A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 February 2007
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECTOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITY SECTOR SKILLS PLAN 2005 TO 2010: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)
Documents handed out:
LGSETA Sector Skills Plan 2005-2010
Local Government SETA sector skills plan 2005-2010, update 2006 [available at www.ldseta.co.za]
Minutes of meeting on 13/02/07
Audio Recording of the meeting
The Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority presented its Sector Skills Plan for 2005 to 2010 to the Committee. It informed the Committee that every employer in the Local Government sector was obliged to submit a workplace skills plan and training report to the Authority. A skills development facilitator also has to be appointed so that a training committee can be established. It pointed out that the staffing structure in local government does not always link to municipal functions and service delivery. The restructuring of municipalities in 2000 led to a geographic and functional change as well as large-scale organisational changes. This restructuring has resulted in a considerable mismatch between people occupying positions and the skills required for the position.
Members mostly raised concerns about the lack of service delivery and the lack of skills in municipalities. Other issues raised included non-compliance with statutory requirements, a skills audit at local government level and the impact of the shortage of skills on Integrated Development Plans.
Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) presentation
Mr Sidwell Mofekeng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Ms Janet Davies, the Sector Skills Planning Officer presented the LGSETA’s Skills Plan for 2005-2010.
The CEO stated that the general public did not fully understand the role of SETAs. The LGSETA’s stakeholders were the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU), the SA Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG). The LGSETA’s mandate was derived from the Skills Development Act, 1998. Training support is provided to various municipalities throughout the country. The LGSETA launched a concerted effort to comply with Section 52 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
Ms Davies gave a brief summary on the background of the SETAs. There were 23 SETAs with each responsible for a particular economic sector as defined by the Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC). A minimum of 50% of all skills funding flows back to employers via mandatory grants. However discretionary finds made available to SETAs to drive sectoral initiatives are limited to 20% of the skills levy income. The skills development initiative is guided by national policy and by the SETAs that are driven by individual employers. Every employer in the Local Government sector is obliged to submit a workplace skills plan (WSP) and training report to the LGSETA. A skills development facilitator also has to be appointed so that a training committee can be established. Each SETA is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) within their sector.
The CEO reminded Members that there are inherent structural problems in municipalities where there is general non-compliance with statutory requirements.
Mr P Smith (IFP) commented that non-compliance by local government is a given. He wanted to know what statutory mandate has been put in place to ensure that municipalities did comply with the SETA stipulations.
The Chairperson wanted to know what amount of funding remained unclaimed by municipalities.
Ms Davies replied that the municipalities had a relatively high compliance rate. Only 13 municipalities are not complying fully with the SETA stipulations. No local authority has been exempted from complying with the SETA regulations. It was difficult to estimate how much funding remained unclaimed by municipalities. There was one municipality that would forfeit close to R9 million because it did not submit a WSP and training file to the SETA on time.
The CEO added that the WSP for the new financial year and the training file for the previous financial year had to be submitted at the same time. A myriad of factors led to non-compliance. Sometimes the managers did not feel that the WSP and training file was urgent or important and therefore the deadline was not met.
Ms Davies stated that new legislation and policies are the main drivers of skills demand. New legislation frequently resulted in demand for a particular skill, which could not always be met by the available pool of skills in the labour market.
Ms Davies said the staffing structure in local government did not always link properly with municipal functions and service delivery. The restructuring of municipalities in 2000 led to a geographic and functional change as well as large-scale organisational changes. This restructuring resulted in a considerable mismatch between people occupying positions and the skills required for the position. Job descriptions are often very poorly designed or are non-existent. Human Resource Development and planning and Skills Development planning are viewed as being secondary to other Human Resources issues. The Skills Development Officer (SDO) is not viewed as part of the strategic planning team at local authority level.
Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) commented that the presentation triggered a lot of questions and added that many local government laws had been passed. The skills transfer from national government to local government is not an easy task and had challenges. However he raised some concern about the skills audit which was conducted. He wanted to know if the SETA worked closely with the Auditor General. He commented that the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is important for a cost analysis to be completed.
Mr M Swathe (DA) commented that he is concerned about the SDO not being included in the strategic planning that is done.
Mr Smith wanted to know if good practice models are being shared among the municipalities.
The CEO replied that they have tried to gain a better understanding of their mandate. They communicated with the MECs in the various provinces who have agreed to sign Memoranda of Understanding as part of oversight. The SETAs work is not only limited to the departments. They also worked with National Treasury. The LGSETA worked with the Auditor General to determine problem areas. LG Net was used to share information about different municipalities and about good practice models.
Ms Davies said they have not looked at the individual IDPs yet. The relationship with the Auditor General is a purely formal one. The Auditor General would normally approach the LGSETA for proof that a municipality had submitted the WSP and that the training had been completed. There is currently no formal information on good practice. The vacancy rates in some district and ordinary municipalities were between 35 and 38%. These are long standing vacancies which have existed for more than three years.
Ms Davies told the Committee that they were currently undertaking an impact study. They were checking to see if the training plan and file that were submitted were in fact being implemented. The LGSETA would also be checking to see if the training was effective and which gaps needed to be filled.
The Chairperson commented that the presentation was useful and had given the Committee insight into a critical area. He asked that the LGSETA prepare a similar presentation on each of the Districts and Municipalities. This would help the Committee perform its oversight duties. He concluded that a lot of the problems in the municipalities resulted from a lack of skills.
The meeting was adjourned.