Select Committee Land and Mineral Resources Legacy Report & Sectoral Analysis: briefing by Committee Staff; Land Bank Board nominations

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

22 July 2014
Chairperson: Mr O Sefako (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee were briefed by Committee staff on the Fourth Parliament Committee’s Legacy Report, key research within the Land and Mineral Resources Departments which the Committee was mandated to oversee and they presented a sectoral and strategic analysis.

The Committee Secretary presentation on the Legacy Report for the Fourth Parliament noted the key policy initiatives undertaken, the method of work of the Committee and key statistics. The Secretary also presented which legislation the Committee dealt with, oversight trips and study tours undertaken, international agreements considered and statutory appointments made.

The Committee Content Advisor presented a sectoral and strategic analysis for the Committee highlighting the Committee’s mandate in terms of the Constitution and Rules of Parliament, the government policy context in relation to the National Development Plan, key themes for the Committee flowing from the State of the Nation Address as well as specific departmental mandates.

The Committee’s Researcher provided an orientation on key talking points within the Committee’s mandated departments. These were:
▪ Department of Mineral Resources: transformation and legislation
▪ Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: food security, projects and transformation.
▪ Department of Rural Development and Land Reform: post-settlement concerns, the Comprehensive and Rural Development Programme and the Recapitalisation and Development Programme.
▪ Department of Environmental Affairs: loss of species and overlapping conservation/development priorities.

Members felt these presentations were provided too late and would have been useful prior to dealing with the Budget Votes and engaging with the departments - even more so given that most Members were new. It was agreed a longer session along the lines of a day-long workshop was needed for the Committee to properly engage with the content presented.

With the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Members were concerned about restitution and land claims, where responsibility lay within the different spheres of government, as well as support structures failing communities and the length of time taken to finalise claims. On Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Members discussed the need for the inclusion of small-scale fishing, the resistance of departments in general to include small-scale involvement and the focus on fishing on the West Coast. With the Department of Environmental Affairs, a Member questioned what was being done about Department officials colluding with poachers, ill-equipped prosecutors and rhino horn stockpiles.

The Committee was informed of the invitation extended by the Minister of Finance to nominate suitable candidates to serve on the Board of the Land Bank.


Meeting report

Legacy Report of Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources during Fourth Parliament
Mr Asgar Bawa, Committee Secretary, said the Legacy Report first focused on the functions of the Committee which were to monitor the financial and non-financial performance of government departments and their entities to ensure that national objectives were met, process and pass legislation and facilitate public participation in Parliament relating to issues of oversight and legislation. The key policy initiatives undertaken by the various Departments in the Land and Environment sector over the five year period had occurred under the Outcomes Approach framework of the South African government. The 12 Outcomes were launched in January 2010 and the two relevant outcomes for the land and environmental sector included, Outcome 7: Vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities with food security for all and Outcome 10: Environmental Assets and natural resources that were well protected and continually enhanced. It was within this context that the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs had identified key projects and programmes to conduct oversight over the Departments within the cluster as proposed in the 2009 Strategic Plan of the Committee.

Looking at the methodology used by the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs to conduct their oversight role over the Executive, it stemmed from the Strategic Planning session that was held in July 2009. This Strategic Plan set out the framework of activities for the five-year term. The activities proposed in the Strategic Plan were scheduled into an Annual Plan and the Programme of the Committee. The Strategic Plan was reviewed annually to re-prioritise specific projects for oversight. For briefing meetings, the Committee’s management team met half an hour earlier to ensure that the content specific issues were clarified and specific questions were raised so that meetings with the Executive were more strategic.

Mr Bawa said the Committee had compiled statistics which provided an overview of the number of meetings held, legislation and international agreements processed and the number of oversight trips and study tours undertaken, as well as any statutory appointments the committee made, during the 4th Parliament. This went hand in hand with a list of key stakeholders and their areas of interest.

No legislation had been dealt with in 2009/2010. In 2010/11 the Committee had processed the Deeds Registries and Sectional Titles Amendment Bills plus  the Repeal of the Black Authorities Amendment Bill  . In 2011/12, the Committee dealt with the Rural Development and Land Reform Amendment Bill. In 2012/13 there was no legislation. In 2013/14, the Committee adopted the Geomatics Profession Bill, the National Environmental Management Laws First Amendment Bill, the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill, the National Environmental Management Laws Second Amendment Bill, Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, South African Weather Services Amendment Bill, National Environmental Management:  Air Quality Amendment Bill, National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill, Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill, Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, National Environmental Management Laws Third Amendment Bill, National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill and the National Water Amendment Bill. All of these pieces of legislation were adopted without any problems bar the Integrated Coastal Management Bill which went for mediation after which it was resolved amicably.

