The Committee was briefed by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, National Treasury, and Sport and Recreation SA, on the National Facilities Plan; the utilisation of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) for building of sport and recreation facilities; Transfer of the P-component to SRSA for implementation, and the capacity at SRSA to engage with municipalities on basic facilities.
National Treasury said the trend shown was that some provinces and municipalities had tried to use the 15% allocated for sports and recreation in the MIG over the years. However, there were those that had been very far from the legislated 15%. That could be attributed to some of the backlogs in water and sanitation and roads infrastructure that some provinces had had to deal with.
When the decision to ring fence for sport was made, there was no consensus between provinces and municipalities on the need for sport and recreation infrastructure and also the kind of trade-offs that would have to be made to prioritise the use of the R2 billion.
In 2013 the Local Government Budget Forum decided to initiate a holistic review of the MI system, which was led by NT, COGTA, Financial Fiscal Commission, South African Local Government Association and Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, as they were the custodians of Intergovernmental relations system. The idea of the review was to allow for strategic reform proposals to the individual grants and also the Municipal Infrastructure system as a whole in order to improve its responsiveness, efficiency, and sustainability and also to ensure holistic alignment.
The failure of the grants was also linked to the grant management system at national level across Departments in terms of Departments dispensing of their individual responsibilities and ability to coordinate and collaborate.
Sport and Recreation South Africa
SRSA reported that:
- Although the Building for Sport and Recreation Grant had challenges the truth of the matter was that it had done a lot of good in rolling out infrastructure up to 2004, which currently was not being rolled out in a manner and pace that SRSA required to be rolled out.
- The IDP process looked good in theory and paper but practically it was flawed as the capacity of citizens to engage with the process was found wanting. Equally, it was the councillors that made that determination as SRSA had always asked: when a decision by a municipality to spend the 15% MIG is made. What was being decided and on the basis of what? If the decision were to put a facility; what would it be - a tennis court, a community indoors centre? That was because SRSA had clearly seen that its norms and standards were not being implemented as they were supposed to be. From that perspective SRSA had always contended that a small Department such as itself with no capacity and where its allocation for infrastructure was as small as R10 million per year and the fact that it was required to participate in every IDP in local Government across SA when they all happened simultaneously was impossible; even if the Minister and Deputy Minister with the entire staff complement of SRSA stretched themselves across: and sports delivery would standstill for the IDPs.
- The status quo could not continue as it had run a tender for outdoor gyms after the decision to do away with indoor gyms; and the programme had done very well though the gyms had been placed in drug and crime ridden communities. SRSA would set-up a combination of 12 machines in the gyms at a cost of R250 000 per facility overall. Surprisingly though, municipalities like Tshwane and some in the Free State using the same supplier as that of SRSA were spending R1.2 million for a combination of nine machines by the former and the latter rolling out a combination of 15 machines at a cost of R2.2 million using a different supplier from SRSA. This had all emerged during SRSA’s price review of the cost of rolling out an outdoor gym facility. As such SRSA supported the idea of transversal tender run through the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer, guaranteeing low prices; that money would go much further in delivering the sport infrastructure required.
Bottlenecks in implementing the Facilities Plan
The fact that there were no Sport and Recreation divisions and no capacity in municipalities attested to the fact that sport and recreation was not taken seriously at local Government. SRSA had hoped that its proposal of a consolidated MIG to be administered by it would also assist in the project management incapacity at local Government. Interestingly, municipalities and even metros were writing to SRSA to ask for assistance with equipment or infrastructure so much that a standard response had been devised where SRSA would ask such municipalities to first demonstrate that they had spent their 15% MIG allocation on S&R and what budget from the municipality had there been for sport over and above the MIG so that SRSA could assist. Unfortunately no follow-ups returned from municipalities.
The Committee noted:
- That it was losing all hope that transformation in sport would take place with the current administration’s legacy with what it had just heard. Intergovernmental relations had to get to a point where sharing of resources would not disadvantage one partner and benefit the other. It was impossible for the three Departments to be unsure about how many facilities there were in the country when on a ward based level facilities could be located.
- It was dissatisfactory to hear that even through the many attempts at finding each other by the three Departments the current situation remained. Moreover the language used by NT reflected the attitude that NT and COGTA approached SRSA’s needs with, notwithstanding the need for basic services such as water and sanitation and others.
