The Ingonyama Trust Board has once again done zero during the fourth quarter of 2017/18 financial year under review. It had the gall to tell the Committee not to expect anything from the presentation because the report was not much different from what was presented for the third quarter and indicated most fourth quarter activities have been shifted to the next financial year.
The board reported to have spent 95.85% of its budget on administration while 0.16% and 0.11% went to rural development and land management, respectively.
On administration programme, the entity reported there has been no staff training on monitoring and evaluation framework. This was deferred until the new organogram has been finalised and the skills audit taken. There is no achievement on the Customer Service Charter implementation plan. The process was delayed due to the draft organogram that was being reviewed. No achievement has been recorded on the implementation of the stakeholder engagement plan. No communication reports have been submitted to the Board. There is zero achievement on the number of internal skills audit to be performed yet 93% of posts have been filled in relation to the Human Relations provisioning plan and was struggling to find specialised skills.
Regarding land management, there are no approvals on land tenure policy developed. No research has been conducted on land allotment practices adopted by various traditional councils. There is no achievement on the number of land parcels for commercial use valuated. There are no traditional councils with development plans. Nothing is recorded on the number of Spatial Development Plans on strategically located land. There are no development agreements concluded with municipalities. No plan has been approved by the Board on agriculture production on trust land. No agricultural projects have been approved by the Board.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights reported that 322 land claims against a target of 280 were settled in Quarter 3, while during the 4th Quarter only 182 were settled against the target of 231. The provinces of Mpumalanga and Northern Cape did not meet the targets during Quarter 3. The Free State did not have targets because it has almost settled its claims. KwaZulu-Natal was the only province that reached its targets during the fourth quarter.
Against the target of 192 land claims, 221 land claims were finalised. North West was the only province that did not meet the targets. Everything has been finalised. During the 4th Quarter, 378 land claims were finalised against a set target of 190. The Quarter 4 achievement could be attributed to the Commission exceeding its targets by almost 100%. The projects were finalised in all provinces, except the Western Cape.
Concerning the number of phased projects approved, there was 45% achievement during the 3rd Quarter, while on the 4th one there was 107% achievement. The provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo did not meet the targets of Quarter 3. Mpumalanga achieved zero. The Western Cape performance could not be measured as there was no quarter 3 Annual Performance Plan target. Only 14 targets were achieved against a target of 31. During the 4th Quarter, there was an over-achievement of 29 against 27 set targets. The achievement for Quarter 4 could be attributed to phased projects approved in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and the Western Cape.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform informed the Committee it achieved 39% against the 23 planned targets for the 3rd Quarter. It achieved 9 targets, 6 were partially achieved, and 8 targets were not achieved. The 39% it achieved was the lowest performance in Quarter 3 since 2013/14 financial year. The Department indicated the 39% achieved during the 3rd Quarter was 19% below the 3rd Quarter year on year average. The areas of concern that were at risk of not achieving the annual target were on the number of farms on Strengthening Relative Rights Policy Acquired; number of labour tenants applications settled; and number of households supported under One Household One Hectare programme. It noted that some of these outputs have pending cases of litigation in court
During the 4th Quarter, the Department achieved 67% against the 24 planned targets. 16 targets were achieved, 4 were partially achieved, and 4 targets were not achieved. The 67% recorded is lower than Quarter 4 performance achieved in the previous financial year. The Department further pointed out that the 67% achieved during the 4th Quarter was 1% above the 4th quarter year on year average. The majority of indicators not achieved were in programme 5. It was struggling to achieve targets on the number of days taken to register deeds; number of households supported through the One Household Two Dairy cows programme; and number of labour tenants’ applications settled.
Members remarked that it is not clear what the cause is for the delay in the completion of the Ingonyama Trust Board organogram because the entity has less than 100 staff; indicated the third and fourth quarter reports are the same because there is no improvement; said the Department should give focused attention to the Board because it appears to have done nothing about the serial failure of the entity given the fact that the entity is being given money from the fiscus; pointed out the Board has highly qualified people but it was not understandable why the entity is going around in circles because it sets objectives that are depended on the third party which does not want to come to the party; stated they do not know why the government is pussyfooting around KwaZulu-Natal since 1994 by allowing the establishment of the Ingonyama Trust Board yet other provinces do not have a trust of similar nature; and remarked the Board is a banana entity and a law unto itself.
