Hansard: Questions of Members of Parliament for Minister's Oral Reply: NCOP
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 01 Sep 2010
No summary available.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
THURSDAY, 02 SEPTEMBER 2010
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:08.
The Deputy Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers and meditation.
START OF DAY
NOTICES OF MOTION AND MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I have been informed that the Whippery have agreed that there will be no notices of motion or motions without notice. Before we proceed, I have to read out the rulings. [Interjections.]
Mr A WATSON: Deputy Chairperson, on a point of order: I have realised that we are starting ten minutes late and I have not heard any explanation from the Chair. Is there a reason why this House is not adhering to stipulated times anymore?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: With due respect, hon Watson, the delay was because some of the Ministers had not arrived. [Interjections.] Hon Watson, I am still talking. Can you give me a chance to answer? Is that accepted? Thank you. It was not of my making. We had to have those Ministers here to answer the questions.
Mr A WATSON: With all due respect to the Deputy Chair, that was not a reason for the House to start late. The House should start at the stipulated time. If the Ministers are not here then we should carry on with those who are. I happened to see that one of the Ministers was early.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Again, hon Watson, I have made a ruling and everybody has to accept it. It is not because they were not prepared to come in. If I can give you an example, Minister Shiceka is not well, but today he has taken it upon himself to be available to answer questions. May we proceed?
Mr A WATSON: Chairperson, I was not criticising, but I just said we did not get the reason. You have only given the reason now after my point of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I am saying this for the final time. I am not going to be drawn into unnecessary debates, and that ends whatever anybody wants to say from now on. I thank you.
At the same time, I would also like to explain that the motion on the Order Paper will be deferred to a later date, until the administrative processes are in place for the implementation of the scrutiny mechanisms.
OBJECTION IN TERMS OF RULE 47
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: There are some rulings that I am supposed to give. Hon Watson, one of those concerns you.
The first ruling is on the objection by the hon Harris, which was based on Rule 47. This was during the Plenary of 4 June this year.
Rule 47(1) provides that:
No member, while addressing the Council, may reflect upon any decision of the Council taken in the same annual session, except for the purpose of moving that such decision be amended or rescinded.
Mr Harris averred that a motion similar in substance had already been moved in the Council and now appeared before the line on the Order Paper. He further requested that the motion be ruled out of order.
After perusal of the records of the Council, I would like to inform the House that a motion similar in substance has not been moved. Since there is no evidence in support of the point of order raised by Mr Harris, I therefore rule that Mr Maine's motion was not in contravention of Rule 47. However, since the motion was objected to prior to Mr Harris's raising his point of order, it will become a notice of motion and will be printed in full on the next Order Paper.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP
POINT OF ORDER IN REGARD TO
NOTICE OF MOTION OF HON DE VILLIERS
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I would like to make a ruling on a point of order raised in regard to the notice of motion of the hon De Villiers during our plenary on 4 June 2010. I want to remind hon members that, whilst giving notice of a motion, Mr de Villiers referred to Mr Theuns Botha as the hon "Minister". The Chief Whip then offered an amendment to the notice by proposing that the word "Minister" be replaced by the words "Minister of the Executive Council", MEC. The Chief Whip stated that according to the Constitution of the country, there are only national Ministers, and that the national Constitution is above any provincial Constitution.
I would like to refer the House to the national Constitution. Section 142 of the national Constitution authorises a provincial legislature to pass a constitution for that province.
Section 143(1) requires that a provincial constitution be consistent with the national Constitution. Further, a provincial constitution may provide for, among others, provincial legislative and executive structures that differ from those provided for in the national Constitution.
Section 144 requires the Constitutional Court to certify that a provincial constitution was passed in accordance with section 142 and that its text complies with section 143 of the national Constitution.
The Western Cape Provincial Legislature passed a provincial Constitution. The Constitution Court accordingly certified the provincial Constitution as being consistent with the national Constitution. Section 42 of the provincial Constitution provides that the provincial Cabinet should consist of the Premier and provincial Ministers appointed by the Premier. It is common cause that in other provinces the executive structure consists of the Premier and members of the provincial executive as provided for in section 125 of the national Constitution.
The Province of the Western Cape has chosen to depart from this common practice and, therefore, refers to its members of the provincial executive council as provincial Ministers. In my view, this is the executive structure as authorised by the national Constitution.
Therefore, I would like to conclude that Mr De Villiers was correct in referring to Mr Theuns Botha as Minister Theuns Botha. However, I would like to advise that in future, when members are referring to the members of the provincial Cabinet in the Western Cape, the word "provincial" should precede the word, "Minister". Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP
QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We will now proceed to the questions on the Governance Cluster. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! Order!
Mr K A SINCLAIR: I am sorry, Deputy Chairperson, but the hon Adams is harassing me here. [Interjections.] I'm sorry? No, he said that during the time that he was still with the National Party ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay, let me make a ruling.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Oh! [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Let me make a serious ruling. We are actually here for business. Those who want to play should please do me a favour by leaving the Chamber and playing outside. Thank you.
I would like to announce that I've received a request from the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission that we take his question first, as he is expected to attend a funeral. I hope nobody is going to oppose that. Thank you.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Deputy Chairperson and hon members, good afternoon. Thank you for the question, hon Harris. The hon Harris asked about whether we have set up any communication and interaction with a panel appointed by a ministerial colleague. Chair, when the hon Harris gives us his attention, then we can reply to his question. If I have it, then I shall proceed. Thank you. [Interjections.] I did speak through the Chair. If you had been listening, you would know, hon member. I said, "Madam Chair". [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Minister, please take your seat.
Mr T D HARRIS: Chair, on a point of order: I need to justify that I was simply reviewing the question as the Minister was talking about it. That was the only thing, and if he was talking through you, then I will respond through you and say that I am paying full attention to his reply.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Harris, may I plead with you? Be a good hon member as you have ... [Inaudible.] [Laughter.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Thank you very much, Deputy Chairperson. The question is one of whose relevance I don't understand. The National Planning Commission comprises 25 people, other than me. I am a full-time member of the executive. Then, 25 part-time commissioners were appointed in terms of a presidential minute as an executive order. The names of the individuals were published and they were effectively sworn in by the President.
The National Planning Commission has a special status. Many of the Ministers have all manner of advisory groups. I am sure that Minister Shiceka here has advisory panels on all manner of issues. In my previous life as the Minister of Finance I had all kinds of advisory groups and some have statutory functions, others not. Why the hon Harris thinks that there is a need to equate the National Planning Commission with a committee appointed by one Minister, I don't quite understand.
As for relevance to the Medium-Term Planning Framework, planning remains the responsibility of the National Planning Commission, but every line function has its own planning responsibilities.
