The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs briefed the Committee on interventions in local government; and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) induction; with both Deputy Ministers, Parks Tau and Obed Bapela in attendance.
The Department admitted the situation was dire in municipalities, and that one had to take hard decisions to make things happen. When a council has to be dissolved, the situation was so toxic because there was a conflictual situation between Mayco, administrator, and council even though they were all reporting to the executive authority at provincial level. As a result, when the council has been removed, the administrator would be left with limited capacity. The obligation to support the municipality lay with the province, but the financial support given to the municipalities from the provinces was very limited because provinces have got other priority areas to focus on.
The Committee also heard the challenges encountered in the application of section 139 of the Constitution which provided that when a municipality could not or did not fulfill an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the provincial executive might intervene by taking appropriate steps to ensure fulfillment of that obligation. It was noted the intervention was necessitated by poor governance, poor financial administration, and lack of service delivery. Interpretation of section 139 differed from one province to another, and such interpretation was subject to what the province thought was right. Some of the interventions could have been prevented if early effective provincial warning systems were in place, in order to lead to proper monitoring, oversight, and support.
The Department also took the Committee through the overview of Cooperative Governance & Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) in SA. The IGR was explained as the systemic mechanism that was expected to manage the relations between multiple polities and structures to achieve the goals of the developmental state (outcomes-based IGR) and the Constitutional principles of Cooperative Governance. There were many national and provincial IGR forums that bring together different spheres of government, not in one organisation or legal entity, but rather into one meeting structure or council. The aim of these platforms was to discuss matters of common interest to the different spheres of government. The Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) and Premiers’ Coordinating Forums (PCFs) were key examples.
For the IGR structure to function well, it was indicated the environment has to provide, amongst other things, a political will and enable all members to “drive” the agenda and content; members should respect the IGR, show commitment, and inform the agenda and content for meetings; there should be a technical structure to monitor resolutions and report on resolutions progress; and capacitate the secretariat to manage the administrative elements and ensure compliance.
The Committee was further briefed on the local government improvement programmes, distressed and dysfunctional municipalities, priorities for the 6th Parliament, and approach towards One Plan. Since the establishment of Developmental Local Government System in 2000, various Local Government Improvement Programmes implemented were aimed at achieving the ideal level of performance in the following areas: Project Consolidate (2003-2005); Five-Year Strategic Agenda; (2005/08); Local Government Turn Around Strategy (LGTA) (2008/13); Policy Review of the System of Provincial and Local Government (2007 -2009); and Back to Basics Approach (2014-2017).
The focus on distressed and dysfunctional municipalities was to address a need for concrete and sustainable proposals to address poor performance, especially in areas within their control. Further, the Department pointed out the first five administrations have made in-roads towards realising national priorities. However, lack of coordination of programmes and projects between spheres of government has resulted in non-integration of services; growing social distance between communities and government; and horizontal and vertical silos were continuing to exist and persist.
MISA admitted it has been under pressure to expand its support within the limited available human and financial resources due to increasing demand from municipalities. The rising demand was caused by worsening technical capacity gaps in most municipalities, deteriorating state of infrastructure as manifested in frequent service disruptions, growing problem of sewer spillages, and overall decline in quality of services. Lack of suitably qualified staff in some municipalities has had a negative impact on the effectiveness and sustainability of MISA support
During the 2018/19 financial period, MISA embarked on the support programme for 55 priority municipalities. These 55 municipalities were part of 87 municipalities that were deemed to be distressed during the review conducted as part of the Back to Basics programme. They were characterised by serious deficiencies in the delivery of infrastructure for basic services as manifested in persistent underspending of MIG allocations, amongst other symptoms. This programme was focusing on strengthening the capacity of municipalities, so that they could effectively exercise their powers and perform their functions in the long term and accelerate the implementation of infrastructure projects in the short to medium term.
Support to the 55 municipalities was provided through 16 district support teams. Through this support, 44 of the 55 municipalities avoided not getting their MIG allocations for 2018/19 after achieving the required minimum spending threshold. Only 20% of the 55 municipalities continued to under-spend their allocations, and stoppage of their MIG transfers was recommended. The continued under-performance was attributed to a multiplicity of factors, including poor governance and administration. That was why there was a need for a comprehensive approach towards supporting distressed municipalities.
Although MISA previously struggled to optimally execute its mandate of providing technical capacity support and building municipal capacity in municipalities because of inadequate human resource capacity, the management embarked on a recruitment drive towards the filling of vacancies on the new structure upon receiving concurrence from DPSA in January 2017 to urgently deal with challenges in municipalities such as governance instability, persisting underspending of MIG allocations, and lack of internal capacity that renders technical support ineffective.
Members, on the application of section 139 of the Constitution, remarked that when municipalities fail to do their duties, they were failing Section 139 because section 139 was there to help municipalities not to fail in their duties; wanted to know if Treasury has got the capacity to analyse Section 71 reports in order to detect early warning systems and intervene, so that municipalities manage their businesses optimally; asked if the Department has ever invoked section 139 (c) to dissolve a council and what the results were; wanted to find out if the Department has ever looked at the challenges the councils had with administrators because most councils were scared of the dissolutions; and enquired if interventions could not be manipulated when a province was led by Party B, while the municipality was led by Party C.Concerning IGR, MISA, Intervention Strategies, Members wanted to find out when the bulk water infrastructure would be implemented in the Mbizana area because there was a dam that has got a big crack that was not helping people, while the Alfred Nzo Municipality was benefitting from the programme; observed that the MISA presentation did not mention anything about the water tankering model; noted they failed to understand the existing attitude of fixing old community problems well when it was election time, but nothing got done when the elections were gone; and pointed out it was not enough for the Department to admit for dropping the ball and not state how it was planning to up the game.
