The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) presented its Annual Performance Plan for 2013, noting also that this outlined some amendments made to the Strategic Plan of 2011 – 2015, which had been made to answer concerns expressed by the Auditor-General about the previous non-alignment of planning. 2013 marked the centenary of the Native Land Act, and the plans were largely geared to supporting government to reverse the legacy of this and similar legislation. The overall vision, mission and strategy had not changed, and key priorities remained as restitution, land reform and rural development. However, there was a new strategic objective in relation to increased access to and productive use of land, by 2014, which highlighted security of tenure for people living on commercial farms and communal areas, and an aim to settle 76 labour tenant applications in this year. New legislation initiatives included amendments to the Deeds Registries Act, the Restitution of Land Rights Act, and to the Extension of Security of Tenure Acts, whilst a new Land Management Commission Bill, Land Valuation Bill and Land Management Bill were planned. The performance indicators were outlined for each of the targets, mainly focusing on the achievements in 2014. In relation to food security, the DRDLR aimed to have 2 200 households producing their own food, to provide 7 278 houses with basic services infrastructure, and to continue training through the Youth Rural Service Corps and support to rural enterprises. It intended to recapitalise 730 land reform farms. It also intended to acquire and allocate 311 917 hectares of strategically located land. The land claims were to be re-opened, to accommodate those communities or individuals who missed the 31 December 1998 cut-off date, and to also provide for exceptions to the San who lost their land long before 1913. The budget was R9.4 billion, with R3.3 billion being allocated each to the Restitution and
Land Reform programmes.
Members expressed some disappointment in the presentation, saying that the Committee and department had not moved forward much since the previous year, and suggesting that more time should be set aside to go through all the issues. They wanted more information on the under-expenditure, work with cooperatives, the reasons for focusing on 23 wards, and wondered whether the Department could achieve what it had planned, in view of the budgetary and human resources constraints, particularly pointing out that the legislative and land settlement programmes had not performed well in the past. They also questioned its research capacity and plans, and called for written details on the land reform programme, performance of the resettled farms, the problems in KwaZulu Natal, claims in each province and relationships with labour unions.
The Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) presented its strategic plan for 2013-2014, emphasising that it acted to support national, provincial and DRDLR outcomes. It was particularly aligned to Government Outcomes 7 and 8, and made substantial contribution to the provincial outcomes in KwaZulu Natal, ensuring alignment with its aims. ITB worked with municipalities, government departments, business entities and service providers, as well as Amakhosi and communities. Its strategic objectives were broadly to administer the Ingonyama Trust Board land, concluding tenure rights and maintaining a land holding register, providing support to traditional councils, improving stakeholder relations, a new indicator which would be supported by the holding of two stakeholder forums in the year, and ensuring good corporate governance. It aimed to conclude and sign 1 601 tenure rights agreements in 2013, to do five planned land management projects, to reach 45 traditional councils of communities. The income was derived from own sources, which included leases, royalties and investments, and from a government grant, and was estimated at R58.2 million in this year, with total expenditure estimated at R55.2 million, of which R5 million was capital expenditure. Members asked how the targets were set, noted a number of targets that were not reported on, including the opening of offices, telephone figures, workshops and road shows, on which they requested further details, and noted that they would have preferred more specific plans and figures rather than percentages. One Member was particularly concerned that not enough was being achieved by the ITB to really improve the lives of people on the ground in KwaZulu Natal.
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform: 2013/14 Annual Performance Plan
Mr Mduduzi Shabane, Director General, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, noted apologies from the Minister and Deputy Minister.
Mr Pule Sekawana, Acting Deputy Director General: Corporate Services, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, noted that the Annual Performance Plan for 2013/14 would also highlight some amendments to the 2011 to 2014 Strategic Plan. The main thrust of the Annual Performance Plan was the contribution of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR or the Department) to addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, with a specific bias on rural areas. It also took into account the Department’s response to the National Development Plan (NDP) and New Growth Path (NGP) as well as revised Government Outcome 7 agreements. DRDLR remained the coordinator of Outcome 7 and contributed to Outcome 4, 6, 9 and 10.
Mr Sekawana noted that 2013 marked the centenary of the 1913 Native Land Act. The Strategic and Annual Performance Plans and legislative programme included several interventions to contribute towards reversing the legacy of this apartheid law.
The National Development Plan and New Growth Path formed the main framework to guide the implementation of government programmes, such as the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP), and job drivers on agriculture, agro processing and rural development. The plans took into account input from oversight departments such as National Treasury (NT), the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), and all had seen the plan, and given positive input.