As for budgeting issues, these are the decisions taken by the Minister of Finance and he is advised by the non-statutory inter-ministerial committee called the Ministers' Committee on the Budget, of which I as the Minister responsible for planning am part. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Before we proceed, may I make an announcement that the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities is out of the country, which means that there won't be answers to those questions?
Order! Would the hon Rasmeni and Adams please remain with us? Thank you.
The other Minister that is not available is the Minister for the Public Service and Administration. So, it is two Ministers who won't be able to answer questions.
Mr D V BLOEM: Thank you very much for the explanation. Is there any reason for their not coming to answer questions? I've heard you say that the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities is abroad. Can we please get an explanation regarding the absence of other Minister, Deputy Chairperson.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Bloem, I have already said that these two are not available and that is how far I can go. Thank you. Can we proceed? Are there any follow-up questions?
Mr T D HARRIS: Deputy Chairperson, I understand that the Minister has made a technical response to my question that there need not be interaction between the National Planning Commission and the advisory panel to the Minister of Economic Development. But, you will allow me to ask, therefore, if a decision is taken by the Minister of Economic Development and/or the National Treasury in terms of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and that decision is not compatible or does not comply with the decision taken by the National Planning Commission, is there a process whereby the deadlock may be broken, for example by requiring presidential intervention or some other process to solve a contradiction between two planning functions, between the Minister in the Presidency's planning function and a similar kind of planning function that may exist in Economic Development or in the Treasury? Thank you.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Deputy Chairperson, the National Planning Commission has the responsibility articulated in the revised Green Paper which has been through a parliamentary process in terms of which it has certain obligations. Other Ministers do not have a similar kind of advisory powers. The powers of the National Planning Commission are, in fact, sometimes to contradict the executive and sometimes to advise decision-making processes. But because the individuals who are members of the National Planning Commission are not, apart from me, themselves part of the executive, they don't have any executive powers. But, they have a very special status because of the nature of the executive decision taken by His Excellency the President in appointing them.
The same doesn't apply to panels appointed by ministerial colleagues. So, the Minister of Economic Development can't say, "Well, you can't take a decision like that because my panel says this." This is why I distinguish between that and the Ministers' Committee on the Budget, which is a committee of Ministers who sit and engage with the Minister of Finance on matters relating to the Budget. As it happens, Minister Shiceka and I are both members of that committee. We probably meet six to eight times a year and we engage on a whole range of issues. We can advise but ultimately the decision is that of the Minister of Finance. When one is dealing with the National Planning Commission, one knows that it will be required to publish its research outputs, etc, and it has a particular status.
So, through you, Deputy Chair, I want to request the hon member Harris not to conflate issues because I know that this story in the press has somehow assumed the status of equity between a panel appointed by one Minister and the National Planning Commission. My plea is simply not to give that story legs, because it is without substance in law or in fact. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I now call upon the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. [Interjections.] No. [Interjections.] He said no.
Mr T D HARRIS: Madam Chairperson, I do have my hand up.
The DEPUTY CHAIPERSON OF THE NCOP: You didn't.
Mr T D HARRIS: Chairperson, sorry, my hand was up, if you will allow me another question. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You did that.
Mr T D HARRIS: Well, I did that.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You did that!
Mr T D HARRIS: Deputy Chair, may I please ask another question? [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I am asking for an apology from you, Harris. Hon Harris, you said that.
Mr A WATSON: Chairperson, a point of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You didn't put your hand up.
Mr A WATSON: Chairperson, a point of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: And I was about to ask if there was any further question. [Interjections.]
Mr A WATSON: I am rising on a point of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes, Mr Watson.
Mr A WATSON: Madam Chair... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Honourable.
Mr A WATSON: You cannot ask for an apology when you did not ask the House, or give the House the opportunity to ask follow up questions. Mr Harris's hand was waving and you did not ask the House. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Watson, I am now addressing Mr Harris. Thank you. Hon Harris, do you have a follow up question?
Mr T D HARRIS: Yes, I do. Thank you, Deputy Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay.
Mr T D HARRIS: Deputy Chair, I believe I have already expressed my follow-up question in my first follow-up but, as a second follow-up, setting aside the advisory committee to the Minister of Economic Development, what if a ministerial decision by the Minister himself or perhaps the Minister of Finance himself, contradicts a long-term plan as developed by the Minister in Presidency's planning commission? My question is: How does the deadlock-breaking function occur? Thank you.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: It is actually a new question, but I will respond to it. Deputy Chair, ultimately you have to take the approach that allows for consensual decision-making. I don't think that matters are that fixed and firm ever, and in the short period that I have been a member of Cabinet, I don't know that we've ever had to vote on a decision.
There is a point of consensus and decision making. One of the issues articulated in our Green Paper, and certainly dealt with by the National Planning Commission since, is that if you want the National Planning Commission to function properly, then it needs to be beyond the time range of decisions that the executive takes.
Let me cite an example. Minister Shiceka and I would be working along with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, and the Minister of Human Settlements in a process to try to deal with spatial planning. Space is one of the issues that still have a large overhang from apartheid. The poor, primarily black people, live far from their places of work. This still continues. You need only look at the interrelationship between places along Moloto road - kwaMhlanga and others - and Pretoria, and the amount of time that people spend travelling. In dealing with the issue, it is incumbent upon the National Planning Commission to understand that we have to look at the longer term and set a series of normative conditions for that. Minister Shiceka, in working with the two provinces under local authorities, which would be Gauteng and Mpumalanga, would need to deal with some of the spatial planning norms that are immediate.
In understanding those relationships, it is also important that we are able to work through this, so that in the long-term interests of the country we are able to communicate collegially that a lock-in of a bad decision would have consequences. That's how we have to work through it. It is taking Chapter 3 of the Constitution, which is about co-operative governance and premised largely on the interrelationship between the spheres of government, but understanding that collegially we also have a responsibility towards each other.
This arises in a myriad of areas. If the Minister of Public Enterprises were heavily involved in coal fire power as the only option into the future, it would certainly have an impact on the international commitments we have made on climate change. We are looking at these issues and collegially have to be able to deal with them, so that the trade-offs are understood in the decisions in the short-term.
Our interests are these. Because we are not involved in executive decision, executive functions of government normally defined, we are out there ahead of the curve if you wish. We have a responsibility to work collegially and mostly behind the scenes so that we can all take these decisions together. Thank you.
QUESTION 62 - The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRSl of Provinces Main",Unrevised Hansard,23 Nov 2010,"Take 264 [National Council of Provinces Main].doc"
QUESTION 70 - The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, I must express the fact that I am privileged to be invited to speak here. It is the first time that I am speaking in public. I said I couldn't miss coming to speak in the NCOP, irrespective of my state of health. As long as I am able to talk I'll come and speak here – even though one is coming from the jaws of death! But I have survived and I am here now!
