ATC210225: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs During the House Sitting of 16 July 2020, adopted on 24 February 2021
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNMENT AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 16 JULY 2020, ADOPTED ON 24 FEBRUARY 2021
On 16 July 2020, the Honourable Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Minister) made the following executive undertaking during the Budget Vote Session of the National Council of Provinces (House):
“We are developing a Smart City Framework. All planning instruments are in place to reinforce citizen participation and change our current operating model.”
- REFERRAL PROCEDURE TO THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 03 August 2020, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings.
- COMMITTEE MEETING PROCEDURES
On 04 November 2020, the Deputy Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertaking under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting:
3.1 Hon Z V Ncitha, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.5 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon N E Nkosi, ANC, Mpumalanga;
3.7 Hon G Michalakis, DA, Free State;
3.8 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.9 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng; and
3.10 Hon Zandamela, EFF; Mpumalanga;
The following Committee officials were in attendance:
3.11 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.12 Adv. T Sterris-Jaffer; Committee Research;
3.13 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.14 Mr M Erasmus, Committee Assistant
The following representatives of the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.15 Hon P MFP Tau, Deputy Minister,
3.16 Mr S Kahle, Acting Director General; and
3.17 Mr T Matheza; Cabinet and Parliamentary Liaison Officer
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNMENT AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
The Deputy Minister and the Acting Director-General reported as follows:
The Committee was informed that to keep abreast with global and local innovations, a Smart Cities Framework (SCF) is required to guide the adoption and implementation of Smart City strategies by municipalities. It will address critical urban management issues such as sustainable development, citizen freedom and digital privacy, cyber security and city surveillance, data protection and governance, digital inclusion and entrepreneurship, and equality, amongst other matters.
The Department is developing the SCF in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Department foresees that the SCF would:
• Motivate municipalities to embrace appropriate Smart City initiatives;
• Ensure that a clear and consistent approach to Smart Cities is adopted;
• Provide a set of principles to guide decision-making and inform actions;
• Show how multiple factors interact to influence an outcome;
• Advise on quality assurance and risk management practices, where appropriate;
• Establish accountabilities and delegated authorities for individuals and groups; and
• Identify actions and interventions more likely to lead to the desired result.
In conclusion, the Department has committed to the following deliverables in the short term towards the finalization of the SCF:
• Develop a draft SCF by middle of November 2020;
• Undertake consultations until December 2020 (to include all relevant stakeholders);
• Revise the draft SCF during January 2021;
• Finalise the SCF before April 2021.
- OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
5.1 The Committee was concerned that things were moving very slow. Taking into account that the President had announced the idea of Smart Cities on 19 June 2019.
5.2 The Department submitted that the intention was beyond the pilot sites earmarked to ensure that there are Smart Cities in all of the provinces of the country.
5.3 In terms of digital infrastructure, Smart Cities would constitute part of the economic recovery plan. The relevant Departments responsible which have the capacity and skills to do so would have the resources allocated to them for purposes of implementation.
5.5 On the issues of budget, the Department indicated that at this stage it was looking at the framework and envisaging to finalise it before April 2021. The next phase would be implementation, where the issues of the budget and implementation would then be covered
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, the Committee, observes that although the report on Smart Cities, it currently in draft form at this stage and the Department was looking at to finalise it before April 2021.
The Committee therefore urges and recommends that further consultation is needed with other stakeholders responsible for digital and communication technology, particular the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to remedy the challenges, highlighted in the progress report.
The Committee further recommends that the Department appear before the Committee and provide a further progress report on the outcome of finalising the framework and timeframe for starting the implementation, after 6 (six) months tabling of this report in the House.
Report to be tabled for consideration.
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