Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 29 - Provincial and Local Government
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 22 Jun 2009
No summary available.
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Tuesday, 23 June 2009 Takes: 97 & 98
TUESDAY, 23 JUNE 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 14:00.
House Chairperson Mr M B Skosana, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Debate on Vote No 29 - Provincial and Local Government:
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: House Chairperson, hon members of the House of Parliament, MECs present, the Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, provincial leaders of traditional houses present, representatives of business, leaders of Salga, representatives of organised labour, key partners and stakeholders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, during the state of the nation address debate that took place earlier this month, we declared to Parliament that, as the Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we would diligently perform our function and play our role as the "choir conductor" in terms of ensuring that our system of co-operative governance works, and works very well.
Today we come to this august House and to the nation with the symbol that defines our mandate and the style of co-operative governance that we are going to see over the next five years. As the choir conductor, this is the stick that we have. [Applause.] We are going to ensure that we conduct this choir! This stick symbolises our collective commitment to work together in new ways, in government and with those that are outside of government.
We pledge to perform this role with one over-riding objective, that is, to create decent jobs and ensure that our people have better lives, through partnerships and working together.
This new administration, under President Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma, is convinced that through effective co-ordination across government as a whole, and acting in harmony with communities, we can accelerate service delivery and sustainable development.
It is for this reason that today we will reflect more closely on our choir conductor's role. This will include looking at the following: What is expected from our choristers in government and in civil society; the main factors and risks that can create disharmony and discord; the main factors that will enable us to deal with the choristers who are not keeping tune or singing according to the song sheet; indicating what we intend to do to decide when it is time to sing at full volume and when it is time to sing softly in pleasing tones; how we intend to get feedback from the audience; and how the audience can continue to enjoy our melodious music in their homes, in their schools, at places of work, at places of worship and in social clubs.
It is our understanding that the Department of Provincial and Local Government is no more. The old department focused more on local government, to the neglect of provincial government and traditional leadership. Today we are introducing a new Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Leadership.
Lo Mnyango usanuka umlungu, musha. [Ihlombe.]
This department has a new and expanded mandate which will see a greater focus on improved vertical and horizontal co-ordination across the spheres of government and public entities. This department will ensure that we strengthen, support and oversee provincial government. We will ensure that there is improved co-ordination between government and communities, and we are going to strengthen our focus on the institution of traditional leadership in our single system of governance, and ensure that traditional communities are able to find a voice and expression in terms of planning, budgeting and implementation.
We have a compelling and urgent case. Our view is that in South Africa the developmental state is characterised by the following: One, directing development through a common vision; two, improved state leadership, technical and organisational capacity and capability; three, faster service delivery; four, outcomes-based co- operative governance, which means focusing on making the people's lives better; and five, not simply engaging in technocratic exercises, but rather in a revolutionary approach that will require "revocratic" means and an activist demeanour in the way we conduct ourselves, and ensuring that public representatives and officials are playing their role. What it means in essence is that we must ensure that public representatives do not oursource power to officials. They must play their role to ensure that oversight is conducted, and is conducted diligently.
An honest reflection on our past performance highlights important achievements, while at the same time there were also major weaknesses and shortcomings.
In 2004 we launched Project Consolidate, which was hands-on support to local government. We agreed at the time when the initiative was launched that this programme would run for two years. In 2006 we took the support to municipalities, to a higher level, to the next gear. In doing so, we launched a programme called the Five-Year Local Government Strategic Agenda in 2006. That programme must be able to end when the term of local government ends in 2011.
Of course there are challenges in this programme, as much as there have been achievements. I must say that we are engaging now in a process that ensures that we have a programme that can take us forward. We agreed earlier that we never focused on supporting provincial government. They did not get a lot of support from our side and that is why there is now a detour in the way we do things. We are therefore saying that the choristers in government have not all sung according to the same song sheet.
We also need to be self-critical as the choir conductor. Our assessment is that the former Department of Provincial and Local Government failed to position itself in a way that ensured that it was a good choir conductor. The department primarily focused narrowly on local government and did not effectively address the causal, systemic and accountability problems in this sphere. Furthermore, it did not resolve the fractures in intersphere relations as they relate to achieving cohesion and integrated development in municipalities. The result has been a discordant choir, producing dreadful music and not fulfilling the needs of its audience.
This is demonstrated by the example of the OR Tambo District, a district that has 1,7 million people, but with very high levels of poverty and underdevelopment. This municipality, over the next three years, will be getting an amount of R1,8 billion. Although this municipality was part of a presidential node, the interventions that were applied there did not help that situation.
The statistics tell us that the poverty rate in that municipality is 78,2%, compared to the provincial average in the Eastern Cape of 62%. Amongst the 15 to 64 year age group, 67% of the people of the Eastern Cape are unemployed.
This district has produced outstanding, world-class leaders, the doyens of our revolution – OR "Magegwane" Reginald Tambo and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, uDalibunga. Those leaders sacrificed their lives for freedom. The district also produced 32 Pondoland martyrs, who came from Ingquza in Pondoland. These 32 were hanged in Pretoria after receiving the death sentence. They were hanged from the gallows by the white minority regime.
However, after 15 years of freedom, these people have not experienced much in terms of development. There is no water, there is no electricity, there is no sanitation, despite the struggles that they conducted.
Also, we believe that we want to look at the situation in other areas from which freedom fighters come, particularly Chris Hani, who came from kuSabalele, and Sabelo Pama, the commander of the Apla forces of the PAC. We shall be going to that area to look at the poverty that prevails there.
I am just making an example of OR Tambo District – it is not an isolated case. A similar situation exists in many other parts of the country. Despite the many issues that have been raised, we believe we will be able to deal with the situation and will be able to do more. However, it is important to note that the core problem is at times not the issue of resources; it is about the lack of public sector performance, excellence and accountability. We believe that there is still a high level of mistrust between communities and local government, and there are issues between ward committees, community development workers and ward councillors. We believe that these issues are issues that we are going to attend to, because they cause conflict and tension. We believe that government must be able to work in harmony to ensure that things are addressed and there are no problems.
Having outlined all these things in terms of the challenges that are experienced by the country, we say that our strategic posture is guided by the imperative of building a developmental state.
We are also guided by the urgent imperative of turning around local government by 2011. It is our intention that by 2011 and 2014 we should have achieved the following – listen very carefully, because you must hold me accountable next year by these deadlines. We are saying: Complaints by people regarding local government must be reduced significantly by 2011; municipal debt, which has increased to more than R41 billion, must be reduced by half by 2014; greater progress in working towards a debtfree society, by promoting a culture of saving and paying for services, must be implemented, without fear or favour or prejudice; all municipalities and provincial government departments must have clean audits by 2014; fraud and corruption in municipalities and at other levels must be significantly reduced, to the minimum, by 2011; clean cities and towns must be promoted, through the management of waste in such a way that it creates employment and wealth, by 2014. The establishment and maintenance of People's Parks is one such example, where we will create the parks to promote love in this country.
Ward committees should be given the necessary powers and resources to develop and implement the ward development plans by 2011. There should be increased and effective monitoring of service providers by public representatives, officials and communities. We must ensure that councillors, traditional leaders, officials, ward committee members, community developments workers and community activists are trained and competent by 2014. The regime of remuneration and the provision of tools of trade for councillors, ward committee members and community development workers must be reformed by 2011. The number of service delivery protests must be reduced significantly, and the Thusong Centres must become the face of co-operative governance at the local level and must be run by this department.
We believe that training for and capacity building of councillors and local government practitioners will receive special attention. Secondly, we demand greater accountability and discipline from all choristers, especially those in the public sector. The department is going to ensure that we promote clean government and develop a high level of responsiveness and accountability at national, provincial and local levels. Thirdly, we will play a more hands-on support role so that service delivery and development are accelerated and that vulnerable groups are attended to.
We are also going to ensure that the programme of the Pondoland Revival Project is addressed sooner. I can see the MEC from the Eastern Cape, uTata Gcobana. We are saying eMampondweni is a sleeping tiger. It's an important area, and it's a jewel of the country. If it could be developed, many people would want to come and stay in that area.
Finally, we will foster development partnerships, social cohesion and community mobilisation, to ensure that co-operative governance unleashes the potential and the resources of South Africa. We are saying …
... uzoy'ithola kanjani uhlel'ekhoneni? Walala wasala!
