COGTA on preliminary outcomes as at the end of the Fourth Quarter of FY2021/22; with Deputy Minister

Standing Committee on Appropriations

14 September 2022
Chairperson: Mr S Buthelezi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Standing Committee convened on a virtual platform for a briefing by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on preliminary outcomes, as at the end of the fourth quarter of the 2021/22 financial year. The Deputy Minister was present, accompanied by delegates from the Department, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent, as well as the National Disaster Management Centre
The Deputy Minister began by providing a high-level overview of the presentation, highlighting the main areas of underspending, including the compensation of employees, goods and services and external areas covering the various grants. The Department has an annual vacancy rate of 10.3% in the period under review resulting in underspending on compensation of employees. Underspending on goods and services was mainly due to poor procurement processes and poor allocation of budget. The COVID lockdowns had a poor impact on the Department’s performance in the 2019/20 financial year, where performance declined from 83% to 62%. This performance subsequently improved in the 2021/22 financial year to 73%. Underspending was also related to the various grants such as the Municipal Systems Improvement Grant and the Municipal Infrastructure Grant. This was due to various challenges such as poor data records management, delays in councils approving projects and inadequate capacity in projects management within the municipalities. The Department was working on a model to reduce the occurrence of persistent underspending. Underspending occurred concerning disaster response grants, where organs of states were not utilising their allocated disaster grants, which resulted in the money being surrendered to the national fiscus, such as in KwaZulu-Natal in the 2017/18 financial year. A key issue the Department faced was effective monitoring and oversight of implementation in ensuring quality services, and that funds were being used for their intended purposes.

Several Members praised the introduction of a zero-based budgeting system. The concerns in this regard were whether it would be introduced incrementally to avoid a shock in the budgeting and service delivery system, and whether there was capacity to introduce it.

The non-payment of suppliers within 30 days was raised by Members, who reminded the Department of the implications of failing to pay suppliers within that period, one of which was the collapse of small businesses. The Committee requested a list of municipalities with discrepancies in their payment of service providers and a report on the status of creditors.

Members wanted to know what assistance the Department was rendering to municipalities struggling to pay bulk suppliers such as Eskom and Rand Water, and what actions were being taken to ensure municipalities were not engaging in payment-avoiding behaviour. A Member was concerned about the duplication of programmes to support municipalities and that the different spheres of government were performing the same functions. They wanted to know how this would be addressed.

There was concern about service delivery performance and consequence management, particularly concerning contracts entered into by municipalities. The vacancy rate was a big point of contention, considering the high rate of unemployment and the impact this had on service delivery, and the direct implications on the economy. The Members wanted to know how the Department addressed the underspending in that regard. They also enquired about its progress in filling the vacancies. The Committee also requested the status of the District Development Model.

The Department reminded the Committee that the Model was still new and not yet fully operational, yet there were plans to establish mechanisms of coordination through district hubs, which would ultimately aid in the coordination of approving budgets. Champions at different levels were appointed to coordinate and respond to issues in communities. The Model was still in the beginning phases, and they hoped that it would be an implementation model that would take the country forward. The vacancy rate was considered in line with the benchmark that guided departments, but the Department would look towards lowering it. The Department had previously not done well in the payment of suppliers within 30 days but has since improved, with 100% adherence to the period in some months in the previous financial year. On average, the Department was over the 95% mark in paying suppliers within the 30 day period. Disciplinary action was being taken in cases where suppliers were not paid on time. It was agreed that zero-based budgeting should be looked at closely in terms of implementation and allocating funds accordingly. The Department was looking to strengthen the system the next financial year to ensure that the funds were aligned with its strategic outlook and focus on service delivery.

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency said that it was working closely with the Department in its implementation of the economic recovery and reconstruction plan through various programmes aimed at supporting municipalities with skills around project and contract management, as well as providing employment to youth and up-skilling experienced labourers. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, greeting the Members and support staff. He welcomed all the guests and members of the media. The agenda of the meeting was to receive a briefing from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on budget spending and related matters. He acknowledged the presence of the Deputy Minister and all the executives leading the Department and the entities.

Deputy Minister’s Input
The Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mr Obed Bapela, thanked the Committee for being afforded the opportunity to brief the Committee, on the Department’s budget underspending over the past five financial years and the implications thereof on service delivery, as a mandate function of the Department.

The Department experienced underspending in its internal and external areas. The internal area covered compensation of employees (CoE), goods and services and the external areas covered the various grants. The Department had an average annual vacancy rate of 10.3% in the period under review, which resulted in underspending on CoE. This was the first underspending as a result of this particular vacancy rate. Underspending on goods and services was primarily due to budgets not being allocated to priorities, poor procurement planning and analysis, and poor finalisation of procurement processes. On non-financial performance, the Department’s performance declined over the 2019/20 financial year from 83% to 62%. This was during the period of COVID-19 national lockdowns. However, the Department managed to turn performance towards an upward trajectory, from 62% to 73%, on its targets over the 2021/22 financial year. External areas of underspending were related to grants such as the Municipal Systems Improvement Grant (MSIG), Local Government Equitable Share (LGES), the Integrated Urban Development Grant (IUDG), and disaster management grants.

On the technical assistance provided through the MSIG, the Department identified key areas to assist municipalities in addressing problems resulting in adverse audit outcomes, particularly through technical assistance on both data and records management. While there had been challenges of timeous procurement of technical assistance to municipalities, the Department had also instituted mechanisms to address the issue. On the LGES, offsetting occurred when municipalities were not able to return unspent conditional grant funds, due to those funds being used for other purposes. When municipalities did not have money for themselves, they used the grants for operational matters. This was how offsetting would occur from time to time.

On municipal revenue and operational cash flow challenges: through a model, the Department would address the issue of conditional grants being utilised for unintended purposes and ensure that funds were not being offset against the LGES. On the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), the challenges were the delays in councils approving projects, inadequate capacity in projects management (which was a big issue across the country, particularly in the public sector), and repairs and maintenance of infrastructure. The state of the infrastructure across the majority of municipalities was evident. The problem was not money; it was the challenges of capacity, and ensuring completion whenever project management had begun. The gains from infrastructure expenditure would be on improved asset management planning, and on a concerted effort to increase expenditure on repairs and maintenance funded from the conditional grants. The Department was working on a model to address this to reduce the occurrence of underspending.

