COGTA & MISA 2020/21 Annual Performance Plans; with Deputy Minister
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
08 May 2020
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC)
Video: Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, 8 May 2020
Audio: COGTA & entities 2020/21 Annual Performance Plans: AGSA briefing
Annual Performance Plan (APP) of Government Departments & Entities 20/2021
The Committee received briefings from the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) on their Annual Performance Plans for 2020/21, and Strategic Plans for 2020/24.
As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, National Treasury requested government departments reprioritise funds to be used towards fighting the COVID19 outbreak. DCoG said it would be revising its Annual Performance Plan, and would submit this to the Committee at a later stage.
The Committee highlighted its concerns about the adequacy of the District Development Model and the Municipal infrastructure Grant (MIG), which aimed to assist in service delivery and capacity building in municipalities.
MISA said the district support structure had shown positive results, as historically poor municipalities had improved their infrastructure expenditure to an acceptable level. It currently assisted over 100 municipalities. It needed to improve its capacity, but its budget made provision only for the salaries of its technical staff and did not cover other costs, particularly those related to MIG projects.
Members stressed that the DCoG should reconsider the position of Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) involved in the Community Workers Programme, as it had been proven to be ineffective, and some of them were still being investigated for alleged corruption. It had previously been agreed that NPOs would not be used in future. The Committee raised concerns over the provision of water tanks, the district development model, and the remodelling of the Community Work Project, and said issues of capacity building needed to be addressed. They asked for a report on the latest developments surrounding the arrest of MISA’s Chief Executive Officer in November 2019. Issues relating to climate change, and what municipalities were doing to mitigate this, were also raised.
Committee Members were reminded to conduct oversight in their respective provinces, but most of them expressed concern over being denied access to municipalities to perform their oversight duties.
The Chairperson made brief introductory remarks, and welcomed the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA). She said the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) and the Commission for the Promotion of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) would follow on Monday. The DTA budget would be dealt with separately on Tuesday and the Committee would conclude with a meeting with the Municipal Demarcation Board on Wednesday next week.
Deputy Minister’s overview
Mr Parks Tau, Deputy Minister: Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, referred to the drought national disaster and the COVID19 national disaster which had been declared earlier this year. He said the Department would present the strategic plan within the medium-term framework of the priorities set out by the President that were in line with the national disaster. The strategic plan focused on job creation, education, skills, health, consolidating the social wage, spatial integration, human settlements and local government, social cohesion and safe communities, building a capable, ethical and developmental state and finally, building a better Africa and world.
He said the downgrade of South Africa’s credit rating and the current challenges such as the COVID-19 that it was facing, had impacted on the strategic plan, as all had to be accounted for. Improving the audit outcomes and promoting good governance and stability in the local government environment was extremely critical for the Department. The Department would also focus on systemic and structural issues that occurred, and which required policy interventions. One of the issues that needed to be addressed was the fact that municipalities bought electricity at a much higher price than it was being sold for.
He stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects needed to be taken into consideration when looking at the work the Department had done for the current financial year.
Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) expressed concern over presentations being sent to the Committee outside of the specified time period of 24 hours prior to the meeting. This placed the Committee at a disadvantage, as it could not meaningfully engage with the presentation.
The Chairperson shared Ms Mkhaliphi’s sentiments, and asked the Department to stick to time frames.
DCoG Strategic and Annual Plans
Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General: DCoG said the Department would be presenting its Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, and its Annual Plan for 2020-2023, and would be focusing on the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). She added that COVID19 had affected both plans.
Mr Seabelo Molefi, Executive Manager: Corporate Planning and Governance, DCoG, said the Department’s plan was informed by Vision 2063, and was framed around the district development model. It aimed to have an unqualified audit in the coming three years. It had partnered with the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) in dealing with the issue of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), and hoped to see a 90% reduction in expenditure on an annual basis over the next five years. The Department also aimed to process the Monetary Support and Interventions Bill in order for it to be approved by Parliament and implemented by 2025.
