COGTA Portfolio Audit Outcomes: AGSA briefing; DCoG, DTA & MISA Annual Reports 2021/22; with Minister

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

10 October 2022
Chairperson: Mr F Xasa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video (Part 1)

Video (Part 2)

Video (Part 3)

Department of Traditional Affairs

Department of Cooperative Governance

Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent

The Portfolio Committee met with the Auditor-General of SA for a briefing on the 2021/22 audit outcomes of the cooperative governance and traditional portfolio. The Departments of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) and Traditional Affairs (DTA) also presented their annual reports along with the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).

The meeting was meant to reach an understanding in terms of the challenges encountered by the AGSA when undertaking the auditing exercise and what led to the qualified audit opinion. The Department had expressed its views and a meaningful discussion transpired which would strengthen the collaboration between the Department of Cooperative Governance and the Audior-General’s office. There were also discussions on the District Development Model which meant that the Auditor-General could not audit the coordinating department, but all the departments needed to be audited according to their responsibilities and contributions to the Model.

The 2021/2022 DCOG Annual Report indicated an improvement compared to previous financial years which was attributed to the various systems that were put in place for poor performance. In addressing the Community Works Programme issue, the Department planned to host a colloquium to try and finalise its work. This would complement the work already done to try and revise the operating model and the organisational structure of the Department.

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent performed well in its annual performance targets, which stood at 91 % in the current financial year. The entity was also able to provide technical support to rural and vulnerable communities and offer other basic amenities to previously disadvantaged citizens. However, due to a lack of resources, there are constraints which limit the performance of the entity and some are tied to partnerships established with other departments. MISA did not incur any irregular and fruitless expenditure and National Treasury approved their application to retain surplus funds committed to running projects during the 2021/2022 budget. This will enable the entity to continue implementing planned projects in the current financial year.

The Department of Traditional Affairs achieved all its annual performance targets, which was its sixth consecutive year of a clean audit with no irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure incurred. It also had a good track record in terms of service provider payments as these were set to be done within a period of nine days. The year under review was also the first to implement the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act and the Customary Initiation Act, which came into operation on the 1st of April and the 1st of September, respectively. To uphold cultural identity and heritage an Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the Deputy President was initiated to look at the issues raised consistently by the traditional leadership in various provinces. The initiative involves different work streams which different ministers lead, and these streams look at all the issues and report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee and Cabinet.

Members expressed that they were majorly dissatisfied with the engagements as important questions were not being clearly addressed. There were complaints about ongoing issues that had persisted for a long time without any resolution. What was being echoed by the Members of the Portfolio Committee was that government entities needed to understand, plan and act on the duties which they had to play within districts, municipalities and communities at large. The key issue which seemed to persist was that of the Community Works Programme and Members did not seem to understand why the issue was not being resolved, as there had been a remodelling at some point.  

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all delegates in attendance and further indicated that as per the announcement tabling of the Committee reports number 150 of 30 September 2022, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) tabled the annual reports and audited financial statements of Ward 3 and 15 for the 2021/22 financial year.  He added that this was in line with what the Public Finance Management Act prescribed.

Minister’s opening remarks

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Department of Cooperative Governance, stated that the meeting came after the Department had had an insightful engagement, the previous week, with the Auditor-General’s office (AG). The meeting was meant to reach an understanding in terms of the challenges encountered by the office when undertaking the auditing exercise and what led to the qualified audit opinion. She added that the Department had also expressed its views and a meaningful discussion transpired which, hopefully, would strengthen the collaboration between the two entities. Some of the audit findings were discussed and some ambiguities were cleared. She expressed that she hoped the rules would be clearer in the next audit cycle. The discussion also highlighted that there was a misconception that National CoGTA instituted Section 139 interventions. As such, the discussion presented an opportunity for the Department to clarify that CoGTA does not institute such interventions, and therefore cannot be audited for something it does not do.

There was also a good discussion on the District Development Model (DDM). Again, this presented another opportunity for the entity to clarify that the DDM was an all-government approach in all spheres. This meant that the AG could not audit the coordinating department, but all the departments needed to be audited according to their responsibilities and contributions to the model. She clarified that CoGTA has no implementing department, as this was a whole government approach. Hopefully, in the future, every department would have to be audited on their contribution. This would provide an excellent barometer of what the government is doing, and the Department would be able to reference what it did and what investments the whole government is making at a district level. She added that these were part of the discussions the Department had with the AG, and the objective was to try and improve the audit opinions going forward.

The Minister stated that the Department’s 2021/2022 Annual Report, which was tabled in Parliament on 30 September, indicated that 33 % of its annual targets had been achieved, which was an improvement compared to previous financial years. This improvement is attributed to the various systems put in place for poor performance. Although the Department has improved its internal control programmes so that it could move to an unqualified audit opinion, much more work still need to be done on targeting and achieving the anticipated outcome. In this regard, the Department has strengthened its partnership with academics and civil society organisations in trying to reshape the Community Works Programme (CWP). She said that the Department would soon host a colloquium to try and finalise its work and the Portfolio Committee was welcomed to send a delegation. The colloquium, she added, would complement work already done to try and revise the operating model and the Department's organisational structure.

She mentioned that the Department has had to operate under pressure due to disasters experienced in the past two years, including COVID-19, drought, fires, and floods. It has become clear that while policies and programmes are in place, poor communities do not have sufficient resilient human settlement systems to withstand and rise against these adversities. The Department, therefore, decided to seek guidance from the Committee and is also working with other departments and spheres of government to ensure that as it rebuilds settlements for affected communities, it does not do so in risky areas where the same could happen. She added that the loss of life was because the communities were settled in areas that could not withstand such disasters. As such, the Department is looking at these issues and seeks to ensure that communities are resettled in safer areas.

The Minister highlighted that the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) achieved 30 of 33 annual performance targets, translating to about 91 % in the current financial year and a fourth consecutive clean audit. This was an improvement from the 81% achieved in the previous year, which is proof that anything can be achieved through determination. MISA also provided technical support to some of the rural and vulnerable communities. Many boreholes have been drilled, and roads and other basic amenities have been improved to better the lives of millions of previously disadvantaged citizens. However, it still remains that there are insufficient resources for all projects and if resource constraints were not an issue, MISA could do a lot more. She added that the entity works in the context of Cooperative Governance and links with other departments and institutions such as Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation, academic institutions, the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA), and the South African Police Services (SAPS). Unfortunately, these types of dependencies slow down the pace and achievements of some of the projected targets, such as the recruitment of learners to enroll in MISA's learning programmes which were delayed owing to the actions of SAQA and SAPS. During the year under review, MISA did not incur any irregular and fruitless expenditure and the National Treasury approved their application for retaining surplus funds that were committed to running projects during the 2021/2022 budget. This will enable MISA to continue implementing these projects in the current financial year. She added that the Committee needed to note that MISA also bills its service providers on time and within the prescribed 30 days.

On the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) annual report tabled on 29 September, the Minister said the entity achieved all its annual performance targets. This was also its sixth consecutive year of a clean audit, and no irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure had been incurred. She expressed that the entity was a “trailblazer” as payment of service providers was set to be done within a period of nine days. The year under review was also the first to implement the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act and the Customary Initiation Act, which came into operation on 1 April and 1 September, respectively. She said that a nation which does not uphold its cultural identity and heritage could not navigate its future. Thus, in the past year, the president appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the deputy president to look at the issues raised consistently by the traditional leadership in various provinces. These issues traverse different sectors and cannot be addressed by CoGTA alone, as such, it was necessary to form the Inter-Ministerial Committee. The committee includes, amongst others, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Department of Justice and Correctional Services, Department of Public Works, National Treasury, and many more. It has different work streams led by different ministers, including Minister Enoch Godongwana, Minister Thoko Didiza, Minister Ronald Lamola, Minister Patricia de Lille, and Minister Nathi Mthethwa. These work streams look at all the issues and will report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee and Cabinet. She mentioned that there were a lot of outstanding issues, some of which were province-specific, but most of them were general. The deputy president has also been going to different provinces to explain what the Inter-Ministerial Committee entails and the work that is being done. The Department felt that it was not paying attention to the issues that the traditional leaders raised. However, the embarkment requires resources once it is concluded.


Mr B Hadebe (ANC) said the issue of the CWP workers has been resurfacing for a while and does not seem to be resolved. At some point, there had been an undertaking to remodel which was a key priority when the new administration started and before the new Director-General (DG) was appointed. He stated that the issue raised concern as it impacted the audit outcome. He indicated there were allegations that money had been paid to deceased people and asked whether the issue would be resolved. He added that one would not have expected, at the current juncture, that there would be such cases. He further asked whether timeframes could be set, which would indicate the deadlines for completion of the matter as it is closer to the end of the term. He said that even though there has been a waiting period to see a redefined model, some of the issues highlighted have been ongoing for years without being resolved and asked the extent to which the CWP irregular expenditure issue should be allowed to continue.

Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) said some issues required the Minister's response, but unfortunately, the Chairperson allowed the Minister to address the Committee before the AG presented. She added that, even though the Deputy Minister would be available, the Committee needed the Minister to respond to issues raised by Members, especially the one raised by Mr Hadebe on the CPW workers. She stated that at one stage, the Minister had informed the Committee that she went and did an oversight in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where she demanded to see the soap that the people had claimed to be making. However, they could not prove to the Minister that they were producing soap.

She said that the R3.3 billion that was not accounted for in the reports shared by the AG was also a cause for concern because it indicates corruption. Page 15 of the AG's report indicates that the accounting officer (AO) and executive authority (EA) were notified of the AGSA's determination on the implementation of the recommendations on 14 April 2022, and the recommendations in the 2020/21 audit report (AR) were assessed and satisfactorily implemented. She stated that if the AG was saying that it was satisfied after engaging the Minister who holds the position of being an EA, she then asked the Minister to inform the Committee of what happened because they were left in the dark.

She highlighted that the AG said that the root cause of the mentioned issues was a lack of skills and required competence in some of the Department's officials, which resulted in failure to carry out the objectives. She asked what actions the EA has taken regarding this and added that surely something should have been done because if there is a lack of capacity at the departmental level, then the municipalities are worse. 

Ms E Spies (DA) asked the Minister to spare herself from further embarrassment concerning the CWP project, as there were key interventions that she should consider. She said that she had been writing to the Minister and the Department officials and if the Minister did not intervene it would not yield anything good. She said that there was the next league of appointments of implementing agents, some of which have been identified as those who had been paying workers, and added that people could not be rewarded for failing. She advised the Minister to take a stance in her department and make it clear to those implementing agents that they could not continue to do what they were doing.

On remodelling, she said she had raised a parliamentary question with the Minister and is still saying there is time to save the project if every suggestion and intervention is taken seriously.

In her opening remarks, she highlighted that the Minister referred to natural disasters and added that these were factors that would always occur as they are part of nature. However, she mentioned that if these were huge contributors to the outcome of the audit findings, then focus should be directed towards such so that when these occurrences happen, the Department’s management and audit outcomes are not severely impacted.

Mr I Groenewald (FF+) spoke on the relationship between local and national and how to get things done between the different departments. He said that there was a question asked in Parliament to determine whether any municipality was to be dissolved and the Minister indicated that it was not so. However, a week later, Ditsobotla Local Municipality was dissolved. He asked what went wrong within the municipality and whether it deteriorated so much to the point where it had to be dissolved.

The Chairperson asked the Minister to respond on the understanding that she must be released early.

Mr Hadebe asked the Minister if she had demanded the answers and asked why the AO did not act on the matter. He asked whether the person responsible had been identified and whether the unresolve was attributed to an unwillingness to effect consequent management.

Minister’s Response

Minister Dlamini-Zuma indicated that she would start with CWP because of its contribution to the qualified audit. She said the Committee was correct in saying the Department specified that it would remodel CWP. They still want to do so because many of the problems arise from how the Nonprofit Organisations (NPO) act rather than from how the Department acts.

Referring to the issue of payments to the deceased, she advised the Department to link its system to those of the Department of Home Affairs so that before payments are made, details could be verified. She added that this would assist in identifying deceased individuals who had been captured by Home Affairs and as far as she was aware, this was being done but officials could confirm.

She stated that most of the fruitless and irregular expenditures were legacy issues. The officials had informed her that the matter was being addressed in partnership with Treasury as the Department alone could not resolve it. She added that if it were up to her, CPW would not have implementing agents, but would work with people who could train participants in various areas so that they have a portable skill that they could use either to get a job, form cooperatives to do business or start their businesses. In so doing, the entity could get more CWP people coming in because once they were trained, they could leave the system and allow new people to come in instead of having people stay for five to ten years without anything to show for it.  She added that this was why she said the Department was working with institutions in her opening remarks to see what training could be provided. She, personally, preferred not to work through NPOs.

On the appointment of MPS, she clarified that ministers do not get involved in supply chain issues and the appointment of CWP NPOs was a supply chain issue. She explained that the process involved the issuing of tenders which the Department dealt with and added that the Committee would be the first to strangle her if they were to hear of her involvement in supply chain issues. However, if there was something wrong happening, it needed to be addressed without her involvement as a minister. She indicated that the appointment of implementing agents was also a supply chain issue, and not an executive decision.

On the question about occurring disasters, she clarified that they were not the main contributors to the audit qualification, but the Department would like to strengthen the disaster management centre if it were given the necessary resources. This was mainly because it had become clear that disasters were getting worse and the Department needed to be equipped.

In response to the issue of capacity that was raised, she said the Department had a lower-level Chief Financial Officer (CFO) unlike other departments with both Deputy Directors General (DDGs) and CFOs. They were aware that this was a weakness and partnered with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to allow them to have a higher capacity CFO and DPSA had agreed. She added that DPSA had advertised the role and would hopefully strengthen CoGTA's capacity. She added that CWP alone had a huge budget managed by the Chief Director and not the DDG in terms of the CFO.

She stated that Ditsobotla Local Municipality had been a problem for quite some time and the Department had been discussing it with the province. At some stage, the President was asked to allow the defence force to go to the municipality to assist with the sewage spillage which was a big problem and the intervention helped. During this period, she said she was still with the Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DPME) but was leading the intervention then. She explained that the major problem in the municipality was governance, driven by political issues that the Department as a sphere of government sometimes does not have the mandates to deal with. The mentioned issues, she said, did not improve, and the Department hoped that the new Council, which was elected in 2021, would work better but this was not the case. The problem was at the Council level and spilt over into the administration. The Minister said she always makes an illustration that the municipality must be like an egg; it must be egg white and egg yellow, which is the political body and the administration. These two must be together but separate; however, in some of the municipalities, the environment resembles a scrambled egg where it is not clear where the administration or the politics starts and ends. She said that the municipality was one of such, and sometimes it is not even a scrambled egg but a vegetable omelette as it is unclear what is going on. She said there was hope that the situation would improve, and the Department was in discussion with the province but eventually realised that it was a futile exercise, which is why there was a dissolution.

Follow up discussion 

Mr Hadebe concurred with the Minister when she alluded to the fact that political office bearers were not allowed to interfere with the supply chain but clarified that what Members were raising as an issue of concern was that when the policy was not followed to the end. It then becomes the Committee's responsibility to ensure that policies made are followed, otherwise, the policy becomes useless if it does not serve the desired purpose. He added that there had been concerns about the CWP and contracts that did not follow the supply chain; this was where Members as policymakers needed to inquire about why the policy had not been implemented.

On the payments made to the deceased, he agreed that part of the mitigating factors should be to work with the DHA, but the most basic thing should be an attendance register that will determine the appropriate payments to individuals. Besides resorting to DHA, he asked why there was an inability to account for how many people worked each week or month when payments had to be made. He added that this indicated that people just get paid without understanding who deserved to be paid and that the matter needed not to get to the point where the DHA was consulted.

