The Standing Committee met for a briefing on the 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan (APP) of the Department of the Office of the Premier.
The Premier informed the Committee that despite the key focus areas alluded to in his State of the Province Address (SOPA), the APP would remain substantially unchanged for the 2019/20 financial year, but with slight changes in approach to accommodate the new policy position. The lekgotla with the President had been a complete change from those held previously. He had committed to working together with all provinces to share experiences and to avoid duplication and wastage of resources. The Western Cape was the lead province in district Integrated Development Planning, and was engaging with Gauteng, which would be the next province to roll out that approach to district municipalities. He would also be working with the Premier of the Eastern Cape.
The APP presentation focussed on what could be done to improve the lives of people in the Western Cape. The end goal was to grow the middle class to be able to pay for services, and also to reduce the number of poor people in the province. There was a concern about the financial constraints following the downturn of the economy. The total draft budget of R1.571 billion was largely absorbed by the Centre for e-Innovation, which had a budget of R1.042 billion for 2019/20. The next biggest slice went to People Management, which accounted for R214.9 million.
Members asked whether the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) was involved in the district initiative and whether the provincial branch was serving the needs of the Western Cape. What was being done to ensure that the various districts delivered? They asked for further details about the Future Fit Skilling approach of the People Management division of the Department. What were the 11 Bills and 11 sets of regulations that Legal Services was working on? What was the status of the Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill? What was being done about the establishment of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the Environmental Commissioner? When would a solution be found to the problems with the railways in the Western Cape, as 400 000 people depended on rail transport.
Members asked for an update on the situation in Hout Bay, and what efforts were being made to address the overcrowding in Imizamo Yethu. Was the provincial plan for infrastructure, spatial planning and the environment in line with the land redistribution programme? Was it aimed at addressing land reform and ownership to avoid the land invasions that the Premier had spoken of in the SOPA? What were the Western Cape’s commonalities with Gauteng and what were the key areas of service delivery in that province that might be of assistance to the Western Cape?
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting, including a large group of learners from the Trafalgar High School. He asked everyone to introduce themselves, including the learners, who were there as part of the Cell-C “Take a girl child to work” programme. He asked the Premier to make his opening remarks and if there were any questions, those could be taken at that stage.
Premier’s opening remarks
Mr Alan Winde, Western Cape Premier, commented that it was the first meeting of the Standing Committee, and the Department would be coming through with a budget. The new policy and political point of view and manifesto changes had been evident in the State of the Province Address (SOPA), and what the Director General (DG) had to do was to enable those policies to come through and to set up the next five-year plan for government. Those were processes that the Department was currently busy with, and those new policies would start to surface in the presentation. However, the annual performance plan (APP) had been drawn up prior to the SOPA, and the Premier and the Department had to be measured against those plans, even as new matters were being incorporated.
He said that Parliament and Government were facing a downturn in the economy, which had a huge impact on budgets. Those financial constraints were putting huge pressure on all the budgets. The department heads were trying to determine what could be cut while retaining maximum delivery and a maximum focus on the citizenry, as that was what they were there to do. At the end of the day, his job as Premier was to ensure that citizens obtained maximum benefit from government.
The Chairperson called for comment on the Premier’s opening remarks.
Mr C Dugmore (ANC) asked how Members should regard the APP. Should they ignore it in the light of proposed changes and the presentation to be made? What was the status of the APP? Did the Department of the Premier commit to that plan or not?
The Premier responded that the Department had to honour the APP, and it was the function of that Committee to measure its performance in terms of the APP -- and even to measure the performance of his predecessor.
The Chairperson asked if the question was related to the budget cuts.
Mr Dugmore replied that, in the light of the Premier’s comments, he was trying to ascertain whether the APP would remain as it was, or whether it would change. Could the Committee hold the Premier accountable to that APP? He also commented that many staff members had left. Who had left, and who had stayed? Could the Premier give an account of the staff in his private office?
The Chairperson asked what the rationale was for the question. Was Mr Dugmore referring to the personal staff members who were in the private office of the Premier?
Mr Dugmore said that during the term of office of the previous Premier, Members had got to know the staff members, but the DG had left and there was an Acting DG in place. He was asking whether others had also left. For example, there had been a service delivery unit in the Office of the Premier. Of all the staff members that were in the private office of the former Premier, how many had left, and who were currently in the office of the Premier?
