Final State of Local Government report: engagement with DCoG; Progress on tabling of the Monitoring, Support and Interventions Management Bill; with Deputy Minister

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

30 November 2022
Chairperson: Mr F Xasa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


In a virtual meeting, the Portfolio Committee was briefed by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) on the final State of Local Government (SOLG) report, and received an update on progress on the tabling of the Monitoring, Support and Interventions Management Bill.

The Committee was told there had been a special Cabinet meeting focusing on local government interventions to support ailing municipalities, which was convened on 2 August. This had been followed by a Cabinet Lekgotla, and a Local Government Summit in September. The Department believed that implementing resolutions from the above forums would strengthen support towards efforts to create the ideal municipalities. COGTA had adopted a new operating model consisting of provincial teams with nine chief directors to strengthen the capacity of provincial COGTA departments and provide section 154 support to municipalities.

The Committee raised concerns about the lack of capacity in the Department, which they believed was the root of all the problems faced. They asserted that the Minister had stood up in one of the previous meetings and said the Committee must not make a mistake and think that the Department was running the municipalities, because, according to the Constitution, municipalities were independent. However, the Committee was now getting this report which was painting a picture in which the Department did not even have a clear strategy for intervening. Even the District Development Model (DDM) did not seem to have yielded the desired results, as witnessed in eThekwini following the floods, where seven months down the line, not much had been done, although millions of rands had been available to rebuild the affected areas.

Members questioned the classification of certain municipalities as either stable, high risk, medium risk or low risk, and gave examples of some whose status was at variance with what the Department had presented at the meeting. For instance, the eMfuleni local municipality in Gauteng was listed as medium risk, but this was a municipality whose bank account had been attached by creditors in both years under assessment. Sanitation infrastructure was falling apart, polluting the Vaal River, and the municipality had been under s139 (1b) administration by the Gauteng provincial government since 2018 without any discernible improvement in its performance. Yet, it was listed in the same category as Johannesburg, Tshwane, and most other municipalities in Gauteng. It was therefore difficult to understand how this assessment was reached, because that municipality was at high risk.

The Committee was told that part of the purpose of the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Interventions (IMSI) Bill was to regulate the implementation of s100 and s139 of the Constitution, and to provide targeted support to provinces and municipalities in need of assistance. It also sought to provide for the monitoring of provinces and municipalities regarding the fulfilment of their executive obligations in terms of the Constitution or legislation, and to provide alternative steps to interventions to induce compliance with those obligations, and for the deployment of administrators by the intervening national executive or provincial executive.

Members of the Committee expressed the hope that the Bill, once implemented, would help resolve many of the burning issues that had led to a hot debate after the SOLG presentation. The Committee raised concerns about the delay in implementing the Bill, which the Auditor General had attributed to the Department's poor planning. Members felt that there was no sense of community involvement or consultation, which would have helped in raising issues from the people on how this Bill could help the communities to get better service delivery, because it needed to benefit the poor in deep rural areas and ensure what was due to them.

The Committee asked to be furnished with the latest version of the Bill that had been sent for public comments, because Members had no idea what it said. It felt that if the Bill had been there a long time ago, there would not be this situation where it was still not convinced that it had exhausted all the clauses in the Constitution that governed local government interventions. It asked the Department for a workshop or some strategic session where there would be further deliberation on the issues at hand. The Deputy Minister agreed that this would provide a great opportunity to discuss and define the parameters and find a way to measure the five key elements which had made up the table of categorisation of municipalities, as indicated in the presentation.

Meeting report

Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), said her Department had updated the Committee on 8 June with a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations that were in the state of local government report. After that, there was a special Cabinet meeting focusing on the local government interventions to support the ailing municipalities, and this was convened on 2 August. This was followed by the Cabinet Lekgotla and the Local Government Summit in September. The Department believed that implementing resolutions from the above forums would also strengthen support towards implementing the resolutions and the efforts to create ideal municipalities.

State of Local Government Report

Mr Mpho Mogale, Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG): Local Government (LG) Operations and Support, said the key issues for consideration were:

  • Section 154 of the Constitution stipulates that “the national government and provincial government, by legislative and other measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions.”
  • The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has adopted a new operating model, consisting of provincial teams comprising nine chief directors to strengthen the capacity of provincial COGTA departments, and provide section 154 support to municipalities.

Cabinet resolutions

The special Cabinet meeting on local government held on 2 August focused on interventions to support failing municipalities. It noted and endorsed the reports on interventions where municipalities were failing, and noted the following resolutions:

Institutionalising the District Development Model (DDM) by making it mandatory for all national and provincial departments, as well as state-owned entities (SOEs), to participate in the planning, implementation and monitoring of support to municipalities, and further developing and resourcing the capability and capacity of COGTA to support interventions in municipalities

Strengthening the provincial COGTAs to enable them to fulfil their statuary obligations and the Departments of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) assess the organisational structures, as well as the budgets

Promotion of social and economic development by instructing COGTA to collaborate with the Departments of:

  • Small Business Development,
  • Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development,
  • Tourism,
  • Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, and
  • Mineral Resources and Energy

to establish individual district economic capabilities by exploring endowments to leverage economic development initiatives, with biases towards women and youth

The Minister of Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs, in collaboration with the Minister of Finance, led the Provincial Local Government Summit to deal with challenges facing local government toward the development of a national Municipal Support Plan for municipalities.  

Provinces to monitor municipalities and submit performance reports to the national Department of COGTA on a quarterly basis.

The President had requested a follow-up special Cabinet meeting on local government be held in the first week of October. In preparation for the meeting, the Ministers of COGTA, Finance and in the Presidency had to engage with other relevant departments, provinces and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to develop a coherent plan to strengthen local government performance, which had to be presented to the Cabinet in the form of a memorandum after having been tabled at the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC).

Key local government summit resolutions

District Development Model (DDM)

Ensure greater participation of the other spheres and political champions at the local government level, especially in municipalities, and submit monthly reports indicating support provided to the municipalities as per section 154 of the Constitution.

Local Economic Development (LED)

Coordinate a skills revolution workshop which would focus on the creative sector, agriculture (in its full value chain), innovations and information communication technology (ICT), as well as on business and entrepreneurial skills and the green and blue economy.

Convene a special summit on LED, where all the players should be in attendance to report and account to the district spaces on development initiatives/programmes undertaken and those that were under way, including those planned to be convened.


Consider simplifying, integrating and revising regulation requirements for local government (i.e., review indicators and reduce reporting requirements).

Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPACs) to be strengthened through the Municipal Support and Intervention Plan (MSIP). MPAC guidelines would be reviewed to include consequence management.

To ensure an understanding of the roles and responsibilities and address the issue of political/administrative interference, a workshop session will be conducted for political leadership.

A legislative provision be promulgated to empower investigators to implement the findings/ outcomes of their investigation (such as Section 106 investigations).

An annual awards platform be established for best performing municipalities, and an incentive system for such municipalities.

MSIP to include capacity support and guidance on budget processes to cater for maintenance, operations and asset management.

To Improve the efficiency and quality of local government through better funding, the equitable share formula/financial model must be reviewed.

Establish sound financial practices and eliminate corruption in municipalities.

Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Legislatures and Councillors to jointly provide feedback to communities in respect of services provided by each sphere of government, such as roads, health, education, etc.

