While the Committee was waiting for delegates from the Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and Environmental Affairs (DEA) to arrive, it had time to engage on other matters which were not on the agenda. Members were told the Committee had received a late invitation from the DRDLR to attend an indaba in Johannesburg on March 20. They agreed to seek more details on the event before deciding whether Members should attend. Minutes of the February 24 meeting were adopted without any corrections. A Member complained that departments were undermining the Committee by not supplying documents on time. Another was concerned that booking more than one Department for a one-session meeting meant that Members did not have time for questions. They also said presentations to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) should focus on the provinces.
The DRDLR assured the Committee that the Department’s annual report was broken down into provinces. The Department had 51 people it had trained in all the provinces, and had 157 functional councillors, consisting of stakeholders, for rural development. 293 restitution claims had been finalised in the 2013/14 financial year, and the Department had paid R78 million as compensation to land claim beneficiaries. The highest claim paid had been R28 million in the Free State. In the land reform project, jobs had been created.119 new farms had been put under recapitalisation, on top of the 320 farms that were already under the recap programme. Job creation in the land reform recap programme had increased. The Department had spent 99.9% of its budget, and all entities of the Department had received an unqualified audit opinion.
The DEA focused its presentation on the targets which the Department had only partially achieved, or not achieved. These included delays in the implementation of the new head office building project, the finalisation of ocean systems, and the completion of climate change and greenhouse gas reports. The draft climate change and air quality management plan, and the draft vehicle emissions control strategy, had also missed deadline. Vacant posts had been filled later than expected. In the financial year 2013/14, the Department had paid its invoices within 30 days. It had incurred no irregular expenditure, but there had been fruitless and wasteful expenditure from the previous year’s projects. It had complied with all disclosure requirements, classifications and policy frameworks prescribed by the Treasury.
Members congratulated both Departments on a job well done. The Committee could not engage in discussion on both presentations because of time constraints. Members were asked to submit written questions so that the Departments could provide answers.
Election of Acting Chairperson, Welcome and Apologies
Mr Asgar Bawa, Committee Secretary, said the Chairperson would not be attending the meeting due to prior arrangement. He then opened the floor for Members to nominate an Acting Chairperson in terms of Rule 92 of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) rules.
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) nominated Ms E Prins (ANC, Western Cape), and was seconded by Mr C Smit (DA, Limpopo). In the absence of further nominations, Ms Prins became Acting Chairperson.
She welcomed the Members and stated that Mr O Sefako (ANC, North West) had tendered his apology. She also informed the Members that Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha, Deputy Minister of the Department of Rural Development Land Reform (DRDLR) had also sent his apology, as his home had been broken into.
Mr Rayi informed the Committee that he had been appointed Acting Chief Whip, as the Chief Whip was attending the Pan Africanist Parliament. His new post came with responsibilities that had to be dealt with on a daily basis. He had to excuse himself from the meeting as he had to attend to these responsibilities.
Committee Minutes dated 24 February
The Acting Chairperson said she believed that every Member had gone through the minutes of 24 February 2015, and wanted to know if there were any corrections as the Committee went through the minutes page by page.
Ms C Labuschagne (DA, Western Cape) moved the adoption of the minutes. She was seconded by Mr L Gaelher (UDM, Eastern Cape). The minutes were adopted without any corrections.
The Acting Chairperson said the Committee had received an invitation from the DRDLR to attend an indaba on 20 March 2015. She asked which Members that were interested in attending.
Ms Labuschagne wanted to know where the indaba was going to be held.
The Acting Chairperson said it would be in Johannesburg.
Mr Kobus Jooste, Committee Researcher, said the invitation had been received without any final contact details on Friday, 13 March 2015, and as they were still outstanding, he was unable to brief the Committee further on this matter.
The Committee Secretary said that accommodation was always a challenge when the Committee received an invitation at short notice, as the Committee had to follow procedure in booking accommodation for Members. He then suggested that the indaba be attended by Members who resided in Gauteng.
The Acting Chairperson asked if there were Members who were interested in attending the Indaba.
Mr Rayi said that as the Department was going to present to the Committee, the Committee could ask for an explanation from the Department and then discuss the issue after they had received the information.
Mr Smit agreed with Mr Rayi and said that the Committee needed proper details.
Mr A Singh (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) also said that it was better to hear from the Department.
