The Committee met, on a virtual platform, to deliberate on the 2019/20 Annual Report of the Western Cape Department of Local Government. The MEC reflected on the tough year the Department experienced given the two declared disasters in the province, drought and COVID19 - many of the local municipalities had been severely affected and continued to be badly affected by the virus. He acknowledged all the people in the DLG for their hard work over the year. He also took a moment to acknowledge the municipalities and frontline service workers in every district and town. Notwithstanding the many challenges faced during the year under review, the municipalities continued to rise to the challenge of service delivery to all the communities
The Department achieved 94% of its targets while 6% had been partially achieved. 69 of the 74 targets had been achieved meaning five targets had been partially achieved. Achievement of targets was fundamentally driven by demand. The HOD briefly mentioned work done regarding climate change, strengthening infrastructure development and planning in support of municipalities and gender mainstreaming.
On part A and B of the Report, Members questioned the value for money linked to the Thusong Centres and the standing of these Centres vis-à-vis ward offices, whether the helicopters used to fight wildfires was part of the Department’s assets, organisational structure redesign and client satisfaction. Members also probed the Municipal Public Accounts Committee meetings in the Swellendam municipality, best practice for waste removal and waste management in local government, capacity for town planning, money spent on the administrator in Kannaland, success of the joint district programme, overspending in the Central Karoo, tracking population growth and the community development workers and whether there was value for money – there was concern that some of the indicators for measuring the programme were tied to political dynamics related to the ward committees. Members also asked about funding for water projects given there was inadequate planning in municipalities for the projects where the funds could have been put to better use elsewhere in the province, why were the municipalities given the funds in the first place when there was no realistic expectation that the projects would have been completed by 31 March – there was concern that funds were being dumped on the municipalities in the last three months of the municipal financial year and there was not enough support and capacity provided to the municipalities to adequately utilise the funds.
On part D, Members applauded the Department for signing 100% of performance agreements. Concern was expressed on the management of health and sick leave in the Department as well as the number of resignations of people between the ages of 30 and 39 and where no exit interviews were conducted. The lack of retention policy was also cited as a concern. Members asked if the Department was an equal opportunity employer for all races and how the sick leave of the Department accommodated COVID19.
Opening remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson introduced himself and welcomed everyone to the meeting of the Standing Committee on Local Government.
The only item on the agenda was the deliberation of the Annual Report of the Western Cape Department of Local Government (DLG) for the 2019/2020 financial year. The Committee would take resolutions thereafter.
He welcomed Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape MEC: Local Government , Mr Graham Paulse, Head of Department (HOD), DLG, the staff members of the DLG as well as all the Members of the Committee. He hoped the ensuing engagements would be fruitful.
The Chairperson explained the rules of engagement on the Microsoft Teams platform. The meeting was streamed live on Youtube and any interested parties, institutions or stakeholders could tune in to follow the proceedings. He asked the guests on the platform who were not presenting, not to participate verbally without being requested to do so by the Chairperson. Ms C Morris was the technical assistant who was available on the platform for any technical assistance. All Members would be muted in the beginning of the meeting to avoid unnecessary background interference. He asked that all microphones be muted when Members were not verbally participating in the meeting. Members and guests on the platform were advised to use the chat function if they wanted to get the Chairperson’s attention or to communicate a message. Further, all video and audio had to be switched off to improve the quality of the connection however these could be turned on when speaking. Participants were asked to switch off their microphones once they had finished speaking.
In order to have a smooth meeting, the Chairperson directed Member’s to the Directives of Meetings of Committee’s by Electronic Means that was emailed on Friday, 17 April 2020. He hoped he would not have to repeat anything and was convinced all Members were adequately familiarised with the platform.
The Chairperson said the Committee would deliberate on the Annual Report of the DLG. MEC Bredell and Mr Paulse would be given a brief opportunity to make a few remarks. Thereafter, the officials of the DLG would not make formal presentations rather, the Chairperson would table the applicable sections for deliberation and Members were free to engage with the section. Mr Paulse would either respond himself or direct members of his team to respond to questions or remarks posed by Members. Once all the sections had been covered, Members would deliberate on the resolutions that flowed thereof. Part A, B and D of the Annual Report would be considered and dealt with individually.
Opening remarks from MEC
MEC Bredell greeted everyone stating that the Annual Report of the Department of Local Government would be presented. He said that as he tabled the DLG’s Annual Report, he thought of the ongoing pandemic which continued to negatively affect the lives of people across the province. Many of the local municipalities had been severely affected and continued to be badly affected by the virus. Some of their people fell ill and others like Mr A H Jansen (DA), Executive Mayor of the Langberg Local Municipality, passed away from the COVID-19 virus. MEC Bredell extended his condolences to the families who had lost their loved ones and assured those who continued to battle the effects that the DLG and the Provincial Government stood alongside them all the way. He said the DLG officials had a very bad year and had gone above and beyond to continue to provide key services and do their jobs despite the harsh lockdown and debilitating circumstances. He acknowledged all the people in the DLG for their hard work over the year. He also took a moment to acknowledge the municipalities and frontline service workers in every district and town. The COVID-19 pandemic had been an incredible challenge and an exhausting, nerve-wracking experience. It was not over and was headed into a second wave with infections spiking across the province. The Garden Route municipalities were currently in the thick of things with hotspots increasing, hospitals filling up and workers struggling to keep up. The DLG constantly kept every community in its heart and mind. In fact, the DLG continued to work daily across the province with Councils to better support the rural arrears.
Notwithstanding the many challenges faced during the year under review, the municipalities continued to rise to the challenge of service delivery to all the communities, ensuring a better life for all. MEC Bredell expressed his pride in the DLG and the key role it played in supporting and capacitating the Local and District Municipalities. He said the officials in the DLG took their jobs very seriously, yet the challenges continued to increase.
There was continued rapid urbanisation and population growth in the biggest towns and citifies which meant the DLG needed to be innovative and creative to meet all needs arising.
Economic realities were such that the Councils were struggling increasingly to expand on their service delivery and infrastructure development commitments however, they continued to make things work. The continued quality of service delivery to citizens of the Western Cape municipalities was noticed not only in the province but also at a national scale where several independent reports highlighted the fact that the top ten or top 20 municipalities in the country delivered the best services to their most vulnerable communities were municipalities within the Western Cape. MEC Bredall highlighted that Mr Paulse won a national government Batho Pele award for the top performance in the public service. MEC Bredell congratulated Mr Paulse and his team for an outstanding performance and stated that Mr Paulse would be the first to acknowledge it was a team effort.
