The Committee received a presentation of the evaluation report on the implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) by the Department of Perfomance, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The National Evaluation Plan (NEP) containing 52 evaluations that cut across government had been approved by Cabinet in 2012/13. There were eight evaluations in the rural development sector and the CRDP was one of the key programmes implemented since 2009. 2009 marked the first time that government would begin to put forward a comprehensive response to deal with the complexities of rural development. Evaluations had been jointly shared by the DPME and Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and after all deliberations had been concluded on the findings, an improvement plan had then been developed to correct the areas of disputes.
The purpose of the evaluation on CRDP was outlined and the key questions that informed the eight evaluations were also discussed. It was noted that the questions were developed after long processes of consultation, engagement and review of performance in the programme. Councils of stakeholders (COS) had been established to run the evaluations and provincial committees had been linked with national structures to oversee the implementation of the CRDP. Great successes had been recorded in terms of meeting basic needs, but community empowerment and job creation still had gaps to be filled.
An average of 20% of the survey respondents believed the various CRDP institutions were unclear of their roles in supporting the implementation of the programme, while another 25% of the respondents were of the opinion that the CRDP structures were not fulfilling their roles. The evaluation also found that government officials did not participate in the CRDP. Community profiling had been completed with regard to mobilisation and empowerment of communities, but information had not been made available and this had undermined integrated planning and created unclear links to prioritisation.
The largest set of jobs had been created through the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC), the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the Community Work Programme (CWP), but these jobs were short-term in nature and low wages were paid. Local contractors and local labour were not often used. The establishment of food gardens for household food supply and income generation had improved access to food in rural communities. Water supply and poor quality of roads still remained a challenge to the economic infrastructure. The findings on land reform showed that there was lack of access to land, especially in communal and municipal commonage lands. Some challenges still existed around targeting disabled people, people living with HIV/AIDS and child-headed homes.
The assessment showed that a minimum total of R757 million had been spent between July 2009 and June 2012 at the 18 sites, from which 322 501 people had benefited. The average total expenditure per site was R42 million, while the average CRDP per capita expenditure was R3 261, and R13 138 per family. The preliminary estimated cost to implement the CRDP in all 2 920 rural wards amounted to R61.5 billion. Broad recommendations were highlighted to strengthen inter-governmental coordination, mobilisation and empowerment of communities through job creation.
The evaluation report of the DRDLR on the CRDP focused on four themes -- strengthening the CRDP's institutional arrangements, improving attainment of its objectives, upscaling the CRDP and improving value for money, as well as broader rural development.
The Department had been asked to establish a food procurement partnership with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); to facilitate a clear and integrated strategy for supporting marketing cooperatives in partnership with the DAFF and DTI; to provide funding for value chain programmes; to develop guidelines for participation by vulnerable groups in the CRDP; to complete a process that would ensure that it had national norms and standards for delivery of infrastructure in rural areas; to develop collaborative a CRDP procurement strategy that would maximise economies of scale and coordinated bulk purchases; to conduct a national CRDP review workshop; and to review the NARYSEC policy and align the stipends to the EPWP.
The DRDLR had rolled out a guideline for rural development plans in 27 out of 44 districts. The plans for the remaining 17 districts would be rolled in the first quarter. The infrastructure policy had been finalised and significant progress had been made with the agri-parks programme. The finalisation of the rural enterprise and industrial development policy, as well as the review of job creation, had been completed.
Issues raised by Committee members focused on job creation with regard to the NARYSEC programmes, as well as certification after the programmes; the need for an appropriate business model to attract investment; the factors that had informed the selection of the 18 CRDP sites; the results of the discussions that had ensued from the 52 focus group workshops; the pathway from the EPWP and CWP to the acquisition of formal skills; the exclusion of disabled and vulnerable groups from the NARYSEC programme; the extent to which local contractors were used; and the cost-effective technologies used in rural areas. The Departments responded and provided clarification on the above issues.
The Chairperson welcomed Members and acknowledged the presence of the Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti. The two Deputy Ministers, Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha and Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini, sent their apologies for being absent at the meeting.
Evaluation of implementation of Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) by DPME
The document containing the presentation from the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was circulated to members of the Committee on arrival of the delegates from the Department. Mr T Mhlongo (DA), Mr P Mnguni (ANC), Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC), Ms A Qikani (ANC) and Mr T Walters (DA) objected to the circulation of the document at the meeting, as it did not allow for a thorough perusal of the document in order to engage the Department on the issues arising. Apologies were tendered by the DPME, but Mr Nchabeleng said that the action translated to disrespect for the Committee and even if apologies were to be accepted from the Department, it should not be based on the money spent by the Department in attending the meeting, as their action had already defeated the purpose for which they had come. Mr Walters, on the other hand, was of the opinion that the Committee should reserve its right to accept the apology from the DPME and make a final decision at the end of their presentation. The Chairperson said that the Department should go ahead with its presentation but should ensure that a repeat of this action did not occur again.
