Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs 2019/2020 Annual Performance Plan; with Deputy Minister

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Meeting Summary

Government Departments & Entities 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan (APP) 

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), led by Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, presented its 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan (APP) and five-year Strategy Plan objectives. The presentation addressed the state and function of municipalities - the Department declared a disclaimer on 23 municipalities and what was going to be done to assist these municipalities and the deviations done therein. It was noted that the reason for many challenges within municipalities was due to those put in charge thereof being unqualified or redeployed after messing up. This meant that people were not getting basic services because people were not doing their jobs.

Members addressed matters such as section 139 of the Constitution; the allocation of revenue to municipalities; roll-over; standardisation of rates and taxes; the challenge of fiscal dumping; traditional leaders and traditional affairs; Community Works Programme (CWP); youths responsibility for the municipality’s infrastructure; fruitless and wasteful expenditure of resources and visibility of support and oversight. Further questions probed integration of support; Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funding; Ministerial Demarcation Board; small-town regeneration; regression with local municipalities; Back to Basics; interventions alongside handover reports; five-year strategy plans; consequence management; finance management; and participatory democracy and representative democracy. It was agreed that the Department would come back to respond and give details on how matters were going to be addressed. It would share with the Committee what had happened, what was happening, and where there were still challenges. In addition, the Department was to discuss section 139 of the Constitution in the following week.

Deputy Minister Bapela made a brief presentation on the plans of the Department in this administration and for this financial year. He focused on the principles of cooperative governance which were premised on the three spheres of government having authority of service delivery functions. The Department was reworking the medium strategy frameworks which were introduced and the Department would be updating it to impute matters that were of new priority. During this time, entities would also be working towards clarifying and strengthening the involvement of traditional leaders in social economic development and government projects. The Deputy Minister said that government introduced a Community Works Programme as one of the measures to provide skills and meaningful employment, and discussed its current performance in detail. He mentioned that the Department was positioning itself to respond to challenges facing local government.

The net objectives of the Department’s APP were to improve their own competitiveness and ensure it builds the requisite capacity for municipalities to deliver on their constitutional mandate. The Deputy Minister hoped this would work to develop an effective early warning system that would allow the Department to act through cooperative governance mechanisms alongside section 154 of the Constitution. He concluded that in this administration, the Department had to deal with the current challenges of local government in the short and mid-term, but would also address long-term strategies for service delivery that would make a deep impact in the lives of the people of South Africa.

The Department of Cooperative Governance focused mainly on its programmes for the next five years and its plans to meet these targets. These programmes covered Administration, Regional and Urban Development and Legislative Support, Institutional Development, National Disaster Management Centre, Local Government Support and Interventions Management, and Community Work Programme. These all had different timelines as to when the Department planned to complete the strategic objectives intertwined with each project. The total budget of COGTA is R90 billion for 2019/20 with an average increase of 8.8% per annum. The Operational Budget of the COGTA itself is R639 million. When breaking down the budget, the bulk of the money was allocated as Transfers and Subsidies of which the bulk will go to municipalities.

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) focused on its programmes and plans to meet its targets for the next five years. These programmes covered Technical Support Services, and Infrastructure Delivery Management Support. These all had different timelines as to when the Department planned to complete the strategic objectives that were intertwined with each project. The approved APP for 2019/20 was aligned to the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and further alignment of strategic goals, objectives and performance indicators. MISA allocation for the current financial year was R343 million. Audit outcome trends showed that MISA was receiving Unqualified Audit Opinions of the Annual Financial Statements.

The Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) similarly focused on its programmes, subprogrammes and plans to meet its targets for the next five years. These programmes covered Administration, Research, Policy and Legislation, and Institutional Support and Coordination. The subprogrammes covered National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL), Institutional Support and Capacity Building, and Partnerships. These all had different timelines as to when the Department planned to complete the strategic objectives that were intertwined with each project. An amount of R163 million was indicated as transferred to the DTA for 2018/19.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Obed Bapela. It was advised that the Minister would be joining the meeting late as she missed her flight to Cape Town, but it was understandable as she was doing a lot of work. Luckily, the Chairperson said he met with the Minister the previous week and that they had a discussion about what was needed to be done to consolidate their work and ensure they work for the common good of the Department to be able to accomplish its objectives. Nevertheless, the Chairperson said that Deputy Minister Bapela was present, quite competent and ready to oversee everything in respect of the Department. The Chairperson said this was the first meeting with the Department, in which the Department would present its Annual Performance Plan (APP) – the presentations would cover the Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Traditional Affairs and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA). He said the Committee and Department were meeting at a time when the Department, as important as it and challenges it faced at the moment, must work towards ensuring they succeed in stabilising a worsening situation at municipal level. The situation required a serious paradigm shift and intervention because municipalities were the weakest in terms of the project of state transformation. The Chairperson said that the Committee and Department needed to ensure municipalities are healthy, viable, developmental, and therefore help South Africa as a country to fulfill its own developmental objectives. He added that the Committee and Department needed to talk about a confronting situation, especially on the municipalities, and what solutions were necessary to ameliorate it. The Chairperson indicated that one of the biggest problems was infrastructure and that MISA was present to deal with this as the Committee needed to know what kind of support was being given to municipalities. He further indicated that traditional affairs needed to be dealt with in terms of what its challenges and disputes were, what areas required intervention and role of the National House of Traditional Leaders in normalising the whole situation. The Chairperson proposed that the three presentations be taken and requested that the Committee take notes. He said that he would allow each presentation 30 minutes and again requested that the Committee take notes as to allow it more time to engage with the presentations.

Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) spoke in Sepedi. No translation was provided.

The Chairperson responded, requesting the Committee help Mr Motsamai. He added that Mr Motsamai was not that bad at English but the Committee needed to find a way to help him as it was within his right to be assisted in this instance. In the meantime, the Chairperson requested the Committee proceed with the meeting whilst trying to facilitate a way to enable Mr Motsamai to follow and properly be part of the particular meeting. Without wasting any time and delaying the meeting, the Chairperson suggested the Committee attend to Mr Motsamai’s problem quite immediately. He then handed over to Deputy Minister Bapela.

Deputy Minister’s Overview

Deputy Minister Bapela apologised on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Mr David Mahlobo, who had travelled to the United Nations for a summit on local governance that was taking place and was representing SA. Otherwise, most of the time, the Department was all together when appearing before Portfolio and Select Committees. Deputy Minister Bapela said the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs would have loved to make the following remarks herself. He would read out the comments as is without undermining any languages for the purposes of common understanding. All languages in South Africa were important but that he were to speak in Sepedi, other Members would not hear him. One of the Members already indicated that if the Deputy Minister spoke in Sepedi, he would not understand him. Deputy Minister Bapela said Parliament usually had facilities for simultaneous interpretation. He acknowledged Mr Motsamai’s challenge was a valid one that should be followed up on to ensure everyone is accommodated as South Africans.

Deputy Minister Bapela thanked the Committee for the opportunity provided to interact with it on the revised 2019/2020 Strategy Plan and the 2019/2020 APP of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). For this purpose, Director-Generals of the COGTA would present the details of the respective plans and programs through which plans would be delivered – this included MISA, which is a national infrastructure support agent not agency.

Deputy Minister Bapela started by going back to the principles of cooperative governance and the mandate of COGTA which was derived from Chapter Three of the Constitution of South Africa. COGTA straddles and manages cooperative governance between the three spheres of government that are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated, thus no one was independent. He continued, saying that section 41(1) of the Constitution said that “All spheres of government and all Organs of State within each other must –

  1. preserve peace, national unity and indivisibility of the Republic;
  2. secure the wellbeing of the people of the Republic;
  3. provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government for the Republic as a whole;
  4. be loyal to the Constitution, the Republic and its people;
  5. respect the constitutional status, institutions, powers and functions of government in the other spheres;
  6. not assume any power or function except those conferred on them in terms of the Constitution;
  7. exercise their powers and perform their functions in a manner that does not encroach on the geographical, functional or institutional integrity of government in another sphere; and
  8. co-operate with one another in mutual trust and good faith by—
    1. fostering friendly relations;
    2. assisting and supporting one another;
    3. informing one another of, and consulting one another on, matters of common interest;
    4. coordinating their actions and legislation with one another;
    5. adhering to agreed procedures; and
    6. avoiding legal proceedings against one another

Deputy Minister Bapela said that as the Chairperson would continue with his work of oversight on the Executive, he would then realise there would be certain areas somewhere in the country where a municipality is taking a province to court. He addressed those Members from the North West Province, who would be aware of the incident of Kagisano-Molopo municipality who took the province of the North West to court for dissention of section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution of the municipality itself. He emphasised the Constitution says to find mechanisms and ways to cooperate, and obviously avoid legal proceedings against one another. When the Constitution gives sphere-distinctive powers and functions, they all form part of a single coherent system of governance of the country. Cooperative governance is premised on the three spheres having authority of service delivery functions. Within this framework, national government had a constitutional mandate to monitor and work with provincial government to assist and support local government. It was important to remember this had to happen within the units of the Constitution and national government’s regulatory authority. The Constitution empowers the provinces to have direct oversight of municipalities. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is the closest House of Parliament to provincial and local government as its role is to ensure provincial and local government representation in Parliament. Members of the NCOP were permanent delegates from the various provinces and represented these provinces.

