The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) received a clean audit from the Attorney General for the fifth year in a row. The organisation had had a surplus of R50 million as National Treasury had requested institutions to make savings where possible. SALGA reported successful interventions on behalf of the municipalities. There had been an increase in access to municipal services between 1996 and 2016, including sanitation and water. 138 new Restructuring Zones for social housing had been approved by the Minister of Human Settlements which enabled the municipalities with new zones to apply for subsidies for social housing, which would assist with the backlog for social housing. Eskom had signed an agreement to reduce its interest from prime plus 5% interest on all overdue amounts to prime plus 2.5%. The relief also included an increase of the 15-day payment period to 30 days. The challenge was that the direct provision of electricity by Eskom undermined the constitutional authority of the municipalities. The absence of an agreement between the two stakeholders meant that municipalities were unable to levy surcharges in Eskom supply areas.
SALGA suggested that Alexandria township appeared to be cross-subsidise Eskom electricity tariffs. Alexander residents paid a surcharge which contributed to a basket of non-trading services, but residents in Sandton did not pay the surcharge. One of the Committee Members challenged the assertion. SALGA indicated that it was supporting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 HIV/AIDS campaign in 19 municipalities. The programme focussed on three issues: to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV knew their HIV status; 90% of people who knew their HIV-positive status were on antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of people on treatment had suppressed viral loads. During the year SALGA had successfully advocated for key reforms in spatial planning and land use management. The national operating revenue collection showed that revenue was derived mostly from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.
The Committee asked about the discrepancies in the report, the ballooning municipal debt to Eskom, the training of councillors, whether SALGA had provided municipalities with technical support, and why councillors were being murdered daily.
The Municipal Demarcation Board reported that although it had aimed for a clean audit, it had, in fact, obtained an unqualified audit opinion with emphasis of matter. The Auditor General had raised two findings related to performance information and five findings related to compliance with legislation. Measures were being instituted to curb the recurrence of the findings; Standard Operation Procedures for performance information were being implemented and Supply Chain Management controls had been improved to ensure compliance to prescripts. The Auditor General reported that there were inconsistencies between planned targets in the Annual Performance Plan and reported targets in the In-Year Reports and the Annual Performance Report. Supply Chain Management controls had been improved to ensure compliance to prescripts and training had been conducted by National Treasury for Supply Chain Management officials and others involved in the procurement process.
The key challenges for the year included a lack of a clear plan on the configuration of the local government landscape, perpetual debates on the future of the two-tier system, secondary cities, and long-term plans on the rationalisation of municipalities. Provincial boundaries impeded the work of Municipal Demarcation Board.
The Committee Members asked about the capacity assessments, discrepancies in the Report and when the last capacity assessment had been done.
The Commission for the Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities had attained its first clean audit in the year under review. All programmes of the Commission had attained their set targets in 2016/17 financial year. The Commission had closed the year with just enough cash in the bank account to settle creditors due for payment. The Commission had exercised prudence in the utilisation of financial resources within budget allocation, notwithstanding pressure in respect of the implementation of its strategic plan. The proposed adjustment to the baseline allocation was insufficient to support the current performance of the Commission which would have to downscale its strategic plan. The Commission also faced challenges with non-compliance with the CRL Act as it had not convened a national consultative conference as required by the Act. The conference was to evaluate the progress in South Africa of furthering the protection of cultural, religious and linguistic community rights.
The Commission reported that there had been a dramatic increase in the demand for the services of the Commission by communities. Complaints often took a long time to resolve and the public profile and impact of the Commission was increased by media reports. Some of the major structures which supported the work of the Commission were Christian Church organisations.
The Committee asked about the discrepancies in the reports, why a supplementary budget had not been submitted, and the matter between Pastor Mboro and the Commission.
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee Members and the leadership of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). He invited SALGA to make its presentation on the Annual Report in a manner that would assist the Committee to understand the challenges that SALGA faced. He looked forward to a fruitful meeting.
Briefing by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
Mr Sebenzile Ngangelizwe, Deputy President: SALGA, stated that the transformation of local government was a long journey and SALGA had tried its level best to change the features of local government. The policy formulation of local government was not the baby of SALGA alone and SALGA needed more stakeholders to assist in changing the space of local government. SALGA had been working with its stakeholders to address the incomplete legislation, which would assist local government to function better.