On the question put by hon Sinclair on the issue of whether we have statistics in a register of people who were dismissed from one municipality and have gone to another, the response is that there is no requirement or obligation in terms of statutory requirements that a municipality must keep records of dismissed persons.
What is happening is that we have identified the problem; we have submitted the Municipal Systems Act to the National Assembly where we are amending that. We want to ensure in regulation that if you are dismissed from one municipality because of wrongdoing, you can't be employed by another municipality.
As we speak, it is happening. For example, in one municipality, called Moretele, an employee stole money and a decision was taken by the high court in Mafikeng about the punishment of this employee. This employee thereafter applied for work at Kungwini. He was employed at Kungwini, without any checking - a person who is a thief, having been found guilty by a court of law! We are saying therefore that we are addressing the issue, but at this point in time there is no legislation requirement, which means therefore there are no statistics available in municipalities. Thank you.
Mr D A WORTH: This is through you, Deputy Chair, to the hon Minister. I hope it's not going to be out of context here. We have recently had a case where a municipal manager from the Free State - one of the municipalities there, to be exact Kroonstad, Moqhaka Local Municipality - was just promptly moved over and he took the position of municipal manager in Klerksdorp, North West Province and he is now under suspension on an allegation of mismanagement of funds to the amount of R500 million. Here we have a classic case which has happened recently. I would just like to ask the Minister for his comments on that. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Mr Worth, what you are raising is something that we discovered last year, that the municipal manager from Moqhaka was employed at Matlosana. We raised the matter strongly with the mayor then that the gentleman had not performed. On the basis of his performance in Moqhaka, why was he employed there? We don't take decisions about the employment of municipal managers and section 57 managers - it is a decision of the council - but what we can say is that we were proven right in saying the person was not suitable to be employed.
That is why we have taken a decision in regard to the Bill that we have submitted to the National Assembly and which will be coming to this House that anybody who is employed must be qualified, must be skilled, and so on. We are setting the criteria for employment.
If that person is employed, we are also saying the municipality must give a report to the MEC for local government and the Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. In that report, if we find that procedures were violated or flouted, or the individual concerned is not properly qualified as we would want, the MEC must intervene within 14 days of having this matter come to his or her attention. If the MEC cannot intervene within 14 days, the Minister must intervene and ensure that that situation is corrected.
We are trying to ensure that local government is staffed with professionals. We want to avoid a situation in which we employ people for other reasons than the skills and contribution that they will make, because they are bringing local government into disrepute by not being able to deliver what is required. Therefore, in the case of Matlosana we are monitoring the situation very closely and we are happy that there is a new mayor there – he was a member of the National Assembly - who is promising to ensure that he gives direction. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
Mr D B FELDMAN: Hon Deputy Chair. I would just like to follow up on hon Sinclair's question. The Minister is referring to the future, what is going to happen. I think the second part wasn't answered. What disciplinary steps will be taken against those that have already committed fraud or have stolen money? I would like to know whether there is a process going on. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, of course, in every municipality it is expected of and it is incumbent upon that institution that it take disciplinary action against people who have violated the rules of the game. That is happening in regard to this issue.
The question that was raised was: are there any statistics on people who have been dismissed by one municipality and employed by another? Therefore, the hon member is putting a new question completely concerning the issue that we are raising here, but to us it is immaterial; we'll respond to it.
That is why I'm saying from our point of view that the issue that has been raised by the hon member is that this has been taken to all the people who have violated the law. In fact, we are looking at monitoring the situation, because we are saying that we want to stop a situation where you are employed by a municipality, you commit a crime, which is a problem, and then you are employed by another municipality. We want to ensure that, not only in the municipalities but also in other spheres of government. We are saying that the employees who undermine government by whatever action must be blacklisted and not be employed by government again. Thank you.
Mrs E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Deputy Chairperson, in regard to section (b) of question 62 by hon Sinclair, I would like to ask the Minister this. It says there: "what disciplinary action has been taken against these employees?" My problem is that very often a golden handshake is offered for the employee to leave and due process of disciplinary action does not take place. What action is being taken to prevent this? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, on the issue of golden handshakes, since I came into the Ministry I have said that no official must be given a golden handshake when they have committed a crime.
Secondly, nobody who resigns can be allowed to resign without facing the consequences of their actions. It happened in Tshwane - the municipal manager wanted to leave and get a golden handshake, but we refused. In many municipalities we have said no. If it comes to our attention we say no, they should face the consequences and be disciplined so that we know their fate and they don't go while having a cloud hanging over their head because we don't know what has happened. From our point of view, we believe that golden handshakes if you have committed wrong things cannot be allowed and cannot be justified in public.
The third thing is that we must make sure that you are disciplined if you have committed something, so that your name is cleared or you are found guilty. Thank you very much Chair.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Madam Deputy Chairperson, one hears the argument of the hon Minister and it's fine to give that type of direction, but in reality local government is an independent sphere of government. In terms of the remarks that the Minister has now made, he can have the best intentions but if the local government decides to pay those officials golden handshakes there is very little that he can do. What is his response to that?
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Well, hon Mr Sinclair, I am told you have been in the NCOP for some time. One of the things that are supposed to be known by a member of the NCOP is Chapter 3 of the Constitution. That is co-operative governance. That part does not talk about independence; it is about being interdependent and autonomous. There are two different things there. There is no independence of local government – it is autonomous and interdependent.
In responding to your issue let me say – and you must check the Constitution - we are putting it into law. That legislation is going to be tabled in this House and debated.
We are saying there must be interventions and, to be honest and frank with you, I think when we came with the local government, we gave so much to them. We created fiefdoms, 283 of them across the country - that is why we have these problems. We are trying to address that because in South Africa we have one country. Therefore, we can't have this situation where every person who is in local government wants to be a boss who cannot be touched by other spheres of government, because you bring the government as a whole into disrepute.
Therefore, I'm saying we are very clear about this, determined and committed to ensuring that local government is really dealt with in a proper way. Whatever may have been committed in the past, we are trying to address it now. We are going to intervene; there is no doubt in our minds. Thank you, Deputy Chair.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, the interventions that we are making already in regard to local economic development are quite serious, because the revenue for municipalities has gone down. This situation has been compounded by the fact that there was the problem of the global recession.
When revenues for municipalities in South Africa were conceptualised in terms of intergovernmental fiscal relations, the thinking was that 95% of the revenue of municipalities was going to be generated by them. Only 5% of nationally raised revenue would be due to them, which they get. But the reality, as we speak, is that almost 40% of municipalities' income is dependent on grants. Others are almost 100% dependent on money from other spheres of government. Clearly, something has to be done.
I can tell you that we have not managed to crack local economic development in South Africa over the past 16 years. It has been seen more as tenders, and so on, than actual utilisation and empowerment of people on the ground.
There are two things that we are doing. The first one is that we are involved in a programme called the Community Works Programme. We have an amount of about R500 million, where we are looking at intervening in areas of municipalities to ensure that people are able to create jobs, and that jobs are there on the ground.