Mr Bawa turned to oversight trips. During 2009/10, no trips were taken but during 2010/11, the Committee visited the Eastern Cape (Lubisi Dam, Qamata Irrigation Scheme, Cofimvaba Waste Management Project and the Ncora Irrigation Scheme). During 2011/12, the Committee visited Haartbeespoort Dam and the Disake / Mokgalwaneng area in the North West Province. In 2012/13, the Committee undertook oversight trips to KZN (UMzimkhulu municipality); Eastern Cape (Port St Johns, Nyandeni and Mnquma local municipalities) and to Limpopo Province (Primary School renovation project in Muyexe, Macena Women’s Garden Co-operative, Muyexe Water Treatment Facility, Nene family house and Muyexe Hospital and community centre). A de-briefing session has held with stakeholders in Muyexe. The Committee could not undertake any oversight visits in 2013/14 because of the huge influx of legislation. In 2011/12, the Committee undertook a study tour to India.

Turning to international agreements, in 2010/11, the Committee adopted the Agreement on Mutual Acceptance of Oenological Practices by the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) as well as the Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling. In 2011/12 and 2012/13, no international agreements were adopted but in 2013/14, the Committee agreed to the Benguela Current Convention on Environmental Protection and Conservation of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem between the Governments of Angola, Namibia and SA. In addition it agreed to Annex VI to Protocol on Environmental Protection to Antarctic Treaty.

For statutory appointments, none were made by the Committee in 2009/10 and 2010/11 but in 2011/12, it approved the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' nominations for the National Agricultural Marketing Council. In the same year, nominations to the Board of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank were dealt with. In 2012/13, no statutory appointments were made but in 2013/14, there was another nomination for the National Agricultural Marketing Council.

Presentation 2: Sectoral Analysis and Strategic Analysis for the Committee
Ms Deshni Pillay, Committee Content Advisor, said the Committee’s mandate was to monitor the financial and non-financial performance of government departments and their entities to ensure that national objectives were met, to process and pass legislation and to facilitate public participation in Parliament on issues of oversight and legislation which was a core role. The new Committee’s mandate was somewhat different as now the Committee was responsible for overseeing Mineral Resources instead of Water Affairs. 

The Committee got its constitutional mandate from Chapter Four and Section 60 of the Constitution, which specifically dealt with the NCOP. The constitutional mandate was supplemented with the Rules of Parliament which dealt with committee procedures. The Committee Secretary was the procedural officer for the Committee to advise the Chairperson on procedural issues cropping up during meetings. If Members did not have a copy of the Rules. There were also Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Committees which dealt with the internal efficiency and functioning of the Committee and Committee meetings and the management of meetings for transparency and continuity to ensure all Committees functioned with the same set rules. This Committee would specifically look at how sections 24 (environmental rights), 25 (property rights) and 27 (food security and agriculture) of the Constitution were implemented within each department.

Ms Pillay provided context for government policy and noted the outcomes approach. Outcome 7 was about creating vibrant, sustainable and equitable rural communities with food security for all. This outcome was shared with Rural Development and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Outcome 10 dealt with the environmental mandate ensuring our natural resources were well protected and continually enhanced. Outcome 4 aimed for the creation of decent jobs and employment which most departments were meant to take into consideration.  

Chapter 5 of the National Development Plan (NDP) dealt with environmental sustainability and an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy. Members would be sent an additional document later where indicators in the NDP would be used as a source document for the strategic planning session. The Committee would have to address how departments were actually implementing what the NDP said. Chapter 5 and 6 (rural development) of the NDP were of specific importance to the Committee.

Looking at the State of the Nation Address (SONA), a few themes were key to the Committee including, sustainable mining and specific socio-economic conditions within the sector. The President was very clear on the revitalisation of mining towns in various provinces which the Committee would need to consider for oversight visits. The Committee had to monitor sustainable development within the environmental, rural development and land reform sectors. This related to the sustainable development work stream of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee (Chapter 5 of the NDP). It tied in with all the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS) which the Committee also needed to consider for oversight. For energy security with respect to shale gas exploration, the topic was quite a contentious media issue currently. The contention was even greater for the Committee given that both the Department of Energy (DoE) and Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) were both accountable to this Committee. There were various interests for the country to balance between water use, energy needs and international agreements with regards to carbon emissions as a developmental state. She recommended robust debate on the matter so Members had an informed opinion on shale gas. This would be addressed further in the strategic planning workshop. Out of SONA also came the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) with over R3 billion allocated to environmental programme employment opportunities – this was the biggest budget allocation for DEA. This referred to all the different “Working (for Water, on Fire, for Wetlands)” programmes targeting employment in the different provinces among women and the youth. This linked up with Outcome 4 for all departments to create decent jobs. On the theme of rural development and land reform, there were still outstanding land claims and the Department needed to make it clear that these claimants would not be marginalised and how they would be dealt with. Five per cent of these claimants were in the very lucrative area of the Sugar Belt in KZN and tropical fruit farming in Nelspruit. An important question was what happened to claimants who already restored the land rights but a spouse dies and the community then had access to the land. There was no ring fencing for such issues especially when considering the plight of rural women and vulnerable groups such as child-headed households and widows.