Ms Labuschagne said she was concerned that the Committee was booking more than one Department for a one-session meeting, and this resulted in Members not having time for questions. She would like the Committee to have a Committee programme for the year. The Committee should have a Committee programme up to the last quarter, which would also indicate whether the Committee could have more than one department in one session. The departments would have to be given these programmes way up front so that they could give the Committee the necessary documents to be used in those meetings in time, in order for the Members to prepare.
Mr Gaelher said that in the last term he had served in the National Assembly, and the Members always received documents on time in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) committees. There were many documents the departments promised to give the Committee, but they never did -- for example, the land claims document. The Committee Secretary had had to run up and down in order to get annual reports. The departments were undermining the Committee by not giving them documents on time, and the Committee had to take a stand against this treatment.
Ms B Masango (DA, Gauteng) requested that today’s presentation from the Department should focus on provinces, as the Members were from the provinces.
Ms Labuschagne proposed that the Committee should give guidance to the Departments on how to present in the NCOP, so that they did not present like in the National Assembly.
Mr Gaelher said he might not attend the meeting until the end as he needed to go back to his province for a finance committee.
The Committee Secretary said that the Committee had had enough sitting days, but these had been shortened by the joint sittings in the NCOP. The Committee initially had one department for one session. He and the Committee researcher, with the Committee Chairperson, had worked on the programme of the Committee and were going to present it to the Committee today for the Members’ input, but the NCOP had wanted the Committee programmes to be submitted by Friday13 March 2015, and the programme had been submitted without the Committee agenda. He and the Committee researcher were already looking at working on the third and fourth term programmes so that they could be drafted way ahead.
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on its 2013/14 Annual Report
Mr Mduduzi Shabane Director General, DRDLR, apologised to the Committee on behalf of the Department for arriving late.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister, Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini, for attending the meeting and asked her to brief the Committee on the presentation.
Ms Mashego-Dlamini thanked the Committee for inviting the Department and stated that the Department’s expenditure had moved up to 99.9% to target. The Department was looking forward to strengthening its objectives, as set out in the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The Auditor General’s (AG’s) finding had been that some of the Department’s APP had been under achieved, and she hoped that in the following financial year this finding would be resolved. She handed over to Mr Eugene Southgate. Deputy Director General (DDG), DRDLR.
Mr Southgate said that the last time the Department was invited by the Select Committee, it had realised the Committee wanted it to focus on the provinces when presenting, and his presentation would be guided by this factor. The Department’s annual report was broken down into provinces.
The vision of the Department was to initiate, facilitate, coordinate, catalyse and implement an integrated rural development programme. The Department made sure that it worked very closely in assisting departments like the Department of Agriculture in order to make sure of maximum security, among other things.
The Department had 51 people it had trained in all the provinces. Gauteng had the highest number of these trained people. The Department had 157 functional councillors, consisting of stakeholders, for rural development. KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), with 48, had the highest number of councillors. The Department had an animal management programme, and KwaZulu-Natal had the majority of these projects. KwaZulu-Natal had 1 614 people whose livelihoods had been improved by the Department, and the Eastern Cape (EC) had the second highest number.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the Department had a sugar cane farm project which had created 200 jobs. The farm had received R1.3 million was now self-sustainable. The Department had also given R150 million to the construction of “Mandela Vision” in the Eastern Cape, which was rural development project in which 174 community members were employed. These employees received certificates which made them marketable an employable in the construction industry.
Mr Southgate said that 293 restitution claims had been finalised in the 2013/14 financial year, and the Department had paid R78 million as compensation to land claim beneficiaries. The highest claim paid had been R28 million in the Free State.
In the land reform project, jobs had been created.119 new farms had been put under recapitalisation, on top of the 320 farms that were already under the recap programme. Job creation in the land reform recap programme had increased, and the Western Cape had the highest number of 592 jobs created. In the Northern Cape recap programme, involving livestock, and it created 41 seasonal jobs and R1.3 million had been spent on the project. In Mpumalanga, on business enterprise, 12 employees had been employed on permanent basis.