Deputy Minister Bapela said the local sphere of government was arguably the most valuable to the people, as it is the level they get to experience on a daily basis. People judge the performance of government based on their experiences with local government. Every endeavor happens in local government, including every vote that brought all Members to Parliament. In essence, there is no government without local government. The Constitution compels municipalities to strive in their financial and administrative capacity to achieve the following objectives:

 – provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;

-ensure provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner: all Members would know the challenges on the ground. An oversight programme could be developed that addressed what the Department and Committee were going to be doing to ensure communities are serviced in a sustainable manner

-promote social and economic development: this is because every economic and social activity takes place in municipalities, and companies, big factories and mines are all in local government. If local government does not provide water to a factory, this means the factory will then decide to migrate to a municipality where it will receive better services, losing jobs. Thus, at all given times, municipalities must be fully servicing to ensure the local economy thrives at a municipal level so that people can work, play and stay in a local municipality to avoid long distances and trips they would have to endure and spend money on transport

-promote a safe and healthy environment: Members were lucky to go home and switch on their lights and open their taps, but there were certain communities throughout the country with taps but no water. If this was still happening, the Committee and Department would have to ensure the services reach all people who are in reach

-encourage involvement of communities and community organisations in matters of local government: this is a participatory democracy and a representative democracy is where people get elected into positions. However, once elected, this was not the end as it must be ensured there is participation of the people at those levels of participation

Deputy Minister Bapela said that COGTA was still focused on collaborating with provincial government to put it through the mandate as set out in the Constitution which is, in the main, to make use of legislative or other measures. In addition, support and strengthen the capacity of municipality to manage their own affairs and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to exercise their powers and perform their functions. The Committee would be hearing more from the Department around the Back to Basics programme which had five pillars the Department would explain at some point. The Department would then engage with the Committee around how it implemented it, where it is winning, where it is not happening, and why it is or is not happening because if the programme can be helped and fully implemented then the Department would have resolved quite a number of challenges.

Deputy Minister Bapela said that today, the Department would present transitional strategy plans which would outline, mainly, what the Department seeks to achieve in the remainder 2014/2019 which is the medium-term strategy framework period, and which is the strategy plan of the Fifth Administration. The Department would highlight some of the priorities and engage on the Sixth Administration but the Strategic Plan was still a work in progress. The Department and Committee were coming in while the Fifth Administration was coming to an end however the new administration was also beginning. What usually happens is that once whoever wins the elections has a manifesto and that manifesto then informs the Sixth Administration or whoever comes into power. Currently, because of the work the Department had to do to keep the ground running, it was reworking the medium strategy frameworks. However, the Department would be updating it to then impute matters of priority of the Sixth Administration. Once this work happened, the Department would then come back to the Committees to present.

During this time, entities would also be working towards clarifying and strengthening the involvement of traditional leaders in social-economic development and government projects around pro-structured engagement between government and the institution of traditional leaders. This would help the Department build social cohesion through strong partnerships between government and traditional leaders across all spheres of government. Working closely with traditional leaders would enhance the participation of this institution in implementation of the country’s strategic development goals, particularly in traditional and rural communities.  Members should know the rural economy still has to be grown and the Department will have to focus its attention on it. Traditional leaders have land and people but did not have capital and machinery to turn land in to productive use to then end hunger and reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality. The Department needed to find a model and formula to begin to take advantage of the land available. Most of the land in South Africa is in private hands and Parliament is engaged in the processes of land expropriation without compensation, amendment of section 25 (5) of the Constitution. This would help the Department in looking at the productive strategic land available in rural areas for economic growth, so that poverty is attended to and dealt with and traditional and communal land is taken advantage of.

Mr Motsamai interrupted to raise a point of order in Sepedi. No translation was provided.

The Chairperson responded in Sepedi. No translation was provided.

Mr Motsamai responded in Sepedi. No translation was provided.

The Chairperson responded in Sepedi. No translation was provided.

Mr Motsamai responded in Sepedi. No translation was provided.

The Chairperson responded in Sepedi. No translation was provided. He said that a dignitary would be attending to Mr Motsamai’s problem and commented that this was a very serious matter. He explained that he took it for granted that Mr Motsamai was following and that the Committee had to attend to the problem which was still being sorted out. The Chairperson extended apologies to Mr Motsamai.

Deputy Minister Bapela continued, saying that the Department was also talking through this system so that it is recorded and answered, and so that it can be available to Members. He added that a record of the speech would be distributed so that it can be available to Members which they can take away with them as they go and execute their duties. He continued, saying that while in the transitional phase of the administration of government, where the Department is reflecting on the achievement of MTFS over the past five years, looking back after 25 years of democracy and 19 years of democratic local government, a lot still needs to be done to ensure the triple-challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment is addressed. The Department developed a number of strategic packages and is addressing them. The ideal system of local government that cooperates at all three spheres will be fundamental to bridging the triple-challenge.

Deputy Minister Bapela said government introduced a Community Works Programme (CWP) in 2008 as one of the measures to provide skills and meaningful employment for the unemployed people and said that the Committee would hear more about it in the presentation. The previous day, the Minister visited the CWP site in KwaZulu-Natal as part of an assessment of the effectiveness of the problem and that it was confirmed there were challenges with its delivery model and in its current form. CWP was not meeting its objectives of developing skills and creating meaningful employment. The Department needed to ensure the programme achieves its objectives of providing employment towards projects that develop and benefit their communities. The Department would also urgently address matters raised by the Auditor-General on the management of the CWP, which is the source of the Department getting a disclaimer in its audit outcome for 2017/2018. This was going to be one of the biggest focus areas, particularly through this financial year going forward, unless something is done to correct the situation across all municipalities as it was not only the Department that got a disclaimer due to the programme.

The Department was also positioning itself to respond to challenges facing local government, mainly on the priority of delivering basic services at an acceptable standard. In the main, there were key challenges still evident in municipalities which revolved around poor governance and financial management systems which hamper functionality of the local government sphere. The task was to see how the Department could help using oversight mechanisms to ensure it is functional, proper, and able to deliver services at local government. These challenges were being filed at community-level where growing levels of dissatisfaction could be seen in the form of service delivery protests. The Department was committed to starting and enhancing a system of cooperative governance which it envisaged is feasible through implementation of an integrated relation framework that works for better service delivery and which will benefit communities and improve the lives of all South Africans. Deputy Minister Bapela said the Department’s response to these challenges were packaged in a set of priorities that would enable and be fundamental to the effective turnaround of local government by building their capacity to improve: (a) governance structures; (b) financial management; (c) supply chain management systems. This priority is summarised as follows: (1) institutional development and governance; (2) institutional sustainability, policy review on the wall-to-wall local government, their powers and functions, and the founding model of local government (currently from the equitable share, local government only got 9%, which is just a slight improvement from 7% to 9%, yet much is expected of them to service and deliver services); (3) water and bulk infrastructure and maintenance thereof.); (4) service delivery and job creation; (5) strengthened cooperative governance through lateral and vertical integration; (6) disaster risk reduction and management (due to climate change, there were lots of things beginning to happen in SA or next door in Mozambique or Zimbabwe. South Africa needed to be ready as a country for any major disaster elements and investments in this area should be prepared. There is the example of the KwaZulu-Natal floods that saw houses drifting into the river and the loss of lives. SA ought to be disaster ready)

Deputy Minister Bapela said that integrated planning for spatial transformation and inclusive economic development was one of the key elements to dealing with the apartheid spatial legacies that were there, so that the Department and Committee are able to build a South Africa that is at peace with itself, well planned, coordinated, rural and urban coexisting with that particular strength of a spatial settlement. In terms of strengthening the institution, particularly that of cooperative governance, the Department would be implementing the priorities in the short term during the 2019/2020 financial year and this would also form the basis of the new 2019/2020 strategic plan for the Department which it was hoping to resubmit in the future. This would strengthen MISA to also help build and fund the capacity of municipalities. As part of capacity building, Deputy Minister Bapela added that MISA must train young people to provide and maintain municipal infrastructure. There was discussion with the School of Government to identify areas where municipalities are failing to develop relevant training programs that are specific to local government. The net objectives of the initiatives and programs that make the Department’s APP are to improve their own competitiveness and ensure they can build the requisite capacity for municipalities to deliver on their constitutional mandate. The Deputy Minister hoped that this would work with the Committee and NCOP to develop an effective early warning system that will allow the Department to detect red flags and act through cooperative governance mechanisms to provide section 154 of the Constitution and only use section 100 and section 139 of the Constitution as the last resort, not the way things were currently happening. The Department tended to go to section 100 and 139 of the Constitution without fuller utilisation of section 154. In instances where it has applied the mechanism of last resort, the Department had to ensure interventions are sustainable, by always including capacity building and development during the intervention. He concluded saying that in this administration, the Department had to deal with the current challenges of local government in the short and mid-term, but there are also long-term strategies for service delivery that will make a deep impact in the lives of the people of South Africa.

