Local Government Turnaround Strategy: progress report by Minister; Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs Strategic Plan 2013

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

15 April 2013
Chairperson: Ms D Nlhengethwa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Minister spoke about the challenges and root causes identified in the First Implementation Report on the Local Government Turnaround Strategy. This was the first draft of the report which would be finalised by June 2013 and would contain 11 volumes - one for each province, one for national and the final volume known as the Response Package.

The Committee asked for clarity about Technical Support Units and heard that they were now called Service Delivery Facilities. The Committee expressed concerns about the apparently “permanent” Turn-Around Strategy, the continued Green Paper process; policy and legislative gaps; political interference in municipalities and the non-achievement of Clean Audit 2014. Members asked about the relationship between Local Government and the SETAs and if the Turn-Around Strategy was being monitored.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs reported on the progress of the Annual Performance Plan 2012/13 and the Priorities for 2013/14. Members expressed concerns about targets not being clearly defined and the accuracy of data. The Disaster Management expenditure was explained. The Committee enquired about conditionalities that appeared in the Budget presentation for a 1% reduction in personnel as requested by National Treasury.

The Department of Traditional Affairs briefed the Committee on its 2013/14 Annual Performance Plan. This Department was also criticised by the Committee because of unclear targets. Members questioned the specific bursary programme for children of traditional leaders, as they felt children should not be privileged because their parents held office. The Minister declared that he would only sanction financial support for needy children. Members asked if a study had been done on a province by province basis on supplemental allowances in the form of salaries and vehicle access and what could be done to achieve standardisation; if a Code of Conduct existed with for traditional leaders; and whether the Department was happy with the level of participation in local government for traditional leaders. The Committee heard that the National Traditional Affairs Bill, through amendments to Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act, sought to increase participation by traditional leaders.

The settlement of ongoing disputes and the lack of accountability by tribal chiefs was an area that the Department was working on but still had a long way to go. The acquisition of the status of king and queen was questioned. The Committee heard that there were more than 19 outstanding disputes and claims. Ukuthwala was raised and the Minister said that if a pre-existing relationship did not exist, then this was an abduction and should not be promoted.
 

Meeting report

 

Local Government Turn-Around Strategy (LGTAS): First Implementation Report
The Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Richard Baloyi, briefed the Committee on the state of local government as evidenced by the First Implementation Report on the LGTAS. Some of the challenges were poor co-ordination between the three spheres of government; the lack of co-ordination in planning, project and programme implementation; lack of financial and human resource capacity to address service delivery backlogs; poor revenue collection; the lack of revenue enhancement strategies and the large influx of people from neighbouring countries which resulted in outdated indigent registers and expansion of communities.

The root causes for the challenges were identified as systemic factors linked to the model of government; policy and legislative factors; political factors; weaknesses in the accountability systems; capacity and skills constraints; weak intergovernmental support and oversight; and the inter-governmental fiscal system (see document)

Discussion
The Chairperson asked the Minister to talk about Technical Support Units.

The Minister said that Technical Support Units had not been demobilised, the title of posts had just changed. They were now called Service Delivery Facilitators. With the advent of Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA), the reality was created for the deployment of technical experts to municipalities. The Department therefore had Technical Experts and Technical Support Units.

Mr P Smith (IFP) said the turn-around strategy was in response to the municipal system, created back in 2000, being under stress for its entire existence. The turn-around strategy was first envisaged as an interim strategy to attempt to turn around a problem, but it soon became apparent that it had to become a permanent feature of the governance of municipal systems. It was a permanent strategy instead of a once-off strategy. This seemed to indicate that the state’s municipalities were permanently in distress and permanently in crisis. That was why a permanent turn-around strategy was needed. It took nine years before there was a turn-around strategy. The Department always seemed to be putting out fires. He was keen to know when in this report, progress had been shown, and if it was correctly attributed. He did not know if the turn-around strategy had achieved anything in this report.

Mr J Steenhuizen (DA) asked how long was this going to be a strategy, and when was the Department going to try something different if it was not working?

Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) echoed these concerns.
 
The Minister replied that one could not have a permanent turn-around strategy as it was an intervention to correct wrongs, and these wrongs were not permanent. The word ‘learning’ in the report should have been ‘experience stabilisation’. These were questions that underlie the development of Integrated Development Plans (IDP). When dealing with the IDP one was assessing oneself against the priorities identified, actual performance and expectations generated. Volume 11 was about stabilisation. If it kept “turning around”, there would be no support. The Department did not intend to entrench its Turn-Around Strategy. It was therefore important to talk about stabilisation, and Volume 11 was a stabilisation package. When this package was fully populated, it would respond to what the Department needed to do. The stabilisation package included the strengthening of this portfolio to deal with co-operative governance.

The Minister said that perhaps the Department should have deferred the presentation of this report until the stabilisation package was ready. The Department did not have answers to all the questions but it was aware of the areas that had to be dealt with. It would pull its weight and, with the reconfiguration of the Turn-Around Strategy, would indicate how it was dealing with issues.

The Minister said it was difficult to draw distinctions if one looked at the profiles of municipalities and said that “it was because of the turnaround strategy”. There was a document preceding the Turn-Around Strategy that talked to the issues raised here. It was a difficult situation because it was a turn-around strategy in pocket size. The Department was using overall targets as a guide and therefore could not blame the Turn-Around Strategy. In terms of service delivery, the five priority areas in Volumes 2 to 10 looked at particular levels. It was necessary to have an engagement with municipalities again before June. The Portfolio Committee would be invited to that engagement.

The Chairperson said that Volumes 2 to 10 were to do with the provinces. Mr Steenhuizen could check the Volumes to see what had been audited. Municipalities could be monitored in this way. There was a need to have a standalone presentation on the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA).

Mr Steenhuizen said he was unsure if the Volumes were consistent as there seemed to be inconsistencies in how the reporting had been done. There should be more standardised reporting in the Volumes.

The Chairperson said that the Committee should wait for the final draft.

The Minister replied that from Volume 1 to Volume 10 the structure was the same and one would be answering the same questions. Volume 11 was the Response Package which talked to matters according to the plans. 

Mr Smith said that with the Model of Local Governance mentioned on page 11, it stated that a Draft Green Paper was being considered for finalisation, and that there was the option of continuing with a Green Paper process. He asked for clarity about this process.

The Minister replied that with regard to the Green Paper and the legislative programme of the Department for this year, there were two pieces of legislation and one could be chosen to achieve what was needed.

Mr Smith asked why political interference in municipalities was restricted to synchronisation of elections.

The Minister replied that the intention was not only synchronisation. Other political questions could be dealt with in a dedicated report. Synchronisation was national and all-inclusive. One could not have synchronisation in a particular province. Political interference referred to what one wanted to measure in Volumes 2 to 10. If it was not there yet, it was actually being dealt with or seen as an issue that remained to be dealt with. When it came to areas of interference, it was important to look at the form that the interference took.

Mr Smith said that on page 21 the comment was made that policy and legislative gaps were found. He asked what had happened during the past three years. There seemed to have been a delay in finalising matters. In 2009 the Department had realised that a lot of laws needed to be changed but had done nothing about it. He asked if this was still the case. If the answer was yes, could the Minister please explain what the consequences were for those officials who seemed to have done nothing for the past three years.

The Minister said this was not a delay but reflected work in progress. This was a complex matter and the Department was challenged especially with regard to the Municipal Systems Act and whether it was a Section 75 or 76 piece of legislation. This was a question of process. If one raised a question about what was happening with regard to legislation, one should ask which piece of legislation. The Department was still working on this.

Mr Smith said that the consequence of the Department not having achieved its Clean Audit by 2014 could not be glossed over. With Operation Clean Audit in 2014, certain targets had been set. Although these targets were clearly over-ambitious, the Department was now backtracking and saying it was unable to fulfill those commitments. It was backtracking by saying now that it was not going to make it. He asked what were the consequences of that.

