The final mandates of all provinces on the 2020 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill [B9-2020 ] were adopted. All the provinces were in favour of the Bill with the exception of the Western Cape.
On the draft Committee Report on the 2020 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill, Members raised the issue of insufficient consultation with provinces by Treasury on the reprioritisation of provincial and municipal funds. These consultations should have taken place as the reprioritisation would impact on some contracts provinces had. Members added that there had been no consultation with provinces on Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s announcement that drought relief would not be extended. Members proposed that the R338 million reduction in the National Health Insurance (NHI) Grant should be welcomed, while others rejected this proposal out of hand. Members said the NHI was a government programme to benefit everybody irrespective of economic class. Members queried the non- extension of drought relief funding and felt that funds be made available to community farmers to enhance food security. Members queried the early submission of the draft Report before some provinces had met to have their discussions.
The Report was adopted.
Consideration of Final Mandates on 2020 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill
Mr S Du Toit (FF+, North West) said the North West province was in favour of Bill B9-2020.
Mr D Ryder (DA, Gauteng) asked if the Treasury’s responses would not be heard before asking for the mandates.
The Chairperson said that Treasury’s written responses had been sent to the Members.
Mr Ryder accepted this.
Mr Y Carrim (ANC, KZN) said that it was too late to discuss Treasury’s replies but in future the process could be changed.
The Chairperson said more time needed to be given to debate Treasury’s responses.
Mr Ryder said that Gauteng was in favour of the Bill.
Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape) said the Eastern Cape supported the Bill.
Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) said the Free State was in favour of the Bill.
Mr Carrim said the KZN province supported the Bill.
Mr Mkiva read out Limpopo’s final mandate which was in favour of the Bill.
The Chairperson read out Mpumalanga’s final mandate which was in support of the Bill.
Mr S Aucamp (DA, Northern Cape) said the Northern Cape supported the Bill.
Mr E Njadu (ANC, Western Cape) said the Western Cape did not support the Bill.
The final mandates of the provinces were adopted by the Committee.
Consideration of the Committee Report on the 2020 Division of Revenue Amendment Bill
The Committee moved directly to 11.2 of the findings.
On the reprioritisation of funds, particularly delayed projects, infrastructure maintenance to assist economic recovery and frontline service delivery as mentioned in 11.2, Mr Ryder said his concern was that there was no consultation with provinces by Treasury. These consultations should have taken place as the reprioritisation would impact on some contracts provinces had.
Mr Carrim said that it could not be said that there was no consultation but that there was not sufficient consultation.
Ms Wendy Fanoe, Chief Director: Intergovernmental Policy and Planning, National Treasury, said that Treasury had consulted both with administrations and politically as the Minister had met frequently with MECs.
The Chairperson said the Report should indicate that provinces had issues with consultation.
Mr Aucamp said government was not speaking with provinces. Provinces were experiencing drought yet Minister Dlamini-Zuma had, the previous Friday, announced that drought relief would not be extended and there had been no consultation on this. It was unacceptable that the voice of provinces was ignored.
Mr Du Toit added that the previous year, the Department had been requested to assist farmers because of the drought but no communication had been received.
Mr Ryder said Treasury’s response to the drought issue was withdrawing drought relief which could have disastrous consequences.
Mr Njadu said that if there was a weakness in intergovernmental relations, this should be strengthened to strengthen the NCOP.
The Committee Secretary noted that the responses of departments were captured in a tracking tool distributed to all Members.
Mr Phelelani Dlomo, Committee Content Advisor, said the Committee had the right to follow up if it was not satisfied with a department’s response and it could write to a department to interrogate the matter further.
On the Disaster Management Drought Relief Fund, he said there was a research project underway to assess the allocation amounts and that department could be asked to give an update on the research.
Ms Fanoe said that the National Disaster Management Centre should also be invited to a meeting.
Mr Carrim agreed with Mr Dlomo and a meeting should be in cooperation with the Select Committee on Agriculture.
