The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) briefed the Committee on its third quarter 2014/15 performance and progress on the recommendations made by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) evaluation.
The organisational programme performance for the third quarter of the 2014/15 financial year was covered, in line with the five programmes of the Department -- Administration, Geospatial and Cadastral Services, Rural Development, Restitution and Land Reform. The performance recorded over the period under review was compared against the targets that had been set in the 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan (APP). The performance of the Department had declined in the period under review to 24%, compared to 44% achieved in 2013/14 and 30% in 2012/2013. The Department had achieved 24% of its quarter 3 planned APP targets, and 37% cumulatively. Extensive details were provided of challenges affecting the achievement of objectives, most of which were related to budget and capacity constraints.
Members expressed concern that the Department had not complied with most of the Communal Property Associations (CPAs), and asked if there was a turnaround strategy to address this problem. The President had emphasised the importance of paying service providers on time and all the challenges that had been highlighted in the presentation were just “screws that had to be tightened” so as to achieve 100% in the payment of invoices. Why did the Department take so long to fill vacant posts? What was the situation regarding the reported overuse of consultants? It was also concerning that the Department was under-spending on some of the programmes while the demand for services was extremely high. The Department was asked to provide concrete reasons for the delays in land restitution, as the land belonged to Africans.
Members were in agreement that all the challenges in the Department pointed to an inherent, on-going internal senior management problem, and that there should be a strategy in place to address this problem. Would the Department achieve its targets by the end of the financial year? General analysis showed that it would not achieve most of them -- was this because of poor planning? Why was the Department silent on the issue of mobile vehicle units? Were those vehicles active and visible to most of the communities? Several Members expressed concern that there could be a serious issue of “fiscal dumping” in the Department.
The Department said it was proud to have carried out a number of recommendations made by the DPME, including the development of a comprehensive communication strategy, the finalisation of the development of the lodgment system and the source for more funding, and the standardisation of performance agreements.
Members indicated that the presentation showed that some of the recommendations were still in progress and it would be the responsibility of the Committee to ensure that those recommendations were finalised and executed by the stipulated date.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the Committee and indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to hear from the Department regarding third quarter 2014/15 performance and the progress on the recommendations by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) evaluation.
There were apologies from the Director-General (DG) Mr Mduduzi Shabane who had been hospitalised, and the Minister, Mr Gugile Nkwinti.
Briefing by Department on third quarter expenditure
Ms Rendani Sadiki, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DRDLR, indicated that the Deeds Trading Account generated its own revenue. During the financial year under review, the Department had transferred R115.7 million to augment the budget for the E–cadastre Project. As far as the KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Board was concerned, spending in the 3rd Quarter of the 2014-2015 fiscal year amounted to R10.9 million, representing 17.54% of their 2014-2015 budget of R62.7 million. The unfunded expenditure showed interest and rent on land of R4.9 million, which related to court rulings in restitution claims -- the shortfall in respect of interest for the late payment of the first and second 50% of the purchase price and legal costs taxed in the matter of Broadview properties. Other interest paid by other branches related mostly to overdue accounts i.e. SOYD (R87 549), Spatial Planning and Land Use Management (R62 031), and Land Redistribution and Development (R48 550).
The payment for financial assets was for damages that had been written off in terms of financial procedure. Due to the unforeseen nature of this expenditure, it could not be budgeted for. Land and subsoil assets related to land purchased by the Land Claims Commission but not yet transferred to claimants. Once transferred, the expenditure would be recognised as a household transfer, where the budget was also allocated. The over-expenditure in the Compensation of Employees and Goods and Services was caused by a reclassification of expenditure that related to the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) participants, such as monthly stipends, non-employee travel and training and development expenditure.
Ms Sadiki said that the unfunded interest on land expenditure had been caused by overdue accounts paid at NARYSEC’s national office and in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) province. Losses amounting to R4 889 had been written off. Due to the nature of interest and losses, they were not budgeted for and would be offset by savings under other line items at year end.