Across these five priorities, we will drive a carefully crafted and sequenced legislative reform programme between now and 2014.
In implementing these five priorities,our postureover the current termwill be defined by urgency, activism, coalface dedication, impatience with incompetence and a ruthless mission to root out corruption.
We want to ensure that, as we go forward, we are able to ensure that the institution of traditional leadership is at the centre of development in rural areas. That capacity and potential must be able to be utilised for the benefit of our people.
We will be reviewing the disputes and claims legislation that deals with traditional leadership. We feel that the matter of this Bill has caused a lot of division, disharmony and unhappiness between brother and brother, in terms of the institution of traditional leadership. We are going to attend to this matter. We would be happy if this Parliament could pass the Bill before the end of September this year.
We will also come to you with the Municipal Property Rates Act. We want to see it being reviewed, so that we can attend to certain issues. The intention is to ensure that it is the sharp end of the spear, so that it can pierce through in terms of development of our issues in this country.
We are going to ensure that the electricity distribution industry process is dealt with. We feel that the regional electricity distributors, or REDs, are important. But what I can promise South Africans is that there is no way we can agree to any system that will take away the financial capability of municipalities through this REDs process. [Applause.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Minister, you have two minutes left.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Municipalities in this country get the bulk of their income from electricity distribution. We hope that we will be working with yourselves, parliamentarians, in dealing with this issue.
From our point of view, we want to thank the team that has worked with us in developing these priorities. I can tell you that in South Africa we are developing a bigger, happy family for local government. This team met from Friday to Sunday over the past week. All of them are here. We are going to go out there and implement this task. I want to thank you, House Chairperson, for this opportunity. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Thank you, hon Minister. I sensed an overall interest when you said you would establish parks to promote love. [Laughter.] I am not sure how they are going to hold you accountable. [Laughter.]
Mr S L TSENOLI / End of Take
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mr S L TSENOLI: Chairperson, one of the most popular twentieth-century revolutionaries said he knew of no true revolutionary who was no inspired by love! [Laughter.] It was Che Guevara who said that.
Minister, I express my respect to you and your Deputy for coming back to local government this Fourth Parliament. The President surely believes that you have unfinished business in this sector and must return to complete it.
As for hon Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim, we welcome him back after a detour into Sport and Recreation, Public Enterprises, and Justice and Constitutional Development. I hope he brings agility and fitness from Sport and Recreation to this area, for the tasks that we reckon he left unfinished in this area remain formidable for us.
It is absolutely clear that the continuity which this means in this sector is important. We raise it as a particular issue, for in our examination of what is happening inside municipalities across the country, but also in other spheres of government, the dynamics of continuity and change have a nasty habit of impacting on service delivery in ways that we may not have intended. Therefore, when the President takes a step such as this one, and brings back persons who are known to have been in this sector before, he is teaching us by example. I hope we will do far more than perhaps we have done before, to ensure this continuity.
The reconfiguration of this department, and the redesign of its mandate, are crucial, but given the pace at which this is happening, the committee reports that it was not able to engage as robustly as it would have liked, in an engaging manner and as we have been requested to do by the voters, who this time gave us a mandate to do things differently.
We propose that the House accepts this Vote, on condition that, as we have agreed with you and your department, Minister, we enter into such a highly interactive, robust engagement, to look at the work that is before us.
It is absolutely clear that the overwhelming majority of our people expect that the outcome of this Fourth Parliament will have a major impact on levels of poverty and inequality. There is no doubt that the fate of the young in our country, whose month this is, includes more than perhaps we have been able to give them so far.
We have no doubt that when the President decided to rename this portfolio "Co-operative Governance and Traditional Leadership", he was spot-on in diagnosing as a problem the lack of co-operation across this sphere.
An irate Free State commentator, reflecting on this matter of whether there has been co-operation among the three spheres or not, noticed that national and provincial departments tended to expect local government to co-operate, that they may not always have taken local government seriously, and that this expressed itself in the junior officials they sent to integrated development planning sessions. These IDPs therefore could not always take important decisions, because those who were there were junior and did not have the authority to take the decisions. As a result, the IDPs did not have the credibility they ought to have had, also because of the inputs from national and provincial departments to provide the resources required to complement those from municipalities and the needs that were identified by the people themselves through democratic processes, as would have happened in those municipalities.
This is our assumption, that these IDPs would have been formed in this way. You and I know, Sir, that we have been engaged in interacting with the Department of Provincial and Local Government over the past years, to try to ensure the credibility of these IDPs. Now the changes that have been introduced by the President through the renaming of this department, already tell us that he means – and I guess he was speaking on behalf of the ANC, eloquently – that we expect no less than absolute co-operation and collaboration across these three spheres.
As you eloquently said at the stakeholder workshop, when visitors come to any country, and they find no water coming out of taps, they find that the traffic lights do not work, they say, "all of government does not work". In this way you were saying to us that local government is crucial to the reputation of any country.
The accolades we are getting today about the success of the Confederations Cup to date are to a large extent thanks to perceptions by visitors to this country, foreign commentators, journalists and officials of Fifa, of progress they are seeing, but also of the reception they are getting from South Africans across the board, citizens in these municipalities, and of the progress they see in terms of construction and development of overall infrastructure that is meant to make the World Cup 2010 even more exciting than it is today. To me that is evidence of the progress that municipalities are making, amongst other key role-players.
Let me also just refer back to the successful elections that were held recently, through which we came here. Very few people recognise the enormity of the input of municipalities in that process. Often we do not congratulate them for the resources they have provided and supervised, ensuring through their part and their responsibility that these elections are successful, as is required by law of all of us. When we compliment the IEC, observers and others, we often do not recognise the people who provided the infrastructure and the environment in which the elections were held. I think it is important for us to indicate this as a positive that has happened in this area.
However, we also know that in the Third Parliament, in making an assessment of municipalities, the Auditor-General identified a number of inadequacies in their financial management systems. He spoke about the lack of adequate supporting documentation; high expenditure on consultant fees; ineffective internal audits and audit committees; problematic balance sheets and income statements where these existed; poor quality annual financial statements, despite their timeous submission; inadequate supervision and monitoring; inadequate focus on internal audits and audit committees; and gross noncompliance with legislation.
In an analysis of all material from municipalities, the Auditor-General said that they had identified six issues that should focus the work that we all do: Supervision and monitoring; developing compliance with risk management and good internal control - good governance practices, as he calls it; availability of key officials during audits; timeliness of financial statements management; quality of financial statements and management information; and clear train of supporting documentation, easily available and provided timeously. This is what the Auditor-General says, a key monitoring tool of the state system that is supposed to work with you in concert, in harmony, to bring about the sort of system of governance that we would like to see here. But this is local government.
Now as the MEC from the Free State said, any failure that we perceive in local government is failure of provincial and national government as well. Section 154 requires of both spheres to provide legislative and other support to municipalities, so when municipalities are reflected as not performing so well, it is a reflection on the performance of these departments. It is not only perhaps a reflection on the current Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs or the department as it was called in the past, but also on other departments that equally play an important role in supporting municipalities to provide the kind of services and infrastructure that they are meant to provide.
So this idea that failure at municipal level is collective failure is an important one that the President was addressing when he renamed this department "Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs". So, in respect of collaboration across these three spheres and all public entities that have anything to do with municipalities and provincial government, as you correctly said, we are equally guilty as Parliament, for, having identified in the committee that we would undertake vigorous provincial support, we didn't do as we had promised, partly also – not to justify it – because of resource constraints that we had, so that we could not do as much as we would have liked to.
Here is an interesting observation by the European Capacity Building Initiative, following intensive research around capacity building initiatives. They say, and I quote:
In cases where public organisations have been captured for narrow purposes by a powerful elite, they may have a formal façade with a mission, vision, outputs, plans, budgets, structures and systems, but the informal capacity behind the formal façade may serve totally different purposes and produce outputs that do not cope well with the formal purposes of the organisation.
As an irate fellow I quoted earlier from the Free State said, often the annual reports of municipalities are a work of fiction, partly because of what is concealed, what is not said; behind the glossy stuff there is a lot that is not quite true.
