A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
30 August 2005
MUNICIPAL DEMARCATION BOARD, NATIONAL HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS, CITY OF JOHANNESBURG, CITY OF TSHWANE, MANGAUNG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY AND BOJANALA PLATINUM DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY: BRIEFINGS
Documents handed out:
Municipal Demarcation Board Presentation on Annual report (email email@example.com for hard copy)
Municipal Demarcation Board Presentation Strategic Plan
The Municipal Demarcation Board Annual Report
The Municipal Demarcation Board: Budget for the Financial Year Part1
The Municipal Demarcation Board: Budget for the Financial Year Part2
The Municipal Demarcation Board: Budget for the Financial Year Part3
The Municipal Demarcation Board: Budget for the Financial Year Part4
National House of Traditional Leaders Annual Report
National House of Traditional Leaders Strategic and Performance Plan
National House of Traditional Leaders Strategic Plan 2005-2007
City of Johannesburg Presentation
City of Tshwane Metropolitan Presentation
City of Tshwane Pro-poor policy and information package
Manguang Local Municipality Presentation
Bojanala Platinum District Municipality Part1
Bojanala Platinum District Municipality Part2
The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) presented its Annual Report and strategic plan. An improved assets management plan was in place. Detail was provided on expenditure and outputs. Information on consultants used was provided and progress in ward delimitation was elucidated. Members asked various questions about relations between the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the MDB, the anomaly of budget deficits, confusion around the demarcation of ward boundaries, guidelines for the use of consultants, the transfer of skills to officials and municipal employees, the impact of ward delimitation on traditional councils, and the need for continuous evaluation of ward boundaries.
The National House of Traditional Leaders then provided detail on their strategic plan and the proposed appointment of new staff. The House sought greater autonomy to function effectively and a closer working relationship with Parliament. Plans were in place to acquire a Chamber and elevate the CEO from Deputy-Director to Chief Director. DPLG would forge a closer working relationship with the House. Members asked certain questions about the need for timeframes within the strategic plan, the implementation of relevant legislation, the role of the NHTL within the IDP, and the interaction of Members with provincial traditional leadership.
The City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and Manguang Local Municipality further presented information on inner city renewal strategies and revenue systems. Pro-poor policies were outlined and service delivery challenges expressed. Crime prevention and investment strategies were discussed. Tax incentives were in place to facilitate the refurbishment of inner city buildings. Members asked various questions including dealing with migrancy into city centres, cleanliness levels within inner cities, indigence policy details, plans to address inequalities within Metros, the creation of new residential areas to reduce population density, pro-poor services as a legal obligation, and SMME promotion within City precincts.
Municipal Demarcation Board briefing
Mr R Monare (CEO) provided information on the composition of the Board and the current staff complement. Detail on financial receipts for the financial year was presented including expenditure per standard item. He provided a list of key objectives for the past year in order to measure progress. Significant progress had been recorded despite the presence of certain ongoing challenges. An assets management system was in place including an asset register. A qualified audit report had been provided for the past year due to non-reconciliation of historical assets in the general ledger with the recorded amount in the assets register. Steps had been taken to rectify the anomaly. Detail on expenditure was elucidated and outputs and developments explained.
Ward delimitation had been completed in terms of the Local Government Municipal Structures Act of 1998. Certain open questions on wards remained that would be considered. Municipal capacity assessments were started and recommendations made on the adjustment of powers and functions between local and district municipalities. An analysis on municipal roads and public transport had been conducted and information on consultants presented. A medium term strategy was in place and draft budgets had been produced for the next two years.
Mr P Smith (IFP) asked if any link existed between the provincial demarcation process and the date of proclamation of the local government elections. Political parties needed accurate and completed maps to assist in local government election preparations. Poor levels of co-operation seemed to prevail between the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the MDB that resulted in insufficient map detail. Parties needed ward maps that combined ward demarcation with Voting Districts (VDs). He sought clarity on how the MDB could generate financial deficits. The MDB was not legally entitled to have a deficit and the accounting officer should be held responsible if a deficit was present. Outputs should be compromised in place of a deficit. A forecasted 30% drop in the next annual budget seemed reasonable given the finalisation of the demarcation process in the current year. Demarcation subsumed a large portion of the present budget. He asked whether Members could receive copies of research reports conducted by the Board such as capacity reports to assist in oversight responsibilities and engagement with municipalities.
