Ingonyama Trust Board 2023/24 APP; Land Bank financial support services to farmers & implementation of the blended finance scheme/model, Mafisa, AgriBEE and Covid19 funds, with Ministry

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

02 May 2023
Chairperson: Nkosi ZM Mandela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Ingonyama Trust Board

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development met on a virtual platform and received a presentation from the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) regarding its Annual Performance Plan (APP). The ITB’s presentation covered the Board’s mandate, strategic focus, performance on the administration, land and tenure management programmes, medium-term expenditure and budget.

The Committee raised issues concerning the Auditor-General’s findings on governance challenges, leadership changes and the media reports on it. The Committee shared concerns about the ITB’s continuous failure to meet its set targets and its discontinuation of important indicators. Members also sought clarity on the relationship between the ITB and Ingonyama Holdings and the purpose and role of Ingonyama Holdings. Furthermore, it also wanted to know what plans the new ITB had to address challenges and ensure improvements were being made. Concerns were raised regarding accountability regarding the ITB and the Trust itself, as well as issues with the policies. This was so that the Committee could perform effective oversight.

The Committee also requested reports on the status of disciplinary processes on land disputes. 

The ITB responded to the concerns of the Committee and in its response, it pointed out, along with the Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Land and Reform and Development, that the Board had been newly appointed and had yet to familiarise itself with issues and therefore required time to do this before responding to certain concerns.

Meeting report

The Chairperson greeted all present and asked if there were any apologies.

The Committee Secretary noted an apology from the Deputy Minister, Ms Rosemary Capa, who asked to be excused early due to a ministerial engagement.

After receiving all apologies from the Committee Secretary, the Chairperson went through the meeting agenda and thereafter invited the Chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) to make some introductory remarks.

Opening remarks: Chairperson Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB)

Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela, Chairperson, Ingonyama Trust Board, accepted and appreciated the opportunity to make some introductory remarks on behalf of the Board. He told the Committee that because it was his first meeting as the chairperson of the Board and because he had not had the opportunity to meet with members of the Board as yet, there had been no handover that had been done. He then asked the Chairperson, to allow the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Advocate Vela Mngwengwe, to do the presentation on behalf of the Board.

The Chairperson thanked Inkosi Mzimela for his introductory remarks and extended a warm welcome to the new appointees of His Majesty to Ingonyama Trust. He also went on to wish them well in their future endeavours with the ITB.

He then invited the CEO of the ITB to make its presentation to the Committee.

Ingonyama Trust Board Annual Performance Plan (2023-2024) Presentation

Part A: Our Mandate

Adv Mngwengwe greeted Members of the Portfolio Committee, the Executive Authority members of the Board present, the Director-General (DG) of the Department and everyone accompanying him. He told the Committee that the document that he was about to present was the Annual Performance Plan (APP) that was prepared by the Board that was present in 2022.

After asking for the presentation to be projected, Adv Mngwengwe began his presentation by explaining to the Committee that the Trust itself is expected, in terms of its wider socio-economic development mandate, to benefit its beneficiaries, to advance the material welfare and social wellbeing of its beneficiaries and that all beneficiary communities are listed in the Ingonyama Trust Act itself.

Therefore, what this then means is that when the APP of the Board is looked at, ideally because the Board exists to administer the affairs of the Trust, the Committee would have to look at what the Trust is supposed to do because ideally, what the APP is supposed to reflect is that which is the mandate of the Trust. This is because the Board only exists to administer the affairs of the Trust. Addressing the Chairperson, Adv Mngwengwe, said that if the Committee looks at the APP over the years, there will be arguments in the APP itself regarding why it looks the way it does.

The Committee would have to particularly look at the Accounting Authority's statement in the APP document itself and that will indicate that the attitude that the Board has taken over the years, is that it will only focus on the funding that is allocated to it, in terms of the fiscus and therefore confines the APP to that which can be achieved through that funding. In this particular year, funding is estimated to be roughly R24 million. That is therefore why the APP of the Board looks the way it does and this is simply because it focuses on the R24 million allocation as opposed to the Trust's wider socio-economic development mandate.

