The Committee met virtually to deliberate on the Third Adjustment Appropriation Bill and secondly have a discussion around the 2021 Appropriation Bill for the Western Cape. Following the deliberations, the Committee went on to consider reports in relation to the Bills and pass resolutions if there were any. The agenda of the discussion was setup in two parts.
When the Minister gave his opening remarks he also pointed out that there is instability being experienced in some of the Western Cape municipalities and that has lead to a number of fraud, corruption and maladministration allegations coming forward. It was confirmed that the Department has conducted several assessments in relation to these allegations and as a result, the Municipal Forensic Unit was established. Taking the Committee through the budget breakdown, the Department gave the breakdown per financial year and per programme.
In the discussion that ensued in part one of the agenda, in relation to the drought response programme, the Committee questioned why water was being distributed by the Province when it is the mandate of Central. The Committee also raised questions in relation to the Third Adjustment Budget.
The Committee raised questions about funds that had been marked as earmarked allocations, specifically the R50 million that was allocated for the purposes of creating employment programmes for communities. The Committee questioned if the funds are allocated as conditional transfers or if the Department advises the municipalities on what programmes should be established of if it is left up to the municipalities to decide. Also Members asked about the importance of public participation at Local level when strengthening its public participation and citizen focus interventions.
Members also raised questions in relation to the Khoisan Bill that will come into effect on 1 April 2021. The Committee pointed out that it was concerned about the budget related to this Bill. It expressed that the Department should not just leave the budget for this Bill as R1000 as indicated under Programme Four, but should put in the work so that when it approached Provincial Treasury for approval of its budget, it has some work to show for it.
As part of its lengthy response, the Department confirmed that it is in the process of consultation and that it will agree together with municipalities on the kind of projects or proposals it will undertake in relation to short-term or small-scaled economic projects and programmes. Conditions will be agreed upon upfront because there will be conditions attached to the transfers and municipalities will be monitored against the grant conditions in the event that they are allocated funding for these small-scale economic projects. Working together with municipalities, the Department confirmed that there will be monitoring against the grant conditions attached to the transfers and grants municipalities will receive to ensure that the grant and transfer condition objectives are met.
The Committee supported the Budget Vote for Local Government.
Opening remarks by the Chairperson
Greeting the Committee, the Chairperson began by apologising to Committee Members and all officials present for starting the meeting late. He explained that the reason for this was that he had clicked on the incorrect link which routed him to the incorrect meeting. Thereafter he welcomed all present to the meeting and pointed out that the meeting was very important because it was in this meeting that the Committee was going to deliberate on the third adjustment of the Appropriation Bill and secondly have a discussion around the Appropriation Bill for the 2021 and 2022 year. Once this had been done he said that the Committee will go on to consider reports in relation to the Bills and pass resolutions if there are any.
The Chairperson then asked the Procedural Officer to confirm if the meeting was quorate and for Members to introduce themselves for record purposes.
The Chairperson then went on to explain all the housekeeping requirements to be followed during the meeting. Following that the Chairperson brought it to the attention of the Committee that the Minister was also part of the meeting and had availed himself to give guidance on how to deliberate on the two votes. He also welcomed Mr Graham Paulse, Head of Department: Westerm Cape Department Local Government, and other officials present.
The Chairperson asked the Minister to make a few opening remarks and explained to the Committee that the opening remarks that the Minister will make, will be confined to the Third Adjustment Appropriation Bill and thereafter the Department will briefly provide input regarding the third adjustment. Committee Members will be given an opportunity to ask clarity seeking questions and if there are any members of the public, they too will also the given the chance to ask questions. Thereafter the Committee will decide on whether or not to accept and support the Third Adjustment Appropriation Bill.
As an alternative option, the Chairperson suggested that the Committee park the support or non support of the third adjustment Appropriation Bill until it has dealt with the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
Making reference to the way in which proceedings took place in a previous meeting that he was party to, the Chairperson said that the Committee had heard and considered both reports at the end of the meeting after both schedules had been deliberated on. It was then his proposal and directive based on this, that the deliberation be kept in that form whereby the acceptance or non support of the reports will be done after the second schedule has been deliberated on.
The Chairperson then proceed to invite the Minister to guide the Committee and make a few opening remarks.
Opening remarks by Minister Bredell
Mr Anton Bredell, Minister: Western Cape Department of Local Government , thanked the Chairperson for the platform to make some opening remarks and greeted and thanked everyone present in the meeting for availing themselves. Minister Bredell remarked that COVID-19 had spread rapidly around the globe causing serious health, economic and social concerns. With the looming third wave he said that it is impossible to say for sure what the potentially devastating effects this will have on the economy and citizens at large. The Department is ideally positioned to facilitate interactions between various spheres of government and relevant stakeholders. There is instability being experienced in some of the Western Cape (WC) municipalities and that has lead to a number of fraud, corruption and maladministration allegations coming forward.
Minister Bredell confirmed that the Department has conducted several assessments in relation to these allegations and as a result the Municipal Forensic Unit has been established. Efforts have also been made to strengthen the Councillors training programme in preparation for post 2021 Local Government elections in partnership with the Hans Seidel Foundation. The Tuson and Tuson outreach programmes have also been adopted to implement Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention awareness programmes. The growth and prosperity of communities enhances community participation and accountability.
Looking at the Department’s budget, it amounts to R348 664 000 in the 2021/22 financial year. This has been adjusted downwards to R285 314 000 for the 2022/23 financial year, with a marginal increase in the 2023/24 financial year amounting to R293 085 000. The Department’s allocation increased by R68 610 000 or 24.5% in the 2021/22 financial year in comparison with the revised estimates of R280 054 000 for the 2020/21 financial year. The 2020/21 budget was compelled, taking into account the baseline increase over the 2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and no provision was made for salary increases for the 2021 MTEF.
Minister Bredell detailed that the provision of 1.5% paid progression for salaries at levels one to 15 for qualifying staff within the Department has been made. He explained that the increase is due to the funds that had been earmarked for allocation during the 2021/22 financial year. The breakdown of these funds was as follows:
- R5 million was allocated for support towards municipalities through the strengthening of public participation and citizen focused interventions.
- R50 million was allocated to the Department to co-ordinate and ensure the successful implementation of targeted short term public employment programs for communities identified as being in distress through conditional transfers to local municipalities in the WC.
Taking the Committee through the budget breakdown, Minster Bredell explained the breakdown as follows:
- R197 400 000 was for Cost of Employees (COE)
- R20 706 000 was for transfers
- R75 180 000 was for earmarked allocations
- R55 378 000 for discretionary
Looking at the programmes within the Department, Minister Bredell confirmed that the Department had received earmarked funds over the 2020 MTEF in the following programmes:
Programme One: An additional amount of R6 904 000 was allocated for the 2021 MTEF to support the implementation of the Joint District and Metro Approach (JDMA).
Programme Two: An amount of R15 521 000 was allocated to assist in strengthening the support interventions in municipalities as required by the relevant legislation.
An amount of R8 662 000 was allocated over the 2021 MTEF towards strengthening the Forensic Investigation Unit.
An amount of R3 322 000 was allocated to support municipalities in their efforts to strengthen public participation and citizen focus interventions.
