Minister Baloyi's 2012 Budget Vote speech

Minister Richard Baloyi delivered his first Budget Vote speech as a minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in Parliament this afternoon. In his speech, minister noted government's service delivery achievements in these areas:
  • Over 85% of the local households have access to electricity, a majority of whom are at the rural areas;
  •  Housing delivery record shows that over 2.2 million houses have  been provided since 1994;
  • Over 95% households have access to water and
  • Access to sanitation and refuse removal is respectively at 85% and 72%.

Furthermore, minister emphasized the importance of maintaining public infrastructure to support delivery of services. The ministry has announced that it would, this Friday 11 May 2012, launch a R47 -billion Strategic Infrastructure Programme 7 (SIP 7). The SIP 7  is an integrated urban space and public transport infrastructure development programme which is part of the 17 SIPs that were announced by President Jacob Zuma in his 2012 State of The Nation Address.

 

 

Minister's speech starts here.

It is a sad moment for us to present this Budget Vote at this rare trying moments, that the country lay to rest, three of the leaders with whom we shared responsibilities in running this Government, located on Oversight and Executive organs, respectively.

Today, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Cde Roy Padayachie is entering his post-life permanent place of rest.

On Saturday this week, the former Minister of COGTA, Cde Sicelo Shiceka will be buried.
 
Mom-Flo Nyanda, MP is also no more.

These three leaders have run their races and fought their fights, and have now reached their final destinations, cold, still and voiceless.

They live their spears with us.

Chairperson,

I am honoured to present the Budget Vote for the Portfolio of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, for the financial year 2012/2013

In financial terms, the budget for the entire Ministry stands at R54.715 billion, with R37.837 bn allocated for the Equitable Share, R13.881 bn for MIG, R230 million for MSIG, R1.439 billion for CWP and R196.5 million for MISA.
We are making use of this opportunity to account to Parliament and the Nation as to how we rolled out the programme to address the priorities we set for ourselves last Financial Year, as well as to commit ourselves to implement the new programme.
 


Chairperson,
 
It was a bold step only the brave can take, for the Portfolio to have announced a Turn-Around Strategy for Local Government.

It was a journey to a brighter destination, yet routed through rugged terrains, rocky inclines and sometimes slippery descents with coordination trap-doors.

It was a journey derived from deep-seated political will to do things differently, with a view to strengthen confidence between the people and the Government through effective, efficient, responsive, and accountable developmental Local Government structures, among other things.

Asked whether we are on course the objectives of the turn-around strategy, the answer is “It is work in progress” in this tough journey.

More has been done, and more remains to be done
 
Of course we walk on this rough journey simultaneously with a similar challenging responsibility of steering the ship over somehow unstable waters in the transformation of Traditional and indigenous affairs.

On Local Government, we identified five focus areas as constituting our agenda of fast-tracking the implementation of the turn-around strategy, in terms of which we seek to characterise a record of our performance as we commit to a programme of faster implementation.

These are: Service delivery, Governance, Financial Management, Infrastructure development and fighting against corruption.

Chairperson,

It has been said several times that Local Government is at the coal-face of service delivery.

It is here that the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality are located.
It is here that the practical delivery programmes take place, be it by National or Provincial Government Department or by private sector institutions.

All delivery programmes take place at a local area.

The role of COGTA in this regard is to mobilise all the actors involved to give support to the Local Government structures.

We report that for the last financial year, we provided leadership to the nine National Departments that are part of Outcome 9, with the following impact:

•    93703 work opportunities were created through CWP and we plan to upscale this to 162000 work opportunities in this financial year.
•    92% of ward committees were established, while 77% of these were inducted.
•    80% of municipalities established Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) to improve governance and oversight in these municipalities.

Our observation from this state of affairs is that there is sometimes a sharp disconnect between the figures as we present in terms of the Outcome 9 reports, hence it is a priority this year to revise the formula to come with a more people-focused approach, so that what we would be seen to be reporting as outcomes must talk directly to the views of the people.

 We have therefore decided to hold service delivery assessment sessions in all the Provinces, called one-for-all summits, where we engage with all councillors, all Traditional leaders and finally all civil society formations, all on service delivery questions.

This practice will ensure that what we report quarterly is what the people experience on the ground.

If the target is to ensure that ward councillors report delivery and related matters to their wards at least once a quarter, it will be closely managed.

If the target is to consider Section 71 reports for monthly financial management assessments, it will be managed too.

To this end, the Eastern Cape Government is providing a lead through their MuniMEc arrangements, in terms of which the MEC meets frequently with all mayors and support machinery from the sector Departments and state-owned entities.

Our Office is invited into these sessions and we utilise the space to monitor the implementation of service delivery initiatives.

We set ourselves a target to review pieces of legislation that are said to be impeding service delivery, in terms of the Local Government Turn-around strategy.

