Documents handed out: Committee Report on Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Budget [available once published Tabled Committee Reports]
The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform considered and deliberated on the Draft Report on Budget Vote No 32 of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). The report covered the five programmes, i.e. Administration, National Geomatic Management Services (NGMS), Rural Development, Land Reform, the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) and the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB). The report also covered recommendations by the Committee.
A few grammatical amendments were made and under the summary of key conclusions it was noted that the goal of DRDLR was aligned to government priorities in relation to rural development and land reform. An increase in budget allocation for the compensation of employees was noted as a matter of concern.
The recommendations stated that within three months of the adoption of the report, the Minister should build capacity to ensure synergy of various policies initiated over the last few years and also submit progress reports that outlined key miles stones. Additional input from the Committee included relevant timeframes, a more standardised report according to the recommended format and resolutions that was taken in the previous financial year that were not implemented so that it could be noted.
National Geomatic Management Services (NGMS)
The report noted that the decrease in the budget allocation to NGMS would have a negative impact on the implementation of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA). Traditional leaders had said in a resolution that they were dissatisfied with SPLUMA. SPLUMA was now with the Presidency and the Committee was not aware what portion of SPLUMA was left with the Department. Since SPLUMA had been budgeted for, the Committee was monitoring the role of the Department with regard to SPLUMA.
The Committee wanted a clearer understanding of where in the framework the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG) fitted. The OVG in their last presentation before the Committee did not have a report format and the Committee had warned the office against that it was a critical point to always reflect on going forward, because the establishment of the OVG was based on the implementation of the Property Valuation Act.
The report said agri- parks were innovative ways to revitalise the economy through agriculture. The functionality of the ‘one household one hectare’ (1H1H) programme was dependent on a policy. The policy must be presented to the Committee before the implementation as the Committee could not talk about what it did not know and understand. Members noted that the report was not complete without the inclusion of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) as well as the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC). Ongoing recommendation and progress reports must be submitted to the Committee.
On the issue of the recapitalisation programme going over to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), it was proposed that a discussion should be facilitated by the Committee and National Treasury should be invited. During the public hearings on recap, there was a recommendation from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) that Treasury should facilitate integrated funding.
Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR)
The report included nothing on the 916 outstanding untraceable claims. If there were outstanding untraceable claims, this meant that was money that was still with the Commission. The Committee also debated how “the fact that 18 274 settled claims were yet to be finalised” was contained in the report. The Committee recommended that the report should request that the Commission submitted a road map on how it would address the claims and to categorise the claims along the lines of state, communal lands or financial compensation. Recommendations also included a submission of a progress report on the agri-parks as well as the 1H1H programme. The report should indicate to what extent these programmes must improve and completion within the 2017/18 financial year.
Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB)
The report attempted to explain the difference between the Ingonyama Trust and the ITB. There were two institutions. Without the trust there would be no board. In proposed meeting with the ITB, the Auditor-General and DRDLR, the discussion should be with specific reference to the mandate as well as the legislative framework of the ITB. The human resources functions as well as the programme of the trust and the Board should also be discussed.
Opening Remarks/Matters Arising
Apologies were read from Mr A Madella (ANC) who was sick, Mr L Mbinda (PAC) and Mr K Robertson (DA) were attending other meetings. The Chairperson tabled the Draft Report for consideration. The Chairperson said page 16 was the administrative information taken from the annual report and other reports that had been submitted to the Committee. What was important in this report was that the Committee needed to get the recommendation in order to consider them.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) said on page 5,he was concerned about possible implications of the social and political consequences of the Bill in so far as the Ingonyama land was concerned. The Ingonyama land was legislated in 1994.
The Chairperson said the Committee would wait to express itself only when the Bill was before it as the Committee did not know the content of the Bill.
Mr T Walters (DA) said the Committee needed to have a briefing as to what the process would entail.
The Chairperson remarked that there was no letter from the Department.
Dr Tshililo Manaenzhe, Parliamentary Adviser, replied that it was not legislation from the Department
The Committee Secretary said procedurally it should be taken as a Bill that was still within the Department. It would only be referred to the Committee afterward and then the Committee would consider the Bill. The concerns would be raised via the Speaker’s Office
The Chairperson said the Committee would wait for the processes on the other side to be finalised. When the Bill was before the Committee, it would be taken from there.
Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform on Energy on Budget Vote No 32 of DRDLR
The Chairperson said the Committee would proceed with the report and would take it paragraph by paragraph.
Ms T Mbabama (DA) read 4.1 which was Summary of key conclusions. This among others said the goal of DRDLR was aligned to government priorities in relation to rural development and land reform. An increase in budget allocation for the compensation of employees was noted as a matter of concern.
The Chairperson welcomed additions.
Ms Mbabama said paragraph 3 did not read well. It should rather be “was noted as a matter of concern”.
Mr Filtane said the second sentence under bullet point 3 should be “it has the potential.”
Ms Magadla said under paragraph 5 an‘s’ should be added to estimates
Dr Manaenzhe said the Committee should not dwell on errors and miss the real thing. What were important were the issues that the Committee would raise to help the Department to improve.
The Chairperson replied that it was correct but the Committee also had a duty to add, make recommendations and note concerns
Mr T Walters (DA) said the Committee should leave the language behind and move to substantive issues.
The Chairperson it was a good proposal but the Committee also had a duty to produce a quality report
Mr Filtane said language should be individually noted and dealt with in the last hour unless it affected the meaning that was intended.
National Geomatic Management Services (NGMS)
Mr Walters read the report on this programme. It stated that the decrease in the budget allocation to NGMS would have a negative impact on the implementation of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).
Mr Filtane said the Committee would recall that Judge Ngwenya had said the implementation of SPLUMA had been suspended. He suggested the Committee should verify what Judge Ngwenya had said so that it could put people in the know as well as amplify the input of the Committee
The Chairperson said traditional leaders had said in a resolution that they were dissatisfied with SPLUMA.
Mr Walters said that the fact that the implementation of SPLUMA was effected by case laws could be a stand-alone point.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) asked where in the framework did the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG) fit.
Dr Manaenzhe said in terms of this report, the OVG was an office that was standing on its own in the Department. The support staff would verify and get back to the Committee. The case law regarding SPLUMA made reference to development facilitation and the case ended up in Court. There was not an impression that SPLUMA was put on hold.
Mr Walters said the issue raised by the Chairperson and Mr Filtane was a concern.
Mr Filtane said Dr Manaenzhe had given clarity to specific areas of concern. There was need for clarity on where SPLUMA was relevant at this time so that the Committee could make a valid statement.
The Chairperson said that it must be noted that the Committee was dealing with budget. SPLUMA was now with the Presidency and the Committee was not aware what portion of SPLUMA was left with the Department. Since SPLUMA had been budgeted for, the Committee was monitoring the role of the Department with regard to SPLUMA. The Committee would seek to know the portion of SPLUMA that was with the Presidency as well as that with the Department and would take it from there.
Mr Mnguni said the OVG must not go off the radar of oversight and must be included in the report of the Committee. OVG in their last presentation before the Committee did not have a report format and the Committee had warned the office against that. It was not the wish of the OVG that counted but the current status as that office was a sub programme. It was a critical point to always reflect on going forward.
The Chairperson said Mr Mnguni was right because the establishment of OVG was based on the implementation of the property valuation Act.
Mr Filtane read the draft report on Rural Development. It said agri- parks were innovative ways to revitalize the economy through agriculture. The functionality of the ‘one household one hectare’ (1H1H) programme was dependent on a policy plan regarding the intervention as a lack of the policy plan could obscure a total restitution of land. National Treasury’s commitment to resolve the duplication of programmes between DRDLR and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) was welcomed.
The Chairperson said the Rural Development report was not complete without the inclusion of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) as well as the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC). She added that the use of acronyms should be reduced or left out so that everyone can understand it as this was a public document.
Mr Walters said lack of clarity on policy on this programme could impact the redistribution of land programme. There was a grey area in terms of CRDP and this should be added.
The Chairperson said the Portfolio Committee had indicated that the policy on 1H1H must be brought before it.
Dr Manaenzhe said it could not be said that there was lack of policy as the DRDLR had said there was policy and the only issue was that it had not been engaged with the Committee.
The Chairperson said that was meant by lack of clarity. The policy was there but it must be presented to the Committee before the implementation as the Committee could not talk about what it did not know and understand.