Mr W Doman (DA) referred to the use of VDs as building blocks and recommended future interaction with the IEC to address existing shortcomings with the system. Confusion reigned regarding the demarcation of boundaries and voting within VDs would be problematic due to inadequate community communication. Voters should be shifted to the correct VDs by a process of re-registration. He asked whether information generated through capacity assessments was used constructively to make positive changes such as boundary adjustments. Clarity was sought on a new district municipality policy. Consultants served an important role but strict guidelines should be in place to govern activity and interaction with communities. Community interaction was weak resulting in high levels of grassroots animosity. Training programmes should be implemented to improve service delivery.
Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) asked whether agreed principles were applied in research activities to produce relevant information. For example, research initiatives should not serve to divide communities and national indigent policy should govern the process. The use of consultants should result in a transfer of meaningful skills to employees. A similar process should apply to the use of consultants by municipalities. He sought further detail on the issue of cross-boundaries and what challenges remained.
The Chairperson asked what amount of value was involved in the asset register and whether data was available on the financial capacity of municipalities derived from recent research studies.
Dr V Mlokoti (Chairperson-MDB) responded that the Board was legally required to assess the capacity of municipalities on an annual basis. Provincial MECs should also be advised on the findings of research studies and recommendations provided on appropriate adjustments. Provincial governments would then put mechanisms in place to correct weaknesses. The Board also assisted DPLG with the production of workable capacity-building programmes. Acquired data was also forwarded to National Treasury and SALGA. The Board had discovered that not every provincial government used reports to their full advantage. Reports would identify municipalities that required urgent attention. A national report on the status of municipalities had been produced and recommendations to disestablish dysfunctional municipalities were made. Project Consolidate was devised as a response to MDB and other entities' research and recommendations.
Further detail was needed on how municipalities interpreted reports and recommendations and applied due diligence in rendering corrective measures. DPLG and not the Board was responsible for the cross-boundary issue. Cross-boundary municipalities would be disestablished in due course. MDB had assisted DPLG to reconfigure municipalities and a list of cross-boundary municipalities to be disbanded was contained in the Cross-Boundary Draft Bill. Seven provincial boundaries would be affected by the pending adjustments. The legal process dictated that the de-establishment and reestablishment of municipalities should go beyond September in the interests of the upcoming local government elections.
The de-establishment of cross-boundary municipalities would have an impact on the timetable for local government elections scheduled for early 2006 unless rapid resolution was achieved. The local government elections had to take place in accordance with set procedures. He stated that MDB had a sound working relationship with the IEC and a national technical committee that included DPLG was in place. The Board ensured that all relevant detail was included in maps produced on behalf of municipalities. The IEC focused on VDs at the micro level and the Board concentrated on ward demarcation. The Board acknowledged that VDs were a problem but the present arrangement had to suffice until after the pending elections. Alterations would be devised in consultation between the Board and the IEC.
District Municipal Authorities were established as part of District Councils and problems in service delivery had been identified. District Councils struggled to service communities in an adequate manner. Trans-frontier national parks and conservation areas could remain DMAs. Smaller DMAs could be incorporated into Local Municipalities. Various options could be considered and a decision would be taken in due course. Six DMAs were de-established last year and feedback was awaited from national government on the strategy for the national parks. Every portion of South Africa had to be governed by a municipality. The removal of trans-frontier parks from municipal control contravened legislative requirements.
Consultants received training on MDB requirements and guidelines prior to activation in communities. Board officials would monitor consultants on a regular basis to assess compliance. A database of consultants was available for referral. Certain criteria for ward delimitation were infringed during the implementation process. Implementation of legislation tended to highlight unforeseen obstacles. Ward design should incorporate the social context and refrain from strict adherence to predetermined requirements. However, in practice, planning stipulations tended to limit the options for ward demarcation. The Board would consider the necessity for the creation of further Metropolitan municipalities from time to time. A critical evaluation of current Metros had to be undertaken before any further additions were considered. Poverty pockets were created within certain Metros. The Board had decided not to pursue more Metros at this juncture.
Mr Monare stated that the IEC could produce ward maps after an agreement with the Board had been reached. Discussions had been held with Treasury on the issue of overspending. Demarcation activities had to continue despite the lack of sufficient funding. The Board was aware of the legal requirements not to overspend and that the financial officer could be held accountable. The envisaged budget drop of 30% would affect planned capacity assessments despite the significant drop in other current tasks. A submission had been made to National Treasury and a response was expected in due course. Members would be placed on the Board's mailing list for capacity reports and other research material. He asserted that consultants passed on skills to staff and various municipalities in the course of their duties. Capacity-building and training were important components of Board activities.
