Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 15 Sep 2022
No summary available.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
THURSDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2022
PROCEEDINGS OF HYBRID NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:02.
The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, please allow me to move on and indicate that the rules and processes do apply in this Hybrid Sitting. Before we proceed I would like to make the following announcement.
That the Hybrid Sitting constitutes the sitting of the National Council of provinces.
Delegates in this Hybrid Sitting enjoys the same powers and privileges that apply in the sitting of the National Council of Provinces.
For the purposes of the quorum all delegates in the virtual platform shall be considered to be present in the Council.
Delegates in this virtual sitting enjoys the same powers and privileges that apply in the sitting of the National Council of Provinces. Delegates must always switch on their videos if they want to speak.
Delegates should ensure that the microphones on their gadgets and videos are muted and must always remain muted unless they want to speak.
Delegates in the Chamber must connect to the Virtual Platform. Delegates who are physically in the Chamber must use the floor microphones and should switch their microphones on when they need to address the Chairperson. All delegates will participate in the discussion through the chatroom and note that the interpretation facility is active.
Permanent delegates, members of the executive, special delegates and South African Local Governance Association, Salga, representatives on the Virtual Platform are requested to ensure that the interpretation on their gadgets are properly activated to facilitate access to interpretation services.
Permanent delegates and members of the executive in the Chamber should use the interpretation gadgets on their desks to access the interpretation facilities.
Hon delegates, please allow me to announce that for today’s sitting there will be no notices of motions or motions without notice.
Further, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House that we have now been joined by hon Mbali Dlamini who has been sworn in as a permanent delegate representing Mpumalanga.
We wish to welcome Mbali. And we must indicate right at this point that we are looking forward to a fruitful, productive and successful term together with her as she joins the National Council of Provinces.
Before we proceed to the subject of the debate I would like to take this opportunity and welcome the Deputy Minister of Co- Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, hon Bapela, members of the executive committee, MECs, Salga representatives especially the president of Salga, who is with us today and all permanent and special delegates as well to the Luthuli House. Welcome hon Stofile.
We shall now proceed to the subject for the debate. The debate is on Local Government Week: Advancing Our Collective Effort to Enhance Oversight and Accountability in The Local Sphere of Government. I will now call upon the Deputy Minister of Co- Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, hon Obed Bapela to open the debate.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT WEEK; ADVANCING OUR COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO ENHANCE OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE LOCAL SPHERE OF GOVERNMENT
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS (Mr K O BAPELA): Chairperson the NCOP, hon Amos Masondo, the Chief Whip of the Council, Mr Seiso Mohai, Chairpersons of the Select and Portfolio Committees of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, and other chairpersons of parliamentary committees, members of the NCOP, members of executive committees, MECs, of various provinces present. I was told the Auditor-General was going to be in attendance, should she be there, also welcome Ms Tsakane Maluleke, president of South African Local Governance Association, Salga, Councillor Bheki Stofile, esteemed guests ladies and gentlemen.
The 2022 Local Government Week, under the theme, advancing our collective effort to enhance oversight and accountability in the local sphere of government, was again an opportunity for the three spheres of government to work as a collective in addressing the challenges facing local government. Minister Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma in her address stated that and I quote:
The centrality of local government for socio-economic development emboldens me to argue that every week should be a local government week. We cannot address any issue in local government without an understanding of the ideal local government. Particularly how our successes and or failures translates to whether we can achieve a better life for all our people.
In echoing the Minister’s words, I align myself that local government week should be every week, as local government is what we experience on a daily basis. As you open the tap or switch on the lights, the collection of refuse that is happening and driving on the streets that have no potholes and that are clean is what we all expect to see.
It is prudent that we locate and reflect a local government that is in an ideal situation particularly one that will enable us to create the people centred society. The Minister further alluded to the fact that this will enable us to determine the type of oversight necessary for the various spheres and institutions of local governance.
We must also recognise the developmental role given to our local government by the White Paper on Local Government and the Constitution. Section 152 of the Constitution serves the objectives of local government which are to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities. Secondly, to ensure the provisions of services to communities in a sustainable manner. Thirdly, to promote social and economic development. Fourthly, to promote a safe and healthy environment. Lastly, to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government, just to mention a few.
Our Constitution recognises that these objectives require the provincial and national sphere of government to actively enable local government to function as section 154 of the Constitution mandates those spheres, the province and national to support and strengthen the capacity of municipality and to manage their own affairs. To exercise their powers and to perform their functions in accordance. The Constitution says, it must, and it doesn’t say it may. So, this is therefore an obligation on the spheres of government to continuously provide support to the local government so that these functions can then be realised.
Hon members, ensuring an ideal municipality requires a whole of government and society approach and policy coherence implementation at all levels. Therefore, we have to make sure that we work together in a harmonised way and ensure that we continuously strengthen each other in a collaborative and co- ordinated manner.
It is for this reason that we contribute to strengthening the District Development Model approach which is anchored on section 47 of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act. This role of government and society approach identify metros and district spaces which is 52 spaces in totality for the four districts and eight metros. Although with distinct constitutional powers functions and responsibility, as the
most appropriate levels for intergovernmental co-ordination and social campaigning.
It is not only government that meets in these spaces – in the three spheres but also the mobilisation of the communities, stakeholders, nongovernmental, NGOs, civil society, all including traditional leaders, all working together to realise the objectives of the local government. Therefore, it is the most appropriate level for intergovernmental co-ordination and social compacting.
It is aimed at facilitating joint planning, implementation and monitoring of government’s development programmes with all spheres, sectors and entities. This must undertake collaborative planning, budgeting and implementation process. Thus converging developmental efforts at the district, metropolitan level. When a district is working optimally, we should have one plan that is implemented by all sectors and spheres of government. I think this is how within that we also support and strengthen local government.
Hon members, our collective oversight and accountability through the local sphere of government can bear the desired impact when the oversight is cross sectional and is able to
view the performance of local government in tandem with that of provincial and national government. The Municipal Structures Act has now proposed, and I think we then have to make sure therefore that these section 79 committees are established, that will be approved by the council as opposed to section 80s that are appointed by the executive. So that the separation of powers and functions between the council and the executive can be a distinct model that can then begin to see oversight becoming effective because the committees would have been appointed and chaired by councillors in a council to ensure accountability and oversight.
Also using this Municipal Structures Act to ensure that the Municipal Public Accounts Committee, MPACs, are also established in all municipalities. Those MPACs must then be supported to train and ensure that they are capacitated to ensure therefore that whatever report that they have completed on do serve in council. Council do not postpone simple because there is a matter that is affecting one of us or anybody and that those MPACs reports ought to be processed so that whatever remedial actions that are proposed by the MPACs can then be dealt with as a way of strengthening the oversight spheres of local government.
Section 154 emphasises the support that needs to come through the accompanying budget so that we could then begin to ensure that the capacity of those MPACs is also well-resourced and they can then go into any investigation on any matter to ensure that indeed the oversight happens.
Section 139 of the Constitution, discomforting as it might be, has been overused as a way of intervening. Therefore, the role of section 139 of the Constitution whilst it is a constitutional mechanism that will still be there, we then have to therefore ensure that the MPACs are solely supported and that the municipalities are able to have the oversight strength and functionality that is optimal as it is in the provinces and also as it is at the national level.
The national and provincial interventions should be more effective and not leave any municipality in any worse-off position. The exit processes and reports must also be presented so that they can also serve as a tool of oversight so that they don’t just end up being submitted and they are not being engaged by the council. Some of the useful lessons learned and recommendations outcomes out of those exit reports can then also be used to ensure therefore that local government is able to then fix whatever wrongs that are there.
The Minister has called on hon members to come forward and participate in the 21-Year Review of Local Government. A process that started last year is still going on. There is a team of experts that are there appointed who would then receive any comments and proposals on what is working in local government also what is not working so that we could then come up with new ideas and new proposals that can make local government function to the optimal.
So please, hon members, if you can take this opportunity and do submissions through the Cogta offices in the provinces and also through the Cogta offices nationally. It will be a welcoming position, because some of the issues that were raised during the question and answer session they were very useful points from the experts that participated from academia to the participants. The Ministers that also got involved and some of yourselves as practitioners in local government and as yourselves as Members of Parliament in the NCOP and provinces. We were able to then craft some of the ideas that the Minister says instead of responding in a Q and A format. We will then be asking you to submit so that we can then include it.
The process is going to be culminating with a report that will be published before the end of the final year 2022-2023, so
that somewhere in March 2023, this report will then be coming out to say, this is the review and in the review we are proposing the following going forward. And in the review, we think that some of amendments or new laws or ideas of changing some of the laws to really make local government function.
We also take note of the over regulation that the meeting on the focus on local government has raised that probably is one area that we also have to look. And what are these regulations and who then bring those regulations between the National Treasury and also Cogta. How do we then harmonise the regulation, that is not so much complicated and complex but the regulation that enhances and that makes the local government to function optimally. So that at the end, we are able to have municipalities that are functional in terms of good governance and we have municipalities that are able to be accounting to the people that have voted those councillors in. Whereas we can also have an administration that is focused and not interfered with, but the interfacing being a complementary between the executive and the administration so that we could then have municipalities that are a pleasing area for every member of society because all of us live in a municipality.
When you leave home to go to work you are in a municipality. Even your workplace is in a municipality and I think this
ideal municipality that the Minister spoke of is what we are all saying is an ideal.
Hon members, let us then take those notes from the Local Government Week and compose them into a report so that we could then begin to say what was it. And we share with some of our colleagues who might not have attended. Let’s then begin to have more attention by submitting on this 21-Year Review of Local Government so that we could optimally then begin to see the oversight and accountability being strengthened in the local government. Yes, this is a collective effort and we all must work to enhance oversight and accountability in that sphere of local government. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson for giving me this opportunity and to all hon members who are going to be the participants.
THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP (Mr S J Mohai): Let me recognise, first and foremost, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and also the House Chairs, the Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, Deputy Minister Bapela, distinguished special delegates, representatives of our organised local government, the SA Local Government Association, Salga, as we appreciate that almost its entire leadership is here in the Chamber, hon
members of this House, the media houses that are here, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, let me start here by congratulating Cllr Thami Ngubane, Salga NEC member, on his birthday.
[Interjections.] Yes! There's no harm to say really. It's a good thing. It's a good gesture to at least show it that you know it is his birthday. [Applause.] Okay! Thami’s birthday follows yesterday’s. Yesterday, we were celebrating MEC Dukwana’s birthday - the MEC for Local Government in the Free State province.