An amount of R50 million was allocated to the Department to co-ordinate and ensure implementation of targeted short term public employment programmes for communities identified as being in distress, through conditional transfers to local municipalities in the WC.
Programme Three: An additional amount of R2.5 million was allocated as a for the development of the 15 year WC integrated drought water response plan.
An amount of R14 178 000 was allocated municipalities so that it can go towards the strengthening of public participation and citizen focus intervention.
An amount of R1 710 000 was allocated in the 2021 MTEF for maintenance and support requirements related to the upgrade and replacement of the Disaster Centre audio visual infrastructure.
An amount of R32 543 000 was allocated to the Department during the 2021 MTEF for aerial fire fighting. The additional funding provided to the Department will allow for improved fire fighting response related to the increased fire incidents experienced in the Province.
Minster Bredell provided a further breakdown of the earmarked allocations for the 2020/21 MTEF for the vote:
- Forensic Investigation for the 2021/22 financial year was R2 755 000, for the 2022/23 financial year it is R2 090 000 and for the 2023/24 financial year it will be R3 017 000.
- The JDMA for the 2021/22 financial year was R2.2 million and for the 2022/23 financial year it is R2.3 million and for the 2023/24 financial year it will be R5 million.
- The small scale economic grant was allocated as R50 million
- The WC integrated drought and water response plan for 2021/22 was allocated R2.5 million
- Maintenance and support for audio visual equipment at the Disaster Centre is R440 000 for the 2021/22 financial year, R460 000 for the 2022/23 financial year and R810 000 for the 2023/24 financial year.
Minister Bredell then handed over to the Head of Department (HOD) to make his own introductory remarks.
Before the HOD went on to make his introductory remarks, the Chairperson thanked Minister Bredell for his remarks and budget breakdown. He then asked Mr Graham Paulse, Head of Department: Western Cape Department Local Government, to speak to the third adjustment. The Chairperson said that he was aware that the Committee was not really affected by the third adjustment, but even if that is the case he could still like Mr Paulse to make a few remarks about it.
Opening Remarks by HOD Mr Paulse
Delving straight into the third adjustment budget, Mr Paulse said that the Department had made a high level summary of the adjustment budget. Given the work that the Department has done, as well as the impact of COVID-19, it has arranged with Provincial Treasury to surrender R13.5 million to it. This amount is made up of various amounts forming part of the different programmes.
Programme One: Due to the deduction of the Compensation of Employees (COE) items of the AG accounts, GG kilometres, printing, publication, stationery, facilities, fundamental goods and services as well as substance and transport funds, had to be surrendered under this programme. Mr Paulse said that given that many staff members could not travel it also impacted the spending of the Department.
Given the growth of the Department in terms of numbers and also in relation to capital expenditure in programme one, the Department has succeeded in getting additional floor space which is half of the ninth floor in the building. Some money was spent on that. However the quote that was initially received was less than what was expected.
Programme Two: A total of R5 million was surrendered to Provincial Treasury fundamentally around the COE. The deduction of the COE was due to the following:
- Number of posts vacant in the staff establishment of the organisation.
Due to COVID complications, a certain number of staff members have passed away and others have moved onto other job opportunities. Mr Paulse confirmed that the Department has attempted to fill posts in terms of the forensic staff that Minister Bredell spoke about, to increase internal capacity. The Department has gone through a number of processes to recruit staff. There are still one or two vacant posts, however the Department is in the processof attending to that.
- Goods and Services
Forensic investigations are now underway and some of these cases are in the domain of the courts in the province. This has had an impact on the Department’s costs. The Tuson centre programmes replaced the planned ones due to the second wave that was experienced late last year. Some programmes that take place around the province have also been cancelled because of the risks associated with the COVID-19 protocols. Based on that, the Department cancelled some training particularly in relation to fire fighting and other training initiatives that the Department would normally have in municipalities. This has also had an impact on the amount that was surrendered to Provincial Treasury. The implementation of service charters in the municipalities has been done.
Programme Three: This programme was fundamentally for the drought and engineers.
Mr Paulse confirmed that there has been a struggle with filling these critical posts. The Department has even gone as far as head hunting to ensure that it gets the staff that it needs. It has offered one year and three year contracts and recruits have turned these down saying that they do not want to work under one or three year contracts but rather want to be employed permanently. According to Mr Paulse, the Department does not have the recurrent expenditure to employ staff possessing these critical skills for a period longer than a year or three years.
What the Department has seen in goods and services is the reduction of earmarked funding. There has been work done in what is called the videohall under the Disaster Management Chief Directorate. Given certain complexities during procurement, the Department has asked Provincial Treasury to give it that funding in the new financial year with the baseline.
In terms of economic classification the Department surrendered R3 million for reduction, R10 million for goods and services and R274 000 for payment of capital. This then brought the total amount surrendered to about R13.5 million,
Mr Paulse said that the Departments initial discussions with Provincial Treasury it asked that it provide this funding to the Department in the baseline of the 2021/22 financial year MTEF. There were initial discussions around this given that there are commitments and ongoing work around it. Provincial Treasury came back and said that it is not necessarily leaning towards giving the funding in the baseline of the 2021/22 financial year. Provincial Treasury said that it would consider giving this money in the adjustment budget of the 2021/22 financial year. This implies that in the region of October/November 2021, this could be considered through the third adjustment budget to provide the funding that the Department has now surrendered.
Closing off his opening remarks, Mr Paulse confirmed that this is the quantum of the Departments adjustment budget.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Paulse for his remarks and applauded how detailed he had been in his remarks, which is more than he had anticipated. He said that it was good that the Committee was being provided with as much information as possible. Having said that the Chairperson then opened up the discussion by inviting Members to raise any questions they might have regarding the adjustment budget.
Mr A Van Der Westhuizen (DA) referred specifically to the drought intervention programme. This was a fantastic initiative by provincial government. Sometimes as people we fail to realise how serious the situation has been and how serious it still is in some areas and what the future may hold in terms of risks.
The bulk water supply is supposed to be distributed according to the Constitution of South Africa, which puts the mandate on central Government. Yet again unfortunately the province finds itself having to step in where the ball has been dropped.
Mr Van Der Westhuizen asked how, in terms of the current situation going forward, will the Committee give enough support or emphasis on this aspect considering the estimate budget of 2021. As has been seen in the City of Cape Town, the situation can unfortunately not only lead to a very serious situation, but if one starts running out of water they start incurring emergency expenditure, which is money that would have been better spent in the long haul on more permanent infrastructure improvements. Can the Minister or HOD assure the Committee that with this allocation the severe risks in terms of the drought, particularly water for human consumption, be averted?
The Chairperson thanked Mr Van Der Westhuizen and said that he did not want to interrupt him considering the importance of the issues raised which is very necessary. He pointed out that unfortunately the issues raised were not affected by the adjustment budget. Going forward the Chairperson asked Committee Members to confine their input and questions specifically to the adjustment budget. He said that Mr Van Der Westhuizen’s question would be parked and would be dealt with in the main appropriation budget for 2021/22 because it was very relevant to that part of the agenda.
Ms N Makamba-Botya (EFF) expressed that she was on the same page as Mr Van Der Westhuizen. She said that she had three questions that she wanted to ask but was not sure if she would be allowed the opportunity to ask those questions since the Chairperson had ruled that those type of questions would be asked on a different platform.