The Chairperson responded that the acting Head of Department (HoD) would take the Committee through the organisational structure, and that would cover the question.
Premier Winde said he was happy to provide the names of staff members who had remained and the new ones who had come in. He pointed out that certain members in the Premier’s Office had had term contracts, such as the staff in the delivery Uunit. Their contracts had ended. In the Department, the HoD had left, so there was the Acting DG.
Mr Dugmore asked if there was no longer a delivery unit.
Mr D Mitchell (DA) proposed that the Committee follow the agenda and allow the Department to do the presentation as per the agenda, so Members would not be pre-empting the presentation.
Mr P Marais (FF+) was interested in what the Premier was going to say. He would like him to touch on constitutional matters, but to to expand the topic beyond just the Western Cape’s constitution and to explain how the way in which constitutional matters were handled nationally had a negative effect on what was being done in the province. If one spoke of co-operative governance, he was of the opinion that there were oversight matters that had not been handled well. He wanted the assurance that the Committee would not just discuss what it was allowed to do, but also what it should be allowed to do.
The Chairperson asked if Mr Marais was referring to the slide in the presentation that dealt with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. He explained that the slide merely indicated the legislation which guided the work of the province. The Department was not going to do a presentation on the legislation. In other words, those were the laws that the Western Cape Parliament operated under.
Premier Winde said that, as he understood the gist of the question, Mr Marais was not only asking about that, but had also asked where the gaps were. It had to be decided how much of that matter was in the Office of the Premier, and how much was the purview of policy decisions which had to be debated in the House, such as the constitutional mandate for policing. Those questions were for questions or debate in the House. He would answer any question at any time, but those questions were not for the officials in the Department. He would have to answer any such questions politically. He did not want to spend time in the Committee being political. Questions could be direct, or they could be more subtle, asking about what he wanted to see in any particular instance, such as intergovernmental relations. He stated categorically that he would fully support good intergovernmental relations.
He informed the Committee that the lekgotla with the President had been a total change from those held previously. He and the DG had spent three days at that lekgotla, and he had committed to working together with all the provinces. Questions could be asked about those intergovernmental relations, because the DG had already spent time with the DG in Gauteng. In fact, the Gauteng DG had come to the Western Cape MINMAY meeting, to see how the province engaged with municipalities and how the District Integrated Development Plan was being managed, because the Western Cape was leading that initiative. The two DGs were determining what the provinces could share, what they could learn from each other and how they could together push certain issues that, as provinces, they were not happy with. He added that intergovernmental relations was an area in which the province should be doing a lot more work.
Mr Marais said he was very happy with the response.
Department of the Premier (DotP): Annual Performance Plan
Mr Harry Malila, Acting Director General, said the presentation took into account the fact that there were a number of new Members in the Committee. It would touch on what the Department should do and what it would focus on to deepen the issues. The entire executive team of the Department was in attendance. That team was responsible for making sure that the Western Cape delivered and did what it could to make sure that the provincial government improved the lives of the people. He stressed that the Department could not do that on its own, and that there had to be cooperative governance within and across governments and departments.
The DotP was specifically responsible for governance in the House and issues of partnerships. Its role was to ensure that the institution of the provincial Parliament functioned effectively. The Department had focussed on good governance. There was a focus on innovation, not only in technology but innovation in how services were delivered across the service delivery platform.
He presented the structure and mandate of the Department, as well as the draft budget. The total draft budget of R1.571 billion was largely absorbed by the Centre for e-Innovation, which had a budget of R1.042 billion for 2019/20. People management accounted for R214.9 million, corporate assurance for R140 million, executive governance and integration for R109.6 million, while R64.9 million had been budgeted for provincial strategic management. The presentation addressed the key activities of each of the programmes. The legal services branch was currently attending to 11 Bills on behalf of provincial departments, as well as 11 sets of draft regulations.
Mr Malila said that attainment of the APP was dependent on the budget, but key issues arising from the SOPA would be incorporated into it. There had been a re-commitment to the vision statement of the province, but with a new focus and a sense of urgency. The key points of SOPA had included the five themes of:
- Innovation and culture change;
- Economy and jobs;
- Empowering people;
- Public transport, mobility and spatial transformation;
- Safe and cohesive communities.
