Committee DRLR Budget Report

Rural Development and Land Reform

25 April 2018
Chairperson: Mr P Mnguni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met for consideration and adoption of minutes and the Draft Report of the Committee on the Budget Vote of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and its entities for the 2018/19 financial year.

The Committee adopted the Draft Minutes dated 20 March 2018 and18 April 2018 with amendments. Draft Minutes dated 19 April 2018 were deferred to allow the Committee staff to add further content to the minutes which could have been omitted.

The Committee considered and went through its Draft Report of the 2018/19 Budget Vote of the Department and its entities focusing specifically on recommendations made. Members made inputs on the inclusion of content to various recommendations. The Committee decided to defer adoption of the Draft Report to allow for Members to add to the recommendations, make further input and for Committee staff to effect changes proposed.


Meeting report

The Chairperson outlined the purpose of the meeting is to deliberate on the Committee’s Draft Budget Vote Report and adopt outstanding minutes.

Draft Committee Minutes dated 20 March 2018
Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC) suggested a correction.

Mr K Robertson (DA) moved for adoption of the minutes.

Mr Nchabeleng seconded the motion.

Draft Committee Minutes dated 20 March 2018 were adopted with amendments.

Draft Committee Minutes dated 18 April 2018
Mr S Matiase (EFF) suggested a correction and moved for adoption of the minutes.

Mr Nchabeleng seconded the motion.

Draft Committee Minutes dated 18 April 2018 were adopted with amendments.

Draft Committee Minutes dated 19 April 2018
Mr Matiase noted that certain matters appeared to be omitted from a section of the minutes.

The Chairperson suggested adoption of the minutes be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee to allow for the staff to look at possible omissions.

Members agreed.

Draft Committee Budget Vote Report: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and entities 2018/19
The Chairperson said the document draws on responses of Members to the briefing session on Strategic Plans (SPs) and Annual Performance Plans (APPs) of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, as well as its entities. The Chairperson suggested Members go straight to the recommendations of the Report because it directs the Department on improvements and changes to be made.  

The first recommendation notes that the Minister should, within three months after the adoption of this Report, ensure all vacant top management positions are filled before the end of the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year. This is because the Committee has noted a high vacancy rate within top management and disciplinary processes still underway. The Committee should set up a correct timeline for implementation of this recommendation.

Mr Robertson thought the recommendation was fine as it was because the Department has had too many acting officials in top management for too long.

Mr Nchabeleng said there are many outstanding issues raised with the Department – these issues should recapped and forwarded to the new Minister to deal with them within that three-month timeframe.

Mr Matiase concurred with Mr Nchabeleng – the Committee should demand feedback on those outstanding issues.

The Chairperson noted this and assured Members that all issues raised, findings and recommendations made by the Committee would be recapped and forwarded to the new Minister.

Further recommendations made in the Draft Report included:
-the Minister should enhance capacity of the policy and legislative drafting section of the Department in order to ensure there is policy clarity and policy coherence across all policies from the Department
-the Minister should ensure the Department starts the consultation process that would result in the revised White Paper on Land Policy and Rural Development
-conduct outcome-based socio-economic impact assessments of programmes and enterprise analyses of various land reform farms, especially the 'recap', the '50/50', and the AgriParks to assess viability of production and how these enterprises benefit intended beneficiaries
-submit a revised legislative programme outlining realistic targets for tabling of planned pieces of legislation in the National Assembly
-submit to the National Assembly a report on the transfer of administration of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) to the Presidency indicating implications for funding, personnel and parliamentary oversight. The report must also indicate how the transfer would empower municipalities in terms of development planning and improved service delivery
-develop mechanisms that would trigger urgent attention when the Communal Property Associations (CPA) land, bought through state funding, is transferred to the new owner. Further, ensure that part of the mechanism is to ensure processes outlined in terms of the CPA Act were followed.
-submit a report on the engagement between government and traditional leaders, as well as other government and non-government entities, aimed at resolving impasse around implementation of SPLUMA
-draw coordination and implementation plan in conjunction with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). Further submit the plan for consideration by the relevant Portfolio Committees, jointly.
-start the third phase of the land audit which should be completed by the end of the financial year and thereafter tabled for consideration by the Committee

Mr Nchabeleng said recommendation 2 needs rephrasing because the National Geomatics Management Services should act as a verification mechanism in any land transaction bought by the state.

The Chairperson said the Committee staff will rephrase the recommendation.

Mr Matiase said the Department should update the Committee on extended leave taken by some officials in the Department and from the National Geomatics Management Services.

The Chairperson agreed but noted there was a clause under the National Geomatics Management Services which indicated that “the Department should report to the Committee in 30 days on progress regarding the incumbent section of National Geomatics Management Services personnel”. In terms of transformation of that section, the Department should forward a detailed breakdown in terms of gender, race, etc in the National Geomatics Management Services personnel.

Mr F Madella (ANC) asked how the Committee could make recommendations on SPLUMA if the entity has been transferred to the Presidency. With regard to outstanding disciplinary matters, those should be captured under administration.

The Chairperson agreed the disciplinary cases from the National Geomatics Management Services should fall under Programme One: Administration. Regarding SPLUMA, the Committee was seeking clarity on the halting of the transfer.

Mr Nchabelng said that if the transfer is in limbo, the Committee should perhaps engage the President to provide clarity.