The Agricultural Land Holding Account (ALHA) expenditure performance as at 31 December 2014 amounted to R655.1 million, or 38% of the budget allocation of R1, 718 billion. This performance reflected a R634 million, or 36.9%, under-spending of the linear target of 75%. Free State, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces were the biggest contributors to this level of under-spending. Northern Cape was the only province that had exceeded the set quarter spending target, as it had registered an 82% spending performance. The other provinces’ spending performance was between 41 and 61%, which was unacceptably low. The level of under-spending was a direct reflection of how slow the programme was progressing towards the achievement of its land reform targets.
The Deeds Trading Account had generated R425 million, representing 68% of the revised projected revenue of R629 million. The revenue generated included a transfer amount received from the Department, amounting to R14.9 million for salary inflation, as per the Estimated National Expenditure (ENE). Expenditure as at 31 December 2014 amounted to R369 million, representing 61% of the revised projected budget of R605 million, excluding E-cadastre. The compensation of employees expenditure amounted to R299 million, representing 67% of the revised projected budget of R 449 million. Under-spending was due to 151 vacant posts, according to the 2014/15 recruitment plan, where only 119 posts had been re-prioritised to be filled in the current financial year. The bank balance as at 31 December 2014 was R293 million.
Ms Sadiki said the E-cadastre project showed that a grant amount of R 98.3 million had been received from the Department, as per the ENE. The amount of R122.8 million that had been reflected on the report, was part of the R164 million grant that had been received in the 2013/14 financial year, which had been transferred to the deferred income account. The expenditure under E-cadastre as at 31 December 2014 amounted to R37 million, representing 31% of the revised projected budget of R121.9 million. The compensation of employees E-cadastre expenditure amounted to R6 million, representing 40% of the projected budget of R15 million. The under-spending was due to 120 contract workers, who were expected to start working in April 2014 but who had started only in July 2014, and the structure was still under development. The E-cadastre project had been put on hold for few months and had resulted in the under-spending of the budget.
Mr Eugene Southgate, Deputy-Director General (DDG): Corporate Support Services, DRDLR, covered the organisational programme performance for the third quarter of the 2014/15 financial year in line with the five programmes of the Department -- Administration, Geospatial and Cadastral Services, Rural Development, Restitution and Land Reform. The performance recorded over the period under review was compared against the targets that had been set in the 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan (APP). The performance of the Department had declined in the period under review to 24%, compared to 44% achieved in 2013/14 and 30% in 2012/2013. The Department had achieved 24% of its quarter 3 planned APP targets, and 37% cumulatively.
The general under-spending on programmes was attributed to vacant posts that had not been filled, except for Programme 3 (Rural Development). However, Rural Development was the highest under-spender under Households due to the implementation of planned and approved projects that had not progressed as envisaged. The under-expenditure on Programme 5 (Land Reform) was due to the technical requirements that came with the new Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP) and Development Policy, which had delayed the prompt release of RECAP funds to the beneficiaries. Programmes 1 (Administration) and 4 (Restitution) had targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed, but no targets had been achieved and only four were partially achieved.
Programme 2 (Geospatial and Cadastral Services), under the number of State Domestic Facilities (SDFs) fell short of the target, primarily due to the sudden capacity shortage in the approval-level stage of examination in the Surveyor-General office in Limpopo. Two professional assistants had moved to the private sector, while the contract of the Deputy Surveyor-General had expired and he was still awaiting renewal of a second contract term. Programme 2 had three targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed – one had been achieved, one partially achieved and one not achieved. Therefore, the programme had achieved 33% of its Quarter 3 planned APP targets, and 67% cumulatively.
Mr Southgate emphasised that the strategic objective of Rural Development was to provide support to rural communities in all rural districts, to enable them to improve their livelihoods by 2019. The target was not achieved after the branch could not get a date to present at the “War Room.” There had also been delays with the signing of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the Department and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Department of Finance had informed the Rural Infrastructure Development (RID) that the project had to be presented to the bid committee only in December. It was now only in January that the SLA would be signed. The SLA had also been sent to legal services for comments. The programme had 12 targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed – two had been achieved, three partially achieved and seven not achieved. Therefore, the programme had achieved 17% of its Quarter 3 planned APP targets, and 38% cumulatively.