Briefing on the Application of section 139 of the Constitution
Ms Nkateko Siwela, Director: Entities and Interventions: COGTA, informed the Committee that Section 139 of the Constitution was providing that when a municipality could or did not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the provincial executive (PEC) might intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation. Section 139 of the Constitution prescribed five methods or instruments in which the PEC might invoke an intervention in a municipality, namely:
-Issuing of a directive: section 139 (1) (a)
-Assuming responsibility: section 139 (1) (b)
-Dissolving the Municipal Council: section 139 (1) (c)
-Taking appropriate steps to ensure that the budget or revenue-raising measures are approved: section 139(4)
-Imposing a recovery plan and possible dissolution of the Municipal Council: section 139(5)
The majority of the current 39 municipalities subjected to the interventions were in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution; 13 of those, further subjected to section 139(5) of the Constitution dealing with financial provisions, and these provisions were complemented by the provisions of the MFMA.
She pointed out the nature of the problems stemmed from governance issues like political infightings, conflict between top management and councillors, HR management; poor financial administration like fraud and misuse of municipal funds and property, lack of proper financial systems and revenue collections, AG disclaimers, non-adoption of budget; and poor service delivery to the communities.
The interventions were a solution to fixing the municipalities who find themselves dysfunctional in their operation and governance systems. Some of the main challenges or failures of the interventions were, amongst others, the following:
-Provinces have inadequate or weak monitoring systems and are unable to monitor the performance of municipalities and support those municipalities appropriately in accordance with diagnostic outcomes of monitoring such municipalities.
-Provinces tend to deploy one person as an administrator without concomitant experts per the diagnosis of the challenges encountered in the municipality. This administrator, more often than not, was relying on municipal personnel to execute his/her mandate. At times, these municipal personnel were sceptical and very reluctant, and uncooperative to assist the administrator
-There was always resistance and obstructionist tendencies from municipal councils and municipal personnel to an extent that there was no cooperation, and at times, bordering on illegal activities such as destroying documentation and issuing of illegal instructions to other municipal officials against the administrator’s work
-Lack of sound political-administrative interface impacts negatively on implementation of interventions, and only a section of the municipality would welcome the intervention
-There was no prescribed type of recourse and/or interventions in instances where the municipal council failed to constitute itself to elect office bearers after local government elections
-Relevant sector departments were not coming on board during the intervention phase, or their plans were not aligned to those of the municipalities they were servicing
Ms Siwela noted the NCOP seemed to have played a key role in providing objectivity, mediation, and on-site investigations. But she wondered whether this effective NCOP role in analysing the circumstances of the interventions could not be done by the provincial legislatures as part of their monitoring and assistance role. There was little indication that provincial legislatures exercised oversight over the PEC’s actions in terms of section 139 of the Constitution. Some provinces have not been able to submit regular progress reports and the final close-up reports once the interventions have been revoked for the purposes of monitoring the effectiveness of the interventions. Even the Constitution did not prescribe the time period within which a municipality could be subjected to an intervention, particularly in terms of section 139 (1) (b).
Most of the provincial department responsible for local government were ill-equipped and allocated much less budget to fulfil their mandate, and as a result, they were unable to fully implement the provisions and implications of invocation of section 139 of the Constitution. Interpretation of section 139 of the Constitution differs from one province to another, and such interpretation was subject to what the province thought was right.
She further indicated the communities subjected to interventions in the municipalities were always not informed during or when an intervention was invoked, and more particularly so where their municipal council was subjected to a dissolution. The review of interventions made it very clear the involvement of communities, local business and civil society was crucial for the success of the intervention. Most, if not all, interventions were characterised by a complete breakdown in communication between the local citizens and the municipality. An incoming administrator needed to regain the trust of the community.
It was recommended the Committee should note the application of section 139 of the Constitution and challenges encountered in the application of it.
Briefing on the Overview of Cooperative Governance & Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) in SAMr Tsepo Kasi, Director for Interventions and IGR: COGTA, told the Committee the IGR was the systemic mechanism that was expected to manage the relations between multiple polities and structures to achieve the goals of the developmental state (outcomes-based IGR) and the constitutional principles of cooperative governance. There were many national and provincial IGR forums that bring together different spheres of government, not in one organisation or legal entity, but rather into one meeting structure or council. The aim of these platforms was to discuss matters of common interest to the different spheres of government. The Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) and Premiers’ Coordinating Forums (PCFs) were key examples.
Instead of mutual cooperation, there was often tension between the three spheres of government. These tensions are always evident when there is a lack of clarity around the allocation of powers and functions between the national, provincial, and local government. Tensions sometimes arose between provincial and municipal international relations. These intergovernmental tensions at other times arose because of the housing sector. The provincial departments of housing develop and implement housing plans; administers subsidy schemes; and build houses. These functions, it was argued, could be gradually assigned to municipalities via the accreditation process because municipalities could be accredited by the province to gradually deliver some of its core functions, including ultimately being accredited to directly deliver housing.
