Documents handed out: National House of Traditional Leaders 2016 Annual Performance Plan; Municipal Demarcation Board 2016 Annual Performance Plan [email email@example.com]
The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) and the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) briefed the Committee on their Annual Performance Plans, strategic goals and budget.
The MDB had reviewed its 2015 to 2020 strategic goals. It sought to deepen public participation and engagement with communities as it had identified that as one of its limitations. It also planned to strengthen its research capacity to better understand every area and boundary of South Africa. Demarcation on its own was a very sensitive matter and the board had identified inadequate public participation and engagement in demarcation as a risk. It also was limited by a number of legislative challenges and had already engaged with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to address those. It was particularly worried also at the negative public perceptions, which were largely due to the public not understanding its mandate, even when it was acting in terms of the legislation. Expectations from the public were very different from the realities. Although its mandate had become central in public discourse, there was nothing to support it in maintaining the institutional capacity at the moment. In 2017 it anticipated that it would face further challenges with new delimitations and boundary redeterminations in preparation for 2021 elections. The Board was described as under-funded, so that there needed to be a debate on how MDB funded section 22 and other requests from Government. There had not been any commensurate structure to support the public discourse in terms of maintaining institutional capacity.
Members questioned why the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) was not represented at this meeting, given the fact that both entities briefing the Committee today were funded by COGTA, and even after it was explained that the Parliamentary programme was such that COGTA was reporting to the NA, and that a representative from the NHTL could assist, Members said that they would have preferred to see COGTA directly represented. They asked what legislative constraints the MDB faced, and how it planned to address them. They were concerned that MDB had not give itself realistic goals and was therefore not likely to reach them. Members were particularly interested to hear the current situation at Vuwani, noted that it was sub judice, and how it would ensure that this kind of unrest was not repeated. They further questioned the real effect of the planned stakeholder engagements on public perceptions of MDB.
The NHTL noted that until now, it had maintained a largely inward focus in terms of institutionalisation of traditional councils, rather than concentrating on citizens, but had now altered its approach and was looking to ordinary citizens through its outreach programmes. These were named, and included an HIV sector plan in rural areas, and revitalisation of heritage sites in order to create tourism opportunities for the communities, It would be working with other departments to ensure delivery. The way in which it had drawn its plans was explained, particularly highlighting the linkages with the National Development Plan. NHTL was presently consulting on the Initiation Bill, which was in line with the Cabinet's policy on customary initiations. It had partnered with provincial Traditional Houses on raising awareness about customary initiation. It agreed that each and every traditional leader had to be accountable for initiation schools in their jurisdiction. There had to be an Initiation Committee monitoring initiation on a daily basis, reporting to and keeping the traditional leaders fully informed. It was noted that in general, the NHTL had 30 days to comment on all bills referred to it by Parliament, but this was too short since it also needed to consult with the provincial houses, and then also down to local houses and traditional councils at the lowest levels. Fortunately, new legislation had allowed 60 days for input, which allowed for thorough scrutiny. Another major project to support the preservation and promotion of heritage, culture and traditions of African communities was the research partnership with the University of Cape Town into customary practices that could be deemed harmful or contrary to the Constitution, and how to amend them. Members asked why the NHTL had not listed the socio-economic programmes it had embarked on, asked when it would start to account to its own constituency, and the reasons why traditional leaders had not been participating more fully in municipal councils in terms of the Municipal Structures Act.
The Committee considered, but did not yet adopt the progress report on interventions at Oudtshoorn Municipality.
Municipal Demarcation Board briefings: Performance against Predetermined Objectives-2015/16 Financial Year, 2015 to 2020 Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan for 2016/17, Budget 2016 5o 2020
Mr Ashraf Adam, Deputy Chairperson, Municipal Demarcation Board, tendered the apologies of the Chairperson of the Board (or DMB) who was unable to attend due to some security matters.
Mr Aluwani Ramagadza, Executive Manager: Operations and Research, MDB, said that the Board was appointed by the President of the Republic and chaired by its Chairperson on a full time basis.
