National House of Traditional Leaders annual report; Municipal Ward Development Plans

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

13 March 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


13 March 2003

Mr Y Carrim (ANC)

Documents handed out:
National House of Traditional Leaders: Annual Report 2002/03
National House of Traditional Leaders: Organogram
Linking the community to local governments - community based planning in Africa
Report of South African Community Based Planning Workshop October 2002
Ward Development Plan for Mangaung Municipality (see website)

The Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHLT) raised the following issues:
- finding a permanent chamber for the House of Traditional Leaders
- delinking the House of Traditional Leaders from the Department
- allowing the House of Traditional Leaders to appoint permanent support staff
- finalising the White Paper on Traditional leadership.

The Committee discussed the NHTL trip to the United Kingdom to examine the role of the House of Lords, finding a chamber and de-linking the NHTL from the Department, consultation with the NHTL on traditional matters and its role in a democratic dispensation, and the call for the incorporation of Mpumalanga into Swaziland by certain Traditional Leaders in Mpumalanga. The concerns of the NHTL will be noted in the Committee's report. It was pointed out that delinking the NHTL would require a decision by the President and law did not currently require consultation on traditional matters.

The Committee was briefed on the Community Based Planning programme conducted in Mangaung. The Committee praised the success of the programme. Questions were raised around the affordability of the programme and its suitability for deep rural areas.

National House of Traditional Leaders Annual Report 2002/3
Inkosi M Mzimela (Chairperson, NHTL) read Chapter 2 'From the Chairperson's Desk' of the report. Very little progress has been achieved. The year under review was 'hectic' and 'not very fruitful' given the task of defining the powers and functions of traditional leaders. The Report raised the same issues as the previous two: staff shortage, lack of support from the Department and the unavailability of a chamber. The NHTL has only five officials. The NHTL has asked to use the City of Cape Town's chamber for its sittings.

Mr Carrim (Chair, ANC) had deemed the NHLT annual report presented last year unsatisfactory and he had submitted a request to the Department to aid the NHTL in preparing this report. Mr C Clerihew (Chief Financial Officer, Department) had been appointed programme manager for the NHTL to assist in this.

As Chairperson, Inkosi Mzimela had contributed to the policy on traditional dog hunting, delivered a paper to the National Conference on HIV/AIDS and the Education Sector, reported recommendations to the South African Aids Council, delivered a paper on traditional leadership and attended various receptions and annointments of Princes.

The Chairperson, Kgosi S Suping (Deputy Chairperon, NHTL) and Mr S Nkosi (Communication Officer, NHTL) had visited the United Kingdom to investigate the possibility of applying the bicameral system there, lobby support for traditional leadership in modern democracy, learn about the role of the House of Lords and address Members of Parliament on the White Paper on Traditional Leadership Institutions and Governance.

The NHTL listed challenges it faced in the future. It envisaged the need to establish a continental parliament of traditional leaders. It is necessary to de-link from the Department, while still receiving support from it, and become an autonomous statutory body in the Presidency. The White Paper process on traditional leadership and institutions had to be finalised. The NHTL needed a chamber for its sittings. The NHTL should have meetings with political parties, NGOs, other statutory bodies and trade unions. The NHTL Act should be amended to allow the appointment of permanent staff. The NHTL had to become more involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in the legislative process, to broaden democracy and make it credible. The NHTL had to influence the establishment of a Provincial House of Traditional Leaders for the San and Khoi.

UK visit
Mr B Komphela (ANC) asked what the comments were on the White Paper when it was presented in the UK.

Kgosi Suping replied that the UK parliamentarians had praised the inclusion of the NHTL in the Constitution. They held that tradition, culture and custom must be respected and that an evolutionary approach to the question was best.

Inkosi Mzimela added that ideas had been exchanged and that the UK parliamentarians had stated that it was good that South Africa had the Constitution to guide it in this. He wished to send the Committee a detailed report on the trip.

