Report on oversight visit to the North West and Eastern Cape

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

16 September 2013
Chairperson: Ms D G Nhlengethwa
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered and adopted the report on its oversight visit to the North West and Eastern Cape Provinces. The Committee made corrections to the document and focused most of the attention on the recommendations. Some of the recommendations for the North West included the following:

●The Committee recommended the eradication of the bucket system in the next financial year.
●The support on Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) to this municipality needed to be strengthened in facilitating the implementation of capital projects
●The Committee recommend that the National Department needed to establish a task team which would focus on assisting municipalities struggling with financial management and establish relevant structures which would monitor and evaluate whether correct measures were put in place.

Some of the recommendations for the Eastern Cape included the following:
● The Committee recommended that Amahlathi LM water projects needed to be prioritised as to reduce the number of losses.
● The Committee recommended that the Provincial and National Department needed to pay attention to the issues raised in the observation report provided by the committee. There would not be a specific time frame allocated to both departments but the committee agreed that this would be an ongoing process.
●The Committee recommended that the interventions proposed by the province needed to be expedited to smoothen the functioning of the municipality. A report on the status of the interventions and its assistance needed to be forwarded to the committee.
 

Meeting report

Welcome and Apologies
The Chairperson thanked members for their attendance and apologised on behalf of Ms M Segale-Diswai (ANC), Ms W Nelson (ANC) and Mr J Steenhuizen (DA).

Committee Report on the visits to North West and Eastern Cape Provinces
The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration. She took the Committee through a page by page overview of the report and asked members to note any errors, corrections or additions.

The Chairperson referred to the first bullet on page 2, which stipulated that the “large influx of people from neighbouring countries which resulted in out-dated indigent registers and expansion of communities”. She queried if this was referring to migrants from neighbouring countries or internal migrants across provinces.

Members agreed that the sentiment of that statement was referring to migrants within South Africa and its neighbouring countries.

The Chairperson said that the words internal and external should be included to distinguish between the types of migrants it witnessed in the North West and Eastern Cape.

Mr G Boinamo (DA) asked why the Committee was reluctant to refer to the large influx of external migrants as illegal immigrants.

The Chairperson replied that distinguishing between internal and external migrants addressed the issue of illegal immigrants.

Mr D Mavunda (ANC) stated that the sentence in itself was clear and did not require any additional corrections.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mavunda’s recommendation and decided to leave the sentence in its original form.  

The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would go through the recommendations for both provinces individually.

North West Province-Recommendations
The first observation was the usage of the bucket system. The progress on flush toilets in all municipalities was observed to be very slow. There was an estimated 10 467 households using bucket systems especially in Bojanala Platinum District which was estimated at 4 660 households. The Committee had recommended the eradication of the bucket system in the next financial year.

The Chairperson said municipalities did not prioritise the eradication of the bucket system this financial year. Instead they prioritised the issue of water. She proposed giving municipalities 12 months to focus on eradicating the bucket system and during that time frame the committee would follow up on progress.

The second observation was the absence of a time frame placed on the intervention made by the Premier through the Premier’s legacy Projects for Mahikeng Local Municipality. The Chairperson, in consultation with the Committee, decided to give the provincial department a 30 day period to provide it with a clear programme in resolving the water issue.

The third observation noted that out of the 23 municipalities in North Wes, a local municipality had spent the least in its budget compared to all other municipalities. The Committee’s recommendation stated that the support on Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) to this municipality needed to be strengthened in facilitating the implementation of capital projects.

Mr J Matshoba (ANC) asked to specify which municipality had spent the least of its budget.

The Chairperson said the recommendation would be corrected to include the municipality of Kagisano-Molopo.

Mr Matshoba said it was important to note the question of capacity and whether municipalities were fully capacitated to spend their budgets accordingly.

The Chairperson stated that the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) was best suited to address the issue of capacity development.

Mr Mavunda said the Committee’s recommendation should indicate that support to Kagisano-Molopo Municipality needed to be strengthened and indicate the type of support that needed to be provided.

The Chairperson said SALGA and the National Department needed to assist in intervening and deploying people with relevant skills to municipalities in implementing capital projects.

Ms C Mosimane (COPE) asked if SALGA would be the responsible organisation in providing relevant training.

Mr Boinamo said individuals who had already received the relevant training and still could not exercise their skills needed to be removed from their posts.

The Chairperson said the Committee would give the National Department 3 months to provide it with a comprehensive report on how many municipalities it had provided with capacity training. She concluded that both SALGA and the National Department would be responsible for capacitating municipalities.

The fourth observation was aging infrastructure and the neglecting of operations and maintenance responsibilities. The Committee recommended that the provincial government and MISA needed to assist municipalities in drawing up maintenance plans.

Mr Matshoba said the problem of aging infrastructure was a national problem which needed to be addressed.

Mr Boinamo said it was lack of skills perpetuating the infrastructure challenges faced by the municipalities.

Ms Mosimane asked what steps would be taken if municipalities had maintenance plans but they ignored them.

The Chairperson said most municipalities did not have maintenance plans, and as an added recommendation it would incorporate the National Department as a responsible entity in ensuring that municipalities received support in drawing up viable maintenance plans. She said that both the National Department and MISA would be given 12 months to produce their plans.

The fifth observation noted that the 2011/12 financial audits outcomes for municipalities showed no improvement. The Committee recommend that the National Department needed to establish a task team which would focus on assisting municipalities struggling with financial management and establish relevant structures which would monitor and evaluate whether correct measures were put in place.

A committee member noted that SALGA was responsible for financial management but it was not included as a responsible party.

Mr Matshoba said SALGA did not have the funds to take on all the responsibilities placed on it.