In the Division of Revenue Act (DoRA), disaster response grants are unallocated allocations. They are therefore only released in the event of classified disasters as a top-up fund, when organs of state are unable to deal with the effects of the disaster and grant conditions. When approval was granted for funds to be allocated for disaster response, it was transferred to the requesting municipality or province sector department, which was then required to spend it within six months towards the intended projects to provide relief to the affected communities. If organs of state did not utilise these allocated funds, they would be surrendered to the national fiscus – unless the organs of state were able to secure roll-over approval from National Treasury. So, these activities would then happen at that sector department level. From 01 April 2017 to 31 March 2022, a total of R2.8 billion+ had been allocated to municipalities and provincial organs of state, of which R16.3 million of the KZN allocation was surrendered to the national fiscus during the 2017/18 financial year. This represented 0.58% of the allocations over the period of five years. One of the key challenges was following up on this grant through effective monitoring of implementation, in order to ensure quality of services and that funds were used for intended purposes. This was exacerbated by lack of oversight and intervention by accounting officers within the funded grant recipient organs of the state.

Further, organs of state were compelled to report on their spending of grants in terms of the DoRA and Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act (Act 57 of 2002). High-level senior management responsible for the management of grants would detail reasons and challenges for underspending in grants, and the measures in place to address this. They would indicate improvements and solutions. Some of the solutions were external and depended on collaboration and cooperation with the departments in the provinces as recipients and the municipalities themselves, a majority of which did not have the necessary capacities to spend.

Briefing by COGTA
Mr Pieter Pretorius, Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, DCOG, conducted the presentation.
Key Areas of Underspending
At the end of the 2021/22 financial year, the Department finalised a comprehensive strategic review process. This resulted in a revised operating model and organisational structure of the Department. Following on this, the Department adopted a zero-based budgeting approach for the next MTEF period.

The revised budget allocations were aimed at capacitating the Department’s support and monitoring capability at local level. A dedicated branch responsible for local government operations and support increased capacity to directly engage provinces and municipalities from around ten employees to 80 employees.

On compensation of employees, the revised organisational structure allocated resources to priority areas to ensure that the Department is able to fully implement its legislative mandate. All vacant posts have been advertised and are in the process of being filled. This will address underspending going forward. On Goods and Services, Procurement plans for the MTEF period are being finalised to ensure that procurement starts before the next financial year commences. Supply Chain Management policies and processes have been revised to ensure faster procurement turnaround times. These interventions will address underspending on goods and services over the MTEF period.

The Department performance declined over the 2019/20 FY from 83% to 62%. It managed to turn its performance towards an upward trajectory, achieving 73% of its targets over the 2021/22 FY. The improvement is due to various systems that have been put in place to address poor performance, which is beginning to bear fruit. This is evident in the improvement in departmental performance. The Department's overall performance over the past five financial years is at an average of 71.4% - involving a multiplicity of successes and challenges.

Municipal Systems Improvement Grant (MSIG)
-The highest amount of unspent funds was R 91 725 000 in the 2020/21 FY.
-The MSIG underspent mainly due to the lack of appropriate identification of support areas for the MSIG programme and delays in procuring required services.
-Current MSIG-funded technical support projects include piloting and validating the prototype (generic) staff establishment of municipalities according to different powers and functions of different categories of municipalities; improvement of data and records management.
-The Department implemented the District Development Model (DDM) approach in eThekwini, OR Tambo and Waterberg districts in 2020/21 to 2021/22 FY.

Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG)
Over the five year period, the general trend for MIG allocation expenditure remained over 90%. The 2019/20 FY saw only 79.08% in expenditure due to the outbreak of COVID. The 2021/22 FY had a total of 89.73%.

-Funds not being used for their intended purpose/implementation of cost reimbursement;
-Low economic development impact/deliberation in the conditional grants review process;
-Failure of municipal infrastructure/DCoG to retain the allocations (implement a 6B for MIG) of poor performing municipalities and implement on behalf of these municipalities;
-Outsourcing of technical skills/MISA has developed a design office for future consulting services.

Key Challenges of the Department
One of the key to the challenges hampering the Department from achieving some of its goals was provinces not playing their part and municipalities not having capacity to implement recommendations.
The limited powers of the Minister to enforce compliance on municipalities were also a challenge. The organisational design and operating model challenges have since been improved.

Success of the Department
-The process of establishing institutional arrangements for the District Development Model is progressing well. The Department managed to oversee the development of 40 district and six (6) Metro One Plans.
-The Department developed a DDM implementation framework incorporating gender-responsive indicators aligned to the NSP on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
-Working with MISA, the Department continued to support the 44 district municipalities of the country to have access to sustainable services by strengthening their capacity to provide reliable infrastructure that creates jobs for local communities and contributes to economic growth.
-The Community Work Programme continues to contribute to providing our poorest communities in most of the municipalities across South Africa with an employment safety net.
-The Department completed the development of the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Interventions (IMSI) Bill for further processing.
-The Department developed the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) to promote a coordinated response to the spatial legacy and enhance integration across planning frameworks and all the spheres of government.

[See presentation for more details]

Mr O Mathafa (ANC) said that the presentation was of assistance, and responsive to the queries that the Committee had for the Department. Referring to slide six of the presentation, about introducing a zero-based budgeting system, he asked if the Department was planning to roll out a pilot project to ensure an incremental approach to zero-based budgeting, which could prevent a shock in the budgeting and service delivery system.

He praised the decision in principle for a dedicated branch responsible for local government operations and support, increasing capacity to directly engage provinces and municipalities from around ten employees to 80 employees. However, the Committee would closely observe this decision to ensure that it was not a mere symbolic move, as there was previously a trend where departments set up units and drew skills with no direct impact on the mandate of the Committee. Overall, could COGTA say there had been improvement in its performance over the past five-year period, in both expenditure and service delivery performance? Has its desired impact been met with this particular performance? Were there tools to measure the performance aligned with the targets and overall impact envisaged? Could the Department provide the Committee with the proof of suppliers' payments within 30 days of receipt of invoices? A bone of contention that the Committee always had with many Departments was the non-payment of suppliers. Everyone, including the President, indicated that the non-payment of suppliers within the 30 days resulted in the collapse of SMMEs, because their survival depended on every invoice submitted. Therefore, could the Committee be furnished with a report or indication as to the status of their creditors?