Mr Xolile George, Chief Executive Officer, explained that the presentation took a five-year perspective of local government from 2011 to 2016/17, with an emphasis on 2016/17. The local government sector had made a huge contribution to improving the lives of people by ensuring delivery of basic services to the poorest of the poor and improving dignity and quality of life. However, concerns remained in certain services in certain geographic areas. There had been increases in access to services despite a declining revenue. Between 1996 and 2016 access to services provided by the local government had increased significantly: sanitation had increased by 17.9%; water had increased by 8.4%; electricity had increased by 21.1% and refuse had increased by 9.5%.
SALGA had lobbied the National Department of Human Settlements (NDHS) and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) to promote social housing and to develop a list of new Restructuring Zones (RZs) for social housing for approval by the Minister. A list of 138 new RZs for social housing was approved by the Minister of Human Settlements and gazetted. Municipalities with new RZs would be able to apply for subsidies for social rental housing, thus unblocking a major obstacle to social housing projects countrywide. Through SALGA’s engagements with Eskom, the National Energy Regulator South Africa (NERSA) and the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) on the structural and technical issues that had exacerbated municipal debt to Eskom, SALGA had successfully lobbied for changes to some of Eskom credit control policies. Eskom has agreed to reduce prime plus 5% interest on overdue amounts to prime plus 2.5%, and to increase the Eskom 15-day payment period to 30 days, i.e. the same payment period as utilised by municipalities. Some of the unsustainable and unaffordable payment arrangements had been reviewed and possible waiving of interest had been considered where payment arrangements were complied with.
In terms of Section 76 of the Municipal Systems Act, when a municipality provided services through a service provider, it was required to enter into a Service Delivery Agreement (SDA). The Electricity Regulation Act defines municipality as a category of municipality that has executive authority over, and the right to reticulate, electricity. When a municipality sought to outsource that function to an external mechanism, it ought to comply with Section 28 of the Electricity Regulation Act which dealt with the selection and appointment of external service providers. It enjoins a municipality to comply with Chapter 8 of the Municipal Systems Act prior to entering into an SDA with a service provider. The challenge was that the license issued by NERSA to Eskom to reticulate electricity was defective in that it bypassed the executive authority of the municipalities. In the absence of an SDA between Eskom and municipalities, they were unable to levy surcharges in Eskom supply areas and to exercise credit control in Eskom supply areas, resulting in a lack of parity between municipal supply areas and Eskom supply areas. SALGA had tabled those challenges at the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) on 29 August 2017.
There was an invisible line running across municipalities where the developmental role of local government was undermined and some communities were prejudiced relative to others. Alexander township residents paid a surcharge which contributed to the basket of non-trading services such as parks, libraries, pavements, etc. Electricity was used as a credit control mechanism if residents did not pay their rates and taxes. On the other hand, Sandton residents did not pay a surcharge and thus contributed less to non-trading services. Those services were subsidised Sandton residents whose electricity could not be cut for non-payment of rates and taxes. Furthermore, electricity tariffs were not equal. Municipalities could not exercise credit control in Eskom supplied areas such as Sandton.
In terms of the structural challenges in electricity reticulation; there were legacy issues in the reticulation of electricity, particularly inequity in terms of tariffs charged. The role of municipalities in renewable energy was still not clear. The Eskom credit control mechanisms for municipal bulk accounts was a systemic challenge, as was end user services by Eskom that were not aligned to municipal credit control by-laws and cycles. Current payment agreements between Eskom and municipalities in arrears were unsustainable.
Through the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), municipalities could build sports facilities and upgrade facilities to develop all sporting codes. The grant allowed for those areas that had limited resources to develop modern facilities accessible by women, children and people with disabilities. The UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets were commitments made as part of the Paris Declaration to ensure that by 2030, 90% of people living with HIV knew their HIV status; 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status were on antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment had suppressed viral loads. Thus far, 19 municipalities had been identified for the 90-90-90 target, and 12 had already signed the Paris Declaration, including Buffalo City Metro, Johannesburg Metro, Emfuleni Local Municipality, Mogale Local Municipality, Umhlathuze Local Municipality and Rustenburg Local Municipality.
