Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 06 Aug 2015
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 06 AUGUST 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:00.
The House Chairperson: Committees, Oversight and Co-operative Government and Intergovernmental Relations took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
MORE PREFABRICATED CLASSROOMS FOR SCOTTSDENE SECONDARY SCHOOL
Ms E PRINS: Hon House Chairperson, I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes that Scottsdene Secondary School pupils are taking turns to go to class after being forced to share a community hall in that area;
- further notes that the department is accommodating Grade 8 to 10 in the community hall while Grades 11 and 12 share prefabricated classrooms at the school;
- also notes that according to Abona Mbombo, a Grade 10 pupil, the pupils were not only left behind in their school work but must also worry about their safety as the community hall is located in a dangerous area; and
- therefore calls on the Western Cape Education Department to build more prefabricated classrooms as soon as possible and provide a catch-up programme during the September holidays.
NOTICES OF MOTION
CRIMINALS ON PAROLE SET FREE DUE TO FOOD CRISIS
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon House Chairperson, on behalf of the DA, I hereby wish to move a notice of motion:
That the Council -
- notes that it was reported that the police officers in the Eastern Cape are releasing petty criminals, including suspects for burglary and hijacking because the police stations cannot feed them;
- further notes that there are at least 16 stations experiencing a food crisis, including Swartkops, Addo, Despatch, Walmer, Jeffreys Bay, Kareedouw, Thornhill, St Francis Bay, Cookhouse, Tarkastad, Humansdorp, Steytlerville, Wolwefontein, Adelaide, Hofmeyr and Hankey;the police have to pay for food for the detainees with their own personal money or transfer the detainees to neighbouring stations because of lack of food and funding;
- also notes that due to red tape, the food suppliers have ceased to provide the service, in reply to the written question the Minister of Police stated that police vehicles are now being serviced through a centralised service provider with two contracts but from Durban, we cannot change tyres or have a small vehicle repaired done in the Eastern Cape within three weeks;
- acknowledges that prisoners and detainees’ basic human right to food is being violated, criminals on parole will be set free earlier and there will be an escalation in crime in the provinces, further acknowledges that criminals will now receive a get-out-of-jail-free card as it plays a role in suspects receiving bail and there will be no justice for the victims of these crimes; and
- wishes to move urgently that we debate the downscaling of police stations and this crisis as soon as possible as a matter of urgency.
THE HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN NELSON MANDELA BAY METRO A CONCERN
Mr R K PURDON: Hon House Chairperson, on behalf of the DA, I hereby wish to move a notice of motion:
That the Council -
- notes that the Eastern Cape, with an expanded rate of unemployment of 42,5%, remains the highest in South Africa;
- further notes that the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has the highest unemployment rate of all metros in South Africa at 33,2%. Sadly, its mostly young people who are unemployed;
- acknowledges that overregulation, crippling legislation and policy uncertainties are not encouraging the much-needed growth in the Eastern Cape to create jobs;
- believes this can be turned around by getting government to be more business-friendly by enabling trade, eliminating corruption, investing in infrastructure and prioritising education at all levels of government; and
- calls for an urgent debate to address this crisis in the Eastern Cape before it is too late. We are running out of time.
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
JOB LOSSES DUE TO RETRENCHMENTS AND MINES CLOSURE
Mr O SEFAKO: Hon House Chair, I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes with concern the looming job losses due to retrenchments and mines closure as announced by different mining companies in the country;
- also notes that this is due to sinking commodity prices. The South Africa’s mining industry is also battling rising costs and labour unrest as workers demand higher wages;
- further notes that as much as the government would boost the agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors to diversify Africa’s most developed economy from a reliance on mining, the private sector could do more to create jobs; and
- calls upon for the intervention of government to work towards establishment of common understanding from labour unions and mining houses to save the situation
QUESTIONABLE HOUSING DELIVERY PRACTICES IN RUSTENBURG
Ms N P MOKGOSI: Hon House Chairperson, on behalf of the EFF, I hereby wish to move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes that the community of Ward 38 in Boitekong, Rustenburg, is complaining about questionable housing delivery practices in the area;
- further notes that members of the community are often given house numbers by the municipality but when they go to the allocated residential area, the house either does not exist or have been allocated to someone else;
- acknowledges there are criminal activities and fraud at play and the municipality is fully aware of this;
- demands the municipality to provide an accurate updated housing list and investigate how houses can just disappear or be allocated to different people;
- also demands that those who are involved in fraudulent activities be held to account and dealt with harshly and that families who qualify for houses and had been allocated houses be provided with houses immediately;
- further demands the Department of Human Settlements to provide an amicable solution to the housing backlog in this country; and
- further calls for the establishment of a state-owned construction company and cement company to meet the housing needs of our people and subsequently provide sustainable jobs.
Not agreed to.
COMPLAINT OVER THE CAPE TOWN CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT
Mr C J DE BEER: Hon House Chairperson, I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes that the Auditor-General of South Africa will be investigating a complaint over the Cape Town Cup which cost the ratepayers millions of rands when the event failed to attract enough spectators;
- further notes that Anthony Groenewald, the Executive Director of Tourism and Economic Development resigned with immediate effect; and
- therefore calls on the Auditor-General to investigate the financial decision-making processes concerning the tournament and whether the political processes were duly followed.
Not agreed to.
INCREASING CYBER AND HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING IN SCHOOLS
Ms L L ZWANE: Hon House Chairperson, on behalf of the ANC, I hereby move without a notice:
That the Council -
- notes that pupils do not only face violence and rape at school but have to deal with increasing cyber and homophobic bullying;
- further notes that the Department of Basic Education informed Parliament that violence in schools was common, with the classroom being the primary site;and
- therefore call on the department to implement their e-safety guidelines and cyber bullying policy, and ensure that each school has a policy on dealing with both the bully and the bullied child.
Not agreed to.
TWO MEN SHOT IN AN ARMED ROBBERY
Ms T MOTARA: Hon House Chairperson, I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes that two men were shot while trying to defend their mother during an armed robbery at their house in Brentwood Park in Benoni on Wednesday;
- further notes that two men with firearms entered the premises by breaking the front door with a crowbar;
- also notes that one of the sons was airlifted to hospital in a critical condition while the other was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment; and
- therefore wish the two men a speedy recovery and call on the police to do everything in their power to catch those responsible for this crime.
Not agreed to.
CONCERN ABOUT FATAL ROAD ACCIDENTS
Mr A S SINGH: Hon House Chair, I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes with concern the accident on Tuesday morning which left two tankers consumed by a massive fire blaze, where a truck driver heroically saved his colleagues trapped on the other truck and subsequently led to the closure of the road;
- further notes that on Wednesday morning another fatal accident that involved a car and a truck occurred on the N11 near Ladysmith;
- also notes with sadness that in this accident, six people were killed and three injured and this caused the road to be closed;
- notes that the deceased were two men and two women and three were injured wherein there was a woman who was critically injured and two men who were occupants of the truck received treatment from the paramedics before they were transported to the hospital for further medical attention;
- further notes that the cause of the crash is under investigation;
- sends our heartfelt condolences to families and friends of the bereaved;
- calls upon our people to be more cautious when driving; and
- further calls upon all relevant authorities to continuously create more arrive alive campaigns
MINISTER’S MEDIA BRIEFING REGARDING CRISIS IN MINING SECTOR
Mr V E MTILENI: I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes the media briefing by the Minister of Mineral Resources with regard to the current crisis in the mining sector;
- further notes that the Minister of Mineral Resources ordered Glencoe to suspend all operations at the coal mine because of the way it had planned to carry out retrenchments;
- calls on the Minister to be more decisive and to do the same with Sibanye Gold, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Lonmin which continue to fail to meet the Mining Charter requirements and do not want to be part of the transformed South Africa;
- further calls on the Deputy President to warn his mining capital colleagues not to be arrogant because they have an inside partner in the presidency and continue to disregard the laws of the country;
- requests the Minister to work closely with the state-owned mining company after exploration mining and finance company to ensure that it fills the gap and supplies coal to Eskom; and
- further requests the Minister of Public Enterprises to ensure that the 5 million tons of coal supplied to Eskom by Glencoe comes from the state-owned mining company at an affordable price.
Not agreed to.
THULI MPSHE’S APPOINTMENT AS ACTING CEO OF SAA
Mr E MAKUE: I hereby move without notice:
That the Council —
- notes and congratulates Thuli Mpshe’s appointment as chief executive officer, CEO, of the SA Airways, SAA;
- also notes that Thuli has been a human resources manager in the company and replaces Nico Bezuidenhout who has returned to his role as the CEO of Mango;
- further notes that the SAA board has approved the terms of reference for the recruitment of a new CEO and will present a recommended candidate to Minister of Finance, Mr N Nene when one is found; and therefore
- wishes her success in her pursuit to continue SAA’s bid to reduce costs and be more efficient.
Not agreed to.
DA MEMBERS NOMINATED FOR YOUNG SOUTH AFRICAN AWARDS
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes that hon George Michalakis, the DA NCOP Member of Parliament and Marike Groenewald, executive director of development training and learning of the DA were selected last week Friday by the Mail & Guardian as part of the 200 young South Africans you need to meet for 2015;
- further notes that the leader of the DA and official opposition, Mmusi Maimane and the DA Member of Parliament, Mr Makashule Gana, DA Member of Parliament, have also been honoured as Mail & Guardian 200 young South Africans alumni members;
- congratulates George Michalakis, Marike Groenewald, Mmusi Maimane, and Makashule Gana on this achievement, hard work, and dedication to the open, responsive and accountable democracy as envisioned in the Constitution’s section 1(d) and their fight for freedom, fairness and opportunity in our lifetime.
Not agreed to.
FAILURE TO PAY CONTRACTORS TIMEOUSLY BY EASTERN CAPE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Mr R K PURDON: I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
- notes that the Eastern Cape Department of Transport has failed individual transport contractors by failing to pay them timeously;
- sadly, only 59% of learners are benefiting from this scholar transport project;
- learners are unable to attend school to participate in various exams;
- yesterday a taxi driver in Patensie was arrested for overloading a taxi by transporting 50 learners in a 15 seater bus, and he is appearing in court today;
- similarly, a bus diver in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality was arrested last Friday when 62 pupils were crammed into a 33 seater bus; and
- on behalf of the learners, the parents, the schools and the contractors, the DA moves that this Council urgently debates scholar transport in the Eastern Cape.
Not agreed to.
COSATU PRESIDENT’S TRAGIC REMARKS TOWARDS JUDICIARY
Ms L MATHYS: I hereby move without notice:
That the Council —
- notes the tragic and unfortunate remarks made by the President of Cosatu on Tuesday, 4 August, when he attacked the judiciary and labelled it as a threat to democracy;
- further notes that these remarks were made after the Polokwane High Court made a decision to strike off the court roll the case of the EFF President, Julius Malema;
- acknowledges that Cosatu is one of the tripartite alliance partners and together with the ANC and the SACP have been launching one attack after another on state institutions that are meant to be safeguarding our democracy and upholding the rule of law;
- further acknowledges that the attack on the judiciary by the ANC alliance partner came just a few hours after the Polokwane High Court declared that Julius Malema of the EFF has been cleared of all charges;
- is convinced that the attack on the judiciary is an expression of anger and disappointment by the Cosatu President who has always been a mouth piece of the views of President Zuma who wanted the judiciary to take orders from Luthuli House;
- expresses its strengthened confidence in the judiciary of the country as a lasting guarantor of the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution;
- condemns the illogical attacks to the judiciary by the ANC and its alliance partners threatening the foundation of democracy of Nelson Mandela. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Not agreed to.
Mr V E MTILENI: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order: I want to make you aware that I can see you are ignoring other hon members. They have been making a lot of noise as she was reading that motion and instead of you calling on them not to drown out the speaker, you just looked at her without saying anything.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon member!
Mr V E MTILENI: If it were, maybe, one of the ANC members, you would have said something.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mtileni, take your seat. Hon members, lets have order!
Mr V E MTILENI: Are you taking my point of order?
The NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT: (Mr A J Nyambi) Yes, your point of order is noted. Hon members, let’s have order. Howling is part of a democratic process, but you are not allowed to drown out a speaker. I am appealing to all of you, do not drown out a speaker. Hon Faber why are you standing?
Mr W F FABER: Chairperson, on a point of order. The hon member of the EFF must also first be recognised by you, as the Chairperson, before he can just go on. He cannot just stand up and talk. This is also not part of the House’s proceedings.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): The point of order is sustained. It is applicable to all of you, hon members.
CONSIDERATION OF NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES PROVINCIAL WEEK REPORT 21 – 24 JULY 2015: ADVANCING THE DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDA OF MUNICIPALITIES FOR A BETTER LIFE FOR OUR PEOPLE
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES (R J TAU): House Chairperson, let me recognise special delegates from all our provinces present here, Deputy Ministers, MECs present from our respective provinces, delegates from Salga and of course permanent delegates.
This debate is quite an important debate because it is a reflection of the report that speaks to a very important flagship programme of the NCOP referred to as the Provincial Week. It takes place two days after this House debated and remembered the life and time of our former President and an international icon, Nelson Mandela and it is quite strategic because this House came as a result of a Constitution that was signed off by him. Therefore, the context of the report as presented today is quite strategic because it is in that Constitution where clarities are provided on how the location of this institution is suppose to be and what is it that the institution is suppose to do.
The debate also takes place or the report is presented on a very important month which is a month where we reflect on the lives of our women, young and old, the working class women, those who are unemployed, those who are in the rural areas, the challenges they are faced with and what is it that we need to do to position the institution to be able to respond to those challenges that our women are faced with. It also takes place two weeks after - as an institution - we hosted a very important and successful event, where we mobilised young people from all over the country and brought them together under the roof of this Parliament. We had a discussion in so far as positioning the challenges of young people in our country and also locating how then these challenges affect them internationally.
Of strategic importance, is how we then as Parliament locate these challenges of these young people within the work of Parliament through our committees, our oversight work and so forth including local government because, for the first time that we had such an activity we had local government present and participated effectively in that discussion.
It also takes place at a very strategic moment because in two weeks time, as NCOP we will be hosting another flagship programme referred to as the Local Government Week. As an institution, we will be looking at the challenges that our municipalities are faced with and also place the institution at a strategic point of ensuring that we assist our local municipalities in living up to what is expected of them.
We recognise that local government in South Africa has - since the transition to democracy - undergone a series of changes to meet the need of consolidating democracy and development of the country’s citizens. Some of the challenges identified at the time included, addressing the apartheid legacy of underdevelopment in the regions and municipalities, fostering participatory governance at the local level, consolidating local government to facilitate sustainable development and improving service delivery.
Over the years, local government has undergone an evolutionary process starting with the 1998 White Paper on Local Government, the reconfiguration of municipal boundaries in 2001 and in 2009-2010 the review of the state of local government in South Africa, which subsequently led to the development municipal turnaround strategy.
The evolutionary process of local government took place within the precincts of Parliament because we were championing some of these things. Therefore, it is of crucial importance that we continue to monitor and evaluate progress of the legislations passed by us collectively with our counterparts from provinces as part and parcel of ensuring that we strengthen local government in order to improve the lives of our people by providing basic services to them.
Chapter 4 of the constitution of the Republic, Act 108 of 1996 clearly stipulates the powers, functions and procedures conferred to Parliament. The role of Parliament as reflected is to ensure government by the people as stipulated by the Constitution which is the supreme law to be the one that ensures that at all levels and corners our people come first. As conferred by the Constitution, the NCOP as a representative of provinces is bound therefore, to represent the interest of provinces and ensure that those interests and problems or challenges are then projected at a national level. It does this mainly by participating in national legislative processes and by providing a forum for public consideration of the issues affecting our provinces.
To this end, the principle task of the NCOP is therefore to identify key issues facing communities at local level and to give expression to these community issues at a national level which is exactly what we would be expected to do today. Beyond the obvious constitutional mandate of legislation and oversight that is vested in the NCOP, the institution is required to continue to function as a Parliament that is more responsive and more in touch with our communities. To this end, as an activist Parliament, we have contextualised ourselves and gave meaning to that activism as being about social mobilisation to advance our developmental agenda, entrenching our constitutional democracy and contributing towards nation building and reconciliation.
Hon members, at its core, ours as an activist Parliament, must be to ensure that we are able to intercede and intervene with the executive. We must be able to intercede and intervene with organs of state and businesses on behalf of our people. But most importantly, we must continually seek to accelerate the delivery of services in order to transform the lives of ordinary South Africans. Such a Parliament challenges public representatives - that is us now, we are challenging ourselves - to work faster and smarter with the resources at our disposal in order to meet the legitimate and expectations of our people.
Furthermore, our collective role in improving our people’s quality of life also hinges on how well we use the oversight mechanisms as provided for by our rules, by our constitution at our disposal. In exercising this crucial function of Parliament and its various committees to oversee and review the endeavours of the executive, we must ensure that the outcomes of our oversight activities accelerate the process of transformation with an objective of improving the lives of our people.
Our oversight activities must become a mechanism through which to ensure good governance to accelerate, develop and deepen co-operative governance. These broad principles must be pursued within the perimeters of our co-operative constitutional framework. Taking it further, our recommendations and interventions must reflect a heart and needs of our people and must be driven by the prompt response of a vibrant activist Parliament.
Hon members, within this broader context and frame of reference we recognise that local government is crucial for any democracy to flourish. The Provincial Week programme was, is now and will continue to be an adequate response to the constitutional and socioeconomic imperatives at play in advancing the developmental agenda of municipalities. The Provincial Week is one of the key mechanisms that we had established ourselves as a council to achieve our mandate of representing the country and provinces at a national sphere.
Therefore, that re-emphasises the point that it was not by any mistake that our former President signed off the Constitution that gave more meaning to the role of the other House of Parliament. It also changed the character of the NCOP from being a senate to an institution that will be much more effective in ensuring that all spheres of government are represented at a national level.
This programme of a Provincial Week continues to be a centrepiece for the articulation of local government and provincial concerns at national level. It is a mechanism that ensures that provincial delegates to the national council keep in touch with their respective provinces with the aim of receiving mandates to be placed on the national agenda. Since its inception, the Provincial Week has grown to be one of the key mechanisms used by the NCOP to oversee and collect information about the progress that our provinces are making to assist our local municipalities in delivering quality services to our people. It has also afforded the NCOP an opportunity to undertake joint oversight and ensure the spirit of working together by confirming continued monitoring of progress and the delivery of services to our communities.
The Provincial Week in its current form and content has sought to transform and energise the state machinery to serve the cause of social change. It has further sought to ensure that every South African - particularly the poor - experience an improved quality of life.
The Provincial Week programme is also in line with the move to build a developmental state as it affords permanent delegates an opportunity to identify key policy areas and concrete policy proposals that might be aligned to pursue the realisation of a developmental state. Having perused all the reports of provinces, one comes to a conclusion that seeks to say that, despite the advances made in service delivery since 1994, the pace of improvement in service and the quality of services provided do not in many cases match the expectation of many of our people. This means that there is an appreciation and there are still challenges. At the same time we take note of the kind of progress that we have made at the local government level, because the report even speaks to municipalities that have enjoyed a number of years of disclaimers which is more than 10 years. Today we can speak of those municipalities and say that they are out of that kind of a situation, which is an important interventionist activity and we have learned one or two things from it.