The Chairperson thanked Deputy Minister Bapela for his overall input. He asked that the presentation take no longer than 30 minutes.

Department of Cooperative Governance: 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan

Mr Tozi Faba, COGTA DDG: Corporate Services, began that the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) envisioned a functional and developmental local government system that delivers its constitutional and legislative mandates within a system of cooperative governance. Its mission is to ensure all municipalities perform their basic responsibilities and functions without compromise. The revised Strategic Plan is aligned to the priorities of the Sixth Administration as well as departmental Strategic Goals. DCOG has eight Strategic Outcome-Orientated Goals (SOGs) which are the anchor of the revised 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and include –

  1. Effective and efficient internal corporate governance processes and systems;
  2. Lead and support the creation of prosperous cities and towns by restructuring the space economy;
  3. Foster the creation of a functional local government system through enhanced accountability and transparency;
  4. Build institutional resilience and initiate the next phase of institution building;
  5. Entrench a culture of good governance and instill a new morality of service and integrity in local government;
  6. Coordinate effective integrated disaster management and fire services;
  7. Ensure significant improvements in service delivery through sound infrastructure management;
  8. Local public employment programmes expanded through the CPW

There were six performance plans per programme which the Department would be undertaking -

Programme One – Administration

The aim of this project was to provide strategic leadership, management and support services to the Department. The goal was for effective and efficient internal corporate governance processes and systems. The objective was to ensure good governance and a sound internal control environment by March 2020. The target was to have 100% implementation of the 2018/19 post-audit action plan to improve audit outcomes by 31 March 2020.

Programme Two – Regional and Urban Development and Legislative Support

The aim of this project was to provide policy analysis and development to transform local government and improve corporate governance. The goal was to lead and support the creation of prosperous cities and towns by restructuring the space economy. The objectives were to – facilitate manufacturing of municipal space economy through integrated development planning and spatial targeting by March 2020; and to support creation of an enabling environment for municipalities to achieve inclusive economic development through implementation of initiatives of the National Framework for local Economic Development (LED) by March 2020. The targets were to – have implemented support programmes in four identified intermediate cities municipalities by 31 March 2020; and an Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) and implementation programme for small town regeneration approved by the DG by 31 December 2019.

Programme Three – Institutional Development

The aim of this project was to build institutional resilience in the local government system by supporting systems development, governance, capacity building and revenue management and providing for the functions of the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA). The goals were to – foster creation of a functional local government system through enhanced accountability and transparency; build institutional resilience and initiate the next phase of institution building; and entrench a culture of good governance and instill a new morality of service and integrity in local government. The objectives were to – deepen the relationship between citizens and government through improved citizen engagement mechanisms by March 2020; build a capable, ethical and developmental local government by providing a framework for local public administration and human resource management and development by March 2020; promote good governance through strengthening anti-corruption measures in local government by March 2020; and implement initiatives to improve financial sustainability and revenue management in local government by March 2020. The targets were to – have implemented a municipal-specific revenue plan in 35 municipalities to increase revenue base, revenue collection rates and payment of creditors by 31 March 2020; 71 municipalities assessed in terms of compliance with the rating aspects of the MPRA and outcomes of assessment communicated to 71 municipalities by 31 March 2020; 113 municipalities supported to have functional ward committeeS by 31 March 2020; Municipal Systems Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament by 31 March 2020; and training on local government anti-corruption strategy rolled-out in 31 district municipalities/metros by 31 March 2020.

Programme Four – National Disaster Management Centre  

The aim of this project was to promote an integrated and coordinated system of disaster prevention, mitigation and risk management. The goal was to coordinate effective integrated disaster management and fire services. The objective was to improve the system of disaster management and fire services across government by March 2020. The targets were – 12 municipalities assessed on capacity to implement the National Fire Safety and Prevention Strategy by 2019/20; seven integrated advocacy and awareness programmes successfully held in partnership with municipalities to promote and advance for Disaster Risk; and two Disaster Management Priority Guidelines approved by the Head of NDMC by 31 March 2020.

Programme Five – Local Government Support and Interventions Management

The aim of this project was to conduct performance monitoring, support and interventions in municipalities and provincial departments of cooperative governance to drive Back-To-Basics (B2B) activities. Goals were to – foster creation of a functional local government system through enhanced accountability and transparency; and ensure significant improvements in service delivery through sound infrastructure management. The objectives were to – improve accountability in the local government system by coordinating reporting on municipal performance by March 2020; and coordinate collaboration for infrastructure development at municipal level to extend services to unserved communities by March 2020. The target was 183 municipalities supported on Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) spending for infrastructure development by 31 March 2020.

Programme Six – Community Work Programme

The aim of this project was to provide a social safety net and work experience for participants and promote social and economic inclusion by targeting areas of high unemployment. The goal was to expand local public employment programmes through the CWP. The objective was to provide 1 000 000 work opportunities through effective and efficient programme management and strategic partnerships by March 2020. The targets were – 247 466 work opportunities provided to CWP participants by 31 March 2020; 24 746 CWP participants trained by 31 March 2020; five partnerships established by 31 March 2020; and a revised CWP operating model approved by the Minister by 31 March 2020.

Department of Cooperative Governance: 2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework Budget Allocations for Programmes and Subprogrammes

Ms Dorothee Burger-Snyman, COGTA Chief Financial Officer, outlined the total budget of the COGTA is R90 billion for 2019/20. This increased to R98 billion for 2020/21 and R106 billion in 2021/22 – an average increase of 8.8%. Of important notice were – the increase of 121.6% in the budget allocation for Programme Two mainly relates to introduction of the new Integrated Urban Development Grant from the 2019/20 financial year; and the decrease of 31.4% in the budget allocation for Programme Four, which mainly relates to the Disaster Recovery Grant in the 2019/20 financial year.

The 2019 MTEF Allocations per Economic Classification were divided to vote for, regarding – compensation of employees; goods and services; transfers and securities; payment for capital assets; and payment for financial assets. In terms of transfers and special allocations, of important notice was – the Municipal Infrastructure Grant increase of R14 billion for 2019/20 to R16 billion for 2021/22; the Local Government Equitable Share increase from R68 billion for 2019/20 to R82 billion for 2021/22; the CWP increase from R4 billion for 2019/20 to R4.5 billion for 2021/22; the DTA increase from R163 million for 2019/20 to R185 million for 2021/22; and the MISA increase from R343 million for 2019/20 to R382 million for 2021/22. The operational budget of the DCOG itself is R639 million. When breaking down the budget, the bulk of the money (94.2%) was allocated to Transfers and Subsidies of which the bulk will go to municipalities.

Discussion

The Chairperson was worried about whether the Department was going to meet the targets it had set for itself. Local government was in crisis but the presentation was just a normal presentation that did not tell the Committee that it was in crisis. He provided the examples of only 18 out of 33 municipalities having obtained a clean audit, the debt of Eskom having escalated, the tripling of irregular expenditure, Supply Chain Management being very high, deviations in terms of section 32 regulations, and poor leadership and planning. He commented on this saying the Committee and Department were not in a safe area when in this crisis. He asked why it was business as usual when this kind of crisis was being faced in the country and how they could address these particular issues. The Chairperson said the Department itself obtained a disclaimer while it was supposed to clean up the other municipalities. He added he did not get the sense that the Department was geared up to extricate the Department from the “quagmire of embarrassment”. He said he was just making these observations and flagging matters as the Chairperson. He was aware Members wanted to engage with the presentation but proposed that the Committee allow all the presentations.