Members asked the Commission for clarity on the delays caused by the Office of the Valuer-General and enquired about general under-spending; wanted to know the number of untraceable claims the Commission has gathered; wanted to find out why the Western Cape has performed badly during the 3rd Quarter; asked if the Department has a programme that addresses that claims should be settled in the form of land, not in the form of cash; asked how far the Commission is from becoming independent; wanted to know what happens when a claim has been finalised, and then a person with a valid claim appears because one of the reports from the Communal Property Associations indicated this as a reason for many conflicts within the Associations when they are formed; and asked whether professional people or students are conducting research for the Commission.
Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) Presentation
Ms Thembeka Ndlovu, Acting CEO: ITB, briefed the Committee on the organisational programme performance of the two programmes of the Ingonyama Trust Board. She informed the Committee the 4th Quarter report was not much different from the 3rd Quarter report.
On administration programme, there has been no staff training on monitoring and evaluation framework. This was deferred until the new organogram has been finalised and the skills audit has been taken. The skills audit would be finalised and a staff training plan would be drawn up. There is no achievement on the Customer Service Charter implementation plan. The process was delayed due to the draft organogram that was being reviewed. No achievement has been recorded on the implementation of the stakeholder engagement plan. The engagements were on-going pending the finalisation of the plan which would be finalised with the KZN Provincial House of Traditional Leaders (PHTL) for future engagements. No communication reports have been submitted to the Board. There were only 2 workshops held with amakhosi. A discussion on the High-Level Panel report with amakhosi led to a follow up workshop with His Majesty the King. There are no policies reviewed by the Board because of the delay in the procurement process.
No Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs) with traditional councils have been approved by the Board. This has been suspended pending the finalisation of the new organogram. There is zero achievement on the percentage of performances agreements concluded timeously. Against a set target of 100%, 93% of posts have been filled in relation to the HR provisioning plan. The variance is the result of inability to attract correct candidates. There is zero achievement on the number of internal skills audit to be performed. There is 100% achievement in the percentage of all movable assets to be recorded in the asset register.
With regard to land management, there are no approvals on land tenure policy developed. There is no research conducted on land allotment practices adopted by various traditional councils. There is no achievement on the number of land parcels for commercial use valuated. The move is to use municipal values on the properties. There are no traditional councils with development plans. Nothing is recorded on the number of Spatial Development Plans on strategically located land. There are no development agreements concluded with municipalities. There is not a single report identifying prime land developed and approved by the Board. No plan has been approved by the Board on agriculture production on trust land. No agricultural projects have been approved by the Board. Against a target of 200, 179 land tenure rights have been approved by the Board.
There is no implementation plan developed, costed and approved on land with development rights. There is no monitoring of compliance and adherence to ITB BBBEE scorecard for commercial developments. There is no development rights application submitted and obtained in line with the land findings on the land audit. No auditing has been done on mining activities, and no comprehensive plan has been developed based on the recommendations of the 2015/16 mining imbizos. 36 educational awards were granted against a target of 120. No framework has been developed and approved on supporting social cohesion programmes.
(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate budget expenditure)
DRDLR Presentation (3rd and 4th Quarters Performance Reports)
Mr Eugene Southgate, Deputy Director-General for Corporate Support Services: DRDLR, informed the Committee the Department has achieved 39% against the 23 planned targets for the 3rd quarter. 9 targets were achieved, 6 were partially achieved, and 8 targets were not achieved. The 39% achieved is the lowest performance in Quarter 3 since 2013/14 financial year. During the 4th Quarter, the Department achieved 67% against the 24 planned targets. 16 targets were achieved, 4 were partially achieved, and 4 targets were not achieved. The 67% recorded is lower than Quarter 4 performance achieved in the previous financial year.
Programme 1 (Administration): recorded 100% during the 3rd Quarter under review. 1 target was planned for implementation. It achieved 95% on percentages of valid invoices paid within 30 days upon receipt by supply chain management. The variance is attributed to the direct dereliction of duty by officials and loss of information due to computer problems. Letters of non-compliance would be issued to the responsible DDGs, Chief Directors, and directors; and engagements with Information Technology (IT) were underway. During the 4th Quarter, this programme recorded the highest performance at 100%. It achieved 96% on the percentages of valid invoices paid within 30 days upon receipt by supply chain management. The variance is due to invoices that were not paid as a result of depleted budget. Only 1 target was planned for implementation in the period under review.