In presenting the Annual Report for the Department of Local Government, he concluded by giving his best wishes to those who continued to be affected by the COVID-19 virus. He implored the public to work with the DLG over the upcoming festive season by remaining aware of the COVID-19 virus and doing everything they could to prevent its spread. He asked the public to work with the DLG and by doing so, help the DLG help them. Nobody should risk getting sick. The DLG would be relentless in continuing the fight for the health and wellbeing of communities.
Mr Paulse reiterated MEC Bredell’s sentiments that it had been a difficult year. At the end of the period under review, there had been two declared disasters within the province. The first was a drought and the second was the COVID-19 pandemic. The year under review had ended and the new year began under difficult circumstances.
On the organisational performance of the DLG, 94% of the targets had been achieved while 6% had been partially achieved. 69 of the 74 targets had been achieved meaning five targets had been partially achieved. Achievement of targets was fundamentally driven by demand. For instance, the assessment of Senior Managers appointments in municipalities had a target of 20 and 19 were achieved as they were fundamentally demand-driven. The DLG had continued to support and capacitate municipalities on the constitutional mandate of the Provincial Government and the DLG to support and assist the municipalities. Significant strides had been made in relation to the Joint District and Metro Approach (JDMA) which had strengthened the interface both horizontally and vertically amongst the spheres of government and provincial departments. The Western Cape province had made significant strides in relation to that.
On the effects of climate change, Mr Paulse said the DLG expected difficulties in relation to droughts particularly in the central Karoo and Karoo area. The Department had therefore developed a Drought Recovery Action Plan (DRAP).
Work had also been done with the Fringe Development Agency to strengthen the infrastructure development and planning in support of municipalities.
In the beginning of the year, in January 2020, there was the all-female wildfire fire fighting team who fought fires in Noordhoek.
Mr Paulse indicated there had been additional work being carried out by the DLG on gender mainstreaming. His colleges had rolled out a training course focused on municipal gender focal persons and public participation officials. That helped the women in municipalities which had been mainstreamed. Thus, when the Department of the Premier asked for initiatives around it, Mr Paulse could say the work of mainstreaming had already been done in the municipalities.
The DLG had rolled out the client service charter to additional municipalities. The year under review marked the 20-year anniversary of the Thusong Programme. He said the DLG, province and municipalities had achieved several awards in terms of the overall winner of the Outstanding Thusong Centre Manager in 2019, the DLG for the Outstanding Performance in Thusong Coordination, to name a few. While it had been a difficult year, it had also been a rewarding year. Mr Paulse expressed that the team did not work for any recognition but to make a difference in the lives of normal people. The award received was on behalf of every individual and official in the DLG.
Discussion of Part A and B
The Chairperson formally tabled Part A of the Annual Report, which was from pages 7 – 21, for discussion.
Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA), said a few of the matters he wished to address appeared in Parts A and B. He therefore asked whether the Chairperson wanted him to address them towards the end or immediately.
The Chairperson said he was mindful that Part A did not contain much substance so Members could ask questions on Part B as well.
Mr van der Westhuizen congratulated the Department on its fantastic achievements and recognition given by the national government. MEC Bredell’s introduction made mention of the Thusong centres and this pleased Mr van der Westhuizen as the DLG were being acknowledged as the leaders in setting the standards and protocols to be followed by other provinces. However, he wanted to know whether there was value for money in the budgets linked to the Thusong Centres. He asked because he found a problem on page 27 that referred to the Thusong Outreach Programmes, but he knew that in many municipalities, there were also ward offices, for example. There, members of the public, who wanted to access municipal services or wanted to bring something to the attention of the ward counsellor, municipality or administration, would do so by going to the ward office to register their requests with a municipal official. Considering that, he asked what the locus standi of the Thusong Centre’s was. Did they have more powers than a municipal official? If not, then were the Thusong Centre’s warranted or should the DLG rather work through established structures? Mr van der Westhuizen said he would refer to ward committees again when discussing the Community Development Workers (CDWs).
Secondly, on the response to wildfires, as mentioned multiple times in the Annual Report, he noted there had been several fires over the weekend in the Cape Winelands Municipality. The Report made several mentions of the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter which gave three times the firefighting ability than what previous helicopters could deliver. His impression was that an external company, called Working on Fire, had been contracted to assist with the fires. Since the fires were seasonal, Working on Fire was not paid consistently throughout the year. In terms of the contract with the company where the helicopter was purchased, it seemed the helicopter was not part of the Western Cape government’s assets – is this correct?
Ms M Maseko (DA) thanked the DLG and acknowledged that a significant number of frontline workers had been lost to the last three disasters which included the fires, the drought, throughout which they attended the calls of communities, and now the global pandemic. Even though the frontline workers did not work for the DLG, they played a considerable role in fighting the pandemic and wildfires. She saluted MEC Bredell and every official including the office cleaners in the DLG. Their services were much appreciated.
As a person from Citrusdal, she said one of the luxuries the community had were the services of the Thusong Centre which she found worthwhile. When the Western Cape received national acknowledgement for the services in the province, she knew the Thusong Centres contributed to this as much value was added to communities where the centres were situated. That was especially apparent in the rural areas. Referencing page 11 of the Report, she asked if there was any other way the programme would continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted that Matzikama Municipality and George Municipality had benefited but asked whether it would be extended to other municipalities as well.
Turning to Part B on page 32 of the Report, she asked about the difference in the additional achievements listed for the CDWs and supervisors under the ‘current/actual arrangements’ and ‘actual achievements’ headings and wondered why there was a difference of R4 million. Was that a result of one CDW being promoted to a supervisor?
In response to Mr van der Westhuizen, MEC Bredell said he was biased in answering the question about the Thusong Centres as he had seen first-hand the positive effects they had in the communities. In his opinion it was money well spent as the whole purpose was to bring government to the people. In the past, before 2009, there were different departments representing government scattered over towns or communities but now they were clustered in one building. That made it easier to access the entire government in one building. The system was financed through the departments and although it had not yet been mastered, it was still a huge success. Over the years, over a million people had been reached through the outreach programme. These people would have otherwise never received a service from government. Now government goes to the communities and supports them, so MEC Bredell was a big believer of the programme. It needed to be expanded as it was an expensive facility. The DLG was busy looking into what else could be added to safeguard it for communities.
On wildfires, MEC Bredell said the Working on Fire programme was a brilliant programme and the country would not survive without it. He was worried that the three-year cycle for the programme had not been budgeted for at national level. Complaints had been made to national government about that. The provinces could not have 28 helicopters on standby for a season, having to pay for their maintenance and operating costs throughout the year. Those services would be more affordable if they were spread between provinces. The Western Cape has been successful in managing the programme by spreading it throughout the province and providing 36 landing strips for the helicopters to operate from.