Ms Z Ncitha (ANC, Eastern Cape) called order to the Chairperson to allow the Department to finish because Members had everything the Department was talking about in their questions, and now the Chairperson was limiting Members by performing the observation.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Ncitha and explained he was just raising matters to say that when the second presentations come, where the Committee is supposed to be dealing with matters, it would engage.

Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA): 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget Allocations for Programmes and Subprogrammes

Mr Ntandazo Vimba, MISA CEO, outlined MISA’s mission was to provide integrated municipal infrastructure support services to municipalities through technical expertise and skills training towards efficient infrastructure delivery systems, processes and procedures. MISA’s mandate was to render technical advice and support to municipalities by undertaking broad functions aimed at optimising municipal infrastructure delivery and management. There were three programmes, split into five strategic goals with its objectives, from 2019/20 to 2021/22 –

Programme One – Administration

The aim of the programme was to ensure effective leadership, strategic management and administrative support to MISA in line with applicable legislation and best practice. Strategic Objective 1.1 was to improve organisational performance and corporate image through strategic leadership and effective oversight, whilst 1.2 was to provide effective and efficient administrative support and maintain a sound governance and internal control system. The targets were to – implement an improved communication strategy for MISA; implement four risk management plans; four internal audit plans against the annual audit coverage plan; implement an approved ICT Operational plan by 30 April 2020; achieve an unqualified audit opinion on the annual financial statements; and implement an approved procurement plan to the National Treasury each year.

Programme Two – Technical Support Services

The aim of the programme was to enhance capabilities of municipalities for improved municipal infrastructure planning, delivery, operations and maintenance. Its main focus is to manage provision of technical support and capabilities to enhance management of municipal infrastructure support programmes. Strategic Objective 2.1 was for effective sector and strategic planning for municipal infrastructure management. The targets were – 87 municipal technical support plans developed and implemented to improve infrastructure, planning, delivery, operations and maintenance; 87 municipalities supported through District Support Teams to improve spending on MIG; 30 municipalities supported with development and implementation of Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) compliant plans (Land Use Management Schemes (LUMS)), SDFs, Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), by-laws, NSDF, Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) and alignment of Social Labour Plans (SLPs) with IDPs; and 20 - 44 municipalities supported with implementation of Sector Plans (Energy, Water Conservation and Demand Management Plans, Operations and Maintenance Plans). Strategic Objective 3.1 was to conduct the municipal infrastructure assets assessment, analysis and research. The targets were – three municipalities supported (OR Tambo District Municipality, Sekhukhune District Municipality and Amathole District Municipality) annually through the Regional Management Support Programme; and 18 - 44 district municipalities supported through the inspectorate to assess functionality of water and sanitation infrastructure. Strategic Objective 4.1 was to ensure technical capacity building in municipalities. The targets were – 230 - 500 learners enrolled into the MISA Apprenticeship Programme; 50 learners enrolled in MISA Experiential Learnership Programme; 135 - 300 candidates enrolled into MISA Young Graduates Programme; 250 municipal officials provided with technical skills trading; 80 - 140 municipal officials (section 28 apprentices) enrolled in MISA Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) programme; 80 students provided with bursaries for studies in technical professions; and 10 municipalities supported with compilation and implementation of capacity development plans.

Programme Three – Infrastructure Delivery Management Support

The aim of the programme is to provide support to municipalities in implementation of infrastructure projects, as well as operations and maintenance of existing infrastructure. The Strategic Objective was municipal infrastructure development and project implementation support. The targets were – functional Programme Management Office (PMO) established with approved and developed methodologies, standards and procedures; 3 - 7 municipalities supported in implementing National Treasury IDMs and 15 - 20 Framework Contracts; and 5 - 7 feasibility studies conducted to address misalignment of bulk water and reticulation in identified Water Services Authorities.

MTEF Budget Allocations for Programmes and Subprogrammes

Ms Fezeka Stishi, MISA CFO, indicated the MISA allocation for the current financial year was R343 million. Of important notice is the core programme, Technical Support Services, to which R230 million of the budget goes towards. Other core programmes include Infrastructure Delivery and Support, to which R24 million is allocated, and Administration, to which R88 million is allocated. Audit outcome trends showed that MISA had been receiving Unqualified Audit Opinions of the Annual Financial Statements.

In conclusion, the approved APP for 2019/20 was aligned to some extent to the Medium Terms Strategic Framework (MTSF) for the next five-year term of the Sixth Administration. Further alignment of the Strategic Goals, objectives and performance indicators with the MTSF outcomes and targets will be reflected in the Strategic Plan for the next five years from the 2020/21 financial year. MISA will strive to contribute to the MTSF outcomes and targets in implementation of the current APP and envisaged Strategic Plan. Simultaneously, the entity will continue to maintain an effective governance and internal control system.

Department of Traditional Affairs: 2019-2024 Strategic Plan and 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan

Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, DTA DG, said the strategic goals are aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP) and various outcomes of government. The Strategic Plan was aimed at providing a national traditional affairs governance system in support of an institution of traditional leadership for the better quality of life of traditional communities in South Africa. The revised Strategic Plan consisted of four Strategic Goals with objectives –:

Goal One – Institution of traditional leadership promoting community development

The aim was to promote the participation of traditional and Khoisan leadership in socio-economic development. The target was an increase in percentage of traditional leadership structures that promote community development, whether at Council or King level, by 2030.

Goal Two – Cohesive traditional and Khoisan communities

The aim was to promote social cohesion within the traditional affairs sector and manage traditional leadership disputes and claims. The target was a percentage reduction in the number of traditional leadership disputes taken to court by 2030, as well as a percentage reduction in conflict between traditional leadership and their communities or government by 2030.

Goal Three – Functional institution of traditional leadership

The aim was to improve performance and functionality of traditional and Khoisan leadership structures, as well as manage partnerships, intergovernmental and stakeholders’ relations. The target was a percentage increase in the number of functional houses/councils of traditional leadership by 2030.

Goal Four – Cultural practices conforming to the Bill

The aim was to reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from cultural initiation practice. The target was a percentage decrease in the number of deaths from initiation cultural practice, and a percentage decrease in the number of reported causes on cultural practices that violate human rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

The APP 2019/20 consisted of various programmes and sub programmes:

Programme One – Administration

The strategic objective was to promote sound business management and leadership within the Department. The targets were – maintain performance with five unqualified audit outcomes by the end of the 2019 - 2024 MTSF; 80% average performance of DTA targets; and 20% improvement on DTA corporate image rating.

Programme Two – Research, Policy and Legislation

The first strategic objective was to manage traditional affairs information and research agenda. The target was to complete seven research studies in the 2020 - 2025 Traditional Affairs Research Agenda by 2025. An additional target was to approve Information Management Framework for the institution of traditional leadership for 2019/20.

The second strategic objective was to manage traditional leader disputes and claims. The target was to have 50% kingships/queenships with functional systems to manage and resolve their succession disputes by 2025, including the capacitation of all recognised kingships/queenships on dispute resolution mechanisms. An additional target was to have a book on kingship customary law of succession and genealogy developed for 2019/20.

Programme Three – Institutional Support and Coordination

The strategic objective was to promote participation of traditional and Khoisan leadership in socio-economic development. The target was to – eight provinces monitored in implementation of the Agrarian Revolution Programme (ARP) in relation to involvement of traditional leaders; monitor and implement the programme of action on the resolutions of the Traditional Leadership Land Summit; and implement 100% of projects on the NHTL Transformation and Socio-Economic Development Plan by 2022, including the socio-economic development model for traditional communities. An additional target was to implement and review the Cooperative Governance Framework for Traditional Leadership in Local Governance for 2019/20. 

Sub Programme One – National House of Traditional Leaders

The strategic objective was to promote participation of traditional and Khoisan leadership in socio-economic development. The target was to implement 100% of projects on the NHTL Transformation and Socio-Economic Development Plan by 2022. Further targets were to monitor seven Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders on the involvement of Traditional Leaders in agrarian revolution for 2019/20. For the strategic objective to manage partnerships, intergovernmental and stakeholder relations, the target was to convene two Kings and Queens engagements for 2019/20. For the strategic objective to promote social cohesion within the traditional affairs sector, the target was to have five provincial houses of traditional leaders implementing the NHTL Women Empowerment project for 2019/20. For the Strategic Objective of reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from cultural initiation practice, the target is to monitor nine provinces on implementation of the Initiation Schools Policy Guidelines for 2019/20.