This is an observation about systems of organisation elsewhere, but bearing some resemblance to the truth in some areas, though not the whole of the system. What we are suggesting to you, Sir, is that it looks like we have a joint responsibility to ensure that where we have situations, whether in municipal, provincial or national areas, where we find that there is capture by elites in a way that is problematic for the resources of these municipalities, we should act, and act vigorously without fear or favour. We have a mandate from our electorate, the President himself and our manifesto to act against this business of corruption. It is not just that we want to combat it, but we have to undertake to dislodge these elites who are parasitic on the state system. They include those in the private sector. So we must give notice that wherever they exist, wherever they operate, they will feel the heat of government, of Parliament, in how we undertake this business.
It is also fair to recognise that often our own views may not be accurate. We have a responsibility to be objective, to ensure that the assessment that we make of what is happening in these areas includes those key role-players. Co-operative governance operates successfully only on the basis of respect for the integrity of the institutions and organisations that are involved. They too have a responsibility and a mandate to undertake work, and if we interact with them, as you have said, to produce harmony, it would be nice to have them coming along and co-operating willingly, so that they produce, enthusiastically, more than what is required to produce the harmony that we are talking about.
On that score we support you fully, and we expect that in the coming months the intensity of our interaction will not lessen. We do this in the service of the poor and the working class who look up to us to soften the blows of the global crisis.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left.
Mr S L TSENOLI: I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr W P DOMAN / End of Take
Mr S L TSENOLI
Mr W P DOMAN: Chairperson, congratulations to the Minister and the Deputy Minister on their appointment. We regard them as an improvement on the past, and as the DA we look forward to working with you. We know you are both very knowledgeable and will be far more hands-on with the choir baton in hand. You were honest today, Minister, but you will also have to be tough, because local government is in a crisis.
First of all, there is a financial crisis. In many provinces, such as the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape and the North West, the majority of local municipalities are technically bankrupt. The local government expenditure review of Treasury found that municipalities have developed a grant dependency syndrome. The financial viability of the whole local government sphere is at stake. Even a metro such as Tshwane has experienced cash-flow problems.
We all know the challenges. On average 38% of citizens of a municipality cannot contribute a cent, and rely on free basic services, which municipalities cannot fully fund from their equitable share. Bad billing and poor debt collecting aggravate the problem. Even state departments do not pay their accounts. After a lot of debt has been written off, the total debt owed to municipalities last year still exceeded R40 billion. The regional electricity distributors, or Reds, are looming in the background, and the huge increases that Eskom is apply for are going to break the camel's back, because studies have shown that citizens cannot spend more than 9% of their income on municipal services.
But what is shocking – and this is where we can play a role and discipline our councillors, and we will also do our bit on our side of the House – is their managing of municipal funds and their skewed priorities that we see.
Byvoorbeeld, Tswang-munisipaliteit in Sannieshof het nie R285 vir sy posbus se huur of R75 om die sleutel daarvan te vervang nie. Hulle het nie ink vir hulle drukkers sodat inwoners hulle motorlisensies kan hernu nie, maar hulle het R1,3 miljoen vir 'n Mercedes Benz vir die burgemeester … [Tussenwerpsels.] … en R900 000 vir 'n huis in Delareyville net vir onthale, een in Rustenburg, buite hulle gebied, en hulle het ook sommer 'n plaas gekoop. O ja, en daardie uitvoerende komitee, moet u onthou, het op belastingbetalers se koste die eindstryd van die Rugbywêreldbeker in Frankryk bygewoon.
Mafikeng-munisipaliteit, weer, het R1,3 miljard nodig om sy water-infrastruktuur reg te kry, maar R1,4 miljoen word sommer van die begroting weggevat om 'n onder-17-sokkerspan vir maande na Brasilië te stuur terwyl hulle eintlik op skool moet wees.
Daarom verwelkom die DA die Minister se sterk standpunt teen al hierdie wanaanwending en korrupsie toe hy in die Oos-Kaap oor Mnquma-munisipaliteit gesê het, en ek haal aan:
By the time the Special Investigating Unit is finished there will be neither bush nor stone where both corruptee and corrupter can hide …
En dit is die pad wat u moet neem, Minister, en ons sal u steun. Ek kan vir u belowe dat waar die DA in beheer is, sal ons geldbronne verantwoordelik bestuur en goeie dienste lewer. U hoef nie bekommerd te wees oor die Wes-Kaap nie.
Secondly, municipalities are also in a human resource capacity crisis because of overzealous transformation since 2000, with no regard for retaining skills and experience. Buffalo City Local Municipality in East London does not have a single engineer.
By talle munisipaliteite, soos by Koukamma-munisipaliteit, word die ingenieurspos vir jare vakant gelaat, terwyl 'n blanke ingenieur op die dorp bly en graag sy dienste beskikbaar wil stel.
As part of Project Consolidate 280 professionals were put in at least 85 municipalities and a governance report of your department indicates that in December 2008, 1 283 technical experts were deployed at municipalities. This is not nearly enough, and there are so many problems with this outside help that is parachuted in for a limited period that their influence is not what it should be. Councils – and this is a big mistake that has happened - have treated their experienced professional staff so badly over the past few years that a new phenomenon has emerged: these people are no longer willing to work directly for a municipality but will only render their service to an agency such as the Development Bank, which then seconds them to a municipality.
Die DA sê gesonde arbeidspraktyke moet voorkeur kry bo die ideologiese uitdryf van kundigheid. Munisipaliteite het baie mag met die aanstel van personeel, en ons weet die "nasionale demokratiese revolusie" van die ANC vereis dat net kaders in alle posisies aangestel moet word, maar ek is bly as hulle dit nie meer wil doen nie, want as ons nie gaan terugkeer na groter meriete met aanstellings nie, gaan munisipaliteite al hoe meer in 'n moeras wegsak.
Let's get rid of the closed patronage system.
'n Derde tema wat ek graag wil aanraak, is om te sê die DA glo nie in sentralisasie nie. Daarom wil ons die Minister vra: Hou u departement klein, skaf al hierdie ongevulde poste af, maar bou kapasiteit by die provinsiale departemente sodat hulle munisipaliteite kan steun en moniteer.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left, hon member.
Mnr W P DOMAN: Ons indruk is, Minister, dat Minmec nie naastenby sy rol vervul het nie, en dat hierin vir u 'n geleentheid lê om kapasiteit te bou, maar dan sal die LUR'e vir Plaaslike Regering in die verskeie provinsies ook moet uitstyg bo die ANC-partyverband, en sonder aansien des persoons moet optree teen burgemeesters en raadslede wat oortree.
Therefore the DA is dead against any eroding of the powers of provinces or municipalities, as contemplated in the draft Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill. Provinces were a constitutional agreement, and contemplating the abolishment of provinces goes against the very spirit of that agreement. Abolishment won't improve service delivery. The DA will prove in the next five years in the Western Cape how a province can perform. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr T BOTHA / End of Take
Mr W P DOMAN
Mr T BOTHA: Madam Speaker, hon members of Parliament, molweni! Cope wishes to congratulate the hon Minister and his Deputy on their appointment to these positions. Their vast experiences in this field will stand them in good stead to address some of the challenges this department faces.
These challenges include, among other things, the inability of some provinces to spend their budgetary allocations and the failure of some municipalities to deliver on their mandates. Above all, the poor relationship between local government and institutions of civil society is a matter of concern.
Madam Speaker, let me begin with stating the obvious: Section 40(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa constitutes government as national, provincial and local spheres. It further emphasises that these spheres of government are distinct, interdependent and interrelated. These terms are not meant to be slogans, or notes to be sung when it suits us.
To meet the objectives set out in the Constitution of the Republic would require more than a good choir conductor and a hymn book. Provinces and local government ought to be not only geographically and demographically distinct; they should also distinguish themselves in their ability to raise their own revenue. As the Financial and Fiscal Commission recommended in its recent report to this Parliament, provinces must use the full extent of the Constitution to raise taxes, so that they can bolster their coffers to fund their own programmes.
However, it would be meaningless to expect the provinces and municipalities to perform miracles if they do not possess institutional and human resource capacity, and if their revenue base keeps being eroded, as the regional electricity distributors are likely to do to municipalities.
