s domain. SACN suggested that an approach was needed whereby local government could be better incentivised and supported to improve. The question of reliance on municipal grants in the smaller cities and non-reliance in the larger, was addressed. SACN made numerous proposals for incentivising and streamlining of processes at local government.
Members were generally pleased with the presentation, but questioned SALGA’s assessment that municipalities received 9% of funding, asked whether municipalities developed and shared programmes, and commented that often the perceptions of people about local government were based upon admittedly poor service. They asked about monitoring of land, asked if any work had been done on alternative financing models, whether it was looking into how to capacitate municipalities, and questioned what would happen once a municipality grew to over 500 000, how they could assist municipalities to obtain clean audits and what was done around public participation. It was suggested by SACN that a debate was needed around the standards expected in audit opinions of local government.
The Committee considered, but did not yet adopt, an oversight report on a visit to Mpumalanga.
Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) 2013 Strategic Plan
Dr Edward Mafadza, Acting Chief Executive Officer, CRL Commission, asked that slide 23 be ignored.
He outlined the strategy of the organisation as relating to its direction and scope, which required the configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the needs of markets and to fulfill stakeholder expectations. He thought that, in contrast to long-term planning, strategic planning should begin with the desired end and work backward to the current status.
He displayed a graph, stating that the CRL Commission was currently in a space of doubt and uncertainty, and that it was fine-tuning its strategy and constantly having to reorient itself to remain relevant in South Africa.
He noted that the CRL Commission split its leadership into organisational and operational, each of which took a distinctive approach. The CRL Commission needed to understand the approach that needed to be followed to implement the strategy, to know what was needed to achieve the desired results, and where to find the people with whom it must work.
He noted that the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities Act, No 19 of 2002, was the guiding legislation, and it set out six driving forces for the Commission. These included healing the divisions of the past, establishing a non-racial non-sexist society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights, promoting equality, promoting respect for different cultures, religions and languages, promoting protection of the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities, and promoting unity in our diversity. The values were briefly outlined and nation building was seen as a journey.
Three institutional mechanisms were created by the legislation, being the Commission itself, under section 24, the National Consultative Conference, under section 25, and the Community Council, under section 36. The Commission’s role was to promote respect and further protection of rights, promote and develop the driving values, foster mutual respect, promote the rights of communities, and recommend/recognise community councils. The National Consultative Conference created a platform for the Commission to report to communities, to evaluate progress and to promote the Act. The Community Council was intended to preserve, promote and develop the culture, religion, or language of the community, and to advise and assist the Commission, .
The design methodology, strategic planning process and mission and vision were outlined (see attached presentation). CRL sought, through networking and community engagement, to promote a fine model for co-existence of cultures, religions, and languages.
Dr Mafadza outlined the five strategic objectives of operational excellence, with a number of sub-components, putting community councils into operation, increasing marketing, effective investigation and conflict resolution, and research and development. The sub-components were briefly explained. The organisation’s ultimate purpose was to enable all citizens and communities to work together in peace and harmony.
The CRL Commission had developed a scorecard which would help it become more service delivery oriented, and help to meet the expectations of the communities raised at the conference which was held on 7 March. He noted the principle that structure should follow strategy, and said the CRL Commission would now decide on the most appropriate structure.
Dr Mafadza apologised that the slide setting out the budget was not included in the written presentation and noted that the compensation of employees was budgeted as R19.8 million in 2013/14, rising to R20.8 million in 2014, and R21.8 million in 2015. The budgets, for each of these three years respectively, for other line items, were as follows:
Support services: R21.6 million in 2013, R22.8 million in 2014 and R24.5 million in 2015
Investigation & Conflict Resolution: R2.8 million, R2.88 million and R2.87 million
Research and Publication: R2. 4 million, R2.45 million, 2.5 million
Public Education and Advocacy: R2. 3 million, R2.4 million, R2.4 million
Community Liaison: R2.42 million, R3.07 million, R2. 54 million
Mr Mafadza, quoted Niccolo Machiavelli in closing, saying that taking the lead in a new order was difficult and perilous.
The Chairperson was disappointed that the budget slide had not been included. She also noted that the strategic plan had failed to give any sense of a time frame for the targets, and had failed to reflect the accomplishments and progress in the previous year.