Part C: Measuring Our Performance

Programme 1: Administration

Adv Mngwengwe told the Committee that this part of the presentation is where the actual indicators appear. In the last financial year, the Board had explained that in the past few years, the challenges it had experienced had been governance challenges raised by the Auditor-General (AG) over time. When the Board started in 2021, one of the things it wanted to demonstrate, was its commitment to addressing those governance challenges as part of its consequence management. Taking a step towards this commitment, the Board brought in an indicator for the implementation of an external audit management action plan. This is the type of indicator that one would ordinarily see in the operational plan of an organisation. However, the ITB elevated it to the strategic level because it wanted to indicate its intention to address those challenges clearly. Therefore it was a new indicator in the last and current financial year. The ITB also brought in internal audit action plans for the same reason. These are therefore the indicators that the Committee will see.

Concerning the unqualified external audit opinion, Adv Mngwengwe told the Committee that there was a mistake in the presentation, in that the ITB indicated the years 2020/21 and 2021/22 as if it was a new indicator. Those indicators were always there and in fact, achieved as an unqualified audit in 2020/21 and 2021/22. He told the Committee that the ITB still intends to achieve this audit outcome as it proceeds.

Programme 2: Land and Tenure Management

Discussing this programme, Adv Mngwengwe explained that in terms of this part of the presentation, the Committee would notice that some of the indicators that existed in the last financial years are no longer a part of this APP. He said that there are reasons expressed by the Board for doing so. What is reflected in the current APP is the number of tenure rights confirmed by the Board after allocations by TCs which are the numbers reflected as of now.

He also told the Committee that it will notice that the numbers have gone down from the previous financial years and that is a consequence of litigation that occurred that prevented the processing of residential leasing, which had accounted for the greater number of leases that the organisation received in the past. As a result, these numbers were reduced. In the current financial year, the ITB is looking at 800 in terms of its estimated performance and then gradually increasing going forward.

There is also an indicator of the number of Human Settlements approved by the Board. This will be seen under the audited performance, indicating that these indicators existed. Noticeably in the past two financial years, it has never been achieved. The reason for its non-achievement was because of what was happening internally at the organisation. However, the ITB believes that it can be achieved going forward, which is why it remains part of the APP.

Adv Mngwengwe said that these were the only things that were really targeted for the current financial year and they are consistent with what he had raised earlier in relation to what appears in the Accounting Authority Statement.

He said that what follows in the presentation on slides 12 and 13 is the budget which is in the Financial Information part of the presentation, which Mr Vilakazi will present.

Part D: Financial Information  

Mr Siyamdumisa Vilakazi, Chief Financial Officer, ITB, presented to the Committee on slide 12, the Medium Term Expenditure for the 2023/24 financial year, approved in the estimates of National Expenditure for the ITB. He brought to the Committee's attention the anticipated income and expenditures of Ingonyama Trust. He said that this was important going forward because the financial performance of the Trust, as the CEO had explained, is an indicator, amongst other factors, of whether the Board is effective in discharging its mandate.

The ITB received 14,6% less in the 2023/24 financial year, which is a R5.5 million reduction from the 2022/23 financial year. The total transfers in the 2023/24 financial year amounted to R23,8 million and increased by R1 million from R23,8 million to R24,8 million in the 2023/24 financial year and another R1 million increase in 2025/26. The grant received covers, in terms of expenditure: compensation of employees and goods and services at a percentage of 60% and 40%, respectively.

Slide 13 detailed an abridged budget of the Ingonyama Trust. As reflected, the revenue for the 2023/24 financial year is expected to be +- R55 million, comprised mainly of rental income and other forms of passive income, like interest from investments.

Disbursements as it currently stands are limited to 75%, which will be disbursements to beneficiaries, so they are limited to 75% of monies received from various land utilisation agreements to beneficiaries and the ITB does not generally budget for these simply because they are based on a need and demand from beneficiaries. Expenditure for the 2024/25 financial year for the Ingonyama Trust amounts to R27,3 million.

Adv Mngwengwe then alerted the Committee that the presentation had come to an end and thanked the Committee for the opportunity to give its presentation.