Ms Nozuko Zamxaka, Chief Director: Integrated Service Delivery, DLG, echoed MEC Bredell’s sentiments on the monetary value of the Thusong Centres. She provided context saying that in 2008, the centres were referred to as ‘One-Stop-Shops’. They ensured that services were brought within the same areas with the aim of strengthening access to services. The various services ranged from national, provincial and local government services. In some fully fledged Thusong Centres there were all four anchor departments: the Departments of Social Development, Labour, Home Affairs….There were also other government services which included municipal services. The centres ensured that citizens could access services in one place. That reduced transport challenges. Subsequently, the programme moved from being a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ to the Thusong programme and the Western Cape looked at both the Thusong Service Centres and the Thusong Outreaches. In terms of value, the numbers spoke for themselves. In the past year, the Department had more than 1.3 million people who had accessed services through the various centres and outreaches. Over the last eight years, there had always been more than 1.2 million people accessing services.
On the citizen interface project and citizen civic education, Ms Zamxaka said the DLG was aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had. It had been indicated in the previous Committee meeting that civic education videos had been shared with all municipalities and stakeholders so that the videos could be shared with the communities. However, the DLG took the initiative to further roll them out in the areas mentioned. Ms Zamxaka repeated that the DLG was aware of the impact of COVID-19 and referred to the Overberg Municipality as an example of where the videos had been shared. She said that approximately two months ago, a series of videos had been played over the local radio stations and people were given the opportunity to engage with them. That was an example of the kind of innovation the DLG wanted to encourage the municipalities to model.
On the CDW programme, Ms Zamxaka said the shortest answer was about the improvement of the ICS and conditions of service. That was because the figure that was on the left side that read ‘current/actual’ referred to the 2018/2019 financial year. The figure on the right side, under 2019/2020 that reflected R65 million, was for the 2019/2020 financial year which included the employee cost adjustments.
In response to the question about the Black Hawk Helicopter, Mr Colin Deiner, Chief Director: Disaster Management and Fire Brigade Services, DLG, said Working on Fire was contracted to provide the DLG with the resource, as MEC Bredell had said. All the aircrafts utilised belonged to Working on Fire. The DLG did however try to improve the programme by assessing how the risks develop. As an example, a couple of years ago, the DLG brought in fixed wing aircrafts to augment the helicopters. The helicopters gave one thousand litres capacity while the fixed wing aircrafts gave three thousand litres. Therefore, the DLG had tried to improve every year but the risks have increased. The helicopters generally used were the UH1 Huey’s, but they were not as effective in mountainous areas. Thus, fires in the Cape Winelands and the West Coast needed a heavy lift capacity aircraft. Working on Fire had several providers who provided them with resources and in the DLG’s assessment of how to adapt to the risks, they were informed that the Black Hawk was available. It was brought the previous season for a test and it worked well because it flew faster and had a higher carrying capability than the current aircraft. It was also the aircraft that was generally used worldwide. It was therefore an upgrade. The helicopters that had been used were old and had to be phased out in a move towards newer aircrafts with modern capabilities. That is where the Black Hawk came in. The Black Hawk had been used for two full seasons and whoever provided the service in future would probably move towards the Black Hawk.
The Chairperson said the adjustment budget stated that the organisational redesign would be paused due to budgetary constraints. In terms of the organisational structure as contained in the Annual Report, did the DLG foresee any changes within that structure once it had been revised?
With reference to the Thusong Centre discussion that unfolded earlier, the Chairperson asked what the customer satisfaction outcomes were from the client surveys. What was the client satisfaction derived from individuals getting services at the Thusong Centres?
On the organisational restructuring, Mr Paulse referred to the macro structure and said the Department of the Premier had finalised that the structure would look fundamentally different to what was reflected in the Annual Report. Given the suggested macro structure, the DLG would be much bigger because of a detailed assessment of the legislative mandate of the Department.
On the customer satisfaction of the Thusong Centres, Mr M Pretorius, Director: Service Delivery Integration, DLG, said that the team usually completed a citizen satisfaction survey after each outreach to assess whether citizens were happy with the services received at the various helpdesks. At most of the outreach events, there were 12-20 helpdesks that consisted of various government departments, non-government organisations (NGOs), private institutions as well as the municipality. Mr Pretorius said he did not have a summary of each of the surveys but most of them revealed three main findings. The first was that citizens and those specifically in rural areas, needed better access to services offered by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) specifically to apply for first time identity documents (IDs) and the collection thereof. Secondly, there was a need for better access to services offered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) either for new applications or for services related to existing beneficiaries. The third finding involved the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Those were the usual outcomes of the surveys conducted. Citizens requested outreaches with the four services mentioned. A few other services requested included the Road Accident Fund (RAF) etcetera. A summary of the findings of the surveys conducted over the past 14 outreaches over the year could be made available to Members.
Discussion Part B: pages 24-82
Ms Maseko turned to page 43 and referred to the deviation of the overachievement that resulted from the Swellendam Municipality inviting the DLG to its Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) meeting. She asked for the reasoning behind that. How was the MPAC empowered because when the Committee engaged with the APAC, it had been revealed that there was insufficient engagement between the SCOPAs and the MPAC?
Mr van der Westhuizen asked about the CDWs that Ms Maseko had also referred to. If the R65 million was divided by the 143 CDWs, then the average cost per person was more than R450 000. Again, he asked whether the programme was value for money. He was not only asking because of the R450 000 spent per annum on salaries but that this did not include equipment, office space and other related costs. He said that when he became the Speaker of Stellenbosch Council in 2006, he inherited a computer and hard drive from his predecessor, who was from another political party. The computer had a few meeting minutes of the other political party which discussed a community development programme that created jobs for members of that political party. It seemed to Mr van der Westhuizen that appointment processes followed then were not fully transparent. Utilisation of the management of the community development projects had been spread all over the province. He saw that the political indicators for the work were the number of ward committee meetings attended but he failed to see the lawful connection between a CDW and a ward committee. A ward committee elected two representatives from that ward to assist the ward counsellor. He asked for his fears to be laid to rest over the R450 000 per annum spent for attendance of meetings where the people had no locus standi, voting rights or anything related.
