Sport and recreation infrastructure delivery: SRSA, COGTA, Treasury, SALGA inputs

Sports, Arts and Culture

07 November 2017
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee received briefings from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), National Treasury (NT), the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) on the utilisation of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) for sport and recreation infrastructure and related matters.

SRSA reported that the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) presented a huge dilemma for mayors and municipalities. These MIG grants were being sacrificed for political expediency and the money was not sued for their intended purpose: to build sports facilities. In light of all these problems, SRSA wanted be given 15% of the MIG and suggested it should be de-linked from MIG to a separate grant to be provided for sports. Treasury disagreed with this. Subsequently, an agreement was reached with Treasury, COGTA and SRSA that a pilot is run for the three years and an amount of R300m is ring fenced from the bigger pool of MIG. This amount will be allocated to selected municipalities struggling with capacity and skills to deliver by themselves. They would be supported and monitored closely and provided with technical expertise to deliver the facilities and have a long term maintenance care plan in place too. The plan is for the funds to remain with COGTA, allocated and spent from there. This ring-fenced R300m does not preclude the municipalities so funded to still receives funds from the bigger MIG pool. SRSA stated that no new money is being asked for because the issue pertaining to expenditure ceiling is well understood and government’s belt tightening exercise is supported. What SRSA is asking for is the repackaging of existing funding so that it can be utilized efficiently and effectively.

COGTA said he agreed with SRSA on the issues raised, and COGTA is also of the view the task at hand is a very important one and that the social ills befalling our societies are because of children not having sporting facilities.

Treasury highlighted that that SA faces a very serious fiscal challenge and there is a commitment from the to maintain an expenditure ceiling and fiscal discipline going forward. SA has limited resources and unlimited wants from a variety of sectors and sports is no exception. Even though these resources are limited, the constitution has a commitment to progressive rights and the provision of amenities. Progress is being made in the sports sector. Finding the right modality to making the sports infrastructures is still a challenge with respect to maintenance and delivery.

SALGA expressed concern that the executive authority of municipalities for local sport facilities is not being fully recognised in the three year R300-million ring-fenced sports pilot project. They were also concerned about the support provided to its member municipalities.

Members were of the opinion that National Treasury is failing communities. The youth who are talented and would have being redirected into sports are consigned to a life of crime and drugs because Treasury is playing politics with sports development. If Treasury has the interest for sports development it would meet with SRSA, COGTA and SALGA. Others noticed that what was lacking in today is the absence of intergovernmental relations. Politics is being played out by various departments here and it is wrong to see implementers of this noble programme playing politics of the boardroom. They advocated for the building of multi-purpose courts instead of stadiums. This is because it lasts long and hardly need any maintenance. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all present and asked for the introduction and positions of all the staff from the various departments presenting. This is done because there is the tendency of some departments sending junior staff who cannot answer questions posed by the committee instead preferring to consult their superiors. Further, she explained that the meeting was delayed to ensure that the SRSA DG arrives before the start of the meeting.

Remarks by Department DG

Mr Alec Moemi, DG, SRSA ,stated that the Department’s work in the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) has greatly improved and so is the cooperation between the three key departments: SRSA, COGTA and Treasury. Successive ANC conferences has taken the view that 15% of MIG should be ring fenced for sports facilities and development of sports within municipalities. Prior to this, SRSA was allocated a grant called Building for Sport Recreation and Grant (BSRG) and was embedded within SRSA. Former Finance Minister Manuel had suggested that the grant be consolidated but financial and fiscal authorities decided that it was not useful because of associated costs administering it. It was discovered that despite the good intentions of consolidating the grant, its impact for sports was devastating. As a result, BSRG was collapsed and formed into what is now MIG. Subsequent to this, Treasury and Metros put forth the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG). These two grants are for category A and B municipalities respectively. Because of this development, sports lost a dedicated grant for its use. There were roll out of sports facilities during the period of BSRG but maintenance has always being a key bottleneck. SRSA rolled out the facilities while municipalities inherited them.