So, we often are really in a celebrating mood when we are with Salga and the provinces. Now, it shows that this is a national platform for provincial and local government’s views. That's where it is housed - the National Council of Provinces - as a unique body. So, we celebrate with comrades and hon members on their birthday.
The 12th NCOP Local Government Focus Week takes place in the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the NCOP as a second Chamber of the South African Parliament. This indeed marks the coming of age of our democracy and its institutions, especially Parliament as a critical voice of the people in the
battle of ideas for the building of a national democratic society.
As we grapple with the challenges facing the local government, we should be reminded that this is a critical sphere of our government that is located closer to our people. Thus, positioning it at the cutting edge of community participation, service delivery and local socioeconomic development.
Chairperson, we should equally remind ourselves that the first
10 years of our democracy was marked by the building of the solid foundations for our system of local government. This included policy development, the design of appropriate model of local government which is responsive to the developmental challenges of South Africa, in line with the fundamental values and principles of the Constitution.
The foundation of our system of local government was built on the foundation of apartheid colonial legacy of spatial development. Among key elements of this legacy that continue to haunt the local government are, amongst others: The unequal concentration of resources between urban and the rural provinces; the unequal development patterns between the residential areas historically designated for whites and the
black African majority; the design of electricity, transport and, water and sanitation infrastructure, mainly for white communities only; and the deprivation of the indigenous black African majority of access to housing, public health services, education and other basic needs.
Hon Chairperson, we owe it to the ANC that, at the core of the earlier years of the evolution and development of local government as a distinct sphere of government, was the reversal of this apartheid colonial legacy that was built over more than 300 years. This entailed the provision of water and sanitation, electricity, free access to education and public health service, and housing to the millions of the poorest of the poor.
Over the years, these strides and successes by our local government began to face serious setbacks and reversals. Key, among these reversals, was the creeping in of the culture of corruption and lack of accountability by the elected Councillors to the communities, poor governance and financial management, resulting in wasteful expenditure of billions of public funds that are meant to improve the conditions of our people.
We, in the ANC, stand here today, to reassure South Africans that despite the complex challenges that are facing the local government, together with them, we will overcome and restore the confidence of our people in this critical sphere of our system of governance. We equally reaffirm our position that, as a leading mass party in many municipalities, we take full responsibility for the maladies that are engulfing the local government sector.
We do this guided by the revolutionary moral and ethical teachings of one of our own, the late former President of the ANC, Reginald Oliver Tambo, when he once said, “We must tell the truth, even if it coincides with our enemy”.
Over the last two days of the deliberations of the Local Government Focus Week, there was an overwhelming consensus that our system of local government continues to be inflicted by serious setbacks and reversals, as evidenced by the successive performance audit reports by the Auditor-General. This has once again triggered a renewed urgency for the reimagination of the Legislative Sector Oversight and Accountability Strategic Framework on Local Government.
Chairperson, as a point of departure: We must proceed from the appreciation of the core constitutional mandate of the NCOP; followed by critical reflections on and about the current conceptualisation; and practice of oversight over the local government, its efficacy, effectiveness and impact in restoring good governance.
This should be accompanied by the shared appreciation of the distinct roles of different role payers and the strategic convergence between these roles, to avoid mandate creep and duplication between different actors, namely: The Auditor- General of South Africa; the national and provincial Department of Cogta; the National and Provincial Treasuries; and the SA Local Government Association.
The mandate of the NCOP in relation to local government oversight has its foundations on the Constitution and the relevant sections that articulate it. The Constitution enjoins the NCOP to the provincial interventions in the municipal administrations and monitor the intervention. Section 154 of the Constitution enjoins the national and provincial government to support the local government. Section 47(3) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act enjoins the MECs
responsible for local government to provide a copy of the annual report on the state of municipalities to the NCOP.
The interaction of the NCOP with the municipalities and the provincial departments of Cogta should not be construed as oversight over the municipalities, but with mutual support and co-operation in line with section 41 of the Constitution. It should be appreciated as the enabling mechanism for the NCOP to discharge its role of integrating the interests and the voices of the provincial and local government in the national sphere of government.
Chairperson, allow to concede upfront that, this alone is not sufficient to forge shared appreciation and understanding of how the NCOP should interface with the municipalities and provinces in carrying out its constitutional mandate. We need more engagement among the stakeholders to resolve this.
The issue of the balance between the section 139 provincial interventions in the municipal administration and section 154 on national-provincial government support to municipalities is among the issues that were raised sharply. This relates also to the efficacy and effectiveness of the section 139 in its current configuration.
Chairperson, it my submission that these issues can be better handled in the envisaged legislation that is intended to regulate the section 139 interventions. What can be done in the immediate and medium term is to identify critical gaps in the current approach and systems and provide short term solutions.
There is no doubt that remarkable strides have been made since the last NCOP Local Government Focus Week, as evidenced by the report of the Auditor-General and the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The Auditor-General’s report highlight the significant improvement, in some instances, of some municipalities that were in a terminal state of financial mismanagement and who are currently reporting progress.
In response to the challenges of professionalisation of municipalities and various policy gaps identified in the last Local Government Focus Week, uniform norms and standards on the competency framework for the appointment of municipal staff have been adopted. The Ministry is also in the comprehensive process of policy review, which is also the one that the Deputy Minister has just invited us to. We must take keen interest in engaging on those issues.
Chairperson, the District Development Model, which was initially piloted in selected district municipalities has since been rolled out to all other district municipalities. What distinguishes the National Council of Provinces from other Houses in the legislative sector is that it deals directly with development issues. It is our duty, therefore, to ensure that we transcend narrow party politics to focus on the needs of our people. This should be a working House. This enjoins us to move beyond endless diagnosis towards concrete action.
There is consensus that the failure to track and prioritise issues that were highlighted over the last two days, into a consolidated legislative sector oversight and accountability plan, will be the betrayal of the spirit of the deliberations. This, therefore, places huge responsibility on the National Council of Provinces and we kindly accept this responsibility that we shall work with local government, provinces and the national sphere of government to ensure that we make scoring successes in changing the face of local government in our country.
Mr Z A WILLIAMS (Eastern Cape): Thank you very much, hon Chair, greetings to you and the Deputy Chairperson of the
House, all the House Chairpersons, the SA Local Government Association, Salga, representatives and all distinguished guests. I greet you all from the home of legends in the Eastern Cape. Chairperson, I am pleased to address the House on the theme entitled: ‘Advancing our collective effort to enhance oversight and accountability in the local sphere of government.’
This debate takes place during the week of the 45th commemoration of the killing of the leader of the Black
Consciousness Movement, BCM, Steven Bantu Biko. At the same time, it takes place a week after the 30th commemoration of the Bisho massacre, which took place on 7 September 1992. Both incidents stand in our national memory as a reminder that, justice and fairness are values that have caused us many lives. They must constantly remind us that, we stand here today as custodians of a moral project whose price was blood, and that we too, must continue to pay the price of selflessness in carrying out the duty as servants of the people, and we dare not forget.
Chairperson, section 152(1) (a) of the Constitution states that, the objectives of the local government are to provide democratic and accountable government for local community. In
addition thereto, to ensure the provision of services to community in a sustainable way. Furthermore, Chairperson, section 154(1) of the Constitution states that, the national and provincial government, by legislative and other measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of municipality to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their function.
To give an expression to oversight and accountability, Parliament promulgated the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal System Act as instruments of law that gives meaning to developmental principles outlined in the White Paper of 1998. They set out procedures and processes for municipal operation, planning, government and accountability. The White Paper on Local Government provided a conceptual framework for municipal finance which supports the developmental role of local government. This was to enable the local government to meet the objectives, as envisaged in the Constitution. It underlines accountability, transparency, good governance, sustainability, adequate revenue and efficient means of resource.
Some financial management practices are essential to the sustainability of municipalities, and they underpin the
processes of democratic accountability. The Municipal Finance Management Act and its regulation seeks to address weaknesses and budgeting, accounting, as well as reporting, and providing tools for improving efficiency in the use of public funds, within an integrated accountability system. The Municipal Finance Management Act holds the councillor accountable via mechanism involving separating roles and responsibilities between councillors and officials.
It envisages this as a good strategy for good governance and accountability. The Municipal Manager must hold the primary legal accountability of financial management in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, together with other senior official, for implementation of service delivery outputs. The aim is to allow managers to manage, and councillors to exercise their oversight. The existing legislative framework, creates a matrix of integrated accountability system, wherein a municipality must account communities for service delivery, account to the Auditor-General for the use of public funds, report regularly to provincial and National Treasury, about the revenue management, compliance and legislation, as well as grant expenditure.
With that said, Chair, let me quickly go to possible reasons, why some of our municipalities are still facing teething problems. While no municipalities are the same, research indicates deficiencies in the oversight role of municipal councils, which shoulders the overall responsibility of financial oversight. This implies that, committees have advocated their responsibilities for oversight. This also implies that, internal audits are dysfunctional and that, there is no implementation of Auditor-General’s report recommendation.
Majority of our municipalities still fail to comply with deadlines set out in the Municipal Finance Management Act on submission of reports and quarterly reports, followed by consultation processes. In view of these problems, it appears that, the core which inhibits service delivery in our municipalities, remains a shortage of skills and capacity to plan on a revenue budget, and spend according to approved plan. This directly affect our capacity to deliver services and sustain low levels of spending on capital budget, to expand access to water, sanitation, electricity and housing, among other things.
Inefficiencies in local government procurement systems tends to focus on procedural compliance, rather than value for money, and place an extensive debt on weak support function. The way supply chain management system is implemented, severely affects provision of roads, waste management and refuse collection. Poor revenue management is one of the causes of financial distress for local government, and that affects economic sustainability of municipalities, as a result, many municipalities can’t finance their operation.
Regular fruitless, wasteful and nonauthorised expenditure recur each year. In 2021 financial year, the Auditor-General has placed irregular expenditure at R39 billion. Repairs and maintenance of municipal assets are crucial to present supply and service delivery interruption. Circular 71 sets an 8% norm for expenditure, repairs and maintenance as a share of value for property plant and equipment. With that said, Chair, I now move to ways in which we can enhance oversight and accountability in the local government sphere.
Having highlighted the lack of oversight and accountability in the local government sphere, let me hasten to table some of the strategy which can be employed to enhance oversight and accountability. Oversight structure such as council, must
place emphasis on the administration processes and the Auditor-General’s report. Audit action plan for both internal and external audits, must form part of performance agreement of municipal managers and accounting officers. Oversight structures must strictly ensure quarterly reporting.
Consequence management must be applied in instances of reach consistently. We must ensure that performance indicators are smart, and councillors must be empowered to exercise oversight on the work of administration.