Mr Filtane referred to the last point on page 17 and said the word ‘enhance’ should be used rather than ‘focus.
The Chairperson asked if all the Members agreed to this substitution of words and they all said they were in agreement.
Ms N Magadla (ANC) read out the draft report on Land Reform on page 18.
Mr Filtane referred to bullet point 3 and remarked that he attended a meeting where DAFF made a presentation to the Portfolio Committee. DAFF had said it would only do something if there was a responsible budget. He added that this service would not be made available to the people this financial year unless there was a budget from DRDLR or DAFF. He proposed that the Committee should call for an engagement between these two departments. This should take place soon otherwise this service would be discontinued.
The Chairperson said no budget would be transferred from the DRDLR TO DAFF. Agriculture had a comprehensive support programme. It was not a new mandate.
Mr Filtane said this needed to be made clear under recommendation so that there would be clarity on the part of DAFF.
The Chairperson said she was in agreement with Mr Filtane on the last point. There was a figure on the last batch of the recap that would be finalised this financial year. It should be indicated on the report.
Dr Manaenzhe said on the issue of the recap going over to DAFF, he would propose that a discussion should be facilitated by the Committee and National Treasury should be invited. During the public hearings on recap, there was a recommendation from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) that Treasury should facilitate integrated funding
The Chairperson replied that the Committee was in agreement with that recommendation.
Ms Mbabama said when the Committee made recommendations, it should be specific and not use the words ‘and others’.
Mr Mnguni said there were three areas that were moving off the scope of the DRDLR: Recap; SPLUMA and the OVG. The Committee should write to DRDLR to make recommendations on the time line for transfer or establishment, the budget allocation and human resources. The OVG should be able to say the number of valuations it was targeting for this financial year. The Department should also state the Principal Act it acted on. He proposed that the Committee should set aside a slot to receive the implications of the three areas.
Mr Mnguni said the Committee should get the Department to make a presentation on the changes and then the Committee would think of the implementation it might take.
The Chairperson said this was noted and was a matter for processing.
Mr M Nchabeleng (ANC) asked what was going to be the impact on administration and other divisions and programmes in the Department. Why would SPLUMA go to the Presidency as it belonged to this Department? The Committee also need to have a meeting with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) because the implementation of SPLUMA was with COGTA.
The Chairperson said there should be a recommendation that the Committee met with COGTA to discuss this. She added that another matter was the delay in the drafting of the regulations. The Act had been passed about three years back but there were no regulations.
Mr Nchabeleng said COGTA had to play an important role because the traditional affairs arm of COGTA when there was a meeting with them in Limpopo had said it was not only opposed to SPLUMA, but “hated” it.
Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR)
Ms C Matsimbi (ANC) read the draft report on the CRLR. She said there was nothing on the 916 outstanding untraceable claims. If there were outstanding untraceable claims, this meant that was money that was still with the Commission.
Mr Filtane said he was concerned about the construction of point 2. It should be written this way “the fact that 18 274 settled claims were yet to be finalised was a matter of concern. It constituted 23.1% of claims”. If it was not given “immediate attention” instead of “our attention” it might obscure the work the Commission was yet to conduct.”
Mr Mnguni said the space between statement and finalisation might be a budget space. The Commission had no power over the finalisation and this should be reframed. The interpretation and emphasis that the Committee wanted to move to was for the House. The Committee needed the formulation as it stood. The interpretation should be left for the parties. This was nice and neutral and allowed space for a debate in the House.
The Chairperson said the role of the Minister was to sign and it was the responsibility of the Commission to finalise. Finalisation meant to pay money or give back the land.
Dr Manaenzhe said there could be no separation of the two. There could be no finalisation without the Minister. Finalisation was to close the matter by giving back land
Mr Mnguni said the formulation should be left as it was. This was financials. Had it been checked how much it would take to settle 18 274? The Commission could not be made to do what was impossible for it to do budget wise.
Ms Mbabama said she agreed with Mr Filtane as his proposal made a lot of sense. The word ‘immediate’ was not threatening.
The Chairperson said that there were now 2 proposals.
Ms Magadla asked what the meaning of back log of lack of research done.