In presenting the revised 2015-2020 Strategic Goals, he noted that the MDB sought to deepen public participation and engagement with communities, as it had identified that aspects as one of its limitations in the Board's work. The Board also planned to strengthen its research capacity so that it understood every little portion of South Africa (SA) so that when it drew the boundaries those would be well informed.
Mr Ramagadza identified some of the challenges and risks. Deepening public participation demanded human and financial resources and that would remain a challenge if there were not sufficient resources
Demarcation on its own was a very sensitive matter and the board had identified inadequate public participation and engagement in demarcation as a risk.
Mr S Thobejane (ANC: Limpopo) interjected at this point that although the MDB presentation was closely linked to matters involving the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) he saw no representative of that Department in the room.
The Chairperson apologised for having not noted the apology submitted from COGTA; normally there was an official from COGTA that attended Select Committee meetings routinely but on this day, COGTA was reporting to the relevant portfolio committee.
Mr Thobejane accepted the apology, but maintained that it was strange that although, in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), COGTA transferred money to its entities, it was not following up closely on how the money had been used for planning and execution. Both entities before the Committee today were funded by COGTA, and he thought that it was unacceptable that no representative was present.
The Chairperson noted and appreciated those concerns, but reminded Mr Thobejane that the delegation from the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) also included some representatives from the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA), which was a component of COGTA. It was not the case that COGTA had deliberately overlooked attendance of the Select Committee meeting, given that it was standard practice for it to attend.
Mr Abram Sithole, Secretary to National House of Traditional Leaders, pointed out that he has close associations with the DTA, having served as Acting Director General when the Director General of that Department had been away in the United Nations. The Chief Financial Officer of the DTA was also present, and both of them were in a position to give full support to both of the COGTA entities.
Mr Thobejane still maintained that it was unacceptable for COGTA to not show a keen interest in the affairs of its entities, although he took Mr Sithole's point.
Ms G Manopole (ANC: North West) said she shared the frustration of Mr Thobejane. However, she pointed out that the shortcoming was essentially caused by Parliament having scheduled a simultaneous meeting in both houses that involved the same department. She appealed that the entities be permitted to continue.
The Chairperson also reiterated that though there were concerns there was no need for aspersions to be created, as COGTA had not deliberately neglected attending the Select Committee meeting, and the Committee had not specifically tendered an invitation on the assumption that COGTA would as usual attend. He asked Mr Mr Ramagadza to continue.
Mr Ramagadza continued to list some of the key challenges. Over the past 15 years the MDB had been implementing the Act and had learnt a lot of lessons learned, and identified what could be done to improve systems. The MDB had identified quite a few legislative challenges limiting its work, on which it had engaged with COGTA. There were negative public perceptions, largely due to lack of understanding of the Board’s mandate. This included perceptions around the frequency in the delimitation of wards and numbers, although these were in fact prescribed in the Act. The expectations were different from the practicalities of implementation.
MDB 2016/17 Annual Performance Plan
Mr Oupa Nkoane, Chief Executive Officer, Municipal Demarcation Board, said that MDB would want to drive compliance in terms of supply chain prescripts, under Programme 3. In regard to Programme 4, MDB had recognised that its mandate had become central in public discourse, but there had been no commensurate structure, and it was focusing now on building and maintaining institutional capacity.
Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget
Mr Nkoane noted that the Board was under-funded. Up to the end of the MTEF, in 2018/19, the budget would grow by only around R10 million, and there needed to be a debate on how MDB funded section 22 and other requests from Government.
Mr Adam concluded that the experiences of 2016 would seem to suggest that the work of the MDB would not get any easier in 2017, when there would be new delimitations and boundary re-determinations for the 2021 elections. In anticipation of that, MDB had scaled up its operations and was engaging with COGTA and National Treasury (NT) on funding. The Board, recognising MDB’s serious limitations within its mandate, was spending a lot of time and effort in preparing for the conference in June to which the Committee was invited. At the next board meeting MDB would be finalising the weaknesses MDB had identified within the Demarcation Act before sending it to COGTA
Ms T Wana (ANC: Eastern Cape) asked what had been the legislative constraints MDB had been alluding to and when it was realised that these limitations existed. She asked what the MDB’s public engagement strategy was to minimise the conflicts on the ground.