Therefore, carrying out this constitutional mandate, there will have to be a lot of investment in institutional capacity building in some of the provinces. It is very unlikely that government will succeed in its mandate to deliver services to the people of South Africa while other spheres of government are incapacitated.
Given the historical background of some of the provinces, their standard of living coupled with poverty, it is the prerogative of national government to address some of these imbalances.
It is equally important that whilst trying to strengthen the provinces and local government structures, funding should also be made available to build the capacity of NGOs and community-based organisations, including the institution of traditional leaders. The above institutions should be in the forefront of working with local government to complement their delivery capacity, especially in rural areas.
I wish to commend the department on what we consider to be a programme designed to monitor and evaluate local government performance, the Vuna Awards programme. This programme has helped to promote the performance of many local authorities since its inception. However, its weakness is that it is voluntary and has no form of sanction. In the spirit of co-operative governance, national government should continue to persuade the provinces and local government to participate in this programme.
The Vuna process should not end with the evaluation of municipalities; it should also extend to provinces in need of support, and where weaknesses have been identified corrective measures should be put in place. Failure to correct could lead to budgetary implications in the following year.
Therefore Cope supports this budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P F SMITH / End of Take
Mr T BOTHA
Mr P F SMITH: Chairperson, I would like to start by wishing the Minister and his Deputy well. The Minister has seemingly embraced President Zuma's willingness to engage with the opposition, and we thank him for that. And the Deputy, as we all know, has a long history of engaging with and listening to people, and hopefully taking what they have to say on board, so we look forward to a good relationship with the two. Maybe we should all meet in the "love park", and make things even better than they have been in the past.
Chair, I would like to concentrate on the department's new mandate. I do want to say that it is very good to see the enthusiasm that the Ministry has for its new task, but it is a lot easier said than done. Quite frankly, Chair, there is a lot on their plate. All we are really talking about now, at this moment, is a new political vision, because until we see concrete programmes, staffing commensurate with that, and actual action, it is just words. I think some action will come, but will it be enough? That is the issue.
Chair, there are just three things I'd like to raise in the two minutes I have. First is the role of the government at a sort of functional level. Transversal functions are always very difficult, from the government's perspective, and the mandate is really huge. It is all very well, as the department is doing, to describe itself as "a cog in the wheel of government" – that is their description; of course, we are also a conductor – but it is quite another to see this translated into concrete outcomes.
They are responsible for – and I list what they say they are going to do: Co-ordinating development planning, funding, implementation and monitoring across all three spheres of government and with civil society. This is a huge task, Chair, and it is not a simple line-function exercise. It is going to take a lot of skill …
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left, hon member.
Mr P F SMITH: One minute, oh my goodness. [Laughter.] Sorry, Chair.
Alright, well, let me just mention a critical issue then, and that is the extent to which the department is going to respect our Constitution and co-operative governance. The Ministry has spoken about the voluntarism that we have, but if you look at the somewhat intemperate statements of the Minister yesterday, speaking about the future of provinces, if you look at the proposed constitutional amendment before the House, really this is not respecting Chapter 3 at all. It is really saying Chapter 3 does not matter, we shall ride roughshod over it. And, Chair, that is completely unacceptable. If the government has a problem with Reds, then they need to have something which is Reds-specific, even if that is the route to go, but to have a general blanket intervention proposal is completely wrong. [Time expired.] Thanks, Chair.
Ms S R TSEBE / End of Take
Mr P F SMITH
Ms S R TSEBE: Ke a leboga Modulasetilo, Tona ya Lefapha la Tirisanommogo ya Dipuso le Merero ya Segosi, Motlatsa Tona, maloko a mantle a palamente, ke a le dumedisa.
Ke kopa o ntetle gore mo puong ya gompieno ke akgole bašwa ba naga rona ya Aforika Borwa, ditawana tsa African National Congress fa kgwedi ya bona ya Seetebosigo e ya fifing. Mo metseletseleng ya bona e ba e dirileng mo kgweding e ya Seetebosigo go ipontshitse gore.
They are ready; they are equal to the task of defending the revolution, defending the gains of the democratic revolution.
Mo malobeng lefapha le ntshitse thebolelo ya bona ya tekanyetsokabo mo komiting e e maleba. Re dumelane ka bongwe fela jwa pelo gore re dumelana le yona fela go na le dintlha tse di rileng tse re naganang gore lefapha le di tseye tsia. Dintlha di tshwana le tse di latelang …
On the systems and capacity building …
Tona Rre Shiceka - ke antse letseleng. Go botlhokwa gore go nne le ditogamaano tse di maleba kgotsa re tlhabolole tse di leng teng mo lefapheng gore re kgone go itepaganya le dikgwetlho tse di lebaganeng lefapha. Jaaka Moporesidente mo puong ya gagwe a ba neile taolelo e e okeditsweng gore ba lekane le tiro. Fa tekanyetsokabo e e ka se diragatswe ka tshwanelo ga go kitla go supiwa Motsamaisi wa Lefapha Rre Shiceka, ebile ga go kitla go supiwa Motlhankedimogolo wa tsa Matlotlo ka monwana. Ka jalo semelela ka thata, ikemise ka dinao gonne pela e tlhokile mogatla ka ntlha ya go romeletsa. Dirisa mokgwa wa tiragatso gore tekanyetsokabo e e diragale go ya ka fa dikgatlhegong tsa batlhophi.
Batho ba buile ba re tokomane e ya maikano a ditlhopho ya ANC ke yona e e tla busang mo dingwageng di le tlhano tse di tlang, go mo matleng a gago.
Moporesidente mo tokomaneng ya gagwe ya malatsi a tlhola a le robedi a Ferikgong ya monongwaga ya African national Congress o rile ke a mo nopola.
An important aspect of a successful developmental state is the capacity of public servants to execute the task with which they have been entrusted. This means that the right personnel should be placed in the correct positions. Where this is not the case, government should implement corrective measures through training and redeployment if necessary or where warranted.
To the hon member from the DA: It is not that a person must be a member of the ANC; she must be equal to the task. [Applause.]
I believe that there are systems in place in order to address areas such as capacity building and improvement of the system, but, hon Minister, we really need to improve in the areas of implementation, monitoring and accountability.
Mo matlhong a setšhaba go sa kgathalesege gore tsela e e yang kwa seolong kgotsa e e yang kwa Mabiskraal e tshwanetse e tshelwe ke mang sekontiri, a ke N4 kgotsa N1, batho ga ba na kgatlhego se ba se batlang ke sekontiri. Ga ba batle go itse gore ke puso efe, dimasepala di rwala mathata ka jalo a re rupeleleng dimasepala tsa rona gore di kgone go dirisana le baagi.
Let's take more resources, capacity building and skills training to municipalities, because …
ke kwa ditiragalo di diragalang teng.
The failure of the local sphere is the failure of the government as a whole. Hon Minister, putting systems in place to curb corruption and instances of maladministration have gone some way to achieving the objectives, but more still needs to be done. We need to speed up the reform of systems, develop capacity building and also put in place clear monitoring systems. It is a worrying factor to note that, despite challenges in the area of systems and capacity building, there was an average spending of 33,9% on this allocation between 2003-04 and 2006-07. The department would do well to appraise this now in its turnaround strategy to ensure that funds allocated for this important function are utilised with maximal benefit. I know that you are equal to that task, Minister.
On disaster management …
Re akgola lefapha ka go tlhoma ditheo tsa tsamaiso ya matlhotlhapelo mme ra re go lefapha re ka itumela thata fa didika tsotlhe tsa rona mo Aforika Borwa ka bophara, di ka nna gona mo bommasepaleng ba rona ba dikgaolo gonne ke kwa matlhotlhapelo a bonagalang teng. Ke tsona diofisi tse di gaufi le batho fa go na le matlhotlhapelo.
Jaaka re bone kwa Taung kwa Bokone bophirirma le kwa Cacadu go nnile le mathata fa go ne go na le matlhotlhapelo mo mafelong ao le tse dingwe tse di fetileng mo go ntsheng madi go ya go thusa.Re bone dipuso tsa bogareng di ne di leka ka fa di ka kgonang ka teng fela go ne go tlhaela fale le fale ke ka moo re reng go maleba gore o kopane le komiti e e ikarabelang ka tsa madi a setshaba go bona gore go na le tswelelopele mo ntlheng e.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left, hon member.