Mr R Somanje (CFO) stated that a reconciliation of financial accounts for fixed assets had occurred but approximately R1.1 million could not be reconciled. Assets had not been properly accounted for in the past and some items had been marked twice. The reconciliation of the asset register had been completed.
Mr Smith sought clarity on the link between local government elections and the MDB process. He asked what impact uncompleted demarcation for certain municipalities would have on the election process.
Mr M Nonkonyana (ANC) noted that certain part-time members of the Board did not receive any remuneration as indicated in the Annual Report and sought clarity on this. He asked whether the members in question had performed any functions during the reporting period. An increase in full-time members to two required an explanation given the budget deficit dilemma. The current rental for office space of R1.3 million appeared excessive. He asked whether any public facilities were available to reduce the expense or whether appropriate premises could be purchased to halt punitive rentals. He asked how long aspiring Metros would be expected to wait for a reconsideration of their status. The presence of fourteen consultants in the ward delimitation process was questioned and appeared inflated. Legislation stipulated that community members should have access to the process and he questioned whether an adequate level of consultation prevailed. He cautioned against the presence of fronting within consultancy firms and asked whether the Board was aware of such problems. He stated that the boundaries of new traditional councils and local traditional houses would not necessarily be the same. The Board should meet with the National House of Traditional Leaders to discuss how the National Framework Bill would be implemented.
Dr Mlokoti stated that the Board believed that District Municipal boundaries should be adjusted if needed rather than municipal boundaries in terms of provincial boundary changes. Certain Districts had been split and would be apportioned to adjoining provinces. Wards had to be finalised and municipalities formally established by MECs before elections. Part-time Board members appointed before the close of the financial year would not be reflected in the accounts as no payment was made. The change in status for Board members from full-time to part-time would necessitate a change in remuneration. The purchase of office space had been considered but initial doubt over the life of the Board had militated against this.
Incentives to become Metros had diminished for municipalities due to the removal of certain levies. Previously identified contenders no longer expressed enthusiasm to become Metros. The convergence into a Metro did not necessarily result in a flood of fixed investment. Various types of local government could attract significant investment if certain conditions were in place. The decision not to declare new Metros at this juncture would be reviewed in the years ahead. The Board used a specific group of consultants on a regular basis and provided guidelines for service delivery. The process of ward delimitation could not only be driven by community participation and input but required high technology information accessed by skilled individuals. No discussions with the NHTL on the legislative amendments had occurred.
Mr S Vundisa (ANC) asked whether MDB staff monitored the work of consultants to determine efficacy. He stated that the Board still had to visit certain rural areas and correct existing anomalies in ward boundaries.
Ms M Gumede (ANC) stated that the over-numbering of wards within districts remained a problem and concurred that many discrepancies in delimitation existed. A continuous ward evaluation process was required to take demographic and economic changes into account.
Mr Smith asserted that the Board could have conspired to break the law in deciding to overspend and incur a deficit. He stated that the Board could not make such a decision as it relied on direct government funding and could not spend more than it was given.
The Chairperson asked whether the Auditor-General had reviewed the budget deficit and pronounced on the shortfall. Members sought actual detail on the current performance assessment of municipalities conducted by the Board.
Mr Mshudulu stated that the listed open questions in the presentation could be perceived by Members as issues to be engaged with during constituency visits and topics for debate within political parties.
Dr Mlokoti added that Members could decide whether certain legislation should be amended or introduced in the interests of sound implementation. The capacity of municipalities was determined by various factors including the existing IDP, the available budget, staff component and adequate infrastructure. The Board acknowledged that the general capacity of municipal staff was weak and should be rectified. The 36 prescribed municipal powers and functions were not implemented in a uniform manner across all municipalities. No clear distinction between discretionary and mandatory functions and responsibilities existed and confusion arose. The definition of needs varied from one municipality to another and from the rural to the urban context. Much work had to be done to develop the local government sector. The MDB was frustrated by the budget deficit and the Auditor-General held the view that the deficit was not intentional and could be authorised.
Mr M Swathe (DA) sought detail on the outcome of the Metro municipal study and whether the boundary re-determination process had been completed.
Mr Nonkonyana asked whether a turnaround strategy was in place to correct the deficit and what developments had resulted from the ward review process.