The end goal was to grow the middle class so that it was able to pay for services, and also to reduce the number of poor people in the province. Growing the economy would create jobs. The role of the DotP was to lead and to drive the delivery agenda.
The DG presented a slide showing the provincial integrated policy, planning, budgeting and implementation cycle and key timelines. He repeated that his Department was serious about its mandate.
The Chairperson thanked the DG for the informative presentation and invited questions and comments.
Mr Marais said he wished to make his remarks in Afrikaans, but he was not sure if everyone would understand, and as there was no translation available, he would speak in English.
The Chairperson assured him there was automatic translation into all three of the official languages in the Western Cape, so Mr Marais could speak in his mother tongue and people could use the earpieces in front of them to access the translations.
Mr Marais, speaking in Afrikaans, said he was impressed with the organised manner in which it managed its business. As he understood it, MINMAY was the forum for the Premier and the municipalities. Was it based on the national Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) model? Did the MINMAY coordinate with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)? That was the organisation that represented municipalities and could present its case to the National Council of Provinces, even when the provinces were not there. In his day, there had been a Western Cape local government organisation, but when Valli Moosa and Pravin Gordhan had arrived, this body had been forced to disband and municipalities had had to join the national body, SALGA. He thought that this was so that they could control the municipalities. What did the Department think? Should the Western Cape not have its own local government body? It would make things a lot easier, as matters in the Western Cape were very different from the situation in other provinces.
Mr D Mitchell (DA) welcomed the presentation and the vision and commitment by the Department. He referred to the DotP’s people management strategy, and asked about future fit skilling, which had been drawn to his attention. What was exactly planned to ensure future fit skilling took place, especially in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the upskilling of people, and the myth that one had to go to university to be successful?
In the SOPA, on of the five key themes was transport, mobility and spatial transformation. Everyone had seen the enormous extent of the failure of rail transportation by Metrorail in Cape Town, even though it was the main mode of transport for many residents. Surely at some point -- and he did not want to suggest an inter-governmental dispute -- the Western Cape Government had to say that there had been enough talking and trying to understand the failures, and the plight of the commuters had to be addressed? What was the plan in that regard? The same applied to spatial transformation. The previous government had repeatedly called on national government to release land to address the spatial transformation issue. What was the status on that?
Speaking on behalf of his constituency, Mr Mitchell commented that the joint district approach showed a clear distinction between the joint municipal approach and the joint metro approach. What monitoring and evaluation mechanism was in place to ensure that the various districts delivered? It was all good and well to have Integrated Development Planning (IDP) and budgets aligned to IDPs, but that did not speak directly to the issues of the people on the ground, so what monitoring did the Department have in place to ensure that when IDPs and budgets were drawn up, the public had an opportunity to participate so that the IDPs and budgets ultimately spoke to their needs?
Mr Dugmore said that in the presentation, there had been a reference to the work of the legal service unit. It was attending to 11 Bills and 11 sets of draft regulations. What were the Bills, and were the regulations directly linked to those Bills or something else? What was the status of the Bill to amend the provincial constitution? Many Members of the House and the public were extremely concerned about the proposal to make the appointment of both the Children’s Commissioner and the Environmental Commissioner discretionary. People had been surprised to find that there was another Bill to amend the constitution, but again the appointment of the Environmental Commissioner was discretionary. Did the Premier and the Department intend to proceed with the Bill and that particular proposed amendment to make the appointment of the Environmental Commissioner discretionary?
Mr Dugmore said he had taken note of the SOPA. There was a specific reference in the presentation flowchart which showed a yellow block in which it was stated: “September/October Joint Public Participation.” What was meant by that? Was that leading up to the Cabinet “bosberaad” in September 2019? Would there be consultation in the province around the issues?
Regarding the integrated district teams, he asked the Premier whether he had considered the specific proposals made by the ANC about a district approach, which called for open and transparent land audits and that district teams should look at the land available in each municipality as well as state enterprises and well-located private land, and then begin to look at a release strategy. Did the Premier and the Department support that approach? Did the district teams consist only of officials? Had the district teams already been set up and, if not, when would they be set up?
