The Chairperson proposed that the draft report be read aloud during the meeting as receipt of the document was delayed. This motion was at first seconded but was later not deemed feasible by members and a 30 minute interval was granted by the Chairperson for members to read the report. On return from the interval a limited discussion was conducted. Mr T Walters (DA) was especially concerned that the objectives as identified in the report would not be achieved by 2014 while members such as Mr P Mnguni (ANC) noted that 2014 has not yet ended. The Chairperson also mentioned that the financial year for 2014 ends in March 2015 as a debate regarding whether the report is referring to the calendar or financial year erupted. Mr A Madella (ANC) wanted to know whether nine Rural Youth Hubs were planned per province or whether it would be one per province. Furthermore, Mr M Filtane (UDM) asked whether the 23 poorest districts in South Africa as cited in the report was known. Most of the questions and concerns raised focused on the language as constructed in the report while Mr T Walters (DA) and Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said that an alignment does not exist between the National Development Plan and the entities whilst the reporting of the Ingonyama Trust Board was also deemed inadequate by Mr T Walters (DA).
The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Candith Mashego-Dlamini. The Chairperson apologised for the late circulation of the report and asked for guidance from committee members. She noted that the second Deputy Minister and the Director-General were unable to attend the meeting as they were required in Cabinet.
A proposal was made on whether to read the report page by page and a committee member seconded this.
Mr T Walters (DA) asked if urgency existed to adopt the report.
The Chairperson said that the due date for the submission of the report was 24 October. The adoption of the report is to be followed by referral to the Department. The Chairperson then started reading the report aloud.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) asked if 2014 as referred to in the report was the financial or calendar year. The period should be more clearly stated in the report.
The Chairperson said that the report is based on the financial year which ends in March of next year.
Mr T Walters (DA) felt that the objectives were not met as stated in the report in Table 1.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) said that the wording may need to be changed as the statement “by 2014” should indicate more clearly when the said objectives are to be achieved.
The Chairperson said that the report is a Department Annual Report and cannot be changed by the committee.
Mr T Walters (DA) noted that the objectives are merely guides and he remains of the opinion that these objectives cannot be met by the end of 2014.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) mentioned that ‘by 2014’ does not refer to the end of 2014 as the financial year concludes at the end of March 2015. Hence, time still exists within 2014 for the identified objectives to be met.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that he does not believe that the bulk of the strategic goals will be achieved by 2014.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) mentioned that Table 1: Strategic Outcome Orientated goals are focused on high level objectives and will be focused on individually in the report.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) proposed that the committee advisor summarise the report.
The Chairperson asked for the proposal from the member to be accepted.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) said that an earlier decision was taken that the report would be read page by page.
The Chairperson agreed that earlier a decision had been taken to read the report page by page.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) jokingly mentioned that he was not aware that he would be taken back to school as he is experiencing the sensation of being back in school while listening to the Chairperson’s reading.
The Chairperson said that it is acceptable if the member feels like he is back at school. The Chairperson then suggested that a 30 minute break be taken for reading of the report and the meeting would resume at 11 o’clock.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) agreed with the suggestion made by the Chairperson.
After the break, the Chairperson called upon members to make comments so that the report could be adopted. The Chairperson asked if the report could be considered page by page and Members agreed.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) asked if a review was conducted as stated in the report.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that it is merely a language matter as the issue was ‘informed’ and not ‘reviewed’, so the word should be replaced.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) wanted to know which landmarks and heritage sites were being referred to in the report.
The Chairperson said that another policy may be required to be drawn up to further explain the concern.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) said that questions may arise regarding the 23 poorest districts in South Africa as these should be identified.
The Chairperson mentioned that identification of these districts is the task of the Department.
An official from the Department said that it is not a departmental but rather a governmental responsibility.
The Chairperson noted that these districts have been identified and are known.
Mr A Madella (ANC) wanted to know about the nine Rural Youth Hubs per province as stated in the report and whether these totaled nine or 81.
A parliament official said that nine rural youth hubs exist and it is one hub per province.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) asked about the retention of staff and the progress of the Department in meeting this objective.
The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee has the right to call the Department to account and ascertain whether the Department has reacted to the recommendations previously made by the Committee.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that the Ingonyama Trust should improve its reporting and this should be stated in the report.
Mr A Madella (ANC) said that the achievements should not be noted as ‘major’ but rather simply as achievements.
The Chairperson asked if the suggestion is agreeable.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) said that he does not disagree.
Mr A Madella (ANC) asked for a special report on land evictions and possibly a briefing and joint discussion with other Committees are needed.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that he does not agree that the entities are aligned with the National Development Plan.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) mentioned that the report states that “largely” an alignment exists. Mr A Madella (ANC) agreed.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that it is not a matter of language but as the Democratic Alliance they wish to state that they do not agree with the issue of alignment.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) mentioned that he respects the opinions of the Democratic Alliance members but they should note that provision has been made in the report that alignment exists to some degree although not completely.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) said that a recommendation should be concluded with when mentioning enabling factors as it is important not only to identify shortcomings but also to provide possible solutions. The portion in 6.3.3 Rural Development which reads: “The Committee commended” should be removed as well as the mention of the second Ingonyama Trust Board in 6.3.6.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that regarding the Ingonyama Trust Board, the intention to refocus its mandate and comply with the founding legislation should be strengthened. Mr P Mnguni (ANC) agreed.
The Chairperson indicated that a review of the Ingonyama Trust Board is needed.
Mr T Walters (DA) said that a recommendation be made in terms of the actual exchange in the land purchase process of the government as the turnaround time is slow and this is costly. The business model being used by the department should be reported on. Also, the Department along with other departments should engage in research regarding farm evictions.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) suggested that commencement of an implementation plan is important. He noted that the land reform business model is covered by the Green Paper. The member jokingly added that the DA members are useful in the absence of the EFF members.
Mr Walters (DA) requested that the report should be finalised with all the recommendations suggested and forwarded to them and the Department should continue to engage with Treasury.
The Chairperson called for a move to adopt the draft report and Mr M Filtane (UDM) made the move to adopt the report and Mr A Madella (ANC) seconded it.
In conclusion the Chairperson thanked all members present and said that recommendations would be added and then submitted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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