With regard to the Clean Audit initiative, the Minister said that it was not the intention here today to register a review of the targets. With the stabilisation package, municipalities that had performed below target for a period of four years, were being put on an accelerated programme to turn the situation around. Local Government had to be made the pride of the people. A change in leadership often translated into a change in priorities.

Ms M Segale-Diswai (ANC) asked what was being done to fight against corruption. Had any progress been made with this and did the Anti-Corruption Inspectorate have an impact?

Mr Steenhuizen asked what had happened with the Anti-Corruption Inspectorates (ACIs).

The Minister replied that the Anti-Corruption Inspectorate has not disbanded. The limitations were being addressed through having partnerships with institutions that had forensic audit capabilities. The Department was fighting corruption the co-operative way. It was important to talk in terms of the numbers of people who had been disciplined via legal action.

Mr G Boinamo (DA) said that it was admirable to have good intentions about governance, but he wished the same intentions could affect local government officials. They knew of the policies but they ignored them and derailed good plans. He also asked what plans were in place to stop the proliferation of informal settlements as this placed severe stress on service delivery.

The Minister replied that the government was doing its best. There were many people migrating from rural to urban areas. These areas in the city had to be to developed as well as the rural areas.

Ms Segale-Diswai said that only 79% of municipal management posts were occupied, and that there were many acting posts which did not allow for a smooth flow of work. She asked how the municipalities coped with vacant posts.

The Minister said that an analysis of the vacancies has to be added to the report. In one municipality the Department had to take strong action and had used Section 139. One of things that had to noted in dealing with this issue was ‘immediate authority’ or ‘secondary authority’ to avoid being seen as interfering. Hence if a person had been acting for three years, sometimes harsh measures had to be applied. The Department was working hard to deal with this issue.

Ms W Nelson (ANC) said that there was a major crisis around municipal debt at the moment. Task teams had been established to look at municipal debt. She asked for a report that would show how far the Department had gone in terms of this intervention.

The Minister said that for as long as there was debt, it was being dealt with. The Department dealt with the situation by bringing the parties together. A decision had also been taken to strengthen this position.

Ms Nelson said that she would like to know what the relationship between the Local Government SETA and the Department was and if there were programmes in place. She asked about the relationship between the Department and the Higher Education institutions and Further Education and Training colleges in addressing scarce skills in local government. This would show monitoring of the interventions, and how far the department had gone.

The Minister replied that the responsibility for Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) had migrated from the Minister of Labour to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. The 23 Setas also operated according to this arrangement.

The Minister said that when the Final Report on the LGTAS would be presented in June 2013, he was convinced that it would respond to the expectations of all stakeholders. It would engage with each municipality according to the programme in this First Implementation Report. He said that this has been a very good engagement and thanked the Portfolio Committee for the questions. It would be difficult to deal with this session in a question and answer format because most questions refer to the amount of detail that was presented. There was a need to present as much detail as possible especially about the municipalities.

Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2012/13 and Priorities for 2013/14: COGTA progress report
Mr Seabelo Molefi, Executive Manager: Corporate Planning and Governance, COGTA, outlined the six programmes of the Department. These were Administration, Policy, Research and Knowledge Management, Governance and Intergovernmental Relations, National Disaster Management Centre, Infrastructure and Economic Development and Provincial and Municipal Government Support. In a breakdown of the achievement status per programme, 74% of the planned targets had been achieved. 14% of planned targets had partial achievement and 4% had not been achieved at all.

Mr Molefi said that 70 municipalities would be supported with tools to develop and implement recruitment and retention strategies. 17 projects were due for removal from the APP 2013/14 (see document.

Mr Nawetu Mthuyda, COGTA Chief Financial Officer, presented the Budget Overview of the Department. The present structure included the Department of Traditional Affairs and MISA. This Department operated on a shared budget vote but wished to operate on a separate budget vote, but it had not been successful yet in achieving this. National Treasury had promised to try to finalise the matter during this financial year. The Department had received R2.1 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). There had been an increase in most programme allocations for 2013/14 except for Provincial and Municipal Government Systems (see document).

