The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs met with the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance to discuss the impact of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on local government and to brief the Committee on the Municipal Structures Amendment (MSA) Bill.
The Department said although the SONA did not directly address local government, existing programmes needed to be directed to support the objectives set out by the address. Municipalities have an important role to play in radical economic and social transformation which is an objective set out by the President. The Back to Basics programme plays a key role in improving the functionality of local government. At a national conference on local economic development (LED), collaborative partnerships also mentioned in SONA were prioritised. SONA also outlined the importance of good governance and anti-corruption as well as institutional efficiency which are both covered in the second phase of the Back to Basics program.
The Department said they had intervened in cases of non-performance of municipalities by stopping Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocations and have implemented financial recovery plans where necessary. The second phase of Back to Basics also emphasises the need to strengthen adaptation to environmental changes which coincides with the President’s obligation to disaster management. With regards to the budget review, R3.4 billion is added to local government equitable share over the medium term so despite the reduction of grants there is still a gain, given this and other reforms. Municipalities are able to leverage more of their own revenue to repay municipal debts which have increased to R66.3 billion, although the proportion of municipal budgets funded from borrowing has fallen from 24% to 15%. Smaller cities are eligible for a new integrated urban development grant from 2019/20. Municipalities will be able to borrow against all their future revenues not just three years in advance. Back to Basics will improve municipalities’ ability to collect funds and their budgeting processes.
For municipalities that have unfunded budgets, provincial and/or national government intervene in terms of the Constitution. A conditional grant has been introduced, including support and intervention measures to help municipalities facing financial crises but only to those that will implement reforms. The Integrated Development Framework (IUDF) sets out government’s commitment to improving productivity of urban areas. To better respond to the urban development challenges of intermediate cities, the budget proposes to introduce a new, more flexible grant. The water crisis is addressed by means of a provisional allocation of R6 billion in 2018/19 for several purposes, including drought relief.
Members said the practice of leveraging their own revenue sources through opening up to borrowing against future grants and the adoption of unfunded budgets was allowing municipalities to get into more debt. The Department was called to intervene during financial crisis. Progress was requested on the filling of vacancies. It was said that fundamental change is needed to be able to support municipalities. Grants had previously also been misused.
The Department responded and said that provincial and National Treasury assists municipalities to cover debts and developing financial recovery plans. On filling vacancies in municipalities, the Department is doing well. Financial accountability and a salary bill that is 35% of the municipality operational expenditure are being implemented. It was said that the model for municipalities is unsustainable and municipal corruption is not covered adequately due to the nature of the Department. Additionally, councils who do not adhere to the financial recovery plan must be dissolved or put under administration which does not often happen. The Chairperson said that the same issues are addressed each year in these portfolio committee meetings showing that a better way of managing municipalities is necessary.
With regards to the Structural Amendments Bill, there are three broad areas in which the Department categorised amendments to the bill. Electoral Amendments are supported by the IEC, Governance Related Amendments includes the abolition of the plenary type of municipality; to use as a criterion the geographical area to determine the amount of councillors in a municipality; the function of speakers; the creation of the office of the whip; the establishment of the municipal public accounts committee; and matters relating to quorums and decisions. The third area is Other Matters dealing with the removal of reference to district management area; migration of certain provisions from the Structures Act into the Demarcation Bill that is still being developed; and to get migration of Schedule Two from the Systems Act into the Structures Act.
Concerns raised were that the amount of votes per councillor would be too little. In Section 37, a concerning issue was the lack of impartiality of the speakers which should be addressed by a clause.
The Chairperson opened by apologising for the late start citing the lack of a venue due to the boardroom being occupied. He called for a detailed meeting on the impact of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on local government and a brief summary of its impact on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill. He said that despite the Minister of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs not being present due to other obligations, the Director-general will present.
Dr Marietjie Kruger, COGTA, said although the SONA did not directly address local government, there are numerous COGTA programmes that needed to be directed to support the objectives set out by the SONA. Municipalities have an important role to play in radical economic and social transformation which was an objective set by the President. The Back to Basics programme played a key role in improving the functionality of local government.