Programme 4 (Restitution) had four targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed – one had been achieved, two partially achieved and one not achieved. Therefore, the programme had achieved 25% of its Quarter 3 planned APP targets, and 60% cumulatively. The strategic objective of the programme was to promote equitable land redistribution and agricultural development by acquiring 1 140 000 hectares of strategically located land by 2019. The Department had acquired a total 85 231 ha with redistribution. There was a long turnaround time for the completion of land valuations due to the inadequate number of valuers per province, resulting in land owners withdrawing their farms from sale to the State, and some selling them privately.
Programme 5 (Land Reform) had five targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed – two had been achieved, two partially achieved and one not achieved. Therefore, the programme had achieved 40% of its Quarter 3 planned APP targets and 40% cumulatively. The strategic objective of the programme was to ensure that there were functional systems and institutional arrangements for tenure and land administration, to enable agrarian reform in all provinces by 2019. The target had not been achieved as there had been a challenge through non-registration of the targeted 180 Communal Property Associations (CPAs) on the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) project lists. The programme had five targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed -- two of the targets had been achieved, and three were not achieved. Therefore, the programme had achieved 40% of its Quarter 3 planned APP targets and 20% cumulatively. The overall performance rating for Land Reform (LTA and LRD) showed that the programme had ten targets planned for implementation in the period reviewed – four had been achieved, two partially achieved and four not achieved.
A total of 33 targets had been planned for quarter 3 – eight had been achieved, which translated to a 24% performance rating. Expenditure for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 December 2014 was at 71.1%., indicating a 3.9% under-spending by the Department.
The Chairperson said it was a concern that the Department had not complied with most of the CPAs, and asked if there was a turnaround strategy to address this problem. The President had emphasised the importance of paying service providers on time, and all the challenges highlighted in the presentation were just “screws that had to be tightened” so as to achieve 100% in the payment of invoices. Why was the Department taking so long to fill all the vacant posts? What was the situation regarding the reported overuse of consultants? It was also concerning that the Department had been under-spending on some of the programmes while the demand for services had been growing rapidly. She asked that the Department needed to spend the money within the available resources for particular programmes, as there were cases of over-expenditure in North West and KwaZulu-Natal.
The Chairperson expressed disappointment that the Department was under-spending in rural development, as this was critically important to minimise rural-urban migration by enabling people in rural areas to have the same resources and services as people located in the urban areas.
Mr N Matiase (EFF) said the general picture of the financial performance showed that things were not going well in the Department, as many targets had not been achieved. The presentation also indicated that there had been delays in terms of acceleration of land restitution as a result of various reasons, and he asked about the factors that had led to this delay as the land belonged to Africans. Was this because of a lack of a broad strategy on how land should be defined, as a basis of who actually owned the land? It was a bit boring to listen to the Department saying there were challenges in the acquiring of land.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) appreciated that the Department had managed to provide training to members of communities and cooperatives to raise awareness and interest among other communities, as this was important in community development. It was also commendable that the Department had managed to settle some of the land claims, despite some of the serious challenges that had been noted. It was concerning that there seemed to be an inherent, on-going internal senior management problem in the Department, as all the reasons advanced for failure to achieve the targets pointed to that direction. Was there a strategy in place to solve this internal management problem? The Department was very important for addressing the social, political and economic challenges in the country.
Mr Filtane mentioned that the fact that the Branch could not get a date to present at the “War Room”, as noted in the presentation, pointed to a persistent internal management problem. How could a particular section in the Department not be accorded a date to do internal administrative processes? This was a serious concern, as the strategic objective was to support rural communities in all rural districts to enable them to improve their livelihoods by 2019. It had been indicated that the Audit Committee had resolved that all outstanding findings should be addressed by 28 February 2015, and branches had been advised accordingly. Had this happened by 28 February? Why were there no targets for the quarter under review in Programme 2 (Geospatial and Cadastral Services)? The Department had indicated that regional offices were currently in the process of identifying claims to be researched in Q4 to make up the backlog of the 639 claims to be researched in 2014/15 financial year -- was this planned intervention achievable?
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) welcomed the presentation and the new CFO, and hoped that things would turn around in the Department. It was concerning that there was no consistency in the financial report, as there were some pages where the overall performance rating and explanation of the challenges leading to variances were not provided. There was a need for prioritisation on the value for money, as there are some cases where the Department had overspent but had not achieved the targets. Would the Department achieve the targets by the end of the financial year? The general analysis showed that the Department would not achieve most of the targets. Was this because of poor planning? Why was the Department silent on the issue of mobile car units? Were those cars active and visible to most of the communities?