The Chairperson informed Mr Dugmore that the matter of the Children’s Commission had been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development, which would deal with that matter. At the last meeting in February 2019, chaired by Mr Mitchell, it had been suggested that there be a change to the First Amendment of the Constitution Bill relating to the Environmental Commissioner. At that meeting, it had been determined that there was insufficient time before the elections to address the intended change in respect of the Environmental Commissioner, and that the Committee could not do fair justice to the matter. Therefore, in terms of Parliamentary processes, it had lapsed on 7 May 2019, as it had not been processed by the Standing Committee. It had lapsed and had not been referred back to the Department.
Mr Dugmore explained that his question was to the Premier, and sought to establish whether that Bill as described by the Chairperson would be brought back by the Premier and the Department as one of the 11 Bills that were being looked at by the legal team.
Mr Mitchell said that the point was referred to in slide 13, bullet no 2, of the presentation.
Premier Winde explained the various committees, saying that he and the DG attended the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), and the Western Cape had the Premier’s Coordinating Forum (PCF) that he chaired and which was attended by all the mayors. MINMAY was a forum of the provincial Minister of Local Government and the mayors, which was a secondary body. SALGA had attended the national PCC. The PCF and MINMAY were attended by the provincial SALGA, and as Premier, he had met with SALGA. SALGA had also met with the provincial Minister of Local Government. There was a provincial SALGA and it met with all MECs in the province that had anything to do with local government. The Premier had attended MINMAY – and would attend MINMAY as often as his diary allowed - so that he could convey the strategic direction and policies of the SOPA to ensure that policies were synchronised across the province. The mayors were completing their terms within the next 625 days, whereas the Province was starting a five-year term, but the two levels of government had to be aligned.
As far as the issue of the railways was concerned, the Premier confirmed that there was not an inter-governmental dispute around rail, but a White Paper had been drawn up and a process was under way where national government and the municipalities were looking at how to deal with a municipal rail system. The City of Cape Town had drawn up terms of reference in line with the White Paper. The province played a role there, because if rail became a municipal entity, it would not only be Cape Town, but would also involve the Stellenbosch and Drakenstein municipalities in the metro rail space, and the provincial government had an interest in rail in respect of tourism, getting agricultural goods to the harbour, and so on. Rail sat within the Department of Transport, and was a focus of the provincial government. The DotP would offer support, but was not the lead Department. How could the Province push to get the rail system up and running as it affected more than 400 000 people, and the cost went up when people had to use various other forms of transport? Obviously, it would get to the stage where there would either be success or the provincial government would have to find alternatives. It could be an inter-governmental dispute or a Gautrain for the Western Cape, etc, but those kinds of discussions would have to arise. However, the situation was some way off such a scenario. That matter would be addressed by the Committee on Transport and Public Works.
Regarding the joint district approach versus the metro approach, the Premier said that in the first forum, the districts had made the presentations, which meant that they had to play a coordinating role in getting the municipalities together, meeting beforehand and raising the issues as a district. Again, in MINMAY, districts played a coordinating role. That was very important.
The legislation referred to by Mr Dugmore had not been sent to Cabinet as yet for reintroduction. That would be discussed when it got to Cabinet, and as soon as Cabinet could introduce the legislation it would. He would then be able to give an update on the issue regarding the Environmental Commissioner.
Regarding the district committees on land and the audit of land, the Premier was not sure exactly where those committees were at the current time. He had been the MEC for Agriculture, and he had started the process of district committees five years previously. He personally did not think that the committees had worked. The wrong people had been appointed to the committees and they had not seriously tackled the issues. The development plan had stated that there should be a serious partnership with agriculture, but there had been very little private sector involvement in the process, which had been driven by the national Department. He thought it would be a good question to ask about the national Department and its role. He had personally sent many letters saying that the province needed to play a more pro-active role, and that other role players were needed to get traction. The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning would have to address the matter of the district committees.
