Municipal Demarcation Board 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan; with Deputy Ministers
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
13 May 2020
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC); Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West)
Video: JM: PC on COGTA and the SC on COGTA, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements 13 May 2020
Audio: Municipal Demarcation Board 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan
Annual Performance Plan (APP) of Government Departments & Entities 20/2021
The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) presented its Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan in a joint virtual meeting of the Portfolio and Select Committees on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The presentation covered the institution’s budget allocation, its challenges and matters emanating from current ward delimitation public consultations.
Based on the public consultations on ward delimitation, there was dissatisfaction about provincial boundaries, current municipal boundaries and wards splitting communities. The MDB said these challenges often stemmed from communities not being involved in the demarcation process, and a lack of understanding of the legislative provisions guiding it. Members questioned the role of the MDB in preventing dissatisfaction over ward disputes around election time, and called for disputes to be evaluated.
The MDB faced challenges with its public participation processes on ward delimitations, as the national lockdown due to Covid-19 had halted face-to-face engagement in communities before the process had been completed in all the provinces. Members raised concerns about the accessibility and fairness of utilising alternatives, such as written submissions and the media for public participation, especially when considering rural communities. The MDB assured Members that its best efforts would be made to foster engagement.
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the timelines of the MDB and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was also a major concern, as the delimitation process had to be finalised before the IEC could prepare for the 2021 local government elections. The MDB assured the Members that it would hand-over the finalised ward information to the IEC in November. It also gave an assurance that it would not be re-determining outer municipal boundaries until after the 2021 local government elections.
Members raised concerns about human resource challenges and outsourcing in the institution, its lack of presence on the ground in communities, as well its dependence on municipalities when carrying out public participation processes. They asked about progress of the Demarcation Amendment Bill, the impact of ward delimitation on municipal budgets and unfinished projects, the role of the institution, and whether it carried out research before making boundary adjustments.
The MDB was congratulated for achieving a clean audit in the 2018/19 financial year, and made a commitment to maintaining this standard.
Co-Chairperson Dodovu welcomed those present, and said it was an important joint meeting on the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB). The meeting was scheduled for three hours, but the President would be addressing the nation at 8.30pm. He therefore hoped, if the meeting proceeded with the programme timeously, it would end early enough to allow Members the opportunity to listen to the President.
He welcomed the two Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Deputy Ministers, Mr Obed Bapela and Mr Parks Tau. He would chair the first half of the meeting with the presentation and Co-Chairperson Muthambi would proceed with the second half.
Deputy Minister’s opening remarks
Mr Tau said the effect of the lockdown would influence work going forward, such as the finalisation of the ward delimitation process and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) timelines, to prepare for the 2021 local government elections.
The MDB was under pressure to address matters related to finalising the process of delimitation of wards. The lockdown created challenges for meeting timelines, as the delimitation process had been abruptly disturbed. There was currently a process for public participation on the draft Bill concerning municipal demarcations, but this would not be relevant for the immediate elections, only for demarcations in the future.
MDB Chairperson’s remarks
Mr Thabo Manyoni, Chairperson, MDB, said the senior executives of the organisation were present with him, and would assist in responding to difficult questions.
He said the Chairperson had requested an explanation for the Committee about an issue involving the leasing of personal computers. There had been a forensic investigation which indicated that due procurement processes had been followed, but that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had not provided details on some of the matters, and appropriate disciplinary steps had been taken.
The MDB had consulted with the IEC concerning challenges related to COVID-19, which had impacted on the public participation process. It had been agreed to hand over the finalised work by November 2020 at the latest. The intention was to try and give the IEC as much time as possible to determine where voting stations would be, particularly in those wards affected by delimitation processes.
The MDB hoped the handover in November would allow the IEC to do its work. Historically, it handed over the final delimitation process wards to the IEC 10 months before elections, but it would try its best to give the Commission as much time as possible to do its work.
Public participation processes had been carried out in four provinces, with five provinces remaining with unfinalised work. There were different timeframes and deadlines for public and municipal inputs. In areas where it would be impossible to carry out public participation processes, cancellation would be considered due to the prevailing conditions. It would be encouraging municipalities, parties and communities to make submissions to the MDB.