Discussion
Ms Nelson said that the targets were not clearly defined in the Annual Report 2012/13 and the Priorities for 2013/14. It was not clear what the targets were being measure against.

The Minister replied that an effort would be made to deal with this. The targets remained a guide for oversight. Committee Members could indicate specifically the areas where they needed more clarity. The Department would then provide details and make the link with specific provinces.

Mr Mthuyda said that the Auditor-General had given the Department a management report saying that the targets were not SMART. The Department then underwent an exercise to ensure that it adhered to the SMART criteria for the targets.  In the Annual Performance Plan itself the quarterly targets adhered to the SMART criteria, it was just that the Department did not elaborate on this in the presentation.

Mr T Bonhomme (ANC) complimented the Department for the good work done. He offered his encouragement and support. The Department should look at bringing in younger people as artisans and craftsmen.

Ms Nelson said that on page 41 under the Infrastructure and Economic Development Priorities for 2013/14, mention was made of targets being exceeded. She questioned why these references were in the past tense and felt it might have been an information ‘cut and paste’ from another document. She asked for clarity.

The Minister replied that it was developed practice to write in this way and apologised for the communication jargon. This issue would be managed and dealt with.

The Chairperson asked if the possibility existed for the Department to explore alternative land for an office building.

The Minister replied that if the cost was more or less the same, then the Department would prefer department and ministry in one building.

Mr Boinamo referred to the first paragraph on page 39: ‘The initiative to improve reporting on basic services through the coordination of sectors and stakeholders was likely not to be achieved because of challenges with regard to data accuracy’. It was his impression that the situation was likely going to remain like this. He asked if there were people to sort this out so that reporting could be done.

Ms Mosimane referred to the promotion of service delivery support, and said that there were problems with infrastructure development. She asked how COGTA related to the Department of Public Works. She also expressed concern about potholes.

Mr Themba Fosi, Deputy Director-General: COGTA replied that accuracy of data had always been a challenge given that all sectors use different ways to measure backlogs and performance in terms of access. To address this, the Department has started using the latest census data from Statistics South Africa. Statistics South Africa was the authority in government that provided information. This authority guided the task team established to work on ensuring that all sector departments used the same data.

With regard to relationships with other departments, Mr Fosi said that the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) covered all departments. Institutional structures had been established to ensure that when basic services were on the agenda, there were norms and standards and all departments worked collaboratively to provide implementation support and monitoring of expenditure. Potholes would also be addressed in the context of the work of the aforementioned task team.

Ms Ditshetelo said that the report stated that research reports were produced on a monthly basis. She asked for clarity about what happened to or with these reports afterwards. She referred to protests and if had they been attended to.

The Minister replied that there had been protests in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape. The problem was an issue of demarcation. The Department got involved and facilitated the involvement of community and the government. This protest came to an end after three months. The issue was demarcation and consultation was found wanting. So far the situation was under control. He commented that some protests were not related to service delivery.

Mr Fosi said that over and above the intervention and support from the Minister, they also had service delivery facilitators, that were interacting closely with these municipalities where such circumstances occur.

Ms Nelson asked for clarity about Disaster Management expenditure.

Mr Ken Terry, Head of Disaster Management: COGTA, said that the Committee would recall the Department had done the presentation on the Disaster Management Centre with National Treasury present. There was a differentiation between what the Department’s budget was for operational expenditure which was aligned to its Annual Performance Plan (APP), which was in the vicinity of R50 million. The R510 million related to immediate relief funding, which was a conditional grant and could only be recommended for distribution as National Treasury ultimately approved immediate relief funding. As and when requests for immediate relief funding were received, the Department did a proper analysis and took the matter forward. Compared to the previous financial year, quite a considerable amount was spent this year (R74 million versus R50 million in the previous financial year). To circumvent problems, one of the targets was the amendment of the Disaster Management Act, which was now a Bill. It was in conjunction with the National Treasury that the Department tried to address this problem of and in terms of the Act had made certain amendments so that the utilisation of the fund could be broadened. This was not only for the Immediate Relief fund, where occurrences could be declared national disasters. This was in essence the differentiation between the R510 million and the R50 million. The R50 million was linked to the APP project. The Department had met its targets, which were in line with its actual expenditure. 