The Department was still continuing with the provision of work opportunities in line with the budget that had been received, and its target was the 250 000 participants enrolled in the programme each year. He said 10% of those participants would be trained. The Department was considering redesigning the Community Work Programme (CWP) in order to respond effectively to what the government had intended for reducing unemployment and tackling other challenges faced by communities. A new project had also been established to support the agrarian project through cooperatives, in line with the provision of work opportunities.
The Municipal Systems Act would ensure that municipalities were assessing their compliance to appointment regulations, and ensuring that the actions as outlined by the Auditor-General on audit findings were adhered to. The Department was also working on ensuring that it built local government’s capacity to tackle all challenges it was faced with. The Department would also be driving the implementation of a framework on “smart cities.” One of the key issues related to the Disaster Management Centre targets was the repurposing of the disaster grant and its review in order to ensure that it responds to the critical issues facing the country.
It was also critical that the Department ensure that there was continuity in municipal services being carried out, and that it intervened if there were any challenges.
In addition to ensuring that the Department continuously provided work opportunities, it would continue with its agrarian projects.
Mr Molefi highlighted how the local government sector had been responsive to the current COVID-19 crisis. This had been done through providing support for the implementation of the regulations which had been put in place. The Department had also continued to monitor the impact of the pandemic and the interventions put in place to curb its spread. It also needed to formulate a revised strategic plan on the way forward, and this would be shared with the Committee. The Department would report to the Committee on a regular basis on how it was implementing its response to COVID-19, the disaster management regulations and all other interventions.
He highlighted the challenges faced by the local government sector and communities. These involved hand sanitisers, gloves, masks and personal protective equipment. The management of homeless persons being relocated to places of safety and quarantine sites, the maintaining of social distancing and the management of issues relating to the provision of water and sanitation were also amongst the challenges. In ensuring that the Department assisted in flattening the curve, it had teamed up with other stakeholders, and since 25 March, when the disaster management regulations were issued, it had also issued directives and circulars, and was continuing to do so.
The National Disaster Operation Centre had a hotline and email address where it was able to receive concerns from the community, and the Department made use of it to interact with its provincial counterparts. The Department was working based on a dashboard, which highlights issues experienced every Friday. All senior managers at DCoG worked at the forefront of the disaster centre. Key issues which the Department had picked up from its dashboard related to service delivery initiatives, such as the drilling of boreholes and the installation of sewers.
With regard to infrastructure-related grants, the Department had redirected funding to ensure that it attends to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would table its revised strategic plan and APP, which would be based mainly on the budget to be presented at a later stage and on the issues which the Department had identified.
Ms P Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC) said the Department had given the Committee no direction on issues in order for it to conduct oversight. She had a problem with the Department generalising on issues. There were many metros and districts in South Africa, and the Committee needed their names. She said regulations needed to be accompanied by guidelines, as this was why people ignored regulations.
Mr H Hoosen (DA) said the Department had been in a mess over the past few years with its audit outcomes, and this was why municipalities were going in a bad direction. He was mindful that the Director General had been appointed only recently, but that she should be aware of the poor performing areas. He wanted to know what her plan was to remedy the situation, as well her plans in relation to financial management. He had very little faith that all targets would be reached. He had constantly raised the issue of the CWP programme, and had been aware there would be a redesign of the programme. He expressed his dissatisfaction at the fact that billions of rand had been invested in the programme, but no one at the Department had been able to report to the Committee on a cost-benefit analysis. He wanted to receive a report from the DG and the Department on a regular basis which detailed this. He said there was inadequate oversight on this expenditure, and the Minister had agreed to this.
Ms Williamson replied that representatives from the Department would answer questions from Committee Members which were applicable to their individual responsibilities.
There were a number of key strategic elements that needed to be considered within the Department. It needed to acknowledge its base problems and incorporate these into its turnaround process in order to address what it believed were the root causes of its issues. One of the key points in regard to robust remedial action would be ensure the correct capacity in the critical areas of the Department. As a collective leadership, it had to deal with its challenges on supervision, oversight, management of projects and programmes, and use sound principles to drive all its programmes and ensure delivery.