Mr Sekawana firstly highlighted the amendments to the 2011 to 2014 strategic plan, noting that the strategic objectives had been changed, to try to ensure alignment which had been criticised in previous audit reports.
Eight strategic goals and objectives were outlined. The first was cooperate governance and service excellence, through compliance with the legal framework. By 2014, the Department aimed to comply with all relevant legislation and policies around management of the public sector. The second was to achieve a reformed policy, legislative and institutional environment by 2014, which would be judged by the number of pieces of legislation submitted to Cabinet. In the first quarter of the year, the Department aimed to submit three amendment bills and in the third quarter it would submit five bills, which it would report on during the year. The third strategic objectives was to achieve an integrated land planning, spatial information and administration system, to promote an equitable, sustainable land use and allocation by 2014. The performance indicators included the number of special plans formulated and supported, to achieve spatial equity and sustainability, which would be reported on quarterly.
The fourth strategic objective was integrated service delivery facilitated through the coordination of government and development stakeholders, by 2014. The annual target was 58 and the performance indicator was the number of functional council stakeholders. These were listed, for each of the quarters respectively, as eight, fifteen, fifteen and twenty.
A new goal was also now included for increased access to and productive use of land, by 2014. This was divided into a number of objectives, and he highlighted security of tenure for people living on commercial farms and communal areas, and indicators for the number of labour tenant applications settled. The Department aimed for 76 in this year, mostly by the third quarter. It was also aiming to get full reports on all eviction cases.
The sixth objective was to profile all rural households to enable them to improve food security by 2014, and in this regard the Department aimed to have 2 200 households producing their own food. The seventh objective was that the socio economic infrastructure must be facilitated to improve access to services by 2014, with a target of providing, annually, 7 278 houses with basic services infrastructure. It aimed to complete 19 ICT projects and 17 economic infrastructure projects.
Strategic objective 8 related to skills development and sustainable economic opportunities, and here the Department aimed to train 3 400 to improve rural livelihoods, create 3 540 jobs through rural development initiatives, skill 4 600 through the National Rural Youth Service Corps, and support 90 rural enterprises.
Key Priorities for 2013/14
The key priorities for 2013/14 were described as restitution and land reform. Restitution related to the re-opening of the lodgement date for land claims, to accommodate those communities or individuals who missed the 31 December 1998 cut-off date, and to also provide for exceptions to the San who lost their land long before 1913. The Department had settled 230 land claims and finalised 208 backlog land claims in the last year. In relation to land reform, it intended to recapitalise 730 land reform farms to improve productivity. Another policy related to acquisition and allocation of 311 917 hectares of strategically located land and tenure reform. The CRDP roll out would continue in 23 prioritised poorest districts, and focus on phases 2 and 3.
Policy and Legislation Initiatives for 2013/14
Five policy initiatives were highlighted: namely, the Restitution Policy Framework, Rural Development Policy Framework, Rural Development Agency Policy, Rural Cooperative Financing Facility and Policy Framework on Communal Land Tenure. Some of the legislation initiatives included the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, the Land Management Commission Bill and lastly amendments to the Extension of Security of Tenure Act.
Ms Irene Singo, Acting Chief Financial Officer, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, highlighted the Department’s 2013/14 budget. The 2013/14 budget and Annual Performance Plans ran concurrently to ensure consistency, and all budget amendments by National Treasury were also incorporated in the APP. The total budget was R9,4 billion, divided across five programmes. Restitution and Land Reform programmes each received R3.3 billion each, while Geo-spatial and Cadastral Services received R508 000. 15% of the budget (R1.6 billion) related to compensation of employees.
Mr Sekawana concluded that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform remained committed to ensuring that the targets reflected in this APP were achieved, making a positive contribution to the country’s development agenda. Measures were put in place to ensure that the implementation of the strategy, plans and expenditure was effectively monitored, evaluated and reported. Governance structures also played a vital role.
Ms N November (ANC) asked why there was under expenditure and what measures had been put in place to deal with it. She also wanted the DRDLR to give more information on work with cooperatives.
Mr Shabane responded that the DRDLR worked with 123 cooperatives, who were at various stages, and whilst some were doing quite well, others were weak and some required a lot of support.
Mr A Trollip (DA) asked what role the CDRP would take outside the 23 wards, and asked how it would assist in achieving Government Outcome 7. He questioned why all the targets focused on 2014, rather than detailing what would be done in 2013.
Mr Shabane responded that the DRDLR did not only focus on 23 districts, but those were set in terms of a Cabinet directive. His Department was also working with the Department of Co-operative Governance, and would take into account the urban areas, realising the links between those and the rural areas.