Service Delivery

A framework inclusive of early warning systems must be formulated to tackle climate change problems in rural communities.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) or structured functional relationship must be considered with institutions of higher learning and climate change agencies to use technology like climate geographic information system (GIS) mapping analysis to highlight the vulnerability caused by climate changes in high-risk locations and other areas.

A shared services approach needed to be explored, using the DDM and the private sector to improve delivery capacity.

Municipal Support and Intervention Plan (MSIP)

MSIPs were intergovernmental support plans to address the short and medium-term challenges in key local government performance areas. 

The framework on MSIPs outlines the legislative provisions for support and interventions in terms of Sections 154 and 156 of the Constitution. It highlights criteria for modes/types of section 139 of the constitutional intervention in line with the COGTA/National Treasury (NT) collaborative intervention framework.

COGTA, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, continues to implement the framework on MSIPs which was adopted by COGTA and the Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MinMEC).

MSIPs for municipalities placed under mandatory intervention in terms of Section 139(5), and financial recovery plans (FRPs), had been developed.  

The CoGTA Members of Executive Councils (MECs) had tabled quarterly progress reports on the status of implementation of MSIPs at the COGTA MinMEC meeting held on 13 July.

A joint approach was adopted between NT and CoGTA, and the provincial COGTAs and provincial treasuries, to support the 43 distressed municipalities.

MSIP: Provincial Perspective

Provincial CoGTA departments were at different levels concerning the implementation of the MSIPs. Provinces such as Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Western Cape had institutionalised processes for monitoring and reporting MSIP implementation.

Some provinces had established rapid response teams and multi-disciplinary teams to deal with municipalities in crisis, supported by the political principals in one-on-one engagements.

Provinces had varying capacities to support municipalities and to implement new national government priorities and policies. Political instability, especially in municipalities with coalition governments, negatively impacted the implementation of MSIPs.

CoGTA would be embarking on road shows to conduct bilateral engagements with the provincial departments and municipalities to align the operations, support, monitoring and evaluation protocols across the provinces.

There had been slow uptake of Circular 88 -- joint municipal reporting reforms by NT/COGTA -- by municipalities in some provinces and the required support by provinces, as observed by the Auditor-General (AG) in the audit outcomes.

State of Local Government (SOLG) highlights

The assessment of the SOLG during June against the performance of municipalities during July 2021 showed a marked improvement in their performance, due to the nearly 100% increase of municipalities that had moved to the stable category.

KwaZulu-Natal had been the biggest contributor (ten municipalities) that had moved to the stable category due to the development of customised MSIP packages for intense and high-priority interventions and support by the provincial CoGTA Department to deploy governance and financial experts, as well as interventions by political champions which had yielded the following positive results:

  • Political/administrative stability;
  • Functional audit committees, MPAC training for consideration of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful (UIFW) reports;
  • Functional Council structures, with the appointment of competent and qualified Municipal Managers and Section 56 managers;
  • Improved financial management due to funded budgets, UIWF expenditure being addressed, and prevention measures and audit action plans being implemented; and
  • Service delivery, such as improved water supply and rehabilitation of landfill sites

North West Province had the second largest improvement, with four municipalities. Three municipalities had moved to the stable category (Moretele, Greater Taung and Dr Kenneth Kaunda), and Bojanala municipality had moved to the low-risk category due to national interventions and a dedicated focus on support by departments to municipalities.

In Gauteng Province, the Midvaal Local Municipality(LM) was moved to the stable category by establishing a dedicated interdepartmental intervention team.

In the Free State, two municipalities (Matjhabeng and Metsimaholo) improved from dysfunctional to medium risk, and two municipalities (Mohokare and Dihlabeng) regressed from medium risk to dysfunctional.

In the Western Cape, Beaufort West was a coalition municipality and had regressed since June 2021, from medium risk to dysfunctional. The municipality was under Section 139(5) intervention and an FRP was being implemented.

No changes to the categories of municipalities were registered in 2022 compared to 2021 for the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces.

Hotspot municipalities

North West Province: Kagisano Molopo LM

Since the inauguration of new municipal councils in the province after the November 2021 local government elections, the Municipal Council of Kagisano-Molopo Local Municipality has never stabilised and has not concentrated on developing plans to provide service delivery to the constituents of that municipality. The provincial executive committee (EXCO) on 14 September resolved that the municipality must be placed under section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution, citing the following:

  • Allegation of contestation of political power between councillors, which had resulted in parallel Municipal Council structures being formed, each with a Mayor and Speaker, leading to councillors taking their contestation to the courts in trying to legitimise their differences by obtaining court interdicts;
  • Allegation that the Municipal Manager had been identified as the driver of sowing disunity within the Municipal Council, instead of advising it, and seemed to have influenced and perpetuated the divisions in the Council;
  • Allegation that the Municipal Manager had even hired "bouncers" to control access to municipal premises, resulting in the Speaker, Mayor and other councillors opposed to him being denied access to the municipal premises. In addition, the Speaker had taken his case of being ousted to court.
  • Persistent infighting within the Municipal Council; and
  • An unlawful process of tabling the draft budget, as the presiding Accounting Officer was found to be unlawfully appointed, resulting in non-compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

The Minister had approved the intervention in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution. The Administrator was in place, and the municipality had since stabilised after the municipal manager's contract was terminated.

Western Cape: Kannaland LM

The municipality had been dysfunctional and financially distressed for several years, and the support that had been provided for years continued to make no positive impact on its viability. Prolonged vacancies in respect of critical posts caused instability within the administration.

The municipality had four senior manager posts. Three of these critical posts were vacant, including Municipal Manager, Executive Manager: Financial Services, and Executive Manager: Infrastructure Services and Community Services.

Limpopo Province

Thabazimbi LM was a hung council and experienced instability, which was characterised by infighting that had resulted in a failure to appoint senior managers. There was generally weak oversight by the council. The instability was affecting service delivery.

Lephalale LM was experiencing political instability. The recent mayor appointment had caused serious turmoil in the municipality, requiring urgent intervention at the administrative and political levels.

Mogalakwena LM. Governance challenges persist, with the court case related to the appointment of the Municipal Manager posing a risk to the functionality of the municipality and delays by the Council. There was unwillingness from the political office bearers to unlock revenue potential at the Mahwelereng and Rebone townships, despite the deteriorating state of revenue that caused the Municipality to be unable to honour its obligations. The Council was reluctant to process the UIFW report.

Mpumalanga Province:

Mkhondo LM was led by a coalition government, and six  councillors were dismissed by their party in September. The vacancies had been declared with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and were still to be filled through by-elections. There were signs of administrative instability due to four vacant senior manager positions -- Municipal Manager (MM), Director: Corporate Services, Director: Technical Services and Director: Planning. Only two posts were filled the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Director of Community Services. The provincial COGTA was considering instituting a section 106 investigation into allegations of maladministration.

Steve Tshwete LM was led by a coalition government and had experienced labour unrest due to labour demanding that the municipality be graded to level five. Through intervention by the National CoGTA and the province, the illegal strike was ended and employees returned to work on 8 September. The municipality still experienced short work stoppages due to worker demands for the Mayor to vacate office.

KwaZulu-Natal: Umkhanyakude (UK) DM

The Council and its structures remain dysfunctional. Section 139(1)(b) and Section 134 interventions had been invoked, parallel to each other. Section 139(4) arose as a result of the non-approval of the budget by the Municipal Council, and Section 139(1)(b) has been extended to 30 April 2023. An intervention by the Minister of Water and Sanitation also existed alongside these two interventions.