Very soon, MDB officials would be on public media, such as radio, to explain the processes. A media statement had been issued to send out information. It would try to make sure that communities were engaged. The Chamber of the Board wanted communities to be engaged, as it realised that the challenges it had was often due to communities’ lack of engagement or awareness. It would still engage with communities and municipalities despite COVID-19, using the media. It was important for the IEC and political parties to have smooth local government elections.
Mr Manyoni said a new circular had been issued with new dates and timeframes, and Members will have the opportunity to look in the circular for the deadlines. For provinces where public participation did not take place, there would be a written submission deadline extension to July for their municipalities.
The MDB was assuming that from the end of May and into the June/July period, Members would be adequately informed about the processes, and would then have submitted their input for it to do the necessary work.
MDB’s strategic and annual performance plans
Mr Muthotho Sigidi, CEO, MDB, said the presentation would focus on the strategic plan for the 2020-25 fiscal years, the 2020/21 annual performance plan (APP), the Medium Term Expenditure Framework(MTEF) budget allocation, and challenges encountered by the institution.
The Board had six committees: governance, social and ethics; human capital; audit and risk; boundaries, powers and functions; research and knowledge management; and finance, which was a newly established committee.
It had four programmes: administration; demarcation and spatial transformation excellence; research, spatial information and intelligence development; and stakeholder engagement and partnership.
The MDB had four broad legislative mandates: determination of municipal outer boundaries; delimitation of municipal ward boundaries; assessment of municipal capacity; and rendering of advisory services to stakeholders
Progress on achievement of 2019/20 targets
The following main deliverables had been achieved:
- An unqualified audit opinion, with a no-findings ‘clean audit’ from the Auditor General (AG) for the 2018/19 financial year for the first time in 20 years.
- Delimited first draft wards for all municipalities that qualify.
- Spatial boundary descriptions for 57 municipalities.
- Outreach programmes had been conducted to strengthen public and stakeholder awareness and education of demarcation processes.
Consultations with municipalities and communities on first draft wards had commenced in February 2020, but the consultations were suspended in March in line with the declared State of National Disaster to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Sigidi said that in the third quarter, the MDB had focused on 14 targets, all of which had been achieved, and in the fourth quarter, 15 of the 16 targets had been achieved with one partially achieved target due to Covid-19. The MDB was supposed to engage with 128 municipalities in February/March, and had managed to do only 109 -- 19 were outstanding when the Covid-19 issue began.
The MDB had committed to achieving 20 APP financial targets in all four programmes for the 2019/20 financial year. Nineteen of the annual targets (95%) were fully achieved, and one was not achieved.
2020-2015 Strategic Plan
The MDP’s broad strategic direction was captured in the impact statement, to “develop democratic, spatially integrated and socio-economically sustainable communities.” It was responding to the MTSF Priority 5 -- Spatial integration, human settlement and local government. The four outcomes outlined to respond to this priority were organisational excellence, well-defined municipal spaces, improved access to research and spatial information, and improved public and stakeholder participation. The implementation of the strategy was supported by the four programmes in the 2020/21 APP.
Mr Sigidi indicated that this year the MDB had been instructed by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to report on operational plans as well.
Medium Term Performance Targets
The programmes objectives included developing a capability maturity model and assessment report, implementation of Board resolutions, a Board committee reconfiguration report, reports on compliance with relevant legislation, and conducting organisational performance review sessions. Targets had also been set for Information Communication Technology (ICT) governance reports, the vacancy rate of funded positions, training interventions provided, organisational structure reviews, a report on outcomes of the organisational survey and the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) report, budget monitoring reports, the strategic risk register, risk mitigation reports and a report on the implementation status of audit recommendations.
This programme had two outputs. The output on municipalities consulted on the first draft of wards had an indicator of 85 municipalities that were supposed to be consulted, but this was halted due to Covid-19. The DPME had said the APP would be allowed to be reviewed as a result. The second output on wards for all municipalities that qualified would still be dealt with, but the quarterly target would be reconfigured, considering the shift in dates of the details being sent to the IEC in November.
The first output was for spatial boundary descriptions for all the municipalities. This would be the last time the spatial boundaries for all municipalities would be defined. This output has been happening for the last two financial years and the purpose of the project was to provide certainty about the spatial location of a municipal boundary.