Ms S R TSEBE: Mo bokhutlong re rata re akgola lefapha mo lefapheng le ba le dirang le la merero ya setso. Ke dumelana le Tona fa a re go tlhokega tshekatshekoseswa ya molao wa magosi gore diporofense tsa rona le tsona di kgone go nna le bokgoni jwa go samagana le maraganela teng a re a boneng mo bogosing jwa rona. Ke aleboga.
Mr P J GROENEWALD / End of Take
Ms S R TSEBE
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, die agb Minister het baie mooi woorde hier geuiter insake om te kyk of hy plaaslike regering kan red. Ek wil aansluit en vir die agb Minister sê as hy daadwerklik iets wil doen vir plaaslike regering, is daar drie dinge wat hy moet doen. Eerstens, hy moet ontslae raak van korrupte, kriminele personeel. Tweedens, hy moet ontslae raak van onkundige personeel. En derdens, hy moet sorg dat dienstegelde betaal word.
Voorsitter, hoekom sê ek dit? Hy het dit gesê, maar hy het nie gesê hoe hy dit gaan doen nie. Hoe is dit moontlik dat 'n munisipale bestuurder van Kroonstad, wat tereg staan op ernstige aanklagte van diefstal, korrupsie en bedrog, net eenvoudig bedank en dan aangestel word by Klerksdorp se Matlosana-munisipaliteit? En die verweer is, daar kan nie dissiplinêr teen hom opgetree word nie, want hy het die diens verlaat. Agb Minister, hiermee, sonder optrede deur u of deur die regering, beperk u nie korrupsie nie - u versprei die korrupsie. U bevorder dit, net na 'n ander munisipaliteit, wat dalk 'n groter munisipaliteit is. Daar word van u verwag om daadwerklik op te tree, en van daardie mense ontslae te raak.
Aangaande onkundige personeel: Agb Minister, daar word gesê 70% van plaaslike regerings in Suid-Afrika het nie gekwalifiseerde …
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left, hon member.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: … ingenieurs nie. En dit is hoekom dit gaan soos wat dit gaan. Daar is kapitale begrotings. Sommige munisipaliteite bestee nie eens 30% van hul kapitale begrotings nie. Hoekom nie? Dit is as gevolg van onkundige personeel wat nie weet hoe om die job te doen nie, want dit is mos belangriker om jou maatjie en jou familielid en jou vriend in 'n posisie in te bring as om dienste te lewer aan die mense.
Die Minister het dienstegelde aangespreek. Hy sê daar is R40 miljard uitstaande. Wat van die gelde wat afgeskryf is, agb Minister? Ek wil vir u sê dis baie meer as R40 miljard. Met die agterstallige dienstegelde kan Suid-Afrika nog 'n polisiemag in diens stel en dan kan hulle misdaad beter bekamp. Doen daardie drie dinge, en u kry vordering. Ek dank u. [Tyd verstreke.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS / End of Take
Mr P J GROENEWALD
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Madam Chair, comrades and friends, as ever, the old gives way to the new. And so, on 22 April the Department of Provincial and Local Government died, and on 11 May the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs was born. This is not just a name change. It is a new department, with a new, expanded mandate, and new ways of doing things, with a new determination and a new, activistic leadership.
But we must be clear. Even old departments are new! We all have to be new. We have no choice. We are under enormous pressure. Yes, we got 65,9% of the vote. But no, the people's patience is certainly not endless. The next five years are do-or-die years. Either we drastically improve service delivery and development, or we begin to sink. It's as simple as that. As a department, indeed as a government, we have made our choice: we are determined to deliver. And we want you, as Parliament, to hold us to account. And even more: We want the people out there to hold both you and us to account.
But holding us to account is not enough. We want people actively to engage with us in accelerating service delivery and development. We are clear: The state alone cannot deliver. People have to be actively involved in shaping their own lives. They must do so in many ways, but, crucially, this must include through working with government. Of course, people will create their own space for this. But as a department, we are also fundamentally obliged to create the space for this. Hence it is that we are the "Department of Co-operative Governance", not "Government".
The people, we believe, must be at the centre of development, now more than ever before. For as we all know, the world is going through its most severe economic crisis in some 80 years, and our country is also being hit by this crisis, not as hard as other countries are, but we are – and we have to confront this hard reality.
It is against the background of the economic challenges we face, as part of the global economic crisis, and the need drastically to improve service delivery and development, that the department's new focus on strengthening co-operative governance, as part of building a developmental state, must be understood.
We shaped, through massive struggles and adroit negotiations, a system of co-operative governance. This system is enshrined in the Constitution. We do not intend fundamentally to change the system. We want to strengthen the system to ensure that it serves our developmental needs more effectively. So there isn't an ideological imperative that underpins our review of the powers and functions of the three spheres of government, but a practical one, based on experiences of the past 15 years.
Co-operative governance, as we know it, is not working well, as the Minister indicated in his input. We want to ensure that there is far better co-ordination and cohesion within and between the spheres of government, and also between government and the people. We need a more developmental co-operative governance system. We are very clear that as a national government we cannot just fold our arms and say, "Ah, well, local government is not delivering. What can we do about it? They are an independent sphere." Yes, they are independent, but they are interrelated with the national and provincial spheres. What we are effectively saying, is that we are not fundamentally deviating from the co-operative governance system; we are tinkering with the powers and functions to ensure a more developmental orientation for the state as a whole. Not least in that, is the participation of the people. There will be no review of the powers and functions without the active engagement of the people of our country, as indeed occurred when we shaped the current configuration of powers and functions when some two million or more people were actually involved.
Listening to the DA, one is struck by the contradiction on the one hand between the bleating about the "crisis", as it is called, at local government, about the failures in the system, and on the other hand, their objections when we say that we want to review section 100 or section 139 of the Constitution. These sections, by the way, are there in the Constitution anyway, and there is provision, moreover, for legislation to give effect to those particular two sections, that is, intervention by national government in a provincial government when it does not function properly, or for provincial government to intervene in a municipality or municipalities when they don't function properly. All we are seeking to do, is to ensure effective delivery and development, so that the people out there don't suffer.
So, in short, we are very, very clear: Co-operative governance ain't working. We need to improve it. But it is going to remain a system of co-operative governance.
I am very struck, moreover, Madam Chair, that somebody from the opposition suggested that the Minister is implying, or suggesting, or hinting, that provincial government is going to dissipate or disappear or be truncated. I know of no such position. What I know about this Minister, is that he teasingly points out to Lechesa Tsenoli and myself, who were responsible in part while we were here in the Constitutional Assembly process and in the roles we played in this modelling of the system of co-operative governance, that we haven't in fact focused enough on provincial government.
It is also instructive, though, that the Minister is communicating that we are not the old department; we are a department of "Co-operative Governance", which means we also have to secure greater co-operation at national level. For the most part members of the opposition – and I hope it won't happen next year – are focusing solely on local government, while of course indeed we accept that local government is very important.
Now very closely linked to co-operative governance is the notion of a developmental state. There is nothing fundamentally new about that. All of you who endorsed the Constitution in 1996, all of you who were in this House in 2001 when we passed the Municipal Systems Act …
Madam Chair, can you tell me how much time I have? I'm not sure, is that allowed? I just need to know. [Laughter.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Continue, hon Deputy Minister. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: No, no, I didn't ask you; you are not Madam Chair! [Laughter.]
May I point out that we passed the Municipal Systems Act here unanimously. That is a developmental system of local government. We have provided for integrated development plans, IDPs. We have said that those IDPs – let me quote from a government department, and let me in fact quote from the Municipal Systems Act to remind you of what you agreed to:
It is the principle strategic planning instrument which guides and informs all planning and development, and all decisions with regard to planning, management and development in the municipality.
The second section says:
It binds the municipality in the exercise of its executive authority …
And thirdly, it says it should be a product of intergovernmental and intersphere planning. If you look at the ethos of local government, at least in theory – it is not working in practice, the Minister himself acknowledges this – that is what we are seeking to do across the three spheres. So when we talk of a developmental state, let's discuss it. In our own department, we haven't fully discussed it.
