The Portfolio Committee convened in a virtual meeting for a briefing by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) on progress with the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) and the lessons learnt from the three pilot projects. The Committee had previously sought clarity on the DDM, its key objectives and implementation plan.
The Committee felt it had received insufficient information on the lessons learn by the DDM to fully support it. The Chairperson said the DDM should not simply be another talk show, but a meaningful programme that would bring a positive change to the lives of citizens.
The Deputy Minister said the aim of the DDM was to improve integrated planning across all spheres government to focus on development. It would be enabled by joint planning and budgeting. He highlighted that policy implementation, planning and budgeting were weak points in South Africa. The DDM would strengthen the local sphere in a more coherent, developmental cooperative governance system which would focus on better spatial and development outcomes.
Three DDM pilot hubs had been launched and resourced in the eThekwini, Waterberg and OR Tambo districts. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had added to the complexity of the DDM, which required economic interventions. Since the adoption of the DDM in 2019, several milestones had been reached. The focus areas for district One Plans would be on governance and financial management, integrated service provision, infrastructure engineering, spatial restructuring and economic positioning. The aim of the DDM was also to stabilise local government through dealing with political infighting.
The Committee heard that there were champions and district forums in all districts, such as Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Executive Committees (MECs). 34 districts had been visited by these champions, and 39 district forums had been convened and were operational. Frameworks, guidelines and circulars had been developed, and workshops had been undertaken on the DDM. 1.5 million hectares of land had been pledged by traditional leaders.
There had been various partnerships and collaboration on the DDM. The DDM would be supported with a specific focus on the development of the One Plans and the DDM Information Management System. Technical experts would be provided to the pilots by the National Business Initiative (NBI). The DCoG said the investment potential in the eThekwini Metro was R132 billion, which would create more than 200 000 new construction jobs and 10 000 permanent jobs. The progress on port congestion to date included the introduction of new technology to manage bookings. While the city had an economic recovery plan, it had not been implemented, as support was needed from the provincial and national government for its implementation. DCoG said it had made progress on a number of projects in the eThekwini, OR Tambo and Waterberg Districts. The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) had allocated R968 million to the Waterberg District and relevant local municipalities. The Committee was told that consultations with stakeholders to enrich the One Plan had commenced and would be finalised by the end of March.
Members raised concerns over municipalities that did not receive clean audit outcomes and had service delivery issues. They stressed that they needed to understand what the DDM aimed to achieve in order to support the model better. A lack of capacity to deal with disaster management and the need for targeted approaches to funding and grants was pointed out. The Committee emphasised that they required a detailed report on the pilot’s findings to ascertain which aspects of it worked and what needed to be changed.
Members questioned whether it was a lack of proper coordination that caused the widespread failure of interventions. They were concerned that the design of the DDM involved a shift away from a civilian approach towards a militaristic approach to planning, and felt this may leave little room for disagreement with a province or national government. They expressed doubts whether local economic growth and financial and institutional capacity could sustain the DDM. Many municipalities were already far advanced in implementing some of the objectives or goals that the DDM had put forward, and there was concern that changing the route of some of the municipalities by implementing a uniform model would be detrimental.
Members questioned whether taxpayers would have to fund the DDM, and where funds would be sourced. They said a R2 000 voucher from the Solidarity Fund that was given to assist emerging farmers was not sufficient, and did not make sense. They pointed out that the Committee was still awaiting a report on the Community Worker Programme (CWP) re-modelling, and a list of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and officials involved in defrauding the state since last year. The Committee heard that while traditional leaders were touted as an integral part of the DDM, they felt alienated from it due to inadequate consultation.
The Chairperson emphasised that a report on the intentions of the DDM, its functions and progress was necessary. She said the report on the three pilot districts must be sent to the Committee by next week.
The Chairperson said the Committee had previously raised clarity seeking questions on the District Development Model (DDM), its key objectives and the implementation plan, and how it formed part of the “Back to Basics” programme. The Committee had raised concerns about receiving insufficient information on lessons learnt. During the Committee’s oversight last year, traditional leaders in eThekwini had pointed out their limited role in the DDM. One of the DDM’s priorities was to facilitate the Agrarian Revolution by availing land to traditional leaders for agricultural projects. The traditional leadership had mentioned land as an issue to the Committee. The Department had said this land was not suitable. She said the Committee wanted to understand how land would be made available for the Agrarian Revolution. The Agrarian Revolution must be kickstarted. The DDM should not be another talk show, but a meaningful programme that would change the lives of citizens for the better.
