Department Rural Development & Land Reform performance on 2014 targets: Department of Performance Monitoring & Evaluation assessment; Communal Property Associations: Departmental briefing

Rural Development and Land Reform

08 October 2013
Chairperson: Mr J Thibedi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) presented its overview on the progress achieved by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) against government commitments for 2014. The role of DRDLR focused on Government Outcome 7, to create vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all. Several sub-outputs were included, and for each of these, the DPME had provided an indication, by colour-coding, of whether there was likely to be achievement or not. It was suggesting that the DRDLR must focus very strongly on those areas indicated with amber or red markings. The likelihood of success was based on the positive progress to date, and the current achievements.

There were three targets under sub-output 1, which dealt with sustainable agrarian reform, dealing with land transformation, land reallocation and creation of small farms. Only the land reallocation output was likely to be achieved. Output 2 was improved access to affordable and diverse food, and here the DRDLR’s achievements of establishing 952 773 food gardens were noted. Output 3 related to improving rural services to support livelihoods, and focused on innovative service delivery models. This output was likely to be achieved. Output 4 related to improved employment and skills development, but it was unlikely, given the current rates, that rural unemployment would improve, despite the existence of various structures, including the NARYSEC Youth employment programme. Output 5 focused on the creation and strengthening of rural institutions, and DPME believed that DRDLR would be able to achieve it targets for 2014. Although coordination structures were in place, the functionality and effectiveness of the structures varied from municipality to municipality.

Members asked if there was a forum where the DPME was addressing departments who were supposed to work in collaboration with each other to achieve success. They remained concerned that coordinating structures were not as strong as they could be, and commented, as in the past, on the issue of disjointed financial support to smallholder farmers, weakened coordination and integration structures, and asked how the DRDLR was addressing the phenomenon of departments continuing to operate in silos. Some Members questioned whether the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) was appropriately placed in the DRDLR and felt that the scope of the mandate needed clearer definition. Members were worried that farms purchased by the state, productive prior to their purchase, had fallen into disuse, asked for a report on how many farms were in this state, and what could be done. One Member expressed his scepticism on the NARYSEC programme, saying that the participants were not visible, nor were the skills allegedly transferred, and the programme came at a large cost. Other questions related to whether there was sufficient monitoring and evaluation, when evaluations would be done, disjointed financial support, whether human tardiness was a contributory factor, and the problems around data and possible duplication of work. The DRDLR suggested that the CRDP was a guiding framework but agreed that small farmers were not improving their competitiveness or access to markets and that government would have to invest more funds into the agricultural sector, perhaps taking heed of Brazilian models. The Chairperson agreed, but cautioned that if this was done, any loopholes would have to be identified and addressed.

The DRDLR gave a presentation on the current status and challenges in the Communal Property Associations (CPAs). 115 were at various stages of being regularised, with only eight to date being fully compliant. This was a function that could be done by the provinces. The Department noted that there were many challenges facing the viability of CPAs. These included community identity, since most restitution claimants had no sense of community. Poor economic activity led to a scramble for resources amongst the Exco members, and collapse of the CPAs. There were often divides between CPAs and traditional authorities, which led to contestation for power. Lack of management skills, illiteracy in Exco members and poor conflict management skills and failure to update membership lists were also hindering the smooth running of the CPAs. Some Members were concerned that the introduction of CPAs may have led to the destruction of viable land, and suggested that government was investing money into a project which was not benefiting communities. They asked why CPAs were necessary, if only eight were regularised, and asked what steps the DRDLR was taking to address the challenges. They were insistent that stringent measures were needed, setting out the exact requirements, before land would be granted to CPAs. The Department suggested that a clearer land policy and the new Communal Rights Lands legislation would be able to address the problems.

It was noted that the DRDLR had made a request to submit its Annual Report to the Committee at a later stage. It was also noted that, although it was on the agenda, the Committee could not deal with the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, until it had been properly referred to the Committee.

Meeting report

Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)assessment of progress, within the
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), on meeting Government Outcome commitments

Ms Tsakani Ngomane, DPME: Outcome Facilitator, said the government had, some time ago, initiated 12 outcomes which aimed to achieve effective spending on the right priorities. The DRDLR’s role in the work on outcomes focused on Outcome 7: Rural Development, which was intended to create vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all. A key supporting department, in relation to outcome 7, was the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), which had the technical competency and resources to support the programmes.