The Chairperson said the officials should note all the issues being raised by the Members because the meeting would not stop with the Minister leaving early, and they needed to respond to the question later.

Ms Mkhaliphi thanked the Minister for her response but indicated that she was not satisfied because the Department had failed the Committee on the issue of CWP. She said it should concern the Minister that there were billions of rands not accounted for. She added that there had been a call for information to be forwarded to criminate the implicated individuals but this was to no avail; even the AG's report indicated that a few individuals had been suspended or action taken against them.  She said there was no clear report on how to deal with the situation and further asked what had occurred, why there was so much money missing in the CWP, and what was done to mitigate the situation by the Minister as the head of the Department. She said that it was understandable that in terms of the law, the Minister was not supposed to be engaging in the processes of a supply chain, but politically as a head of the Department surely, she was supposed to have more answers for the Committee as she is accountable to it.

On the Minister’s response to the issue of the CFO, she said the capacity of the Department should not be attributed to one person because the AG reports indicate that when the Department engages with municipalities, it does not interrogate the cause of backlogs in service delivery to come up with adequate solutions.  As such, the problem of capacity was clearly within the Department. She said that even if the Minister indicated that the Department had identified one problem concerning the vacant CFO position, she needed to go comprehensively with the entity as there is a problem with service delivery in the municipality. The Committee was also of the view that if things were not done right at the departmental level, it would be the same with municipalities as municipalities operate in terms of the constitution and should be monitored. She said that the Minister should be clear because, in her opening remarks, she indicated that the entity had a fruitful engagement with the AG after it received the AG's report, but later did not speak confidently about the issues raised and the outcomes. She stated that the Committee needed an end product from the Department to address the pending backlog of service delivery and all other problems in the municipality. The solution would be the intervention, according to Section 139. If this did not help, it then indicated that there needed to be other interventions put in place by the Department. However, the issue would not be resolved if there was a lack of capacity at the department level. She told the Department to share the solutions in place to address the situation and asked whether it should be a situation where they just let the situation be and leave it to Jesus to resolve.

Ms Spies said it concerned her when the Minister preferred to take the angle that she was not involved in supply chain management.  She reiterated that it concerned her that when she made an honest and sincere contribution to alert her to red flags, the Minister preferred to take the angle of not being involved in supply chain management. She said that everyone in the meeting knew the legislative framework that she operates on and by no means was there an expectation for the Minister to get involved in supply chain management.  But ultimately, the outcome of the audit would be a reflection on her, and she would want to sit back and be proud that her department had an unqualified or clean audit. This was also what the Committee wanted and when Members raised issues, they raised them not just because they were malicious but also because they wanted the Department to be aware. Members know what happens on the ground, so when she posed the question of whether the service providers or the implementing agents were going to be blacklisted by National Treasury, she wanted the Minister to go into that and ask the administration what was happening as information can sometimes be given selectively.

She said the Minister made a very good point on the CWP being trained and suggested some good case studies available. She agreed with the Minister that implementing agents are the problem and that as a Member, in the constituency where she worked, she does not get paid to do the work with CWP but there are government agencies involved and women who are working with an organisational company and making products that will be exported. She added that the mentioned was the success of CWP and in many instances, besides all the negativity around CWP, several good things were happening. She added that such instances needed to be looked into, as they can become best practices and be used as case studies. She told the Minister that when she raised these issues, it was an honest and sincere intent, and not because she does not understand her job and the legislative framework on which she operates.

Mr Groenewald agreed with the Minister that the powers of the municipalities must be separated, the governance part and the administration, and that the Ditsobotla local municipality issue had been a long coming problem and the election of a new Council would not change anything.  He asked about the steps taken in terms of administration as there is a two-part problem; one being the governance and the other one being the administration. He added that it could not be that only a single problem would be addressed but both needed to be addressed at the same time or else there would be no resolution. He asked about the steps being taken to get the administration up to date so that services could be delivered. He said that people were suffering because of the political bickering that was going on which needed to be resolved as fast as possible.

Auditor-General of South Africa briefing on COGTA portfolio

Achievement of annual targets as reported in annual performance report (all indicators) – 2021-22

Key MTSF indicators have been selected on all the programmes reported in the APR as they outline the country’s priorities of the electoral mandate. Most of these indicators have been achieved; however, the majority of the indicators at DCoG were changed during the financial period, which raises a concern.

  • DCoG achieved 73% of its targets, and 27% was not achieved.
  • DTA made a 100% achievement on its planned targets.
  • MISA achieved 91% of its planned target, and only 9% was not achieved.

Key reflections on the audit outcomes of DCoG

  • Material misstatements were identified due to inaccurate, incomplete and duplicate substantiating records for payments made for goods and services and invoices to clear prepayments.
  • Breakdown in key internal controls such as physical verification of CWP assets, and preparing and maintaining a credible CWP asset register.
  • Management did not effectively monitor and implement action plans, as evidenced by the number of repeat findings reported.
  • Inadequate controls over reviewing and monitoring compliance with key supply chain management legislation.
  • Lack of consequence management for non-adherence to laws and regulations, poor performance and transgressions.
  • Lack of appropriate record keeping to substantiate the transactions and balances reported in the annual financial statements.

MTSF vs APPs analysis

  • A key indicator on the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) aimed at engaging with communities on service delivery improvement was not included in the APP.
  • National DCoG - % improvement in satisfaction in service delivery.
  • The department believes that the above indicator is the responsibility of the entire government sphere not only that of the DCoG; however, it is still not being prioritised by DCOG nor included in their APP. DCoG does not agree that they need to include all the MTSF indicators in their APP.
  • Some indicators are included in the operational plans where the Department is not a lead. Emerging risks were included in the management report for the indicators not included in the APP. This may result in the MTSF indicators not being prioritised and implemented.

Quality of indicators: Deep dive examples

  • In respect of the key elements of the department’s implemented mandate through the initiatives, the following gaps were identified:
  • The execution of the set initiatives is at a very high level or at a very minimal effort. • Support is provided through meetings and engagements.
  • They measure performance by submitting documents such as writing reports on interventions to be implemented.
  • Due to poor planning, problems are identified after tabling the initial APP, resulting in indicators and targets being revised during the year and the impact not necessarily being visible.

Examples of indicators selected for deep dive

Section 139 improvement plans

The same municipalities require interventions, but are not improving.


Spending of the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG)

Lack of or insufficient oversight and expert technical skills at municipalities to analyse and implement the project's plans.

  • Engagements held by the department and municipalities are not interrogating the causes of backlogs in service delivery to come up with adequate solutions.
  • Vandalised infrastructure and illegal connections resulting in lack of improvements.

Implementation of actions in line with section 134 of the MFMA (audit outcomes)

  • Municipalities are not required to report on the progress made with implementing action plans.
  • MEC does intervene in instances where there is no cooperation from municipal offices; however, the impact is not necessarily visible.
  • Reports have the same issues and interventions reported in the past two years.


Section 139 improvement plans: Municipalities under administration


The indicator implementation of intervention plans when a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation imposed on it.

Implementation initiatives observations

Intervention implemented

Example: Ratlou, Tswaing, Ditsobotla and Ramotshere Moila local municipalities (LMs) have been under administration since the 2018-19 financial year. The province is facing litigation by municipalities placed under interventions in four (4) municipalities as they have rejected intervention.

Intervention’s impact

  • The municipalities blocked the administrators from accessing the municipal offices, resulting in no interventions being implemented.
  • Provincial and national leadership have been interdicted from interfering with the Tswaing LM matters.
  • The intervention team was removed from the premises by members of the municipality.
  • Contracts of the intervention team expired on 31 January 2021, with the result that no improvements were made in the LM.

It was concluded that due to limited powers of the DCoG, they may have planned interventions to assist the municipalities but failed to implement them because of resistance from the municipalities. Councillors were the ones engaging with the communities and the mayor and whatever decision which would be taken would affect the effectiveness of the intervention.

Implementation of actions in line with section 134 of the MFMA

Indicator: Implementation of actions in line with section 134 of the MFMA (audit outcomes).

Purpose: The municipalities are required to develop audit action plans to address issues raised by the AGSA in accordance with section 131(1) of the MFMA. The role of DCoG is to facilitate those plans, ensuring that municipalities prioritise plans, and to improve municipal performance by ensuring good governance and sound financial management.

Observations: MEC does intervene in instances where there is no cooperation from municipalities. Municipalities are not required to report on the progress made with implementing action plans.

Example: The following are a few examples of interventions recommended by the department for 2018-19 which are similar to the interventions mentioned in 2019-20 reports relating to KwaZulu-Natal municipalities:

  • Monitor and enforce implementation of recommendations of forensic reports tabled in municipal councils to promote good governance, accountability and consequence management.
  • Coordinate capacity-building Interventions to ensure that the local government sector-specific needs are met.
  • Support 19 municipalities that have received negative performance audit outcomes from Auditor-General to improve performance management.
  • Establish provincial local government M&E forum as a learning platform and structure for sharing best practice.

Value-add work performed on service delivery: DCoG


Indicators are crafted in a way that is not necessarily yielding the impact on the livelihoods of citizens. The concern is that the initiatives implemented are short-term based and not sustainable and that the impact remains minimal as the municipalities’ performance is not improving.

Cause: The influence and impact of the indicators in the portfolio are not at the desired level due to the following:

  • Similar initiatives are implemented repeatedly, but the impact remains minimal as evidenced by the limited/ lack of improvement at municipalities.
  • Leadership of the municipalities not being receptive to the interventions.
  • Lack of skills and required competencies in some of the municipalities for officials to carry out their objectives.

Several indicators refer to "support" to be provided to the municipalities; however, "support" is not defined at the planning stage in a manner that is clear as to the activities the departments will undertake to ensure that the municipalities are supported.

Recommendations to accounting officer (AO)

National COGTA plays a vital role in supporting the municipalities to strengthen their capacity to manage their own affairs, exercise their powers and perform their functions. The outcome from the MTSF analysis and the APPs for the current year highlights that the departments should ensure alignment of their APPs to MTSF and have initiatives and interventions that:

  • Are impact focused
  • Measure the actual implementation and monitoring of intervention plans
  • Where a specific type of support is provided, with timelines
  • Are accompanied by action plans to ensure that the real root causes are addressed.

The MIG indicators should measure service delivery on infrastructure projects implemented and funded and not just the percentage spending thereof. This can be achieved through well-coordinated monitoring of the municipalities’ performance and using the insights from the monitoring process to empower the structure of authority to act against pushbacks on interventions.

Material irregularities identified

Department of Cooperative Governance

Payments to non-qualifying government employees on the CWP.

  • Payments were made in 2018-19 to non-qualifying government employees as part of the Community Work Programme due to ineffective internal controls for approving and processing payments.
  • Appropriate actions were taken to address the MI i.e. taking disciplinary actions and the financial loss in the recovery process.
  • The AO and EA were notified of the AGSA's determination on the implementation of the recommendations on 14 April 2022 and recommendations in 2020-21. The ARs were assessed as satisfactorily implemented.

Prepayment for goods and services that were not received at CWP sites

  • Payments were made in advance to implementing agents, without evidence of goods and services having been received due to ineffective internal controls for approving and processing payments.
  • Appropriate actions were taken to address the MI, i.e. taking disciplinary actions, and the financial loss is in the recovery process.

Project management fees paid to implementing agents for services not received

  • Project management fees were paid to implementing agents of the Contract Work Programme from April 2018 to March 2021, without evidence of goods and services having been received due to ineffective internal controls for approving and processing payments.
  • Appropriate actions were taken to address the MI, i.e. taking disciplinary actions, and the financial loss is in the recovery process.

Transfer payment to incorrect recipient for Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG)

  • An incorrect grant payment was made to a supplier in July and August 2018 due to ineffective internal controls for approving and processing payments.
  • The department was unable to recover all the money from the supplier. Appropriate actions were taken to address the MI, i.e. taking disciplinary actions, and the financial loss is in the recovery.

Quality of financial reporting- DCoG

  • The audit outcome for the department remained unchanged.
  • There is increased risk of financial loss on the CWP project management fees.
  • Monthly financial reporting and monitoring are ineffective.
  • The qualifications were mainly due to the weak internal control environment and lack of proper project management.
  • Poor asset control on the CWP has a financial impact for the taxpayer as assets purchased with state money cannot be accounted for.

Main qualification areas (DCoG)

Goods and services (CWP project management fees): The department could not provide accurate and complete substantiating records for payments made for project management fees made to Community Work Programme (CWP) implementing agents. The project management fees were limited due to the NPOs not being able to provide accurate and complete substantiating records for payments made.

Moveable tangible capital assets: Insufficient appropriate audit evidence that management had properly accounted for movable tangible capital and minor assets for CWP. The NPOs assets selected from the asset register could not be verified, further, the submitted asset register was not accurate.

Prepayment and advances: The department expensed prepayments made to the implementing agents using duplicate invoices and incorrect invoice amounts in the financial system.

(Please see the attachments for the detailed AGSA presentation)


Mr Hadebe asked about the indicators in MISA highlighted by the AG's office about supporting the municipalities. He said that they had not been clearly defined in terms of what the support was. He asked whether this meant that indicators were not smart, specific, measurable, accurate and time-bound.

Ms Mkhaliphi’s, focusing on page 21 which spoke about compliance, asked whether physical verifications were made when information had been received from the Department to conclude that the entity had complied with the legislation. She gave an example and said that officials, as educated people, go to the DG of the Department and claim that R600 000 had been used to build a stadium. The action of the DG, thereafter, would be to comply and issue receipts only to discover later that there was no stadium built. She said this had happened to one of the municipalities in the Free State. She again asked whether the entity conducted physical verifications to come to a conclusion that there was compliance because, as activists and people on the ground, they have experienced situations where billions of rands had been issued out to construct roads only to find that no work had been done.

Referring to the root causes, she said that the presentation indicated similar initiatives that had been implemented repeatedly with minimal impact, as evidenced by the limited or lack of improvement. She asked the entity to please give the Committee examples of some initiatives so that it could be clear by the time the Department comes.

She spoke about the issue of the MI in CWP, saying that she was concerned that the AG was satisfied with its engagement with the Department in addressing the corruption that involved billions of rands. She asked who would keep checks and balances because the Committee relied on the AG for such. She added that the entity needed to hit hard on the Department especially if it suspected corruption involved. Even though AG is not the police, it played the role of a watchdog, and to express satisfaction about its engagement with the Department made the situation hopeless. This meant that the Department could even capitalise on this and hide behind the declaration of the AG. She asked the entity to clarify the mentioned. She said that the Department would also have to clarify the information given on pages 12 to 17 because what the AG raised was a cause for concern.

She said that the Committee had, at some point, demanded the list of the NPOs the Department was using on the CWP but she is unsure if it was received and asked about the number of NPOs involved. She said that the AG indicated that some of the NPOs signed the acknowledgment of debt and asked for clarity on the matter.

Ms Spies said the AG mentioned that some of the contracts, particularly the old ones, were not done economically and that it offered support in assisting with the tender documents which are forwarded to implementation agents. However, there was a difference in the regular framework or the functionality criteria on the contract. She said that if it was the AGs function to assist why was it that the entity and the Department were not finding common ground and asked what could be done to change this fact.  

Mr Groenewald spoke about the local government and strengthening the municipalities. He mentioned that one of the biggest findings of the AG was that there was no compliance with the legislation in local governments. He asked about the steps the Department could take to ensure that there is compliance with the legislation in the local government in a capacity manner with the powers it has.

Mr G Mpumza (ANC) said in the presentation on asset management that the AG indicated that there was no sufficient audit evidence of disposed of assets and adequate control. The representative from AGSA also verbally attested to that by saying that assets were scattered all over the ground and could not be found in the asset register. He asked if this was in reference to the old contract that was in the process of being closed or to the new contract between the Department and the NPOs. He asked if the service level agreement that the Department entered with the NPOs contained a punitive code in the event that the NPOs may deviate from what was obtained in the service level agreement.