Programme 2 (Geospatial and Cadastral Services): achieved 75% of its 3rd Quarter targets. The programme did not achieve on the average number of working days taken to process registerable diagrams and sectional and general plans. They would continue to engage the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) on network and IT Systems related issues. During Quarter 4, this programme has achieved 50% of its targets. 2 targets were achieved, 2 targets were partially achieved. The programme did not achieve on the percentage of deeds made available within 7 days from lodgement for execution; and on the average number of working days taken to process registerable diagrams and sectional and general plans.
Programme 3 (Rural Development): achieved 43% of its Quarter 3 targets. 3 targets were achieved, 2 targets partially achieved, and 2 targets were not achieved. The programme did not achieve on the number of AgriParks infrastructure projects facilitated; number of agricultural enterprises supported in the 44 priority districts; number of non-agricultural enterprises supported in the 44 priority districts aligned to AgriParks and villages; and number of jobs created in Rural Development projects. During the 4th quarter, the programme has achieved 100% of its 7 set targets.
Programme 5 (Land Reform): achieved 11% of its quarter 3 targets. 1 target was achieved, 3 targets were partially achieved, and 5 targets were not achieved. The programme missed 8 of the 9 targets set in quarter 3. During the 4th Quarter, the programme recorded 50% achievement of its targets. 5 targets were achieved, 1 target was partially achieved, and 4 targets were not achieved. The programme missed 5 of the 10 targets set in quarter 4.
Mr Southgate indicated that the 39% achieved during the 3rd Quarter was 19% below the 3rd Quarter year on year average. The areas of concern that were at risk of not achieving the annual target were as follows:
- number of farms on Strengthening Relative Rights Policy Acquired
- number of labour tenants’ applications settled
- number of households supported under One Household One Hectare programme
He noted that some of these outputs have pending cases of litigation in court. He further pointed out that the 67% achieved during the 4th Quarter was 1% above the 4th Quarter year on year average. The majority of indicators not achieved were in programme 5.
(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate budget expenditure)
Commission on Restitution of Land Rights Presentation (3rd and 4th Quarter Reports)
Ms Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo, Chief Land Claims Commissioner, took the Committee through settled and finalised land claims, number phased projects approved, and number of claims lodged by 1998 to be researched. She also provided a provincial breakdown of these items for both Quarters 3 and 4.
322 land claims against a target of 280 were settled in Quarter 3, while during the 4th Quarter only 182 were settled against the target of 231. The provinces of Mpumalanga and Northern Cape did not meet the targets during Quarter 3. The Free State did not have targets because it has almost settled its claims. KwaZulu-Natal is the only province that reached it targets during the fourth quarter.
Concerns have been communicated to the Acting DG and Valuer-General. The under-achievement for Quarter 4 could be attributed to slow response from the Office of the Valuer-General (OVG) in terms of recommendations and sourcing of valuations, non-acceptance of offers from claimants and land owners from the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Mpumalanga. Blockages would be identified and improvements would be made on turnaround times.
Against the target of 192 land claims, 221 land claims were finalised. North West is the only province that did not meet the targets. Everything has been finalised. During the 4th Quarter 378 land claims were finalised against a set target of 190. The Quarter 4 achievement could be attributed to the Commission exceeding its targets by almost 100%. The projects were finalised in all provinces, except Western Cape.
Regarding the number of claims lodged by 1998 to be researched, 696 is the figure achieved compared to the 213 of the 4th Quarter. There were no targets set for Quarters 3 and 4. The Free State is the only province that has done all its research. The Commission was doing a clean-up on all outstanding research reports. Now it was moving swiftly to a position to say it is done with the 1998 land claims.
Concerning the number of phased projects approved, there was 45% achievement during the 3rd Quarter while on the 4th there was 107% achievement. The provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo did not meet the targets of Quarter 3. Mpumalanga achieved zero. The Western Cape performance could not be measured as there was no quarter 3 APP target. Only 14 targets were achieved against a target of 31. During the 4th Quarter there was an over-achievement of 29 against 27 set targets. The achievement for Quarter 4 could be attributed to phased projects approved in KZN, Mpumalanga, and the Western Cape.