Dr Tsakani Ngomane, Deputy Director-General and outcome facilitator of the DPME, presented the implementation evaluation of the CRDP.
The National Evaluation Plan (NEP) containing 52 evaluations that cut across government had been approved by Cabinet in 2012/13. There were approximately eight evaluations in the rural development sector and the CRDP, championed by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) under the Minister, Mr Gugile Nkwinti, was one of the key programmes implemented since 2009. 2009 marked the first time that government would begin to put forward a comprehensive response to deal with the complexities of rural development. This had led to the consideration of the implementation evaluation on CRPD that had been commissioned in 2013/14 and conducted by a service provider known as ‘Impact Economix’. Government had decided to adopt a developmental approach to evaluations. This was because there was a tendency to associate monitoring and evaluation with negative connotations, in the sense that if findings pointed out serious areas of weakness in terms of efficiency in the implementation of various programmes, investigations would be commissioned to take place after such evaluations; and this would in effect result in a high level of reluctance from departments to offer programmes that would be subjected to evaluations. The DPME therefore evaluated programmes to identify areas of expertise and strength that could be reinforced; areas of weaknesses that required a different response; and areas of improvement.
The DPME and DRDLR jointly shared the evaluations with respect to the selection of the programmes, having identified the programmes to be subjected to evaluations. The DPME used its analysis of performance to determine the evaluations and the DRDLR had to agree to the assessments of those evaluations, as it would foster co-ownership. There was also agreement in terms of conceptualization, and the evaluations were funded jointly by the DPME and the DRDLR. Once the evaluations were completed, the findings had to be approved by both departments. Findings were presented through various steering committees and heads of department, who agreed on some of the findings and disputed the others with reasons. Once an agreement had been reached on the findings, an improvement plan would be developed to correct the areas of dispute that had been identified.
The purpose of the evaluation on the CRPD was to assess whether the CRDP was achieving its goals; how the programme could be strengthened and scaled up through learning from what had been done from best practices and areas of weaknesses in the programme; and to assess whether the institutional arrangements that had been set in place to support the implementation of the programme were appropriate and clear about their roles and responsibilities.
There were key questions that informed the eight evaluations, and these questions had been developed after a long process of consultation, engagement, and review of performance in the programme. (See attached document). With regard to the institutional arrangements supporting implementation, councils of stakeholders were established to run the evaluations, and provincial committees were directly linked with the national structures to oversee the implementation of the CRDP. The other questions focused on the achievement of the main CRDP goals:
- Mobilization and empowerment of rural communities to take control of their own destinies with the support of government;
- Stimulating rural job creation and promoting economic livelihoods;
- Improvement to basic needs for the beneficiaries on sites;
- Issues of sustainability in the implementation of land and agrarian reform;
- The extent to which vulnerable groups -- including women, youth, disabled, child-headed households, and people living with HIV/AIDS -- had been targeted to benefit from CRDP; and
- If value for money (VFM) had been achieved through the expenditure per unit area.
The evaluation had been conducted on 18 site case studies -- two sites per province and ten pilot sites. There had been 110 key informant interviews which were comprised of community members, officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), DRDLR directors, municipal officials, ward councillors, traditional leaders and councils of stakeholders (COS). The evaluation had also conducted 52 focus group workshops involving over 500 CRDP community beneficiaries, with the understanding that CRDP did not impact only on individuals who participated directly in the programme, but the community as a whole. A survey that involved institutions such as civil society bodies and organized entities participating in the CRDP was conducted, and 60 responses had been received. A literature review, or peer reviewed articles, and CRDP programme documents were also looked into. A comparison was made with international case studies of similar programmes conducted in other countries with almost the same socio-economic status as South Africa.
The Department had established that there was mixed evidence regarding the various CRDP mechanisms that the programme employed and how this was working together towards delivering on the expected benefits. This had been expected, because the CRDP was the first of its kind to be implemented by the current administration in 2009. Although great success had been recorded in terms of meeting basic needs, but there was limited success in terms of community empowerment and job creation. The evaluation also discovered that there were many examples where VFM was not achieved, which meant that the CRDP was achieving some objectives at a very high cost. The Department had therefore recommended that a range of measures should be put in place to address the VFM challenges in order to ensure ongoing efforts at scaling up of the CRDP.
The findings per objective were considered next. The first objective focused on institutional roles, which informed the first set of questions around the programme. (See attached document). An average of 20% of survey respondents believed that various CRDP institutions were not clear about their roles in supporting the implementation of the programme, which indicated a communication gap. An average of 25% respondents opined that CRDP structures were not fulfilling their roles. The percentages, however, showed that more people understood the structure and roles of the CRDP institutions, but it was important to highlight them as areas that needed improvement.