She noted that there were several sub-outputs linked to Outcome 7, as follows:
Output 1: Sustainable agrarian reform with a thriving farming sector. Agrarian reform was intended to achieve transformation in the agro-sector.
Output 2: Improved access to affordable and diverse food. Output 2 was meant to address the challenges faced by the country around the large number of people unable to deal with the prices of food baskets.
Output 3: Improving rural services to support livelihoods. Output 3 responded to the recognition that rural areas, compared to urban areas, had much more intense challenges when accessing basic services.
Output 4: Improved employment and skills development. Output 4 intended to create more job opportunities, especially for youths, in both rural and urban communities.
Output 5: Enabling institutional environment for sustainable and inclusive growth. Output 5 informed the rationale that without functioning institutions in rural spaces, there would be insufficient drivers for development.

The DPME was required by the Committee to present a performance assessment of the outcomes, using colour coding. If an output was highlighted green, the DRDLR was, on the basis of its current performance, likely to meet its 2014 target. More of DPME’s attention was focused on those targets highlighted in amber or red. If an output was highlighted as amber, it meant progress had been achieved but the DRDLR was still not on target for 2014. If an output was highlighted as red, this meant that, on the basis of its current performance, it would be impossible for the DRDLR to achieve the target for 2014.

Each of the targets was then addressed in more detail. For Output 1: Sustainable agrarian transformation with a thriving sector, it was noted that in 2009 the DRDLR had a target of transforming 6.7 million hectors (ha). Its 2014 target was aimed at transforming 24.5 million ha. DPME assessed that this target was unachievable, since it currently had managed to only transfer 9.3 million ha. The Department also had a Delivery Agreement to acquire and allocate 1.14 million ha of strategically located land between 2009-2014, and the DPME noted that the Department had managed to achieve its target in this regard. However, once again, in relation to the target to create approximately 200 000 smallholder farmers, with a 2014 target of 50 000 new smallholder targets, the DPME calculated that this would not be reached, because by 2013 it had only managed to create 39 840 new smallholder farmers.

The agricultural sector in the country was performing only to mediocre levels, because there was insufficient involvement in the sector, and most households in urban and rural areas sourced food from supermarkets. Between 10% to 15% of households were still vulnerable to hunger. The strategic objectives of land reform was to ensure that all land-reformed farms were 100% productive by the year 2015/16 and to rekindle the class of black commercial farmers that was destroyed by the Native Land Act of 1913.

Since the inception of the restitution programme in 1995, 79 696 claims were lodged, 77 334 had been settled, and of these, 59 758 had been finalised. The land acquisition programme and redistribution programme had exceeded its targets, with 4 860 farms transferred to black people and communities between 1994 and March 2013. This involved more than 4 million ha. Despite increasing efforts at restoration of settled land for multiple use, newly acquired land was still often under-utilised after its settlement. In an attempt to address the challenges of underutilisation, efforts to recapitalise deteriorated farms had been coupled with improvements in other forms of support, such as access to finance and markets, and agricultural support. Legislation such as the Property Valuation Bill, which established the Office of the Valuer-General, enabled the establishment of new institutions and mechanisms in support of rural development and land reform.

The Output 2 performance indicator focused on the establishment of community, institutional and school food gardens, to enable at least 30% of households to produce some of their own food. In 2009, DRDLR did not impose a baseline, but established a target of 68 000 for 2014. The DPME believed that the Department had achieved its intended target, with the production of 952 773 food gardens. Although the target of 68 000 food gardens had been achieved, DPME nonetheless suggested that a more realistic target had to be guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) vision to graduate 400 000 people out of poverty by 2014.

The performance indicator for output 3 focused on the use of innovative service delivery models. In 2009, DRDLR did not impose a baseline, but for 2014 it intended to achieve innovative para-professional and community based service delivery models, which would enable agriculture, health, adult literacy and Early Childhood Development (ECD) services to be available in 80% of rural municipalities. The DPME assessed that this target was achievable because the Department had already ensured the use of innovative service delivery models in most municipalities, under the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP). Although the CRDP was a good approach, its scope was limited, in that it had targeted only 160 wards in its initial phase, compared to the total number of 2 000 rural wards. In addition, the project focus of CRDP posed a risk of duplication of services between DRDLR and other government departments and municipalities. It was costly to replicate in all rural wards, and there were also problems on operation and maintenance.