Many municipalities continue to be engulfed by poor governance and accountability problems with financial management skills gaps, high vacancies in crucial and critical management positions and lack of informed and co-ordinated planning. Ineffective internal controls and procurement practices and critical skills gaps account for rising municipal debt and weak financial positions of many municipalities. Most municipalities continue to under spend the Municipality Infrastructure Grant, MIG, and this has an impact on the fight against poverty.
I think I must just take the opportunity and advantage the fact that the Deputy Minister is here. Deputy Minister, there is a very important observation we have made in the report. It speaks to the cry, especially of those municipalities that are unable to generate or collect revenue where the National Treasury had sought to intervene to assist other municipalities, metros and others that have been characterised. There is an outcry out there that begins then to say, if those municipalities have been assisted, why can’t we also be assisted? And this is a specific cry that I can point to a municipality of Dikgatlong. They felt that if they can also enjoy such assistance from treasury - whether it is from a provincial level or national level - it will improve their level of revenue collection and ultimately their capacity and ability to deliver services.
We are making a point against the backdrop that the MIG programme as central to its objective, we find it also quite interesting that whilst there is this problem, municipalities have not been able to improve their capacity to implement and utilise their MIG grant. The programme is aimed at providing all South Africans with at least basic level of service through this provision of grant finance to cover the capital cost of basic infrastructure for the poor.
The MIG programme is part of the government’s overall strategy to eradicate poverty and to create conditions for economic development and I think that is one of the issues that we need to work harder on as permanent delegates coming from our provinces so that we begin to instil that sense of appreciation of our municipalities. We must not sit back, receive the grant and not be able to utilise it but we need to find ways of how we utilise our energies to assist these municipalities to be able to utilise the grant.
In strengthening our collective output in a co-operative manner, it is important to strengthen municipal oversight role by strengthening the roles of the Speakers, strengthening the separation of powers between the executive and the council so that council is able to hold the mayoral committees accountable. There is that sense that there are barriers here, we can’t hold mayoral committee accountable and we don’t know what it is that they are doing. We did report of that at the legislative sector level and there is a sub-committee that has been established now to begin looking at mechanisms on how then to establish and assist local municipalities. That also goes with strengthening the capacity of our audit committees because that is also one of the problems that comes out of the report which says that, it is also important that we look into the audit committee’s ability to function and strengthen our audit committees.
Most municipalities suffer the fate of lack of clear separation as I have mentioned the extent to which they raised their issues and they would find expression in the report. Local government continues to be an important instrument in advancing the six pillars identified by the National Development Plan which are the mobilisation of South Africans. Active engagement of citizens on their own development, expansion and growth of the economy and changing the ownership patterns, building of key capabilities - human physical and institutional, fostering of strong leadership throughout our society and building capable state and a developmental one.
To advance our overall improvement in the delivery of services, local government must become a career of choice. We must also strive to avail the relevant training and support for new entrance and existing employees. Efforts to strengthen local government delivery agents will have to be prioritised. In all spheres of government we will need to improve interdepartmental and intergovernmental co-ordination and the Provincial Week will therefore continue to provide us with that kind of space that we will have begin and engage with.
The multiple crises of our economy, environment and governance have brought the State back to the centre of political and policy discourse. Those who promote the idea of the State as outcome of the market place they have definitely lost their legitimacy. So, there is no need to revitalise the relationship between the people and the state in relation to the discourse on human development and democracy, precisely because the state has already clarified that capacity. This requires national ownership and participation of multistakeholders as well as inclusive spaces for women, the poor and the marginalised as central participants in the transformative agenda of our democratic governance.
As I conclude Chairperson let me therefore - I can see I’m under pressure. The legitimacy of the inclusive, responsive and capable state is derived from the origin of power as well as the exercise of power. The effectiveness of the state is to a large extent based on the responsiveness and performance of its institutions. Therefore, with weak institutions the state will not be able to deal with matters that it wants to deal with. Within this broader framework of inclusivity for collective development it is clear to see that the provincial weeks are a succinct response to the mandate of advancing and accelerating the systems towards building a capable state with strong institutions, which will automatically allow our people to have a better life and get out of poverty. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you. I was not going to leave you if you decided not to check the time that is on the right. So those that will be going for the first time, we do have a clock there which is our right. So you will make my task much easier. I was not going to leave Deputy Chairperson, fortunately you stick to time.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): I was not going to leave you if you had decided not to check time that is on the right. Those that will be going for the first time, we do have a clock there on our right to make my task much easier.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Chairperson, I doubt if hon Tau is new to the job or the time keeping. In fact, you should have cut him to make up for the time that we have lost with him before.
Hon Chairperson, hon members, visitors, we were told in the Eastern Cape that we need medicine. Medicine that works is really bitter. That was the message from Councillor Johannes Mohapi, in the Elundini Local Municipality, in the Eastern Cape. This begs the question, are we fulfilling the NCOP’s oversight role in line with the Constitutional mandate of this House, or do we need medicine? Bitter medicine?
On Tuesday this House debated the legacy of Madiba. From the beginning, the mandate of the House was to have a legislative role that will influence provincial and local governance; determine which legislation, regulations and policy adversely affect provincial and local government; be actively involved in the legislative solutions in provincial and local government; and conduct oversight that should concentrate on provincial and local matters brought to a national level. This was the mandate of the NCOP stated by the then Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki in 1998. Yet, now in 2015, we are faced with issues in total contrast to this mandate because we want to run in the slipstream of the NA.
We have encountered several issues that are criss-crossing most of the provinces, but we will stick to the basics in the Eastern Cape. Councillor Salman in the Joe Gqabi District Municipality said that legislative burdens made it very difficult to get clean audits or to fulfil the mandate to deliver services. Does this mean that it is actually the legislation that does not work or is there a problem that Operation Clean Audit is beginning to kick in?
The issue of the audit could have been immediately resolved if the Auditor-General of the Eastern Cape was present or at least briefed the Eastern Cape permanent delegates on Monday, 20 July. He was invited but conspicuous by his absence. If the finances of a municipality cannot be managed according to the law, local municipalities cannot fulfil a developmental role or create a climate for investment because investment in a well-run municipality grows the economy in that municipality and actually creates jobs.
Senqu Local Municipality received a clean audit. Mayoress Nozibele Mtyali, municipal manger, Maxson Yawa, and the chief financial officer, CFO, Mr Venter, must be congratulated on their excellent performance. This is not the first year, but the third year that they have achieved this result. So, it is a good story to tell.
However, at the same public meeting, the NCOP permanent delegates were informed that the clean audit opinion might reflect proper financial management. Yet, the services are not delivered on the ground. Projects in certain wards, like ward 9 and 13, were still incomplete. The learning curve of this provincial week is that we have public meetings upon arrival in municipalities with finance presentations. Without scrutinising the finances of all the Eastern Cape municipalities, we had no basis to work from.
Where service delivery is concerned, the Back to Basics Programme is clear, but it was the ANC, in the first place, that lost the plot. Now, they have to go back to basics - it is like this House. Councillor Mr Moore, in Elundini District Municipality, expressed his disappointment, hon Chairperson, about the decorum of Parliament. The fact is that we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing here. We turn to fight one another and we do not address the issues on the ground as we are expected and supposed to do.
The MEC for local government in the Eastern Cape - and I see he is again not here today - was not present on day one or for the entire duration of our oversight week in the province. The first day the excuse was that Monday is a political day but he knew very well and had ample notice that we were going there on the Monday already. So, I can only think that he has disregard for our constitutional mandate and also he does not care too much about his specific portfolio of local government.
As far as the logistics are concerned, in the Eastern Cape, doing three district municipalities was very difficult. So, we were good enough to split into three groups and it went very well. We covered vast areas. The only problem where I was, I was the only person in a 10—seater bus for three of the days. Hon Wana, rented a car. The officials from Parliament had their car and the officials from the province had their own car. I feel that if we kept the money into a smaller more lean way we could have travelled together and save money and spend more on the people on the ground.
We visited a housing project in Maletswai Local Municipality. The site was where the train houses were erected before 1994. The project is beautiful and it will be completed in November. There were no issues. However, let me tell you, this was a brag project. Just higher up in Aliwal North where Hilton is, a similar project had been terminated; it was stopped, nothing was happening. No houses were built, building material was lying there and only the sign board of the contractor was actually up on the fence.
The councillor, Thea Fourie, tells me that the people are disappointed because first of all their houses have not been finished. Secondly, some of them were hoping to get jobs in the project, and they did not. Across the road from Hilton, what they have is what is called top structures. So, the houses have been built and only now are the waste water treatment pipes being laid. Unfortunately, two-metre deep trenches are left open amongst the houses, soil was stacked up against the walls and it is extremely dangerous for children to play in. Of course, there are still raw sewerage spills all over.
So, in Hilton and Dukathole, the residents were moved to 291 emergency houses in Joe Gqabi District Municipality and they only have six toilets of which four are working. The Department of Human Settlements told me that they cannot put more toilets down there because people sell them. Chairperson, there are many similar projects and critical issues that we must address.
However, I want to assure you that the DA understands the mandate of the NCOP. We are committed to the Constitution and our values, Freedom Charter, fairness and opportunity. We will raise the issues and projects that do not work on the ground, investigate if it is policy or legislation at fault and ensure that it is rectified. I thank you.
Mr M PETER (Eastern Cape): Hon Chairperson and members, it is my privilege in this House to reflect on our experiences of the NCOP provincial week and its focus on local government in the Eastern Cape.
We appreciate the maximum participation of municipalities in this programme, including organs of civil society. The provincial department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, the provincial “Cogta”, participated in this programme, as they were part of the first briefing with members of the NCOP. I think the hon Van Lingen misses the point here and attempting to mislead the House, whilst failing to tell the House that she was not part of the debriefing on the last day of the visit, owing to DA political work on Fridays.
What has been demonstrated by municipalities in the provincial week and the service delivery sites we have visited is a clear indication that the local government agenda is in action in the Eastern Cape. Our municipalities are much more focused on rolling out infrastructure programmes and local economic development projects. [Interjections.] Municipalities are also consistent in providing basic services to their communities. These include free basic services for their indigents who also have greater need of services.
Local government is strategically located to deal with poverty, unemployment and inequality. These triple challenges are a consequence of centuries of exploitation, which was deliberately perpetrated against the majority of citizens. This is a fact.
The construction of internal and access roads, housing, the construction of roads, electrification and the Expanded Public Works Programme all have massive job creation elements, which are mostly beneficial to youth and women who are unemployed. This is the good story we must tell. I agree with hon members.
Under ANC-led municipalities, our communities are changing day by day. Our communities are better than they were before, unlike in DA-led municipalities, like Baviaans in the Eastern Cape where DA councillors were unable to establish ward committees in a small municipality constituted by only five wards. They had to be assisted by the provincial department of “Cogta”, as usual. The DA councillors were confused. They were found wanting in Baviaans, a small municipality in the Sarah Baartman District.
As we continue to create a better life for all, others will continue to oppose this programme owing to jealousy. The reason is because, in South Africa, we have an Official Opposition which still represents the interests of the previous ruling classes under apartheid.
We also see a new trend in Parliament, in municipalities and in some legislatures, where opposition parties are forming nefarious coalitions with the ultimate aim ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Peter, sorry. Hon Van Lingen, why are you rising?
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: I am rising on a point of order, because this hon member is misleading the House. He is inferring that the current opposition parties come from the apartheid era with their attitude. Now, I want him to withdraw that bit or reread the paragraph, so that you can judge for yourself, Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Van Lingen, you know that that is a point for debate and not a point of order.
Mr M PETER (Eastern Cape): We also see a new trend in Parliament, in municipalities and in some legislatures where opposition parties are forming nefarious coalitions, with the ultimate aim of creating the possibility of replacing the ruling ANC, the leading political force and agent for change.
But 44 municipalities out of 45 in the Eastern Cape are in the good hands of the ANC, and the Eastern Cape will remain a strong base of the ANC, no matter what, including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. And those who are dreaming about taking that metro must forget about it. That metro is in good hands and we have a sober mayor in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. Our electorate is neither interested nor excited about these coalitions and they remain sober to the cause of our revolution. [Interjections.]
Our municipalities have improved their audit outcomes and this has been confirmed by the Auditor-General. While some received clean audits, many received unqualified opinions, moving up from disclaimers and adverse opinions.
Our turnaround strategy is now yielding positive results. In the past four years we have taken far-reaching steps in eliminating the factors that were undermining the effectiveness of a developmental local government system, which were mostly related to human and material resources, while some were policy related.
The establishment of a South African developmental state is grounded in the vision of a state and society, working together at all levels, to advance social justice, economic growth and development. A developmental government system is central to building a developmental state, which will be transformative in character.
One of the pillars of our strategy is emphasis on the fact that local government in South Africa serves as a social compact across all spheres of society in contributing to building responsive, accountable and effective municipalities. In essence, local government is everybody’s business in South Africa.
In the Eastern Cape, institutions of higher learning, like the University of Fort Hare, are now forming partnerships with municipalities on human resources and financial management matters, while some like Senqu Local Municipality have formed partnerships with manufacturing companies, like PG Bison, on matters relating to engineering.
In conclusion, local government is moving South Africa forward by creating a better life for all citizens, and local government is working better towards achieving the goals of the national development plan.
The ANC will continue with the amalgamation of small municipalities, which are not financially viable, municipalities which are battling in other respects that could make a better life for communities. But this nonviability has its own history, because it is informed by the fact that in 1995 the ANC inherited apartheid local authorities, which were bankrupt - and this is a bad story we must remind other members in this House. This is because in 1995, we started the long journey of local government in the Republic, with the establishment of transitional councils.
I would like to remind our detractors about the bad things that they were part of creating under apartheid. Other members must remember towns like Steynsburg, Venterstad and Burgersdorp. All these towns constitute the Gariep Local Municipality, but today these towns are better than they were before 1994. People have their own houses; there are new schools; every house is connected to the national grid; there is sanitation. We removed the bucket system. There is a water tap in every yard. Is this not a good story to tell, members? Definitely. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mr L B GAEHLER: Hon Chairperson, hon Van Lingen had not missed anything in the debriefing because hon Peter was also not in the debriefing on Friday. The ruling party is failing the development agenda in municipalities at the expense of poor people. The visit to O R Tambo District Municipality has exposed this. People of Port St Johns in Nyandeni Local Municipality had to take to the streets in demand of upgrading and maintenance of roads which are in bad state. External and internal connection roads are in the state of decay with no sense of urgent action. Some roads in Ngquza Hill Local Municipality remain un-surfaced yet they were gazetted long time ago. There is absolutely no justification for this neglect.
Water and sanitation infrastructure is under-budgeted with only R10 million for the management. Painfully there is no clarity on whether there is any plan budgeted for replacements and maintenance of daily decaying infrastructure. In some areas within the King Sabata Dalindyebo District Municipality are poor rural people who do not have access to basic human necessities like water and sanitation. Greenville in Mthatha is a case in point where water was non-existent for four weeks.
Whilst a district municipality lists as a success the development of new towns and malls, town planning fails to address the historic spatial development challenges. Much of their reported and planned development does not confirm existence of a spatial development plan. The social economic infrastructure of the majority of the rural municipalities demands special and dedicated attention.
In this regard, the UDM proposes that the special rural infrastructure backlog fund be created. The current Municipalities Infrastructure Grant, MIG, is either under-budgeted for or biased against rural areas. Without this crucial intervention, the development agenda in rural municipalities cannot be advanced.
Senior managers like the municipal managers in O R Tambo, Port St Johns, King Sabata Dalindyebo District Municipalities are in acting positions. It is worse in the King Sabata Dalindyebo District Municipality, KSD; the unbearable situation doubles up with an acting Chief Financial Officer. The ruling party needs to take people of rural areas serious and treat them with respect.
Okokugqibela, makhe sibethe ngesi sasekhaya ngoku. Kukho izindlu ezingagqitywanga ukwakhiwa mhlekazi. Kudala zangagqitywa. Ngaphakathi kuMasipala wesiThili sase-O R Tambo kukho umngxumakazi omkhulu osendleleni. Yibhafu enkulu nawe ungabhafa kuyo. Uthi ke umasipala onjalo angabanceda kanjani abantu?
Kutshiwo ukuba ezi zinto nithetha ngazo, zeekomiti zeewadi, zikhona ntonje azinankxaso-mali. Kwakhona kukho ingxaki yamabango omhlaba. Idolophu yaseMthatha ibangwa yonke. Kudala ndinixelela loo nto leyo. Bayakhala ooceba benu. Ngabenu! Bathi abakwazi kwenza nto. E-KSD abantu bakhumbula iintsuku ze-UDM kuba zange bazifumana iinkonzo oko kwakhutshwa i-UDM nini. Kunzima ngoku kuni. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Lastly, let’s speak our mother tongue now. There are houses that are not finished sir and it’s been a long time. Ine O R Tambo District Municipality there is a big pothole on the road. It’s like a big bath, you can bath yourself. How can such municipality help people?
It is said that the ward committees that you are talking about are there, but they have no financial support. Again, there is a problem of land claims. The whole Mthatha town is claimed. I’ve been telling you this several times. Your ward councillors are complaining. They are yours. They say they cannot do anything. KSD people remember the UDM days because the services were not delivered since you outvoted UDM. Now things are difficult for you.]
Nampak is not working well because it is not financed.
Siyanicela ncedani abantu. Kukho iiprojekhthi ze-R100 000 zabantu. Wakhe wayibona phi iprojekhthi ye-R100 000? Angenza ntoni umntu nge-R100 000? Ncedani abantu niyeke ukube niqhathana nabantu. Enkosi. [Please you must help people. There are community projects for R100 000. Where have you seen a project for that amount? What can a person do with it? Please help people and stop pulling wool over their eyes. Thank you.]
Ms L MAPENA: FREE STATE: CHAIRPERSON- SOCIAL SERVICES: Hon Chairperson of the session, hon Deputy Minister, hon members of the NCOP, representatives from different provinces, let me take this opportunity to introduce myself.
NdinguNombulelo, intombi yaseMaqwathini, ndinguDikela, uNtswayibane, uHala, uMagqabi akadliwa adliwa zibhokhwe. [I’m Nombulelo, a daughter of Maqwathi clan, Dikela, Ntswayibane, Hala, Magqabi akadliwa adliwa zibhokhwe.]
The Provincial Week took place on the 21-24 July 2015 under the theme, “Advancing Developmental Agenda of the Municipalities for the Better Life for our People”. In the Free State the joint delegation of the NCOP and the Provincial Legislature had briefing meetings with the provincial executive, the office of the Auditor-General as well as the provincial leadership of SA Local Government Association, Salga.
Before embarking on the oversight visit to the Kopanong Local Municipality and the Xhariep District Municipality as well as the Naledi Local Municipality in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, site visits were also conducted to the Xhariep leather design co-operative, the Mangaung social housing project as well as the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.