The Chairperson responded to the Member by saying that the questions would not necessarily be asked on a different platform. He explained that there are different slots on the agenda regarding the items that the Committee is set to deal with. He explained that at this time in the meeting, the Committee is only dealing with the third adjustment budget which speaks to the input made by Mr Paulse regarding the R13 million that the Department surrendered to Treasury, hence he asked that the Committee confine its input and questions around that.
He confirmed that the documentation pertaining to this part of the agenda was forwarded to all Committee members by Ms Jasmine Glass, which meant that everyone had an opportunity to go through it. At this point Ms Makamba-Botya was requested to park her questions till the Committee got to the second part of the agenda, where the questions would be relevant. The Chairperson asked Ms Makamba-Botya to confirm if this suited her and she confirmed that it was fine.
Mr P Marran (ANC) expressed that he thought Members were allowed to speak on the issues raised by the HOD and MEC. He felt that the Chairperson should just allow the Committee to speak just as Mr Van Der Westhuizen was allowed to speak, then it will be up to the Chairperson to identify where each question/issue belongs after Members have spoken.
The Chairperson responded saying that unfortunately he cannot allow what Mr Marran was asking for. He stated that if Members had no input or questions relating to the Third Adjustment Bill that was tabled before the House on Tuesday, then the meeting would proceed onto the second part of the agenda.
Mr Marran interjected and argued that the Chairperson cannot just move on because he has allowed the MEC and HOD to make inputs. He said that the Committee wants to speak on those inputs that have been made.
The Chairperson told Mr Marran that Members will be given an opportunity to raise questions, however if the questions being asked or if the input being made is not related to the third adjustment Bill then the Committee will have to wait till the meeting moves onto the next part of the agenda where Members will be given the platform to articulate everything they wish to express. He asked that instead of delaying the agenda by asking questions that relate to the second part of the agenda, the Committee will finish with the first part so that it can move properly to the second part of the meeting and agenda.
Mr Marran responded to the Chairperson saying that he should have limited the MEC’s input first to the third adjustment budget to that when the Committee proceeded to the main agenda , the MEC would have said something on that because the his input deals with everything. He said that he felt that what the Chairperson was limiting Members.
The Chairperson said that he would never limit the freedom of speech of Members and has never done that in any of his meetings. He said he will give everyone an opportunity to speak and the first Member that will get that chance is Ms Makamba-Boyta when the Committee proceeds to deal with the second part of the agenda. He said no one would be restricted in terms of asking questions.
Ms Makamba-Boyta asked to be given time to ask questions because maybe the Minster or HOD might be able to assist the Committee by responding and if they cannot then they would be able to say so.
The Chairperson said he would allow Ms Makamba-Boyta to ask her questions but said that if he felt that the questions did not relate to the adjustment budget, he would not provide an opportunity for a response and he would just move on. He asked Makamba-Boyta if she would be ok with him doing that.
Ms Makamba-Boyta confirmed that her questions were related to the third adjustment budget. Her first question was based on page 770 under the heading ‘earmarked allocation’ programme two for the 2021/22 financial year specifically related to the Department’s allocation of R50 million for the purposes of creating short term employment programmes for communities which have been identified as being in distress. Since these funds are allocated as conditional transfer to various municipalities that have been identified, does this mean that the Department advises the municipality on which employment programmes should be established for those affected communities or is that role left to the municipalities themselves to decide. She asked if the Department is able to give an example of said employment programmes. Still referring to the same page, her second questions related to programme two and three. Under programme three she pointed out that there are allocations to support municipalities for the strengthening of public participation and citizen focus intervention which have been said to be at R5 million for the 2021/22 financial year. Does this take into account the importance of public participation at a local level? Lastly, regarding programme three in relation to the amount allocated there which is R2.5 million what factors were taken into account when such a small amount was allocated by the Department?
The Chairperson thanked Ms Makamba-Boyta for her questions but went on to point out that Members were introducing a lot of unnecessary complexities to the meeting. He told Ms Makamba-Boyta that her questions could not be answered under the first part of the agenda, simply because they fell under the second part and unfortunately the Committee was not there yet. He said that the questions would be parked so that they would be dealt with later, where the Department can respond.
The Chairperson asked Mr Marran if he had anything to add or ask and Mr Marran responded by saying that he will reserve his questions for the second part of the agenda. The Chairperson then asked if there were any other Members that wanted to ask questions or give any input relating to the Third Adjustment Bill.
Given that no one had any questions, the Chairperson proceed to move onto the second part of the agenda. He pointed out that the Minister had given the HOD the opportunity to deal with the adjustment in his introductory remarks. Focusing purely on Vote 14, the schedule of the Appropriation Bill for the year 2021/22. Having dealt with that the Chairperson said that he would hand over to the HOD, Mr Paulse to present the presentation that had been made available to the Committee. He said that during the course of the discussion, some of the questions from Ms Makamba-Boyta may or may not be answered. Having said that, he gave the platform to Mr Paulse.
Budget Vote Presentation by HOD
The HOD said that before beginning with the presentation he will connect to the Minister to make one or two introductory remarks and then ask Ms Bhavna Sewlall-Singh, Chief Financial Officer: Western Cape Department of Local Government, to introduce the presentation on the main adjustment estimates for the 2021/22 financial year. The HOD said that as far as he is concerned, the Department is in a transition phase in relation to Local Government where it is finishing off the existing five year term and preparing to start the new term of five years. In a way, the Department is now sort of re-directing energy towards this transition period and ensuring that the transition from the old to the new is as smooth as possible by providing support to municipalities around the local government elections, but also providing support to municipalities to ensure that service delivery continues and that governance is on acceptable levels. During this transition period, he pointed out that as a Department, it is also dealing with the drought situation and reference has been made to some of the drought challenges within the province and certain areas in the province are still experiencing elements of drought. He said that the province has also experienced fires in the last while and the Department could possibly have flooding in the upcoming months. As a Department he also said that it is dealing with the COVID-19 response. The Department plays a crucial part in the provincial COVID-19 response together with the Department of Health and others. There is a recovery plan in which the Department also plays a significant coordinating role which is the recovery plan containing job safety. There are instances of fraud, corruption, and maladministration in municipalities and the Department continues to deal with that in line with applicable legislation. The Department is also dealing with governance challenges and infrastructure. The HOD confirmed that a breakdown of details pertaining to that will be shared later. The Committee was also made aware of the Khoisan Act which will become effective as of 1 April 2021 and that the Department will take the responsibility of the implementation roll out in the province. He confirmed that work around that was being done by the Department at the moment. Mr Paulse said that he understands that the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill had been served in the National Assembly the day before and that also holds significant importance for the Department. Members were advised that the Department is dealing with the transition period and ensuring that it does not drop the ball in other areas that have challenges and other initiatives that are undertaken to ensure that there is a smooth transition. He said that the budget presentation that the Committee will hear is a reflection of the work that the Department is now doing around those initiatives. He then asked that with the permission of the Chairperson and approval of the Committee, Ms Sewllal-Singh present on the main estimates.