- Where people were abdicating their responsibilities even though those were legislated, and there was no consequence management for such dereliction of duty, that would perpetuate the status quo as there was no disincentive for people to discontinue with those behaviours.
The Committee also wanted to know what COGTAs stance was on municipalities that were not budgeting for sport and recreation repeatedly and annually during their IDPs?
What drove NT to continue popping out money for S&R infrastructure through the MIG when there were no observable achievements in terms of that infrastructure?
What would NT do with Premiers that were brazenly telling national SRSA that they would not budget for sport and recreation in their province?
Presentation on Sport and Recreation on Sport Infrastructure
Ms Malijeng Ngqaleni, Deputy Director General (DDG): Intergovernmental Relations, National Treasury, read the Committee through the presentation.
Challenges with MIG funding
Ms Ngqaleni said there were municipalities that had allocated the MIG since 2012 and the aggregate totals for the 2012/13 financial year were R322 million, R630 million in 2013/14 and about R461 million in the 2014/15 financial years, and that accounted for about 3% utility of the grant in total, but 25% of the P component. The trend shown was that some provinces and municipalities had tried to use the 15% allocated for MIG over those years. however, there were those that had been very far from the legislated 15%. The Eastern Cape was amongst the worst performers which allocated on average 2% and Gauteng allocating about 6% overall. The better performers were the Free State (FS), KZN and the Western Cape (WC).
All that could be attributed to some of the backlogs in water and sanitation and roads infrastructure that some provinces had to deal with. Moreover, it highlighted other challenges as well.
In the current financial years (2015/16) prioritised projects for SRSA within MIG amounted to about R363 million at an average cost of R5.1 million per project. However, only R2.6 million was budgeted annually for each project. Some of those projects had been approved by provinces whereby possibly SRSA had to play a more active role in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) processes of municipalities because if a project was not in the IDP and would not be responding to communities’ facilities needs then it would not be implemented. Moreover after the IDP it was expected that a project would need to be checked by the provincial sector Department and then the national Department thereafter. That would be to ensure that approval would be in line with the norms and standards of the said sector Department.
NT had found that some of those projects were possibly misaligned with the policy norms and standards of SRSA for sports facilities.
Ms Ngqaleni NT felt that more guidance was needed in allocating the money so that more could be done. When the decision to ring fence for sport was made, NT also believed that there had been no consensus between provinces and municipalities on the need for sport and recreation infrastructure and also the kind of trade-offs that would have to be made to prioritise the use of the R2 billion. There had also been a contestation amongst the other Departments that had a share in the P-component on how their priorities would be funded if the whole R2 billion were given to SRSA.
The current allocation for SRSA from the P-component in the MIG was not too far from what Ms Ngqaleni believed SRSA deserved given the pressures of other priorities in terms of water and sanitation.
In 2013 the Local Government Budget Forum (LGBF) decided to initiate a holistic review of the MI system, which was led by NT, COGTA, Financial Fiscal Commission (FFC), South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) as they were the custodians of the Intergovernmental relations system. The idea of the review was to allow for strategic reform proposals to the individual grants and also the MI system as a whole in order to improve its responsiveness, efficiency, and sustainability and also to ensure holistic alignment.
Over the decade to 2011 NT realised it had spent over R141 billion towards MI however, there remained backlogs in sanitation and refuse collection and increasing fragmentation in the number of grants in the system. That contributed to inefficiencies, as there were multiple grants from multiple Departments to municipalities, which required credible reporting whilst also increasing the chances of duplication. The lack of credible information to report because of the many administrative rules that municipalities had to respond to, and the integration and proper sequencing of delivery that would ensure transformation at the local level was difficult to achieve.
Some of the grants were no longer functional because of lack of asset management, which also affected S&R as it was sports facilities that were not being maintained.
One of the things that the state overlooked in the creation of MIG was that one size would fit all. The asymmetry in terms of capacity at local Government to absorb functions and the differences in the kinds of challenges that the MI system needed to respond to created a challenge where similar rules applying to a Metropolitan (metro) municipality were expected to apply to a local rural municipality. The recommendation in that regard was that Government needed to deepen differentiation so that it could take account of the symmetries that exist so that even the MI system could respond differentially in capacity needs.
Rationalisation of the multiple small grants to municipalities had also become a big issue where NT was saying that it wanted to go back to consolidation and stop proliferation of grants.