The first intervention is that we are looking at a situation where by 2014 there must be at least two wards per municipality. We must be able to have that.
The second intervention is in regard to the co-operatives. We are saying that if you read the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, it is very clear: It says that there must be a co-operative in every ward, a co-operative where people will say that these are the resources that they have - land and other things - and how they are using them to generate income rather than waiting for the big truck of government to deliver services. They are asking, "What can we do in our own area of jurisdiction?" And government must be able to help there because in the past people were helping themselves, but today people are waiting for the government for everything, including disciplining their children! Clearly, we are building a society of lazy people who can't do things on their own, and that could make us uncompetitive across the globe.
That is why we are saying we want to come up with co-operatives in every ward so that people are able to generate income, looking at the resources that they have and what they can do that can be useful. We are moving those programmes so as to ensure that economic development and resources that are prevalent in local areas are utilised, not by the few but by the majority of the people of South Africa. They are part of the economic activity; but as you see them now, they are not. Those are the two interventions that we are making, and we believe that they are going to be able to go a long away in ensuring that South Africa becomes a nation at work. Thank you very much.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Hon Deputy Chairperson, once again, in regard to the response, the intentions of the Minister and the government are very good, but in reality, in terms of the evidence that we've got, it's not working, and it's not going to work in the future.
Referring to the Expanded Public Works Programme Phase 2, EPWP P2, let me say it's good. It's a good initiative - it must be co-ordinated and it can work. But in regard to the second one, of co-operatives, I want to ask the hon Minister if he's aware that only 12% of co-operatives in South Africa are functional. Now the department and the Minister want to try to convince us that to stimulate the local economy it would be better to start new co-operatives. The question is, do we need more co-operatives or don't we need better partnerships with private entrepreneurs and the sectors in the local towns? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, Mr Sinclair is comparing apples and oranges, in the sense that there is not a single provincial government and very few municipalities - and far between - that have taken conscious decisions to establish and create co-operatives. The only province that did that to a limited scale was KwaZulu-Natal. Now, you can't come here and say that this thing has failed. Who has attempted it? Is it government?
The department has taken a conscious decision, in terms of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, that, for the employment of the masses of South Africans, so that they are part of the economic activity, we'll take this route. We'll utilise all the resources that there are. What we are talking about when we speak of the private sector is the fact that it is part of the resources that are available in a ward, because every institution and business is within a ward. Those are a part of the resources that will be utilised to ensure that we are going to move forward. Therefore, from our point of view, we believe that that is the route to take, and we are going to succeed, working together.
There'll be a lot of challenges. We've studied the issue of the 12% success in regard to co-operatives, and so on, but we understand the mitigating circumstances and reasons therefor. That is why we are saying that, despite all that, this is the best route. I mean, if you go to many other countries in the world, such as Italy, their economies are based on co-operatives, where you ensure that you get economies of scale in whatever you are doing. From our point of view, Mr Sinclair, that's what we must do. Observe us - we have not implemented it before, but we are going to do it. Thank you very much.
Mr D A WORTH: Hon Deputy Chair, this is again a question to the hon Minister and my previous chairperson of our committee in this esteemed House. I hope it's within the scope of the question on job creation by municipalities.
A lot of the municipalities employ consultants to do the work and there's no skills transfer, whereas if that did not take place, it might take more people at that municipality, there would be more local skills, and more jobs would be created. Likewise, they subcontract a lot of the work, from window cleaning to you name it, where there's a municipality which could take direct control, creating jobs locally, probably being able to employ more people at the same amount. Thanks.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Hon Deputy Chair, to Mr Darryl Worth, my former colleague on the committee, we've identified what you are saying. It's not only applicable to municipalities but to the provincial and national governments as well, and even to other departments. When you ask officials to do work, they give it to a service provider who does the work, and they come and give it to you as if they had done the work themselves. You find that in the process people don't develop and hone skills themselves, because they give the work to outsiders.
We are ensuring that what we are doing in local government specifically is a skills audit to look at what skills these municipalities have and, on the basis of that, what they are capable and not capable of doing. We are therefore looking at assisting them in ensuring that we reduce the number of consultants, that people are able to do the work, and that with those employed and paid for by the taxpayers' money we will get value for money. That's what we are doing.
In that respect, we therefore agree with you, hon Worth. We are saying it's something that we are turning around. We hope that before the end of the year we will have concluded a skills audit in every municipality in South Africa and, on that basis, we'll understand the gaps that must be filled and ensure that we deal with the situation. But we want people to do the work themselves so that we get value for the money that we are paying. Thank you very much.
Mr R A LEES: Deputy Chair, through you to the hon Minister, hon Minister you have indicated that you are aware of the dramatic failure of co-operatives, some 20 000 co-operatives that have failed over the past five years, I think it is, and that you can do the job better than the other departments which set up those co-operatives. Could you give us the kind of things that you believe you will do which will make those co-operatives a success, whereas the other ones, the 20 000 odd, have failed? What would you do differently? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, the first thing that is very important to the masses of our people is access to finance. That becomes a major problem when you find that people have ideas and see things that they can do, but don't have access to resources.
The second thing that is important is training. People must be able to be trained and understand. Besides training, it's mentoring.
These co-operatives fail because people want to see returns by tomorrow. You start work today with the co-operatives and want to see profits by tomorrow. It is so that you are be able to see things. We want to encourage our people to understand that business is not run like that. Once they have these resources, they want to buy beautiful cars, move and cruise, go on holiday, and all that, not understanding that you must be able to reinvest in business, so that you are able to make more money when you go forward.
We have looked at a myriad of issues that must be attended to to ensure that we address this problem. What you must actually understand is that the majority of Africans are not used to business because of the apartheid legacy. When you had a business, a spaza shop on the corner there, you were not exposed to business. The areas that are involved in economic activity are two in the main, one of which is the stokvels and so on. These stokvels prepare for deaths or to go to church.
The masses' getting involved in economic activity does not exist. It means we must be able engender a spirit of entrepreneurship for people to understand that business is run differently. That is what we are trying to do in going forward.
There are many of these things that we think we will do, and we feel that this is the route that we must take going forward, colleague. We think that the NCOP and all public representatives must support this initiative. So, wherever you are in your wards, you must check whether a co-operative is being established, because all of you here come from a ward. You must therefore look at this in your own areas to ensure that our people become active in economic activity. Thank you very much.
Mr O DE BEER: Deputy Chairperson, through you to the Minister, Minister, you know that economic and industrial development don't benefit all our people. Only individuals benefit out of these frameworks. What else can you come up with so that the broader society will benefit, because all that we have benefits only an exclusive few people?
You referred to the capacity of local government, which can't even raise its own revenue. It is true. But when the new demarcations are considered, economic hubs in the different municipalities are not considered when we come with our proposals in our demarcations.
