ATC201105: Preliminary Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dated 4 November 2020
PRELIMINARY BUDGETARY REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, DATED 4 NOVEMBER 2020
Having considered the 2019/20 Quarterly performance information of the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent, the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs reports as follows:
- This year’s Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) process was unusual in that it came before the tabling of Annual Reports. The statutory date for the tabling of Annual Reports is September, in advance of the BRRR process in October. The delays arising from the declaration of the National State of Disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic required extension of the Annual Report tabling deadline to 16 November 2020.
- However, the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act (2009)still requires the Committee to process its Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report before the tabling of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBS), which is on schedule for 28 October 2020.
- Consequently, the recommendations presented in this Report result from deliberations on the Departments’ Quarterly performance information up to 31 March 2020. The deliberations took place on 21 October 2020 in respect of the Quarterly Performance Reports of the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG), Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).
- The Committee still plans to consider Annual Reports when they become available in November. This is therefore a preliminary Report. Should there be new matters arising from the Annual Reports, the Act allows the Committee discretion to prepare a supplementary BRR Report.
- OVERVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF FINANCIAL AND SERVICE DELIVERY PERFORMANCE 2019/20
- Department of Cooperative Governance
- The Department has indicated that it will report its cumulative service delivery
performance for the year under review in the 2019/20 Annual Report, which it will present
to the Committee after tabling in November 2020.
- As tabulated below, all the Programmes of the Department of Cooperative Governance(DCOG) have spent 100 percent of their allocated budget as at 31 March 2020. The exception is the Institutional Development Programme (Programme 3), which recorded under-expenditure amounting to R3.3bn in respect of the Local Government Equitable Share (LGES). The under-expenditure results from the withholding of the LGES from municipalities that have failed to comply with the conditions of the Division of Revenue Act (DORA).
- While Programmes 2 (the Regional and Urban Development and Legislative Support
Programme) and Programme 6 (Community Work Programme) spent approximately 100 percent of their allocated budgets, they did not achieve 100 percent of the targets set.As in the previous financial years, one of the areas of underperformance relates to the revision of the CWP model.
- Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent
- The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) obtained a clean audit for the second consecutive year. However, the Auditor-General (AG) did not audit the Infrastructure Delivery Management Support Programme due to reduction in audit scope in view of the COVID-19 restrictions. The AG’s management report to MISA has also raised some concerns, albeit these were minor internal control deficiencies. The Technical Support Services Programme also failed to achieve all the targets set, resulting in 83 percent achievement of MISA’s overall pre-determined objectives for the 2019/20 financial year.
- The table below further indicates that MISA underspent its total budget for the year under view by approximately R25m. Underspending in respect of compensation of employees accounts for approximately 60 percent of the under-expenditure.
- Department of Traditional Affairs
- Three of the four Programmes in the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) have achieved
100 percent of the annual targets set. The exception is the Institutional Support and Coordination Programme, which achieved 71 percent because the Traditional Leadership Land Summit, as well as the attendant implementation of a Programme of Action, did not take place as planned. This was due to the shifting of the target to the 2020/21 financial year.The result is an overall achievement rate of 94 percent as at 31 March 2020.
- The Department spent 95.5 percent or R160.7m of its R168.3m final appropriation for the year under review, resulting in under-expenditure amounting to R7.6m. As tabulated below, the compensation of employees accounts for 86 percent of the under-expenditure.
- COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
- The Committee registers its dissatisfaction with the poor level of support provided by the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs during its recent oversight engagements. This hampered the quality of the engagements because the National Chief Directors and Deputy Directors General dedicated as champions in the Province relied excessively on their Provincial counterparts and were not always available to respond directly to issues that concerned their areas of responsibility. The Committee notes the apologies tendered in this regard and anticipates better support in the future, as well as a more serious attitude towards the Committee’s oversight engagements.
Department of Traditional Affairs
- The Department’s capacity building initiatives in respect of the AbaThembu Royal Kingdom and Khoi-San communities do not seem yield the desired result, as serious problems continue to affect both the Kingdom and the Khoi-San communities.