Mr Trollip noted that all the goals were dependent on having the necessary budget, and asked how the Department aimed to achieve goal 5, access to productive land, given the budgetary constraints
Mr Shabane noted that targets were linked directly with the budgets, and the recapitalisation programme had received the necessary allocations. He assured Members that the Department tried always to set realistic targets within the budget.
Mr Trollip wondered how the Department aimed to submit eight pieces of legislation in one year, particularly given its difficulties with only one in the previous financial year.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked the department to clarify the “households” budget.
Mr Pule Sekawana responded that the household budget was divided so that R3 billion was allocated to land restitution and R700 million to land reform
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked if the Memorandum of Understanding for the recapitalisation programme was signed. She also noted, in respect of land restitution, that the lodgement of claims would be re-opened but was worried whether the DRDLR would be able to cope with it, given its under-staffing.
Mr Shabane acknowledged that the DRDLR would not be able to do things on its own, and had established partnerships. He would provide further information on this point as matters moved forward.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked why so many researchers were resigning, and she also asked why, given the fact that the geomatics training took about 18 months to complete, the plan noted that training would be taking place only in the last quarter, instead of earlier in the year.
Mr Shabane said that the DRDLR knew that it lacked research capacity, and conceded also that sometimes the quality of research was questionable. The DRDLR wanted to achieve more internal research capacity although it did have a clear research plan to get the work completed, which included partnering with, for instance, University of Zululand and University of Fort Hare.
Mr S Ntapane (UDM) asked why the Department (and the Ingonyama Trust Board) delayed for so long before providing settlement of land claims, and questioned why it was necessary to go through such tedious processes when the claim was established as valid. He asked how many claims had been settled, noting that there appeared to be a backlog of 208.
Mr Shabane responded that there had been 602 claims settled, and 148 have been finalised.
Mr Ntapane asked if some of the land under the reform programme was earmarked for specific purposes. He also enquired how farms under the recapitalisation programme were performing. He noted that the DRDLR had failed to spend money in the three quarters of 2012/13, and wondered if there was fiscal dumping in the fourth quarter.
Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) also asked about land reform. He noted that many farms in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) were still not developed, and he was not happy with the services rendered by the Pietermaritzburg offices.
Mr Shabane answered that KwaZulu Natal was not, at first, on board with the programme, but this had now been corrected, although the uptake was low. He would deal with the Pietermaritzburg office and make sure it contacted Mr Cebekhulu to resolve the issues.
Ms H Matlanyane (ANC) asked how many jobs were created in the land reform projects, how many farmers had been trained, and whether they were able to stand on their own after training. She also wanted to know what the Department was doing about land invasions.
Mr Shabane noted that those being trained through the National Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) were not paid, but were receiving ongoing training. Farmers were still being trained. The DRDLR would take the necessary steps, including legal action where necessary, to remove people from land where they had invaded.
Mr B Zulu (ANC) asked about the cut-off date for land claims.
Nkosi Z Mandela, (ANC) also wanted clarity on cut-off date, and asked if people in rural areas were aware of this date.
Mr Zulu also said that there were poor relationships between the Department of Agriculture and municipalities and urged the DRDLR to try to use its influence to improve relationships.
Mr Shabane responded that the DRLRD worked well with the Department of Agriculture, but was well aware of some of the problems that it had.
Mr B Zulu asked how many Amakhosi responded to the training programme that was put forward.
Mr J Van der Linde (DA) asked what coordination there was between labour unions and the Department. He also asked for figures of the number of claims for each province, and how the farms recapitalised were performing
Mr Shabane said that he would make the information available in writing.
The Chairperson felt that the Committee and Department were at the same place as they were in the previous year.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila felt that another day should be set aside for more discussion on these issues.
The Chairperson agreed and urged Mr Shabane on the next occasion to bring more of the Departmental officials to help the Committee understand some of the issues.
Ingonyama Trust Board Strategic Plan 2013-2014 Presented by
Mr Nqgabutho Bhebhe, Chief Executive Officer, Ingonyama Trust Board, gave a presentation on the 2013/14 strategic plan of the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB or the Trust), and outlined firstly the background to the establishment of the Ingonyama Trust Board, and secondly noted that its core business was to administer the land for the material benefit and social well-being of the individual members of the tribes. He noted that three main government perspectives or aims guided the Board – national initiatives, provincial initiatives and development goals.