Dr Mlokoti responded that the Board was not legally mandated to assess Metros but could only investigate B and C category municipalities. The issue of additional Metros required a specific assessment process that was not envisaged at this stage. Outer boundary determination had to be concluded before ward delimitation could proceed. Resource limitations had prevented conclusion of the project. Certain ward boundaries would be reconsidered as a consequence of provincial boundary adjustments.
National House of Traditional Leaders briefing
Nkosi Mzimela (Chairperson) provided detail on achievements of the past year. A strategic plan had been developed in conjunction with DPLG. New staff appointments would be made by the end of September. Improvements had been made in line with the Committee’s recommendations at previous meetings. The House had to translate political mandates into clear long-term projects. Support staff posts had been upgraded to facilitate capacity. The House required greater autonomy in order to function more effectively. A closer working relationship with Parliament was sought and the Committee could assist in improving the impact of the House. The Strategic Plan had been completed in consultation with the Department. The House sought a Chamber and full-time officials as opposed to part-time staff. The CEO would assume the rank of Chief Director and interviews would be held for staff appointments.
Prof Sobahle (Executive Manager-Traditional Affairs, DPLG) stated that the support of the Department towards the House would be improved. The strategic planning document had been formulated by collaboration between DPLG and the House. Further clarity on declared goals was needed to link with budgetary requirements. Requests for funds by the House should be informed by clear objectives. The strategic plan focused on the next three years.
Inkosi Mzimela stated that mechanisms had to be devised for the House to monitor the creation of traditional legislation. NHTL officials should be trained to operate independently and effectively. Discussions with the Department of Public Works had taken place and likely premises had been identified to house the NHTL. The Chamber would be situated in close proximity to Parliament and a Parliamentary Officer would be appointed. The new strategic plan had undergone significant improvements. Relations between the National House and the Provincial Houses would be improved to monitor the implementation of legislation.
Mr Nonkonyana stressed that the Committee had a responsibility to monitor the House's achievements and evaluate progress in line with stated objectives. The budget hearing was also important to determine allocation of funds. The oversight function would be enhanced by greater detail on timeframes for implementation of objectives. The current report format required revision and more clarity on key performance areas. Reports should clearly indicate how the House had improved the lives of rural dwellers and added value to communities. He asked what progress had been achieved in the implementation of the National Framework Act of 2003. The disbandment of Regional Authorities would create a vacuum that Local Houses would have to fill. Clarity was sought on the state of readiness of Traditional Councils and plans to improve gender representation. An action plan was needed to supplement the strategic plan including timeframes for implementation.
Mr Mshudulu stated that a timeframe should accompany the strategic plan to improve the document. DPLG had a strategic plan format in place that contained an appropriate timeframe mechanism for the House. He asked what corrective measures had been taken after previous recommendations from Members. He suggested that the Public Works Committee meet with the Committee to discuss issues related to the House’s activities.
Inkosi Mzimela responded that further interaction with the Committee was needed to establish Members’ recommendations for the House. A standard approach for reports would be adopted. The House played an advisory role to traditional leaders and concentrated on enhanced service delivery despite insufficient resources. A clear strategy was required to improve service delivery. No province had completed implementation of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Act of 2003 and the deadline of 24 September would not be met. Provincial legislation had to be completed before national legislation could be promulgated. The House’s budget was controlled by DPLG but it was hoped that the newly created CEO would have the capacity to improve the financial situation. The Chairperson and deputy-chairperson remained the only two full-time members of the House. The House perceived the imposition of fixed membership numbers and the limited right of Nkosis to appointment members in traditional councils as problematic. Meetings would be held in provincial houses to discuss the gender equality issue. All provincial houses would hold a joint meeting to debate aspects of the Framework Act. The strategic plan contained clear goals up until 2007.
Mr Mshudulu sought clarity on the role of NHTL within municipal IDPs and asked whether Members could attend the provincial houses meetings to enhance interaction with provincial traditional leadership.
Prof Sobahle stated that the primary role of the House was to monitor and advise traditional leadership. The DPLG should also be held accountable for any failures. A National Conference was necessary to introduce the Framework Act’s stipulations. Provincial legislation was needed to add value to Traditional Councils and DPLG would provide a framework to guide the process and inform the constitution of Local Houses. NHTL had made a number of independent submissions on recent legislative processes to Parliament. Time frames would be added to the strategic plan to support budgetary allocations.
Mr Z Matebese (Acting CEO) reiterated that DPLG had total control over the House’s budget. Various Bills would be referred to the House for debate in the short term. A task team would secure a venue for NHTL next year. SALGA had been approached by the House to devise a meaningful training programme for traditional leaders.