Sub Programme Two – Institutional Support and Capacity Building

The first strategic objective was to improve performance and functionality of traditional and Khoisan leadership structures. The target was to have eight provinces monitored and developed on implementation of the integrated Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Support Programme. A further target was to approve guidelines for provisioning and maintenance of physical infrastructure for structures of Traditional leadership, as well as approve the proposed curriculum for traditional leadership for 2019/20.

The second strategic objective was to promote social cohesion within the Traditional Affairs sector. The target was to implement five projects in the Traditional Affairs Social Cohesion, Culture and Heritage Promotion Plan.

Sub Programme Three – Partnerships

The strategic objective was to manage partnerships, intergovernmental and stakeholder relations. The targets were to – monitor nine provinces on implementation of the National Initiation Schools Policy Guidelines, during each initiation season, on participation of traditional leadership in municipal IDP processes; and have eight provinces workshopped on the implementation of the Cooperative Governance Framework for Traditional Leadership.

Budget Allocation Per Programme and Economic Classifcation

An amount of R163 million was indicated as transferred to the DTA for 2018/19. Of important notice was the amount of R45 million for Transfers and Subsidies, which is transferred to the CRL Rights Commission. The balance of R118 million was what is left between DTA and the NHTL.

In terms of percentages, 48% of the budget goes towards Compensation of Employees, 28% goes towards Transfers and Subsidies, 22% goes towards Goods and Services, 2% goes towards Payments for Capital Assets, and 0% goes towards Payments for Financial Assets.

Discussion

Ms P Mmola (ANC, Mpumalanga) addressed Deputy Minister Bapela saying that he spoke about the Department declaring a disclaimer and out of 33 municipalities, only 10 obtained a clean audit whilst 23 obtained disclaimers. She mentioned that in Deputy Minister Bapela’s presentation, he had not told the Committee how the Department was going to assist those municipalities that got a disclaimer, nor had he told the Committee the Programme of Action of the Department because it also obtained a disclaimer audit opinion. What was Deputy Minister Bapela doing with the provinces and municipalities that have poor leadership? Was Deputy Minister Bapela visiting the provinces and municipalities, or was he sitting in his office in Pretoria? Ms Mmola then addressed the MISA presentation, and referred to the Department having visited two provinces. What happened to the other seven provinces? When was MISA going to visit them? She said the Supply Chain Management of the municipalities was non-functional and corrupt. What was the Department doing about this and deviations done in the municipalities?

Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) thanked Deputy Minister Bapela for his presence as during the previous Parliament, on various occasions in different departments, the Executives were not attending the Committees meeting. The Committees had unanimously, across party-lines, decided to send the Departments back until someone who could account to the Committee politically actually attended the Committee meeting. It was thus of importance to him, and he was sure the Committee would agree, that someone who could answer the political side of the questions was present and he therefore appreciated Deputy Minister Bapela’s attendance. Mr Michalakis said the concern stretched across party-lines that there were a majority of municipalities which were found to be concerning for the mere fact that municipalities are there to deliver the most basic of services to the people. In his opinion, the problems the Free State faced were fairly basic things. When going to some of these municipalities it would be found the people who are supposed to be in place to ensure the municipality functions properly are a lot of the time not people properly qualified for it. The problem that was faced in the past was that if these people did not do their job properly, they would just be redeployed to another municipality and the problem never rid of. Mr Michalakis said section 139 interventions do not work because those administrators are deployed on the same basis – they are usually failed Municipal Managers somewhere or if they fail to turn a municipality around, they get redeployed as municipal managers in other places. He explained that until this is fixed, municipalities would not be turned around.

Mr Michalakis sat with a small municipality in the Free State where no more than five people are needed in the Finance Department yet there are 40 people employed. He knew Deputy Minister Bapela mentioned earlier on that job creation was part of the functions of municipalities but wanted to respectfully disagree with him and say that it is not a core function for a municipality to create direct jobs. Rather, the municipality was to create the circumstances for investment so the private sector can create those jobs. This is because what happens in the end is that 60 - 70% of the budget goes into salaries through trying to create jobs while 30% goes into service delivery, and no one wants to put up a factory or start a business in that town. Mr Michalakis commented that his constituency consisted of 11 small Free State towns and in the five years of his constituency he could count the number of new businesses started on one hand. The reason for this is because the people who are put in charge of municipalities are not properly qualified, are redeployed from somewhere else where they made a mess, and where an intervention is brought in, the administrator is either someone who made a mess of another municipality at some stage or they do not receive the cooperation of the municipality to which they are being deployed. He thus wanted to respectfully say that until the Committee and Department got that right and cleaned up across the board, they could do as much as they liked but they were not going to turn the municipalities around. Mr Michalakis thought that at this point the Committee and Department were all in agreement that municipalities in South Africa were at such a state that if not turned around now, they would sit with big trouble. He confirmed the Committee would, from its side, absolutely support Deputy Minister Bapela in any efforts worthwhile in turning those aspects around. He then asked how Deputy Minister Bapela planned to clean up the municipalities to get rid of the deadwood lying there for years, as they were the reason why the municipalities are in such a state and should be put in jail, not in municipalities’ offices. He stated that people were not getting basic services because people were not doing their jobs despite getting paid for it. How were the Department and Committee going to fix this together? 

Ms Ncitha started on the matter of section 139 and asked whether the Department had an audit of municipalities under this section. She made an example of a municipality in Grahamstown, Makana, which was under section 139 and asked at which stage one lifts section 139 in a particular municipality – especially since the challenge was that the CFO and municipality manager were no longer there but the municipality was still under section 139. She added that there may have problems here and there in terms of service delivery, but matters identified were addressed.

Ms Ncitha’s second question concerned how revenue was allocated to municipalities because most of the time the budget and Treasury are more focused on the population of that particular municipality without focusing on the backlog on infrastructure in the particular area. For her, this was a problem because they could not only look at one thing concerning population because, sometimes, the population referred to are people not even contributing to the revenue of the municipality. She wanted the Department to tell the Committee how it planned on helping those municipalities. What example is Dennis Naude? Ms Ncitha said that the Committee had put together, in terms of demarcation, municipalities that do not have a revenue-base at all, yet are expected to deliver services. Those particular municipalities, in her view, did not even sometimes qualify to get certain grants given to districts and metros. She asked the Department to look at this and see if it really helped all municipalities. Again, on the matter of generation of revenue by municipalities, she used the example of Great Kei as one municipality which, as the meeting occurred, ratepayers took upon themselves to collect the rates from citizens – the municipality was unable to do so as it won in court. Now, the Great Kei municipality was getting bankrupt every day. She thus asked what the role the Department was because, when looking at the Great Kei municipality in terms of tourism, it was a very rich municipality and could generate a lot of revenue for the municipality.

Ms Ncitha’s questioned roll-over and the way in which it was dealt with. If the municipality did not steal the money, it would sometimes get to be taken back by the offices of budget and Treasury. The Department was penalising the citizenry because services that were supposed to be delivered in that particular municipality would not be delivered. Rather than penalising the citizenry, in her view, the Department should have a mechanism for dealing with those that failed to do their work such that money is spent in a stipulated time in terms of processes of the municipality.

Mr AB Gxoyiya (ANC, Northern Cape) welcomed the report and appreciated the good work that was done at the level of skills development as reported, but said the Committee needed to be shown physical evidence in terms of the output of those skills development programmes that the Department was engaged in. This also linked to formalizing qualifications for those unqualified but skilled workers. This was a step in the right direction, and he thought that it was much appreciated. The Committee and Department needed to be honest that there was more bad than good and, when raising the negative matters, it should not be taken as pulling the Department down or attacking but should rather take matter raised and try and work on them. The Member was raising this particularly because of some matters partly covered by Ms Ncitha. For instance, there are municipalities that are not financially viable at all – there is no economic activity. When going to a town like Petrusville in the Northern Cape, where one can count the areas of employment, many of the people working are working in the surrounding farms as ordinary farm workers who stay in those farms and come to town once a month. There were such situations where, for example, the municipality of Renosterberg would at times even use the MIG to pay salaries because it did not have a source of revenue at all and it could be said that 90% of the people there are unemployed.