The UKDM had spent none of the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) allocation of R60 million as of 30 September, and funding was therefore withheld. It had been placed under Section 63 of the Water Services Act for ministerial intervention by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, and these allocations would not be transferred. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) had appointed Mhlathuze Water to take over water and sanitation projects in the UKDM

The district municipality (DM) had spent only 10% of its Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocation as of 30 October. The municipality had been placed on a cost reimbursement verification model, whereby the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) would not release funds to the DM until invoices that were presented were verified by DCOG and MISA through site inspections. This then delayed the payment to contracted service providers.

Experts deployed by COGTA and the provincial treasury (PT) have since been withdrawn as they were underutilised due to the instability, even at the administrative level.

Free State Province: Mohokare LM

The municipality had been stable since the inauguration of the new Council, but challenges had arisen with the appointment of the municipal manager. Disgruntled councillors had taken the mayor to court as they were of the view that the MM was appointed illegally, and the court had issued a court order interdicting the appointment of the municipal manager and barred the newly appointed municipal manager from entering the premises of the municipality. The court had instructed the Council to reconvene to approve the appointment of the MM.

The Council had subsequently met in September and taken a resolution, and the municipal manager had resumed duty. However, the disgruntled councillors approached the court again on an urgent basis, but the court did not grant the urgent application and rather directed that that matter be brought on merit. This caused division within the municipality and caused administrative instability, resulting in the municipality's failure to submit annual financial statements, no funding plan approved by Council, and no MSIP approval by Council.

The Provincial CoGTA was unable to support the municipality on the development of the MSIP, as the municipality insisted on meeting with senior officials to undertake this task. The provincial CoGTA had intervened, and a meeting would be held with the municipality to finalise the MSIP in December.

The provincial department of COGTA was in the process of concluding a section 106 investigation.

Free State Province: Dihlabeng LM

This muncipality was experiencing political instability due to intra-political party differences, which necessitated the intervention of the MEC of COGTA concerning the secondment of a municipal manager to the municipality during November.

General observations

The SOLG dysfunctional or high-risk categorisation had increased from 64 to 66 municipalities. However, this number was not clear cut, as there had been some regression and an improvement from the dysfunctional to medium risk category, resulting in an increase of two in the total dysfunctional municipalities. The following seven municipalities – Mohakare and Dihlabeng in the Free State; Newcastle and Amajuba in KZN; Ngaka Modiri Molema and Mamusa in North West Province; and Beaufort West  in the Western Cape -- had regressed from their precious categorisation due to perennial challenges such as:  

  • Political interference has a negative impact on institutional capacity;
  • Irregular appointments, and without required skills, resulting in bloated organograms; 
  • Interference in procurement processes;
  • Poor service delivery due to delays in approving projects, with increased frequency of interruptions;
  • Long turn-around times to respond to community complaints, leading to protests;
  • Poor financial management -- negative audit outcomes, irregular expenditure;
  • Infrastructure costings and cost of consultants;
  • Developmental and dynamic communications lacking;
  • Largely poor oversight and non-compliance with legislation; 
  • Lack of consequence management, which was confirmed by recent audit outcomes from the AG;
  • Inadequate implementation of s154 of the Constitution, resulted in the need for many s139 interventions.

[Please the attachment for the complete report]



Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) commented on slide 26 of the presentation, which stated that the SOLG dysfunctional or high-risk categorisation had increased from 64 to 66 municipalities. However, this number was not clear cut, as there had been a regression in some instances but also an improvement from the dysfunctional to medium risk category, resulting in the increase of two of the total dysfunctional municipalities. She said if the Department was coming to the Committee to say that there were no clear-cut numbers from its observation, how did it expect the Committee to engage with this report? It had to start with the Department -- it was not for the Members to jump and say that this was a state of municipalities report, and the Department was expected to intervene in those municipalities.

Ms Mkhaliphi said she remembered very well that in some of the Committee engagements, where Members had pointed out that most of the problems started with the Department because of its lack of capacity. The Minister had stood up and said the Committee must not make a mistake and think that the Department was running municipalities because according to the Constitution, municipalities were also independent. However, now the Committee was getting this report which was painting a picture in which the Department did not even have a clear strategy on how to intervene. Firstly, Members had been told, even on page seven of this presentation, how to coordinate the service delivery in the form of a District Development Model (DDM).

There had been a few municipalities when the DDM was introduced, and eThekwini was one of those identified. When the Committee was observing how the DDM was going to help to ensure that there was service delivery, the KZN floods had happened, and seven months down the line, not much had been done, but millions had been collected to rebuild the effectuated areas. Unfortunately, the Committee also did not do an oversight visit on floods, because the roads were still not completely fixed, and the victims were still living in community halls. How could the Department come to the Committee and say there was some intervention happening, when the situation was like that in flood-affected areas of KZN?

The reality was that the Department had no capacity, and Members had mentioned that it was falling apart and was losing people with the skills to run it. The Department had never come back to update the Committee on how it was addressing that matter, because it pointed out some of the intervention strategies, such as embarking on a road show and ensuring that the provincial government and the municipalities were talking, which would never work. For instance, one of the Department’s strategies was to strengthen the Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPACs), but just yesterday, when Members were interacting with the Mogalakwena Local Municipality there was talk about an MPAC that was dead. The Department was merely repeating old information -- there was nothing new here.

There was also a reference to a Local Government Summit in the presentation, and Cabinet had approved the resolution that to strengthen governance, the Ministers of COGTA and the Minister of Finance must collaborate. How -- because that was what they were doing in terms of Section 139? When the Department went to a municipality to intervene, it went with the National Treasurer to that area, but the approach did not work.

The Department must start by cleansing itself and telling the Committee how it was going to ensure that it had capacity first. Yesterday, during the debate on the floods, one of the Members said COGTA was busy recruiting politicians who did not even have skills -- for example, the Committee had heard that the MEC for transport in KZN had become the DG of the Department, but when he got that position back, there was no longer a DG of the Department. So, how did they intend to strengthen their capacity first as the Department? How were they ensuring that they did not frustrate people with skills out of the Department, and then replace them with their friends? She said the Department was wasting the Committee’s time.

She said the Committee had done an oversight at Lekwa, and the presentation had stated there was still intervention since 2021, before the municipal elections. The Deputy Minister had even gone and engaged with the stakeholders there and after the engagement, they had accepted the intervention, but how had it worked, because it was confusing? According to the law, when the municipality was not functional, there must be an intervention, but the elections took place in 2021 and there was new leadership under a coalition, but there was an administrator who was continuing in Lekwa -- why was it still so? What were the political implications of this? Were they saying that this new leadership was not going to take the municipality forward? Could they clarify this?

COGTA was saying that in the Northwest province, there was some improvement in Bojanala municipality, but the fact of the matter was that there was no improvement. She was not even talking about Moses Kotane LM, She had been trying to convince the Committee to try to attend to as many municipalities as possible, because it was supposed to do oversight at all municipalities. Moses Kotane LM was dysfunctional, but the Department had not included it in the presentation. The Speaker of Moses Kotane had called a council meeting and taken the council away from the municipality, and the municipal manager had objected, saying that was inconsistent with the Municipal Structures Act. She was interested only in putting up the tents and chairs, and had gone and taken money from the Bojanala district. Why was the Department not zooming in on that? Why was it speaking of progress when it was regressing?