On the capacity of the Department in the management of implementing agents, he asked if the systems in place and management capacity were adequate enough to manage NPOs so that their management capacity impacts positively to achieve the desired outcome for the programme.

Response from the AG’s Office

[please note the meeting took place physically in Gauteng and PMG was not present, making it difficult to identify some speakers]

An AG representative responded to the question specifying that the indicators were not smart. He said that there was only the usefulness criteria which was a liability. He said that there was no MISA usefulness area; it was only CRL and DCoG.

On the question of the visit to the site for physical verification, he said the entity does visit the sites when it orders financial statements and does asset verification on the asset registers. He added that when it came to supply chain auditing on contracts and tenders, the entity did not always do verifications unless there was a performance order which looked at a specific contract to do physical verification. From an auditing perspective, when assertions are ordered, the invoices of the payments assume that the stamp of receipt of goods and services constitutes as evidence. He added that there was a problem with this, and unfortunately, from an auditing perspective, the AG had a limitation in terms of how it could spend funds to go and visit all projects.

On the statement where the AG said the Annual Performance Plan (APP) had similar initiatives, what was meant was that year on year the same initiatives were being implemented. When it sees that they might not be achieved, indicators get changed. 

Referring to the question on corruption which involves billions within the CWP, he said that from an auditing perspective, the AG did not find fraud but expressed an opinion of financial statements free from material misstatement as far as it could ascertain. He added that auditing was not 100% assurance because findings are based on a sample basis and as such, a base has not been identified.

He said that the CWP programme, which is constituted, indicated that the payment for the year was R4.5 billion where R3.5 billion went to participants that were working on the ground and the rest to the implementing agents for services, training, protective clothing, and asset purchases. The AG had raised material irregularities from the implementing agents’ point of view, and losses were incurred.

On the participants, he said that the current year is based on the registers and the AG then tries to find those participants, does a physical verification on them and looks at the attendance register.  In the current financial year, the entity was provided with all registers and was able to verify the participants that we selected.

Responding to the acknowledgment of debt that the Members asked about on the implementing agent contracts, he said that it stems from the financial losses from the previous financial years due to payments to the deceased. He said that these were sent to the implementing agency as they were the ones who made payments to deceased people; hence they had been asked to acknowledge that the AG could make deductions from their retention fee. This then meant that the Department would deduct a retention fee from the NPO once the final contract was closed.

Referring to the question on the appointment of the new contract, he said that the AG ordered the compliance of the tender seeing that it was properly awarded, with the requirements of legislation complied with. He added that this was where the AG indicated that functionality was too narrow when looking at the criteria of the PPPF which is why there were no engagements with the Department on the issue. When compliance requirements were physically checked, the AG could not find common ground and this was where National Treasury needed to come in as an arbitrary in the situation.

He said that the issue of legislation and what could be done to assist local government was a very difficult question because that is where the AG comes in especially looking at CoGTA's legislative mandates to support local government. He said that it was extremely broad in terms of the Constitution, but that there is nothing that can be done other than creating indicators that are impactful, recommend, assist and monitor whether recommendations were being implemented, and thereafter, report to Parliament. The other side of it, he added, was that municipalities could be placed under administration but this served as a major challenge. The interventions placed on various municipalities' administrations yielded little to no impact. This was mainly because Councils and mayors do the opposite of what is intended and improvement ceases right after the administrators leave and progression takes place again. This clearly means that a fundamental problem must be addressed but from the legislative point of view. He said that he did not think CoGTA had a legislative mandate other than placing municipalities under administration and assisting with action plans to change what was happening on the ground.

On the asset issue on CWP, he stated that in the current financial year, since the contract started, it had only been six months and there was very little purchasing that happened or, rather, allowed by the Department on the new contract. He indicated that the Department could comment on the issue, but according to the AG, the entity wanted to ensure all controls were in place. Some of the implementing agents were being appointed again, which gave rise to problems because payments had not been made to the old agents, yet newly appointed ones needed to be paid for the work done. He said that the Department, to a certain extent, was reluctant to start paying agents when the old contract had not yet been finalised. However, there was a problem in that some sites stood still and procurements were not happening. As such, the intention of the CWP programme, which is training and development of the most unskilled and poor people that need real help on the ground, may not be happening as it should be. The assets that had been identified predominantly relate to the old contract but there could be new ones also because the same implementing agent does the procurement.

Another AGSA representative said that it was known that service delivery in the country was not what it should be, and everyone within the government had a role to play. She continued that what AG required was that all role players critically look at their daily dealings which include measuring, tracking, and ensuring that what is being monitored has an impact and will drive toward change. She added that this was where the Portfolio Committee came in, to look at indicators and see if any change would happen. She said that if the Department has reports as indicators, the details should give insight into how monitoring is done. It should also reflect the structure where certain reports or compliance areas are not adhered to, it gets flagged and the matter is escalated to the relevant structures so that action could be taken.

She said that MI meant that there was a non-compliance, to which the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) requested the accounting officer to conduct an investigation to enhance internal controls, prevent irregular expenditure or financial loss from continuing and initiate disciplinary action and consequence management to ensure that funds are recovered. When the accounting officer has done any investigation or is busy with an investigation, holding people accountable forms part of the process of recovering money. Through implemented actions or enhanced internal control, the AG can access and decide whether sufficient action has been taken. She highlighted an instance where the AG did its assessment and felt that the accounting officer was not taking sufficient action. The matter was then escalated to the AG's internal structures and recommendations were made. A follow-up was made to ensure that the recommendations were legally enforceable and should be implemented.

Follow up discussion

Mr Groenewald said the whole ecosystem of local government and the AG just alluded to the fact that all role players must highlight and flag what is wrong and then look at it, but no law held them accountable. He added that they could be told to implement but not do so, and what was happening within local government and Ditsobotla local municipality was a great example. He said there was an oversight in all spheres of government but nothing is being done. He asked what actions should be taken against a municipality if it does not comply, how the Department’s plans to enforce actions to be taken by a municipality and not just focus on capacity building. He highlighted that the biggest problem was that local governments did as they wished. Ditsobotla local municipality, for example, had two speakers, two mayors, and two municipality managers who all got paid and inquired, in terms of the PMFA, how they got paid. He stated that the PMFA was full of red flags if there was non-compliance with Sections 71 and 72, and the red flags were building up but the only thing the Department did was capacity building and nothing else which indicates that there was a problem with making local municipalities comply with legislation.  He said that the Department should find a way to address problems by law as it is a lawmaker, as this will enable accountability through legislation. He clarified that the AG usually orders financials and compliance, and does not usually look at governance.

The Chairperson said the response comes back to all the stakeholders to say there is a piece of legislation that has been cited, indicating that the problem has been postponed for a while. At the local government summit he attended, he said that the issue was flagged and the initiative fell into the hands of the executives. These executives, whether provincial or national, are expected to support municipalities and develop solutions for the identified challenges. The AG's office is only there to enable the government to oversight, otherwise, the primary responsibility of finding solutions lies with both provincial and national executives and all spheres of government.

DCoG Annual Report 2021/22

Deputy Minister overview

Ms Thembi Nkadimeng, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance, said the opening remarks made by the Minister set a concrete foundation for all three entities, namely; DCoG, MISA, and DTA. She said that the three entities would present their annual performance plans and give targets and deliberations received from the Portfolio Committee in past years including improvement in the targets that had been finalised and achieved. They would also touch a bit on the challenges encountered and the recommendations in areas that have seen improvement and difficulties.

She said that from the AG presentation, the Department had noted the need for more deliberation with the Committee on adequate systems. She said some issues came up firmly in the concluding remarks of the AG and these were thrown to the Department for a response.

On the actual steps of non-compliance by municipalities, she said that the Department needed to be ceased with identifying terms of reference in all the areas, including quantifying the meaning of support. This will enable the Department to put a red flag if its terms have not been met or not beginning to be met. However, when committing to attend to challenges and support a province under Section 139, they needed to ask themselves about the kind of support they offered. She indicated that until the Department was able to properly define what it was offering, it would only be offering support to the Lekwa local municipality by attending meetings, listening to what the municipality had to say and then returning after two months. She added that the Minister stated that guidance had been given to the administration on key issues raised such as those mentioned by the AG's office and those on the quality of financial reporting on concretising the three areas of the AG. These issues, she said, should be concretised when the Members conclude the meeting and see how to best redefine the assistance of municipalities.

Performance Overview

Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General, DcoG, gave the presentation.

Overview of the Department

Over the period under review, the Department concluded a comprehensive strategic review that resulted in a revised Operating Model and Organisational Structure. The Department will use this Operating Model to drive its strategy using the District Development Model as a key intergovernmental relations vehicle for the next financial years.

Year-on-Year Comparison

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, a year-on-year comparison shows a significant improvement in the departmental performance of 73% for the year under review against 62% in 2019/2020 and 68% in 2020/21 respectively.

Internal Corporate Governance Systems

The Department has achieved a Qualified Audit Opinion for the 2021/22 financial year. All qualification areas related to the Community Work Programme continue to improve in our internal control environment so that the Department can move to an unqualified audit opinion soon.

Sustained Good Municipal Governance

As part of efforts to ensure that governance is enhanced, and that accountability in municipal councils is sustained, the Department introduced new provisions through the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act No. 3 of 2021.

Integrated Planning and Service Delivery:

  • The process of putting in place institutional arrangements for the District Development Model is progressing well. The Department managed to oversee the development of 40 district and six Metro One Plans which translated into 88% of the planned target.
  • After tabling the State of Local Government Report, the Department worked with National Treasury (NT) to support provinces with the development, implementation and monitoring and reporting of Municipal Support and Intervention Plans (MSIPs) for the 64 identified dysfunctional municipalities, in line with section 154 of the Constitution.

Effective Intergovernmental Relations:

-The Department successfully developed an integrated framework that outlines the relationship between intergovernmental DDM technical and political structures with those IGR structures provided in the Intergovernmental Framework Act of 2005.

-The work of the DDM political champions as intergovernmental facilitators was also supported by the Department through providing guidance to the technical support staff of political champions on how political champions should conduct and undertake their tasks.

Annual performance information report for 2021/22 Financial Year

List of achieved targets per programme


  • The Department received a qualified audit opinion for the 2021/22 financial year, with fewer findings than previous years.
  • Corporate Services Improvement Plan (CSIP) was approved by Accounting Officer and is being implemented
  • Accounting Officer approved Financial Management Improvement Plan (FMIP) by 31 May 2021 and progress reports for Q1 to Q3 were submitted to Exco within one month after the end of the quarter
  • 92% implementation of the Internal Audit Plan implemented (i.e., 24 audits out of the 26 planned audits


Local Government Support and Interventions Management

  • The gender responsive (National Strategic Plan) NSP targets and indicators were included in DDM framework.
  • Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the DDM was developed.
  • DDM One Plan Prototype developed as the first release of DDM priority modules.
  • Report on alignment of IDPs to DDM One Plans was developed.
  • Report on the Integration of Economic Recovery Plans in the DDM One Plans was developed.
  • 91% of 2020/21 MIG allocations spent on Municipal infrastructure.
  • Smart Cities framework included in 3 DDM One Plans.
  • Four quarterly reports for 2021/22 on the implementation of Section 139 improvement plans developed


Institutional Development

  • Report on support provided to stakeholders for the 2021 local government elections developed.
  • Draft integrated local government capacity building strategy developed and consulted with key stakeholders.
  • Four MPAC (Municipal Public Accounts Committee) functionality report developed.
  • Report on the implementation of actions to address issues raised by AGSA in line with Section 134 of the MFMA.


National Disaster Management Centre

  • Ten municipalities in priority disaster areas supported to prevent, prepare and mitigate disaster risks.
  • Department of Transport and Human Settlements supported in the implementation of disaster funding arrangements.
  • Report indicating number of priority national Sector departments assessed and supported to implement the Disaster management function developed.


Community Work Programme

  • 273 848 people participating in the CWP programme.
  • New CWP implementation model developed and approved by the Minister.


List of Targets not Achieved


90% implementation of the FMIP as contained in progress reports by 31 March 2022. Reason for deviation is that seven of the 17 Finance Management Improvement Plan (FMIP) targets were not fully achieved due to implementation challenges.


Local Government Support and Interventions Management

  • Hub managers and identified hub administrative support staff appointed in 21 Districts, which are Water Services Authorities, by 31 March 2022. This was due to challenges relating to costing and budgeting and the practical operations of hubs’ human resources.
  • 44 districts and 8 metro One Plans developed by 31 March 202. This was due to delays in the finalisation of the One Plans in KwaZulu Natal (Ugu, Umkhanyakude and Zululand), Northern Cape (Pixley ka Seme), Western Cape (City of Cape Town) and Free State (Mangaung Metro).
  • Report on priority water infrastructure projects identified, funded and included in DDM One Plans submitted to Minister by 15 December 2021. There was none synchronisation of timeframes during


Institutional development

  • Funding Model for Local Government developed by 31 March 2022. A determination needed to be made whether Government needs to develop a new Funding Model or refine/review and optimise the current Local Government Fiscal Framework. Further inputs from stakeholders are being sourced to deal with LG Funding Model.
  • Municipal Financial Viability Assessment and Improvement Tool developed and approved by 31 March 2022. Consultation with key stakeholders revealed that there would be duplication of effort as National Treasury is currently working on a similar project, developing a model/tool that will be used to assess both economic and financial viability in municipalities. It was agreed that the project be removed from the 2022/23 APP. However, the department will work with National Treasury in support of this project.


Community Work Programme

25 000 CWP participants trained annually by 31 March 2022. This was not achieved due to the delayed procurement processes and newly appointed Implementing Agents starting on 1 October 2021. Implementing Agents inability to conduct procurement in compliance with existing legislation and regulations.


Financial performance: 2021/2022 Audit Outcome

DCoG received a qualified audit opinion. The basis for the qualified opinion is as follows:

Goods and Services

Unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for payments made to consultant, business and advisory services. The department could not provide accurate and complete substantiating records for payments made for project management fees made to Community Work Programme (CWP) implementing agents.

Movable tangible capital assets

Unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence that management had properly accounted for movable tangible capital and minor assets for CWP.

CWP Prepayment and advances

The Department expensed prepayments to the implementing agents using duplicate invoices and incorrect invoice amounts in the financial system.

(Please see the attachment for the detailed DCoG Report)

MISA Annual Report 2021/22

Mr Ntandazo Vimba, Chief Executive Officer, MISA gave the presentation.

Performance against Planned Targets

  • MISA achieved performance targets for 30 of the 33 output indicators in the annual performance plan (APP) for 2021/22.
  • This overall achievement of 91% for 2021/22 performance is an improvement compared to 81% in the previous financial year (2020/21).


Programme 1: Administration

Key Achievements

  • Unqualified audit opinion on the annual financial statements for 2020/21 (Clean Audit)
  • Four quarterly reports on the implementation of approved Communication Strategy, Risk Management Plan, Internal Audit Plan, ICT Operational Plan and Procurement Plan.


Programme 2: Technical Support Services

Key Achievement:

  • 10 Municipal Water Conservation or Demand Management (WC/WDM) strategies implemented.
  • Five Water Services Authorities (WSAs) supported on alignment of bulk and reticulation projects for water supply.
  • 15 municipalities supporting with the mainstreaming of Labour-Intensive Construction (LIC) Methods.
  • Eight Districts supported to improve infrastructure asset management practices.
  • 30 Districts supported with implementation of Operations and Maintenance related activities.
  • 44 Districts supported to improve performance on MIG Programme and reduce infrastructure backlogs.
  • 100 Learners enrolled into the Apprenticeship Programme.