City of Johannesburg briefing
Mr R Hunter (Acting CEO: Revenue) presented detail on the current revenue system and concomitant problems. The indigence policy had to be carefully targeted to avoid the build-up of arrears amongst the poor. A new management team was in place to drive the process. A response to socio-economic challenges had been formulated. A list of open queries directed at the Council was provided and customer service would be improved. DPLG was involved with the City in creating an appropriate answer to the demands of Project Consolidate. A project management team had been established to facilitate developments. Capacity-building amongst staff would be conducted.
Cllr P Tau (MMC-Finance Strategy and Economic Development) informed Members of inner-City regeneration projects. Investment would be attracted through increased Council investment and improved urban management. An inner city coalition involving the private sector would be established. CCTVs had been set up in the inner city. The Johannesburg Development Agency would focus on new town development and the attraction of further investment. Recent tax incentives directed at property developers had paid dividends and R1 billion had been invested in building renewal. The Better Buildings Programme would address the problem of decaying buildings.
Mr Mshudulu asked for comments on urban migration and the indigent policy. He asked whether the consumer telephone line was toll free. Poor pockets such as Alexandra could not be ignored by initiatives. Clarity was sought on the definition of special cases employed by the Council and the status of the valuation roll. The cleanliness of the inner city was problematic and the practice of write-offs of debts did not address the crisis. A culture of non-payment continued to exist.
Mr Doman asked whether free basic services were only for the indigent and what percentage of the equitable share was devoted to free services. Further detail on the credit control policy was required.
The Chairperson asked for an impact assessment of the building renewal tax incentive and whether the current model was effective. The lack of formal accounts for the indigent severely affected the City’s ability to meet needs.
Cllr Tau responded that a pilot project would be conducted in Orlando East to improve the backyard shacks dilemma. Research continued to drive an effective and implementable response to the problem. The Metro had decided to address shortcomings within the revenue system and a transitional management team had been assembled to drive the process. The valuation roll and the land-use management system would be finalised together. National legislation on the matter was expected soon. Public consultation would be conducted at the same time to ascertain the impact. Office occupancy rates were used to determine progress in inner city regeneration activities. 90% of office space was currently occupied. Improvements in cleanliness required extensive public education campaigns and law enforcement in addition to enhanced refuse collection.
Mr Hunter replied that the customer service line was not free at this juncture but a proposal had been made to the Mayoral Committee to introduce a toll free number. A monthly household income under R1 481 was viewed as a special case. A new valuation roll would be produced in 2007 and a new draft policy existed to govern the process. The City wanted to provide services in a controlled manner; therefore the need for registered account holders. Flat dwellers and backyard shacks were not present in City records and impacted adversely on service provision. A mechanism would be devised to address the problem. Write-offs were not effective and would cease this year. The write–off for the indigent was perceived as legitimate if arrears had amassed following incorrect billing. No write-offs for companies were planned except for cases of bankruptcy. Deposits would increase to improve the credit control policy.
Ms M Moitse (Acting-Executive Director-Finance) stated that a recent study had revealed economic growth of 5% and employment growth of 316 000 per annum within the Metro. Greater employment growth was necessary to meet population increases. Migration placed additional strain on infrastructure and social facilities.
Mr Mogase referred to poor areas within the Metro boundaries that indicated continued high levels of inequality. Clarity was sought on plans to address development needs and the upgrading of services to all communities.
Mr M Phadagi (ANC) added that poorer areas contained excessive amounts of people and plans should be formulated to create alternative residential districts and address population density.
Mr Mshudulu stated that certain developmental goals should be construed as obligatory rather than discretionary. Free basic services was a political mandate and infrastructure expansion had to occur. Refuse collection and service delivery were obligatory tasks.
Cllr Tau declared that free basic services had been implemented in the City and no rates were charged for property valued at less than R20 000. Recent additional interest in property refurbishment had flourished and an Alexandra renewal programme had been formulated to assist in reducing population density. Facilities for traders were being built and training assistance provided.
City of Tshwane briefing
Mr B Moseley-Lefatola (Municipal Manager) provided detail on the inner city development and regeneration strategy. Regeneration was included within the IDP and statistics were provided on an inner city overview. Demographics and the property market were discussed. The origins of the vision were explained and various challenges elucidated. A list of spatial building blocks was outlined and specific socio-economic interventions relayed. Crime prevention initiatives were presented and City Improvement Districts identified. A pro-poor policy was in place and strategies had been devised to maximise revenue.
