The Committee met briefly to consider and make changes to the draft budgetary review and recommendations report of the Department of Cooperative and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). Members took a snap survey of all the sections in the document, including, among others, Committee mandate to see if the Department (COGTA) is adhering to stipulations provided in the legislative frameworks.
Members made the following remarks:
- 62 municipalities are at risk from Eskom. Major municipalities are on underfunded budgets.
- The Committee needs to arrange a meeting with the Municipal Demarcation Board about its inability to achieve a clean audit.
- The underperformance of municipalities must be graded in accordance with top, middle and lower levels. The committee will summon the DG to give a management report. Despite municipalities being given money; they are still failing.
Members tentatively agreed to the report.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone. He highlighted that the main purpose of the meeting is to look at the draft budgetary review and recommendations report. It was a continuation of the meeting held the day before.
The Chairperson posed the following question: What do we do with a report not prepared by us? It’s presented to us for consideration. He asked the members if there are happy with the report, if not, he urged members to consider the purpose of the report. The Chairperson said community work programmes are always problematic but he said the DG the previous day said he is working on it.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
The Chairperson tabled the draft budgetary review and recommendations report to the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative and Traditional Affairs for consideration. He indicated that the Committee would go through it page by page to allow/give members an ample room to air their views and give their inputs on the report.
Mr K Mileham (DA) said that 62 municipalities are at risk from Eskom. He further notes that major municipalities are on underfunded budgets.
The Chairperson said there is need to have a discussion with the Municipal Demarcation Board on its malfunction with regards to its inability to achieve planned clean audit.
Mr Mileham proposed that the Committee schedule a meeting with the board to look at the efficiency and effectiveness of municipalities in Centurion (Pretoria). On financial performance, there is a massive under expenditure of R8.1 billion in the Department of Cooperative Governance. He insisted that the recommendation from the National Treasury should be implemented and a report is required.
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC) states that the underperformance of municipalities must be graded in accordance with top, middle and lower levels, and then the committee will summon the DG to give a management report. He also said that despite municipalities being given money; they are failing to come out of the situation.
Mr Mileham notes that bottom municipalities can’t afford to bring a team to Cape Town thus the Committee has to go and see the problems through fact finding visits.
Mr C Matsepe (DA) notes that 43% of the municipalities must be investigated.
The Chairperson said that the underperformance of municipalities seemed to be a perennial problem and therefore something must be done.
In addition to the recommendations, Mr Mileham notes that there is need for earlier prevention mechanisms to monitor financial performance as stipulated in relevant legislative frameworks. He also stressed the need for support or assistance to comply with the legislative mechanisms.
Mr Matsepe said that there is no clear truth on why there were late submissions of the required list of projects to the Committee by the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA). He said there is therefore need to call MISA and the AG to explain
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) states that there is need to consider merging performing municipalities with the underperforming ones to assist the latter as a recommendation.
Mr Mileham quickly dismissed that view by noting that from past experiences, merging performing municipalities with the underperforming ones is not a solution, citing municipalities which are currently in debt because of such an initiative. He therefore warned that merging municipalities must be treated with caution.
The Chairperson sought consensus before adjourning the session; asking members if they can accept the report.
He noted that the Committee has accepted the report tentatively.
The Chairperson also noted that there a trip to China to explore and draw lessons from experiences in China and also the challenges they are facing.
Mr Mileham said that budgetary allocation and all funding must be transferred to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
The Chairperson said the Committee was going to put the report as part of its observation.
The Chairperson thanked the members.
The meeting was adjourned.
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