Disaster Management: briefing by Department; National House of Traditional Leaders [B56-2008] & Traditional Leaders and Governance Framework Amendment Bills [B57-2008]

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

23 June 2008
Chairperson: Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Provincial and Local Government briefed the Portfolio Committee on the Inaugural Annual Report on Disaster Management and the report on performance of municipalities, and report on Inter-Governmental Relations. This report gave a detailed exposition of the various areas that were covered, and presented a number of tables and statistics in each area. The roles of and assistance by both the Department and National Treasury were outlined, and details were given of the state of readiness of municipalities and provinces for disaster management, assuring the Committee that the country was properly equipped for 2010. Challenges were described as including the lack of start up funding, that municipalities were failing to budget for disaster risk recovery, the cumbersome processes for claiming, and capacity constraints. There was still a need for better monitoring.

The report on Municipal Performance was tabled, with reference to the overall progress and specific key performance areas, which were identified and explained.  The basic service delivery was analysed. Challenges included unconfirmed infrastructure backlogs and aging infrastructure, provision of Free Basic Services in farm areas, lack of managerial, technical capacity and Project management, costs of backlog eradication and delays in procurement or supply chain management processes. There remained the need for better integrated development plans, and better linkage of performance management systems.

A further presentation detailing the review of the Intergovernmental Relations Report was submitted, noting that it drew on some secondary sources. Progress in various areas was outlined but it was noted that there was still a need for greater coordination across the spheres of government. National Departments were not always exercising adequate oversight over their provincial departments and there was a need for better use of the Intergovernmental forums. There was also a need for better accountability and monitoring mechanisms at provincial level . The report then gave a detailed outline of how these challenges were being addressed, the way forward and key success factors.

Members asked about the  weaknesses and challenges facing the municipalities and how they would respond to disaster management. The outsourcing of questionnaires was queried, as also the use of Integrated Development Planning at national level. A member expressed shock at the statistics for the Northern Cape where almost no municipalities were reporting, and noted that the three indicators for financial viability were not being reported upon  Members asked how the South African Local Government Association would respond to disaster management and what the factors were determining the speediness of the response. The relationship between individual and collective capacity was queried, as also what methods had been used in the interventions. They however called for municipalities to focus on the greater system, that public participation be invited, and that there be more focus.

The Department briefed the Committee on two pieces of legislation: The National House of Traditional Leaders Bill and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill Act, impacting on traditional leadership in South Africa, and set out the history behind and reasons for both pieces of legislation, highlighting the areas that each sought to address and the key clauses.

Members asked questions on the membership of the National House of Traditional Leaders, the relationship between the National and Provincial Houses, dual membership, ex officio members and the role of proxies. The remuneration of traditional leaders was questioned. Members also asked who the kings were and if the Khoi were recognised. Further questions related to the style of conducting meetings, communication between the Houses, possible problems with the alignment of terms, issues related to the Minister, jurisdictions and the appointment of kings and queens.

Meeting report

Disaster Management Report by Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG)
Ms Lindiwe Msengana–Ndlele, Director General, Department of Provincial and Local Government, briefed the Portfolio Committee on the Inaugural Annual Report on Disaster Management.  She said that this report was framed in terms of Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002. A decision was taken to report from the 2006/07 financial year, and reflect on progress since the promulgation of the Act. The report was discussed under the general categories of objectives, progress, challenges, how these challenges were addressed and the way forward. In her presentation she gave full details of the structures put in place, and detailed the areas in which support had been given (see attached presentation). She then detailed the training and capacity building that had been undertaken, and the participation in international forums. Regulations and priority guidelines had been implemented, there were disaster management plans and the Department was busy on the Working on Fire programme, which had been successfully implemented. She gave tables of the state of readiness of provinces and municipalities.  She concluded by assuring the Portfolio Committee of South Africa’s readiness for disaster management readiness for the 2010 World Cup. She requested further engagement on this report, as the DPLG was on course, but much still needed to be done on establishment, monitoring, evaluation and implementation. She further detailed what other departments were doing to assist in inter-departmental collaboration and readiness (see attached presentation)