The CRDP was also seen as a top-down national initiative and the buy-in capacity to be implemented at the local level was low. The evaluation also discovered that there was a poor commitment by government officials to participating in CRDP. This also related to the overlapping mandates in provinces in terms of what their roles were within the rural development sphere. Issues still abounded on the wide spread of the understanding of CRDP. A weak relationship between the DRDLR and the DAFF was one of the findings of the evaluation that was completed a year ago. Although some efforts had been made, especially at the political level, to strengthen the relationship, for the period of implementation of the CRDP between 2009 and 2013, the relationship was weak. Insufficient support from provincial and local champions had also been discovered.
On the question of the goal to mobilise and empower communities through the CRDP, the evaluations found that the community profiling had been done. However, the information had not been made available, thus undermining integrated planning and creating unclear links to the prioritisation and planning of various programmes, particularly at the municipal level. The council of stakeholders (COS) was a key structure at the local community level, where traditional leadership, local councillors and community leaders drove the development process in their communities. The evaluation had found weaknesses in community representation and inadequate consultation with the wider community at all sites, which had led to risks of inclusion of inappropriate projects, resistance to the COS and tensions with traditional authorities. As part of the empowerment drive, there had been a lack of leadership training, especially on adult basic educational training (ABET) and career guidance.
With regard to the creation of jobs and promotion of economic livelihoods, cooperative and enterprise creation and support had been looked into. There was much focus on registration, but post-registration support -- especially access to markets -- was found wanting, and this created a challenge around sustainability. Weak entrepreneurial and business management skills, as well as mismatches on types of cooperatives and viable business opportunities, were also discovered. With regard to skills development and job creation through the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC), the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and Community Works Programme (CWP), the largest source of jobs was created through these programmes, especially the EPWP. However, these jobs were short-term in nature, and low wages were paid. The skills gained did not facilitate entry into the labour market nor to secure permanent jobs, and so recommendations and proposals had been sent to the Department to look into certification that would enable or create a pathway for those who had gained skills during the CRPD programme, to get into the labour market and secure permanent jobs. Local contractors and local labour were not used often. There was also a need to streamline job placement processes.
The evaluation found that the establishment of food gardens for household food supply and income generation had improved the access to food in rural communities. It had also provided some income from surpluses at some sites. Water still remained a major constraint at many sites, which related to collaboration with the permanent Ministers in charge of water infrastructure, water quality and programmes of that nature.
There was a big gap with regard to the establishment of small-holder farmers and the provision of extension support, due to the focus of the programme on subsistence farming. Extension support was poor and partnership with the DAFF was found wanting.
The focus of the findings on the goals aimed at meeting basic needs was on economic, social, cultural and information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. With regard to economic infrastructure, the evaluation found that water supply was a big challenge; the quality of roads remained poor, thereby undermining growth in rural economies and local enterprises; and even though there were numerous positive impacts around electrification, there was still a geographical unevenness, which created problems around social cohesion. The areas where the electrification programme had been done very well, contributed to one of the key turn-around programmes at the CRDP sites.
On social infrastructure, the evaluation found that there had been a positive influence on speeding up the delivery of RDP houses. In some sites, the quality and sizes of the houses that were provided were instructive to the housing provision of the RDP programme. The functioning of rural clinics was still a severe challenge, as the evaluation found that there was a lack of medical supplies, inadequate staffing, irregular opening hours and long queues. Gaps still existed in the ABET centres, but a positive finding was noted in the early childhood development (ECD) centres and crèches, as these were functioning properly, and it included skills training.
With regard to cultural infrastructure, there had been much investment in tribal offices but there was a lack of clarity about the impact of that programme to the overall community. Sporting facilities that were part of the interventions within the CRDP showed beneficial impacts. However, some facilities were not functional. An example was the Sokhulumi library, which had no electricity.
On the ICT infrastructure, there were good examples of ICT centres which helped youths to find employment opportunities outside their communities. According to the evaluation, some ICT centres were regarded as 'white elephants', which meant that they were not used on a full-time basis.
The overall concerns around the basic needs were the maintenance of infrastructure, poor monitoring of contractors, issues around the quality of infrastructure that had been provided, as well as the management and operations of facilities, especially the ICT.
The findings on land reform showed that there was a lack of access to land, especially where communal land and municipal commonage land was involved. This had a direct impact on household food supply and ability to secure sustainable livelihoods. There were poor beneficiary plans for land development and also inadequate provision for farming skills. The tenure status of the various communities was precarious, and the insecure tenure undermined investment in rural communities, thereby creating a policy vacuum on communal land tenure policy. There was limited community understanding of land reform processes, the leasing approach, as well as the legalities around signing agreements. Conflicts were also found in community property associations and beneficiaries, and between strategic partners and beneficiaries.
The findings related to programme's ability to reach the target population showed that there were some successes in terms of reaching the women, youth, elderly and unemployed. However, challenges existed with regard to targeting the disabled, people with living HIV/AIDS and child-headed households. It was also found that the partnerships with civil societies and NGOs had to be strengthened.