For the second output on ward profiles for all municipalities, there were currently 4 468 wards, and the output would lead to each ward profiled in terms of socio-demographic information so that all figures relevant to a ward would be available.
The third output on norms and standards for municipal capacity was motivated by the mandate of the Board to do municipal capacity assessments. The MDB had found that when it advised Members of Executive Councils (MECs) to adjust functions from one district to another, it was unable to say what the norm required for a particular service was. A norms and standards list had been created for all ‘4b’ and ‘5b’ functions of municipalities. This project would continue, and would be dealt with in the APP.
The output for the evaluation reports on demarcation cases was important, as they impacted on service delivery and development. Most of the time, the reason for re-determining boundaries for municipalities was that people had service delivery issues.
The final output was research reports, which the MDB would share with the committees.
Mr Sigidi said that due to Covid-19, the outputs of public awareness and education events and stakeholder awareness and education events would be revised in order to consider how public participation could take place. The output for social media would not be revised.
There would be outputs such as media publications and broadcasts. A report on stakeholder perceptions, and an integrated marketing and communication strategy, would be developed.
Main focus for 2020/21
The main focus would be on the development of a capability maturity model for MDB, the finalisation of wards and their handover to the IEC, and spatial boundary descriptions to be completed for the last 58 municipalities for the last batch of municipalities, and compilation of profiles for all 4 468 wards
Overview of 2020/21 budget and MTEF estimates
There was a correction under total revenue for 2020/21. The correct figure was R68.143 million, but in total the MDB had been allocated R215.983 million. Under ‘surplus/deficit,’ there were no figures for 2020/21, as the budget was still in process with Treasury, as it had given the Board an extension for submission of its annual financial statement and annual report to the end of July.
Mr Sigidi said the challenge of not having enough human resources remained. The concern had been heightened due to Covid-19 affecting timelines and the MBD staff being at only national office level and unable to travel.
The inadequate financial and human resources was constraining the MDB’s ability to optimally fulfil its mandate, resulting in insufficient research and knowledge management capacity (over-reliance on outsourcing), and a high dependence on municipalities and/or departments to facilitate communication with communities and to provide facilities for meetings.
It also had challenges with meeting venue coordination with municipalities, as the MDB did not have the resources to deal with getting venues on its own. The outstanding finalisation of the Demarcation Amendment Bill was also a challenge.
Matters emanating from current ward delimitation public consultations
- Dissatisfaction over wards splitting communities who would prefer to be in one ward. This would require a policy and legislative review. This was because communities did not understand the legislative framework that governed the MDB, especially when dealing with ward delimitation processes.
- Lack of understanding of the legislative provisions governing the formula for the determination councillors and wards. For example, some people -- including key stakeholders -- ask for more councillors or more wards from the MDB.
- Safety and security concerns during MDB public consultation sessions. In this regard, the MDB has, through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), requested the South African Police Service (SAPS) to monitor all its public meetings.
- Dissatisfaction over current municipal boundaries, such as some communities demanding that the MDB reverse some of its previous decisions for amalgamation of municipalities that had taken effect in 2016. It had been found that a number of communities were submitting issues concerning outer boundaries’ determination, even though numerous communications had been issued to say that outer boundary determinations would be dealt with only after the 2021 elections. The submissions had been accepted, but would be dealt with after the 2021 elections.
- Dissatisfaction with provincial boundaries in several parts of the country continued to cause strain on the work of the MDB.
Mr Sigidi said the MDB was looking forward to interacting with the Committee in order to expedite the legislative review process; further engage on the broader mandate of the MDB; and provide details on the status of the ward delimitation process, especially considering the handover to the IEC in November.
Mr A Cloete (FF+, Free State) referred to the public participation process, and said he found that several emails had been returned undelivered from the provided email address for submissions. This was particularly the case in ward 16, in the North West Ngaka Modiri Molema municipality. Why were the emails not received?
How many comments had been received in the four provinces where public participation processes were possible? The public participation process had been halted, but the media statement said it would continue with batch two -- would this happen?
Ms M Mmola (ANC, Mpumalanga) asked how the MDB dealt with dissatisfaction with the current municipal boundaries. In which four provinces had the public participation processes been carried out, and what about the other five provinces? What comments had been received? In what specific ways would the MDB’s 2020/21 APP strengthen and take advantage of the district development model?
