Municipal Demarcation Board; SALGA: annual reports

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

11 March 2003
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
12 March 2003

MUNICIPAL DEMARCATION BOARD AND SALGA BUDGET & PROGRAMMES

Chairperson: Mr Y Carrim (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Municipal Demarcation Board presentation
Municipal Demarcation Board Report to Committee
SALGA Powerpoint presentation
SALGA Report to Committee

SUMMARY
The Municipal Demarcation Board believes that it cannot perform its mandate without a larger budget allocation as it needs to revisit all ward delimitation before the 2005 local government elections. It noted that there are 64 requests for re-determinations of the outer boundaries of municipalities. SALGA in its assessment of the past year and future challenges looked at improving the interface between itself and municipalities and improving its capability to provide direct support to them.

MINUTES
Municipal Demarcation Board presentation
Mr H Monare (CEO) and Mr R Willemse (Head of Research & Implementation) were present. The presentation noted that the term of office of the current board expires in January 2004 and that the old and the new board members would need to work together. There are 64 requests for redetermination of outer boundaries. There are other requests but these deal with ward determination and so are currently held in abeyance as all ward determination is going to be relooked at. The MDB felt that its budgetary allocations are insufficient. They said that this had led to the untenable situation where the Board is relying on donor funding to perform certain key functions. The R5 million budget allocation for revisit ward delimitation was not sufficient. The MDB had requested R17 million for this. (See presentation document for full details).

Discussion
Mr A G Lyle (ANC) asked whether the board intended to conduct an exercise to establish non-viable municipalities.

Dr C Mulder (Freedom Front) asked how the board wants the committee to intervene in respect of the insufficient budgetary allocations.

Some committee members wanted to know what makes the re-doing of wards necessary.

The Chair expressed his concern about the structuring of some of wards and outer boundaries. He acknowledged the excellent work that the board has done irrespective of the limited resources and budgetary constraints.

The Board, as represented by Mr Monare and Mr Willemse, noted that it was aware of the non viability of some municipalities. They stated that the current boundaries were drawn to create a framework but that the Board is working on programmes to make municipalities more viable.

The Board was asked what problems it was experiencing in trying to make municipalities more viable. It was also asked that if it was aware of non-viable municipalities, when was it intending to inform people of these.

The Chair commented that he was surprised to see so many District Management Areas (DMAs). He made it clear that the non-viability of municipalities is not only the problem of the Demarcation Board but also that of the Department, SALGA and the Committee.

SALGA's response to this was that it was going to take time to identify those municipalities which would never be viable.

The Demarcation Board indicated that it could reduce the number of municipalities but noted that this would not be the ultimate solution to the problem of non-viability. The Board was of the view that one can change the boundaries but that viability could not be created. The Board added that it is too early to judge at this stage.

The Committee agreed that it might be early to look at outer boundaries but perhaps the time has come to do so.

The Chair agreed that viability of municipalities needed proper staff, sufficient resources and an adequate budget but questioned certain boundaries drawn by the board.

SALGA indicated that if anything is to be done, it needed to happen soon, in preparation for the next elections.

The Chair asked the Demarcation Board to circulate a report on viability of municipalities in order for the Committee to assist the Board.

The Demarcation Board noted that it will have to revisit all wards with the IEC as from 2004 but cannot start this process before the registration of voters for the 2005 elections. The Board indicated that provincial and local boundaries are needed for national elections.

The Chair suggested more contact between the Demarcation Board and municipalities.

Ms G Borman (DP) asked whether the board needed the extra money for redemarcation.

The Board's response was that the need for extra funding is to redo the wards. The board indicated that it had received Norwegian funding of 6 million Norwegian Krone for 3 years and that Denmark had also donated money for a period of 3 years starting in 2002.

The Board indicated that the capacity of districts is regularly reviewed by the MECs. They pointed out that the Minister's authorisation is permanent and that the Municipal Structures Act does not allow the Board to give permanent authorisation to MECs.

Committee members felt that the board needed to spend more funds in communicating with the communities themselves.

South African Local Government Association (SALGA) presentation
Father S Mkhatshwa (Chair), Councillor Thabo Mokoena (CEO), Councillor S Somyo, Councillor D Masemola, Councillor N Dube, Councillor Mayathula-Khoza, Mr M Soni, Mr T Mokwena, Ms J Sibisi represented SALGA.

SALGA's presentation covered its structure, achievements, priorities and the challenges faced in improving the quality of municipalities and effective interfacing with municipalities. The presentation noted that sometimes there are financial resources but not sufficient staff, etc. SALGA felt that a structure needs to be set up in order to avoid the situation where the portfolio committee is doing work, which should be done by SALGA.

The CEO presented SALGA's budget. The budget for the past financial year was R120 million. The expenditure was R96.8 million. The estimated expenditure until June 2003 is R42 million, excluding donor funding.

The CEO noted that SALGA is working together the special commission, appointed by the President, investigating financial irregularities in municipalities. (See presentation document for full details)

Discussion
SALGA was asked what type of training it is providing to municipalities. Concern was expressed that the previously disadvantaged groups are not the ones getting the free basic services and SALGA was asked what it intended doing to ensure that these groups do get these free services.

Mr J Ngubeni (ANC) stated that there is no indication in SALGA's budget report that they are assisting councillors to eradicate corruption within municipalities nor was he aware of any capacity building programme.

Ms G Borman (DP) asked what the provinces' response was to the levies that they are being charged. She also asked what SALGA's core function was.

SALGA indicated that its training is demand-driven. Councillors are not keen to answer questionnaires relating to their qualifications in order for SALGA to assess what training is needed. There are however a number of training programmes to be implemented in 2003.

Committee members expressed concern that in some municipalities there is no capacity building and asked to what extent SALGA is involved in capacity building.

The SALGA Chair pointed out that it has developed good relations with National Treasury over the past few years but it was of the view that the money allocated to local government is not enough. It is aware of the outcry that needy people are not benefiting from free basic services. There will however never be a total benefit in respect of free basic services but there is remarkable progress in respect of these services. He assured committee members that there is an acceptance of the levy structure among SALGA members.

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