Mr C Brink (DA) said reference was made in the presentation to the Municipal Support and Intervention Framework. He was guessing this was where the three categories -- stable, low risk and high risk -- were sourced from. Could the Committee be provided with a copy of this framework so that Members could understand its contents more broadly than just a few points and colour coding?

He had a few questions about incongruities that were apparent from this presentation, in particular, the classification of certain municipalities as either stable, high risk, medium risk or low risk, whatever the correct description. Slide 15 stated that in both 2021 and 2022, the eMfuleni local municipality in Gauteng was listed as medium risk. This was a municipality whose bank account was attached by creditors in both years under assessment. Sanitation infrastructure was falling apart, polluting the Vaal river, and the municipality had been under section 139 (1b) administration by the Gauteng provincial government since 2018 without any discernible improvement in its performance, yet it was listed in the same category as, for example, Johannesburg and Tshwane, and most other municipalities in Gauteng. As such, it was difficult to understand how this assessment had been reached, because that municipality was at high risk.

Moving across the municipal border, in 2021, Midvaal was listed as low risk as opposed to being stable. This was a municipality that had had six successive clean audits. It had a majority government and some of the highest rankings on access to basic service delivery, yet slide 15 stated that the Midvaal local municipality had been moved to the stable category this year by establishing a dedicated and important departmental intervention team. This was quite incredulous, and if one told the mayor of Midvaal, he would have a few questions because this municipality was not under any intervention. It was probably one of the best in the country, so it would be necessary for someone to explain what sort of interventions were there. Either the Gauteng provincial government or the national government was taking credit here, because it was not clear that there were such interventions or that it had made any difference to what was a very stable and high-functioning municipality.

In the North West province, the presentation indicated that three municipalities -- Moretele, Greater Taung and Dr Kenneth Kaunda -- had been moved from high risk to stable. What was the basis for this? There was no evidence before this Committee that there had been any significant improvement, for example, in cash flow, funded budgets, the recruitment of competent staff, improvement of basic sanitation services, etc. On sanitation, for example, how many of the water treatment plants in these municipalities that were under the control of the municipality, functioned fully in terms of national standards? He suspected that the answer to that question was zero. How had this framework been applied in the North West?

On slide 22, Lephalale was listed as a "hotspot municipality." It stated that it was experiencing political instability. The recent mayor appointment had caused serious turmoil in the municipality, requiring urgent intervention at the administrative and political levels. What was the basis for this statement? The mayor of that municipality had been removed in a motion of no confidence, which was the first motion of that nature in the history of Lephalale. If this could be compared to the situation in Ekurhuleni, for example, where the mayor was removed by a vote of confidence a few weeks ago, and then the same person was returned as mayor with an increased majority, that was not listed as a hotspot. Compared to Lephalale, there was no subjective assessment that was coloured by party political considerations. That was why the Committee also needed to be provided, in addition to a copy of the framework, the scorecard for each of the municipalities so that it could see how this framework had, in effect, been applied. It should not be extra work for the Department, because this work had already been done and the details just needed to be shared with the Committee. Otherwise, just looking at these slides, Members were flying blind.

He also touched on slide 19, asking on what basis the previous Cabinet representative in Mangaung had been relieved of their responsibilities. Was it because of poor performance, or because of a breakdown in the relationship with the council and officials? The fear here was that folks were being vetoed by local political factions, in which case nothing was going to get done in terms of meaningful intervention.

Ms E Spies (DA) raised concern about the ending of the presentation, which stated that Members must just note this report. This report was not comprehensive on the real state of municipalities, because several municipalities could be cited as being in a serious state, and were not even featured in the presentation. How did this report come together? It was time for COGTA to change its approach to dealing with dysfunctional municipalities, because it did not look like there was any progress and without being pessimistic, that was what was coming out of this report. The number of dysfunctional had municipalities increased. The Department had adopted a new operational model consisting of provincial teams and 90 directors. Why did it have a team of high-level administrators going into municipalities that sometimes just needed practical intervention on the ground?

The approach needed to change drastically -- things could not be done the same way as had been done in the past, because it was not working. The Committee spent endless hours listening to municipalities, which was mostly a waste of time because they brought the best presentations to impress the Committee, but there were no changes on the ground. The Committee and citizens did not have the luxury of time, but these municipalities had the luxury, and this must change. The Department must also stop doing things in isolation.

She agreed with Ms Mkhaliphi that the planned roadshow would not yield anything. Members sat on this Committee because they had some background in local government. The Committee needed to have sessions and strategic engagements to assist where they could, because they know what happens in municipalities since they operate on the ground. When they said people were having council meetings regularly, was the team sending people who just went and sat in council meetings and saw what happened in those meetings? It was practical, simple things that needed to be done in many of these municipalities to keep them on course.

On the interventions, she said the SOLG report referred to progress from June 2021 to the local government summit of September this year, so how could they have five different platforms, summits, meetings and Cabinet lekgotlas and still come to the Committee and tell it that they had not improved, but had got worse? It meant this was not working, and the local government summit the Committee had attended was a big messy meeting where nothing had happened. Those meetings and summits could not be held anymore -- they needed to be scaled down to smaller practical, constructive meetings where things could be actioned and provide tangible results. If things were not going to change, it would be a waste of time for everyone, because there was no listening to each other and there were high-level presentations and discussions. None of that had an impact on the municipalities. The Committee had asked the Minister if there should be a workshop or some strategic session, but there had not been a response. What were the timeframes for these interventions -- the national strategic support plan and the new operating model? At what point would one say that for ten years, a municipality had been regressing? What could be used to make sure that the municipality was rescued? At what point would they bring in things that showed this Committee that there was action happening within this Department?

Ms P Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC) said the Department had reported that there were now 66 dysfunctional municipalities, but if two had improved and three (Mohokare, Dihlabeng and Beaufort West) had regressed to dysfunctional, the number of dysfunctional municipalities should be 65. Could the Department clarify that?

The Committee had attended the September Local Government Summit, so it was aware of the proceedings and resolutions. The Department had not captured resolution eight appropriately, because there had been objections that an incentive system for the best-performing municipality would be awarded to an already well-resourced municipality. Best-performing municipalities tended to be well financed, which created an enabling environment for good performance. Could the Department give clarity on this matter?

There was nothing in the presentation on the Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni municipalities, where there was a lot of mess, and the people were crying about service delivery. Why were those municipalities not here? The Committee was also not here for the infighting in the municipalities, where citizens suffer with no service delivery while the fight for political power continued. When the bulls fight, the grass suffers, and the people suffer.

Mr K Ceza (EFF) said the Committee had provided clear guidelines, proper submissions, and solutions on what should happen. If one had a waning municipality such as the Mkhodo municipality where there were factional battles, this resulted in a lack of service delivery and poor performance.

The presentation talked about the lack of procurement processes, yet the Committee had provided a clear direction that there should be in-sourcing. The Minister had been asked in the National Assembly how she was going to deal with situation that was corruptible through the nature of the tenders. The model of delivering services was corruptible and disempowered communities, and had always empowered individuals. It was the reason why one found people warring in a municipality -- it was at the centre of the factions and political interference.