Do you know that in a country like France their system has a bridge to close the gap between those who have and those who don't have? If you cross the bridge, and you can be economically sustainable, then you are able to help assist someone else. But in South Africa, because we have this culture of nonpayments and handouts, to me it clearly seems we are going to need another 20 years to change, to have an impact at local government level.
I also agree that maybe a solution, and one system of services to the public, might partly be pooling skills so that you can deal with the issue of nonperformance in local government. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chairperson, I still have to be convinced by anybody who says that co-operatives don't involve the broader society, because there everybody is equal. It's unlike private entities where you have a situation where some benefit more than others. Here is a situation where we believe that everybody is equal. In that respect, the involvement of the masses is what we are aiming for to ensure that they are part, so that the economic activity is not the preserve of a few.
When you talk about issues of demarcation, if you look at the Act that deals with demarcation, one of the criteria is to look at the economic nodes, and I think that's all you are doing. The problem is not with the demarcation; the problem is with our being able to crack local economic development to ensure that people, as South Africans, are involved in the economic activity of this country. That is why we are raising this issue.
Let me give two examples. In South Africa, 60% of the red meat comes from the OR Tambo District Municipality area. But I can assure you that the O R Tambo area is a poor area in South Africa because people have not seen value in actually having these cattle. To them cattle must grow and be old, and ...
... zingabinamazinyo ...
... and then to them they benefit. They want to look at them. They don't look at them in a modern way and say that they should ensure that they look after the cattle that they have, and so on. If you look at that O R Tambo district, it is the richest amongst South African districts in terms of the land – the land is rich – but the people are not utilising the resources that they have in order to be able to move forward.
They always look at ...
... umlungu, ndiy' eGoli.
They must go to the mines and be employed. We are saying, "Let's create mines wherever we are. We have the land and resources; whatever you have in your own area, utilise it. Government will give support, mentoring, access to finance and everything that is required, but do the work wherever you are." These are examples that I'm giving; there are many, many examples.
When you go to the mining towns in South Africa, you find that the local people are not benefiting; the people who are benefiting are outsiders, whilst they have resources in their own areas. We want to change all that. That's what we want to do in going forward. Therefore, from our point of view, we are saying we want to close the gap, as you are correctly pointing out, between the haves and have-nots. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Sinclair?
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Deputy Chair, it is not a follow-up. It's not a follow-up; it's a question of clarity.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: There have been follow-ups and I've exhausted the follow-up questions.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Madam, with due respect, I indicated that it's not a follow up. It's a ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I did hear that, but right now we're dealing with follow-ups to the questions, and this question was actually put by you. Can I proceed?
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Madam, I just want your ruling on the procedure. With due respect, I want to raise some statistics that are very questionable with the Minister. I just want to engage him on that.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: May I ask you to put it in writing? Thank you.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Thank you, Madam.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Thank you very much, Tatana [father.] Wa swi tiva Tatana ... [You know, father ... ]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Excuse me! Excuse me! Minister, take your seat. Hon Watson, I saw you doing this towards me; can you explain why you did that?
Mr A WATSON: You are very, uh ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I'm not blind.
Mr A WATSON: Yes, I did do that, but I was just telling Mr Mashile in front me that he is not the Chair. He was trying to make rulings and I told him that if he wanted to replace you, he should go there and tell you. So I was protecting you, Madam Chair, not waving at you. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Watson! Hon Watson, don't hide behind that desk.
Mr A WATSON: I kicked the bucket.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Wait, wait, ...
Mr A WATSON: I kicked the bucket, Madam.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay. Hon Watson, I respect you very much. You are a senior citizen; you should be exemplary. Thank you very much.
Mr A WATSON: Madam Chair, can I just explain, please? I wasn't hiding. I kicked the bucket. [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Thank you very much, Deputy Chair. Well, Tatana wa swi tiva ... [You know, father, ... ] if you are able to breed owls in a township, bazakuthi uyathakatha! [... they will say you are practising witchcraft!] Besides that, you see, owls in an African community are seen as something that is a bit of a problem when you have them.
Now, think about when one is breeding them so that they eat pests and rats; that can become a challenge. Yes, the idea is very attractive. It is also environmentally friendly because pesticides won't be used to kill rats. However, it can be very challenging in African and rural areas because when an owl is found to be making a noise at the gate, that is something else.
Therefore, we have not moved in that direction. What is happening is that the pest-control systems of municipalities are the ones that are being used. The requirement is that they must link up with the provincial Department of Health when they deal with these issues. That is what is happening, Tatana, in relation to dealing with the management of rodents. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Is there a follow-up question?
Mr R A LEES: Deputy Chair, is the hon Minister saying to this House that it is his view that the control of rodents by the use of owls should not be pursued because of traditional difficulties with that and, if so, does he believe in these traditional difficulties with owls? [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Well, the first thing is that I'm the Minister of Traditional Affairs. As Minister of Traditional Affairs, I cannot say I don't believe in traditional matters. In fact, I'm a believer in traditional matters and I think that is why I was given this position.
Therefore, whatever we do, we must make sure that it doesn't antagonise and alienate the majority of South Africans. In that respect, we must use methods in relation to what we do that are acceptable to all, in general. We believe that the pest-control systems are a way to go. They have worked and they must continue to work. We avoid breeding owls. Thank you.
Mr D A WORTH: Deputy Chair, this is a comment more than anything else. I think there is a fantastic opportunity here for job creation by the municipalities because they can get people to catch the mice to feed the owls! Thank you. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, order! Hon Worth, do I take that as a follow-up question or is it just a statement?
Mr D A WORTH: It is a statement.
Mr T D HARRIS: Deputy Chair, with regard to the Minister's response to a follow-up question earlier on, I think the implication was that, as Minister of Traditional Affairs, he needs to believe these traditional things. If there is a traditional difficulty, as he said, around having owls as a pest-control mechanism, can I ask if the Minister had a pest problem in his own house, would he then reject the use of owls to tackle those pests in line with his beliefs?
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, the issue here is whether we can say all South Africans must breed owls in order to deal with rodents. That's the question. I'm saying that the majority of South Africans won't favour breeding owls because of the connotations that are associated with owls generally. Therefore, if someone requested me to breed owls to fight with rats, I wouldn't be able to do that myself. [Laughter.] It's something that I don't subscribe to. It can't be done actually; it can't find favour. Therefore, hon Harris, we agree that maybe the next generation can look into this approach. Thank you.
Mrs E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I am confused, and since we do have the Minister of Traditional Affairs here – well, yes, Co-Operative Governance but it's Traditional Affairs that is the problem - would the Minister mind informing me of the culture around the owl? What happens when there is an owl, and what's the dislike in the community? Can he tell me the story, please?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay, okay, order! A lot of people are now murmuring, "What is it?" Can I ask the Minister to answer?