Mr Thobejane said that MDB had quite an ambitious programme, despite some constraints on resources to achieve it. He wondered if it would not be setting itself up to fail if it did such ambitious planning without having resources in place. He noted that public engagement on the work of the MDB had a significant impact, and asked what it was doing to ensure that upheavals in Vuwani, Limpopo, would not recur and why people in that area did not understand how the demarcations happened. He also asked why redeterminations were not done outside of election periods, as demarcation seemed to have a direct impact on whether voters would actually vote or not.
Mr Thobejane again referred to budget in the context of the restructured organogram and asked how MDB would achieve its goals as outlined in slide 24. He wondered how it would develop a regionalised operating model within its limited resources, given that it was resource-intense.
Ms Manopole alluded to the stakeholder processes that were perceived as an emerging risk. In both 2016/17 and 2017/18, MDB had planned four to six stakeholder engagements, and she wondered if this would have any effect on the negative public perceptions of MDB? She asked if MDB had engaged with other public entities, even Chapter 9 institutions, to assist with stakeholder education. She asked if it had done anything to address the legislative constraints which were hampering its work.
Mr Adam replied that the MDB Act had been promulgated in 1998 to give effect to the 2000 elections. It was specifically intended for that period, and over the intervening years, the MDB had identified challenges in that legislation. A major point was that the Act did not compel the MDB to do public participation, although it may, and in relation to public participation, the Act gave MDB the choice whether to approve, vary or withdraw any proposal and did not compel MDB to report back on a decision that it had made. There were also criteria around limitations of registered voters when seen against the total populace of an area. Other points to be considered were the impact of the formula, the minimum and maximum numbers for demarcation, the impact of the Municipal Structures Act of 1998, which limited category B municipalities to a maximum of 90 wards. Those were identified at the MDB’s workshop and would be approved at MDB’s next board meeting and then submitted to COGTA as part of the legislative review. The MDB had realised that public participation was its greatest weakness and even though it acted within the law in carrying out its mandate; the law and the mandate were themselves the limitation.
He reported that the Vuwani matter had come before MDB three times and twice it had been rejected after detailed investigations. The community had refused the outcomes twice, although the MDB had applied the criteria established under the Act. The MDB had made significant progress in finalising the municipal boundaries in 2013. In 2014/15 the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs had requested MDB to re-look at a number of municipalities, in terms of the “back to basics” approach of government. MDB eventually agreed to re-determine about a third of the originally requested number of municipalities. Malamulele was reviewed again and again, and here the criteria and numbers did not work but in terms of “back to basics” there had been proposals raised to the MDB through public participation, not included in the original proposals, with the situation changing as matters went on. In Vuwani there were concerns that the security and intelligence agencies did not play a substantial part, despite being aware of the challenges long before the uprisings. When it came to court there were incidences outside the court. There was a point made that South Africa may be trying to achieve, through violence, what it could not achieve through democracy.
When the Minister of COGTA engaged MDB on section 22(2) of the Municipal Demarcation Act, requesting MDB to consider the reconfiguration of boundaries of certain municipalities, COGTA had undertaken to pay for the redetermination in 2015, since in theory MDB had already closed its processes. However; MDB had still not been paid for that work.
Mr Nkoane replied that MDB would be keen to use other state entities that already had a national footprint, like the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), at provincial and even municipal level. Unfortunately, in the previous week, MDB had asked SALGA for permission to display MDB banners at the SALGA National Members Assembly but this request was refused on the grounds that the display spaces were already booked. Ideally, MDB would like to see a better relationship with SALGA where it would be welcomed to communicate and showcase the MDB brand. He noted that the Board recognised that four stakeholder engagements would actually not achieve much, but it was glaringly obvious that it had a limited budget for that public engagement programme. As part of the legislative review, a new way of public participation would be devised to impact more positively on the budget, and allow COGTA and NT to hear the requests of the MDB.
Mr Ramagadza said that, historically, MDB used to do public participation and engagement at a district level but in the most recent round of boundary reconfigurations the Board had consulted at a local municipal level. This was still not enough, especially when it came to ward determinations, and this had highlighted that next time, the MDB would also need to visit the wards for consultations.