Audit committees must be led by people with knowledge, skills, expertise and competencies to hold administration ... [Interjections.]... To enhance collective accountability, only qualified and experienced officials must be appointed. The last one, Chair, is that, we need to urgently professionalise local government administration. I thank you.
Ms C VISSER: Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, all protocols observed and fellow South Africans, good day. The aim of the past two days was to advance our collective effort to enhance oversight and accountability to prevent further disaster of collapse and regression of most of South Africa’s municipalities. We must recognise and acknowledge the challenges of the growing elephant in the
room. We must face the realities that most South African municipalities are governed by the ANC.
Sadly, these municipalities are destroyed beyond recognition, to the point where water, electricity, sanitation, waste-water treatment works and road infrastructure, needs to be rebuilt from scratch. Although the decay and destruction and the financial mismanagement regressed, evidently, there was no appetite from within Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, either national or provincial, to stop it. In the Chambers of Legislatures and Parliament, it was discussed, debated and decided to repetitively evoke section 139 interventions, right through the alphabet curve, knowing full well that interventions in the democratic South Africa, did not restore good governance and sound financial management.
In fact, the ANC, fully aware of the failure of interventions, used it as a punitive political weapon to hopefully settle factionalism within the ANC, like today now in Lichtenburg.
Therefore, in the developmental state, the intention of the Local Government Week, was finding the root causes of dysfunctional and collapsing municipalities, and the reasons why most provincial governments failed to restore best governance processes, procedures, and practises.
With 16% of South Africa’s 257 municipalities receiving clean audits in the 2020-21 financial year, this confirms a subsequent regression of further collapse. But, the signs and red flags from annual Auditor-General reports were clearly visible for years indicating a disaster. However, the ongoing endemic fraud and corruption, the blatant looting of municipalities within administrations in most departments, the financial mismanagement, the absence of accountability as well as the absence of consequence management, were not enforced.
In the new South Africa, a financial and operational collapse causing destruction of infrastructure, failure to deliver basic services, and governance with noncompliance to the Constitution and said legislation was never anticipated.
Policymakers concluded that local government is central to achieving the goals of the developing state and its failure therefore implausible. Cadre deployment and the recycling of corrupt accounting officers nurtured endemic corruption and fraud within local government structures, by circumventing procedures, regulations, and legislation, looting municipalities to dysfunctional collapse and bankruptcy.
The lack of political will, factionalism, and ill discipline, reduced the system of local government into financial
mismanagement, the cessation of service delivery and disgruntled citizens. The said ANC local government management style subjected communities to inhumane living conditions, and the infringement of constitutional human rights, living without water and within the stench of surrounding sewer streams. The impact of municipalities failing to deliver and maintain safe and reliable services negatively impacts on every level of society.
It is sickening to see how municipalities force citizens to live in towns, paying for services they never receive. It is horrendous to see how local economic hubs are closing down and people lose their jobs due to ANC bad governance. In conclusion, Chairperson, the closure of the Clover cheese factory in Lichtenburg in the North West, due to multiple service delivery failures, has cost the town more than 400 jobs. In Gauteng, Emfuleni’s dysfunctional sewage waste-water treatment plant has sunk the area’s efforts to promote tourism-based activities due to the polluted Vaal River.
Without fixing municipalities we will never fix development in South Africa. There is a very clear political divide between functioning and nonfunctioning municipalities. Most of South Africa’s municipalities collapsed or seem to be on the verge
of collapse, except those in the Western Cape, they have good governance. I thank you.
Mr M A DUKWANA (Free State): Hon Chairperson, tata uMasondo, hon Chief Whip, ntate Seiso Mohai, chairpersons, Members of the National Council of Provinces, provincial delegates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman. Chairperson, the debate signals the end of local government week 2022, a platform of Parliament which is designed to afford provinces a chance to reflect on a particular challenges facing local government, especially taking stock of opportunities in the present and looking forward to the future and to share best practices and establish a new path for development.
The local government week takes place under the theme “Advancing Our Collective Effort to Enhance Oversight and Accountability in the Local Sphere of Government”. For us as Free State government and indeed the people of the province, this debate takes place at a time when a diamond mine dam burst open and ravaged the community of Jagersfontein, leaving many residents homeless and destitute.
This mine dam has caused untold destruction in the area as a result of which at least one person is reported to have died
and one still missing. Our government has stepped in to assist affected families with clothes, food and accommodations. And many other nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, came to the party.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to families who have lost their loved and also share our sympathies with those whose houses were destroyed and damaged a result thereof, of this disaster.
There is no doubt that oversight, when done properly is a critical instrument in the hands of our government to ensure that maladministration, inefficiency, wasteful expenditure and corrupt practices are dealt with decisively. It is the only way of ensuring that people who are being monitored perform their duties as expected and without unnecessary delay.
The institutions that monitor and hold local government accountable must themselves be credible in the estimation of the people. A few decades ago, an outstanding Dutch educationalist Martinus Jan Langeveld, chronicled the following remarks:
Theory without practice is for geniuses, practice without theory is for fools and rogues; but for the majority, the intimate and unbreakable union of both is necessary.
I quoted Langeveld as I have because there’s a tendency to assume that fanciful debates in these platforms, in which we parade our knowledge of local government somehow contribute towards improving the overall performance of municipalities.
This tendency is the reason why municipalities continue to fail, our beautiful Constitution and policies notwithstanding. We act as if our diagnosis of the problem and knowledge of practical solutions will themselves take us forward. We do not possess the necessary political will to implement our policies.
And yet there’s no society that has fully developed without taking practical action to turn things around. It would be impossible for our local government scheme to be better unless we marry our ideals with good practice. And so as we debate here today, our resolve ought to be constructed on a
meta-narrative of the essentiality of theory and practice.
Local government has a sole responsibility of building an effective governance system that responds to the needs of the people, and one that is particularly driven by the ideal of making these everyday lives of our people bearable and better. Because of its proximity to the people, local government enjoys a possibility to be an authentic service delivery voice of the people.
We must agree on the broad framework that clearly explains how our government intends to exercise its oversight over municipalities. We must take stock of existing instrument of oversight, carefully scrutinize their particular limitations and reflect on uniform mechanism to improve them.
At the centre of this exercise must be a located three important questions: What is the value we seek to extract from oversight? How exactly must this oversight unfold? And, what capacity is needed for the success of government oversight?
In exercising our oversight function and in the context of evolving dynamics, we are now forced to pay more attention to a relatively broad range of issues than we did in the past. We need to identify which issues are critical for the survival of municipalities, assess their impact and install mechanisms to
monitor these issues. This process will never succeed unless we drastically return to basics. Out of this shall certainly emerge a framework in terms of which public participation and involvement, clean governance and transparency will be facilitated.
However, we are under no illusion that the problems facing municipalities will be resolved with a speed of light because most are caused by lack of capacity. In fact, we are elated that the Deputy Minister has joined this debate and shall take note of issues relating to the resourcing of municipalities.
This is an absolute necessity to give support to small local municipalities which have no capacity to generate revenue on their own. The need for national and provincial government to offer increased support to municipalities cannot be overemphasized.
There shall be no proper service delivery that happens unless municipalities have the capacity to recruit sufficiently qualified professionals and this depends on the ability to remunerate such professionals. This is necessary to secure the much-needed economic growth and development which will
guarantee a larger revenue base for our municipalities and the creation of jobs for our people.
At the outset, the single biggest stumbling block is political interference which results in the appointment of unqualified people by municipalities and poor adherence to regulations.
This we must combat as a matter of urgency.
Another impediment to enhanced oversight and accountability in the local sphere of government is lack of coherence. Even as we debate here, our viewpoints flow primarily from party political exigencies and not from obtaining objective experience.
In truth, our oversight role shall not fully obtain unless we secure greater co-operation of all political parties represented here and in provincial legislatures. It is this
co-operation that will inspire our people to stand together in demanding that municipalities achieve their targets.
Our actions must transcend more declarations of intent; our commitment must find practical expression on the ground. Gone are the days in our government when rights and/or wrongs
conduct is determined within the narrow confines of self-fulfilling party political fortunes.
We need to work harder as government together with municipalities and across political lines... [Interjection.]
The CHAIRPERSORN OF THE NCOP: As you conclude hon Dukwana.
Mr M A DUKWANA (Free State: MEC - CoGTA): ... as we conclude Chairperson, let me borrow what the Secretary of Parliament said yesterday in closing using Abraham Lincoln’s words:
We can succeed only by concert. It is not, ‘Can any of us imagine better,’ but, ‘Can we all do better?’ The dogmas of
the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The
occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion.
And this is the opportunity for all us of to rise to the
occasion. Thank you Chairperson.
Nk S A LUTHULI: Mphathi Sihlalo, angibingelele kubona bonke abantu, ikakhulukazi ababukeli emakhaya. Umbiko wokuthunjwa
kombuso usanda kuveza isithombe esihle nesidabukisayo sendlela iPhalamende izikhathi eziningi elibonakala ngalo lihluleka ukufeza ngalo indima yalo. Ukubikezelwa kwalo mbiko kuveze ukuthi unyaka nonyaka amacala afanayo enkohlakalo nokusetshenziswa budedengu kwezimali zikahulumeni kuvame
ukufana kuzo zonke izifundazwe.
IPhalamende linomsebenzi walo obalulekile ukwengamela
uMthethosisekelo ikakhulukazi njengoba kuhlobene nokuqinisekisa ukuthi uhulumeni uyahambisa nokusetshenziswa
kwezimali zomphakathi. Yize kunjalo, iPhalamende lithanda ukuhlehlela emuva. Ukwengamela kuyimisebenzi egunyaziwe
uMthethosisekelo ukwengamela ukusetshenziswa kwezimali. Lo msebenzi unikezwe uMthethosisekelo ePhalamende wokuqapha kanye
nokwengenelela uma uhulumeni ungenzi kahle ikakhulukazi
Instead, we are left to deal factional battles formed within the Ruling Party, which have no regard for their duties as public office bearers. Members of Parliament from the Ruling Party are too divided along public lines to stand up for the public good. As a result, Members of Parliament defend the blatant theft of public funds, and other acts of corruption,
just because of party affiliations. Corruption runs widely in the administration. It stands as one of the most serious challenges facing the local sphere of government in South Africa today. At local government, corruption occurs on a large scale often going undetected and stands as a major political and economic obstacle to the economic development of our country.