The challenges were detailed as including the fact that start up funding was not made available, municipalities were failing to budget for disaster risk recovery, the processes for claiming and funding was cumbersome, further inhibiting municipalities, and capacity constraints were a serious problem. There was a need for better monitoring, and an overall risk and vulnerability assessment. She detailed the interventions that had so far been taken and what still needed to be done (see attached presentation for full list)

Municipal Performance Report: Department of Provincial and Local Government
The report on municipal performance was discussed with reference to the overall progress. Ms Msengana–Ndlele reported that municipalities were obliged to prepare performance reports, compare the performance to the targets and indicate any measures to improve. It was the Department’s intention to improve the methodology of compiling these reports. She gave an analysis of the number of municipalities submitting their reports, the progress made by the DPLG as well as National Treasury, and examples of case studies. She then outlined the key performance areas, and gave an analysis of transformation and institutional development in the areas of filling of posts, adoption of performance management systems frameworks, women employment and Section 48 organisational performance management systems. She also analysed the basic service delivery (see attached presentation for all figures and comparisons). The challenges included unconfirmed infrastructure backlogs and aging infrastructure, provision of Free Basic Services in farm areas, lack of managerial, technical capacity and Project management, costs of backlog eradication  and delays in procurement or supply chain management processes. There had been some positive progress in job development and economic improvements. She then tabled the performance under the topic of municipal viability and financial management, and noted that it remained a challenge to get the budgets tabled on time. Governance and public participation was a further key performance area, where progress was noted, but challenges were outlined as including getting information on the establishment and functioning of ward committees, and implementing issues raised during the Presidential imbizo. The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) performance report showed that the IDPs were being increasingly adopted, that there was a wide range of progress in adoption of Spatial Development Frameworks, and some provinces had good implementation of the Disaster Management Act and had benefited from Project Consolidate. There remained challenges with credibility of IDPs, the need for improvement of adoption and linkages of the performance management systems. She concluded by noting that the DPLG was in talks with the Office of the Auditor-General on improving the reporting of municipalities.

Intergovernmental Relations Report: Department of Provincial and Local Government
Ms Msengana–Ndlele submitted a further presentation detailing the review of the Intergovernmental Relations Report (IGR) This report was presented bi-annually. There was not yet sufficient empirical data to compile a Report that was completely free-standing, so this Report drew from secondary data sources, such as Reports on 5-Year LGSA, Provincial IGR Reports, research commissioned for the 15 year review and various research studies. She gave examples of the progress made in various areas (see attached report, from slides 71). However, there was still a need for greater coordination across the spheres of government. Clarification of functional competencies in Schedules 4 and 5 of the Constitution as needed to optimise the distribution across spheres of government. . There were certain pressures identified. National Departments were not always exercising adequate oversight over their provincial departments and there was a need for better use of the Intergovernmental forums. There was also a need for better accountability and monitoring mechanisms at provincial level . The report then gave a detailed outline of how these challenges were being addressed, the way forward and key success factors.

Discussion
Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) was impressed by the honesty of the report and the progress made. He said he would be pleased if the DPLG engaged with South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and municipalities to find out how they would respond to challenges. He remarked that the root of the weaknesses of municipalities arose from the lack of focus on the greater systems of which they were a part. He asked how SALGA could respond to Disaster Management

Mr Mshudulu said there was a challenge created by the outsourcing of questionnaires. He suggested that municipalities should interrogate their own capacity.

Mr Mshudulu noted that the DPLG focused at a national level and had intervention on a national level, when there was Integrated Development Planning (IDP).

Mr Mshudulu requested a better way of informing delegates and asked what capacity the Department had to communicate with members. He said he appreciated their good attitude to the critical analysis of the Portfolio Committee..

Mr W Doman (DA) congratulated the department on its good progress, particularly pertaining to the Section 48 reports. This provided a clear picture of what was happening. He said that he was shocked by the Northern Cape's statistics, where no municipalities were reporting, and found this strange. He stated that the information was not overwhelming but said the Committee would need time to map it out for use in future meetings. He asked about the “report-fatigue” that municipalities were apparently experiencing. He referred to the key indicators for financial viability, and was concerned that these were not being reported on at all. He asked how this could be addressed to produce a reliable report.

