Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill: Local Government

Local Government (WCPP)

28 November 2022
Chairperson: Mr D America (DA)
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Meeting Summary


The Ministry of Local Government said the original budget decreased by approximately R9 000 000 during the Adjustment Estimate, within the year under review. This was partly because of the reduction of employee compensation and delays in the recruitment process, which created savings.

The Committee asked about the many vacant positions which have yet to be filled. The Department reassured the Committee it was recruiting to fill the vacant posts, and outlined its plans to do so. The Department said it struggled to fill these posts but is hopeful about accomplishing its goal in the near future.

The Committee deliberated on the Adjustments Appropriation Bill and the Budget Vote: Local Government. The Budget Vote was supported, with the ANC and EFF noting its minority vote not to support it. The budget was adopted, and resolutions to the budget were made.


Meeting report

Opening remarks by Minister

Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, said during the adjustment estimate within the year under review, the original budget decreased by approximately R9 000 000. This was partly due to a reduction in employee compensation and delays in the recruitment process, which created savings.

Mr Graham Paulse, Head of Department (HOD), Western Cape Department of Local Government, said the Department was working with Provincial Treasury to get back the R9 200 000 which was saved, as it wanted to use it in the 2023/2024 financial year. The Department has not filled vacant posts, even with the headhunting process, and has made adjustments in the budget for audio-visual equipment. There was no improvement in conditions of services.

The Chairperson asked Mr Paulse to upload the Adjustment Budget in a format which was easier for all to see, and same was made available.

Mr C Dugmore (ANC) referred to page 340 and asked for details of the vacant posts, and asked when it would be filled. He noted concern at the high number of vacant posts.

Regarding page 342, under the heading ‘shifting of funding between programmes’, he noted the equipment and the machinery the Community Development Workers (CDW) needed was a priority, and he asked how this was being justified.

On page 344, under ‘shifts between programmes’, there was a decrease of approximately R800 000 for goods and services. He asked if this detail was provided for elsewhere in the budget. The decrease in funds for goods and services was noted, but he asked what it was initially used for in the main Appropriation.

On page 344, under ‘shifts between sub-programmes’, it was noted the province faced the worst drought recently - Mr Dugmore asked how the Department justifies delays in filling out the Drought Capacity Support. He also asked if these were permanent posts or contract posts.

On page 345, it said it was widely known capacity was a huge challenge. He asked for clarity on Programme 4; and asked what the balance of R478 000 was going to be used for in the year under review.

Mr P Marran (ANC) said that, regarding ‘surrender of funds’, it almost seems there was no capacity within the Department, and these issues continue to occur year after year.

Mr Paulse asked if one of his colleagues could take everyone through the abbreviated version, which would hopefully answer most of the questions. He would then answer the remainder of the questions, with the Chairperson’s permission.

Ms Bhavana Sewlall-Singh, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Western Cape Department of Local Government, read through the abbreviated version of the budget, page by page, to address some of the questions raised. She promised to make this document available to all members.

Mr Paulse said the Compensation of Employees (COE) rates a number of posts, and Cabinet has put a particular process in place to fill the posts. There is a submission which should go through the A1 route.

The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) position has been vacant since August 2021. The Department began the recruitment for the position but was not successful. It decided to re-advertise this post. The Department is also losing staff members to the municipality.

The Department received additional funding for engineering services. Two of the engineers recently resigned. Potential engineers are reluctant to work for the Department due to the low salaries, which is the reason behind the additional funding. Three engineers have recently signed letters of employment and will start very soon.

Ms Eda Barnard, Chief Director: Municipal Performance Monitoring and Support, said the Department received additional funding for five more posts, but was struggling, as it could only advertise one-year contracts. The potential employee would therefore have to leave their current job to take a one-year contract. This presents difficulties when recruiting people. After some persuasion, the Department managed to increase the time period to 36 months, and is now confident about filling all five posts.

Ms Barnard said it is very difficult to attract engineers because of the skillset and experience required, but the Department has now been able to fill the two vacant engineering spots, and she said she is happy about the results.

Ms Nozuko Zamxaka, Chief Director: Integrated Service Delivery (ISD), said there were about 15 vacant Community Development Workers (CDW) posts because of resignation and retirement. A third of those posts were already filled, but there were struggles with recruiting. The ISD found a solution, but the vetting process remains a struggle in recruitment, especially when it brings up illicit activities, which requires an extensive verification process, causing delays. The ISD immediately went into recruitment mode upon the death of the previous Integrated Development Planning (IDP), but it struggled to get good candidates. ISD is currently dealing with the shortlist, but it is experiencing issues.

Mr Albert Dlwengu, Director: Policy and Strategy, Western Cape Department of Local Government, said it is currently appointing people in Traditional Affairs to assist with research, policy, and legislation development. An analysis was conducted on the gaps in legislation. Four posts have now been advertised and the recruitment process will now begin.

Mr Colin Deiner, Chief Director: Disaster Management, Western Cape Department of Local Government, said it is aware the audio-visual issue has not been attended to. This is because when the global pandemic began, it was not able to replace the equipment, as the Disaster Centre, which was once active 24/7, had to be closed. It has been informed of the plans to move Tygerberg hospital, meaning it too has to move. One post which the Department battled to fill was the “Geographic Information Systems Specialist” post, which was a very rare post in South Africa, but the headhunting is underway.

Mr Dugmore said he is very concerned about all the delays, and asked if the Committee could have a progress report on all positions filled.

Regarding the Adjustment, he asked what amount has been spent on legal fees since the start of the year; and of those legal fees, how much went into paying fees due to the Department having lost court cases.

The Chairperson interjected to suggest the Committee table Mr Dugmore’s first question as part of the Resolutions, and the following questions not be answered in the present meeting, as the questions were not part of the Adjustment Budget.

There were no questions from the public, and the Chairperson thanked and dismissed the Minister and departmental officials from the meeting.

Committee Report on Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill: Local Government
The Chairperson called for support for the Adjustment Budget.

The majority of Members supported the Budget Vote, noting the minority vote from the ANC and the EFF not to support it.

The Chairperson asked the report to be flighted, and read it out loud for the Committee to note.

The report was adopteddd.  

The minutes of the meeting dated 22 November 2022 were adopted.

Lastly, the resolutions were drafted based on what was discussed and agreed upon during the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for attendance and the meeting was adjourned.


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