(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate budget expenditure)
The Chairperson remarked that in some of the set targets for Quarter 3 the entity achieved 50%, but to the very same targets it has scored 75% during Quarter 4. There is a difference of 25%. There is too much outsourcing for the activities of the entity yet there are many graduates who are unemployed. It is not clear what is the cause for the delay in the completion of the organogram because the entity has a staff that is less than 100. The third and fourth quarter reports are the same and there is no improvement, instead there is a shifting of activities from one quarter to the next and to the next financial year.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) remarked there is a game on here. The Department should give focused attention to the ITB because it appears to have done nothing about the serial failure of the ITB given the fact that the entity is being given money from the fiscus. There is no value to making more financial transactions to ITB because the Board is failing to draw strategic plans and implement them. There is no reason to pump money into an entity if there is no value. You cannot plan to go to Durban if you do not know how to get to Durban. The Department should produce minutes of engagements if it had interactions with the ITB on activities to be done. He wanted to know about the kind of specialised appointments or qualifications that could not be found because there are so many people in KZN. The ITB has highly qualified people, but he does not understand why the entity is going around in circles because it sets objectives that are depended on the third party which does not want to come to the party.
Mr Judge Ngwenya, ITB Chairperson, stated there are very few candidates who have land management skills because it requires, amongst other things, knowledge of customary law, administration of customary land, knowledge of mining regime, and public notary, but not conveyancing. This skill is scarce in the country and the advertisements they have published are transparent on this matter. There are also technical components involved. Not all the vacancies required specialised skills. Posts for the Corporate Services Manager and Head of Land Management have been filled. The only one that has not been filled is that of the CEO.
Ms S Mbabama (DA) said the presentation is a reflection of incompetent senior managers and the Board, people who cannot do the work yet they get paid every month. She does not know why the government is pussyfooting around KZN since 1994 by allowing the establishment of the ITB yet other provinces do not have a trust of similar nature. She agreed with former President Motlanthe’s idea that the ITB should be disbanded and KZN be like the other provinces. There is no provision of training for youth, disabled and women mentioned in the report. There is no mention of land tenure. The ITB is letting the KZN people down. The senior managers and Board do not seem to do anything about the shortage of staff.
Ms N Magadla (ANC) said she agrees but disagrees with her colleagues because even in other provinces the very same problems exist. It is no use shifting performance targets to other quarters, but it is important for the Board to meet National Treasury, DRDLR, and Auditor-General to correct things.
The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, pointed out it baffles the mind how ITB fails to manage a small budget. The entity has scored 100% on payments of salaries, but no training has been provided to people for food security. All trusts and CPAs have to ensure they exist to provide a better life to all people. Changing the lives of people for the better is not going to happen magically. The kind of work the ITB is doing is developmental in nature. If they are not activists, they should allow dedicated people to do the work. It is not acceptable to use complicated English to try to explain non-performance and failure.
Mr A Madella (ANC) commented the ITB remains an important entity for the KZN legislature. He does not want to see reports that reflect failure and see it collapsing as a result of that. Concerns from the Committee about the Department receiving documents from ITB before they are presented to Parliament is not the main thing, but what is important is that engagement between the ITB and the Department should be about the content of the documents to be presented to the Committee. He suggested the next first quarter report must not reflect non-performance because that shows the entity is not taking the Committee seriously. He admitted there are trusts which are in the similar position as the ITB around the country, but the entity must not drive the Committee to shut it down because that is not the intention.
Mr M Nchabeleng (ANC) wanted to know about the months it takes to complete the organogram because since April 2017 the ITB indicated it had outsourced a specialist to work on the organogram, but until now nothing has happened. He asked if Dr Madlopha collapsed the ITB when she left because the entity was doing well, but things have changed now. He fails to understand why ITB was refusing assistance from the Department. He asked how many ITB cases are before the courts.
Mr Ngwenya reported that no labour dispute with any employee has been taken to court. There are only disciplinary cases where the employer participates in a disciplinary process designed by the employer. Most cases are related to land disputes and others to debt collection. It was the first time he heard that ITB refused assistance from the Department. The ITB has held meetings with Mr Southgate and a gentleman by the name of Lebo Dichabe, Administrative Officer, Executive Support. The only assistance they were refused by the Department had to do with the organogram. They received a letter from an official of the Department saying the Department could not assist them with the organogram, but the ITB could go on and do it at its own cost.