- The Department has not provided comprehensive information on the architecture of Kingships in South Africa, as well as the current issues of concern affecting them. This limits the opportunity for Committee members to engage from a well-informed perspective.
- Within the sphere of traditional leadership, there is widespread unhappiness regarding the lack of clarity on the place and role of the institution of traditional leadership in the District Development Model (DDM). There is also a palpable misunderstanding of the DDM concept, which suggest inadequate consultative engagements on the part of the Department.
- The tools of trade to enable traditional leaders to participate effectively and meaningfully in the affairs of government remains a perennial issue. The digital divide between rural and urban areas exacerbates the matter. The Department’s turnaround time for developing norms and standards to address this matter seems to lack urgency.
- The implementation of the resolutions emanating from the 2017 Traditional Leadership Indaba remains unsatisfactory.
- Secretaries to traditional leaders are earning a pittance, far below the minimum living wage.
- There is an increasing number of traditional leadership disputes where Government is at the centre of the confusion, thus creating serious divisions and feuds within the affected communities. It is not acceptable for the Department to shift responsibility to the Provinces, as it has a duty to intervene where Provinces fail.
Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent
- There are serious human resources constraints at MISA, particularly at Provincial level. This personnel deficiency risks rendering MISA irrelevant.
- Some of the municipalities benefitting from the technical assistance of MISA are often in the news for unpalatable reasons. This occludes the positive stories of MISA’s interventions.
Department of Cooperative Governance
- Various rural communities across the country are facing a water crisis and the Department does not seem active enough in exercising oversight to ensure that municipalities account for the non-delivery of people’s constitutional right water.
- The Department’s reported achievements on anti-corruption activities are not consistent with the apparently rampant corruption on the ground, particularly at municipal level.
- The Department has no clear timelines on addressing the post-audit issues emanating from the 2018/19 financial year. There are no specifics on the individuals involved and consequences management in respect of these.
- The Community Work Programme (CWP) continues to be the Department’s major area of weakness. The Department’s reluctance to commit to a definite timeframe to present to the Committee the promised report on the revision and redesign of the CWP model is not acceptable.
- The Department’s footprint on monitoring functionality of Ward Committees is almost non-existent and the response to the question on this matter was far below standard, especially considering the amount of financial resources wasted on non-functional Ward Committees. The Department seem to rely excessive on desktop information rather than on actual work on the ground.
- It is not acceptable that some Programmes within the Department spent 100 percent of their budgets and yet achieved less than 100 percent of their pre-determined objectives. Consequently, there are unanswered questions regarding the status of the monies spent on the non-achieved objectives.
- The Department is not forthcoming as to how it will address the human resource capacity issues at MISA, as to enable the entity to fulfil its mandate optimally.
- COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
- All the Departments and entities reporting to the Committee must ensure consistent submission of Quarterly Performance information, irrespective of whether or not there is a pandemic. This is a legislative requirement.
- The Department of Traditional Affairs must consider arranging a session, within this quarter, to brief the Committee comprehensively on the key issues central to its mandate, as to enable the Committee to engage the Department from a well-informed perspective.
- The Department of Traditional Affairs must immediately furnish the Committee the report on the finalisation and implementation of the Programme of Action on the Resolutions of the 2017 Traditional Leaders Indaba, as well as the Engagement Model between Government and the Institution of Traditional Leadership.
- The Department of Traditional Affairs must immediately furnish the Committee the report on the resolutions emanating from the dialogue for women in traditional leadership reportedly held in Mpumalanga and the Gender-based violence workshop reportedly held in Limpopo.
- On 27 November 2020, the Department of Cooperative Governance must provide a full report to the Committee on the revised CWP model, including the implementation of the recommendations from the five forensic reports commissioned in respect of the CWP, their turnaround time and cost.
- Within this term, the Department of Cooperative Governance must furnish the Committee the Report on the assessment of Ward Committee functionality nationally, including the Department’s interventions in this regard.
- Within this quarter, the Department of Cooperative Governance must brief the Committee on all its local government interventions – from Project Consolidate up to the District Development Model – reflecting on lessons learned.
- Within this term, the Department of Cooperative Governance must provide a clear report on the role it has played in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution.
Report to be considered.
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