On the issues related to VFM, the capital and household expenditure had been considered. The key challenge was to identify the total CRDP expenditure across all the spheres of government, and not just the DRDLR only. Based on the budget allocation within the DRDLR, the assessment showed that a minimum total of R757 million had been spent between July 2009 and June 2012 at the 18 sites, and 322 501 people had benefited. The average total expenditure per site was R42 million. The average CRDP per capita expenditure was R3 261 per person and R13 138 per household. The highest average per household on each site was below R60 000.
The preliminary estimated cost to roll out the CRDP to all 2 920 rural wards in the country was R61.5 billion. It was noted that the CRDP intervention could not be measured purely on a fiscal basis alone. The impact on other indicators in terms of social transformation of communities also had to be measured.
The key policy recommendations focused on strengthening the institutional arrangements of the programme at local community levels, improving the attainment towards the CRDP objectives, and the scaling up of the CRDP by taking into consideration the VFM.
Broader recommendations on strengthening inter-governmental coordination, planning, issues around mobilisation and empowerment of communities through job creation, as well as other issues raised earlier, were highlighted. (See attached document).
However, emphasis was placed on promoting rural development, which could be achieved through deliberate efforts at strengthening coordination with the Department, horizontal coordination with other national departments and also by connecting with the provincial structures in the municipalities and local communities; establishing new small-holder farmers and providing comprehensive extension support, which would be done by DRDLR and DAFF; improving land reform processes, especially in communal areas, dealing with the policy; designing and implementing a rural land reform awareness campaign at the national level; and developing stronger mechanisms for conflict resolution between the various structures, such as the traditional leadership structures and particularly the land structures.
It was pointed out that an improvement plan had been agreed upon to make the DRDLR the lead department for the programme, and it had reached an advance stage of implementation.
DRDLR's evaluation report on the CRDP
Ms Leona Archary, Deputy Director-General, Rural Development, DRDLR, said that it was important to note the period when the evaluation was done, which was in 2012/13. This was because a lot had happened since the evaluation, and it was important to capture the essence of how the Department had started off with the CRDP. She started the presentation from page 15 of the document (see attached document), noting that Ms Ngomane had highlighted the findings of the CRPD.
The issues raised with regard to the DRDLR focused on the four themes around strengthening the CRDP's institutional arrangements; improving the attainment of the CRDP objectives; up-scaling the CRDP and improving value for money; and the broader rural development recommendations. Further details containing recommendations on how the Department should deal with some of the issues were also given, thereby asking the Department to develop a guideline for the development of integrated development frameworks (IDFs) for all CRDP sites; to appoint full time project managers; to hold consultative conferences with representatives of local governments; and to improve partnerships with provincial and local governments to strengthen the COS.
To mobilise and empower communities, it was noted that there had been an evaluation process, which had been followed by a workshop between the Department and DPME to agree on some of the findings that had been raised, as not all the findings had been agreed upon. However, what was agreed upon had been included in the improvement plan, and some of the suggestions that were taken into account included a communication plan, and for DRDL to develop a revised theory of change for CRDP's community mobilisation and empowerment component, showing a clear logic on how community empowerment would be developed at various levels that should inform the Department's delivery improvements.
The job creation model and support for economic livelihoods that focused on skills development and job creation through NARYSEC, the EPWP and the CWP needed to be enhanced within the CRDP sites.
With regard to issues around small-holder farmers, it was suggested that the DRDLR should establish a food procurement programme in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and facilitate access to institutional markets, such as schools, prisons and hospitals, by purchasing products and foodstuffs directly from small-holder farmers and land reform settlements. In terms of cooperative and enterprise creation and value-chains, the Department was asked to facilitate formalisation of a clear and integrated strategy for supporting marketing cooperatives in partnership with the DAFF and DTI, and to also provide funding for value chain pilot projects.
The issues around basic needs had focused on the implementation protocols with the relevant set of departments and the Department's improvement in terms of organising the communities and relevant organisations to deal with operations and maintenance plans for all the funded infrastructure, and to make budgetary provision for infrastructure maintenance.
As far as targeting vulnerable groups was concerned, DRDLR had been asked to develop guidelines for the participation of vulnerable groups in the CRDP, and the COS should mobilise and facilitate their participation. Targets should be set for the various groups and relevant government departments should assist in developing appropriate targeting processes and guidelines.