Ms Ndlovu admitted that targets were moved from 3rd Quarter to the 4th Quarter. Mitigating factors were directed to outsourcing. She was not absolving herself from the process and as the CEO was taking all the blame. She knows how to draw strategic plans and APPs because she has worked for the DRDLR for 19 years and then as the DG of the provincial department. Many things are going to be outsourced, especially policies. There are policies she has crafted with Mr Makondo which have been presented to the Board. Unfortunately, she could not catch up with things that are outstanding. In terms of APPs, they would try to achieve at least 60% and they are open to any kind of assistance. As long as she is acting CEO they would try their best until a permanent CEO is appointed to ensure they do not disappoint the Committee and Department.
Mr Judge Ngwenya stated they do take note of the comments and advice from the Committee, particularly on better coordination between the Department, Board, and other organs of state. The situation reflected in the quarterly reports is not satisfactory. He admitted the organogram has taken a long time to complete. When they decided to renew it, the previous CEO before Dr Madlopha was operating at a lower level. The ITB approached Dr Madlopha to work on the organogram for two years because she was busy with her private business matters. At that time there were four vacancies for heads of finance, land management, secretariat, and administration. They agreed with the Department to appoint consultants in 2017. They had to put the process of the organogram out to tender. Realising that they have limited resources, they focused on the organogram. The organogram has a number of segments and has been approved by the Board. The staff number is 50 and when the organogram is implemented, the number would be more than 100. The ITB had to absorb 35 people who were on contract. Once the organogram is finished, they would need to do a job evaluation and skills audit which would be presented to the Board. They would also need to consult with the staff that is affected or to be shifted to other positions. The Board has not taken a decision yet on outsourcing. The issue of the organogram is at the implementation stage and is taken care of.
Ms Rendani Sadiki, Acting Director-General: DRDLR, said they would engage with the ITB, especially after hearing the commitment from the acting CEO regarding working with the Department and they would see how things would be done in going forward.
Mr Filtane said the response from the CEO was just a public relations exercise. She was only specific when she talked of policies. The ITB needed the services of the Department. The process the ITB is following is not going to help the entity. The ITB needed to start doing a skills audit first. If it is struggling to find a person who has all the skills, then it needs to employ qualified people and break them down according to their expertise and get them on the job training because it is difficult to find a person who is skilled in everything.
Mr P Mnguni (ANC) wanted to know if there were ITB matters before the courts. He asked the ITB to send him an email of top 10 debtors as of the end of 3rd and 4th Quarters because he wanted to check the efficiency of ITB systems. He wondered whether the disclaimer from Ms Ndlovu that the 3rd and 4th reports were not her own work was a sign that at ITB they were not working collectively.
Mr Ngwenya said matters pending on courts were between the parties concerned. Forwarding those details to the Committee would be tantamount to breaking the rules and indicated he would need advice on that.
The Chairperson asked for clarity on the following matters: post of the CFO that is advertised; R27 000 spent on rural development; R115 000 given to traditional council support; tractors for agriculture projects; new infrastructure assets; unauthorised use of petrol cards; use of external audits; number of ITB offices; capital expenditure; and security expenses.
Mr Ngwenya stated that when you look at the report on agriculture projects, everything is justified. The ITB brought tractors for communities and undertook to pay for fuel and drivers. Mr Mia’s (CFO) position is that of a finance manager. The CFO is level 10 in the new organogram. Mr Mia has been invited to apply for the position of the CFO. If he feels he has been overlooked, he is free to challenge the ITB. He has not resigned from his post, but a higher position than his current one has been advertised. He is free to apply. People in the system have particular skills, but the new organogram has positions that were not in the old system. They have two offices, Ulundi and Pietermaritzburg. The one in Ulundi was rented, when the lease expired, they occupied a government office, because with the increase in staff they would need more space.
Mr Amin Mia, ITB CFO, reported that the R27 000 spent on rural development was not for new projects, but could not pinpoint what it was for. There is underspending on capital expenditure and the spending there was for accommodation. Security expenses included money paid to security companies because they increase their fees every year. On external audit fees, they dropped in the 4th Quarter and its timing finishes end of July and invoices had to be settled during the 3rd Quarter. R666 000 was disbursed to traditional communities for traditional council support. The petrol cards that were used without authorisation were cloned and the bank is investing the matter. The cards were not in the possession of ITB. The new infrastructure assets have to do with repairs and cleaning of new buildings. He was not aware the position of the CFO would be discussed in the Committee. He hoped the relationship between him and the employer would not be compromised and that he was focusing on his work.
