Budget briefings: Department Provincial & Local Government, House of Traditional Leaders & SA Local Government Association

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE
7 May 2007
BUDGET BRIEFINGS: DEPARTMENT PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS, & S A LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

Chairperson:
Mr S Shiceka (ANC/Gauteng)

Documents handed out:
Agenda of DPLG Budget Review (Budget Vote 5: Provincial and Local Government) presentations
DPLG presentations: programme 2 - Branch: Governance, policy and research
DPLG presentations: programme 3 - Branch: urban and rural development
DPLG presentations: programme 4: Branch: systems and capacity building
DPLG presentations: programme 4 - National Disaster Management
DPLG presentations: Programme 5: Free basic services and infrastructure
DPLG presentations: programme 7 - Branch: Monitoring and evaluation
DPLG presentations: programme 7 - Branch: Finance and Fiscal Transfers
DPLG presentations: programme 1 - Branch: administration
DPLG presentations: programme 1 - Branch: Administration Strategic Overview and way forward
National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) Budget review: presentation
NHTL: National House of Traditional Leaders: Annual Report 2005-2006: Part1 & Part2
NHTL: National House of Traditional Leaders: Budget Review Report: 2006/2007
South African Local Government Association [SALGA]: Budget Review 2006-2007
South African Local Government Association [SALGA]: Budget Review Report: Part1 & Part 2

Audio Recording of the Meeting


SUMMARY
The Department of Provincial and Local Government briefed the Committee on its budget and strategic plan. The  Department aimed to serve South Africa as a co-ordinating and integrating department in terms of the implementation of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework (IGFR) Act of 2005 and accelerate the pace of service delivery to ensure that all members of the community,benefited from the supply of clean water and proper sanitation as well as reliable electricity supply. The bucket system was to be eliminated. Further, it aimed to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2014, and address the shortage of skills in local municipalities and the issue of cross-border municipalities. The Department's budget was over R100 billion.

Details of allocations over the programmes were set out. In particular the department focused on eradicating the bucket system, where it was mostly on track, but it acknowledged that it had a heavy backlog in the Free State. The skills shortage was being addressed by a programme of skills mobilisation in partnership with the Development Bank of South Africa. There was a comprehensive programme of support for traditional leadership institutions, and a comprehensive plan of action to support traditional leadership as mandated by legislation. Members broadly appreciated the Department’s achievements and aims, but questioned the actual effectiveness of various interventions; the use of contractors who went bankrupt and duplication of efforts between municipal staff and consultants.

The National House of Traditional Leaders briefed the Committee on its roles, functions and challenges. It was suffering from lack of infrastructural support,although it acknowledged assistance from some departments. It set out the work it had achieved in the year,and noted that its relationships with other institutions were steadily building. It had in particular participated in legislative programmes and had, through members and their spouses, set up training programmes and initiatives. The Committee was  supportive of the House’s integral role and sought to ensure that the House would be allocated sufficient resources: existing provision was grossly inadequate.

The South African Local Government Association briefed the Committee on its activities and relationships both internally and on the Continent. It had entered into memorandums of understanding, was doing training and had achieved substantial successes in assisting municipalities and in setting up systems. It was largely dependent upon support from municipalities. Challenges included its listing as a schedule 3A public entity, the lack of integrated systems between SALGA national and provincial offices, the poor response from the donor community, and difficulty in releasing the annual report within the prescribed timelines. The CEO had resigned in the middle of his term of office. Members appreciated the Association's efforts but were concerned about  wasteful expenditure of some municipalities, and difficulty in collecting debt.

MINUTES
Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) Budget Vote Briefings: Strategic overview and way forward -
Ms Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela, Director General, DLPG, briefed the Committee on the strategic overview of the Department. She referred to the President’s 2007 State of the Nation Address, the 2007 Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance, and the White Paper on the Future of Local Government. It was the DPLG’s aim to accelerate the pace of service delivery and improvements to this service. Furthermore, it aimed to meet, by 2014, the Millennium Development Goals, and 2011 was the second term for local government. She summarised the roles of DPLG, which she saw as a co-ordinating and integrating department. An especial area of focus related to the role of provincial government and its mandate.

DPLG’s intended in particular to meet development targets in terms of the supply to all communities of clean drinking water, reliable and dependable supply of electricity and energy, and provide “hands-on” support in the development of human resource skills. It aimed to reduce the social distance between local government and the communities, and the DPLG saw more scope to enter into partnerships with other individuals and groups to better develop and mobilise essential skills.

In the area of monitoring, the DPLG had developed in the previous 18 months a “singular” five-year plan for local government. DPLG had implemented its monitoring system, and there was provision for this in the budget. Knowledge management was a major area of focus for the DPLG, which aimed to build its capacity in that area in order to find better ways to achieve effective and efficient service delivery. It also sought to improve methods of conflict resolution and had developed “a toolkit” on how to handle disputes. It was preparing for the inevitability of climate change, and aimed to achieve sustainable innovations.