Output 4’s performance indicator focused on the reduction of rural unemployment. In 2009 DRDLR noted that rural unemployment was at 44%, and it had a delivery agreement target of 73.4%. Its delivery agreement target in 2014 was 60%. The targets in 2009 and 2014 were different because different data sources were used for the baseline, the target and the performance measurement on rural unemployment, which were not comparable. DPME assessed that DRDLR would be unlikely to reach its intended delivery agreement, because broad unemployment in tribal areas had risen from 44% in 2009 to 50.5% in the second quarter of 2013. Although the National Rural Youth Services (NARYSEC) and other public employment programmes had contributed to skills development, they had only made a marginal contribution to reducing youth unemployment in rural areas.

The performance indicator for output 5 focused on rural institutions. In 2009 the DRDLR targeted that all district and local municipalities should have Integrated Development Planning (IDP) forums and other Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) structures. Its 2014 target was to ensure that 80% of rural local governments had established coordination structures. DPME assessed that this target was achieved. All coordination structures were established. DRDLR also had a 2014 target to profile 500 000 households and 400 communities, and the DPME assessed that these targets were achieved, with 379 082 households and 203 rural wards being profiled. Although coordination structures were in place, the functionality and effectiveness of the structures varied from municipality to municipality.

Ms P Xaba (ANC) said hunger was not only persistent in rural areas, but in urban areas as well. Many urban communities were trying to establish food gardens but were unable to do this because of lack of support for resources. She said she would like to see the NARYSEC programme established in Ivory Park, Gauteng, giving the youths a platform for their involvement.

Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked if there existed a forum where the DPME was addressing departments who were supposed to work in collaboration with one other to ensure that outputs were achieved. There were attempts to encourage collaboration and partnerships between small farm holders and commercial farmers, but there were problems around mismanagement of funds. She asked DRDLR how it would address areas where there was apparent collaboration amongst partners, but a lack of progress. She suggested that the DRDLR target of producing 50 000 new small holder farmers should be noted as likely to be achieved. It had already managed to produce almost 40 000 smallholder farmers.

Ms N November (ANC) said she was concerned that the coordinating structures were not as strong as they could be, which impeded their productivity. Although good work was being done, departments needed to structure their systems to prioritise forward planning.

Mr K Mileham (DA) said he was concerned about the Department’s mandate on the CRDP. The CRDP mandate seemed to best fit in line with the Department of Public Works, or the Department of Basic Education. He asked for clarity on who was responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the programme, and whether DRDLR was responsible for spearheading the CRDP. The scope of the mandate should be  defined.

Mr R Cebekhulu (ANC) said there were farms bought by the state, which were productive prior to that purchase, but were not productive any longer. He asked for clarity on the percentage of farms currently classified as unproductive, and the Department’s view on how the farms were expected to provide employment for the former employees of those farms.

Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) said he was sceptical about the NARYSEC programme. Although NARYSEC currently claimed to have 14 500 participants, it was unclear where they were located and what skills they were being given by the training provided to them under the CRDP. He asked what measures NARYSEC was taking to empower youths to participate in its programme. Much money was being made available to maintain the sustainability of the programme.

The Chairperson asked for clarification on the definition of a smallholder farmer, and wanted to know where the 39 840 new smallholder farms were established.

The Chairperson asked what the level of performance of DRDLR was, in relation to attaining sustainable agrarian transformation with a thriving farming sector, and whether there was a monitoring and evaluation tool in place to keep track of the progress.

The Chairperson asked when the evaluation for the programme would be completed.

The Chairperson was worried about the disjointed financial support to smallholder farmers, because of the weakened coordination and integration structures, and asked what the DPME was doing to strengthen coordination and integration structures, and what measures it was taking to respond to the continuing problem of operations in “silos”.  

The Chairperson asked about the current status of the Property Valuation Bill was.

The Chairperson wondered at what point human tardiness was to blame for the failure to meet some of the intended targets, and what consequences especially for avoidable problems were implemented to combat such cases. He said the lack of a standardised data-referencing format was problematic, and government needed to be placed under pressure to make reliable data sources readily available and utilised.
Ms Ngomane thanked the Committee for the insightful comments. In relation to food gardens, she said that Output 2 focused on improving access to affordable and diverse food. Here, due to under targeting, the DRDLR faced challenges in implementing food gardens, but with better data collection it had now managed to set realistic and achievable targets, which had resulted in the production of one million food gardens.