The main objective of having briefing sessions and conducting site visits during this period under review was to examine the current state of the local government and report to its developmental mandate service delivery and institutional capacity. Hon Chair, during this visit, the joint delegation was briefed on the following challenges facing dysfunctional municipalities: disclaimers, noncompliance with legislation, poor quality of financial statements, low rate of the revenue collection, and the non-utilisation of Municipal Infrastructure Grant, MIG, allocation for the intent purpose.
During the visit to the Kopanong Local Municipality, the delegation was informed that the 2011 census report indicated the decrease in the population of the municipality for approximately 6 900 people and this was one of the contributing factors that led to the downgrading of the municipality from grade 3 to grade 2. Subsequently, the municipality’s equitable share was negatively affected during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years. Downgrading the municipalities is currently being contested however this has not yet been resolved.
The municipality has also a shortage of water and is receiving their water from the Gariep Dam through Bloemwater which has a necessary infrastructure to process water and selling the water back to the municipality at a very high cost. However, despite the financial constraints the municipality has managed to go from a disclaimer audit report in 2011-12 financial year to qualify audit report in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years.
Furthermore, plans are in place for the municipality to strengthen its staff complement in its financial departments. At this stage consultants are only utilised for the purpose of the verification of the financial statements. The following recommendations were made to the leadership of the municipality: The lower revenue at the municipality should be addressed by the implementation of the Revenue Enhancement Strategy; the municipality administration, supported by the council should ensure the improvement of audit outcomes and accountability; assistance from the Provincial Legislature and National Council of Provinces will be required to address challenges that were identified regarding the supply of water by Bloemwater and the NCOP’s relevant committees, Standing Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs should have a joint meeting with the Treasury, Financial fiscal Commission and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to look at the impact of the new equitable share formula on downgraded municipalities in the Free State province.
During the meeting with the Xariep District Municipality, the delegation was informed that the downgrading of the Kopanong Local Municipality has had a negative impact on the Xariep District Municipality, as it is the biggest municipality in the district. Furthermore, the amalgamation of the Naledi Local Municipality with the Mangaung Metropolitan will also negatively impact the district municipality. Other challenges facing the district municipality is poverty, service delivery and infrastructure backlogs.
Chairperson, the delegation conducted an oversight visit to the Naledi Local Municipality, which serves a largely rural community. At present a demarcation process is underway to incorporate the municipality into the Mangaung Metropolitan. As is the case with a number of municipalities in the Free State, the Naledi Local Municipality has suffered a population decrease which has negatively affected the allocation of its MIG.
The Municipality also faces a high number of litigation cases brought on by farmers whose properties were damaged by fires which originated at municipality landfill sites. These fires are caused by the municipality’s inability to properly maintain its landfill sites. The delegation therefore recommended that the municipality should fast-track the appointment of a Technical Manager. It was also recommended that the Municipal Manager should ensure that the management of the municipality is in line with the principles of back to basics, in terms of the strategic objective of the local government
The restoration of the municipality’s relationship with farmers should also be a priority that could lead to the formation of a partnership in job creation and youth farmer mentorship programmes. Lastly, Chairperson, the delegation met with the leadership of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality. The metro has managed to move from a qualified to an unqualified audit opinion and has developed and implemented a revenue enhancement strategy for the metro. The metro has also rehabilitated all current facilities to make it usable, instead of building new infrastructure.
Some of the challenges facing the metro are as follows: The vast distance between the towns in the metro creates challenges with regard to infrastructure distribution; the replacement of an aging fleet; the amalgamation of Naledi Local Municipality into Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality resulting in infrastructural development challenges; the absence of a service level agreement with Naledi Local Municipalities; the usage of consultants on infrastructure development project as the result of a shortage of engineers; the replacement of the Maselspoort purification system; and the lack of an integrated transport plan.
The delegation made the following recommendations to the leadership of the Metro: That the Municipal Manager should fast-track the process of costing implications of amalgamating Naledi Local Municipality with the metro and submit a report to the municipal council for consideration and adoption; that the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality in collaboration with the Naledi Local Municipality should facilitate public participation and consultation process with affected communities on the future amalgamation; and that the Manguang Metropolitan Municipality should table quarterly progress reports to the relevant portfolio committee in the Free State Legislature on the amalgamation of Naledi Local Municipality with the metro.
Chairperson, all in all, the provincial week visit to the Free State was a success, with the delegation having fruitful engagements with the political and administrative leadership of the municipalities visited. There are many challenges facing municipalities in the Free State, especially with regard to dwindling population numbers and the resulting reduction in the allocation of the MIGs. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr J P PARKIES: Chairperson, let me appreciate you, MECs present, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and members of the House. For me it is a great honour to be part of this important debate in this important House, which is the custodian of the best interests of our provinces. It is the warden of the deepest aspirations of the mass forest of our people.
This House should always vibrate for, with and along such social needs with our people. Having done its work over the recent past provincial week, we deem it fit to stand here have proper and accurate reflection on the issues that are emerging in the provinces.
However, we are conscious of the understanding of what we are dealing with, which should be informed by the background perspective of our history. The history that will always appear to be cluttering in the minds of our detractors and the beneficiaries of the opprobrious system precisely it continues to be beneath their level of intelligence. In fact, we must constantly avert that our people suffered beneath the weight and the dignity of the oppressors and the engineers of the social structure of the South African society that destroyed the black majority through autogenous development as the linchpin policy.
The current iniquitous that we are trying to resolve are not of our own making, but those of the opprobrious system laced with the warped mechanism of the market fundamentalism. The dawn of democracy in 1994 brought about change, which negated ... [Interjection.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Essack, why are you rising?
Mr F ESSACK: Hon House Chair, if you could just ask the speaker to explain inexplicable iniquitous ... [Interjections.] ... inexplicable iniquitous! [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, no, Hon Essack! In future if you stand up, you first have to ascertain whether the member is ready to take a question, and if it is an issue of a term unfortunately, we can’t assist you.
Mr J P PARKIES: The dawn of democracy in 1994 brought about change, which negated the minority calamitous rule in our land. This new dispensation brought about new possibilities and challenges in our country. Part of the fundamental challenge, which is a constant benefit for the white capital, was the egregious disinvestment for our country, but abroad. The connoisseurs of the calamitous rule with their warped mechanism of the market saw an opportunity based on their flawed superficial analysis of the political situation in our country; leaving the masses suffering from the dictum of tormenting poverty and social inequality.
The codified system of colonialism of special type never induced humility. Its vices could not be the match of our virtue. It is within this perspective and from this vantage point that we ought to understand the challenges facing our country and the political economy, which explains the living, the production, the distribution of resources within human society, the material needs of life and the relation between men in the process of production and exchange.
Therefore, in grappling with the issues of service delivery to our people we will not be blindfolded by the form being in high political office or government, yet while the content is a distinct reality of the economic structure that has not changed. The geographic segmentation of living area base on race and class and urban sprawl and desperate levels of service provisions, access to amenities in our cities is so inequitable, inefficient and relatively expensive to manage and maintain worse in rural areas.
Chair, the long-term guarantee of the quality services is a transformed economy laced with popular mobilisation of the great masses who should not be the passive recipients of this service, but active elements in the life of our people as a nation, well-articulated institutional arrangements and the framework, and unquestionable commitment of our cadres to serve the people.
Emerging from the NCOP visit, few fundamental issues need to be mentioned: The importance of proper and well-defined relations between Bloem water and guaranteed supply of water to our people is the fundamental issue, Deputy Minister. The need to monitor the impact of the reviewed formula for allocation of resources to the municipalities in a form of a grant must be based on the needs instead of population growth or decline. That formula is not scientific, that is my view. Lastly, improved and a better co-ordination of the districts, the local municipalities and the need to resuscitate the railway line between Bloemfontein and Thaba Nchu.
Having said this, we need to assure members of society that as bona fide members of the ANC, and voluntary actors in the long-standing process of the revolution, we will continue to strive to be the first to acknowledge the challenges and limitations in our governance.
However, equally so, hon Essack, unflinchingly defend the government and the organisation. It will not be the ranters with their infertile understanding to remind us and point to our failures. We consciously understand and have internalised the sufferings of our people, in no way we can derive joy or pleasure from their suffering and tormenting conditions. [Interjections.]
Let me talk to the last issue. One important issue is the social housing. The progress made by the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality on social housing. We want to use this platform to deplore the level in which consultants are being used, that just conspire resources in the municipalities without any value for money, but bumbling performance in the midst of the very same consultants.
The critical question is for how long shall we, be exploited by these vampire corporate companies, who does not even disseminate necessary skill and expertise for our municipalities for their own survival in the long-term. This issue needs a special attention from the highest level of leadership and authority and intervention that... [Interjection.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Parkies sorry! Hon Parkies! Hon Mtileni, why are you standing?
Mr V E MTILENI: I’m standing to appreciate hon Parkies, acknowledging that... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, no take your seat! Take your seat. [Interjections.]
Mr V E MTILENI: I’m happy that ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, no Mtileni! Members I’m the one presiding, hon Mtileni take your seat. No, take your seat.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Can I please ask hon Parkies whether he would take a question? I have a question for hon Parkies.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Parkies, are you ready to take a question?
Mr J P PARKIES: No, not now.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, take your seat, hon Mpambo-Sibhukwana.
Mr J P PARKIES: This issue needs a special attention, hon Deputy Minister, because Treasury and Cogta said they cannot have the capacity to assist municipalities in terms of hands on approach so that we surmount the challenges that are facing the municipality and we need a long-term intervention for the survival of our institutions.
The last issue, Chair, is the planning commission that we need to put in place, which will not be an extension of our bureaucracy, but with the political muscle to champion professional and co-ordinated development within government programmes. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Sorry members, I am appealing to all of you that you might have a speakers’ list that is not the same with the one I have. So, don’t rely on the one you have because it is outdated. I am sorry for that confusion.
Mr J MAMABOLO: Hon Chair, hon members, let me convey our sincere greetings to the Hon Deputy Minister, Andries Nel, all guests present and ladies and gentlemen. Hon members, I feel deeply honoured and privileged to address this Council during a very important period in our country. We are celebrating the revolutionary contributions made by women, in particular, working class women, to liberate our country from what the ANC-led alliance defines as the the triple oppression of women. This is in contrast to national oppression based on race, patriarchy or male domination and lastly, that of class exploitation as workers.
Let me also take the opportunity to convey sincere greetings to all revolutionary women gathered today and, of course, this week in the City of Tshwane in Gauteng Province where we are hosting the congress of the ANC Women’s League and we wish them good regards. Malibongwe! [Praise!]
HON MEMBERS: Malibongwe! [Praise!]
Mr J MAMABOLO: Hon members, on behalf of our Premier of Gauteng province, David Makhura, and the provincial government, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the National Council of Provinces, NCOP, delegation that visited our province. I hope hon members who participated in the visit will agree that indeed we had an honest, frank and dynamic conversation about the good work done in the West Rand Municipalities and, of course, this includes the challenges in the area.
I must say that I had an opportunity to go through the final report as published and I would like to welcome and appreciate the report. On behalf of our provincial government we will definitely work on the recommendations contained in the report and I am pleased to say that the report takes us forward and we did not have issues with the report as we think it is a good report. I would like to commend all the members for the good work they have done and the good report they have prepared. We accept all the recommendations.
As a good gesture to that, let me just confirm that we are deeply pleased, particularly by the observation made in the report under the heading “Conclusion” and the subheading “Governance in Local Government” paragraph 9.10.4. It reads: “The delegates noted with appreciation the good work done by the Premier, the Auditor-General, provincial Treasury and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, to support and monitor the municipalities within Gauteng province.”
I must also congratulate you for the overall thrust of your recommendations; at the heart of the recommendations made by hon members, we have particularly noted five areas of recommendations and this relates firstly to service delivery to financial viability of municipalities, local economic development, governance in local government and lastly, spending of the municipal infrastructure grants. Those are the five recommendations you have made for our province, in particular for interventions in the West Rand District Municipalities, of course, supporting all the local municipalities. I am pleased to say that we will implement these recommendations as a matter of urgency.
As a matter of emphasis, let me restate that our province, of course, we have reported this to you, has adopted a vision of transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation. This was clearly conveyed to hon members. We have also tabled to you that as part of this vision, we have adopted the five corridors of development, which are aligned to municipal demarcations in our province. In the West Rand District Municipalities and all the local municipalities that whole area aligned to municipal demarcation we call it the Western Development Corridor. We have tabled to you our vision and co-interventions to support municipalities in this area.
As the report indicates, the province is doing good work to support all our municipalities in the West Rand and it is in that context that I would not want to take time because as I’ve said, we agree with the recommendations that have been made.
Just to conclude, hon members, let me indicate that most of you might be aware that the Municipal Demarcation Board has made a profound announcement on a matter that has occupied us as the provincial government and our municipalities pertaining to reordering or reconfiguring the municipal landscape in the West Rand on the basis of a metro system of government. I must say that although the proposal that we have made to the Municipal Demarcation Board through the Minister, dating back many years, has not been accepted as yet, but we welcome the principled position taken by the Municipal Demarcation Board that they would want to do further work to come to a proper determination on reordering the West Rand on the basis of a metro system of government.
Let me also take the opportunity and emphasise what the Premier said. He said that as the provincial government, we are going to work very hard, and the work will start with immediate effect to make sure that we have the whole of Gauteng as a single integrated city region organised on the basis of a metro system of government. I am pleased to say that we will start working as soon as possible to make sure that we work with Municipality Demarcation Board to arrive at that conclusion.
I would like to also say to you that you may be aware that in October 2013, the Municipal Demarcation Board made an announcement merging the Westonaria and Randfontein Local Municipalities. Let me clarify, hon members, as the Premier did that the decision to merge Westonaria and Randfontein Local Municipalities was a decision made by the Municipality Demarcation Board responding to our initial request to establish West Rand as a full metro. That decision was not a request of a provincial government, it was a compromise arrived at by the Municipal Demarcation Board and therefore, we remain firm in our position as the provincial government that the best option for the entire West Rand is a metro system.
Merging Westonaria and Randfontein is not the best option. However, having said that, we will respect the decision of the Municipal Demarcation Board, they have made that decision and we will work with them and give them support. It is not in the best interest of government to challenge how the Municipal Demarcation Board came to that determination. We will continue to merge the two municipalities as a stepping stone and as a decisive step towards a single integrated metro system for the whole of the West Rand.
Let me also say because I know that some parties are desperate to grab some small pieces of municipalities thinking that they can get a vote, have tried in the public space to create an impression that the Premier of the province and all of us are speaking past each other or in different parallel directions on the issue of a single integrated metro system in the whole of the West Rand.
I would like to emphasise, we are one as government and we will make sure that the West Rand is organised on the basis of a single integrated metro system. Actually, the rest of the provinces, but we will support the decision of the Municipal Demarcation Board on the two municipalities which was never our vision in the first place. When the Premier said “merging two small municipalities does not take us anywhere,” he was correctly capturing the position of the province.
We will continue to make sure, as per your report and recommendations, that we continue the good work to support all the municipalities and not only in the West Rand, but in the whole of our province. That is the reason we do not have municipalities that are classified as dysfunctional. We do not have municipalities that are said to be in deep crisis in our province. It is because, as the report observed, we continue to do good work as the provincial government. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms N P MOKGOSI: Modulasetilo, ke dumedisa balwantwa diporofense tse robongwe Aforikaborwa ka bophara. [Chairperson, I greet Fighters from all nine provinces.]
The Constitution of the Republic recognises the importance of local government in the economic development through the following statement: A municipality must structure and manage its administration, budgeting and planning processes, give priority to the basic needs of the community, and promote the social and economic development of the community.
The 1998 White Paper on Local Government which introduced the concept of developmental local government is defined as: Local government is committed to working with the citizens and groups within the community, to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs, and improve the quality of their lives.
From the above definition, it is clear that the founding fathers of our democracy envisioned local government as a sphere of government that would be the most responsive to the needs of our people, to deliver basic services such as sanitation and water. But the reality, according to Minister Gordhan is that, a third of South African municipalities are dysfunctional.
This is as a result of ineptitude of the ANC’s leadership, which is deeply embedded to corruption and poorly capacitated human resources. The ANC employs its cadres to strategic positions as a reward for being loyal to the organisation. The reality is that, the majority of the municipalities cannot deliver basic services such as water provision, sanitation and road maintenance.
The residents of the municipalities such as the Makana Municipality in the Eastern Cape have come to live with the normalisation ... [Interjections.] Chairperson, can you protect me? Please!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Order, members!
Ms N MOKGOSI: How can this current state of municipalities ever lead to the construction of a developmental sphere of local government?
Ke ka gore ke puso ya magodu. [It is as a result of the thief-led government.]
Moreover, the municipalities raise their revenues from three sources. Firstly, they raise some of their own revenue by charging all people who own property, such as land, houses and businesses rates based on the value of their properties. Secondly, the way they raise the revenue is by charging tariffs for services like water, electricity, refuse removal and the use of municipal facilities such as sports grounds.
Some municipalities can generate a lot of revenue in this way, while poorer municipalities can raise virtually nothing and are almost totally dependent on funding transfers from the national government, which is the third source of revenue for the municipalities.
Fa o eteletswe pele ke morentsele wa berete, go ka se siame sepe. Setswana ga se tolokiwe! [If you are led by the tip of the beret, nothing will be fine. Setswana cannot be interpreted.]
With the municipalities receiving less than the 15% of the national budget compared to over 50% of the national sphere of government and 35% for provinces, this means that the municipalities cannot simply afford to catalyse any self-perpetuating development. This also means that metropolitan municipalities stand a good chance of having sufficient financial resources to lead massive development programmes, because they can sustain themselves from the tariffs they get from the residents.
The poor rural municipalities cannot raise this kind of revenue, and are only dependent on the grant they get from the state. The ANC government does not want to deal with the disparities between urban and rural municipalities. It compromises the ability of rural municipalities to play a developmental role. But the situation can be resolved; and it can only be resolved through courageous leadership.
The task of fundamental economic transformation of the local government requires a strong government with the ability to develop a clear strategic vision, which it will also be able to implement and monitor. Municipalities should have internal capacity to build and maintain infrastructure such as roads, railways and dams. It is the dependence on tenders that creates fertile ground for corruption to thrive. At the centre of this should be a motivated ... [Interjections.]
Ga ke matlalo; ga ke tshwane le wena! [I am not as old as you are.]
... well trained, inspired and well remunerated human resource capacity. The integrated development plans and local economic development plans should be developed in such a manner that the municipalities do not view short-term poverty relief projects as the development. The municipalities must be the drivers of industrialisation and employment creation. For this to happen, visionary and brave leadership is needed, which can only be found in the EFF.