Mr Obed Bapela, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), in his opening remarks, said Cabinet had approved the DDM to improve integrated planning across all spheres of government, focusing on “district” and “development.” It would be enabled by joint planning and budgeting. Policy implementation, planning and budgeting were weak points for South Africa. The DDM would strengthen the local sphere in a more coherent developmental cooperative governance system which would focus on better spatial and development outcomes.
It had become apparent that departments in the national sphere of government and state-owned entities did not always synchronise their planning, investment and programmes. In many cases, there were misalignments between areas where municipalities were expanding infrastructure, and provinces were blaming housing projects. A model had been launched in OR Tambo, eThekwini and the Waterberg districts. The profiling taking place had provided a deeper understanding of these areas, the government capacities and systems. The model offered the greatest opportunity for reorganizing government programmes and budgets to be more synchronized and cohesive.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had added to the complexity of the DDM, which requires economic interventions. Over 2.2 million people had lost their jobs as a result of lockdowns across the world. Since the adoption of the DDM in 2019, several milestones had been reached. Profiles had been developed for each of the district and metro spaces in the country. District sites had been launched in the three pilot sites. The President had appointed Ministers and Deputy Ministers to oversee certain metros. Traditional leaders were also involved.
District Development Model progress
Mr Themba Fosi, Deputy Director-General (DDG), DCoG, said the three pilot sites had been launched in 2019. A comprehensive implementation tool had been developed to provide guidance to different stakeholders. A report was compiled last year, and would be sent to Members.
The aim of the DDM was to accelerate service delivery, strengthen oversight and institutions of local governance, strengthen cooperative governance architecture and approach, strengthen local government finances, accelerate the implementation of the Agrarian Revolution, and to strengthen Disaster Management.
The focus areas for District One plans would be on governance and financial management, integrated service provision, infrastructure engineering, spatial restructuring and economic positioning.
The DDM had various phases, such as its medium term two to five-year phase, in which consolidation would be done, and a long-term five-year-plus phase to sustain it. Its current progress involved principles incorporated into a planning, budgeting and reporting cycle. A framework had been developed for this.
One plan had been developed for three pilot district/metro spaces. Functioning hubs and coordinating committees had been established in the three pilots. The Integrity Management Service (IMS) was the core module developed. The Intergovernmental Relations Framework (IGRF) Act regulations had been drafted and promulgated to give effect to DDM institutionalisation.
The aim of the DDM was also to:
- Stabilise local government through dealing with political infighting such as instability, poor oversight, polarisation and inappropriate political administrative interface;
- Deal with inadequate service delivery, as no municipality had budgeted the required 8% for maintenance;
- High vacancy rates and poor audit outcomes.
DCoG, the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) would be working together to address water supply through available grants. The Department would embark on a pilot validation process of the prototype establishments. Multi-disciplinary revenue committees would also be established.
Three DDM pilot hubs had been launched and resourced in the eThekwini, Waterberg and OR Tambo districts. 52 district profiles had been completed which covered situational analysis. There were champions and district forums in all districts, such as Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Executive Councils (MECs). 34 districts were visited by these champions, and 39 district forums had been convened and were operational. Frameworks, guidelines and circulars were developed and workshops were undertaken on the DDM.
The 1.5 million hectares pledged by traditional leaders would be actualised and supported with agriculture extension officers.
The work still to be done involved decentralising all departments’ operations to ensure that all government departments had a presence and/or programmes in the districts, and developing an integrated and connected mega ‘New Coastal City Project,’ and appointing a multi-sectoral project lead team. There should also be clean audits on the current capacity of the Local Economic Development (LED) units and the impact of municipal development agencies.
Profiles, integrated development plans (IDPs), diagnostic reports, economic and financial recovery plans, and catalytic projects had been finalised for pilot sites.
There have been various partnerships and collaboration on the DDM. These included the Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), the United Nations (UN), the Water Research Commission (WRC), the Hollard Foundation, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the National Business Initiative (NBI), Sibanye Gold Mine and Applied Development Research Solutions. These partnerships and collaborations would support the development of the economic recovery plan and the development of the One Plan for the Waterberg District.
The United Nations (UN) would support the implementation of the DDM in the three pilots in various areas for economic development. The DDM would be supported in three pilot areas of water research for economic development and job creation. This would facilitate job opportunities for graduates and unemployed youth. Other key programmes were the master plans on tourism, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), and other sectors.