Programme 2: Technical Support Services

Key Achievements

  • 100 students provided with bursaries for technical professions.
  • 519 municipal officials trained in Infrastructure Management.
  • 15 Municipal Capacity Development Plan implemented.
  • 44 Districts supported with the implementation of Integrated Infrastructure Plans through District Development Model (DDM).
  • 30 SPLUMA-compliant Municipal Spatial Plans, Policies, Structures, Systems and IDPs reviewed.
  • Ten Districts supported to implement Solid Waste / Integrated Waste Management (IWM) services.


Programme 3: infrastructure Delivery Management Support

Key Achievements

  • Eight Municipalities supported with the implementation of Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS).
  • 23 municipalities supported with the enhancement of Infrastructure Procurement Practices.
  • One Report on the State of Municipality Functionality for Infrastructure Delivery.
  • Ten municipalities supported to improve infrastructure development through Partnerships.
  • 25 municipalities supported to pilot implementation of Innovative Technologies and/or Methods for Solid Waste Management Solutions.
  • Seven municipalities supported on the implementation of Long-Term Infrastructure Investment Plans.
  • Seven municipalities supported to access Alternative Funding Sources for Infrastructure Development.
  • Five municipalities supported to plan and implement Climate Friendly Projects.


Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure as at 31 March 2022

  • No fruitless and wasteful expenditure was incurred in the financial year under review.
  • The SARS penalties and interest, as well as the salary over payment, were written off in 2021/22.
  • No irregular expenditure was incurred during the year under review and no irregular expenditure at the beginning of the year.

(Please the attachment for the detailed MISA Report)

DTA Annual Report 2021/22

Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, Director-General, DTA, gave the presentation.

Key Issues

The Department had eighteen (18) Annual targets during the 2021/22 financial year, of which 18 of 18 (100%) targets were achieved

Detailed Performance


Achieved 97% of actions in the Organisational Performance Information Compliance Management Plan were implemented.

  • Achieved 100% of actions in the CFM Compliance Management Plan were implemented.
  • Research, Policy and Legislation (RPL).
  • Nine Kingships/ Queenships Royal Families were monitored on implementation of the TKLA
  • One set of regulations was developed.
  • Five 2021/22 projects/actions in the TKLA Five-Year Implementation Schedule were implemented.
  • Five 2021/22 projects/actions in the CIA Five-Year Implementation Schedule were implemented
  • Research report on the struggles of women and people with disabilities in the institution of traditional leadership and traditional communities was conducted.
  • Research report on culture and heritage economy in traditional communities was conducted.


Institutional Support and Coordination (ISC)

  • Eight provinces were consulted on the Social Cohesion Programme
  • The Social Cohesion Programme was approved
  • The indigenous language promotion plan was developed and approved
  • CIA training manual developed
  • Seven provinces were monitored on the participation of Local Houses of Traditional Leaders in government development plans in terms of the DDM.
  • One Intervention in the Integrated Traditional and Khoi-San support


2021/2022 Financial Performance

Reasons for under expenditure

  • The Commissioners of the Commission on Khoi-San Matters were only appointed with effect from 1 September 2021 resulting in low spending on compensation of employees. 
  • On goods and services, the Department recorded under expenditure due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions which had an impact on travelling and there were delays procurement of goods and services due to unavailability of stock.  Further, officials were working from home and only coming to work on rotational basis and most of the meetings were conducted on virtual platforms such as MS Teams/Zoom.
  • There were savings realised under municipalities and provinces budget for the renewal of motor vehicle licenses while underspending on capital assets budget was due to challenges experienced with procurement of vehicles attributed to global shortage of semiconductors, which affected timeous delivery of vehicles.

(Please see the attachment for the detailed DTA Report)


Ms Mkhaliphi said the DG’s presentation did not address what the AG raised, especially on the root causes, yet that was the core problem of the Department. She also sought clarity on the meaning of “similar initiatives that are implemented repeatedly" so that the Committee could get a clear explanation from the Department. She said that the Committee needed a clear explanation from the Department to be confident that at least there is a balanced Department that is capacitated to face any difficulties and challenges at a municipal level.

She said that even though the Minister had left, the Deputy Ministers were still available to address issues. She pointed out that page 28 of the AG's report says the Minister made an announcement that the Department had identified 64 dysfunctional municipalities that would be supported to implement Municipal Support and Intervention Plans (MSIPs) and the implementation of the plans would be monitored from the year 2023 Annual Performance Plan. The Minister said that it was a mistake for the Committee to think that the Department could just go and dictate to municipalities, but the presentation shows a commitment made. Deputy Minister Nkadimeng, in her opening remarks, said support should be defined, but a commitment had been made to support the municipalities. She added that a few of the identified municipalities were functional and, even such, were not functioning due to a lack of service delivery. She said that the Committee measured the functionality of a municipality by its service delivery and asked for clarification on what was meant when it was said that the Committee should not make “that mistake”. She said that since no one had an opportunity to interrogate the Minister before she left, the DMs had to tell the Committee why the Department committed itself to the AG but the DM was now telling Members to clarify what they meant by support. She indicated that this was the mandate of the Department, and it should be correctly understood.

She said page 5 of the AG's report indicates that the Department was not implementing its action plans, while MISA tells the Committee that all its audit action plans had been implemented. She stated that the Committee was not interested in the Department's claim that “it is getting there” regarding implementation. She added that all action plans should be implemented, as failure to do so will fail the municipalities and the people on the ground due to lack of service delivery.

She pointed out that page 21 of the DCoG presentation spoke about irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure which reflects plain corruption and that the DG should not just come and flag the discrepancies and expect the Committee to accept them just like that. She asked for an explanation on the cancellation of an end-of-year function at the cost of R349 000, a mention of those who authorised the cancellation, and why the function had been cancelled. She added that workers needed to mingle together, but expecting the Committee to accept that it was just cancelled, was not acceptable. She asked the representatives if they could imagine how many litres of water R349 000 could buy for people in areas without water. She stated that there was also a flight cancellation fee of R190 000 which was not properly explained and questioned why bookings had been made for people who would decide to cancel flights. She said that only Members of Parliament could be excused for cancelling because their meetings get cancelled unexpectedly, not officials. The AG and DG both raised the issue of a payment made on a contract that had expired. She asked for an elaboration on what had happened, who made payment and what action had been taken.

Ms Mkhaliphi stated that the disaster management section was a disaster and this was experienced during floods and COVID-19. Even the DG’s presentation did not give the Committee any hope in this unit. She gave an example of a person who parks his car on a busy street called West St in Durban, and that car gets stolen. When the metro police are called to check the cameras, the response is that the cameras are not working. She then asked how it is possible that cameras do not work in a busy street in Durban, why the metro police did not control the cameras and why they must come to disaster management.

She highlighted that, due to poverty, people were knocking at the door of disaster management only to be helped with a blanket and a tin of fish. She added that it was even worse with the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal, as nothing had been implemented. Although the DG had mentioned working with the other departments, a few days ago, it was documented on TV that nothing had been done on the busy road in Amanzimtoti. She stated that Minister Mbalula made promises to the victims of the floods, but nothing had since been done, and because the DG did not know or have an update, she claims to be working with the other departments. She added that there was still nothing happening and people were still living in community halls. All that government officials were doing was making promises to mitigate the crisis. She inquired about what the plans were to fix the unit. She asked the DG not to come with just good English that says that “The overview of the Department is that it has come up with a comprehensive strategic review that resulted in a revised Operating Model and Organisational Structure for the Department”. She asked what the statement meant, and said that their problem was that there was no clarity regarding what the Department had achieved. She asked how the Department was reorganising itself when it came to capacity as the issue had been raised on various occasions.

She highlighted that in June, the Department had indicated that CWP was causing it a headache, and they were considering engaging the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to get to the bottom of what was actually happening. However, there have been no updates on the matter. She reiterated that the amount of money involved did not amount to cents but was in the billion range, and therefore the corruption happening would not be stopped if left unchecked.

She said the Department had committed to the Committee but was not giving any updates on how far they had gone in involving the SIU and how many individuals had been arrested. She indicated that if not a single person had been arrested, it meant that the Committee needed to start opening cases because there were no answers received on behalf of the people. She mentioned that when councillors could not return as councillors, there was frustration that even made the Chief Whip of the Committee indicate that he was engaging with a DM. She inquired why this did not reflect in the presentation, and how the problem would be resolved.  

She said that there was high unemployment in the country and that there are people who are supposed to get their money from the Department. She added that the Committee wanted answers and no one was willing to give them. She was surprised that the AG did not point to that effect because it affects accountability and money.

MISA indicated that it had great programmes and was engaging with municipalities on infrastructure, including infrastructure management and state of municipality functionality for infrastructure. She wanted to find out what the engagements were about regarding ageing infrastructure and highlighted that this was a great struggle in the country and the reason why people did not have access to clean water.

Mr Groenewald said he did not fully comprehend the DDM framework because the slides indicate that a One Plan is being developed in 40 districts and six metros. He added that he had questioned the Minister about the DDM on 1 April, on how much money was spent and what it was spent on. The Minister then replied that the total expenditure incurred as of 28 February 2022 amounted to R88.2 million. The funding was spent on establishing the Project Management Office (PMO) and three pilot districts namely, OR Tambo, Ethekwini, and Waterberg. The following DDM projects were funded from the expenditure mentioned above; the establishment of PMOs, the establishment of three pilot hubs, the strengthening of the capacity of the national disaster management centre, the development of the One Plan for three pilots Integrated Urban Development framework, and so on. On the One Plan, he indicated that it was said that there were 40 plans developed and the Minister said there were only three. He asked the discrepancy be clarified.

He indicated that slide 10 mentioned disaster areas supported to prevent, prepare and mitigate disaster risks but currently, most of the county's municipality fire services do not work. In Nort West, there have been several times that the fire brigade got to a fire area without water, and this was a big problem for disaster management.

Referring to slide 13, he pointed out that it specified that Hub managers and identified Hub administrative support staff appointed in 21 Districts, which are Water Services Authorities. He read to the Committee a question he asked the Minister of Water and Sanitation on 6 June. It was indicated that all the wastewater plants of all the municipalities are in critical condition. For this function, it was instructed to submit the turnaround plans within 60 days after the publication of the Green Drop report. He asked for an indication of the number of municipalities that were instructed to submit turnaround plans and the reasons why, if this did not happen.

Indicators show that a total of 90 water service authorities were responsible for 334 wastewater collection and treatment systems that achieved less than 30%. During the Department’s Green Drop assessment, they were issued with noncompliance letters and instructed to prepare and submit corrective action plans as highlighted in the report. The Minister of Water and Sanitation stated that 77 out of the 90 service authorities did not submit the turnaround plan as instructed. This indicates that around 80% of the municipalities ignored the Department's instruction. He then asked how this was possible when water and sanitation are one of the biggest problems in South Africa and if it could be explained in terms of what actions were being taken to deal with the issue.

Slide 13 reports on priority water infrastructure projects identified, and funded, as included in the DDM plan yet there is a One Plan developed. He asked for clarity on how the DDM plan was incorporated into the One Plan if not all the information was included.

The AG reports greater water losses in the municipalities, yet the specified targets were set to be 29 municipalities. He asked about the number of municipalities assisted and they had been helped to lessen water losses.

Slide 20 indicated that local government and support interventions went up with actual expenditure at R17.4 billion; in the previous year, it was R15.9 billion. Mr Groenewald asked for an explanation on how there were more dysfunctional municipalities when there was an increase of R2 billion in the actual expenditure. On the other hand, in the institutional development in 2020/21, there was R85.9 billion spent and in the current year, it stands at R76.6 billion which is a decrease. He asked if more municipalities would be developed, although institutional development was more of the Departmental responsibility than a municipality’s responsibility. He added that if the trend continued, there would not be any local government within the next five to ten years resulting in a lack of service delivery in the country. He highlighted that decay was something that did not go from 100% and decreased by 10% order until it reached zero, but it went gradually from less than 10% to 10% to 25% to 40% until zero. He said that if the Department could see the urgency of decay in the municipalities the way the Committee sees it, it would figure out how to stop it.

He explained that MISA's presentation indicated that R220 million had been spent on innovative waste management intervention, yet when he asked the Minister of Water and Sanitation, he responded that more than 80% of the municipalities did not have a plan that they could submit on how to mitigate the problems in wastewater. He asked about the correlation between the two.  

Ms Spies said Members spent a lot of time engaging with the Minister before she left on the matter of CWP and it was expected that the DG would address the issue in her presentation, but she just brushed over it. She only stated what was not achieved and indicated, in slide ten, that two targets were achieved. Ms Spies asked what the targets were. She said that Members were not interested in the number of participants and that the Minister had approved the remodelling plan because clearly, it was not helping with the situation. She expressed that it was frustrating that the DG was brushing over things because it meant that Members must now repeat the issues they had already raised with the Minister.

Slide nine mentions that the DDM One Plan Prototype was developed as the first release of DDM priority modules but a lot of these things will impact the very same targets because they are not addressed properly. She asked what would happen in the event of a conflict between the goals and projects that are set out in the municipalities' Integrated Development Plan (IDP), what the demands of the provincial and national governments on the goals in this One Plan project were, what the legal and constitutional status of the DDM champions was and what powers and functions do they have in the province. She added that it was good to say these things, but Members need to engage with them to know what can happen and be aware of the costs involved. Every time these issues must be discussed, there is a brushing over by the DG which makes Members seem like villains because they always question the same things as if they want to provoke the Department. She clarified that this was not the case but that the Portfolio Committee wanted to help and assist and that they should not be taken for fools in the manner that the Department does. She said that it was unacceptable. 

Mr X Msimango (ANC) told the DG that if she wants to prevent Members from asking the same question repeatedly, she must think of a CWP participant or member living out of this programme and use it to put food on the table. When there is late payment, it becomes a problem. For instance, in Alexandra, some families survive with the assistance of the programme, so when complaints of non-payment and late payments are raised to the Committee, it becomes a challenge because it makes it seem as if the Committee is not cognisant of what these members are going through. As such, the experience with CWP makes the Committee labour on this matter from time to time.

The DG attributed the specified 10% under expenditure to open vacancies in the Department; he asked if they had been advertised and added that there should not be such a reflection on the report when the country is engulfed by high unemployment. He added that the Department could not be sitting with vacancies that could make a difference to one or two individuals that could be employed. He asked if the DG had a plan to correct the situation.

He stated that it was mentioned under irregular expenditure that payments had been made to expired contracts and asked what was the way forward in solving the issue as there was no consequence management in place.  

The presentation spoke about SCM processes that were not followed to the letter but there was no reference to a process that the Department had taken to solve the issue. He agreed with Ms Mkhaliphi that as much as the DG used "big English" and referred to the problem as irregular expenditure, the bottom line was that the issue is plain corruption and should be referenced as such. He inquired about who the individuals were, who did not know that SCM processes were not followed to the letter.  He said there was no evidence of any process that the Department was investigating, and neither had anyone been suspended to show that something was being done. He explained that Members held their viewpoints as they were considerate of the communities and indicated that they would not know what to say if communities were to ask the same questions from the Committee.  

The AG found that the Department failed to implement basic information technology security controls, and it then created two new users. He asked if there were any financial implications around this and what the implications were pertaining to this.

The AG report also indicated that the entity was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence indicating disciplinary action against officials that landed the Department in a state of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. He asked for clarity on the matter so that they would be aware of what was happening when the Committee adopted the report.  

Mr Mpumza, referring to the DTA, said that the Committee undertook an oversight into initiation schools in the Eastern Cape and found some form of dissonance around the National Circumcision Act. The Committee was with the National Committee and raised sharply that it needed to be supported. He asked how far the Department was in this regard. Secondly, besides the fact that there was a disparity in the law of the province and the national, there was also inconsistency around the establishment of the provincial coordinating structures and in some regions, they were non-existent. He said that the Committee hoped that the Department would make a follow-up to ensure a smooth implementation of the law.