Asset management and planning had become highly problematic with infrastructure that was delivered through grants, therefore NT was of the view that planning had to be monitored and enforced; asset management practices were adhered to and ensuring that the grants could incentivise asset maintenance. Moreover the grants had to be able to refurbish established immovable assets.
The failure of the grants was also linked to the grant management system at national level across Departments in terms of Departments dispensing of their individual responsibilities and ability to coordinate and collaborate. NT also wanted to ensure that the grant administrators and sector Departments would be able to support and monitor municipal implementation.
Rationalisation of the reporting system was part of the recommendations from the review outcomes of the MI
Envisaged outputs for sports and recreation
The reduction of grants in the system would mean that the new sector specific grants would not be easily introduced into the system. NT was also regularising reviews into the system so that experiential learning could foster change regimes on a continuous basis to avoid poor performance by the grants. However, the review outcomes would respond a lot towards why sports infrastructure funding had not performed well in the MIG. Therefore some of the compromises that NT was agreeing to with SRSA were reflective of an attempt on how Government could enhance the ability of national Government and the Intergovernmental system to coordinate and collaborate to achieve the intended outcomes as there was that interdependence across the board.
From 2008 funding for sports was differentiated into the MIG and the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) for metros. To date metros were still required to ensure that the USDG had a sports allocation. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) also had a large grant that was supposed to ensure maintenance and refurbishment of schools sports facilities. Additionally it was agreed that DBE had to develop norms and standards reflecting that schools only became schools when there were sports facilities in schools. Government had also learnt that the current crop of newly built schools did not have sports facilities, which were against SRSA developed norms and standards for school sports facilities.
Regarding SRSA’s push for the MIG to be given to it so that it administered it separately; SRSA was not the only Department pushing for that separation. NT had agreed that it needed to find a way of acknowledging that though there were shortcomings there needed to be a way of reforming the system in order to improve the delivery of infrastructure through MIG without fragmenting the grant into something else. The agreed strategy was a two pronged approach where: SRSA would still have a ring fenced allocation which was not allocated according to the MIG formula and would be prioritised according to SRSA recommendations and to encourage municipalities to prioritise S&R in the IDPs.
That proposed ring fenced allocation for SRSA was about R300 million outside of the MIG and would be administered by the Department directly including exploration of a procurement mechanism and transversal agreements.
Ms Ngqaleni told the Committee that there was an ongoing reform process on procurement where the MIG was working with the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) to set up centrally negotiated contracts (transversal contracts). NT believed that with that reform MIG could be made to respond to dysfunctional municipalities in a way that was different than that of functional municipalities. That list of projects that would inform that ring-fenced allocation for municipalities would need to be collaboration between COGTA, local Government and SRSA. The NT needed the indicators to be included in the Division of Revenue Bill to show that there was that separate allocation outside the MIG for SRSA to be submitted by 4 December 2015. Moreover funding would be added to SRSA budget to help the Department build its capacity as it had lamented the issue of not having the capacity to engage so many municipal IDPs.
NT had also agreed with SRSA that the 15% P-component would not continue to be ring fenced for MIG only but that the P-component would continue to support the other infrastructure priorities however; NT would strengthen conditions so that SRSA could better target, approve and oversee the facilities infrastructure being prioritised as there were a lot in the system already that were not properly informed by SRSA policies.
Ms Ngqaleni said that dissatisfaction with the roll-out of municipal sport infrastructure was a result of a number of coordination failures that were not unique to the sport sector, but that the entire interdepartmental coordination and collaboration between the three different spheres was a challenge for Government as a whole. Therefore the agreements between SRSA, COGTA and NT was an acknowledgement that all the involved Departments were committed to trying to see if it would work or not.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was disappointed by the R300 million separate allocations by NT and COGTA for SRSA.
Briefing by Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs
Mr Werner Heydenreich, Senior Manager-MIG, COGTA, said COGTA concurred with the presentation given by NT. Although there had been 699 projects that had been implemented to date, COGTA was not convinced that they were informed by norms and standards from SRSA. As could be discerned that the leading provinces in MIG expenditure were the WC and the FS, COGTA was doubtful as to whether the projects in the FS had been informed by norms and standards. That was evinced by the high investment values for some of those sports facilities in that province; R49 million and R26 million respectively. That was why COGTA felt that municipalities had not adhered to the initial intention of the norms and standards by SRSA. There seemed to be coincidental investment by those municipalities as to whether that much spending on sport was having the intended impact, which was very doubtful.