The DDM would be supported with a specific focus on the development of the One Plans and the DDM Information Management System. Technical experts would be provided to three pilots by the NBI.
Partnerships with the private sector would be strengthened for alternative finance options.
It was important to note that engagements would be monitored in a DDM project management report.
District Development Implementation: eThekwini hub
A technical hub was launched in eThekwini in June 2020. The investment potential in the eThekwini Metro was R132 billion, which would create more than 200 000 new construction jobs and 10 000 permanent jobs.
Key catalyst projects were:
- M4 and Umhlanga North Corridor: Investment of R3.4 billion;
- Inner City Central Corridor: Investment of R250m + R1.7 billion;
- N2 South Corridor: Investment of R1.5 billion;
- N3 West Corridor: Investment of R813m + R3.4 billion;
- Aerotropolis North Corridor: Investment of R270 million;
- Central/North Corridor: Investment of R505 million.
Strategic resolutions on port congestion
The progress on port congestion to date included the introduction of new technology to manage bookings at the port called the Integrated Port Management System, which monitors ships in and outside the port. A system called NAVIS planned and monitored operations so customers could view when cargo was ready for collection. There were two new staging facilities for container trucks, such as at the Old Durban Airport.
Strategic considerations included the fact that exports at the Durban port were 40% more expensive than those of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) due to high inland transport and handling. Durban had performed poorly in attracting fixed direct investment (FDI) and was placed at 22nd in Africa after Johannesburg, at number 2, Cape Town at 7 and Port Elizabeth at 21.
Developing eThekwini into a Smart Port City would stimulate manufacturing in eThekwini and neighbouring municipalities. A meeting had been held with Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) on 9 December 2020 for national government intervention. Meeting confirmation was awaited between the Mayor and relevant KZN MECs about interventions, prior to the formal submission to national government.
While the City had an Economic recovery plan, it had not been implemented, as support was needed from provincial and national government for its implementation. The funding process must be fast tracked to implement catalytic projects through prioritising the metro as a DDM pilot and fast tracking engagements between the metro and the province.
District Development Implementation: OR Tambo district hub
Five water and sanitation projects were being implemented within the five local municipalities.
Major infrastructure projects were based in the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Municipality.
Key projects include:
- Mqanduli Secondary Bulk Water Supply - R6.1 billion
- KSD PIP Water: Ngqeleni & Libode Corridors - R1.6 billion
- Libode Secondary Bulk Water Supply - R1 billion
- Ingquza Hill Ward 8 Sanitation - R13.9 million
- Port St Johns Ward 18 Sanitation - R8.1 million
- Tsolo Waste Water Treatment Works and Raw Sewerage Pump Station - R82,3 million
- Libode Sewerage Treatment Works Phase 1 - R51.2 million.
The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) had allocated R2.9 billion to the OR Tambo District. R900 million had been allocated for water, sanitation, roads and community amenity projects. As at 20 December 2020 the District municipality had already spent 22% of the R900 million allocation. Progress had been made on:
- 19 water projects to the value of R 3.4 billion, with 291 000 beneficiaries.
- 12 sanitation projects to the value of R339 million, with 21 000 beneficiaries.
- 47 road projects to the value of R572 million.
- 12 community facility projects to the value of R173 million.
Strategic Resolutions progress
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Water Research Commission was being developed, and the scope of the MOU would cover all three pilots to include climate change and economic development.
A diagnostic report had been developed as part of the One Plan, to provide insight on climate change.
The partnership with the UN would address climate change and the development of the One Plan, such as increased temperatures, extreme weather events such as flooding and drought, and sea level rise.
Plans had been made to host the OR Tambo investment summit before 1 April. A local organising committee would be established for the summit for the coastal region, and the summit would be hosted for three DDM pilots before the end of March.
Consultations with stakeholders to enrich the One Plan had commenced, and the One Plan would be finalised by the end of March.
District Development Implementation: Waterberg District hub
The MIG had allocated R968 million to the Waterberg District and relevant local municipalities. As at end December 2020, the District municipality had spent 45% of its R307 million 2020/21 allocation.
Progress had been made on the following projects:
- 12 water projects to the value of R448 billion to benefit 80 000 beneficiaries.
- One (rehabilitation) sanitation project to the value of R2 million to benefit 25 500 beneficiaries.
- 12 road projects to the value of R254 million.
- Five community facility projects to the value of R64 million.
- Two solid waste projects to the value of R80 million.
- Eight street lighting projects to the value of R18 million.