The Committee went on an oversight visit to Makana local municipality and found that there was something wrong with the diagnostic study that had been conducted. He indicated that he wanted to be clear in terms of the objectives of MISA as this was not the failure of the executive function. The Committee found that water treatment works in the municipality provided 11 MW/day while the demand stood at 80 MW/day and as a result, water was being rationed. He said he was troubled by the white lady who told the Committee that she had just used sparkling water to brush her teeth because there was no water. Yet, MISA indicated that it had key technical support and planning functions. He asked why the situation still existed when there were necessary skills and expertise. He reiterated that the municipality was drowning in the problem of lack of clean water and an overaged sewer plant that overflows into the river right up to Ndlambe local municipality. The project to upgrade started in 2016 but stalled because the contractor was liquidated. He said that the year was now 2022 and those communities were still in trouble and asked what MISA was doing to support the municipality.

When the Committee visited Port St Johns around a disaster area, several communities in Ward 20 had no water and were competing with animals to get water. He raised that this was a crisis that MISA was made aware of to intervene by supplying boreholes. He inquired about how far the process was in trying to save the affected communities.

Addressing the DCoG, he said in June 2020, the Committee raised a serious question on the Agrarian Revolution Programme funded under the CWP. The Acting DDG then indicated that the NPOs had spent R287 million on the project, however, the money had not been accounted for. He asked about the status of the programme.

A Member had alluded to the reconfiguration of the entity, which could have been informed by a thorough interrogation of the weaknesses around CWP. He asked who gave the participants contact details of the Chairperson and Ms Direko as some from Cape Town had called to indicate that they had not been paid and asked Members to intervene. He asked who was managing the programme in the Department since participants were now approaching Members for payments. He inquired whether the reconfiguration of the Department to ensure adequate capacity to support municipalities and ensure comprehensive cooperative governance was happening.

He alluded to the fact that the AG was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence indicating disciplinary action against officials who incurred almost R500 million in irregular expenditures and that there was no evidence that disciplinary action had been taken. He asked what the Department was doing about the situation, and if there was no action towards consequence management, how the situation would be addressed going forward.

Ms D Direko (ANC) said it was extremely frustrating to be part of the meeting because most of the things raised by the AG and some of the issues included in the presentations were not new. Members, at some point, went to a strategic planning meeting with the Department to address some of the issues that the AG raised. But to date, there were still no positive results, so one wonders if the exercise that the Committee was engaging in was going to bear any positive results or if it would be one of many fruitless exercises.

On MISA, she said even though the Members always say they do not praise the fish for swimming, they also acknowledge the good work that MISA was doing regarding the audit report.  However, that good work must also go hand in hand with a tangible service delivery report. This is because the communities were swimming in sewage and there was a lack of water and sanitation, with most of the municipalities spending a lot of money on outsourcing. She asked about the progress in this regard, the relevance of MISA in the current state of local government and if there was a success story with reference to a changed/improved municipality.

In Mashabela municipality, there had been engagements with MISA and for the past ten years, about eight water pumps had been shared and only three were currently working. She asked what MISA was doing because it had promised to provide technical support.

In the past financial year, it was indicated that National Treasury took money and there were engagements between the two entities. She asked how the matter was resolved, whether National Treasury gave back the money and if not, how service delivery had been affected.  

She commended the DTA for performing well with regard to audits, however, she mentioned that an oversight had been done by the Committee from which they were made aware that there were disputes forwarded by traditional leaders on unequal financial support from the province. The issue was their inconsistencies across provinces on the amount paid to leaders; some were paid more and some less. She asked if the DTA managed to address the matter, how they dealt with and how the budget had been affected.

She specified that the DCoG was one of the departments expected to provide support and intervene in the three spheres of government, especially municipalities, but its audit report made one wonder if it would be able to fulfil the role. She said that the Committee always fought with local government about their audit outcomes, but if those who were supposed to provide necessary support were failing, she questioned how municipalities would be assisted. This was the very reason municipalities’ audit reports had been deteriorating year by year. She added that for three consecutive meetings, there had been discussions on the CWP with no solution in sight. The Department had committed to the Committee that it was going to remodel the programme in a way that would also address the issue of minimum wage, skills development, and the elements of corruption that existed. But to date, the remodelling has not been done and no report has been received by the Committee on the proper plan for remodelling. 

On irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, she asked for the mentioned to be categorised so that Members could understand which one had elements of corruption, which resulted in the interest on debt, and which referred to services provided. She asked for a brief explanation of what contributed to the mentioned expenditure, if there was any consequences management in place and if so, what the final report was. She said that the Department makes annual plans but struggles to meet its targets, and asked why unrealistic targets are being set which, clearly, are not achievable, why there was under expenditure in the current system while they were so many challenges that needed money to be spent.  

She reminded the Committee that local government was the face of the government and is expected to provide quality services to the people, but the money to be used in strengthening service delivery keeps going back to Treasury. The excuse for underspending in the previous financial year was COVID-19, but still, there was underspending in the current financial year. As such, one would conclude that it could be that the underspending in the previous financial year had nothing to do with the pandemic but plain failure by the Department to do its work.  She said that someone was sleeping on duty, and the Committee needed to know who that person was. She added that the DG was responsible for ensuring that everyone in the administration is doing their job, so if these people were not doing their jobs, it meant that even the DG was not performing in her expected role. She failed everyone because she is responsible for the Department and has been present throughout all the challenges of CWP and authorised expenditures. She added that the DG was the elephant in the room and needed to give the Committee answers on the problem and why she could not turn the Department around. She said there was hope that things would turn around when the previous DG left, but this was not to be; on the contrary, the Department was collapsing. She asked who the problem was, whether it was the system or the people within the Department. She said issues cannot always be brushed off when people on the ground are suffering and asked if the need to save 500 members weighed more than the needs of millions of people. She added that people within the Department should be disciplined and if the DG was not doing such, then she was part of the problem.

Ms P Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC) said the Department had a serious problem, much like the one seen with Eskom. The current Eskom CEO, Mr Andre de Ruyter, was just sitting around and not performing his duties, while people’s houses were burning down because of loadshedding. She said that the Department had the exact scenario as the DG also did not perform her duties but continued to be part of the administration. She highlighted that there was no water supply in Msinga local municipality Ward 6, which should have been addressed a long time ago.  Also, a police station in Ladysmith local municipality had no water supply. She was made aware of this when she accompanied an old woman who wanted to open a rape case on behalf of her grandchild.

Addressing MISA, she asked why people who were clearly not performing within their assigned offices were still being kept, and why the entity was afraid to release them. She added that, in the Republic, we are now free and should not be constrained because things like electricity and water are basic necessities that all citizens need.

She stated that before the current chairperson came into office, there was an amount of about R3 billion that had been wiped out in the OR Tambo local municipality. No one has ever been held liable for the money.

She said that the CWP issue was one where there are probably people in leadership positions who are squandering money, as this has been a persisting issue involving the misuse or loss of millions of rands. She added that it had come to a point where some of them thought it would be better to just allow the presenters to say whatever it was that pleased them because nothing ever changes. As representatives on the ground, Members were unable to address any questions on failure of payments for programme participants when these were raised.  

She said the Minister should go back and check the situation in KZN after the flood crisis, as it was extremely dire and people needed prompt assistance.

Mr Hadebe clarified that Members were public representatives elected to represent the people and Parliament was the last sphere of government. He said that there was a saying that goes, “Our Lord and Saviour above us” and continued to say that after Parliament, there was nowhere else where people could turn to apart from the court, for those who were financially capable. He raised this because he was unsure whether the officials and staff members in CoGTA regarded themselves as the servants of the people with the sole responsibility to serve.

On gratuity payments to councillors, he said people had been calling the Portfolio Committee and Members had been texting Deputy Minister Nkadimeng about this. The latest correspondence where he just completely gave up was from 21 July to 24 July when he directly called her because of frustration, which he normally does not do because he understands the protocol. He emphasised that people were frustrated with not getting their money on time, and after receiving it, they still had to deal with IRP5 which requires them to queue for a long period at SARS. He said he ended up calling the Director of Finance, Ms Sithole, who first took his call, promised to assist, and told him to collect the list of those that needed the RIP5. He did that and forwarded the list to her but there has not been any response to his emails or calls. Now people view him as useless and question why he served under CoGTA. He said that Members made work easy for the Department as servants of the people, but officials did not cooperate. He said he had never been made to feel so useless, asked the DG to address the matter, and clarified that it was nothing personal as he had never met her before. He asked why someone who considered herself a public servant, understanding the nature of cooperative governance as enshrined in the Constitution, deliberatively ignored such communication. He said he was not asking for something outside her mandate, and that what was required was within her job description. He asked if she imagined the frustration felt by those not receiving services.  

He indicated that when Members are deployed, they are lambasted for CoGTA being the underperformer on budget and expenditure, and asked the matter to be addressed.

He mentioned that when the issue of payment of the deceased was raised, the AG confirmed that there were weak internal controls, and asked what actions CoGTA had taken to address this. It was also identified that R4.4 million was paid to the deceased, but all the Department could say was "we have asked them to pay back the money". He added that there should be criminal charges as this amounted to fraud. He asked how it could be that people who used death to defraud the state were just expected to pay back the money without holding them accountable. He inquired about the implementing agents involved in the exercise, whether they were still within the Department and if there were investigations into what had happened. If there was a mistake, an investigation would have indicated as such as the stated amount was too high.  

On the national disaster management centre, he said that the annual report indicated that out of 254 municipalities, only 121 submitted a disaster management plan in compliance with the legislation. He asked for an indication of the municipalities that have not complied as the number currently stands at more than 50%, what had been done about the situation, and whether it had been remedied. He added that if the municipalities did not have a plan and a disaster occurred, all hell would break loose.

Members visited Makana local municipality and found that the road rehabilitation programmes sponsored by MISA were in terrible condition with poor workmanship. Fortunately, the contract is still within the defect’s liability period, enabling the Department to call back the contractor to fix the defects. He stated that the most frustrating thing was that MISA did not see anything wrong with the work but blamed the municipality for poor maintenance. Yet when he saw the road, he realised that a prime coat which should be applied at the base to protect both the base and the surface and act as a waterproof, was not there. He asked if the entity had client representatives and principal agents on sites, that act as supervisors to ensure that contractors conducted quality work. He expressed that the situation was not ideal and there were no intentions by the municipality to fix the roads. MISA indicated that it is still investigating, however, once the defect liability period ends, it will not be able to call the contractor to come back and fix the road. He asked that the situation be attended to as soon as possible and the Committee should be given feedback.

Since 2020, the Committee repeatedly requested that the Department provides a cost benefit analysis of the committee works programme from inception but to date, there is still no report. He asked if they, as Members, were asking too much or for something that was not ideal and that they should clarify whether the cost-benefit analysis asked for was doable or not.

Alluding to the R1.2 million performance reward, he asked if it was justifiable that the Department had been a recipient when there had been better performing entities and departments. He added that the municipality demarcation board did not opt for a performance bonus, yet they performed better than the Department. MISA also took no performance bonus but had been getting clean audits.  He asked what informed such.

He stated that there was a plan to approach the SUI in 2021 to request the Presidential proclamation on CWP and the progress so far. He said all these questions were asked to ensure no stone was left unturned. On the national disaster management centre that incurred R7.3 million of irregular expenditure on payment of expired contracts, the DCoG presentation indicated that there was no disciplinary action to that effect. He inquired about the steps taken to ensure that accountability was exercised.   

The Chairperson said the questions that had been asked by Members, in summary, indicate that the response was not what was expected. The Committee could understand the narratives and everything else, but they were not getting it when it came to accountability. He stated that he was not going to focus on each item but the message was clear, so the Department should prepare to respond in a manner close to the expectation of Members.

Mr Hadebe interjected to reiterate that this issue was resurfacing for the third time and raised concerns about having a target to achieve a qualified audit. He highlighted that the Department's target was to achieve qualified audits and this had not been achieved, yet municipalities were attacked for failing to achieve unqualified audits. He added that this was a contradiction of the highest order because when the DG started with the presentation, the Committee understood, but it could not continuously understand justifying the unjustifiable. He said that the Department obtaining qualified audits should come to an end otherwise municipalities should as well be allowed to plan for failure.

The Chairperson reiterated that the target could not be a qualified audit, but should be an unqualified audit. He said it was unfortunate that Members were expected to ask difficult questions from those who have been given responsibility. He stated that Members must collaboratively serve the people they are appointed to serve therefore, the Department needed to be transparent and speak with one voice.

DCoG Response 

Ms Williamson (DG) said she would cluster all the issues in her response to be more focused. The first part relates a lot to the CWP and talks about the CWP assets, the non-payment of participants, and the remodelling issues. But also, more importantly, irregular expenditure and material irregularities. She said she would spend some time responding to all the questions raised and how they link back to issues of controls within the Department and the fact that the AG also raised weak controls and included procurement, reporting and recordkeeping.

She indicated that Ms Mkhaliphi asked if the root cause issues were being focused on. She replied in its current audit action plan, the Department had specifically done a deep dive and looked at people, process, and system issues as the root causes of some of the challenges that have been faced, especially those that have become repeat findings. The Department would also be having a workshop shortly with its audit committee members to help bring in more ideas around resolving some of the issues.

Responding to the question of the 64 dysfunctional municipalities that were sighted and referenced by the AG on page 28 of its report, she said that the important point to note was that when the Department did the state of local government report, the previous year, it was presented to Cabinet, and it looked at the municipal support intervention programme. Other officials would elaborate further, including some of the interventions that the entity thought would have to be dealt with.

On irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, she said many of the issues pertaining to the R3.8 billion were historical and dated back to 2013. An example would be the matter of R379 000 due to the cancellation of a venue, which goes back to the mentioned period. What the Department did was to ensure that it pulled out or pulled up whatever it thought historically would be an issue, and this was one of them. What constituted the biggest part of the R3.8 billion was the CWP contract between 2018 and 2019 which was a Seriti Judgement that was made by the courts indicating that the contract was deemed irregular. It was on that basis that the value sat over R3 billion. The Department requested an extension on the contract for the reason that the R16 million that it referenced fell into the current financial year.  The other part also mentioned on the irregular expenditure was expenditure related to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and the lease agreement that the Department has on the NDMC facility. What happened at the time was that the Department had tried to piggyback on the MISA contract, which was a transversal contract. On seeking permission from National Treasury at the time for combination, it was declined and on that basis that it was deemed irregular. She said she could not recall the actual year in which the whole transversal contract issue started and that it was as far back as fivers or more. She said that the Department thought it important to go into detail about the irregular expenditure, particularly who the people involved were, what disciplinary action had been taken, and where they were. The DG said the Department had done everything necessary to get to the bottom of the matter. In some instances, the Department employees implicated had left the entity, so on that basis, no action could be taken. But where action could be taken, the Department had taken disciplinary action against all the officials involved.

She stated that the entity had commissioned more than one report, and about four investigations were also commissioned at the time. However, two disciplinary matters were still outstanding and are in their closure and the Department was only waiting for the report to arrive from the presiding chairperson. The Department had written a letter to the Hawks and SIU and the matters have been handed over, especially where the Department needed to recoup money that was due to it or was lost, for instance, the matter of Sekhukhune. All such matters had been reported to the SIU but the process was slow on the actions that needed to be undertaken. She said she hoped that history would assist with this because R3.8 million is alarming and it is not easy for an accounting officer to sit with an irregular and wasteful expenditure of that value. She highlighted that she moved with the premise that the history might have been in the report, so she would ensure that all information was provided in the presentation going forward.