Donor Funding
Ms G Borman (DP) asked about donor funding that had been solicited, which did not appear in the budget.

Kgosi Suping replied that the areas under the NHTL were rural and poverty stricken. Traditional leaders had taken the initiative in seeking donor funding.

Chamber for the NHTL
Mr P Doman (NNP) suggested that the NHTL consider using old provincial chambers in Cape Town.

Inkosi Mzimela thanked Mr Doman for the suggestion and stated that the NHTL had no problem with any suitable venue in Cape Town.

Kgosi Suping added that the NHTL is the 'property' of the National Parliament. The Government should look after the NHTL and not have a negative attitude towards it.

Mr Komphela suggested the old Qwaqwa parliament to accommodate the NHTL as the chamber need not be in Cape Town.

Inkosi Mzimela replied that as a national body, the NHTL would not want to be away from Cape Town. All Bills relating to traditional issues should be sent to the NHTL, so it needed to be close to Cape Town.

The Chair explained that the Committee had facilitated the use of parliamentary facilities by the NHTL but that the Speaker and Secretary of Parliament had told him last year that it was not appropriate for statutory bodies to use Parliament. If the NHTL wished to use chambers in Parliament, it should contact the Speaker and Secretary. If it wished permanent chambers of its own, this should be discussed with the Department and Ministry in terms of the NHTL budget. He noted that other statutory bodies had parliamentary liaisons officers and the NHTL could use this mechanism to communicate with Parliament and the Committee.

Consultation of NHTL on traditional issues
Inkosi Mzimela stated that all Bills that relate to traditional issues should be sent to the NHTL.

The Chair responded that the law did not require this and an amendment to the Act would be needed. The view of the NHTL would be noted and passed along.

Progress on NHTL concerns
Ms R Southgate (ACDP) raised a series of questions on NHTL accommodation, the size of its budget, delinking it from the Department, permanent staff and the organogram.

The Chair responded that these issues had been raised last year and that some progress was being made, as indicated in the Committee report. He highlighted the Committee's successful request that the NHTL receive departmental assistance with its budget. He had had discussions with and sent a letter to the Minister on the NHLT concerns. These were the NHTL objection to Departmental control of the NHTL budget, the NHTL wish to answer to the President not the Minister, the NHTL's concern that the Department was unresponsive, and the White Paper. The Ministry and Department were attending to these concerns.

The Minister had responded in writing: The Department supervises the NHTL because the President allocated it to the Department, so the NHTL should discuss the matter with the Presidency. By law, the Director General's role was to be the NHTL's financial officer - a task delegated to Mr Clerihew. The White Paper would address this. The Department was negotiating with Technikons to assist in capacity building. The White Paper would hopefully be finalised by March 2003.

Inkosi Mzimela responded that the Minister was resisting the delinking because of history. The issue had been raised during a time of strained relations and now the perception was that it was the strained relations that were behind the request to delink, when the real reason is that the NHTL work cuts across all departments. It helped to raise these issues in the Portfolio Committee because one could then see who was playing 'dirty games'. He doubted the Minister had written the letter since in it there was reference to the Programme Manager and yet the Minister had asked him who the Programme Manager was. The claim that the Department was handling issues did not mean that the NHTL was getting what it wanted.

Ms L Msengana-Ndlela (Director General, Department) responded that the Minister had signed the letter. The Department considers traditional leadership important and would take note of the issues raised. She was newly appointed. The issue of NHTL accommodation had been brought to her attention. Administrative issues would be dealt with in the White Paper and the Department had taken significant action, such as its contribution on NHTL accounting. The Department would consult with the NHTL on these issues and wished to contribute on matters of poverty, tradition and governance.

Provincial House of Traditional Leaders in Northern Cape
Rev Goosen asked what progress had been made on establishing a Provincial House of Traditional Leaders for Khoi and San communities in the Northern Cape. Will Khoi-San in other provinces have to form separate Houses or would they be represented in the Northern Cape House?