DPLG Programme 2 - Branch: Governance, policy and research
Mr Derek Powell, DDG, DPLG, reviewed the Branch’s role in providing policy advice and research support for the development and monitoring of intergovernmental relations and the performance of provincial government, provincial-municipal relations, integrated development planning, local economic development, the institutions of traditional leadership, and international and donor relations.

As part of the Branch’s approach to intergovernmental relations, the statutory report on the implementation of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework (IGRF) Act of 2005 was to be submitted to Cabinet by January 2008; a practitioners’ manual was to be introduced: intergovernmental relations (IGR) implementation toolkits had been completed and launched at the previous week’s National Council of Provinces Summit.

With regard to Development Planning, he referred to amendments on development planning regarding the Municipal Systems Act of 2000 with the aim to complete consultations and reach consensus with major stakeholders on proposed legislative amendments by December 2007. There was a programme of support to municipalities to develop and adopt credible integrated development plans and technical support was to be provided to selected municipalities by the end of May 2007.

With regard to international and donor relations standard operating procedures had been introduced and a draft charter and protocols for local government was completed for adoption by the SADC Council; the Branch was providing support for the completion of legislation on decentralisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): draft legislation was to be tabled in the DRC parliament by October 2007. A system to monitor the spending of funds was being introduced.

In regard to local economic development (LED) the Branch sought to provide support to municipalities to adopt realistic local economic development plans in accordance with the national framework for local economic development. Technical experts were to be deployed to 17 municipalities to support achievement of realistic local economic development plans by July 2007.

In terms of the Traditional Leadership Framework Act of 2003, the Branch would establish a comprehensive national programme of support for traditional leadership institutions. The target for Cabinet to adopt and implement the national programme was July 2007. Half of traditional councils had been reconstituted. In KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumulanga and North West Province, local houses had been established and regulations under provincial acts had been gazetted. It was envisaged that traditional councils and local councils would work in co-operation.

DPLG programme 3 - Branch: urban and rural development
Ms Bernadette Leon, Acting DDG, DPLG, said that the main purposes of the programme were to manage, co-ordinate, monitor and measure the effectiveness of the integrated implementation of the urban renewal programme (URP) and the integrated sustainable rural development programme (ISRDP) across all spheres of government. A core function was to provide support for the co-ordination of the implementation of the programmes across the spheres of government. Activities involved formulating practical approaches and systems for strengthening co-operation between the spheres of government, government agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs). 

Strategic achievements in 2006/2007 towards implementing and maintaining the alignment and integration protocols included a number of induction workshops held for new councillors, the production and dissemination of guidelines for sector department participation in the nodes, the holding of an orientation workshop for support officials in ministries that were known to be political champions, the completion of the URP implementation framework, the production of a programme management toolkit for the URP nodes, the provision through the IDT of technical support to rural nodes, and the support with LED expertise of the Galeshewe URP.

Further strategic achievements had included the co-operation of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), the Department of Social Development (DSD), the Department of Health (DoH), and the South African Police Service (SAPS), working together with their provincial counterparts to obtain MTEF commitments for the nodes. Examples of results included a 13% increase in access to social grants, and improvements in basic services, such as 80% improvement in access to water in Maluti-a-Phofung, improvement of access to electricity in Alexandria from 72% in 2001 to 88% in 2005, and 1.6 million students in rural node schools (6005) benefiting from the school nutrition programme.

Strategic management of information included the research conducted to re-confirm ISRDP nodal status for municipalities affected by border-realignment. A communications conference had been hosted for nodal communicators. The newsletters Rural Focus and Urban News were published twice a year and the support of the Department of Communications (DoC) had been mobilised for developing website access for rural nodes. The programme had supported political champion visits in Galeshewe, INK, Motherwell, Mdantsane, Kgalagadi, and OR Tambo.

Detailed progress reports on the impact of programmes monitored and evaluated had been submitted to Cabinet in July 2006 and January 2007. The documentation of URP lessons learnt had been completed. The ISRDP/URP web site had been updated.

Key strategic priorities for 2007/2008 towards achieving the desired output of mobilising stakeholders to provide financial and technical support to the ISRDP and URP included the continuation of the partnership with the Business Trust aimed at strengthening the economic development in the nodes. This subsumed a nodal economic development indaba, feasibility studies for potential investment projects, interventions to strengthen the institutional environment, and entrepreneurial support programmes for some of the nodes. Also it was a key priority to work with the National Development Agency (NDA) to target resources for the rural nodes, and use the URP technical support facility to provide technical support to the urban nodes.

In order to improve knowledge about the nodal programme and measure programmes’ impact key strategic priorities included completion of the ISRDP mid-term review and ISRDP lessons learnt, operation of the M & E framework and working with provinces and nodes, producing and publishing the programme newsletters and continuing to support political champion visits to the nodes.

The Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government was due to begin an oversight visit to Alexandria on 8 May .