The Chairperson thanked Adv Mngwengwe and Mr Vilakazi of the Ingonyama Trust. He also thanked both royal highnesses Inkosi Mzimela and Inkosi Mncembe as the newly appointed members of the Board. He told the Committee Members that he also welcomes the remarks of the IBT chairperson and of the Minster. Thereafter the session was opened for questions of clarity and comments from Members.


Ms M Tlape (ANC) congratulated and welcomed the new chairperson of the ITB and his team. She started her input by commenting that the new chairperson of the ITB would have familiarised himself with the operations of the Trust or the documentation presented before the Committee.

She said that despite everything, she still has an issue with the realistic indicators for the APP before the Committee for the following reasons: Adv Mngwengwe indicated that the APP focuses only on the R24 million received from the Department. However, there is a trust which is the Ingonyama Trust and it is for that reason that the Advocate needs to indicate the relationship between the Board and the Trust.

What role is the Trust playing? Ms Tlape explained that she was asking this question because the Department had withdrawn funding from the Board because of admin issues and non-compliance and the Trust was left without a Board. So it is important to stress the question of what is the role of the Board and if it has a relationship with the Trust.

She also said that she would like to hear from Inkosi Mzimela regarding his plans, if any, to deal with the governance challenges that the AG has had concerns about over the years.

 Regarding the indicators that have been abandoned, Ms Tlape said that she has a challenge on that because, as indicated by the CEO, the Board had its reasons for abandoning them. She expressed that she felt that even though they were not achieved, those indicators spoke directly to the mandate of Ingonyama

Why did Ingonyama discontinue the indicator of quarterly updating the immovable asset register - it was important as it ensured maintenance and the updating of the land holding register regularly made the Board compliant as far as the requirements of the AG regarding proper recording of the immovable assets were concerned.

Further, there is also the capacity of traditional councils that have been stopped. Ms Tlape said that for her, this target had a tremendous impact on what was expected from the Board to traditional councils for their effectiveness and efficiency. Why was this abandoned? Why did the Board discontinue this?

Ms Tlape said that she does not even want to go into how the Committee knew about how the previous Board was giving bursaries. Most of the indicators that have been discontinued speak directly to the mandate of Ingonyama. What have communities accrued from the current Board under Ingonyama Trust?

In conclusion, Ms Tlape stated that the realistic part of the presented APP is very light and if the Board were to stick to it in its current form, it would fail to take communities under its authority anywhere.

Mr N Masipa (DA) thanked the Chairperson and the ITB for its brief presentation. In terms of the 800 tenure rights proposed and he asked what informed this particular target. He noted that in the past, the ITB had failed to meet its targets and therefore, in light of this, how would it ensure that these targets were met? Because the APP was very light on the issue of ensuring targets were met.

Referring to media reports regarding the misappropriation of R41 million linked to a company established five months ago and the former ITB chairperson, he asked the new chairperson to brief the Committee on these allegations.

The AG has raised issues continuously concerning the ITB’s governance. Are there plans to address this and could these be shared with the Committee, considering that there have recently been some engagements between the Minister and the ITB? This also includes the Human Resources and the structure of the Board in terms of filling the vacancies that were vacant at the time.

Regarding the legitimacy of the newly appointed chairperson of the ITB, Mr Masipa pointed out that there had been reports that the previous chairperson was planning to challenge his removal in court. What are the updates from the new chairperson on this issue?

Lastly, according to a court ruling that was made that the ITB needs to refund rentals that were charged to people on the ITB / Ingonyama Trust land. What is the progress in that regard? Does the ITB have a plan in place to start refunding the affected people and if not, what is going to happen regarding that ruling?

Mr S Matiase (EFF) echoed the sentiments of his fellow Committee Members in that he welcomes the appointment of the new chairperson and ITB Board in its entirety. He said it comes as a good initiative that takes the process forward and renews engagement between Parliament through the Committee and the ITB.

He said this was a new beginning and he wished the new chairperson well in his new endeavours, and appealed that there be a cordial relationship between the Board and the Committee based on the kindness and humility that the Committee has been introduced to.