In unlocking the northern mineral belt, with Waterberg as the catalyst, Medupi had been allocated R145 billion, Mokolo Crocodile bulk water distribution, R12.3 billion, and the Waterberg Rail Expansion Programme R28.9 billion.
CoGTA, with the support of PPGI, was working with the Waterberg chapter and the ABSA board to secure blended finance for emerging farmers, particularly women and youth. The Waterberg farming sector was supporting emerging farmers in securing some of the government’s newly released land to expand their operations. The Solidarity Fund was considering the provision of agricultural input vouchers for emerging farmers. Discussions were under way, with various initiatives from organisations who would like to or were already supporting emerging farmers in the district.
The mining companies had put together a fund to build a small development hub that would cover small businesses in tourism, agriculture and mining, in particular procurement and the development of supply chains.
A concept document had been created to work on the feasibility of establishing call centres in the Waterberg area for youth employment to be utilised by government agencies such as the police, social welfare, local tourism and debt collection.
Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) said the Committee was waiting on the report of the pilot project. She said no one should try and play politics when discussing issues affecting people on the ground. The Committee’s duty was to perform oversight. The AG’s report showed that out of 273 municipalities in South Africa, only 20 had received clean audits. The most important thing was to understand what the DDM was a about. She asked for the disaster management report from the Department, as it would help the DDM, accelerate service delivery and strengthen oversight.
How would things be done differently this time? The disaster management was a disaster on its own. For instance, there was a time when she had sought intervention in eThekwini when there was a shack fire and had been told by officials that there was no budget for this. How would disaster management be strengthened, because when people lost their houses, they were given only blankets and food? She suggested that infrastructure engineering be clarified. The Department of Water and Sanitation was a part of oversight, and had said aging infrastructure was an issue in the municipality. As they spoke, the state of municipalities was unsatisfactory and embarrassing. Coordination had been lacking. Corruption had not been mentioned in the DDM.
Deputy Minister Bapela said Ms Mkaliphi had been spot on with the issues she raised on the DDM. Continuous capacity building programmes were in place in the municipalities. The DDM would allow municipalities to not only be internally focused, but also to begin to look at a district-wide scope. In this way, there was much to learn about national and provincial government and state-owned entities working together. This would allow municipalities to realise their weaknesses and start building on this. All municipalities would receive projects. The districts were the development areas.
DDG Fosi said the Department would be submitting a report to the Committee which would include implementation tools, guidelines and circulars.
On the lessons learned, the DDM had been rolled out in mid-year in 2019 and approved in August 2019. A profile had been developed for the detailed launches for the three districts. National and Provincial departments’ implementation had been assessed, including the relevant municipalities. The report would detail some of the current challenges government was faced with. The Department was at the implementation phase of the plan, and hoped that the timeline ended in July 2021.
He agreed with Ms Mkhaliphi on the lack of capacity to deal with disaster management. A new approach would be introduced for the functioning of government to have a more targeted approach in dealing with issues and to reconsider the way grants were used. The DDM was not introducing new policies, but would assess issues in a particular sphere and how other stakeholders were contributing. He emphasised that the DDM was not introducing new policies, but would assist in resolving some of the remaining challenges.
Mr C Brink (DA) reassured Mr Fosi, and said he should not be deterred by the risk of politicians politicising issues. If civil servants stayed out of politics, the attack was on political principles. The role of civil servants was merely to explain, be accurate on what the plans were and ensure their own professional integrity in adhering to the Constitution. Mr Fosi need not be afraid of politics, as it was not his domain.
The first problem was the lack of clarity on what exactly was intended by the DDM. If one called something a pilot, one presumes that a concept would be tested in a particular area. From this experience, certain things would be learnt about the concept. Had the model produced results? Were there aspects from the initial plan that had to be abandoned in light of the findings? The pilot presumed findings and then produced results that inform policies. There was no coherent report that had been put before the Committee. Only vague references had been made, but no results that were particular to the central concepts of the DDM had been mentioned. A lot of detail that one expects from a pilot project was simply not there, which left much open to interpretation. This was concerning.
So many municipalities were collapsing because they did not coordinate their plans with the national and provincial governments. It seemed as if improved governmental coordination and cooperation, with national government at the centre, was the solution to policy issues. He was not certain that this was the correct assumption to make. Many interventions had failed, because the assumption was to divert sufficient expertise from national government. How was the DDM different from the idea of solving problems at the centre, which had been the basis for all of the failed interventions? Was it really proper coordination that was at the heart of the widespread failure?
