Demarcation of Municipalities Report; Committee Programme

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

06 September 1999
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 September 1999
REPORT ON DEMARCATION OF MUNICIPALITIES BY CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD AND ADOPTION OF COMMITTEE PROGRAMME

 

Documents handed out
Framework for determination of Metropolitan & District Council Boundaries: Draft Boundaries

Provisional Committee Programme

 

SUMMARY
Dr Michael Sutcliffe, chairperson of the Demarcation Board discussed the draft maps of municipalities and the three main areas the Board is currently investigating: metropolitan councils (metros), district councils (DCs) and cross boundary municipalities (CBMs). CBMs are a particularly problematic issue but must be resolved with urgency as legislation is needed to bring them into existence. The formal municipal boundaries will be published on 6 October 1999. A 30 day period for public comment will follow. Final boundaries will then be published by the end of November. The committee then discussed their provisional work programme that was adopted with numerous minor additions and changes.

MINUTES

Dr Sutcliffe began by clarifying that the Demarcation Board is an independent body and as such the Board (and not the Minister) should answer all related questions and be accountable.

Dr Sutcliffe then turned to the framework document produced by the Board. The Board had met at the weekend and had decided that although the investigation of boundaries is still underway it should ensure continuous public awareness of what is currently going on. It has therefore published the current draft maps of municipalities. Meanwhile investigation in three main areas continues: metros, districts and cross boundary municipalities. The latter is particularly problematic. Provinces and their boundaries are a very emotive issue and a history of fear exists within provinces and parties that boundaries will be changed for party political reasons. Therefore the Constitution only allows for changes in very special circumstances. Although CBMs do not change provincial boundaries they will still need both provincial agreement and national legislation for their existence.

The Board believes it urgent that CBMs are agreed to in theory and want the legislative process to be set in action now to run parallel to their ongoing investigations. In this way the issue of CBMs will be resolved and allow for easy passage of later legislation.

Dr Sutcliffe then gave a broad overview of the Board's three current areas of investigation.

Metros

Both the Constitution and the Municipal Structures Act give guidelines on metros giving four broad principles by which to define them:

1. Metropolitan character of economy - consider land use, land value and the lack of primary sector employment.

2. Functional integration of everyday life - a metro should include surrounding areas that interact with it and are dependent on it.

3. Spatial urban coherence - urban areas reflect apartheid patterns above worldwide patterns of urban growth. Areas of high density housing and population often exist away from the centre. This must be acknowledged by the Board.

4. Functionality of metros to provide services.

Dr Sutcliffe then discussed the draft maps of the metros:

Pretoria

The main aim is to link areas to Pretoria that are already functionally linked. This will hopefully include the establishment of a cross boundary metropolitan by incorporation of the so-called Winterveld of North West Province. This integration is much needed. The Winterveld is functionally integrated into Pretoria, is a densely populated urban area and most who live here commute daily to work in Pretoria. Areas under traditional leaders that partially fall within the urban area will probably be incorporated entirely or not at all.

Johannesburg

Four issues must be resolved:

1. Where Johannesburg ends and East Rand begins. This is a tough problem and is requiring much technical analysis.

2. Currently the metro stretches out to the north west incorporating Midrand. The Board believes that the functional links between Midrand and Johannesburg are substantial and greater than those between the Midrand and either Pretoria or East Rand. However a very specific investigation is ongoing.

3. Krugersdorp - The draft map includes it in the metro. However it is currently outside and local feeling would be for it to remain outside. Yet the Board feels that strong functional and services links mean that by its criteria it should be within the metro.

4.The outer boundary in the south needs looking. Presently Orange Farm falls within Johannesburg but it is serviced by the Vaal/Greater Vereeniging area. The Board believes that as such, it belongs with the latter. There is a continuous flow of communities in the south that are all to some extent inter-linked. The investigations must allow the best dividing line to be drawn.