When the Systems Act was done, it had amended Section 57 and all the clauses and done all the insertions from 2019. What the Committee wanted was the professionalisation of the municipalities, retention of institutional memory, consequence management and political non-interference. The Committee wanted structures to be permanent, because Members saw that if people were kept on a fixed term, there was a risk of them being influenced by senior members of a political party, who wanted the procurement process to be influenced via supply chain management (SCM). The Committee had provided solutions that there should be in-sourcing of general workers and that there should be internal construction companies. It should not be talking about the same issues, while people were sitting with full toilets that stink, there was poor sanitation and no easy access to clean water.

How did Section 154 of the Constitution impact ensuring that the number of dysfunctional municipalities was reduced instead of increasing? The answer to this question was what the Department needed to convey in this meeting, otherwise it was a waste of time. There were remedies in the Systems Act -- when was it going to be implemented? Yesterday he spoke about Section 139 Monitoring and Intervention Support Management Bill, which had been there since 2013 and had not yet been implemented. How were they going to even measure how long the intervention was going to be, and the impact it would have on the people? Members were concerned about the people because they stayed in those municipalities with the masses and needed quality services there.

Mr G Mpumza (ANC) said slides 14 and 15 talked of highlights, and indicated that the performance assessment on the municipalities during June/July was based on the criteria of political/administrative stability, functional audit committees, MPAC and the function of the Council structures, and financial management and service delivery. In the Gauteng province, based on the criteria of the assessment, the highlight of this province merely talked about the Midvaal local municipality, yet there was a very troubled Emfuleni local municipality, which had been dysfunctional for too long. When the Committee did an oversight visit there, it found that it was a war zone, and that situation had not abated. There were snippets on social media that the spillage of sewage into the Vaal River and streets, and the outages of transformers, were now a norm in that municipality. The political infighting had never been quelled, which made it strange that that municipality was not part of the assessment and was not in these highlights. The criteria used revealed serious political instability in the City of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, but those were not included either. Yet, all three were not politically stable, and there had been several votes of no confidence in service delivery and governance. What criteria were used here, and why were Emfuleni, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni not part of that?

When the Committee met with the Department on the intervention in Bloemfontein in Mangaung and Enoch Mgijima, it was told the senior officials of that municipality were resisting providing information to the deployed team. What was the situation now? The presentation indicated that the council was also resisting this intervention, and exogenous political factors were a factor around this expression of resistance by this municipality to welcome the interventions and work by the deployed national team. Was there no provision in the law for COGTA national and the province to intervene legally to deal with these informal decisions finding expression in legal councils? At what point could the Department read the riot act for the mayors that had become defiant and delinquent in these strategic offices?

On uMkhanyakude, the report stated that the municipality had been placed under Section 63 of the Water Services Act ministerial intervention by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, which implied that by invoking that Act, the Ministry had taken over the function of the water provision services authority. What was the time frame around that? Was that approach resolving the political challenges that emanated from these criteria? As long as those counsellors and administrators were still in that municipality, problems would remain. Taking over the function of water provision services authority would not resolve the crisis. The only solution was to deal with these matters, address them, and leave the municipality to perform its legal function.


Mr Mogale responded to the matter raised by Mr Mpumza on the metros, saying they were non-delegated municipalities and COGTA was collaborating with the National Treasury on these municipalities, especially the metros. It was trying its best to bridge the gap between the entity and those metros because, according to the law, they were leading, and the Department was part of them, and the collaboration was intensifying.

The SOLG report that it had tabled was an annual report, and the municipalities’ annual cycles ended in June. They did 47% of their report and submitted it to the Department, which then submitted it to Parliament. This was how the Department was synchronising it in the presentation, but as reported, the Minister had asked that it extend to the current state.

Members may be aware of all the incidents in these municipalities regarding instability. For instance, Emfuleni was under 139 (1b) and Section 63 of the Water Services Act. The province had now withdrawn, and there was a new council there which had led to a fair degree of stability, but there were still challenges. The province had sent a report to the national COGTA to formally inform it about its withdrawal, and logically the Department was supposed to go and do its own assessment at Emfuleni municipality. The Department had to make a call on whether to report about it to the Committee before it validated many of the things it had received in the provincial report, because it had its own views about the information it had received from the report. It had to make a call on what to report because it did not want to pre-empt -- it wanted to report on what it had gone on to validate -- and this explained why it was not reported.

On Lekwa, he said that before Section 139 (7), which the Department invoked, there was Section 139 (5), which was a provincial one per se, and the municipality had been dissolved and it had continued. Members could say the 139 (7) in Lekwa was complete, but if one looked at Section 148 of the MFMA, it stated that when there was an intervention in a municipality, there should not be a withdrawal until the municipality was able and willing to fulfil the executive obligation in terms of legislation or the Constitution that gave rise to the intervention, and the financial problem that had been caused by or had caused the failure by the municipality to comply with that obligation, was resolved. That was why the Department had not done that in many municipalities where Section 139 (5) had been instituted. Thus, the Department continued in Lekwa because the challenges that had led to the imposition of the intervention were still there, even if there was new leadership. He committed to compiling a report on the matter, in consultation with the intervention team and the National Treasury, to be deliberated with the Committee so that there was an understanding.

He said many incidents had been reported in the municipalities. For example, when a mayor was arrested, it was processed internally, and the Department waited for the process to be completed and then it would be formally given to it by the province. Only then would it be able to flag it. As a result, there was a delay in the reporting because whatever information the Department shared with the Committee must be validated. However, this did not mean that during the process the Department would be unaware of the incident. It could not bring everything to the Committee. It had to screen and validate every piece of information received from the provinces to be able to share a well-informed report. When the report referred to highlights, it was highlighting only the pertinent areas which were within the Department’s radar and were validated.

On Mkhondo, he said tenders were central to this, but many other factors were involved. It was just that tenders were the main factor driving divisions in the municipality. In-sourcing had to be made at the municipal level because it had financial implications. There may be questions on why there was private security for which the Department was paying, but there were risks in every option because when there was a break in the private security company, it was held liable for the losses that would be incurred.

He responded on the issue of the floods in KZN, saying there had been a meeting between COGTA and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and there was an engagement that was underway that sought to try and understand some of the blockages. The Department was aware of those blockages and there was a high level of engagement between the Ministers to engage on those challenges. He asked the Committee to understand the context of compiling the report. Issues not in the report did not mean that the Department was unaware of them. All the documents and information that had been requested would be shared in another engagement with the Committee next year.

Ms Williamson responded to the question by Ms Mkhaliphi on the Department's intervention strategy not being clear, saying the proposal that had been made for the Department to have a strategic workshop was warranted, and during such a session, it would be able to explain its strategy how it saw it. Over and above that, the Department would also be able to get some input from the Members. Her office had put a request forward to have a session with the Portfolio Committee.

On the point raised by Mr Brink on the MSIP and the categorisation, and how COGTA would be able to provide a copy of its framework, she said her office would provide a copy of the framework. Mr Mogale had tried to explain the incongruences he had picked up, but it related mainly to the reporting cycle, which was from June to June. The Department then included the additional months in its report.

She also spoke about the measures on how to see improvement within the municipalities so that its approach was not subjective, but was deemed more scientific. A team in the Department had been looking at the indicators for municipalities.

On the concern raised by Ms Spies, and the suggestions she made, Ms Williamson confirmed that the Department concurred with her suggestions and expressed appreciation for them, and committed to taking them forward in a workshop setting.