Mr Mhlongo said the general overview showed that the Department was not “pulling up its socks,” and one of recommendations during the oversight visit had been that the Department must not set unachievable targets. There was no correlation between the allocated budget and the targets to be achieved.
Mr T Walters (DA) also said that the real underlying problem seemed to be a lack of correlation between targets achieved and the expenditure, although this was not a simple comparison as some of the targets were prioritised. There seemed to be poor capacity within the Department to to deliver on the desired outcomes. He also asked about the Land District Committee, especially since it was part of the National Development Plan (NDP), and the way it would be properly integrated in the targets.
Ms A Qikana (ANC) indicated that she was generally unhappy about the overall performance of the Department, as only 24% achievement in some of the targets was not impressive. She requested the Department to “pull up its socks” to address this problem. It looked like the Department would not be able to achieve most of the targets, given the time before the end of the 2014/15 financial year. It was seriously concerning that the Department could not reach even a 40% achievement in some of the programmes, and this pointed to a lack of capacity to execute the mandate.
Ms N Magadla (ANC) also said she was unhappy with the general performance of the Department and asked why it had achieved only 24% of the targets. What was the reason for the under-expenditure in four provinces like Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Eastern Cape? Why was the Committee not informed of the weaknesses in the land reform programme identified by the Cabinet? The performance of the Department in all three quarters was like “traffic lights,” as it moved from green (progress) to red (regress). Why were there delays in the issuing of order numbers, as this was a simple basic task for the Department? She wondered about the reason for the Department approaching other institutions to assist in the settlement of outstanding claims. Was it because of a lack of capacity?
Mr A Madella (ANC) said it was true that the Department had not been performing well, but he was happy that the CFO had promised that there were systems in place to address these challenges and within three weeks there would be a completely different picture. However, it was concerning that there had been a regression in the Department, as it was currently performing more poorly than in the previous financial years, which indicated that the previous CFO had probably made the same promises about a turnaround strategy without any success. He asked whether there would not be a serious issue of “fiscal dumping” in the Department. The Department needed to ensure that the under-expenditure in four provinces was addressed promptly, as there was a huge demand for the services in these provinces.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) welcomed the new CFO, saying he hoped that she would have that “magical touch” to turn things around. What was the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) stipulation for under-expenditure and over-expenditure? What was the cumulative expenditure of the Department to date? He pleaded with the Department to prioritise quality assurance on the presentations that were circulated to the Members, as Parliament was the most senior level. The Committee would not tolerate the documents that were not quality assured, no matter what effort had been put in to produce them.
The Chairperson said some of the points that had been raised by the Members were more comments than questions. The Department had indicated that under NARYSEC, it had been unable to achieve the targets due to financial constraints, and had promised that this target would be reached in the fourth quarter. Where would the Department get the money to achieve this target? The issue of “fiscal dumping” was a major concern, as the spending of 12% for the first quarter was unacceptable and against the Treasury regulations. The expenditure was supposed to be at 25% for every quarter. This issue needed be rectified, as the PFMA and the Treasury were clear that it was imperative for departments to comply with the rules and regulations.
Mr Southgate responded that the expenditure of the Department should not be construed as “fiscal dumping,” as there were cases where the Department just needed to make payments in order for targets to be achieved. In the past, contractors were paid up front before they had even commenced working, but these days the contractors were getting payment according to milestones. The Department had noted concerns around the payment of service providers on time, and there were already control measures in place to address this challenge. The filling of vacant posts was still a challenge. A shrinking budget was the main cause of this, as the R142 million had been taken away from the state-owned entities (SOEs) and the branch managers had to determine which posts had to be prioritised. The Committee would be provided with more details regarding the utilisation of consultants, as this information was not readily available at the moment.
Ms Sadiki said that expenditure to date was sitting at 95.8%, hence the Department could give an assurance that the targets would be achieved. The Department was confident that there would be no “fiscal dumping,” as there were still a number of projects not completed, meaning that payment had not been made as yet. The PFMA clearly articulated that if there was over-expenditure, that would be counted as unauthorised expenditure and the under-spending would mean the Department would have to pay back the money to the Treasury. This could possibly result in a reduction of the budget for the Department. The Department was not allowed to either underspend or overspend, and was always advised to use the resources according to the allocated budget.