Mr Michael Hendrickse, Head of People Management, said that the future skilling issue was one that People Management had identified and was looking into. A number of disruptors were finding their way into society, such as technology and social media, and instead of being only reactive to the departments that had approached him requiring various skills, People Management was trying to be proactive with skills that would be required down the road. Some of it dealt with soft skills, such as cognitive load management and sense-making, which could overwhelm an employee if one saw where things were going with data governance, for example. There was no point in having many data governance initiatives when the staff were not able to make use of the data initiatives. It was not only about the type of skill, but also about the future methodologies -- one did not always need face-to-face methods. It was about working with online platforms. It was part and parcel of an overall thrust. It was about what jobs would look like in the future and digitally empowering employees so that they did not lag behind. It was all about how to better prepare employees to better serve the citizens.
Mr Lucas Buter, Head of Legal Services, responded to Mr Dugmore’s question about the Bills to be introduced in the 2019/20 financial year. He had drawn up three lists: draft legislation in the pipeline; four pieces of legislation that would be introduced in the current financial year; and the sets of regulations. Some departments, such as Transport and Public Works, were more active than others in the legislative domain.
The Bills in the pipeline were:
- the Western Cape Rail Transport Bill;
- the Western Cape Immovable Asset Management Bill, which would replace and repeal the Western Cape Land Administration Act, which was outdated, dating back to 1996;
- the Western Cape Transport Infrastructure Bill would replace the outdated Roads Ordinance;
- the Road Traffic Amendment Bill;
- the Western Cape Biodiversity Bill;
- the Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill;
- the Western Cape Museum Ordinance Bill;
- the Western Cape 19th Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill;
- the Western Cape Appropriation Bill;
- the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill.
The Western Cape Constitution First Amendment Bill would be tabled in Cabinet in August 2019 in the form in which the Bill had been when it had lapsed at the end of the Fifth Parliament’s term of office. Cabinet would decide whether to re-introduce the Bill in that form or not.
The four pieces of legislation that he expected would be handled that financial year, subject to Cabinet approval were:
- the Western Cape 19th Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill, which would set licences and fees in the industry;
- the Western Cape Appropriation Bill, to be introduced towards the end of the year;
- the Western Cape Constitution First Amendment Bill;
- the Western Cape Museum Ordinance Bill.
There were several sets of regulations to be attended to, but they related mostly to the Bills. It made sense to draft the regulations at the same time as a Bill. When the Bill was accepted, it was subject to a set of regulations, so if the regulations were not ready, the operationalisation of the Bill was delayed. In the modern drafting world, one tried to get both in order as much as possible, so that when the Bill became operational, the regulations were already there to fill in the gaps from a sub-ordinance perspective.
Mr Buter said that he would make the lists available to the Committee.
Mr Marais commented on regulations. He did not follow the legal advisor’s explanation, as regulations just empowered the Minister to do things without coming back to Parliament. The legal advisor now wanted to bring the regulations to Parliament before the Bill. That was what he had heard, so we asked Mr Buter to explain.
The Chairperson replied that the legal advisor had not suggested that the regulations came first. He asked the legal advisor to explain once more.
Mr Buter said that legislation required regulations for a Bill to be operational. For example, a Minister might be empowered by a Bill to appoint a committee, but the process to be followed to appoint that committee would find its way into the regulations, otherwise the legislation would be lengthy and burdensome. The legislation was the framework or the skeleton, and the regulations were the meat. The MEC could not make appointments, for example, before the regulations had been put in place. The regulations did not pre-date the legislation.
Mr Marais said that he did not like regulations because they were not subject to Parliamentary approval. Members had to realise that fact. The regulations gave an MEC or Minister powers in terms of a Bill to formulate regulations any way they wanted to. It was a way for Ministers to sidestep the Parliamentary oversight function. That was why he had asked the question about legal services wanting to pass regulations before the Bill.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Marais for his comments.
Mr Dugmore asked about the Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill. Did it contain the same content as that of the Bill which had lapsed, and was that what would be presented to Cabinet? He also understood that a member of the Youth League had approached the High Court in respect of the Environmental Commissioner. What had been the judgment and what were the implications in regard to the timing? If there were an amendment to make the appointment of the Environmental Commissioner discretionary, and if that amendment was rejected during the public consultation process but Cabinet had another view, by when would that process be complete? He wondered how much more time the province had to appoint a Commissioner.