He prefaced his second question with the fact that he found it interesting that it was not mentioned in the Report as he often took an interested in what had been omitted from Annual Reports. One of the biggest challenges faced by all local government in the Western Cape, South Africa and the developing world, was the challenge of waste removal and waste management. It was particularly apparent in certain communities where the normal black bag system and bins were not enough. That resulted in huge piles of solid waste that needed specialised equipment to be loaded onto trucks – that he had witnessed himself. He asked whether there was a huge opportunity for the DLG to assist local government with advice or best practices on how to manage waste removal and management especially in poorer communities.
With regards to the DLG’s wonderful efforts to assist municipalities with capacity building, Mr van der Westhuizen said there was a dire need for capacity building to assist the economic recovery plan of the province in the town planning divisions. He said MEC Bredell, as the Minister of Local Government in the province, was fortunate enough to also be responsible for development planning. Mr van der Westhuizen mentioned he had recently been confronted by members of the public from a municipality not far from him who had been waiting a year to get feedback on whether their applications had been approved or declined. He believed that a well-functioning town planning division could do far more for economic growth than all the local economic development desks in local government. If one knew that one’s plans had been rejected, one could return to the drawing board to submit new plans and eventually create work not only for the construction companies but for the people who would eventually work in those offices or houses. He thus asked for feedback on the DLG’s view on capacity building municipalities with regards to not only financial management but with town planning as well.
Ms Maseko built on Mr van der Westhuizen’s question on town planning. She referred to immigration into Cape Town and other municipalities and said the allocation of services would take place according to the population and immigration of the different communities. She asked if there was a system the DLG was using to capacitate municipalities in recording the population to keep track of the number of community members in the towns as budgets were allocated. If there was no such system, then when would one be created? When conducting oversight in municipalities, it had been revealed they were struggling to keep track of individuals in the towns.
Secondly, how did the DLG engage with projects for special planning? In the Theewaterskloof Municipality, Grabouw, there was a lot of housing but where would a townhall or an economic zone be placed? There were too many houses. When would the special town planning begin?
In response to Ms Maseko’s question about the numbers on population growth, Mr Paulse said the DLG worked closely with Provincial Treasury DPT) every year on the Municipal Economic Review and Outlook (MERO). That document had the latest statistics on population growth and figures. He explained that municipalities used MERO to review their own planning and to inform their budgets. There was a mechanism made available to municipalities to monitor population growth.
On the functions of CDWs, Ms Zamxaka said she would provide information on the Public Service Regulations (PSR) to the Committee. The functions of CDWs were stipulated in the PSR which covered several issues. These included assisting with the improvement of service delivery for communities, public accessibility of services and bridging the gap between communities and various governmental departments were services were accessed. In the DLG, there were very specific indicators for CDWs which were contained in the Annual Report. CDWs were measured by two indicators as described on page 53 of the Report. The first being support initiatives to improve access to government services. There were 15 types of initiatives grouped which varied from those around social relief distress, early child development and nutritional centres, housing consumer education and issues relating to public participation. There were a range of services some of which were reflected in the last column. The individual Districts were called Regional Offices. In the five Districts there were Regional Offices, and, in the Metro, there were two Regional Offices. Each region under each initiative ran several interventions or initiatives. She gave an example of community outreaches where the DLG had worked with national and provincial departments, local municipalities and the provincial parliament to produce 45 initiatives. The second indicator through which CDWs were measured, also described on page 53, spoke to support programmes to improve access to small scale economic opportunities. There were various programmes around food security with help from the Department of Agriculture and other departments to enable people to work on their food gardens. Other programmes included enterprise development, tourism development and heritage development. She referred to the Central Karoo as an example and said the DLG helped link an artist with a mentor on tourism development. These were the various initiatives the CDWs were able to identify in their communities to link with either the right government department or agency. That was the work they did in the Western Cape.
On the utilisation of CDWs, Ms Zamxaka said the number of CDWs varied in each district therefore they were utilised differently. However, the core work conducted was in line with what was listed on page 53 of the Annual Report.
On the salaries of CDWs, she said several of them were paid at the government scale of level six, eight and nine. The amount differed and it was not always an average of R450 000. The DLG was getting value for money because they looked at the number of initiatives and the areas of impact. There were different initiatives where CDWs had helped people access funding from different companies. The programme had transformed because in the past, there were multiple challenges faced but it had changed. Like Ms Zamxaka, all officials in the CDW programme were required to sign performance agreements. They also had to abide by the code of conduct. Therefore, if there was a complaint about a CDW, the DLG would appreciate hearing them. In general, their performing functions were in line with what was stated.
Ms Eda Barnard, Chief Director: Municipal Performance Monitoring and Support, DLG, answered the question about waste management. She said the waste function was controlled by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP), but the DLG worked closely with them and they functioned as one team to support municipalities. In practice, municipalities were assisted with access and entry and the DLG gave access to other departments to bring in their technical expertise. On the current support plans for municipalities, there were waste management projects and the DEADP would be the specialist lead Department in driving that programme in the municipalities. She confirmed that it was a challenge and confirmed that colleges in the DEADP had put many plans in place for the project.
Dr Sandra Greyling, Director: Municipal Support and Capacity Building, DLG, answered the question about town planning. She said the DLG was the mobiliser and made sure municipalities were provided with solutions for challenges experienced. The solution proposed for town planning in the Central Karoo District Municipality was to use a shared services model involving, for example the Garden Route, the DEADP or even the municipal infrastructure support agent at a national level. That ensured the service was made available to district and local municipalities. In practice, the line function that provided the support supplied direct support to the district and local municipalities, ensuring the function took place upon request by municipalities.
Mr van der Westhuizen asked a follow up question on town planning. He asked if the DLG tracked the municipal performance of how long it took between the receipt of an application for building plan approval and the final approval outcome thereof. Was there an indication of the seriousness of allegations Members received? Over the last two years, there had been very low economic and developmental growth in South Africa. He therefore wanted to know whether there was capacity to sustain economic growth once the economic recovery was restored to the year before 2008.
Mr Paulse said there was a system which was a developer monitoring system and provincial departments must put input into the system to indicate what they would like to monitor on a quarterly basis.
Ms Barnard added there was a system in place that analysed the functioning of the municipality on a quarterly basis. It was called the Western Cape Monitoring Education System (WCMES). It was a system that included all the departments that required information from municipalities into one space. They are asked to state what information the DLG would need from municipalities on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. That was loaded into an electronic system. Municipalities are then able to electronically compile complete information and feed that into the electronic system. The DLG was then able to download that information and prepare reports, which had been presented to the Committee in the past. It was important to understand that even though the information was collected on a quarterly, biannually and annual basis, the information received from municipalities was also supplemented with information received from other sources such as the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), National Treasury and external agencies that collected information. The system was currently under review. It was being refined and prepared to be moved to a knowledge management space. That would enable information to be accessed more frequently to guide decision making for the entire provincial government. It was an ongoing planning and development process. The most important thing to point out to Members was the matters that provincial departments required with regards to town planning and waste, are exclusively covered in the electronic information system.