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) wanted to know what the MDB’s plan was in order to decrease its dependency on municipalities when it carried out its public participation efforts. It had said it would continue enhancing public participation, but the budget did not align with this, so would this be achieved?
Mr S Zandamela (EFF, Mpumalanga) referred to the challenges, where the MDB had mentioned that it depended a lot on municipalities, but also that there was a lack of research capacity and management. Could the MDB clarify what it was outsourcing? He asked if the Bohlabela and Ehlanzeni regions in Mpumalanga were now amalgamated and if so, was Mbombela a city or metro.
Ms G Opperman (DA) said the biggest challenge that the board had was that it had no regional footprint, and therefore did not have a presence provincially. It needed to be provincially based to understand municipal dynamics. She wanted to know what the MDB’s role in the new district development model was.
When new boundaries were added through demarcation, service delivery was affected as burdened municipalities became stretched with their allocated budgets. She said the issue was not mainly the boundaries, but service delivery, and wanted to know how the MDB would solve this.
The MDB had said that due to gross under-funding, employees were being underpaid and therefore skills were being lost, leading to an over-reliance on outsourcing. She asked if this was still the current situation, and what the solution in place was.
The Northern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) had published the number of councillors on 20 September 2019, and this meant that her constituency alone would have eight new seats and a couple of draft wards, which were both plenary municipalities with small budgets. She wanted to know what financial impact the boundary re-determination and ward delimitation would have on these municipalities’ budgets.
Mr K Ceza (EFF) referred to the dissatisfaction of communities on municipal boundaries, and asked what the criteria had done to make sure there were sustainable local activities, particularly in the Elias Motsoaledi local municipality, where rural communities between Swartkoppies and Laersdrif did not have the necessary service delivery. What did the MDB’s criteria seek to achieve in ensuring service delivery for boundary communities, and had this resulted in the establishment of sustainable economic activities in those communities? Communities in Elias Motsoaledi did not have water during the COVID-19 crisis, and were confused. How many consultative processes had been put in place by the MDB to assist communities to ensure they were aware of boundaries? Did this contribute to economic activity and service delivery in these communities?
Ms M Tlou (ANC) asked how the Demarcation Amendment Bill would be finalised, considering the current situation with Covid-19. A year ago, when the Board appeared before the Portfolio Committee it had promised that there would be no outer boundary changes before the 2021 local government elections. What was the current situation on this? There had been protests due to the adjustment of boundaries. Did the MDB not conduct in-depth research and analysis to avoid negative impacts on the communities before adjusting boundaries?
What strategic plan was in place in the MTSF to reduce spatial injustice, inequalities and inefficiencies? What was the possibility of the MDB amalgamating struggling municipalities, how was the MDB dealing with this issue?
Ms H Mkhalipi (EFF) referred to the dissatisfaction of communities who would prefer to be in one ward, and said the presentation had indicated that a policy and legislative review would be required. She asked who would prefer to be in one ward, and for clarity on why a policy and legislation review was required. The MDB had to unpack why there was no policy to deal with the matter of wards splitting those communities which wanted to be in the same ward.
She commented that the MDB currently lacked a presence among the communities in the wards, and she feared this would become worse, as many provinces still needed public participation processes to be carried out. In which provinces had public participation been carried out, and what was the process involved in the consultations? In the area of administration, the Board’s resources were always listed as a challenge, so how would it achieve its objectives?
The MDB relied on municipalities to organise the public participation process, and it had no municipal footprint. If it had no footprint in municipalities, it would not achieve what it wanted and therefore its priorities needed to be addressed. The Board members were responsible for certain provinces, but their offices were still unknown and they were not visible and it was not known where to find them. The Committee could not even assist the MDB, because it was not aware of its presence even though the MDB said its meeting information was publicised. The Board said it would circulate information in the media due to Covid-19, but most of the challenges arose in rural areas, so how would communities in those areas without access to media be satisfied? The strategy had to be more accessible to create awareness in communities. The Board had to be more visible on the ground in communities. It had to do better in terms of public participation.
Mr B Luthulti (IFP) said that he wanted to know when the MDB would be able to revisit the demarcation boundaries, because traditional leaders had challenges. An example was a ward which consisted of five amakhosi, but there was service delivery only where the councillor was residing. The amakhosi were always sidelined by the Board, because it spoke only to the municipality when it came to the area. Traditional leaders were not asked to be present, and they were not satisfied with this. He was also not satisfied with the MDB’s lack of presence on the ground.