The Chairperson said that the first part of Mr Dugmore’s question was fair, just and reasonable, but not the second part about a court judgement. A departmental official could not answer that question or form an opinion. It was not fair and reasonable.
Mr Dugmore said that on a point of order, he would withdraw the question and ask for a copy of the judgment and any analysis formulated by the Department.
Mr Buter said he was not a legislative drafting expert, but he informed Mr Dugmore it was customary that when a Bill lapsed at the end of a term of Parliament, the next Executive would automatically be confronted by the same Bill that had been in process before an election, and the Executive had the option of taking it forward. Obviously, when the matter was served at Cabinet, where policy decisions were taken, it would be the policy stance that would inform the content of the Bill, if there were to be a Bill. As soon as Cabinet had taken a look at the Bill, itwould become clear as to what would happen to the Bill.
Premier Winde responded to the question about how long it had taken the province to appoint the Commissioner of the Environment by saying that, if he were in the House, he would ask Mr Dugmore how long the ANC had taken when it had been in government. There was no answer to that, and that was why governments had to apply their minds as to what was in the best interest of the people. That was why the Bill had come to the House in the previous term. Cabinet would take a look at it and apply its mind and take it from there.
Mr Malila responded to the question on the district teams, and referred Members to the legend on the right hand side of slide 19 of the presentation, which indicated who took responsibility for what, including the interface with local government. It contained the key processes for the Committee to monitor. All the municipalities and districts, including the MECs and Departments, would get together on 6 August. The provincial Treasury and the Department of Local Government would be key departments in the engagement and in following up on delivery. Departments would present the joint delivery programme and the municipalities would have the opportunity to raise any matter with the respective MEC, HoD and key officials. Other such engagements included the testing of the budget and the APP in April each year, as well as technical engagements dealing with governance, where the Department and the Premier’s Office would play a key role.
The district teams process was driven by Local Government, which had asked for representatives from each of the three departments involved in the matter, and an individual would become the representative for each district. It was acknowledged that each district, and the City of Cape Town, was different and that would determine the approach. He added that the President had recently announced that the district approach, which had been initiated in the Western Cape, would be followed by all Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Departments.
Mr Malila said that presentations at the recent MINMAY had been made by district mayors from the five districts in the Western Cape, which meant that district municipalities had had to meet and liaise with their local municipalities so that they could present the issues in each municipality in the district presentation. The provincial government was then dealing five districts instead of 30 municipalities, and there could be a different approach to each one, including the metro of Cape Town. The process should be much more responsive to the needs of municipalities. When all the details and the names had been finalised, he would inform the Committee so that Members could be aware of what the officials were doing when they operated in the province.
Mr M Xego (EFF) said the presentation had made reference to cooperative government, and if he had heard the Premier correctly, he had said that there was a relationship being established with Gauteng. However, there were nine provinces -- what were the commonalities with Gauteng and what were the key areas of service delivery in that province that might be of assistance to the Western Cape? He also needed clarity on the reference to infrastructure, spatial planning and the environment. Was it in line with the land redistribution programme? Was it aimed at addressing land reform and ownership to avoid the land invasions that the Premier had spoken of in the SOPA?
Mr R Allen (DA) appreciated that there were experienced people on the Committee, and asked Members to bear with his question. In terms of the end goal, what was the current breakdown per category? What was the envisaged weight of each of the classes in the province, and what was envisaged as the percentage of each class in the end goal in five years so that he could see it in plain terms?
Mr Dugmore asked for clarification of the HoD’s response regarding the structure of district committees. He had said that three departments would be involved. Which three departments? Who physically sat there? He presumed it was the municipal managers of district councils. Was it an administrative or a political structure? Had the committee actually sat? Had any meetings been held? Were minutes available? Regarding the September/October joint public participation, was that an interface or something new, such as a public hearing?
Mr Malila explained that the reference to the joint public participation was not a new process, but the province was proposing that some of the other provincial departments join the meetings to hear the problems expressed at them. Officials needed to get out and be exposed to the issues in the communities. It followed the joint district approach and consideration of what was required of public officials. It was an administrative body, not a political body. It was premised on MINMAY Tech meetings which were meetings run by COGTA for the HOD of the provincial Treasury, Local Government and the Department of the Premier, to meet with municipal managers. Issues from that meeting filtered through MINMAY and ultimately to the PCF. He offered to submit a schedule that showed the entire structure within which the committee operated, as that would show Members exactly how the structure worked and the upward connections.