Mr Kasi noted the implementation of the IGR was faced with many challenges. Regarding individual challenges, there was inadequate awareness of IGR, i.e. IGR is not understood, there is uncertainty about processes, and that IGR was an “after-thought”. On organisational challenges, the IGR forums were not functioning properly, allocation of powers and functions was not clear, lack of accountability of forums, and insufficient planning of IGR. About institutional and external challenges, the matter was around inequality of partners, inherent tensions, politics, lack of support, and absence of M&E system for IGR.
It was reported the IGR was consisting of a set of connected inputs, activities, and outputs that facilitate intergovernmental outcomes. These inputs could be individual, organisational and institutional. The IGR activities - planning and budgeting, consultation, information-sharing, reporting, M&E, etc. – were in turn producing various outputs like agreements, plans to manage IGR disputes, joint project plans, revised budgets, etc. These outputs then facilitated various outcomes that enable development, facilitate integrated service delivery, build social capital, and generate goodwill. That was why the IGR was seen as a system of connected inputs, activities, and outputs that facilitate outcomes. But it was noted there were times when the IGR system might not deliver the desired outcome.
The initial period of IGR was largely informal and unregulated. This culminated in the enactment of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (2005) which introduced greater stability and predictability in the IGR system across all sectors. The focus of the Act was primarily on the outcomes the system must achieve: coherent government; effective provision of services; monitoring implementation of policy and legislation; and realisation of national priorities.
For the IGR structure to function well, he indicated the environment has to provide, amongst other things, a political will and enable all members to “drive” the agenda and content; members should respect the IGR, show commitment, and inform the agenda and content for meetings; there should be a technical structure to monitor resolutions and report on resolutions progress; and capacitate the secretariat to manage the administrative elements and ensure compliance.
Key roles of the IGR structures were identified:
-To raise matters of national interest within a functional area of a cabinet member with the provincial government and, if appropriate, organise local government to hear the views on the matters
-To discuss performance in the provision of services in order to detect failures and to initiate preventive or corrective action when necessary
-To consult provincial governments and, if appropriate, organise local government on:
- the development of national policy and legislation relating to matters affecting that functional area
- the implementation of national policy and legislation with respect to that functional area
- on any other matters of strategic importance within that functional area that affect the interests of other governments
Mr Kasi also expounded on some of the challenges inhibiting IGR structures. The functionality of the structures could be inhibited by the level of the technical support received even though they were established in terms of their own legislation. The scheduling of meetings was identified as another challenge because frequent changes to the diary of the Minister were creating challenges for the structure despite the structure having a pre-arranged schedule of meetings. The lack of a Terms of Reference for the structure was seen as a challenge for both the NHC and Ministerial Executive Council. The high turnover of members of the forum was seen as an inhibiting factor for the structure. It was exemplified that at one point only one MEC on the forum completed a full term. Constant changing of members was depleting institutional memory.
He mentioned there were some lessons they have learnt along the way. The IGR management was both political and technical, but was not institutionalised. For instance, there was no legislative national IGR head or IGR cabinet committee, etc. Profound regional and sub-regional disparities needed targeted and managed intergovernmental responses, especially where inequalities were most severe. The local government was in need of stronger intergovernmental supervision and support because inefficiencies were prevailing in the use of public funds, and there were IGR tensions between districts and locals over duplications of responsibilities.
Mr Kasi concluded there was currently no reporting that was being done by IGR structures to the Minister, and this was impacting on the ability of the Minister to report on the state of the IGR in parliament. As a result, it was recommended all IGR structures should report on an annual basis to the Minister on the technical functionality of the IGR structure and strategic issues that were being discussed at the structure. It was further recommended all MinMMECs and PCFs should provide their respective reports to the Minister, which include the agenda for the meetings and resolutions taken. Lastly, it was recommended, amongst other things, that a national IGR calendar should be developed and shared with all IGR structures. It would be developed by the Department based on the reporting provided.
Briefing on the Comparison of Interventions Strategies in MunicipalitiesMr Mpho Mogale, Chief Director: LGSIM, COGTA, focused his presentation on local government improvement programmes, distressed and dysfunctional municipalities, priorities for the 6th Parliament, and approach towards One Plan. He reported that since the establishment of Developmental Local Government System in 2000, various Local Government Improvement Programmes implemented were aimed at achieving the ideal level of performance.(a) Project Consolidate (2003/05)The specific objectives of Project Consolidate were to rally the local government sphere in discharging its service delivery and development mandate; realise the peoples’ contract and mobilise social partners around this programme; entrench a people-centered orientation in the entire public sector and a new approach to local government’s mode of operation; establish a new and practical benchmark for local government performance excellence; and have successful local government elections in 2005/6.(b) Five-Year Strategic Agenda (2005/08)The objectives of this agenda were to mainstream hands-on support to local government, in order to improve municipal governance, performance and accountability; address the structure and governance arrangements of the state in order to strengthen, support and monitor local government; refine and strengthen the policy, regulatory and fiscal environment for local government and giving greater attention to the enforcement measures.(c) Local Government Turn Around Strategy (LGTAS) (2008/13) The LGTAS was aimed at propelling municipalities towards the ideal state envisaged in the RDP and White Paper on Local Government (1998) and subsequent legislation, for example, the Municipal Systems Act (1998). The over-arching objectives of the Turn-Around Strategy were to restore the confidence of the majority of our people in our municipalities as the primary delivery machine of the developmental state at a local level; re-build and improve the basic requirements for a functional, responsive, effective, and efficient developmental local government; make municipalities the nation’s pride; and to ensure that public representatives were truly accountable to the people.(d) Policy Review of the System of Provincial and Local Government (2007-2009) (e) Back to Basics Approach (2014/17)He further stated the focus on distressed and dysfunctional municipalities was to address a need for concrete and sustainable proposals to address poor performance, especially in areas within their control. The focus areas, amongst others, were on:- Leadership, Management, Accountability and Oversight- Adherence to rules and regulation governing the system- Consequence management, etc- Identify critical areas that require support, capacity building- Financial management and revenue generation