Malpractice, has become a thing of everyday. Even though the annual audit reports suggest that Parliament does not respond
effectively to the challenges faced. There also exists a permanent problem of financial mismanagement in the public
sector. This problem has manifested itself in growing wasteful, irregular and fruitless expenditure in a country
confronted by poverty, unemployment and inequality.
We know this to be true as nearly half of the 39
municipalities in the Eastern Cape are currently on the brink of financial collapse and are being investigated by the Hawks
for corruption. Buffalo City Metro, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, OR Tambo District Municipality, Chris Hani district, Amathole district, Alfred Nzo district, Engcobo Local Municipality, Enoch Mgijima, Inxuba Yethemba, Ndlambe, Amahlathi, Port St Johns, Sakhisizwe, Mbhashe, Walter Sisulu and Mnquma are all
under investigation. Generally, the Eastern Cape is characterised by municipalities which are either on the brink of collapse or have already collapsed as 11 municipalities are regarded as dysfunctional, 14 high risk and 14 low risk.
Peoples money is being squandered by the Executive and all this occurs at the backdrop of a long list of legislation covering public financial management. Corruption goes by, undetected, with no apparent consequence for wrongdoers as officials go by unpunished and are not answerable to the people.
The executive is hardly held accountable and there’s often no consequences for Ministers and accounting officers when departments and entities ignore recommendations made by the Auditor-General.
The consequence of which is the delay in the provision of services to our communities. We also know this to be true as in KwaZulu-Natal, there exists a poor record of governance and service delivery. Political instability, theft and the deployment of cadres is the order of the day in our local sphere of government. Abaqulusi, Msunduzi, uThukela, Inkosi Langalibalele, Nquthu, uMkhanyakude, Mtubatuba, Mooi-Mpofana
and uMzinyathi are currently all under administration. Msunduzi, uThukela and uMkhanyakude have been under administration twice since 2000, while Abaqulusi, Nquthu, Mtubatuba, Mooi-Mpofana and uMzinyathi have been under administration three times.
Okuyinkinga okubuzakalayo ukuthi kahle kahle le mikhandlu iyayazi yini into eyenzayo noma ayiyazi.
There exist no tangible programmes of action in place to change the conditions of our people, instead what is offered in local government is opportunities for looting and mismanagement of public funds. So much so, that the large amounts which are stolen from public revenues paints a gloomy picture for the country’s long-term economic development. [Interjections.] Chairperson, can I be protected?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes. Order, members! Please proceed, hon member.
Ms S A LUTHULI: Lack of oversight and accountability hampers the manner in which services are provided to our people and is
a direct attack on our communities. For it is at local level of government where service delivery needs to ‘be seen’ by the people, as it is the poor who make use of state resources the most. In everyday lived experiences, it is our poor people who make use of basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity, use public transport to get to work, use local roads, to send their children to public schools, use community clinics to access treatment, access waste management, town planning and cemetery management.
Chairperson, the liberation movement has on several occasions, demonstrated its lack of capacity in leading South Africa to economic development. It is therefore imperative that officials are held accountable for any abuse of power, so as to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency. I thank you very much, Chairperson.
Ms S SHAIKH: Greetings, hon House Chairperson, Deputy Minister, members of the executive, the president of South African Local Government Association, Salga, hon delegates of this august House. In the 2021 local government elections, the ANC renewed its mandate in the majority of municipalities. In this local government elections, we acknowledged challenges which were also attributed to the weaknesses in the political
leadership and insufficient engagement with local communities, amongst others.
We should recognise that we gather and debate today, not as a product of ourselves, but a product of the people who exercised their democratic right to vote. The voter turnout is one other indicator that indicates that a disconnect between people and the political system is developing. Despite the challenges confronting local government, people went out in their numbers to affirm the ANC, as a leading movement to take South Africa to a higher developmental level.
The South African government architecture has three spheres of government, with the local government sphere entrenched in all communities and closest through the communities. The local government sphere is driven by the people as it plans, and the distribution of its budget is informed by the needs of communities. The integrated development plan is an engaged process which is anchored by communities in terms of public participation processes in each ward. The local government system is rooted and its responsiveness is also impacted by the functionality of its ward level representation through the councillor who has been voted by that particular community,
and established ward committees which strengthen governance and enables agility representation at a ward level.
This, hon members, is a fundamental base in which local government functions. Furthermore, local government is also anchored by the functionality of organs of people’s power at a local level. In addition to ward committees, there are other community policing forums and other community organisations which responds to the plight of the people in that community. The ANC-led government has through progressive policies and legislation, open up political spaces for public participation in local decision making process. And, it can be said that South Africa is amongst the most elaborate policy and regulatory framework for local government, and indeed public participation anywhere in the world.
However, the practice at local government level varies across municipalities. The critical question we should ask ourselves is whether we have optimised the involvement of communities in local government through its rooted design. Responses to this question will be different across local government spheres, and requires us to assess and evaluate whether our democracy has matured at a local government level. At the coalface of government and without the participation of communities in the
decision making level of municipalities, can result in a mismatch of results and needs, unaccountability municipal decisions and actions. And, our local municipalities acting with impunity leading to local government losing its essence.
Amongst the major challenges affecting local government, is a distribution of scarce resources which are highly contested by different sections of the community. The conflict of interest and contradictions from the diverge perspective can also become a hinders to progress if not harness to inclusive finality as observed in coalition dynamics. Some amongst the community can lose confidence in the system which has to factor to the needs of all sections of society in rural and urban areas across various social stouter and different class positions.
Amongst the challenges raised in the 2022 NCOP Local Government Week, is a level of criminality which has creeped into the local government system causing terror and coercing political leaders and government officials to take decisions, to fulfil narrow businesses which are driven by distorting funds rather than to provide services to the people and to build sustainable business enterprises. Beyond these criminal elements, if local government is not rooted amongst the
communities, is not continuous and dynamic content with communities and ignore calls of communities. We need to ask the second question of who informs planning and resource distribution, and whose interest will such political leadership and administration serve if not driven by the people.
A general narrow business interest which are convoluted with criminality set in local government, when we did not send the communities into decision making and there is a lack of transparency. The proliferation of some business forums which have camouflaged criminal syndicates are finding its expression because of the gap created between the municipalities and communities. Matters of the local political economy manifest at the municipal level which has a significant impact in project implementations and the standing of municipalities.
Our local municipality should prioritise equitable distribution of resources and business opportunities to our communities to support the local economy and the township to build the economy. However, various reports have demonstrated a tendency of a few companies receiving most capital major projects which has narrowed the supply side of the provision
of services to a few. We urge municipalities and Salga to work with the law enforcement agencies in order to tackle these criminal elements which - if not attended to – will become a future of our local government system, casing it in a blink of collapse as these criminal interests do not have the interest of the people at heart.
Over the years, the relationship between local government and people have not reached the envisaged level as this is reflected in the level of participation in the local government elections, despite being contested by leaders at a community level. Accountability is a critical principle of any government system and it manifests in different period through different processes. The ANC has introduced compulsory monthly meetings by ward councillors as a standard practice for councillors to report back to the people on progress of implementation of programmes proposed by the communities and to account on the provision of services and other obligations.
The people are the first line of defence of our democracy and local government institutions exists to serve them, and not the other way around. Communities are the recipients of government services and they interface with municipalities at a relatively frequent level. This places communities as a
critical failure in holding municipalities and its leadership and officials accountable to the public. When we empower our people through civic education and continue sharing of information and participation in decision making processes, communities will take ownership for the success of projects that’s enhancing accountability.
We need to centre the people as motor force of social agency for an accountable local government, and to enforce oversight through listening to communities by oversight structures.
Another challenge affecting the local government sphere is the financial sustainability of several municipalities, with some municipalities being considered unviable. This is a significant systematic matter which is a result of assumptions in the White Paper that all municipalities will be financially viable, through the collection of rates. This is true in some context, but not in many rural and old town contexts with a low population.
The amount of receivables and debts owed to municipalities is a critical component of enhancing the financial sustainability of local government. The user-pays principle is an important principle within a context of the financial model of local government. When communities are served with excellence,
residents will not have a high due fault rate on payments of rates. When all municipalities strengthen their interaction and harness the relationship and confidence of residents within municipality, payments of services will improve with time.
We need to work with our people to address the problems of illegal electricity connections and illegal connection to water, which have a negative impact on the revenue generating capacity of the municipality. Illegal electricity connections have resulted in theft and vandalism of municipal properties by syndicates that loot cables for the scrap industry, know community members who are involved in illegal connections and cable theft. We must transform our interaction with communities through developing digital applications which can assist municipalities to receive notifications from communities through an anonymous system, if we are to pen down the criminality which has the capacity to collapse the effectiveness of the local government system. We must create a conducive environment for the protection of ... [Inaudible.]
... in our municipalities to prevent victimisation.
Hon Chair, ... [Inaudible.] ... 21 years ... [Inaudible.] ... be the establishment of local government. We have learned a
lot of lessons. A local government has also played a significant role in the social transformation of our society. It is local government that has expanded access to water, electricity and built infrastructure in rural areas and households. We have built houses for the vulnerable, and we have provided indigent support for the most vulnerable in our society, so that they are able to sustain their livelihoods.
We call on all municipal councillors to place the communities they serve at the centre of their deliberations and plans. We need to mobilise civil society, community organisations and business to contribute to addressing the challenges facing our municipalities as they are a critical player in the ecosystem and their agency can serve as a catalyst to improve governance. I thank you very much, Chair.
Mr S ZIKALALA (KwaZulu-Natal): Thank you, hon Chair and greetings to you; the Chairperson of the NCOP; the Deputy Chairperson; the Chief Whip of the NCOP; various members of the executive council, MECs, from provinces; the Deputy Minister, Bapela; and all hon members of the NCOP. There can be no doubt that it is in local government where the demand of the Freedom Charter ... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): ... hon member, hon member, there is a point of order. Yes, hon member.
Mr T J BRAUTESETH: Thank you, House Chairperson. Is it not the standard protocol in this House that we show ourselves on camera especially in the sitting like this? We cannot see the MEC and we love him so much in KwaZulu-Natal. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Hon member, can you, please ...
Mr S ZIKALALA (KwaZulu-Natal): ... I am not sure if I am not visible enough.
Mr T J BRAUTESETH: ... [Inaudible.] ... small, small.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): ... [Inaudible.] ... hon member.
Mr S ZIKALALA (KwaZulu-Natal): Hon Chair, I have opened the camera and everything. Can I proceed?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Yes, you can proceed. You can proceed, hon member.