Recommendations in the Draft Report relating to Rural Development included:
-conduct a review of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) programme to assess if the programme achieved intended outcomes over the last five years, highlight challenges encountered and highlight implications for future implementation of the programme
-submit all new policies relating to projects and initiatives introduced under this programme, namely the 'One Household Two Dairy Cows' and 'One Household One Hectare'
-together with National Treasury, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and other relevant government departments, review all programmes under rural development, especially those linked to revitalisation of agriculture and agro-processing as well as small business development in order to minimise duplication of work

Mr Matiase asked what the relationship is between NARYSEC and DAFF.

The Chairperson explained young graduates from NARYSEC are put on projects for training through DAFF and were raised by communities in 2014. The recommendation would be rephrased to ensure it was better understood.

Mr Nchabeleng said this programme needed to be relooked at because it seems the idea of this programme is not to learn but earn a stipend. Some of the students do not attend but still received certificates at the end.

Mr Robertson, regarding the NARYSEC programme recommendation, added that he had brought complaints forward in 2016 regarding SETA approved companies which were supposed to teach the students but did not. There were supposed to be outcomes of the investigation but this was not brought forward to the Committee. The importance of this investigation should be emphasised in the Draft Report.

The Chairperson agreed that this should be added to the Report including that a report on the matter should be brought to the Committee.

Regarding restitution, the Draft Report recommended:
-fast tracking reconfiguration of an autonomous Commission as per the Restitution of Land Rights Act
-continuously engage National Treasury about increasing allocation of funding of restitution to clear the commitment register of settled land claims
-prioritise research of the 916 pre-1998 land claims and ensure monitoring of research conducted by service providers to ensure research output is useful for settlement of land claims and can stand the test at the Land Claims Court, when necessary
-develop and implement mechanisms for feedback to claims in line with the Restitution of Land Rights Act (Act No 22 of 1994)
-review and assess statistics of all land claims lodged prior to 31 December 1998 in order to produce the final number of land claims outstanding for settlement and finalisation. The Commission should also analyse claims according to ownership and land use, for example state land, private ownership and communal land
-engage National Treasury about funds required to accelerate finalisation of land claims as outlined in the Operation Phakisa initiative
-submit an implementation plan for settlement of all outstanding and finalisation of land claims over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period
-develop mechanisms to track use of Section 4C development grants by beneficiaries of land restitution. -submit a comprehensive report on funding released by the Commission to the 'recap', detailing amounts and communities targeted and what amounts were used for
-report about communities who qualified for Section 42C support but their fund was not released by 31 March 2017
-conduct an analysis of the commitment register to ascertain number of communities or individuals that the Commission owes, age analysis of each commitment and develop a time-bound plan with which these commitments could be cleared

Recommendations on land reform included:
-ensure the Department, working with the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG), must development a policy position regarding expropriation of land in the public interest, taking into consideration the State of the Nation Address (SONA) pronouncement around expropriation of land without compensation in a manner that does not harm the economy and food security. Further explore modalities with which such policy pronouncement could be implemented
-conduct enterprise analysis and socio-economic impact assessment of a sample of the 'recap', '50/50' and other PLAS farms in order to assess whether government funds invested under this programmes were yielding viable and sustainable farming businesses
-ensure capacity of the Department to monitor land reform projects, especially an interface of strategic partnership and mentorship programmes and distribution of rewards or dividends to beneficiaries
-submit policy documents and progress reports on Agri-Parks, 50/50 pilot projects and 'One Household One Hectare' programmes. Amongst others, the report should indicate extent to which these programmes targets marginal groups such as women, youth and people with disabilities
-conclude, without delay, finalisation of the Integrated Funding Model which involves National Treasury and DAFF
-finalise engagement between the Legal Aid Board and the Department regarding strengthening the provision of legal services to the vulnerable landless people, especially farm dwellers and labour tenants that confront the brutality of illegal evictions from farms as well as violation of tenure rights for people living on communal land in former homelands

Mr L Mabinda (PAC) asked what informed the recommendation on expropriation of land without compensation without harming the economy - why would food security and the economy be harmed when land was expropriated>? Why not use the word "restore" instead of "expropriation"?

The Chairperson said the terminology of expropriation with or without compensation is derived from the constitution which they are all bound by. It also informed by Public Works who also has an Expropriation Act.

Recommendations to the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG) included:
-submit the OVG's interpretation of Section 25 in relation to just and equitable compensation and further submit progress report on key achievements of the OVG with key policy implications to the existing legislative framework for the OVG
-submit detailed estimates of expenditure for the OVG with clarification on details of goods and services as well as compensation of employees
-submit an organogram of the OVG indicating funded posts, filled and vacant, as well as positions additional to the establishment

Recommendations to the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) included:
-facilitate resolution of key questions and concerns raised by the Auditor-General in relation to the value of the ITB' s land/property so that the ITB could move toward achievement of an unqualified clean audit and submit quarterly progress report on implementation of remedial measures
-conduct a comprehensive socio-economic impact assessment of the performance of the ITB and how beneficiaries have materially and socio-economically benefited from the ITB programmes

-review programmes to ensure implementation of ITB policy provision for allocation and use of 90 per cent of the revenue of the Trust the material benefit of traditional communities living on Ingonyama Trust Land

The Committee recommended that within three months of adoption of this Draft Report by the National Assembly, the Minister should submit a report that tables responses and progress in implementation of the above recommendations.

The Committee deferred adoption of the Draft Report for Members to add other recommendations from the APP and for the Committee staff to make the effected changes.

The Chairperson informed Members that the Committee will have public hearings on restitution and Members are urged to make proposals for the venues and framework in different provinces and forward them to the Committee Secretary. The public hearings will take place between the next two-month recess of Parliament.

The meeting was adjourned.


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