Mr Gxoyiya asked the Department why it did not consider building bigger municipalities with financial muster because many of the people from Petrusville who were working in skilled jobs were working in De Aar where they stayed, paid rates and taxes, and came home once a month. Petrusville was just 100 kilometers from De Aar. In terms of the municipal demarcation, these were the matters that needed to be debated going forward so that financially-viable municipalities are created that would be able to render the services the Committee wants to the people. The other challenge was the matter of rates and taxes which are not standardised. Kimberley was smaller than Bloemfontein but the rates and taxes of Kimberley were higher than that of Bloemfontein. Electricity tariffs of Kimberley were almost twice the price of electricity tariffs of Mangaung municipality. He asked how these matters could be regulated so that there was no unfair advantage because, if checking economic activity, Bloemfontein is better off than Kimberley. But, in terms of what people paid to stay in these cities, they pay more to live in Kimberley than what they pay in Bloemfontein. What is being done ensure these matters are at least standardised?

Mr Gxoyiya also asked for a resolution on the matter of some communities getting electricity directly from Eskom, and others getting the electricity from the municipalities. For instance, in Sol Plaatje municipality, there was a situation in an area called Ritchie where its people were getting electricity directly from Eskom, but the people from Platfontein in the same municipality were getting electricity from the municipality and paying more for the electricity than the people from Ritchie. These were the matters that created imbalances that the Committee needed to address going forward. He asked the Department to clarify to the Committee, as maybe he was the only one who was not very equipped to understand, the difference between an agency and an agent. Mr Gxoyiya said that, from where he was sitting, the Department paid money, whether to an agency or agent, to implement particular programmes for the Department. There was a problem of fiscal daumping in the Department where an example could be found in the Northern Cape. When approaching the end of the financial year, it had under spent on housing and the money was dumped it into the Housing Development Agency and PSPs, which split the money amongst themselves. The books would say that money was spent but the money was dumped somewhere so that those agencies had to come and implement in the next year – this was where corruption happened at a large scale. He thought the Department needed to find a way of resolving that particular matter.

On the matter of traditional leaders, Mr Gxoyiya said that everyone could agree that Xhosas, Thembus, Vendas, Zulus and many other nationalities had their own kings. However, the reality of the matter was that there was only one super-King who had the biggest budget ever and could address the provincial legislature at any given time. This would not be found in other kingdoms. He asked what work was being done to address this particular disparity so that the Committee and Department did not have to divide themselves along traditional lines. This was because there was already tension brewing that some Kings are not respected as much as other Kings are, especially in the Eastern Cape, which the Committee did not want to happen. This was a matter that traditional affairs should be looking at seriously and making sure it had a way of dealing with it.

Mr Gxoyiya said there was a place called Orania in the Northern Cape and that he was sure everyone had read about or gone to Orania. Orania refused to be a part of any municipality and so it is not. Orania had its own private water rights, received electricity directly from Eskom, and had nothing linking it with municipalities where it is demarcated. When looking at Orania, it was not a town but a farm. The Committee needed to look at a legal way of ensuring the people of Orania are integrated because it was a farm especially reserved for those whites who want nothing to do with blacks. Orania did everything on its own. In the spirit of cooperative governance, the community of Orania must be integrated. Everyone knew the particular section in the Constitution that allowed for self-determination and he asked if this self-determination meant there must be an island in the country that is inaccessible to anyone of another race except its own.

Mr S Zandamela (EFF, Mpumalanga) addressed the Chairperson, saying he had a few things that needed to be addressed although some of it was mentioned. On the matter of the presentations, he thought the Committee needed to look at it. Members were from other provinces and he felt the presentations were too summarised and needed to go into more detail. He suggested there be addenda which spoke to certain specific things. For example, if the Department said there were 13 municipalities in Mpumalanga under administration, the Committee needed to know who the municipalities were. This is so that the Committee can keep track of all the things being said by the Department.

Mr Zandamela then referred to Deputy Minister Bapela having said that without municipalities there is no government – and without land. He was glad Deputy Minister Bapela mentioned that since the Committee championed that government would ensure municipalities get land so that when they want schools, they should have land to build those schools. He addressed the Chairperson, saying he would like the Committee to also look in the issue of the CWP when the Department comes back to the Committee. He said Deputy Minister Bapela mentioned the challenge in the municipalities and that, in fact, he did not hear anything about municipalities towing Eskom. What was going to happen to them? How was the Department going to be in that space and say it resolved the challenge of municipalities owing Eskom? The second thing that Deputy Minister Bapela mentioned was that the Department was going to identify youths that would be responsible for the municipality’s infrastructure and said that he would like to bring this to the Department’s attention. Mr Zandamela said that there were TVETs n the country and that one of the matters raised, even with the Department of Employment and Labour, was that they had to look into utilising students in the TVETs as well, as this would also assist in the challenge of employment. He thus requested that the Department look at this.

Mr Zandamela mentioned the Committee knew for a fact there were many municipalities that fruitless and had wasteful expenditure, but Deputy Minister Bapela and the Department said nothing. No action was taken with the Accounting Officers, and this report was needed to identify which municipalities had fruitless and wasteful expenditure, who has been suspended etc. The report was thus needed by the Committee to take a collective decision with regard to these things. He emphasized the presentations before the Committee and said that there was no need to rush as it was the Committee, there was time, and this was why Members were present. He felt that the presentations being given were rushed and the DDG was taking advantage. He pointed out that no one was new and everyone was capable of doing what was expected of them. Mr Zandamela requested the Department stop mentioning the President in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) every time. The President did what he was supposed to do in the SONA and that it was now time for action. He wanted the Department to tell the Committee where and when so it could move. If things were not happening then the Committee would be able to ask the Department to explain what the problem is. The Committee would hear the President said something in SONA until the next year, and come the next year, they would still be saying the President said something in SONA. He thus requested the Committee and Department try and move away from this.

Mr Motsamai addressed Deputy Minister Bapela and said that he had a very serious problem with the Department. Mr Motsamai spoke partly in another language, but no translation was provided. He continued, saying that sometimes the Department provided lip-service and would come and address the Committee because it was addressing a Committee of Parliament. When looking at the municipality that he was representing, especially in Ekurhuleni, there were many potholes. The Department was not working. Mr Motsamai thought the Committee should visit the Department. It should be understood that when together, Members were the Committee, not the EFF or ANC, and were a Committee representing Parliament. If the Department came to the Committee and paid lip-service, the Committee would go to the Department who would jump. This was a serious Committee that needed to be respected. He concluded, saying that Deputy Minister Bapela needed to look at the matters he raised.

The Chairperson told Mr Motsamai that he must remember this was a discussion around matters of local government, not other departments such as Human Settlement. This meeting was focused on the APP and budget as presented by the three entities for engagement by Members.

Mr Mthethwa said his challenge lied only with CWP. He asked whether there was any plan that was being developed in trying to address the major problem facing the Department on this programme. It was a good programme but the way it was being centralised lead to a point that some of the things on ground level found it difficult to be accounted to and, as a result, the Department took it to a disclaimer. He thus requested a clearer programme this time around to say how this matter was going to be fixed.

Mr Mthethwa was happy with the traditional affairs in the AmaKhosi imbizo. He suggested one topic that should be discussed in the imbizo was the matter of the roles of traditional leaders in the current dispensation in a democratic country. Maybe if this could be discussed as well then the Committee would appreciate why it was discussing many other matters. He appreciated MISA’s presentation and said it was a good presentation and thought MISA should first give the Committee the criteria it was using when identifying problem two in the municipalities. This was because some of the municipalities also shared with the Committee the list and copied the listing saying those were the municipalities there and that the Committee supported through asset-management. On the technical scale, on all provisions given to the municipalities, the Committee would appreciate if the Department could give it a list so that the Committee could check. This was because some of the municipalities that got such support were not visible on the ground.

Mr Mthethwa asked what the Department's role was, after its support, when municipalities did not comply with this. The Department paid billions of Rands, put technical support and had everything. He asked what was happening and what would happen if there was non-compliance by the municipalities that received support in the programmes given by the Department. He could see the Department developed and supported many of them in different skill training and that this time around he would appreciate if the Department could classify them in terms of province because Members also represented provinces. This would allow the Committee to do some oversight of the Department’s planning.

Ms S Shaikh (ANC, Limpopo) noted the Committee was running short of time. She would try not to repeat some of the questions that had already been addressed and rather emphasise additions to the matters. She thought the Committee was of the NCOP and its interests were, as it was constitutionally mandated, to ensure provincial interests are taken into account. She further thought that if the Department had brought information in relation to which municipalities were being addressed under which matters, the Committee would have engaged the Department in a different manner. Be that as it may, she was sure the Department would come back to the Committee with the information. She thought that, in terms of the turnaround for municipalities or support given to municipalities, while the Department does support municipalities, there was also National Treasury as well as in provinces that provide support. She wanted to know at what level there was some kind of integration in terms of the type of support given to municipalities.