Progress report on this point is that we have now identified more than three hundred sections of legislations that fall under this category and we are moving ahead to propose reviews.

Yes, there has been a delay in finalising this matter, chiefly because those who identified these laws do not go far beyond mentioning them.

We have put together a team of law experts to deal with this matter in that, we either establish facts and validate the claims and then continue to review the laws, or we fail to validate and then remove such laws from the list.

This, we will have to complete by August 2012.

Chair....,

When we developed the Local Government Turn-around strategy after the 2009 report, the situation was characterised by confrontation between the people and our Government, with so-called service delivery protests more prevalent.

Today as we account, we want to state regrettably that the country seem to be yet experiencing some challenges.

People are getting intolerant of the situation and easily take to streets and become extremely violent at times.

We have seen the destruction of Government property and Councilors’ houses at the Lesedi Municipality in Gauteng recently.

We have seen what other residents at the Sunrise Park in Rustenburg referred to as a “war-zone”-like situation.

We condemn this in the strongest possible terms, more so when some of these issues raised may be finalised without resorting to violence.

Unfortunately, we do not have bold individuals and organisations in this country that are prepared to one day mention one of the many good things that are done to the betterment of peoples’ lives in the Local areas.

Without sounding complacent on our record of service delivery, let me refer to the findings of the South African Development Index (SADI), an initiative of the South African Institute of Race Relations.

They made overall findings during the third update in 2011, thus “Of the six policy areas tracked by this index, three policy areas showed improvement and three remained the same”.

If this does not bear testimony enough to convince us that turning the situation around is work-in-progress, we may want to consider the South African Auditor-General’s remark that, although there are clear indications that there is room for improvement in dealing with financial management in Municipalities “It is not doom and gloom”.

Another important observation was made by the Public Protector in her report: “Dipaleseng: Glimmer of Hope?”, when she expressed that although she made more than five findings of negative rating on maladministration against the Municipality, she was convinced that it is not all lost.

Of course the records speak for themselves, as we look at the reality that:

•    Over 85% of the local households have access to electricity, a majority of whom are at the rural areas;

•    Our Housing delivery record shows that over 2.2 million houses have  been provided since 1994

•    We have over 95% households having access to water.

•    Access to sanitation and refuse removal is respectively at 85% and 72%

When we deal with infrastructure development programme, we focus on both bulk infrastructure and municipal infrastructure, and this is at the centre of service delivery.

The State of the Nation address on infrastructure development introduced a new way of doing things, with the establishment of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, and the identification of Strategic Integrated Plans, SIPS.

SIP 7 deals with integrated urban space and public transport programme, and we will communicate details on this at the launch of the SIP 7 on Friday.

Suffice to say that R47bn over the next three years have been budgeted towards the development of infrastructure in the twelve major cities as part of this programme.

Of course we have completed the diagnostic report on the state of Municipal infrastructure in the identified 23 District Municipalities, with a view to roll out the programme of action through the already-piloted Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).

This laid a foundation for effective intervention to turn things around, and it translates to a total of about 105 Local Municipalities.

According to the diagnosis, some of the key findings are:

•    Non-compliance with legislative IDP processes
•    No strategies to address land invasion
•    Incompetent CFOs in many municipalities
•    Overspending on operational budgets
•    CDW Programme not incorporated into Municipal operations.

Chair,

One of the key aspects in the life of Government structures is their ability to sustain a sound financial management.

We set several targets in this regard, including operation clean audit, boosting the viability of the Municipalities, accelerating revenue generation, rolling out the Municipal Public Accounts committees.

We want to state upfront here that the main driver of the clean audit campaign has not come clean for two consecutive years now, COGTA.

This state of affairs compromises the Department’s ability to intervene and provide support.

We have since taken steps and we are managing a project in this regard meant to recommend remedial measures by August 2012, after which we believe that we will be on course.

We continue to focus on doing things differently through action “Support”.

Recently we are working closely as National Government, the Gauteng Government and the Local Municipality of Lesedi, to deal with issues related to credit control.

This comes as we together are searching for a solution to what the community identifies as unfair treatment where sanction on electricity would be used as a default credit control mechanism, a practice which is somewhat common ------ You owe on water or rates or refuse removal, you are cut on electricity.

What we are doing in this project is to make sure that the enforcement of by-laws and the activation of other credit control mechanisms are stepped up to address credit control so that the revenue-generating capacity of the Municipality remains high as we implement the practice of sanctions on service non-payment in the area of default.
 
We know that this has generated a lot of interest as electricity consumption and credit management is one of the manageable interventions.

Through MISA programmes we will build necessary capacity for the Municipality to rise to the level of the challenge

Mhaka leyi yi lava hi yi teka kahle, ku ya hi leswi yi lumbaka swona.

Loko ho yi teka hi vuhefu-hefu bya matimba ya nkanu wo lomba hi ta vaviseka.