- Planning, infrastructure delivery, critical skills, etc. - Corrective Interventions MeasuresCommon features of the strategies were the following:- COGTA to develop joint plans with national Treasury - COGTA to develop joint plans with provincial COGTA’s - Sector Departments to be mobilised to support - COGTA to lead the support/intervention initiative - Rapid Response Teams to be established and imported to distressed municipalities- Stakeholders to be mobilised to support the interventions/support initiativeMr Mogale noted that the first five administrations have made in-roads towards realising national priorities. However, lack of coordination of programmes and projects between spheres of government has resulted in non-integration of services; growing social distance between communities and government; and horizontal and vertical silos were continuing to exist and persist. He proposed the 6th Parliament should prioritise some of the following:- Implementation of the District Coordination Model, in order to work towards ‘One Plan’ - District profiles - Economic positioning (e.g. Local economic development) - Spatial restructuring - Infrastructure reengineering - Governance and financial management It was emphasised the fundamental purpose of long-term planning was to envisage a desired future and clearly Illustrate how this future could become a reality and achieve the One Plan. The One Plan would focus on infrastructure engineering; integrated services positioning; demographic and district profile; economic positioning; spatial restructuring; and governance and management.(a) Infrastructure Engineering This is the process in which infrastructure planning and investment in bulk infrastructure, roads, transport, water, sanitation, electricity, energy, solid waste would be integrated into human settlements in a sustainable way over the long-term. This process was also including the alternative forms of labour intensive infrastructure projects such as the paving of access, ring and local roads.(b) Integrated Services Provisioning This process would deliver integrated human settlement, municipal and community services in partnership with communities, so as to transform spatial patterns and development for planned integrated sustainable human settlements with an integrated infrastructure network. Also, it would provide holistic household level service delivery in the context of a social wage and improved jobs and livelihoods.(c) Demographic and District Profile The focus would be on:- Multi-dimensional Poverty Index - Hunger - Skills audit in the district- Land use and Audit of the district- Social Capital Index- Health Index- Inequality- Service Delivery Index- Stakeholder Analysis
(d) Economic PositioningThe focus was on economic development and mapping of opportunities. Competitive edge was being created to enable domestic and foreign investment attraction and job creation. The economic positioning was informing the spatial restructuring that was being required. It was also focusing on unemployment and employment, and on supporting Local Economic Development (LED) that was being supported by cooperatives, township, and rural economies. (e) Spatial Restructuring The objective would be to focus on transformed and efficient spatial development patterns and form in order to support a competitive local economy and an integrated sustainable human settlements. Spatial restructuring was informing infrastructure investment in terms of quantum and as well as location and layout of infrastructure networks. Also, it was focusing on the harmonisation of Spatial Development Plans at the district and provincial levels for national support. At least there should be one SDZ in each district or city.(f) Governance and Management The main focus would be on the coordination, accountability, and management of structures at national, provincial, district, local, and ward level. Technical support would be provided to cooperatives and leadership and management of local government spheres with regards to planning, budgeting, financial and performance management to ensure everything was happening in an effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent manner. It was also including spatial governance, that is, the process by which the spatial transformation goals would be achieved through assessing and directing land development and undertaking land use management and land release of municipal / public land. Monitoring and evaluation would be starting at a ward level, but would be coordinated at the district one.The implementation process would consider some of the following:- The President’s Budget Speech (2019)- A new integrated district-based approach- LG MinMec (16 August 2019)- Endorsing the new district coordination model- Joint Cabinet Committee (13 August 2019)- Endorsement the new district coordination model by PCC (20 August 2019)- Endorsement of the new district coordination model by cabinet (21 August 2019)- Approval of the new district coordination model Briefing on MISAMr Sam Ngobeni, Chief Director: Interventions and IGR, COGTA, provided an overview on the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA). It sought to highlight the areas of focus for the agency and the effect of past support initiatives on municipalities. The objective was to inform the Committee about MISA’s core responsibilities and the impact of its programmes on municipalities as well as highlighting major challenges. The key functions of MISA were to support municipalities to conduct sustainable infrastructure planning for sustainable service delivery; support and assist municipalities with the implementation of infrastructure projects as determined through the Municipal IDPs; support and assist municipalities with the operations and maintenance of municipal infrastructure; and build the capacity of municipalities to undertake effective planning, delivery as well as operations and maintenance of municipal infrastructure. Mr Ngobeni reported that during the 2018/19 financial period, MISA embarked on the support programme for 55 priority municipalities. These 55 municipalities were part of 87 municipalities that were deemed to be distressed during the review conducted as part of the Back to Basics programme. They were characterised by serious deficiencies in the delivery of infrastructure for basic services as manifested in persistent underspending of MIG allocations, amongst other symptoms.This programme was focusing on strengthening the capacity of municipalities, so that they could effectively exercise their powers and perform their functions in the long term and accelerate the implementation of infrastructure projects in the short to medium term. Support to the 55 municipalities was provided through 16 district support teams comprising 39 civil engineers, 14 electrical engineers, and 16 town planners. Each of these teams was led and guided by a provincial manager and a chief engineer. Through this support, 44 of the 55 municipalities avoided not getting their MIG allocations for 2018/19 after achieving the required minimum spending threshold. Only 20% of the 55 municipalities continued to under-spend their allocations, and stoppage of their MIG transfers was recommended. The continued under-performance was attributed to a multiplicity of factors, including poor governance and administration. That was why there was a need for a comprehensive approach towards supporting distressed municipalities.