MDB used the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Party Liaison Committees (PLCs) and SALGA forums in its education and public engagement platforms in the recent redetermination round. There were also Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the IEC, SALGA Statistics SA (StatsSA) and the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) and it was recognised that these could be better managed.
Ms B Engelbrecht (DA: Gauteng) asked MDN to explain the situation in Vuwani. If MDB was saying that public engagement was paramount, why then were the requests of that community not being heard.
The Chairperson asked, given the prevalence of complaints and protests about decisions by the MDB, whether the Board suspected it may not be doing other things appropriately. He noted that demarcation had a direct impact on municipal councils. It could be that responsibility would be deferred, especially around public participation between stakeholders and MDB, and he wondered how, in this case, the Board would develop a plan to ensure that intergovernmental relations (IGR) between the Board and municipal councils would be better managed.
The Chairperson commented that in relation to Municipal Capacity Assessments (MCA) the determination of outer boundaries had an impact on the categorisation of municipalities. In a previous meeting there was an indication that the last assessments had been done some two to three years previously. He wondered what the MDB plan was for the future. There could be some serious implications; he gave the example that if the MDB immediately devolved responsibility from one municipality to another, with responsibility for water services shifting from local to district municipality, the responsibility could also shift to district municipalities. Sometimes this might happen without having carried out a proper assessment. If this had happened, then he asked what the MDB planned to avoid it in future.
Mr Adam replied that he could not say more than he had already said on Vuwani ,as there had been a court process that had found in favour of the MDB. The criteria and the “numbers game” as gazetted in the MDB's establishing Act were of prime importance. Whilst people wanted their own municipality it had already been concluded, three times, when applying the criteria, that this would not be a viable options.
He stressed that when it came to IGR and MCA, the municipal boundaries were not the only determinant in a municipality’s capacity and the ability to perform. The way municipalities were funded in SA was limiting, and he cautioned that unless the country began reconsidering the way in which municipalities were funded. There would always be some who could not meet the demands made by their own citizens. For example, Eskom had been given an increase in the electricity tariff in 2016, but many municipalities could not immediately add that percentage of increase to consumer bills. Until funding of municipalities was reconsidered, the municipal boundaries would continue being “hotbeds of discontent”, as they were the only outlet for people to express their frustrations visibly. Municipal boundaries were but one of a broad gamut of challenges facing municipalities.
He agreed that MDB had not been able to undertake allocating powers and functions to municipalities for a while, because when the new Board came into office it had found irregularities in supply chain processes linked to tender awards, and this had led to a review around the award of a tender, despite a threat of court action. That had taken around two years to sort out, and had been expensive to resolve. Eventually the service provider had abandoned the claim. The Board had now restarted that process with different terms of reference, and had budgeted for it. Mr Adam said that this was the only mechanism in SA, as far as he was aware, to assign powers and functions to municipalities. The question was also whether it was, for instance, fair to expect Mier Local Municipality n Northern Cape to have similar standards of services as Rustenburg Local Municipality. If spatial economics of municipalities were not understood so that powers and functions, as well as funding of municipalities, could be assigned accordingly the Government would continue to have challenges with municipalities. .
He added to remarks on the IGR. MDB participated in the MinMEC meetings with Councillors and the Minister. The Chairperson of the MDB sat on the President's Coordinating Council (PCC). There were many other IGRs that MDB thought it could leverage, although it was well aware that it had to be seen to remain independent, particularly because of the element of regionalisation which the Board wanted to embark on. Possibly MDB would have to leverage some of the district IGRs, to see how to work within those where possible, although there were limitations. Because the MDB operated at a national level, it would, when it needed to do public participation at a local government level, need to rely on municipalities to provide venues. In some cases however; MDB found manipulations where venues would be arranged without informing citizens or inviting only a particular group.
The Chairperson interjected that section 28 of the Municipal Demarcation Act required the MDB, whenever embarking on public meeting, to issue a public notice. Mr Ramagadza had to be cautious about shifting blame.