Smaller municipalities that mostly needed the facilities had smaller budgets to to maintain them. In 2013, a study was conducted in two provinces - KZN and EC - to gauge the utilization of the key components within municipalities; it was shocking to find that only 4% of funds allocated for sports purpose was being utilised for that purpose. The grant therefore has presented a huge dilemma for mayors and municipalities. It came to light that MIG grants were being sacrificed for political expediency. It was discovered that if for instance people are protesting for water and Mayors have funds to build a stadium, it was likely this stadium money would be diverted to appease the people. This is done by municipalities all the time especially the small ones. The situation has persisted over the years since MIG was unveiled. If this money was with SRSA, the MIG funds would be utilised purely for the intended purpose but unfortunately the money is elsewhere.

After seeing what the situation is on the ground, SRSA has being engaging Treasury and COGTA to find a solution by insisting that the resolutions of ANC’s conferences be implemented. SRSA should be given 15% of the MIG and it should be de-linked from MIG to a separate grant to be provided for sports. After a wide engagement with various stakeholders, Treasury still maintains that grants should be proliferated rather than consolidated. This stance overlooks the practicality of the situation and consequence of them not changing their stance is that sports are suffering. SRSA position is that consolidation should be an exception in this regard if it can produce tangible results. The compromise is to ring-fence specific amounts of money so as to be able to deliver sports facilities. Agreement was then reached with Treasury, COGTA and SRSA that a pilot is run for the three years and an amount of R300m is ring fenced from the bigger pool of MIG. This amount will be allocated to selected municipalities struggling with capacity and skills to deliver by themselves. They would be supported and monitored closely and provided with technical expertise to deliver the facilities and have a long term maintenance care plan in place too. The plan is for the funds to remain with COGTA, allocated and spent from there. This ring-fenced R300m does not preclude the municipalities so funded to still receives funds from the bigger MIG pool. The presentation today will highlight the state of things with the process, to report the successes and failures of the pilot and indicate the process going forward in the next financial year and allocation of funds to the programme and finally to outline the vision for the partnership moving forward. SRSA still feels strongly about the idea for a separate grant and why SRSA agreed to the pilot idea is to demonstrate how effective it could be and the results to be attained when SRSA works closely and support the municipalities.

Briefing by Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)

Dr Charles Nwaila, DG, COGTA, agreed with the Mr Moemi on the issues raised, and COGTA is also of the view the task at hand is a very important one. The social ills befalling our societies are because of children not having sporting facilities. To add to what SRSA said, Treasury has identified 60 distressed municipalities, and working jointly with Treasury solutions are being proffered to assist them.

The president launched the Back to Basics (B2B) programme earlier this year to address some of the knock on effects. This programme is underpinned by five pillars; first of which is putting people first. Children having a place to play falls under this pillar. The second pillar is governance. An outreach campaign is being undertaken with the COGTA Minister in various provinces. This outreach is to engage with the Mayors and Municipal Managers to find out how they could be assisted and why interventions are failing. For example Sec. 139 & 100 interventions are not being adhered to. People’s problems are still a concern; infighting, problems of interface between the administrators and political leaders and the high rate of vacancies at senior management level. These issues have being identified as critical. Measures and interventions have been put in place with support from COGTA. Municipalities are being motivated to take this work seriously. Expenditure rates are very low too, though it is understandable that it is the first year of the pilot. The problems of percentages and formulas can be ironed out with stakeholders. COGTA is working closely with SALGA and Treasury on this matter. The presentation is a joint effort by all stakeholders and this demonstrates the spirit of collaboration.

Briefing by National Treasury (NT)

Mr Steven Kenyon, Director: Local Government and Budget Framework, NT, stated that Treasury appreciates the frankness in which the previous speakers spoke of the challenges from the perspective of their departments. Treasury will speak of the financial challenges as well.

In the Minister’s presentation of the Medium term budget, it was stated that SA faces a very serious fiscal challenge and there is a commitment from the NT to maintain an expenditure ceiling and fiscal discipline going forward. As the saying goes, SA has limited resources and unlimited wants from a variety of sectors and sports is no exception. Even though these resources are limited, the constitution has a commitment to progressive rights and the provision of amenities. Progress is being made in the sports sector and as stated by the DG of COGTA, improvements is being seen in the first year of the implementation of R300m MIG ring fenced grant. Finding the right modality to making the sports infrastructures is still a challenge with respect to maintenance and delivery. It is important that when discussions are held to ameliorate the status quo that it is based on evidence and draw from lessons learned.