Durban

There are few self evident boundaries around Durban allowing latitude in interpretation of the metro's outer boundaries. This reflects (i) a very gradual drop off in population density, (ii) over 70 communities outside of Durban and yet not evidently separate and (iii) areas under traditional leaders. With regards to the latter the Board believes that if only a part of a traditional authority functions within the metropolitan area, its entirety should be included.

East Rand

Hopefully easier to define than the above metros because the East Rand has obvious functional boundaries. Only the previously mentioned boundary with Johannesburg remains a problem. The Board does not believe that Heidelberg should be part of the East Rand.

Cape Town

This should be the least problematic of the metros to define as the existing outer boundaries of the metropolitan municipalities are good. There are a few problematic areas:

  1. The peninsula area could become a world heritage site by the end of the year yet the extend of its integration means that it must be within the metro.
  2. Atlantis - to include Atlantis in the metro will mean the inclusion of the rural area that separates it from Cape Town. The Board believes that Atlantis must fall within the municipality because of its strong functional links.
  3. There are various other rural areas that would prefer to be outside the metro but the that the Board believe are functionally part of the Cape metro area.

District Council Areas

These are more problematic as there is no criteria within legislation or the Constitution defining what a district council area should be. Therefore the Board has devised and used the following principles:

1. Functionality - districts must have a coherent social and economic base. Difficulties have occurred in areas with high concentrations of former homelands. There is no economic base, very little economic potential and limited infrastructure.

2. Degree of manageability - people must have 'local' government.

3. 'Character' of an area - attempts should be made to preserve positive local character. However remnants of apartheid must be brushed away and areas must have the potential to develop.

Dr Sutcliffe then discussed the draft copies maps for DCs:

Western Cape District

A district of little controversy if the metropolitan outer boundaries stay the same. Boundaries will reflect obvious and accepted social and economic units.

KwaZulu-Natal

There is scope for some limited debate on the DCs the Board wants.

  1. There is a proposed CBM with the Eastern Cape (CBDC5).
  2. DC21 - the northern boundary will depend on the boundary of the Durban metro.
  3. DC23, DC26, DC29 - debates about exact boundaries remain due to functional links with neighboring DCs.
  4. DC27 and DC28 - submissions have been received desiring these two DCs to be unified; the Board remains unconvinced.

North West

There will be four DCs which will cause only slight changes.

Northern Cape

There will be only four DCs, plus a CBDC with the North West. In an area of low population density this makes more sense than the current councils which are too small.

Northern Province

A difficult province to demarcate. Very specific debates are expected over the planned CBDCs with Mpumalanga.

Eastern Cape

This has proved to be a problematic area. As an area that had a high density of what was formerly 'homelands' or bantustans, desired municipalities simply would not be able to function.

  1. Submissions have been received over the DC10 / DC11 boundary.
  2. A debate is expected over the large size of the greater East London area.
  3. The potential functionality of DC13 and DC14 remain open to question.
  4. The coastal Transkei will form one area, DC15. Having more than one area has proved functionally difficult.

Gauteng

Only the Krugersdorp issue remains a problem

Mpumalanga

Three CBMs are planned and the remaining areas will be divided into three. The only problem appears to be the debate surrounding the cross boundary links of the Balfour area.

Free State

This is probably causing the greatest number of problems. Currently four very arbitrary councils exist but the Board desires more functional areas. The Greater Bloemfontein area should gain a separate council.

Cross Boundary Municipalities

The Board has been investigating these since February and has identified major areas that need cross boundary resolution as well as numerous micro-level areas. Five large areas will become Cross Boundary District Councils (CBDCs) containing several local municipalities. Smaller areas will exist as Cross Boundary Local Municipalities within DCs or cross boundary wards within Metros. By 9/9/99 the Board will have notified national and provincial governments on its full cross-boundary desires in the hope that a government decision on the principle of CBMs will be made by the end of the month. This timing is crucial to ensure legislation is set in action allowing for demarcation before next year's election. Dr Sutcliffe then made reference to the following areas of CBM discussion:

  • Northern Province and Mpumalanga boundary - there is a history of discussion between the provinces over cross-boundary cooperation but nothing concrete has emerged. Neither province is willing to give up an area unless it receives something in return.
  • Southern area of Northern Province - this is very densely settled and so there is a need for a CBM.
  • Pretoria commuter areas - there are several areas beyond the Gauteng boundary that function within Pretoria because residents commute daily. These should be included in the Pretoria Metro.
  • Greater Kruger National Park - this is currently the subject of discussions with Mozambique and Zimbabwe and this may impact on district council arrangements.
  • North-east Gauteng and Mpumalanga - strong functional links make a case for a CBDC.
  • KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - strong functional links exist and local services are utilized by people from both provinces. The provinces must resolve their current disagreements.

Dr Sutcliffe explained that the draft maps had been published to allow for public comment. He explained that this was not a formal Section 26 period of comment, that was still to come. This was an extra period especially to encourage social and political comment from politicians and stakeholders in the localities. Later today he would be meeting with technical consultants to look at public and Board proposals for boundaries . These technical consultants are doing fine tuning with regards to the functionality of areas. Once they have finished investigating, committees will be set up to discuss more subjective and specific issues regarding boundaries. The Demarcation Board will continue to meet to discuss broad issues. A very tight time frame must now be kept to. Only two weeks remain for the technical investigations by consultants. By the 6 October the formal boundaries must be published. A 30 day formal objection period must follow (Section 26). Problems must then be debated and resolved before a final determination by the end of November. Within the next fortnight the Board must also publish documentation on their approach to 'B' municipalities and district management areas. This would involve other departments especially Finance. Co-ordination of the staffing situation in localities must also be considered. Regional officers of provincial governments are commonly doing local government work.

Questions to Dr Sutcliffe

Mr K Durr (DP, NCOP Western Cape): Will the CBMs become so strong that a case for moving the provincial borders will be made?

Response: I do not want to discuss provincial boundaries but my personal view is that there should be some finalization after CBMs have been decided and the new local governments have been established. Budget problems over CBMs are likely so it is possible that provincial boundaries may change in the future.

Ms R Southgate (ACDP): There appears to be some very large DCs in the Eastern Cape.

Response: The Eastern Cape has presented the Board with problems resulting in the average size of the DCs being very big. The current infrastructure reflects Bantustan patterns and is very limited. For the time being the DCs need to be large so that they can function. This may change in the future as the Board will continue to look at the viability of DCs. A similar situation exists in Northern Province.

Three MPs enquired into the process by which CBMs will come about.

Mr F Van Deventer (NNP): Will the provinces be left to agree the cross-boundary issues amongst themselves?

Mrs M Verwoerd (ANC): What will happen if CBMs are not agreed to and what exactly is the time frame for agreement?

Mr P Smith (IFP): What is the time limit for CBM agreement and what will the 'plan B' be if agreement is not reach?

Response: Hopefully there will be a speedy decision in principle over the CBM issue. However it is a worry that although the provinces will agree to CBMs, local influences will come into play once specific details of the CBMs affecting them are being discussed. There is a history of provinces supposedly being willing to negotiate and yet ultimately being unwilling to give up anything unless they receive something in return. However proper agreement must be reached if the CBMs are to be viable. Therefore the time frame is lengthy. However because of the urgency for municipalities to exist in time for next year's local elections a parallel process is needed. It is hoped that there will soon be agreement in principle leading to a single piece of legislation only approximately defining CBM areas. Parallel to this the investigations into the exact boundaries will continue. As for a 'plan B', it will be possible for the proposed CBMs to exist as two DCs on either side of the provincial boundaries.

Ms G Borman (DP): How long have the localities got to comment on the proposals?

Response: The current framework is not formal and does not launch the Section 26 period. People can comment now and then again in the Section 26 period which will be the 30 days after 6 October. This is in the hope that after 6 October there will be fewer issues to debate.

Mr K Durr (DP, NCOP Western Cape): Who exactly has been consulted about boundaries?