Referring to the R74 million, the Chairperson asked what interventions the Department had been engaged in. He mentioned the claims made since 2009 in the Eastern Cape.

Mr Terry said that the Department, in terms of the Disaster Management Act, now had a process of monitoring and evaluation to deal with disasters. It had a Monitoring and Evaluation unit in the Disaster Management Centre. The unit was established in February. As seen in the APP for the current year, the plan was to put a framework in place and also to try to ‘follow the rand’. Then the Department could do analyses of the expenditure and go back to National Treasury every time. The same questions were asked such as was the Department getting value for its money and do the structures built as a result of a disaster have to be rebuilt as they were of a poor quality. Mechanisms have been put in place to follow these processes and the Department was creating the capacity to deal with these situations. In the Amendment Bill, the Department had put forward clear guidelines for monitoring and evaluation. A committee was being set up to do proper evaluation and analysis of the reconstruction work and how the money was being spent. From the analysis the progress in spending was very slow. Mechanisms had been put in place to consolidate and support disaster management.

Mr Smith said that this was the first time he had seen the National Treasury’s conditionalities in a budget presentation. He asked if more information could be provided about this especially an explanation about the staffing reduction of 1% as he did not know what it meant to reduce by 1%. He asked what the consequences were of not meeting the conditions, and what the nature of the conditions was.

Mr Mthuyda replied that the budget allocations were not dependent on the Department fulfilling conditions. It was not about conditions, but about requirements that had to be followed up during this financial year. The allocations themselves were free of any conditions but the Department was expected to do things required by National Treasury. The 1% was a little difficult because in terms of numbers and expenditure, there was a need to demonstrate how the Department was going fulfill National Treasury’s requirements. It was either natural attrition of staff who were not going to be replaced or for other reasons. The Department was expected to put together a strategy. This was a national call that government as a whole should reduce its wage bill by such a percentage. The Department was therefore expected to effect a 1% reduction.

Mr Smith asked for clarity about Condition 2 on page 45, which stated that: ‘submit a strategy demonstrating a reduction of 1% on personnel per year and on a quarterly basis.

Mr Mthuyda replied that the mandatory reductions were 1% in the current year, 2% in the following year and 3% in year thereafter; and in slide 46 the Department had reflected the losses in terms of these reductions. Slide 49 showed a bigger loss, as Goods and Services were included and some projects were not included because they had been concluded. The Department had given 2% back to National Treasury as requested.

The Chairperson noted that the Policy Research and Knowledge Management programme had performed poorly. It appeared that even though the idea to formulate policy was there, the implementation of advancing the targets and bringing them to fruition through legislation did not happen.

Ms Ditshetelo said that the situation in Mafikeng was very bad so she could not understand why it was stated that it was on track. She asked what this meant.

Ms Mosimane referred to slide 39 and asked if any corrective measures had been taken to correct the past.

The Chairperson asked if the budget allocation would be affected by inflation.

Mr Fosi referred to MISA’s support to municipalities that were underspending, saying the Department would continue to provide support through MISA in all those areas.

The Minister noted that there was error on slide 41. Under Infrastructure and Economic Development, Priorities for 2013/14 point number 2, where it stated: ‘48 municipalities implementing….’, ’48’ municipalities should actually be more in the region of 104 municipalities. 