DPLG presentations: programme 4: Branch: systems and capacity building
Mr Elroy Africa, DDG, DPLG, highlighted achievements that included implementation of the Property Rates Act, of which the first set of regulations had been gazetted for implementation, the publishing of key administrative performance management regulations, and legislation on unified conditions as a contribution to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) single public service project. Furthermore the Programme achieved a performance management audit, for which the financial early warning system was being piloted in 12 municipalities and in which performance excellence would be rewarded, the LOGOLA municipal leadership development programme launched in March 2007, the launch of the Local Government Anti-Corruption (LGAC) strategy in 33 municipalities, and the alignment of the draft gender policy to the Local Government (LG) five year plan. The HIV Framework had not been finalised pending consultations.

Strategic priorities for 2007/2010 included processing the Local Government Laws Amendments Bill through Parliament during 2007/2008, gazetting the second set of the Municipal Property Rates Act Regulations for public comment, and developing and extending a framework to entrench the Batho Pele principles in local government. Further strategic priorities included the rollout of the LGAC strategy to improve the capacity to account for public resources and support all programmes that were designed to improve governance and fight corruption. This included the need to review legislation to define clearly the respective roles and responsibilities of different spheres of government and organs of state. DPLG would also support National Treasury on work towards finalising the LG fiscal framework, which should lead to finalisation and stabilisation of the local government fiscal system in order to focus on improving efficiencies based on the revenue raising capacity and activation of the development component, and bias intergovernmental transfers towards municipalities with a low fiscal capacity and an inadequate revenue base. Also it was aimed to implement key local government finance legislation and strengthen financial management support and oversight at the national and provincial levels.

Immediate strategic priorities for the current year of 2007/2008 included an emphasis on focusing on performance management and improving institutional development and stabilising administrative systems, including addressing equity, anti-corruption and financial viability.
 
DPLG presentations: programme 4 - National Disaster Management
Mr Lance Williams, Executive Manager, DPLG, explained the purpose of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and its core functions as specified in the Disaster Management Act No. 57 of 2002. He especially emphasized prevention and mitigation of disasters and co-ordination of all three spheres of government with statutory functionaries, other role players, and communities.

Major strategic achievements in 2006/2007 included finalisation and implementation of the Eastern Cape Pilot Project in respect of the Disaster Management Information and Communication System, effective management of the Drought Relief Programme in conjunction with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, successful implementation of the Working on Fire programme, training and education standards for a professional disaster management career path developed in cooperation with SAQA and development of unit standards for NQF level 7.

An honours programme for disaster management had been implemented at the University of the Free State in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and the SDIR. Phase 1 of the integrated disaster management information system had been implemented and a live fire early warning system was in place.  The Project Portfolio Office had been implemented to monitor and track the implementation of the Disaster Management Act, and a successful International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Week had been held. 

A disaster Situation Reporting System (SRS) had been implemented. A contract with the Satellite Application Centre had been entered into to provide satellite imagery for the purpose of enhancing early warning capability, expediting disaster damage assessments, and verification of the reconstruction and rehabilitation programme. Functional disaster management centres had been established in all but one province with good progress being made at the district and metropolitan municipal level.

As regards disaster intervention and support there had been intervention in the Taung floods of April 2006, to co-ordinate and plan relief efforts and secure funding from the National Treasury. Approximately R100 million had been secured for the Province, district and local municipalities. The NDMC had intervened in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape floods of August 2006 and secured approximately R650 million from National Treasury for the national, provincial and local organs of government. For the Northern Cape floods of 2006, approximately R25 million had been secured from the National Treasury for the local municipalities affected. The Centre had co-ordinated a response to the Northern Cape veld fires in December 2006, as well as a response to the Mozambique flooding and tropical cyclone in February and March 2007.

The Centre’s budget showed a real growth in allocations for disaster management over the MTEF of 15.3%. The largest budget allocations were to the categories of professional services and helicopter services.

Strategic priorities for 2007 2008 included preparations for 2010 with a guideline for contingency planning for the host cities, assistance for the development of contingency plans, assisting with the co-ordination of fire services, and review of the fire brigade services legislation. Also norms and standards for the fire services had been published. The National Treasury had published a national tender for the procurement of the vehicles and equipment.  Phase 2 of the Disaster Management Information System encompassed continued development of early warning systems for flash floods, mainstreaming of GIS and satellite capability, and a vulnerability atlas for South Africa. Further priorities were outlined of completion of SAQA unit standards, and appointment of an ETQA for disaster management, assessment of disaster management strategies, plans, frameworks and establishment of centres in all three spheres of government, and deployment of engineers under Project Consolidate to assist with supply chain management engineering capacity and verification of projects.

Priority areas in stakeholder relations included a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations University to assist with methodology for disaster risk assessments, and further memoranda with the rail safety regulator, council for geoscience, and the South African Weather Service. The Centre participated in SADC disaster management forum; the United Nations Disaster Assessment and co-ordination activities, and ISDR activities.