Mr Matiase said that the new chairperson and the Board had been appointed at a time when the Ingonyama Trust is facing many challenges, which the Board needs to familiarise itself with. Asking the Board questions about these challenges at this time, would be unfair, considering that it had not yet familiarised itself with said challenges. He said that he could only draw the Board's attention to all the issues that the other Committee Members had raised, one of which being the legality of the chairperson's appointment by His Majesty the King against what was reported in the media over the weekend. According to the media report, it would appear that the ITB is sitting with two chairpersons, unless the statement released by Chief Buthelezi is reversed and corrected. Noting that he missed the Minister's opening remarks, he acknowledged that perhaps the issue had been addressed then.

Regarding Ingonyama Holdings as a PTY (Ltd) company, what is its business, mandate and role? He said it was important to get an answer to this because it could not just exist without clarification on its legal standing, the type of transactions it enters into, members of the Board and the allegations that have been made that Mr Masipa touched on.

Mr Matiase said that there is an issue that the Committee has been raising for a long time, which concerns the ITB not having a proper egalitarian policy on handling tenure in its jurisdiction, where tenure favours men in families and women continue to be marginalised and excluded. He called upon the new Board to look into a new policy which must be calibrated to be in line with the values and principles of the Constitution, where all people are not deprived of their rights to land and holding of such tenure rights and titles.

He also asked for the financial management and non-compliance issues that the AG has been raising to be attended to, to ensure that the chapter of non-compliance, irregular expenditure and maladministration of resources in the Ingonyama Trust is closed for good.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had received a letter appointing Inkosi Mzimela as the new chairperson of the ITB by His Majesty King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, which was sent to the Minister and subsequently the Portfolio Committee. Any other issues that are in the media have not been brought before the Committee. He said that he will leave what Mr Matiase has raised and if the Minister knows more about what is circulating in the media, she can talk to it to clarify the Committee, as it has an obligation to be procedural in its work. 

Ms N Mahlo (ANC) welcomed the ITB’s new appointees and the presentation. Aligning herself to what Ms Tlape and Mr Masipa had said, as a matter of concern, the issue of audits, as indicated by the AG, was of concern to her and for that reason, she sought clarity on how the Board was going to address these long standing issues. What is the turnaround strategy that will ensure that the challenge identified by the AG is addressed?

Mr Masipa told the Chairperson, Ms T Mbabama (DA) had notified him that she was ill and would not be in attendance. He asked that Mr H Kruger (DA) be recognised.

The Chairperson said all Members of Parliament on the platform would be recognised and asked Mr Kruger to proceed.

Mr N Capa (ANC) said he had experienced technical issues. He welcomed the appointment of the new members of the ITB and had no other comments or questions.

Ms T Breedt (FF+) asked about the APP and the ITB not always achieving its set targets. What was the new chairperson’s vision going forward to address these issues? Also, based on what had been said about the AG's findings, what plans have been put in place to ensure these findings are addressed? What improvements were made to the APPs, setting targets and ensuring that targets were achieved? Going forward, the ITB needs to be open with the Committee about its plans so that it can hold the ITB accountable.

The Chairperson asked if there were any more comments and questions from the Committee.

Mr H Kruger (DA) said his signal was weak, and raised his appreciation for the presentation. Commenting, he said that the presentation was short and that financial management and reporting are crucial for any organisation to survive. Mr Kruger noted that the presentation was short and commented that financial management and reporting thereof were crucial for any organisation to survive. How is the Board going to guarantee sound financial management and reporting? Because this is what is needed.

The Chairperson asked if there were any more comments and questions.

Ms B Tshwete (ANC) greeted and welcomed the ITB’s newly appointed board members. Reminding the Committee that the experience up to so far has not been a gloomy experience because of certain issues about the ITB, she said that it is important to assist and remind each other that the chairperson, as per the Ingonyama Trust, is appointed by Isilo as his proxy. As tempting as it is to seek clarity on the issue because of media coverage, it is very clear what the Ingonyama Trust mandate is when it comes to appointing and having a proxy on the Board. For those reasons, let the Committee not be tempted to venture into that space.