Mr J Steenhuizen (DA) also expressed concern about the format of the presentation. This seemed more in the nature of a workshop than a strategic plan, and he asked about the status of the Strategic Plan document 2011 – 2016, which was available on the website, and which set out far more clearly the targets, outcomes and expected performance, in more measurable terms. He wondered if this was still applicable, or was overtaken by the current presentation.
Rev Dr Wesley Mabuza, Chairperson, CRL Commission, answered that the plan on the website was still in force, but this presentation merely updated and injected life into it.
Mr Steenhuizen asked if there had been any progress since 2009/10 to capacitate CRL community councils. He asked how much training had taken place. Noting that youth development was listed as one theme, he asked about alignment with other agencies mandated by government to deal with youth development.
Mr T Bonhomme (ANC), expressed his concern over satanic practices which were taking place in certain churches, saying they were damaging children, culture, respect and communities.
Rev Mabuza shared the serious concerns but said that the CRL Commission alone could not address the issues, and that all faith-based organisations must become involved. There was a need to work with religious leaders in encouraging parents to take a stronger interest in their children, and that the issue was urgent and must be addressed in both the short and long term.
Mr P Smith (IFP), said that the nub of the presentation was contained in two out of the 25 pages, and he also criticised the lack of detail, the lack of timeframes, what the plan was to hand over to the new Commission, and whether the conference resolutions would be discussed.
Mr Smith also asked how the Commission currently measured its success, and how the Auditor-General had responded on the targets and measurements. The CRL Commission set out a number of admirable qualities such as friendship and harmony, yet there was little clarity on the issue of hard core, concrete deliverables.
Mr Smith also asked how many Community Councils currently existed and what was envisaged by the Commission.
The Chairperson asked what progress had been made by the Commission on its pledge at a previous meeting to reach a target of 44 community councils by 2016.
Mr Smith asked to what extent the Commission currently made inputs into the legislative process and the executive process, asking for examples of where and to whom it might have made policy inputs.
Mr Smith asked if and when the Commission addressed the question of delivering the best value for money, and what the outcome of this exercise was.
Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP), asked to what extent the Commission had increased awareness of itself, in rural areas especially. She reiterated the lack of time frames, and asked whether the Commission’s term of office was considered in its strategic planning. She asked how many women there were in the organisation’s leadership.
Dr Mafadza stated that there were women in the Commission, particularly at an operational level. However, many had left to seek greener pastures. He expressed the intention to prioritise the recruitment of women into the Commission and at operational level.
Ms Ditshetelo asked whether there was a specific province in which the organisation had most of its success. She asked how the Commission was approaching the serious issue of rape.
Rev Mabuza agreed that rape was a serious concern with a gap between the preaching and practice of ‘ubuntu’.
Ms W Nelson (ANC) agreed with Mr Smith that only two pages contained anything concrete, and expressed her disappointment at the lack of measurable performance indicators. She stated that it was unacceptable that the budget slide was missing as this undermined the Committee’s ability to exercise its oversight role.
The Chairperson reiterated that point and said this would hinder the Committee in being able to monitor and assist the Commission with funding.
Rev Mabuza said that there seemed to be misunderstanding as to what should be in a strategy plan and a business plan, but appreciated that the time frames were lacking.
Ms Marlene Le Roux, Commissioner, CRL Commission, explained that the whole Commission was not being replaced, but some Commissioner’s terms were ending, and it was important to look at an exit plan. Many of the Commissioners were part-time and it would be important to improve gender equality.
Ms Le Roux stated that the current Commission had worked extremely hard at establishing community councils, and asked that the Committee evaluate the numbers and types in every province. She noted that the Committee would be sent a copy of the relevant report. She noted that the National Consultative Conference was very well presented, and offered to send a programme of what had been discussed.
Ms Le Roux said that the Commission needed to get more clarity on what had been implemented previously, and all reports and investigations should be sent through to enhance the Committee’s oversight role.
Dr Mafadza acknowledged the concerns of the Committee Members, and said that one of the resolutions from 2008 was around the lack of visibility. The CRL Commission had increased its media profiling of the Commission. The Public Education and Advocacy department had led regular engagements in the past four years in helping to forge a common South African identity.