While migration to Metros continued to follow the historical trend, there was also an increasing trend of smaller cities and towns growing at unprecedented rates. There had been a rapid growth in small towns such as Kwa-Sani and Musina with growth rates of 88% and 66%, respectively. An urbanisation framework was needed to provide support and to address challenges. On the other hand, the population in some municipalities was declining. Targeted interventions had to ensure that communities in those areas received at least the basic services in order to access the democratic dividend and acceptable quality of life. That might include supporting and financing those spaces differently. SALGA had successfully advocated for key reforms in spatial planning and land use management. It made inputs into the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) that affirmed the Municipality as the authority for spatial planning. SALGA also provided support to municipalities to ensure that they met the key readiness indicators to implement SPLUMA that became operational on 1 July 2015. The municipalities supported for SPLUMA readiness included Kouga, King Sabata, Mogale City, Greater Tzaneen, Thabazimbi, Stellenbosch, Overstrand and Saldanha Bay, amongst others.
SALGA had conducted a Councillor Support programme. The programme prepared Councillors for full-time employment of chairpersons of Section 79 Committees for designation as full-time; dealing with the inclusion of running and maintenance costs incurred on official business. Local government had the smallest share of the division of revenue, even after the Conditional Grants had been included: 9,1% comprised both the equitable share of 5% and conditional grants transfers of 4,1%.
SALGA spent more on interest on borrowing than it transferred to local government. Municipalities reported expenditure of R24.7 billion against the total direct conditional allocations of R27.7 billion as at 30 June 2016. The best performing provinces on expenditure against their conditional grant allocations were KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape with expenditure at 95.6%, 93% and 90.4% of their respective 2015/16 allocations. The North West and Gauteng provinces performed relatively well, spending at 89.4% and 88.5% of their original allocations, respectively.
The operating revenue collection showed that Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape contributed the most to revenue jointly generated, as well as expenditure nationally. Municipalities owed over R120 billion: Gauteng accounted for almost 40% of the total municipal debt, KZN (12%) and Free State (9.6%). On average, 80% of the total debt was not recoverable and municipalities jointly wrote off R1.7 billion. SALGA, together with the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), conducted a major study into the costs of municipal services. The study showed that new households were forming every year and estimated that between 2015 and 2018 there would be 817 000 new poor households. By 2018 the estimated annual capital funding requirement for basic services would be in the order of R45.2 billion. 46% of that amount or R20.8 billion, would be needed for the renewal of infrastructure.
SALGA had to play a much more aggressive role in the local government space by better analysing data intelligence so that interventions could be timely.
SALGA had received a clean audit.
The Chairperson thanked SALGA for the very detailed presentation.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) asked why municipalities were struggling to pay off their Eskom debt, and what role SALGA was playing to ensure that municipalities prioritised their payments to Eskom. She stated that municipalities could not expect consumers to honour their debt if municipalities did not honour their debt to Eskom. What role was SALGA playing in ensuring that municipalities kept towns clean, and that services were rendered to the communities on time?
Mr K Mileham (DA) complained that the President of SALGA did not attend Committee meetings. He asked SALGA how much time Councillor Parks Tau spent on international trips compared with the time he spent on the work of SALGA to which he had been elected President. He noted the efforts of SALGA in trying to help municipalities run their towns, however the emphasis should be placed on helping municipalities to pay their Eskom debt. Reticulation etc had nothing to do with ability of municipalities to pay its bills. SALGA was disingenuous the comparison between Alexandria and Sandton. The statement about Alexander township subsidising Sandton was false because compared to Alexander, Sandton paid much heavier rates and taxes than Alexandria, plus the property in Sandton was valued much higher. He was not saying that Eskom rates were not higher in Alexander but it certainly was not cross-subsidising Sandton. The causal linkage was not there. It would be equally true to say that Alexandria cross-subsidised Soweto. SALGA had to be very careful about how it portrayed those things. The SALGA report was a very good report but it was about the state of municipalities. It did not present any of SALGA’s responsibilities and activities that was influencing the outcomes. Although SALGA claimed to have trained 1687 councillors and traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape large numbers had not attended the training sessions. He referred to the push for chairpersons of Section 79 committees to become full-time councillors, pointing out that many small towns simply could not financially afford to appoint all Section 79 chairpersons as full time councillors. It was ridiculous and not affordable. SALGA’s focus has been inward looking. Its focus should be on what it could do to support municipalities. Programme 2 had underspent and the organisation had a surplus of R50 million, yet it complained that it was under-funded. The wrong issues were prioritised. The annual SALGA game activities was not in the Constitution. It was disruptive to the work of municipalities to have a sports event for municipal officials. SALGA had to focus on its core function.