Ms P Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC) asked if the delimitation of wards would not negatively impact on the district and metro model introduced. On the budget analysis and budget allocation, she questioned how the Board believed it would fulfill its mandate with a budget allocation decrease of 0.4%. She asked if the Board was aware of the unfinished projects within municipalities such as the Lekwa local municipality, where roads and bridges remained unfinished for a long time. She wanted to know why the Board did not check first on unfinished projects before creating new wards while other wards started the projects. The Board had to help make sure that communities’ needs were addressed to prevent unrest. The MDB chairperson had remarked that the public participation process would be cancelled in some areas due to Covid-19. What would be the alternative that allowed even rural people to participate?
Mr B Hadebe (ANC) congratulated the Board for achieving a clean audit and 95% of its 2019/20 targets. As public participation was being suspended while five provinces were still outstanding, and taking it into account that this was the first draft consultation, how much work was still outstanding in terms of days and months? It had been indicated that November was earmarked for handing over everything to the IEC, but if the lockdown was extended, what impact would this have on the 2021 local government elections?
Public participation had started in four provinces, but now there was a new circular issued with new dates. The MDB Chairperson had said it was impossible to continue public participation processes and would be considered cancelled, and they would encourage the public to make written submissions. However, not everyone could read and write, so this would make it impossible for some people in communities to participate. Public participation afforded people an opportunity to engage and make verbal submissions. Did the Board think this process would constitute fairness and justice, with four provinces involved in public participation and the remaining five likely to not receive that opportunity?
Referring to municipal councillors’ challenges with understanding the MDB’s mandate, he said written submissions would lead to further confusion, and wanted to know if there were other options for meaningful participation. Regarding improved public and stakeholder participation, the presentation had mentioned an indicator of 80 for 257 municipalities and more 4 000 wards -- was 80 enough, and if so, how did they arrive at this number? The MDB had previously said it intended to decentralise the Board to the provinces -- what was the progress on this?
Mr G Mpumza (ANC) asked to speak, but had network issues and was unable to speak despite multiple attempts.
Co-Chairperson Dodovu congratulated the Board for achieving a clean audit, and said in future it had to keep up this standard. He sympathised with the MDB for not being able to complete its task, but which had to be completed considering that according to the Constitution, the elections had to be held between August and September next year. He asked if the MDB had a ‘plan B’ under the circumstances if so, it had to be shared, because local government elections had to be held.
Co-Chairperson Muthambi said the MDB had a target to achieve a clean audit for next three years, and she looked forward to non-regression. She wanted to know why the evaluation of demarcation cases, had been shown in the presentation as non-applicable for the years 2021/22 and 2022/23.
Although the MDB might say it was the government’s problem, she was raising the issue of communities being upset due to unresolved demarcation disputes occurring before local government elections, and cited cases in Vuwani, Matatiele and Khutsong. What was the board’s role, even if these were government’s challenges? The matters were a challenge and had to be addressed, as they continued to occur at election times. What was the MDB’s view on the matter and its role concerning outstanding issues?
On achieving a clean audit in 2020/2021, she asked what measures had been put in place to minimise irregular expenditure. Had the R130 000 irregular expenditure in 2018/19, due to not following proper supply chain procedure, been recovered?
Mr Manyoni said although there were specific questions, he wanted to give a background on the issues raised.
The decentralisation and visibility of the Board had been raised with National Treasury. He wanted to remind Members that the board did not exist in isolation. Treasury could help with provincial representation, but given the current fiscal and financial problems in the country, it had asked if the Board could continue existing as it was. The MDB could therefore not decentralise or increase personnel.
The status quo remained on outer municipal boundaries until after the local government elections.
When it came to the MDB considering issues related to ward determination and unfinished projects, such as in Lekwa municipality, it came in only after the MEC had gazetted the number of councillors in a municipality. When the number of councillors increased, the wards increased. The issues had to be dealt with provincially, however, as once the numbers were gazetted it became a law, and the Board had to act accordingly to avoid being found wanting.