The Chairperson welcomed Mr D Smith (ANC) to the meeting who was finally able to connect successfully.
Ms Sewllal-Singh thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to speak and began her presentation pointing out that regarding the main budget for the year 2021/22 the Minster had already taken everyone through an overview of what effectively that budget looks like. She said that t
The Department had gotten a bit of money within each of the programmes and in programme one it got an additional R6.9 million. In programme two it was broken into various projects. It was R15.5 million for support initiatives, R8.6 million for forensic investigation, R3.3 million towards the strengthening of public participation and citizen-focused intervention and R15 million on the small scale economic projects/program. In programme three, it was R 2.5 million towards the integrated response water plan, and that is a top-up which is an addition to other money that had been allocated. The money that was initially in the integrated water response plan was in programme three with infrastructure already as a project and this is just to supplement that amount. R14 million towards strengthening public participation in citizen focus, was split between the two programs because it has different directorates that would be administering the focal points of that project implementation. R1.7 million towards the audio-visual support at disaster management center and R32.5 million has been allocated to improve the fire response for the province. That is effectively additional money related to the baseline. The 62 million was for forensic investigations, the JDMA strengthening public participation and citizen focus, small scale economic grant, Western Cape integrated drought and water response plan and maintenance and support for audio visual equipment at the disaster management centre.
At this point, Ms Sewllal-Singh said that she was not sure if she should go through the rest or if she should do it quickly. Carrying on she said that the next part related to the aerial firefighting. Priority funds were allocated at R4.2 million and earmarked funds were R9.7 million which then brings it to a total of R13.9 million in the current year and which will be R13.1 million in the new year. Municipal Support for 2021/22, which was Departmental priority, was at an amount of R9.5 million. This then breaks down how the budget is made up in its totality on the new main budget for the new financial year.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Sewllal-Singh for her presentation. Addressing the Committee Members, he confirmed that they had all received the budget document, as well as the Government Gazette where everything was explained through the different presentations. He said that with all the information that had been provided, Members should be sufficiently informed to pose the necessary questions. He said that he would give Members ample time to pose questions.
Mr Marran stated that before he starts with his questions he would like to refer to the input made by the MEC and HOD. Based on the presentation by the MEC and Ms Sewllal-Singh, he was of the opinion that both had presented on both budgets and therefore the Chairperson should not have a problem if Members raise questions based on these budgets because the Department would now be in a position to respond. Referring to page 781, specifically the Khoisan Bill that comes into effect on 1 April 2021, he pointed out that perhaps he had missed it, but he did not see a budget allocated to that specific issue and seeked clarity on the reason why. Then secondly referring to page 757, he thanked the Department and the MEC for making R17 million available over the next three years for public participation processes in municipalities. Mr Marran said that from the previous year, and the one before that, the Committee had raised the issue of public participation in municipalities. He said that he is not sure if it was overlooked due to a lack of funds or other reasons. He said that he hopes that the amount that has been allocated for the three year period will be able to assist municipalities with that particular process. Speaking on the recovery priority plan that makes reference to job outputs, his understanding of job outputs speaks to numbers. He said he wanted to know, of the municipalities that have been identified, how many jobs have been created for that process?Speaking to the R50 million, Mr Marran asked if the Department had identified where the money will be going because one thing the Committee does not want is for that R50 million to become electioneering money. He wanted to know if all municipalities will get a share of the r50 million or if certain municipalities have been identified to receive it and if they have been identified, he asked that they be named.
The Chairperson asked Ms Makamba-Boyta if she had any further questions to ask.
She responded and said she had none and further pointed out that her third question had been covered by Ms Sewllal-Singh when she spoke about the top up of R2.5 million. The question was what factors were taken into account for that amount. She noted that the speaker alluded to the fact that it was a top up because there was an existing budget. So based on this she said that she assumed there was an assessment done to get to the top up amount of R2.5 million. Regarding the other two questions, Ms Makamba-Boyta said that those still required answers and asked if she should repeat them or if they have been accurately captured. The Chairperson asked that she repeat them.
Mr Smith said he was not that sure of what he had missed because of his logging on issue and because of this, gave the Chairperson permission to rule him out of order if he was repeating something that had been asked before. Looking at page 783-786, he picked up that the Department spoke about aligning, departmental budgets to achieve government's prescribed outcomes. He identified that point number two spoke of economic transformation and job creation through partnering with the French Development Agency, exploring innovation and infrastructure, financing, and implementation strategies and models. He said that he wanted to know what the estimated support was that the Department received from the Danish and French agencies.
The Chairperson asked Mr Van Der Westhuizen if he was comfortable with the questions he had asked earlier or if he wanted to pose any new questions.
Mr Van der Westhuizen referenced page 757 for his question which was regarding public participation saying that it is a big thing and there is a lot of emphasis on that. He felt that it seems as if the public participation processes in the province were not achieved according to how it was envisaged when the laws were drafted. Quite often in the streets, parallel communication structures are established. It is all good and well for R5 million or R7.5 millonto be allocated and so on, in additional funding, but the question then becomes what would the Department be doing differently this time around to again instill in people the confidence that the official public participation channels and structures are the ones to use, and that, it is the way to go? He reiterated that quite often, the problem is that communities have a misconception about what municipalities are there for and what they able to achieve. He emphasised that the Committee must admit that local governments are quite often in deep trouble and that they do not have the capacity or means to fulfill the expectations of communities. To what extent will that money, in terms of public participation, also be used to educate and assure communities that the Department is not always able to meet all the demands that this public participation process may conjure in the minds of the citizens. In terms of the short-term public employment programmes, they make a huge contribution to many poor communities, but this is not a long-term solution. He emphasised that one thing he finds lacking is for those opportunities to be linked to longer-term career pathing and worthwhile training that will allow people to start acquiring skills and knowledge that will put them, onto a career for real employment.
Giving his own input, the Chairperson referred to page 717. Programme two seeks to coordinate and ensure that the implementation of targeted short term public employment programmes for communities identified is addressed through conditional grant transfers to local municipalities. Echoing some of the sentiments expressed by some of the other Members, he said that he would like to get a clear sense of how the R50 million would be appropriated to create employment opportunities.
In terms of droughts, the Chairperson said that he had established that somewhere along the line, the Overberg region in terms of disaster management or augmented funds has not been really considered in this particular budget. Money has been appropriated particularly for disasterand drought relief in the Klein Karoo district, which is known as an area that is fairly water scarce particularly Kannaland which is in the Garden Route District Municipality. He said he would appreciate a comment regarding that.
Turning to Mr Paulse, he said that in terms of the electricity master plan, two municipalities have been identified for funding, one of them being Mossel Bay. Looking at the previous financial years, other municipalities were supported to develop an electrical masterplan and for some reason, either the funding was stopped, or the plans were completed in areas such as Cederberg, Saldanha Bay, Langeberg, and Overstrand. Those places were catered for in this financial year. Some areas like Swellendam were provided with funds in the previous financial year. In terms of the objective around the grant allocation around that, did the municipalities that are mentioned on page 797, achieve those objectives or not? He proposed that the response may either be in writing or perhaps a progress report. He said that an adequate oral response will also make him happy. On page 795 it was mentioned that transfer grants to municipalities, in particular reference to fire services capacity building, nothing was appropriated in the new financial year, except for, as previously alluded to, the Central District Municipality. Other districts and Category B municipalities also run the risk of serious fire which it may experience.He said that something that is very close to him because of his bias in terms of constituency is Swellendam. Making reference to page 792, he said that of the grants allocated to municipalities for the creation of 17 700 community development workers, none has been allocated to Swellendam. He asked the Department ifthere is possible explanation.