He knew and understood the provisions of the Constitution that dealt with cooperative governance. There was a system of government in this country, where different spheres had a measure of autonomy. There were different elections for local, provincial and national government based on different priorities and policy options. These spheres of government must work together and try to coordinate their efforts by some means provided by various legislations, such as the Intergovernmental Relations Framework. How would the DDM deal with conflicts between the different spheres of government, and how did it change the current system?
He was particularly interested in what was constantly repeated in workshop documents, which was the idea of moving away from trying to align different spheres of government and instead make a move toward aligning their plans with a central planning system by national government. An official from the Department recently said that the design of the DDM involved a shift away from a civilian approach towards a military approach to planning. This was joint planning, where one plan and one budget was imposed. What space would this leave for a municipality that disagreed with a provincial or national government? What happened when a new mayor was elected in the Waterberg district? Did the DDM contemplate the centralisation of all power in the hands of national government? If it did, he did not think this was envisaged by the Constitution, or that it was the solution to the fundamental issues of governance and service delivery at a local level. The skills did not exist in national government, and district hubs had no resources. There was no budgetary allocation for experts to work at district hubs. The reasoning behind centralised control leading to better outcomes was not clear.
Deputy Minister Bapela said the issues raised by Mr Brink depended on whether the national government would take over planning and be dominant in a militaristic way. Working would take place through a cooperative model that was guided by the legislation in place. Some legislation, such as the Integrated Governmental Framework Act, would be strengthened if the need arose. Section 47 would be used to develop a simple coordination model. This was not a takeover by government, and Constitutional provisions would be respected. Cooperation and coordination would be the guiding instruments. Local skills would be relied upon. Maladministration and corruption would be dealt with in rebuilding the model. He assured the Committee that this was not a takeover by government, and that the civilian role would still be emphasised.
DDG Fosi said the DDM was a model for cooperative governance and constitutionally, and would not take away the distinctiveness of the different spheres. Planning and budgeting would be done separately, but the DDM emphasised working together. Section 41 provided for intergovernmental structures and coordination. This model did not replace the IDPs of municipalities. The DDM must be clear on changing the conditions of people in districts, and there was a common set of objectives that the three spheres of government could work around. The three spheres of government would still continue to implement their responsibilities. The One Plan was simply related to the agreed set of objectives that would bring all spheres of government together. This approach did not take away from the constitutional architecture and was more about enhancing it. No new powers would be given to national government. Local districts had not been performing well in audit outcomes, but the support provided to municipalities should look at why this happened, to provide targeted support that improved conditions concretely.
Ms M Tlou (ANC) said she thought the platform of monitoring would be effective in running municipalities effectively, and would also bring about government stabilisation and curb in-fighting and the failure to provide service delivery. The DDM placed a heavy emphasis on local economic growth and development, but the priorities listed in the presentation did not mention local economic growth and development. Was this no longer a priority? When did the Department envisage tabling this in Parliament, considering that this had been considered since the fourth administration? What were some of the regulations the Department had promulgated in terms of Section 47 of the intergovernmental relations Framework towards the institutionalisation of the DDM?
DDG Fosi said development was central to the DDM. Opportunities such as agriculture and tourism in districts had been identified for stimulation, to create community-based economic development. The Municipal Structures Amendment Bill was being processed to be taken to Cabinet for approval. Some of the key aspects of the Bill emphasise support and monitoring before interventions. There were proposals on how this should be managed. The Bill was structured to make intervention a last resort and to ensure processes were clear.
Ms E Spies (DA) said the presentation looks fairly good. Mr Brink had alluded to what a pilot project needed. It was of paramount importance that feedback was sent to the Committee on this. The expectation was not to hear that a pilot was going well, but Members needed to know the pros and cons and discuss this openly and honestly. If the signs and evidence showed it was not viable, they could not continue with the project.
The reality was that the challenge on the ground was huge, and the financial capability and institutional capacity must be considered. There was no financial and institutional capability. A simple example was when the Committee considered municipalities where urgent intervention was needed. In that process, various governments were already drawn in to see if they could find tangible solutions. In her opinion, it did not seem that this was working. There was no one size fits all approach, so where they believed municipalities were falling apart, this model should be applied. Many municipalities were already far advanced in implementing some of these objectives or goals that the DDM had put forward. Why change the route of some of these municipalities by implementing a uniform model when it had been proven that one size did not fit all? Key to this discussion was that the Committee needed to get thorough, open and honest feedback, and this must be interrogated. She wanted to understand the review of the Community Work Programme (CWP) model, and what this entailed.