Issues of integration and collaboration were being addressed by the DPME, which was putting together a proposal aimed at enhancing performance dialogue and collaboration. The DPME was aware of the gaps in some of the mentorship programmes and noted that some of them were not working. It had conducted an evaluation, focusing on the recapitalisation programme, and concluded that the results on the roles of different partners were “not flattering”.

Ms Ngomane explained that in relation to the target for 2014 of achieving 50 000 small holder farms, the DPME believed that this was not achievable, because the targets had underestimated the number of agricultural households currently in South Africa. South Africa had approximately 2.5 million agricultural households. The baseline target of 200 000, which was set in 2009, had under-estimated the number of households which could potentially benefit from holding small farms, and facilitate the transformation of the South African agro-industry sector. She suggested that government had to become more involved in rekindling the involvement of the traditional black farmer in the agricultural sector. That would require strengthening and addressing the issue of coordination and integration.

Ms Ngomane agreed that duplication of work between Departments was a challenge, but there had been significant improvements in understanding the role the DRDLR played in regard to the CRDP. Currently, there was no indicator tracking the percentage of productive land. However, under the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) a system was being implemented to track productive and unproductive land.

DPME was aware that NARYSEC youth were trained in mechanisation, and this programme served as an excellent conduit to business. The youth were also trained about the importance of social responsibility. In order to increase youth participation, the government needed to lead by example and stress the benefits of the programme.

Ms Ngomane said that there were some challenges with, because of a lack of consensus on, the definition of small holder farmer.

Ms Ngomane told the Committee  that the evaluation on the CRDP was almost complete and once the DPME was happy with the final draft, the report would be presented to the Committee.

The Property Valuation Bill was being discussed and briefing notes had already been submitted on it. The DPME was also pushing for a legislative structure that would allow it to introduce more regulatory mechanisms, and hold Departments accountable.

Mr Mdu Shabane, Director General, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, added that the CRDP was a guiding framework to aid collaboration within government in delivering rural development. He noted that small farmers were not really making any progress in competing in the agricultural market, and that government needed to invest more funds into the agricultural sector, which would aid in reducing poverty. The Brazilian agricultural sector model was a good reference point. Here, by law, the government needed to spend 40% of its agricultural procurement fund in purchasing from small holder farmers, at favourable prices, and a similar system could aid in transforming the South African agricultural industry.

Mr Shabane agreed that the issue of coordination was a challenge, but the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act would provide a legal instrument ensuring that land issues were plan-based, instead of demand-led.

The Chairperson thanked the DPME for its report, and the DRDLR for its responses. He said he was in favour of the government spending 40% of its agricultural budget on small holder farmers, but although a significant amount of small holder farmers were available, there was a trend where their goods were not being paid for and if this programme was to be implemented, then these kinds of loopholes would have to be addressed.

Communal Property Associations: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform briefing
Mr Vusi Mahlangu, Acting Deputy Director General, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, explained that  the Communal Property Associations (CPAs) were formed in terms of the Communal Property Associations Act, No 28 of 1996, to hold, manage and own land on behalf of their members. Currently, 115 CPAs were referred to the Land Rights Management Facility (LRMF), and they were in the process of being regularised. Eight were already fully regularised. Provinces were able to develop their own strategies to regularise the remainder of CPAs, and they would either establish and manage their own panels or regularise them internally, using departmental officials.

The challenges with regularisation largely related to the CPAs’ constitutions that might not cater for the changing needs of members, with community identity, where most restitution claimants to whom land was restituted had no sense of community. Poor economic activities in some meant that the scramble for resources amongst Exco members led to the collapse of the CPAs. There were sometimes divides between CPAs and traditional authorities, so that when CPAs were established to settle tribal claims, there seemed to be contestation for power with traditional authorities. Lack of management skills was apparent and illiteracy amongst Executive Committee members impacted negatively on the smooth running of CPAs,  whilst lack of conflict management skills and the non-updating, regularly, of membership lists were further challenges.

It was, however, believed that the CPA Amendment Bill would address some of the challenges facing CPAs. These amendments would establish CPA offices, would deal with the appointment of a Registrar of CPAs and Deputy Registrars, and repeal provisions that enabled registration of Provisional CPAs, whilst also enhancing the protection of member rights.