Mr A WATSON: There is an owl in the House.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you, hon Watson. That I understand very well because there is a funny noise going around here. You said it; I didn't say it.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, well we are excited to be able to educate the hon member.
Simrhabulise, afumane umrhabulo ongunombolo-19
With regard to the issue of owls, in an African community an owl is known as something that brings bad luck ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: It's a bad omen.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: ... and an ill-omen. When you see an owl flying over your house, or at your gate, that is something which is very serious. You must get up and look for a traditional healer to cleanse and deal with the issue. That is the view of the majority of South Africans. That is why I'm saying that whatever we do as government must find resonance with the majority of the people; otherwise, if we don't that, we will be alienating people who must deal with the issues. That is why I'm saying we must look at that.
Let me give you an example of things that are a challenge to other groups. Some people have suggested to me as a Minister for Co-operative Government dealing with local government that the best thing to do - because of the land space not being available - is to cremate our people instead of burying them. When I raised that with people, they turned blue, because to them, the majority, burning a human being is something else because they want to go to the grave and talk to the remains. Therefore, whatever we do, we must be sensitive to the majority of our people. That is why we are raising this owl issue.
You might not believe it, it's your right. South Africa is a democratic country that allows people to practise their beliefs without fear, favour or prejudice. If I believe in it, let me continue. If you don't, let's coexist and understand that there is diversity amongst us. But, irrespective of that, we must remain united as a nation. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr D V BLOEM: Thank you very much, Deputy Chairperson. Minister, welcome back from your bed of illness. I'm very happy to see you. Madam, I think that we are now busy with a topic that belongs to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, SPCA, and not here. The Minister is now being asked to explain about owls, rats and so on. We must consult the SPCA to come and help on this matter!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Bloem, I take it that that was just a statement.
Mr D V BLOEM: Thank you very much, Madam.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: In that case, I'll take the hon Dan.
Mr S D MONTSITSI: Deputy Chair, in view of the fact that there are members who are experts in the breeding of owls in the House, I would most certainly volunteer myself to be trained as one of those who would be keen to do business in the use of owls to track down rodents. However, such owls which have been hatched and ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Montsitsi, is that a follow-up question or a statement because ...
Mr S D MONTSITSI: Yes, I'm coming to the question.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Can you get to your question, please?
Mr S D MONTSITSI: Madam Deputy Chair, I'm saying that with such expertises' training and the owls that I shall have hatched, I would most certainly use them in the constituency of hon Harris to track down the rodents there. In my own constituency it would be a little bit difficult for me to run a profitable service. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Can we proceed? [Interjections.] Can we proceed?
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Madam Chair, I think you will recall that land use planning is in Schedule 4 of the Constitution, meaning that it is part of the provincial governments' responsibility - and also municipalities - in terms of Schedule 5 of the Constitution.
In that respect, national government doesn't have, in terms of the Constitution, a responsibility for planning as a function. Its task is to do oversight on what has to be done at that level. Now, in relation to land use - this is still a misnomer - it is driven and led by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
The department tried to come with a Bill called the Land Use Management Bill, LUMB. That Bill was not finalised by the old administration before 2009, and it was shelved. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform presented it in Cabinet. It was withdrawn because some people were not consulted or engaged in it, so we are still engaging them.
That matter is in the pipeline. I don't know how long the pipe is before the matter reaches you, but it is coming. From our point of view, as the Minister was saying, it is something that we are discussing because the issue of land use patterns is a problem.
For example, traditional leaders take a decision to demarcate land where people should be living and so forth. You find that they clash with municipalities. But not only that; you may go to many places and discover that the land use legislation is not working properly. Let's take the case of the land between Pretoria and the airport - land that was rich for agriculture. This land is being used for housing because it makes a lot of money.
All those things are things that we think must be dealt with and handled. From our point of view, as you heard the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission say, we are working together to ensure that we manage this thing properly. But it's a question that is quite serious and important because it tells us how we should use the land, and for what purpose going forward. Thank you.
Mr Z MLENZANA: Thank you, Deputy Chairperson. Minister, with our understanding the explanation and the predicament that government is actually put in by the whole question of the legal processes, particularly the to and fro of legislation, may I ask if there is no thinking of a moratorium on land use itself? I'm raising this question, Deputy Chairperson, because the hon Minister will agree with me, particularly in regard to the small rural towns in the Eastern Cape, that, whilst we are busy debating, a lot of wrong is being done. This is whilst we are still waiting for the finalisation of the land use planning. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chairperson, while we are sympathetic to the hon member in relation to the sentiments expressed and the views espoused, the issue of land use is about economic activity. If we could put a moratorium on it, it would mean that the economy must come to a standstill.
The best thing to do though - which I think is important and maybe you can follow up on that - is to ensure that the land that is owned by municipalities is not disposed of, so that we are able to use the land for strategic purposes going forward. I can assure you, the way land is being sold at that level creates a lot of problems.
As you were saying, I think that particularly now, when we are going into the election, some people will be looking for a soft landing. Therefore they will be looking at the resources that are available and dealing with those. I think it is a matter that we will consider, ensuring that there is a moratorium on the disposal of land until we are able to engage in regard to these questions. That's what we will consider strongly. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Minister, it is another question from Mr Makhubela.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, we have not engaged provinces to check whether they have changed their laws. What we know is that generally all the provinces except the three which are more urbanised have not changed their laws. The Western Cape has its own law around land use. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal each have a Development Planning Act. For all other provinces to be able to approve things, they are still reliant and dependent on the ordinances.
Therefore, from that point of view, we believe that the Land Use Management Bill will be able to assist in giving guidance, although it was agreed that in its current form it was not revolutionary enough. That is why it was withdrawn in order to be engaged on at that level. From our point of view we are saying that only three provinces have their own laws, and the others are still struggling. Thank you very much.
Mr M W MAKHUBELA: Chairperson, it is not a follow-up but I would like to commend the Minister for doing such wonderful research and coming up with the gist of the matter. Minister, we thank you very much for that.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, this is the last one, I guess, and we are able to save you from further torture!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: There are still more questions.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Of these questions? All right.
The department has conducted a comprehensive analysis of all municipalities in South Africa. It is something that is unprecedented and has never been done before, even at the time of the programmes that were there before. What we came up with is the state of local government, and if you look at that report it will tell you what is happening in each municipality. Subsequent to that was the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, which was approved by Cabinet in December.
This analysis looks at the root causes of the problems. Amongst the root causes are a low revenue base and the indigence of our people, as they don't have money to pay, as well as the issues of poor economic development and the conditions in municipalities that are not that good. Having looked at that, what we are doing now is to categorise municipalities, because the categories that are used by National Treasury, and which we and other departments are using, are not the same. We are saying that there is one co-ordinator of local government in South Africa: Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Therefore, we must ensure that everybody toes the line and follows what has to be done in relation to the issue of categorisation of municipalities, so that we can speak the same language moving forward.