Briefing by SRSA

IMr Lebogang Mogoera, Chief Director: Infrastructure, SRSA, said the South African Sports and Recreation Amendment Act of 2008 and National Development Plan imposed a mandate on the Department of Sport and Recreation to ensure provision of sporting and recreation facilities in the country. Schedule 5B of the Constitution requires municipalities to provide physical sporting facilities in their respective areas of jurisdiction. National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) recognises that South Africa has a challenge of provision, equitable access and maintenance of sport and recreation facilities, which has far reaching consequences for the transformation and development of the sector. NSRP acknowledges that failure to address sport infrastructure backlogs will compromise the country’s objective of transformation, sports development and increased participation because sport facilities form the foundation of the entire sport and recreation system, and therefore provision of sport facilities is an indispensable requirement to achieve a 2030 vision of Active and Winning Nation. For these reasons, the ring fencing of R300 million was introduced as a pilot for innovative and effective delivery mechanisms to accelerate and broaden delivery of sport facilities.

In the 2016/17 financial year R300 million of MIG funds was allocated for sports facilities outside of the MIG formula. The funds were allocated based on a Municipality Facility Project list identified by SRSA. 30 municipalities are benefitting from the programme and SRSA encouraged Municipalities to prioritize sports infrastructure in line with their own IDPs. SRSA worked through the MIG structures to guide, assess and approve funding for these municipal projects. Conditions relating to the grant have been captured into the conditional Grant Framework and gazetted. The decision to allocate funds was communicated in October 2016 so timelines to finalise plans were very tight.

 

MIG Conditions

-To receive the first tranche, municipalities must have followed the process for approval of 2016/17 projects and have confirmed by 2 June 2017 with the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) their programme, project planning and implementation readiness;

-This above should be done prior to the year of implementation and be informed by their Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and three year capital plans;

-MIG priorities set by municipalities (as stated in their three year capital plan) can only be changed with municipal council approval, the concurrence of the sector departments and the approval of DCoG;

-Municipalities must spend at least 60% of their previous transfer and comply with reporting provisions before the second and subsequent transfers are made;

-Municipalities must spend 40% of their total MIG allocation by December 2016;

-Municipalities must comply with sector norms, standards and legislation as confirmed by sectors during the MIG project registration processes;

-Ring-fenced sport infrastructure allocation: municipalities that have allocations gazetted as part of the ring-fenced allocation for specific sport infrastructure projects may only spend these allocations on the projects identified by SRSA

-Withholding or stopping of transfers and reallocation of MIG allocations will be instituted where municipalities deviate from and/or do not comply with the conditions above.

 

Responsibilities of provincial sector departments

They must: Develop sector norms and standards for basic services (including unit cost guidelines);Participate in district appraisal and progress committee meetings; Evaluate and provide recommendations on sector technical reports before projects are appraised; Each provincial sector department must fulfill a sectoral monitoring and guidance role on relevant sectoral outputs; Provide technical advice as required by a municipality through the feasibility, planning, design, tender and construction phases of a MIG project.

 

Challenges

-Poor communication between COGTA and municipalities causing delay in critical activities of the project.

-Limited time for project implementation. Both planning and implementation expected to be completed in a period less than financial year

-Alignment between MIG requirements and SRSA project selection

-Compliance with legislative framework that affect land development. (e.g. EIA in Gamagara and Kokstad)

-Poor/ Lack of planning for provision of sports facilities at municipal level

-Absence of project steering committees to drive and ensure implementation of projects

-Poor cooperation from some municipalities (i.e. attendance of provincial meetings, submission of reports and lack of response to communication send by department)

-Limited capacity of provincial sports departments to play expected role in the MIG value chain

-Lack of needs based National, Provincial and Local Facility Plan(s)

-Inadequate consultation with COGTA resulting, in some instances, in identification not fully compliant with MIG conditions

-Poor consultation with targeted municipalities in identifying sports projects;

-Poor alignment between SRSA selection timelines and that of the MIG grant framework;

-Lack of a plan by SRSA to ensure that the sports facilities developed through MIG are utilised over their lifespan; (not related to R300 million)

-Limited capacity within SRSA to manage sports projects;