Mr van der Westhuizen welcomed the response and said it was heart-warming. However, he felt data did not always tell the full story. Could the officials assure Members that the information collected was a true reflection of the situation and observations on the ground regarding waste management? Although many households did not have problems with waste management, he had witnessed certain areas that had serious problems with it.
He asked if the feedback given meant there were capacity constraints in terms of town planning such as in the Central Karoo that had been mentioned. Was that a generally widespread problem or was it simply anecdotal and not true?
Ms Barnard explained that when the information populated by the municipalities was received, the DLG supplemented the information with other information at its disposal. That information was from the sources mentioned above. The information was checked to make sure it reflected the true circumstances of service delivery and compliance in municipalities. She re-emphasised that the provincial departments took responsibility for their own areas and that enabled them to flag certain problems in their areas, for example, a waste management problem within a specific municipality. There was a lot of cross and double checking of information.
Ms Barnard elaborated on town planning and said there some areas of scarce skills across municipalities and town planning was one of them. The lack was more prevalent in the rural municipalities. That was linked to capacity for services such as engineering and financial services. The DLG was aware that municipalities had difficulty in attracting and retaining specific skills. The shared services initiative was created to address that problem. Under the shared services initiative, a specific engineer could be shared among two or more municipalities.
Mr D Smith (ANC) touched on the Thusong Outreach Programme on page 33 and noted the numbers under the actual achievements were met and exceeded from three to five thousand. He asked however, why local languages suddenly did not appear under the actual achievements. Could the DLG assure the Committee that the pamphlets and posters were printed in local languages?
In terms of the transfer payments for CDWs Operational Support Grant on page 65, he noted the reasons for unpaid grants in the final quarter of the financial year but asked why the funding was paid in the fourth quarter. If it was paid in the financial year, then why did it reflect as unspent?
The Chairperson said Ms Maseko’s questions about MPACs had not been answered. He invited Ms Maseko to repeat her question.
Mr Kamal Makan, Director: Municipal Governance, DLG, answered Ms Maseko about the MPAC assessment conducted in Swellendam. The DLG had received an invitation from Swellendam to conduct an assessment relating to its MPAC and its functionality. The assessment determined the needs and demands of the MPAC. That flowed into the sister programme created to capacitate MPACs, together with the SA Local Government Association (SALGA).
The above also tied in with the second question about capacitating MPACs. The DLG, in conjunction with National Treasury and SALGA, [break in connection]…also based on the assessments that revealed assistance the MPACs required. The relevant departments would then be requested to help the MPACs.
Responding to Mr Smith’s question about the pamphlets, Mr Pretorius confirmed they were printed in all three languages. Some were generated by the DLG internally for the purposes of mobilising outreaches and services. Some were done in conjunction with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). Languages catered to the recipients in specific areas.
Mr Heinrich Magerman, Director: Community Development Worker Programme, DLG, said that for the year under review, there was a big challenge with the economic classification of the CDW grant. It was a matter raised by the AGSA which in turn had a long process which gave rise to a delay in the transfer of the funding and definitions.
Mr Smith welcomed the response and asked another question. Turning to page 75, he referred to the municipalities that received funding for water projects. Given there was inadequate planning in municipalities for the projects where the funds could have been put to better use elsewhere in the province, why were the municipalities given the funds in the first place when there was no realistic expectation that the projects would have been completed by 31 March? Surely there should have been a plan in place. Mr Smith was not prepared to accept COVID-19 as the reason as he felt it was cited for everything lately.
On the underspending in the Central Karoo area, there was R15 million overbudgeted for communications purposes alone. Could the R15 million not have been transferred to other municipalities for relief projects?
The Chairperson reminded Mr Smith that the financial year of municipalities ended on 30 June.
Mr van der Westhuizen asked a question about the drought relief given to municipalities. He said the importance of the support given should be appreciated as one could easily forget how dire the situation had been in the municipalities. Taking that into account, he added on to what Mr Smith had said and noted that money was often transferred across spheres of government because it looked great when 98% of the budget had been spent. However, it seemed to Mr van der Westhuizen that what had been identified was the lack of capacity at local government level to spend the money wisely and effectively. He concurred with Mr Smith that even if the last three months of the municipal financial year, they were prone to dumping of funds. One would have loved to see a greater percentage of expenditure at the end of March. Droughts did not wait and neither did the risks of running out of water. He felt the programme should have had more support and the projects rolled out faster before the end of March. Eight months later, did they have an indication of whether the money had been spent? Was the money safely in the hands of the municipality? Was there a chance that some of those local governments would have spent that money by now or would the projects have to be rolled out even later? What did the DLG’s monitoring of the situation reveal? Was it something the Committee should be concerned about?
An official from the Department said it was important to reflect on where the response to the drought had come from. He recalled that the 2017/18 year was the peak of the drought and the DLG had successfully managed that drought period. The funding for 2017/18 had since been suspended. In 2018/19, the drought specifically moved to the Central Karoo. In January 2019, the DLG had to respond to the drought rapidly by implementing emergency projects. He reported that in February 2019, the DLG transferred R8 million and in March 2019, R8 million was completely spent. That was the rapid urgent response which demonstrated the ability of the DLG and municipalities to spend funding when there were emergencies. With the 2019 funding, the DLG no longer responded to emergency items but to management related challenges and longer-term infrastructure needs. Those projects took longer. In January 2019, the DLG could install emergency boreholes that could be completed in one month. However, it was recognised that longer term infrastructure needs needed to be attended to as well. Unfortunately, that took time. He explained that in November of each year, a detailed drought assessment was conducted which determined how funding was allocated. He responded to the question about the funding and said it was allocated based on the November assessment hence why four months later, in March, only R4 million was spent. It only pointed to how the drought was managed and the cycles in which the assessments were conducted, and funding was allocated. He confirmed that as of the current meeting, 80% of the funding had been spent. He was waiting for the November reports that would reflect that the funding had been fully spent.