Mr S ZIKALALA (KwaZulu-Natal): Thank you. There can be no doubts that it is in the local government where the demand of the Freedom Charter that the people shall govern find its overwhelming resonance. There is no doubt that through effective and ethical democratic local government people are able to take decisions that directly empower and improve their living conditions. Only through a capable, developmental and participatory local government can reconstruct our country and deliver the promise of a better life for all.
While there have been significant challenges that had faced the local governments in the recent period, let us also remember the journey that we have travelled together to create the local government that contributed to the vision of a truly united, nonracial nonsexist, equal and prosperous society.
The learners of history will tell us that it was in 1922 that the exclusively white Smuts instituted the standard commission which resulted in the Native Urban Areas Act of 1923. Among others that commission said, as I quote:
The native should only be allowed to enter the urban areas which are essentially the white man’s creation, when he is willing to enter and minister to the needs of the white man and should depart therefrom when he ceases so to minister.
The recommendation of this commission planted the seeds of impoverished settlements far from any economic activities. It further exacerbated poverty in rural areas. It explains why 40% of households didn’t have water and electricity. It explains the huge backlog in terms of service delivery.
Nevertheless, shortly after the advent of democratic local government the proportion of households connected to electricity has increased in KwaZulu-Natal moving from 48% now it is at 81,8%.
The ... [Inaudible.] ... of South Africa was premised from the destruction of the indigenous form of governance and undermining of the institutions of traditional leaders. The rural areas became the dumping ground for surplus labour while local authorities became instruments of control and refresh.
Hon members, today traditional leaders are respected and they serve and participate fully in the local government
municipalities. This is the democracy that this ANC-led government has brought.
Those municipalities that were capacitated were mostly in urban areas. While we concur today with the call that we must fund, we must ensure that we improve the funding in rural municipalities. However, it cannot be compared to the pre-1994 conditions where communities in rural areas were totally neglected. We are piloting the implementation of the District Development Model. In this context we seek to ensure that the municipalities in towns and in villages are together working with one purpose to ensure the creation of jobs, enable livelihood and successful human settlement.
Through the effective planning and innovation, the municipalities have the capacity to unlock capabilities of our communities especially when it comes to economic opportunities. They need to forge partnerships with business, organised labour and civil society to mobilise resources and to remove barriers that neglect the people in the townships.
It is ... [Inaudible.] ... understanding that in the KwaZulu- Natal government we are piloting the townships and in this week, the Mayor of eThekwini, his worship, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda hosted the second township rural investment imbizo at
the heart of Inanda Township to unlock enterprise development. The first one was held in uMlazi. Both of these townships are
... [Inaudible.] ... [Muted.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Hon members ...
Mr T J BRAUTESETH: Hon House Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, fellow South Africans, good day. The theme of today’s debate is Advancing Our Collective Effort ... [Interjections.] ...
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP (Mr S J Mohai): My extreme apology to you, hon Brauteseth, I just wanted to rise, House Chair, that we should establish a principle in an event a member was having six minutes remaining and this technical glitch that occurs, we should be considerate that the country is going through a difficult situation. It could not be because of a member but could be because of issues of connectivity. I am just saying the Table should advise in an event that the bulk of the statement of the member may not have been captured. It
will reflect badly on the House. Well, I am not addressing those that are forever absent from the House, I am relating to those that are contributing. Thanks.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Yes. Thank you, Chief Whip. I hope the Table also can correct the time of hon ... because he has not yet started and he has got eight minutes. Can you ... [Inaudible.] ... my watch, please. Okay, hon member, you can start.
Mr T J BRAUTESETH: I will continue from where I was, House Chair. ... to Enhance Oversight and Accountability in the Local Sphere of Government. There was also an emphasis on co- operation between the different spheres of government. Whilst many colleagues present today chose to spend time working on theoretical solutions, I, with the authorisation of my caucus, chose to evaluate this debate’s theme on the ground.
As I hail from eThekwini, it was obvious that I would focus on the sewage literally hitting the fan after 5 months of hapless planning and mismanagement on the part of the ANC-led municipality. You may call it a case study if you will. A case study on bad planning. The bottom line is that when you consider the relationship between different spheres of
government, you have to plan, plan, plan. As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
When you plan, you consider the scenarios, many of which have not even happened but might happen. Then you pull in all the stakeholders involved. All government departments, all professionals, all role-players, all civil society organs, all NGOs. You pull in the resource people and plan to minute detail the resources available. And then you obsessively plan out every last detail involved. Every last detail. And you make no assumptions, none whatsoever. From this process, you develop a standard operating procedure which can be activated immediately and put into implementation.
Over the past months and the past few days, I have spent time assessing damage to infrastructure in Umbilo, Tongaat, Amanzimtoti, Ugu, Umdloti and Umhlanga. Frankly, there is evidence of uncontained sewage everywhere. What is painfully evident is that there was a complete lack of planning. And that lack of planning has also had serious effects on local residents who have to live with this neglect. We have met with many residents who despair at the lack of progress.
Residents in Padfield Park and Manors not only had to deal with the devastating loss of life and property, but they also had to deal with the constant presence of raw sewerage flowing through their properties, their roads, and their streams for the past five months. These residents include the elderly and those with disabilities who are particularly vulnerable to unsafe environments. These residents are now considering rates boycotts and suing the city for its failure to provide them with what they are paid to do. And who can blame them? The patience of paying customers is growing thin and an explosion is on the way. The city has for far too long given the likes of the Ingonyama Trust a free rates ride despite a court order to the contrary, and there is simply not enough funding to make the city work. The reality is that for the past two decades, the administration has focused on other priorities and has allowed water and sanitation to crumble. There has been insufficient maintenance and repair on the system, the river courses were neglected filling up with debris. This was admitted by Deputy Minister Mahlobo when he briefed the ad hoc committee on the floods in July this year. There was no planning.
The state of infrastructure was primed for a disaster. And if you don’t plan for a disaster, your plan will be a disaster.
On the disaster itself, the municipality failed to plan how it would circulate the SA Weather Service warnings, especially when they are escalated to Level 9. The resultant damage was catastrophic. The sheer power of nature is understandable.
What is unforgivable has been the response of the municipality and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal. And it is not as if they were not offered any help. The Department of Water and Sanitation officials that we engaged with advised that they immediately acted to provide water tanker services. They also sent 20 engineers, in all engineering disciplines to the province to assess the damages and came up with a figure close to
R2 billion for the repairs in the province. At the same time, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa, Imesa, duplicated the effort and came up with a completely different figure. The question must be asked, why were these two departments not co-ordinated? Planning and implementation would have eliminated that. Today, as we speak, there is around R600 million required to attend to the damage. And here, once again, we have a breakdown between the spheres.
Treasury insists that there has been insufficient application and that applications were deficient. The eThekwini mayor
insists that applications have been made and that R185 million is forthcoming, but of course, has not materialised. Resource planning would have resolved this. My colleague, Heinz de Boer, advised the municipality over 10 years ago to put aside R50 million per year as a contingent fund. They would be able to handle this sort of situation. That good advice was ignored.
Likewise, a lack of planning has led to the insurance situation. Most water and sanitation infrastructure above ground is insured. But the information at hand is that the claims have not even been assessed at this point, let alone processed for payment. No planning. Planning also assists in finalising procurement procedures that are quick and efficient. Right now the process is laborious and long. We have lost our ability to act quickly, to respond to a disaster, while some see the pain of fellow South Africans, others see the opportunity to make ill-gotten gains out of their misery. As a result, the real-time audits done by the Auditor-General during the crisis, whilst good in the corrupt environment created by the ANC, it has also slowed down the process of distributing water tankers.
The lack of prior planning has also led to the Department of Water and Sanitation issuing directives against the municipality for failing to comply with the Water Act. And if you think all of this is fanciful thinking, if you think that I am standing here talking about blue sky and planning, I can assure members that less than 20kms from this very House is the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre. There you will find a full facility with a number ... and numerous officials who are professionals in their own right who spend every single day assessing, planning and mitigating risk.
When you go to their facility you will see a room half the size of this perhaps but every single wall is covered with television screens. So you can see every single thing happening in the province. That is how you plan. They make real responses and real recovery a reality. You see members, the DA believes that when you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. And that’s why we get it right. That same disaster management centre helps out the National Disaster Management Centre. They learn from each other. The ANC government must either learn from us or get out of the way and let us do things properly. It’s their choice. If they don’t wake up, 2024 is coming, we are prepared.
Cllr B STOFILE (SALGA: President): Chair of the NCOP, House Chairpersons, Select Committee Chairs, members of the NCOP, leadership, accept our greetings.
Allow me to start on behalf of the collective leadership of Salga and thank the National Council of Provinces for once more creating an opportunity and a dedicated reflection on the most critical sphere of government.
As with all previously convened Local Government Weeks, at the beginning of 2022 edition of the NCOP Local Government Week, we had hoped that the debates, deliberations and engagements will provide an opportunity to propose lasting practical and sustainable solutions.
We further trusted that the Local Government Week will provide an opportunity to mobilise all the three spheres of government to plan together, implement jointly and monitor the interest of advancing our collective efforts to enhance oversight and accountability in the local sphere of government as per the theme of the last two days’ gathering.
As we now reflect on the past few days, as we attempt to answer many questions, provide clarity and make valuable contributions, let me use the opportunity to remind us as I recently did to all mayors across the country and executive mayors in the country that the profound words of the former President of the outrank country Burkina Faso said:
Our revolution is not a public speaking tournament. Our revolution is not a battle of fine phrase. Our revolution is not simple for spouting slogans that are no more than signs used by manipulators trying to use them as catch words, as code words, as the foil for their own display. Our revolution is and should continue to be the collective efforts of revolutionaries to transform the reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of our country.
We are under no illusion that local government faces many challenges including issues ranging from ongoing urbanisation and migration. The need to grow our economy and create jobs, extensive service delivery needs some high expectations amongst residents, the people who voted us into power.
As such we need to address the question of how best to transform reality through the principle of corporative governance by unlocking the potential of our municipalities and thereby unleash the potential and improve the concrete situation of the masses of our people.
Chair of the House, our sincere expectation as organised local government was that this Local Government Week will venture into providing credible solutions. We hold the respectful view that severe issues and a number of issues have been raised during the different panel debates must find its way into our collective response to the needs of our communities.
This Local Government Week took place at a time when we are witnessing realities of limited financial resources, at a time when we all acknowledge that government has a greater role to play in economic rejuvenation, job creation and service delivery and a time when we must all think creatively about solutions to confront this challenge as it will not help to blame each other.
Over the past days, we have had to answer some of these difficult questions as we are faced with a mammoth task to resolve and provide sustainable solutions on some of the most
difficult and stubborn challenges in the local government space. Some of these challenges are largely related to cause some systemic and structural difficulties particularly at intergovernmental relations level.