On how the Department was operating and its responsibility through the spheres, she said it had reviewed its operating model to ensure service delivery. The new operating model took staff from the head office functions and placed them directly to work or aligned them directly to provincial structures. The Department also wanted to integrate a single point of entry into the provinces so that it would be able to stay in collaboration and cooperation, and strengthen its reporting through these structures. It also wanted to ensure that it did not duplicate its efforts but maximised its resources, as it did not have too many staff members -- around 500 -- so it tried to maximise what it had at the moment.

Deputy Minister’s comments

Ms Thembi Nkadimeng, Deputy Minister, COGTA, commented on the suggestion made by Ms Spies, saying it was ideally a great opportunity to sit at the table and define what the parameters could be, and have a way to measure the five key elements which had made or created the table of categorisation as indicated in the presentation. Some of these areas were not just clear-cut issues. For example, in service delivery, there may not be sanitary facilities in a municipality, but they may be providing water and maybe doing fairly well on roads, but not so well in other areas, depending on what their integrated development planning (IDP) structure was like versus the expectation of the community.

She referred to the example of Midvaal, as raised by Mr Brink. It had had five or six clean audits in a row, and Senqu had had nine audits in a row, and the two were functional municipalities but may not be financially stable because they were unable to collect revenue. They could be accountable and spend what they had been given, but may not necessarily meet the expectation of their communities because communities expected them to deliver more. As a measure of a mixture of financial accountability, service delivery, governance and political issues, meetings may be moved by the Speaker to another area, which may not be procedural, but meetings also sat in areas where they were procedural to sit and might not be productive.

It was a mixed bag that the Department was trying to map out to the Committee, which was not necessarily as extensive as the SOLG of 2021 in trying to outline what an ideal municipality was. It would help if Members, as they move towards the state of local government in 2023, agreed on the key parameters of what the administration had to do, and the IDP in between, which talked to the people and their expectations. This was also now concretised into a budget and what COGTA at both the national and provincial levels should be able to do. It was contestable terrain on who was best and who was not, who was functional and who was not functional, and that was why even in some instances of intervention, municipalities themselves took the Department to court either for overreach or in areas where they said they did not need any intervention, or they did not think intervention was due.

On Lekwa, she said even though one exited a municipality, one of the areas that had been flagged was that the Department packed its bags and left at the end. It had to do a seamless handover and support because ordinarily, if a municipality was still trying to find its feet, it should not stop. That was the essence of what the Department was trying to do, and why in Mangaung they would appoint correctly, but COGTA would not immediately move. There was a timeline which had been worked on with the council to ensure that Mr Motlashuping, from national COGTA, would assist with the phased-in leadership of the municipality in the administration, to allow them to run smoothly. To avoid confusion, this had to be harmonised, flagging the responsibilities as constitutionally mandated or legislated for COGTA and the National Treasury. The Committee must be mindful that in Lekwa, Mgijima and Mangaung, where the directives were coming from, the courts had not been areas harnessed very well.

She said the documentation that the Department had committed to submit would be submitted at the end of next week, because it still had an engagement in Modimolle towards the end of this week so it would utilise the week in the beginning to concretise. It would also touch base with the Minister so that she could send the information from the ministry responding to issues raised and requested by the Members of the Committee.

Follow up questions

Ms Mkhaliphi said it must be noted that Members were not happy, as much as the DM had tried by all means to clarify some of the issues. The DG had not even attempted to come and respond to her question on the whole purpose of the presentation, and the Committee had to get things correct. Firstly, the Department did not have the capacity, so the DG had to demonstrate to the Committee that it did have the capacity. The Committee was raising pertinent issues of the very experienced staff members who could assist the Department to ensure service delivery in municipalities, but they were leaving the Department. This was a platform where Members raised issues that needed to be attended to, but the DG did not even attempt to assure Members that the Department was on the right track. Instead, she was talking about the strategic workshop, for which there was not even a proposed date. Soon it would be recess and next year, it would be business as usual. Could the Department not waste the Committee’s time? These Committee meetings were meant to deal with issues affecting the people, and this was a very important report that was supposed to give everyone here a clear map forward on how to intervene in those municipalities.

The floods exposed the Department, because it failed to coordinate all the affected municipalities. Secondly, there was a report produced by the Select Committee of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the state of affairs of the North West province, but day in and day out, the NW province was getting worse every day. That report was old and probably gathering dust, and the Department was still studying it. She did not understand the selective amnesia of the Department when it came to intervention in municipalities, because if there was no selective amnesia, the North West province was supposed to be under Section 100 by now. There was no longer a province called the North West, because everything was deteriorating in that province, yet the Department claimed to be coming up with a solution through interventions, as per the Local Government Summit and as a Cabinet resolution, that the DDM was a solution. EThekwini, for instance, was not part of the 64 dysfunctional municipalities, but was one of the municipalities that the Department perceived as progressive. The Department of Water and Sanitation failed to fix a water leak promptly -- it took five days to fix a leak, and the Department claimed that it was not dysfunctional.

Could the Department come up with a strategic intervention on how it was going to save these municipalities, not what it was presenting here? This Department was not giving the Members an assurance that they could sleep peacefully at night -- there was no Department at all. After the floods, the Department, as coordinator of the national disaster management office, had said every public representative had to go and get details of people affected by the floods. People went and made lists of people affected, but there was no acknowledgement from the Department or an update on what was done with the lists.

She warned the Department not to mislead the Committee by pretending it would do something, when it was not. It had to bring better intervention plans that were going to save the municipalities. This meeting would not yield any results until the Department understood its role and demonstrated to the Committee that it could take its work seriously. For instance, it was still talking about a report that should be handed over on the intervention in Lekwa. The DM was there, even though she had to leave before the meeting was concluded, when people were saying even the person the Department had sent had become a king. He had gone to a retail store no one was supposed to enter while he was inside, with his bodyguards -- what was that? No one was willing to explain why an administrator should be sent to Lekwa to become the "king of the jungle" and make a retail store stand a standstill with his bodyguards. What madness was that? The Department's programme next year must tackle these issues if the Committee wants to be taken seriously, because it was being taken for a ride by the Department here.


Deputy Minister Nkadimeng said she thought the responses of both the DG and Mr Mogale indicated that the Department accepted a thorough discussion on the process and procedures for categorising municipalities. They may have used different words, with some calling it a strategic discussion. For instance, Ms Spies had said that a request had been made, and she had used the word strategic session, where the Committee could have been taken into confidence in several areas, particularly regarding dysfunctionality and categorisation. The questions of Ms Xaba and Mr Mpumza on metros’ dysfunctionality and identification were all in line with what Ms Mkhaliphi and Mr Brink were indicating -- that there was a disjuncture in the alignment and categorisation, and there was no full understanding of what the Department was doing. Her response, therefore, was that, in totality, the Department committed to getting into that session. Secondly, Mr Mogale had said that in that session, the Department would fully outline why municipality A was placed in this category, and B in that category, although there could be other issues which did not give a clear-cut determination of the functionality of a municipality, which was why Ms Mkhaliphi had zoomed into the last slide of the presentation.

She may agree with Ms Mkhaliphi that there was no capacity in the Department, because there was no Departmental presence in every municipality. That was not its mandate, and the legislation could also possibly assist. What the Department was trying to do was to indicate in the new structure that it had moved in the direction of provincial deployments from COGTA at the national level, to try and assist the rapid response team or the early response teams of provinces, which would not only assist Section 139 but also in Section 154. That could be the fora that they were talking about, which had assisted the Department in moving from 16 to 31 in municipalities, and provinces that were receptive. Of course, the Department did not have the capacity to be present in every municipality, and the design of COGTA was not necessarily that, because municipalities had fiduciary responsibilities themselves and executive powers. They must govern, but they must be assisted in line with the Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) framework.