The Chairperson said a specific task team including the National Department, SALGA, the Provincial Department and the National Treasury needed to be the responsible parties for aiding struggling municipalities.

Mr Boinamo asked what the purpose was in creating another task team. That would only require more money which would go into training people who were unable to deliver.

The Chairperson said that implementing a task team was beneficial because they would oversee all the proceedings, capacitate and educate. The task team would only consist of people in the service and the only external costs would be accommodation. A 6 month period would be given to the responsible parties.

The sixth observation was that Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) was not functioning optimally as envisaged in the Framework. The Committee recommended that the National Department needed to take the lead in ensuring that IGR was functioning to its full potential and this process would not be given an allocated timeframe but would be ongoing.

Mr Matshoba said the implementation of IGR was not the problem but the existing legislation was inadequate.

The seventh observation was the Department’s enquiries into Moses Kotana, Ventersdorp and Tswaing Local Municipalities on allegations of corruption and fraud. The Committee recommended that the Department needed to furnish a report with clear outcomes of the investigation as well as detailed action taken against those found guilty.

The Chairperson said this responsibility would fall on the National Department and it would give the Department 3 months to produce a report.

Mr Mavunda said it was important to take into consideration the delays the Department might face but agreed that 3 months was a sufficient time frame.

The eighth observation was that Section 139 had been invoked in 3 municipalities but there were other municipalities who were in much dire positions in terms of financial management and governance. The Committee recommended that the Province needed to be consistent in terms of their interventions.

The Chairperson said there were a lot of municipalities which fell under section 139.

Ms Mosimane said it would be beneficial to mention the names of the rest of the municipalities who needed to be under Section 139.

Mr Boinamo said the Committee needed to mention the names of the municipalities it had been to, who should be under Section 139.

Mr Mavunda said by mentioning names it would question the legitimacy of what the Committee observed.

Mr Boinamo said he was uncomfortable that the Committee was not willing to mention names of the municipalities that were in dire positions in terms of financial management and governance.

The Chairperson said by mentioning municipalities and leaving others out was a problem. The National Department would be the responsible party in providing the committee with a report on how many municipalities it had capacitated and it would be a given a time frame of 3 months to produce those reports.

Mr Mavunda clarified that the time frames assigned would take effect after the report had adopted.

Eastern Cape Province- Recommendations
The first observation noted that the Amathole District was the Water Services Authority for all municipalities in the district. Amahlathi LM had the highest number of water backlog. The Committee recommended that Amahlathi LM water projects needed to be prioritised as to reduce the number of losses.

The Chairperson said the responsible body for ensuring municipality prioritisation was the Provincial Department and it would be given a time frame of 12 months.

The Committee’s second observation was that the access to water in the OR Tambo district municipality was a challenge, and water losses occurred due to illegal connections, unbilled consumers, unmetered yard connections, water leakages and a shortage of bulk and domestic meters. The Committee suggested that suitable candidates for record keeping and qualified water controllers needed to be recruited in order for the problem to be resolved. The quality of water also needed to be monitored.

Ms Mosimane said municipalities needed to educate their populations on the content of paying for services they received. She said the responsible body ensuring recruitment of qualified water controllers was the district and it would be given a time frame of 12 months.

The third observation was the poor anti-fraud and corruption policies in the Mbashe Municipality. The Committee recommended that the Provincial and National Department needed to pay attention to the issues raised in the observation report provided by the committee. There would not be a specific time frame allocated to both departments but the committee agreed that this would be an ongoing process.

The fourth observation was at the Buffalo City Metro/Mbizana Municipality which was identified as a hotspot by the province resulting in tension at the level of Troika which hampered service delivery. The committee recommended that the interventions proposed by the province needed to be expedited to smoothen the functioning of the municipality. A report on the status of the interventions and its assistance needed to be forwarded to the committee.

The Chairperson said the province would be the responsible body in implementing its recommendations and they would be given a time frame of three months.

The Chairperson asked if Committee had any additional recommendations that cut across all provinces.

Mr Mavunda said there was a trend in the country where criminal and violent acts perpetrated by individuals were rationalised as acts of protest in the name of service delivery. This issue needed to be looked into further.

The Chairperson agreed with his sentiment but stated the Committee was not responsible for addressing such a matter and that the issue of criminality was dealt with in other platforms.

The Chairperson said the issue of the InDuna in the OR Tambo municipality who was accused of receiving and accepting pay without performing his expected duties needed to be included in the report. She recommended that the Department needed to highlight the problem and extensively investigate it.

Ms Mosimane said in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality there was an issue about a Chief who did not want to engage with his people since the municipality wanted to take his land. She said the committee needed to recommend the Department to do a further investigation into that particular issue.

Mr Boinamo said it was difficult to legally hold Chiefs accountable because there was no formal job description for their role.

Mr Mavunda said the National Traditional Affairs bill needed to be expedited so it could provide a framework on how traditional leaders should operate

The Chairperson said there was also the issue of King Dalindyebo. The committee needed to highlight that an observation had been conducted but it was recommended that the Department needed to conduct a further investigation and provide a report on it.

The Chairperson asked if there was any mover for the adoption of the report.

The Committee accepted the adoption of the report with amendments.

Outstanding Committee Minutes
Committee Minutes dated 7 May 2013
The Chairperson tabled the document for consideration.

The Committee accepted the adoption of the minutes with minor amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 11 June 2013

The Chairperson tabled the document for consideration.

The Committee accepted the adoption of the minutes with minor amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 18 June 2013

The Chairperson tabled the document for consideration.

The Committee accepted the adoption of the minutes with minor amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 13 August 2013

The Chairperson tabled the document for consideration.

The Committee accepted the adoption of the minutes with minor amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 10 September 2013

The Chairperson tabled the document for consideration.

The committee accepted the adoption of the minutes with minor amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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