Ms Sadiki said that when the Department was budgeting, there was no indication of the amount to be spent in each quarter and the timing of the projects to be undertaken. This was a problem that still needed to be aligned for the next financial year. The challenges differed from province to province, and the branches and provinces had to report back on the reason for the movement of expenditure on RECAP, as this affected the core strategies of the county for the creation of jobs and enterprises.
She emphasised that the Department was also disappointed with the current rate in the creation of jobs and enterprises. The challenges here had to do with compliance, as the Department could not release tranches to farmers that still owed money to South African Revenue Service (SARS), or those without a business plan, or who deviated from the business plan. The Department was currently looking at alternative ways to empower those farmers without the objectives that were required by the Department. The Department was also as concerned as the Members about the targets that had not been achieved, and was working extremely hard to improve the overall performance.
Ms Nomfundo Gobodo, Chief Land Claims Commissioner: DRDLR said that at the current point in time the Department had spent R1.5 billion of the allocated budget and had approved projects costing R462 million, and the only issue left now was the finalisation of the payments. The Department had already submitted the portfolio of evidence to the CFO and the projection of the time-frame for payment for the projects. The Department, together with the provinces and the quality control committee, was working very hard to ensure that all of those payments would be made on time. She highlighted that in terms of the research into all outstanding claims, some could be regarded as “easy ones”, others “middle of the road”, and there were also “complex ones”. The internal staff members were the ones responsible for the research into those that were considered as “easy ones,” and the external service providers -- universities and research institutions -- were responsible only for the “middle of the road” and “complex ones,” in order to fast-track the process.
Ms Gobodo added that the Department had prioritised the transfer of skills in order to improve on the quality of the research reports. Universities like the University of the Western Cape (UWC), University of Forth Hare (UFH) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) were already on board to assist the Department. The Department had already provided communications resources to the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) to rollout the communication in the mobile units, and the money had already been paid for this project. Each province had received mobile communication vehicles, and they offered an opportunity to the general public on the procedure for the lodgment of land claims. There were communication vehicles which would be on sites and then there were mobile lodgment offices which would be ready by the end of March, when the Department was hoping that the President would be able to unveil them officially. There were two 4x4 vehicles which were able to access the rural areas. There was already a plan coordinated by the provinces and the municipalities, where the “hotspots” had already been identified.
Mr Southgate said that the district land committees would be in place by 31 March 2015. As at 3 March, the Department had 16% of the committees in place and he would update the Members about the progress that had been made. The Department had realised that the internal processes were not sufficient, and this challenge needed to be dealt with in a logical flow. The Minister had tasked the Department to improve on the internal processes. The under-spending in rural areas was also as a result of internal processes. There were a number of challenges in the acquiring of land and the Minster had emphasised that the land would need to be acquired in accordance with the Constitution. Therefore the Department needed to go through all the necessary steps to acquire the land legally. There were no targets in some of the programmes because those were annual targets, and would be reported only at the end of the financial year.
Mr Southgate said that the Department had delayed the NARYSEC programme a little so as to exit some of the existing people that were on the programme. It was a four-year programme and as they exited, they would have had completed all the modules, so this would make funding available for the Department to bring on board another cohort of 400 to 500 people. This new cohort programme would be commencing on 15 March 2015.
Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini, Deputy Minister, DRDLR, said that the Department was as concerned as the Members about its general underperformance, especially in the third quarter, as this was an important department for a country like South Africa. The senior management had met in January and discussed the way to address some of the challenges, and systems had been put in place to monitor the performance of the Department. The main problem that was highlighted in the performance of the third quarter was the issue of verification that was not coming forth, and there was an agreement that if the Portfolio of Evidence was not on the “table,” then that would not be reflected in the financial report. The Department was sitting with all documents under the MME, which said that things had been done but verification and evidence was lacking. There was dedication from the Department to “pull out the stops” and strive for a clean audit, and this would require the pulling together of all issues that were “hanging” and might be causing problems for the expenditure of the Department.