Regarding outsourcing, there was a lack of resources. The MDB was expected to do municipal capacity assessments and this required extensive work, and this was where most of the outsourcing was required. Lack of resources had also led to the MDB having a dependency on municipalities for assistance in making announcements about meetings and meeting venues. The MDB could not get its own venues and make announcements, but in most cases it made announcements by working with local radio stations and publishing them on its website, as well as submitting information to all municipalities.
Mr Manyoni said the objective was 80 municipal public participation sessions, but generally all areas were consulted, even rural areas. The chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Board had been going to rural areas in Kwazulu-Natal, and he had been to the Eastern Cape. The Board relied on information from municipalities about crowd turn-outs in municipalities.
The five provinces not attended to on public participation due to the Covid-19 lockdown were the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape. In the provinces that had been covered, the Eastern Cape still had three outstanding municipalities not covered, and KwaZulu-Natal had been left with seven municipalities that had not been covered.
The issue of public participation was important for the country as a democracy. He felt this matter had unfortunately to be addressed through legislative review, because the Board was doing this due to the spirit of the constitution and the Act. At the end of the day, the Act said written submissions must be received, but it was silent about those who could not read and write, so the Board stressed the need to go out and meet communities. Public participation in communities was important.
Responding to whether it constituted fairness that no public participation had taken place in some provinces but had in others, he said it was unfair, but according to the Act written submission was required. The MDB would consider consultation with communities where it had been cancelled, and if the situation changed by the end of May, it would try to have consultations within the limits of the regulations. The ultimate intention was also to have party lines in committees on board in the process, as those party members had to be able to assist with the processes.
Mr Sigidi responded to Mr Zandamela’s question, and said Bohlabela was no longer a district and Mbombela was a secondary city.
In response to Ms Opperman on the under-payment of employees, he indicated that the Board had conducted job evaluations, with the last one in 2016, and a resolution had been taken to not conduct another until this one was funded. The MDB had gone to Treasury, and the little increase in the MTEF was funding job evaluation outcomes that were the result of the 2016 evaluation. The employees would be paid from 1 April.
He said when outer boundary demarcation was dealt with, there was an issue for municipal budgets. Treasury was involved, because in the equitable share formula, population was a factor. This allowed Treasury to align the budget of the two municipalities, but in most cases less funds were received. The implication was that when there was amalgamation of municipalities that were not graded the same, there could be differences in salaries, so top-up funding was needed to align them. Ward delimitation was an internal process and not an outer boundary change, therefore it did not affect the budget of a municipality.
Regarding unfinished projects in wards, he said that when the MDB was dealing with ward delimitation processes, communities were saying their housing list numbers were affected by ward changes. However, the MDB always told communities it was dealing with only wards, and not changing the municipal spaces where those issues were being dealt with. The MDB it did not consider the issues of unfinished projects directly.
On criteria used by the MDB for outer boundary determination, he said section 24 of the Act, which gave major objectives for re-determination, was used, as well as Section 25, which addressed different factors that had to be considered when doing the determination of wards. This information and its implications could be shared at a different level.
In response to Ms Mkhalipi on policy review, he said the Board chairperson had covered a little bit of this topic when he was referring to the norm. The norm stated that if one wanted to do a variation in the ward, one was allowed only a 15% deviation. Some of the proposals put forward for the amendment of the Act were to increase the deviation to 15 % because, according to the norm, in a municipality the ward would be required to have a certain number of registered voters in a space. When the MDB indicated it was determining wards it was an issue involving numbers, and this could not be changed. Therefore it was a legislative issue, as the Board was only implementing legislation.
In response to Mr Luthuli question of traditional leaders, as the Board Chairperson had indicated, the MDB had been engaging with a number of stakeholders at the level of traditional leaders, and it had gone as far as the Traditional Provincial Houses to have consultations. He had received inputs from a chief in the Eastern Cape who had said that after they had engaged on the processes of the draft wards and after receiving responses, they had reconfigured the inputs within the framework of the legislative process.
In response to Ms Tlou on how the Amendment Bill would be revised, he said it was now with the Department and would follow normal processes required.
On dysfunctional municipalities, he said that when re-determination of outer boundaries occurred, a process was followed that started through the initiative of the Board. The Board initiative was informed by a capacity assessment based on all the research work done during the three to four year period prior to outer boundary determination.
An individual could make an application, and the Board would take over and deal with the matter according to the given criteria.