On improving the CRDP's value for money, the DRDLR had been asked to have effective development of IDFs, and possibly with the support from the presidency, to work and revise the detailed theories of change; to complete a process to ensure that the Department had national norms and standards for the delivery of infrastructure in rural areas; and to develop a collaborative CRDP procurement strategy to maximise economies of scale and coordinate bulk purchases. This was one area where a robust discussion had taken place on whether or not VFM was being achieved. When considering the indications of 3 000 to 59 000 households realistically, and the levels of background that existed currently in the rural areas, it would be agreed that R61 billion was not a large amount of money to restore the rural areas of the country. This showed that the CRDP was not meant to be a one-year programme, but a long-term programme, and by calculating this over ten years, this would amount to an investment of R6 billion per year and for a 20-year period, it would be R3 billion. The DRDLR was of the opinion that given the small amount per household that was required, and considering the fact that there were no roads, no access to water and electricity, these were fundamental issues that were needed to rebuild the rural space and the amount could not be considered to be a high investment for the entire country. The Department had been further asked to ensure that cost-effective technologies were used in rural areas. The DRDRL usually came up with new technologies and worked with development departments in terms of new technologies.
The broader recommendations to promote rural development, as previously pointed out by Ms Ngomane, were reiterated. (See attached document). However, on the recommendation to refine government’s approach to traditional authorities and tenure reform in communal areas, the Department had done a significant amount of work as part of the rural economy transformation model, as well as the communal land policy, to support the work of the CRDP.
With regard to the improvement plan that had been submitted to the DPME, and the issues around the institutional arrangements and integrated planning process, the Department had been asked to have a national CRDP review workshop. Several consultations had taken place and the Department had also participated at the rural economic transformation model level and in all the land reform processes. In addition, the Department had been working all over the country in the districts and provinces, around detailed consultations on all the policies of the Department that contributed to the overarching comprehensive rural development of the country.
The DRDLR was also conducting the quarterly implementation forums of both Outcome 7 and the other work done as a Department. This was done quarterly at a technical level with all the relevant stakeholders, including the heads of Departments of Agriculture and the municipal managers of the various district municipalities across the country. It was also done at the ministerial level, where reports were submitted to a ministerial forum. With regard to the implementation agreements between the DRDLR and other stakeholders to strengthen the Department’s roles with implementation, a virtuous circle was implemented to strengthen coordination amongst all the different aspects of the Department. The Department used the Mintechs and MinMec to strengthen coordination, and protocol agreements were currently being signed with the relevant departments that had participated in the Mintech’s and the Minmec. The Department had also received support from the national land allocation and recapitalisation committee (NLARCC) and the national development approvals committee (NDAC), and all the work of the Department had to go through the various structures in order to get approved. The Department had also recently launched district land reform committees that would contribute to the improvement of coordination, as the work flowed directly from the districts to the provinces and to the national level, exhibiting the virtuous circle between the various departments.
In terms of a guideline for the development of rural development plans for all CRDP sites, DRDLR had rolled out the programme to all districts in the country and not in sites only as had been done at the commencement of the programme. The Department was in the process of developing rural development plans in each of the 44 districts, and had appointed people to develop the plans for 27 districts. The plans for the additional 17 districts would be rolled out in the first quarter. A policy had been drafted to assist in increasing community mobilization and ensuring that the COS was more capacitated and inclusive at the local level, and at the villages. The policy would be finalised in this first quarter and would include details of who could participate, how participation could be done, and the financing that would be required in supporting the structures around capacity building to improve coordination. Local community-driven development initiatives had been rolled out and were being used in coming up with community-based plans in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape at the moment.
To attain policy goals and objectives, the Department had developed a communication plan. However, at the Cabinet lekgotla which had taken place this year, a principle was adopted that every municipality became a CRDP site in the country. This was where the rural development plan and the communication plan would be included in each of the 27 district municipalities before moving out to the 44 districts, which would then become a full chapter in the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of those municipalities. In other words, the municipalities themselves would be driving the development initiatives that were included in those plans. A draft business process had been developed for the detailed business process mapping, which flowed from the village level to the local level, and then to the province and national level, which was based on working to make all municipalities become CRDP sites.
The Department had been asked to review the NARYSEC policy, align the stipend to the EPWP and to phase an escalation of the stipend. The Department had, however, done a full internal review of the NARYSEC programme and significant changes had been made last year after reviewing the programme. It had been brought back to a two-year programme, and each phase had been clearly set out. The policy also allowed for certification in equity colleges for every area of work the NARYSEC was involved in, and partnerships with the different colleges were being strengthened. This had helped in streamlining the spending on the programme, and a better value had been achieved on how the NARYSEC was used in the various ongoing projects.
The infrastructure policy had been finalised, and a clear section had been included in the policy that dealt with the utilization of local labour and the intention to ensure capacity building in all works of the Department in rural communities. This had been aligned with supply chain management and legal services, and the Department had drawn up standard contracts on infrastructure procurement which ensured that tenders for construction included a localisation clause where applicable, and that all labour should come from the area, depending on the required level of skills.
With regard to studies to improve market access for a variety of products, the Department had made significant progress in the agri-parks programme. The analysis work had been done on the market access issues and the Department was working closely with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and the Department of Agriculture to ensure that the value chain of all the different commodities that were identified in the Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme (ACIP) were included in the Department’s programme. The finalisation of the rural enterprise and industrial development policy had also been completed, and greater emphasis would now be placed on rural enterprise development and rural industry development.