Sport and Recreation SA
Mr Alec Moemi, Director General, SRSA, said NT’s presentation covered succinctly what had been discussed between the three Departments. However, there were key issues he wanted to highlight so that they were not watered down or became ‘issues by the way’.
Although the Building for Sport and Recreation Grant had challenges the truth of the matter was that it had done a lot of good in rolling-out infrastructure up to 2004, which currently was not being rolled out in a manner and pace that SRSA required to be rolled out.
There was that belief in 2004 from the FFC that grants needed to be consolidated which was still prevailing. However, SRSA’s contention with that was that one size did not fit all and that where service delivery and Government would be better served by a separate grant; that would be the route that needed to be taken. SRSA differed with the other NT, the FFC and others, as they were more dogmatic about the matter than looking at the actual state of events on the ground hence SRSA’s compromise.
When the sport sector lobbied extensively at the Makgotla and the ruling party conferences where resolutions were taken on the funding of the P-component; that had been out of the dire need of needing a high tempo roll-out and implementation of facilities and perhaps for a significant period of time Government needed to take all the money available for social infrastructure and roll-out sport infrastructure instead. Hence the ring fencing of the 15% MIG as a whole for sports specific use.
The IDP process looked good in theory and paper but practically it was flawed as the capacity of citizens to engage with the process had been found wanting. Equally, it was the councillors that made that determination as SRSA had always asked: when a decision by a municipality to spend the 15% MIG is made what was being decided and on the basis of what? If the decision were to put a facility; what would it be; a tennis court, or a community indoors centre? That was because SRSA had clearly seen that its norms and standards were not being implemented as they were supposed to be. From that perspective SRSA had always contended that a small Department such as itself with no capacity and where its allocation for infrastructure was as small as R10 million per year and the fact that it was required to participate in every IDP in local Government across SA when they all happened simultaneously was impossible; even if the Minister and Deputy Minister with the entire staff compliment of SRSA stretched themselves across: and sports delivery would standstill for the IDPs.
Municipalities had simply not spent the 15% as required and the issue was not that there was no consensus. There remained not one case where a municipal manager had been charged for reprioritising expenditure for one purpose for another.
Regarding poor co-ordination between tiers of Government, Mr Moemi said that SRSA had no power in all honesty. SRSA could not set the conditions for the MIG when it had no control over it. Even with the conditional Grant for Sport Development (GSD), SRSA was giving that grant to provinces as the MIG was currently being given without SRSA setting conditions. It had received so many audit queries that it was almost qualified on the basis of what provinces had been doing.
As soon as SRSA initiated conditions and the Committee supported the development of a penalty schedule to get provinces to tow the line in that regard and that Heads of Departments (HODs) in provinces could be charged with financial misconduct for failing to adhere to the set conditions: things changed drastically that the audit queries had come from 89 down to only two for the GSD. That went to show what management could do if the right conditions and proper management were put in place and that was the key issue. Because sport was a concurrent function and municipalities were free to decide what to do with what was allocated to them, it would be unfair to suggest that no matter what SRSA could say to them; that the Department had not played its role, as SRSA had no leverage over municipalities.
Motivation for a separate grant
Mr Moemi said in terms of the review process there was a perceived consultation between the three Departments where as far as SRSA was concerned; it had been heard, but not listened to. Its inputs had been valueless.
Outcome of Review: New sector-specific grants will not be introduced:
He said that the above sentence from the presentation was misleading since the compromise that SRSA had agreed to, had been at the essence of that: where SRSA had said that NT should give it the R300 million immediately so SRSA could prove to NT what it could do with the money. The agreement further stipulated that if SRSA succeeded as it was sure that what it was saying would work: then NT would have to release the remainder of the 15% MIG to SRSA. SRSA completely refuted the claim that it had agreed that new sector-specific grants would not be introduced. When SRSA had agreed to try the process of a separate R300 million once off allocation, it was strictly on the basis outlined above and nothing else.
Another provision that NT had agreed to was a R10 million allocation for the training of staff to do what was required of SRSA. However, when SRSA insisted that the exact figure should be included in the presentation NT said there only needed to be a general commitment that money for capacitation of SRSA would be made available as the money possibly would no longer be R10 million. That attested to what he had said earlier that SRSA was not being listened to and negotiations were in bad faith.