Ms Pillay highlighted the recapitalisation and development programme on land reform for which there was a large budget allocation. The Department had been taking a lot of money from restitution and land reform into rural development. The recapitalisation and development programme specifically looked at failing projects with failure due to many reasons. There was a strict feasibility process for these projects but she was concerned large sums of money were being reprioritised from restitution into recapitalisation and rural enterprise infrastructure. The Committee needed to look at which projects were specifically being funded by the Department and how these projects would be measured. She thought the Department was straying from what was originally conceptualised as rural development.

Ms Pillay noted that this presentation had been due to be presented much earlier - for Members to conceptualise the departments that presented their budget votes. Looking at specific departmental mandates, DAFF was mandated to facilitate the development of subsistence producers for food security and sustainable livelihoods. Extension services for this Department had been a problem with regard to what services were actually being delivered to small-holders and land reform beneficiaries. There was a focus on the sustainability of co-operatives.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) was mandated to achieve "vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities" and to act as a coordinator and catalyst in rural development and land reform. The Committee needed to question the exact catalytic role the Department saw itself playing here. Sector priorities included the comprehensive rural development programme which was launched by the President in August 2009 with nine pilot projects in each of the nine provinces of which the 23 poorest wards in the country were prioritised. Other key areas for the Committee’s oversight were the rural infrastructure programme, recapitalisation and development programme and the strategic infrastructure projects as part of SIPS. Specifically on land reform, there was the Green Paper on Land Reform on which the Committee needed to engage the Department to influence where land reform was going.

DEA’s mandate was derived from section 24 of the Constitution. Key priorities for the Department included the accelerated infrastructure programme and the national infrastructure plan in terms of how it affected conservation and biodiversity. There were certain obligations which SA was signatory to and it needed to be assessed how infrastructure programmes impacted these obligations. Other important priorities were Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and its impact on the economy, the Green Fund, the National Strategy for Sustainable Development especially with regard to implementation. Linked to the strategy were the State of the Environment Reports and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreements. There were priorities related to climate change and carbon reduction emission strategies.

Turning to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), the key priorities to come out of SONA was the framework for sustainable mining of which the President stressed its monitoring. The framework looked at accommodation for miners which was a key priority for the country and which the Committee needed to keep a keen eye on. Social labour plans were linked to this and needed to be aligned with Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of local and district authorities. Although this was mentioned in length in the Department’s Strategic Plan, the Committee needed to engage on what specific projects and programmes would be implemented to address social issues in mining communities. This came up all the time on oversight visits

Research Overview and Orientation prepared by the Committee Researcher
Mr Jakobus Jooste, Committee Researcher, explained why the Committee had both a content advisor and researcher explaining that at present, the Committee section sat totally separate from the Research Unit with the latter providing research support for all of Parliament and as such reported to different managers and produced different documents. The documents would be packaged into a single unit for the Committee meetings but the point was that the wealth of information was not exclusive to particular Committees. Any questions Members might have could be forwarded to the Research Unit.

Typically government departments operated in silos and the Select Committee was in a unique position to see where these silos overlapped in terms of stated purpose. The presentation will highlight what research over the past five years had shown for each department within in the Committee’s ambit.

Mr Jooste looked at transformation noting that government had taken over mineral rights. Within the sector there was a key distinction between theory and practice and it was the Committee’s job to dredge up these differences. The Department of Mineral Resources had been reprimanded by the Auditor-General regarding social labour plans. The link between beneficiation and rural development was a strong one and where departments needed to focus. Illegal mining was a serious issue with a loss of R6 billion in raw materials in 2011 which was not an insignificant loss. Fracking and natural gas would be a topical matter over the coming five years and would, in his opinion, be the second most talked about topic after land reform. SA was currently coal dependent which was not the most environmentally sound practice and exploration through other means would have to be considered and competing interests would clash. The Committee was likely to consider the re-submission of the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Bill after it lapsed at the end of the Fourth Parliament. There was also anticipation for the Farlam Commission report and final technical regulations on the exploration for and production of shale gas in SA.