The difficulties of the floods of April/May in KZN had been outlined, but as the Department had reported through the National Disaster Management Centre in the previous portfolio, it had shown the programmes involved, the payments, and all that had been done. Dr Sithole, Head of the Disaster Management Centre, was here in this meeting and noted all the issues. He was the new head of the NDMC following the departure of Dr Tau, and the Department would make some improvements.

EThekwini was one of the Department’s DDM pilot sites, including OR Tambo and Waterberg. There were lessons learnt and, in fact, the Department was working and discussing institutionalising the DDM. With the learning and shortcomings that the Department had, it had improved on its shortcomings from the three sites. A pilot was about identifying what was good and bad in order to plan better and then institutionalise the issues. One of the key problems, for example, was that the DDM was not institutionalised. Some previous presentations had tried to highlight district hubs, and one planned linking to the district hubs and the responsibilities of other functional or sectional departments. This was where this was heading.

As a pilot and a learning curve, the Department had looked into the measures of what they had or what should be the standard, and the Municipality Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) was dealing with this and assisting not only in eThekwini, but across the board on what the standards of service delivery were. For instance, it had assessed how long it took to fix a pothole after it had been received as a complaint, up to the development for a municipality to have a customer satisfaction survey where it could ask the residents if they had been properly serviced. That was the ideal municipality that the Department envisaged, but it could not be achieved overnight, although there were processes and systems in place. She warmly received the suggestion of a session, and suggested that the Department plan it together with the Committee so that it hit on the right note on what the Committee would want in the agenda -- for example, beyond the logistics, so that the content was driven by what all the stakeholders would agree was the direction on how to build municipalities.

Further discussion

Ms Mkhaliphi said the DM must not come to the Committee and say that the Department did not have the mandate to intervene. The Department’s mandate is derived from Chapters three, five, six, seven, and nine of the Constitution. Chapter five of the Constitution was very clear, as it deals with national intervention in provincial administration when the province cannot and does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation. Thus, the Department had the mandate to intervene. As a way forward, there should be a strategy workshop as proposed, but with clear timelines so that Members could take each other seriously and understand each other. There must be a plan on how to go forward instead of coming to the Committee and defending something that was indefensible. The Committee would not tolerate the Department coming with such tendencies. First, it had been the Minister when she was questioned about the ineffectiveness of the intervention, who was quick to say the Committee must not be under the impression that the Department was a municipality. Now, it was the DM who was saying that the Department had no mandate in the municipalities. They must check the Constitution, which was very clear on the provision and chapters on how the Department was expected to intervene.

Going forward, the Committee would not allow the Department to come and waffle and waste the Members’ time. The Members were here as activists who were supposed to represent people who did not have water or electricity, and were swimming in poverty while there was legislation and the Constitution that was supposed to protect them.

The Chairperson said there was a consensus about a follow-up session where Members could contract, meaning that the responsibility of the Committee as Members of Parliament was to do oversight, but could not do so on issues that had not been understood properly. This was what the Committee was teasing out, and everyone agreed that there were challenges of instability in municipalities that could not be allowed to continue without being addressed. It could not be thrown in the air and said one did not know who should be intervening there. These interventions, in some instances, were not being accepted, and they could not be abandoned for that reason -- there must be alternative solutions.

The strategic session being discussed today should help the Committee to understand all those issues -- for instance, if there was instability, who was going to do what and when. When he said "when," that was when the Committee would come in and consider the impact of such interventions on service delivery. He said there was agreement on the issue of categorisation and some refinements, and if there was anything that Members might not know, it should form part of the strategic session. There were areas where everybody wanted to assist the local government -- for example,National Treasury, in terms of that first group of 43 financially distressed municipalities. Could the Committee get more information on what was being done -- the progress, the challenges and what needed to be done? On Section 154, the Committee was told that there was a new operating model, and where they had been correct was when they questioned why it worked in KZN and did not work in other provinces. By implication, some framework should guide all the provinces, and the national Department must ensure that it gets implemented.

On the Lekgotla resolutions on local government by the Cabinet, by implications, there should have been an implementation strategy to ensure a difference based on the resolutions. This strategic session should help the Committee understand what it should be looking for to see the difference. When the Department mentioned cases of defiance of councillors in Enoch Mgijima, defying the Cabinet decision to institute Section 139 (7), and the Committee acts like it did not know what needed to be done about that, then it had a problem and that could not be accepted. The Committee would be a laughingstock in the whole country if it allowed the government to be defied for unknown reasons, and no punitive action was taken.

The strategic session would therefore be very important for taking the Committee on board to understand some of these issues, but it would not be taken on board just to understand. Members would also say they were making laws, and wanted to know whether these laws were inadequate to address some of these challenges. Were these laws being implemented to the letter? The strategic session would help iron out issues, and would allow Members to ask questions that, in the end, would benefit the members of the public.


Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Intervention Bill

Mr Sekedi Thenga, Deputy Director: Monitoring and Evaluation, Gauteng Provincial Government, said the purpose of the presentation was to provide an update on the status and progress of the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Intervention (IMSI) Bill, and to request the Portfolio Committee to support its processing in Parliament once Cabinet has approved it.

The purpose of the Bill was:

  • To regulate the implementation of, and the processes provided for in section 100 and section 139 of the Constitution;
  • To provide targeted support to provinces and municipalities in need of assistance;
  • To provide for the monitoring of provinces and municipalities regarding the fulfilment of their executive obligations in terms of the Constitution or legislation;
  • To provide alternative steps to interventions, to induce compliance by provinces or municipalities with their executive obligations; and
  • To provide for the deployment of administrators by the intervening national executive or provincial executive, and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Mr Thenga said that during 2020/21, the Department had distributed the Bill to all national sector departments; premiers' offices; provincial treasuries; and CoGTA MinMec members to solicit written comments and inputs on the Bill. One-on-one engagements were held with the National Treasury, SALGA, North-West s100 administrators, the DPSA, and the Department of Performance Management and Evaluation (DPME) on the Bill. Written inputs and comments were also obtained, and the Bill was amended accordingly.

Consultative road shows were undertaken with MuniMECs/troikas and office-bearers in all nine provinces between April and July 2021. Joint intervention roadshows were also conducted, led by the Deputy Ministers of Finance and COGTA, on intervention procedures in the provinces during the first quarter of 2021/22.

The Bill was consulted with the CoGTA MINMEC; the Transport MINMEC; the Environmental Affairs MINMEC; and the Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Technical MINMEC. At the same time, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) was engaged, which included three labour unions operating in the local government space -- the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) and the Municipal and Allied Trade Union of South Africa (MATUSA). To date, 704 written comments and inputs have been obtained from these different stakeholders, and all inputs were considered for inclusion in the Bill where necessary.

In October 2021, the Bill was subjected to a compulsory Cabinet-required socio-economic impact assessment (SEIA) conducted by the Presidency. In addition to the requirements of the SEIAS, a monitoring and evaluation framework and an implementation plan for the Bill had been developed. The Department had been issued with the SEIA certificate in March, and another in September, paving the way for submitting the Bill to Cabinet clusters and Cabinet for approval.