The Chairperson remarked that Mr Mia has been coming to the Committee as a CFO, but it is clear he has been acting as one. The Committee did not know he was the finance manager. She wanted to know for how long Mr Mia has been acting, yet in the new organogram there is a position of the CFO.
Mr Ngwenya indicated that in the past organogram of the IDT, the position of CFO was not there. His (Mr Mia) letter of appointment states he is on level XYZ as a finance manager/CFO. The position of the CFO has been recreated. But what they are not saying is to allow him to get an automatic shift to the CFO position.
Mr Madella said Mr Mia issue is going to create disagreement with his superiors because he has been doing the work and has been told to apply for the job. This is an unfair labour practice because you cannot say if he is not satisfied with the new position, he must challenge it. The labour court is going to ask why Mr Mia was not supported to fill the post unless he was found to be wanting.
Mr Filtane said there was a possibility that the discussion would go on and on. He suggested the Department look at the reports of ITB. The Committee should also keep in mind that the Department has an acting DG who needed to familiarise herself with the workings of ITB and ensure harmonious relations with it.
Mr Mnguni remarked the ITB is a banana entity and a law unto itself. It follows no rules. On administrative matters it is refusing to answer questions. It is not acceptable to create a position of CFO and then recreate it. Mr Mia has two choices - to rock the boat and challenge the act or to just keep quiet. When the Committee adopts this report in the next meeting, he would propose that the Department conducts a forensic audit over the ITB.
The Chairperson said he knew Mr Mia through the ITB. The issue of the CFO is in the public domain. It is on ITB’s website. That is why she made enquiries about it. Mr Mia must not feel he is going to be victimised. It is not acceptable to put a person to level 10 or 11 post and then later change the level of the post to a higher one, and then you tell a person to apply for the post or be demoted or tell him he has the right to challenge the issue. It is not right to have Mr Mia’s appointment letter saying he is finance manager/CFO. She asked the Department and ITB to correct the matter because it is unfair labour practice. She noted the ITB is not like the other trusts or CPAs because the Department transfers money to it. Other trusts are formed by people. The ITB is the only trust that has to appear before Parliament to account.
On shifting of targets, when the entity submits APPs, the Committee adopts them. If it wants to shift activities, Parliament has to be informed and be given good reasons. She suggested that the entity must reduce outsourcing. The President has indicated departments and entities were outsourcing too much while there are people looking for employment. People who are employed to do the work are not doing the work. The Department has to monitor, guide and advise the entity because it the principal of ITB. She asked the ITB to provide detailed reports on court cases, list of debtors, and Mr Wilson’s petition that has been sent to the Committee.
The Chairperson asked for clarity on the delays caused by the Office of the Valuer-General and enquired about general under-spending. She also wanted to know the number of untraceable claims the Commission has gathered.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo stated that under-spending is mostly into settlements related to the Office of the Valuer-General. The challenges are on valuations. Land owners were refusing offers from the Valuer- General. The land owners were now challenging in court the constitutionality of section 42E. The Commission has assembled a team in Mpumalanga to intervene and to find out about non-performance. Untraceable claims were mostly in Mpumalanga, though she did not have the figures. Mpumalanga has plus minus 900 untraceable claims. The Commission needs to do verification on claims lodged and where there was no contact with claimants.
Ms Francis McMenamin, Director for Programme Finance Management Support: DRDLR, reported that under-spending is a result of untraceable claimants making it difficult to settle claims. The offices were reconciling the projects to ensure the claims are settled. Grants were set aside for projects to ensure they are utilised, but those grants could not be released because of in-fighting among the beneficiaries.
Mr Madella remarked they were excited when the Valuer-General was appointed. The expectation and anticipation were that we were going to be able to bring down the exorbitant prices and the Department saved R51m in the process.
Mr Mnguni added it was not acceptable for the Commission to achieve 50% in one of the quarters under review because there is a heightened interest in land. The OVG has to evaluate all the properties to be acquired. When they were sold, the idea of an OVG by former Minister Nkwinti, they thought there was going to be a change in the landscape, but now they were disappointed. Before the OVG existed, the restitution programme was doing well. Issues now seem to be bottlenecked in the OVG. It looks like the OVG is sleeping on duty.