Inkosi Mzimela responded that the Department was handling the matter of establishing the House. A forum of traditional leaders had been established three years ago, but he did not know where the process was now. He noted that although there were traditional communities in the Western Cape and Gauteng, these communities lacked traditional leaders.

Contribution of NHTL to democratic dispensation
Mr Komphela stated that the NHTL ought to show what it had done to contribute to the democratic dispensation to deserve the money it received.

Mr J Ngubeni (ANC) stated that there had been improvement in the issues the NHTL had engaged itself in. Remarkable progress had been made and the role of traditional leadership in the democratic dispensation was being promoted. It had not been long enough since the NHTL was established for all the issues to be dealt with.

Poor impression of the Minister
Mr Komphela asked that Inkosi Mzimela correct the poor impression of the Minister that he had created in his remarks.

Inkosi Mzimela responded that the impression was created by attitude. The role and organogram of the NHTL should be in the Act, not dependent on a person. Actions speak louder than words and what is said is not what Government does. Unless what the traditional leaders wanted and envisaged was done, they would not take seriously the claim that they were taken seriously.

The Chair stated that he did not believe that Inkosi Mzimela was casting aspersions on the Minister. It was probable that an official drafted the letter, as is common practice. The issue was not who wrote the letter but its substance.

Traditional Authority as points of delivery
Rev A Goosen (ANC) asked to what extent the NHTL made an impact on the eradication of poverty.

Nkosi M Nonkonyana (ANC) raised the issue of Traditional Authorities as points of delivery - how much of the budget was used to improve conditions in areas under their authority?

Inkosi Mzimela replied that money was wasted because the Government does not trust traditional leaders - it prefers to work through NGOs and does not see traditional leaders are delivery points.

Core function of the NHTL
Nkosi Nonkonyana asked what the NHTL saw as its core function. What had it done in terms of this and what is its programme for the coming year? He said that he thought the core function of the NHTL was legislative. Notwithstanding that there was no requirement for referral, how many Bills had bee referred to the NHTL? Was their advice heard?

Inkosi Mzimela responded that very few Bills were referred to the NHTL. Some Departments and the South African Law Commission had consulted the NHTL, but this did not mean that their views were taken seriously. The NHTL wanted Bills passed in consultation with the NHTL, not after consultation with it. The latter formulation meant its views could be ignored.

Kgosi Suping added that the NHTL had been proactive at times and submitted its opinion as part of the consultation process.

Civil Service Status of Traditional Affairs
Nkosi Nonkonyana asked if the Administration of traditional matters was still at the Chief Directorate level. If not, at what level was it?

Inkosi Mzimela replied that while there had been a Chief Director: Traditional Affairs, they were now handled by a Director with responsibility only for capacity building.

Mpumalanga and Swaziland
Mr Ngubeni raised the issue of traditional leaders in Mpumalanga that wished the province to join Swaziland. What role was the NHTL or the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders playing in this? It appeared most traditional leaders in the province favoured this move.

Inkosi Mzimela replied that the NHTL had played no role in this. It might simply be that Swazi traditional leaders wished to pay allegiance to the Swazi king. This need not entail Mpumalanga becoming part of Swaziland since Zulu traditional leaders in Mpumalanga paid allegiance to the king in kwaZulu-Natal without asking that Mpumalanga be joined with kwaZulu.

Problem with piecemeal approach to Administrative issues
Mr Ngubeni was concerned that there was focus on particular Administrative issues, which would be better dealt with in the White Paper process. These issues could then be dealt with in the Bill with consequent good results.

Pro-activity of the NHTL in its concerns
Mr Ngubeni asked about concerns the NHTL had raised. Was the CEO proactive in dealing with these? When the report stated that they had never met the Director General, was this because the Director General had refused or because the CEO did not take the matter up? What about the lack of invitation to the opening of Parliament, was the CEO proactive?