Mr Adam agreed that public participation and the way in which the MDB had undertaken it had been a bedevilling factor, and that it was a challenge for everyone. To take Mr Ramagadza’s point further, the fact that MDB had allowed itself to be dependent on municipalities could certainly be a problem. MDB had realised that it had to develop an independent approach to public participation and that it had to avoid being in fact or perceived to be beholden to any of the IGR systems in the local government sphere. If not, this had the potential to compromise MDB.
Ms Engelbrecht said she heard the justification on Vuwani, but she wanted MDB's opinion on why it could not allow Vuwani’s demarcation to remain as it was. She asked why MDB was insisting on following the criteria according to the Municipal Demarcation Act, even though the country was facing a phenomenon similar to the Arab Spring.
Ms Manopole interjected on a point of order that the Vuwani matter had been before the court and that the community was considering an appeal. This being the case, the MDB should not be asked to comment as the matter could still be sub judice.
The Chairperson noted Ms Manopole's caution, but left it up to the MDB to decide whether it could respond to Ms Engelbrecht or would reserve it position.
Ms Engelbrecht said the gist of her question was directly to whether Vuwani was economically unsustainable.
Mr Adam said the criteria outcomes had produced a proposal, which had later been amended on the basis of the public participation outcomes. Vuwani was not an isolated problem and the challenge with boundaries, right down to ward level, was that they became borders. People had so jealously guarded and fought over such borders in recent history that Mr Adam could foresee that provincial boundaries would also become an issue in future. Therefore there had to be a national discourse about what was to be considered. For instance, was ethnicity so entrenched that it limited the population regarding demarcation? Other parties challenged the MDB around the issues of criteria. Demarcation was not an easy task. The national conversation had to be seen in the context of nation building. It had been suggested that the Denver Hostels demarcation, in an urban area, had the potential to turn violent.
Ms Wana asked how MDB arrived at the determination of an institution of higher learning as a ward, as had happened at the Rhodes University (RU) in the Makana Local Municipality.
Mr Ramagadza said that, as alluded to earlier when speaking about legislative constraints, ward delimitation was based on the number of registered voters, so that wards must have maximum and minimum numbers. MDB used voting districts when determining wards, because it had the numbers of registered voters. When districts were put together, through the public participation process, and when an area happened to be compliant with the criteria, it would be delimited as a ward.
Ms Wana said she was not satisfied with the response. The research of MDB had not yielded what it was supposed to, because it had been clearly identified that registered voters there were students, although not at school for the whole year. It a voting date was during the school recess, then she was worried that nobody from that ward would be present to to vote at this district.
The Chairperson said that Ms Wana was highlighting limitations that MDB itself had acknowledged. Some students may have realised that 3 August 2016 would be during school days and they would have used their residence and not their home address. The delimitation formula would then review the number of potential voters, and if the minimum was met, then a ward would be configured.
He reminded Members that the MDB had alluded to the fact that during the conference of June 2016, it would also consider the criteria and how to make demarcation less conflicted. He repeated that in future the Committee would like to see COGTA and MDB together, particularly when discussing the funding of the mandate.
National House of Traditional Leaders Annual Performance Plan and Budget presentation
The Chairperson noted that the Committee was short of time, and thus asked the delegates from the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) to skip the preamble and address the presentation directly.
Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu, Deputy Chair, National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL), tendered the apology of the Chairperson of the NHTL, who was not well.
Mr Mahlangu said that the NHTL had previously been an organisation with an inward focus, in terms of institutionalisation of traditional councils, not necessarily concerned about citizens. However, that had changed and it was looking to ordinary citizens through its outreach programmes. These included:
- The NHTLs HIV sector plan, where it brought the different government departments to rural areas, including the Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform, and of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. NHTL had also embarked on a programme to transform the different cultures to be in line with the constitution, and had partnered with different institutions of higher learning, both domestic and international to do research on cultures that could be deemed harmful.
The NHTL had also been exploring revitalisation of heritage sites in rural areas so as to create alternative revenue streams for rural communities through tourism. As yet another way to stretch NHTL's reach in development. it had partnered with Samsung Technologies, National Lotteries Commission, (NLC) and private agro-processing businesses to revitalise rural economic development as well as bringing much needed services. These had included the establishment of clinics, digital villages and developing terms of reference for the creation of a market for small holder farmers to access agro-processing.