SRSA understood that the P-component was for social infrastructure however, it had and did not agree that the current allocation of R350 million approximated what was sufficient expenditure for sport because SRSA had informed NT that SRSA would request a follow up meeting to discuss key components of the P-component where SRSA differed with NT. For example, one could not equate a sports stadium with a cemetery where one would want similar expenditure for the two and Mr Moemi had raised that matter emphatically in consultations with NT and COGTA. To that extent he agreed with Ms Ngqaleni that if one wanted a functional facility then the project had to include what programmes would occur in the facility and other sub-infrastructure that would go with the facility, notwithstanding simply establishing a facility just because there was money for such a purpose. Therefore that was why SRSA was against the notion that it would be given 33% of the 15% MIG allocation because if that were the case then SRSA would be receiving a third of its share, as there were three components to the P-component alone.
SRSA believed there was a thin line between what COGTA said was social infrastructure because a marketplace was economic infrastructure. He agreed that during the MI review process that the contestation of what constituted social infrastructure could be done somewhere else and not during the MI review.
There was a disjuncture between infrastructure and programming. SRSA’s biggest complaint was that NT was not assisting it despite its repeated requests saying that provinces were not budgeting their own provincial equitable share on sport programming. Even the municipalities that could afford to do so hardly ever did so, everyone wanted to rely on the MIG, even though constitutionally S&R was a concurrent function. Moreover how could provincial treasuries approve a budget when it was apparent that there was no allocation for S&R? He had asked repeatedly before, if NT could not issue directives and practice notes for budgeting provided for in the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1 of 1999 (PFMA) which had the effect of being law to insist that all provinces had to budget for sports, that had not been done?
Indeed there was a compromise but it had to be understood in context; even if SRSA would be willing to accept the doing away of the ring fencing of the 15%, the P-component could not go away and municipalities could not be given an option of whether they were going to spend a portion of their P-component on sport or not. That was why SRSA was insisting that for the first time, when the MIG conditions for sport would be going out, SRSA wanted to see them. On the remaining funds that would be allocated by formula, SRSA would still argue that in that P-component between 40 to 45% expenditure had to be on sport by municipalities.
Furthermore, SRSA would do all the procedural processes by 4 December 2015 for the compromise R300 million allocations.
The status quo could not continue as SRSA had run a tender for outdoor gyms after the decision to do away with indoor gyms, and the programme had done very well though the gyms had been placed in drug and crime ridden communities. Interestingly SRSA would set-up a combination of 12 machines in the gyms at a cost of R250 000 per facility overall. Surprisingly though, municipalities like Tshwane and some in the Free State using the same supplier as that of SRSA were spending R1.2 million for a combination of nine machines by the former and the latter rolling out a combination of 15 machines at a cost of R2, 2 million using a different supplier from SRSA. This had all emerged during SRSA’s price review of the cost of rolling out an outdoor gym facility. As such SRSA supported the idea of transversal tender run through the OCPO, guaranteeing low prices; that money would go much further in delivering the sport infrastructure required.
Indeed SRSA was also opposed to the building of the Parys stadium, as SRSA did not believe that a municipality could build such a mega stadium for such a small-populated community. SRSA’s norms and standards were clear that for future regional nodes, large infrastructure had to be built in modules. However, municipalities built fixed infrastructure, which meant that were a population to increase in a node there would be no chance of refurbishing a stadium. SRSA had had norms and standards published as far back as 1999 and they had been reviewed periodically and if any municipality were to suggest otherwise would simply be being dishonest. Even before SRSA called a municipal conference on S&R in 2012, he had written to all municipal managers and HODs supplying them with the norms and standards booklet. SRSA simply did not have enforcement capacity even if the DG were to hire chief directors to go and interact with municipal managers they would be ignored since SRSA had no voice.
Bottlenecks in implementing the Facilities Plan
The fact that there were no S&R divisions and no capacity in municipalities attested to the fact that S&R was not taken seriously at local Government. SRSA had hoped that its proposal of a consolidated MIG to be administered by it would also assist in the project management incapacity at local Government. Interestingly, municipalities and even metros were writing to SRSA to ask for assistance with equipment or infrastructure so much so that a standard response had been devised where SRSA would ask such municipalities to first demonstrate that they had spent their 15% MIG allocation on S&R and what budget from the municipality had there been for sport over and above the MIG so that SRSA could assist. Unfortunately no follow-ups were returned from municipalities.
