Local Government, Water & Related Services Sector Education & Training Authority LGWSETA: briefing

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Meeting report

Select Committee on Local Government and Administration

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE
19 March 2003
LOCAL GOVERNMENT WATER AND RELATED SERVICES SECTOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITY: BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Mr B Mkhalipi (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Presentation by LGWSETA

SUMMARY
The Local Government Water and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority briefed the Committee on their current activities as a sectoral training group. The presentation focused on the need to develop and register learnerships and skills programmes for local government municipalities at a heightened pace.

MINUTES
Mr Sidwell reported on the activities of the LGWSETA for the period 1 April 2002 until 28 February 2003.

Background to the LGWSETA
Mr Sidwell firstly provided a brief background about the Local Government Water and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (LGWSETA). In its third year of operation, the LGWSETA was mainly responsible for collecting levies on local government level as well as compiling sector skills and establishing leadership and skills programmes for the local governments. The emphasis in 2003 would be on accelerated delivery as well as providing municipalities with capacity to manage their finances and other community services.

With regard to the progress LGWSETA has made on skills' development, Mr Sidwell pointed out that they were conducting research on workplace skills for the municipalities. He informed Members that in respect of levy income and grant disbursements, 80% of employer levies were received by LWGSETA and it was envisaged that approximately 75% of the amount received for planning grants would be disbursed by 31 March 2003.

Presentation by SETA on the scope of water chamber
Ms Nontlantla outlined the progress made in respect of water chamber learnerships. In the last twelve months ten learnerships on water, waste and sanitation had been identified. The Mvula trust was appointed to manage full development of the four technical learnerships. Secondly and most importantly, water chamber skills programmes had commenced with about 60 learners from rural communities in Polokwane. (Please see attached briefing.)

Discussion
The Chairperson, Mr Makhalipi, asked if LGWSETA delegates could brief the committee on the allegedly crisis taking place at SETA executive board. There was a myriad of outcries in the rural areas about the failure of SETA projects. He asked whether SETA had taken any measures to improve and sustain those projects.

Mr Magagula (CEO of SETA) informed Members that there was a CCMA case pending against SETA. The action was instituted by one of the former LGWSETA board member on the grounds that he had been dismissed on the basis of constructive dismissal. However he assured the committee that despite that court case as LGWSETA they were still committed to improve capacity building for local government.

Ms Kgoali (ANC) asked, how did LGWSETA intervened at local and municipality level more particularly in the rural areas.

Ms Botha (DP) needed more clarity with regard to the people who were paying levies. She also asked for the criteria that were used to identify those people.

Mr Mokoena (ANC) wanted to know the role of the Emergency Committee and how it correlated with LGWSETA's executive board. He further pointed out that there were quite a number of councillors lacking communication and management skills. Were any steps taken by SETA to counter that problem?

A Member asked whether farmers who owned water rights were paying the local government levies.

Mr Magagula (LGWSETA), responding on governance issues, informed Members that a further detailed report about SETA's activities would be submitted to the Committee during the course of the year.

He then pointed out that the Emergency Committee was mainly working hand in hand with the executive board of LGWSETA and was also involved in the implementation of various projects. He emphasised that the Emergency Committee was not involved in the executive decision-making of SETA.

Mr Sidwell (LGWSETA) added that a collaborative effort has been initiated between SETA, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) in trying to improve capacity building at municipality level. Despite the problem of limited funds to sustain municipal projects, through a consolidated effort LGWSETA was still reaching out to the rural areas.

The Chairperson pointed out that there was an urgent need to address the lack of skills at local government level. He then invited LGWSETA delegates to provide the Committee with a detailed report about SETA activities.

The meeting was adjourned.

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