He noted that the Commission would make amendments to the strategic plan to take into account the Members’ comments and criticisms, particularly those relating to the issue of time frames. This strategic plan was informed by the outcomes of the Consultative Conference in March, and he explained that the planned First National Consultative Conference had not taken place in 2009, due to budgetary constraints, but only now. The Conference identified the need for a turnaround strategy that would address the concerns of the communities in the next five years.
Dr Mafadza added to the comment on capacity, saying that there were 280 Community Councils around the country, and the CRL Commission was visible in all nine provinces, including rural areas. He offered to send a DVD of the Conference to the Committee.
Dr Mafadza noted that the Act required the CRL Commission to focus on youth, and that the March Conference in March had identified a need to be more inclusive of younger people in regard to cultural, linguistic and religious rights. The issue had now been prioritised, and the Commission would be working with other youth agencies on these issues.
Dr Mafadza acknowledged that the Auditor-General had criticised the targets, saying they were not specific. He apologised for not including he budget slide.
Dr Mafadza said that dialogues, workshops, public hearings, campaigns, and the media were all used to raise awareness and this was now a focus area.
A Research team member from the CRL Commission spoke of a number of reports with recommendations which had been produced. He noted that one of the reports involved a school serving a Sesotho speaking community in KwaZulu Natal, yet which did not use Sesotho for schooling. The CRL Commission had engaged with the KZN Department of Education, and the House of Traditional Leaders.
The Chairperson interrupted to propose that the Commission be invited back at a later time for a full discussion of the reports, due to shortage of time.
Mr Steenhuizen said that, instead of the CRL Commission presenting its strategic plan, it was now speaking of a turnaround strategy, and had also described this as a business plan. If the Auditor-General had criticised the last set of targets, he was bound to be unhappy also about the current ones. He proposed that the Committee should ask the Commission to revise this strategic plan to fall in line with the document covering the 2011 to 2016 period, and reiterated that nothing measurable had been given to the Committee.
Mr Smith suggested that the Commission should perhaps consider pursuing the issue of children being taken by cults, sometimes into foreign countries, and being brainwashed.
Mr Smith was concerned to hear that the Consultative Conference only took place at the end of the Commission’s term, and asked how this would be rectified when the new Commission started its term, and whether the Conference needed to be repeated so soon.
Ms Nelson, asked that a full report of the issues on which the Commission has been working must be sent to the Committee.
She asked why there was still only an Acting Chief Executive Officer in place.
Mr Bonhomme questioned whether it was “in line with good Christian thinking” that funding from the National Lottery be relied upon, given that the Lottery did so much damage to families.
Rev Mabuza acknowledged the concerns of the Committee, and said he recognised that there were serious challenges still to be addressed. He hoped that the Commission would be able to return to the next meeting and be able to present on the question of cults, noting also that there were sometimes differences of opinion also on pagan followings.
Ms Marjorie Jobson, Commissioner, CRL Commission, noted that there was a very detailed plan with very specific targets, which was finalised in the previous week, which would be sent to the committee.
Ms Jobson noted, in relation to the Consultative Conference, that the Act prescribed that it should be held twice during each five-year period. There had been great accommodation shown, and even the most marginalised communities felt completely included at the Conference, which enabled people to discuss a shared agenda. It would be possible to hold another conference in the next two years, but there was a large amount of work to implement.
South African Cities Network 2013 Strategic Plan presentation
Mr Sithole Mbanga, Chief Executive Officer, South African Cities Network presented the 2013 strategic plan. He noted that, since it was formed in 2001, the South African Cities Network (SACN) had been a network of the nine largest municipalities in the country, rather than a fully representative structure. Its objectives were to:
- promote good governance and management in South African cities
- analyse strategic challenges facing South African cities
- collect, collate, analyse, assess, disseminate and apply the experience of large city government in a South African context
- promote shared learning partnerships between the different spheres of government to support the management of South African cities.
The Membership and Governance Board was comprised of representatives from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the Department of Transport (DoT), Department of Human Settlements (DHS), South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Buffalo City Municipality, City Of Cape Town, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, City of eThekwini(Durban), City of Johannesburg, Mangaung Municipality, Msunduzi Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the City Of Tshwane (Pretoria).