From a financial perspective, in relation to finance procurement, the Department would prioritise whether there were misstatements, irregular expenditure, wasteful expenditure and non-compliance. It would take a consequence management approach, and ensure that controls were in place to mitigate any future risk. It would have a changed management approach, and drive performance to the individual level, where they could be held to account and thereby ensure that the Department received value and made a difference, since it occupied a pivotal role.
The Department had noted the comment from Mr Hoosen on providing a cost-benefit analysis, and would look into this.
Dr Batandwa Siswana, CWP Programme Manager, said that an assessment had been done of the model itself. A meeting had then been convened with the Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) to engage on the issue of value for money and quality of delivery. The Department was focusing on the financial management by the programme and the NPO. It was also looking at transparency, accountability and governance that related to NPOs. Following this meeting, the Department had agreed that in order for it to have value for money with this project, the Department and the NPOs needed to create systems of quality reporting and assurance.
Ms M Tlou (ANC) said the district development model had been piloted in eight metros for integrated service delivery and job creation, and she wanted to know if there were any developments and challenges in the programme. Earlier in the year, at a meeting between Parliament and the Portfolio Committee, a discussion about remodelling the CWP had taken place. What progress had been made on this issue, and how would the remodelling assist the poor? What were the criteria for amalgamating dysfunctional municipalities that were sharing municipal boundaries? One of the constitutional obligations was to provide support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, exercise their powers and perform their functions. What mechanisms did the Department have in place in order to detect when strategic support was required by dysfunctional municipalities? There were still water issues in Hammanskraal, and in future the Committee needed to see a report on water quality standards. She asked if the Department had systems in place to deal with issues of accountability and consequence management.
Mr Themba Fosi, Deputy Director-General: DCoG, said the Department would provide more information on the district model. Regarding urban planning, the integrated urban development framework would be mainstreamed in the roll-out of the district model. This framework focused on the eight metros, and what were called the intermediary cities along with secondary cities. The Department was also looking at small town municipalities and how it could revive those economies. The piloting had been for OR Tambo, Waterberg and EThekwini, but the Department wanted to ensure that this was rolled out in more areas, and that there were proper plans for all 52 spaces. The Department was in communication with various other departments and municipalities to ensure that these profiles were reflective of the current status quo. This would be the baseline information that informed the interventions by municipalities and national government. Regarding the criteria used to merge municipalities, this was a matter that lay with the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB). Section 24 and 25 of the Municipal Demarcation Act provided the criteria for proposed measures. The MDB could account for how they merged their municipalities.
Dr Siswana said the Department was in the process of discussing remodelling, and it wanted to ensure that the remodelling was aligned with the budget for the new financial year, taking into account the other budgeting processes within the Treasury. For now, it was important to engage with the key stakeholders and experts to address the remodelling. The key activities of the remodelling plan were related to option analysis, the service delivery model, model development and financing, institutional arrangements and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the model. The implementation of the model would run up until April 2021.
Ms G Opperman (DA) said the COVID-19 pandemic would have a huge impact on unemployment, and the reduced revenue collection would negatively impact on the ability of municipalities to pay salaries and in particular bulk accounts for electricity and water. She asked when the Department would release its own economic recovery strategy for the sector, and what policy interventions this would entail. She said sound financial management and compliance should remain a priority within municipalities, and asked how Supply Chain Management (SCM) reporting to councils was ensured during the lockdown period. She asked if there were any plans in place about more permanent measures to provide water services to local communities. She made specific reference to the South African Local Government Association’s (SALGA’s) circular 13 of 2020 about the implementation of municipal credit control policies. Most municipalities were experiencing huge challenges with rates due to the restriction of movement -- how would the Department assist in discussions with Eskom on municipal credit control on electricity disconnections? Had the Department allocated adequate resources for capacity building to implement climate change programmes in the drought-stricken Northern Cape municipalities? She wanted to know how the Department would ensure the health and safety of municipal officials, specifically in cash-strapped plenary municipalities.
Mr B Hadebe (ANC) said he understood the Department’s target for 2020/21 was to achieve an unqualified audit opinion. This did not sit well with him, as the turnaround time to achieve an unqualified audit opinion did not seem realistic. Pointers were made and remedial action proposed before an unqualified audit opinion could be reached. He asked what the turnaround time was for the Department to receive an unqualified audit opinion.