The Department had spent 99.9% of its budget. It had been able to pay only 90% of its invoices within 30 days, and this was due to a change of bank details by the service providers. The DRDLR data base had also under achieved, as the Department had 50% vacancies -- more than 700 employees had exited the Department at the same time. The Department had managed to resolve 92% of the Auditor General’s findings. On legislation and policies, the Department had not met its target. On hectares that had to be irrigated, the Department had not met its target as it had faced a lot of challenges in the Eastern Cape because of poor relationships between the communities and between the departments. Also, in KZN, the irrigation target had not been met due to a miscalculation over the number of hectares. The Department had not met its target on youth job creation, but it had met the target of sending youths for various types of skills development training.
Ms Rendani Sadiki, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DRDLR, said that the appropriated budget of the Department for the financial year 2013/14 was R94 billion and 99.9% of the budget had been spent, leaving only R5.6 million under-spent. There had been R5.4 million of irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure --mostly on restitution, which included projects that had not been budgeted for.
The Department had done well, compared to the previous financial yearwhere R1.1 billion could be directly linked to APP targets. R531 million (41.9% of program expenditure) was paid toward compensation of employees (salaries of 1527 staff members), including R18 million that was paid for 573 interns. Payments to Departmental Agencies –amounted to R265 million and capital expenditure amounted to R89.4million. In the 2013 State of the nation Address (SONA), the President announced the re-opening of restitution claims and an adjusted amount of R2.9 billion was allocated to this programme.
All entities of the Department had received an unqualified audit opinion and that the Department was dealing with the Auditor-General’s findings.
Briefing by Department of Environmental Affairs on its 2013/14 Annual Report
Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director General, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), informed the Committee that the presentation would focus on partially achieved and non-achieved targets, and not on those that had been achieved.
The Department was 100% compliant, and had reached all its targets on equitable and sound corporate governance in the fourth term of the 2013/14 financial year. All the targets on the performance indicator for securing a harmonious, transformed and conducive working environment had been met. The Department had not met its target on the phased implementation of the DEA’s new head office building project as there had been delays caused by the industrial strike. The target had been reached after the end of the financial year, as the Department had already occupied the building. There had been a delay in the implementation of the ICT system because of the delay in the head office building project.
The local government support strategy development had been implemented after the financial year, which was the reason it is showed as partially achieved. Most of the investigations regarding fraud and corruption allegations had been dealt with by external auditors, and this had resulted in a delay in the procurement processes.
The DG said that all targets on environmental advisory services were met. There had been a delay in the implementation of the integrated environmental tool strategy that had already been drafted, and the Department had drafted a legal environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulation system, but these instruments had also been delayed. There was only a draft of the social infrastructure sector guideline that was supposed to have been gazetted by the end of the 2013/14 financial year. In terms of the Heritage Act, the Vredefort Dome had been declared as an international site, and the Department had had to prepare regulations and environmental programmes. The Vredefort programme had multiple stakeholders, which had led to delays in consultations with private owners, as the government was not the only owner. Quarterly early warning reports had been delayed, as they were not properly structured. South Africa Environment Outlook had not been published on time as it still had to go through Cabinet processes.
On legal authorisation and compliance inspectorate, Ms Ngcaba said that there had been delays in the compliance and enforcement strategy for the environmental management inspectorate, even though training of inspectors had been achieved within the financial year 2013/14.
The Department had had a delay in finalising ocean systems, which had not been processed within due date. The Department was off target insofar as the percentage increase of coastline under the Marine Protected Area’s (MPA’s) partial or full protection was concerned. The delay in the coastal MPA was in the Addo game reserve in the Eastern Cape, where there was interaction with the Department of Agriculture. Issuing of permits had been partially achieved, as permits had been issued outside the time frame. The Department was supposed to have submitted a report in terms of the Third National Communication, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but only a draft had been submitted to the secretary of the United Nations and the final draft had to be submitted within a year -- and this had resulted in the Department being off target. The 2000-2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory report had not been finalised in the financial year of 2013/14. A number of climate change response policies had been off target. The Department was one year behind on the carbon budgets, so budget guidelines for mitigation plans were also behind.
On climate change and air quality, at the end of the financial year the Department had only a draft of the management plan on the Waterberg- Bojanala priority area and threat assessment that was supposed to have been published in the Gazette, but had been delayed. The draft of the vehicle emissions control strategy had not been concluded on time. The Department had managed to do verification of rhino horn stockpiles, even though a number of interventions for the safety and security of wildlife had been implemented. The Department had challenges in facilitating the construction of the border fence between South Africa and Mozambique.