Mr X Ngwezi (IFP) said the training of councillors was a good investment, however municipalities continued to face the same challenges even after their councillors had been trained. SALGA had to monitor the impact of the training to ensure that it was making a difference to the functioning of councils. The training sessions needed to be evaluated to assess whether they equipped councillors with the necessary skills and knowledge. SALGA needed to be aware that if municipalities did not honour their debt to Eskom, communities would have their electricity cut off, which would result in protests and the burning of government buildings. SALGA had to present recommendations on preventing the debts. He asked SALGA to assist municipalities in maintaining township roads as they were very bad, even though there were rules about how much money was to be spent on infrastructure. Could SALGA help to assist local government officials to develop a medical package for councillors who had retired?
Mr J Dube (ANC) asked for an elaboration on the HIV/AIDS 90-90-90 programme, especially in Mpumalanga where the most affected municipalities did not seem to be included in the programme. He enquired about the technical support provided to municipalities by SALGA. What was its role and what did it do to assist municipalities to fill critical vacancies, especially in areas of scarce skills?
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC) complemented the report. Everyone knew that resources were limited and yet there was a huge demand for resources in the municipalities. There did not seem to be a sustained engagement with government departments, e.g. with the Department of Human Settlement. He spoke about SPLUMA and its long history. The report indicated that some obstacles had been overcome. He asked for clarification on that matter. The President had stated in the State of the Nation address that small towns would receive assistance. What was being done and what could the Committee expect. His last question was about corruption and maladministration. It was a public matter and occupied a central space in South African politics. How was the fight against corruption being managed?
Another Member asked what the reasons for the murders of councillors were for the killings, especially in KwaZulu-Natal. Did SALGA assist with providing the councillors with protection?
Councillor Stofile replied saying said the matter concerning Alexandria subsiding Sandton had been thoroughly researched by SALGA. It was not thumb sucking. SALGA had conducted deep research. The organisation found that many of the challenges to the subsidy pertained to historical events that caused the inequality. Alexandria was just an example of what was happening throughout the country. After 20 years of democracy, the poor were still subsidising the rich. In Sandton, Eskom collected only for itself, but in Alexandria, residents paid extra to the municipality when they paid for electricity. Municipalities were burdened because they had not been transformed. It could not continue that Eskom was benefitting from municipalities. SALGA was going to require a declaratory order on the matter. President Tau had been mandated by SALGA to travel overseas as SALGA wanted to learn from the global environment. The murder of councillors had started in Mpumalanga and had spread to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. As far as the killings were concerned, a multitude of factors were responsible. The issue had been raised by SALGA at the Mayors’ Forum and the Speakers’ Forum. It had to be noted that councillors worked all hours, 24 hours a day and 24 hours a week and even had meetings at home, but they had no security. Communities had easy access to councillors because many of them worked in the same communities in which they lived. if services were not being delivered to the communities, the community targeted the councillors. There were also political disputes.
Mr Ngangelizwe stated that SALGA had been trying to improve conditions of councillors. Parliament had to advise SALGA as Members had previously suggested that councillors be remunerated as public officials. He said that it would help to establish a retirement package for the councillors. Even if Councillor Tau was in Cape Town, he was in the world. He added that Councillor Tau was travelling overseas for work concerning SALGA; whether councillor Tau travelled to Cape Town or London, he always represented SALGA and South Africa. He said that Mr Mileham must be objective when he was asking questions, if he considered himself to be a South African. The Chairperson asked Mr Ngangelizwe not to call into question the integrity of Members.
Mr Mthethwa said Mr Ngangelizwe should refrain from making such responses.