DPLG presentations: Programme 5: Free basic services and infrastructure
Mr Yusuf Patel, DDG, Free Basic Services and Infrastructure, DPLG, explained that the purpose of the Branch was to provide support to local government to enable it to deliver sustainable infrastructure and increase access to basic services including free water and electricity. The Branch’s objective was to strengthen the capacity of municipalities to deliver sustainable infrastructure and increase access to basic services through project management and infrastructure planning, including free basic services to the poor, predominantly in the under-serviced areas of South Africa. 

The strategic role of the Branch was to co-ordinate infrastructure development and accelerated delivery of Free Basic Services (FBS), and to enhance local democracy and accountability and co-ordinate municipal service partnerships. 

Achievements included expenditure of 99.6% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) by the end of January 2007; and deploying additional capacity to 62 municipalities. 238 municipalities had been supported to comply with DORA requirements. 168 municipalities had shown a significant improvement, particularly on reporting and spending. Various policy guides had been drafted. 32 summits had been held in district and metropolitan municipalities. Support had been provided to 39 municipalities on the drafting of contracts and management of SLA. The branch had mobilised support from stakeholders for the Izimbizo action plans for the Eastern Cape, the guidelines on Municipal Services Partnership (MSP) had been launched and distributed, ward committees had been established in 80 % of municipalities, 3 459 community development workers had completed learnerships and had been deployed and 2 100 had been employed as public servants.

DPLG presentations: [programme 7] - Branch: Monitoring and evaluation (1st)
Dr Petra Bouwer, Chief Director, on behalf of Ms Tumi Mketi, DDG, DPLG, said that the Branch had set corporate planning strategic priorities as the co-ordination of the DPLG Strategic Plan for that period, the development of the second year of the Implementation Plan of the LG Strategic Agenda, the development of a DPLG planning model and cycle, and to review the effectiveness of quarterly reviews.

Monitoring and reporting strategic priorities included developing and implementing an integrated monitoring and evaluations (M & E) system that would incorporate the roles of the three spheres of government. Local government monitoring and reporting regulations were to be developed. M & E capacity of practitioners in the DPLG, local government departments in the provinces and in local government were to be developed. A model for data collection, analysis and verification was to be developed, also impact indicators for the five-year LG strategic agenda. Guidelines were to be provided to ensure effective and efficient functioning of M & E forums in provinces and districts.

Good governance and compliance priorities included the development of internal audit and risk management plans for 2007/2008, the development of the capacity of managers on internal audit and risk management issues, and customising a corporate secretariat model in the provinces. A fraud prevention strategy was to be developed, and proper legal support and advice provided towards the review of the LG White Paper and the White Paper on Provincial Government. Furthermore, legal support and advice was to be provided, a good practice handbook on contract management developed along with procedure manuals and guidelines to give effect to the project management framework.

The legislative programme for 2007 included the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill, and the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill (Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill of 2007).

DPLG presentations: [programme 7] - Branch: Monitoring and evaluation (2nd)
Mr Mbulelo Sigaba, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, DPLG, highlighted the budget allocation for the Department and said that his aim was to inform the Committee on how the policy priorities were to be funded. The Department continued to explore efficient options for financing local government. The ultimate goal was to ensure that each municipality had a sufficient base to execute its constitutional mandate. The Local Government Equitable Share (LGES) had been reviewed in 2004 with the revised formula fully implemented in 2007/2008.

The current focus of the review was to assess the impact and implementation of the new property rates legislation, the alignment between the functional and fiscal division of powers and functions between category B (local) and category C (district) municipalities and restructuring of the electricity distribution industry.

Key spending areas included a strong emphasis on strengthening Government’s ability to deliver basic services in the medium term and on the expansion and upgrading of key infrastructure. Another key spending area was the investment in stadiums, public transport and communications systems to ensure a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup. Other key areas included increasing investment in the built environment in the form of housing, electricity, water, sanitation and community facilities, and contributing to improved economic efficiency through investment in roads and skills development.

Local government priorities included an equitable growth share for local government of 11% in real terms, increased funding for free basic services to poor households, and improving governance and administrative systems. A R45.7 billion capital transfer to municipalities included R24.7 billion for infrastructure for basic municipal services, R7.8 billion for the construction and upgrading of 10 stadiums for 2010, R6.7 billion to host cities for infrastructure around the stadiums and for public transport and systems improvement, R1.4 billion to roll out electricity infrastructure in municipalities, and R3.7 billion for neighbourhood development partnership grants to fund improvements to settlements. Capacity building and restructuring in municipalities was prioritised, with a focus on planning, budgeting, financial management and technical skills, for which R807.7 million was allocated. R741.3 million was allocated to the Siyenza Manje programme led by DBSA.