The review of the job creation model had been completed, and the Department had aligned itself to the EPWP and was working closely with the Department of Public Works. The jobs referred to under this model were those that would be created as the different programmes of the rural development and land reform were implemented. Sustainability of those jobs was of great importance and this was where issues of enterprise development and cooperative establishments across the country would come into play. Quarterly implementation forums had been held, the institutionalization of the virtuous circle had been completed, and the Department had finalised the roll out of the enterprise project management system to keep track of the implementation of the CRDP across the country, as well as other programmes of the Department. The Department would therefore be able to account for the amount of money spent, the type of projects ventured into, the number of jobs created and so on, in each of the 44 districts of the country.
The Department had, however, learnt a number of lessons from the evaluation, and some issues had been taken into cognisance. The Department was now focusing on rural economic transformation through the roll-out of the agri-parks programme in all 44 districts of the country. This would help the Department in achieving the objectives originally tabled within the CRDP and also serve as a catalyst and an anchor for development of rural areas. The agri-parks programme would be presented fully to the Committee at a later date.
Mr Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Rural Development, said that the agri-parks were a response to one of the weaknesses pointed out by the DPME. They had been designed to take into account some of the challenges around the role of provinces and municipalities, which had been done. The Department had developed a CRDP management system which also took into account the COS, but most of the programmes faced political and structural challenges. The political challenges revolved around deprived communities, in the sense that anything that was introduced in such communities created one problem or another due to the extent of deprivation in such communities. The structural challenges, on the other hand, were linked to the way government essentially worked because of the six-tier system. Provinces thought only about the state of the province when budgeting, and this did not necessarily represent the entire state of the nation. There were also issues around implementation. For instance, the DAFF issued out equitable shares to the provinces, but did not prescribe what must be done with the money, and the provinces ended up spending the money on what suited them.
Outcome 7 had six sub-outcomes that cut across the various departments, and an agreement had been made for each of the sub-outcomes to be operated by the Deputy Minister with the support of other deputy ministers and officials, to overcome the structural challenges. 70% of the agri-parks would be owned by the provinces to assist with the institutionalization of the agri-parks. The Department had therefore learnt from the analysis.
The NARYSEC had not been designed to be a job creation programme, as the creation of jobs would affect the value for money. Instead, it had been designed for skills development. It was, however, left to the young beneficiaries to secure jobs, based on the skills they had developed during the programme.
Mr Mhlongo asked the Department to share what had been agreed upon on the findings. He also asked for the latest report on the ‘white elephant’ projects. As regard the issue of job creation, he wanted to know if the EPWP could be referred to as real jobs, especially because it was not sustainable, since it was a six-month programme. It was therefore not the solution to NARYSEC. More details were requested on the latest interventions around the alignment between the DAFF and the DRDLR.
Mr Walters said that the presentations had raised more questions than answers. He agreed that the R62 billion mentioned in the presentation could go a long way if resources were properly coordinated, in addition to the budgets from other departments that could accumulate to a far bigger amount. However, he was of the opinion that no matter the amount of infrastructure that was put in place, the Department still needed a model that would attract investment. There had been concerns raised about the communal land summit that had taken place recently. Unless a system existed to support entrepreneurs financially, or alternatively an environment that was conducive to investment, the issue of cooperatives with a very high mortality rate would continuously pose a serious problem. He wanted to know if the proposed business model was appropriate to attract investment, and if the Department saw a need to take drastic measures when dealing with issues of freehold and title deeds, and to clearly identify the shares for people in ventures to attract investments.
Mr A Madella (ANC) asked what had informed the selection of specific CRPD sites that had been chosen for the evaluation presented, what had emerged as a result of the discussions that had taken place in the 52 focus groups, and what the pathway was between the EPWP and CWP to the acquisition of formal skills, especially because they were all opportunities for people to acquire and gain the work experience needed in acquiring formal jobs. He noted that people working in the CWP had a longer tenure than those working in the EPWP. In Cape Town, the duration was 20 days, while it was three months in some other provinces.
He said an area of concern was the fact that billions of rand were being invested to ensure that skills were acquired. However, there were quite a number of youths and adults that lacked skills due to disabilities, so he was disappointed in the fact that the presentation confirmed the exclusion of vulnerable groups and disabled people, as no conscious effort had been made. Despite the reiteration of the Department to develop policies, he pointed out that the government had enough policies, such as the integrated national disability strategy. The Department could not rely on the excuse that policy guidelines to cater for the vulnerable groups and disabled people would just be developed. Reasons why the COS had not consulted with the disability sector were also requested. Disabled people were in worse situations in the rural areas than the urban areas, and a conscious effort had to be made to include disabled people in the various policies. There were also no linkages between the ECD and the national development agencies in the implementation of the Child Support Grant (CSG) in rolling out ECD centres throughout the country. Clarification was sought on the role of the private sector and organized commercial funds in the bid to mobilise funds that could be multiplied, in addition to the R61 billion pointed out earlier by the Minister.