Mr M Sonto (ANC) asked what the capabilities and structures were for determining a speedy response in disaster situations. He asked what reactions were these situations attracting and how could the Department deal with that. He said this was something the DPLG needed to consider carefully.

The Chairperson agreed with the comments of members. He referred to the Department's efforts to close the gap and said this was very encouraging. In respect of the Disaster Management plan, he highlighted the changing weather conditions due to climate change, and noted that South Africa had never before experienced they type of weather that was now prevalent. This underpinned the critical role of the Disaster Management Plan.

The Chairperson spoke to the importance of appropriately located Disaster Management centres, noting that this was an urgent matter, and also commented on a need for proactive system to be in place.

The Chairperson asked about the relationship between the collective and individual capacity, saying that this needed to be nurtured as it could make or break institutions. He queried the methodology of the Project Consolidate interventions. He asked who those doing the intervention were, and if their approach was informed by methodology that maximised the impact and improvement. He made the suggestion that the public should be invited for its view, to ground and communicate the findings as people contributed their experiences and opinions and were exposed to new views.

The Committee requested that the Department apprise the Committee of the implications of the SALGA interactions.

The questions could not be answered, due to insufficient time.

Traditional Leadership Legislation: National House of Traditional Leaders Bill and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill
Mr Nathi Mpungose, Senior Manager, DPLG, briefed the Committee on the two Bills under currently under discussion. He reviewed the background to the legislation. Two pieces of legislation, the National House of Traditional Leaders Act and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, both of which had a bearing on traditional leadership, had been identified for amendment. Both were passed in 1994, repealed in 1997 and replaced with a new Act, which was then amended in 1998 and 2000. The Acts were not fully in line with the White Paper on Traditional Leadership and Governance that had been adopted in 2003, as they had been passed before the adoption of the White Paper.

Each Bill was thus intended to repeal and replace the existing Acts, to produce new legislation that was in line with the White Paper, and was clean and comprehensive. The Bills were published for public comment on 3 June, with a closing date of 2 July 2008. The Bills had been introduced into both the NA and NCOP and the DPLG was currently consulting with key stakeholders, including kings and queens, senior traditional leaders, headmen / women, national and provincial houses, The Commission for the Promotion of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Rights, the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims, SALGA and provincial governments.

Mr Mpungose discussed both bills, highlighting the key areas and general issues. He set out the gaps that had been identified in the previous legislation, many of which were identified in the Memorandum on the Objects of the Bill, and proposed changes. He noted that there was some urgency in finalising the process and discussed the proposed procedure.

Discussion
Mr Mshudulu asked what informed the process.

Mr Mpungose responded that the DPLG had set up a task team in 2006, and their findings and recommendations informed the process. The National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) and relevant departments had looked at the effectiveness and the development of the legislation was core.

Mr M Nonkonyana (ANC) asked for clarification on whether the membership was only senior traditional leaders. He commented that there did not really seem to be an effective relationship between the national and provincial houses, and expressed the opinion that there was a need to improve this. He said this would affect communication as well.

Mr Mpungose responded that this was the domain of the Department of Traditional Affairs. What the Department wanted, with regard to membership, was for the National House to consist of senior traditional leaders only. There had been a call for this not to include headmen. The Department was trying to regulate this in a structured way.

Mr Mshudulu asked if the House would follow the western way or conduct meetings in a traditional way.

Mr Sonto replied that the House was trying to fuse traditional and western ways.

The Chairperson agreed that this should be the case, as culture was dynamic.

Ms T Nwamitha–Shibulana (ANC) asked about the gap between houses. She referred to the alignment terms. She said there could be problems in phasing the Bill  into the terms of local government, and asked whether the proposals would have to suit local government.

Mr Mpungose replied that the terms of office were aligned with the National House of Traditional Leaders. The Department encouraged provinces to amend their legislation accordingly.

Ms Msengana–Ndlela replied that the DPLG would have to await the outcome of the Commission in order to have direction to move forward.

Mr I Mogase (ANC) asked if the remuneration of traditional leaders depended on the size of their constituency. He also asked if these were western wages or more traditional forms of payment such as cattle or land. He asked if it was possible for a Republic to have a king.

Mr Mpungose replied that the House wanted to manage its own budget and remuneration, but the Bill did not make adequate provision for this. The DPLG would have to look at that.