Sometimes one would find that certain municipalities only had infrastructure that SRSA had established as a pilot in the last decade.
Amiss about the current rationalisation of grants was that even if one were to spent the whole 15% in the smaller municipalities where infrastructure was needed the most, that amount was very small that it made no difference, whereas in the bigger municipalities which were cash flushed perhaps he could forgive some mayors that believed that they had to leave a sporting legacy by either building a mega stadium or holding mayoral competitions. The reality was that SA was not a federal state and as such needs had to be catered for across the borders of a municipality and SRSA’s facilities plan responded to those issues directly. Moreover SRSA was encouraging dual use of its facilities deliberately blurring the lines between recreation and sport.
The current swimming pools being built by municipalities were a direct contravention of SRSA’s norms and standards and similarly with athletic tracks. Only three provinces had committed and actually finished zoning for regional sporting hubs
SRSA welcomed NT’s decision to allow the MIG to cover maintenance and refurbishments on an intensive basis, as that was quite useful. After the amendment of the norms and standards recently SRSA had since worked with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) through its science and technology unit to rollout hardy maintenance free facilities since 2013 onwards.
In terms of the challenge of long-term lease agreements, especially where the broader community is precluded from using the facility, SRSA had issued a directive that municipalities should at least avail 18 days a year for communities to access public sports facilities free by publishing the dates so that community organisations could bid for dates. However, the Committee was aware that municipalities had not heeded that call and it was business as usual.
The Chairperson said she wondered whether some of the Senior Management Staff (SMS) from the three Departments before the Committee had attended the ANC’s National General Conference (NGC); as Mr Moemi was lamenting repeated Makgotla pleas to consolidate the MIG. Were those SMS neglecting the resolutions taken at the NGC regarding the MIG and how it was supposed to be used? If COGTA were saying what they were saying to the Committee immediately after the KZN oversight and what it had discovered, then it could no longer blame SALGA. Cooperation and collaboration could not only happen when it was to the favour of COGTA; if there were people that were failing to implement gazetted norms and standards the Committee had to be alerted to that fact.
She was against the doing away of the ring-fenced 15% MIG and she did not want to hear about R300 million compromises. She became further and further frustrated and agitated with the presentation that SRSA would still be a marginalised Department in terms of funding by NT.
Mr D Bergman (DA) said Mr Moemi was finally being a bit more open with the Committee as to the limitations that SRSA had. He personally was losing all hope for transformation of sport with the current administrations legacy with what he had just heard. Intergovernmental relations had to get to a point where sharing of resources would not disadvantage one partner and benefit the other. It was impossible for the three Departments to be unsure about how many facilities there were in the country when on a ward based level facilities could be located. Did SRSA really need SALGA or COGTA to complete its facilities audit?
Under performing provinces were those spending the most for the least amount of projects, with the least amount of their MIG expenditure. They also happened to be the very same provinces that were not very competitive in sports locally.
The challenge in SA was that there were adequately used; under-utilised and over utilised facilities. SRSA had to please make the facilities audit a key performance indicator (KPI) and SRSA had to find its position in the current situation and play that position very well.
Mr S Malatsi (DA) said the presentation was quite frustrating as it highlighted the difficult terrain that SRSA operated in. It was dissatisfactory to hear that even through the many attempts at finding each other by the three Departments the current situation remained. Moreover the language used by NT reflected the attitude that NT and COGTA approached SRSA’s needs, notwithstanding the need for basic services such as water and sanitation and others, where people were abdicating their responsibilities even though those were legislated, and there was no consequence management for such dereliction of duty. That would perpetuate the status quo, as there was no disincentive for people to discontinue with those behaviours.
The spirit of cooperative governance was to ensure that where there were concurrent functions those were fulfilled accurately.
Perhaps another avenue needed to be found apart from Makgotla where the three spheres would agree and commit to fulfilling their mandates about the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) and have NT allocating funding but then when they get to their budget cycles decide to reprioritise resources. As long as there were skewed investments into sports all the social ills would continue hampering social development.
Mr Malatsi was surprised that seemed to be no genuine accountability with COGTA when it came to utilisation of S&R resources. There had to be a framework where entities or spheres of Government that were allocated resources for one purpose but had decided to reprioritise those resources, could account for such reprioritisation, as it was not fair for Mr Moemi to be held accountable broadly on the underperformance of concurrent mandates. The layman only knew SRSA to be responsible for S&R though state officials would know that other departments had influence on the use of SRSA specific resources.