LGES was meant to boost the ability of the municipalities to fund the provision of free basic services to poor households and to improve governance and administrative systems. MIG was a conditional grant meant to augment municipal own resources and place municipalities in a better position to provide infrastructure for rolling out basic services, alleviating poverty, addressing backlogs and regional disparities in municipal infrastructure. The grant also sought to stimulate local economic development and job creation through labour-based infrastructure methods as prescribed by the expanded public works programme. MSIG was meant to focus on stabilising municipal and governance systems, planning and implementation management support centres, reviewing integrated development plans and implementing the Municipal Systems Act.

DPLG programme 1 - Branch: administration
Mr Tozi Faba, Deputy Director-General explained that the purpose of the programme was to conduct overall management of the Department, formulate internal policies, and provide for the leadership functions of the senior management service within the Ministry and the Department. Its strategic objective was to strengthen DPLG’s organisational capability and performance to deliver on its mandate.

The sub-programmes included human resource management and development, information technology and management, and marketing and communication. The first of these aimed to render organisational development, human resource management and developmental services, and increased quality of working conditions within DPLG. The second sought to oversee the development of IT policy and implementation of Information Communication Technology services. The third sought to co-ordinate the development and implementation of a marketing and communication strategy and render corporate brand management and internal communication services.

Achievements against 2006/2007 outputs included implementation of an internship programme according to the needs of the Branch, PMDS implementation at all levels of the Department, a virtual private network to enhance communication and access to DPLG information, better capacity to communicate with stakeholders based on rapid access to information, the establishment of ICT Local Government in eight provinces to support service delivery (a joint venture between the DPLG, SALGA and DPSA), and the development of guidelines regarding local communication. Achievements also included working towards the Cabinet process of endorsement for application throughout the local sphere linking up with the provincial and national sphere approval, finalisation and presentation of the 2005/2006 annual report, and continuous monitoring of risk management through the quarterly review meetings.

The DPLG had exceeded the 75% public service target of black people at management level. It had not met the target of 50% for women at management level. The Employment Equity Plan had been revised to redress the shortfall of 15% in this regard. The profile for people with disability was 0.5%. The Employment Equity Plan had been revised to redress this shortfall of 1.5%.

Strategic priorities included the improvement of customer services and enhancement of service delivery, enhancing effective implementation and monitoring of internal administrative policies, and applying systems, standards and specifications that enhanced the quality of services delivered by DPLG’s service providers. A further strategic priority was developing a comprehensive HR strategy that included recruitment, career development, succession planning, retention strategy, and mentoring and coaching. Furthermore, HR planning was to be aligned with the strategy and needs of DPLG, and an HR Information Management System would support planning and management by way of integrated systems. There was to be focus on building employee performance and motivation. A Knowledge and Information System for the DPLG was to be developed.

There was an increase of 19.6% in administration which was attributed to increases in the management structure of the Director General, while the increase in the total establishment for corporate services necessitated an increase in the provision for office expenses. Property management had been transferred to the Department of Public Works.

Discussion
Mr J W Le Roux (DA/Eastern Cape) said that an excellent department could not be effective without appointing the right people at the community level. He gave the example of education, in which a mathematics professor had told him that having to teach children under a tree was not a problem, but nothing could be taught without a properly educated, motivated and inspired teacher. He said that there was a need for quality project managers.

The Chairperson concurred, and stated that there must be sufficient capacity at the ground level of service delivery.

Mr Leon Fielding (DA) asked about the eradication of the bucket system, and if prepaid water meters could be used to achieve more effective use of water. He was deeply concerned about the high rate of unemployment – more than 40%. He was appalled at the number of bankrupt contractors and loss of taxpayers’ money thereby. He wanted to see greater development of skills amongst the people.

Mr A L Moseki (ANC/North West) asked Mr Elroy Africa about the need to develop capacity. Roads were in poor condition. He asked for reasons for that deficiency.

Mr D Worth (DA) asked how many municipalities had not spent all their allocated funds.

The Chairperson asked about improvements in the supply of electricity.

Kgoshi L M Mokoena (ANC/Limpopo) asked the Department to be more specific about the expected benefits of the improvements in service delivery that it had outlined in its briefing, and how such improvements would really benefit members of the community. He asked Mr Williams, with reference to recent fires, about the continuing unwillingness of fire brigades to deal with township fires. He asked about the elimination of the bucket system in the Free State, the province most badly affected, and why the authorities in that province could not cope with the problem. He asked if the Department could provide help, and if the Department had dedicated offices to help the provinces and areas most affected. He said that the Department’s policy and its intentions were good, but the challenge that the Department must take up and meet was to achieve implementation of its policies and intentions and act effectively.

Kgoshi Mokoena appealed to Dr Bouwer to promote and market the Department and the excellent work it was doing. He was unaware of any public relations activities on behalf of the Department and asked who was responsible for public relations.

With reference to the Department’s representation profile on the senior management staff (SMS) level as compared with public service targets as at 31 March 2007, Kgoshi Mokoena asked who was defined as an African.