Secondly, she said that she had a lot of clarity-seeking questions and even though the Board is new, the CEO is not new, so some of the issues are directed at the CEO. The continuous failure to meet the set targets is disturbing, especially on the issues that speak to the Trust's core mandate, one of which is training traditional leaders. Continuously that target has not been met. It is further disturbing to note that there are no ICT, communication or tenure rights policies and this has been a continuous occurrence. To the newly appointed Board, what is the strategy to address that? It is dismissal that the entity currently under the Board's leadership is not even achieving half its set targets. What informs its targets?

Every year the ITB sets targets for issuing hectares of land for land tenures, but none of those will be met. How then is the Committee expected to fulfil its oversight role and ensure that the Board is doing what it said it would do?

Lastly, addressing the leadership instability Ms Tshwete asked how the Board intends to stabilise the entity. Looking at the Executive and Senior Management levels of Ingonyama Trust, they are active. However, there was a time when half of the Board was inactive and the other half consisted of many changes such as constant changes of the CFOs and CEOs. As a result, the Committee was always introduced to new CFOs and CEOs in meetings. How does the ITB intend to stabilise the Ingonyama Trust and fill the vacant posts going forward?

The Chairperson asked if there were any other questions that the Committee wanted to. Noting that there were none, he said that he would like to put forward some questions of his own, based on the presentation given by the ITB. He said that in the CEO's introductory remarks of the CEO, it points to one of the issues that the Committee has been raising over the years: the accountability of the Trust and the Trust Board. An APP that reflects the ITB indicators does not help the Committee oversee the Trust itself. Could the Committee gain clarity in that regard?

He said the CEO was correct in stating that the ITB is the accounting authority for the Ingonyama Trust and therefore was important that the ITB presented to the Committee the performance indicators that would assist it in monitoring whether the Ingonyama Trust exists for the purpose that it was established for.

The Chairperson said there had been labour disputes over the last few years resulting in various disciplinary processes initiated by the ITB. He requested the ITB update the Committee on the capacity of the ITB to implement all the plans outlined in the APP. He also requested progress reports on all disciplinary processes and the outcomes to date. Another issue to reflect on is the vacancy rate and plans to fill vacancies.

Lastly, he asked the ITB to provide the Committee with information about Ingonyama Holdings that will explain its purpose and how it has enabled the Ingonyama Trust to further its mandate.

The Chairperson handed over to the ITB, Minister and Department for responses.


Being the first to respond, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza,  told the Committee that the Department had taken note of the media statement that Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi made regarding the consultation that was held with Isilo. However, no formal communication has been given to the Department, which indicates anything different to the letter written to it. From where the Department stands, the nominee of the King is Inkosi Mzimela. The CEO of the ITB would clarify other issues.

Bearing in mind that the chairperson of the ITB is newly appointed, the Minister told the Committee that he would respond to what he could. She suggested that the new chairperson and the Board be given the opportunity to meet and review all the APPs as presented and make amendments where necessary and be granted permission to return to the Committee and reflect on the questions raised by Members on how it is going to deal with those going forward. The Minister said she would let the chairperson indicate what approach the Board would like to take.

Inkosi Mzimela started his response by saying that the Minister had addressed the questions regarding the issue of two chairperson of the Board. He confirmed that the ITB was aware of the allegations reported in the media about the misappropriation of funds and committed that the Board would look into said allegations and undertake an investigation if necessary.

He said that for now, the ITB is not in a good space to answer questions from the Committee, and would not be until it can meet as the new Board and also have a handover meeting with the outgoing Board. A meeting with staff members was also required. In a few months to come, it would be able to answer all questions and address all concerns put forward by the Committee. He therefore asked the Committee for permission to allow this to happen.

It would be difficult for the ITB to amend the APPs before meeting as a Board and for that reason, Inkosi Mzimela asked that the ITB be allowed to amend them after meeting as the new Board.

The Chairperson asked if the CEO wanted to respond to issues concerning administration that were raised.

The CEO said he would respond to administration concerns and the CFO would assist where he could.