DDG Fosi said the Department would provide the Committee with a report on the issues raised by Ms Spies. The approach was not to impose the DDM. For example, the Western Cape and KZN had strong mechanisms for coordination in municipalities. The DDM would not take away from this, but would build on what existed and would bring in a national contribution.
Deputy Minister Bapela said Ms Spies was correct, and that practical reports must be provided on the lessons learned in the pilot projects. This would instil confidence in the model. Some municipalities were more advanced and should not be disrupted. The DDM would be implemented with agreement and harmony so as not to disrupt the good progress already made. It should enhance the good progress.
Mr K Ceza (EFF) said the Committee was aware of the many challenges faced by municipalities. The Committee was awaiting a report on the CWP re-modelling to ensure better community participation and empowerment. The Committee was also waiting for the report on the list of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and officials involved in defrauding the state since last year.
The presentation had referred to partnerships and collaboration. Public sector stakeholders had not been engaged in the pilot project, so what was the position on this? IDPs run for five years and were renewed on an annual basis. People were being assisted with mining, and what eventually became the collapse of infrastructure. Section 24 of the Constitution spoke to the cracking of houses as a result of deliberate neglect by the mines. What impact would the DDM have on ensuring that all mining actions addressed the wellbeing of communities where they operated, to improve the environment and living conditions?
He asked for a breakdown of how funds were disbursed to assist the emerging farmers. The AG report had assessed 257 municipalities, which pointed to several shortcomings in government bureaucracy. The report cited vacancies, flouting of legislated governance frameworks, corruption and poor oversight as a main service delivery impediment. What remedial action would the DDM put in place change the situation of municipalities? What mechanism had the DDM put forward for building state capacity and ensuring that there were the required skills in internal audit teams? This was needed to produce quality financial statements and inform reports. What was the position on this? The DDM refers to the development of rural development and investing in infrastructure for integrated human settlement -- how would poverty and risky environmental conditions be resolved? What was the position of the DDM on external service providers who were compromising the quality and completion of projects? This was at the centre of all issues. When service providers do not go through the vetting of all processes, it created an issue. The quality of services in the municipalities did not translate to money. The creation of employment had been mentioned in changing the economic structure of rural areas.
(Parts of Mr Ceza’s questions could not be heard, due to his connection issues)
Deputy Minister Bapela said the DDM would still focus on the weaker municipalities, to build capacity and ensure the ideal model of municipalities was achieved. Quite a number of issues still needed to be dealt with.
DDG Fosi said the issues raised by Mr Ceza would be addressed by involving mining houses in the planning process. There was a legislative requirement for mining houses to comply with these issues and invest in communities.
There was no breakdown on how funds were utilised, but the Department could report on funds allocated from the Solidarity Fund. The National Treasury had performed a study which showed that more than R2 billion for capacity building programmes was available to municipalities, but the main challenge was that they were not coordinated. The DDM would provide an opportunity to coordinate efforts, given that there were resources in the system, and success would be determined by how resources were utilized. There were over five Departments in OR Tambo that were providing training to the youth and focused on their certification. Such programmes could be redirected to address the causes of unemployment.
Mr I Groenewald (FF+) asked if funds would be collected for the DDM, and how this would be done. Would tax payers receive relief for the pressure placed on them to pay more tax? Would there be revenue enhancement? What would the DDM do differently to what was currently prescribed in the legislative framework? He could not see the difference between the DDM’s responsibility and that of municipalities.
DDG Fosi said the distinctiveness of the different spheres of government would remain. The money existing in the system would be utilised. Provinces also had to indicate in their budgets how they would be contributing. There were systemic issues which impacted on the viability of municipalities, such as revenue raising interventions for municipalities. The municipalities had an inability to collect revenue, and some were located within areas where revenue could not be collected.
Ms S Buthelezi (IFP) said it was imperative that the Committee saw the report on the pilot models in the presentation. CoGTA’s annual report indicated a trend toward overspending and underachievement of programmes. Had funds already been earmarked, and what exactly was the allocated amount of those funds? There should be a more visible role for traditional leadership in this democracy. What consultation had taken place with the national and provincial houses of traditional leaders? The annual report indicated that while traditional leaders were touted as an integral part of the DDM, they felt alienated from it due to inadequate consultation. There was a lack of collaboration between the relevant departments. Why had CoGTA not included the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in its endeavors? Similarly, there was a lack of feedback from this Department. Had CoGTA engaged with representatives from the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development?