Ms Williamson said on the councillor gratuities, the Department owed an apology because it aimed to serve the people ultimately; the hearts of the stakeholders involved needed to be in the right place and responsive on that basis. She gave the Committee an update on where the Department was regarding the gratuity payments for councillors. Of the 5 030 eligible councillors, 5 021 had been paid, leaving only nine unpaid and of that nine, eight were because they were deceased. The Department was waiting for their estate details, and the ninth person in Tshwane could not be reached due to hospitalisation. As such, their documents were outstanding and they remain outstanding. On the top-up payments to councillors, from an IRP5 perspective for the 2021/22 financial year, 4 833 councillors were paid and that made 100%. For the 2022/23 financial year, 197 councillors should have received their IRP5 and 100 % have received their IRP5. The IRP5 certificates for the current tax period were also due to be finalised by 31 October and that remains outstanding.

She committed to making a follow-up on why her team was not being responsive because she also receives queries directly from Members and responds to them. She said she has even telephonically gone into the reports with Mr Ceza at some point to check and ensure that responses are given.

On the DDM and the DDM framework, the Department had developed a guideline and framework for implementing the One Plans. It had gone through a process where communication was issued to all the municipalities to develop draft plans. Three pilot sites did have One Plans, and for all the other areas, the Department took it as the first round for which they had to develop plans. After this, the entity established a quality assessment team that reviewed the quality of those plans. She added that the Department has since looked at the gaps found in One Plans and how it would go back to the drawing board and ensure that improvements were made to the current One Plans framework or guidelines. Municipalities were being provided with support and engagements were also ongoing.

In response to the issue of the firefighters not having water and whether this could be linked back to the One Plans, Ms Williamson said some of the issues as raised by Members are operational and do not necessarily appear in the One Plan and the IDP of municipalities. She committed to sharing the document on the One Plans. She said that from an Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (IGR) perspective, the Department looked at the regulations that would support the implementation of the One Plans. However, even in that process, the Department was still consulting and looking at how it could better enhance or improve the tools that it had developed. This will ensure municipalities are supported and enable the Department to achieve anticipated results.

Addressing under expenditure on the cost of employment, she said a 10% vacancy rate is benchmarked to a standard deemed okay by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) guidelines. However, the Department fully understood that with resignations, exits of persons, etc, it must have much more condensed timelines to get positions filled as soon as possible. It is understandable that these vacancies have an implication on the operations of the Department or can negatively impact its functions, therefore, recruitment plans have been instituted. All senior leaders, in their respective areas, are required to have a plan and are supported by Human Resources (HR) in filling positions. There are also turnaround times for filling these positions but the average turnaround time rate is not as good as desired. She added that the process normally takes not more than 90 to 120 days but in some instances, especially at the more senior level, it has taken longer to fill up positions.

In response to the comments made by Ms Direko on turning the Department around, the DG said the Department was going through a change process and they have a ten-year history that needed to be dealt with, leaving most of the stakeholders frustrated. There were conversations held with AG because the Department wants to focus on the future and what could be done rather than focusing on trying to fix the past. They also understood that changes include how things should be done, improvements in the pace at which work is accomplished, and the need to note what is being said by the AG. She stated that they also needed time to go through a process of change, endure frustrations, and be disciplined. She said that holding the 500 staff members of the Department to account was also paramount and added that members within the entity have views that might be soft in certain areas and tough in some, but Department has tried to maintain a balance on what it is required to do.

Mr Mpho Mogale, Acting DDG: LG Operations and Support, DCOG, added to what the DG pointed out about One Plans and explained that the initial project of the DDM rollout was targeting the pilot districts in Waterberg, eThekwini, and OR Tambo. Many resources and effort were put into those three spaces and the One Plans were developed. These were intended to help the Department make sure that as it rolls out to the rest of the other spaces, it could be used to improve lessons learnt. As the entity was developing One Plans from the pilot districts, it was directed to roll out to the rest of the country and therefore, two parallel processes had to unfold. As indicated in the report, 49 One Plans have been developed and work has been done by a panel that came together to assess plans and the ones from the pilot districts were found to be the best in terms of what was intended to be achieved. As a result, the Department asked districts to improve on the already developed plans with the support of provincial departments. Municipalities were given the December deadline to ensure that their One Plans were improved to a higher level. The entity was also focusing on programmes that would make a difference to alleviate poverty and unemployment. The Eastern Seaboard was an example of the catalytic programmes identified, in addition to three pilots, which the Department was sharpening for them to be finalised and rolled out.  

On support to municipalities, he said Section 154 of the constitution indicates that the Department and the provincial government are supposed to support municipalities. During the time frame of the annual report, the state of local government report was done and it indicated that 64 municipalities were dysfunctional. He added that the Department had a criterion that it used to classify such. At the time, it came from a low base concerning going into those municipalities as a coherent between itself and the province. He assured the Members that the multi-disciplinary team that had been established, led by both National Treasury and CoGTA, was working hard to deal with all the challenges of dysfunctional municipalities. He mentioned that the cohorts of the support team in the provinces include CoGTA, Provincial Treasury, Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Department of Environmental Affairs, DPSA, MISA, and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Of late, the national departments were also coming to the party to support municipalities such as Mangaung metro municipality, Lekwa local municipality, and Enoch Mgijima local municipality. He said he hoped that in the Department's next presentation, many other departments would have been part in accounting for their roles in supporting municipalities. He added that the municipalities themselves should also play their part, and the national and provincial governments should be structurally tightened to be able to hold municipalities to account and ensure consequence management was implemented.

Mr Pieter Pretorius, DDG: Corporate Services, DCOG, said Ms Mkhaliphi raised an important point on looking at the root causes of the challenges in CWP. Going back in history, when the programme was conceived, it operated on a very small scale and worked very well. An evaluation done around 2014 showed that there was real benefit from the programme to the community and individuals who participated in it. This, to an extent, also spoke to the cost benefit analysis that, if correctly implemented, the CWP could and would have a very significant impact on poverty and inequality.

What went wrong was that it was scaled up without scaling up the corresponding capacity within the Department. He said when he joined the Department two years ago, 18 people in the CWP branch were trying to manage 223 sites and 6 000 subsites, which was an impossible task. Thus, until the Department comes up with a different model, it has no choice but to have some form of implementing agents. The second root cause was that the policy guiding implementing agents was extremely weak as it gave them carte blanche. That is where one of the material irregularities comes from because the implementing agency was paid a lot of money every quarter. There were very weak controls to make sure that money was accounted for before new funds were paid, and three years ago, there was a balance of R237 million at the end of the financial year which the Department did not know what it was for. The amount came down to R62 million and at the end of the last financial year it was R18 million and some of it relates to implementing agents that have left. He said this also spoke to the Department's failure to implement its audit action plans or maybe it is too strict on itself because it does not implement, wait for controls to be tested and then state what has been done. He indicated that this was the same with the material irregularities the Department has on new contracts where advances in payments were not made. The entity has a completely different system in place to make sure that it does not end up in a situation again where implementing agents are given money. It has also implemented significant controls on procurements, resulting in underspending because implementing agents had been told to refer procurement documents above a certain value to the Department before going out to market. Also, once they go out to the market and come back before being awarded, they are required to send it to the Department to ensure that it is regular and done correctly. The Department then found that every time it received documents, they were wrong, so there had to be a back-and-forth between itself and the implementing agents. It was almost teaching them how to procure because, in the previous processes, there was never a test to see whether they could procure or have people in place that could do government procurement.

Government procurement is completely different from private procurement. It was discovered that these implementing agents simply could not procure in the government compliant way, leading to delays, underspending and participants with inadequate Personal protective equipment (PPE). However, the Department thought that was a necessary evil because it could not allow implementing agents to just continue spending money and procuring in a way that procurement was done. He indicated that this touched on the other root causes as the programme became more attractive for other purposes and the budgets increased, as this was noticed based on how contracts were being awarded in the past.

On the deceased participants, he said there was a timesheet that must be signed, captured on the electronic system and verified before payments are processed. It was linked with Home Affairs more than a year ago to ensure that the Department verifies the status of participants before payments are made. The Department found that the deceased participants signed the timesheet after the date of passing on; this constitutes corruption and fraud as somebody cannot sign when they are deceased. In some cases, the participant would come at the beginning of the month to sign the timesheet for the whole month. These funds are now being charged to implementing agents because they were not punished in the past, but now the full amounts are deducted from their accounts. As a result, the cases have declined significantly but there is still a small portion where death is only reported a month or two months later. However, this still did not explain how someone could sign a document after passing it on.

The Department has approached National Treasury to have a discussion to address disagreements with AG on what should be done pertaining to the tenders issued to implementing agents and whether they should be blacklisted. National Treasury declined, explaining that these fell under their employees and that disciplinary action had been taken.

Another identified root cause was systems as the recurring late payments of participants did not stop. The Department had a number of engagements with SETA to understand what the problem was with regard to the system that led to late payments. They eventually found out that it was not necessarily the SETA system but it was one weak link in the Department. It became a people issue and the person involved did not do the checks per the requirement of deceased participants. The official was suspended and the function was handed over to someone else and immediately, this improved and in the past three months, there were no late payments. The only people getting paid late were those who changed their bank accounts without informing the Department. He said that, in total, the entity has slowly reduced the number of findings, and the severity of the findings, and what it was primarily left with was fixing the past.

The Department has assets from years back, which the current implementing agents deny as the agents have changed. Therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to hold implementing agents accountable for assets because there was no proper asset management system as it was done on a spreadsheet which could be deleted or edited by anyone. While the Department is trying to fix the history of what went wrong in the CWP, it is unclear with the assets if it will get there by the end of the financial year. The future has been fixed already, systems are in place, and there are no more prepayments but the remaining issues are with the old contracts.

He said the Department sent the list of NPOs with the budget allocated to them per site to Parliament twice already, but these could be sent again. There were currently six implementing agents including Thembalethu Development, SA Youth Movement, Green Development Foundation, Insika Foundation, Seboka, and National Youth Development Foundation. In the past, there were eleven and three had their contracts terminated. This spoke to the Department and the AG's disagreement over the fundamental assertion by the AG that the entity's criteria on tenders were too strict. In the past, the Department's criteria were not too strict and implementing agents would be appointed only to discover that they could not do government procurement. The Department ended up in a situation where the contracts had to be terminated because the agents could not do what they were supposed to do. In the previous tender, the Department made the criteria much stricter to see that the implementing agents comply, however, this did not result in the appointment or broadening of the spectrum of implementing agents.

On the government procurement process and whether there was a different way to go about it, he said that there was maybe a need to come up with a different way to procure implementing agents and this does not have to include NPOs. He questioned why it could not be provincial government or municipalities and why it had to be the NPOs. He stated that there were many other ways of getting the support and that the Department needed to have eyes on the ground than appointing implementing agents in the way it was being done. The entity was also trying to engage National Treasury on the matter; hopefully, the problem would be resolved in the future. He highlighted that the Minister indicated that the model in place was not the best and that maybe provincial governments or departments should become implementing partners in the future. In certain cases, where possible, metros and municipalities could be implementing partners so that the process remains within government. At least then government entities would be audited by the Auditor-General because the majority of the implementing agents were audited by a private auditing company that simply checks if financial statements are balanced. These institutions did not go into the procurement process and there was no such thing as irregular expenditure as these are not audited in the private sector. He added that when government entities and agencies support the Department in implementing the CWP, it then solves the pending problem because they have the same stringent audit requirements.

When the Agrarian Programme was established, the implementing agents appointed on very loose criteria had no agricultural expertise but were asked to implement the project. From the beginning of April, of the previous year, the Department visited all the sites, made inquiries from all the participants, community leaders, and communities, took all the invoices for the programme and put them together, and went through the transactions and payments. Some acknowledged and confirmed and others denied the state of operations. Therefore, the entity had to return to the invoices and tell the implementing agents that it would not pay for any projects until what had been bought was accounted for. The design of the projects was also very poor as they were designed by people who did not have agricultural expertise.

The Department had experts review the history of all 34 projects, and their sustainability and ultimately have these projects off its books. He said the projects could be handed over to a company or the community so that the Department does not manage them. They were also preparing project plans and proper execution plans for all projects and started funding some of them again. The Department had halted the projects to ensure that there were proper ones in and hopefully, that would resolve the problem going forward. However, the Department did not have the capacity as they are not agriculture specialists. He said that the classical problem across the board in government was that all departments were underfunded and understaffed. He questioned how the Department could possibly run an R4 billion programme and added that, hopefully, the next time Parliament votes, it would consider allocating the Department more money or shut the programme down.  

He said there may be a misconception about what remodelling meant as it is not an event but a process, and many of the administrative things that had to be changed in the programme had already changed. Although not yet perfect, the Department was improving and hoped to have a new policy in place in a few months to learn from the implementation of the previous policy. From an administrative point of view, the entity made a lot of progress on remodelling but had a minimal impact when considering poverty and inequality in communities. What remained as a completely accurate frustration was that 80% of the funds for the programme ended up in the participants' pockets. He questioned whether it benefitted the broader community, if it empowered participants to learn a skill through useful work and appropriate training, and whether it empowered participants to go and do their own thing so that they could exit the programme. He explained that legally, the Department did not allow participants to stay for more than two years unlike the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), as the CWP model provided a sustainable basic income and was meant for the participants to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge. He said that the internal capacity to drive the programme was insufficient, and the entity needed to start partnering with provinces, metros and other government bodies. He added that with MISA, for example, a lot more could be done regarding infrastructure maintenance. When participants are taught the appropriate skills, they could then be motivated to exit CWP.

A DCOG representative agreed with the Members that there are some challenges with the fire services in the country, which fall under the local government. At the national level, the Department administers legislation, tries to assist the municipalities in looking at the capacity challenges, and makes recommendations. Unfortunately, there were only two people at the national level responsible for fire services and one position is currently vacant. The Department also had its capacity challenges to deal with but it has also tried to work with the Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries as they are responsible for the Veld and Forest Fires Act and they also have responsibilities specifically with the Fire Protection Associations. The Department is working with the Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries to ensure collaborations in municipalities and fire protection associations to ensure integrated fire management. She added that it should also be noted that fire services are dependent on the effective functioning of municipalities especially in providing water and many other services. The Department was working towards providing support with legislation and is also working with the National Treasury to assist in recalculating the equitable share to make specific provisions for fire services in municipalities.

On the disaster management plans, she said the Department had 154 disaster management plans. According to legislation, each municipality is supposed to develop a disaster management plan. Fortunately, most of the district municipalities and metros, except Buffalo City, had made submissions. The Department at the national centre assesses the plans and provides feedback to the municipalities. She added many of the plans were outdated as they were not reviewed regularly. Therefore, the Department has developed guidelines to assist the municipalities with their disaster management plans and facilitates workshops that provide consultative sessions to understand their needs for support. The entity is working with other stakeholders as this is an important part for the Department as part of the IDP. This is mainly because it is part of a legislative requirement that the disaster management plan of each municipality be a core component of the IDP and eventually inform the One Plans. This is the process that the Department wants to encourage everybody to participate in and it would like to get the support of the AG in assessing the municipalities on compliance. She added that circulars would be issued to remind municipalities to submit their plans.

On the general capacity, she said there was a capacity challenge in disaster management in the country which Cabinet has also identified. There has also been a request that the disaster management system be overhauled in the country to review and look at how the system can be improved. The disaster management system is not only about the national disaster management centre but also about the capacity of disaster management in each organ of the state. The legislation provides for each organ of the state to develop a disaster management plan and put systems in place to deal with disasters in their respective areas of responsibility. She added that the entity only had 33 people in the centre and some vital vacancies at the management level which were being addressed. She stated that they hoped to review the system in collaboration with the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation and would report to the Cabinet by the end of the financial year.