Responding to the Chairperson, Adv Mngwengwe said that he was not sure if he was correctly characterising what he had said and that the required information was not something needed immediately in the meeting.

The ITB appeared before the Committee in October 2022 and on 29 November 2022. During those meetings with the Committee, the relationship between the Trust and the Board was explained. The Trust was established to advance the socio-economic conditions of its listed beneficiaries. 

There had been a situation where the Trust had only a single trustee with extensive powers. However, in 1997 these powers were repealed and instead bestowed on the Board. This was because Parliament intended for the Trustee’s powers to be transferred to the Board. Thereafter the Trustee was appointed through the Board as the chairperson. This was to ensure that the powers of the Trust were exercised through the Board only.

The CEO told the Committee that the Board existed to administer the affairs and land of the Trust. He added that if Parliament wanted to look at whether the Board was attending to its obligation, it needed to visit the Trust mandate found in legislation. The mandate stipulates the purpose of the establishment of the organisation. He also said that he knew the Board had advanced a fairly different view but had never shied away from clarifying this question.

 Responding to the concerns raised regarding the removal of useful indicators even though they had not been achieved, he said that the reason the indicators had been removed was because they had in fact, been achieved. The indicators relating to the relationship agreements signed between the Board, rust and certain stakeholders, including municipalities, were achieved and were in the past Annual Report. The final report to be presented to Parliament also showed this indicator as being achieved. He said the other indicator relating to the capacitation of traditional leaders was achieved, which was shown in the presented 2020, 2021 and 2022 Annual reports. The report to be presented for the 2022/2023 financial year would also show that these indicators had been achieved.

The Board’s motivation for the indicator related to the production of human settlements plans was that part of what happens was capacitation and therefore there was no need for a separate capacitation indicator. Although there were different views, the Boards view prevailed and the capacitation indicator in this instance was removed. The CEO said that both the chairperson of the ITB and the Minister indicated that more time was needed for the ITB to reflect, amend the APP or produce a new APP that spoke to the mandate of Ingonyama Trust for the next financial year.

Responding to the question of what informed the 800-tenure rights target, Advocate Mngwengwe said the organisation looked at the general number of applications it received for tenure rights. These applications were approved or declined by the Board in its meetings. The non-achievement of the tenure rights target was not based on the fact that applications had not been processed but rather that the Board had declined applications or not seen them during particular periods. As a result, indicators had not been achieved. The issue was not how realistic its targets were but whether applications were approved or not or whether the Board had met to process these applications. Therefore, regarding its administration, those indicators could only be achieved when being considered within time.

The organisation addressed these issues in terms of the governance challenges by bringing indicators for implementing management action through internal and external audits. There was a focus on resolving governance issues but there were constraints that the ITB would reflect on in the report requested by the Committee. This also relates to the human resources challenges and in the last meeting the ITB had with the Committee it reflected that the Board had decided to downsize. More information on the downsizing would also be provided in the requested report.

The ITB in November 2022 had reported to the Committee that the Trust appealed the decision of the High Court, and the consequence of this appeal was that the organisation would therefore, not implement the judgment that the Pietermaritzburg High Court had issued. Adv Mngwengwe told the Committee that there were two elements to the appeal. The first element was that there was an appeal that sought to get the judges to recuse themselves and therefore invalidate the entire proceedings, but this appeal failed up, to the Constitutional Court. The second element was an appeal on the case's merits, which was still before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). The consequence of this pending judgment meant no part of the High Court judgment had even been implemented and therefore the issue of refunding residents could not be addressed. 

He said the concerns regarding Ingonyama Holdings were also something that would need to be addressed in the requested report. In terms of tenure policies that seemed to marginalise women, he said it was an issue the Board needed to reflect on and come back to the Committee to respond. The Board would address the issue of the turnaround strategy after it has had the opportunity to meet. He could share that by September last year, a business improvement strategy had been developed that they tried to sell to the Board. No agreement could be reached on this, but they would go back to the Board once they started meeting and engage them on a proposed business improvement strategy. The issue of instability is something that the Board would be able to respond to.

The Chairperson thanked the CEO and asked the CFO if he had anything to add. The CFO said the CEO had sufficiently covered him.