Deputy Minister Bapela responded that the DDM would deal with issues in an integrated manner. Traditional leaders had been consulted at the level of the national house. The Department had realised that local houses and local traditional leaders had received less information, and less consultation had taken place. Land reform was part of the DDM, and many consultations had taken place around this. The Agrarian Revolution was a priority. Land had been donated by traditional leaders. A memorandum of understanding had been signed for the agrarian programmes to be reactivated. There were still issues relating to the preparation of soil, water licences and irrigation systems. A number of areas were neglected and a huge amount of money would be needed to rectify this so that they did not rely only on rainfall for food security.
DDG Fosi said there was no dedicated allocation of funds for the DDM. R50 million had been received from the adjustment period and had been utilised for the district hubs and the expertise needed for support. The Department was in talks with Treasury on finding a sustainable way to roll out the DDM. There was close interaction with the Department of Rural Development on the implementation framework being developed. The Department was also involved in youth empowerment. CoGTA would continue to work with the Department.
Ms D Direko (ANC) said if the priorities were implemented properly, the correct results would be seen. Local economic development was not part of the priorities. Knowing that working with different Municipalities brought many challenges, what challenges had been experienced when working with them -- for example, where a municipality had a higher grading than the district? How would such challenges be dealt with by the Department?
Deputy Minister Bapela said implementation was a buzz word, and programmes should not just be on paper. Working together, the public and private sector would achieve a lot. Economic development was dealt with in more detail in the main documents of the DDM. The pilot reports would provide more information on economic growth, development and recovery. Municipalities would be able to deal with their political and administrative challenges by working with the districts. Each entity would work in a way that was aligned with the new model.
DDG Fosi said the DDM would have to strengthen intergovernmental coordination, given that there were challenges in some districts, such as the tension between some districts and its local municipalities. There were issues with the distribution of powers and functions where some districts did not have any functions, or were performing very few functions. The aim was to achieve district-wide intervention that was aligned to the White Paper’s vision on district municipalities. Over time, distribution and the powers of allocation and function would have to be reconsidered. Tensions would always exist, given the different visions, but a common approach must be taken as it would be beneficial. Grading was a systematic issue which could not be resolved, but the lessons of implementation would be considered.
Dr Batandwa Siswana, National Programme Manager: Community Work Programme, DCoG, said documents would be provided to the Committee on the CWP re-modelling. Internal and Cabinet processes had first to be finalised. The re-modelling of the CWP would be aligned to the DDM. Issues concerning NGOs and internal personnel would be dealt with, as disciplinary processes were in place. Once the process was finalised, the report would be sent to the Committee.
Ms Thandaza Shandu, DDG: Institutional Support and Coordination, COGTA, said the Department had developed guidelines to ensure the participation of traditional leaders. Various houses of traditional leaders had been consulted and they were still being engaged and participating in the DDM processes. There were challenges in some provinces, but sessions were planned for the year. She highlighted that it was a work in progress and that the situation would be monitored. The traditional leaders had expressed a willingness to participate, and this would be monitored.
The National House of Traditional Leaders had approached the Solidarity Fund to assist farmers in smaller communities, and R100 million had been made available. An input voucher process was being embarked on by the Department, the Solidarity Fund and the Department of Agriculture. 45 000 beneficiaries were identified per traditional council (TC), and each TC had to identify 55 small scale farmers to be issued with a R2 000 voucher per beneficiary. Out of 45 000, 41 000 farmers were registered and vouchers had been redeemed from various suppliers. The current information showed that as of last week, each province had redeemed at least 51 of the vouchers. Some projects that were launched were part of the Agrarian Revolution, and the Department would continue to monitor the situation of farmers to ensure they have support and capacity. The Department would bring on board other government departments such as the Department of Small Business Development, where there were cooperatives that require training. This would be aligned to the master plan from the Department of Agriculture.
Mr Brink said despite the assurance that the intention was not to dilute the powers of devolved government in the provinces and municipalities; there should be consideration for how powers and functions were distributed. The door was being left open for legislative changes and the distribution of powers and functions. He asked for clarity on this. What happened if there was a serious conflict between the IDP of a municipality and projects identified in the One Plan and budget of the DDM. He asked how conflicts would be resolved, and whether One Plan and budget would trump what a local community and province had decided.