Looking at DAFF, there was a concern that for food security there was no means of exact measurement which was scary given the Committee’s oversight function. There was no standardised measure of the impact of food security projects and programmes besides Stats SA surveying households. When "Taking Parliament to the People" week, it was hard to find goods news stories except where key long-term approaches to projects were taken for example by an NGO or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). He questioned DAFF’s long term commitment to projects started in the past. The Department was commercially focused which prompted the question – was the Department trying to make people food secure through sales or products? Smallholder farmers often struggle with extension support in terms of availability as well as focus. There were overlapping competencies, and during oversight, DAFF and DRDLR officials contradict each other regarding roles and responsibilities so this was something for the Committee to be keenly aware of.

The Committee really needed to focus on the transformation of the small-scale fisheries sector following Court action resulting in the Department facing a court-imposed deadline to review access to resources for small-scale fishing communities. This was crucial considering the severe depletion of many resource types associated with this sector such as abalone, West Coast rock lobster, line fishery species, beach seine fishery species. Most fishery resources accessible to the small-scale fishery community were severely over-exploited, collapsed or in need of restrictive regulations to ensure sustainable exploitation. Research had shown a recently emerging trend in stock shifts of economically important species in specific “zones” and this was a big challenge for fisheries. He personally found it difficult to understand why it was hard in this country to make way for other people.

Mr Jooste moved to DRDLR, looking specifically at post-settlement concerns. The previous Committee was briefed on a number of occasions about problematic matters that had arisen post-settlement like strife within beneficiary groups. A number of problems were noted in the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) where oversight experience in the Muyexe Village indicated a wide divergence between claimed and observed Department achievements. This was similarly with the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RADP). The cumulative effect was that a restituted piece of land did not get the support it required. Furthermore a serious amount of expenditure was needed. A workshop revealed that communities did not always ascribe to exactly what the Department wanted with an academic study showing that what claimants wanted to do with land did not match the Department’s aspirations. Communities did not necessary want to be part of co-ops or be commercial farmers and this was a recurring theme in workshops. The Department could also increase the speed by which it got a restituted piece of land to function again   

Mr Jooste looked at DEA, noting the two major issues for the Department were loss of species and overlapping conservation/development priorities. On the loss of species, not only was there rhino poaching but elephant poaching was on a serious increase. Since a parliamentary workshop in 2012 and since SANParks released a statement saying the matter was under control, nearly 2000 rhino had been lost. This was not sustainable and the reality was that a dead rhino was worth twice as much as a living one. This was an international problem given the inclusion of names such as Boko Haram and Al Shabab. There were direct links between elephant poaching in Southern Africa and Al Shabab’s funding. This was not a local law enforcement problem but an international terrorist-linked problem. The same problem occurred with abalone which was very closely linked to the drug industry in the Western Cape and internationally. There were also succulent plant losses and 22 cycad species were threatened by illegal collection. Rhino poaching was thus the flagship species of a greater problem of porous borders and valuable plant and animal species.

On overlapping conservation and development priorities, SA had an admirable international track record but there were legal clashes looming over aqua-culture. The signing of multi-lateral agreements regarding the conservation of the Benguela Current left fisheries with very little wiggle room. This was similar with mining and coal mines sitting on very sensitive water supplies with every one in five SA town dependent on ground water.

The Chairperson (now Ms Prins) thought the presentation was very informative but she would fight the point that small-scale fishers could not be brought on board. If the Committee needed to look at new policies it would do so but these small-scale fishers should be included.

Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) wondered whether the presentations could be combined especially on key priorities. He heard a monitoring and evaluation mechanism framework was mentioned in one the presentation and, being a new Member, questioned the frequency of oversight – he sought clarity on whether the Committee received annual reports, performance programmes and quarterly reports. He was very impressed with the presentations and thought the Committee would have done a better job on the budget votes if they had received these presentations earlier. For the Committee to carry out effective oversight, the departments could not be separated during a meeting. When this was done the Committee had little time to engage one department before it was time to begin a briefing with the waiting department.

Ms Pillay explained a workshop was scheduled in the Committee’s programme to address how the Committee would look at induction and strategic planning. Each Committee was scheduled to hold a strategic planning session. 