Inkosi uMahlangu said that the NHTL had also embarked on inviting the different Departments of Government to address the traditional House on the various programmes Departments were busy with, which was a recent phenomenon.
Mr Abram Sithole, Secretary, NHTL, said that in terms of the National Development Plan (NDP) the NHTL was amongst the organisations involved in trying to bring about a peaceful solution in the Vuwani matter as it had done during the upheavals of Malamulele as well.
Mr Sithole then presented essential elements of the Annual Performance Plan and its links with the National Development Plan. He firstly dealt with the aims of transforming society and uniting the country. Cabinet had approved a policy on customary initiation practices. and the NHTL was engaged in the first round of consultation on the Initiation Bill informed by the new policy. The NHTL had partnered with provincial Traditional Houses in raising awareness about customary initiation. Traditional Houses and provincial Departments of Traditional Leadership had been asked to give input. The Initiation Committee was chaired by Inkosi uMahlangu, with two other traditional leaders, who had all gone to initiation schools. Provincial Committees were also monitoring initiation. Inkosi uMahlangu had been recently to the Eastern Cape, to popularise the national hotline that could be used to report illegal initiation schools.
The NHTL had agreed that each and every traditional leader had to be accountable for initiation schools in their jurisdiction. There had to be an initiation Committee monitoring initiation on a daily or second daily basis, which would report to the traditional leader, so that he/she would be kept abreast of all occurrences in their jurisdiction. Recently, the NHTL had observed a customary initiation trend emerging in Johannesburg, where there was no recognised traditional leader, and no by-laws governing the practice in the city. NHTL had engage MinMEC where an agreement had been reached that some municipalities had to play a role in initiation by establishing initiation task teams who would assist in monitoring and providing oversight. Initiation would henceforth become a IGR matter, with the Department of Arts and Culture and all other involved Departments.
Mr Sithole then described the links with Chapter 6 of the NDP: having an inclusive rural economy. In 2015, the NHTL had started a project in Limpopo, in partnership with a number of other state departments. It had capacitated cooperatives, so that rural communities would be able to use land to farm and plant crops. The HIV Sector Plan was also encouraging those who were on antiretrovirals to consume fresh produce that they cultivated themselves. Additionally the NHTL had invited Government agencies to go into the deep rural areas to provide voluntary counselling and testing.
NHTL Operational Plan 2016/17
Mr Sithole said that the NHTL had been generally been given 30 days to give input on Bills that Parliament had referred to it. However, because the NHTL had provincial houses as well, it would have to consult with them, and that went even lower, to local houses and traditional councils. This meant that the 30-day period was not long enough for consultation. To date, NHTL had been unable to manage giving inputs effectively and had recently needed to ask for a two weeks extension to comment on the Petroleum Bill, which was granted. The latest Bill before Parliament had proposed 60 days for inputs from the NHTL, and this was greatly appreciated as it allowed room for a thorough scrutiny of the proposed legislation. The NHTL had a partnership with the Black Lawyers Association (BLA), who assisted the House in wording properly all the inputs to be considered by Parliament from traditional leaders.
In terms of preservation and promotion of heritage, culture and traditions of African communities, the NHTL had entered into a partnership with the University of Cape Town, and was researching how to improve some customary practices which could be deemed harmful and that could be subject to constitutional challenge. NHTL had been engaging with the affected communities and traditional leaders where such practices had been kept, to advise on better and less harmful ways of practising traditions.
Only recently had the NHTL started referring Bills to the Great Places for inputs by Kings and Queens of SA.
DTA/NHTL Audited Figures and Medium Term Allocations
Mr Matsobane Aphane, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Traditional Affairs, said that the DTA had originally been run as a programme within COGTA, and any divergence from the financial allocations in the past had been reported, historically, to COGTA. Since April 2014, DTA had an autonomous status, so that it had to start preparing separate financial statements and reporting directly to NT. In this year, it was
allocated R125 million, of which R36 million was transferred to the Commission for the Promotion and protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL). This effectively made DTA's budget R88 million. The NHTL had been allocated R18 550 000. That allocation included all the travel and projects. Most of the expenses were in relation to consumables, but through DTA engagements with NT, the Committee could rest assured that DTA was now appropriately funded.