-Resistance to use transversal contracts, and delays in deviation process caused significant lag times

-Reluctance to cooperate with SRSA PMU for provision of technical and management support

 

Collaborations

-Dedicated SRSA MIG workshop to address sports issues;

-Regular meetings between SRSA, National Treasury, DCoG, Misa and SALGA:

-Engagements and support by provincial departments responsible for local government (i.e. Coghstas);

-Participation in the rollover assessment engagements in order to provide inputs/motivations

 

Mr Moemi clarified that no new money is being asked for because the issue pertaining to expenditure ceiling is well understood and government’s belt tightening exercise is supported. What SRSA is asking for is the repackaging of existing funding so that it can be utilized efficiently and effectively. It is also very disheartening for the Treasury to take its present posture which is that the performance of the ringed fenced R300m is outweighed by the performance of MIG in general. This is made without assessing at what cost this came about; this should concern Treasury. Perhaps the Committee should be shown the quality of facilities built on the ring fenced amount and at a fraction of the cost compared to that built by the municipalities left to its vices. [The pictures of poorly built stadium were shown on screen to drive home the point being propagated].

 

The DG told the Committee that SRSA officials go around to actually inspect the facilities built. The least Treasury should have done is to support SRSA to enforce the law because once the framework is gazetted; it has the effect of the law. It is the opinion of SRSA that municipal managers and mayors who refuse to utilize approved service providers must be brought to the book. Not spending an allocation should not be used as basis or an evidence to abandon the pilot and the ring fenced R300m and make the assumption that general MIG out performs ring fenced money.

 

The Chairperson, in a response, said the Committee was not happy when SRSA agreed to the present arrangement , It cannot fold its hands and reject the amount when MIG is not working.

 

Briefing by SALGA

Mr Gillion Bosman, Councillor, SALGA, said that it is imperative to hear of SALGA’s perspective as implementing agents. All parties agree that Schedule 5 Part B of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa clearly stipulates that local sport facilities are a Local Government mandate and as such municipalities should receive funding for these facilities. In 2013, a holistic review of the municipal infrastructure grant system was initiated by the Local Government Budget Forum. On 15 October 2015, SRSA, CoGTA and National Treasury met without Local Government and agreed on reforms to improve the delivery of sport infrastructure through the MIG. The above resulted in the R300 million of MIG funds being allocated outside the MIG formula (being ring fenced for sport and a list of Municipal beneficiaries identified by SRSA alone) in 201/17. The challenges faced by this pilot project are captured well in the joint presentation agreed upon by all (i.e. SALGA, MISA, CoGTA, NT and SRSA.

 

SALGA Perspective

We acknowledge and support the content of the joint presentation on the status quo of Sports and Recreation Facilities. We appreciate the work to provide all the critical data and information necessary to chart the way forward. In addition to the key challenges and remedial action identified by all stakeholders, SALGA included, we would like to highlight a local government perspective to ensure that service delivery in the intended sports facilities remain a reality. Our inputs today is in line with our SALGA mandate: to act as the representative and the sole voice of our 257 members.

 

SALGA is concerned that the executive authority of municipalities for local sport facilities is not being fully recognised in the three year R300-million ring-fenced sports pilot project. We are also concerned about the support provided to our member municipalities. We would therefore like to share the following with the PC on Sports and Recreation:

-To reiterate and demonstrate what the Constitution and related legislation says about our member’s executive authority.

-How the pilot project may be undermining this authority

-What needs to be done to put this right?

 

Support to Municipalities

We are concerned that the support provided by SRSA as part of the pilot is not strengthening the capacity of municipalities. Departments have an obligation in terms of section 154 (1) or the Constitution and in terms of the MIG framework to support and strengthen the capacity in municipalities. This support to municipalities should include at the minimum the following:

Identifying local support facility needs through IDP processes

How to undertake feasibility studies and develop project plans for sports facilities in compliance with norms and standards

How to contract implementing agents and service providers and monitoring thereof

Developing capacity to cost sports facilities in terms of both capital and operating costs

 