Ke ipoeletsa gape ke re: Fa motho a beile morentsele wa berete, a ka se etelelepele gope. Ngwana yo o tlhogokgolo o sira rragwe. Sena se raya gore, ngwana yo o tlhogotona, o o re eteletseng pele, o a re sira. Fa o utlwa e kare ke a go hera, o ye go palama mokala! Go dira seo, ga se duelelwe. Fa o ntseng teng fao, o ka nna wa baya matlalo ao. Nna ga ke leswe, ga ke tlhoke metsi. Nako ena ke e nnye tota. Ke a leboga. [Legofi.] (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[I will repeat: If you are led by the tip of the beret, nothing will be fine. It is very difficult to be led by a rebel. If you feel offended by what I am saying, get out of the kitchen. I am not filthy, I do not lack water. Time allocated is so little. I thank you. [Applause.]]
Mr E V DUBE: Ngiyabonga kakhulu, Sihlalo. [Thank you very much, Chairperson.]
Together we can build better communities. I just want to remind some people about the message of the President before 2009 elections. It’s always important to remind people who seem to forget, because they’ve got their own little agendas. Our manifesto addresses the main challenges we face in our communities and local government. We therefore have got ways of doing things.
Local governments and communities face major challenges that we are aware of: Namely, reducing unemployment, more access to better quality services, overcoming the legacy of apartheid, spatial development, strengthening community participation - I want to emphasise on this one - and building effective, accountable and clean local government. We walk the talk!
I want to quote these words from John E Mitchell. Great leaders are courageous initiators. They are unafraid to test new ideas or face confrontation and criticism. They are bold doers; not merely perpetual dreamers. The theme under discussion is: Advancing the development agenda of the municipalities for better lives of our people.
Deputy Minister, Presiding Officer, Chairperson of the NCOP, Members of the executive, hon members, the Speaker and the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal was excited to host our delegates in our province. This was a joint attempt by the council and the respective provincial legislature to give expression to the spirit of the Constitution and of co-operative governance and the representation of the local sphere in national government.
We do take note that high value is to be afforded to the Provincial Week Programme, the work that goes into arranging such a programmes and the appreciation for the work that is done during the programme. The theme is crafted to ensure that we focus on the development. It was essential that the attention is paid to the concerns raised by the Auditor-General, in relation to service delivery with or without opinions.
The provincial week is about starting to work on how to get to this point. We have adopted a strategy by the municipalities, which is called “Back to Basics”. This municipal strategy focuses on looking at service delivery, commitments made by the executive, leadership in municipalities on water and sanitation issues and human settlements.
The strategy also calls for the review of those municipalities which are performing and those that are operating poorly. The provincial briefing to the delegates was done by the hon MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Giving an eye view of what is happening in our province; she welcomed the constructive oversight as it assisted in advancing the attempts towards delivering of services to those who need them most in this expansive and largely rural province.
She also indicated that currently, most of the resources are concentrated in the eradication of the current draught spell. One must emphasise this about what the Deputy Minister said, as you would know that the KwaZulu-Natal is facing serious drought. The province has been experiencing drought since 2014, when the province’s most municipal districts were declared as disaster areas.
The resources assisted in allowing the province to access additional funding from the national Department of Water and Sanitation, which has been processed to be used by the municipalities for disaster relief efforts. The provincial government has exercised oversight to ensure that the funding is being spent for its intended purposes.
The other challenges that we are facing, which also came out very strongly when the delegation under the leadership of Mr Nzimande came are: The drought that has resulted into the death of 30 000 livestock. This caused the emerging farmers to feel the brunt. The operations in sugar industry have also come to a halt; this made many workers to be laid off, and most of our dams are virtually empty.
These are the realities that are found on the ground; while others are helicoptering and making noises that sound like nothing. In the midst of it all, we have the following successes ... [Interjections.] You are very right because, when we consulted with the people, some of the members from the opposition did what they always do; they went to make noise at Nkandla instead of following a programme that was laid before them.
Their problem is that they are always hovering. Our success is the revitalisation of the agricultural value chain. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Order, members!
Mr E V DUBE: ... those are agricultural herbs; the rehabilitation of several irrigation schemes; the province is setting up seven new district development agencies; the province is facilitating an access to finance for the small enterprises through a range of avenues.
The province is also leading in the development and protection of human capital through social security, housing, agricultural development, enterprise development, employment creation, skills development, as well as comprehensive poverty eradication plan. Singing like birds! The presentation was made by the office of the Director-General in the office of the Premier on the progress of the province in the implementation of the National Development Plan, NDP.
We do face the challenges, as we have said, but we are working on them. The Premier has established what is called a “poverty eradication centre”, which is managed by his office. The Inkululeko Development Projects - A Service Delivery Initiative, which is the intergovernmental and integrated service delivery approach, has proven to be successful.
The presentation that was made by the Head of Department, HOD, of Cooperative Governance and the Traditional Affairs, Cogta, in KwaZulu-Natal was very clear. The presentation stated that, as much as the province is facing challenges, we are hitting the ground running. We also visited the following municipalities:
Vulamehlo, Umdoni, Umzumbe, Hibiscus Coast, Ezinqoleni and Umziwabantu. We came across the same challenges that we have spoken about. This includes insufficient infrastructure and the illegal connections of water. We have explained some programmes of addressing these challenges.
There are also some good stories to tell: The municipality has managed to collect 100% of the amount due in property rates; there was also successful revenue collection; there was installation of bulk meters to the entire zone adequately; there was war on leaks and the commissioning and resetting pressure reducing the valves. On the issues of service delivery, we built more houses; we are building more roads and many houses are electrified.
As we come from the rural areas, there are many rural development initiatives. There are also tourism initiatives even in the rural areas. We did sight visits at the Port Shepstone Justice Park and the Masinenge Upgrade. When other people are happy with the informal settlements, we, at the KwaZulu-Natal province, are at war eradicating and removing the squatter areas.
This is done with the help of the progressive leaders and the organisation that took over, the ANC; to make sure that people are getting better lives. We appreciated the visit. We will always make sure that we support and do as the report has been alluded to, to ensure that we do everything that has been recommended. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A J D NDOU (Limpopo): Chairperson, Deputy Minister, hon members of the NCOP, we are honoured to be here to be part of this debate. To honour Women’s Month, we would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the national Department of Human Settlements for allowing us to host the Women’s Build 2015 programme in the province, in which 60 houses will be built in Ga-Tlaku and Tauyatswala in Mogalakwena as part of celebrating Women’s Month and 60 years of the Freedom Charter. [Applause.]
Also, as a gesture, we will allocate 1 956 housing units to women contractors in celebrating Women’s Month and the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings. We want to say that we are not going to disappoint you.
During the process of drafting the Limpopo Development Plan, all stakeholders were united in coming up with a blueprint that reflects a shared vision and strategic imperatives towards poverty reduction, the elimination of social inequality, and the creation of sustainable jobs in our province.
In his 2015 state of the province address, the Premier of Limpopo, Mr Chupu Mathabatha, had this to say:
Limpopo Development Plan has also identified specific economic regions that have a significant potential to accelerate the industrialisation process in the province. These include, but not limited to, Polokwane, Lephalale, Tubatse, Tzaneen and Makhado-Musina corridor as areas of priority in terms of integrated human settlement and economic development.
He said further:
Underpinning the Limpopo Development Plan are 10 high-level development targets to be attained by 2020. These targets are: the achievement of an economic growth rate of 3%, revised in the light of the current performance of the global economy; increased access to basic water from 83% in 2014 to 90%;
increased access to electricity supply from 83% in 2014 to 90%; increased access to sanitation from 43% in 2014 to 50%.
Indeed, the province has just come back from a difficult past, which we do not want to see repeating itself. Hence, we made the giant step in rectifying what had led to those problems.
The National Council of Provinces was in our province recently, and you made your own determination on what was presented to you and your own observations during your stay in our province. We believe we have been able to satisfy your honourable selves with all the information and with regards to our municipal performance. We all know that a lot still needs to be done, but we believe today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be far better.
The national government has approved the Expanded Public Works Programme Phase 3, which our province will be launching in the next few weeks with set targets as we move with the national aim of ensuring that our people are able to be absorbed in these employment opportunities. Our municipalities will be at the epicentre of ensuring our people are the greatest beneficiaries of this programme. We have been doing well as a province when it comes to this programme. In Phase 3 of the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, we have been able to achieve more than 110% of the targets, and we are hopeful that with strong municipal management processes we will work well to achieve our target for Phase 3.
We are delighted that the Auditor-General has stated that there seemed to be good and improved relations between the chief financial officers and their municipal managers. This augurs well for our financial accountability and in ensuring there is adherence to the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act.
I must state in this august House that we have made a commitment to ensuring that our municipalities are able to function and have all the necessary, qualified and capable people in the management structure to carry out their functions with ease.
In Limpopo we have had the problem of municipalities that have been unable to spend on their allocated municipal infrastructure grant. We said that this was unacceptable, and we had to ensure that the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements Traditional Affairs, CoGHSTA, and the provincial infrastructure hub work together on a mechanism to help our municipalities improve in this regard.
We have stated before that local government is the strategic centre of gravity in terms of basic service delivery to our people, and we dare not fail them. We identified and supported struggling municipalities to be able to respond to identified challenges, and the audit outcomes have shown that our interventions have begun to show what we have worked so hard for. I must state that we are indeed hard at work in line with our Limpopo Infrastructure Development Master Plan.
We recently handed over residential units to deserving beneficiaries of the Seshego community. This is a paradigm shift from single-sex hostels to family units, which are assisting in social cohesion. Government has commenced with the long-awaited Bendor Extension l00 project in terms of which 756 households and businesses will benefit. These households will help those who ordinarily would not qualify for housing loans from commercial banks. These are the same cohorts that do not qualify for RDP houses and who are mortgage-poor.
We must also state that in terms of infrastructure development, we also participated in the sod-turning of the Thavhani Mall in Thavhani City, Thulamela Municipality. Here, we are talking about the creation of 1 500 to 2 000 jobs, both permanent and part time. These projects are amongst some of the bigger projects that the government of Limpopo is pursuing to ensure that we are able to create an environment conducive for our people to live in and to access basic services.
We agree that we have had some rough times with regard to labour unrest in various municipalities over unpaid salaries, solidarity in support of fellow employees who have been suspended or dismissed, unpaid performance bonuses and improved conditions of workers. On this subject matter we have discovered that the cause of all this was due to nonfunctional labour-management forums, poor relations between the council and labour unions and poor financial management. We had to intervene and recommend that there be regular management and staff meetings and labour management meetings without fail. Where we have intervened, we have seen an improvement.
The province encountered community and service delivery protests in various areas: Blouberg, Polokwane, Lepelle-Nkumpi, Greater Tzaneen, Maruleng, Greater Tubatse, Elias Motswaledi, Fetakgomo, Mogalakwena, Thabazimbi and Thulamela. The main issues raised in these communities included water and electricity provisioning and, of course, road infrastructure.
In our engagement with the communities we realised that some of these protests are about our inability to disseminate information, previous unrealistic promises, the prioritising of services to the people that are closer to those in power, the changing of integrated development plan priorities without the knowledge of the communities concerned and factions in communities.
We agreed that political office bearers must convene community report-back meetings at regular intervals, and communities should be involved through recognised structures in matters affecting them, and, where possible, government programmes must be communicated to diverse communities.
We must reiterate the issue of debts to the municipalities. Our municipalities are in a debt recovery process, especially in terms of outstanding debts of departments as we need to improve the financial sustainability of municipalities as this negatively impacts on the provision of service delivery.
Although government departments owe municipalities, the outstanding debts still needed to be consistently verified. There has not been any interest paid by any government department so far. We need to deal with this issue of interest, as required by the Municipal Finance Management Act, and deal directly with individual municipalities.
We must state that our municipal councils and committees of councils are all functional as are all our district intergovernmental relations forums. However, challenges have been experienced regarding nonattendance by local municipalities.
Though all our 30 municipalities have established the Municipal Public Accounts Committees, we are still faced with functionality challenges. There has been, of course, poor attendance and reporting by councils to committees, and the implementation of recommendations has also given us problems. Unfortunately, only 22 municipalities have approved their 2014-15 annual work programmes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Ndou, round up.
Mr A J D NDOU (Limpopo): Yes, Chairperson. I am concluding, Chair. Limpopo is a hive of activity now, and any one of us who is not part of the solution will find himself or herself riding on a train that is moving fast. This might have a negative impact on all of us. When we said our departments and municipalities must work and align their programmes with the provincial growth and development strategies, as outlined in the Limpopo Development Plan and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, it was to conform to the outcomes of the ruling party manifesto. When we say municipalities must work hard ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Your time has expired, hon Ndou.
Mr A J D NDOU (Limpopo): I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms T MOTARA: Hon House Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, hon MECs, special delegates from provinces, representatives from SA Local Government Association, Salga, our honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, this debate takes place in the beginning of the month when our nation takes the time to pay tribute to the selfless and tireless efforts of women in society.
Allow me to take this moment to pay a laudable voice of tribute to all the women who continue to carry the torch of resilience and relentless dedication to our national quest to wage a fearless battle against the oppression of women in society.
The provincial week remains one of the key strategic initiatives that were established by the NCOP in order to solicit provincial interests. It is one of the most strategic programmes that are geared towards ensuring that provincial delegates to the NCOP keep abreast with developments as well as challenges that are facing their provinces.
The NCOP Provincial Week was established in line with the provision of the Constitution which obligates the NCOP to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. Therefore, it also serves as a very important forum for the NCOP to work together with legislatures, municipalities, organised local government and government departments and entities to confront challenges facing the service delivery and the challenges of our people.
I must say from the onset that since its inception, the provincial week has proven to be a success in giving provincial delegates to the NCOP – and the NCOP as whole - information about the needs of people in the provinces. It has enabled the NCOP to contribute to effective government by ensuring that provincial and local concerns are recognised in national policy making and that the provincial, local and national spheres of government work together effectively and efficiently in order to ensure effective service delivery.
As we visit provinces, municipalities and communities, we are humbled by the feedback that we continue to receive. In many of the areas that we have visited, our people speak in one voice to say that the delivery of services in their communities will improve if the NCOP comes more often.
The theme for the provincial week of 21-24 July this year was, Advancing the Developmental Agenda of Municipalities for a Better Life for Our People. We chose this theme informed by the historical resolve to work tirelessly to remove all obstacles in our quest to change the lives of our people. We also thought that this theme was made more relevant by the fact that the Constitution lays out the objectives of local government, in section 152, as to:
(1) provide democratic and accountable government of local communities;
(2) ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
(3) promote social and economic development; promote a safe and healthy environments; and lastly
(4) encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.
I must say that the various provincial delegations have raised serious concerns about the state of our municipalities. Central among the issues that are raised throughout the NCOP Provincial Week 20-24 July 2015 report is the prevalence of poor financial management systems that lead to persistent negative audit outcomes as a result of unauthorised expenditure.
Many municipalities in our provinces continue to waste billions of rands in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure without consequences. Many municipalities have extremely weak and ineffective internal financial control systems against fraud, misrepresentation, maladministration and corruption. Many municipalities have very weak audit committees that are not effective and show disregard to their fiduciary responsibilities.
Of the biggest challenges facing local government and threatening service delivery and good governance is the persistent inability of municipalities to put in place appropriate mechanisms and systems to correct adverse financial outcomes and concerns of service delivery. It is reported that in many provinces, as low as 26% of municipalities are able to correct all misstatements and concerns that are raised by the Office of the Auditor-General.
Various provinces in communities spoke about the challenges of unfair procurement processes that are often open to corruption, manipulation, fraud and cronyism. This continues to lead to poor workmanship in projects such as houses, bridges, roads and infrastructures, such as libraries and clinics.
Some municipalities in provinces spoke against persistent poor investment on infrastructure in rural areas and at previously marginalised communities that makes it difficult for them to attract business activities because of inaccessible roads and ageing infrastructure for the delivery of services such as water and sanitation.
Some municipalities raised their utmost concern about over-regulation and unwarranted interference with the business of municipalities. They argued that this overregulation and interference hampers their ability to function optimally and effectively. They made an appeal that the NCOP we must work in partnership with the Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Salga to establish a process to review all the legislation and regulations that poses an impediment on the Constitutional duty to deliver services to communities.
In some provinces, it was reported that: Only 39% of chief financial officers, CFOs, are in their positions for more than 12 months; about 25% are in their positions for less than 12 months; and, 36% of such positions are vacant, in many instances, for a period over a year. It is estimated that about 29% of appointees in many municipalities across South Africa are acting positions.
This persistent insidious vacancy rate at local government level is exacerbated by lack of human resource planning and organisational development plans to fill vacancies and attract skilful people. This expands the opportunity for mismanagement and creates unstable administration in many municipalities across South Africa.
The crisis of leadership at local government level has also resulted in poor relations and interaction with communities. In many instances, it is these municipalities that bear the brunt of persistent service delivery protests. This may sound all dark and gloomy but I would like to point out that there are considerable number of municipalities that are working tirelessly to move with utmost speed and resolve to strengthen their administration and service delivery.
During visits to projects, our hon members came across various successful projects that are changing the lives of our people, especially the poor people. In some provinces we came across projects on wastewater treatment, gardening, farming, road rehabilitation, housing and sewerage systems that are assisting our national quest to create a better life for our people, especially in rural areas.
The report of our provincial week clearly demonstrates that this programme has grown to be one of the key mechanisms established by the NCOP to achieve its mandate of representing the provinces in the national sphere. We have seen how since its inception it has served as a crucial platform to give a voice to the challenges facing our local government.
We are truly grateful to all the provincial legislatures and municipalities who continue to work in partnership without councils to use the provincial week as mechanism to look at measures that we as a nation should put together to strengthen local government as a crucial vehicle to deliver quality services to our people. We are truly humbled by the stories of resilience and utmost dedication from many of the committed women and men who lead our local government.
We want to convey our profound appreciation to the leadership of Salga for rising to the call of national duty, to work together to build a better life for our people. We are humbled by the sterling work and utmost commitment of the various departments who continue to work tirelessly to improve the state of our municipalities and ensure that they deliver on their mandate to transform society, and that our people get quality services. We want to convey our profound appreciation to the various premiers, Office of the Auditor-General, the provincial treasuries and provincial departments responsible for local government.
As the ANC, we remain committed to do everything necessary to ensure that our people receive quality services. We will work expeditiously to ensure that all the issues that are raised in this report are followed up and addressed. We will act without any unnecessary delay to ensure that the various responsible departments establish action plans and programmes that would address all the concerns which undermine our commitment to advance the developmental agenda of municipalities for a better life for our people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S P D SKHOSANA (Mpumalanga): Hon House Chair, hon Deputy Chair of the NCOP, our Deputy Minister here today, hon MECs, hon Members of Parliament, MPs, representatives from the SA Local Government Association, Salga and distinguished guests, as members may I hasten to remind this august House that the National Council of Provinces is constitutionally mandated to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government through various processes one of them being the Provincial Week which is regarded as a vehicle through which the NCOP seeks to realise its mandate of conducting effective oversight on matters affecting provinces.
Indeed, during the week of 21–24 July 2015, we were provided with another opportunity as the Mpumalanga province to receive our provincial delegation who returned to our province to work with us as provincial legislature on issues relating to service delivery. With that said, I am taking this opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of the principles of co-operative governance and international relations which remain one of the key areas enshrined in the Constitution.