The levels of poverty to be addressed in the move to a larger middle class were captured in the Gini coefficient, which measured the differential between the rich and the poor. The Department was using the Provincial Review and internal documents to measure the groups. Once the Provincial strategic Plan (PSP) was ready and officials had worked out what was attainable, the Department would come back to the Committee. While targets would be set, he pointed out that achieving an acceptable Gini coefficient was a process of doing a lot of things, including growing the economy and creating jobs, having a sustainable and responsive public service, having a responsive health care system and driving the culture. It was ultimately about growing the economy, which would create jobs and would deal with poverty and all the issues that went with that. He would keep the Committee informed.
Mr Malila responded ot Mr Xego that the province had started with Gauteng, as the two provinces were the two economic centres of SA and it was natural that they should collaborate. The main goal of the President and the Premier was to grow the economy. The approach was to join up all the provinces once it was working. The Western Cape was connected to provinces in the East and the West and would connect with those provinces, as well as KwaZulu-Natal. It was not about connecting only with Gauteng.
He had met with the DG of Gauteng and would be meeting with the DGs of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, with whom he had already had discussions about fostering closer ties. It was also about learning from other provinces about best practices so that there was no duplication or waste of resources. For example, the Western Cape had decided to champion the joint district approach through Local Government, and that had been accepted by other provinces.
The issue of infrastructure, spatial planning and the environment was a serious matter. The PCF of June had agreed that the next discussion of the Premier and all the mayors would be around land and land invasion. The land issue was so serious, that land and crime had been elevated to the top of the PCF agenda to collectively determine what could be done to make things easier for people, and to make sure that the Western Cape remained a functional state that could deliver and create jobs.
Mr Winde said that the administration had its job, but there had also been discussions at a political level between the Western Cape and Gauteng, and he would be meeting with the Eastern Cape premier to see how the provinces could work together. The discussions had been about linkages between the two provinces from a tourism and trade point of view, and how they could find areas where the two provinces could work together.
Mr Dugmore asked whether the Committee was going to address the APP directly. He wanted to ask questions on the APP. He understood that the meeting was scheduled from 13h00 to 17h00, and he had come prepared to ask a number of questions.
The Chairperson replied that the presentation had been an attempt to cover the APP, and he had invited questions on the presentation, but if Mr Dugmore had more questions, he could go ahead.
Mr Dugmore said he would put his questions regarding the APP, but would indicate where he would accept written replies. He asked about the teething problems in the educational environment that the Premier had referred to in the foreword to the APP. What were those teething problems? He was happy to accept a written response.
Was the Premier going to replace the Provincial Strategic Goals (PSG) in the APP? Were those goals going to be replaced by issues that the Premier had raised? The APP had dealt with eLearning and referred to “slim labs” for 841 schools. What was a slim lab?
The presentation had addressed the expansion of Cape Access Centres. There were currently 70 e-Centres. Why had only five new Cape Access Centres been planned for 2019/20, and where were those five to be established? What was the purpose of the R8 million for the establishment of the Children’s Commission? What was the money actually for? Was it for office furniture, etc? There was a running expense of R5 million that he presumed was for operational expenses. In the previous Parliament, the matter had been extensively discussed, and given that it was a Chapter Nine institution, it had to be a standalone office as it had an oversight function. He said that a written response would be fine.
Although the APP dealt with the situational analysis, in particular water resilience and unemployment, in that whole section there was no reference to inequality. That was the same concern that the ANC had had in regard to the Premier’s SOPA. Everyone supported the emphasis on creating jobs, but the ANC believed that it was critical to address what was known as “old money” in the province and how that had led to control of the economic levers. There had to be a change in ownership, and there had to be a sharing of ownership. He was concerned because the former premier had never talked about inequality and ownership of the economy. Would the Department of the Premier, under the new Premier, talk about ownership and not just growth and jobs?
The APP had mentioned 9 001 devices in Table 2 on page 26. What were the devices? Were they all the same devices? Were they tablets? What was the make of the devices?