Mr Mshudulu asked how many industries had been attracted to the inner city and prospects for development to provide employment for migrants. He asked whether housing projects for the poor were underway in the inner city. Clarity was sought on the level of contribution by government towards development initiatives and whether SMMEs benefited from development spending rather than big business.
The Chairperson indicated that growth appeared to be private sector driven and he asked whether any incentives were in place to force growth into particular areas of need such as the inner city. Detail was sought on a strategy to prevent building decay and he suggested that prevention was the solution.
Mt Thlolo (MMC-Economic Development) responded that the inner city contained many service industries and financial institutions. Means-type development would occur within the inner city to accommodate residential needs. Initiatives were communicated to citizens through the ward committees. SMMEs were included in the tender process and the EPWP.
Mr Moseley-Lefatola stated that significant migration did occur into the city from surrounding areas and infrastructure services had to be improved to meet the demand. Current subsidies for housing were insufficient to address backlogs. Discussions had been held with the Provincial MEC to enhance subsidies. National government made contributions to development and better communication was needed within ward committees to explain this. The north of the city would be developed as 29% unemployment existed in that region. The city would be developed as a whole. Interventions would be implemented to address inequalities. Migration would have a negative impact on infrastructure. An incentive policy for development would be finalised to attract investment. A study had been commissioned to identify appropriate investment tools and different areas required different approaches.
Mr N Pillay (Housing Planning) stated that tax rebates had been offered in the western part of the city to attract investment. A package of services had to be available to ensure investment was sustainable. An investment programme was needed to manage the process and facilitate investment in all areas. A two–pronged strategy was necessary to protect existing property and also ensure that refurbishment occurred. Asset stripping after 1994 had resulted in public buildings and land falling into private hands inhibiting subsequent attempts at regeneration.
Mr Smith asked whether the regulatory framework assisted the process of regeneration. Development within the Cape Town Metro concentrated on conversion of office buildings into residential units and he asked whether a similar process was underway in Tshwane. He asked what property value was included within the tax incentive scheme.
Mr I Mfundisi (ACDP) asked what impact the proposed Gautrain system would have on development within Tshwane.
Mr Thlolo responded that the Gautrain would have some impact on the highway system between Pretoria and Johannesburg and on certain locations within the city. The proposed system would also have an impact on the IDP and job creation.
Mr Moseley-Lefatola stated that no specific recommendations for legislative intervention had arisen from the city development strategy. The strategy was in the early stages of implementation and discussions were taking place with critical government departments within the different spheres of government. Legislative recommendations could be produced in due course related to specific challenges. Requests for conversion of office buildings into residential spaces had not manifested in any significant way. Housing was being provided for the lower end of the market. Development-related job opportunities had not been quantified at this stage. An increase in applications was expected related to the Treasury tax incentives.
Mangaung Local Municipality briefing
Mr M Matlole (Municipal Manager) provided detail on the IDP as a new planning development tool designed to rectify the legacy of separate development. An overview of the key points of the IDP were presented focused on economic growth and community resilience and self-reliance. Plans for transforming the municipality were elucidated. Detail on inner city generation and urban renewal programmes was provided. Urban development programmes would develop the CBD and improve access for transport. Various challenges had been encountered in renewing the urban centre. Plans were in place to combat urban poverty and to assist the urban poor. The content of the pro-poor policy was clarified and the role of small business development in the economic strategy highlighted.
Mr Smith asked for clarity on the number of indigent households and whether the municipality had a bad building problem and tax incentives to rectify this problem.
Mr Phadagi asked whether any mechanism was in place to control the numbers of migrants into the inner city from outlying regions.
Mr Matlole stated that the given number of approximately 5000 indigent did not accurately reflect the actual number of poor within the municipality. Transient individuals affected the accuracy rate. Free basic services were provided in accordance with a means test. Approximately 15 000 commuters traveled into the municipality to work and numbers increased on weekends. Forced closure of mines had resulted in high unemployment levels. Property development initiatives were in place to assist regeneration. The IDP document included plans to promote environmental issues and assets. Attention was focused on the second economy to enhance job creation and SMMEs would be supported. Ward committees would be included in the planning of the IDPs through consultation processes. Various stakeholders were involved in a campaign to maintain the waterfront and promote cleanliness. The water quality was checked on a regular basis.
The meeting was adjourned.