It is a known fact that whereas such focus over the last 20 years have been placed creating universal access to municipalities are under heavy financial constraints and public criticism. We have to take stock of whether our current financial models can withstand the emerging challenges and the ever increasing expectations and demands from communities.
The mobilisation of financial resources from outside the current budgets and financial instrument is therefore a key question that we need to deal with.
As Salga, we are concerned about the growing number of intimidation and killing of councillors and municipal officials and damage of municipal properties during service delivery protests across the country.
In the province where we are, a councillor was shot on Thursday as he was coming from a public meeting. This is a worrying development in the context that this occurrence is
country wide although with different intensities, its impact has the following negative implications:
It threatens the credibility of our democracy; it poses a danger where society in general might develop into tolerance which is harmful to our democracy; it erodes our constitutional imperatives in so far as does not reflect neither character of our society nor of the people of the republic; it negatively impacts the credibility of local government as a potential area of opportunity for qualified and competent public representatives and prospect employees.
Chair of the House, it is with this negative impact that as Salga we want to be part of the solution not complainant. We therefore propose the following necessary responses to these difficult challenges that we are facing to create a government that is functional.
There is an urgent need to ensure that committee are educated on the roles and responsibilities of different spheres of government through public awareness campaigns and road shows; launch a national campaign on social cohesion to deepen democracy and promote ownership of local democracy by communities under the banner of the NCOP because it is the
only House that enable us to have dialogues such as this one over the past two days; to create platform, to engage with traditional leaders and political parties on their involvement with communities and councillors because the problems that we experience are because of different political interests that exist in communities.
We must encourage SAPS, SA Police Service, and the NPA, National Prosecuting Authority, to ensure that reported cases are investigated and prosecuted. SAPS should similar apply a uniform and time sensitive approach to conduct risk assessment for councillors and municipal officials.
The NCOP should convene a special plenary debate on the attacks on councillors and officials if we want to create a conducive environment that is safe for service delivery.
As I conclude Chair, we welcome the summarised outcome as presented to the closing session yesterday at high level by the Chief Whip that a joint team will be established to take forward and drive a recommendation proposed during this term and under the Local Government Week and that is why we said, when we look into yesterday, when a dark cloud appears on the sky it is only temporary, the darkness will pass and the
sunshine will rise and that sunshine will only rise when we hold each other’s hands. Thank you very much.
Mr N M HADEBE: Thank you hon Chairperson. According to section
40 of the Constitution in the republic, government is constituted as national, provincial and local which are distinctive, interdependent and inter-related.
Section 41 highlight how all spheres of government must secure the well-being of the people of the republic and must provide effective transparent, accountable and coherent government for the republic as a whole.
Oversight and accountability within the local sphere of government requires the entire government. The Constitution enjoins us to work and talk to each other and not operate in silos and allowing hierarchies to barriers to providing the public with transparent and accountable government that we promised.
Issues that are raised repeatedly in oversight committees remain unresolved. This forms a large part of why disputes such as the Moloto Road corridor are turned into petitions by
communities as the government’s failure to implement its promises frustrates and challenges our people.
Local government is the most direct interface between our government and their citizens. The relationship between municipalities and their communities has unavoidable consequences on the quality of the lives of the people that they serve.
The local government anti-corruption strategy was published in 2015 however to date, municipalities have not had a capacity to implement the strategy. The strategies are accompanied by municipal integrity management framework which provides that municipalities should establish a council committee which exercise oversight over the municipalities integrity promotion and anti-corruption strategy.
In 2021, Salga in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance partnered with the Ethics Institute to develop a guide book on how to establish these integrity oversight committees.
The guide book encourages not to strike but build a Rolls- Royce Ethics Programmes but to adhere to the principles of the MINFS to cultivate the culture of ethics.
This need for a culture of ethics was a golden thread throughout the Local Government Week and speaks to what the Auditor General has referred to as the accountability ecosystem. The narrative of local government must change.
Oversight initiatives cannot remain a matter of compliance. Accountability must seize to simply be a story we are told.
The culture of oversight will grow when there is commitment to realistic implementation of existing laws and strategies.
After all, a law unenforced or a strategy unimplemented are like no laws or strategies at all. Thank you hon Chairperson.
Ms D G MAHLANGU: Hon House Chair, Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Minister, MECs present in the House and on virtual platform, special and permanent hon members, “lotshani” [hello]. My input will be focussing on the topic that has been allocated to me, that is, our orientation to strengthening local government. Also, it has been part of the discussions for the past two days in our engagements. The main goal of state transformation is the
building a developmental state that provides effective basic services and with capabilities to take forward a far-reaching agenda of national economic development, whilst at the same time placing people and their involvement at the centre of this process.
The building of a capable and developmental local government must be achieved through the strengthening of political institutions to deliver on their mandate, centring local government as an anchor in driving local economic development, a purchaser of goods and services and a provider of services. For this to happen effective integrated planning and delivery structures and systems are necessary and above all ensures that development is achieved by involving communities in developing their own solutions together with local government because everything happens at ward-based or local government level.
A practical approach to building a capable developmental local government is the capacity to provide strategic vision, strategic drive, build partnerships outside of the state to reinforce the capacity and capability of the state, implement, monitor and evaluate economic and social transformation strategies together. The capability of local government is
vital to local economic development and social recovery, and specific emphasis needs to be placed on strengthening local government. That the centrality of local government must be geared towards economic development and improving the lives of South Africans – the ones that have voted us to lead. The indicators of capabilities of local government are the ability to execute project management systems and the capabilities that go with this, ability to prioritise and ensure not being committed to overly complex projects, executing deliberate building of expertise by mentoring new and young professionals and ability to draw on all sectors and stakeholders.
For local government returning to the roots of participatory democracy building partnerships with the people and civil society and entrenching a culture and approach of a shift towards being developmental, responsive, accountable, move away from a simple and malicious compliance culture and review inhibitors to such culture.
The state of technical capacity in local government remains a challenge, notwithstanding that a lot of resources including specific local government conditional grants and programmes had been used on capacity development initiatives since the inception without yielding an impact in terms of providing the
capacity and skills that were wanted and needed. There has been a lack of prioritisation in technical capacity building as local government priorities were not the same priorities espoused by national or provincial government. The hon Chief Whip has spoken has spoken to this earlier. There has been limited performance monitoring and evaluation with poorly defined roles and responsibilities in local government.
Whilst the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent, Misa, is there to help address some of the technical service delivery bottlenecks, but it has a limited capacity as well. The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, should continue to co-ordinate programmes of capacity building with partners such as tertiary institutions and the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority, LGSeta. Political interference on administrative decisions should be eliminated. Municipalities also need to ensure that the work place skills plans are submitted on time and not towards the end of the financial year because we would see that as fiscal dumping.
The SA Local Government Association, Salga’s, Centre for Leadership and Governance should be used effectively. This
should be centred on the promotion of developmental agenda and it should be more about thought leadership.
Professionalising local government or any other sphere of government requires a nonpartisan approach. I am taking cure from the Chief Whip. For this to be realised, local government must be insulated from the politics or political parties. The bureaucracy must continue to loyally and diligently implement the political mandate set by voters and the party, but to refrain from being political actors themselves. To achieve this with distinction would require a few decisive reforms, including extending the tenure of municipal managers and ensure the implementation of occupation specific competency assessments, and not just the generic competency assessments currently in use. Globally, local governments are seized with the issues of professionalism and the professionalisation of their employees and operations. Therefore, South Africa is no exception with various initiatives undertaken to ensure that local government is pertinent for democracy and the envisaged developmental state.
Chapter 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that one of the basic values and principles governing public administration requires that a high standard of
professional ethics must be promoted and be maintained. These values and principles are applicable to administration in every sphere of government and organs of state. Here we are talking about like the state-owned enterprises, SEOs, and other organs as we all know. However, it is important to draw distinction between being professional and professionalism - which are the practices, conduct, values and behaviour regardless of training, qualifications and levels of responsibility. The concept of professionalisation is about changing individual attitudes, behaviour and performance towards serving the public. It is a values aspect which is about observing and serving people with empathy in accordance with the Constitution, the Batho Pele principles and the Public Service Charter.
Importantly, this also requires the professionalisation of certain categories of occupations in the Public Service over and above what is already recognised through statutory professional bodies. For instance, accountants are registered with the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, Saica, which holds them accountable whenever they are found to be misbehaving or any misconduct. In the same way that health workers are recognised as a sector and belong to professional bodies which regulates their trade. Therefore, the state needs
to expand this to cover other Public Service occupations. In furtherance of this initiative, pre-entry exams and compulsory integrity tests must be introduced across levels and sectors of local government.
Outsourcing involves handing over direct control over a municipal function or process to a third party. As such, it comes with certain risks. For instance, when outsourcing, the municipality may experience the following challenges. Service delivery may fall behind time or below expectation due to profit being the main objective for the third party company. Confidentiality and security, some of the confidential information may be exposed. There could be lack of flexibility, management difficulties, instability, and most importantly, the municipal institutional memory may be lost when there is no continuity of contractual obligation.
Therefore, local government should always ensure that it spend time to examine the pros and cons of outsourcing carefully to make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks before choosing a strategy.
Firstly, we need to ask ourselves, what sort of problems is the district development model trying to address in local
government? The lack of coherence both at the level of planning, budgeting and implementation across government; poor intersphere collaboration, which leads to weak sector department involvement during the municipal integrated development plans, IDPs; deficient strategic focus of plans; and intergovernmental relation mechanisms not being utilised optimally. There is currently no joint planning and need to shift from fragmented plans across government to one single plan for all three spheres of government.
As I conclude, building a professional and meritocratic local government through reskilling, ensuring minimum entry requirements, establishing an organisational culture and providing ethical leadership is critical. There must be structured succession plans which ensure that skills and capacity transfer takes place before the end of a contract to avoid individuals being contracted at a later stage to the state. [Time expired.] Investment in institutional memory must be undertaken and technical and specialised professional skills developed. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.
Mr M A P DE BRUYN: Hon House Chair, the topic of advancing our collective effort to enhance oversight and accountability in the local sphere of government is relevant, but it is also of
concern, because local government, under the leadership of the ANC has failed in its mandate to deliver basic services to communities. Numerous presenters focus on the following sections of the Constitution, namely section 151, the status of the municipalities; 152, objects of local government; 153, the developmental duties of municipalities; and 154, municipalities and co-operative government.