Mr N J Mack (ANC/Western Cape) asked Mr Williams if there was a strategy to prevent the recurrent fires on Table Mountain, and what was being done to alleviate major infrastructure problems involving Transnet and Eskom in Prince Albert. With reference to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act of 2005, he asked how part-time councillors could be effective. He asked for full-time councillors and for the Department to be specific in explaining how the goals of the Growth and Development Summit could be realised. He asked how the Department planned to put into practice the peer review programme.

The Chairperson said that statistics were the key to proper resource allocation, and suggested meeting with the Finance Committee, also making presentations to the Public Service and Administration Portfolio Committee.

In response to Members comments and questions, Ms Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela said that it was agreed that the Department would follow up issues highlighted by Committee Members. The Department would categorise the questions and respond in due course to the Committee. Three or four hours were not sufficient time for an adequate response that day. It was also necessary to engage with the Committee in more detail on various issues at a subsequent meeting. 

The Committee agreed to this suggestion.

National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) Budget review briefing
Khosi F P Kutama, Chairperson, National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL explained that the report covered a wide spectrum of programs of the National House, Government and the institution of Traditional Leadership as a whole. It also provided some clarity on certain aspects of the institution of traditional leadership. Furthermore the Committee was requested to assist in the capacitating of traditional institutions.

In the NHTL’s previous engagement with the Committee, the Committee had made a commitment to call a workshop meeting where the NHTL would engage extensively on the various pieces of legislation that had direct bearing on traditional leadership. This report requested that the Committee set aside a day or two for that purpose.

The National House of Traditional Leaders acknowledged the fact that it had not reached the objective of being recognized as a national public entity. The House intended to develop to this status in the next financial year depending on the budgetary appropriations.

Challenges included the need to amend the National House of Traditional Leaders Act (No.10 of 1997) in order to move towards the House’s autonomy and to give more authority to the House. Presently the National House lacked oversight functions over all Houses of Traditional Leaders; and it faced budgetary constraints. The Committee was asked to assist in the House’s plan for the economic development of rural communities and to eradicate poverty. It was emphasised that the people could not be considered free while some continued to live under abject poverty.

The National House of Traditional leaders (the House) was a statutory body established by the National House of Traditional leaders Act, 1997 (Act No 10 of 1997). The objectives of that Act were summarised. It also derived mandate from other pieces of legislation, including the Constitution.

The House aimed to ensure efficient and effective leadership and service delivery by the institution of traditional leadership for the advancement of the interests of traditional communities. It must act in accordance with its mandate, promote development of rural communities, worked with other stakeholders, participate in legislative and policy processes, restore the status and dignity of traditional leadership in South Africa, Africa and the world, address capacity challenges and promote preservation of languages and culture.

The House aimed to represent the aspirations of traditional communities by playing a meaningful role in co-operative government. As custodian of cultures, customs and traditions, it must influence government policy and legislation, advise government on related matters, be consulted at appropriate levels on policy and programmes that affected rural areas in general and traditional communities in particular, complement and support the work of government at all levels, form co-operative relations and partnerships with government at all levels in development and service delivery, play an oversight role in programmes intended to uplift communities, and ensure resources for the House and its skills development programmes.

The membership and structure of the House was fully set out in the presentation. It consisted of three female and 15 male traditional leaders, elected from the Provinces. There was no regulation on the House other than the provisions of the Framework Act regulating the gender composition of Traditional Councils.

An area of especial concern was that the administrative capacity of the House consisted of only 13 officials including the Secretary / Chief Executive Officer appointed in terms of the Act. There was an urgent need to refocus on the organogram of the House to ensure that it attracted the relevant skills to implement its mandate. It had requested secondment of an expert on project management to facilitate development in rural areas. Although the House participated in the budgetary process, via submissions to the DPLG, its allocated budget still fell far short of its needs. It had to pay allowances for members and provide for adequate remuneration of staff, and fund office equipment and communications expenses. The House sought support from the Committee to amend the Act to help in obtaining such resources.

Traditional leaders were regarded as public representatives, but did not receive any financial benefits. It was only in the past year that the House had been given proper accommodation.

It was noted that the House had embarked on a number of programmes pursuant to the strategic goals of advancing service delivery, custodianship of cultures, customs, traditions and values, pro-active communication, and a fully capacitated and capable NHTL. It had established and led four forums linked to the committees of the provincial Houses.

Since the promulgation of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003, great strides had been made to build and sustain good relations. Resources for the Offices of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson had been given, which were one step to recognising that the full time office bearers had a crucial role to play in the day to day running of the House and the affairs of Traditional Leaders. The DPLG further provided vehicles for the two full time members in order for them to carry out their duties. Furthermore, in the past year, there had been increased interaction with other National Government Departments, including meetings with the Public Works, Arts and Culture, and Education ministers, and with the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. Government had supported the House in various functions.

The House was participating in the legislative processes, and provided input to the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee on the Civil Union Bill. It had met on a number of occasions with the Department of Justice to discuss the proposed Traditional Courts Bill. It was concerned about the critical challenges of HIV / Aids and had contributed to the SANAC programme. It hosted a women’s indaba to evaluate progress on the recommendations of the 2005 Kopanong Conference. .