2013/14 Annual Performance Plan: Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) briefing
Prof Charles Nwaila, Director-General: Department of Traditional Affairs, presented the Annual Performance Plan to the Committee. The progress in meeting the 2012/13 Annual Performance Plan (APP) targets were first outlined, for both the DTA and the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims (CTLDC) whose outcomes were as follows:
 

Province

Disputes and Claims finalised

Mpumalanga

49

Limpopo

72

Eastern Cape

42

North West

25

Kwazulu Natal

44

National CTLDC

19


The Department of Traditional Affairs priorities were informed by the following government thrusts and programmes: National Development Plan (NDP); Cabinet Makgotla priorities; 2012 and 2013 State of the Nation Address (SONA); Priorities identified by the President during the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) on 7 March 2013; the Minister’s Delivery Agreement; LGTAS and Outcome 9 Priorities; Minister’s 2012/13 Budget Vote injunctions; DTA 2011-2014 Strategic Plan and 2012/13 Annual Performance Plan; and Assessment of the state of governance of traditional leadership structures conducted in 2011/12.

The DTA went on to explain its identified priorities and targets in detail (see document).

Discussion
The Chairperson noted that the targets were not clear and there were no time frames. The Director-General was asked to add time frames in the report so that the Department could be held accountable.

Prof Nwaila replied that for the presentation today the Department had decided to just explain what had to be done for each target planned for 2013/14. The areas were clearly specified per quarter in the APP.

Mr Steenhuizen asked why there was a specific bursary programme for children of tradition leaders. He questioned whether there might not be a conflict of interest because traditional leaders were better off than others, and children should not benefit because their parents held office.

Prof Nwaila said that in the past there were particular schools where heirs to throne could go to receive special training. This was mainly intended to provide capacity needed for those times. Today it was the issue of traditional leaders in the 21st century. The kind of capacity needed was how to assist them to define their space as it was important to empower their children as well. This training was offered at tertiary level. There should be schools that focused on particular areas related to traditional areas of life.

The Minister said that he would only sanction where it was stated that needy children of traditional leaders needed assistance. There would be serious challenges if blanket support was offered to children of traditional leaders.

Mr Steenhuizen referred to Strategic Priority 4.2.9 and asked: why disparities existed between conditions of service, payment and tools of trade, and provision of services for traditional leaders across the country; had the Department looked at this situation? Had a study been done on a province by province basis of whether supplemental allowances were made available in terms of salaries and vehicle access? Did a document exist that provided an honest comparison? If such a document existed, could the Committee have a copy? What could be done to try to have standardisation on nationally agreed upon set of norms and standards?

Prof Nwaila replied that there was an awareness of the disparities between different headmen and head women in different provinces. A Reference Team has been put together by the Minister to investigate the inconsistencies. The report has been finalised and was being considered as we speak. It was important to mention that the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers determined the salaries. Traditional leaders were public office bearers. Guidelines for payment were provided by the Remuneration Commission. There was an upper limit of R71 000. Those who earned above the upper limit did not receive increases when the other provinces were behind. The report would go the Commission as soon as the Minister had seen it.  

The Minister said that there was a Reference Team and the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers. The Reference team helped to engage with the Commission and made sure that the reality and challenges were thoroughly engaged. 

Mr Steenhuizen asked there was a national code of conduct to guide traditional leaders. He asked if there were consequences for violating laws and who was the responsible agent in this regard.

Prof Nwaila replied that Section 27 of the Framework Act had a Code of Conduct in the Schedule which applied to every traditional leader and every council.

Mr Smith said he had not heard anything about the role of traditional leaders in local government, and yet on pages eight and nine where strategic priorities where outlined, local governance was only mentioned in terms of the LGTAS. He asked whether from the Annual Performance Plan, the Department was happy with the level of participation in local government for traditional leaders.

Prof Nwaila replied that in the National Traditional Affairs Bill, the amendments to Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act sought to increase the participation of traditional leaders at that level. In the current legislation at local level, the smaller provinces with fewer traditional leaders, struggled to straddle council meetings. On the level of traditional councils, there was more participation from traditional leaders in municipal councils.

Mr Boinamo said that traditional leaders appointed by the apartheid government were not legitimate chiefs. He asked what the House of Traditional Leaders was doing to reverse that situation and how kingship was determined.