Mr Christopher Gavor, Valuer-General: Office of the Valuer-General, admitted the OVG has impacted negatively on the activities of the Chief Land Claims Commissioner (CLCC). The VG has been applying 5 principles. Valuations done for the Commission were on market value. Traditionally, the profession has been trained to determine market value. The VG then introduced other factors for determining valuation for restitution and distribution. You quantify other factors instead of focusing on one factor when making a determination. The real challenge is that these factors have had an impact on land reform. Before he became a VG, he used to think if these factors are applied, everything would be fine. The work of the Commission has expanded and brought the OVG into existence. The challenge is around the rejection of offers and valuations. Disjuncture on claims settled and money spent play a major role on the financials. For example, the VG determines the value of R400m for a particular claim while the Commission puts forward R700m. Then if the seller goes with the offer of the VG, there is R300m that is not going to be used. If the seller rejects the offer from the VG, then that money is not spent.
The market value determination was a challenge within the profession itself. The VG has experienced many rejections and these were challenges. The OVG is trying to educate and engage with the profession and support the valuers that come to the VG, isolate and help them to assist the OVG. The VG has approval to strengthen internal capacity and as from 6 July 2018 six valuers would be starting at the OVG. On rejections, the VG approaches the seller and gives reasons for refusing his offer or proposal. There are a few cases where the OVG has been taken to court. If these court cases are successful, they would enable the implementation of section 25 of the Constitution. But chances are the OVG would get more rejections.
Mr Filtane remarked that the time has come to take a wholesale look at the constitutional definition of ‘market value’ because it appears we are held back by this definition and this would clarify the thinking of South Africans about the matter.
Mr Mnguni requested the VG to forward to the Committee a list and category of these rejections and their market value. The VG must make legislative suggestions so that there is no stalemate because the position of the VG is strategic. The VG must put forward proposals to make people comply with his valuations because there is no reason why people should reject the VG’s offers.
Mr Filtane, first, wanted to know why the Western Cape has performed badly during the 3rd Quarter. Second, he asked if the Department has a programme that addresses that claims should be settled in the form of land, not in the form of cash. Third, he wanted to establish what the variance is between what the land owners want and what the VG is offering because property owners were challenging the valuations of the VG and the process is scientific. Fourth, he wanted to find out about the type of properties the Commission was talking about and wanted to know what percentage of these properties is used for food production.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo said the Western Cape’s under-achievement is mostly related to valuation issues and the Commission still has to approach the VG. The Restitution Act states that claimants have a right to choose between financial compensation and land. They could choose money if they know how to meet their needs. She also noted that market value cannot always be scientific. For example, if you have a government property in Gauteng that is valued but could not be developed and then you get a private person to buy the same property and develops it, surely the market value is going to change. The properties they are dealing with were mostly farms and could not tell if food production was affected.
Ms Mbabama asked for clarity between S42E and S42D. She wanted to know why the Commission sometimes over-achieves; and wanted to find out if it were true that 90% of land claims were paid out in cash.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo explained that section 42E of the Restitution Act makes provision for the Minister to expropriate where a claim has been lodged and they still continue to expropriate since 1996. Section 42D of the Restitution Act deals with expropriation when there is no agreement, and the matter is then referred to court for determination. It is difficult to equate financial compensation and land compensation. For example, when you expropriate land for R21 billion, you need to compensate financially by R13 billion. It is not a straightforward sum. She has been with the Commission for more than 6 years. Some staff members do not want to be with the Commission because the Commission is trying to push for more work. In some instances, the Commission has to halt offers due to shortage of resources. There is an imbalance between the resources allocated to the Commission and the work it has to carry out.
Ms Magadla asked how far the Commission is from becoming independent.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo said the decision to be autonomous was supported by the Committee. They have presented a plan on how they could become independent. The previous Minister suggested the Commission0 find out how it could be a chapter 9 institution. The Commission has asked the GTEC to help it with the business case in order to become a 3A entity in order to get a budget from the Department.
Mr K Robertson (DA) wanted to know if the entity comprised 55 people or if the figure (55) refers to vacant posts; and asked if professional people or students are conducting research for the Commission.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo stated if the Commission were to run at full capacity, it would need 1300 people, but it has 700 staff members. There are 23 funded posts. Due to budget cuts, they had to do with little staff. The Free State has 35 people. The employees are willing to be deployed to assist in other provinces. Sometimes they get appointed in the provinces they were assisting in. Research is conducted by staff members and parties that were in their database like universities. The kind of research they do is not the normal research work.
Mr Nchabeleng asked how many claims were outstanding since 1998.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo said there are currently 5939 outstanding claims.