The role of traditional leaders as described in the White Paper on traditional leadership and the Framework Act regarding safety and security was clear and practical. Traditional leaders in some provinces were actively participating according to the pillar approach adopted in compliance with the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS).

In 2003 traditional leaders from various African countries attended a Panafest Conference in Ghana, wherein the idea of establishing a continental body for traditional leaders was conceptualised. The idea of establishing such a body was a proposal of the NHTL, which was unanimously adopted by traditional leadership structures from other countries.

The House was tasked with mobilizing traditional leaders in the SADC region to buy into the noble idea of SADC-KHOTLA. Consultations had been held and SADC-KHOTLA had been adopted as the name for the regional house. The Chairpersons of Houses of Traditional Leaders in the region would meet again to finalize logistics relating to the launch of the SADC-KHOTLA, which should take place in 2007.

Culture was one of the priorities of the House's operation and performance. The House had, with other organisations conducted public hearings on initiation schools. The House participated in a number of policy development workshops organized by the Department of Arts and Culture and further met the Minister to discuss the revival and development of some cultural practices. The revival of these cultural practices would contribute to the improvement of indigenous languages through story telling and poetry. It would further ensure that family values were strengthened.

The 2005 Annual Conference of Traditional Leaders resolved that the relationship between the House and SALGA must be strengthened. Strides had been made in strengthening the relationship and a Memorandum of Understanding was finalised.

The House had concluded a memorandum of understanding with the University of South Africa to define and interpret clearly the constitutional and legislative mandate of the NHTL, so as to adopt a plan of action for effective implementation of those constitutional and legislative imperatives; and to work with the NHTL on a number of other matters set out..

The NHTL together with the DPLG, SALGA and LGSETA had embarked on a process of fulfilling training needs for traditional leaders. Workshops were conducted by the LGSETA throughout the six provinces where there were traditional leaders. The first training on Local Economic Development and Community Development would be conducted in the first quarter of the next financial year (2007-2008). All provinces were trained in phase one of Gender Violence. It participated in the poverty alleviation programmes through the spouses of traditional leaders who had been trained for that purpose by the Department of Social Development. The spouses and female senior traditional leaders were leading orphanages, gardening and other relevant empowerment programmes. Once traditional leaders had been trained in Local Economic Development, it would be easy for them to utilise whatever mechanisms contributed to LED.

The House had a plan to realise itself as a public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act of 1999, with its own budget. The implementation of the Framework Act would indicate the need to amend the Constitution to include the powers of traditional leaders.

Discussion
The Committee Chairperson said that it was deeply disturbing that the House did not have resources, especially when it had to be recognized that institutions of traditional leadership were an integral part of our people and country. It was necessary to give proper attention to the question of how the House should be supported. Moreover, support for the House was one of the objectives of the DPLA. He welcomed the House’s invitation to attend its functions but requested that written invitations be given to avoid any misunderstandings from officials and secretaries.

Mr Moseki said that under the apartheid regime, colonial leaders had greatly damaged traditions. The House was right to uphold the revival of our traditions. Moral standards had degenerated; one of the key functions of traditional leaders was to educate the community in morality. The House’s outreach programme was very important, and was crucial to promoting unity in the communities. He said that the Committee would fully support the House.

Mr Le Roux said that it was an excellent presentation and that Members should do all within their capabilities to support the traditional leaders. With regard to the past era of apartheid, the government had to take the lead in addressing the damage that had been done.

Mr Worth questioned the figure of R1.4 million for consultants in the expenditure report for the 2005/2006 financial year, and asked what was their purpose.

Kgoshi L M Mokoena said that not enough was done to inform people who sought to dilute the traditional cultures. He was perturbed by the lack of remuneration for traditional leaders. He observed that the system of traditional courts was restorative, while the system of justice based on Roman-Dutch law was retributive. Because of the apartheid era, traditional courts had been disrupted.

Kgoshi L M Mokoena informed the Committee that on 18 May 2007 the House would celebrate its tenth anniversary. The House would be dissolved on 21 May and reconstituted on 22 May 2007.

South African Local Government Association [SALGA]: Budget Review 2006-2007 and Budget Review Report
Mayor Amos Masondo, Chairperson of SALGA, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to visit with the Committee and introduced his delegation.

Mr Sabelo Wasa, Chief Operations Officer, SALGA, explained that SALGA's key role was the effective representation of local government in the legislative processes of all spheres of government, and in inter-governmental processes. SALGA represented local government interests in forums such as the National Council of Provinces, the Financial and Fiscal Commission, the Budget Forum dealing with inter-governmental transfers, MinMec, and in the drafting of legislation that affected the status, institutions, powers and functions of municipalities.

In order to fulfil this representative role effectively, SALGA had to develop its own policy formulation and advocacy, as well as developing the strong internal mandating and consultative processes that had taken place on 01 March 2006.