Let me throw out a few elements of a developmental state for discussion in this Parliament, in the public out there, and not least within the majority party. We want to very clear. We don't mean by a developmental state some commander's status notion from above of planning. But for the many reasons that you as opposition parties complain about local government, we need to have far more development planning across all three spheres. The IDPs, as you know, as technocratic, the ward committees' needs are not necessarily reflected in them, they are not coterminous with provincial growth and development strategies and so on. In fact, in the Municipal Systems Act, we say that not only should ward committees shape IDPs, but IDPs should also reflect in turn provincial and national plans and strategies, and they are not doing that, of course, which is what we want to stress when we talk of a developmental state. Firstly, it is not a status commander's or above notion. Secondly, it is strategic planning we are talking of right now. Thirdly, it is embedded in the notion of mass participation, just as you have in Chapter 7 and in the Municipal Systems Act, except we are talking of a national planning framework and we have a specific Minister in The Presidency to deal with that.
In this country there is a very rare phenomenon. Whether you agree or disagree with this, the fact is that it is a rare phenomenon, that we have a 65,9% majority vote for the majority party, on a 70% election. In this day and age that is rare for democracies. There is a momentum that has been aroused there. There is patience, as I said earlier, that is not endless. We need to build on that momentum, whether those people out there voted for our party or not.
We are saying that there are limited resources against the background of this economic crisis. We cannot afford the duplication and wastage that regrettably we as government must take some measure of responsibility for, but Parliament, if it had exercised its oversight role more effectively, including me when I was the chair of a committee and a backbencher, could have avoided this.
We are very clear that a developmental state is a state that intervenes in the economy. It serves the basic needs of the people of the country around certain non-negotiable needs such as water, electricity, education, health and so on, the very socioeconomic rights that I think all of us agreed to in the Constitution, but crucial to this notion of a developmental state, we must emphasise, is local economic development and the idea that municipalities too, precisely because they are so challenged, have to plan more effectively, to manage their limited resources better, but also to create decent jobs.
I want to go on to say that there is nothing particularly socialist – so as to avoid frightening you – in the notion that we have of a developmental state, and many of its elements are there in the Constitution and in the Municipal Systems Act.
I also want to stress that if you look at the way in which we have been managing IDPs, we think there is a need for a major review of that. In fact, the department itself carried out a study some two years ago, if I am correct, on the functioning and performance of ward committees and the public participation process in shaping IDPs, and its relationship to the provincial and national spheres. The department itself in its report has admitted that there are many, many weaknesses. But the basic principles, the basic features that we have in the Constitution and in the Municipal Systems Act, in my view – let's throw it open for discussion – remain valid. What we need to do, is to see how we can draw on those good features, add more features, and work to ensure that there is development planning across the country. In any case, in successful economies, in India for example, in Brazil, China, they all have a national plan and a national planning commission of some sort or another. We want to stress that our department will play a very crucial role, as the Minister explained, and no doubt if he has the time will explain further this afternoon, in working closely with the National Planning Commission, led by Mr Trevor Manuel. We will work very closely with the monitoring and evaluation Ministry in The Presidency of Minister Chabane.
So our department is actually going to ensure that while there is this national planning, that the role of the provinces and the role of local government are not excluded, and that it is not decisions from above. So if you are opposed to a status notion of development planning, it is important for you to work with this department, this Ministry and this portfolio committee.
I want to conclude by congratulating the chairperson of the portfolio committee on being elected chairperson of this committee, Lechesa Tsenoli. For those of you who do not know, the reasons why he and I are where we are, is that we are people who shaped this model, that has many weaknesses, we admit, some 15 years later, and to punish us, the President decided, in my case, to make me Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the ANC in Luthuli House decided that Lechesa Tsenoli would be the chairperson of the committee, so that we can learn from our own mistakes! So let us begin by noting that people who in some or other way played a role in shaping this very model of co-operative governance are themselves playing key roles. Not least, mind you, the Minister. He was a Local Government MEC at the time, 1994 to 1999, and for those of you who don't know, he served on the White Paper. And I want to publicly remind him that some, if not a lot, of the legislation we passed, emerges from the very model that he and the hon Lechesa Tsenoli shaped.
So let me say to you: We are in for a very exciting five years. We are going to accelerate service delivery and development. The choice is yours: Are you going to take part or not? But we certainly are determined to deliver. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART / End of Take
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, since its restructuring, or renaming, the department has an increased mandate, that includes ensuring closer co-operation between the three spheres of government. Now the ACDP shares concerns expressed during the recent briefing to the portfolio committee as to the department's capacity to carry out its extended mandate, and I am sure, Minister, that is something you will be looking at.
For example, we note that the municipal infrastructure grant will total R67 billion over the next three years. Now, clearly the municipalities have serious capacity constraints in spending these large capital amounts. The question is: Will the department have sufficient capacity to assist them?
We have heard of, and we share concerns expressed at, the shocking state of service delivery at municipal level, and it is not an exaggeration to say that many of these municipalities are bankrupt, and yes, they have collapsed. However, we need co-operatively to get together and assist them. This week alone the NCOP is being briefed on three section 139 interventions in the Eastern Cape.
Hon Minister, your frank admission as to the challenges facing us in this regard is music to our ears, not dreadful music as you said, but beautiful, harmonious music. We trust that the goals set out will be achieved to the betterment of the communities on the ground.
Hon Deputy Minister, you raised the issue of the provinces. By the same token, provinces shoulder a massive portion of service delivery responsibilities. Total spending by provinces is set to rise to R344 billion by 2011, which is double the level of five years ago, and clearly we welcome the fact that provinces will also be assisted where necessary. From our side we will be looking clearly at amendments to the two sections, section 139 and section 100, to see to what degree there will be that necessary intervention.
Whilst we also particularly welcome the development of a set of local government KPAs, as well as the monitoring capacity of provinces, again the question arises: Will your department have the sufficient capacity to do this? Clearly, additional capacity is required, otherwise lofty goals will not be achieved.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left, hon member.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, Chair.
What, hon Minister, could we enquire, is to happen to the integrated sustainable rural development programme, in view of the newly announced Department of Rural Development, which we understand is still in the process of being formed? Clearly that issue cannot be delayed pending the setting up of the new department.
To conclude, the ACDP would like to congratulate the Minister and the Deputy Minister on their appointment to the newly named department. We will particularly miss the Deputy Minister in the justice committee. He is no doubt very pleased to be back to what was known as the Department of Provincial and Local Government. Clearly, it was definitely not sport and recreation when he was in Justice! We also thank all the departmental officials for their commitment and dedication. The ACDP will support this Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms I C DITSHETELO / End of Take
Mr S N SWART
Ms I C DITSHETELO: Madam Speaker, the UCDP agrees that this is a new department. Important worrying factors that need attention and need to be dealt with head-on include the strikes and conditions of municipalities. Why are we losing focus on that? Their main aim is services to the community, not these continuing strikes happening to our country.
Address the land demarcations, hon Minister. People should not be hanging in the balance, not knowing which province they belong to. Secondly, traditional leaders should be respected, and working with them in harmony is of importance.
Madam Speaker …
Kgosi ya tsalwa ga e tlhongwe fela.
Let's see to it that our department and government are not seen as interfering with this matter. Our traditional leaders should also be co-operative in these discussions for the sake of rural improvement and a better life for our people.
Money allocated to the department should be monitored and channelled to the right sources. Let's bring down the bad reports we get from municipalities about corruption, mayors and nepotism, just to name a few things in our department.
With these things brought to your attention, the UCDP accepts the budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A J WILLIAMS / End of Take
Ms I C DITSHETELO
Mr A J WILLIAMS: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, guest and officials, and most importantly, members of the public, the budget shows us that this department is spending around 16% of its allocation on consultants and professional services. That might not sound like a large percentage, but to put it into perspective, this 16% equals R60 million, which, broken down, means that the department is spending R497 per minute per working day on external consultants. So during the eight minutes that I have been allocated to debate today the department will spend R3 976.
This consultants' paradise must come to an end. I am not suggesting that there be a zero spend on external consultants, as there is a need for some work to be outsourced. However, we are moving towards a developmental state, where spending 16% of a departmental budget on consultants and professional services would not be in the best interests of a developmental governmental. So I'd like to ask the Minister: What is being done to improve the capacity of the department, the capacity of the consultants and the capacity of the department to manage these consultants?