On the issue of municipalities that owe Eskom and government departments, and maybe government departments that owe municipalities, did the Department have a rand figure of the state of affairs in this regard? Eskom was notably struggling to collect payments from various municipalities, amongst others, the City of Tshwane – where payments were either delayed, or payment agreements had been reached. Legislation required bulk suppliers to be paid immediately or prioritised when it came to payments; it was a common cause that Eskom and Rand Water, in the case of Gauteng, were normally bulk suppliers. What had been the trend there? Was this information in COGTA’s grasp? What assistance could COGTA render to these municipalities struggling to pay these bulk suppliers? Non-payment of these bulk suppliers would affect not only the municipality, but also the residents of that particular municipality, including those whose accounts were up to date in as far as their usage was concerned.

Mr A Sarupen (DA) welcomed the presentation, particularly the approach towards zero-based budgeting. On this, had the Department looked at the amount of duplication in the programmes designed to support municipalities? For example, in Gauteng, to assist municipalities with financial planning and auditing, there was a programme run by the provincial treasury and provincial COGTA department. Additionally, National Treasury had some programmes meant to do the same, as did national COGTA. So, there was a lot of duplication of the same functions where national and provincial government were trying to aid and assist municipalities. Did the Department analyse this, and did it engage with provincial and national treasuries and COGTA departments to see which programmes could be run by one or the other? This would ensure that the budget was not streamlined, and there would be no tripping over each other. In his previous term as member of the Gauteng legislature, he was surprised when both provincial treasury and provincial COGTA, along with national COGTA, were sending officials – through to places like Rand West City and Mogale City – to assist with budgeting, financial planning, auditing processes and procedures. These officials from different departments were all tripping over each other, and this duplication was a sign of big problems and inefficient spending in government.

On bulk service providers, it was known that the biggest amount of Eskom debt came out of the Free State. Many parts of the Free State municipalities had started bypassing Eskom metres and connecting their supply directly, because Eskom was not gauging a low reduction. What attempts has COGTA made to ensure municipalities did not engage in such behaviour? What attempts have been made to ensure they did not use this to avoid paying Eskom?

Mr A Shaik Emam (NFP) asked whether there was the capacity to introduce zero-based budgeting, given that it was common knowledge that most departments did not have a real plan. The departments followed the previous year’s plan, changed the figures and brought them to the Committee. Like the Chairperson had alluded to on the previous day, more often than not, in the first two quarters, departments did not have the capacity to spend, and they would conduct fiscal dumping in the third and fourth quarter. He understood that, in zero-based budgeting, needs were first identified and then budgeted accordingly. At that moment, it was the other way round – where the departments got money first, then planned. He expressed his dismay at service delivery performance and consequence management. He had requested a Deputy Mayor to come to Parliament and give the Committee information on this. Mr Shaik Emam provided the example of KZN, and was told that some information would be provided around March, but the information he was looking for would take longer. He said he did not mind, as he was quite patient. He requested information on all the contracts in KZN, particularly that municipalities had been awarded, who had been awarded, who the directors were, and the value of those contracts. In particular, he requested information on whether there was value for money, to establish whether what was paid for each item was market-related. After he, as a Member, had raised it about 50 times or more, the President rightfully alluded that state capture also existed at local government level. In fact, it was worse at local government level than anywhere else in the country, which was the reason for poor service delivery and the creation of many multi-millionaires in the country in the past couple of years. What was the difficulty in the Committee getting this report and when could it be expected?

There was a lot of instability taking place in all these municipalities. It was all for power and control, with officials being overthrown. How was that impacting ensuring the ability to provide satisfactory services? How was the instability prevented? The in-fighting was going to go on for a very long time. He heard somebody from a particular political party say “go tell that mayor. I need R200 000. If he does not give that, come out of the arrangement. We don’t need it.” He observed that there were many vacancies in every single department, including Parliament, but there was a high percentage of unemployment in the country. He reiterated that qualifications sometimes mean nothing, as they have been searched for many years. However, the state of municipalities, other departments and other spheres of government still remained the same. The same went for experience. What was really the problem in identifying suitable people with such a high unemployment rate and importing skills? The many department vacancies impacted the quality of service they could provide.

On the grants, he understood that the issue had to be forced upon the different spheres of government because of their lack of capacity to implement. So, direct and indirect grants were introduced. More often than not, the same people were expected to do the job, except that it was being paid directly and monitored, yet still not yielding positive results. How would this be dealt with? On the 30-day period, could the Committee have a list of all those municipalities that had paid service providers, and when those goods were either not delivered or the contracts were not finished? It was a regular complaint that people were being paid in advance and contracts were not being completed.
What would the Department say if it was suggested that a completely new entity be created, to be totally responsible for employing anyone in a municipality, particularly in terms of all the officials, and had nothing to do with politicians or political parties? Did the Department think this could work, and did it think that could ensure that they got better quality people, who were not aligned to political parties? Lastly, consequence management was the only way to get to the root cause of what was happening in municipalities, regarding contracts and eradicate those problems. Could the Committee get an idea of how many people in local and provincial governments were repeat offenders, whether it was irregular expenditure, fruitless expenditure, not implementing projects on time, or paying people before the contracts were complete? How many of these people have faced the full might of the disciplinary processes that had been put in place?

An apology letter excusing Ms Avril Williamson (COGTA DG) was shared with the Committee. Ms Williamson had clarified that she was initially unavailable to attend the meeting due to a duplication in her diary. She was subsequently able to clear it, but she would still have to leave the meeting early. She apologised for the confusion, and reassured Members that the Department does take the Committee seriously.

The Chairperson requested that the letter be withdrawn, and told the Department to review its letters before sending them to the Committee, to avoid confusion.

Ms N Ntlangwini (EFF) said that the letter reflected the current state of the municipalities. She requested that these letters be shared at the beginning of the meetings, when apologies are being tabled – to avoid interrupting the meeting, as had occurred the previous day. There had to be a norm that all apologies were tabled together when Members’ apologies were being tabled, so that it was precisely known who was present, absent or leaving early. It was unprofessional and a disgrace to send letters like that to Parliament.

Deputy Minister Bapela took note of the concerns, and said he would discuss them with the Department.