Our permanent delegates representing Mpumalanga met the Speaker of the provincial legislature and the provincial executive council led by the hon premier. They also met the MEC for Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs together with Salga, and the community of Nkomazi Local Municipality to once more reiterate and have discussions on issues affecting us and conducted oversight visits on various projects within the municipality. Among issues of concern that were raised is the matter of both human and financial capacity of the NCOP office in the constitution house.
I can attest that the matter is receiving necessary attention and hopefully will be resolved in due course. However, the synchronisation of the NCOP programmes with those of the provincial legislature remains a challenge that needs serious intervention. For instance, the six weeks cycle to process section 76 legislations leaves legislatures with challenges and frustrations of having to abandon their work and focus on the legislative process that poses a serious challenges on our public participation mandate, and at most, resulting to legal battles with our communities. I remain firm in recommending that the matter must be looked at and that a solution that will favour all of us is required.
Without waste of time, let me report that with regard to Mpumalanga performance and audit matters, the province has registered some improvements from the previous audit years. For instance, we are pleased that we are at least improving in moving from getting qualified audit outcomes with findings to unqualified audit outcomes with findings. I have recently seen a growth from 13% to 26% in municipalities with unqualified findings audit outcomes.
In Ehlanzeni District Municipality, which itself has maintained clean audit outcome, out of eight auditees in the district, three had clean audits, three had unqualified audits with findings and unfortunately, two received disclaimers. Indeed, the district has the highest percentage ratio of clean audits and unqualified audits with findings in the province.
With many challenges that are experienced by our municipalities, it is quiet clear that a lot still needs to be done such as strengthening and supporting the Municipal Public Accounts Committees, Mpacs, audit committees as well as dealing with transgressions, financial misconducts, fraud and other misconducts or poor performance in consistent and decisive manner. This entails the implementation of Back to Basics in municipalities in the province of Mpumalanga.
It is very worrying to note that nine of our local municipalities are in a low path. These includes Thaba Chweu, Emalahleni, Msukaligwa, Thembisile Hani, Dr J S Moroka, Emakhazeni, Bushbuckridge, Victor Khanya as well as Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme local municipalities. Furthermore, up to seven municipalities, namely, Chief Albert Luthuli, Dipaleseng, Lekwa, Nkomazi, Umjindi, Mkhondo and Gert Sibande local municipalities are on the middle path. Whereas only five, namely, Steve Tshwete, Govan Mbeki, Mbombela, Ehlanzeni District and Nkangala are performing very well.
We remain hopeful that the interventions that have been identified and are contained in our provincial report will go a long way in remedying the current dilemmas we are facing. It cannot be correct that 21 years into our democracy we still find ourselves with situations that impact negatively to our communities.
I have pointed out earlier that the principles of co-operative governance remain one of the key areas enshrined in the Constitution. This therefore means that, as the government of the country, regardless of which sphere or level we operate under, need each other to move our country forward. The Constitution is very clear that as national, provincial and local entities, we are distinctive, interrelated and interdependent. As government, we have the responsibility to deliver services and to improve the lives of our people all of us.
As Mpumalanga province, we border between other countries in Africa, particularly Mozambique and Swaziland. As a province there are responsibilities of government that are of national competency, which we identify and which impact on the province in a rather negative manner and hinder in the work that we do. I am speaking about issues relating to ports of entry into South Africa, SA Revenue Service, Sars, customs administration, criminal activities and Home Affairs matters to mention but a few that threatens the security of our citizens and the country at large. It is important to note, as an example that private aeroplanes can fly far from Mozambique to some destinations in Mpumalanga without going through any check points.
It is worth knowing that South Africa shares nine border posts with Swaziland, one international airport and one border post with Mozambique and all of these are in the parameters of Mpumalanga. The one port of entry with Mozambique, which is the Lebombo border post, is the second busiest border post in the country. It processes around 500 million people per year. However, the border post does not enjoy the same resources proportionate with the level of activities and services offered at the border.
Among challenges that Mpumalanga faces include informal crossing, subsistence traders and school children, private and informal air travel, landing strips estimated to be around 200, which are not under the jurisdiction of Sars. In addition, the railway line from South Africa into Mozambique does not enjoy customs administration or any other form of cross border control.
Moreover, health officials at the border are not identifiable. There is only one health scanner at the border that also malfunctions. Health scanning is only administered on pedestrian border crossing and not on mobile vehicle border crossers. There is, as well, the increased risk of human trafficking as a result of movement of unaccompanied minors.
We need to find a way of addressing these matters that have a serious consequence with all the affected national departments. The only way to resolve these matters is working together to combat and arrest elements that take place in our borderlines in ensuring that we remain safe and secure, and as a collective, constantly monitor the activities that happen in our ports of entry. It is a known fact that people would walk into South Africa from Mozambique early in the morning to receive their social grants, and then return to Swaziland in the afternoon after being paid. Working together we can advance the developmental agenda and bring abetter life for our people of Mpumalanga and South Africa. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M JACK (Northern Cape): House Chair, Deputy Chair, members of the NCOP, representatives from different provinces, ladies and gentlemen, I think it is worth mentioning that I am coming from the biggest province in terms of landmass, but the smallest province in terms of the population. Indeed, I am coming from the richest province in terms mineral wealth, but the poorest province in terms of the socioeconomic conditions.
The Northern Cape Legislature through the Speaker, and the executive led by the Premier requested me to express our gratitude and thanks for the visit of the NCOP to our province.
Indeed, we could engage, exchange views, get guidance and exchange best practises and this was a very good political interface and engagement. That is seriously appreciated. In actual fact, your visit strengthened our programme of action that we usually follow, which we call EXCO-Outreach programme, and it is undertaken together with all municipalities.
Over the past years, the ANC-led government has worked together to ensure that South Africans do get more and that we together fight poverty and unemployment, and we attempted to reduce inequality. Working together, we have defended and consolidated the social gains achieved since 1994, despite the negative global situation that is currently prevailing.
South African is now entering a new phase in the programme of ensuring a better life, health lifestyles and a longer life for all South Africans. Indeed, the introduction of the National Health Insurance, NHI, through the creation of publicly funded and publicly administered NHI fund is in actual fact strengthening and expanding the free primary healthcare programme, improving management of public hospitals, and other health facilities, reducing the costs of private healthcare.
Under the careful stewardship of the ANC-led government we are committed to intensify the campaign against HIV/Aids to ensure that, at least, 4,6 million of our people across the country are enrolled in the anti-retroviral programme. It is within this context that the Northern Cape faces exciting but challenging times as well. We have made good progress in some areas, but there is still much to be done.
This is a tight fiscal year, indeed for the next three years, due to the challenges of the macroeconomic climate. It is against this background that I committed the department to the improvement of the health situation of our people irrespective of our financial conditions.
Hon Chairperson, Pixley ka Seme District is one of the districts identified by government to pilot the National Health Insurance. All the 38 municipal wards are no covered by wad-based outreach teams. Other districts are to be starting very soon.
The department will work closely with the national Department of Health to pilot the system for central chronic medicine dispensing and distribution in our NHI pilot site. This system allows patients to collect their prescribed medication at designated community facilities close to their homes.
The recruitment of scarce skills, particularly pharmacists, doctors and nurses, in the Northern Cape, particularly in the higher rural areas is an ongoing challenge that we must address. The department is committed to paying rural allowance in all localities that qualify with the national criteria.
Chairperson, our province invested R2,8 billion in road infrastructure and a further R2,4 million would be invested in road maintenance. Relatively speaking, our province has a good road infrastructure.
The province established a partnership with the private sector and mining houses; this would positively contribute towards economic growth and job creation. The province achieved 97% of its EPWP targets and created more work opportunities over the past five years. It intends to create another 85 000 work opportunities over the next five years. The Gamsberg Zinc mine in Aggeneys officially launched is creating 2 000 jobs including all phases.
In agriculture our Orange River Emerging Farmer Settlement and Development programme extended 2 800 ha of water rights to communities. We are continuing to support food production in line with Fetsa Tlala Food Production Programme. The Animal and Veld Management Programme identified in Leliefontein, a land size of 230 000 ha to reverse the legacy of the 1913 Natives Land Act.
In education, the Sol Plaatje University construction is progressing very well. Water upgrades would be carried out at 61 schools including 28 ablution blocks. Six new schools are expected to be built. Broadband connectivity will be extended to all libraries in the province, and 148 of them already are free to the public.
Tourism had increased by 39% in the province and committed to provide a breakdown of the percentage of international and local tourists in the future. The Premier noted that the impact the new visa regulations had on tourism would only be assessed at the end of this financial year; and we are going to find our own solutions to that.
Water services increased from 94,4% to 97,4% sanitation increased from 70% to 75% and electricity supply increased from 76,3% to 85%. Indeed, there are certain areas in the John Taolo Gaetsewe that are struggling to get water inland from water source. Our housing programme is on gaining momentum.
Hon Chair, with respect to governance, the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs will support municipalities by intensifying monitor and support of council meetings of the eight targeted municipalities; monitor the compliance of councillors with the code of conduct; ensure that there is transparency, accountability and regular engagements with communities by municipalities, and ensure that functional oversight committees are in place. The majority of municipalities have appointed almost all their senior managers with exception of a few municipalities.
In line with what was said earlier by the Deputy Chair of the NCOP, I am of the opinion that we need to raise the issue of section 154 of the Constitution, which speaks about the role of national and provincial government in ensuring that we support, guide and strengthen local government without compromising the relationship. We need to applaud the support that the National Treasury has committed to in giving hands on financial support to some of our municipalities.
Programmes and initiatives to address critical challenges and problems pertaining to effective and sustainable provision of basic service; administrative capacity and institutional performance of municipalities as well as ensuring that municipalities align and implement their policies in line with government policies and programmes.
Finally, we are in the process of ensuring that we join a number of other four provinces in establishing the provincial planning commission, which will assist us to be able to have foresight and be able to plan properly and to mobilise financial resources to better the lives of the people of the Northern Cape.
Indeed, the province is committed to address the issues that the NCOP reflected on during their visit and will take the recommendations from this House very seriously and our programme of action will attempt to outline how we are going to deal with it step by step until we achieve a better life for all. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr MOLAPISI (North West): The House Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Minister Nel, members of executive council, MCEs, present here, hon members of the National Council of Provinces, delegates from all provinces and representatives from SA Local Government Association, Salga, I greet you all and my special and sincere greetings go to the special women of yesterday, today and tomorrow during this women’s month. We are sitting here today in a democratic Parliament at the expense of our fallen heroines and those who by the will of God are still in our midst and I want to salute them.
I’m humbled by the opportunity that I have been granted to highlight our plan, successes as a province and challenges which are insurmountable but necessary to make us strive to deliver our mandate given by the masses of our people. The North West province permanent delegates to the NCOP in carrying out its constitutional oversight mandate undertook a provincial week in the province and visited two municipalities in the Bojanala District, namely, the Moses Kotane Municipality and the Kgetlengrivier. This was to access the state of service delivery of specific reference to infrastructure projects rollout and to meet with the provincial leadership including the premier, members of the executive council and members of the provincial legislature, local government leadership including the mayors and councillors, communities and other stakeholders such as Salga and the Auditor-Generals.
The intention was to provide permanent delegates to the NCOP and members of the provincial legislature an opportunity to undertake oversight visit and interact with communities in order to obtain first-hand information on the provincial issues that should be placed on the agenda of the NCOP. Furthermore to ascertain progress that government has made in order to meet the needs of the people and to ensure that there’s development in the communities where our people live.
We are confident that what the premier has presented is a true reflection of government in motion and at work. In his presentation, the premier, hon Mahumapelo, adhered that the North West province developmental agenda is a five-year plan and constitute the following: In order to traverse the remaining four years of the fifth administration government took a conscious decision to change the manner in which the province is known by introducing what we call or what we referred to as the concept of the rebranding, renewal and repositioning, RRR.
Instruments that are used to implement the RRR approach are looking at the economy of the province as well as adopting the agriculture, culture and tourism, Act, triangular approach. Linked to the Act triangular a decision was taken to radical focus on the development of the village, township and small dorpies, VTSD. The decision to focus on the VTSD was due to the challenges in the communities in those areas which are, amongst others, the poverty or the triple challenges: Poverty, inequality and unemployment. Questions have been asked like how are we going to achieve all these given the dynamics of our province and we are very optimistic that we have good plans.
We have meticulously practicalised our plans which we are confident that they will indeed yield positive results. We have migrated from our comfort air conditioning executive offices and went to the ground to speed up service delivery, machinery and oil the dry ones.
Modulasetilo, batho ba Bokone Bophirima ba bua le Puso ba phuthulugile, re isa ditirelo kwa bathong ka lenaneo la rona la Setsokotsane. [Chairperson, people of the North West engage with the government freely; we deliver service to our people using operation Setsokotsane.]
We believe in “saam trek, saam werk” philosophy. Intensively we crisscrossed the province going to every corner of the province in villages, townships and small dorpies. “Nothing is impossible until you try it”, said Tata. The 60% of the provincial budget from 2015-16 financial year, will be dedicated to the VTSD graduating up to 80% in 2018-19 financial year.
Hon members, despite all the plans we have and the intervention we acknowledge that there are numbers of challenges in our municipalities which we have started to address through the Department of Local Government and Human Settlements. The department together with the endorsement of the NCOP have deployed administrators to number of municipalities which are struggling with their finances and provision of services. Our biggest challenge is water scarcity and this challenge is not inimitable to Bokone Bophirima as water is a natural resource. However, we have managed working together with the Department of Water and Sanitation to address this challenge and we shall overcome.
The following challenges have been identified: The municipalities still have challenges in terms of improving their overall financial status; the inability of municipalities to pay their creditors in time as required; the National Treasury’s withholding the equitable shares transfer of 13 municipalities due to the underspending in the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, MIG; an outstanding bulk services for water and electricity. Underspending of municipalities is negatively affecting the service delivery in key projects such as water and sanitation, electricity, refuse removal and roads infrastructure. Lack of implementation of policies, especially in a supply chain management; noncompliance, continuous negative audits, weak revenue, increase in unauthorised irregular fruitless and wasteful expenditure, among others, is making the municipality to be dysfunctional. Through the assistance of the MEC for Finance the province has assisted the said municipalities with payment agreement and thus far, seven have received their grants.
The provincial government will continuously support the municipalities that are placed under section 139. Provincial treasury’s continuous meeting with the municipality is another way of addressing the situation. The provincial government also give advice and support to the municipalities on matters related to budgeting, training, etc. For the year 2015-16 the provincial government will assist the municipalities in appointing of local government finance and asset management expect to improve municipal finance management programme.
The Auditor-General has made his findings and recommendations which some are immediate depending on the magnitude of the problems and some are long term. We have already implemented the immediate and now are hard at work with the long-term and we are committed to better the service and improve the lives of our people.
In conclusion, we deeply appreciate the commitment demonstrated by public servants, the role and support by dikgosi tsa rona [our chiefs] our business people, nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, community based organisations, CBOs, youth and women organisation, our councillors, their continue support and efforts in trying to bring changes in the lives of our people. As Madiba said, and I quote: “We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.”
Let us all act together to bring changes to the lives of our people. As the ANC government we remain firm, resolute, determined, focused and unshaken on the cost to better the lives of our people. We will not be distracted by our detractors ...
... bomabina go tsholwa, bona ba eleng gore ga ba itse sepe, ba eleng gore ... [...who are inquisitive and lack knowledge, they are...]
... some of them either they were badly brought up or they were left to grow on their own.
Ke a go leboga Modulasetilo [Thank you Chairperson.]
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon House Chair, hon Deputy Minister, hon Deputy Chairperson, colleagues, whilst the NCOP provincial week is one of the key NCOP oversight tools and mechanisms, it runs the risk of unintentionally setting up the institution of the NCOP against the provinces.
This will happen not because NCOP members - or the institution - impose themselves in the provinces or in the administration and on the running of the provinces, but because of the long-existing attitude of some in South Africa’s spheres of government. In some circles, conclusions were drawn long ago in respect of one sphere as a big brother and other spheres as small brothers.
Be that as it may, the NCOP is not going to sit back and compromise its programmes just because certain feelings need to be nursed. The important considerations going forward here include, one, issues of planning for the provincial week programmes are important; two, communication of such programmes to the relevant stakeholders is important; and, three, the role each stakeholder has to play during the provincial week programme.
One of the issues is that clean audits continue to elude South Africa including the municipalities. Operation Clean Audit was launched in 2009 as a flagship programme of government to turn around local government. The objective was to ensure that by 2014, all municipalities in the country would have already obtained clean audits, but this assessment has not been properly highlighted of late. As a result, this operation has been a big failure.
By 2014, only 10% of municipalities in the country had received clean audits. Of the 10%, 14 municipalities were in KwaZulu-Natal. This was out of a total of 61 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. The operation has failed big time. This happened even after the doctoring of records by consultants in order to produce clean records, but all has been in vain.
One wonders why government organs spent so much - hundreds of millions of rand - on consultants who failed them on the required targets. Municipalities in the 2013-14 audits spent about R700 million combined on consultants to achieve a mere 10% in clean audits.
The provincial week happened at a time when KwaZulu-Natal is plagued by a huge drought. This is affecting almost all the water service delivery programmes of the province, because the priority focus is providing relief measures for the drought-stricken areas.
Another area of concern is the reporting template of the municipalities on matters of service delivery. For example, when the Ugu District Municipality reported on water delivery, their report said that 86% of people in Ugu had clean, reticulated water. But after intense deliberations, it appeared that what this actually meant was that 86% had access to the vicinity of a standpipe in a given distance, that given distance being a national norm. This is very misleading, because, if not properly engaged with, it means that 86% of the people in the district have clean, reticulated water, which is not true at all.
In terms of the consultations we have had, communities still continue to complain - after 21 years of democracy - about electricity, bad roads, joblessness, housing delivery, clean water, escalating crime levels, inadequate infrastructure and so on and so on.
There is also a perpetual concern in SA Local Government Association, Salga, circles that the proportions allocated to local government from the national fiscus, as the equitable share, are not adequate for local government. This is a matter that needs attention from the Financial and Fiscal Commission, the FFC.
Another area of concern to municipalities is the perceived erosion of the powers of municipalities in the appointment of section 57 employees. As we move closer to the local government elections next year, one issue is clear and that is that people in general are fed up with empty promises: the unfulfilled promises that some parties make to them in every election. The message from the IFP is: do not allow yourself to be taken for a ride several times during elections. Vote for a party of integrity, a party that will stick with you and your plight whatever it takes, the IFP.
Kusezandleni zenu. [It is in your hands.]
It is all in your hands.
E mo matsogong a lena. [It is in your hands.]
I thank you.
Mr A S SINGH: House Chair, Deputy Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister Andries Nel, premiers present, MECs, special delegates from provinces, Salga delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the members of the NCOP and officials that were delegated to go to KwaZulu-Natal were divided into two districts. One group went to the south, the Ugu district, and the other went to the north, the Ilembe district, which is where I was deployed.