Mr Dugmore asked about the setting up of the Hangberg peace mediation accord. There had also been a reference in the beginning of the APP to the Hout Bay Forum. Was the Premier’s Department involved in the Hout Bay mediation in any way? He knew of a particular situation where, after the fires, there had been attempts to identify state land in Hout Bay to deal with the incredibly overcrowded conditions . Certain private landowners close to Imizamo Yethu had been approached by the City to sell their properties to the City to open up space, but the City had subsequently withdrawn that offer. Those people were experiencing a lot of issues, given where they were located. They were willing to move out, but they had bonds and could not afford to move unless there was an arrangement with the City. Why had the City withdrawn its offer? He commented that national government was also involved in trying to resolve the matter of the lack of space. It was one situation where coordination was needed between the province, the City and national government, which was trying to obtain land for both the Hangberg community and Imizamo Yethu. He apologised for asking a specific question, but it was something that the province would be dealing with.
The Chairperson said that the questions had been noted and that they would be dealt with.
The Premier said that the Department should not deal with some of the questions, and he would deal with them. He referred to the specific pieces of property in Hout Bay which he was aware of, and said he had been to see for himself. He was not sure when Mr Dugmore had met with the owners. The City had explained that the issue was firstly about getting agreement about market-related prices, and then not all property owners had agreed to sell. There was no point in buying up bits of land here and there. There had to be a coordinated approach. That was the last message that he had received. He had had a high level briefing about the Hangberg-City issue, and he and the Mayor had agreed to go to a meeting about Hout Bay.
The Chairperson thanked the Premier for attending the first Committee meeting, and for the team’s presentation and the responses to the questions. He would send the DG a list of what was required by the Committee.
The Chairperson said he wanted the Committee on 14 August. The legislature had appointed a Public Service Commissioner (PSC), but although the Committee had interviewed applicants and made recommendations, he did not even know who had been appointed as the Committee not seen him or her. He would like the PSC to brief the Committee on the current issues and what the outstanding issues were in respect of public servants in the Western Cape so that the Committee, as an oversight body could attend to issues. There were tens of thousands of public servants in the Western Cape and he heard things, but the Committee had not received a formal presentation from the PSC. The next meeting would be held on 14 August from 13h00 to 16h00, the normal slot for the Committee.
Mr Dugmore asked for an indication of the agenda.
The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to know the strategic plan for the next five years; what the big topical issues were in the Western Cape; how the PSC was dealing with concerns raised by public servants; the current cases outstanding; the state of the public service in the Western Cape, etc.
Mr Dugmore asked that the Committee Coordinator recap what had been requested from the Premier’s Office.
The Committee Coordinator replied that Mr Buter had already provided list of legislation to be introduced to Cabinet in 2019/20, and she would forward that to Members. The Committee had also requested a copy of the judgment in the Youth League case, and the analysis done by the Department. She had noted the requests arising from the APP. These were the schedule relating to meetings indicated on page 19; the reason for teething problems relating to the eLearning Game Changer; whether the PSG provincial goal 5 would be replaced following the Premier’s State of the Province Address; which schools would be receiving slim labs and what actual infrastructure constituted a slim lab; where the five new Access Centres would be situated; a breakdown of the costs relating to the Children’s Commissioner and a report on the establishment of the Office; what the devices referred to on page 26 were -- who the actual makers of the products were, and whether they were all the same.
Mr Dugmore suggested that his question about inequality was probably a political question which he should ask in the House.
The Chairperson said that the Committee programme would be full in October/November, as it would have to deal with APP’s and medium-term budgets, but Members could email him or the Committee Coordinator about anything specific that they would like addressed between August and October. With regard to the Cape Access Centres, he would propose an oversight visit, perhaps as far as Worcester. He would discuss it at the meeting on 14 August. He commented that October and November would be busy months.
Mr Dugmore said the Premier had mentioned that there was an official from the Department who was involved in the Hout Bay negotiations, and asked if he could get a report from the perspective of the Department about the current situation in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu.
Adoption of Minutes
The minutes of 4 June, which dealt with the election of the Chairperson, were adopted with no changes.
The Quarterly Report for the Committee’s previous term from April to June 2019 was presented. It was adopted without discussion.
The meeting was adjourned.