The Chairperson then said that he may allow a second round of questions, once the Department has responded to questions that have already been asked. He asked the Minister if he would respond or if Mr Paulse would be the one to respond.
The Minister confirmed that Mr Paulse and his team would be the ones to respond.
Mr Paulse said that he would respond in the sequence in which questions were raised. Responding first to Mr Van Der Westhuizen’s question around the drought and water challenges in the province, he said that the Department’s intention is to do everything in its power to create a water resilient province, and all its initiatives around water augmentation or water demand management are about ensuring and working towards a water resilient province. On the provincial level, there is also a provincial transversal risk that has been identified and that is in relation to water. So, the entire provincial government works together in relation to this, and is collaborating on responding and working towards the disaster of the water resilient province. Mr Paulse said that he noted the comments by Members, where they asked if this was not a central government function. He said that it is, but the professional commitment in the Department is to the citizens of the province. .He reiterated that they need to shift the money around in their budget within the Department - it is a fact that while the provincial government or Department redirects some of their own funding to deal with some of the water challenges, it will take away from other priorities in the province. This then means that the Department must shift money around within its own budget. However its first priority is that people have access to water, in the same way that the Department has done in the last while.
Within the month of March, the Department worked together with stakeholders to ensure that the town of Manenberg had water and given the collaborative efforts with Coca-Cola, the Department is able to ensure that the town has water. Even in the province of the Northern Cape, for the Kamieskroon Municipality and District, the Department facilitated with Coca-Cola to ensure that the provincial government provides water free of charge. For more than a month, on average about 90 000 liters of water are being transported from the Western Cape to the Northern Cape a day. While the Department understands the dynamics of whose responsibility it is to deal with the water situation, the Department’s professional commitment is first to ensure that people in the province, and elsewhere, where the Department can assist, have access to water. He said that there is a broader scheme of work around water augmentation initiatives involving the Department, geologists and engineers in relation to the water challenges in the province.
Mr Paulse said that he agrees that some of the areas are still drought-stricken, particularly in the Klein and Central Karoo as Members had indicated earlier. Members will see that some of the transfers are coming through to strengthen some of the work that is being done around the drought response and water resilience initiatives.
In relation to questions around the R50 million raised by Members, Mr Paulse said that he will try and capture all the questions around it in his response. Given the significant impact around COVID-19, the Department has undertaken certain studies with the Hans Seidel Institute and the University of Stellenbosch. The Department sees that people have lost their jobs and municipalities are struggling to collect revenue. The percentage of payments to municipalities has dropped and in just the overall well-being, priority citizens are struggling to just make ends meet. Part of the R50 million is to see how, as a provincial government, it can contribute to alleviating the circumstances of many citizens in the province. The province’s initial approach was to get involved in the expanded public works programme, where it can work together with municipalities to identify certain problems. This will then mean that the Department can employ some of the vulnerable citizens in the different municipal areas and then pay them a stipend. However, the HOD pointed out that after a while, this is not sustainable and eventually it comes to an end. So, under the guidance of the Minister, the Department is now looking at alternatives where it will rather get involved in small scaled economic programmes which will enable citizens within various municipalities. For instance, if there is someone in a municipality that can do welding, whether through this initiative or not, the Department can buy such a person with those kinds of skills, a welder, a grinder or something, and then he can manufacture gates or burglar bars, or whatever it is that he does, and that person can maybe employ one or two additional people in that area which, in the Department’s view, is more sustainable.
The same approach would be used with someone wanting to establish a hairdressing service. The Department can buy the person the materials needed and that person can employ one or two people. The same with buying someone a sewing machine. The Department runs this initiative through the Tuson centre, where the Department had established small scale economic programmes. The Department is opting for that version of creating employment instead of just paying stipends to people which, in the end, is not sustainable and the value added is very limited. The HOD confirmed that this project was given to the Department a couple of weeks ago and was signaled in the main estimates.
The Department is now in the process of consulting with municipalities as it wants to be as transparent as possible in identifying some of these projects. It has written to municipalities and asked them to submit any proposals and assist with criteria because the Department wants to be as transparent as possible. Members were advised that the Department is now doing the initial work to ensure that in the early stages of the new financial year, it can then transfer that funding based on predetermined criteria and based on predetermined small-scale economic activities that have been identified as a collective doing by the Department and municipalities. He advised the Committee that the Department is now in that consultation process with municipalities and amounts have not been allocated as yet. The agreement with the various municipalities is that as soon as everything has been finalised, the Department will be able to gazette those allocations to municipalities. The Department has not even finalised the proposals, criteria and amounts, as well as the municipalities. This is work that the Department needs to accelerate to ensure that most people have access to the BLS funding. The public participation and citizen interface initiatives are beyond just public participation as well as citizen interface, but it also includes some of the service level challenges. For instance, the Department is doing work around civil education raising awareness among normal citizens particularly running up to the local government elections on what is their role and responsibility is viz-a-vis democracy but alo viz-a-vis the municipality itself and the role of the councillor and how they should keep the councilor accountable for their area and what kind of feedback they need to get from the councilor. Apart from that, it focuses on ward committees and other engagements of citizens within that municipality. This could be further elaborated on.
Mr Paulse said that if Members felt like he had not sufficiently responded to the question about the R50 million, they would be more than welcome to raise further questions.
Ms Nozuko Zamxaka, Chief Director: Integrated Service Delivery, Western Cape Department Local Government, said that she will start by responding to the question about the CDW allocations for Swellendam. What the Department has done over the years is that it has put in place a transparent payment agreement that outlines the roles and responsibilities of CDW’s and the funding that is going to be allocated to pay municipalities based on the number of citizens that are allocated in that specific municipality. That then becomes the manner in which the Department governs its relationship with the municipality, on the basis of the transfer payment agreement. For all municipalities that the Department is transferring funding to, they are then required to sign the transfer agreement based on a work plan on the activities of the CDWs which they will then perform. In the case of Swellendam, the Department has three CDWs that are allocated for Swellendam however, the municipality, at the time of signing the transparent payment agreement, was reluctant in terms of signing the transfer payment agreement. As a result, the Department has an agreement in terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Overberg district. She confirmed that the Department has signed with the Overberg district, but the CDWs are still working within the Swellendam area, however it is just a matter of governance issues, which means that the Swellendam area is covered in terms of allocations.
Responding to the question about traditional leadership, Ms Zamxaka explained that what the Department has done in the past is to create a programme which is programme four and the amount of R1000 which is placed there is just to keep that particular programme active. As per what the HOD had indicated earlier, the Act has been signed by the President and comes into effect from 1 April. The current arrangement being done overall is to ensure the establishment of the Commission which will take place for a period of five years for the Western Cape because traditional leaders had not been recognised before. The Department has been assessing what resources will be required for it to be able to do this function in compliance with the Act. Now that the Act has been signed, and it has been able to quantify the resources required, the Department will then subject that to the processes of budgetingto Provincial Treasury which will then ask for the allocation thereof. For now, the budget is not necessarily there, but the work will really take place once the Commission has been established.