Prof Nwaila replied that the Customary Law of Succession applied. A claim would be lodged if there was a wrongfully appointment, or there would be a dispute with the province.

Mr Boinamo said that there were ongoing protests by traditional communities whose bone of contention was that some of the Council members did not play open cards with the community. Also when important things happened there was no tribal resolution and the community did not know where the money was. He asked what the House of Traditional Leaders was doing to correct this challenge.

Prof Nwaila replied that the Department had sent teams around who provided a framework document to deal with these issues. There was a Partnership Framework which dealt with this.

A Member asked who handled disputes and claims in the villages, the House of Traditional Leaders or the provinces?
 
Prof Nwaila said that the Dispute and Claims Commission had started with 1244 disputes and claims. These disputes and claims were between the Royal Family and others. These were about boundary claims and traditional identity claims. The Commission was dealing only with submissions that were made by the closing date of 30 August 2010. Other claims were dealt with in terms of the Traditional Leadership Governance and  Framework Act, which clarified the processes to be followed at provincial level. The Premier could refer issues to the Commission in terms of the Act.

A Member asked for clarity about disputes in the villages about mining.

Prof Nwaila replied that the Department was already participating in a task team led by the Presidency which included another Deputy Director-General and himself. They were identified as stakeholders because of the traditional leaders in those areas. There were processes that were going to be presented at different structures to ensure that issues such as disputes in mining villages, were addressed. In these meetings the people from the mining villages were referred to as labour supplying communities. 

A Member asked how kings and queens acquired this kind of status.

Prof Nwaila replied that the Framework Act outlined how this kind of status was acquired. Different communities had their customary laws which explained how this kind of status was acquired. The first condition was that it had to be a male child. Some people had a Great House or a Right-Hand House, so there were all those kinds of Houses. The different communities also had their customary procedures that identified who the rightful Heir to the throne was. The Royal Family made these kinds of determinations and the government merely added confirmation. 

The Chairperson asked where the Anti-Corruption programme was located.

Prof Nwaila replied that this was a very small department, which was beginning to look at some of the issues in those areas in order to support the LGTAS. There was not a specific unit that dealt with these issues as they arose. Prof Nwaila’s office dealt with the issues if and when they arose by making referrals to the Department of Cooperative Governance.

The Chairperson asked for clarity about how the budgets would be divided and if the Department would eventually be a standalone Department.

The Minister said that this matter was not yet confirmed.

The Chairperson asked if there were outstanding disputes and claims.

Prof Nwaila replied that there were more than 19 outstanding claims, but they were being finalised. The number 19 was in the report for that specific financial year and because committees took longer to be appointed by the provinces, so there was a delay in the provision of support staff. The last appointments were made in October 2012. Since then, the Department has started to move with speed. 

The Chairperson asked if any duplication of programmes was anticipated with Target 8 which dealt with the Interfaith Sector to promote moral regeneration and cohesion.

Prof Nwaila replied that two of the pillars of traditional affairs were restoration and culture. Culture dealt with spirituality, which covered issues such as religion and traditional healers. The Department was aware that the Department of Arts and Culture also dealt with these matters. However the two departments complemented each other and there was a plan to set up a structure to avoid duplication.

A member asked for more information about ukuthwala. She said that the Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities had said that the traditional leaders were dealing with ukuthwala. She asked if this was a traditional matter and how far this process had gone.

The Minister said that this matter was interpreted in different ways. If it was as in the Shangaan tradition, there would be no problems because this tradition held that there should be a relationship first. In some areas where there was not a pre-existing relationship, then it became abduction. This practice should not be promoted. 

Ms Mosimane said that heritage or tourist sites should not be conducted only for the Khoisan people, it should be extended to other provinces.

Prof Nwaila said that it was not conducted only for the Khoisan.

Mr Boinamo asked if the bursary scheme for children of traditional leaders was at school or tertiary level; and if the system of privilege for children of traditional leaders still existed.