Discussion

Ms D Manana (ANC) said she was happy that DG was given the opportunity to clarify. Treasury is failing our communities. The youth who are talented and would have being redirected into sports are consigned to a life of crime and drugs because Treasury is playing politics with sports development. If Treasury has the interest for sports development it would have that meeting with SRSA, COGTA and SALGA. SRSA’s monitoring tool is weak. SRSA presentation paints a picture as if everything is perfect, but nothing is happening on the ground. Even though Treasury is failing our people she would not support the idea of giving the money to SRSA to manage; rather COGTA and SALGA must sit and iron out their differences while remaining accountable at the same time. SALGA also needs to work with SRSA to ensure that adequate safeguards are taken to build sporting facilities. For Treasury, why does it keep giving the municipalities money without adequate safeguards to ensure that the money is utilized for what is intended? Do they want to see sports people protest for sports facilities? COGTA too is supposed to carry out proper inspections of the facilities in the municipalities before coming to the Committee. There are uncompleted projects in her municipality of Nkomazi. In which ward are any of the projects completed? A proper monitoring tool is lacking. She suggested that the federations be taken as stakeholders.

 

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said that intergovernmental relations was lacking. Politics is being played out by various departments here and it is wrong to see implementers playing politics. Can Steven from Treasury elaborate on his statement of limited resources and unlimited wants and ill discipline in the utilizing of funds? Treasury is taking sports as the last priority; what is treasury’s view on that? How do all departments present today do their monitoring and evaluation? This is lacking. There seems to be a lack of consequence management as stated by the SRSA DG because when money earmarked for sports facility is diverted for something else people are supposed to be held accountable and that is not done because this people are connected or know someone. In one of the slides money was even given to a municipality that did not apply for the funds. Why? On slide eleven on project status, Swellendam: Expenditure 4% while progress 35%, Beaufort West: Expenditure is at 4% and Progress 0% can that be explained? This is very misleading.

 

Mr D Bergman (DA) said that when the Committee goes on oversight tours; it is dismaying to see facts on the ground and what is written in the reports. The SRSA DG is supported in this case because Treasury sits and makes determinations without going to see for itself facts on the ground. SRSA has been advocating for something that he is a fan of and that is multi-purpose courts. This is because it lasts long and hardly needs any maintenance. Building these big stadiums only leads to them becoming monuments to ex-politicians they are named after. That is what they are because even soccer except for derbies hardly fills stadiums these days. There lies the opportunity to build community structures as advocated by SRSA. And it costs only R1.5m to build a court compared to the cost of a stadium. 15 courts could be delivered at the cost of a stadium. The biggest advantage of the multi-purpose courts is that they are under warranty of over twenty years. Stadiums needs water and after factoring other maintenance costs, it could sap the financial resources of municipalities unlike the multi-purpose courts. When it comes to ring fencing, out of 30 municipalities that have funds, three to date have not even spent a cent. Many have only spent 8% of the funds which means they are still in the planning stages since 2016. Where then is the money and what are they doing with it? Imagine if a Mayor sitting with the ring fenced money and has to choose between building a clinic or stadium? The choice is obvious. A facility and equipment audit is needed to be carried out by the Committee because year after year the reports they present is never the same result that is on the ground.

 

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) was of the opinion that the intergovernmental relations is broken down because it feels like the departments are in a boxing ring and it is uncomfortable for Members. Taking out the dirty laundry in public is not helpful; all differences should be settled before coming to present to the Committee because the poor are supposed to be beneficiaries. The conclusion of SALGAs presentation tells it all. What is the criterion used to decide which facilities to rehabilitate? Is it the same for all areas? How does the IDP process influence the areas infrastructure are sited? What is the strategy behind the maintenance of infrastructures? What are the consequences in cases of slow progress and no progress at all? What are the monitoring tools used because some municipalities do well and some do not yet they get funds? What other things is the money used for as mentioned by the DG?