She said at a national conference on the local economic development (LED), collaborative partnerships (also mentioned in SONA), integrated space development and inclusive economy were prioritised. The Department also looked at good governance, and needed to look at strengthening financial viability, looking at revenue enhancement programmes and consistently receiving disclaimed audit opinions. The Department looked at institutional efficiencies and the second phase of the Back to Basics program focussed on improving compliance, feedback and building institutional capabilities as well as strengthening the roles of district municipalities and provincial departments of cooperative governance and traditional affairs. It also emphasised the monitoring of compliance of the appointment of senior managers.
To link to what the President said on infrastructure development, the Department was looking at capacity building and improving access to services in the 27 prioritised districts. The Department has intervened in cases of non-performance of municipalities by stopping MIG allocations, which the SONA said would be reduced over the next three years. The implications of the VAT increase will impact on infrastructure delivery. With regards to disaster management, she said the second phase of Back to Basics emphasised the need to strengthen adaptation to environmental changes as outlined in the SONA.
Dr Kruger discussed the highlights of the Budget Speech and said there was an indication that government would like to allocate more than the current 9% of revenue to local government, but cannot because of the rising costs of national debts. The budget review indicated that local government equitable share will grow by 7.5% and R3.4 billion was added to the local government equitable share over the medium term. Although indirect grants were reduced by R2.2 million, local government gained R3.4 billion over the period. Also, the formula used to calculate the grant reduced the impact of the reduction to smaller municipalities. By 2019/20 a new urban development grant, funded through a shift of funds from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), will be in effect to fund cities.
She emphasised strengthening of municipalities to be able to leverage more of their own revenue to repay municipal debts which have increased to R66.3 billion, although the proportion of municipal budgets funded from borrowing has fallen from 24% to 15%. National Treasury has updated the framework on municipal borrowing removing provisions that only allowed municipalities to borrow against future grant transfers for 3 years; rather municipalities will be able to borrow against all their future revenues. Back to Basics will improve municipalities’ ability to collect funds and their budgeting processes. At the end of 2017, the 20 municipalities owed Eskom, water boards and other creditors more than the cash they had on hand. National and provincial departments also owed municipalities, and the Department of Public Works (DPW) was working to verify and settle these debts. Many municipalities failed to adopt credible budgets. In 2017, only 125 municipalities tabled funded budgets. After the budget benchmarking process the number increased to 145. In 2017/18, 81 municipal councils voted to adopt budgets that they knew were not funded.
Government spent nearly R2 billion a year on municipal capacity support. If municipalities consistently failed to achieve their mandates, the Constitution provided that provinces and/or national government must intervene. Government will introduce a conditional grant including support and intervention measures to help municipalities facing financial crises but only to those that have demonstrated the will to implement reforms. The grant falls under section 139 of the Constitution, and will be designed and consulted on in 2018. There was a need to amend the Public Audit Act to effectively address the rising trend in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The IUDF sets out government’s policy commitment to improving productivity of urban areas. To better respond to the urban development challenges of intermediate cities, the Budget proposed to introduce a new, more flexible grant which will require more integrated long-term planning with the aim of strengthening metros as enablers of faster, more inclusive economic growth. Government was working with municipalities to respond to the water crisis by means of a provisional allocation of R6 billion in 2018/19 for several purposes, including drought relief and to augment public infrastructure investment. The budget included disaster relief grants for provinces and municipalities worth R473 million in 2018/19.