Ms Mkhaliphi asked about the pilot project report, and when it would be presented. If the Committee was expected to support the programme fully, it needed to understand it as early as possible. She said the DTA still owed the Committee a progress report.
The Chairperson said she agreed on the issues raised by Members. The report was necessary to understand the intentions of the DDM. A report had been given on the work of other departments, and not the functions of the DDM. She said the report on the three districts must be sent to the Committee by next week. These Districts had been profiled, and the Department knew the cause of this. Where would funds for projects come from? She asked how issues would be addressed when a new mayor was appointed.
Prior to the local government turnaround strategy, there was a comprehensive infrastructure plan. What had happened to the plan? Now there was one plan. How was it different to the previous plan? How would the DDM be integrated into the performance plans? How were political champions assisting municipalities which they had never seen? Since the last meeting, the Department had not been informed about the impact of implementation. A company had been mentioned in the presentation, but its role was not detailed.
Ms Buthelezi asked for clarity on the challenges with traditional leaders that had been experienced in some provinces. Were the R2 000 vouchers for farmers a once-off payment, or would it be ongoing? Which Department had been tasked with monitoring the disbursing of the funds, given the corruption that is prevalent? She emphasized that a report was needed to provide more detail on clarity-seeking questions from Members. A time frame must be provided for when the Committee would receive the report.
DDG Shandu said the Department was consulting with the national and provincial houses of traditional leaders. Some had indicated that they needed to know their roles and responsibilities to participate in the DDM process. The Department was currently engaging on this with leaders in various provinces. 19 local houses of traditional leaders had been consulted. 11 were in Mpumalanga, three in KZN and five in Limpopo. The Solidarity Fund had been approached for vouchers, and it had approached a company which was responsible for disbursing the vouchers. The Department was working with traditional leaders in identifying beneficiaries. The traditional leader had to verify the beneficiaries, and this information was forwarded to the Solidarity Fund. A weekly meeting was held to identify issues on the project. The Department was trying by all means to limit corruption. The R2 000 was a once off amount issued to farmers.
Ms Buthelezi asked how the amount of R2 000 had been decided. She suggested the payments should be ongoing, given that they had different needs. Would there be a review of the amount given?
DDG Shandu said the project was targeting farmers and households to grow for subsistence produce for their livelihoods. The amount may not be enough, but it was to get farmers on board with what they were already doing. COGTA was working with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that what the farmers were doing was aligned with the various districts. R2 000 was an amount decided on by the Solidarity Fund as an intervention for farmers involved in mixed farming.
Mr Ceza said the R100 million seemed like a hefty amount, and that this money was given to pacify farmers. It should be questioned whether this had been done to be impactful. He said his father dealt with pigs, and this required a lot more money, which meant R2 000 would not be sufficient. How many farmers had been allocated R2 000 throughout the country?
DDG Shandu said the aim was to ensure that farmers were assisted and could form cooperatives. The amount could be reviewed, perhaps in the next project. Engagement must take place with the Solidarity Fund on this.
Ms Buthelezi said DDG Shandu was contradicting herself on who decided the amount of R2 000, and who had the authority to review it. She was confused and asked for clarity. She reiterated that one was left wondering if the R2 000 was given to pacify farmers, as this initiative made no sense.
DDG Shandu said the National House of Traditional Leaders had approached the Solidarity Fund, which had decided on an amount of R2 000. The review of the amount would be raised with the Fund. Over 70% of vouchers had already been issued to beneficiaries.
The Chairperson said a follow-up meeting was needed, and the National House of Traditional leaders would be invited.
DDG Fosi said a report would provided to the Committee with more details, and the Department would prepare for a follow-up session. Provision had been made in the Constitution for the provision of powers and the adjustment of functions. The Department had issued a framework on powers and functions. Long term planning had to be institutionalised. Every time there was a new administration, priorities changed, which was why there was a perpetual state of change.
Processes had been designed not to impose projects on municipalities. The Department would consider how to regulate issues arising. All programmes were part of the evolution of the local governance system, and were focused more on local government. Profiles were developed by officials in the Department, and there were no dedicated funds allocated for this.
The Chairperson said the Committee wanted to hear from the three piloted district municipalities and the National House of Traditional Leaders. She emphasised support for farmers, and figures on profiling. This should be included in a report to the Committee.
Consideration of draft reports
The Committee considered its draft reports on the National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP’s) amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill, and the NCOP amendments to the Customary Initiation Bill of February 2020, for adoption.
Both reports were adopted without amendment.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.