The theme of the provincial week from 21 July to 24 July 2015 was “Advancing the developmental agenda of municipalities for a better life for our people” and is crafted to ensure that we focus on development. This gave NCOP members a better insight into municipalities. This also gave local government, provincial government and the NCOP an opportunity to meet with the local communities and to hear their concerns and the matters affecting municipalities. We visited two municipalities, namely kwaDukuza and Ndwedwe.
A key strategy adopted by municipalities is the back to basics municipal strategy, which focuses on looking at service delivery commitments made by the executive, leadership in municipalities, water and sanitation issues, and human settlements. The strategy also calls for the review of those municipalities that are performing and those that are performing poorly.
The overview of KwaZulu-Natal was presented by the MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, who indicated that there had been 100% compliance by 61 municipalities in respect of their annual financial statements; that there had been 100% compliance by eight municipalities with municipal entities by the deadline of 30 September in respect of consolidated statements; and that there had been 100% compliance by 11 municipal entities by the deadline of 31 August.
Many times we hear claims that the DA manages their municipalities better and that their municipalities perform better. The 100% compliance by 61 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal conveys that this is a good story to tell, and that KwaZulu-Natal has also been one of the best performing provinces in terms of municipalities that the ANC governs.
When it comes to service delivery challenges and recommendations, there is, firstly, the challenge of access to water. There is an insufficient water supply and high water loss, especially in the northern areas of KwaZulu-Natal which are experiencing a drought. There is also the high cost of water tanking and financial constraints including the low rate of recovery.
Our recommendations include the realignment of available funding in order to eradicate backlogs, provide a rudimentary supply, refurbish infrastructure, develop resources and augment bulk water supply. There is also the development and updating of the water services development plan and master plans to guide water service authorities towards universal access and improve water and sanitation services. Another recommendation is to reduce water losses annually by implementing the Department of Water and Sanitation’s water conservation and water demand management programme through the accelerated community infrastructure programme.
In order to improve financial performance, the following is recommended: implementing sound asset management plans and systems through the support provided by KwaZulu-Natal’s department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs; improving cost recovery by introducing a revenue enhancement strategy; and introducing zero-based budgeting for the operating budget.
A drought is affecting the agricultural sector of the northern areas of KwaZulu-Natal, and so far 9 638 farmers have been negatively affected; 5 566 farmers have lost a total of 6 628 large stock units; and 4 426 farmers have reported crop losses of which 584 recorded sugar cane yield losses.
A drought recovery plan for the province has been compiled to normalise the situation. Our recommendations are the following: to repair and maintain existing boreholes to produce water for domestic use; to drill new boreholes to assist in the supply of water to affected communities; to speed up the procurement of mobile tankers to cart water to needy communities; to procure and install water storage tanks at strategic points within the affected communities; to operate water service provision through water tanker systems for at least another six months during the drought; to repair water schemes to function optimally; to fast-track water schemes under implementation; and to develop a medium- and long-term drought management plan for the province. Our recommendations in terms of a long-term water strategy include building larger dams in catchment areas; and, most importantly, educating communities on water-saving habits and the fixing of all leaking pipes and taps.
There are also electricity challenges. New substations have been built but still need upgraded network systems. There is low overall recorded expenditure on the integrated national electrification programme by municipalities, and a low overall number of connections is achieved annually. There is a lack of alignment of projects on the integrated development plan, or IDP, versus Eskom’s network planning report. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge as to when Eskom’s bulk capacity plan will be released. There are also deficiencies in municipal technical capacity as there are no designated electrical engineers in most municipalities.
Our recommendation is that the executive consider, provincially, approving the following to be in line with national standards, namely that 15% of electricity supply in all public buildings has a renewable energy component.
When it comes to energy, new substations have been built but still need to be upgraded to the networks. In terms of funding for new bulk infrastructure in rural areas - which limits funding for connections - the cost per connection is very high. There is also the issue of refurbishment and rehabilitation of electrical infrastructure.
There have been engagements with the Department of Energy on the electrification budgets and the roll-out of renewable energy solutions; support for and endorsement of the KwaZulu-Natal energy agency; the biofuels regime; and the liquid fuels road map and gas road map.
In terms of overall successes, municipalities need to reduce the amount of money being spent to hire consultants. The provincial operations and maintenance programme continued in the 2014-15 financial year, whereby the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, provided much-needed support to three water service authorities. The cost to Cogta amounted to R9,5 million.
The drought situation report was presented to the KwaZulu-Natal Cabinet and invoked section 41 of the Disaster Management Act to declare a provincial state of disaster owing to the drought situation. The National Disaster Management Centre was then apprised of the situation and requested the classification and the mobilisation of resources to normalise the situation.
The provincial disaster management centre facilitated the development of business plans by the affected municipalities and stakeholders in order to seek financial support from the national organs of state including, but not limited to, the National Disaster Management Centre.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Singh, unfortunately your time has expired.
Mr A S SINGH: Chairperson, may I just round up by saying that the delegation was pleased that the district was doing its best for the people of the district, with the participation of Salga on all our visits. I thank you. [Applause.]
CLLR TSOTETSI (SALGA): Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance, MECs present, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, the Provincial Week programme remains the centrepiece for articulation of local government and provincial concerns at a national level. As the SA Local Government Association, Salga, we are pleased to have actively participated in another successful Provincial Week programme. This oversight week has given us the opportunity to come together and interrogate key challenges or roadblocks in the advancement of a developmental agenda for municipalities and as such, acts as a guide for all of us in achieving a better life for our people.
I need to highlight the roadblocks in the advancement of the developmental agenda for municipalities. The discussions that took place during Provincial Week highlighted the common challenges that municipalities across provinces are experiencing. Some of the issues have been raised by Salga during previous Provincial Weeks and it is thus important to act on these issues, as a matter of priority.
One of these challenges relates to the need for the equitable and realistic restructuring grant for the municipalities affected, as highlighted in all provinces affected by mergers. It is worth noting that the City of Tshwane is still dealing with the financial impact of the 2011 merger, and we wish to prevent a further financial burden on other municipalities who might be even more financially vulnerable.
Another issue that has been raised in the previous Provincial Weeks relates to a coherent devolution strategy to strengthen the developmental role of local government, with housing being the central, catalytic function in the development of this strategy. By not assigning the housing function to metropolitan municipalities, municipalities planning functions are hindered in their aim to deliver integrated services to an ever-increasing urban population. The assignment of the housing function was abandoned midway when Metropolitan municipalities had already committed budgets to integrate full accreditation into their plans and this led to money being spent in preparation for this function.
One issue raised strongly by the NCOP during the Provincial Week was the usage of consultants by municipalities. However, it is necessary to note that one of the drivers of the usage of consultants is the regulations on the upper limits for senior managers. Due to the upper limits, capable individuals are deterred from applying for positions in local government, because in many municipalities, an entry level director post in both the provincial and national spheres pays more than that of the municipal manager. The achievement of clean audits and improved service delivery relies on the ability of municipalities to employ skilled individuals, thus we need to be cognisant of the unintended consequences of legislation and policy that is initiated and take action to mitigate such effects.
Poor billing systems remain a problem for some municipalities in all provinces and contributed to the worrying trend of the declining revenue base for municipalities. This raised concerns around the long-term financial sustainability of some municipalities, particularly related to the rehabilitation costs of aging infrastructure. Debt owed to municipalities by national and provincial departments remains a key concern and Salga requested the provincial legislatures and the NCOP to assist in ensuring that debt owed to municipalities by other spheres of government is prioritised.
We are pleased with the support that some provisional treasuries provide to municipalities, but we feel that in some provinces, this support needs to be greatly enhanced, as per section 154 of the Constitution. The Salga Municipal Audit Support Programme continues to support municipalities on audit outcomes for 2015-16, the functionality of audit committees and internal audit units and peer-learning on revenue and asset management. The Back to Basics programme is fully supported by Salga and we have been part of the development of the action plans to be implemented in municipalities.
However, the key consideration emanating from the Provincial Week remains the need to strengthen intergovernmental relations, so that the integrated development plans, IDPs, of municipalities, as well as the municipal budget cycles are central to the planning and implementation of government policies by all spheres of government. Currently, municipalities in all provinces experience sector departments planning and implementing projects in municipal spaces without aligning these plans to municipal IDPs. This results in the incoherent implementation of policy, which negatively affects service delivery. With the promulgation of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, Spluma, it becomes even more significant for provincial and national sector departments to participate in the IDP processes in order to align their plans with those of municipalities.
We support any process within the NCOP to prioritise the issue of improved intergovernmental relations and call on the NCOP and provincial legislatures to assist in ensuring that departments integrate their plans with those municipalities.
We also need to assess the Provincial Week programme. Previous Provincial Weeks have highlighted the need for an improved relationship between Salga and provincial legislatures. We are happy to report that progress has been made in most provinces and we hope to develop formal mechanisms to enable a more structured relationship between the provincial legislatures and Salga, going forward. We are also pleased that Salga’s participation in the programmes of the NCOP has been acknowledged as having greatly improved. We aim to consistently add value to discussions that impact on municipalities.
However, one concern that needs to be raised is the capturing of discussions during the Provincial Week and the subsequent report. It must be indicated that Salga, at national level, only received the report yesterday. It is unfortunate that we did not receive that provincial report in advance, as Salga delegations in some provinces had concerns related to the inaccurate capturing of the discussions and recommendations from meetings that took place. In this case, we are emphasising that in some provinces the delegation of Salga was part of capturing the recommendations, but in other provinces, it did not happen. We are pleading that this matter be taken seriously.
It is hoped that in the future, the process of the recommendations made during the Provincial Week as well as the report, would be improved so that administrative issues do not hamper the ability of parties to respond to issues raised during the Provincial Week.
In addition, it is important to facilitate feedback on issues raised during the Provincial Week, as it is a platform to, amongst other things, seek a mandate from provinces on policy issues to be placed on the national agenda. Therefore, it is important to develop instruments to improve weaknesses identified during the oversight visits, and facilitate feedback to municipalities concerned.
In conclusion, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the NCOP for creating the Provincial Week platform for the NCOP, provincial legislatures and municipalities, including Salga and provincial government, to interact on issues that affect the implementation of a developmental agenda across all spheres of government. As Salga, we remain fully committed to participating in the Provincial Week and in all intergovernmental platforms to ensure that we achieve a better life for our people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms B S MASANGO: Chairperson, I extend my greetings to everybody. I had prepared a very brilliant speech, as is a norm... [Laughter.] ... until my own province’s MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs came and stood here to mislead the House. Now here is the thing that I didn’t know: not only is he an MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs; he is also a spin doctor!
The ANC in Randfontein and Westonaria differed on this issue of the merger. The Premier of the Gauteng province emphasised that two bankrupt municipalities cannot be merged. Now, I don’t know about this spin doctoring that came to the House this afternoon.
But, anyway, I am abandoning my speech completely, and want to say that the speech entailed very good comments on what I would call a very successful and productive provincial week in Gauteng.
But, as is the situation with the ruling party, you get a report on the morning of the debate of that report. So what happens now is, I go through the report from page 56 – which is Gauteng – for accuracy... checking, and I get that two items that were discussed... and for this, the provincial legislature can go into the records of this... We had an issue about the Droogeheuwel water tower which is an essential project for the future development in the Randfontein area. This is not in the report anywhere at all.
The second thing was the West Rand Development Agency, WRDA, that had to be relooked at. This was also discussed. It is in the record of the provincial week and it was nowhere in the report.
Now that is what happens when you prepare two pages worth of commenting on the work well done and then your own MEC comes and just does what he has just done.
My colleagues also saw things during their own visits. For example... I am just going to give you just one example... in the Western Cape at Zoar, a young lady dared to stand up to the leadership of the ANC coalition and that same day received a call to say, we are going to cut your water. The water was cut even though she only owed R60. It happened because she stood up to the leadership of the ANC coalition in Zoar.
I don’t even want to talk about Limpopo, where the NCOP team was led from one boardroom to another without being taken to any site. This carried on until the DA intervened again and then they went to sites. So, this is just sad because I really would have loved this House to hear such positive accounts of a very well-executed provincial week. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Chairperson, hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, MECs, executive mayors, hon members of the NCOP, the leadership of the SA Local Government Association, Salga, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this debate on: Advancing the developmental agenda of our municipalities for a better life for our people.
At the launch of the Presidential Local Government Summit, almost a year ago on 18 September 2014, that was convened by President Zuma, it was stressed that local government is the primary point of delivery... [Interjections.]
Mr V E MTILENI: Is he Mr Nthebe? The person suppose to follow is Mr Nthebe.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Order, members. Take your seat, hon Mampuru. Hon Mtileni, yes, you have made your point, take your seat and let me address you.
Hon members, if you get in and out of the House you will give us problems. I have already addressed the issue that disregard the speakers’ list that you have. You were out, or if you were not out maybe you were asleep. Continue, hon Nel.
Ms L MATHYS: Was he either out of the House or asleep? Have you ever seen him sleeping? I am just asking. I don’t think that is a problem and I am asking you to withdraw, please.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): That is not a point of order. Take your seat. Can you take your seat, hon Mathys.
Ms L MATHYS: I am standing on a point of clarity. You can’t say that about our hon member. Have you seen him sleeping here today?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Take your seat so that I can address you. Hon Mtileni, take your seat. I said take your seat so that I can address that. Can you take your seat. [Laughter.]
Mr V E MTILENI: That one is dreaming. No, but I’m... [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Mtileni, do not turn the mike on because you are not recognised. Hon Mampuru, take your seat. Hon Mtileni, I have addressed the issue of the speakers’ list earlier on. That is why I am saying maybe you were outside. Now it is the Deputy Minister of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, hon Nel, who is on the floor. Take your seat hon, Mampuru. Continue, hon Deputy Minister.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: At that summit we stressed that local government is the primary point of delivery and it is the sphere which is closest to the citizens of our country.
The vision of a developmental local government system was that it would be the building block on which the reconstruction and development of our country should be built, a place in which the citizens of South Africa could engage in a meaningful and direct way with the institutions of the state.
Similarly at that conference, it was acknowledged that South Africa has made tremendous progress in delivering basic services, water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal at rates of delivery that are truly unprecedented in recent world history. Yet despite these delivery achievements, it is also clear that much needs to be done to support, educate and where needed, to enforce the implementation to improve the performance of municipalities.
The Presidential Local Government Summit received a comprehensive analysis of the state of local government, drawing from various sources of credible data and information. This analysis was summarised by placing all our municipalities into three categories, namely, those doing well, those doing okay, and those which are dysfunctional.
Our Back to Basics analysis found that a third of municipalities are performing well, a third are doing okay, and a third are dysfunctional. The Back to Basics approach aims to move the dysfunctional municipalities out of this state over the next two years to consolidate the position of those that are doing well and to advance the state of those doing okay.
What is it that makes a good municipality? For us there are seven fundamental traits that define a good municipality, and that is where we want our municipalities to be. Firstly, it is a political and administrative stability; secondly, functional council and council structures and healthy political and administrative relations and interfaces; thirdly, an alignment of its spending with its integrated development plan. Furthermore, the municipality’s percentage of capital expenditure, Capex, spent and the budget for maintenance and repairs are adequate to ensure adequate maintenance to prevent breakdowns and interruptions of services; fourthly, sound financial management characterised by consecutive clean or unqualified audits, effective internal controls, a prudent spending profile, and successful revenue generation measures; fifth, the delivery of services that are consistent, and there is a continuous improvement of the quality of service rendered; sixth, sound institutional management, clear policy and delegation frameworks, capable staff, transparency, accountability and consequence management, and an intolerance of corruption; and seventh ,consistent community involvement and a high community satisfaction record.
From the outset, Back to Basics was conceptualised to be rolled out in phases. The highlights of the first phase can be summarised as follows. At the Presidential Local Government Summit, all present endorsed the Back to Basics approach and an action plan that was used as an instrument to address the challenges, assign responsibilities and to create a platform for monitoring performance. In October 2014, Cogta initiated a monthly municipal reporting template comprising of a set of indicators as per the pillars of the Back to Basics’ approach against which municipalities must report. The objective behind the monthly reporting template is to institutionalise a performance management system that will recognise good performance and ensure sufficient consequences and appropriate support for underperformance.
The approach is integrating information on municipalities and ensures that the current challenges in the local government sphere, in the short to medium-term specifically, are addressed. Provincial task teams were establishment in all nine provinces. Initially, these teams verified and amplified the diagnostic assessments initiated by Cogta, and thereafter assisted in the development of municipality specific action plans. A number of provincial Back to Basics launches have taken place. These launches aim to get multistakeholder endorsement of the Back to Basics approach as well as the adoption of the various municipal action plans to address the challenges, assign responsibilities and to create a platform for monitoring performance. Getting the basics right will require leadership and commitment by all stakeholders across government and society. The launches are therefore also at the forefront of mobilising all sectors of society into the campaign to get back to basics.
Support and good governance packages were developed and implemented in a number of municipalities such as Malamulele, Mogalakwena, Makana, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Buffalo City and Oudtshoorn. A number of municipalities have been placed under administration in terms of section 139 of the Constitution;
The Back to Basics approach received a number of private sector support offers as well. The Back to Basics approach needs now to move into a new phase during which the focus will be on the implementation of actions which will result in an improved citizen satisfaction of local government.
The key achievements of the initial phase of the Back to Basics, is that it is now well known and accepted. It has obtained traction within and outside of government, and has touched all 278 municipalities. The Constitution authorises national and provincial government to intervene in provincial administration and local government respectively within certain constitutional constraints. Interventions are initiated when a municipality cannot or does not fulfil executive obligations. During the initial phases of the Back to Basics, a number of successful interventions were undertaken, for examples, in Mogalakwena Municipality.
The municipal monthly reporting system which was launched in October 2014, is progressively taking shape. Currently, 158 municipalities are consistently reporting against the Back to Basics indicators every month.
The Back to Basics is a standing agenda item in the Presidential Co-ordinating Council and the Ministers and members of provincial executives, MinMec where premiers and MECs report regularly on the progress of the Back to Basics approach.
In acknowledgement of the diverse circumstances in each province and the unique support needs of individual municipalities, varied provincial support approaches are emerging. Due to the directive inherent in the Back to Basics approach that the people must be put first, ward-based planning and spatial mapping of annual performance plans, APPs, are being initiated in a number of municipalities.
A Metro Mayors’ Forum and a District Water Service Authority, WSA, Forum were established to specifically deal with the unique circumstances that are experienced by metros and district municipalities that are water services authorities.
Slowly but surely the impact of our Back to Basics, B2B, efforts are being felt. I think it is also borne out by the most recent report on local government audit outcomes by the Auditor-General which shows a steady trend towards good governance and sound financial management.
Some members who spoke before can perhaps take note that Operation Clean Audit, by no means, was a failure because, in fact, out of our 278 municipalities, 148, that is, 53%, now have unqualified audits. This is up from 120 last year. One hundred and ninety-eight, or 58% of all the 335 municipalities and municipal entities received unqualified audit. This is up from 165 or 49% last year.
What is particularly significant is that 76% of the total local government expenditure of R315 billion, is being spent by municipalities and municipal entities with unqualified audit opinions. [Applause.] What this means is that R8,00 out of every R10,00 that is spent by local government is being spent by a municipality that gets an unqualified audit – R8,00 out of every R10,00 is being spent in terms of the law. [Applause.]