Mr K Mileham (DA) requested that the full set of slides be provided to the Committee via email since they were not provided with this. In the SONA there was mention of lifestyle audits and he wanted to know if this would be rolled out to mayoral committees and senior municipal management and how the Department would go about this. He asked when the drought would be classified as a national disaster as it has not been declared yet was raised. On the budget review, he said the annual contribution to local government increase of 7.5% was welcomed, but expressed concern that inflationary cost and demand of services were not considered. The MIG reduction was also a concern. Despite the formula being tweaked to reduce reductions for rural municipalities this did not guarantee that no monetary reductions for rural municipalities will happen. The practice of opening up to borrowing against future grants and the adoption of unfunded budgets allowed municipalities to get into more debt. This was concerning since municipalities cannot even keep up with current payments. The Department must not allow unregulated borrowing. The presentation spoke on funded and unfunded budgets for 2017/2018 saying that 145 that have funded budgets and 81 that have unfunded budgets, what about the rest since we have 257 municipalities? On intervention, he said he was glad to hear of conditional grant at the end of the 2018 financial year, but wanted to know if provincial and National Treasury intervened during financial crisis as set out in the Constitution and section 139 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) which stated that during financial crisis these bodies must set out financial recovery plans which have to be adopted and adhered to and if they are not municipalities must be placed under administration or dissolved. There was a need for concrete numbers and monthly or quarterly updates on which municipalities are under administration and intervention. With regards to the drought he enquired if the R433 million for municipal and provincial drought relief was besides the money set aside for disaster management and of the 6 billion provisional amount, how much will go to drought relief.
A Member present asked the Department how far it was in filling the many vacancies, including managers that were appointed incorrectly or without appropriate qualifications, spoken about in a previous presentation. A summary of the second phase of Back to Basics to see how far progress has been achieved since it was just touched on in the SONA was requested.
Mr Dan Mashitisho, Director-General, COGTA, replied that lifestyle audits are becoming a norm and are encouraged by the Department, but the Department needed a directorate. It was a practice that has been happening despite no clear guidelines being set up. Grants for municipalities will never be enough and fundamental change was needed to be able to support municipalities. Ideas are needed for how local government was funded, especially for infrastructure. The Minister of Finance presented a budget with many cuts that affected municipalities. Banks and organisations only borrow to municipalities that are credible although borrowing, especially from organisations, was discouraged. He expressed confusion at the question on the number of municipalities that had not tabled budgets. He said his understanding of the drought monies was that the R6 billion was the general budget and a portion of which will be put aside to address the drought.
A Department official responded and said that provincial and National Treasury assisted municipalities to cover debts owed to Eskom and water boards and in developing financial recovery plans. The Department has sent a team to evaluate success of these recovery plans and has sent a tactical team to evaluate the effectiveness of financial plans. The Department was in the process of finalising evaluation for all provinces, the report of which will be presented to Committee. The Department was also in discussions with an inter-ministerial task team to assess and find what should be done because financial recovery plans do not have the intended result due to lack of monitoring on the Department’s part. In all the necessary municipalities, financial recovery plans have been implemented. The Department was doing well in filling vacancies in municipalities, monitoring implementation and providing figures on vacancies in municipalities in which the Department has taken drastic measures. There are quarterly meetings where provinces report on the appointment of senior managers. He stated that where there are no corrective measures taken the minister will approach the court and the Committee will be given exact numbers on appointments and dismissals in next meeting.
Dr Kruger clarified that if you add 125 increased to 145 to 81, the number of municipalities that knew that their budgets were unfunded comes to 226 which leaves us with 31. She said she was not directly involved with the numbers and they come from the budget review. She suspected there might be municipalities that did not know they had adopted underfunded budgets because calculations were incorrectly made.
A Committee Member said that the retention of the idea of Back to Basics, calls for consistency in the Department. The President spoke on the need to engage in digital industrial revolution, and the Member asked how this is incorporated by the Department. Leadership issues also need to be addressed. Sustainable development and the forth industrial revolution needed to be connected in creative ways. Since the fight against corruption is something everyone was talking about, it would do the Department well to isolate the corruption issue and implement ethics committees that run workshops within the municipality. There is despondency in the department about the resource issue in municipalities.
Ms Tebogo Motlashuping, Acting Deputy-Director-General, COGTA, said grants have been misused by municipalities by paying salaries from these grants. Money cannot be generated by some municipalities for incomes but they hire security for speakers, municipal managers and mayors. This model was unsustainable but the Department only seemed to only be concerned about senior management where there are doing well by encouraging the filling of senior manager vacancies.