He also talked about the TSS Programme which has got a focus on the following technical skills:
(a) Apprenticeship ProgrammeThis is a structured training for apprentices (plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, etc.) to qualify as Artisans to support municipalities on municipal infrastructure operations and maintenance. (b) Young Graduate (YG) ProgrammeIt is providing workplace training for graduates in civil and electrical engineering, construction and project management, town and regional planning, environmental management, and GIS) towards registration with relevant professional bodies. (c) Experiential LearnershipIt provides on-the-job training for work exposure towards completing technical qualifications that require work integrated learning. (d) Technical Skills Training for Municipal Officials It is providing technical training short-courses for municipal officials focusing on the infrastructure value chain.(e) Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL)
It provides experienced municipal general workers, without educational qualifications, with opportunities to become artisans. Municipal officials were generally assessed, prepared and trade tested.
(f) Technical Bursary Scheme
It is providing financial support to deserving and needy unemployed youth who want to pursue tertiary qualifications in technical fields relevant to municipal service delivery such as civil and electrical engineering, construction and project management, and town and regional planning. Mr Ngobeni further informed the Committee the focus Infrastructure Delivery Management Support (IDMS) was providing support to municipalities on infrastructure projects management, procurement, and contract management; facilitating the financing of municipal infrastructure through innovative and private sector funding mechanisms; facilitating the setting up and implementation of national framework contracts for municipal infrastructure development, refurbishment, and maintenance. Its main focus has been the implementation of infrastructure projects on behalf of municipalities lacking requisite capacity to perform the function. It was also providing support and monitoring in the implementation of projects funded through the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG), and addressing the misalignment of bulk water and reticulation.Through the PMO, the IMTT has identified 18 municipalities with the problem of misalignment between bulk water and reticulation infrastructure, resulting in communities not enjoying access to water supply. It was estimated about R10,5 billion was required to address this problem. A support programme to address the misalignment was initiated in 2018 and was being implemented in seven municipalities identified for piloting the initiative. This initiative was seeking to ensure alignment of bulk water and sanitation, so as to develop a water supply and sanitation systems that was effective, efficient, and sustainable. In addition to addressing misalignment between bulk and reticulation infrastructure for water and sanitation services, this programme was also focusing on revenue enhancement in rural areas through connections of stand pipes in the yard. MISA allocated R12.5 million from its 2018/19 budget to conduct feasibility studies to determine appropriate interventions to address the misalignment. Five feasibility study reports have been compiled to date, and the remaining two pilot municipalities were receiving support through partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). He reported MISA has achieved performance targets for 29 of 32 annual performance indicators in the 2018/19 annual performance plan (APP). This achievement represented 91% of the total APP indicators, and reflected a significant improvement compared to the 68% achievement level in the previous financial year. The improvement in performance was attributed to improved management of projects, effective implementation of internal controls for managing performance information, and consistent performance monitoring. A draft annual report for 2018/19 has been submitted to the Auditor-General (AG) together with draft annual financial statements (AFS) for auditing. Both the annual report and AFS would be submitted to the Minister for approved after the issuing of the final audit report by the AG.The support provided to 81 priority municipalities would enable them to plan for, develop, and maintain infrastructure for basic services provision. The main areas of support in these 81 municipalities, among others, included:
- Development and implementation of sector infrastructure master plans- Development of operations and maintenance plans- Implementation of infrastructure projects (with emphasis on Municipal Infrastructure (MIG) funded projects)- Development and implementation of water conservation and demand management plans
Pertaining to support for Infrastructure Projects Implementation, MISA has been contributing to Drought Relief Programme through the drilling, equipping, and refurbishment of 48 boreholes in municipalities spanning seven provinces. Work in respect of 24 of these boreholes was completed during 2018/19 and was continuing in relation to the remaining 24 projects. The Intervention on Sewer Spillages Programme had been undertaken to curtail sewer spillages in Mpumalanga (Emakhazeni, Govan Mbeki, Msukaligwa and Lekwa municipalities); North West (Ditsobotla and Naledi) and Free State (Matjabeng and Maluti-a-Phofung). The Water and Sanitation Projects in the KZN's rural areas of Bokhwe and Nyathi, and water supply projects were implemented in eMondlo village under Abaqulusi Local Municipality. MISA has entered into partnership with KZN CoGTA for the implementation of water supply project in eMondlo. A water reticulation project was completed in Nkantolo under Mbizana Municipality in 2018, as part of the OR Tambo Centenary Celebration. The Roads and Bridge Construction, Rehabilitation and Upgrade Programme was implemented in Nyandeni and Keiskammahoek (Eastern Cape), and Vuwani (Limpopo). A bridge was constructed at Mbhashe to improve the movement of communities in Mpame Village to access services across the river.