Mr X Qayiso (ANC) reiterated that the Committee could not accept that kind of letter presented in that manner. He agreed with the Chairperson that Deputy Minister Bapela should take care of that type of communication before the Committee. In what ways had COGTA contributed to the economic reconstruction and recovery plan? All departments were expected to play a critical role in ensuring that the economy of the country was live and growing. What was the capacity of the local government in addressing unemployment given the framework of the economic recovery plan?

Mr Qayiso referred to the mass public employment programme and infrastructure development and, to a greater extent, the macro-economic interventions. To avoid generally saying that the issue of infrastructure is smooth sailing yet facing the problem of contractors not being paid, what general picture could the Department provide? What role and to what extent was COGTA playing as far as this plan was concerned? The economic recovery plan was very specific in terms of its framework or pillars, so there could not be general talk around the issues of employment, especially with a huge percentage of young people and women remaining unemployed.

He commended the progress that had been reported on filling vacancies, although it had yet to be reviewed. He expressed his wish that all departments report that they have advertised all funded vacant posts like COGTA had. However, he did not understand the persistent problem of receiving reports that indicated underspending due to unfilled vacant funded posts. He expressed the desire to have a deadline for all departments that, when they come before the Committee, there must be progress on advertising all vacant posts, not the same previous narration. How was the Department trying to improve its recruitment process and align its organisational structure? He observed, in the presentation, that there was mal-alignment because of its bloated structure. An impression was created to bargaining structures and unions when there was talk about unfilled vacancies and underspending as a result, even if any of the unspent money was not necessarily meant for wages and salaries. This created a route for the Department to be attacked for underspending because this underspending is visible during every year and quarter. What did the revision of supply chain processes indicated on slide six entail, and how would they practically respond to the challenges?

On slide seven, there was an indication that the Department had a 73% achievement rate target for the 2021/22 financial year. How did this address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality? How had this addressed the infrastructure backlog that most municipalities were confronted with?

On the payment of grants, the MSIG underspent mainly due to lack of appropriate identification of support areas for the problem. Could the Department explain why there were unable to identify these appropriate support areas? To what an extent had the Department dealt with the issue of corruption, as there was a scourge of corruption? There was an emergence of strange forces. For instance, people gate crashing, capturing contractors and making demands. These appeared to attempt to delay. Or were people staging criminal activities against government departments and forcing themselves into contracts? To what extent had this affected COGTA?

Ms Ntlangwini said that, throughout the presentation, the presenter stated that “it could be COVID-19”, as a reason for underspending. The Committee worked with realities, not imaginations. So, it was either COVID-19 or not COVID-19, not ‘either/or’ or ‘it could be’. Was COVID-19 the reason for underspending or not? For majority of the Committee, English was not their first language. So, when they heard ‘it could have been’, this meant something different than ‘it is’ or ‘was’. The statement on slide 19 said “some municipalities don’t have the required contract management, project management and technical skills to manage and oversee the implementation of projects”. Could the Committee have a list of those municipalities that did not have those required skills? When would those necessary skills be acquired within those municipalities to assist in project management? As stated by Mr Shaik Emam, most of the corruption happened in the local sphere. Rather than stating ‘some municipalities’, the Committee wanted to work with figures and numbers to know which municipalities they were and in which provinces and districts. This would help with the Committee’s oversight work.

The Chairperson welcomed the presentation. He said it was very rare to have the Director-General (DG) on the platform and the accounting officer responsible for the Department not say anything to the Committee during the meeting. He would be noting this. In fact, it was the first time the DG was on the platform but not speaking to the Committee.

The Chairperson expressed concern about the vacancy rate of about 10%, as it denied those who should have employment in government employment. Despite the country's high unemployment rate, he observed a pedestrian approach from all departments regarding their vacancy rates. There were many young qualified people on the streets. The country had deliberately decided on a multi-year budget, the MTEF, to get an indication of what would happen the following year, and so forth. By now, the Department knew to give or take its budget for next year. So, it was expected that it would not wait for the year to start before planning, as this would directly affect people who could have been directly employed. He expressed further concern about the service delivery implications of not filling those vacancies. There were two scenarios: either the Department did not need the posts that should then be removed, or it needed them to enhance service delivery but were not filled. What were the implications of the vacancy rate that resulted in underspending over the years?

On underspending for goods and services, he noted that it was about planning in the Department, relating to vacancy rates. There were direct implications on the economy because the money could have bought something, or would have sustained a certain small business or black-owned woman-owned business. The Committee faced departments complaining about budget cuts but, when budget was given, the budget was not being used. One implication of unspent budget was the denial of the people of the services they need.

On MIGs, the Committee was less interested in reasons for underspending, and more interested in solutions and identifying the problems. Hearing the phrase ‘we are working on the plans’ was concerning. It was important to plan on time to get funds, particularly concerning the MIG. The state of the roads and water in municipalities was known, yet the South African people had given money to government through Parliament. As a side note, people had no interest in the notions of national government, provincial government and local government. People only knew of government. The blame between different spheres of government was not something that could be sold to the people. The Constitution, and even the name of the Department, enjoins the three spheres of government to employ cooperative governance. Why could all the spheres of government not lock themselves in one room and clear up certain issues around the grants? For example, it did not interest the people to hear of a municipality failing to fill a certain form correctly. Service delivery was concerned with solutions, and not just reasons. Relief grants were returning to National Treasury at the end of the year. Who was being punished here because people were supposed to receive the services?

On the bar graph reflecting expenditure and savings, the Department was not in the business of saving. It was in the business of service delivery, as that was what the money was allocated for. Therefore, the bar graph had to call it what it was, and reflect underspending to appreciate the gravity of the problem. Calling it savings was to try and sugar-coat it. He observed that the presentation spoke more about plans, yet this was an administration that had been going on for three years. When would these plans be executed? It was said that the LGES was one of the biggest contributors to underspending, but what was the biggest? What was the ideal way of dealing with this? The Department could not be stuck on certain things it saw were not working. Also, as people at the forefront, it should have come up with ways to deal with them, even if it meant changing legislation, as laws could not impede service delivery.