Mr Fosi said the plan that the Department presented to the Committee had considered a root-cause analysis of all the recurring findings which the Auditor-General (AG) had consistently made. The plan presented was one that the Department would like to focus on in the current financial year. It was making an effort to ensure that it responded to all the issues raised by the AG to reverse the disclaimer.
Mr G Mpumza (ANC) said he was concerned about the strategic plan released on regional development planning. He did not see regional spatial and economic plans in the 44 districts and eight metros. Would it be implemented in all 257 municipalities so the Department would be able to monitor the progress on creating viable municipalities? He wanted to see a concrete plan for delivery with the Community Works Programme. He understood the Department had a target of 257 000 participants, and highlighted that the Committee’s concern was about the middleman. He asked if the Department would deliver this programme through 30 partnerships. If this was going to take place through partnerships, what form of partnerships would they be? Regarding conducting assessments on capability and capacity skills, there were systemic challenges, so it would be important for the capacity assessment to be applicable also to all 257 municipalities, so that progress could be seen in the development of municipalities and their capability to perform their own functions. He said the quarantine site in Port St Johns had been prohibited, and this was the epicentre of COVID-19 in that particular district. He wanted to know why such a quarantine site was prohibited, and those cases relocated. How were quarantine sites set up and monitored so that they were closer to communities?
Mr Fosi said the role of the Department in relation to the quarantine sites was to assist in the identification of the sites and work together with the Department of Public Works and the Health Department. Ensuring that the quarantine sites complied with health protocols was the responsibility of the Departments of Public Works and Health respectively. DCoG would follow up on the prohibition of the quarantine site.
He said the district development model had one budget and one plan which expressed the objectives of national and provincial government as they related to different areas, as well as to the development and challenges faced by the different economic sectors, together with the opportunities in those areas. The economic and spatial plans would be incorporated into one plan in relation to how the economies of those specific districts were driven for growth.
Dr Siswana said the partnerships would look at the issues on the ground at present and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in order to provide food security.
The Chairperson interjected and said that it was on record that the Department would no longer be using the NPOs after their terms ended.
Dr Siswana said he was aware of the bad governance on NPOs.
Ms Mkhaliphi asked for clarity from the Department about its strategic plans. As far as she understood, strategic plans were tools to assist the Department and other entities to prioritise and learn the progressive implementation of the legislative mandate, policies and programmes. She pointed out that strategic plans did not replace what had previously been planned. She noticed that the Department had now introduced the district development model, and in 2014/2015 it had introduced the “Back to Basics” programme, which had been implemented in its first phase during the medium-term strategic framework (MTSF). The Department had presented a new model that was actually a cut and paste of the “Back to Basics” programme. She was concerned, as there needed to be a progression in order to achieve the intended goals of the Department. She argued that new plans that were bound to fail should not be introduced. Why had the Department felt the new district development model would be successful when the “Back to Basics” programme had not been fully implemented? The Department had aimed to have 257000 participants on the programme, but had not communicated how many participants it currently had.
She wanted to know how the Department addressed issues of corruption. She raised concerns about the role of NPOs, and said it would cost approximately R3.7 billion. She stressed that the Department could not introduce Programme 4 as if it was a new programme, and that the Department needed to communicate to the Committee how it had failed in implementing the previous “Back to Basics” programme. The Committee was satisfied with the audit action plan which the Department had presented to the Committee on the 25 February, but if there was no implementation, nothing would be achieved.
Mr Fosi responded that the district model was not a policy or programme, but was instead a new mechanism the government was introducing to indicate that the three spheres should work together in delivering the developmental programmes and drive the developmental agenda of local government. For the implementation of the model, the Department would be looking at different aspects relating to development, and how they would change the living conditions of South Africans.
Referring to the “Back to Basics” programme, he said the five pillars were based on the functional responsibilities of municipalities, and were aimed at improving government. When looking at the capacity of municipalities, such as for service delivery, the same pillars of the “Back to Basics” programme were again present. He emphasised that this would be implemented through the district model, with a focus on improving municipalities to carry out their responsibilities.