Response: Every stakeholder from big businesses to CBOs has been informed of the Board's investigations and proposals. To insure that they get information in time to allow for comment, they receive advance notices about when to expect information so that they can be prepared for it. All MECs, SALGA members, magistrates and traditional leaders are continually informed. The Board is making every effort to inform every level of community but accepts that they still do not reach all.

Mr P Smith (IFP): What are the impediments to agreement on CBMs?

Response: As provinces have never been forced to agree on cross boundary issues they have been able to put off decisions if problems occur in negotiations. Agreement on the principle of CBMs will be easy and once done the Board will have the power to force details to be sorted out.

The Chairman added the final comment that the Board must not be seen as simply drawing lines on the map. There is an objective set of criteria by which lines must be drawn and the Board is obliged to follow these. Further the committee members have an obligation to be objective. They come from provinces as well as parties and they have a responsibility to inform their parties on what is best for the localities not just for party political success.

Provisional Committee Programme

The committee programme was briefly discussed by the committee (available below with agreed changes). The programme is only 'provisional' as the overall parliamentary programme remains provisional. Legislation should be ready for the committee by 17th September. This excludes the Municipal Systems Bill (this has been gazetted and will be discussed informally by the committee). The remaining three Bills are all technical and if the department do their work they will require very little input from the committee. Because of the brevity of parliament it is unlikely that the Systems Bill will be finished. Because of substantial changes to the Rating Bill is has been deferred (it is currently being discussed by Cabinet and Finance and should return to this committee by February). The following were agreed to:

  • Time would be made to deal with legislation matters relating to CBAs.
  • A briefing on Y2K compliancey will be added.
  • A briefing on Provincial intervention will be added.
  • All briefings will be probably planned and coherent.

Appendix 2:

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PROVISIONAL WORK PROGRAMME

September to November 1999

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 This programme is provisional in view of the provisional nature of the overall parliamentary programme, the further discussions pending between the Ministry and Department (Provincial and Local Government) and the Ministry and the Department of Justice arid Constitutional Development on the finalisation of their respective roles and work programmes, and the need to ensure that new members of the Portfolio Committee are properly empowered to shape the role and programme of the Committee.

1.2 In terms of the present parliamentary programme, parliament is set to rise on 19 November. Constituency periods have been allocated from 23 September to 10 October and 1 to 7 November. We therefore have a limited number of days available to us, which of course also impinges on the planning of our work programme for the remainder of this year.

1.3 In the circumstances, the programme set out here is not as structured and strategically focussed as it might otherwise be. It must be seen rather as setting the momentum for a systematic and fully-fledged programme for next year.

 

2. OVERALL APPROACH

2.1 As a Portfolio Committee we have the obvious legislative and oversight functions. But there is also increasing multi-party consensus on the important role MP's have to service our constituencies more adequately and ensure that the basic needs of the people of our country, particularly the poor, are more effectively met. Without detracting from the importance of our role here in parliament, increasing emphasis is going to be placed on our role outside parliament. As a Provincial and Local Government Portfolio Committee, with the pending implementation of the new system of local government arid the local

government elections, we have a particular responsibility to find an appropriate balance between our work in parliament and our work outside parliament. Of course we need to discuss this more carefully and sensitively, and arrive at greater multi-party consensus on this approach - but it is clear that this second democratic parliament has no choice but to allocate more time to MP's to fulfil our obligations to our constituencies more directly and to ensure that Portfolio Committee work facilitates this.

2.2 We should seek to work closer with the other Portfolio Committees, especially those whose work impinges on the work of our Portfolio Committee, arid try to have a more integrated approach in our parliamentary work.

2.3 Our work as a Portfolio Committee should seek, as far as possible, to empower all MP's to be fully active in our Committee and to bridge gaps that might exist between those in the Committee who are technically advantaged, for historical reasons, from those who are less technically advantaged.

2.4 Whatever our political differences and despite our fractious exchanges in the House, it would be in the interest of all parties that we seek to work as harmoniously as possible. Without denying the right of members to fully expressing the political positions of our respective parties, there is surely a sense of some common "national interest" that must also influence our approach to the Portfolio Committee's work? In any case, it would be much more productive, efficient and effective if we sought to work co-operatively and contended with our differences relatively harmoniously.