Mr P Marran (ANC) followed up on a question asked by Mr Smith and Mr van der Westhuizen. He accepted the DLG’s response about that spending. He said the question had been asked because there had been under spending. However, he wanted to know why the Report did not reflect that it had been spent 100 percent, as the DLG had said. Was the Department saying the funding was not spent in the year under review? Mr Marran felt that explanation would have made more sense. He understood that the financial years of municipalities differed and when monies were given to them, there was an expectation for them to spend it in a very short space of time. As he understood it, the DLG was only responsible for dispensing money to the municipalities while the municipalities were responsible for spending it. Although it was a disaster, he believed that supply chain processes still applied. Therefore, there was a process that needed to be followed before the money could be spent. If the money was spent in the same year under review, then why was it not reflected in the Report? If it was spent in the year not under review, then it made sense why it was not reflected.
Mr Paulse spoke from the perspective of the Accounting Officer and said there was an entire due diligence process followed when funding was allocated to the municipalities, especially in the drought. As had been indicated, there was a detailed analysis and assessment that was conducted before funding was considered. The risks were identified in terms of water and the drought. There are also business plans submitted and the municipalities’ readiness to implement the projects. There was an entire process which the engineers also navigated with the municipalities. That was submitted to the Accounting Officer after many considerations and undertakings by the municipalities and Chief Directorate. Given that due diligence process was followed, it transpired that the funding only flowed in the adjustment budget at a stage where there was certainty as to where the pressures were with the problem around water and the drought. The money was transferred by the means of a gazette authorised by the Minister of Finance. At the end of March – the financial year of the province - the municipalities had not spent all the money. As a result, they were given the opportunity to spend the money until 30 June of that year. Given the nature of capital projects and that they extended beyond a single year, the municipalities applied for rollover which the DLG applied and facilitated with the provincial treasury. The rollovers determined what extent the projects had been funded and based on that assessment, the rollover was supported. The DLG was doing its utmost best to ensure that the work was done before the tabling of the main budget in April. That would place municipalities in a position to start and commence with their work in their new financial year which began on 1 July each year. It was a work in progress but there were quarterly reports that were submitted to the Accounting Officer and based on the spending patterns, the municipalities were monitored very closely.
Mr Marran repeated Mr Paulse’s utterances to understand them correctly. He understood Mr Paulse to say that although money was dispensed to the municipalities late in the fourth quarter, and they failed to spend the money before the end of the financial year of the province in March, then the money would be rolled over and taken up in the main budget at the beginning of 1 April. However, municipalities would be allowed to spend the funds as from 1 July or at the start of that financial year. He wanted confirmation that his understanding of the response was correct, and it was then he was happy.
Mr Paulse confirmed that Mr Marran was correct in his understanding.
The Chairperson asked about the administrator or implementing agent in Kannaland. He asked about the allocation being appropriated for his renumeration. Looking at the consultancy report allocations, the Chairperson pointed to the further financial allocations made to the administrator for the development of the financial recovery plan which were separate amounts, one being for professional services. He therefore wanted to know about the allocations.
Secondly, the Chairperson said that much had been stated about the joint district programme which sounded very theoretical in the way it had been presented. Members were made to believe it was very successfully implemented so he asked for practical examples of the success of the model. Where and in what form did those take place within the districts?
Mr Gary Birch, Director: Specialised Support, DLG, said for the year under review, there were two administrator’s financial recovery. One was in respect of an official from a neighbouring municipality that was seconded across to perform that role and funds were provided for their salary. The second amount was also for the fees relating to an external administrator financial recovery that was appointed in September. There was also funding in relation to four projects that were undertaken as part of municipal intervention grant project. Those funds were provided for the organisational review.
Ms Zamxaka responded to the question about the joint district metro approach (JDMA). She said that on a practical level, the JDMA was based on the national version which was the district development model. In the Western Cape, the DLG acknowledged that for the JDMA to be successful there were three components required. The first was to ensure functional Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) structures. They needed to ensure there was good collaboration between the three spheres of government and the developmental approach in terms of projects. That was what the national version focused on. In the Western Cape, to institutionalise the JDMA, the DLG established district teams. In each of the five districts, there were specific teams that comprised of senior officials from the three spheres of government, all 13 provincial departments, representatives from local municipalities and district municipalities together with reps from the national Department, which had footprint in the Western Cape. Each team was led by a senior manager from the DLG. He explained that in each district, the DLG went through a process of identifying what the key priorities were in the municipality. Some of the priorities included matters relating to climate change, water security, waste management and infrastructure management, to mention a few. Each of those areas were guided by the municipal issues both at a strategic level and operational level and each JDMA team member was responsible to ensure their contribution in terms of the identified projects under each identified priority. The teams were decided with the district coordinating forum, which was the forum of the district and local mayors supported by the municipal managers. Then the DLG would identify the projects under each and agree what would be worked on jointly. Funding was sourced from the provincial, municipal and private sector. They had developed a District Implementation Plan endorsed by each District Coordination Forum (DCF). The key projects flowed out of that plan including collaborative projects and infrastructure projects. The implementation of those projects was led by the JDMA team leader to ensure the drive of the issue of co-planning and co-implementation. Before COVID-19, each district met monthly or quarterly. The meetings were chaired by the JDMA leader and feedback was provided to the DCF and district mayor. Some of the lessons learnt were through a serious chain management process. They now had officials of each department in the same space allowing them to discuss projects within that area at a strategic and operational level. If there were bottlenecks in an area, there was an official from Public Works or Environmental Affairs, or any relevant department that dealt with the issue. Some of those things formed part of the annual performance plans or their normal day-to-day activities. There multiple projects that had been agreed upon and some had been funded. The effectiveness differed from one area to another with some districts that had progressed significantly while others, such as the Garden Route District, were still trying to finalise their implementation plan. West Coast and Overberg district municipalities were advanced with theirs. Two other districts had approved their implementation plans and were in the process of implementing the identified projects. Ms Zamxaka said it was about working together overall, co-planning, co-budgeting and co-implementing. That was all for the benefit of the citizens.
Mr Paulse added that the provincial cabinet had decided to use the methodology of the JDMA to respond to COVID-19. They responded to the pandemic in relation to the five rural districts and the area-based model was used in the cities. That consisted of four sub-districts. The nine districts were used to respond to COVID-19 and based on that methodology, an HOD was deployed to each of those districts. Cabinet had also endorsed deploying a provincial minister to each of the districts to support the various districts. The methodology had been institutionalised and when the recovery plan came post COVID-19, cabinet resolved that the JDMA methodology be used to give its success in relation to COVID-19 in the post COVID-19 recovery plan. There had been areas identified and the DLG was dealing as it had done in response to COVID-19. The methodology was working but there were still challenges around understanding the practicalities around the district model. National colleges had been invited to experience some of the practices.