The Chairperson asked the Committee for follow-up comments and questions.

Further discussion

Ms Tshwete referred to her question regarding instability and how the ITB was dealing with this issue in the organisation. She asked if it was possible to get a response to this question.

Mr Masipa said it was important to note that the Trustees of the Ingonyama Trust expected the Committee to hold the ITB accountable for matters of concern. He said he heard the Chairperson refer to questions that could be raised and those that could not. He felt that questions that were raised, were raised.

The Chairperson clarified that he did not say there were questions that Committee could not ask, so Mr Masipa was free to ask any question he wanted.

Mr Masipa said it was just a statement in response to the Chairperson’s statement on the questions that could be raised.

The Chairperson asked Mr Masipa to listen to his clarification. His statement was to make clear a statement by Mr Matiase concerning reports made in the media about the appointment of the ITB’s new chairperson. His point was that no formal communication was sent to the Committee regarding what had been reported by the media. The only formal communication the Committee had received was a letter appointing Inkosi Mzimela as the new chairperson of the ITB from His Majesty Misuzulu ka Zwelithini. This letter was the only thing the Committee had and anything else reported in the media the Committee could not speak to.

Mr Matiase posed the question and a response was given by the Minister. There were no questions that were not allowed to be responded to. The Chairperson asked Mr Masipa to ask his question.

Mr Masipa said the Chairperson was clear, but he simply wanted to say questions posed needed to be left to the accounting officers to respond to.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Masipa, adding that the difficulty for the Committee was that no indicators could assist it in monitoring the Trust and the benefits received by the communities under the Trust. There was a 90% and 10% split on expenditure estimated from the monies collected administratively. The Trust then used 10% of what was levied from communities and 90% was spent back into those communities. He said it was, therefore, difficult for the Committee to see. Perhaps the Board could tell the Committee how much time it needed to familiarise itself with the issues and come back to the Committee.

The Chairperson said the Committee's concern was that its term was ending soon and the issue of the ITB needed to be dealt with urgently. He requested that the chairperson and CEO of the ITB respond to the issues raised and that all the questions raised in the meeting be responded to in writing. The written responses need to be submitted no later than 12 pm on 12 May 2023.

The Chairperson asked for the ITB’s last response and closing remarks from the Minster.

Responses from the ITB

Adv Mngwengwe said that he had addressed in his introduction concerns regarding accountability of the Trust in terms of the indicator and not speaking to the mandate of the Trust was a deliberate decision made by the Board which stated that it was only accountable for what he received from the fiscus. Therefore he was not there to focus on the general mandate of the Trust. This was not to say there could not be a focus because, with the revenue received from the Trust and the history of the expenses, these were monies due to communities. The needs of communities were expressed by traditional councils in the form of requests for disbursements. There was a history of how and for what traditional councils had used this money.

The Committee requires an analysis that needs capacity based on engagements with traditional councils and advising these councils on how monies could be used for their benefit to enable them to plan before a financial year what these funds would be deployed for. He said that because no prior plans were being made, traditional councils continued submitting requests for disbursements on an ad hoc basis which meant that these disbursements could not be captured. These things though had not found expression in the APP because the Board had made a decision not to do so. If the Board decided to go forward, it could be done. It just required planning and capacitation that would enable traditional councils to plan. He said there was a general sense of what the money was getting used for but there was room for improvement in terms of what it can be used for.

This was why the indicators on capacitating traditional councils were important not just for capacitation but for relationship building between the Board and traditional councils. This indicator would enable the Board to influence how traditional councils made their decisions on how funds were used. Although the decision was still the traditional councils to make, but they could be persuaded in terms of how it could be used in a way that benefits the actual beneficiaries of the Trust.