2.5 We will, of course, need to develop our overall approach further over time.

 

3. BRIEFING ON POLICY ISSUES AND PROJECTS

3.1 Basically, the aim of the briefings is to inform and empower members and the public, and to prepare members for our legislative, oversight and other roles.

3.2 The dates for the briefings and other aspects of the programme are at the end of this document.

3.3 We will seek to receive briefings on the following policy, project and related issues:

i. Demarcation of municipal boundaries

ii. Implementation of the Municipal Structures Act

iii. Municipal Service Partnerships

iv. Local Government Financial System

v. Intergovernmental Relations

vi. Traditional Leadership

vii. 'Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities" ("Section 185 Commission")

viii. Y2K

ix. Provincial intervention in Local Government

3.4 It will also be useful to focus on the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework), the National budget and the Department's budget. We will have to find space for this.

3.5 The Constitutional Review Committee will be considering the provincial system. We will be discussing with the CRC how we will work with it in its consideration of the provincial system and other issues that impact directly on the work of our committee.

3.6 We will receive a briefing on provincial intervention in local government when we process the Municipal Systems Bill.

3.7 There will be briefings on other issues as well, if necessary.

 

4. LEGISLATION

4.1 At this stage, the following bills are likely to be introduced to parliament:

i. Disestablishment of the Local Government Affairs Council Bill

ii. Local Government: Municipal Systems Bill

iii. Fire Brigade Amendment Bill

iv. Transfer of Staff Bill

4.2 The target date for these bills is 17 September except for the Systems Bill which will reach parliament by 4 October.

4.3 It is possible, depending on the outcome of discussions with all the relevant stakeholders, that a bill on the "Section 185 Commission" will be introduced to parliament this year.

4.4 It is also possible that we might have to process legislation on cross-boundary municipalities.

4.5 In view of the nature of the parliamentary programme this year and the dates on which these Bills will be introduced to parliament, we will not be able to finalise all these Bills this year and will have to carry some of them over to next year. We will, however, seek to completely process as many of these Bills as possible.

 

5. CONCLUSION

5.1 To facilitate matters expeditiously, it is proposed that a "Management Committee" of the Portfolio Committee comprising representatives of the parties in the Portfolio Committee be constituted.

5.2 Apart from raising issues relating to the programme in the Portfolio Committee or Management Committee meetings, please feel free to raise matters with the Chairperson (Yunus Carrim, x3082 or 082 553 0174) directly. If the chairperson is not available please contact the Whip of the majority party (Danny Oliphant, x3022 or 083 300 9724).

5.3 There is much to do over the next fifteen months and more. Let us work hard! But let us seek to make it fun as well!

 

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE PROVISIONAL DATES OF MEETINGS, SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 1999

1. Please look at these details after reading the document on the overall programme.

2. This is a provisional set of dates. Further details on venues will follow shortly. Please check details below against details in your weekly circulars and Order Papers. Where details below conflict with those in the ciculars / Order Papers, please take it that the details in the latter documents are correct.

3. All meetings start at 9:00 unless otherwise stated.

4. Further meetings, beyond those set out below, will be organised as and when necessary - but you will be given adequate notice.

5. Should you need to verify anything regarding the organisational details, please contact the Committee Secretary, Lusanda Myoli, on ext 3757.

01/09/99 - Municipal Structures Act (S12A)

07/09/99 - i. Demarcation of Municipal Boundaries - Dr M. Sutcliffe, ii. Adoption of Portfolio Committee Programme (V226)

14/09/99 - Municipal Services Partnerships, i. Ms G. Moloi, ii. Public-Private Partnerships: 'Sport for all' (E216)

15/09/99 - Municipal Systems Bill - Department Team (V227)

21/09/99 - i. Traditional Leadership - Mr K Sizani (Department), ii. National House of Traditional Leaders (V226)

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