Mr M Likotsi (APC) referred to the mentioned twelve kings and asked who they were and which provinces they came from. He asked for clarification as to the difference in definition between a king and a chief.

Mr Mpungose replied that the kings had jurisdiction over only their own areas. Currently they were dispersed as follows: one in Kwazulu-Natal, six in the Eastern Cape, two in the Free State, two in Mpumalanga and one in Limpopo. According to the Nhlapo commission on claims and disputes, six had been declared illegitimate. There were more than 1 000 claims to be dealt with by the Committee, so there was still much work to be done before anything was final. He said that traditional leaders were at different levels, with kings being highest in the hierarchy, followed by chiefs, and headmen being the lowest level of senior traditional leaders.

Mr Nonkonyana asked about how membership worked with dual membership.

Mr Mpungose responded the Act’s framework was clear on who was excluded from becoming a member. Members of Parliament were excluded, as well as councillors.

Mr Likotsi noted that the Bill was silent as to the issues related to the Minister and which persons should be regarded as kings and which as chiefs. He also asked if the Khoi were recognized in the House.

The Chairperson intervened in the line of questioning by commented that these questions were too specific. He asked the members to be more general. He added that those investigations were under way and would be addressed at a later meeting.

The Chairperson referred to the summary of the Bill, and said that the isolated gaps needed to be addressed by an amendment. In respect of the gaps and challenges identified, he proposed the establishment of the council to work with key stakeholders on performance. He asked for clarity on jurisdictions, the amendment to section 17 of the Act, the appointment of the king and queen and the interim measures, ex officio members, remuneration and the proposed process map. He queried the one- year limit, with provinces not being able to pass legislation and reconstitute, and the possibility of 5 years to finalise the process. He pointed to the urgency of finalising the Bills during 2008.

Mr Nonkonyana referred to ex-officio members and asked if that was still going to happen or if it would be stopped.

Mr Doman queried the delays in dealing with Bills. He suggested a more focused approach, where it would be discussed for three or four days. He said that the hearings would have to deal with the Bills simultaneously.

Mr Mogase asked how the proxy holders were remunerated.

The Chairperson replied that they were remunerated by whoever paid the proxy giver. He also asked for clarity on what a proxy was.

Mr Mpungose responded that the legislation was clear on the remuneration of proxies. The amendment would not affect the arrangement, as this was an issue of deputies. He said that payment had been a challenge with deputies not receiving a salary at all in some cases. Implementation was a challenge.

Mr Mshudulu remarked that the moment traditional leaders decided to go to Parliament, there should be no grey areas. It must be very clear that the proxy/deputy should be recognized.

Ms Nwamitha-Shibulana commented that from the time that she had been appointed a Member of Parliament in 2002, it was made very clear that a person could not be paid two salaries by the same government. She did not see how this was unclear at all.

The Chairperson said that it was odd that the Department was making a submission to Parliament while consultation was still continuing.

Mr Mpungose responded that the DPLG would continue to facilitate public participation to aid the development of the Bill.

Mr Mshudulu indicated his dissatisfaction with the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) issue. He said the disaster management should be conditional on acceptance of the IDP. He queried the methodology of the Project Consolidate intervention, stating that those who had done the interventions had never come back to share their experiences with the Portfolio Committee. He said that the timing of the process was correct. He said the DPLG would have to take advantage of this as a way of improving service delivery

The Chairperson responded that the Portfolio Committee had received information from the DPLG about meeting in all the provinces. As a result he did not understand why this had been a problem for the member.

Ms P Bhengu (ANC) asked if there were any advisors from the team. She also wanted to know if there were challenges in the consultations with the traditional leaders.

Mr Mpungose responded that the independence of the House was not adequately covered and they would have to deal with that. The suggestion had been made that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) run the election in order for it to be credible. These were the only two issues.

The Chairperson asked why there was a delay in granting what the DPLG admitted was reasonable.

Ms Msengana- Ndlela referred to the two issues highlighted by Mr Mpungose. She said a major concern here was the allocation of resources, the organisation of the old institution and the independence of the House. The manner in which government had sought to deal with these concerns was by establishing a department to focus on this area of work.

The meeting was adjourned.

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