Committee Report on Rural Development and Land Reform Budget

Rural Development and Land Reform

20 April 2016
Chairperson: Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Documents handed out: Draft Minutes of 16 March; 5 April; 6 April; and 7 April 2016 of the Portfolio Committee of Rural Development and Land Reform

The Committee met to consider the draft report on Budget Vote 30 of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Issues which came up for discussion during the Committee’s review were the Department’s request for more office accommodation, that expenditure on land reform and restitution was in a state of decline as a share of overall government expenditure, that graduates in geomatics should be employed to the full benefit of the Department, that there had been an improvement in the quality of reporting from the Ingonyama Trust Board, and that there was a need to record the Committee’s view that when claims were finalised, people should take land rather than cash.

The report was adopted, with amendments.

The minutes of the Committee’s meetings on 16 March, 5 April, 6 April and 7 April were also adopted, with amendments


Meeting report

Draft Report on Budget Vote 30: Rural Development and Land Reform
The Committee considered the draft report on the Budget Vote 30: Rural Development and Land Reform, commencing with page 25 of the report.

Mr N Matiase (EFF) asked why the meeting had to start on page 25.

The Chairperson replied that in most cases the other pages held a summary of what was presented to the Committee. The last part, which dealt with the findings and observations, was the important part because recommendations were developed from this section.

Mr Matiase said that he had cross-referenced the preceding pages, and what had been said there was the vision and mission of the Department. This looked good on paper but was vague, did not inspire confidence and did not illustrate any groundbreaking approaches to a radical land reform programme.

Mr P Mnguni (ANC) said that certain things were standard in terms of procedure and therefore to interface with his colleague's point, everyone had to agree that the vision and mission would always be stated. There would be an opportunity to debate these issues in the House -- and he was very keen to debate this point with his colleague. The matter was pretty much administrative at this point, because the Constitution had to be complied with.

Mr M Nchabeleng (ANC) said that this kind of intervention about the vision and mission should have been made when the strategic plan of the Department had been discussed. His understanding of Section 1.1 was that there was no reference to land. He felt that the meeting should go ahead.

Mr T Walters (DA) said that part of what this Department was supposed to be doing was to look at land and land ownership, and how that land was utilised as an economic asset for the benefit of all South Africans. This was not evident in the document.

Mr Filtane (UDM) said that what was being discussed now was adequately addressed on Page 30 of the recommendations.

The Chairperson said that it had been decided that it should be left as is, because there were some recommendations on Page 30. This was a Committee which oversaw the Department, so this was just a way of highlighting the need for the Department to review the mission statement.

Page 26
Mr Matiase said that an audit had to be done first before a request was made for more office accommodation.

The Chairperson said that some of the questions being raised at the meeting should have been raised with the Department when dealing with this budget.

Mr Nchabeleng said that there had been a suggestion last year that the Department's offices should be visited, and employees should have been asked where they were working and if they were comfortable in their work spaces. If this had been done, then this situation would not have arisen at this meeting. The issue should be referred to the Department about its work space challenges.

Mr Walters asked if the Committee would agree to adding a clause in Section 5.1.5 The proposed addition was, 'perform its complex expanding mandate and additional roles that were not immediately apparent in its mandate'  It was about increasing the facilitation of relationships, which seemed to be a required capacity in the Department.

Page 27
Mr Matiase said that the graduates in geomatics who were in the Department should be properly utilised, because its investment in them should be used to the full benefit of the Department. 

The Chairperson said that what had been raised by Mr Matiase should be recorded under the findings.

Mr Filtane said that there were 1 200 land parcels in South Africa that had not been identified.

Page 28
Mr Matiase asked for an explanation of the first four sentences of Clause 5.1.15

The Content Advisor said that the expenditure on land reform and restitution was shown as a share of the overall government expenditure, and this had been in a state of decline.

The Chairperson said that the budget was not aligned with the priorities of the Department.

Page 29
Mr Filtane requested the addition of one sentence stating that the Committee appreciated the appointment of the new CEO, as there had been a significant improvement in the quality of reporting that had come from the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB).

The Chairperson said that two proposals should be integrated into the report. The one would be an addition about the new CEO, and the other about the fact that the ITB had been able to pay all its service providers on time.

Page 30
The Chairperson said that Paragraph 6.2 should be rephrased and the Department should review the organogram.

Mr Filtane said that in the sentence at the bottom of page 30, the word 'obstruct' should be replaced with the word 'compromise'.

Page 31
Mr Walters proposed adding 'outcomes based assessment' for students on the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) programme.

Page 32
Mr Filtane said he thought it should be on record that it was recommended that people should take land, rather than cash, when their claims were finalised.

Mr Walters expressed concern about giving preferential treatment to traditional leaders. He suggested that when the documents said 'consult with traditional leaders', the phrase 'all other stakeholders' should be added. 

The Chairperson agreed that this could be added. He also supported Mr Filtane’s proposal that the Committee should come out with a recommendation that said it encouraged beneficiaries to opt for land.

Page 33
No changes or amendments were made.

Page 34
Mr Matiase said that the Chairperson had permitted cross-referencing, so on page 3 the Green Paper on Land Reform (2011) had been referred to. He found this unacceptable, because a Green Paper was the very first stage of the policy process, yet there was a continuous reference to the Green Paper on Land reform of 2011. He asked what legal or legislative weight this document carried. It carried no weight in law, so he did not know why it was referred to.

The Chairperson commented on the slow pace in finalising policies. There had to be a recommendation that the Department should fast track some of the policies.

Mr Nchabeleng said that there was nothing stopping the Committee from referring to the Green Paper.

Mr Filtane requested that the second paragraph from the bottom on page nine be expressed as an observation.

Mr Mngune seconded Mr Filtane’s proposal.

The Chairperson requested that Clause 5.1.7 on page 26 be rephrased.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had agreed on the proposals that were supposed to be inserted into the report, as well as the rephrasing of some of the sentences. All the inputs would be processed. 

Mr Walters said that there was a big difference between supporting a report and supporting a budget. The DA wanted South Africans to be engaged in land ownership.

Mr Matiase said that he wanted it noted that the EFF did not agree with what was contained in the report.

The report was adopted with amendments.
The Committee Secretary read the rules for submitting a minority report.

Consideration of Portfolio Committee’s minutes
The minutes of the Portfolio Committee’s meetings on 16 March, 5 April, 6 April and 7 April were adopted, with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.



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