In terms of the presentation, Ms Shaik addressed Deputy Minister Bapela and said she knew that only three provinces had not received a clean audit and would have thought that even in this presentation there would have been some sort of mention in terms of what kind of interventions the Department would have embarked on to ensure the municipalities’ challenges are being addressed. With MIG funding she thought that there were rural municipalities that did not have capacity to utilise these funds. If funds are not utilized, it is taken back but yet the need for services are still there. She mentioned that if the presentation did identify the municipalities, it would have assisted the Committee to see what kind of support was being given to these municipalities.

Ms Shaik then raised two other matters which were of provincial focus. The one was around the Ministerial Demarcation Board which was an entity of the Department. She knew that while there was no presentation on it, Deputy Minister Bapela was aware that demarcation matters in Limpopo created other problems. At the moment, the Committee was sitting with challenges in Vuwani which were also a threat to service delivery in the area. She understood there were certain sections in the community which tended to move the goal posts each time government tried to make intervention. The Committee needed to get to a point where matters on the ground are resolved so that service delivery can take place in a much more faithful manner. The other matter related to small-town regeneration. While in the programme, the Department spoke about the development of the strategy around this and implementation which was likely to only take place in the fourth quarter.

Ms Shaikh raised the matter around Sekhukhune and was sure that Deputy Minister Bapela was aware there was a district office of government outside of the district, which sat in another district.  There was clearly some kind of move of that district office into Jane Furse municipality where the District Municipal Office occurs. In terms of regenerating a small town, she was sure the Committee would go to great lengths to do that. She was not sure whether this strategy was also considering Jane Furse as a small emerging town or, if not, she wanted to know in terms of this matter what the focus of the Department was.

Ms C Visser (DA, North West) said that, taking into consideration the bigger picture, the regression with local municipalities since 2003 now reached disaster-level. When looking at protests occurring, the Department and Committee would know what was going on in the North West was not a protest anymore but rather wars. Towns were being burnt to the ground, and excessive damage to infrastructure was being done as recently seen in Ottosdal where a library of R60 million was totally destroyed along with other infrastructure. If the Department looked at the failure of the turnaround strategy of Secheba and the failure of the Back-to-Basics in municipalities, there is absolutely no effect that it has had. She thus wondered about the programmes and plans presented to the Committee this morning. When just looking at the mandates of municipalities and district municipalities, none of them functioned within their mandates and none of them functioned within their constitutional obligation of delivering services to people. Further, when looking at the interventions in eight years, some municipalities in the North West are for the third time under administration and the intervention has done nothing.  Interventions came and went and afterwards there were no handover reports. There was no institutional value laid down by this administration and, in fact, more money was gone which was costing the province and municipality. Now, after 17 municipalities and administrations, Provincial Treasury of the North West has requested National Treasury withhold the transfer of equitable shares to nine of these municipalities. In nine of these municipalities it was so bad that they could not even pump water. When looking at a company like Clover in Lichtenburg, it was losing R1 million per day and had to stop production levels because there was no water available. When looking further into the accountability and failure thereof she asked if the Committee and Department looked at the Auditor-General (who came and looked at the financial disposition of the municipality, how much money was spent, and the supporting documents available), what the measure was that it looked at to see if service delivery took place. This was because service delivery in this stage was totally absent in most of these municipalities. This caused that ordinary people could not do life or get driver’s licenses, did not have water or sanitation, did not have street lights but had potholes, and everything is just the order of the day. Worst of all, most of these people sat without a drop of water in temperatures, this past January, of 52° in a shack. She commented the Committee and Department still expected people to not protest, and the police to go in with rubber bullets and contain them even if they did not have water. She then continued, saying that if they did not have water then they did not have food either as they would be unable to cook. She requested the Committee and Department look into the things that were needed and if there was dysfunctionality because of people being deployed that cannot do their jobs. There was too much fraud and corruption going on that needed to stop, and if not stopped, people were going to die and more people would suffer to poverty and not have jobs.

Department’s Response

Deputy Minister Bapela said the Chairperson already started an engagement when the first presentation by DCOG came in. It set the state of municipality as a growing concern and the APP itself is not reflecting and indicating what it is that the Department was going to be doing. The Department did indicate, in his opening remarks, that there was a transitional period it was in from Fifth Administration and all obligations it had while being incorporated into the Sixth Administration. He did indicate the Department would then, within a month, come back to Parliament to present a five-year strategy plan that explains what the Department is going to do in the next five years, taking on board the mandate of the Sixth Administration and also matters in society at a local municipality level that were built away. Thus, in this way, it would be indicated but for now the Department was just dealing with the next eight months between August and the 31 March on what it is going to be doing. Hence, Deputy Minister Bapela said that when looking at the report it was just outlining matters that the Department can do now - the strategy plan would be the new programme and would be presented. He thought this would be more indicative and tell the Committee what it is that the Departments plans on doing to challenge the face of municipality and ensure needs and challenges of the people are responded to – particularly turning the municipalities around.

Deputy Minister Bapela told the Chairperson the intervention in the municipality was not the first time and that it would neither be the last time until gotten right. There were seven interventions that had happened since the advent of the municipality system of South Africa, making it 19 years old. The first was called "the ability”, which came, served its purpose, was able to change and have an impact when it did, but things regressed after thinking the Department had arrived. Another project was the Design Project Consolidate to try and consolidate what happened under the first project, deal with the new challenges and ensure the Department sees municipalities responding to their constitutional and legislative mandate. The third intervention was translated into “time to deliver now” as systems and institutions were built, thus it was about time the Department and Committee began to see services going to the people. The fourth was the fifth-year strategic agenda intervention to the municipality, meaning that if they could do things a certain way or differently, the Department would be optimally beginning to see an ideal municipality in that services would be delivered, and the municipality would focus more on its mandate. The fifth was the local government turnaround strategy, which he thought most Members would remember but still was about to intervene on things not happening correctly. In 2014, one would realise financial accountability was on the fall and things were not happening. The Department came up with another intervention called “operation clean audit” which all Members should also have remembered. Now, the Department had come up with Back-to-Basics which was just a renaming from a programme that was called Local Government Improvement Programmes, all geared at service delivery. Back-to-Basics was just also asking that the right thing be done in the mandate of municipalities. The Department did not have control over who the people were that came into the municipalities as this COGTA did not choose. It was the political parties that chose candidates, sent people to work and served at a particular level – the Department did not have control of this. The Department worked with whoever was sent by the political parties and some of the people who were absent left much to be desired. The deployment of people sent to local government was where the problem was. Who then appointed management was not the Department, but the very people that the political parties and Members had sent in to represent the people at a municipality level, who then decides who gets appointed and where quite a number of reappointments have happened. He pointed out that if one goes to the Back-to-Basics, its intervention was to deal with that matter and it said “put people and their concerns first”. Once someone comes in as an elected representative in the municipality, their mandate is to put the people first and then deal with their concerns. Back-to-Basics required one to support the delivery of municipal services to the right quality and to the right standard so that across any municipality, when walking or moving around, the quality of the services must be the same as well as the standard across small towns, big towns and rural areas. Third was promoting good governance, transparency and accountability. Representatives were there ought to do this to make the municipality functional.

Deputy Minister Bapela continued saying the fourth was ensuring sound financial management and accounting so that the Department did not have the Auditor-General always coming in and finding an audit. Indeed it could be seen from the Auditor-General's report 2017/18 that things were not happening properly there. He mentioned that he met with the Minister over the weekend and his daughter asked the Auditor to do a skills audit of all municipalities as the Minister would be shocked at what they found. The people the Auditor found were unqualified and the people in finance sections did not know finances. The Auditor-General spoke to the Deputy Minister and said that even when it came as external auditors, sometimes it would be chased away. The Auditor-General had to be escorted by the police to go and do a normal audit. The Auditor-General said that when looking at the skills of internal audit people, they are not skilled to do anything as the filing systems were bad, inferences were not there, and evidence not found.

Deputy Minister Bapela said the goal of building institutional resilience and administrative capability as part of the Back-to-Basics was saying employ the right people with the requisite right skills in the right position. In this way, the Department would then begin to achieve what it ideally wanted to see as a functional municipality that delivers services, enables an environment for economic development and to allow investors to come in because all infrastructure was in place.