Mr C Matsepe (DA) stated that no report had been received that speaks to municipal corruption, all the reports speak to non-recovery of money for municipal services. The Department must call for financial accountability in municipalities. What was done when it was reported that funds are mismanaged, since the job of the Department is to monitor? He asked for assurance that this will be included in the next report with a follow up on what was done.
Ms Motlashuping stated that next time the Department should also report on municipalities that are not able to pay salaries to staff.
A Committee Member called for the list of municipalities that are not in compliance. In terms of MIG, Ms Motlashuping was correct in saying that most of the municipalities are using grants for salaries. There was a trend that senior managers moved from one municipality to another and asked which measures have been put in place to prevent this.
A Committee Member said that the appointment of senior managers are not finalised by some municipalities which is something that needs to occur, if needs be by the provincial government or the Department because those posts are budgeted for. This would also ensure that the necessary work is done and make it necessary to report to the MEC. More attention should be paid where the provincial government is a different party to the municipality since conflict occurs. The Department should pay attention to VIP protection for councillors being misused and calls for procedure and policy in this.
Mr Matsepe said that the Department must be concerned when informed of life-threatening issues but keep in mind that the budget for security is often inflated.
Mr Mileham said, as a follow up on his earlier questions, if 112 out of 257 have unfunded budgets this is contrary to section 18 of MMFA. If the Department and Treasury impose sanctions on these municipalities, financial recovery plans should be drawn up but in terms of the Constitution and sections 139 and 140 of the MMFA. Where there was a breach in financial obligation, the plan must be adopted by council and where councils do not adhere to the plan they must be dissolved or put under administration but this definitive action is not seen. When the drought dedication is made the Committee must be informed of it. The recovery of unauthorised, wasteful expenditure must be recovered from the individual who authorised the use of money as section 32 of the MMFA provides.
The Chairperson said that the same issues are addressed each year in these meetings showing that a better way of managing municipalities is needed since play a critical role in society. Since there is not much that is new, the Committee is stuck in a loop of dissatisfaction and there is no progress. The second phase of Back to Basics is one of the new ways the Department wanted to do things. How are bigger cities contributing to the national demand? COGTA is important as an anchor body that propels development in the country because it manages almost every corner of the country. It is important for the Department to add value where it is not currently doing so.
Mr Mashitisho stated that with the industrial revolution, the IUDF covers urban areas but it needs to be revolutionised to cover issues of agricultural land use in rural area since some cities are part rural and part urban. He stated that effective leadership in municipalities is a challenge that lies in the interface between political and administrative leaderships and in cases where conflict occurs, programs on leadership development need to be held to cover the real issues. A useful component to prevent corruption would be a division dealing with ethics that holds workshops so that individuals cannot plead ignorance. Municipalities are not designed without a tax base because they need to generate their own income and not be entirely tax funded. There is some way of monitoring the abuse of grants and this is implemented by the Department although some CFOs use money on projects before monitoring comes around. Those individuals who outright abuse grants face consequences. It should be law that the salary bill of municipalities must be 35% of its operational expenditure. The issue of municipal managers “messing up” in one municipality and getting employed in a different one is addressed by the implementation of professional standards to standardise procedure and strike officials who are not compliant from the roll. VIP protection is mayoral and does need monitoring but accepts there are cases where councillors get murdered although it is important to work on protection not being abused.