It is also encouraging that 96% of municipalities and municipal entities submitted their financial statements on time. This is an improvement over 93% in 2012-13 and a massive improvement from 78% in 2007-08.
All provinces showed improvement in their audit outcomes. The biggest contributors to the number of clean audits are Gauteng with 13, KwaZulu-Natal with 20, and the Western Cape with 18. [Applause.] But I think Limpopo deserves a special mention. In 2012-13, only one out of its 32 auditees received an unqualified audit. The others received qualified, adverse or disclaimed audits. This has improved dramatically to 15 unqualified audits for 2013-14. These results were achieved through hard work, dedication, leadership and consistent hands-on engagement by and with municipalities.
The key lessons that we learnt from the initial phases of Back to Basics are the political instability and weaknesses in governance are two of the primary causes of poor service delivery at municipal level.
The way forward for the Back to Basics is that from the work that we have done to date, we have a good idea of what the key problems are. It is now time to focus on taking more effective action to address the problems. This requires national and provincial Cogtas to: first, have a more hands-on approach; second, simultaneously address causes and symptoms to carry out deeper analysis of the underlying causes and symptoms of service delivery problems and focus on addressing these; thirdly, to better understand the levers for change and make better use of them; and fourthly to prioritise and focus on 20% of actions which will create 80% of the impact, using the available levers for change
I am sure that the NCOP’s visits across the country last month afforded you the opportunity to see that we are seized with ensuring that local government delivers. We have taken note of the challenges identified during the NCOP visits. These include that of sound financial management and delivery of basic services, especially around water and sanitation that continue to bedevil some of our municipalities. We have instituted a number of measures to ensure that we as Cogta we deal more effectively with these challenges. To that end we have completed the restructuring of the Department of Co-operative Governance with units now specifically dedicated to the Back to Basics programme.
We would like to report on action that we are taking to deal with some of the challenges raised in the Provincial Week report. In the Western Cape we have resolved the impasse at the Oudtshoorn Municipality and it has now been placed under administration. Ten municipalities have been identified and are being assisted by the Back to Basics programme. These include those of Kannaland and Beaufort West, which were visited by the hon members. Action plans with clearly identified projects were developed for these municipalities. The district municipalities are being strengthened through the implementation of a shared service models at three of its five district municipalities, and the implementation of a intermunicipal co-operation arrangement at one of the districts as a pilot.
We are aware of the challenges in the Northern Cape, especially with the large number of dysfunctional municipalities. We have identified the issue of improperly qualified municipal managers as one of the areas that require our urgent attention. Acting municipal managers have been seconded to Dikgatlong, Phokwane, Mier and Nama Khoi while an acting municipal manager has been appointed at Renosterberg. District municipalities are being supported through the strengthening of business plans and reporting on the implementation of the disaster management and fire services grant.
We are heartened by the efforts of the leadership of the Mpumalanga province to improve service delivery at local government level. We commend the replacement of mayors in the four underperforming municipalities of Thaba Chueu, Emalahleni, Lekwa and Dr J S Moroka. We have taken note that a lack of effective public participation and basic service delivery challenges, especially in water and sanitation, has hampered some municipalities in the province. Interventions by the province include the development of a complaints management systems in 16 of the municipalities.
In the North West, nine high priority municipalities have been identified that require support in all key performance areas. We have invoked section 139 (1) b in some of these municipalities, such as Matlosana, Ngaka Modiri Molema, Tswaing and Ventersdorp. This will bring stability to the councils and administrations of these municipalities, improve financial status, and improve the delivery of services.
As I start moving towards conclusion, I want to touch briefly upon the issue of theft and damage to infrastructure that have devastating consequences for local government and the provision of basic services such as water, electricity, transport and health. We welcome the introduction of the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill 2015 as a further measure in government’s efforts to protect our nation’s essential infrastructure from organised criminal activity. [Applause.] The Bill introduced by the Minister of Justice proposes to criminalise the unlawful and intentional tampering with or damaging or destroying of essential infrastructure and provides for the imposition of severe penalties, up to 30 years imprisonment.
We urge the NCOP to give urgent attention to this legislation. A working group consisting of the Deputy Ministers of Cogta, Police, Justice, State Security and Public Enterprises has also recommended tightening the regulation of scrap metal dealers by, amongst others, limiting the number of licenses issued; centralising their registration nationally; requiring the registration of export agents who buy from scrap metal dealers; prohibiting export agents from buying from unregistered dealers; and prohibiting all payment in cash for scrap metal; secondly, making it more difficult to obtain bail in cases involving the unlawful possession or illicit dealing in nonferrous metals; third, that the Ministers of Trade and Industry, Economic Development and the national Commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, Sars, consider measures to ensure that all containers containing scrap metal be subjected to rigorous inspection in terms of the International Trade Administration Commission Act; and fourth, that consideration be given to further measures including either a direct ban on all scrap metal exports for a period of time or the imposition of an export tax to decrease its commercial attractiveness. All these recommendations have been accepted by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Council.
Regarding municipal debt, we have met with the 20 top owing municipalities, Salga, National Treasury and Eskom. The meeting agreed on a very clear action plan. We will continue to work with the Treasury and the municipalities. But we will also continue to work to ensure that decisive action is taken to ensure that national and provincial spheres of government settle their debts to municipalities, including consideration of withholding equitable shares. We are saying pay first and argue later. We are also working with the National Treasury and Salga to review the funding formula for local government.
In conclusion, this debate takes place during Womens’ Month. In a few days, on 9 August, we commemorate the bravery of the women who marched on the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against the extension of the pass laws to African women. On 09 August, President Zuma will release a report on the status of women in South Africa. There is no doubt that we have made great strides over the past 21 years of our democracy in improving the lives of women in our country.
Prior to 1994, the South African Parliament had a mere 2,7% representation of women. Following the first democratic elections, women representation in the National Assembly stood at 27,7%. In 1999, that figure increased to 30%, and then to 32,7% in 2004. After the 2009 national elections, women representation reached 42%. Currently, women Ministers comprise 41% of the Cabinet, while women Deputy Ministers make up 47% of the total number of Deputy Ministers, and there is a 41% representation of women in the National Assembly. [Applause.] As on 01 January 2015, South Africa was ranked at number 11 by the Women in Politics 2015 report, produced by the UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The picture for local government is improving but it must improve much, much more. In 1995, 19% of councillors were women, in 2000, this went up to 29%, and in 2006 this increased to 40%. In 2011 regrettably, it slide back to 38%.
The nongovernment organisation, Gender Links says in the report, Gender in the 2011 South African Local Government Elections, that, and I quote:
The ANC’s big achievement in the 2006 elections was not only to field 53% women candidates overall of whom 46% won, but also to substantially increase the proportion of women ward councillors to 40% of the total ANC ward councillors. The upshot is that women ward councillors increased from 17% in 2000 to 38% in 2006, while proportional representation, PR, councillors increased from 38% in 2000 to 43% in 2005 for an overall total of 40%.
We urge all parties to follow this example. We commend the NCOP for the good work that it continues to do and we commit ourselves to continue walking the road of advancing the developmental agenda of local government for a better life for our people. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS (Contd.): At that summit we stressed that local government is the primary point of delivery and that it is the sphere that is closest to the citizens of our country.
The vision of a developmental local government system was that it would be the building block on which the reconstruction and development of our country should be built, a place where the citizens of South Africa could engage in a meaningful and direct way with the institutions of the state.
Similarly at that conference it was acknowledged that South Africa has made tremendous progress in delivering basic services – water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal – at rates of delivery that are truly unprecedented in recent world history.
Yet despite these delivery achievements, it is clear that much needs to be done to support, educate and, where needed, enforce implementation to improve the performance of municipalities.
The Presidential Local Government Summit received a comprehensive analysis of the state of local government, drawing from various sources of credible data and information.
This analysis was summarised by the placing of all municipalities into three categories: those doing well, those doing okay, and those that are dysfunctional.
Our back-to-basics analysis found that a third of municipalities are performing well, a third is doing OK, and a third is dysfunctional.
The Back to Basics approach aims to move the dysfunctional municipalities out of that state over the next two years, consolidate the position of those that are doing well and advance the state of those doing okay.
What is it that makes a good municipality? For us, there are seven fundamental traits that define a good municipality, and we would want all of our municipalities to have all of these.
Firstly, a municipality should have political and administrative stability.
Secondly, a municipality should have a functional council and council structures and healthy political and administrative relations and interfaces.
Thirdly, a municipality should have an alignment of its spending profile with its Integrated Development Plan. Furthermore, that municipality’s percentage of capital expenditure spent, and the budget for maintenance and repairs should be adequate to ensure adequate maintenance to prevent breakdowns and interruptions to services.
Fourthly, a municipality should have sound financial management which is characterised by consecutive clean or unqualified audit opinions, effective internal controls, a prudent spending profile, and successful revenue generation measures.
In the fifth instance, a municipality should have consistent delivery of services, and there should be a continuous improvement in the quality of the services rendered.
In the sixth instance, a municipality should have sound institutional management, clear policy and delegation frameworks, capable staff, transparency, accountability and consequence management, and an intolerance of corruption.
In the fifth seventh instance, a municipality should have consistent community involvement and a high community satisfaction record.
From the outset, Back to Basics was conceptualised to be rolled out in phases. Highlights of the first phase can be summarised as follows.
At the Presidential Local Government Summit all present endorsed the Back to Basics approach and an action plan that was used as an instrument to address the challenges, assign responsibilities and to create a platform for monitoring performance.
In October 2014, the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs initiated a monthly municipal reporting template comprising of a set of indicators as per the pillars of the Back to Basics approach against which municipalities must report. The objective behind the monthly reporting template is to institutionalise a performance management system that will recognise good performance, and ensure sufficient consequences and appropriate support for under performance.
The approach integrates information on municipalities and ensures that the current challenges in the local government sphere, in the short- to medium-term specifically, are addressed.
Provincial Task Teams were establishment in all nine provinces. Initially these teams verified and amplified the diagnostic assessments initiated by the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs, and thereafter assisted in the development of municipality-specific action plans.
A number of provincial government Back to Basics launches have taken place. These launches aim to get multistakeholder endorsement of the Back to Basics approach, as well as the adoption of the various municipal action plans to address the challenges, assign responsibilities and create a platform for monitoring performance. Getting the basics right will require leadership and commitment by all stakeholders across government and society. The launches are at the forefront of mobilising all sectors of society into the campaign and to get back to basics.
Support and good governance packages were developed and implemented in a number of municipalities such as Malamulele, Mogalakwena, Makana, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Buffalo City, and Oudtshoorn. A number of municipalities were placed under administration in terms of section 139 of the Constitution.
The Back to Basics approach received a number of private sector support offers, as well.
The Back to Basics approach needs now to move into a new phase during which the focus will be on the implementation of actions which will result in improved citizen satisfaction with local government.
I think the key achievement of the initial phase of Back to Basics is that the programme is now well known and accepted. It has obtained traction within and outside of government, and has touched all 278 municipalities.
The Constitution authorises national and provincial executives to intervene in provincial administration and local government respectively within certain constitutional constraints. Interventions are initiated when a municipality cannot or does not fulfil executive obligations. During the initial phase of the Back to Basics approach a number of successful interventions were undertaken, for example, in Mogalakwena.
The municipal monthly reporting system which was launched in October 2014 is progressively taking shape. Currently 158 municipalities are consistently reporting against Back to Basics indicators on a monthly basis.
Back to Basics is a standing agenda item in the Presidential Co-ordinating Council and MinMec where premiers and MECs report regularly on the progress of the Back to Basics approach.
In acknowledgement of the diverse circumstances in each province, and the unique support needs of individual municipalities, varied provincial support approaches are emerging. Due to the directive inherent in the Back to Basics approach that the people must be put first, ward-based planning and spatial mapping of annual performance plans, APPs, are being initiated in a number of municipalities.
A Metro Mayors Forum and a District Water Services Authority Forum were established to specifically deal with the unique circumstances that are experienced by metros and district municipalities that are water services authorities.
Slowly but surely the impact of our Back to Basics efforts are being felt.
This is borne out by the most recent report on local government audit outcomes by the Auditor-General which shows a steady trend towards good governance and sound financial management.
Some members who spoke before can perhaps take note that Operation Clean Audit was by no means a failure. In fact, of our 278 municipalities, 148, i.e. 53%, now have unqualified audits - up from 120 last year.
One-hundred-and-fifty-eight, i.e. 58%, of all 335 municipalities and municipal entities received unqualified audits. This is up from last year’s 165, or 49%.
What is particularly significant is that 76% of the total local government expenditure of R315 billion is being spent by municipalities and municipal entities with unqualified audit opinions. [Applause.]
What this means is that almost eight out of every ten rands spent by local government is being spent a municipality that gets a qualified audit. Eight out of every ten rands is being spent in terms of the law. [Applause.]
It is also encouraging that 96% of municipalities and municipal entities submitted their financial statements on time. This is an improvement over the 93% in 2012-13 and a massive improvement from the 78% in 2007-08.
All provinces showed improvement in their audit outcomes. The biggest contributors to the number of clean audits are Gauteng with 13, KwaZulu-Natal with 20, and the Western Cape with 18.
I think Limpopo deserves a special mention. For 2012-13 only one of its 32 auditees received an unqualified audit. The others received qualified, adverse or disclaimed audits. This has improved dramatically to 15 unqualified audits for 2013-14. [Applause.]
These results were achieved through hard work, dedication, leadership and consistent hands-on engagement by, with and in municipalities.
The key lessons learnt from the initial phases of the Back to Basics approach are that political instability and weaknesses in governance are two of the primary causes of poor service delivery at municipal level.
The way forward for the Back to Basics approach is that, from the work done to date, we have a good idea of what the key problems are. It is now time to focus on taking more effective action to address the problems.
This requires national and provincial departments of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs to firstly have a more hands-on approach; to, secondly, simultaneously address causes and symptoms by carrying out deeper analysis of the underlying causes and symptoms of service delivery problems and focus on addressing these; to, thirdly, better understand the levers for change and make better use of them; and to, fourthly, prioritise and focus on the 20% of actions which will create 80% of the impact, using the available levers for change.
I am sure that the NCOP visits across the country last month afforded you the opportunity to see that we are seized with ensuring that local government delivers.
We have taken note of the challenges identified during the NCOP visits. These include that of sound financial management and delivery of basic services - especially around water and sanitation – that continue to bedevil some of our municipalities.
We have instituted a number of measures to ensure that, as the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs, we deal more effectively with these challenges. To that end we have completed the restructuring of the Department of Co-operative Governance with units now specifically dedicated to the Back to Basics.
We would like to report on action that we are taking to deal with some of the challenges raised in the Provincial Week report.
In the Western Cape, we resolved the impasse at the Oudtshoorn municipality and it has now been placed under administration. Ten municipalities have been identified and are being assisted by the Back to Basics programme. These include those of Kannaland and Beaufort West, which were visited by hon members. Action plans with clearly identified projects were developed for these municipalities. District municipalities are being strengthened through the implementation of a shared services model at three of five district municipalities, and through the implementation of a intermunicipal co-operation arrangement as a pilot at one of the districts.
We are aware of the challenges in the Northern Cape, especially with the large number of dysfunctional municipalities. We have identified the issue of improperly qualified municipal managers as one of the areas that requires our urgent attention. Acting municipal managers have been seconded to Dikgatlong, Phokwane, Mier and Nama Khoi, while an acting municipal manager has been appointed at Renosterberg.
District municipalities are being supported through the strengthening of business plans and through the reporting on the implementation of the disaster management and fire services grant.
We are heartened by the efforts of the leadership of the Mpumalanga province to improve service delivery at local government level. We commend the replacement of mayors in the four underperforming municipalities of Thaba Chueu, Emalahleni, Lekwa and Dr J S Moroka. We have taken note that a lack of effective public participation and basic service delivery challenges, especially in water and sanitation have hampered some municipalities in the province. Interventions by the province include the development of a complaints management systems in 16 municipalities.
In North West, nine high-priority municipalities have been identified that require support in all key performance areas. We have invoked section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution in some of these municipalities, such as Matlosana, Ngaka Modiri Molema, Tswaing and Ventersdorp. This will bring stability to the councils and administrations of these municipalities, improve their financial status, and improve the delivery of services.
As I start concluding, I want to touch briefly on the issue of theft and damage to infrastructure. This has devastating consequences for local government and the provision of basic services such as water, electricity, transport, and health.
We welcome the introduction of the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill 2015 as a further measure in government’s efforts to protect our nation’s essential infrastructure from organised criminal activity. [Applause.]
The Bill, introduced by the Minister of Justice, proposes to criminalise the unlawful and intentional tampering with or damaging or destroying of essential infrastructure and provides for the imposition of severe penalties of up to 30 years imprisonment.
We urge the NCOP to give urgent attention to this legislation.
A working group consisting of the Deputy Ministers of the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs, Police, Justice and Correctional Services, State Security, and Public Enterprises has also recommended tightening the regulation of scrap metal dealers by, amongst others, limiting the number of licenses issued; centralising their registration nationally; requiring the registration of export agents who buy from scrap metal dealers; prohibiting export agents from buying from unregistered dealers; and prohibiting all payment in cash for scrap metal.
The working group, secondly, recommends making it more difficult to obtain bail in cases involving the unlawful possession or illicit dealing in non-ferrous metals.
Thirdly, the working recommends that the Ministers of Trade and Industry and Economic Development and the National Commissioner of the SA Revenue Service consider measures to ensure that all containers containing scrap metal will be subjected to rigorous inspection in terms of the International Trade Administration Commission Act.
Fourthly, the working group recommends that consideration be given to further measures including either a direct ban on all scrap metal exports for a period of time or the imposition of an export tax to decrease its commercial attractiveness.
All these recommendations have been accepted by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Council, PICC.
Regarding municipal debt, we have met with the top 20 owing municipalities, SALGA, National Treasury, and Eskom. That meeting agreed on a very clear action plan.
We will continue to work with Treasury and municipalities.
We will also take decisive action to ensure that national and provincial spheres of government settle their debts to municipalities - including considering withholding equitable shares. We are saying, pay first, and argue later.
We are also working with National Treasury and SA Local Government Agency to review the funding formula for local government.
In conclusion, this debate takes place during Women’s Month. In a few days, on 9 August, we commemorate the bravery of the women who marched on the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against the extension of the pass laws to African women.
On 9 August, President Zuma will release a report on the status of women in South Africa. There is no doubt that we have made great strides over the past 21 years of democracy in improving the lives of women in our country.
Prior to 1994, the South African Parliament had a mere 2,7% representation of women. Following the first democratic elections, women representation in the National Assembly stood at 27,7%. In 1999, that figure increased to 30% and then to 32,7% in 2004. After the 2009 national elections, women representation reached 42%. Currently, women ministers comprise 41% of the Cabinet, while women Deputy Ministers make up 47% of the total number of Deputy Ministers, and there is a 41% representation of women in the National Assembly. [Applause.]