The Chairperson referred to the technical quality of the documents, and pointed out that programmes 5 and 6 were identical, which meant there had been inadequate proof reading. In regard to the Disaster Management Centre and Programme 4, she asked what it would do differently in 2020/21 to ensure that there was a timeous release of funds to rebuild damaged infrastructure following extreme weather conditions or natural disasters. She said some communities had complained that they had not received assistance from government. A case in point was Mamelodi in 2019, where people had been placed in a church, and when COVID-19 began the same people were still staying in the church. She wanted to know if the Department had allocated adequate resources to build capacity for implementing climate change programmes in municipalities, and by what percentage it would reduce losses due to climate-related disasters in 2020/21. She wanted to know what clear linkages there were between the district development model and the “Back to Basics” strategy, and asked whether it was about bringing in new programmes all the time and abandoning old ones. There had been no uniformity in implementing the “Back to Basics” program. Which town and cities would the Department identify for refurbishment and transformation into “smart” cities. What methodology would it use to identify those towns and cities? She agreed with Mr Hadebe’s sentiments on the Department’s targets being unrealistic.
Mr Fosi said that while the local government programmes had been called by different names, their content was the same. All such programmes were aimed at improving local government. The Department was finalising a discussion document on the “smart” cities which would provide a clear framework of what needed to be done. It continued to implement the Urban Development Framework to assist municipalities to develop long-term infrastructure and financial sustainability plans.
Dr Anè Bruwer, Executive Manager: Legislation and Policy Management, National Disaster Management Centre, said the National Disaster Management Centre was not a new function, and that there were nine disaster management centres in each of the district municipalities and metros. The Centre was working with the Treasury in order to find ways to unblock the challenges contained in the Division of Revenue Act (DoRA), which had certain conditions that needed to be met before funding could be released. The COVID-19 pandemic had given it the opportunity to consider how it would come up with a different model in order to respond more effectively. Climate change was largely impacted by the weather conditions and changes which were being experienced, and it was important to work with all sectors. The Centre worked closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs to consider how it could support municipalities in getting their climate change adaptation strategies in place. This would also be relevant to the district model implementation, in order to see what communities may need in order to build resistance to climate change-related disasters. Disaster grant funding had been reprioritised specifically for municipalities to deal with COVID-19, but in respect of the provincial disaster grant, the Disaster Management Centre was working closely with the Department of Agriculture, and this grant would be prioritised for the 2021 year.
Mr Hoosen said he was uncertain whether Mr Siswana had seen the previous reports on matters involving the Community Work Project. A set of issues had been identified, and he would like to receive a report on the issues that were picked up, as well as how they would be mitigated to ensure that they did not recur. The fact that it had previously been decided and placed on record that NPOs would no longer feature, but was now being discussed, had caused the Committee to be sceptical of the model. The impression had been created that it would not be redesigned, but simply renamed.
Mr Hadebe said the five-year plan referred to remodelling, and not milestone projections. He asked that the Department present tangible milestone projections in its remodelling phase the next time it made a presentation to the Committee. It must also present at which stage it was currently in respect of remodelling.
Ms Muthambi said she agreed with Mr Hadebe.
Mr K Ceza (EFF) asked if the same NPOs that were being investigated were still being used. When someone was investigated, they should be suspended until the investigation was completed.
Dr Siswana said that the Department would pick up the discussion on NPOs again when it presented to the Committee on the Community Work Project.
Audit Action Plan.
Mr Fosi said a number of the major issues in the audit plan could be covered in the detailed report from the Community Work Project, as the majority of issues were related to this project.
Ms Tlou asked about the audit outcome of the MTSF, which had not been favourable. What would the Department do differently to prevent the same situation in future?
The Chairperson asked if the Department was considering mergers to assist local municipalities to build capacity for property rates collection, given the challenges around municipal rates evaluations. What role would the Department play in monitoring the performance agreements of municipalities upon completion of the district development model?
Mr Fosi replied that the Department had been running a programme through the municipal system which looked at how it supported municipalities, and its capability to improve their financial management systems, billing systems and tariff setting. The issue of property rates was part of this programme, which was ongoing.