A Department official said that the Minister has a list of senior managers that are guilty of misconduct so they are not employed elsewhere. In a notice it has been said that a risk analysis needs to be done before security can be sent forth. It takes 6 months to get risk analysis from police so in the interim the individual needs to be provided with security. There are limitations to what the Department can do about corruption since the ministry does nott have investigative authority and relies on law enforcement agencies or on reports, after which the relevant people are handed over to law enforcement agencies. However, the Minister has launched an anti-corruption strategy based on internal audits. What specifically has been achieved by the Department in this regard will be reported to the delegation at the next meeting. He said the Department is aware of the salary issue and the high number of people employed against the adopted organogram of municipalities therefore the Department has begun to develop a prototype organogram for different types, categories and sizes of municipalities to be finalised this financial year. No appointment will be able to be made that is not present on the organogram. The Department also went a step further by attempting to ensure that competencies be determined for all employees, not just senior managers. In monitoring the appointment of senior managers, the Department does not differentiate with regards to political parties and monitors the appointment of senior managers on the grounds of qualifications and experience. The compliance test occurs across the board and in this approach and the municipality is informed of their non-compliance and advised to take corrective measures. Within 7 days council must report to the MEC and the MEC must report to the Minister on the process. When corrective measures are not taken, the court is approached for a declarative order to prove that the employer has been advised on this matter. The tactical team dealing with parties affected by this will then be advising that to go ahead with fulfilling provisions of the Constitution.
Mr Mileham interjected and said the Constitution tells the Department what to do in this regard. It states that where a council does not implement a recovery plan that council must be dissolved. No options are offered.
The official agreed fully but said that the determination on whether it was implemented or not can only be concluded after doing an evaluation.
A Committee Member expressed confusion that the Department can determine the number of councillors for a municipality but cannot determine the number of staff so that they can be budgeted for. Regarding VIP protection for councillors, he agrees but says if there are visible threats it should be allowed that security is assigned since risk assessment is said to take six months but in his own experience it took 13 months. There was a suggestion that maybe if the system for risk assessment was decentralised and specialised it would speed up the process since SAPS is overburdened.
Mr Mashitisho said that there is no law stating that the ministry may determine the actual number of employees hence the development of prototype organograms for different categories and sizes of municipalities. The aim of this would be to regulate the number of employees especially in small municipalities. On VIP protection, he calls for amendment to decentralise the risk analysis process but emphasised that reliable and credible assessments are necessary. There has been a meeting with the Minister of Police that included a discussion on this matter and the Department awaits a response.
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC) stated that the issue of misuse of councillor VIP protection should be shelved for discussion with the relevant authorities first, at which point the Committee will be called to analyse and table recommendations with regards to whether each councillor should receive protection and how much. He requested that minimum security be provided to councillors while risk assessment takes place.
The Chairperson said that the relevant authority has released a report which includes risk assessment issues. The Department is in touch with SAPS to resolve some of the issues with regards to VIP protection.
Mr Matsepe suggested that it is tabled through the Deputy Minister that when a councillor is appointed as a mayor or speaker or chief whip it is standard that they get protection and he asked why it is necessary to wait until the individual submits that his life is in visible danger since 30 counsellors have died already.
The Chairperson said that discussion needs to be had with the police to avoid the deaths of councillors. The time taken for risk assessment to be completed is too long. It is necessary to discuss how to make our cities the centre of the economy. South African cities generally sleep but need to be awake 24 hours a day in order to make money around the clock.
COGTA Deputy Minister, Andries Nel, conveyed best wishes from the Minister, Zweil Mkhize, who was attending his inaugural Cabinet meeting and would not able to attend. He apologised for his late arrival to the meeting, because he was attending another meeting, the urgency of which was determined by a joint sitting held last week on the IUDF. The presentation the Department gave was very well received. One of the recommendations was that all departments should incorporate the IUDF in their programs and the Department was encouraged to return with stronger recommendations for to the implementation modalities for the IUDF.
Structures Amendment Bill
Dr Kevin Naidoo, Executive Manager: Municipal Governance, COGTA, said the bill itself as well as the memorandum on the object of the bill was included. Various certifications from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), the social economic impact assessment study as well as certification from the Office of the Chief State Advisor were included as attachments. He provided background on the initial amendments included in the bill and said they related to proposals from the IEC and changes were to improve administration and management of local government elections. He indicated that in a five year term 60 by-elections were held and the following term had 56 with a spike in the third term where 741 by-elections were held. To date, there have been 116 by-elections as of the middle of February 2018. The initial bill published in the government gazette, was informed by the proposals around IEC amendments but there were two major areas of controversy raised once it was commented on, which led to the amendment of section 2 of the Act on the identification of metropolitan areas and the proposal therein where it had been suggested that when determining the number of councillors it would be changed from 15% to 20%, explained later in the presentation. Later versions of the bill excluded those two provisions. The present version of the bill was informed by proposals that had been made during two day workshops that included various stakeholders.