The Chairperson replied that it meant the 916 claims would be the last batch of the claims to be researched of the1998 outstanding claims and there would be no other research.
Dr Manaenzhe said the Committee must not be shocked to find that the Commission will come with a different number of outstanding claims to be researched because the Chief Commissioner had said the Commission was finding more claims
The Chairperson said the Committee would like to be shocked. The 916 was the number given by the Department. It was not from the Committee.
Mr Filtane remarked that there was not anything in terms of quarters 2, 3 and 4.What would be the reason for changing the numbers on research?
Mr Nchabeleng said that apart from the problem of money, there were issues of commitment of people in the Department to resolve the issues of labour claimants living on the farms. Those that came later and proved that they stayed on the land would be accommodated. The numbers should not rise above 916. It should be less if verification was to be done. There was a need to find out how many of these state lands where there was no dispute of ownership.
The Chairperson said the numbers must be guarded by the Committee so that the Commission would not come back to change them. The Commission should learn to be accurate.
Mr Mnguni remarked that issues were more complex and situations do fluctuate just like the Rand. There was a relationship between quality and quantity and the Committee must be conscious although he said he agreed that there was urgency. If the Committee agreed with the Commission, it must present an implementation plan about the outstanding 916 cases. The implementation plan should be costed and timed and the Committee could only start to engage from there. Implementation plan was a tool on which to evaluate.
The Chairperson said backlog issues were concerning, but Mr Mnguni was saying that the word ‘immediate’ should not be used.
Mr Filtane said the Committee should not be too concerned about the reasonableness of the budget. The Committee should be respect the fact that the Chief Commissioner knew what she was doing.
The Chairperson said the Committee was agreed on the content but that the word ‘immediate’ should not be used. It should be indicated that the Commission submitted a road map on how it would address the claims and to categorise the claims along the lines of state, communal lands or financial compensation.
Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB)
Mr Nchabeleng read the draft report on the ITB. The focus of the traditional council could make the ITB a cluster for the development of Amakhosi rather than the traditional leaders. The ITB should write a formal report about this establishment in order to avoid any confusion. The economic development plan of the ITB; the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and the IDP for local government could cause further tension between ITB and other government agencies. The ITB had not resolved the question raised by the Auditor-General in relation to asset management. Inability to resolve this matter had implications towards achievement of a clean audit
Ms Mbabama said that it might be seen that the ITB was trying to develop Amakhosi rather than the traditional leaders that were the representatives of the people on the ground. Could the Committee give them the benefit of the doubt and say the Traditional Council would do their work so that the Committee would not be seen as talking badly about the Amakhosi. She also asked what was meant by the ‘Board must write a report also for the purpose of accountability and to avoid confusion’. There should be more clarity on this.
Dr Manaenzhe replied and said the second bullet explained the confusion about the Ingonyama Trust and the ITB. There were two institutions. Without the trust there would be no board. There was a trust and the trustees were responsible for its administration. The question was who was the trust accountable to? There was a need for ITB to come and explain so that the Committee would be in the know
Ms Mbabama said the Committee should be clear on what type of report it wanted from the Board.
The Chairperson remarked that the Chairperson of the Board had said in the last meeting that Parliament had passed an Act, the ITB implemented the Act and now Parliament was questioning it.
Mr Mnguni said the Auditor-General, ITB as well as the Department should appear before the Committee so that the Committee would know at what point and in what manner it should intervene.
Mr Filtane said the Committee should be specific on what it wanted the Auditor-General, ITB and the Department to address and give the 3 named entities advice so there would be a policy on it.
Ms Mbabama asked if the Committee should delete all of it or only the last bullet point.
The Chairperson replied that everything on ITB should be deleted.
Mr Filtane said there appeared to be no relationship between the ITB and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). There was no room for an institution in the country that has zero relationship with that sphere of government.
Mr Mnguni said in the proposed meeting with the ITB, the Auditor-General and DRDLR, the discussion should be with specific reference to the mandate as well as the legislative framework of the ITB. The human resources functions as well as the programme of the trust and the Board should also be discussed.
Ms Mbabama said the CEO was sitting on the trust as well as the Board which reported to the government. Did all the trustees have equal right within the Board?