Mr Ngangelizwe added that SALGA has been encouraging municipalities to honour their debt to Eskom. It had also encouraged Eskom to sign an agreement with municipalities, as stipulated in Section 76 of the Municipal Systems Act, but Eskom had refused.
Mr George explained that municipal debt to Eskom had ballooned in 2016 and National Treasury had suggested withholding the equitable share but SALGA had approached Treasury as municipalities would have been unable to survive without that funding. One of the problems was the debt collection policy of Eskom which had not been aligned to that of municipalities. Municipalities gave people 30 days to meet their debts whereas Eskom gave only 15 days after which they added 5% compound interest. SALGA had asked Eskom to sign appropriate agreements. Secondly, when municipalities repaid a debt, the payment was taken off the interest and not the capital, so the capital continued to balloon. There were various ways to assist municipalities. There could be a measure such as a writing off debt. SARS should not been giving refunds to people who owed municipalities. A code of conduct should force public servants to pay what they owed to municipalities.
He responded to questions about small towns saying that 18 municipalities have been identified to assist small towns to develop, render services, maintain roads and provide electricity. The Committees had been established in accordance with Section 79 of the Municipal Structures Act. However, it was only those municipalities with more than 40% of the councillors that would have chairpersons. There were several factors that would be taken into consideration when establishing the chairpersons, and affordability will be one of those factors. SALGA was encouraged by Treasury to cut costs, hence it had a surplus at the end of the year. The municipal games were used as a social cohesion tool. However, they agreed that the games should not cloud SALGA’s, nor municipalities’, mandates. SALGA had for several years been assisting municipalities to fill vacancies. They often headhunted individuals for municipalities.
The Chairperson said the SALGA presentation had dragged on longer than expected. The Committee agreed that each organisation would be given 30 minutes to present. He said he was not sure whether he should entertain follow-up questions.
Mr Mileham said municipal debt payment to Eskom was important and that should have been prioritised throughout the year. What the organisation should not be focusing on were the social cohesion games. These games should be the priority of municipalities alone. He asked how much time Councillor Tau spent outside the country. He requested a percentage of the time he spent travelling out the country. He added that his question had nothing to do with being anti-South African.
The Chairperson said that SALGA was not obligated to respond to Mr Mileham’s question because Mileham could ask Councillor Tau himself. Parks Tau had been elected as a Mayor. He, therefore, had other responsibilities as well.
Mr Mileham called for the Chairperson to retract his statement.
The Chairperson replied that Mr Mileham was stirring up trouble because his questions should be directed to the Department.
Mr Mileham responded that SALGA was an organ of state and was required to report to Parliament, therefore he was allowed to ask SALGA any question he deemed important.
The Chairperson repeated that SALGA could not account for Councillor Parks.
Briefing by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB)
Mr Terry Sigidi, Chief Executive Officer, said that during the year, the organisation had hosted a conference on Demarcation and Spatial Transformation; new Municipal Capacity Assessment models were developed; the organisation had submitted proposed legislative amendments to COGTA and a Regional Operating Model (Regionalisation) to enhance public participation had been developed. He said that he would focus on the targets which were not achieved.
The draft framework document on the application of the demarcation criteria was one of the organisation’s targets for the year However, that target had not been achieved because procurement processes had been suspended to cater for input from the MDB Conference. A draft Framework was, however, in place. Evaluation studies on 180 local municipalities were to be conducted to determine whether they still met demarcation objectives. The target was not achieved because the project was also delayed to cater for input from the MDB conference. The organisation had aimed for a clean audit but the weak articulation of Performance Indicators and non-compliance to Supply Chain Management (SCM) prescripts meant that that target was not achieved. The measurement tool to monitor network and application system availability could not be procured in time resulting in the non-achievement of the target of 92% of 8,760 hours of network and application systems availability. Owing to the lack of human capacity in the human resource unit, only 98% of employees had attended various training sessions.
The organisation had obtained an unqualified audit opinion with emphasis of matter. The Auditor General (AG) had raised two findings related to Performance Information and five findings related to compliance with legislation. Measures were being instituted to curb the recurrence of the findings; standard Operation Procedures for performance information were being implemented and SCM controls had been improved to ensure compliance to prescripts.