There are three broad areas in which the Department categorised amendments to the bill. Electoral amendments are supported by the IEC, governance related amendments including the abolition of the plenary type of municipality; to use as a criterion the geographical area to determine the amount of councillors in a municipality; the function of speakers; the creation of the office of the whip; the establishment of the municipal public accounts committee; and matters relating to quorums and decisions. The third area was other matters dealing with the removal of reference to district management area; migration of certain provisions from the Structures Act into the Demarcation Bill; and to get migration of Schedule 2 from the Systems Act into the Structures Act. For the abolition of the plenary municipality reference to them are removed by deleting certain provisions in sections 7, 9 and 10 of the Act.
Section 1 of the Bill introduces a definition of “declared elected” since the term is ambiguous and could mean the election date; the date of publication of the results of an election; or the date of the first council meeting.
Section 6 deals with District Management Areas and was repealed since the concept was removed.
Sections 7(c), 9(e) and 9(f) and Section 10(c) of the Act would be deleted to remove reference to plenary type municipality.
Sections 12 and 16 are a duplication of certain provisions in the Act and the duplication should be deleted.
Section 20 is amended by inserting a new 4A stating that “a deviation in terms of subsection (3) may be no more than 20% if the geographical size of the municipality is greater than 20 000 square kilometres, if less than 35 councillors have been determined for the municipality in terms of the formula.” Most of the municipalities where this was problematic are in the Northern Cape. The implementation of a minimum of 15 councillors in a municipality is looked at.
Section 30 deals with quorums and decisions and provides confirmation as to the number that should be used when determining what the quorum is- which is the number given by the MEC in terms of section 12 of the MSA. The Constitutional Court confirmed this in 2015 in section 160(2) and it is proposed that a new Section 21(1)(b) be inserted to provide that a person removed from office by an MEC may not stand as a candidate for two years because there were instances where councillors were removed from office only to find such councillors moving on to a different council.
Section 22 is an expansion of the “declared elected” provisions of Section 1. In Section 25 on by-elections the municipal manager must inform the IEC and the MEC of vacancies in 14 days. Section 29 provides for the MEC calling a meeting if the speaker or acting speaker refuses to do so. Section 29(A) is the migration of section 19 from the Systems Act to the Structures Act which deals with notice of meetings of municipal councils.
Section 37 deals with providing further functions to the speaker of the council. Section 41 provides for a new section 41(A) which speaks to the creation of the office of the whip in municipal councils where presently there are no departing provisions to do with this specific office. Section 43 deals mostly with some of the inconsistencies in terms of how executive committees are formulated. It is proposed that a uniform formula be applicable throughout the country, that the word “elect” be replaced with “determine” and to give political parties the latitude to identify which persons from their party should be part of the executive committee. Presently there are instances where the majority party council dictates to smaller parties who they should appoint to the executive committee so that the executive member is easily manipulated by the ruling party.
Section 44 deals with the powers and functions of executive committees and presently provides that the executive committees must process reports from any committee of the council. The point is made that only reports from Section 80 committees should be submitted to executive committees and to executive mayors in Section 56 of the Act.
Section 73 deals with the establishment of ward committees and introduce a time frame of 120 days for municipalities to establish ward committees except in extenuating circumstances. Section 79 deals with the establishment of MPACs which is also linked to the MMFA. The introduction of MPACs aims to strengthen governance in municipalities but importantly we say that the MPACs must be submitted to the speaker who must table such reports in the next meeting of municipal council since reporting of these MPACs is blocked presently. Section 85(4) will be removed from the bill but all of the provisions in the Structures Act relating to it will be migrated to the Demarcation Bill. This will be dealt with by the amendment of the Demarcation Bill. The same would go for Schedule 1, Part 1 dealing with criteria the board must consider when delimiting wards.