Part D, pages 96-130
Mr van der Westhuizen said he used to serve on the Portfolio Committee for Public Service and Administration in the National Assembly and the Western Cape had always been the shinning star when it came to signing performance agreements with senior management staff. He noted the DLG had achieved 100% on that indicator and congratulated them. He referred to table 343 and noted the inability to dismiss staff for inefficiency as a general trend in the public service. In contrast, the private sector demanded that employees earn their money or face dismissal. There seemed to be a new line in table 343 and he wondered whether it was not something that ought to be addressed within the DLG with greater emphasis on efficiency, budget cuts and a drive towards greater efficiency.
His second question pertained to table 344 about the exit interviews. He acknowledged that no one could force a resigning staff member to reveal the reasons for their resignation but the 80% indicated for people refusing to give exit interviews was much higher than what he had seen in other comparable bigger departments. He realided that ten resignations was not substantial, and one or two people could influence the statistics, but he would like Mr Paulse to emphasise in future the need for exit interviews so the DLG could determine why the employees left.
Thirdly, Mr van der Westhuizen had compared the number of sick days taken by the DLG officials with other bigger provincial departments and he was concerned. The sick leave cycle had begun at the beginning of 2019 and staff were entitled to 36 days of sick leave in a three-year cycle. So, if so many people had already taken an average of 10-11 days of sick leave during the first year of the sick leave cycle pre-COVID-19, then he was concerned about the management of health and sick leave in the DLG. He was concerned that a considerable number of staff may run out of sick leave at the end of the three-year cycle. He agreed that some people may have been extremely sick this year and may have qualified for incapacity or special leave and that it would have been difficult to monitor people’s sick leave while they have been at home. He added that people who practiced good hygiene due to COVID-19 practices did not experience winter influence. He repeated that he was concerned that the staff in general were almost out of their total sick leave days. Where there plans in place to address the potential danger of staff possibly ending up with unpaid leave?
Mr Smith asked if there a reason to be concerned about the many resignations in the DLG.
On the employment equity levels in the DLG, Mr Smith noted that six out of 16 senior managers on that level were white, which was the highest racial demographic in the DLG. Was the DLG an equal opportunity employer for all races? Did it uphold the prescripts of the Employment Equity Act of 1998? Mr Smith emphasised that his question was not to be viewed in terms of his political party but rather about adhering to legislation.
Mr Marran followed up on the staff resignations in the DLG detailed on page 104 -105. He noted that the people were between the ages of 30-39 meaning young people were leaving and if they had not provided any reasoning then one wondered what kind of relationship existed in the DLG if people left without explanation. It was very strange for a person to leave without any explanation. His biggest concern was that young workers were being lost for no reason. He asked for a clear answer as to why that was the case.
On the dismissals, Mr Paulse said there was a whole process required when one needed to dismiss an official based on inefficiency or poor performance. The Department of the Premier had also recognised that and for that reason had established a performance consulting unit to assist the line managers in dealing with poor performance in DLG. That unit was developing a plan to assist the line departments and would work closely with the unit of labour relations to help the DLG manage disciplinary action where it arose.
On the low number of exit interviews, Mr Paulse said it was the prerogative of the employee to decide to give reasons for their resignation. Although Mr Paulse would like to have all the reasons which helped to better manage the organisation, employees were not compelled to give reasons. Some viewed their reasons as confidential and private.
In response to Mr Marran’s question about the lack of retention of young talent, he said government had been trying to formulate a retention policy. If someone went to an accounting officer or their supervisor and told them they received a post in the private sector which paid them fives time more than what they earned in their public service employment and the accounting officer wished to retain their skills and services, the accounting officer was not allowed to offer five or ten thousand rand more for them to remain in the DLG. They did not have the legal discretion to do that. The DLG normally only found out after a person had left that they had gone into businesses or family businesses and they did not want their superiors to know.
On the number of sick days, Mr Paulse said Mr van der Westhuizen was correct that the new cycle began in 2019 and there were trends in the utilisation of sick leave. In the first year, there was an increase in the utilisation of sick leave which lessened towards the last year in the three-year cycle. As soon as the new cycle began, staff made use of many sick leave days. That was a trend across government in general. When people had exhausted their sick leave in the final year and they fell sick, they applied for incapacity leave which went through a due diligence process. There were doctors who did an assessment for incapacity leave and in the event the assessment was declined, and sick leave had been exhausted, then unpaid leave would have to be taken. Mr Paulse admitted there was a risk employees could fall into unpaid leave. The senior manager in the organisation had a leave register where all the leave was being assessed, trends tracked and if necessary, discussions would take place to address the excess leave.
On the concern around people leaving the organisation, Mr Paulse said the analysis of table 343 indicated that 29 people left the Department for the year under review – one passed away, one was discharged due to ill health, ten resigned, nine expired contracts, three retirements, three transfers to other departments and two promotions to other Western Cape departments. He said the DLG would receive funding for three years for contract employments, as was the case with the drought, for hydrologists and engineers. However, the legislation only enabled the Department to contract such person for a year and when the contract ended, the employee had to leave the organisation. The table indicated the breakdown of staff members that exited the DLG and given the oversight over people management, he was not concerned as there were valid reasons why 29 people left the DLG.
On the employment equity in the DLG, Mr Paulse said acknowledged what Mr Smith had expressed. He explained that the DLG had an employment equity manager who did assessment of the DLG’s targets during the hiring process. A recommendation was then submitted to the accounting officer to approve the appointment. The recommendation considered was made in the shortlisting and appointment phases based on the assessment of the DLG’s employment equity. Mr Paulse said every appointment strived to reach the equity targets. All senior management level posts were already filled so the employment equity could only be aligned with legislation as posts became vacant.
Mr Marran asked a follow up question about those who had left the DLG. He pointed out that even though the Report stated that there were no reasons given, when probed Mr Paulse, gave a reason. As Mr Marran had understood Mr Paulse’s explanation, if a person went to the HOD saying the private sector had offered them R5000 more than they currently received, the absence of the retention policy made it difficult to prevent the person from leaving. To Mr Marran, that explanation qualified as a reason. It seemed there were several reasons but if there were people who stated they received better offers - Mr Marran expected that to have been listed in the Report as a reason.
Further, where a person left without giving reasons, he wanted to know if Mr Paulse had ever received a phone call from a company stating that an employee of the DLG had gone for an interview and listed the DLG as a reference and wanted to know why the person resigned. What has been, or would be, Mr Paulse’s response in that situation?