Mr Mogale also took the Committee through the highlights on technical skills:
(a) Apprenticeship ProgrammeA total of 652 apprentices have been enrolled in the programme since (2013/14). 506 apprentices have passed their trade tests and got certified as artisans. 130 apprentices were still in the programme. (b) Young Graduate (YG) Programme190 YGs have been admitted into the programme since 2013/14 financial year. 15 of the YGs have since been registered as professional town planners and were employed by municipalities. There were currently 136 YGs in the programme. (c) Experiential LearnershipA total of 252 learners have benefitted from the programme from 2013/14 to date. 70 learners were being supported in the current financial year.(d) Technical Skills Training for Municipal OfficialsA total of 3 781 municipal officials have attended training courses from 2013/14 to date. Post training hands-on support was implemented to enhance practice.(e) Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL)The programme started in 2018/19, and a total of 66 general workers were participating in the programme. None of the participants, so far, has qualified for trade testing.(f) Municipal Capacity Development PlansDuring 2018/19, MISA supported 15 municipalities (7 in Limpopo and 8 in Mpumalanga) with the development and implementation of municipal capacity development plans (MCDPs).The objectives of the MCDP Programme were to support identified low and medium capacity municipalities to develop and implement capacity development plan, as well as facilitation of access to technical assistance and funding for capacity development initiatives.
On challenges impacting on MISA support, Mr Mogale admitted MISA has been under pressure to expand its support within the limited available human and financial resources due to increasing demand from municipalities. The rising demand was caused by worsening technical capacity gaps in most municipalities, deteriorating state of infrastructure as manifested in frequent service disruptions, growing problem of sewer spillages, and overall decline in quality of services. Lack of suitably qualified staff in some municipalities has had a negative impact on the effectiveness and sustainability of MISA support. There were still municipalities that persistently were underspending on their allocated MIG grants, resulting in stopping of their allocations and re-allocating the grants to better performing municipalities to the detriment of intended beneficiaries. There was a need to continue the process of exploring the direct delivery approach that would involve the conversion of Schedule 5B (direct) grant into schedule 6B (indirect) grant in terms of section 21 of the Division of revenue Act (DORA). Governance and institutional weaknesses were undermining the effectiveness of MISA’s technical support and contributing significantly to slow delivery of infrastructure and services. Municipalities were slow in absorbing qualified artisans critical for proper operations and maintenance of existing infrastructure. In his conclusion, Mr Mogale stated MISA has previously struggled to optimally execute its mandate of providing technical capacity support and building municipal capacity in municipalities because of inadequate human resource capacity. To address this challenge, the management embarked on a recruitment drive towards the filling of vacancies on the new structure upon receiving concurrence from DPSA in January 2017. There was a need to urgently deal with challenges in municipalities such as governance instability, persisting underspending of MIG allocations, and lack of internal capacity that renders technical support ineffective. Lastly, MISA was in the process of aligning its plans and approach to the new district coordination model, and positioning the organisation to effectively contribute to the implementation of the model.Discussion
Deliberations on Application of Section 139 of the ConstitutionMs M Tlou (ANC) remarked that when municipalities fail to do their duties, they were failing section 139 of the Constitution because section 139 was there to help municipalities not to fail in their duties. This was necessitating the evaluation of the monitoring system in order to monitor performance of dysfunctional municipalities and intervene in those that were not financially viable. There should be monthly progress reports to monitor progress.Mr G Mpumza (ANC) commented the presentation reflected weaknesses in the system. There was no adequate management of the system. PECs were invoking section 139 because they were informed by the failure of the municipalities. In the Eastern Cape, four municipalities have been demarcated because they were dysfunctional. They have been demarcated into one municipality. The main thing was financial management. Weak municipalities have been merged with good ones, and this has resulted in the collapse of the finances of the strong municipality because of in-fighting and employment of people in wrong positions. The result was poor cooperative governance. He wanted to know if Treasury has got the capacity to analyse Section 71 reports in order to detect early warning systems and intervene, so that municipalities manage their businesses optimally. He then asked if the Department has ever invoked section 139 (c) to dissolve a council and what the results were.Deputy Minister Obed Bapela replied he only knew of two municipal councils that have been dissolved since 2016. It was the duty of the provinces to carry out that work. Little support has been given to provincial COGTAs so that they could empower the municipalities. Most of the provincial COGTAs were run by administrators, and had less specialist skills and expertise.Deputy Minister Parks Tau stated the first intervention was supposed to be carried out by the PEC/MEC, but, unfortunately, it tended to happen at the end. He said what was important was to give support to the municipality first, so that there could be performance, and then give a directive for intervention when it is needed. The intervention could focus on a particular problem of a municipality in order to get to a logical conclusion. The dissolution of the council was the last thing.Mr TV Pillay, Chief Director: MFMA Implementation, National Treasury, stated it was not possible to have capacity for every problem that was arising,bBut Treasury has got capacity in provinces, MFMA, and budget offices.Mr M Groenewald (FF Plus+) wanted to find out if the Department has ever looked at the challenges the councils had with administrators. Most councils were scared of the dissolutions. Sometimes administrators did not want to report to the councils. There must be a better report back from the administrators to the council in terms of section 139 (b).Mr Pillay stated there was a distinction between the administrators and councils in terms of powers and functions. There was a framework in place for the delegation of powers to the council.Mr C Brink (DA) remarked it was important for the councils to be empowered to do their oversight work better, and that would help the Department to hold them accountable. He wanted to understand how sub-committees like the risk and audit committee were empowered in order to fulfill their roles because in terms of section 132 of MFMA the recovery of fruitless expenditure should be investigated by these sub-councils or committees, and if it was not recoverable, nothing was done. He also asked what piece of legislation the municipal system was applying in consequence management for financial misconduct. Mr