Mr Robertson wanted to find out if there was a ceiling or cut-off date on untraceable claims.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo reported they were working on a policy which would be finalised even though they were able to trace and settle. The research on this policy is being done by internal staff and some universities.
Mr Madella wanted to establish why the Commission has not considered expropriation without compensation. He also wanted to know what happens when a claim has been finalised, and then a person with a valid claim appears because one of the reports from the CPAs indicated this as a reason for many conflicts within the CPAs when they are formed.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo indicated there is no need for embers to be left out of a CPA if they are part of that community and have produced evidence that they are known in that community. The constitution of the CPA allows people who have been left out to be included in the CPA. It has no right to refuse them. The Commission is guided by the legislation of 1975 that governs expropriation. For example, if the value is R200m, you have to pay an extra 2% just to say sorry. So, you have to expropriate with compensation.
Mr Robertson wanted to know what criteria are being used when the Commission says land has been identified for public interest.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo said it would be land assisted with the claim and as long as it could be defined as a public purpose or is in public interest.
The Chairperson enquired if the Land Rights Management Facility would be able to assist the Commission seeing that it is sitting with 172 cases. She also wanted to know the turnaround time for issuing deeds.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo reported they were experiencing challenges on the work done by some of the registered attorneys. They were becoming like RAF lawyers. They were looting not because they do not understand what needs to be done. For example, when they do site visits, they would go there in big numbers and charge you according to seniority. When some of these attorneys were appointed, the Commission was told by the courts that attorneys always ask for postponement because they want to cash on the entity. Deeds are given to communities when the conveyancer is done with her/his work. Delays are caused by conflicts and court cases.
Mr Robertson wanted to know if the verification of claims has been addressed in the amended CPA Bill because it is prolonging the process of settling claims.
Ms Ntloko-Gobodo explained that the committee of elders know very well the members of the community and it would decide if it wants to include the people in the CPA if the excluded person has produced documents that give evidence and those documents must be similar to those submitted by the excluded person to the Commission so that it could engage with the committee of elders. If the matter could not be solved, it is then taken to court. You need to be careful with compensation in terms of numbers, especially if the numbers are too big. Small numbers are not a problem.
Deputy Minister Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha, indicated there were many things that need to be overhauled, reviewed, and simplified. Financial compensation is not for buying sweets, but to correct past wrongs. He pointed out that urban people do not want land but want money. Communities should decide for themselves whether they want land or money. But if they are advised to choose money over land, then it would seem we have not achieved our purpose of returning land to the people.
The Chairperson remarked she has noted progress and where weaknesses were, particularly with Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. The issue of untraceable claims has been discussed several times and it was proposed that a list be made for Members to discuss with their constituencies. Most people do not read newspapers like City Press where the untraceable claims were advertised. She reminded the VG to submit a detailed report on rejected cases related to land restitution and distribution and offers made to the sellers. She further indicated that it appears CLCC officials in various provinces make unfulfilled promises to people. If there are challenges, the officials should go back to the communities and explain what the problem is. People are protesting because there is a lack of information. The current legislation should be used to expropriate without compensation.
The Chairperson was unhappy with the way the Department spent money, including the DG’s allusion to poor planning. There is unnecessary over-spending. If planning is proper, there is nothing that stops the Department from implementing from the first to the last quarter. She also highlighted that the documents presented in the meeting were not properly checked because they had many mistakes and were not edited. The presentations were mum on what is done for people with disability.
Due to time constraints, the Chairperson asked the Department to respond in writing to questions from the Members, but she noted the Department has a tendency of responding very late. It only responds when the Committee is harsh and it must stop from being reactive.
Questions from the Members were around under-spending in the Deeds Office; money transferred from land acquisition to land surveys and properties; late payments to service providers; vacant posts; job creation projects; types of enterprises given support; recurring problems; and water shortages, amongst others.
Adoption of Minutes
Committee minutes of 23 May 2018 were adopted with minor amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
- DRDLR Quarter 4 performance report presentation
- DRDLR Quarter 3 Actual Programme performance report presentation
- Commission on Restitution of Land Rights Quarter 4 performance report presentation
- Ingonyama Trust Board's 4th Quarter Performance and Financial Report 2017/2018
- DRDLR’s 2017-2018 Quarter 4 Financial Performance Report
- DRDLR’s 2017-2018 Quarter 3 Financial Performance Report
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