From our point of view, there are quite a number of municipalities that are viable, but there are also quite a number that are not viable. In fact, we think that South Africa must discuss this issue, but you can't discuss the issues of municipalities without also discussing the provinces, because it means that you will be discussing governance piecemeal. For instance, do we need district municipalities in South Africa? They are financially redundant. Before, they were reliant on the Regional Services Councils, RSCs, levies but now that the RSC levies are gone, they have become dependent, like provincial governments, on resources that are raised nationally.
We are saying all these issues need to be looked at. In KwaZulu-Natal, they are looking at the matter because they have 61 municipalities. They are looking at proposing that at least 21 of them must be done away with. Other provinces are looking at the issue. Therefore, I am saying the viability issue is something that is a concern to us and that is being looked at regarding these matters. We believe that we must be able to look at these things and ensure that we change them, but we won't do that without engaging the people who are affected. We believe that the NCOP is amongst the most important structures to engage on these questions.
Yes, we are making serious changes in local government. The Local Government Turnaround Strategy is a document that will remain here for years. Changes that are being made are based on that. It reminds me of the document that there was in security in the past, called the National Crime Prevention Strategy. The Hawks, the Scorpions and everything else come from that document. It was more of a framework within which things happened. It is like the Local Government Turnaround Strategy.
One of the things that we are doing is amending the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act. We are also amending the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act. I could not understand why people in rural areas who have never seen any delivery by government, whether it is water, electricity or anything, are charged rates. What are they being charged for? Now we are looking at that, where we are saying that we can't continue doing that because people have not seen any development. Government has not enhanced their properties by developing the area, so on what basis are they being charged?
We are looking at all those things going forward. We are also looking at the situation where the ward committees are not toothless structures without power. We say ward committees must do a lot of things. Amongst others, if you develop an area and you want to build a school, a clinic or a road, you must consult your ward committee. Tell them before, as a developer, what it is that you are going to do. Even after you have finished doing what you were doing, go to them to let them know that you have finished. We are saying that developers must not be paid retainer funds without tacit approval and support from the ward committees. We are giving power to the people. Government cannot monitor every space where development is happening. That is what we are doing to ensure that we change things. From our point of view, we believe that we are making a lot changes, and we want to ensure that things happen in South Africa. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Is that a follow-up question?
Mr R A LEES: Indeed it is, Madam, and I believe it is my prerogative. Deputy Chair, through you to the hon Minister, the hon Minister talks about 21 municipalities that are under investigation in KwaZulu-Natal as not being viable. Could he please tell us which those municipalities are?
In regard to ward committees, we all know that ward committees are undemocratic structures which are not elected by the people in that ward; they are elected by whoever happens to turn up at the meeting. Is the process of giving teeth to these ward committees, which I think is the expression used by the hon Minister, also going to mean a change in the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act to ensure that ward committees are elected by the voters in a democratic way, as are the other structures of government in the country? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, on the issue of the ward committees – I think that is your question – being undemocratic, I am not sure how you define democracy. Do you define democracy as something that must be in the legislation, in terms of calling for elections, or do you define democracy as something where people are consulted by and large, and where they choose to come, or not to come if they do not want to come. It is part of democracy, because you can choose to go to a meeting or not, choose to vote or not.
Let's take the local government elections. The average in terms of voter turnout is 48%, which is less than 50% plus one when we talk of a simple majority. Are you saying then that all the councillors that there are are undemocratic because of the voter turnout that is 48%? The point I'm putting across here ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I'm sorry to disrupt you, Minister, but can you sit down? Hon Lees?
Mr R A LEES: Hon Deputy Chair, on a point of order, I asked the Minister a question. Please ask him to desist from asking me questions directly across the floor.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, I'm asking the question through the Chair. If you listen to me, you will hear that I always refer to Madam Chair.
The point that I'm putting across is that democracy, in this case, is a relative term because only 48% of South Africans, in terms of the trends, come out to elections, particularly at the local government level. Therefore, 52% of South Africans do not vote for local government. Now what do you call that? That is the point that I'm putting across.
The system that will be followed in appointing or in establishing ward committees is still a matter for debate; the jury is still out.
However, we have concerns that the ward committees at times represent political parties. Ward committees are supposed to represent sectoral interests - the issues of the safety of our people, the economy, social development, and so on. But these structures are sometimes hijacked by other forces, and they don't run them in a proper way. How we are going to counter that is still a matter that is being discussed. How we are going to ensure that these structures enjoy popular support is still a matter for discussion. How are we going to ensure that these structures are accountable to our people? Sometimes they represent their own jackets! They go to a meeting, come back and do nothing. From our point of view, it is something that is still being looked at, and we will be happy if the NCOP itself contributes in enriching the debate. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Bloem, you wanted to say something earlier. Oh, hon Lees, can I take Mr Bloem because it is the second time I've had to stop him? All right, you may proceed then.
Mr R A LEES: On a point of order, Madam Chair: my question regarding the 21 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal has not been answered.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: On the 21 municipalities, I don't have the figures with me here. What you can do is to write to the member and request to be sent those municipalities. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Lees, are you satisfied? Proceed, hon Bloem.
Mr D V BLOEM: Deputy Chairperson, I like the Minister very much. He is hands-on and a person who is trying to do things ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Bloem, is it a question or a statement?
Mr D V BLOEM: No, it is a question, Madam.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay. Be precise.
Mr D V BLOEM: What I want to hear from the Minister is: in regard to all these things that he is mentioning now – low income and so forth - does he have any timeframe? I know he is a hands-on man. Can he give the House a timeframe as to when he is going to address these problems, because in local government most of the municipalities are bleeding out there? The Minister must tell us the timeframe to address these problems. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, well baba Bloem, I know that your municipality Moqhaka is in a state of disrepair. It is in a bad state, that area.
What we are doing is we have signed an agreement with the President that outlines what we are going to do annually until 2014. Our mandate ends in 2014. Therefore, we are looking at a situation where we can give the information to the hon member in writing, but only after we have announced about our agreement with the President, because that is where targets and timelines are, in regard to what is going to be done by when.
Therefore, in that respect, Mr Bloem, targets are there. The overall one is 2014, but there are steps as to how we arrive at 2014 in relation to dealing with these issues. We will be able to give you the information in person, as a former colleague, so that you are able to hold us accountable on these matters. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you, Minister. Hon ...
Mr D A WORTH: Worth. Deputy Chair, thank you to the Minister for his explanation. I hope I'm not repeating myself. There was a stage in the term of the last Parliament here that there was talk about doing away with district municipalities. I know there are probably some district municipalities that are viable, but I think that, of all municipalities, district municipalities are the most vulnerable because they have such a low income base. We've got one in the Free State, Gariep, which is made up of three municipalities, and the district municipality just survives on the money it gets from central government, while the work is actually done by these three municipalities. I hope this is going to be given priority, that they rather be done away with and the councillors be put into various municipalities. That is one aspect.