Pillay informed the Committee when as Treasury they do a recovery plan, the municipality has to publish it for comments so that it could be presented to the council for adoption. Treasury would then develop a dashboard for the municipality. There were two sets of legislation dealing with misconduct. The finance one was dealing with financial misconduct and procedures. Things would first be tested, investigated, and then reported to SAPS for a follow-up. The other one dealt with general misconduct, e.g. coming to work drunk, etc. These pieces of legislation have been designed to ensure accountability. Deputy Minister Bapela stated there was a need to go high on zero tolerance for corruption because there was no consequence management. Attention would be given to the concerns raised by Members to ensure service delivery was not suffering. The instruments of accountability and oversight would be strengthened and would work with the current IGR.Mr B Hadebe (ANC) requested the Committee be furnished with pieces of legislation covering municipalities. He stated there was a weak monitoring system by provinces. He also wondered about the proactive role in its oversight work in order to detect things as early as possible.Ms D Direko (ANC) wanted to understand how the success of interventions done on municipalities was measured because some municipalities were under administration, yet matters that were reported were worse than before.Deputy Minister Tau stated that many times the government was intervening very late. Early warning systems were not there to identify failures or problems in time so that matters could be corrected during early stages.Ms G Opperman (DA) enquired if interventions could not be manipulated when a province was led by Party B, while the municipality was led by Party C.Deputy Minister Tau said a significant amount of problems have got to do with governance and political systems. It was hoped the district developmental model would bring some changes and solutions.Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) remarked the presentation was not helping the situation. She stated that under former Minister Mkhize it was indicated the intervention period would be between May 2018 and June 2021 because time was needed to fix what was happening in the affected municipalities. She suggested there must be monthly progress reports on the matter. She further indicated former Minister Mkhize stated R373m was going to be needed for recovery and stabilisation of municipalities. There was no clarity about the action that has been taken about the budget of the ailing municipalities. Political instability was affecting ordinary people on the ground. If these problems were not addressed, the Committee would be wasting its time and nothing would be achieved. What was needed was good political intervention.Deputy Minister Tau elaborated that a number of things like the revision of the strategic plan of the Department would be done to reflect where the Department was and what needed to be done going forward. This would take forward what former Minister Mkhize raised about stabilising municipalities within the specific timeframe.Mr M Hoosen (DA) commented the reports were not talking about the impact felt by the people on the ground. If a municipality failed, that meant there was no change that would be brought to the lives of ordinary people. Hence service delivery protests. The fact and figures contained in the document meant nothing. He suggested when the Committee was doing its oversight over the Department, it should monitor the municipalities as well. The Department should give the Committee monthly reports on the interventions to ensure the system was working. He then wanted to find out how many people have been charged for flouting the regulations. He urged the Department to give the Committee hope on accountability. Lastly, he wanted to understand how the Department was going to do things differently because municipalities were moving in the opposite direction.Deputy Minister Tau said they were aware of people who have been tried and imprisoned for contraventions. Unfortunately, he could not give the details and he promised to send the Committee a detailed document on the matter. He further said the District Development Model that has been already presented to the cabinet would be expounded to the Committee because it was all about providing support to local government, but it would not be a panacea to every problem. Some of these problems were political in nature and they required a political intervention.Ms P Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC) remarked the report was mum on municipalities that were in the news every day like Amathole, Alicedale, and UMsinga. The report had many loopholes. She stated she was in agreement with the ideas shared by Ms Mkhaliphi because there was no reason for the Committee to discuss matters that arose during 2000s. This meant the Committee would be discussing things until its term comes to an end, and this was indicative of the Department not knowing how to do its work. The current year is 2019 and people need to move forward. So, there must be progress in the work Members were doing.Mr K Ceza (EFF) said it would be a big mistake to think they would find solutions within a repressive system. The problem was the distinction between rural and cosmopolitan municipalities in terms of annual budget allocations. He wondered if there was something done to capacitate rural municipalities in order to curb urban migration.The Chairperson said she found it difficult to understand why section 139 (c) was not implemented when provinces had different interpretations of section 139. She wanted to know at what points did the interventions start and stop because they appeared to be creating more problems than assisting. She further asked who introduced AMSCO; and commented that over the last 16 years there have been many circulars on the MFMA. She also wanted to understand why during election time it was easy to fix things like water spillages, sewerage problems, etc., when the very same problems were there long before the election time.Deputy Minister Bapela explained there were usually timeframes in place for fixing water spillages and sewerage problems, but the problem becomes that of management, capacity, and availability of skills. There has been an erosion of skills in local government due to upward mobility because people were getting job offers in provincial departments and parliament.Deputy Minister Tau stated as the Department they were at a point where they should come back to do a comprehensive presentation to the Committee. The appointment of an administrator would not solve the problem if there were systematic problems created by legislation to cripple a municipality. Clarity on powers and functions between the districts and local municipality has not been clear on financing by Treasury. He noted the Intergovernmental Bill was placing the onus for intervention on the authority or municipality. It was providing self-assessment which was escalating to provinces and, eventually, to the National Department. It was providing a clear uniform framework for intervention and clarity on what triggers an intervention.Mr Pillay pointed out they have never had insights into municipal information and access to that information. The concerned Circular was stating that municipal information should be given to the council and councilors. What was important was the veracity of the information. As a result, they have trained municipal councils