SACN followed the approach set out in the Local Government White Paper which provided an analytical tool for continuous municipal performance evaluation. The most important matters that SACN considered were set out. Firstly, productivity and the ability of the local economy to provide the majority of residents with opportunities to make a reasonable living was considered. Secondly, it was asked whether there was inclusivity, with residents having the opportunities and capacities to share equitably in the social and economic benefits of city life. Governability was the third consideration, and whether the political and institutional content was stable, open and dynamic enough to accommodate varied objectives and interests. It was important to consider sustainability, and how the city was impacting on the limited reserve of non-renewable resources that sustained the settlement and made it viable. The long-term City Development Strategy looked to the immediate, medium and long term growth and development imperatives of the municipal area.
Mr Mbanga tabled the structure of the SACN (see attached presentation for details). He emphasised the importance of a national cities network as giving effect to the principle of a differentiated approach to supporting local government.
He noted the differentiations made by the SACN regarding the different types of municipalities, which he described as the City-Region, large multi-nodal urban complexes with more than one million people, significant and diverse economies with strong links to global economy, the Gauteng City region area, the coastal city region areas of Cape Town, eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Cities were defined as multi-nodal areas with more than 400 000 people serving a bigger region, with
relatively high service indexes, around 11, such as Polokwane, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, East-London and Pietermaritzburg. Regional Services Centres were medium and higher order towns, with relatively high service indexes of between 2 and 10. They would include larger towns in densely settled areas, such as Mthata, and Thohoyando, and smaller richer towns in resource rich areas, such as Rustenburg and Middelburg, as well as towns playing key service functions in more isolated areas, such as Upington. Service towns were defined as those with a narrow range of services, and a service indexes between 1 and 2, that fulfilled the service function for communities within the vicinity such as iGiyani, or a broader community on corridor, such as Estcourt. Finally, there were local or niche towns, which were smaller in terms of population and economic activity, but had high economic growth rates, such as Prince Albert, or high population growth, such as Alice, but which may also be in decline.
Mr Mbanga noted that South Africa’s municipalities were simply not the same and therefore required different solutions to different problems.
He went on to outline briefly some key research agenda issues for the local government sector in the next decade (see attached presentation for details of what each entailed). Broadly, the first was geared to acting with a better understanding, the second to changing the built environment function and the third to dealing with vulnerability, which involved the local government financing model and the vulnerable national resource base.
Mr Mbanga noted the need to improve the image of local government. He noted that most people in the local government fraternity were concerned about its negative image. He did not believe that the negative imagine was always fair, and said that local government was in fact delivering, in spite of a lack of resources. Local government was receiving less than 9% of the national cake, and it was thus unreasonable to expect it to achieve its mandate with so few resources.
Mr Mbanga referred to slide 9, to provide a timeline of the SACN’s activities since 1998. He noted that in 2016 the SACN would make an argument that cities were drivers of change. He outlined the main outcomes that the research agenda should aim to achieve (see attached presentation for full details). There was a need to refresh the developmental vision, to invest in productive capabilities, to stabilise and restore trust, improve management systems, governance and ethics and promote integration and densification. Cities should be taking advantage of devolution of housing and transport.
Mr Mbanga tabled slide 11 on the funding, noting a significant shortfall, but said that he would provide a fuller analysis of the figures. The Board would be asked in June to allow for increase in subscriptions paid by member cities, some of whom paid as little as R400 000 for their membership. The National COGTA would also be asked to substantially increase their contribution to the SACN, to allow SACN to continue to deliver on the plan. Most citizens were living in the nine areas on which SACN focused.
SACN wanted to maintain self-reliance and independence, which would be compromised if it received donor funding. SACN wished to remain a programme of government, rather than an organisation.
He moved onto the issue of cultivating innovation in local government, which would be done by helping local governments to respond to an external or internal opportunity, and use their creative efforts to introduce new ideas, processes and share unique local knowledge and experience. SACN proposed that innovation be recognised and rewarded, that a centralized online platform be created to manage innovation and disseminate experiential learning, and that capacity be built to stimulate a culture of innovation.
Mr Mbanga called upon the Committee to re-engage with the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), although it had to report to the Department of Higher Education and Training, which did not entirely make sense
The Chairperson thanked Mr Mbanga for his vibrant presentation and for challenging the Committee to take on certain issues.
Mr Smith asked if there was any particular criteria for determining which cities could be members, and wondered why there was not a separate organisation to represent the intermediary and smaller cities.
Mr Smith asked how many people were employed by SACN, and to also to what extent the programmes were developed in-house by the municipalities themselves, shared between municipalities, or outsourced.