On the questions about public participation, the Department’s forecast is that from next year, given that local government elections are coming up this year, municipalities will have to have new ward committee members. Once elections take place, in accordance with the Structures Act, the Department will need to ensure that ward committees are established. The Department’s focus in year one will be assisting municipalities in terms of the establishment of ward committees and once they have been established, the next follow-up will be the training of the new ward committee members which will be the biggest focus. From there, the next focus will be around campaigning to ensure that community members are aware of who their ward committees are. The Department has referred to it as the ‘know your Ward Committee’ campaign.
Ms Zamxaka confirmed that those are some of the initiatives that will be taking place in the first year of the MTF period. She also reiterated that the HOD had touched on other initiatives relating to citizen interface such as the focus on civic education which has been shared with the Committee in terms of the work that has been done thus far by the municipalities and the Department. This is reflected in this years annual plan. Further, the HOD pointed out that the Department’s focus has been on the Central Karoo side, where it has rolled out civic education in Maraisburg, Nelspruit and Merweville. The Department has done civic education on the West Coast as well as all those smaller communities in the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape. That has been the Department’s focus in terms of civic education.
Ms Zamxaka also noted that the Committee had requested videos during the previous week. The Department has the videos on a memory stick, and they have given them to the Committee Secretariat to ensure that they are delivered to the Committee. The other focus in terms of public participation relates to the client service charters, which the Department has been assisting municipalities with to ensure that they are able to give an indication of what services they will be rendering with the respective citizens.That is the information that the Department will focus on. Looking at the budget with the year’s savings and all the challenges on the COVID side, the Department took advantage of the public participation side. Most of the procurement required is for training and ensuring that all five districts, as well as the metro and each ward, will receive the training material for the new upcoming ward committee members. Funding was secured from the savings from this year, so the Department has done the bulk of what would it would have procured next year and has done it this year. The funding that the Department has will be able to meet the projects that it has targeted. If there are any savings in the Department, it will take big advantage of that.
Mr Marius Brand, Director: Municipal Infrastructure, Western Cape Department Local Government, said that he will address two issues. Addressing the issue of funding with the Overberg he advised the Committee that the Department did an assessment in 2014, around the number of trained firefighters and fire services personnel that it has in the province and the outcome was quite shocking. The Department found that it had about 14% total of the staff trained, and it looked into the reasons for that and the reasons were as follows:
Outside the City of Cape Town and Cape Winelands, there are not many training facilities available and the reason for that is it is very expensive and fire services training is hands on and it is very equipment and resource intensive.
As a province, the Department stepped in and it has been doing training in different locations. Mr Brand advised that training was first done in the Cape Winelands, then at Breede Valley where, as a Department, it made use of the training centers, but it has been logistically very difficult .The Department has undertaken to do this because it wants to take the burden off municipalities so that they do not have to know the cost of food, accommodation, etc. These costs are exorbitant and what the Department has done together with the Overberg district municipality is to look into finding a training centre where it can send these people. In 2014, the Department found out that it had a 16% training capability however just before COVID, it was 95%. This is an indication that it has been extremely successful with its training because people cannot be sent out into dangerous situations if they have not been adequately trained. When it came to the period of COVID, because fire service training is hands-on and group training, the Department faced massive challenges especially in terms of wildfire response as it requires loading people into helicopters but with social distancing it was difficult. That is the reason that the Department has gone with Overberg as far as that is concerned. Mr Brand advised the Committee that in terms of the assessments around fire services, the Department learned that with fire services there is quite a shortage of vehicles. There are many old vehicles and vehicles that no longer operate effectively. What the Minister also did is to seek approval for the Department, and as a result it receives funding every year for vehicles but the Department does an assessment to look at what is needed and where. Those vehicles are then procured, or funding is provided to municipalities and then vehicles are procured. Those vehicles are then used by those municipalities and if there is a major incident like the one in 2017 when there were Knysna fires, the Department can then call on those vehicles to come in and assist. In the last ten years, the Department has procured close to 60 vehicles. A good example was Stellenbosch who did not have an aerial platform, and a big ladder truck, and with the incidents happening at the University the Department assisted in procuring a vehicle like that.
Mr Brand also noted that the Department looks at the different districts and municipalities, and then looks at what the requirements are and then either provide them with the funding for the vehicles depending on the situation or co-fund to procure a vehicle. The Department has also actually designed vehicles that are very easy to maintain. Those are the vehicles that the Department sends far away into rural areas and when those vehicles get damaged, they can be repaired at the local repair centers and does not have to wait for two to three weeks until a new part is procured.
Due to the persistent drought, the Department is rolling its Drought Response Action Plan, also referred to as DRAP, which is a long-term strategy. The reason it is that the Department has had a look at the impact of its interventions on the groundwater supply, as well as the infrastructure that is implements. This intervention is directly based and directed by bi-annual assessments where the Department categorises the municipalities in terms of the risk to experience prolonged water shortages. For those purposes, the Department has also capacitated itself with the appointment of project managers and engineers to assist municipalities with technical advisory services, as well as monitoring, evaluation, and supply. The Department has also appointed geologists to assist municipalities to conduct the geophysics for borehole sighting in other words where drilling should take place. Over and above the supervision of drilling and testing, the geologists provide assistance with the water license application.
In terms of SIDV, which stands for Sustainable Infrastructure Development and the funding facility, it envisages the development of a pipeline of sustainable catalytic and impactful integrated projects and programs. This includes taking these projects from pre-feasibility to bankability. The Department is currently looking at expanding this project, so that it can move to phase two where it will look at how to assist municipalities in packaging these projects, and then how to develop them further towards implementation.
The electricity masterplan is also one of the Department’s multiyear support strategy programmes where the Department is assisting with the development of long-term infrastructure and electricity planning where it specifically looks at the capacity of a municipality to benefit from this programme, the growth potential of the town where the Department experiences more growth in a shorter period of time. There is a bigger need to update master plans and therefore the Department has selected Mosselbay and Overstrand. The Department also has electric engineers that track the progress on these projects. The Department can provide progress reports if required.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for all its responses and said that up to so far it seemed as though all questions from the first round had been answered. He then asked Committee Members to indicate to him if there were any questions left unanswered.
Mr Smith said that he was not sure if his question about the French Agency was answered, in terms of the estimates and support that is being received. He then made a follow-up question about the CDW support grant cute based on page 792. He noted that there are certain municipalities in the province, like Cederberg, that have a very low tax base income, which means that in the next three to five years, there can be a very little growth and economic activity expectancy that will change the situation in the next phase. In his view, Mr Smith expressed that these municipalities should be a priority to the Department. The 5% or 10% cut in municipalities does not make sense. There are CDW programmes in municipalities and having listened to explanations given by the Minister and HOD, there will be an increase in the programmes after the local government elections, as well as an induction of ward committees. Community Development Workers are regarded as foot soldiers because they are among communities. Mr Smith said that what he could not understand is why operational funding would be cut in municipalities because it is there to strengthen ward committees and support community members. It does not make sense that funding is cut but on the other hand there is a want to strengthen communities.