With monitoring and evaluation, in the Committee Section, the idea was being developed for a monitoring and evaluation framework together with the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the Presidency. Terms of Reference for the framework still needed to be finalised and training would take place sometime in September after which it would run in each Committee. It should be noted that Portfolio and Select Committees dealt with departments differently because the latter clustered departments, scheduled time for quarterly reporting for each department could not be done, unlike in the National Assembly. The Members had access to these reports and could ask questions on them but the Committee would usually look at expenditure patterns and where there could be problems. The Select Committee oversaw four departments while Portfolio Committees oversaw a single department with a lot more time to look at specific issues in detail. The approach for the NCOP, and how the presentations were structured, was to look at high level policies at national level but how it was implemented and run at provincial level. Members were here to represent their province and provincial/constituency issues. This would be brought up during the induction.

Mr L Gaehler (UDM, Eastern Cape) was impressed with the presentations. It was a pity that Water Affairs was no longer within the Committee’s areas of focus. The President mentioned a specific water project in his SONA which affected local rural communities and the Committee needed to consider it. Turning to small-scale fisheries, he commented that in all departments, there was a resistance to the inclusion of small people in the market. This resistance was a problem and needed to be broken down through radical change. He reiterated this was a resistance in all departments. Fisheries seemed to be confined to the West Coast but what about the Wild Coast? Why was there no talk of these areas and communities?

Mr M Matebus (EFF, Northern Cape) sought clarity on the land claims – would they be run by the government or by municipalities? He requested a copy of the NDP because he was a new Member.

Ms Pillay said the NDP could be picked up from Stores in the basement but a copy would be provided to the Member. All other documents like Annual Reports and Strategic Plans tabled in Parliament could be obtained from Stores. This was the place when documentation was needed. 

Mr A Singh (ANC, KZN) found the presentations interesting and invaluable especially for new Members like himself. He found the time too short to properly understand all the content presented and instead felt a one-day workshop or something similar was needed. He was concerned the Committee was being rushed. On rhino poaching, he asked what was being done about department officials who were colluding with poachers. A related problem was that prosecutors were not equipped to handle poachers even though the Department had a greater budget for it. Prosecutors in the rural courts were not equipped to handle such cases. This was important given that people with money could afford to pay for the best legal representation. He felt the debate on rhino horn stockpiles should be revived and asked what was being done on the matter. He understood there was lobbying to put the stockpiles on the open market but the Committee needed to debate the merits of this.

The Chairperson (Mr Sefako) returned but asked Ms Prins to retain the Chair.

Ms B Masango (DA, Gauteng) thanked the Committee staff for very interesting presentations. She now had clarity on procedures and the different linkages for meaningful and effective oversight. She felt that with developmental policies, the impact and implementation of these policies for beneficiaries and communities needed to be monitored. She agreed a workshop or strategic planning was needed for the Committee to properly engage the content of the presentations. Nevertheless, Members were now equipped to better participate in meetings. 

Mr Rayi aligned himself with the proposal of Mr Singh on the need for a one-day workshop for the Committee to properly engage with the content. He was concerned Members were engaging with the presentations as if the departments were present. He felt questions should be held-off until such a strategic workshop.

Ms C Labuschagne (DA, Western Cape) thanked the Committee staff for very good presentations which gave Members a clear picture of burning issues especially as she was one of the many new Members. She questioned whether there was an interdepartmental work stream or committee for cross-cutting issues. If not, the Committee should take on the task to promote such a cross-cutting measure to address some transversal issues.

Mr Gaehler touched on the decline of the fisheries stock and asked if the breeding projects were balanced with this decline in stocks. Were the “small guys” involved in these breeding projects?

Land Bank Board Nominations
The Committee Secretary noted that in Announcements, Tablings and Committees (ATC) on 19 June 2014, an invitation was extended to Committee Members from the Minister of Finance to nominate suitable candidates to serve on the Board of the Land Bank. Candidates were required to submit a detailed CV and a letter from the nominee accepting nomination. Members could nominate members of their constituencies or people they thought were suitable for nomination. The Committee would then hold a meeting to consider nominations, go through the CVs and forward nominations to the Minister:  

"Referral to Committees of papers tabled
Invitation to nominate candidates to serve on the Land Bank Board in terms of the Land  and Agricultural Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 15 of 2002)

(a)        A letter dated 3 June 2014 has been received from the Minister of Finance in terms of Section 4(2) of the Land and Agricultural Development Act inviting relevant parliamentary committees to nominate five persons who are not disqualified in terms of Section 10 of the Act to serve on the Land Bank Board. 

Referred to the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources for consideration and report".

The meeting was adjourned.


Mr J Pakies (ANC, Free State). 

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