MISA Response                                      

Referring to the ageing infrastructure and how MISA was engaging to address the pending challenge, Mr Vimba said the challenge required efforts beyond MISA. In KZN, they worked with the provincial leadership to do a detailed conditions assessment of the infrastructure which culminated in a water and sanitation master plan and a term of reference was developed to conduct work. The results were such that the required investment could not be funded with the current flows directed to municipalities. This then meant that the country had additional requirements to put funding aside to target certain priority assets and replace present ones. He said that the problem of ageing infrastructure would never be resolved with the current funding flows and government would need to be intentional about it and take decisive steps to address it. MISA also did assessments, reports, master plans, operations, and maintenance plans for many municipalities but there are no resources to fund the plans. The entity, at times, uses its operational budget to support municipalities.

Addressing the action to be taken against municipalities that failed to submit plans responding to the Green Drop and the Blue Drop, he explained that the problem was funding. The root cause was that the funding in municipalities focused on new infrastructure and there was no real effort to make sure that there was a balance between the funding of new infrastructure and that for operations and management of existing infrastructure. He added that this was something that the Department started to address through reforms initiated in the previous financial year, where provision for assert planning and the replenishment and operational maintenance of infrastructure was made. This was because municipalities could not raise their own revenue to enable them to respond to the challenges of raw repairs and maintenance. He indicated that in the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) programme, there was 5% set aside for assert planning, however, the challenge was that the municipalities were not prioritising asset planning and MISA had been working with them and pushing them to prioritise it because of its importance. There was also 10% that had been set aside to implement the repairs and maintenance. He added that these were reforms put together in trying to address the challenge of asset decay that is occurring.

He stated that the entity was also working with the Department of Water and Sanitation which submitted the list of municipalities that had not submitted reports. The two entities have also been meeting with SALGA and putting together a support package to support municipalities in preparing the required plans and ensuring they respond to the Green Drop and the Blue Drop report.

MISA also submitted a report on the work done in drilling boreholes and other water projects in the country and their functionality. He said he regards such accomplishments as a good story in the sense that most communities that were assisted did not have access to water which has since changed. He stated that a water treatment facility in Mondlo was completed and invited Members to go and see what was accomplished. He added that a sewage treatment plant was being completed in In Bhokwe Ward 5.

He said that the Makanda municipality case was a sore one for him because MISA has been working with them. He explained that their engineering department, at some point, had no capacity and therefore had to be led by MISA's chief engineer so that all plans could be functional but resources to finance the plans remained a challenge. He stated that MISA has been working with the Department of Water and Sanitation to address the water issue but unfortunately, the contractor got liquidated when they were already on site and this has affected water provision. He added that a replacement tender has only been released in the month of August 2022. He said that MISA continues to support the municipality with the hope that, at some point, it would be able to deal with its problems.

Referring to the question about Port St Johns, he said MISA has a report about its team visit following allegations of illegal selling of electricity and water, which would be shared with Members.

The team was also working on boreholes in St Alfred Nzo and the report would be shared with Members as well.

He said he agreed with Ms Direko’s point that MISA ‘s good work should be balanced with the service delivery and indicated that he had a report that showed the work done to support municipalities in the country. He added that the entity is trying hard to stretch the little capacity it has to be able to support the municipalities but it needs the Committee to also assist with getting the necessary resources to effect the kind of impact that was expected.

He stated that MISA failed to get back the money that was surrendered to Treasury and so abandoned the fight with the entity. However, the money that was requested for the 2021/2022 financial year was approved. He highlighted that failure to recover money slowed down planned projects because of lack of resources.

In response to Ms Xaba-Ntshaba’s concerns, he indicated that he had just received a report that a contractor was appointed in Msinga local municipality to address the water project called by the disaster management centre. He said he was happy that the Committee acknowledged that the problem was fixed by MISA first before the floods came, and stated that the current one was also being fixed.

In the mentioned incident where there was no water supply in Tugela and Mnambithi police station and hospital, he said MISA would do a follow up.

He said the report on the rehabilitation of the road in Makanda local municipality showed that the quality was good but there was an underlying problem with water pipes. He then forwarded Members a detailed report, outlining the investigations done by engineers. He explained that the report showed a localised problem in two streets, namely; Hill Street and Somerset Street. In Somerset Street, there was a pipe burst on the side of the road and there were repairs done by the municipality that damaged the road which they left unfixed. In Hill Street, a crocodile crack happened due to a water pipe and the assessments showed that leaking pipes affected the road's surface. He said he had seen the problem and had instructed his team to take advantage of the fact that they were still in a defect liability period and push the contractor to fix the problem. He highlighted that the problem was recent as it had happened within the previous ten months. However, it was not a huge problem as less than 5% still needs to be corrected. He added that overall, quality work was done on the road and MISA would assist with getting it right.

DTA Response

Mr Diphofa responded to the question on the oversight visit of the Portfolio Committee to the Eastern Cape focusing, specifically, on customary initiation practices. He mentioned that the Customary Initiation Act supersedes the provincial pieces of legislation. When age is a criterion, then the age determined in the Customary Initiation Act is the one that applies. This is because when the act was being consulted and tabled before the Cabinet, there was a deliberate position that children could not be defined by different ages, one in the Children's Act and another in the Customary Initiation Act. As such, the age obtained is contained in the Children's Act and has been adopted in the Customary Initiation Act. During the last season of initiation, a particular province, not the Eastern Cape formerly wrote to the Minister requesting to lower the age and the request was declined.

He mentioned that the critical issue that arose from the oversight visit by the Committee was strengthening awareness, which the national oversight committee had already started but the work was disrupted by the terms of office of the house coming to an end. The process of reconstitution of the house happened at local and provincial levels and DTA was only missing the last step for the national house to be reconstituted. The link, he added, was that members of the national house would have to be members of the national initiation oversight committee. The most critical issue to promote was that awareness would be raised because there cannot be inconsistencies. The other challenge with the Eastern Cape has been the membership to the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) because the entity in the province comprises mainly of executive committee members. With all good intentions, to have to convene members of the executive committee of the provincial executive as PICC becomes difficult because a Cabinet committee is convened in a sense.  He stated that this was not the case with other provinces and the composition, as guided by the Customary Initiation Act, had been adhered to. From discussions the DTA had with the province, they have realised the difficulty of the model being used. The Eastern Cape leadership indicated that they would also want to change that to ensure they have a much more agile PICC to do proper oversight work.

Referring to the financial support to different leadership structures in the different provinces, he said the statement was correct and is something that has existed for a long time, however, there were no norms and standards set at a national level to indicate, for example, what kind of budgetary support should be given to traditional councils. He mentioned that Deputy Minister Bapela was leading an inter-ministerial team that the Minister spoke about, going from province to province to talk about critical issues of concern to the institutional traditional leadership and this is one of them. In provinces the Deputy Minister has visited, there has been a very clear commitment to finding ways to address this area. It is something that will not be resolved overnight, but just an example that was discussed with the Deputy Minister after the Free State visit, where a grant of around R30 000 was given to each traditional council. After that visit, it increased to R60 000, and for principal traditional leaders, it increased to R100 000. It is still low compared to the trailblazer who is Mpumalanga; they had R350 000 per annum per traditional council. But at least it is showing movement. The same concerns have been raised in the other provinces where the Deputy President has been, to engage with the institutional traditional leadership on these matters. It is an intervention that the DTA believes is assisting because these are matters that have been on the table for a long time and kept resurfacing. The other part of it is the opportunity that now arises with the Traditional Khoisan leadership Act, which allows the Minister to set up norms and standards, which the Framework Act did not allow the Minister to do, especially regarding issues of resourcing. The approach is that the DTA is not to do things in a vacuum, but to get a sense of what things the provinces are spending on, their costs and their experiences on the ground, and so on. The DTA has teams of officials going from one province to another and spending between two to three days in each province. They sit down with line function, and finance officials and look at the costs in a very focused manner, and the expectation is that coming out of this, they will have an informed position where the entity can advise the Minister on norms and standards that can be set concerning the resources.


Follow up Questions 

Ms Xaba-Ntshaba directed her first question to Mr Pretorius who spoke about the deceased signing to get payments from CWP. She asked the number of officials suspended as a result of these findings and the period in which the practice had occurred.

Referring to the topic of the tender, she inquired whether it had been terminated. She said that the Committee could not leave the issue hanging because the official involved had been suspended. The tender continued, which meant that the entrepreneur continued to milk government. If the official was suspended, then the contract must also be terminated. She stated that the tender contract should be terminated first and then followed by the official’s and not the other way as the Department had done. She explained that the official did not decide in any boardroom but was just given instructions to sign for certain things. She continued to express that there is a problem of looting government funds, which continues to scarlet because no punitive measures were taken against individuals except suspension. She said it was about time the Committee started laying criminal charges against those who defraud the state. She added that there is a Zulu saying that goes "You need to beat the dog to see the owner” and asked who the owner or boss of the implementing agents was.

She told the DG of DTA that in KZN, many traditional leaders were dying due to assassinations. She inquired about the opinion of the Department on this and asked why the entity was not defending the lives of the chiefs. She added that the Department should show concern about the situation. She indicated that there are policemen in South Africa and if more were needed, graduates could be recruited and trained to protect people in the country as nothing was being said about the defence and security of citizens.

Mr Mpumza spoke about the report which highlighted the challenges that arose after the flooding in KZN and that, in some instances, there were no disaster risk reduction plans put in place by municipalities. He said that some municipalities in the country are not responding as promptly as the disaster management centre desired to put up such plans. He asked about the remedial action put in p[place by the disaster management centre to ensure that municipalities were complying.

He mentioned a situation in the Karoo where the committees were confronted by drought every year. He asked why no disaster risk reduction strategies were being developed to be components of water and sanitation master plans. He added that the response to disasters was always reactionary, as if it is unknown that the location of such regions makes them vulnerable to natural disasters. He asked why it was a norm to have such reactions and what the disaster management centre and MISA were doing about the situation.

He stated that the report indicated that the DCOG achieved 73% of the planned targets and asked what persistent, stubborn challenges prevented the Department from achieving 100% of its planned targets.

Mr Hadebe commented that the national disaster management submitted 154 plans and out of that, there were still outdated ones. He inquired about the number of reports which were outdated, what the plan of Ethekwini municipality was, in line with the prescripts of legislation, and whether it was outdated or not. He asked if any consequent management effects for those that have not yet submitted or if there was no recourse to ensure that prescripts of the legislation were met.

On the annual report on slide 99, he asked for a response on whether the specified R1.2 million reward was justifiable. 

He highlighted that Mr Pretorius said remodelling is a process, not an event, and the reason why the entity opted to remodel was to fix certain challenges that the Department is confronted with. Mr Hadebe said he had not seen any improvement, meaning whatever processes had been put in place for the remodelling did not produce the desired outcomes. He asked about the positive outcomes and how long the process would last.

He indicated that the Department had not responded to the cost benefit analysis again, and said that it seemed as though the question was a thorny issue and no one wanted to respond to it.

On the issue of people within the CWP coming to work and signing the attendance register for the entire month, he asked if the entity knew what that meant, as it was not only those who were diseased who could be implicated as such. This meant everyone was involved, signing in for the entire month and then staying home. He added that the Department was lucky because some died, and it was only then that fraudulent action was picked up. He said that it was unfortunate circumstances and situations which led to the discovery and asked about those responsible for supervision, how deep the crisis was, the number of those who continue to benefit and are still alive, whether the entity bothered to ask such questions, and if the matter had been investigated. He said this was not a criminal case because the state was defrauded. He emphasised that the matter was unacceptable and asked who the responsible implementing agents were. He added that the Committee was not told that there were six agents, and found it puzzling that it was difficult to name them.

He stated that the DTA did not elaborate on the Public Protector's findings concerning the heads of traditional affairs in provinces and asked for one.

Ms Mkhaliphi said although the Department gave responses, some questions were not fully responded to. On reorganisation, she asked how the Department was being restricted and said that if the DG did not answer, then there would be a problem.  

She stated that the presentation was only two sentences of good English which the Committee did not care for because people on the ground only wanted service delivery. She said that a good response would help Members explain to the people that the Department was restructuring to be able to meet the expectations of communities. She expressed that the Committee also accepted the Department's apology for the lack or delayed response, making it difficult for Members to do their work. She said that even the Chairperson avoids some people on the ground because of a lack of answers to their queries, which is unethical for the Members of Parliament to do. She added that community issues should take priority and it becomes difficult if there are no answers.

Regarding the SIU, the Committee noted that the Department took cases to Hawks but has never heard anything from them. She suggested that the Committee invites the SIU to come and give an update so that Members can follow up on behalf of the Department and other matters that are of interest. She highlighted that in as much as the DG was telling the Committee that the R3.3 billion was a historical matter, everything came back to her. She asked for the DG to brief the Committee in detail about what happened concerning the end-of-year function cancellation, which cost R349 000, even if it happened before her time in office. She requested details of those involved, whether they had been held accountable and what action was taken.  She also asked the DG not to mention that matters arose before her time in office when dealing with the Committee but should mention when a specific case happened and the current status. This would enable the Committee to have an account of everything because just giving a summary indicating that some of the things that happened before her time in office would not be helpful.

She said she did not know why the critical question on the disaster was not responded to. She continued to emphasise that the matter should be dealt with sensitively especially looking at the recent KZN floods where there were families who still did not have answers about their missing loved ones, some were still in the community halls and some were chased away from some areas.

She said that the disaster unit was like a fire extinguisher because it just responds when there is a problem, just as Mr Mogale explained in Section 139.

She stated that she had told the Department earlier, to think out of the box because there cannot be only one intervention in place. She expressed that there was a need for a political explanation in some of the situations because it could not be that there was complete dependence on what the Constitution provided on the law. She added that a political solution was needed because when asked about the 64 dysfunctional municipalities, the Department stated that in terms of its mandate through the Minister, it was committed to intervening but when interrogated for straight answers, it then said that the Committee should not make the mistake of dictating how municipalities should be run. She indicated that the Committee needed answers as they are also part of the problem in the Department. She highlighted that they needed to get clarity without fighting because the aim is to go out there and be able to tell the people what the plan and the way forward is.

On the issue of the CWP, she advised that there should be another meeting because the more the Department explained what was happening including the new model, the more questions arose. The Committee began to interrogate or engage with this issue since 2019. They met with the Department somewhere in the Western Cape and had a strategy session. Even then, a presentation was done but was time constrained. She stated that, at times, Members do not understand some of the things spoken of and the entity should acknowledge that. In addition, since they have now been told about a new model being implemented, it got complicated.

She highlighted that out of the workers that were mentioned who were benefiting from the poverty elevation programme, only six NGOs were managing the programme in nine provinces and added that the management of it then becomes questionable. She said she did not expect details during the meeting, but suggested to the Chairperson to have another discussion at a later stage to be able to get a clear understanding. She stated that even if the Committee would say that corruption was happening in the programme, there have also been other experiences. In KZN Ward 3, where she was from, she did not know anyone in the programme. As much as she supports that the idea was an intervention in poverty, when she attends committee meetings, she gets asked about the participants of the programme but she does not know what processes are being followed. She added that all these things needed to be clarified, and asked how the Department linked the problem at a world level because municipalities were indicated to be involved. She asked what the role of the NPOs was and how communities were recruited. She highlighted that everyone was concerned about unemployment and poverty and that when Members are in communities interested in the programme, they should be able to explain and clarify the process to them.

Ms Spies said at least the Committee got some answers to important questions and needed to move on and put the issue to rest. She told the DG and Mr Pretorius that they would be remembered for a programme that failed if they were not decisive because what they had been telling Members was that they were not the people responsible for the situation at hand. She told them that they needed to make bold decisions if they wanted to come out victorious. She indicated that they mentioned and admitted earlier that the NPOs were not the best model, therefore, the Department should look at provinces and municipalities which also come with different challenges.