to be able to read the statements. The concerned Circular has got 32 indicators, and that has to be given to all municipalities, so that the information could be relayed to the councils. The circulars were helping municipalities and councils to establish policies that were not existing, but needed to be developed. He further stated that AMSCO was a classification system implemented at provincial and national level to check how much was spent on stationery, remuneration, etc. It remained a basis for when you want to make an intervention into a municipality because you need to have accurate information.Mr Hoosen indicated the responses concerning accountability and dissolution of municipalities were very general and standard, and he asked if the Committee could get a proper response. He said he was under the impression it was either the municipality or province that had to act, but he wondered what the role of the Department was in the dissolution of councils.Mr Dan Mashitisho, Director-General: COGTA, admitted the situation was dire in municipalities. One has to take hard decisions to make things happen. Those on top have got the right to fire transgressors just like the way they hired them. Often there was a conflictual situation between Mayco, administrator, and council. They were all reporting to the executive authority at provincial level. If you decided to dissolve a council, the administrator would be left with limited capacity. It becomes so toxic when that has to be done. The obligation lay with the province to support the municipality, but the financial support given to the municipalities by the provinces was very limited because provinces have got other priority areas to focus on.Deliberations on the IGR, MISA, Overview of Cooperative GovernanceMr Mpumza observed that the presentation on the IGR Framework Act reflected on organisational challenges while it underpinned that the principle of the IGR was to put into action cooperative governance to assist government in integrated planning and approach to monitor government policy implementation. The challenge related to shortage of soft skills was not a huge one, but it was indicative of individuals’ attitude. The culture of the organisation should deal with the problematic attitudes which affect the implementation of the IGR. Concerning MISA, he commended it for providing the necessary technical skills that were not on local government sphere. It was encouraging to see 57 municipalities providing assistance for operations and maintenance. He then wanted to find out when the bulk water infrastructure would be implemented in the Mbizana area because there was a dam there that was not helping people because it had a big crack, while the Alfred Nzo Municipality was benefitting from the programme. He also asked when the sewerage problems in Mbizana would be resolved.Deputy Minister Tau explained there was a Greater Mbizana Water Scheme that was being implemented. For now, it would cover 48% of Mbizana. Phase 1 was being implemented. Other phases would be introduced, and the Department was partnering with the DBSA on this project. Currently, he noted there was a process to coordinate water and sanitation. The process has been intended to say the Department was supporting municipalities through MISA. When you plan bulk water infrastructure, you must also plan reticulation, and vice versa. The lack of alignment, focus, and implementation was creating problems, and that was what the District Development Model was trying to bridge. The model would be launched at the OR Tambo District Municipality. It would be a prototype that would help in the identification of gaps within the municipalities.Mr Ceza observed the MISA presentation did not mention anything about the water tankering model. The problem was that water tankers were working on an ad hoc basis, especially in the eMakhazini area. The municipality did not have the capacity to service the water tankers. He wanted to establish what could be done by MISA to ensure people have got water in that area. He emphasised there should be a speedy mechanism to help people on the ground because there were government programmes that were meant to deliver services to the people, but the problem was the lack of political will.Mr Mogale said feedback on the eMakhazini water tankering would be forwarded to the Committee in writing.Deputy Minister Tau made it clear sewer spillages and water leaks were across the country, and the Department was working with the municipalities to address these concerns, especially in hot spot areas. Also, the Department was not encouraging water tankering because it was not sustainable and successful. That was why it was considering drilling boreholes.The Chairperson pointed out it was not enough for the Department to admit for dropping the ball and not state how it was planning to up the game. The Department needed to be innovative in the manner in which it was doing its work, but as long as things were done within the legislative mandate. She further noted she failed to understand the existing attitude of fixing old community problems well when it was election time, but nothing got done when the elections were gone. She suggested the Committee should start working together with provincial COGTA committees because there was a framework that allowed that and it would help in speeding up service delivery for the people. There was no need to start thinking about how Members were going to solve some of the matters facing the Committee and Department in terms of delivering the government programmes to the people. Lastly, she indicated she did not see why the IGR presentation did not talk about state entities.Deputy Minister Tau elaborated that the Intergovernmental Framework Act was allowing the Minister to develop regulations for cooperative governance. The focus of the Department now was on the Minister to proclaim on such regulations. State entities would not be excluded from the alignment of the projects. The Act, at this stage, was not binding MinMec members on decisions, but it was a consultative body.Deputy Minister Bapela wrapped up, saying Back-to-Basics was launched successfully, but now it appeared no one wanted to pursue it in terms of implementation. Implementing differently was what was needed now. The District Development Model would help in the implementation of Back-to-Basics. The car, he exemplified, would be built as it was moving forward. The model has identified six key priorities like water, electricity, roads, growth, jobs, and sanitation to ensure government departments were not working in silos. The model has been adopted by the provincial premiers. Lastly, he noted the sabotage of infrastructure was just mere sabotage but a serious concern, because you would find that the very same object that has been stolen has been left just a few metres away. The Chairperson requested Members to submit questions and concerns to the Department through the Committee Secretariat, and asked the Department to respond in writing.The meeting was adjourned.
- Overview of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA)
- COGTA - Application of Section 139 of the Constitution
- Annexure “A” - Summary of Interventions Undertaken in Terms of Section 139 of the Constitution as at July 2019
- Report: Municipalities Currently Subjected to Interventions in Terms of Sections 139 of the Constitution & Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003
- COGTA “Comparison of Intervention Strategies in Municipalities ”
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