As at 1 January 2015, South Africa was ranked 11th by the Women in Politics 2015 report, produced by UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The picture for local government is improving but needs to improve even more. In 1995, 19% of councillors were women. In 2000, this increased to 29%, and in 2006 to 40%. Unfortunately, this declined to 38% in 2011.
The NGO Genderlinks says in a report on Gender in the 2011 local government elections that:
The ANC’s big achievement in the 2006 elections was not only to field 53% women candidates overall – of whom 46% won – but also to substantially increase the proportion of women ward councillors to 40% of the total ANC ward councillors. The upshot is that women ward councillors increased from 17% in 2000 to 38% in 2006, while PR councillors increased from 38% in 2000 to 43% in 2005 for an overall total of 40%.
We urge all parties to follow this example.
We commend the NCOP for the good work that it continues to do and we commit ourselves to continue walking the road of advancing the developmental agenda of local government for a better life for our people. Thank you.
Mr B G NTHEBE: House Chair, the hon Mtileni has declared his undying love for me. He would also want me to come before the Deputy Minister. [Interjections.] Hon Deputy Minister, hon Deputy Chair of the NCOP, acting Chief Whip, hon MECs in our presence, Salga leadership, distinguished guests, we are blessed.
The NCOP provides a solid platform in our quest to accelerate service delivery by strengthening our oversight role and holding those empowered with responsibility to account. We want to acknowledge that the challenges are immense. Our zeal and determination are quite encouraging. The Auditor-General’s report calls upon all of us to close ranks and usher in a dispensation of consequence management.
Water and sanitation challenges are immediate, and seek our urgent attention. The Moses Kotane Local Municipality reported to us that they are working on a comprehensive water master plan through the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, to improve the water infrastructural network that they have. We want to acknowledge that when we were there, part of the oversight visit that we undertook was to go and check the refurbished water treatment plant they have in the municipality. It is state of the art. Millions of rand have been spent on that project, and the people are happy. We want to agree.
Send this message to the Minister, Deputy Minister. We agree with him when he says the traditional leadership has a special role to play in our new dispensation - in our case, under the leadership of Kgosi Gasebone and HRH Mme Kgosi Motsatsi. They expressed, eloquently, their appreciation to the three spheres of government, for ensuring the developmental agenda that we seek to achieve collectively. They, as they represent their own constituencies, are grateful for that, and will continue to participate, ensuring that we deliver services to our people.
The North West province intends convening an energy forum with all stakeholders to attend to pressing energy challenges. We saw that in the oversight role that we played there. The upgrading of the water reservoir in the Borolelo Township by the Department of Water and Sanitation is an encouraging development, as well. We also know that the local people have taken up the responsibility themselves to seal the leaks that we saw there. They were saying that they were going to form part of that process and ensure that they walked down every street, past every house to ensure that they sealed the existing leaks, to preserve the water that is so scarce in our province.
Challenges, such as water and sanitation infrastructural networks, the politico-admin interface, consequence management, and sound and healthy financial management should form part of our immediate attention, as this august House. These are all issues raised, primarily, by the Auditor-General. However, the Auditor-General has gone beyond that and said that part of what we must seek to address immediately is the issue of environmental management. The municipality we visited did not have good environmental management, and we pressed upon them to ensure that they look into that matter. Indeed, the matter is receiving the necessary attention.
Not everything is gloomy, however. I want to relate to you a story of an elderly woman, a mother, a grandmother, if you like. She stood up and, emotionally, related her story of having been waiting for an RDP house since 1997. In that process, seeing others occupying their houses over the years has torn her apart. The encouraging part is her confidence that the Provincial Week would finally resolve this matter, and we are encouraged by such confidence in the People’s Parliament to respond to our people’s aspirations. When one sees such a person who has been waiting so long for a process to achieve justice coming to a platform created by this Parliament and asking for assistance in this process, one finds resonance in the aspirations of one’s own people. That is what we, as this Parliament, seek to do.
A teenaged girl stood up and related how grateful she was that the provision of a free Wi-Fi service at the public library enabled her to continue with her studies, uninterrupted. She loudly declared her thanks for this service. We are able to achieve the primary goal of this Parliament - free basic education - and we are grateful for that.
There is also the story of a local farmer who turned the sad story of a running sewer into an agricultural product. This person did not sit there and complain about the matter. He saw that the infrastructural development in terms of sanitation was not achieving the necessary speed desired, but in his case, as a farmer, he decided to turn this sad story into a good story, and he did. He did not moan and groan. He went to the municipality and suggested what he could do.
This is what the hon MEC Masango, in her very own words, referred to when she said she would abandon her speech completely to address you. She is giving you unnecessary mileage, however. I mean, you are one of the most dedicated, feet-on-the-ground MECs deployed by the ANC. [Interjections.] [Applause.] You are found anywhere at any time to address the challenges of our own people. The hon Masango is on record, appreciating the good work that she, literally, saw on the oversight visit in Gauteng. She came here and abandoned her statement – her own words – to address you and give you unnecessary mileage. [Interjections.] Even the hon members who were sleeping in Limpopo can converse! [Laughter.] Indeed, when they were sleeping, it was in the course of the work that they were doing.
Mr W F FABER: Hon Chair, I would like to know if the hon member would take a question. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Nthebe, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr B G NTHEBE: Chair, I will dedicate one minute to the hon member.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): He is prepared to take your question but ...
Mr W F FABER: Right now.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Later, later! He will take your question, but later. He will get a minute.
Mr W F FABER: Later?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No. Here!
Mr W F FABER: Right now?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Yes. When he is left with one minute, not now. Now, you can take your seat. [Interjections.] Hon Nthebe.
Mr B G NTHEBE: The hon Faber looks as confused as the EFF members! [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Faber, take your seat.
Mr B G NTHEBE: They don’t even know the difference between struck off the roll and acquittal!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Faber, take your seat.
Mr B G NTHEBE: They celebrate as if somebody has been acquitted, yet ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Nthebe, hon Nthebe! [Laughter.] Hon Nthebe, hon Faber! [Interjections.] No, he said ... hon Faber, let me assist you. We are going to ask the question when he’s left with one minute. I will make sure I accommodate you in that minute, so that you can ask the question. [Interjections.] Hon Mathys?
Ms L MATHYS: Would the hon speaker please withdraw his comment about confused Members of Parliament, MPs – EFF MPs – and not knowing the difference between striking off the roll and ... [Laughter.] He knows he has to withdraw that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Nthebe, withdraw that part about confusion. You referred to hon members as being confused. Please take your seat? I am requesting him to withdraw the part that hon members are confused.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Chairperson, in the interest of justice, I want to agree that I withdraw, but the members do not know the difference between acquittal and striking off the roll. They do not know the difference.
Ms L MATHYS: He has to withdraw that. Please, can I address that?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Nthebe, can you ... No, take your seat! Hon Nthebe, in terms of Rule 46 on the use of “offensive and unbecoming language”, just withdraw the statement.
Mr B G NTHEBE: I unreservedly withdraw my comment directed at the absent member. Continue, hon Nthebe. Hon Mtileni?
Mr V E MTILENI: Chairperson, the hon Nthebe himself is confused. [Interjections.] He cannot come and talk about the withdrawal of cases and acquittal. We are not here for that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mtileni, please assist us. We have dealt with taht. He has withdrawn. You are the one who now is supposed to withdraw against him.
Mr V E MTILENI: Let him withdraw again for a second time.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Yes, I withdraw.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Take your seat, hon Mtileni.
Mr V E MTILENI: Let him withdraw for a second time.
Ms L MATHYS: Chair, I have asked for clarity on this, but the hon speaker said he withdraws unreservedly for the absent member. Can he either clarify that or just withdraw the comment altogether? [Interjections.] He did say that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, that is not offensive. Unfortunately, that is not offensive. He has withdrawn the part that is offensive.
Ms L MATHYS: What is not offensive to the absent member? I was the one asking for it to be withdrawn, and I am right here. So, what is absent about me? Then there is Rule 40, or Rule 50, on which I am also going to ask to be allowed ...
Mr B G NTHEBE: Chair, I did not refer to anybody by name.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, hon Nthebe. Hon Mathys, take your seat. The problem with what you are saying now – from where I am seated, I am not even sure whether he referred to you or any other member, not unless he specified that he referred to you. Continue, hon Nthebe. No, let us not make this a dialogue. Continue, Nthebe.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Chair, we want to agree with the Deputy Minister that, indeed, in collaboration with the relevant departments, we have ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): You are not recognised! Hon Mathys, I have not recognised you.
Ms L MATHYS: Why am I not being recognised?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): You have made your point. I have made a ruling. Continue, hon Nthebe.
Mr B G NTHEBE: I agree, Deputy Minister, that we have seen the necessary stability.
Ms L MATHYS: On a point of order ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Alright, let me entertain the point of order.
Ms L MATHYS: ... to make a ruling – and I am asking for an answer. You make a ruling, and then you just dismiss what I said. It wasn’t a ruling based on my point of order in the first place. Then you just don’t want to recognise me. Why? Is it because I am from the EFF?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No, I recognised you.
Ms L MATHYS: That is how this House seems to operate.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): I am recognising you.
Ms L MATHYS: You didn’t. I have to stand here and make a big hooha just to be recognised like I am begging, like the ANC had brought me here into the House.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Can you make your point of order?
Ms L MATHYS: My point of order is that I raised a point of order that the hon member should withdraw his comment. His comment was that that he withdrew unreservedly – whatever – to the absent member. I was the one who raised the question, so he referred to me. So, if he is going to make comments about me, I have a right under Rule 40 or 50 to give a response. Either he has to withdraw that, or you must allow me the opportunity to respond to his comment.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Please take your seat so that I can deal with that. Hon Mathys, you raised a point of order about what he said. I asked him to withdraw. Then, after withdrawing, he made some remarks. Then I made a ruling that questioned why you said he referred to you. I did not subject that to a debate. You know the procedure if you are not satisfied with a ruling. Let me appeal to you not to debate the ruling. Continue, hon Nthebe.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Chair, I explicitly want to express our gratitude to the hon Deputy Minister that, indeed, we have seen the necessary stability insofar as interventions are concerned to ensure that service delivery reaches the intended beneficiaries.
In our case, we would want to assure both stakeholders from the level of Salga and the relevant departments that we will continue to work with them. As the NCOP ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): One minute for hon Faber.
Mr B G NTHEBE: You can come.
Mr W F FABER: Chairperson, can I please be ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): Yes, you are protected. Ask your question.
Mr W F FABER: Hon Nthebe said there was a sad story that this person turned into a good story. Now, this sad story was obviously an ANC story. That we know. So, I just would want to know whether it was a DA member that turned it into a good story because of the service delivery problems.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Chair, let me school him. In fact, the DA members purportedly went there to disrupt the meeting. [Interjections.] Participatory democracy is part of our democracy as a standalone pillar. When we say the people shall govern, it is through participatory democracy where you allow your people to raise their own issues in a nonpartisan way in a meeting so that we, as public representatives, remain accountable to the electorate in a nonpartisan manner.
When you pit public representatives against each other on the basis of membership or affiliation, it is a sad story for our democracy. It should never be allowed to happen in our lifetime. This is one thing that we should not shy away from, including briefing members of the EFF on the fact that the people shall govern. [Interjections.] The necessary thing that we must distinguish is that demagogic and revolutionary anarchy is distinct. They are not the same. They do not wear the same colour. They don’t wear the same clothes. If you are a demagogue, you just walk from the extreme left. If you are a revolutionary, you know the parameters within which you can operate. [Interjections.]
This is simple dynamics, hon Mtileni. You cannot do ... [Interjections.] But I am responding to you. Thank you, Chair. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr R J TAU: [Interjections.] The mic is on, yes. It is fine I won’t even read the notes. Some of the things that we normally say are not fair. There is a statement here – you know I am advantaged because at least I studied Setswana and I passed it at matric level.
Fa o re ngwana o tlhogo kgolo o sira rragwe...[When you say a big-headed child is beam to his father ...]
... in simple terms it means is a badly brought up child, and an embarrassment to his father. So the person that used that idiom was actually speaking about herself, a badly brought up child who presents herself as an embarrassment to her parents.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Khawula! He has done that. He has translated but you can still repeat it.
Mr R J TAU: I have translated it. A member came before us here – standing in front of this podium ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Sorry hon Deputy Chair. Hon ... Yes ... Hon Mtileni! Hon Mtileni! Hon Mtileni! Can you make it simple? If you rise on a point of order, you raise the point of order. Don’t raise a point for debate. State your point of order!
Mr V E MTILENI: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr A J Nyambi): No. No. No. Hon Mtileni, can you take your seat? Can you take your seat? Unfortunately that is not a point of order. Continue hon Tau.
Mr R J TAU: Thank you very much ...
Ms L MATHYS: On a point of order: [Inaudible]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Sorry, wait for your mic to work. I can’t hear you properly.
Ms L MATHYS: [Inaudible.]
Mr R J TAU: I am sorry Chair; I can’t hear what she is saying.
Ms L MATHYS: On a point of order: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Mathys, unfortunately, I do have the rules here. The section that you are quoting – you can’t say because a person that has raised a point of order is not in the House then you are rising on a point of order to deprive a member who is closing a debate to respond. That is not a point of order. Can you take your seat? You know what Rule 40 is saying? It says that a permanent member who has been suspended or whose suspension is being considered may submit a written apology to the Chairperson or the Council. [Laughter.] You can’t do that. No, this is Rule 40; I do have the rules here. Can you take your seat? Can you take you seat? Can you take your seat? I will make a ruling about Rule 50 also. Hon Mathys, Rule 50 says during a debate in the Council a member may be allowed to explain a previous speech but only when and to the extent that a speech has been misquoted or misunderstood in a material respect. The unfortunate part is that you are not even that member. You are not that member. So your point of order is not sustained.
Mr R J TAU: Ke nale tlhogo e kgolo mme fela ga ke a sira rre. Ke molao o ke godisitsweng ka one. [I am very stubborn, however, not an embarrassment to my father; I was raised in that manner.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Mtileni! Sorry hon Deputy. Hon Mtileni!
Mr V E MTILENI: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): No. Why are you rising?
Mr V E MTILENI: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Yes.
Mr V E MTILENI: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): I requested him to interpret.
Mr V E MTILENI: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Yes, he will do that.
An HON MEMBER: Chair, can I volunteer to interpret?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): No, Tau will do it. Hon Deputy Chair will do it.
Mr R J TAU: I did it. I did it. It is a badly brought up child. I have a big head but I am not a badly brought up child and the reference was in actual fact unfortunately made to the very same member who made the statement. That is the unfortunate part. It is a debate and people must be strong in a debate. When you say and make statements you must be prepared to receive a response to what you are saying.
House Chair, let me just assist this process, firstly, by appreciating all members who participated in the debate. I think what we have done is just to say that we need to strengthen our capacity to do more oversight work. We need to strengthen our way and maybe improvise even further on how we do our oversight work and so forth. Particularly with regard to the provincial week as a very strategic instrument that we need to continuously use as the National Council of Provinces. I mean one must appreciate the participation of the Deputy Minister. I want to make an appeal to Deputy Minister that his speech must be available to all members of this House. It must be put in the pigeon holes of all members. It was quite informative. It was speaking to the facts. It speaks about what is happening on the ground than to have thumb-sucked information. At some point, while listening to hon Masango, I was even lost whether she is from Gauteng or from the Eastern Cape or from Limpopo and so forth.
These are some of the things that we need to critic ourselves as members of the National Council of Provinces because the Constitution says, “We are permanent delegates representing the interests of our provinces in the National Council of Provinces”. The simple definition of a delegate is a person whose role is to take a mandate given to him by his organisation, province or whosoever to go and represent them and then come back to report. However, in this instance you find a member of another province making reference to issues that happened in another province and so forth. I find it very strange. It is a pity that some of the members who make such statements will not even stay to listen to the responses.
We have an hon member here, hon Mokgosi, who spoke at length around the issues of the role of local government and how as representatives of an organisation are so committed to improve the lives of ordinary South African citizens. Let me report in this House that she was not even part of the programme; she was not even there when we were interacting and meeting the very same working class that she claims to be representing - she was not there. The apology was that they have a fun run somewhere, we don’t know maybe that fun run was towards economic freedom. [Interjections.] There is a disturbance [Interjections.]
Ms L MATHYS: [Inaudible.] Firstly, she should be allowed to respond, so you shouldn’t make those comments. Secondly, on party issues, fun run, he will know what the fun run is 2016. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Mathys! Hon Mathys! Hon Mathys! Take your seat. You are consistently misinterpreting the rules, you have the rule book in front of you and I also have mine. What you are raising is a point of debate.
Mr R J TAU: As I conclude ...
Ms L MATHYS: [Inaudible.]... debate about making personal comments about MPs who are not even in the House here to defend themselves. It was personal; it is not a point of debate. [Interjections.] That is personal; it is not a point of debate. He is making disparaging remarks about an MP who is not here to defend herself. It is not about ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Mathys, can you take your seat? That is not a point of order. Conclude hon Deputy Chair. Hon Zwane! Hon Zwane! You are not recognised. I am recognising hon Zwane.
Ms L L ZWANE: Chairperson, I just want to find out from you whether it is parliamentary for members to be absent from the House for more than six months and then come back to confuse, create chaos, be disruptive and waste our time. Like Mathys is doing.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: COMMITTEES AND OVERSIGHT (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon ... you are not recognised. You cannot just stand up. You are not even recognised. Take your seat. I will recognise you. Take your seat now! Take your seat!
Mr R J TAU: Deputy Minister, we are going to work with your department. We will ensure that in whatever activities we engaged with, we consistently work with your department to ensure that we save our municipalities. We will take the points that have been raised, for instance an issue that had been raised by the MEC from the Northern Cape around the implementation of the effectiveness, in actual fact, of section 154. I think it is an important issue that we really need to go back.
As permanent delegates responsible and disciplined public representatives it is important that as we are mandated by the voters to come to Parliament and represent their interests we sit from the beginning until the end so that we don’t find ourselves not being able to respond to the issues that have been raised as a result of reckless and misdirected statements that we make in Parliament. Thank you.
Question put: That the Report be adopted.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Report accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution
The Council adjourned at 18:16.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
WEDNESDAY, 5 AUGUST 2015
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Draft Bills submitted in terms of Joint Rule 159
- Criminal Matters Amendment Bill, submitted by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.
Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and the Select Committee on Security and Justice.
National Council of Provinces
Please see pages 2755 – 3019 of the ATCs.
National Council of Provinces
Please see page 3029 of the ATCs.
THURSDAY, 6 AUGUST 2015
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Draft Bills submitted in terms of Joint Rule 159
- Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill, submitted by the Minister of Labour.
Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Labour and the Select Committee on Economic and Business Development.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Service
- Report dated 5 August 2015 on the provisional suspension from office of Mr L Zantsi, an aspirant magistrate at Laingsburg, tabled in terms of section 13(3)(b) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993).
2. The Minister of Trade and Industry
- Government Notice No 646, published in Government Gazette, No 39028, dated 27 July 2015: Invitation for the public to comment on the Copyright Amendment Bill, 2015.
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