We in government need to start moving away from the dependency on external service providers who are not accountable to us. What is this money being spent on? We need to find ways to capacitate internal staff, recruit skilled staff and build a bigger, more effective department that will meet the needs of the people on the ground, and not just a fund disbursement agent, as the opposition would like to see.
Chairperson, part of the responsibility of this department is to drive public participation, and this mandate is rooted in our past. The Freedom Charter, as adopted at the real Congress of the People 54 years, 362 days ago, in Kliptown, on 26 June 1955, resolved that "all people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country". Now could the opposition please listen carefully? [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please!
Mr A J WILLIAMS: Our Constitution, as adopted in 1996, states in section 152, that the object of local government is "to encourage the involvement of communities …" [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, hon members!
Mr A J WILLIAMS: "… and community organisations in the matters of local government". The Local Government Municipal Systems Act, Act 32 of 2000, section 16(1)(a), indicates that a municipality must –
… encourage, and create conditions for, the local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality …
Section 73 of the Local Government Municipal Structures Act, Act 117 of 1998, clearly informs us that metros and local councils must establish ward committees for each ward in the municipality. The Act further states, in section 73(2)(a), that –
… the councillor representing that ward in the council […] must also be the chairperson of the committee …
To add to the above legislation, resources have been allocated to ward committees, as stated in the Local Government Municipal Amendment Acts. With all of this enabling legislation, one would imagine that in every ward in the country there would be vigorous public participation and vibrant ward committees. Sadly, however, this is not the case. And in particular, this is not the case for the majority of wards that have been won by the DA, and I doubt if the DA will prove anything in the next five years, except that they don't have any structures on the ground. [Interjections.] The opposition, Chairperson … [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, hon members! [Interjections.] Order, please!
Mr A J WILLIAMS: … in most of their wards has failed to comply with this enabling legislation and is basically undermining their constituents' rights to meaningful public participation, and by doing so is in direct conflict with the Constitution of our beloved country. [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, hon members! Order, please!
Mr A J WILLIAMS: This legislation was written for all South Africans, so that they could have a real and measurable impact on the structures and decisions that affect their daily lives. This was the intent of the Freedom Charter and, opposition, this is the intent of the Constitution. In my opinion, we can no longer stand by and watch while South Africans are marginalised by the very people they chose to represent them. In the ANC 2009 election manifesto President Zuma said, and I quote:
As a mass-based organisation that is rooted amongst the people, reaching into every sector of society and every corner of the land, the ANC has the capacity to get all of society working together to make change happen faster.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please!
Mr A J WILLIAMS: Chairperson, ward committees that are activist in character, that are convened on a regular basis by their chairpersons and that have an understanding of the material conditions in the wards where they live, are the government watchdogs on the ground. Their role is vital, as they experience service delivery in real time.
We as elected representatives must ensure that all the people of this soccer-loving nation are afforded the opportunity to participate in and have influence on the workings of the local government where they live. I would therefore like to ask the Minister: When drawing up his plans, has he considered what action should be taken against any councillors who fail to implement legislation that enables public participation?
The motto of the National Assembly is "We the people", and we as a collective have the responsibility to ensure that power is in the hands of all the people. Amandla!
HON MEMBERS: Awethu! [Applause.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): I now call on the hon Ms M Wenger. [Interjections.] Order, please!
Ms M WENGER / End of Take
Mr A J WILLIAMS
Ms M WENGER: Madam Chairperson, in the South Africa Yearbook of 2002-2003, the relationship between national, provincial and local government is described as "distinctive, interdependent and interrelated".
This means that one cannot function without the other, but at the same time functions relating to each of the spheres of government overlap.
For many years there has been talk around the powers and functions, but somehow they don't come to light, creating major frustrations for districts and municipalities.
The heartbeat of this National Assembly is local government, and this we cannot deny or ignore. While this Assembly legislates, the implementation has to be carried out at local level. This in itself, hon Minister, creates major challenges for most of our municipalities, especially those which are not financially viable and lack the capacity and competent staff to carry out these directives and initiatives.
The census figures of 2001 that are used for the grading of municipalities have not accounted for 17% of our population, meaning that the grading decisions have not been correctly informed. Furthermore, the huge influx of job-seekers and foreign nationals, especially into Gauteng and the Western Cape, has not been taken into consideration. The outdated grading system, that is reminiscent of the apartheid era, needs to be reviewed and brought in line with democratic structures.
Remuneration offered to public servants in local government should reflect their value and contribution. The current salary structure is one that is unlikely to attract the right candidates for the right job, creating a further void in administration and the ability to deliver services. We are all aware of the criticism towards public servants and their lack of commitment. Most of it may be true, but we lose many good employees who are not looked after due to these discrepancies.
Service delivery is a commitment to our electorate by all political parties, and we need to take this very seriously. Our citizens deserve better. They deserve to live in dignity, and they need to have access to clean water, electricity and a house that they can call a home. The present standards of delivery are unacceptable, Mr Minister, and they need to be reviewed, and developers held accountable.
Government with its target dates and policies did well. However, the implementation remains a challenge in some areas, and is nonexistent in others. Whatever we as a National Assembly legislate, or whatever expectations we create, have to be carried out at local level. This, without the necessary funding, makes implementation impossible. Unfunded mandates can never become a reality, resulting in boycotts and demonstrations.
Long and tedious procurement processes frustrate progress. While we as the DA support the Municipal Finance Management Act and the procurement processes, we do feel that we need to streamline some of the processes in order to facilitate fast and efficient delivery. Many a time it is found that by the time the process is complied with and concluded, the material prices have escalated to such an extent that the emerging contractors can no longer comply. Surely this was not the intention of the Act. This has serious implications for service delivery, as the process has to start all over again. This is where residents become impatient and councillors bear the brunt of it, and risk their houses and belongings being burnt and damaged. Very seldom is this anger taken out on officials or provincial and national legislators who have brought this Act into being. A lot of the shortcomings you have alluded to yourself, Minister.
District municipalities are meant to provide capacity to local municipalities, but the reality is that many of them fail the exact structures that they should be supporting. The salary budget, for instance, of the Sedibeng District Municipality borders on 80% of their total budget, and despite the enormous investment in staff, the much-needed expertise to assist the local municipalities …
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): One minute left, hon member.
Ms M WENGER: … such as Emfuleni, is not forthcoming.
Doing away with district municipalities, and instead of using the moneys for qualified engineers, should be the order of the day, Mr Minister. The municipal managers of Emfuleni and Sedibeng have still not been appointed after six months. How many other municipalities are facing the same?
We need to bring governance down to the people. We need to be accountable. Let us learn from good examples and strengthen accountability, root out corruption, and concentrate on fiscal discipline and commitment to our people, so that we may achieve our goal of becoming one nation, with one future. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M L DUNJWA / End of Take
Ms M WENGER
Ms M L DUNJWA: Madam Chair, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon chair and hon members of the portfolio committee, hon members of the House and our guests …
Ndiyanibulisa namhlanje. Simele ukuba sizibuze ngalo lonke ixesha xa singena kula masango ukuba yintoni esizise apha. Ukuba asiyenzi loo nto siza kusoloko sicinga into yokuba sizele iziqu zethu nezidingo zethu. Sakuthi siyilibale into yokuba into esiyizeleyo apha, Mphathiswa, kukuba size kulungisa siphucule impilo yabantu. Asisoze sikwazi ukuyenza sisodwa loo nto singayenzi kunye namagosa esebe lakho. Kodwa hayi kumgangatho kazwelonke kuphela, Mphathiswa, kumgangatho wamaphondo noworhulumente basekhaya.
Ewe ndiyeva ukuba amaqela aphikisayo ayavuma kwaye ayalwamkela uhlahlo-lwabiwo-mali lwakho. Kodwa kulo mculo uthi masiwucule, njengombexeshi wekwayala, zikhona ke noko indawo apho kukho izandi ezingavakaliyo kakuhle. Sithi ke xa kufuneka sizenzile zonke ezo zinto siqale apha endlini ngokuqinisekisa ukuba akukho kuyiloza; batsho abantu abaculisayo.