There is such a large number of municipalities that are unable to generate income because of the high economic circumstances and an ever-growing indigent ...[Inaudible.] not to mention the ever-present ANC capturing of municipalities. This is where section 154 plays a role. Section 154 states that both national and provincial government, by legislation and other measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs.
It has happened before and it will happen more frequently in the future - implementing section 139, where administrators are deployed, with a focus on deployed without success. With section 139 interventions, millions of rands were spent and plundered, even more than when the municipalities... [Inaudible.]
Regarding section 154, if the root cause of the problem is not addressed and dealt with, the state of municipalities will not improve.
Tydens die afgelope paar dae het premiers, LURe, burgemeesters en Speakers voorleggings oor hierdie onderwerp gedoen, maar baie van hulle is dieselfde persone wat in die bek geruk moet word, aangesien hulle nie toesien dat hul partygenote aangekla, vervolg en verwyder word nie. Ons moet nie vir onsself lieg nie; wetgewing bestaan wat vervolging aanmoedig. Wetgewing en regulasies wat goeie en korrekte en finansiële munisipalebestuur regulering voorskryf bestaan, maar dit word nie toegepas nie.
Minister Dlamini-Zuma expressed the development mandate for the developmental mandate of the local government as per section 152, the promotion of social and economic development in municipal areas, but government overregulates the economic, business and labour sector.
This government with its race-regulating legislation is successful in transforming so many self-sufficient
municipalities into dependent and dilapidated organs of state. Seventy-six percent of municipalities need urgent attention.
Thirty-four percent of them have budget ... [Inaudible.]
Dan was daar nog die arrogansie van ’n raadslid wat hierdie week van hierdie platform gebruik gemaak het, om te skimp vir hoër inkomste en bonuses, en vir hom wil ek sê, skaam jou!
MPs, Members of the Provincial Legislature, MPLs and councillors are public servants. Government and municipalities are not cash cows that can be milked to the end of days. The FF Plus is on record stating that power must be delegated and not centralised. There must be more, smaller municipalities, to ensure better governance and effective service delivery.
The hon Dodovo suggested that another oversight model must be adopted, then implemented over local government. This is absurd. If the people in positions in all three spheres of government fulfil their mandate, no more oversight models or structures will be needed.
Taking a look at the capacity issue, staffing and employment, cadre deployment remains a persistent problem in local
government and has run for years like weed through all sectors. Cadres are not only deployed in political positions, but also in senior and other administrative positions, roles for which they have mostly little to no qualifications or experience.
Administrative positions should be filled on merit, not on account of gender, race or age. Knowledge and experience should be the basis for filling these positions. Recruitment processes should start before positions become vacant. Acting employees, for example the acting municipal managers and CFOs, do not lend itself to consequence management.
Ons is op die punt in plaaslike regering waar, deur niks te doen nie, en totale mislukking, gaan lei tot ’n totale munisipale ineenstorting.
We are on the brink of a point of no return and our national and provincial leaders are responsible. Our leaders need to find the courage to do something locally and to do what is right. Thank you.
Mr B VASS (Northern Cape): Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy Chairperson, the leadership of the NCOP, the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, the President of Salga, the leadership of Salga, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, and those on the virtual platform, let me take this opportunity to thank you for taking part in this debate today, it is a well-known fact to note that Parliament’s strategic vision is to build an effective peoples Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people, and that is driven by the idea of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa and its mission is to represent and act as a voice of the people in fulfilling Parliament’s constitutional functions of passing laws and overseeing executive action.
In the South African context, oversight is a constitutionally mandated function of legislative organs of state, to scrutinise and oversee executive action and any organ of the state. The executive authority plays an oversight role in local municipalities and implements administrative systems and processes of decision-making regarding the overall functioning of municipalities, and it also facilitates the decision-making process.
Having listened to all the discussions these past few days, it says to me that, as a collective, we have a pretty good idea of what must happen between national, provincial and local government, but we are hindered by the understanding of role- playing within these different spheres of government.
It is also important to note that the provincial government is not the decision-maker in municipalities; its primary role is oversight and guiding municipalities parallel to Salga, and intervention, as directed by section 139, being the last option, where conditions do not improve. Municipalities need to understand that they are in charge of delivering services to the people with the support of the national and provincial governments.
As a provincial government, we cannot take over the role of the municipality, but ours is to fully support, and make sure that municipalities do not end up drowning.
Provincial government support is based on continuous hands-on support through the established system and capacity-building programmes, evaluating the impact of government programmes in municipal areas, enhancing performance and accountability by
improving the quality of reporting, and co-ordinating and supporting policy development.
In simple terms, whatever local government does, it is interdependent on both national and provincial government. However, under no circumstances can national or provincial government delay or obstruct the work of the municipality.
No leg can operate on its own, thus, national, provincial, and local spheres will always be interrelated and interdependent, as alluded to by many speakers over the past days.
For service delivery to be efficient and effective, each sphere needs to play their role, so that delivery flows to the people without unnecessary delays. We need not prioritise our political differences when rendering services to our people.
As soon as we have understood these different roles, we can then look into how we strengthen the oversight and accountability in the local government sphere.
When we speak of oversight, we are simply referring to supervision. That is our responsibility. The first step to strengthening oversight is getting rightfully skilled and qualified management to run municipalities, then keeping
communication between the municipality and the department and the communities open.
We have municipalities that are appointing people that neither have the skill nor qualifications in senior management positions. This unnecessarily holds back the improvement of municipalities as well as service delivery.
We need departmental officials who are critical thinkers and who are willing and able to guide and or steer a municipality in the correct direction, when they are losing sight. We cannot have municipal officials ignoring guidance from department officials, only for them to run into trouble without any consequence measures taking place.
In the same vain, we also need councillors who know what their roles are. There is a difference between intervention and interference. Councillors, as political principals, must avoid the latter.
The executive needs to make sure that there are consequent measures put in place, so that municipal officials are aware that they cannot be negligent in their work. Some mistakes that could have been avoided always end up costing both the
municipality and department legal costs, that neither of the two can afford.
Embracing change and developing strong relations between the department and the municipality is also another way we could use to strengthen oversight. Not all change is bad. Once we have developed strategies on how to work on the change and how to make it part of the organisation, it could be a saving grace to a bad-looking situation.
Building strong relations would mean that communication and commitment must be a priority to all parties involved.
Supervising is most definitely not taking over, but rather a guide to avoiding messing up.
Accountability is often a drag to most, but it is what keeps the ship afloat. Accounting is more about keeping record of what is happening in the institution. Lack of accountability can easily make communities turn against an institution as well as lose respect for its leaders. Thus, we need to account at all times and remain transparent to those we must account to. In this case, it would be our communities and the executive.
Accountability also makes the oversight role much easier, because there will be intervention, as advised by the accountability report and it will outline the strengths and weaknesses of a municipality.
As I conclude, a common understanding between institutions is also one way of strengthening how accountability and oversight unfold. The MEC for Co-operative Governance remains responsible for both these roles in local government. However, it is important that we note that he does not run the daily operations of municipalities. Strengthening oversight and accountability will definitely bring a big change to service delivery.
Colleagues, what I have said today is definitely nothing new to our ears. I have merely echoed what has been said the past three days. The implementation of what we discuss remains the solution to a better government that cares for its people and that strives to bring change to its people. We can confidently say, as the Northern Cape, that this government has changed the lives of our people, although we also say that we need to do more to change lives of our people.
All of us raised this issue that our municipalities are sitting with the challenge of revenue. We need to do something. That is why we are saying, those who have the means to pay, should pay. If not, the municipalities should start with immediate effect to suspend services, if there is no arrangement.
We are also saying that local government is everybody’s business. Let us take responsibility and build our municipalities. I thank you.
Mr D R RYDER: Local Government Week 2022 has come and gone. If you blinked, you might have missed it because it was not so much as Local Government Week as Local Government 48 hours.
Perhaps this is a reflection of whether this House takes Local Government seriously. It was a lavish affair, attended by about of 250 representatives from all three spheres of government. It had little to do with oversight, with no oversight visit plans, no case studies, no best practice examples shared by any of the top performing municipalities.
But it had a lot to do with a top down talk shop.
So, I asked myself what the purpose of Local Government Week? What did we hope to get out of it? Hm! Considering the
substantial expense to the taxpayers of South Africa, I would have hoped that there would be a clear plan, with impactful outcomes and concrete decisions that will make a real difference in the lives of our people.
So I did a little research on past Local Government weeks. That of 2020 was a virtual talk-shop, taking place under Level
2 of this government’s lockdown. The theme was “Working together to build a coherent oversight plan for capable and financially sound municipalities.” How is that going. So, I worked through the report of the week and yes, it stretched over four days and found many observations and also, importantly, recommendations too.
An analysis of the recommendations shows that there has been little effort to follow through on any of them. The recommendations have not informed the work of our select committees since they were adopted. There has been no obvious work on turning these recommendations into reality.
I went back little bit further and looked at the report of the 2018 Local Government Week. Also a four-day affair, but held in person. Again, a raft of recommendations that appear to have died as the House was adjourned on the day that the
debate closed. I stretched back to the 2013 Local Government week. And of course, the same applies.
Considering the inputs of this week’s discussions, some of which were very interesting and some even important. Our Minister of disasters got a round of applause on Tuesday with her pronouncement that the funding model for local government needs to change and the division of revenue and equitable share formula must be reviewed. The Minister, and those who clapped, should go back to the previous reports and they will see the same comments made in 2013, in 2018 and again in 2020. But what has changed? Dololo! And why are these issues not being raised at the Budget Forum where local government is supposed to have a voice?
The issue of legacy debt to Eskom and the water boards is another theme that goes back across all of the previous engagements. Hon members, raise your hands now if your select committee is currently dealing with anything that plans to address this issue. Dololo!
But the biggest issue that I would like to flag House Chairperson, is the number of municipalities that are currently failed or failing and the fact that section 139 is
not helping anyone as we repeatedly heard over the past 2 days.
Let us look into the resolution relating to this fact: The one from 2018 reads as follows and I quote:
There is a need to expedite the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Interventions Bill, as a matter of urgency to bring about uniformity with regard to norms and standards, and the exercise of discretion by provinces in respect of section 139 of the Constitution.
The resolution from 2020 on this topic reads and I quote:
That Department of Co-operative Governance, provincial Departments Co-operative governance and National Treasury and provincial Treasuries should establish a clear consistent or standardised approach to place municipalities under section 139 and ensure that the process is not used as a political tool.
And here we sit, hon members. No legislation that section 139,8 demands. That we have demanded consistently over the years, since 2013 when this legislation was first announced.