He noted that the national initiatives were set in 2009, at the beginning of the term of government, when twelve priorities were outlined as critical to the functioning of government. From those, the ITB saw itself as contributing mainly to government outcomes 7 (vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities with food security for all) and 8 (sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life). Provincial initiatives set the tone for government delivery until 2020, and were aligned with the policy frameworks as adopted by national government. The ITB operated within the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) province and provided input to the provincial strategies, particularly in areas such as human and community development, strategic infrastructure, job creation, environmental sustainability and spatial equity. An integrated planning model was needed to ensure that the ITB worked closely with, and ensured that its contribution benefitted the KZN province. ITB was also aligned with the DRDLR goals, contributing in particular to its two goals of effective land planning and administration, with a particular emphasis on rural areas, and increased access to and productive use of land.
He noted that the ITB worked with several organisations in fulfilling its mandate, including municipalities, government departments, business entities and service providers. Key activities were customer acquisition, mapping, lease development, administration, joint planning and implementation. The human capital, real estate management resources were important, and it was important to align these with the customer base and to achieve joint sharing of resources, where possible. ITB aimed to bring the best possible service to its main “customers”, who included Amakhosi, communities, municipalities, business entities and government departments.
Most of the ITB’s income was derived from collection of rental from leases, a government grant and investments.
Mr Bhebhe proceeded to outline the four strategic objectives. The first related to administration of the Ingonyama Trust Board land. Under this, the three performance measure indicators included the number of tenure rights concluded, which was targeted at 1 601 for 2012/13 and 2 003 for 2013/14. the land holding register was maintained on a quarterly basis. The second strategic objective was provision of support to traditional councils, and the ITB intended to assist 33 in 2012/13 and 45 in the 2013/14 year. The third strategic objective involved improvement of stakeholder relations and liaison, measured by the number of stakeholder forums coordinated. This was a new indicator, and ITB aimed to achieve two forums in 2013/14. The fourth strategic objective was to ensure good corporate governance and service excellence, and here the performance measure indicator was the percentage of suppliers paid within 30 days of receipt of undisputed invoices. The medium term target was 100%.
Annual Performance Plan
Mr Bhebhe then referred Members to the Annual Performance Plan and said the presentation highlighted seven performance indicators, which would be reported on quarterly. The ITB aimed to conclude and sign 1 601 tenure rights agreements in 2013. It aimed to achieve one check of the Land Holdings Register in each quarter. It planned, for the year, to achieve five planned land management projects. It had increased its aim to support traditional councils of communities, by targeting to reach 45, an increase from the previous year’s target of 33. The annual target for number of stakeholders’ forums was two, as indicated earlier, and the ITB would report on this in the second and fourth quarter.
Income and Expenditure Budget
Mr Amin Mia, Chief Financial Officer, Ingonyama Trust Board, noted that the income was derived from two main sources; 87.53% of the funds (or R52.6 million) was derived from own sources, and ITB received R4.5 million from a government allocation. Its reserves constituted R17.652 million, or 33.5% of budget. Non-mining rental income was estimated at R18.7 million, while the royalties and prospecting income was R5.637 million, or 10% of budget. Investment income was estimated at R10.656 million.
The consolidated expenditure analysis noted that total expenditure was estimated at R55.204 million and capital expenditure would be R5 million. Operating expenditure was R47.699 million, or 90.51%of the budget. Under the transfer payments, it was intended that R7.504 million would be paid.
The Chairperson asked the ITB how it had set its targets.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked how and where the ITB planned to open new offices, and who would be working at them.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila wanted to know when the traditional councils were supposed to submit their plans.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila wanted more clarity on the telephone, workshops and road show budget, none of which had been specified in the plan. She also enquired why the ITB had so many bank accounts. Overall, she commented that the plans must be more specific. She would have preferred to see numbers quoted, rather than percentages.
Ms Ngwenya Mabila noted, in relation to payment of invoices on time, that the plans intended to introduce this incrementally, which appeared to be contrary to the President’s directive that all invoice must be paid within 30 days.
Mr Mia responded very briefly to some of the questions, saying that the ITB had approved hiring on a contract basis for the satellite offices, so that plan should start soon. He noted that the telephone budget was calculated at R10000 a month for the head office, and personal calls were charged against the individual’s salary. There was a good monitoring system in place that checked what calls were being made. In relation to the bank accounts, he explained the multiplicity of accounts by saying that the ITB preferred to spread the money to counter the risks, particularly of insolvency on the part of the banks.
Ms P Xaba asked, with great emotion, why some parts of KZN failed to get any services at all, and bemoaned the fact that many people were still living in as dire poverty as in the past. She asked what exactly the ITB was doing, pointing out that all the chiefs were part of the Board, and should be doing more to help their people.
The Chairperson noted the shortage of time and asked that further questions be submitted in writing.
The meeting was adjourned.
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