Mr Granville Abrahams, Senior Manager, IEC, introduced the substitution of item 16 on the problem of excessive seats. The Constitution says that the system needs to be a completely provincial system but does make provision for wards. The problem arises when voters use their two ballots for different parties. The formula for the calculation of the number of seats in line with the Constitution is overall provincial allocation from which its number of ward seats are deducted. What remains is the number of seats held by the party. Provincial allocation is the total of the ballots as a proportion. What can happen is a party could win more wards than its overall provincial allocation. When this happens, the problem of excessive seats arises. What the formula proposes is to take that party’s seat away and give the remaining parties the ability to contest the seats that remain. The IEC proposes to legislate that practice. The alternative is creating an additional seat which is highly illegal since the determination of the number or seats is made by the MEC and determines the number of wards and the entire electoral based system. The rest of the items dealt with provincial vacancies and the maintenance of provincial candidate list where parties are given an ultimatum of two days in which to supplement their candidate lists when their existing list has been depleted. The reason for this is that the list has to be published.
He called for amendment of the vacancy reporting periods for municipal managers from 7 to 14 days since it is a sensitive subject especially when the councillor has died and a death certificate needs to be requested from the family. If the municipal manager does not inform the IEC of the vacant post, then the MEC must do so. Schedule 1; Part 3 on the filling of vacancies states that a political party may not supplement or change its candidate list, because in the election timetable there are cut-off dates for candidate nominations. To amend this protects the timetable put forward by the IEC but after elections they may once again change the list at any time. Schedule 1 deals with category one and two municipalities and Schedule 2 deals with district councils but also supplying the rules for supplementing the candidate list.
Dr Naidoo presents Schedule 7 saying the code of conduct for councillors will be migrated to the MSA because it is a better fit in terms of the greater scheme.
Mr Mileham stated objections to the proposed amendment to section 20, using Karoo Hoogland as an example where there are 7000 voters which means you will have 700 to 800 votes per councillor which will be problematic since the norm is 7 500 to 12 000 roughly. Section 20 on public admission to meetings of the Systems Act into the Structures Act should be migrated as well. On Section 37, he said one of the issues that is concerning is the lack of impartiality of the speakers and this should be addressed by a clause. On the introduction of section 79(A), one of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) guidelines is that MPACs be chaired by a member of the opposition and the clause should be amended to include that, also there should be a clause that states that parties have the right to choose who they nominate.
A Committee Member asked what causes fluctuation in numbers in by-elections from 2000 to date.
A Committee Member asked about the proposed amendment to Section 20, to clarify the situation with Tokologo municipality as to why it has eight councillors but the same amount of wards as the other municipalities that have seven.
Dr Naidoo said, looking at the provisions in the Structures Act and the determination of the number of wards and municipalities, it states that the number of wards in a municipality is 50% of the number of councillors as determined by the MEC where 50% of 8 is 4 and 50% of 7 is 3.5 rounded up to 4. Answering Mr Mileham, he said even if Karoo Hoogland is considered, a 15% norm needs to be maintained in those various wards and if the number is as little as four wards it would be difficult for the electorate to access representatives. A balance is necessary and the provisions outlined here strike that balance. It will be considered that Sections 19 and 20 should be brought over into the Act as well as improving on Section 79. As for the selection of the person who chairs the MPAC, it requires a more political response since Mr Mileham has raised this question in the National Assembly before.
Mr Abrahams said that initially when it came to by-elections the main cause of vacancy was death and resignation and he terms that as natural causes for a vacancy. Recently the impact of councillor resignations is increasing. The two issues that dominate are when a council is dissolved every ward is counted which is why numbers are higher. The other issues are internal party dynamics, dismissals and leadership disputes.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.