Prior to the municipal elections, SALGA and municipalities were hamstrung by indecision, as councillors were busy with campaigning. After the elections there had been delays, again caused by the constitution of councils, committees of council and mayoral executive committees. This had led to SALGA starting its planning process very late, with the SALGA's National Members’ Assembly only taking place in June 2006, where resolutions were taken in line with the five year Local Government Strategic Agenda. The National Executive Committee Lekgotia had further refined those resolutions in August 2006.

The report highlighted that the single pension fund for local government was finally registered. So far close to 1000 members had been enrolled in the fund. The Municipal Employees Pension Fund, with 27 000 members and about R4 billion in assets, had approached SALGA to amalgamate with LGPF.

A Memorandum of Understanding with the National House of Traditional Leadership had been finalised, giving effect to working relations between elected and traditional leaders.

SALGA was promoting an indigenous languages policy, with the appointment of interns as translators and interpreters, the use of indigenous languages in newsletters, agendas and brochures.

SALGA had successfully held municipal budget weeks during July and August 2006 in which there was interaction with Treasury officials. A Women in Local Government Conference was held in Port Elizabeth to chart the way forward after a successful 50/50 campaign. SALGA had successfully compiled information for RSC revenue for 2005/06 in order to inform the National Treasury on the review of grant allocation for 2007/08 and 2008/09. A report had been compiled on outstanding debts owed to municipalities by other spheres of government and submitted to the Select Committee on Finance in order that the Committee should intervene.

A survey had been conducted on the funding of primary health care to municipalities still providing that service and a report submitted to the Select Committee on Finance highlighting unfunded mandates as a problem requiring intervention.

SALGA continued to actively participate in IGR structures. All SALGA offices were now operating on the same network, as a result of successful deployment of VPN. Video conferencing facilities had been installed in national, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN offices.

SALGA faced challenges such as listing as a schedule 3A public entity, as it limited alternative revenue generation for long-term sustainability of the organisation. A further challenge was the lack of integrated systems between SALGA national and provincial offices. There had been a poor response from the donor community. There had been a disclaimer of audit opinions and difficulty in releasing the annual report within the prescribed timelines. The CEO had resigned in the middle of his term of office.

SALGA derived its revenue mainly from membership fees paid by municipalities. For the financial year 2006/07, the total budgeted income was R194.7 million.

SALGA hosted a National Conference, its highest decision making structure, in April 2007. During the same time, SALGA celebrated ten years of serving local government.

On the international front, SALGA continued to play a pivotal role in strengthening UCLGA. The regional meetings had been funded by SALGA. At these meetings the region agreed on UCLGA constitutional amendments, a programme of action, the structure of the region (both political and administrative) and the budget.

SALGA continued to play critical role in the intergovernmental structure and its stature continued to grow. That was shown by a standing invitation to Cabinet Lekgotlas as well as the support that SALGA continued to enjoy from the President and the Cabinet. SALGA's role had been specifically acknowledged by the President in his State of the Nation address and also by the Minister of Finance in his budget speech.

SALGA's involvement on 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup had thus far been very limited. The Chairperson of SALGA had written to the CEO of the Local Organising Committee to involve SALGA in all its structures, and a response was awaited. In the meantime SALGA had held the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup Indaba in the Western Cape to discuss mainly the role of non-hosting municipalities and was now developing a comprehensive strategy on its involvement in the 2010 World Cup.
 
Discussion
Mr Mack was concerned at the resignation of the previous CEO in the middle of his term of office.

Mr Moseki applauded the presentation but said that SALGA had to address the challenges that it faced. He was also concerned at the mid term resignation of the previous CEO.

Mr Worth asked what was being done to deal with outstanding municipal accounts.

Mr Fielding asked why dismissed municipal officials seemed to be rewarded for their misconduct by receiving a “golden handshake” after the concerned authority had resorted to court action. This wasted public money and was totally unreasonable.

Kgoshi L M Mokoena   expressed his appreciation of the SALGA Chairperson’s always being available when the Committee needed his advice. He asked if there was an early warning system to indicate when a municipality was in difficulties, and was there anything that SALGA could do to encourage municipalities that failed to pay their dues to the Association to do so.

Mr Masondo responded that SALGA was doing everything possible to collect monies that were owned to it, in conformity with legal requirements. It was intended to amend the SALGA constitution. He acknowledged that municipalities tended to appoint unqualified persons in response to pressure from political parties.

Kgoshi Mokoena asked what was SALGA’s view on the possible reduction in the number of provinces.

Mr Masondo said that SALGA wanted to ensure that there would be a debate involving the provinces. In looking overseas for comparisons, it was observed there was a trend towards decentralisation, with the aim of achieving service delivery points close to the intended beneficiaries.

The Committee Chairperson expressed appreciation of Mr Masondo’s efforts as Chairperson of SALGA. He asked if Cape Town Unicity was participating in SALGA’s activities.

The Chairperson said that he hoped that all parties would co-operate at an optimal level.

The meeting was adjourned.

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