The AG reported that there were inconsistencies between planned target as per the Annual Performance Plan (APP) and reported targets as per In-Year Reports and the Annual Performance Report (APR). To remedy this inconsistency, a Standard Operating Procedure for Quarterly Performance Information and Reporting had been developed. Remedial action plans with timeframes for non/under achieved targets had been compiled and monitored. The AG had found that competitive bidding processes had not been followed for venue hire. To remedy this finding, Supply Chain Management (SCM) controls had been improved to ensure compliance to prescripts. Also, training had been conducted by National Treasury for SCM officials and officials involved in the procurement process. There was also a deviation from normal procurement process for the MDB conference due to time constraints, even though the conference had been part of the 2016/17 APP.
The underspending was mainly due to vacant positions budgeted for, but not filled during the year under review. Certain projects were not implemented on time: those included the revised methodology for categorisation of metropolitan municipalities; the framework for the application of the demarcation criteria and evaluation studies of 180 local municipalities to determine if they still met demarcation criteria.
The key challenges for the year were a lack of a clear plan on the configuration of the local government landscape, perpetual debates on the future of the two-tier system, secondary cities and long-term plans on the rationalisation of municipalities. Provincial boundaries impeded MDB’s work, in placed such as Moutse, Dipaleseng and Matatiele. Inadequate funding of MDB was a challenge.
Mr Mthethwa said the AG’s report on the concerns of the organisation was worrying, especially in respect of the control systems. What measures had the organisation put in place to remedy the ineffective control systems?
Mr Mileham asked about capacity assessments. How long ago had the organisation conducted its capacity assessments? He said that the organisation’s capacity model changed every three years, which resulted in the organisation’s inability to properly assess the failure or success of municipalities. He advised that MDB kept its current model to effectively assess the real capacity of municipalities. He advised that Programme 3 be audited separately because more than a half of the targets under the programme had not been achieved. He said that there were several discrepancies in the booklet that had been submitted to the Committee and there were discrepancies in the APP on page 37 of the booklet. The organisation was misleading Parliament by submitting the wrong information. He asked if there was some sort of contingency plan in the event of the MDB not receiving its required budget. In terms of the challenges, the organisation had to determine the municipalities according to the legislation which existed, and not on the possible changes to legislation.
Ms Jane Thupana, Board Chairperson, replied that the last capacity assessment had been done during the 2011/12 financial year. The Board had engaged with stakeholders who understood the role of the Board and municipalities to develop the capacity of municipalities. Given the economic climate, the Board was aware that it might not receive the requested budget. However, one had to realise that the work of the Board had increased due to the escalation of services needed by municipalities. She added that the discrepancies to which Mr Mileham was referring were errors.
Mr Sigidi responded to the issue of oversight and compliance for Human Resources. The Board had an audit and risk committee, as well as an internal audit committee, which would be monitoring some of the controls that had been put in place. The organisation had managed to fill all the vacant positions, except for one. The AG had not pronounced on the predetermined objectives.
Mr Mileham said if the last capacity assessment was done in 2011/12, the Board was delinquent in performing its job. The current Board had not conducted a single capacity assessment during its term. He asked how the Board would ensure that an assessment was done in 2017/18.
Ms Thupana replied that a new model had been developed in 2016. They were, therefore, prepared to conduct a country-wide capacity assessment in 2018. The 2011/12 capacity assessment had not included all municipalities.
Briefing by the Commission for the Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission)
Ms Thoko Mkhwanaz-Xaluva, Chairperson: CRL Rights Commission, informed the Committee that the Commission had attained its first clean audit in the year under review. All programmes had attained the set targets in 2016/17 financial year. There had been a dramatic increase in complaints and demand for services by communities from the Commission. Community-based complaints took longer to conclude, and the public profile and impact the Commission had in the country, had created more demand. In the year under review, the Commission had facilitated 18 capacity building engagements with community councils, nine workshops on conflict resolutions and 10 awareness campaigns on ritual killing of people living with albinism. Some major structures supporting the Commission’s recommendations on the “commercialization project” included South African Union Council of independent Churches (SAUCIC), the International Federation of Christian Churches (IFCC) and Zion Christian Church (ZCC).