Ms Xaba thanked the Department and said the management of CPAs was a serious issue. Members of the CPAs needed to understand their positions in ensuring the viability of CPAs.

Ms Ngwenya asked who decided whether a community needed a CPA, and asked how often CPAs were monitored. CPAs were problematic where there was a lot of in-fighting and a lack of coordination and consensus, for instance on when CPAs were supposed to hold their Annual General Meetings (AGM). Most CPAs did not get the adequate resources or support they required, which hindered their productivity. She said a solid plan needed to be put in place to address the challenges faced by the CPAs.

Mr Cebekhulu said the introduction of CPAs had led to the destruction of viable land, as government was investing money into a project which was not benefiting communities. He asked who was responsible for empowering CPAs when they were established.

Mr Mileham said that it was shocking to note that only eight of the 115 CPAs were regularised. The Department needed to establish a contact person for each CPA, who would assist and guide CPAs towards regularisation. He was concerned that regularisation was, in any event, only looking at some aspects of compliance, and that there needed to be measures put in place emphasising that certain other requirements needed to be adhered to if land was to be granted to CPAs.

Mr Mandela asked why CPAs were necessary, if out of the 115 only 8 had been regularised. He noted the continuous problems associated with the CPAs, and wanted to know what steps the Department was taking to address the challenges and regularise the remaining CPAs. Some of the elected CPA leaders refused to comply with the rules of the CPA, including refusing to leave once their term ended. He asked what the Department was doing to ensure that CPAs did not only benefit a few beneficiaries.

The Chairperson said given all the challenges highlighted, it would be interesting to know what the power of the Registrar would be, especially in relation to traditional leadership.

Mr Shabane said many of the challenges raised by the CPAs had to do with the absence of a clear land tenure policy in South Africa. The Communal Land Rights Act (CLaRA) currently in development would aid the Department in dealing with many of the challenges faced by the CPAs. He said the current dispensation was unsustainable and there were instances where the Department had made errors of judgment. Although CPAs undoubtedly had their challenges, the Department preferred to amend the CPA Act, because this would give better control over the management of CPAs. It was important that CPA management was taken seriously at the local level, so there needed to be a provision in the CPA Act which would decentralise land management to the local level. More support needed to be given to CPAs other than government support, because the government itself was constrained in what resources it could provide. The DRDLR also needed to focus very strongly on land tenure and land administration.

Mr Mahlangu said the main challenge facing the viability of CPAs was the lack of skills. The Department needed to do a better job in empowering CPAs. It was difficult for CPAs to get assistance if they were not organised, but the Department currently had a resettlement programme, which would be aligned with other projects from its sister department, and should ensure that infrastructural issues were measured and addressed.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for its presentation, and repeated that there were huge challenges in relation to the CPAs and traditional leadership. CLaRA could potentially be the answer to address these challenges of the CPA.

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Annual Report 2012/13
The Chairperson noted that the Department had made a request to provide its 2012/13 Annual Report later.

Mr Shabane said copies of the report had been run off, and would be delivered the following day.

Mr Mileham said the Department had surpassed the 7-day grace period for submitting the documents that were required, and suggested that the excuse was not valid.

Ms Ngwenya said that, in so far as she understood the situation, the DRDLR was able to comply with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) requirements. This Act stated that as long as a delay was acknowledged, the reasons behind the delay did not need to be tabled.

The Chairperson said that if the Minister wrote the request to provide the Department’s  Annual Report at a later date, this was an indication that the Minister was aware of the procedures of compliance that had to be followed. He asked the Committee to accept the apology from the Department.

Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill
The Chairperson asked for a report on this agenda item.

Ms Phumla Nyamza, Committee Secretary, said the Committee could not deal with the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, under the Joint Rules 159, because the Bill referred to Committee had been changed multiple times. Although the Committee could deal with the Bill, it was unable to report on the Bill until such time as it had been properly referred. She suggested that the Committee must wait for the Bill to be referred to it formally, before it dealt with that Bill.

The Chairperson said this essentially meant the Committee did not have a bill before it.

He asked the Director General of the DRDLR to provide the Committee with an update report on where the Bill was, and when it would reach the Committee. He was also interested in getting an update on the Property Valuation Bill and the Ingonyama Trust Report, before the end of business on the following day.

Adoption of minutes
The minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2013 were adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.


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