He noted, but disagreed with, Mr Mbanga’s statement that local government was the victim of people’s misperceptions, saying that it was seen as being “useless” simply because it often was, and pointed to failures of water and electricity services, which arose not through over-burdening, but through the job not being done properly.
Mr Smith disputed Mr Mbanga’s statement that local government received less than 9% of the national funding, and said that whilst he was not arguing that it should receive less money, the figure was not correct.
Mr Smith called for brief examples of successes arising out of SACN programmes.
Ms C Mosimane (COPE), asked if SACN was monitoring how land was being used by municipalities.
Mr Steenhuizen noted that money was always a problem, particularly at local government level. He asked if any work had been done on alternative financing models, and of the SACN had any suggestions from where financing might come.
Mr Steenhuizen asked if SACN or another body was looking into capacitating municipalities, particularly in areas such as engineering. He noted that problems arising out of a lack of key staff were beginning to have a massive impact on service delivery.
Mr Bonhomme said many councillors were not able to respond adequately to problems within municipalities. He also noted that not all were born to be councillors, although some were naturally adept at getting involved in the community.
Ms Nelson asked whether there was still a district network. She asked what process would be followed once a municipality reached a population of 500 000. She shared the sentiment that the Local Government SETAs would be better reporting to the COGTA.
Ms Nelson asked whether research findings were utilised by the SACN.
Ms Nelson asked what the measurables were for this particular year so that the Committee would be able to evaluate performance.
The Chairperson asked for details about what the SACN was doing about public participation. She asked how the SACN was assisting municipalities in achieving clean audits.
A member of the SACN delegation said that whilst he could respond to some questions, many would in fact be best directed to SALGA.
He noted that the issue of alternative funding had been addressed. He noted a proposal for local business tax which the finance minister for eThekwini had refused. He pointed out that a lot of work was being done by the SACN, as it recognised that the current model was not sustainable into the future.
He acknowledged to Mr Smith that there were indeed many problems at local government, but said that it was important to also understand what the difficulties were that local government faced. He pointed out that there was a draining of larger city economies to support the rest of the country’s activities. Local government was dealing with control systems which entailed more than simply filling out a few forms. The control systems were now so very advanced and comprehensive that even well-capacitated cities such as Cape Town were struggling to deal with them. He questioned how some of the smaller cities could be expected to cope, and proposed a reassessment about the level of control imposed. He acknowledged the need to deal with corruption and poor governance, but stated the need for a better way to deal with it.
He pointed out that the complaint regarding councillors who were failing in their jobs was an unfortunate by-product of democracy, and that the electorate was entitled to vote in whomever they wanted, even if these were the wrong people for the job. He noted that there was perhaps a need to reassess the role of councillors. He provided the example of cities which had 220 councillors as being simply far too big, as the size precluded the possibility of them being able to work together efficiently. He believed that a council should really not be bigger than 150 councillors. He noted the need for councillors to work on the ground and create a connection with the people. He thought that having part-time councillors was not feasible.
He noted that it was an open question as to what the future of SACN’s membership would be. SACN did not want to become too big as it feared it would lose focus, but that this did not mean that if other municipalities gained status they would not be accepted. The matter would be approached step by step. He cited the case of Mangaung, and said that once a municipality became a metro, the district would be re-formed to exclude the metro area. Once a municipality was a metro, it was no longer part of a district. The subscription system was noted as being under review, but at the time it was weighted according to size.
Mr Mbanga agreed with the Committee on the basic principle that local government was underfunded. He agreed with Mr Smith that the 9% was somewhat simplistic, and needed to be broken down. The nine larger municipalities did not rely on grants and probably took the attitude that the grants did not mean much in the bigger scheme. However, the smaller municipalities that did not have sources of revenue relied mostly on grants, although there was much contestation as to how those grants were utilised. Mr Mbanga believed that a totally different formula was needed for financing of local government, and thought that easier access to loans and grants was needed. He also pointed to an easing up on regulations relating to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), saying that all too often private enterprises would lose interest by the time government had approved the proposals.
Mr Mbanga noted that the SACN had essentially run away with things and that the other networks were left behind. However it was working with SALGA in trying to set up the other networks. The bigger the group, the harder it was to establish a network, which was one of the reasons the other networks had worked less well. He proposed establishing networks at a provincial level or a network amongst municipalities that bordered each other.