Regarding the labour relation, the CEO confirmed there were disputes. He said some employees had been suspended for about five years and they persuaded the Board to bring these employees back in 2021. These employees did come back in December 2021. The Board still wanted to decide on whether charges would be brought against these employees and they approached the Board in 2022 to obtain an opinion on whether charges were being pursued. Unfortunately, the Board did not meet in December to decide on these employees and the pursuit of charges against them. Therefore this decision was still pending and was one of the labour relations disputes that remained in the organisation. The Board decided to bring back, in June 2021, one of the senior members that had been asked to remain at home for two years. No charges were brought against her and she was never suspended as this decision was never made. She had come back and has been working ever since. Adv Mngwengwe confirmed that these were the labour relation disputes that existed.

For the capacitation of the organisation, the ITB could not implement programmes as per the Trust's mandate. It did however have some people employed for specific purposes but there was a need for capacity. There is an issue regarding resources, but this was an issue for another time and they would engage with the Board once it had met.

The issue of whether the secretariat that supported the Board was the Secretariat of the Trust, too, was defined clearly by the administrative regulations. The secretariat was the Trust because the Board was not a juristic person. The issue was that the secretariat had been placed on the Board and, as a consequence, was considered to be a structure of it. The Board then looked to the Department for organisational development funding. Due to limited funding, the secretariat was not structured in a manner that would enable it to respond to organisational needs.

There was then a debate with the Board about its view that the secretariat did not belong in the Board but the Trust. The Trust would, therefore, devise mechanisms so that it could fund capacity development in this organisation. The CEO said they believed it could work if the matter was on the agenda. This matter was not on the agenda because the secretariat was considered to be a part of the Board. The CEO said these were the issues they would be engaging the Board on, as this was a matter that would determine if the organisation could move forward or not.

He said in respect to Ingonyama Holdings, it only had two directors, former Judge Jerome Ngwenya, who was no longer the chairperson of the ITB, and Mr Lucas Mkhwanazi.

Adv Mngwengwe confirmed that the issue of Ingonyama Holdings and how it ensures accountability in terms of the mandate needs to be looked at by the Board. The organisation had a dispute on whether Ingonyama Holdings was accountable to the Board or the Trustee. The directors held the view that it was accountable to the Trustee as a consequence of the relationship between the Holdings and the Board which was characterised as a courteous relationship. Some members of the Board challenged this view, but the issue was never resolved. This means Ingonyama Holdings had never really accounted to the Board and there was no way to ascertain that it had accounted to the Trustee because there was not an established mechanism for this. This issue was for the new Board to sort out.

The Chairperson asked if there were any more responses from the ITB before he would hand over to the Minister for closing remarks.

The CFO said he was covered.

The Chairperson asked the Minister for her closing remarks.

Closing Remarks

Minister Didiza thanked the Chairperson and the Board for the engagement and said she believed it would empower the new Board as it took over the reins. She said she acknowledged the residual issues that needed resolution and that by next week Friday, written responses to issues needed to be sent to the Committee. The Minister said in light of this, the chairperson of the ITB needed to convene a meeting with the Board as soon as possible so these matters could be deliberated, and the responses sent to the Committee.

The CEO said he forgot to mention something about labour-related disputes. He said in August 2022 the Board decided to terminate employees' contracts that were not employed permanently. This affected ten employees who then took the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The CCMA decided the matter based on the arguments presented by the Board that the matter needed to be referred to the Labour Court by employees of the National Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). He said the ITB had written to NEHAWU twice to remind them that there were timelines that would impact whether they were able to refer the matter or not. This issue was still at play, but they did not know what would become of it since the CCMA issued a directive to refer it to the Labour Court.

The Chairperson thanked the CEO and said he wanted to highlight the issues centred on the Holdings that needed serious attention from the ITB. He said the Committee would continue to perform oversight on these issues. He thanked the Minister and the Department and reminded the Department that the written responses to questions posed by this Committee on the APPs and budget on 18 April 2023 were yet to be received. He said the request was that these responses were to be submitted by 21 April 2023, but this had not been done.

The Chairperson requested that the Minister ensure that these responses were sent no later than the coming Friday as it was a matter of urgency. The Committee needed to compile its reports so they could be tabled before Parliament.

The Chairperson thanked the Committee for availing themselves and the ITB for its presentation. He wished the new members of the Board the best as they navigated the ITB. He also thanked the Department for joining the meeting and the media for covering the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned. 


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