We have politically motivated interventions in the North West, even Hon China mentioned them, the similar in the Northern Cape, Limpopo and others. We had a failed attempt at a political intervention in Tshwane which had to be overturned by the courts. And now we have the Emfuleni Municipality taken out of 139 for reasons of political expediency rather than reasons for the benefit of the residents. There has been no improvement. There has been no measurement. There have been clear cases of corruption posed under the nose of the administrator. But they are out of section 139. Until we have given section 139 and section 154 proper structure, interventions will have no impact.
Prof Steytler told us that he believes that local government is over-regulated. Speaker Boyce disagrees saying that more oversight powers need to be legislated. I agree with them both. Some aspects of local government are indeed over- regulated resulting in regulation fatigue. Other areas such as the oversight powers and most importantly the section 139,8 legislation need to be legislated. Until we follow through and drive the change that is needed to make Local Government work, instead of talking about it. Dololo! Thank you.
Mr T S C DODOVU: House Chairperson of the session, Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, hon Obed Bapela, hon Chief Whip of the NCOP, permanent and special delegates, representatives of SA Local Government Association, Salga, led by its President Councillor Stofile and your delegation, members of executive council, MECs, of Cogta, representatives from municipalities including mayors, executive mayors and speakers, ladies and gentlemen, from Tuesday, 13 September until today politicians, administrators and practitioners in the terrain of local government assembled under the theme “Advancing our collective effort to enhance oversight and accountability in the local sphere of government.”
Hon House Chair, allow me, therefore, to express the words of gratitude to that momentous occasion our local government week and express our collective fervent appreciation to its esteem participants who made invaluable contributions. As representatives from all three spheres of government and legislatures and other key players in the field of local government, during our local government week we, indeed, assembled as equal partners, propelled by a burning desire to make an invaluable contribution to the task of making local government work better. We were driven collectively by a
desire to ensure that our municipalities, indeed, manage their own affairs, exercise their powers and perform their functions in a manner that inspires and restores confidence of local communities and accomplish the developmental objectives of our country.
Our annual local government week became a real festival of ideas to chart a way forward on how to strengthen oversight and accountability for the future trajectory of local government in our country. Undoubtedly, hon Chair, during our local government week we shared ideas on how to make local government work better. From the beginning, we fully understood that our responsibilities are to the people and we must, in every step of the way, be accountable and responsive to their needs. The real measure of success of this strategic event is underscored on how contributors seriously prepared and structured their inputs, how participants share their real light experiences and perspectives, and how the interventions made were relevant to the theme of the local government week.
I, therefore, hon House Chair, say this without any fear of contradictions that as Members of Parliament, we have truly benefited from the contributions and proposals made at the local government week. We have now emerged motivated and
stronger than ever before to execute oversight and accountability functions meaningfully, especially how delegates wanted to deal with issues of corruption and mismanagement, among others. There are many lessons that we have learnt during our local government week. We have learnt that local government is one of the most complex project of state transformation since 1994, and that the task of transforming it has proven to be more complex, difficult and protracted than it was initially anticipated.
Through the interventions and programme that have been developed over the years, like project viability, project consolidate, the turnaround strategy, the strategic agenda on local government, Operations Clean Audit, Siyenza Manje, Back to Basics programme and now the District Development Model, our knowledge and understanding of the challenges in the sphere of local government have been sharpened. We can now confidently conclude that in this hour of destiny our country needs the District Development Model, DDM, to navigate local government through its invigorating journey to accelerate a service delivery, integrated planning and co-operative governance. The local government week has taught us never to seek easy solutions to complex governance, financial management, service delivery and infrastructure problems
facing our municipalities. We also learned that the task stone of patriotism in this regard is a total devotion to the resolution of our problems until victory secured.
Through the local government week, we know now better that the building of a capable and financially sustainable municipalities will lead to the building of a secure future of hope for the people of South Africa and for posterity. I want to challenge and confront the endless stream of deceptions and slanders that our municipalities have enjoyed this afternoon which are port in crude odious and repulsive language by almost members from the opposition benches, especially hon Visser of the DA and hon Luthuli of the EFF. It will be a remiss of massive ... [Inaudible.] ... if I don’t respond to the abuses and outrageous sentiments that have been expressed during the debate this afternoon, especially by hon De Bryn, hon Brauteseth of the DA and hon Ryder ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Sorry, hon Dodovu, hon members, you know very well that heckling is allowed, but you can’t drown the speaker at the podium. Therefore, let’s not drown him, let’s listen. Sorry, you are protected, hon Dodovu, you can continue.
Mr T S C DODOVU: And I really want to deal very comprehensively with these political misbehaviour on their part. Firstly, hon House Chair, the intention of this onslaught and attack is characteristically to deceive, mislead and confuse our people about the state of our municipalities and its failure by its leadership. In fact, they have turned Parliament to be a complain session. They are no longer Members of Parliament, but complainants to the crisis that we are facing. Instead of proposing pragmatic solutions to the challenges as many delegates to the local government week did, these hon members again this afternoon continue to poison and pollute the political atmosphere by projecting a negative image about everything happening at local government level.
Therefore, as I pointed out, hon House Chair, this is done unfortunately without bringing good solutions to the problem. We reiterate that the false picture they present about local government which they irresponsibly paints everyone who is ANC and progressive with the same brush serve the same purpose, as the despicable and provocatively scandalous lies, they continue to make about their so-called ... [Inaudible.] ...
Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality which has failed to provide services to the people of Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Philippi. The DA specifically, hon House Chair ...
[Inaudible.] ... genuine mouthpiece of our people. The DA pursues a blind cheap popularity that has nothing to do with the interest of the overwhelming majority of our people, but they perpetuate its racial policy of service and development
... the Cape Town is a case in point ... [Interjections.]
Mr M E NCHABELENG: I’m raising on a point of order, the members here cannot shout and say that the member is lying. It’s not parliamentary to say it unless that if you bring a substantial and something to show that they ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you, hon Nchabeleng. The point of order is sustained. Hon members, all of you had an opportunity to debate and we listened to you.
Let’s allow hon Dodovu to continue with the debate.
Mr T S C DODOVU: And they must not eat my minutes, hon House Chair, I want to deal with them and I will deal with them, don’t worry. As for the EFF, hon House Chair, today in this House, instead of engaging with the issues at hand, the EFF as usual choses to ponder into cheap populism and act as if it is pursuing a genuine progressive agenda, while we all know that the EFF is an opportunistic party founded on radically sound,
but impractical propositions and philosophy. Instead of dealing with issues at hand, hon House Chair, all these parties they always remind us of the fact that 2024 elections are coming. What ... [Inaudible.] ... these political parties have once show this afternoon, hon House Chair, is that they desperately need votes like predators at a smell of blood and
... [Inaudible.] ... to scavenge on what they think is the carcass of the ANC.
They will once more fail in their short-sighted approach to govern this country. We will resolve our own internal issues and we will move forward as the ANC. I, therefore, rise this afternoon to warn them not to carry in their heads a notion that we shall sit back in helpless surrender. As members of the ANC, we will continue to expose them for what they are and for what they represent in defence of our country, our people and the gains of our own ... [Interjections.] ... to sum it up as I’m saying that their attitude represents an undigested and the most pessimistic assessment of the collective wisdom of the delegates of the local government week. What has become clearer is that their agenda is driven by a psychosis which dictates a message of failure aimed at destroying all the good work and the resolutions of the local government week.
Despite the enormous accumulation of negative sentiments registered by these members this afternoon, hon House Chair, the local government week that we had was a resounding success. Its delegates were determined and resolute in their conviction to rise to the challenge of the hour by solving the problems afflicting our municipalities, and thus will ... [Interjections.]
Ms B T MATHEVULA: Thank you very much, House Chair. The member at the podium ...
... u fanele ku jekajekisana hi timhaka ta mfumo wa miganga, a hambana ni ku vulavula hi timhaka ta EFF. Vanhu va le Giyani va pfumala mati kutani va lava ku pfuniwa hi mati.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mathevula! Order, members! Order, members! Order! Order! That is not a point of order, and you know that you are out of order. You can’t repeat what you have done. Let’s allow and respect the speaker at the podium. We’ve done the same to you when you were at the podium, let’s do the same to him. Continue, hon Dodovu. Hon Smit!
Mr T S C DODOVU: I’m saying, hon House Chair, that the delegates to the local government week ... [Interjections.]
Mr C F B SMIT: Thank you, hon House Chair. If you can just remind the hon member maybe it has been long time that he was not in the House that when he is addressed he actually sits down while he’s being addressed.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order members! That’s a valid point of order, but now let’s allow him to continue.
Continue, hon Dodovu.
Mr T S C DODOVU: I’m burying them alive that is why they are behaving this way. I’m shocked, hon House Chair, that even hon Ryder this afternoon says that he doesn’t know the concrete proposals, plans and recommendations which emerged from the local government week. Therefore, I want to lecture him about that.
In essence, hon House Chair, some of the highlights of the local government week include the following: That we need to develop and adopt a parliamentary oversight model that will be used as a framework for local government oversight and accountability, especially in dealing with the issues of
corruption, mismanagement and section 139 interventions; that we must develop processes to make local government sustainable and achieve its developmental objectives as encapsulated in section 152 of the Constitution; that we must help to address the persistent challenges of adverse audit outcomes and material irregularities; that we must strengthen the application and implementation of section 139 interventions; that we must professionalise local government and recruit and retain skilled, qualified and experienced personnel; that we must expedite the production and the finalisation of the Bill on interventions and support; that we must reduce poor record management and documentation and resolve poor budgeting practices and effective financial management; that we must build a coherent response to financial irregularities, especially unauthorised fruitless and wasteful expenditures; that the provinces and the Minister of Cogta must produce and submit annually to Parliament and the provincial legislatures the reports covering the state of municipalities in terms of section 47 and 48 of the Municipal Systems Act respectively; that there’s a dire need to address the dichotomy of political administrative interface at municipal level; and lastly, that local government week also resolve that there’s a need to look at the separation of powers at municipal level in order to strengthen oversight and accountability as well as ensuring
that we revisit the section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act as it currently ends, and the totality thereof, hon House Chair, give us a view that we need to do everything in our power to follow up all the issues and to ensure that the implementation of the recommendations of the local government week. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Thank you. Order members! Thank you. Hon Mathevula! Hon Mathevula! Thank you. That concludes the debate. I wish to thank the Deputy Minister, MECs, Salga representatives and all permanent and special delegates for availing themselves for this very important debate. Hon delegates, the House is adjourned. Thank you very much.
The Council adjourned at 16:51.