She mentioned a reference to the six agents and nine provinces, but people in her area in the Klein Karoo did not know about these implementing agents. She added that the agents had no relation or association to what was going on and how the people of the Klein Karoo function as they were not in touch with the people. Yet there are very good functional NPOs who have not tendered. She said that the entity also needed to do a thorough process in recruiting the people that needed to work. She expressed that she was a firm believer that CWP could work if it is in the right institution with the right people to work. 

She told the Department leadership to be bold and engage local municipalities and provinces. If they say remodelling is not working, they would be applauded for that as it would show that there is some form of proactive action and responsiveness that focuses on the people. She asked the Department to allow the Committee to have a session with the members to learn from their best practices. She expressed that there were wonderful people who did great work and they were the ones who needed to be rewarded.

Mr Groenewald said there were great plans that had been highlighted and entities were also working to improve capacity, but local government was not implementing them. He stated that although there were different challenges, the focus should start with looking at new ways to inform local government on how to perform what was expected, look at the real time document system to implement finance and look at different technologies that can assist and save money.

He said that the AG’s fees were one of the highest within the municipalities and if there is a real time ordered system, it would be 10% of that amount. He suggested that the Department looks at the function of the district municipalities, whether they were still playing a role, and if they should be taken out. He reiterated that all these different things should be looked at and new initiatives should be considered within local government.

Mr Pretorius responded to the question on the official involved in the deceased participants’ issue. He stated that the official had not been suspended. He said Members were correct because somewhere down the line, people employed by the implementing agents have site managers and supervisors that are perpetuating the issue and that it could be due to a weakness in the policy that the Department can change in order to implement a new one. He explained that, currently, the Department could not suspend an entire service provider for something one of the employees did, which is why they want to engage with National Treasury to see how it could work its policy so that if this happened in the future, it could be resolved. He added that it was difficult to act against the entire service provider due to the deed of an employee. He mentioned that the increase in death threats and the change in lawsuits since the Department started issuing tenders the previous year means it was touching the right nerve.  He said it may not be doing it to a greater extent, and that is why it needs the assistance of the National Treasury. He added that the size of the programme attracts attention and as an entity, they needed to come up with a more sustainable way of functioning.

He explained that appointing implementing agents through tenders was not the right solution and that National Treasury needed to assist the Department in developing a different model. He said that the procurement system in the country was designed to buy tables and chairs. It was not designed to buy professional services, hence it is struggling to try to buy stuff using a system that was designed to buy something else.

He stated that there is a written response that gives all the names of the implementing agents that had been submitted, which he offered to project or send to Ms Spies. The report included the number of participants and the amounts and is in the public domain. He added that the Department had no reason to withhold the information.

He emphasised that in the next policy, the Department would ensure it would be stricter as the current state of affairs was costing them money. If they decided not to take disciplinary action against their employees, then it was their business. However, if an implementing agent does not act against its employees for wrongdoing, it would be required to pay. He said this has been going on for a while and was only revealed by the unfortunate death of a person.

As a result of the information, the Department provided to the Hawks over the past year, 18 people had been arrested. The Hawks realised the magnitude of the problem, but they did not have the capacity, so the cases were assigned as one case to one person. He said that the Department could not work with the Hawks directly because it was involved in the CWP, which is also under investigation, but the last time he checked, the entity was in talks with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and arrests would be made. He said the proposal to have a workshop on the CWP was a good idea because, in the current scenario, it was very difficult to engage and discuss in the necessary way and go in-depth with the details. He added that if the Department was able to have one Member of Parliament leave slightly more satisfied today, then the workshop may lead to a situation where everybody leaves a little bit more satisfied.

Ms Williamson welcomed the proposal to invite the SIU to come and present an update.

The key principles that the Department employed in reviewing its operating model were first to look at its mandate and make sure that it was very clear about its mandate and what is expected of it, and how then it can reorganise itself to meet those expectations. The Department then refreshed its strategic outlook, how it would look at all the strategic objectives and ensure that its strategic objectives also have an impact. The principle on the review of the structure was to indicate that in as much as it did not have any direct feel into the provinces and there is an expectation through the Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) process, the Department ought to be much more coordinated and collaborative in a whole approach when it comes to the spheres of government. It then looked at how it could have one point of entry at least into every province so that it would be able to hold one person to account within that province. That is how it came up with the operational branch called the Local Government Support (LGS) and decided to have nine chief directors, one in each province, with two to three directors reporting to each one of those provincial heads. There was also a deputy director that would be responsible for every district. With all the interventions required to be delivered, the Department would at least have a sense of what was happening at the grassroots or source, especially where it is required to provide support. That was what the operating model was premised on, but at the same time, the Department considered having a headquarter or national arm that was smaller but all legislative policy issues needed to be looked into. It was also to ensure that the Department had the right competence and skills put in the correct place to be able to look at all the specialised areas within the entity. This led to the establishment of the Policy, Governance and Administration (PGA) area. Due to what it has been required to do on regulations, the entity's track record over the past later 18 years reveals that it has tried to also look at the end-to-end process or value chain and make sure that it condenses that so that it has a quicker output. The Department needed to look at efficiencies in its processes and how it could deliver more quickly. More importantly, it removes the silos and gets everyone to work as a more cohesive team. The principle that had been employed was that when anything needs to be done, it pools the expertise from all areas as a group, creates the streams and try run with things. That was the key difference in how it looked at the whole approach to operationalise the model. There has been a strong change of management element in the back end with several interactions and engagements with everyone, especially at the senior management level. The model was not perfectly operational and more resources would be ideal, however, the cost of employment and budget were limiting factors. Moreover, the Department's budget for the upcoming financial year was dropping, and it would not have enough money to pay the current contingent of staff but the matter was being escalated to National Treasury so that it could increase in the following year.

These were the high-level principles employed to try and leverage what would strengthen the capacity and the capability. The fact that the Department was also in its infancy in the matter, there was an understanding that it was dynamic, evolving, and changing and it may be revised if it is not working to be able to strengthen it. The main principle for the Department was that if it linked this to its mandate, it would mean that it is an organisational design, structure, approach, or model that would stand the test of time. Also, within its operating model, the Department had to look at its extended CoGTA family and how it could better engage or collaborate going forward. The entity also combined functions, as there were additional roles within the CWP, so that there could be a single person in a province who could be responsible for end-to-end and other requirements. The control area CFO would also look into improving the capacity and capability in the SCM area.

On the question of disaster, she said the issue of people still living in shelters was a real issue within the national joint coordinating committee structures that she chairs. It brought all sector departments together to address all the critical milestones that were to be resolved concerning the floods. She mentioned that the human element of it remains a challenge, and she has addressed the matter with her counterparts as DGs and between ministries to see how to better support each other and get through the process quicker. She added that there were deadlines in place but there were a number of factors that had an impact.

Concluding Remarks

Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, Department of Cooperative Governance, said the killing of the traditional leaders in KZN and everywhere else had been reported to the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele and the entire police team, and SALGA has also taken it up in its agenda with the Minister. He mentioned that they called for a more proactive interaction with the Minister and were not happy with certain answers received.

There was a case of a councillor in Mashabela local municipality that he and Deputy Minister Nkadimeng had to take up with the Minister of Police during a session of the Council of Mayors in East London. They had arrived in the municipality to review all the contracts only to find that every contract was outsourced, even those that were not supposed to be outsourced. He stated that he had reviewed all of them, changed and insourced them, which unfortunately provoked some people who then started hating the councillor and wanted to kill him. He reported the matter to the police at the local and provincial levels of the Free State, but nothing happened. He then had to escalate it to the Minister, who did not understand but promised to review the councillor’s security assessment to see if there was a security risk. The councillor was not even asking for police protection but sought help from the municipality police to help protect him while he cleans out the corruption in the municipality. Unfortunately, until today there has not been any protection in place. In this regard, Deputy Minister Nkadimeng then told the Minister of Police that if the councillor died, blood would be on his hands.

He said that there was a call to engage further with the Minister of Police to understand the context in which councillors have been attacked for fighting corruption. He stated that when a person fights corruption, they become an enemy of the corruptors, some of whom are dangerous. Fortunately, the matter was on the agenda that the Department needs to pursue and follow up before the end of the year so that interaction with SALGA and councillors would be possible. He highlighted that the challenge was now manifesting in traditional leaders where certain forces take over family disputes for whatever reason. Interaction would help understand the killings, particularly in KZN, where some are related to land issues, especially in the coastal areas where the best land is. Such areas are being given to certain big guys in South Africa who become beneficiaries as opposed to the communities who own the land. He added that the cost of such has also been increased and referred to one of the traditional leaders working with Mozambicans and charged them R250 000 to get the land. Locals could not afford that amount. The traditional leader was arrogant towards them when they protested for their ancestral land. When the Mozambicans realised the man was getting a lot of money, they hijacked the process. It is now the Mozambicans allocating land and when the traditional leader wanted to stand up against them, they threatened to expose or kill him. Therefore, these issues end up in traditional leadership courts, which begin to understand what provokes the killings. He said that a report would be compiled after concluding working with the province of KZN because that is where the cases were prevalent. In other areas, there are still isolated incidents.

On the Ditsobotla local municipality matter, he indicated that an intervention was on its way and the administrator had already been appointed. The Department engaged with the council that one person would not be sufficient, and a team needed to be appointed because the issues identified were numerous for only one person. Service providers that were appointed regularly, besides the two municipal managers, two municipal mayors, and two speakers, were two contracts on security. One municipal manager appointed his own security company but when he got removed, the other one appointed another security company on top of that. Therefore, matters of procurement were an issue that needed to be investigated and regularised, even if it meant terminating both contracts. He added that this would be a mammoth task because there are other issues of the lack of payment of the third parties that have been happening and the issue of medical pensions for fees and so forth. He highlighted that there needed to be an investigation on all contracts to be able to fix all supply chain challenges and finances of the municipalities because the Treasury decided to withhold money because there was no one who could be held accountable. He stated that they had 90 to 100 days before the election of new councillors, where there would be a handover and regularisation to ensure that whatever work needs council decisions, could be carried out with substantive senior managers.

He highlighted that Members wanted to know if the local government system in the country was working or not because service delivery remained a challenge. There were numerous problems in the municipalities, yet CoGTA, an institution required to ensure that municipalities functioned well, existed. The Deputy Minister said there were no longer 64 dysfunctional municipalities, but both the Department and municipalities were responsive and could account and indicate what was working or not working to find ways to fix the problems and challenges.

He said he supported the idea of a dedicated session on CWP so that the Committee and Department could go deeper into the issue to establish the current and future stated of being and whether there is a promising future and if it could be realised. He added that this was no longer a pending matter, hence it must be predicted that by a certain time, the issue will be at a certain advanced stage. He said the CWP challenges were being resolved and some administratively resolved.

Referring to the question on service delivery, he indicated that services were indeed poor, which negatively impacted the people. This explained why Members were throwing questions back to the Department as the executive and as officials. He added that the Department needed to find ways of making the municipalities optimally discharge their responsibilities with a focus on service delivery. He stated that the Department was not ignorant of the infrastructure challenges, as pointed out by MISA, and acknowledged that doing the basics would help a lot.

He said the Monitoring, Support, and Intervention Bill (MSI) would be within the 2022/2023 financial year to be submitted to Parliament. He indicated that the Bill had been received back with comments from all municipalities and districts which the Minister wanted. It is currently with the office, and would be processed and sent to Cabinet so that it can be ready and in place by March next year. By the time the Committee gets access, Members would be able to see whether the interventions proposed are appropriate. He said that the monitoring tool had been improved so that national and CoGTA’s, in the provinces, could be hands-on-deck on matters with the support package as stipulated by Section 54. He highlighted that the support package needed to be clarified. He mentioned that municipalities received an equitable share and social grants from different stakeholders, but what the MSI Bill adds to the support already given is the ability to resolve the challenges.

He stated that there was a new phenomenon that CoGTA needed to be aware of, as SALGA has already made a detailed analysis and study on it. He indicated that there were 16 coalitions which increased to 80 since the 2021 elections, including almost half of the municipalities. The coalitions do not present a stable structure; unfortunately, service delivery becomes a casualty. He then questioned how these coalitions could be functional without negatively impacting service delivery. He stated that those affected were the same people who had placed members in positions of power.

He explained that Gauteng sent a team to Belgium and Denmark to study the model of the coalition and they came back with findings which can be considered in South Africa. He added that these findings could be discussed and debated as the country is now in an era of coalitions. He indicated that only two metros had a clear majority: Cape Town and Buffalo City. This clearly shows that the biggest municipalities were now caught up in coalitions, so the matter could not be ignored further. Three of the major metros constitute 43% of the GDP of the country and if they are not stable, it would affect the economic growth because economies in the world are driven by the cities. As such, companies may migrate to more economically productive areas as did Clover in Ditsobotla, which moved to other cities that were already overcrowded with investments and the poor areas remain poorer. 

Addressing the discrepancies within the DTA, he mentioned that together with the Deputy President, they would be visiting seven provinces and he would be going to the Northern Cape for the Wednesday Imbizo, and thereafter to the Eastern Cape. After the visits, they would be able to share the outcomes and discrepancies where intervention is needed. He said it had to be a norm and standard that applies to all provinces, for traditional leaders and their tradition to receive the same support.

On the Customary Initiation Act, the Deputy Minister said there was hard lobbying through the Inter-Ministerial Committee that the law must be reviewed. He had asked traditional leaders to communicate the areas of the law that needed to be reviewed and the challenges that informed those reviews. Only then could the Department work through the workstream led by the Minister of Justice, to look at the composite of those issues and whatever law informed it regarding the Children Act. He said that the law would continue as is, but the Department would take cognisance of the issues raised by traditional leaders that the law has not been as adaptive from one province to the other. He added that four provinces already raised an outcry on the issue.

Deputy Minister Nkadimeng said there were no gaps to fill but more work to do following the remarks and comments made by Members.

She said 40% of South Africans reside in the metros which is a total shift from small town and rural town movement in terms of trying to capacitate and deliver, because by virtue of design, metros are self-sustainable. She explained that if the 40% of metros is compared to 157 small and rural towns, then it meant that the gap of non-service delivery increases even in areas where finances or capacity is not a problem. This then magnifies the biggest problem of not clearly defining how the Department intervenes, assists and leads even from a legislative point of view. She stated that the Department needed to come out from its confined bracket to clearly state and understand its legislative power and abilities and how to better assist metros and municipalities. She said that reflected on what was raised by MISA and Members, indicating a lack of capacity within the Department. She reiterated her apology for the non-response to queries and committed to making a follow-up and being mindful of both Committee Members and the community when they raise issues needing assistance from the Department.  

The Chairperson told CoGTA that a qualified audit was not acceptable, whatever the qualification and that targets should align with plans indicating how they can be achieved and this needs commitment from leadership. He said that there should be consequences for wrongdoing regardless of whether they are historical or not. This is a demand that is being made across the government because it has become clear that the leadership is not keen on making sure that there are consequences for wrongdoing to the point that the mafia threat is becoming an issue. He said that everyone should be held accountable for their actions and there should not be an excuse that others jumped ship and therefore could not be acted upon. He added that such individuals were still South Africans and should be held accountable.

He said the cases on IRP5s require someone to submit them, and he needed to extend beyond that to ensure that public servants at CoGTA were considerate of the fact that people should come first. He said the "Batho Pele" principles needed reviving so that those who serve the people serve them well.

On the law enforcement agencies, he said the DG was not specific on the cases and that it would be helpful to have concrete cases without gaps, as such would make it seem as though the Department was not serious about fighting corruption. He highlighted that it was unclear whether everyone was committed and that if there was no punitive action against wrongdoing, the country would go to the dogs. He said everyone needed to fully commit to confronting and dealing with corruption.

He thanked everyone for their contribution.

The meeting was adjourned.


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