The Commission closed the year with just enough cash in the bank account to settle creditors due for payment. These outstanding invoices were settled in the new financial year. The Commission exercised prudence in the utilisation of financial resources as demonstrated by the efforts to remain within budget allocation, notwithstanding pressure in respect of the implementation of its strategic plan. The proposed adjustment to the baseline allocation was insufficient to support the current performance of the Commission, therefore the Commission would have no option, but to downscale its strategic plan.
The Commission also faced challenges with non-compliance of the CRL Act 19 of 2002, which stated that the Commission had to convene two national consultative conferences during every term of the Commission, the first of which had to take place within the first 12 months of a new term of the Commission. Section 24 (2) stated that the Commission might generate funding for a national consultative conference in addition to money appropriated for that purpose by Parliament. The conference was intended to evaluate the progress in South Africa about the promotion of respect for, and the furthering of, the protection of the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities, and the furthering of peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among and within cultural, religious and linguistic communities, based on equality, non-discrimination and free association.
Prof David Mosoma, Deputy Chairperson, stated that it was the Commission’s priority to shape and develop multilingualism in communities.
Mr Mileham asked if there was no duplication between the work of the Commission and that of the PanSALB in terms of the linguistic aspect. The Commission seemed to be mainly seeking recognition from religious groups, instead of the religious groups complying with the stipulations of the Commission. Also, there seemed to be only a representation of Christians in the groups which the Commission had consulted. He said that the Commission had achieved only 10 of its targets, but the APP stated that it had achieved all its targets. He said the Commission had to submit a supplementary budget to Parliament if the Commission believed that it was under-funded.
Ms Mkhwanaz-Xaluva replied that the work of the Commission and PanSALB was similar. However, PanSALB was interested in the development of languages, while the Commission’s priority was to ensure that all languages were developed equally. The Commission and PanSALB often worked together to share ideas and knowledge. When the Commission was seeking stakeholders to engage with, it had considered the membership of various organisations, but mostly, the Christian faith organisations had larger numbers of members. It was very important to the Commission that there was peace between the Commission and organisations, hence it might seem as if the Commission had been lenient and was taking direction from the organisations but that was far from the truth. The Commission did, however, consult with the organisations for inputs.
Mr Mileham realised that the targets had been revised due to the budget constraints. However, those changes should be noted in the booklet as well.
The Chairperson said the APP could not be changed in any way without informing the Committee.
Ms Mhwanaz-Xaluva replied that the Commission had submitted a supplementary budget to Parliament, but it had received less than what had been asked for.
Mr N Masondo (ANC) asked the Chairperson to explain the on-going debate between the Commission and Pastor Paseka Mboro. He noted that it was important for the Commission to have knowledge about the culture of Muslims too.
Mr Mileham asked if the budget for the consultative conference had been submitted to Parliament. He said that there might be an overlap of duties between the community councils and the traditional councils. He asked who funded community councils and how the community councils were structured.
Ms Mkhwanaz-Xaluva replied that the Magistrates Court had issued the Chairperson with a preliminary protection order against Pastor Paseka Mboro. A warrant of arrest had been issued against him for failing to abide by the protection order. The Hawks were currently investigating the case. The chairperson had also laid a complaint with the Gender Commission. She said that she was hoping that the debate would not spread into the communities because the reputation of the Commission was very important. She added that a budget for the national consultative conference had been submitted to Parliament several times.
Mr Edward Mafadza, Chief Executive Officer, stated that the Commission budgeted for the national consultative conference every year, as part of the budget submitted to Parliament. The traditional leaders followed their legislation, while the community councils only overlapped with the traditional leaders when it came to issues pertaining to traditional matters. Each community council advised the Commission on the matters concerning the community which it served, or the culture which it represented.
Prof Mosoma said that the Commission used different platforms to advertise its work.
The Chairperson thanked the Commission for their presentation. He asked the Committee to remain to discuss the joint meetings with the Committee on Energy and SALGA.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee about the joint meeting it would be having with the Committee on Energy, SALGA and Eskom on the following Tuesday at 10:00.
The Committee members all agreed to attend the meeting
The meeting was adjourned.
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