Mr Mnguni said that the ideal situation would have been for the two Ministers to appear before the Portfolio Committee, since the Committee held only the executive accountable. He commented that the presentation had not been different from the previous ones that had been made to the Committee, since the evaluations had been done in 2012/13. He requested that the Department should make a formal presentation on the agri-parks to the Committee.
There was a need to focus on the conceptualisation of rural developments for the DPME and DRDLR, and to have very clear concepts of what would be done in the rural areas. There was also a need to develop a model that would integrate issues of certification, AET, RDP houses and the libraries. With regard to NARYSEC, there must be a certificate that would be given after the programmes, since the society was a certificate-driven one. The issues around accreditation of the NARYSEC programmes should also be considered. Clarification was requested on how the R61.5 billion had been arrived at, since the calculation showed that it was the 290 wards that had been put into consideration and not the upper or lower limits of an average of R3 000 per person and R13 000 per household respectively. However, the qualification of R61.5 billion was fair.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) noticed that the focus of the presentations had been to drive and create opportunities for government-supported enterprises. He asked what concern the Department had shown for the private sector, noting that the Department had referred to securing the services of labour in relation to implementation at the local and site levels. To what extent would the Department make use of local contractors? An explanation was requested on the cost-effective technologies that were used in rural areas. He suggested that the Department should invest time and money in researching other ways of improving rural roads, because depending only on local contractors would mean that the roads would need repair within a short period of time. He asked what other non-agricultural related activities would take place within the agri-parks. Was the DPME working on an average of 18 people per site, as seen in its oversight implementation policy and if so, what had informed the figure?
Ms Ngomane, responding on the reasons for the selected sites, said that the evaluations had adopted a sampling methodology because evaluations could not be conducted on the entire population. There were representative samples in the 18 sites, which represented 30 wards in total. As of 2012, the CRDP was active in 95 wards in the country. In selecting the samples, some key criteria were considered for the service provider to take into account. These included there being a core spectrum of successful sites as opposed to unsuccessful sites, the stages of implementation on particular sites, sites with different types of CRDP interventions that had been implemented, as well as sites with different contextual issues -- for example, those who were in former public areas and vulnerable districts, compared to those who were outside those districts, sites with active COS compared to sites without COS, sites with land reform projects and so on. These were the combination of contextual factors that had informed the selection criteria. However, the 30 rural wards represented 31.5% of the CRDP.
With regard to how the Department arrived at R61.5 billion, she said that the calculation had been explained on page 61 of the full report. In summary, the Department was working on the census figures of 2011. The rural population in South Africa at that time was 19 211 230. The 322 501 people that were already covered in the 18 sites had been deducted. The 18 sites had a total population of 18 888 729. The figures were multiplied by the per capita average from the 18 sites, which was R3 261, and R61.5 billion had been arrived at.
Ms Archary responded on the issues of NARYSEC, saying that the Minister had given an adequate explanation for why the Department would not establish a job placement agency for NARYSEC, since it was not an employment, but a skills development programme. The Riemvasmaak facility was now operational and all connectivity issues had been resolved. The Department had significantly improved its coordination with DAFF by planning together with the Agricultural Produce Agents Councils (APAC) and the agri-parks. The Department had reached bilateral agreements, and joint themes had been set up as well as joint reporting mechanisms between the directors-general. The technical aspects had been worked on by the DDGs at the national level, together with the Department of Agriculture’s heads of department at the provincial level. The close linkage of the programmes of the various departments had helped in aligning the budgeting for these programmes.
In response to the question on the money spent on infrastructure and the model adopted by the Department to attract investments, the proposed agri-parks model was centered on bringing in private sector investments. The Department was working towards ensuring that the corporate structure of the agri-parks was different. 70% of the ownership of the corporate structure would belong to the smallholder farmers, and the remaining 30% would focus on bringing in private sector investments. Based on the Department’s engagement at the level of agri-business, as well as the banking association of the country, technical task teams had been established to bring in all the commodity sectors and private sector partners, which would assist the Department in creating a viable model. The banking sector was also willing to participate and contribute, and the model would include an element of low financing and not the usual grant mechanism all the time. With regard to cooperatives or enterprises, from the business perspective, there would be different kinds of corporate models or corporate entities that could be used -- it did not only have to be a cooperative mechanism. The Department also wanted to ensure that the cooperatives within the rural area were functional.
The skills provided at NARYSEC would become a pathway for job creation. The Department had given certification all along, as it worked very closely with the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the Department of Higher Education and Training. The only thing that had been done was to move the certification to cover higher levels from level 3. The Department would also facilitate the process for those who chose to go into other areas of learning for normal diploma or degree courses. The Department was also trying to connect or link the youths as an exit strategy around enterprise development, for them to become entrepreneurs on their own, and there were successful projects across the country where the youths themselves were able to employ others. They were also being linked with the contractor database of the municipalities so that they could be contracted at their level to carry out the maintenance referred to in some parts of the country. The SETAS were a major partner of the Department and certification would not be possible without working with them.