The Department had not met its targets on job creation, especially on people with disabilities, because of the fact that work was in remote areas. The number of buyback centres that had been established had faced challenges in terms recycling waste, but there had been an adjustment. Management regulations and non-combustion efficiency standards had not been gazetted on time, as there had been problems between the Department and the Department of Health (DOH), which was also issuing regulations on this matter. The Department had a delay with the regulations for industry waste management, as the Department had amended the Waste Act. Regulations for ozone-depleting substances had had to be promulgated, as the Department had to phase out some of the substances which had an impact on the ozone layer, and this had led to delays. A percentage of waste licence applications had been finalised within the time frame, but were inter-dependent between the DEA and the Department of Water Affairs.
Ms Veronica Steyn, Chief Director, DEA, said that total expenditure for the 2013/14 financial year was R5.2 billion, and the Department had under-spent by R6.5 million. She gave details of the actual expenditure on different programmes (see document).
Posts in the Department had been filled later than expected. There had been an increase in operation and manning costs for South Africa’s research vessels, Algoa and Agulhas, due to operating costs escalating every year. The increased expenditure was also for support and maintenance of the Working for Water and fire information management system, because of the new departmental building and new computers.
The Department had a deficit because of the grants which it had to pay out. Public entities like Isimangaliso Wetland Park had a big balance left over by the end of the end of the financial year. All the public entities of the Department had received unqualified audit. The Department had given donations to other agencies, and had had a budget for these transfers. The Department had also received aid from other countries, like a donation from the United Nations for the purpose of the convention on climate change, and reducing mercury emissions. In the financial year 2013/14, the Department had paid its invoices within 30 days.
The Department had incurred no irregular expenditure, but there had been fruitless and wasteful expenditure from the previous year’s projects. It had complied with all disclosure requirements, classifications and policy frameworks prescribed by the Treasury.
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform presentation
The Acting Chairperson informed the Department that the Committee would submit the questions in writing. She also informed the Members that they could also go and ask the Minister of the DRDLR directly. She said that when the Department was doing well, the Committee had to compliment it, as Members normally levelled complaints.
Mr Singh said that the report was easily understood, detailed and not complicated, as it focused on provinces. He was not happy about restitution in his province -- KZN.
Ms Masango said that she was embarrassed about the comments she had made earlier that the Department had to focus on the provinces during its presentation, as the report had been spot on.
Mr Gaehler thanked the Department for the report and praised their good audit outcome.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Department for the detailed report. She wanted clarity on whether the indaba was for one or two days.
The Deputy Minister responded that the land indaba was for one day -- 20 March 2015. The purpose of the indaba was for the Department and stakeholders to find each other on four matters: the “famous” 50/50 sharing of land; land holdings, as the Department wanted to put regulations in place; The Agri-Park initiative the Department wanted to implement in all provinces and lastly, the informing of district land committees, as the indaba would explain and unpack on how it would deal with these matters. The Minister would address the four items and then there would be a presentation and questions for clarity. She said that there would also be commissions on each item so that the Department could get advice from stakeholders.
The Acting Chairperson informed the Department that the Committee had received the invitation late, but would send people to attend the indaba. She also said the Department must keep the Select Committee informed, as was as important as the National Assembly. The Committee was not for rubber stamping, and the Department and the Committee needed each other. The Committee wanted to see improvements in the programmes of the Department.
Department of Environmental Affairs presentation
Ms Labuschagne informed the Committee that she would submit her questions in writing as it was already lunch time and she had to be at another meeting. She added that Members did not have reports at the beginning of the presentation, and had had to access to them in the middle of the Department’s presentation.
The Acting Chairperson told Members that they were allowed to submit their questions in writing, as she had stated in the previous presentation.
She thanked the Department for its presentation. She told the DG that the document the Department used for presentation had been confusing for her at the beginning, and she wanted clarity as to why the Department used that kind of presentation.
DG explained that the presentation used was called a “dashboard.” It was user friendly as it showed exactly what was happening in the Department from previous terms.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Department of Environmental AffairsAnnual performance report 2013/2014 presentation
- Department of Environmental Affairs 2013/14 4th Quarter/Annual Performance Report
- Department of Environmental Affairs Annual Financial Statements for year ended briefing
- Departmental Programme Performance Information for the 2013/14 Financial Year
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