The Chairperson asked what had been COGTA's response to DTA’s plea that its budget had not been adequate. He asked why the socio-economic programmes embarked on had not been listed.
Mr Thobejane said he was not certain whether the decision to charge municipalities in Gauteng to establish initiation task teams to monitor the exercise of that custom, would be not defeating the very same decision that traditional leaders were the custodians of initiation. He noted that it seemed to be generally accepted that the NHTL had been weakened by the previous regime and there was an expectation, post-1994, that the government had to reinstate and restate the dignity of the NHTL and its relevance. If there was reliance on the BLA for drafting laws, then he thought that would not move the country away from Roman-Dutch laws to its own organic laws reflecting own identity. He suggested that the NHTL should be working to re-establish its own laws and identity.
Mr Thobejane pointed out that the President accounted to the NHTL and wondered when the NHTL would start accounting properly to its own constituency.
He felt that the projects tabled by the NHTL were ambitious but the budget again seemed to not be speaking to the intentions of NHTL, and he wondered how it would achieve all its goals. It had not mentioned any of its own organised structures, such as the political wing of NHTL, Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) and he cautioned NHTL against ignoring that wing.
Ms Manopole said that the Initiation Bill had not been mentioned in the APP, although monitoring and oversight of customary initiation was dealt with. DTA had pronounced on the Bill and she wanted to know why it had been left out.
The Chairperson said that participation of traditional leaders was set out in section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998. He asked what had prevented them from apparently participating, since NHTL was now saying it would be participating in SALGA’s NMA of 2016, around the issue of participation of traditional leaders in municipal councils.
Mr Sithole said that NHTL had a historical relationship with SALGA, solidified by a MoU. Participation of traditional leaders at municipal councils was about adding value to the discussions, rather than them merely being present. However, their biggest issue was that the bulk of discussions occurred at Committee level, where the NHTL was not participating, and where Chamber-only resolutions were passed. That limited traditional leaders from making inputs. Certainly there had been no standardised attendance of Council meetings; some provinces had been saying “we will solve problems as we go along” whilst other provinces had simply stopped attending. Possible regulations setting a standardised way for traditional leaders to attend Council, right up until Committee level would be discussed at the following MinMEC. Prior to that, the Chairperson's Forum would make input into the regulations.
Mr Sithole explained that the Initiation Bill had still been at policy level stage when the NHTL had been drawing its Annual Performance Plan, which was why it was not mentioned. Inkosi uMahlangu would be advocating for the movement of the Bill through the processes.
He noted that the NHTL had a relationship with CONTRALESA, although the new formation had recently contested CONTRALESA. NHTL was trying to ascertain who the leaders were, to start engagement. There was a standing meeting with the secretary general of CONTRALESA for the finalisation of a MoU between NHTL and CONTRALESA.
He explained, in relation to the targets, that NHTL was trying to make do with leaner delegations; it would halve the numbers attending to projects, and would deploy only two instead of its previous four members for meetings to try to stretch the budget. It was also partnering with all stakeholders in its space to curb costs on all its programmes so as to achieve all its goals.
Whilst remaining organic was a sentiment of the NHTL, the NHTL would accept help from BLA if the Constitution demanded it, although it would not “over delegate the custodianship” over customary law.
Gauteng had only two recognised traditional leaders and Johannesburg had none and the responsibility to monitor and oversee initiation had to be delegated to the municipality. Only those initiated themselves would, however, be allowed to do the monitoring.
Inkosi uMahlangu said insufficient resources were a reality and DTA was not evolving on its own. Indeed at some stage traditional leaders would have to account to their own houses. The law allowed for an annual conference for provincial houses to account and receive mandates from their houses. The use of BLA and UCT were interventions where NHTL was leveraging its partnerships because of a shortfall in resources.
Progress Report on Intervention at Oudtshoorn Municipality
The Committee noted the tabling of the progress report but did not adopt it.
The meeting was then adjourned.