Regarding provincial payments to municipalities, Mr Smith said that there are two municipalities that have been identified to have had huge pay cuts one of which is Langeberg. The other of the two municipalities will be cut by 56%. On the other hand, the West Cost Municipality and Central Karoo will receive almost double in payment. Mr Smith asked that the Committee be informed on how these cuts and budgets are calculated.
Mr Marran said that his first follow-up question was about the Khoi San Bill that comes into effect on the 1 April 2021. He asked what work needs to be done to determine the amount budgeted for in terms of this Bill and also when will the work be finalised. Further, when will the Department approach Treasury to make sure there us a budget for that?
Before asking his second question, Mr Marran pointed out that he is grateful for the response given by the HOD regarding the short-term public employment plans and the process to be followed. He said that because of this, the programme will be great. In terms of the process that will be followed, he said that he was covered and agreed that there are no specific municipalities waiting for proposals. He said that he is not sure if the proposals were ever received however his understanding is that the names of the municipalities that will benefit from the R50 millions will be gazetted at some stage. He confirmed that as the opposition, it will monitor that programme and will continue to do so in the next year and the year after that to make sure that the budget is not just an elections budget for this year only. Listening to the HOD, it is evident that the programme can become great and it will assist municipalities to create more jobs in their areas, considering the difficult times we are in. Many people have lost jobs, and this programme will create the opportunity for individuals or groups to create their own employment.
Ms Makamba-Botya quoted that when the Director was responding to the question about the R50 million, she had pointed out that the implementation is still in progress and pending. Since the allocation is regarded as a conditional transfer to various municipalities that have been identified, she said that she wanted to know whether the Department will advise the municipalities, on which employment programmes should be established or are municipalities tasked to establish their own, in terms of deciding which employment programs should be offered. She expressed that the reason for her question is the fact that she is looking at the issue of accountability and misuse of funds.
Ms M Maseko (DA) commented that the reality of departments across the board is that there are budget cuts. In spite of the deteriorating local government finances, the Department is trying hard to make sure that is assists municipalities in trying to be innovative, generating revenue for sustainability and giving services to communities out there. She said that one thing that she would ask from the Department is to what extent is it giving support or is it trying to coordinate the LED for municipalities to make sure that they create an enabling environment for investors to come and experience different municipalities. The province has very beautiful tourism places within municipalities that can be utilised, to try and generate revenue. Take for example Theewaterskloof Dam - there are facilities there that belong to the municipality in Villiersdorp around the dam that could generate revenue so that other services can be provided using that money.
Ms Maseko also pointed out that she does not know if the skill is not there for the Department to utilise or get to maximise commission out of what they have for the assets that they do have to use to generate revenue. In scenarios like that for local government economic development, is there some sort of coordination or monitoring or support from the Department that is given to those municipalities to check what assets they have, that can be used to generate revenue to supplement budget cuts to augment budget cuts because it is not the Department doing that but its national who comes to say there is no money.
Once all Members raised their questions, the Chairperson said that he had two questions of his own. One was a follow up question and the other was a question that he had neglected to ask earlier. The partnership between the Hans Seidel Institute and the University of Stellenbosch is in the process of developing a model that will inform the Department on how the R50 million will be allocated and which business projects need to be supported. He asked how far the process is in this regard and when the Committee can expect the models completion or for it to be partly completed because this is not reflected in the Annual Performance Plan (APP). This is an initiative that will be fantastic when rolled out.
Quoting how the Department has spoken about gender mainstreaming, the Chairperson said that gender mainstreaming should be in both departments and municipalities. He said that it is important that they should be sensitised about the importance of putting women at the forefront of development programmes. Nowhere in the APP is there specific focus on ensuring that the department or municipalities put gender mainstreaming on the agenda because it is something that is often neglected because of a lack of effort.
Mr Paulse indicated that he will ask Ms Zamxaka to respond to the question about CDW’s and the work around gender mainstreaming and that someone else will respond to the questions about metro payments and Langeberg in relation to the West Coast, that has had its allocation doubled.He also took note that there are questions about the Khoi San Bill and the R50 million.
Responding to Ms Makamba-Boyta’s questions, Mr Paulse confirmed that the Department is in the process of consultation, and it will agree, together with municipalities, on the kind of projects or proposals it will undertake in relation to short-term or small-scale economic projects and programmes. They will agree upfront because there will be conditions attached to the transfers and grant and municipalities will be monitored against the grant conditions in the event that they are allocated funding for these small-scale economic projects. Together with the municipalities, the Department will be accountable and will ensure regular monitoring. There will be strict grant conditions and municipalities will have to submit regular reports to ensure that that grant conditions and objectives set are being met.
In relation to Ms Maseko’s question about the LED, Mr Paulse explained that it is about certain municipalities that have a competitive advantage in certain areas. Where such is the case, the Department will review how it can maximise the competitive advantage, the benefit of revenue collection initiatives and the enhancement of revenue in. The Department is also working with Mr Solly Fourie, who is the HOD of the Department of Economic Development, to get the Department to come on board about the JMA in the province. The Department is targeting certain municipalities in the Overberg district. What the Department wants to do is pilot some support initiatives to enhance local economic activities in certain municipalities so as a Department it has the Department of Economic Development on board. The Department supports the Department of Economic Development in creating platforms in municipalities. Mr Paulse said that he is in constant contact with Mr Fourie regarding these initiatives. There are also other Departments coming on board through the JDMA process. He confirmed that the Department of Transport and Public Works and the Department of Community Safety have been secured and all of them are now coordinating activities in relation to their portfolio and there are great initiatives coming through the JDMA.
Answering the Chairperson’s questions about the R50 million and the work around the Hans Seidel Institute, Mr Paulse confirmed that it is two separate initiatives. The initiative around the Hans Seidel and University of Stellenbosch is the work that the Minister has initiated to get an understanding of what were the pre-COVID conditions, position and financial sustainability within municipalities. During the pandemic, it looked at the impact of COVID-19 on the financial sustainability of municipalities, and to what extent it impacted negatively. The Minister has taken the initial briefing on the work as it has been done by the professors and the Institute, and some of the municipalities that were piloted. The Department discovered that the larger municipalities showed significant resilience and buoyancy to the impact of COVID-19 in relation to their finances. The larger municipalities maintained sustainability, but it was noted that the smaller municipalities were struggling and are now in the process taking all the lessons learned in COVID-19 by the bigger municipalities that they can replicated and applied to smaller municipalities to see what extent they can buffer the shocks of the economy in terms of the finances but also that in terms of COVID-19. The Institute and the University have undertaken with the Minister that work will be finalised by the end of this month, and the Department will see how it can apply that research, not only in the province, but also countrywide.
Mr Paulse then asked Ms Zamxaka to respond to the three questions.