In addition, a parallel process was undertaken wherein the Bill was submitted to the Office of the State Law Advisor (OSLA) in October 2021. The purpose was to obtain a Cabinet compulsory state law advisor's constitutional compliance certificate. A preliminary constitutional compliance certificate was issued on the Bill in January 2022, also paving the way for submitting the Bill to Cabinet.

The Bill was served before the Governance State Capacity and Institutional Development (GSCID) Cluster for processing on 16 November. This was followed by serving the Bill before the GSCID-DG Cluster on 24 November. Thereafter, the Bill was served before the Cabinet Ministerial Cluster on 29 November.

Once Cabinet approves the Bill, it would then be published for public comments between January and March 2023.

After the publication for the public comments' process, the Bill would be submitted to the parliamentary processes and be dealt with in terms of the National Assembly Rules, and those of the National Council of Provinces, as a section 76 Bill affecting the provinces. As a section 76 Bill, it would be considered by the Portfolio Committee responsible for cooperative governance. It would then be considered by the Select Committee on cooperative governance

-Once the Bill was approved by the National Assembly, it would be submitted to the President for assenting, and once so assented, be enacted as an Act of Parliament in the 2023/24 financial year.

[See the attachment for details]


Ms Mkhaliphi said she hoped the Bill would help a lot with the burning issues that had led to a hot debate following the State of Local Government Report presentation, once it was implemented as an Act of Parliament. The Department had been shifting the implementation date of this Bill. Could she get clarity on that, because her understanding was that this Bill could be expected next year in July -- was that correct? The Auditor-General (AG) had also raised some concerns that the delay in the implementation was due to the Department’s poor planning -- what had caused the delay in the Department? It looked like it would be introduced very late next year because of the processes involved.

The presentation indicated that consultation had taken place with some stakeholders regarding the Section 76 Bill, but there was no sense of community involvement or consultation which would help in getting issues from the people and how this Bill would help the communities to get their service delivery, because that where it had to end. It had to end with the poor person in a deep rural area of the Eastern Cape receiving what belonged to him or her.

Mr Brink expressed his appreciation for the progress report. This piece of legislation was one that the Committee had asked for repeatedly for the past two years or longer, given that the first version of this Bill had been in the pipeline since 2013. What was the latest version of this Bill? Was there a reference number or code to identify it so that Members could tell what version of the Bill had been taken to stakeholders? Slide 6 referred to the comments received, or the fact that it was circulated to various stakeholders, so could they have an idea of the nature and extent of the changes that had been made to that Bill, based on the input of stakeholders? Were they fundamental changes? How had it been considered and then landed as the version served to the Cabinet?

According to slide seven, the Bill was going to be served before Cabinet yesterday. Did the Cabinet approve it, and if not, when was the next opportunity that it would be considered? Interestingly enough, the Western Cape had provincial legislation on intergovernmental support monitoring and intervention -- could the Department learn a few lessons there? Did the Department perhaps consider that, as they had no other legislation on intergovernmental support monitoring and intervention in the country, whether any of the lessons could be learned from the Western Cape provincial legislation?

Department's response

Mr Thenga said the Department was appreciative of the questions and input made by the Members.

On why the Bill was delayed, he said it had been indicated in the medium term strategic framework (MTSF) that the Bill would be submitted to Parliament in July to start the process. There had been a lot of consultations on the Bill, and there had been different versions to such an extent that the current Bill was as is. There had been substantive consultations and inputs from the stakeholders and according to the MTSF, it would serve before Parliament in July 2023.

On the consultations with the communities, he said it could be partially observed that the Bill had been served before NEDLAC, but it had to be noted that in the presentation itself, it had been indicated that once the Cabinet approved the Bill, it would be published for public comment in February/March 2023. That was when the Department would constitutionally and legislatively be able to be in consultation with the community at large on the prescript of the Bill.  

He was not too sure about the latest version of the Bill that Mr Brink was referring to, or the one he had, but there was the latest version of the Bill that had been amended with the input received from different stakeholders. He could safely confirm that yesterday it had not been a Cabinet meeting, but a ministerial cluster meeting that had looked at the Bill. What transpired in this cluster meeting was that it had been decided that the Department would have to get a legal opinion on the Bill, and immediately redistribute the Bill to the national departments and the provinces in order to obtain still further input on it.

On benchmarking with the Western Cape on the intervention framework, he said the Department had been, and was still, calling on input from other entities. It had been sent to the Premier's office in the Western Cape and the Provincial Treasury before the provincial COGTA, to solicit comments on the Bill, but the comments that, by and large, came from the Western Cape were more of a rejection of the Bill. It said the Bill allowed for more intrusion in the provinces and municipalities, which was not allowed.

He responded to the question on the kind of comments obtained, saying the comments were categorised and at a high level, the Department was showing in the presentation the comments that had been obtained previously on the Bill. The presentation gave high-level comments from stakeholders that had been consulted, and who were saying the Bill should clearly articulate what an "executive obligation" was, as it had been an elusive phrase to comprehend by all the stakeholders involved. The simplicity and clarity of defining the concept had been derived from the literature end of the jurisprudence.

There had been an emphasis on the delineation of the different processes for different modes of intervention provided for in the Constitution, so there was a clear process for the invocation of sections 100 (a) and (b), 139 (1) (a), (b),(c), (4), (5) and (7) of the Constitution. Thus, each mode had to have its own simplified processes and procedures. Strong emphasis was on the clear delineation of powers and mandate of the administrator on one side, against the powers and mandate of the administration and the office bearers on the other, in an intervention scenario in the provinces and municipalities. The issues relating to dealing with interference or obstructing the intervention should be clearly articulated regarding conditions and penalties that could be imposed.

Emphasis was also on providing a role for different stakeholders in the Bill, including creating a national coordinating committee that would cater for the invocation of section 100 once it was involved in a province or provincial department. This national coordinating committee would consist of the COGTA Minister (who would be dealing with corporate governance issues), the Minister of Finance (dealing with finance) and the DPSA Minister (dealing with personnel issues), and any other Minister who had an interest in the intervened provincial department.

The issue of how the application of the interventions was to be funded should be included in the Bill, and should be for both Sections 100 and 139 of the Constitution. The monitoring and support from other spheres of government had been emphasised before the invocation of the intervention as a last resort, given the intrusive nature of the interventions. The indication here was that, on the other hand, there had been almost total rejection of the prescript of the Bill from the comments obtained from the Western Cape. The main argument was that the Bill was very intrusive into the provincial and municipal powers bestowed by the Constitution and legislation. The Western Cape province had developed and adopted its own intervention policy and procedures.

Mr Brink asked whether the Committee could be furnished with the version of the Bill that was sent for public comments and so on, because Members had no idea of what it said.

The Chairperson said he had forgotten about Mr Brink’s question in the questions section, where he had asked about the coding of the Bill, or for a reference number. He agreed that the Committee should get the report and timeframes as prescribed within two weeks. If the Bill had been there a long time ago, there would not be this situation in which they found themselves, where they were still not convinced that they had exhausted all the clauses in the Constitution that governed local government in terms of an intervention. It looked like they were not yielding any results, but with this piece of legislation, everybody had become interested because it had not been developed out of the blue -- it was informed by practical experiences. Did all these delays mean they no longer saw a need for this Bill? One term that must be included was "urgent," based on what was being spoken about.

The meeting was adjourned.


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