Deputy Minister Bapela acknowledged Members were right – he did not say municipalities were not there to create jobs but were there to enable the environment for creating jobs and attract investors. He mentioned that he even gave an example of factors that do not come in if there is no proper infrastructure. In the Lekwa local municipality in Mpumalanga, there was a poultry company that said its business was suffering now because there was cutting of water and the municipality was unable to provide water. As a result, its production line went down and it was unable to produce enough for the market. What then happened was that American chicken would then take space and local producers would suffer simply because of a service that failed on them by the municipality. In small municipalities there was a lot of disruption in the form of either electricity security or faulty water supplies. This meant jobs would migrate out of the area into the big cities and people will follow the opportunities. Poor cities had not planned well to absorb many people coming into them and when people do not get space, they invade land and build informal settlements because they need shelter which is a fundamental right of everybody. That movement was not part of the plan but was forced by conditions and migration that is faster than development – people then found themselves living in these conditions. This was not just a South African phenomenon but a global phenomenon as all cities were beginning to receive internal migrants simply because of opportunities people find there. He thus suggested the Department and Committee begin building economies in rural areas. He concluded that this was just the prefacing of the Department’s response but is part of the APP. However, he could see Members wanted to get certain presentations that were agenda-focused on what it was the Department was going to be doing to turn local government around now that they knew what was happening. All other interventions might have succeeded to a point, but there was a lot of regression taking place and the Minister was engaging on this. The Department would be coming at an appropriate time and responding to matters to say what it is. The Strategic Plan the Department was going to develop would then have a section saying what would happen moving forward and that the turnaround time would be one to two years in which the Department should have the municipality corrected. This was sent to the officials - the time to relax was over now as they were there to work and respond to the needs of the people.

Deputy Minister Bapela engaged the example of Home Affairs and said the Department turned it from what it was to the model it is today. It was doable and needed to be done, but the only challenge was that the people at municipalities were unfortunately not chosen by the Department. This was unlike at Home Affairs where it would choose who it employed. In local government, it was the political parties that sent the representatives so the failure could not be put on the Deputy Minister but on the parties themselves regarding the nature, capability and capacity of the people sent. If the representatives were not doing what they were supposed to be doing, consequence management of those who were employed at provincial level, local government and the national Department definitely rested with the Department. Deputy Minister Bapela stated that those who did not perform must go and there must be consequence management. He told the Chairperson these were just indicators, and the Chairperson should know the Department had just come into office in June and were now presenting the budget and plans in July. This was why the Department was saying it was a transitional report now but that the report that would come in August/September based on the permission of Parliament. The Department indicated it would be bringing five-year plans that marked challenges and spoke to the new mandate. Deputy Minister Bapela would therefore leave certain areas to the officials to deal with technical matters and would come back on the actual points that were political. This was more of a preamble of the Department’s intention to change things in local government.

The Chairperson requested the Department respond to questions as raised by Members in two minutes each. He took Deputy Minister Bapela’s point that the presentations needed to be broken into pieces and specifically invite the Department to come and deal with those specific matters.

Mr Faba, on behalf of DCOG, said that he would not waste time as Deputy Minister Bapela covered a number of things. He mentioned that the Department was operating on two levels. He explained that here was an APP and operational plan about how things were going to be done in detail. As alluded earlier on, the Department was prepared to come back to the Committee and give all the details about how matters were going to be addressed. In a much-appreciated way, Mr Faba said the questions and matters being raised were of great concern. He assured the Committee that, as it said earlier on, the Department’s APP was not in detail but its operational plans were in detail. He confirmed the Department took note of all matters raised and it was going to ensure that when it came back to the Committee it would respond to each and every matter in clear detail.

Mr Vimba, on behalf of MISA and in response to Mr Mthethwa, said it had the details in terms of the municipalities and would share it with the Committee. This included the names of the municipalities and type of support provided to them. In terms of the criteria, MISA had this and it was not just MISA criteria but was criteria it had jointly, with the Back-to-Basics team, COGTA and National Treasury agreed upon in terms of which municipalities were to be prioritised and for what. Out of this, there were then 87 municipalities prioritised, looking into a range of service delivery, infrastructure and financial management challenges which included the audit outcomes. In terms of the other seven municipalities, as per the question raised by Ms Mmola, there was a new programme called the Capacity Development Programme which was being piloted in two provinces – Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The intention was to get lessons learnt and from there, improvements would be made. When improvements were made, \ it would then be rolled out to other provinces as well.

The Chairperson asked Mr Vimba to do a global summary on all matters raised and provide his perspective like Mr Faba did.  

On the matter raised by Mr Zandamela on TVETs, Mr Vimba confirmed MISA actually worked with TVETs. Thus, the support that MISA was giving around technical support and skills development were done with TVET colleges.

Mr Faba, on the matter raised by Mr Gxoyiya about disparities from province to province in terms of how different kingships were being treated, said the matter came down to norms and standards and what the Department could do at national level. For example, how kingships are recognised and the roles and functions defined in the Traditional Leadership Framework Act be done at national level. When it came to resourcing, this was where disparities started being seen as it was provincial functions and provinces then provided according to decisions made at provincial level. What the Department was trying to do at national level was to come up with a handbook on tools of trade for traditional leaders. The Department had started that work and was now consulting and engaging with the NHTL and provinces to see what kind of framework it could come up with at national level. Ultimately, actual implementation would be at provincial level and it was possible that in some provinces, it would continue to make additions. He added that certainly at the level of salaries it was standardised because it is determined nationally but the resourcing matter was the challenge. The work being done now around the tools of trade, already consulted on, would be a step in the right direction subject to intense consultations that would need to take place.

Mr Faba referred to Mr Mthethwa having raised the matter about discussion at an imbizo of traditional leaders about the role of traditional leaders in the current dispensation. Again, the roles are defined in the current legislation but the matter might be whether it was too much or whether it should be reduced a bit. This would be discussed at the summit – particularly the role when it came to land management. This was because concerns were raised about SPLUMA and that it excludes traditional leaders but they had roles to play in communal areas. There was already a discussion taking place as a task team between the Department and the NHTL on the powers and functions of traditional leaders. There was work being done there and consultations would ensue. He then confirmed the Department would engage with the Committee about this at a later stage.

Deputy Minister Bapela thanked Members for matters raised and emphasised the Department was not undermining them. The Department took note so that when it came back, it could share with the Committee what had happened, what was happening, and where there were still challenges. The Department would obviously be seeking assistance, particularly on oversight powers it had. The Equitable Share, MIG Fund and municipal support was what went to municipalities. All in all, R90 billion was received and passed. The matter was thus who it was being passed to. It had already been said the services were not physically being seen as townships were dirty and service delivery was poor. He thus said the question Members were asking was where this money was going. The CWP Minister would be presenting a new model and it was going to be reviewed over a period of months. CWP would then come back to Parliament on this. On self-determination and section 235 of the Constitution, this gave rise to the establishment and so far, luckily for the new South Africa being built, this was the main area of focus. The Department might have to reengage on the matter of building one common South Africa. On the matter of the state of finances in municipalities, Deputy Minister Bapela thought this required a presentation to the Committee. On the matter of participatory democracy and representative democracy, he mentioned the engagement and that Constitution required this. There were 40 municipalities under section 139 of the Constitution that the Department would come and share with the Committee.

The Chairperson said the Department would meet with the Committee to deal with section 139 of the Constitution in the following week.

Deputy Minister Bapela added that the Department would discuss the 40 offices and municipalities, why they were the way they were, how many times the Department intervened and whether it was working or not working. He then reconfirmed the number of municipalities being dealt with was 40. He agreed with Members that when presenting to the NCOP, the Department should design mandates in its style of presentation as Members were there representing provinces. The Department should not present the way it did to the National Assembly. He thought it was a very useful point raised and the Department was taking note of it. On the matter of including an agenda on the role of traditional leaders in the dispensation, Deputy Minister Bapela said the Department would take care of this particular matter. He then concluded, saying that both the Committee and Department wanted municipalities to function.

The Chairperson thanked Deputy Minister Bapela and the Department. He addressed the Members, saying that it had been a very useful discussion and that he had never heard of a person saying there were no problems and challenges at municipal level. His view was that the situation could only be arrested if the Committee and Department joined hands in partnership and play their role of oversight and ensuring accountability for what is done. Business could not be as usual when the country was going down and it needed the Department or Committee to put it on the right map. The Chairperson’s last point was that there were three presentations and the Committee should appreciate that traditional affairs and MISA had gotten qualified reports which needed to be rejected as clean reports were wanted. He then added that the Committee now needed to focus on cooperative governance so it could succeed.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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