Prof Nwaila replied that the bursary system, where offered, was at tertiary level.

Ms Mosimane said that the Department had indicated that it provided financial human resources and support for cultural events for entities. She asked if there was accountability for the money provided to entities.

Prof Nwaila replied that the Department did not give money, it procured the services and the expenditure was well accounted for.

Ms Mosimane welcomed the relationship between the government and traditional leaders. It should be encouraged as the community would derive benefit from this relationship

Prof Nwaila said the Department would continue to build this relationship. 

Ms Mosimane said that Ward Councillors were voted for in some municipalities. She asked how the Traditional Council was appointed; who they reported to and how were they evaluated?

Prof Nwaila replied that in terms of the Framework Act there had been a transition from the traditional authority to the Transitional Council. The reason that they had to be reconstituted and transformed was because of gender equity. 40% were elected. They reported to the Chief. If there was a King’s Council, they would report to the King.

Questions asked but not responded to
Mr Smith asked if the weaknesses in COGTA had been identified.

Mr Smith asked for an explanation about the situation where National Departments were not organising themselves properly, and consequently this led to municipalities doing things that they had no jurisdiction to do.

Mr Steenhuizen asked who was monitoring the Municipal Turn-Around Strategy (MTS); if there had been a qualitative assessment of the effectiveness of the MTS; if there had been an improvement in the audit outcomes and if there was a document to assist with the MTS.

Mr Steenhuizen asked what was being done to attract capacity into positions in the Department, or more importantly, if a strategy was being worked on to improve capacity.

Mr Boinamo said that there were municipalities that seemed unable to collect revenue. He asked what the main obstacle was that impeded these municipalities and what could be done to sort this out.

Ms Segale-Diswai asked if the Committee could have the Municipal Assessment Tool (MAT) as it would assist with their oversight work.

Ms C Mosimane (COPE) said that under the Department’s Policy and Research programme, with the Turn-Around Strategy 2013/14, the Department took the decision to align this programme with the implementation of the Local Government Turn-Around Strategy (LGTAS). The budget increased by 33%. But now the document was introduced, so how was this going to affect implementation because it was aligned under the Policy and Research programme.

Ms Mosimane asked how the Anti-Corruption Model was going to be monitored. Officials had been deployed to provinces but were no longer there. She asked if any cases could show whether the revived accountability assessment had helped.

Ms Mosimane said that the Department was unable to address challenges because it did not understand municipalities.

Ms Mosimane said that the document presented by the Minister was good and informative; however there were no time frames attached to monitoring and evaluation actions, nor mention made of corrective action.
 
Ms Nelson asked if a document was available prior to the implementation of LGTAS, that could show concretely what the situation was so improvement could be measured.

Ms Nelson said that the audit had shown that there had been a regression. It was however unclear whether it was the same municipalities or different municipalities. This did not allow for measurement. She asked what trends were evident.

Ms Nelson noted that the Department had said that initiatives were taken and programmes put in place to address concerns. She asked what monitoring tools were in place to measure the implementation of these initiatives.

Ms Nelson said that under spending was of great concern. This was not new. She asked what was going to be done differently this time and how was it going to be measured.

Ms Nelson said that she would like to see in the report what the Department had done to date since the President assented to the Amendment Act to deal with the issues that it addressed. This would show monitoring and movement.

Mr Bonhomme asked if and when disputes took place in the Traditional Councils, if one was not satisfied with the outcome, could the Westernised legal system be used?

The Chairperson asked about the profiling of Traditional Councils, if the Department had the energy to complete the process of profiling.

A Member asked if tools of trade and remuneration for traditional leaders came from the province or the House of Traditional Leaders.

Mr Smith asked how 100 posts fitted in with the National Treasury directive to downsize by 1%. He asked if the Department required the 25 posts or would it manage on the existing staff allocation.

The Chairperson said there was a request for another Toolkit or COGTA mini-library because a new Mayor had been elected.

Meeting was adjourned.
 

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