The fact that SRSA had its DG before the Committee whilst the other two Departments had sent senior managers also spoke volumes about the attitude COGTA and NT had towards SRSA.
Ms D Manana (ANC) asked what COGTA’s stance was on municipalities that were not budgeting for S&R repeatedly and annually during their IDPs? What drove NT to continue popping out money for S&R infrastructure through the MIG when there were no observable achievements in terms of that infrastructure?
What was the major issue in giving MIG to SRSA because COGTA had failed to oversee the utility of the 15% portion for S&R?
Mr G Mmusi (ANC) said that prior to the 2010 Soccer World Cup other Members of Parliament (MPs) from other Committees had asked what the Committee of S&R would be busy with post-2010; as though its existence was primarily for that tournament. Frustratingly other MPs currently and even departmental officials had the attitude of marginalising S&R.
He applauded NT for highlighting the fact that it did give DBE money specifically for schools sports facilities because that Department lamented the fact that it did not have a sports budget. However, apart from those facilities that had to have been built with the establishment of new schools, what would happen to schools that had been built before that decision which still had no facilities?
What would NT do with Premiers that were brazenly telling national SRSA that they would not budget for S&R in their province? What was restraining NT from giving SRSA the MIG when SRSA was committing to having the expertise and know how to rollout the NSRP?
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) said that the R12 billion conditional grants allocated for school infrastructure in 2016 was a great idea however, if most of it would be to establish facilities inside the schoolyards what would happen to community facilities, as those in schools yards were not always accessible for communities.
The Chairperson said since the new Government administration the committees in provincial legislatures confirmed during the national Committee’s oversight visits that provincial treasuries did not allocate S&R budget for S&R programmes, except for administration; what was NT’s view on that issue?
The Committee was highly dissatisfied with the presentation by COGTA and NT such that the Chairperson asked how they intended to proceed: after the Committee’s inputs, what undertakings would they make in that regard.
The Committee would not accept the doing away of ring fencing of the 15% MIG when COGTA was acceding itself that municipalities were failing.
Ministers of COGTA and NT had been part of Makgotla and had agreed with resolutions of the NGC and that was frustrating Chairperson Dlulane immensely.
Ms Ngqaleni said that NT and COGTA unfortunately sat in unenviable position as they appeared before multiple committees that were as vehement and passionate about their own sectors as well. Moreover NT was unfortunately not the only custodian of the fiscal system and as such when it came to decisions to allocate that was where the FFC was quite critical. Therefore it could also be useful for the Committee to engage the FFC on the functioning of the Intergovernmental system as defined by the Constitution to ask how far Government was in enabling the Intergovernmental system to function optimally.
The context in which the review of the grants system had taken place, which had been led by organised labour, which had to be consulted when there were to be changes made in the allocations and other central Departments, had been around things not working as expected. Therefore the review was looking at what could be done differently to better the situation and to quickly do another review to check whether the new mechanisms were doing any better or not. That was why she had alluded to the fact that going forward the MIG would evaluate periodically so as to enhance its performance where it was lacking and that that was a collective process.
The current difficulty in municipalities not delivering on water and sanitation in a similar manner as S&R delivery had led to many grants breaking away from the MIG. Therefore NT was asking itself whether a particular sector could only deliver through a grant. Using the example of the failures in water and sanitation even when indirect grants were included NT was realising that a provincial or national Department could not simply parachute an asset into a municipality. There still had to be multisphere planning and agreement between the three spheres as there had to operation ability of infrastructure, which was local Government functionality. As a result the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) was currently transferring some of the monies to municipalities and intervening in those that did not have the capacity to deliver W&S.
Things had changed in the past three years during SRSA pleas for consolidation of the MIG however, NT remained worried about how prioritisation was taking place and for COGTA to enforce implementation at local Government was at the behest of SRSA. Currently when a project was signed-off somewhere in the system and it came into the list, only then would COGTA be able to enforce implementation.
The ring fenced enforcement 15% MIG was very difficult, as it put everyone including COGTA in a difficult position because it was not clear what the basis was that SRSA currently deserved 15%.
The Chairperson interjected that S&R was not supposed to be compared with W&S as that was what was making local Government reprioritise S&R expenditure for W&S. She warned Ms Ngqaleni to refrain from comparing the two sectors because DWS had its own budget.