The other one very much concerns the operations of this House in terms of section 139 where a municipality is put under administration. What does the hon Minister feel about the three months? We have found in the past that we would go and put a municipality under administration for three months. Then it would start coming right again, only for it to collapse again six months later, or there would be further problems. Could we in the context of this question just have the Minister's thoughts on that? Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, on the issues of districts, as I said earlier on, we must review the structures of government, including the NCOP. Does the NCOP as a structure fulfil what is expected of it? Is the NCOP really representing the interests of provinces? Now, one of the critical things that are a challenge to me is when you say that the NCOP is lawmaking body but the delegations that must come from provinces must be led by premiers - the executive. Why is it like that?
On the issue of Salga or organised local government, why does local government have people here as observers? Why can't local government have people here permanently, and then the numbers become better? Will it not assist the NCOP to deal with many issues if you look at that? If you look at the districts, should they continue being here? Are they serving in the way that they were established to do?
You go to some municipalities, and what do you think about them? The same applies to the provinces. Do we think that the configuration of provinces as they are still serves the purpose? Let's take the example of the North West or Free State. You have 30 members, and out of 30 you take 11 who become the executive, and 19 remain. The committees are generally up to 16. There are 16 chairpersons, and you are left with four people who are ordinary members. The issue is that when they call departments to come to give an account of themselves - and we have done a study in the North West - they take 10 to 15 minutes. These members have to go to other committees, and there is no time. Look at the amount of time that is taken by the department to prepare to come to the committee and the value thereof that is added.
All I'm saying is that it goes a long way; I think you will recall in the previous administration that the Free State proposed in the Constitutional Review Committee that their numbers should increase. I'm saying that there should be no holy cows when we look at the structures of government. We must look at everything and say what we are proposing, what we think will work. It is in that context, Mr Worth, that you must look at the nature of districts, even Gariep, the one that you are raising. I know it is poor and struggling a lot, and I must say that you represent the interests of Free State very well. You always look at examples of Free State when you speak.
Section 139 is something that we are looking at now. We are coming with a Bill which is in the draft stage now. This Bill focuses on two areas. There is section 100, interventions by national government in provinces and, while we look at support and monitoring, intervention is the last resort, because it is not done most of the time, although the first thing that people want is to intervene. This is also the case with section 139, because if you look at section 139(8), you see it raises the issue that there must be national legislation to regulate this section in regard to intervention. That has never been done. Therefore, we are looking at coming with this law to look at section 100 and section 139. Our basis is support and monitoring, and an intervention must be a measure of last resort.
The current interventions as they are, looking at them in terms of successes, are successful, but they are not where we want them to be. We want to change the approach in the way things are done so that we are able to ensure that whatever interventions are made are sustainable, but also that there are early warning systems that will tell us when there are problems there, and these are not there as we speak. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I've seen the hands. However, may I at this juncture plead with all the members here not to leave the Chamber, because after all the questions have been answered there will be a briefing in regard to the Provincial Week. Thank you. Hon Watson, you may proceed.
Mr A WATSON: Deputy Chairperson, through you to the hon Minister, may I also say that I'm glad to see our old colleague back on his feet. I hope that he gets completely well very soon.
Chair, the follow-up question I want to pose is in regard to references by the Minister and members that have asked follow-up questions on district municipalities and the fact that they have exceeded their sell-by date, they've gone rotten on the shelf, and they should not be there anymore. I think the noise that I've heard, and the views of the Minister will support my saying that we should do away with district municipalities – and not some day but immediately!
My question to the Minister is on the legislation that has been tabled in Parliament. By the way, the Minister must please bring local government legislation to this House first and not to the National Assembly, because they sleep on it and we have to rush through it at the end of day. The legislation that there is makes no reference to doing away with district municipalities. My question is: Will the Minister support private member's legislation emanating from a member of this House and tabled in this House to actually change, firstly, the Constitution, where the three categories of municipalities are described, bringing it down to two and, secondly, the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act where the different categories of district municipalities are also described?
If we table a Private Member's Bill and I volunteer to do so, will he support it? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Hon Wattie, you are still very streetwise in the way you approach things, because what you are doing now is selling me a cat in a bag! How will I know what the cat looks like before I buy it? I think in principle we support the thought that we should review things. I hope that you will be able to sell that idea to the DA because whatever changes we make, they think that it is because we want to control everything at the centre, which is not the case. We are open and we are saying, let's engage on these matters to check whether they work based on empirical evidence, not because of what we like. From our point of view, hon Wattie, what I can promise you is to have a discussion so that whatever product emerges from that is a product ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Excuse me, Minister. Hon De Beer, that hon member, could you sit properly in the Chamber? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: As I said, hon Watson, it so that whatever product emerges from that enjoys the collective wisdom of the parties that are here. In that way, it can go a long way. But I say, let's not isolate local government. Let's look at the whole system comprehensively so that when we make changes, we make them once and not in a piecemeal fashion. If we have that discussion, we are willing to engage on that with pleasure and therefore will be able to take the process forward. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
Mr K A SINCLAIR: Deputy Chairperson, I think all of us will agree that the remarks of the Minister regarding the status of our governance model in South Africa are quite far-reaching, and we are well aware that various bodies and institutions are investigating the possibilities. The question is specifically regarding the Minister's remark about the number of provinces, the necessity for districts, and the state of local governments. Would the Minister admit that the constitutional and governance model that was agreed to and that has governed us since 1994 is now dysfunctional?
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Chair, I have not looked at these matters in order to be able to come to a conclusion. You know, I'm a person who looks at empirical evidence when we deal with issues. I have not looked at these matters in order to say that this model is functional or dysfunctional. I would not be able to come to that conclusion. What I'm raising in this House is that we should have a discussion and debate so that when we come to certain decisions or views that we want to express, they are based on empirical evidence. That is what I'm calling for, hon Sinclair. From my point of view I'm saying that we should work together and not leave any stone unturned. There must be no holy cows when we look at the structures of governance. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Unfortunately that was the last chance for further questions, hon Van Lingen.
Mrs E C VAN LINGEN: I had my hand up all the time, Madam Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I beg your pardon?
Mrs E C VAN LINGEN: I had my hand up from the beginning.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: It is unfortunate, hon Van Lingen, that other people had their hands up before you. That is why I had to jump from this side to the other side. I hope you will accept that.
Thank you very much, hon Minister. Thank you that in spite of being sick you honoured our request to come and see us. That brings the business of the day to a close. Please, no one is supposed to leave, because there is a briefing.
The Council adjourned at 15:54.
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