She said that the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP) was going very slowly although there was no tangible evidence that there were corrupt practices in this programme. However, the Minister had requested the legal team to peruse the contracts between the Department and mentors so as to check that contracts were not awarded to farmers that had deviated from their business model. The legal team was set to present the revised contract and the Committee would be informed about the developments in this matter, which was intended to protect the communities from any unscrupulous activities.
Mr Mcebisi Skhwatsha, Deputy Minister, said that the Department had positively appreciated the criticisms from the Members about the overview of the performance, and it was indeed not a performance to be proud of. The current focus was on looking at “screws that had to be tightened” and at the beginning of the third quarter the Department had managed to pick up some of the growing concerns in terms of management. There was nothing wrong with the Department’s policies -- it just needed to solve the issues that were internal. These challenges affected the settlement of most land claims.
Mr Matiase accepted the admission that there were challenges within the Department and there was a strategy in place to address these issues. However, the question on land reform had not been answered and he assumed that perhaps the question he had asked did not belong in this forum. There were also concerns about the role of the government in the administrative and political responsibilities of the Ingonyama Trust Board in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It was disappointing that the Department was silent about the feudal form of land ownership in the Ingonyama Trust Board. How much had been allocated to the Board? The father of the modern capitalism, Adam Smith, should be excited in his grave that the country had still failed to transfer enough land to the Africans. The fact that the Department had not made any progress to redress the imbalances of the past showed that the state in its current form was basically the “executive” that managed the general affairs of the bourgeoisie.
Mr Walters appreciated that the EFF was back in the Committee so as to have a kind of ideological debate, but remarked that Adam Smith needed to be quoted correctly, as there was a difference between the “product of a free market” and “monopolistic capitalism”. He also expressed concern that there seemed to be lack of state capacity in the implementation of policies, and reiterated that there was no correlation between the expenditure and the targets to be achieved. The Department needed to deal urgently with the 30 days turnaround time for the payment of invoices. There would always be disagreement on many issues of the policies, but serious action must be taken against any officials who undermined any decision that had been taken by Parliament and then handed over to the executive for implementation. It was unacceptable to have a situation where the Land District Committee had been launched but was still not operating, as this was an institution that had been created to fundamentally change the success rate of the land reform plan going forward. The country needed to stick to the NDP as this was an implementation framework that the majority of the country had agreed upon.
Mr Mnguni emphasised that the problem of quality assurance must be noted by the Department, as Parliament was an important institution that required quality in all the documents that had to be presented. The Department would be required to rollout R1.5 billion before the end of the financial year and there was a high possibility that this money would still be standing for the next financial year. This again created the possibility of “fiscal dumping,” as the expenditure in March would escalate rapidly. The PFMA clearly indicated that the acceptable under-expenditure and over-expenditure must be between 98% and 102% before any expectation of getting a clean audit. The overall performance of 24% was totally unacceptable and needed to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The 24% performance versus a 71% financial expenditure shows that the Department needed to work on the realignment of both performance and financial expenditure. He agreed that the land belonged to Africans, but the ANC had made it very clear that land reform would be done according to the Constitution.
Mr Madella remarked that the Department would fall very short of achieving the target of 5 000 students enrolled at NARYSEC, as even the latest cohort would amount to only 2 700 students. He suggested that the Department should partner with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) in order to source additional funding.
Mr Southgate said that the Department had noted the comments made by the Members and agreed that Land District Committee was a fundamentally important institution to redress the imbalances of the past, and the Department needed to capacitate those committees in order to be able to do their work. The Department was putting more money into the processes for the acceleration of land acquisition.
Mr Skhwatsha added that South Africa belonged to everyone and land acquisition had to be done according to the Constitution of the country. The country would be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, whose imprints were found in the Constitution of South Africa.
Actions to address issues raised by the DPME
Ms Gobodo indicated that the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) had conducted an evaluation of the Restitution Programme, the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, and the Recapitalisation and Development Programme, and finalised its reports in February 2014.The Evaluation Report had been tabled before the Cabinet in November 2014.