Ms Ngqaleni attempted to respond further trying to explain what she was leading up to.
The Chairperson reprimanded her saying if she was to continue in her particular thought train it would be better for her to remain quiet; that was why the Committee had requested accounting officers of COGTA and NT. She reiterated that the Committee wanted an undertaking that COGTA, NT and SRSA would go back to their principals and thrash out again how to proceed, as what had been presented was simply not going to fly with the Committee.
Mr Moemi said SRSA had engaged both COGTA and NT and he believed that in the most recent engagement the two Departments had attempted to listen to what SRSA was begging for. That was evinced by the fact that before the recent engagement, the prior decision had been that there would be no 15% or anything else for SRSA. The movement had then gone onto an opportunity to prove to COGTA and NT, that what SRSA was saying could be done was indeed possible. Therefore his emphasis and questioning were towards only the things that had not emanated from that recent engagement.
If NT was confirming his understanding as per his presentation on the day then all was not lost and there was a basis to move forward. Even in the original proposal SRSA had asked for the R2 billion over three years as SRSA had to capacitate itself to spend that money first!
The only reason SRSA had compromised during the review of the MIG system was because as the three Departments; they had all subjected a policy decision to a pilot. That was because if SRSA failed to prove with the R300 million what it promised to do, then the argument about scaling up the allocation to plus R1 billion would be in question. As SRSA was confident that it could deliver with the R300 million pilot, and that followed that NT would release more money afterwards, then that was a route worth trying.
He pleaded that the Committee consider the R300 million with the above stipulation and understanding as he had outlined.
Mr Heydenreich said that COGTA certainly would undertake to ensure better oversight and accountability regarding delivery of sport infrastructure. Furthermore, COGTA possibly would have to have regular interactions with the Committee on S&R to keep it up to date with the challenges that COGTA was faced with in honest manner.
Regarding the low expenditure in Mpumalanga that Ms Manana had alluded to; it was such challenges COGTA had to contend with, where the Premier had stated emphatically that no MIG money would be allocated for S&R.
COGTA would also work closer with SRSA to improve reporting and adherence to norms and standards so as to prevent coincidental investment.
Ms Manana reiterated that she required a NT response to the provincial cabinet decision by the Premier when the NGC resolution was in conflict with the Executive’s decision.
Diversion of MIG funding had to then be recorded as contravention of an NGC resolution by the Committee.
Mr Bergman said that often SRSA’s budget was looked upon as a frivolous exercise and if SA could not keep its children entertained or put them into socially adaptive activities; then the country had to expect a higher crime rate and hospitalisation.
To be still experimenting 21 years down the line was disingenuous and the Committee had to record its dissatisfaction with NT that S&R was not a marginal sector. If SRSA was sure it could pull-off what it was promising that had to be supported.
The Chairperson said that the Committee understood and accepted that there would be no fiscal top up and therefore the money that was already there had to be used correctly. She reiterated that the Committee was not in support of a pilot R300 million allocation to test the waters.
Ms Ngqaleni said NT would not like to leave the Committee with the belief that it simply wanted to do away with the MIG, it had undertaken to make it function better. As a result NT was undertaking further engagement with SRSA and the other departments that had shares in the MIG.
The R12 billion schools infrastructure grant was meant to also cater for S&R, and the schools established before the decision that new schools were schools only when sports facilities were built would have to have facilities built after there was interaction between DBE, SRSA and NT to understand what the catchment was in the communities where those schools were located.
The Chairperson said that she had not been aware that there were other departments contributing towards the MIG that had shares. The fact that further engagements between all involved Departments would be on the understanding that NT would only allocate the R300 million for the piloting of a policy decision was not only defeating the Committee’s resolve to get the ring fenced MIG allocation for S&R but it was exceptionally frustrating.
She asked the Committee whether she had unfairly lambasted COGTA and NT on their stance towards S&R prioritisation.
Ms Manana said the Chairperson had only become emotional because she was driving home the Committee’s frustration over the marginalisation of S&R by Government.
Mr Malatsi reiterated Ms Manana’s sentiments that the Chairperson’s irritation was justified reiterating his earlier comments that the two other Departments regarded their political principals as more important that oversight Committees such that they sent mid level personnel to account to the S&R Committee. The Committee had to consider elevating its discussion to the executive authority of the involved Departments.
Mr Bergman said it was about time that the Committee started shouting for S&R beyond the Committee room.
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