The Chair responded that the Speaker explained that there were over two thousand statutory bodies and invitations to the opening of Parliament rotated amongst them. He would propose to the Speaker that the NHTL not be treated as simply another statutory body but be given special status. He would also alert SALGA to the importance of inviting the NHTL to its conferences.

The Chair was concerned that a budget review had not been conducted. He asked that at the next review, the CEO and Mr Clerihew explain what had been done with the money, what had been achieved, what the goals were and how they intended to measure progress.

Community Based Planning Presentation
Dr I Goldman (Director, Khanya) stated that Community Based Planning sought to ensure that local government resources supported community needs. Poor people had to be included in managing their development. The project had been done in a range of wards - from affluent, 'white' suburbs, through mixed wards to disadvantaged wards. There had been a problem initially with getting people involved in affluent suburbs, but otherwise people had eagerly engaged in planning. Plans focussed most on jobs, skills education, HIV, safety and the environment.

Even though it was not expected at this early stage, there was evidence that services had improved as a result of the community based planning. The SAPS service was most improved as they gained a better understanding of community needs. The programme was now being piloted in new areas, and would be rolled out nationally in 2004. (See PowerPoint presentation)

Community Based Planning in poor rural areas
Mr Komphela was concerned that it would also be a problem getting poor people involved in very large wards in the deep rural areas. How did the programme deal with illiterate people?

Mr S Mushudulu (ANC) asked how the programme was taken to the people since it could be 'academic' at times.

Dr Goldman replied that since the programme was highly participatory, illiteracy is not a problem. Ideally speaking, wards are too large a basic entity for community based planning, but the programme was adapted for this. In large wards, the meetings moved around the ward with only a few key meetings drawing everyone in.

Cost of the programme
Mr Komphela and Mr J Ngubeni (ANC) expressed concern at the fifty thousand rands per ward cost of the programme.

Mr L Tsenoli (MEC, Local Government and Housing, Free State) responded that the money had been spent to ensure that participants were able to exercise meaningful choices. It was possible though to use available resources differently to address the cost.

The Chair expressed concern that constant consultation would lead to a wish list. It is important to prioritise and discuss which priorities are possible.

Mr Tsenoli agreed that prioritising was necessary. Community based planning allowed participation in such priority setting.

CBP complements new municipal system
Mr Ngubeni praised the programme. The new municipal system was still at the infant stage and community based planning complemented it well. It confirmed that wards should be funded. With such planning Municipalities could divide their budget by ward, plan by ward more easily. People would own what Government did.

Mr Tsenoli stated that community based planning was intended to complement work on the ground. Integrated development planning was meant to be participatory and community based planning allowed this. It could also be used as a way to review integrated development plans.

Dr Goldman added that the project undertaken had shown that community based planning worked. Links with the integrated development plan had to be maintained and improved.

Sustainability & role of Municipality/Ward Committees
Mr Komphela asked what the ward committee's role was in community based planning.

Dr Goldman stated that the programme was sustainable with trained facilitators. Thirty facilitators were trained and they worked with the ward committees, which in turn helped manage the process. The steering committee was only involved at the start of the process - the municipality did the actual work. Participation had been good, except in previously 'white' areas. Even in these areas, by the end of the process NNP and DA councillors were keen proponents of community based planning.

Support for CBP
The Chair asked what the Portfolio Committee could do to assist beyond facilitating the current meeting.

Mr Marc Feldman (Consultant to the Department) replied that Integrated Development Planning and Community Based Planning involved a fundamental change in decision-making and it was very difficult to succeed in this. Support was needed to develop a strategy to roll out Community Based Planning across the country.

Questions not directly addressed:
Application to other municipalities
Mr J Kgarimetsa (ANC) stated that the programme had come at the right time. How easily could it be made accessible to other municipalities?

The Chair asked if it could it be generalised to other communities?

Proposals for change
The Chair asked if the programme had generated proposals for change to the current system and structures.

Since time was pressing, the meeting had to be adjourned. Dr Goldman stated that he would supply a written response to deal with the Committee's questions more fully.


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