The third area was that the Minister was allowed to change the programme of the Board in terms of section 22, but consultation with MECs was required. When the Minister had acted, the Board could decide on whether it could conduct an outer boundary determination or not.
Mr Aluwani Ramagadza, Chief Operations Officer (COO): MDB, in response to Mr Cloete’s question on returned emails, said there was only one working email address for the process in order to avoid confusion, but the email could be sent directly to him, as it had been working and many emails had been received. The inbox was monitored regularly to see if it was functional.
On the number of submissions received, he said there had been a concurrent process since the beginning of the consultations -- although there were engagements, written submissions were still encouraged. The first deadline for the written input had been the end of April, and there had been close to 350 written submissions besides submissions received at actual meetings. However, the deadline had already been extended to 15 May, and then been further extended to the end of May for all the municipalities that had already been visited. It was therefore expecting more written submissions.
Regarding the process of decisions by MDB, the chairperson of Board had indicated that the Act itself did not provide for details on meetings. It specifically just required it to “ask for written input,” and the Board felt it necessary to consult communities before getting written input. After the consultation and all the input was received and wards were determined -- which also answered the question about all the work that was still required -- the Act required that it be published in a provincial gazette. Batch one would be published by July and the Act would require further interaction from communities. It would ask anybody who felt aggrieved for input, and time would be given for this. Between July and August, the Board would then publish the finalised wards. There were other municipalities not consulted yet, but the MDB had given them until the end of July for written submissions, and these would be published in September and then handed over in November.
On the MDB’s role in the district development model, he said it would not touch municipal boundaries until after the 2021 election. Its role was to provide some stability, because that model was also dependent on the current district boundaries. The MDB therefore had to be conscious, even after the elections when municipal boundary changes were done, not to cause unnecessary instability.
Wards were within municipal boundaries, and as the MDB would not be touching outer boundaries, ward delimitation would not be negatively affecting the district development model process, as it was work done on the inside of the municipal boundary.
On the existence of a ‘plan B,’ he said all the eventualities had been considered with the current plan to hand over to the IEC by November.
Regarding the MDB’s role in ensuring stability in the country and addressing outstanding municipal boundaries issues, he said that as much as it was in the MTEF, it was not mentioned as part of the outcomes process. After the election, the processes would be started, and people would be allowed give input on how they wanted their municipalities to be reconfigured.
Ms Tintswalo Baadjie, Chief Financial Officer (CFO): MDB, said that in the previous financial year there had been irregular expenditure in respect of publication in a newspaper without due processes being followed. According to Treasury, irregular expenditure framework recovery was needed when there was a loss incurred, and in this instance there had been no loss, therefore only a disciplinary process was required. The disciplinary process had taken place, and the employee was dismissed.
Mr Sigidi referred to measures that had been put in place in order to not regress from the clean audit. These were in the audit action plan, and were being implemented to ensure the standard was maintained. He wanted the COO to address the question on the evaluation of demarcation cases.
Mr Ramagadza responded that the project was necessitated because in most cases, re-determination was due to a lack of service delivery. The MDB was looking at cases of requests by communities to check if indeed the change in municipal boundaries had resulted in a desired state. A case study had to be done to determine if re-determination would benefit communities, but this would happen only after local government elections.
Co-Chairperson Dodovu said he was pleased with the MDB presentation, and understood its challenges and strategic plan. He wished the Board good luck for the enormous work ahead.
Co-Chairperson Muthambi commended the MDB for its clean audit and commitment to maintain it. The Committees would meet again on Friday.
The meeting was adjourned.
Dodovu, Mr TSC
Muthambi, Ms AF
Bapela, Mr KO
Brink, Mr C
Ceza, Mr K
Cloete, Mr AB
Hadebe, Mr BM
Hoosen, Mr MH
Luthuli, Mr BN
Mfayela, Mr SE
Michalakis, Mr G
Mkhaliphi, Ms HO
Mmola, Ms MP
Motsamai, Mr K
Mpumza, Mr GG
Mthethwa, Mr EM
Ncitha, Ms ZV
Opperman, Ms G
Shaikh, Ms S
Sileku, Mr IM
Tau, Mr MFP
Tlou, Ms M
Xaba-Ntshaba, Ms PP
Zandamela, Mr S
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