The Cabinet had found the Evaluation Report had provided valuable information which pointed to various weaknesses in the land reform programme. The Cabinet had requested the Minister to collaborate with the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development (ESEID) Cabinet cluster with a view of strengthening and integrating the evaluation reports, and that an integrated memorandum be submitted to ESEID in due course. With regards to the DPME recommendations on the Restitution Programme, the Commission had developed an improvement plan and adopted the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) and People Centered Implementation (PCI) methodologies to implement the plan.
Ms Gobodo said that the recommendations had been clustered into improvement objectives informed by the recommendations of the Evaluation Report. Of the 61 individual tasks identified, 18 had been completed, 20 were not due yet, 16 had already commenced, with the task being done partially or not yet completed, while seven were outstanding. Under the outputs to achieve the objective on clarification of the mandate, the Department had been requested to draft a document with the legal mandate of the Commission, and to provide an update on its vision, mission and objectives, if necessary. The progress showed that the legal mandate of the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) had been clarified by a legal opinion from the state law advisors. A decision had been taken by the Minister that the CLCC would report directly to him. The DG of the DRDLR remained the accounting officer. The CRLR would present its own strategic plan, separate from the DRDLR, to Parliament on 11 March 2015.
Ms Gobodo said that under the service legal agreement – the implementation protocol -- the activity to achieve output was the post-settlement support, governance and coordination with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Department of Human Settlement (DHS).The progress so far showed that the Department had looked at ways to ensure that there was realignment with the DAFF of budgets and goals in terms of the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP). Under business process mapping, the Department planned to develop and get approval for terms for appointment of a business process analyst. The progress so far indicated that funding had not been approved by the Belgian Technical Committee. Business process mapping had been commenced by DRDLR’s Management Advisory Services, with detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) being drafted. The business process mapping had been completed from a jurisprudence point of view.
Under the development of settlement models, the Department planned to develop draft settlement models for sugar, mining, conservation, forestry, and high value agriculture. The progress to date indicated that settlement models had been drafted for the sugar and forestry sectors, and models for other sectors would be finalised by 31 March 2015. On the development of a policy toolkit, the Department planned to review the current Commission policies and align to the new business process by 31 March 2015. On the development and consolidation of SOPs, the Department planned to draft standard operating procedures in line with new business processes by 31 March 2015. The progress to date showed that the Department had commenced with certain key functions, like the lodgment of claims. The Department had managed to complete a number of recommendations, including the development of a comprehensive communication strategy, the finalisation of the development of the lodgment system and the source for more funding, and the standardisation of performance agreements.
The Chairperson indicated that the presentation showed that some of the recommendations were still in progress and it was the responsibility of the Committee to ensure that those recommendations were finalised and executed by the stipulated date.
Mr Mhlongo mentioned that he had asked about the mobile car units and the response that was provided was contradictory to the presentation that had just been made. The presentation was also silent about the human capital in the Department.
Ms Gobodo responded that the presentation had included the human capital, although it was not a bulletin on its own, and the two initial presentations were supposed to have touched briefly on the issue. The Department was currently looking at reviewing the current organogram so as look for any support necessary to achieve the mandate. She suggested that the Department would need to name the vehicles, so as to avoid confusion. There were nine communication vehicles -- one for each province -- and they were identifying the “hotspots”. There were also four mobile lodgment offices, which were trucks, and two additional 4x4s to access the deep rural areas.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for presenting the report. The Committee would continuously monitor the implementation of the recommendations and appreciated the effort that had been made to implement and complete some of them.
The Chairperson requested the Members to adopt the minutes of 4-5, 18 and 25 of February.
Adoption of the minutes
Ms Qikane moved the adoption of the minutes of 4-5 February and Mr Mnguni seconded.
The minutes were adopted as is.
The Chairperson indicated that the phrase “madam chair” needed to be replaced by “madam Chairperson” throughout all the minutes of 18 February.
Mr Mnguni moved the adoption of the minutes of 18 February and Mr Madella seconded.
The minutes were adopted, with one amendment.
The Chairperson pointed out there was a need to rephrase paragraph 2 on page 2, in bullet number 4. The phrase “in the Chairperson of Committee’s Committee” on page 3, number 8 in the second line should be replaced by “in the Chairperson of Committee’s meeting”.
Mr Madella moved the adoption of minutes of 25 February and Mr Mhlongo seconded.
The minutes were adopted with those amendments.
The meeting was adjoined.
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