Mr Mbanga noted, in response to Ms Mosimane, that land was the most important issue to either a city or a municipality. Government tended to view land in agrarian terms, sometimes failing to view it also as an economic ingredient. Many of the policies emanated from a land reform and/or agriculture land distribution perspective, whereas cities and municipalities, including Mangaung, wanted to retain the land and use it as a bargaining tool in development deals with the private sector and national government. The problem was that they did not have the tools to be able to manage that land. He noted that land use was now a municipal function.
Another member of the SACN delegation noted that the issue of skills was a very real problem. He pointed to an example where the eThekwini Water Department was likely to be losing the top structures due to retirement. The people who had been recruited to understudy these retirees were, within two years, recruited by the Umgeni Water Board at salaries which eThekwini was unable to match. The reality of the situation was that the people with the requisite skills were out of reach, and this not only applied to water and was undoubtedly worse for the smaller municipalities. He pointed out the need to question how workers were incentivised and recognised at local government level.
He noted that on the issue around finances, a very extensive research programme was conducted into the finance of the cities, and a report was issued. It would be useful to circulate the research.
He noted that SACN had fewer than 10 full time staff that supported the network. The SACN had created various reference groups, which various cities championed. He noted that it was of course still necessary to have specialist support in order to ensure that the research remained rigorous. There was much work being done in-house, at a city-to-city level, as well as a little work being done by way of specialist expertise. He expressed a hope that this dependency on external private sources might lessen as relationships with universities grew stronger over time. Member cities were using the products being generated by SACN, something which was apparent even if it was not formally stated. Whilst the SACN’s primary focus was with metros and the other three big cities, many of the SACN’s products were in fact being used by some of the smaller cities, which was helping them to isolate the problems and come up with solutions. Mr Mbanga had recognised the importance of SALGA in the equation, and has tried to ensure that the relationship with SALGA was cemented, and this also helped to ensure that SACN did not encroach into SALGA’s domain.
Mr Mbanga noted that the SACN would bring to the Committee a document that reflected the 2013 financial year, but said it would be useful if he could present it himself.
Mr Mbanga cautiously suggested, noting it as his own personal opinion, that a debate was needed around audit opinions at some point. He questioned if was possible for municipalities to achieve a clean audit, and wondered if the bar was set too high, although he recognised that municipalities should ultimately comply with the rules, despite the dynamics of their realities.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mbanga that it would be useful to have a debate regarding the standards expected of local government.
Ms Nelson asked if the SACN had ever met with the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) to discuss SACN’s views on funding models.
Mr Mbanga answered that SACN was in continuing discussions with the FFC.
Mr Mbanga, on behalf of the chairperson, extended an invitation to the Committee to attend ‘Metropolis’ which was being hosted in Johannesburg. He described Metropolis as an entity similar to SACN but at an international level.
Mr Smith asked if the smaller cities were in any way formally integrated into what the SACN did. He asked for brief examples of what kind of outcomes had arisen out of the work SACN had done.
Mr Mbanga replied that the National Development Plan chapter on Local Government was informed by the SACN. He noted, too, that SACN was currently working on the Urban Development Framework. Some of the impact of SACN that was most easily measured was its assistance to certain municipalities such as Mangaung. Due to SACN’s efforts, Buffalo City would definitely have a clean audit next year, an administrative turnaround was being implemented in Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Msunduzi municipality was currently applying for metropolitan municipality status and a long term City Development Commission was being set up. However, results were not easily measured, and it would take some time before the results of the SACN work became clear.
Committee’s draft report on oversight visit to Gert Sibande District, Mpumalanga from 28 – 30 January 2013
Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) was asked to read out the Committee’s draft report (see attached presentation).
Members identified some spelling and grammatical errors that were identified and corrected. However, it soon became apparent that some Members had a different version from others.
Under section 6, the Committee’s recommendations were read out. It was suggested that a recommendation was also needed in respect of Jojo Tanks, which were dangerous and a potential health hazard. Ms Nelson suggested that the tanks only be used in extreme cases of emergency. The fact that communities were dissatisfied, and therefore were sabotaging and destroying the tanks, was good enough reason to discourage their use. It was suggested that the use of trucks was therefore preferable.
Members noted that the changes made to the draft report would be reflected in an updated version which would be published at a later date.
The meeting was adjourned.
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