Mr Mpumza asked which 22 districts had been identified for the hubs.
Mr Fosi said a list would be submitted to the Committee on this. 23 municipalities had been identified, and they would be visited by Ministers in the current financial year. This was part of the revised implementation plan due to COVID-19, as the 23 municipalities had been identified before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Minister Tau said the Department needed to continue focusing on compliance with the municipal councils’ code of conduct. The focus in the current annual performance plan was to stabilise the audit plan and resolve issues in the Community Work Project, and ensure that the Department worked on the review of the project itself. He agreed with Mr Hadebe that it should not be planning for failure and should set a target in line with the current baseline. He assured the Committee that the Department would be engaging on this matter at a meeting on Sunday with the AG to consider how it had handled the implementation of the audit action plan.
Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent
Members engaged with the Department on the presentation by the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).
Mr Ceza asked if MISA had a central register of the unemployed graduates across the country who had pursued technical disciplines in institutions of higher learning in order to improve the capacity of local governments. How would MISA use them for the wellbeing of rural and dysfunctional municipalities? How would it rescue municipalities from the use of project management units as a basis for delivering government services? What internal capacity-building outcomes would ensure the capability of municipalities to render services by themselves without reliance on those structures?
Mr Sam Ngobeni, Chief Director: Capacity Building, MISA, said a resolution had been taken to strengthen the role and capacity of MISA. He said MISA did not have many vacant positions to the point where it could be said that it lacked capacity. MISA had done well in filling technical vacancies and was already at 78%. He said the main issue was that MISA was expected to do more and therefore needed to strengthen its capacity. He said MISA’s structure needed to be reviewed for it to build more capacity. MISA’s current budget was meant for operational purposes and for the payment of salaries, not to implement any projects. MISA had attempted to make use of the same operational budget to drill boreholes and refurbish infrastructure in areas where it was needed.
Ms Tlou asked about dysfunctional and historically disadvantaged municipalities. She asked how MISA would ensure that people in these communities receive quality service delivery. She wanted to know what MISA’s strategic plan was to deal with political influence in local spheres of government. In the previous financial year, there had been under-spending of Municipal Infrastructure Grants (MIGs) which had contributed to delays in the expansion of access to basic services. She wanted to know what would be done differently in the current financial year to address under-spending.
Mr Ngobeni said that in the 2018/19 financial year, MISA had started supporting municipalities -- in particular 55 municipalities which had been identified as performing extremely poorly on their MIGs. Some had a record of two to three years of under-spending, which had led Dr Zweli Mkhize, then COGTA Minister, to establish district support teams. Of the 55 municipalities, 44 had improved by the end of the financial year. In the 2019/20 financial year, a number of municipalities had been supported on their MIG expenditure, and by September 2019 some municipalities had fallen short of expectations. However, by the end of December, all MIG-receiving municipalities had managed to perform up to 41.4%, which meant they were generally above the national threshold. He stressed that of the 87 municipalities that MISA was supporting, 44 had managed to achieve more than 40%, which showed an improvement in terms of the MIG. In January this year, a decision had been taken which involved focusing on the 86 municipalities which had not achieved the 40% threshold. The COVID-19 outbreak had caused MISA to be unable to measure municipal performance against the allocations on MIG as at the end of March tis year. This would also affect measuring performance in June. MISA would still be assisting the municipalities with reprioritised funds. It was confident that it would have made good progress in supporting municipalities by the end of the year.
Mr Ngobeni said MISA would be lying if it said it was not affected by political issues in performing its duties. MISA’s main responsibility was to provide technical capacity to municipalities. If political issues could be addressed, MISA would be able to intervene with its duties in a more meaningful way.
Ms Mkhaliphi referred to issues of corruption, and asked MISA to touch on the issue of the CEO’s arrest. She asked about MISA’s internal capacity and what its take was on the strategic plan. She wanted to know how MISA would reach its planned goals to service the country. She asked MISA to comment on infrastructure that was missing, such as the many people in South Africa who did not have access to water and sanitation, and issues relating to water tanks.