On the MSIG, the Department referred to the improvement of record management. This was management 101, and could not still be a hurdle. What was Parliament expected to do in this regard? Parliament appropriated funds to employ the best of the best, yet the Department spoke of improving record management when explaining that MSIG was not being used. On the MIG, when would government ensure that the grant was available and delivered services? How could the issue of disaster grants returning to National Treasury after being unspent be dealt with? The problems amongst national departments, whether COGTA and National Treasury or COGTA and different layers, were not rocket science. These departments had to be able to sit down and figure out how to deal with the problems. Members of Parliament were lawmakers who made laws under certain assumptions. However, if certain laws did not work, they were open-minded to amending legislation if needed to improve service delivery. No Member would say that they did not want to support this goal, because everyone was aware of the state of the municipalities, and the audit outcomes they received, because this was a concern. The DDM was introduced as a silo approach to service delivery. What was the status of the DDM? In terms of its success, on a scale of zero to ten, where would Department rate the DDM?

Response by COGTA
Deputy Minister Bapela thanked the Members for the helpful and relevant inputs and questions.

He said that the DDM was a new baby in the house, under the sixth administration – an administration that was almost three years old. It was a mechanism recently introduced to coordinate implementation at 52 geographic spreads, consisting of 44 districts and eight metropolitans. It was to see a new model of government working together and identifying who was doing what in which districts and municipalities. It had reached a sense of understanding, and there were elements of the introduction of mechanisms of coordination, but the structure was not yet fully operational. This was because, from introducing it across the system of governance, it was part of a reporting mechanism to Cabinet. Also, there was still a need to develop a reporting mechanism to the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to understand the implementation model. There was a desire to have district hubs, where a CEO would coordinate all these functions and deliverables by different departments in every hub. For example, where there would be the building of a school or clinic, the CEO would be ensuring the municipality had response around the issue of the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), and ensuring a budget to take water and electricity to that school or clinic.

The next phase was the establishment of particular district hubs with officials coordinating the model and centre for departments, both nationally and provincially, to coordinate themselves when approving budgets. This would provide predictability to communities that were going to be the recipients of government services in those particular 52 districts. At the level of the political environment, the President had appointed ministers and deputy ministers as district champions to try and champion the provinces. Provinces had also appointed provincial champions from the MECs, with the district municipalities as coordinating centres. All the municipal managers and the MECs would respond to issues coming in. COGTA had assigned officials to the nine provinces and officials in every district. They were responsible for coordinating the administrative aspects of the district functions as the wait for establishing the district hubs and appointment of managers continued. Overall, there was the emerging realisation that the government could not continue to work in silos. Even though there would be elements of silo-ism, the cohesiveness of the DDM was the way to go. Therefore, the Department would rate the DDM between three and five on a scale, depending on the district and metro, as there was still unevenness between them. Some provinces had launched the DDMs after the President launched three. One was launched in OR Tambo in the Eastern Cape to look at the model in the setting of a rural environment. Another was launched in eThekwini to have and feel its presence in a metro. Another one was in Waterberg in Limpopo, which was at municipal level. The last report indicated that the champions and premiers in KZN had launched 10 out of the 11 districts, if not all of them. Limpopo had also been launching DDMs. With these launches, the Department ensured that communities and traditional leaders were mobilised, with stakeholder forums being held because the government was working with and for the people, not itself. Therefore, districts were taking the shape of people-centred development. It was hoped that the DMM would be an implementation model that would take the country forward.

On underspending on the disaster response grant, he echoed the Members’ sentiments and said that service delivery was what it ought to be about. The grant responded to disasters where people had lost homes, their livelihoods to some extent; services were interrupted, and roads were cut off. Immediate response was required. On relief, the Department did well by saving lives. A lot of work was done on property connecting villages and people. Some roads had been redone and opened, and there was progress. However, communities still lived in halls, such as in the KZN. Some people had even left those halls to go and live with relatives because they said there was no dignity in continuously living there with no hope on the chances of getting temporary shelter while waiting for a permanent solution to their damaged houses. With some areas no longer habitable, the Department had to look for new suitable land that needed to be surveyed by engineers. This identification of suitable land was time-consuming. Temporary structures were another problem.

The Department recognised the importance of relieving and providing comfort to communities. It admitted that it was not doing well in this regard. COGTA, as the coordinator, was doing well in convening meetings, with the relevant ministers attending. Implementation then cut across various departments, using their internal procurement processes to respond to those disasters. For example, Home Affairs was supposed to have moved on site to provide a closer service to help those who have lost IDs in fires. But this service was on and off, and a truck would come one day but not on other days. The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) had already indicated that money was available for the land needed to put infrastructure. However, the uptake of the money was stagnant because potential recipients did not have IDs and without IDs, and the DHS hence could not touch them.

The Department had gone to municipalities to indicate its need for land, but some land did not belong to municipalities. The Department then had to negotiate with land owners for land that was available for temporary set ups. The process of releasing the land took forever, and the money was not spent. These were the types of issues faced, which highlighted the models as not being the best in an emergency. The country had to begin to look at what disaster format to employ. Other countries used the army to command all the way from relief, to recovery towards permanent settlement. But in South Africa, there was space for departments to have budgets that were inherent within the departments. Whatever additional money came as disaster grants would add up to their capacity. As a result, in the 2022/23 financial year report, the Department would be reporting that spending did not go according to plan in the KZN, North West and Eastern Cape disasters. Emergency procurement had to happen within a six-month period. If money was not spent on the disasters within the six months, then the normal procurement periods and time applied. However, a new wave of CFOs indicated they were scared of using the disaster response emergency period because the Auditor-General had been flaking them and might have received audit opinions. They were reluctant unless things were done to their norms, without looking at the disaster situations. But this matter was beyond COGTA because the grants were being received by the province, the municipalities and COGTA’s sister departments. However, the issue of non-appropriation was noted and would be improved in the governance systems, with Cabinet being ceased with this particular matter. The Cabinet Lekgotla had received a report two weeks ago, emphasising the need to do better as a country. The report also emphasised that, through the tasks assigned to the ministers responsible, by the end of October, there would be a better report indicating that money was flowing towards a particular direction that would enable the Department to help and assist the people.