The Chairperson said the Committee was confused about these issues. That is why a meeting was proposed
Mr Mnguni said the tension was between the Board and SALGA. They went to court. It would be good to have that joint meeting and the KZN chapter of SALGA should also be invited
Mr Filtane said on page 19, bullet point 3 that stated ’the apparent lack of co-ordination of the ITB plans with Local Government’ needed to be refined.
The Members agreed to the proposal by Mr Filtane.
The Chairperson said the Committee would now consider the recommendation.
Mr Mnguni read the recommendation on administration which was that within three months of the adoption of the report, the Minister should build capacity to ensure synergy of various policies initiated over the last few years and also submit progress reports that outlined key miles stones.
Mr Walters asked what the exact action required from the Minister was as it was too broad for him to understand.
The Chairperson asked whether Mr Walters was saying that for each recommendation, the Committee should give a time frame
Mr Walters said that rather than have a general comment at the beginning, there should be a specific recommendation or a progress report provided.
Mr Mnguni said the support staff should learn from other departments as there was a standard reporting format. In the future the report of the Committee should be according to the standard and should include human resources, vacancy rates etc. He added that the Bills and Policy should be added to programme 1.
The Chairperson said that was noted and added that the Committee needed to be advised on the resolution that was taken in the previous financial year that were not implemented so that it could be noted as well as the resolution on vacancy rates.
The Chairperson read the recommendations and the report to National Assembly about the transfer of the administration of SPLUMA to the Presidency.
Mr Filtane said the Committee should invite SALGA as it was a stakeholder and was affected by this movement.
Mr Walters said no one had disagreed with the issue of traditional leaders but it was a question of emphasis. It should be stated as stakeholders including traditional Rulers and local Government. ‘Other stakeholders’ should be deleted
The Chairperson said that was noted that the Committee should recommend that it should get a progress report on a quarterly basis with regards to investigation on E-cadastre project
Ms Mbabama read the recommendations on rural development.
Mr Walters said ongoing recommendation and progress report to be submitted to the Committee.
Mr Filtane said ‘work’ should be changed to ‘consult’
Mr Walters read the recommendation on restitution.
The Chairperson said restitution should work with other departments like the DHA so that untraceable claims could be finalised
Mr Walters said there should be a recommendation for a feedback system and mechanism. There should be an improvement on communication with beneficiaries.
Mr Filtane said ‘settlement’ had a technical meaning. It should be substituted with ‘finalisation’.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Filtane. Settlement was just approval and finalisation involved funds that involved buying or giving of land.
Mr Filtane read the recommendation on land reform- The recommendation was a submission of a progress report on the agri-parks as well as the 1H1H programme. The report should indicate to what extent these programmes must improve and completion within the 2017/18 financial year
The Chairperson asked if the information on recap was still relevant here as it had been transferred to DAFF and it also appeared in the Committee’s previous report.
Mr Filtane suggested that in terms of the medium term expenditure (MTEF) period, the Committee should ask the Department to report about the socio-economic impact on a yearly basis.
Dr Manaenzhe said reporting on an annual basis for 5 programmes will be too much for the Department to handle and that was why a 3-year reporting period was recommended.
Ms Mbabama said what was meant by increasing capacity of the Department to monitor land reform
Dr Manaenzhe said this arose on the use of agri-parks. The Committee was concerned about managing partnerships as there was no clear indication that there were systems to monitor the partnerships.
Ms Mbabama said this must be talking to the future as it was currently resisted by budget.
The Chairperson said there were people within the Department responsible for monitoring land reform but it was not enough. There was need for increase of capacity to monitor land reform as there were no records of people occupying the farms. People are working on the farms and occupying the farms and were not paying anything towards the use of the farm.
Dr Manaenzhe said part of this was around using an internal capacity to monitor land reform projects. How did the Members of these Communal Property Associations (CPAs) have not received dividends nor benefited from these partnerships three years down the line.
Ms Magadla read the recommendation on the ITB which among others was to submit quarterly progress reports on the socio-economic performance.
The Chairperson said resolutions that had not been implemented should be included.
The Chairperson said the Budget Vote will be debated on 19 May. The Committee would meet again on Wednesday in order to meet the deadline.
The meeting was adjourned.
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