Deputy Minister Tau said the Department had noted the developments on the CEO’s arrest, and had asked MISA to provide it with a detailed report on this. This had not impacted on the organisation and made it unable to undertake its responsibilities. COVID-19 was also affecting the reports that were available to the Department.
The Chairperson referred to one of MISA’s key delivery roles, and asked what its strengthening capacity expressed in the July 2019 Cabinet Lekgotla entailed in practical terms. Would MISA approach the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation so that it could conduct a formal, independent review of its operational efficiency?
Mr Hadebe said it was better to maintain than repair. Blame for poor service delivery had always been apportioned to the poor infrastructure, and since MISA had its own internal challenges, how would it address the challenge of ageing infrastructure, and how soon could it address its internal capacity challenges?
Mr Ntandazo Vimba, CEO: MISA, referred to the Budget Speech, where it had been announced that MISA could not continue with the MIG. The technical staff of the National Treasury and DCoG would work out a plan to ensure that existing infrastructure was maintained. MISA had also devised a plan for the MIG to deal with repairs and maintenance.
He commented on the water issues at Hammanskraal, and said that the City of Tshwane was supplying water tankers in the area. Tshwane was intervening in the treatment of the waste water plant, which had contaminated the water in the area. There was already legislation related to water quality standards which compelled municipalities to ensure that the water met a certain standard. MISA had requested the Department of Water and Sanitation to share with it all directives which had been issued so it would know which areas required repairs, and the extent of the damage.
Ms Mkhaliphi referred to the arrest of MISA’s CEO again, and asked for a concrete report in order to move forward.
Mr Vimba said the issue of water in Ward 6 had already been attended to, and water tankers had been delivered. MISA would also be drilling boreholes in the area through its partnership with the Tirisano Construction Fund.
Mr Hadebe said he supported the issue Ms Mkhaliphi had raised, and asked for a timeframe for receiving the report.
Deputy Minister Tau said a report would be given to the Committee, and that he would inform the Committee about a timeframe.
The Chairperson asked for third quarter performance reports from both DCoG and MISA so that the Committee could perform its oversight duties.
She said if Committee members felt that their questions were not adequately addressed they should submit them in writing to the Committee’s secretary by midday. MISA needed to respond to the Committee in writing by midday on Monday.
She said Committee Members would be conducting oversight in their respective provinces and would be producing reports on this. Those who were facing challenges should submit this in writing so that it could be taken up with the leader of government business.
Mr Hoosen said the letter sent by Parliament in relation to oversight duties in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had been ignored. It was unacceptable that it was refusing to allow Members of opposition parties to conduct oversight.
Mr Hadebe said he had experienced something similar in the City of Cape Town, as both the province and the city had not invited him to conduct oversight.
Ms Mkhaliphi said she was experiencing the same situation as Mr Hoosen.
Ms Tlou said she had also not been invited by the City of Tshwane to conduct oversight.
Ms Opperman said she was experiencing the same issues as other Members, and had reported it to the Committee’s secretary already.
Ms Xaba-Ntshaba said she was conducting oversight in her own area, but not at the municipality, as she had also not been invited to conduct oversight.
Mr M Groenewald (FF+) said he wanted to thank the Kenneth Kaunda District, as he had been well received. He had not heard from the North West Province about conducting oversight.
The Committee’s secretary said some municipalities had responded to her, saying that they had enough councillors who were conducting oversight, such as in eThekwini.
The Chairperson said as a way forward, when there were issues in communities, Members should escalate them to the National Command Centre.
The meeting was adjourned.
- 9 May 2020 Media Statement: Committee on COGTA Reminds the Department to Submit Reports notwithstanding Lockdown Period
- Report on the Institutionalisation and Roll-out of the District Development Model
- Research Unit: Department of Cooperative Governance Vote 3 Budget and Annual Performance Plan Analysis 2020
- Research Unit: MISA 2020/21 Annual Perfomance Plan and Budget Analysis
Muthambi, Ms AF
Brink, Mr C
Groenewald, Mr IM
Hadebe, Mr BM
Hoosen, Mr MH
Mkhaliphi, Ms HO
Mpumza, Mr GG
Opperman, Ms G
Tlou, Ms M
Xaba-Ntshaba, Ms PP
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