Mr Paulse said the examples he mentioned was on the official record. He said he only learned the true reason why people left two to four month later. Under the official record, the people would not give reasons. The exit interviews became part of the formal records. What he had illustrated were some examples not part of the record. Therefore, they could not be official reasons. Mr Paulse said he had never received the kind of call described by Mr Marran above. What had happened in the past was that employees listed Mr Paulse as a personal reference on their curriculum vitae’s. Prospective employers would call him to ask about the official’s performance and characteristics and he would respond in terms of that.
Ms Maseko commented on the retention policy and said it had been discussed throughout the years. She said the problem was widespread across departments as the Western Cape had exceptional employees that were high demanded in other provinces as well as in the private sector. She said there could be bursaries given to employees to further their studies in how to run government but if there was no retention policy, the HOD could not rely on exit interviews to find out that employees were being offered 10% higher salaries elsewhere. Every employee worked to generate wealth within their families or social responsibilities. Through oversight, Members needed to find out what could be done to assist the DLG in a creation of a retention policy.
The Chairperson added to Ms Maseko’s comment and said one could look at the senior manager salaries offered by the City of Cape Town which were competitive, so he understood why people moved around also in pursuit of personal development.
The Chairperson asked another question not directly related to the Annual Report, but it could feature in the next Annual Report. Given that it had been an unusual year with unusual circumstances, he did not know whether any of the Department staff had been afflicted with the COVID-19 virus that required hospitalisation. Were allowances made for staff members who had to be hospitalised or away from work for extended periods of time due to COVID-19? Would that kind of incapacitation impact their sick leave for the cycle?
Mr Paulse confirmed that one of the deputy directors had been offered a much better salary by the City of Cape Town and accepted the offer.
He said staff members who contracted COVID-19 were not hospitalised. There had been CDW staff members who passed away due to the virus. It was considered as normal sick leave irrespective of what the sickness was. The leave would first be allocated against the normal sick leave and to an extent, it was possible that one could apply for incapacity leave where the 36 sick leave days had been exhausted.
The Chairperson tabled Parts A, B and D for any final questions to be asked.
The Chairperson said the Annual Report would only be adopted in 2021. He expressed deep felt gratitude to Mr Paulse and his team for the results reported. It bore testament to the accolades the DLG received for service to the people. He thanked Mr Paulse and his team on behalf of the Committee and was extremely grateful to be associated with the DLG. He commended them on their professionalism in engaging and provision of information. He wished them a wonderful rest with their families and asked that they remained safe.
He gave the DLG an opportunity to make closing remarks.
Mr Paulse thanked the Chairperson and acknowledged the good work the Committee was doing in terms of its oversight. He said in the Committee exercising its oversight function to raise pertinent questions, the exercise made the DLG better. The DLG not only received acknowledgment but also took accountability and responsibility to reflect on its work.
Mr Paulse also thanked MEC Bredell for his leadership as well as the entire management team. Every member of the team was equally important. When he got up in the morning, he had purpose about the contribution he was making, and it was a pleasure working as a civil servant.
MEC Bredell echoed Mr Paulse and thanked him and the team. He was very proud to be a part of the team which was doing great work daily. He said one did not enter the space to be thanked as it was a difficult space to work in. The Western Cape could appreciate the competencies within the team. While many prayed for a holiday, the DLG prayed against another disaster as it would be local government that would need to step in. His team was always available and never complained; they simply served the people. He thanked the Committee for fulfilling its oversight role. He echoed Mr Paulse that the Committee had an obligation to ask difficult questions. MEC Bredell said the DLG always tried to be independent but was confronted by uncomfortable situations sometimes which it tried to handle professionally. It was not about playing politics, as some people had mentioned. All decisions were taken within the rule of law and the Department would do everything within its power to get rid of corruption and maladministration within municipalities.
He commented on the staff that left and admitted that many younger people had left. Although it was sad, the reason was the salaries. The media often reported that the public sector service was overpaid and underperformed but in his opinion, it was the opposite as civil servants often overperformed and were underpaid. More comparisons needed to be completed between the private sector and government salaries. It was quite surprising and the facts would reveal why people left. In the City of Cape Town, the officials got double the salaries. Therefore, it was inevitable that the younger employees would leave.
He wished everyone a great Christmas season and hoped the Committee Members would get time to rest. He knew the Committee could help the DLG with getting messages out to communities where required.
The Chairperson said the engagement with the DLG, and officials had come to an end. The Members would remain to wrap up administrative tasks.
Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes dated 13 November 2020
The Chairperson took Members through the minutes page by page.
The minutes were adopted with no amendments.
Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes dated 27 November 2020
The Chairperson took Members through the minutes page by page.
The minutes were adopted with no amendments.
Report on the Standing Committee of Local Government on it oversight visit to Kannaland Municipality on Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Mr Marran referred to the resolution taken in terms of the Thusong Centres and the system that ought to be given by local government. He asked whether a resolution had been taken in terms of the DLG assisting municipalities with sports forums.
The Chairperson said he was right but that it had to be separated as the visit to the sports field had been part of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) process. That resolution was taken in that context whereas the present resolution before Members was taken by the Committee. Therefore, it had not been incorporated into the current report.
Mr van der Westhuizen pointed to paragraph 1.2.1 and asked that the grammatical errors be corrected.
The report was adopted with one amendment.
The Chairperson asked Members if they had any resolutions to propose flowing from the Annual Report engagement. He said there were quite a few that had emanated from the DLG.
The Committee Procedural Officer said questions raised by Members were adequately responded to by the DLG. He did ask that the Committee interact with the DLG and various MPACs in municipalities in the following year. That would require the Standing Committee to hold meetings with the various MPACs at the municipalities.
Ms Maseko agreed. She added that the DLG needed to listen to Members questions especially regarding the Thusong Centres. She proposed the Standing Committee go and visit the Thusong Centres to check what services were offered and how accessible they were to communities. That would allow the Committee to identify the useful ones so the DLG could maximise those services. There were towns with Thusong Centres that needed certain services.
Mr Smith indicated that the email system was not working properly for some Members. Thus, he wanted to confirm the cluster visit the following year and asked the procedural officer to give clarity in that regard. Who would Members claim from?
Ms Maseko said there was a certain percentage allocated from the budget jointly. The claim would go to the procedural officer and he would direct it to the Members Standing Committee.
The Chairperson asked the procedural officer to send the programme again.
The procedural officer said Members should indicate whether they would make use of WCPP transport or their own transport.
The Chairperson thanked the procedural officer for his dedication and hard work during the difficult year and thanked him for rising to the task. The Chairperson also thanked the technical assistance.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for their support and wished them well.
All Members thanked the Chairperson and wished one another well.
The meeting was adjourned.
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