On all the grants distributed by municipalities, such as water and electricity grants from the Department of Energy and the MIG from COGTA, why could there not be an engine room for the three departments that have grants in order to have an impact on service delivery? These attempts were made but would start and not go anywhere or start again and go to emergencies. But he would take the suggestion from the Chairperson, for government to use the DDM model as a base, as homework for the Department. The DDM champions had to go to every district and ensure that there was that engine room. The models in KZN were working, where the Department could know what was happening in each ward, and then move up to the municipal, provincial and then national level. In this regard, a ‘Sukuma Sambe’ type of project could begin to work. The Department and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) were working together to intervene in the municipalities' lacking capacity due to lack of technical skills. It was engaging with the National Treasury on Section 21 of DoRA, around the element of money. They were working together to provide MISA with the monetary capacity to help municipalities without capacity to implement outstanding and pending projects, instead of the money going to a performing municipality – denying the money from local people. The CEO of MISA would indicate the areas in which they had intervened, and whether it was working and yielding results, so that they could come back and state that R2.8 billion had not been spent due to underspending because those issues were taken seriously.

Deputy Minister Bapela agreed that the Department needed to indicate how it deals with corruption, but that it was a matter that is in the purview of the security cluster. Those mafias in the business, particularly in the construction area, were indeed present at the level of municipalities, hijacking projects and demanding 30% of whatever. The Department had encouraged service providers confronted by this situation to report the matters. The security cluster was still trying to develop a mechanism. At Cabinet level, it was also agreed that there had to be a dedicated police service to deal with this problem so that projects would not stall. Projects had stalled in many municipalities because people wanted to hijack them, disrupting and damaging vehicles and property of service providers to ensure that nothing would move forward without their demands. Therefore, this was another external matter stalling service delivering and spending. The security cluster was aware of and engaging with the issue.

He agreed with Mr Qayiso on the impressions received by unions, created by the underspending on vacancies. On Mr Qayiso’s question about COGTA’s contribution towards the economic reconstruction and recovery plan, he said that the Minister wrote a circular during COVID-19, stating that municipalities must be alive to ensure the recovery of the economy is their responsibility too. Companies that wanted to leave municipalities to go to other better-performing municipalities had to be engaged to ensure that they remained where they invested, as they provided jobs for local people. The story of Clover in Ditsobotla in the North West was a wake-up call. Municipalities were an engine room for economic growth because these companies existed at municipality level. If the roads were bad, electricity and water supply were always interrupted. These were real issues. Like in Maluti-a-Phofung, Nestle wanted to leave the area. One could have imagined the unemployment that would arise as a result. Some companies had come to the Department helping them respond to the problems they were challenged with, in terms of municipalities not performing their functions. The Department worked with some companies that had decided to stay. For example, The Supreme Chicken in Mahikeng, which supplies chicken to all KFC’s and chicken outlets in South Africa, wanted to go to Midrand in Gauteng, as it said services were better there than in Mahikeng. About four thousand local jobs were going to be lost as a result of a municipality not performing its job. So, the Department continued to engage on these issues.

On the instability in municipalities, there was a report on this. The Department would come back with it. On vacancies, he agreed that the age of the vacancy had to be attached, indicating how long a vacancy had been there. There were also instances of resignations, retirements and death. But the age of each vacancy had to be determined, as the Department could not have a vacancy for five years and return to the Committee for different reasons.

Deputy Minister Bapela said he would follow up on Mr Shaik Emam’s questions about the KZN, and acknowledged that the Member was indeed a patient person. He asked Mr Shaik Emam to remain patient because the volume of information he requested was quite voluminous and needed to be reconciled with records verified as to whether projects were successful, their impact and what stages they went to, and so on. He would engage with the municipality and the provincial COGTA in KZN so they could start following up on the matters.

On Mr Sarupen’s comments about bulk services and Eskom’s illegal connections, he said that the Department usually worked with the Energy and Public Enterprises Departments and municipalities that might be facing these illegal connections. If a report was needed, the Department could provide it. On the 30-day period of companies that have been paid or not by COGTA, he said that the DG had provided it to COGTA last year but it might have been updated. The DG would be able to provide comment on it.

Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General, DCoG, apologised for indicating that she would not be attending the meeting. Circumstances have changed, and she joined. She thanked the Chairperson and the Members for affording them the opportunity to brief the Committee on the underspending over the last five years and the implications it has had on service delivery.

Ms Williamson noted the questions, comments and suggestions made by Committee and would take them forward. She agreed that the Department needed to look at the zero-based budgeting approach upfront and look at exactly what it needed to undertake, and then allocate funds accordingly. It was also a new approach for the Department, which it had started looking at during this particular financial year, and it would be extending the approach to the next year while firming it up. The funds the Department needed to be aligned to its new strategic outlook, and new organisation design and approach that must focus on service delivery. The Department took the role of the actual implementation of the local government operations branch very seriously, as it believed that it was an arm it really needed to ensure a stronger impact in terms of the work it was undertaking. It was also looking to ensure that it has one point of entry through to the province and ultimately to a municipality, so there was accountability within the Department. It had drafted serious work plans against some of its targets that it needed to make certain it met. For this reason, it was looking for the support of both the province and the general local sphere in ensuring that it could directly impact its mandate.

On the question about paying suppliers within the 30-day period, she agreed that the Department was not doing well in this area, but she said it had since caught up. It was now close to a 100% in terms of payment of suppliers within the 30 days. In some months in the previous financial year, it had been at 100% while others have not. But on average, it was over the 95% mark, and the Department could provide this information.

On Mr Sheik Emam’s comments on whether contractors were providing free value in terms of the services they were rendering, she said that the Department could engage with National Treasury to see if it could assist in providing the information from their database in this regard. She would see if that list could be brought back to the Committee. The Department was finalising an MOU between itself and National Treasury, hoping to eliminate some of the duplications that may have been arising in its work, as raised by Mr Sarupen.

On grant administration, the Department had already set up a team, with Treasury taking the lead, to review its grant structure and look at how it could improve the whole grant system. It was understood that, with funding being returned to the fiscus, the function of ensuring citizens are not negatively affected was not fulfilled. It was going to include this in its MOU and general reporting.

On the 10.3% vacancy rate highlighted in the presentation: while it was agreed that unemployment is high and that there must be a drive in filling positions, the DPSA did have a benchmark that guided departments in terms of vacancy rates, as there would never be a time where an institution did not have vacancies. The Department was guided by the fact that the rate should not be more than 10%, and it was more or less within that. The lower it was, the better. But the Department would look at driving it lower than it was at that moment.