On the question of Cedarburg, Ms Zamzaka said that in the 2019/20 financial year, the allocation was R334 000 which has now gone down R169 000. Although it looks like there is decrease, there has actually been no decrease. She explained that because there were issues in 2019/2020 with the Auditor- General around the classification of what the CDW grants should be and whether they should be classified as transfers or goods and services, the Department did not make any transfers to municipalities in the 2018/19 financial year. As a result, the Department then transferred both the allocations of 2018/19 and 2019/20 in 2019/20 hence the allocation was R334 000 for Cedarburg. The Department is now transferring the annual allocation annually hence there is no change. The only change that is in Cederberg is one CDW that was transferred from Cedarburg to Malmesbury upon request. Ms Zamxaka confirmed that it is the only reduction in terms of the CDW's and that was done as a matter of request because of circumstances.
In terms of gender mainstreaming, Ms Zamxaka explained that there is a unit in the Department that is housed under public participation called External Human Rights and Special Projects that oversees the budget allocation of funding for gender mainstreaming. The APP shows that in that unit, for the past four to five years, it had an indicator around supporting initiatives on gender mainstreaming. The Department provided support to municipalities by identifying a couple of municipalities. Working in phases, the first phase the Department has embarked on is to conduct a capacity building initiative with the managers of the identified municipalities and councilors, just to get a sense of what everybody understands about gender mainstreaming to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The Department then draws up a checklist to an understanding of where it is in terms of gender mainstreaming and to plot where to next. On the part of awareness, Ms Zamxaka confirmed that the Department also runs gender-responsive budgeting, and conducts sexual harassment awareness campaigns for those municipalities. On the basis of the checklists the Department is able to decide what projects it will implementing moving forward. The Department is also participating in the SALGA gender mainstreaming platforms and that work it does for all municipalities. Due to budget constraints that the Department is given annually, it targets about three municipalities and takes on the supportive role from the beginning to the end. This year in the QPR that it did for quarter two, the focus was on the Garden Route District Municipality although it has done other municipalities.
Ms Makamba-Botya said that she wanted the Department to confirm whether the requirements to provide funding to create employment will affect municipalities that are under administration. She said she was worried that the Mmunicipalities might be disqualified yet the people in communities have nothing to do with what is happening with the administration of the municipalities and they need to benefit from whatever is provided.
Following up on the question raised earlier about the Khoisan Bill coming into effect on 1 April and the budget for that, Mr Marran said that he wanted to check what timeframe the Department had given itself to do the investigation that will help determine what amount should be captured within a budget, given that currently it is reflecting as R1000 under programme four. What is the timeframe that the Department has given itself to ensure that when it approaches Treasury it is able to show the work that has been done to justify the amount it will request for the budget? This will make sure that the issue of the Khoisan gets up and running.
In response to Ms Makamba-Boyta’s question about municipalities that will benefit, Mr Paulse said that he does not believe that citizens will be penalized because the municipality is under administration. However, given the fact that the municipality is under administration, the Department will be very careful around the management of that funding and ensure that the implementation manager that has been deployed to that municipality to oversee the implementation of the financial recovery plan also closely monitors the spending of the grant and the application thereof. In that way citizens in such a municipality will not be penalised and prohibited from participating in programmes like. The Department will however increase its oversight and monitoring of the funding that has been allocated in that regard.
In terms of the timeframes, Mr Paulse said that the Department had a discussion for the implementation of the Khoisan and Traditional Leaders Act and from the discussion it was established that the Department needs to establish posts to help with the establishment of the commission and fill up those posts. Over a period of five years, the Department will begin with the process of recognition. The Department has already requested that work be done around the resource and strategy requirements to put a bid in for funding to finance the Act within the province. He said that he thinks the Department has not done so in the main estimates, given the fact that it needs to work around it. Both the Minister and the respective Chief Director and Director, are aware of the work that is being at the moment. What is left for the Department to do is finalise the time that it can take it to the adjustment budget towards the latter part of this year. As of now, the immediate resource requirements are that the Department needs to fund two additional posts to help the work around the establishment of the commission.
Responding to Mr Smith’s question about the transfers, Ms Sewllal-Singh said the table on page 800 details the overall split per municipality in terms of the provincial payments related to the grants, and all the goods and services money that the Department would use. The Department said it is a bit difficult to indicate that everything will be spent in a specific municipality and goods and services as an example at the beginning of the year, but it is a lot easier in terms of the grants. Specifically to Langeberg, the reason that there was a decline is that the electrical masterplan money that would have been transferred this year is not in a gazette for the municipality for next year and that is the predominant reason for the decrease in the Langeberg transfers from this year to next year. Also, some part of it is related to the humanitarian aid or the humanitarian support grant that was transferred in the current financial year that is now not there for next year. Further, some of the pluses and minuses in terms of additional money will go to Langeberg. That is how the discrepancy is made up, but if the Committee needs a specific requirement in terms of the table, related to it Ms Sewllal-Singh said that the Department can always send that through to the Committee but that is the biggest change.
The Chairperson asked Members if any of them had any further questions.
Mr Smith raised that he had a follow up question but due to the bad connectivity, both the Chairperson and HOD could not hear his question.
The Chairperson then asked that Mr Smith to send his question through in writing and it will be forwarded to the Department for a response.
The Chairperson then announced that the Committee had come to the end of its deliberations around vote 14 of the Appropriation Bill.
The Chairperson thanked Members for posing questions as openly and robustly as possible and the Department for the clear and prolonged responses at times that provided Committee Members, with more clarity in terms of the questions they posed. He said that there is particular excitement in terms of the direction in which the Department is moving. He noted that he has no hesitation given past performances of the Department that the objectives which it set for itself for the year will be achieved because it is has done exceptionally well in a very extremely difficult financial year before this one. The Chairperson said he does not doubt that it will even excel. The Chairperson thanked the Minister and the HOD and all the officials who constantly work as hard as they possibly can to achieve the objectives and to raise the bar for local governance in the country.
The Minister thanked the Committee, for its oversight role and advised that they will keep on interacting with one another. There are a couple of exciting ideas on the table especially on the economic front and getting the economic gain, in local municipalities is crucial to their success at the end of the day. Even though some municipalities do have a huge economic base, but if they put together what is available within the Departments domain in those small municipalities it will make a difference and at least provide a dignified life to the people in those communities. The Minister said that the Department can make a difference that at least provides a dignified life to the people living in its areas and it will continue to work with the Committee on the development of programs that it wants to roll out.
The Chairperson explained that for this part of the meeting, the Committee would be required to deliberate and vote on the budgets that were presented in the first half of the meeting and pass any resolutions, if need be.
The Chairperson explained to the Committee that it needed to consider whether it either supports the Local Government Budget Vote in Western Cape Third Appropriation Bill or not and ensure that it is in line with Rule 188.
Ms Makamba-Botya said that she wanted the Committee to note that the EFF is not in support of this particular vote.
Ms Maseko said that she wanted to put it on record that the DA is in support of the vote.
Mr Smith asked that Rule 90 be applied to the ANC’s position as it did not support the vote.
The Committee Report on Vote 14 in the Third Adjustment Appropriation Bill was adopted.
Proceeding to the Main Budget Vote
Mr Smith asked that the ANC’s minority view be recorded under Rule 90.
The Committee Report on Vote 14 in the Adjustment Appropriation Bill was adopted.
Adoption of Minutes
The minutes of 9 March 2021 were adopted.
Resolution of the Adjustment and Main Budgets
There were no resolutions brought forward by the Committee.
The Chairperson thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting.
No related documents
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