Uthi utata uMadiba xa wayethetha ngokulwa ulwaphulo-mthetho norhwaphilizo ngonyaka ka1999, uthetha enjenje:
Our hope for the future depends on our resolution as a nation in dealing with the scourge of corruption. Success will require an acceptance that, in many respects, we are a sick society. It is perfectly correct to assert that all this was spawned by apartheid. No amount of self-induced amnesia will change the reality of history. But it is also a reality of the present that among the new cadres in various levels of government you will find individuals who are as corrupt as – if not more than – those they found in government. When a leader in a provincial legislature siphons off resources meant to fund service by legislators to the people, when employees of a government institution set up to help empower those who were excluded by apartheid, defraud it for their own enrichment, then we must admit that we have a sick society. This problem manifests itself in all areas of life.
I am raising this, hon Minister, to remind us that when you are standing here in front of us without any fear or favour, first of all admitting that in this department there is a level of work that has not been done by the previous department, for me as a member of the ANC, that is a sign of providing leadership. [Applause.] Any leader who stands and admits his or her failures, is a person who says "I want to do more".
But we are saying to you, as a leader in this government, that you must not be threatened. You must not be afraid of ensuring that you root out corruption at its roots. I don't think we can get rid of people for the sake of getting rid of them. What we, as the portfolio committee, think you must do, is to do an overall audit of the skills in the department and ensure that you create an environment that is going to enable people to be capacitated. Those that are refusing … We are always told that the ANC government is purging people. I think we are not purging people, but, Comrade Minister, we will deal with any person, from whatever party, who is not prepared to be assisted, to be empowered, who is not prepared to ensure that the social conditions of our people are changed. It is not about whether a person is black or white; it is about an ability.
We are saying this to the officials in the department, right across, and to the politicians who are not prepared to ensure that they toe the line. I agree, Comrade Minister, that we have been engulfed by a sickness of people who don't want to work. We agree with that, but we want to say to you, here today, that we are committing ourselves to the manifesto of the ANC that we will have to change the social conditions of our people.
The hon member of the DA must understand that the majority of the people who stay in the locations and squatter areas are unemployed, and therefore we must mandate the local government department that the systems that are there to assist the poor people must be put in order. The attitude and the conduct of the officials that are not prepared to assist the poor people, hon Minister, are being addressed.
In conclusion, as I sit down, I want to say to you, in isiXhosa we say:
Kubethwa eyona itsalayo inkabi yenkomo.
You must rest assured that we know that you are going to get knocks from all corners from the opposition parties, but we want to say to you, as we have said, we are a choir here. We must all sing a note that will change the social conditions of our people.
We support this budget as the ANC. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS / End of Take
Ms M L DUNJWA
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: House Chairperson, I want to thank members of this House for their contributions to this debate. I must say that we should agree on the rules of the game, so that we are able to ensure that when the choir sings, it sings properly, a good melody.
One of the things that we know and acknowledge, is that we accept criticism that is constructive and aimed at building. At the same we accept the fact that we must acknowledge the good things that are being done.
We must agree that governance, and local government in particular, should not be politicised. It is in the interests of all of us that we ensure that local government functions well, because local government affects everyone. Whether you are at work or at home, you are affected by local government. You may afford to pay for education, because sometimes, when you have the money, you can afford to send your children to the private sector institutions. You may even afford health care, but local government as an institution affects everyone, and everything happens at the local level. Therefore, this means that we must make local government everybody's business, all of us as we are here.
I want to ask hon members: Have you ever gone to a ward committee? Have you ever gone to a meeting calling for an IDP? Have you ever visited your own municipality? [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please!
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: These are things that I would want to hear. I want to tell members: If there are challenges that you are experiencing, don't be afraid to come to us. We will attend to the issues. Even the speeches that you prepared for today, we would be happy to get them. I am not sure about those who didn't prepare speeches, but we will go to Hansard and get the views. We would like to respond to each and every one of these issues, so that together we are able to confront and deal with the problems.
We must agree that the issue of employing people who don't have the requisite skills is something that we must deal with decisively. We must combat the issue of corruption, and deal with it as a bulldog deals with a ball, to ensure that we eradicate this scourge. [Applause.] This phenomenon is parasitic and benefits the few at the expense of the majority of South Africans, and that cannot be allowed in this country.
Every corrupter has a corruptee. It is a two-way street. We must ensure that those who are involved are dealt with decisively, so that we are able to remove this scourge from our country.
We take note of the views that you have expressed on these issues, starting with the DA, my colleague Doman, to Cope, and to all parties, including the ruling party. When I was listening to the debate, I could not differentiate between the opposition and the ANC. That is what I have noticed. Everybody is critical. And we must allow that; it is healthy. We must not have a situation where the ANC is praising us. They must be able to engage on issues, so that they show us the blind spots that we must deal with as a department. [Applause.]
From our side, I have raised this very strongly with the officials in my department. Those who don't want to contribute to saving the nation of this country must step aside and make way for those who want to serve this country. We must make this country a better country in which to live and work. As South Africans we should be proud of this country. We should be patriotic. Therefore I believe that we must ensure that this is done.
Members of the opposition have raised the issue that we should leave other spheres of government untouched. On the one hand you want me to account in this House, but on the other hand you are saying that there are things that I must not get involved in. If you are saying this, you are speaking with a forked tongue. We must be able to say: We will enter any space in this country, wherever it may be.
We are not going to allow a situation where South Africans are treated as second-class citizens. We must make sure that, whether you are in Musina or in the Karoo, you are getting a quality service. South Africans are very important. They cannot be treated in a way that shows disdain. Therefore I am not going to allow any province or municipality in this country which is not going to feel us. We are going to breath heavily down their necks to ensure that we deal with the issue. [Applause.]
Even in the Western Cape, I am called on by the community of Knysna - they are raising an issue with the municipality that it is not co-operating. They have been writing letters, and have been asking for meetings, and nothing has happened. I am going there. Issues have also been raised with me regarding other municipalities that are under the DA. [Interjections.] That is why I am saying let's not look at the issue of local government in a partisan way. Let's look at the interests of our people in this country, and we will be able to do that.
I have agreed with the Premier of this province, the leader of the DA, that we are going to work together. As the choir conductor, I am going to conduct this choir. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please! [Interjections.] Order, hon members!
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: What we have agreed upon is that the rules of the game, everything we do, must be governed by the Constitution and the law, and we are going to stick to that, because South Africa is a constitutional democracy. We must obey the rule of law, and that is what we are going to do, going forward.
South Africa has wall-to-wall municipalities. We are going to ensure that the citizens of this country are able to benefit as we go forward. As Amilcar Cabral said: Let's claim no easy victories, let's tell no lies. And that is what we are going to do. We want you and us to work together. There must be no "us" and "them". I am calling on you to ensure that you become patriotic in the way you conduct business. Yes, I understand that when you are here, you must play to the gallery, so that your supporters out there can see that you are critical of the ruling party. That is a factor, but we are saying it is important for us to ensure that this country is turned around.
We are not naïve. We know the enormity of the challenges out there. But we believe that together we will be able to address these problems. Everyone must put their shoulders to the wheel. I have a team here that I call the local government big family. This team involves the MECs at its core. It involves all other stakeholders, including Salga, that we have to work with. We believe that with these MECs we will be able to turn around the governance system in this country.
As I conclude, we want to ensure, in local government, that the situation of everyone from other spheres of government doing whatever they want to do, comes to an end. We want to have a single window for co-ordination, which will be done at provincial level by the MECs and at national level by the choir conductor. [Applause.] [Interjections.] That is what is going to happen. [Interjections.]
Now we are saying, as we conclude …
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please!
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: … that we will respond to the issues that you have raised. Henceforth, let's ensure that you see us as friends, not as enemies. We will be able to take up your issues that are constructive. We know that you are not unreasonable. You are not going to raise things that are not there. You will raise things that are eating the fibre of our society and that must be attended to. From our side, as a department, we are committed to ensuring that we work together in turning things around. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Thank you, hon Minister. Hon members, I have three announcements to make. One, all members are invited by the Minister to the Table Bay Hotel from 17:30 for 18:00. Two, hon members are also invited by the Minister to visit the departmental exhibition just outside the door. Three, at 16:10 we will have an Extended Public Committee on Public Enterprises here in the Old Assembly.
The Committee rose at 15:49.
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