On the Chairperson’s comments regarding using the language ‘savings’ instead of ‘underspending’, the Department would rectify this and ensure that its emphasis is on solutions rather than just expressing that it has plans. On the issue relating to Schedule 6B, she said that the Department was in the process of finalising the appointment of MISA as its implementing agent.

Mr Ntandazo Vimba, CEO, MISA, responded to the question from Mr Qayiso, on the macro-economic impact of interventions and the extent to which COGTA had played a role in the implementation of the economic recovery and reconstruction plan. The plan was mainly anchored on infrastructure delivery, and COGTA played an important role by deploying infrastructure grants. This year alone, about R17 billion of MIG had been allocated to local government. That alone had played an important role in economy recovery and reconstruction.

On the impact of COVID-19, he said that a certain percentage of MIG, about 20%, had to be dedicated to labour intensive construction (LIC) methods of building. That was being implemented. MISA supported mainstream LIC methods of municipalities as part and parcel of its response to COVID-19. This was part of the reconstruction and economic development of government. Along with the 20% set aside for LIC, MISA worked closely with municipalities and National Treasury to support the presidential programme through the Presidential Employment Stimulus package. MISA was allocated R284 million to assist with innovative waste management solutions that would have the two legs of SMME development and the creation of mass employment. A total of 25 municipalities, over 30 SMMEs and over 7 000 unemployed young people have benefited from the programme. MISA was able to provide the details required. Through the LIC programme, a number of municipalities were being supported, and a number of jobs were being created. MISA could provide statistics in this regard.

On the contributions made by MISA in supporting municipalities with skills, Mr Vimba said that the entity would provide a list to the Committee of all the municipalities that were lacking in terms of skills around project and contract management. Additionally, MISA had deployed its own professionally registered engineers as well as town and regional planners to a number of municipalities where MISA was supporting in beefing up capacity and ensuring performance in terms of MIG. Over the years, it could be seen that, on average, MIG had been spending above 90% amid a number of instabilities that occurred because of a change of leadership. For example, following the local government elections in 2021, a number of skilled people’s contracts ended because they were linked to the term of that council. This disrupted municipalities in terms of their performance and ensured that skilled personnel were retained.

Nevertheless, expenditure had been around on average 90%. COVID-19 greatly impacted spending, and a direct link can be seen when one looked at the MIG in 2020. During the lockdown period, the construction sector was shut down and only reopened around June. At that time, it impacted the performance of service providers on the ground in 2020 and the implementation of projects. However, there has been a huge improvement in spending on MIG.

MISA also had programmes to assist municipalities in building their internal capacity. It had a skills development programme where municipal officials were trained on projects and contract management. MISA had a team at its partnership sites, SAICE-PDP, where it was working with a number of municipalities on a range of areas impacting service delivery – like project management, contract management and procurement management. Over 500 municipal officials benefited from this programme in the previous financial year. MISA had an apprenticeship programme where it was training a number of artisans and water process controllers, and linking them to municipalities that would become beneficiaries of these skills. This was in addition to working with TVET colleges. There were a number of unskilled labourers in municipalities, who had experience running plants without certification. So, MISA introduced a programme called the ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ (RPL), where it trained these labourers to get certificates and become qualified as artisans, going forward. Several municipalities and municipal officials benefited from this programme, as it was part of building capacity and skills in municipalities. There was a flagship graduate programme where MISA recruited young graduates who had degree qualifications in engineering and MISA’s professions. The entity would provide them with mentors who are experienced engineers, to assist them with professional registration. The plan was for municipalities to absorb these graduates as they qualify as engineers in a way, and then create a skills pipeline for municipalities and MISA too. With some municipalities struggling to ensure that they provide meaningful work for these young graduates, MISA also partnered up with the private sector where some of the contractors are doing work in municipalities. Young graduates are then assigned to them to get experience in actual design work that municipalities could not provide. MISA had also built its own internal capacity to design certain types of municipal infrastructure. It had procured software packages for design and was putting in place and piloting a design unit within MISA. The aim was to make sure its young graduates work within MISA for experience in designing, instead of linking them up with the private sector. This would ensure that, in the long term, MISA was able to provide this design service for municipalities, instead of relying on private sector consultants. The framework for MIG 6B has been approved. The identification of municipalities to benefit from the programme, and the plan was to have it implemented in the 2023/24 financial year. On MISA’s contribution, she said that the entity had done some interventions as part of economic reconstruction and recovery. It had assisted the municipality in Makhanda with a facelift regarding its roads, which were full of potholes. The town now was attractive, and investments were returning there. MISA also assisted in the creation of 118 jobs created through the work implemented in Makhanda, and also created 8 000 job opportunities that flow from the LIC programme.

Mr Pretorius said there was no denying that procurement and vacancies had an impact on the Department’s ability to deliver its mandate, and also had a broader impact. This was why the Department had a comprehensive strategic review to ensure that what it did was aligned with its legislative mandate, and that it allocated both human resources and the funding for procurement of goods and services as well as capital assets, correctly. This would ensure that it maximised what it achieved with its available funds.

On the zero-based budgeting approach, he said it was done as an internal process in the Department. It was not easy because the Department was not used to following this approach. But it was important that, every year, it looked at the priorities it had to allocate funding to, and that it did not simply follow a linear budgeting approach. This process had to be done every year to ensure that funding was allocated to whatever changing priorities there had been in the environment it was operating in.

On the payment of suppliers, he confirmed that, in this financial year, the Department had so far paid all its suppliers within 30 days, with one exception being a supplier paid after 35 days, and it was taking disciplinary actions where the officials delayed in the payment of this supplier. On the recruitment process, the Department previously took around twelve months to fill a post, and it found that there were many areas where it could improve its planning and run some processes parallel to each other. It had established recruitment service standards approved by ExCo, which then determined how long each of the role players in the process have to take to ensure that posts were filled within three to four months and not twelve months. Similarly, in supply chain management, there was only one bid specification committee and one bid evaluation committee. So, the number of committees were expanded. The Department also made sure that the progress on the procurement process was reported monthly at ExCo meetings, and that it unblocked where committees were not meeting or where procurement processes were not receiving priority. Internally, in supply chain management, specific check-lists and process maps were introduced to make sure that the process flows quickly and that, where possible, processes are done in parallel to speed up the processes to reduce the finalisation of tenders from eight or nine months to just three months.