 

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) commented that the meeting is missing track of its purpose which is the lack of spending on the MIG fund. It is disappointing to see SALGA not living up to its mandate. The Committee has visited eight provinces and can identify with the issues raised by SRSA DG. The visit to Free State was a case in point where a stadium had a grand stand but no field to play. There are weeds overgrown in where the field was to be located. All done using MIG funds. The pilot is the answer. Treasury is also a disappointment for concluding that mixed spending is better than the pilot. This meeting must conclude whether the pilot should continue. Treasury must initiate monitoring of its own and not take reports submitted on face value. It was a resolution by the Committee that a certain percentage of MIG funding should be given to the Department so that significant interventions could be made to build facilities that could be used across the board. In terms of MIG certain resolutions are made such as who is supposed to account for the R300m? In whose performance area is it sitting? Who is monitoring the funds at the moment? Is it SALGA? There was an instance when a Municipal manager was threatening the Committee because the infrastructure built by the manager was not being used by the community citing lack of consultation and was being vandalised. So basically the infrastructure was built single handedly by the manager and when the Committee went to ask questions the municipal manager was not comfortable being questioned. This exercise is not to usurp the powers of the municipalities, but to find out what is happening to MIG funds. Where does the performance sit in the intervention made by COGTA? Who reports on the indicators? Who can be held accountable for the R300m MIG fund?

 

The Chairperson thanked the presenters. She welcomed the idea of a joint presentation but the cracks are there for all to see. Do the DG’s sit together? And if they sit they must do so with the second layer officers because what the Treasury representative was saying lacks intimate knowledge of issues. Did COGTA sit with SALGA before meeting with SRSA? SALGA is only defending itself. When the Committee visited Sasolburg they confirmed they have no dealings with MIG facilities. They mentioned providing water and other things unrelated to MIG. Using MIG funds for non sporting facilities is wrong. The presentation of SALGA smacks of politicking. This sitting is for oversight duties and getting information not playing politics. Sports can help tame some of the social ills of killing of women, raping of kids and drugs. All the entities must sit as a collective to work for the good of the country. Social cohesion must be promoted in this country.

 

Mr Moemi thanked the Chairperson and responded to some of the issues raised. On the question of capacity to monitor municipalities and work done on the ground; the answer is a yes and no. All 30 programmes listed for year one and subsequent ones that came, have been visited and even in many cases more than once and some that have problems were visited six times. This costs money and is a bit of a challenge but all that is reported regarding those programmes is objective and was seen by SRSA officials and not secondarily heard from the municipalities or otherwise. Other departments can speak for themselves too. The second part is that SRSA has 5 people working in the facilities unit but there are17 more vacancies that need to be filled for this unit. Treasury agreed to give SRSA money on an annual basis to fill these vacancies. An original budget of R10m was promised but somehow it backtracked claiming a misunderstanding. Instead, they gave was R6m to recruit engineers and other staff to support municipalities which SALGA asked SRSA to provide. What SALGA is asking SRSA is what they already have and support can only be provided to municipalities that really need it. “You can take a horse to the river but cannot force it to drink”. Municipalities that came to seek help got the support and the stalemate between SRSA and SALGA is unhelpful. SRSA has never usurped the powers of the municipalities and it is disingenuous to quote section 154 of the constitution in isolation because it must be read with sec 229 that limits that section. It gives powers to the Minister of Finance to provide legislation and grounds on which those arrangements can be put in place. Any time Treasury publishes a transversal tender; there is no case of usurping of powers. Even the Act says accounting officers must procure. Even with the present Treasury instruction to use Vodacom, we all are compelled and cannot use any other service provider. This issue must be clarified to SALGA. The idea also that national departments must participate in all IDPs; this issue has being raised a number of times and it cannot be the case. SRSA has pronounced its position on this many times. With 123 staff this is impossible. Those regulations/norms and standards are already there it just needs to be incorporated to the plan. Other things being referred to is in reference to municipalities in KZN. Funds are being allocated for one purpose that is the building of sports facilities and ring fenced for that purpose only. Any other purpose therefore is not right. No impression of disharmony should be created. The relationship between SRSA and COGTA has very much improved. The addition of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) and intervention of COGTA is welcomed. None of the challenges we jointly face is insurmountable but they are highlighted to the Committee to inform it of where we all stand at the moment.

 

Dr Nwaila said all departments involved contributed to the task at hand. The issue of monitoring and evaluation for COGTA, it is driven by the five pillars of B2B and the role of COGTA is to coordinate relationships of all departments according to chapter three of the constitution. COGTA cannot be able to monitor what all departments do but can be held accountable for the role it plays in issues directly involving it. For example processes are followed should municipalities are unable to spend 40% of allocated funds by December. They are called and even Treasury is alerted to withdraw funds though another process is followed to do that. The communities must not be punished by withdrawing such funds. MISA steps in if municipalities are not spending the money. This funding mechanism for sports purposes is a special arrangement for a good cause. The pilot is just in the first year and the challenges are expected. The structures that are present here are determined to work together. We are all committed to find each other so that whenever we come to the Committee we are giving solutions.