Mr Ryder said that 11.6 should be rephrased and “remains concerned about the R338 million reduction in the National Health Insurance (NHI) Grant” should say “welcomes the R338 million reduction in the National Health Insurance (NHI) Grant”
Mr Carrim rejected this proposal out of hand.
Mr Du Toit supported Mr Ryder.
Mr Njadu said the NHI supported the Department of Health and he could not agree with the reduction.
The Chairperson said the NHI was a government programme to benefit everybody irrespective of economic class and the reduction would delay the implementation of the NHI.
Mr Carrim said there was no plunge into the NHI overnight - there was an incremental forward movement and Covid-19 had shown why an NHI was needed.
Mr Njadu said he was not happy with the reduction in the NHI funding.
On 11.12, Mr Ryder said the Report should reflect the same lack of consultation with municipalities, as had been discussed regarding the reprioritisation of funds for provinces in 11.2.
Mr Njadu said that it should also be on the basis of strengthening intergovernmental relations.
Turning to the recommendations, Mr Aucamp said the wording referred to a State of Disaster that was not in effect any more following Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s announcement the previous Friday.
Mr Du Toit added that the last sentence should include that funds be made available to community farmers to enhance food security.
Mr Mkiva said that it should include that the country was still in a State of Disaster because of Covid-19. The current State of Disaster covered all spheres including community farming and food security. He said the interventions by the national executive dealt with all challenges with the urgency these matters deserved.
Mr Carrim said it was impossible for one Minister to override an entire Executive so it was tiresome to blame one Minister as they spoke for the Cabinet.
Responding to Mr Mkiva, Mr Ryder said that even though Covid-19 was the overriding disaster, government had many roles to play simultaneously and a drought disaster related to specific areas which could not be forgotten.
Mr Carrim said he did not know what the DA representative was trying to say. He asked how much of what the DA representative was saying reflected the mandate of the province said and not what the party said.
Mr Du Toit felt that if parties did not have an opportunity to voice their opinions then the NCOP should be an ANC House. Drought was an issue in the interest of the whole country and what the opposition said should be listened to. He said the FF+ reserved its position on the Report and asked to be excused from the meeting.
Mr Njadu concurred with the views of Mr Mkiva. He said it was not only the FF+ and the DA that was affected by the drought - all were affected.
Mr Aucamp said his comments were not an attack on Minister Dlamini- Zuma and Mr Mkiva was incorrect, the Covid-19 disaster did not take away the drought disaster because since Friday’s announcement by Minister Dlamini- Zuma, drought disaster relief was not in place. The mandate of the Northern Cape was to address the drought as it was devastating the province and would affect food supply. Many other provinces also required drought relief and the Committee should request for drought disaster relief be made available.
Ms Fanoe said that the discussion highlighted that a session in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and the Select Committee on Agriculture was a critical recommendation. She said there were three levels of disaster - national disasters and provinces and municipalities could also declare provincial or municipal disasters.
Mr Ryder said the Report did not reflect that while additional funding had been promised by the President, there was a decrease in the allocation of grants and it was more a case of a reprioritisation of funds. The Report should note the position of provinces where funding was removed or lost and it was incumbent that provinces indicate that they were hard done by.
He added that the draft Report was submitted early before Gauteng had met to have its discussions.
The Chairperson said the Report that had been sent was a draft Report based on the negotiating mandates and Treasury’s responses to them.
Mr Njadu said the process had been followed thoroughly.
Mr Carrim said Mr Ryder raised an important issue and theoretically he was correct while practically Mr Njadu was also correct. He asked if it was necessary to wait for the final mandates before starting to write the draft Report.
On the earlier issue of how the Committee spoke to provincial mandates, he said he was a believer in the multi-party system
The Report was adopted.
Mr Ryder said the DA reserved its rights.
Mr Moletsane said that the lack of consultation had been a bone of contention and should be improved. He said the EFF reserved its rights.
Mr Carrim provided a possible drafting of 11.2 dealing with consultation.
Adoption of Committee Minutes
The minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2020 were adopted.
The meeting adjourned
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