On Ms Ntlangwini’s comments about COVID-19 being or not being a reason for underspending, he said that the pandemic had an impact in 2020/21. Some of the underspending could be attributed to staff working from home, especially during the first few months. However, for the rest of the period, underspending was not COVID-related; it was primarily related to internal inefficiencies highlighted in the presentation. The way the Department had addressed those inefficiencies would not have an impact in the future. That would allow it to spend its entire budget. COVID-19 only had an impact in one half of one financial year, of the five years under review.

Mr Plaatjie Mahlobogoane, Senior Manager: Equitable Share, DCOG, said that, in addition to funding the DDM approach, as explained by the Deputy Minister, the MSIG addressed several support areas. These areas of technical support to municipalities were driven by the grant purpose, which was to stabilise governance and instrumental systems, in line with the relevant local government legislation.

On data management, Mr Mahlobogoane said that municipalities largely depended on consumer data for billing and eventually raising funds for operational purposes. The lack of adequate data management negatively impacted the accuracy and completeness of billing. Further, municipalities had internal control deficiencies, which were non-adherence to records management policy and related legislation. This impacted proper records management. Poor records management leads to undesirable outcomes, including disclaimers and a lack of accountability and business continuity. The Auditor-General had recently indicated that the municipalities did not have adequate documentation to support revenue build. Not all of the revenue that should have been billed to residents for services rendered had been billed. Additionally, poor debt collection practices were common. To address the issue of unbilled revenue, the Department was undertaking a data management project in municipalities. Utilising the MSIG, the Department would assess their data management practices, guided by municipal revenue related policies and local government legislation, to identify key anomalies that require correction, develop implementation plans and assist municipalities with the implementation.

On the issue of records management, the Department was also undertaking a records management project in 30 municipalities. It would assess the state of records management in each of these municipalities to develop implementation plans and assist the municipalities in the implementation, considering the key pillars of records management, and with the guidance of various legislation that governs national and provincial records management – including best practice guides. At the end of this technical assistance, the Department would provide the records management assessment report, a diagnostic report, and a risk analysis report for each of the targeted municipalities’ business processes dev. It would then develop municipality-specific projects, outlining the desired outcomes and timelines.

On the cost of supply studies on water provision, the objective was to apportion all costs required to service customers, among each customer class, in a fair and equitable manner. This was one of the most important considerations in establishing and designing water tariffs that are implemented to provide the service required by customers while recovering costs incurred by the authorised municipalities. The work on the cost of supply, and studies on water provision would assist municipalities in determining the appropriate tariffs or prices for the water service provided by the supported municipalities.

On the institutional support front, the Department previously developed a prototype, which is minimum staffing requirements and staff establishments according to different functions and powers of different categories of municipalities. The next phase being implemented was for the Department to pilot and validate the prototype staff establishment of municipalities according to different powers and functions of different categories of municipalities. It would then undertake a national roll-out of the prototype. In conclusion, it was envisaged that all of these projects would be rolled out to other municipalities.

Ms Ane Bruwer, Acting Head, National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), said that the disaster grants were meant for emergency response to address the needs of affected communities. Therefore, implementation was required to take place within six months. Spending was usually good. It was reported that, in one area, the grant had gone back to the national fiscus. As the Chairperson had indicated, accounting officers of grant recipient organs of state were accountable for the spending. The NDMC provided support through on-site visits to the projects to ensure that the projects were being implemented. It also had to ensure that it received reports from the organs of state to ensure that it could monitor spending, and that projects were implemented timeously. The grant framework also provided for a possible extension of the period of six months taken for implementation if the circumstances warranted that extension. That process of roll-over funds had to be applied for. Treasury provided approval for the funds, provided that they were in accordance with their processes.

Further Discussion

The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister and the delegates from COGTA for taking the time to appear before the Committee. The Department was central and important as far as service delivery was concerned. When Parliament appropriated the budget, whether done through the Committee, there was a need to ensure that those given the responsibility of spending the money spent it as planned and that the desired outcomes were produced. This was the measure of the impact made on the lives of South Africans. The Committee was, by and large, responsible for the processing and recommending to Parliament of the DoRA and the Appropriation Bill. It was the Committee’s responsibility to follow the money. Whoever got money from government was government’s client. So, occasionally, different department agencies were requested to appear before the Committee within its time constraints. The impact of underspending was that people were denied services they were entitled to and that Parliament appropriated money for. Parliament had identified the budget to do a number of things. The first was to try and deal with the economy's lacklustre performance, and to jump-start the economy through government spending. It was important that money was being used to address infrastructure investment to deal with economic performance. It was also an opportunity for government to deal with the question of economic transformation. Budget had been identified as one instrument for government to try and deal with the legacy of economic exclusion of people, and it depended on the spending of departments. Again, there were high levels of unemployment in the country, and it was understood that a 10% vacancy rate was acceptable – according to the public service norms. But it was unacceptable because money was appropriated for people to be employed so that they were able to deliver services. Perhaps this matter had to be taken up with the Public Service Commission and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).

Expenditure incurred by government exceeded the money received as revenue through SARS (South African Revenue Services). So, to deal with this delta, money was borrowed from the market to make it available to the departments and agencies. Money was borrowed at about eight percent and, when kept in the bank, the bank took three percent. The opportunity costs were just too high, and the direct cost was that a rate of five percent was being lost to the bank. This exploded debt and debt repayment costs, notably because R300 billion per annum was being spent on debt repayment. It was very important to have a macro outlook on the implications of not spending money; hence the Committee took a grim view of underspending and would have liked to see improvements. The Committee wanted to see a more responsive and agile department ensuring that all these things happened. The Department could not be going back to the electorate and telling them it could not do certain things because of certain reasons.

The Chairperson was cut off due technical difficulties.

Mr Qayiso took over as Acting Chairperson. He thanked the Deputy Minister and his team for honouring the invitation to appear before the Committee. It was hoped that all that was discussed would find its roots in implementation of whatever was planned, and that all the critical areas raised by the Committee would be taken care of. He then released them from the virtual meeting.

The Committee considered and adopted meeting minutes dated 02 September 2022 and 07 September 2022, without amendments.

An apology from Mr N Kwankwa (UDM) was tendered after meeting commenced.

An apology in advance from Mr E Marais (DA) was tendered, who would not be present for the next meeting on Friday, 16 September 2022.

The meeting was adjourned.


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