With regard to the disability skills, the Department had deliberately selected young people in this category and included them in the NARYSEC programme. The Department had also focused on them in other parts of its programmes, and particularly around the enterprise models, as well as at the level of the COS. The major challenge was access, as the roads in the rural areas was one of the biggest areas where large amount of money was needed. About 15 NARYSEC youths with disabilities were conducting practicals in the North West, after being trained in various areas of construction.
The Department partnered with the National Development Agency (NDA) in terms of ECD centres and how delivery was made. With regard to organised agriculture and the private sector, the Department had been asked to establish a technical task team for outcome 7. This technical task team had been able ensure that all relevant agricultural unions, the agric-business chamber in the country, farmers themselves and commodity organisations had participated. Meetings had been held with the Department on a monthly basis to deliberate on the rural development programmes,
The Department was working in line with the CRPD programme, as it was a value transformation system that anchored all of the different deliverables, and the implementation of the agri-parks programme would still be anchored on meeting basic human needs, such as energy, water, housing and sanitation. The Department was, however, moving into the second and third phase that focused on enterprise and industry development.
The Department made extensive use of local contractors when tenders were put out for rural development. The Department always provided that a certain percentage of local contractors had to be used. This was done by linking with the DPW in the province, to access the development contractor database for such a province in advance. For instance, if the Department was to construct a road in the Eastern Cape, it would have done significant mobilisation and analysis of the skills present and would have found out if there were any current enterprises or small contractors, to make sure they understood how to engage when the tenders were advertised.
As far as the issue of cost-effective technologies used in rural areas was concerned, the Department had a component that dealt with research and technology. Close links had been established with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). A lot of work had been done around sanitation technology by working with the Department of Water and Sanitation to see if there were new technologies that could be used in rural areas with limited impact on the environment. New water technologies had been looked into, and new road technologies were also being considered. Cheaper ways of constructing roads, such as geo-cell technology, were being looked into.
With regard to the other non-agricultural activities that would take place in the agri-parks, it was pointed out that the idea behind the agri-parks was for them to emerge as a hub where various activities ranging from the general services that could be offered to everyone, and not only for farmers, would begin to take place. At the initial stage, it would develop into a kind of retail hub where the participation of the arts and crafts cooperatives, the clothing industry, and young people based on their acquired skills in different enterprises, would take place. It would therefore translate to a viable model as far as rural industrialisation was concerned. It would not only focus on agriculture and the agriculture value chain.
Minister Nkwinti said that alternative methods could be used in the technologies. He reiterated that youths with disabilities were not excluded from the NARYSEC programme. Various departments were also working closely with the Department to implement rural development. With regard to the business model, he suggested that the Department be allowed to present its own business models, as it had completed quite a number of projects. The conceptualisation of rural development should be considered alongside institutional skills.
The reports presented to the Committee on the value for money reflected the expenditure and performance that had been researched. One of the problems faced had been the structural problem, where the annual performance plan (APP) was presented to the Committee before the budget on the policies was presented, so there was no alignment between the APP and the budget.
The Chairperson appreciated the presentations and the contributions from Members. She said that discussions surrounding the non-alignment of the budget to the APP had to be considered, as this was contrary to the belief of the Committee.
The Committee had previously dealt with the South African Human Rights Commission and issues around implementation, and was now considering the reports by the DPME on the implementation of the CRDP. These reports would assist in strengthening the oversight functions of the Committee. The performance report indicated the measures that had been put in place by the Department to address the challenges that had been identified by DPME. The Committee would keep checking the performance of the plan and would visit some of the areas where the CRDP had been implemented, to compare what was contained in the documents to what physically happened in the areas.
The Department was asked to submit to the Committee the IDP, the communication plan, the CRDP procurement strategy, the NARYSEC policy, the infrastructural policy that had been finalized, the rural enterprise and development policy and the job model creation. A detailed presentation at the next Committee meeting should also be made on the agri-parks.
Mr Mhlongo also asked for the detailed report referred to by Ms Ngomane, and the Chairperson said that the report would be circulated to the Members.
The Committee Secretary announced an invitation had been received from the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development to a workshop between portfolio committees on small business development, rural development and land reform, and agriculture and fisheries, on access to markets and the value chain for SMMEs and cooperatives. The meeting would be held on 10 June 2015, and the venue would be communicated. It was important for Members to attend the meeting, as issues of overlapping functions would be discussed.
Ms Qikani moved the adoption of the minutes of the meeting held on 27 May 2015. Mr Mnguni seconded the adoption, after raising an amendment.
The meeting was adjourned.
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