 

Mr Ntandazo Yimba, Acting CEO, MISA, said MISA works closely with SRSA. A commitment has been made to assist the Department to achieve its stated objectives. MISA did a refocusing of priorities in 2015. Before 2015, it focused on deploying technical consultants to municipalities in areas of planning and maintenance. But then the former Minster in 2015, Mr Pravin Gordhan, challenged MISA that the problems of municipalities is not only technical; what about the whole value chain in procurement, management etc. So MISA was refocused and identified that there is need to assist municipalities with the delivery, procurement and contract management of infrastructures. There is also the third layer of MISA mandate which is direct delivery support. This was developed and in the revised structure of the organisation, a sub-structure called infrastructure delivery, procurement and contract management was put in place. This is sorely responsible for direct delivery support to implementing agents’ arrangement. Right now there are 81 approved technical posts; out of which 51 are civil engineers; 15 are town and regional planners and 15 electrical engineers. All these posts were advertised in September and are being filled now. Before MISA used consultants but the entity is now in-sourcing and building its own capacity. If we work together including sports, this capacity can be optimized to improve municipal infrastructures including ports. Through this built capacity, we can augment challenges faced by various stakeholders present today. The frustration that is palpable in this house is observed, the officials should apologise to the Committee because not enough is done to exploit the enabling legislative environment. Legislation makes provision for the redirecting of funds from non-performing municipalities to be converted to an indirect grant. The Department can appoint any implementing agent to implement on behalf of a failing municipality. Not enough is done to utilize this piece of legislation and stakeholders and Treasury should cooperate to get things moving. We should all work together to deliver infrastructure to our people.

Mr Kenyon appreciated the opportunity and reiterated that the presentation was a joint one agreed to by the three departments though the discussions does not feel like it. The treasury would prefer not to engage in dialogue with other departments in this forum. This is not the appropriate place to do so. These departments meet all time in Pretoria and disagreements would be handled in such meetings. On the limited resources statements, what is meant is that each sector has its own plans, ambitions and targets in terms of the NDP. The MIG in particular is a multi-sectoral grant and all sectors not only sports are competing for this grant. Sectors such are water, early childhood development facility, refuse, waste management etc. There are pressures amongst each of those competing for this MIG grant. The challenge is to balance those competing needs. The structure of MIG is such that it is the municipality that makes the decision about its priority. The job of Treasury is to ensure that the cake is divided fairly such that big municipalities with big backlogs are allocated large amounts while smaller ones get smaller allocations. The work of Treasury is to set fair rules and frameworks. On whether Treasury inspects all projects funded, that is not possible to do rather Treasury’s job is to ensure that monitoring systems are enforced that deliver reliable information. In MIG accountability and responsibility are shared by all stakeholders. The DG of COGTA is the transferring officer but each of the sectoral departments has responsibility. It is good SRSA is going and looking at what is being spent and on what.

Mr Bosman thanked everyone for the discussion and promised to take the perspectives to SALGA members. IDP process is one of the important aspects for a municipality. It plays a role in getting feedback from citizens on what they need. We all have to look at how to strengthen this process. SALGA appreciates that SRSA cannot physically participate in all IDPs around the country but they can take cognizance of some of the plans of IDP and make recommendations where possible. SALGA is getting from its members that not enough support is provided to municipalities and there is a general lack of consultation around decisions. On intergovernmental relations, SALGA has requested to be included in key governance decisions but that inclusion is still pending. Representations have also been made to the Minister of Sports and Recreation for inclusion and the DG could help to assist in fast tracking it so that local government is part of the conversation. SALGA is happy to play a role in assisting the municipalities to implement these projects. Members will be further consulted to brief them on lessons learned from this pilot so that they can understand the importance of the pilot.

The Chairperson asked the departments to send answers of questions unanswered by email to the Committee Secretary. There is lack of time to take any more questions because of the plenary taking place today.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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