Xivuriso xa Xitsonga xi ri “Le’bya nyarhi le’yo, u nga ri ndza yi vona, hikuva u ta ya wela’ makokweni ya yona.

Ha va twa vanhu va vula leswaku loko va kolota masipala “service’ yo karhi, va lava leswaku va tshinyiwa eka “service” yaleyo, ku nga ri ku loko va kolota mati, kumbe ti-rates, va tshinyiwa hi ku va tsemela gezi na loko va nga ri koloti.

In fact, considering electricity as a default credit control raises a risk that service providers may not develop an interest in addressing sometimes genuine concerns about quality questions in the delivery of the other services.

Ladies and gentlemen, the debate is on about this issue, and it will soon be considered at the National Dialogue on Local and Traditional governance.  

Combined with the revival of the Masakhane-type campaign, it is possible to succeed in this area.

We believe that if we work together as various actors in the field of cooperative Governance, share experience and respect each other’s mandate, we stand a chance to succeed up to a point where the people will say of our Municipalities, “My Municipality, --- My Service”, and this include, Chairperson, the actions of political mandating structures.
 
All of us must support our Municipalities and sound financial management for effective service delivery will be a reality.

The question of viability is a critical factor in the lives of Municipalities.

The Western Cape has identified this as seriously affecting the District Municipalities, whereas in the Free State this cut across.

We will have a better assessment of the state of each Province as we prepare for the NCOP debate.

Notwithstanding this, we have started a process to address this matter, working with National Treasury.

The debate on the Municipal demarcation process will also address this matter.

Good Governance is one of the pillars for effective service delivery.

In this regard we want to focus on providing support to ensure that there are reliable systems and capable workforce.

Information Technology management in Municipalities is fragmented at the moment, and more often than not we witness solution-based or product-marketing interventions in Municipalities.

This is an unfortunate development, given that we founded for ourselves as a Government, a vehicle with the creation of SITA (State Information Technology Agency) in 1999, with a view of providing an IT regulatory regime by coordinating purchases to leverage on the economies of scale through bulk-buying, and ensure the interoperability of systems for a Government connected with itself across the spheres, as well as connected with its citizens.

In partnership with the Ministries of Public Service and Administration and of Finance, we are soon concluding on the required intervention.

There is also a need to do effective monitoring and evaluation to realise the implementation of Human resource management.

We have to strengthen the recruitment norms and standards and finalise issues related to the rationalisation of salaries of Municipal Managers.
We recommit to give progress report on this matter by the end of the Financial Year.
 
I know that we still have to finalise the Municipal Regulations to give effect to the implementation of the Municipal structures Act, as amended.

This is one of the major contributions created by the Turn-around intervention that has since been blocked by process challenges.

There has been a delay in the finalisation of the Regulations due to differences arising from the interpretations of the Act and/or serious content issues that obtained when the Act was being developed at the Bill state, notably as raised by SALGA and also the trade unions.

We put together a joint facilitating team with SALGA that will report to a Forum appropriately configured, and meant to deal with issues with a view to have the Regulations published by July 2012.

We could have accelerated the matter, but the reality is that we must deal with these matters without creating loopholes for difficulties in the implementation.

In the spirit of cooperative Governance by all the three spheres, we want to consolidate the effective utilisation of the tools that we have created to deal with the scourge of corruption in the public sector.

The anti-corruption Inspectorate in COGTA will play a critical role coordinating the fight against corruption without necessarily duplicating the mandates of the other corruption-busting instruments.

The Inspectorate will also be capacitated to deal with issues related to violation of norms and standards in the general administration of Local governance.

We will unpack on this when we address the NCOP as we present our Budget in the near future.

Chairperson,

Let me now cross over to the matters of Traditional and indigenous affairs.

The progress we are reporting in this regard is that the transformation programme is on course.

We are working on the National Traditional Affairs Bill and still committed to have it tabled in Parliament by July 2012.

This Bill seeks to review the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act with a view to create space for the inclusion of certain categories of persons who may now be excluded, either as technicality or as a design.

The Bill seeks to review the National House of Traditional Leaders Act with a view of course to provide for more participation in that institution.

The Municipal Structures Act is also a subject matter to be considered for a possible review, primarily to provide for the active participation of Traditional leaders at the Local Municipality level.

Chairperson,

It is well-known that traditional leaders are treated like all other public representatives when it comes to the determination of salary levels as well as the provision of tools of trade.

The determining body here is the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers that has been established by the Constitution.

The Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act is currently being reviewed to incorporate other categories of traditional leaders that are currently excluded.
Part of the transformation work where we have not been playing as active a role as it ought to have been, is in the development of a bill that talk about the administration of justice in the traditional communities, referred to as the Traditional Courts Bill.

We have of late developed an interest to participate in the process.

As Honourable members are aware, we continue to provide support in dealing with litigations against the findings of the Nhlapo Commission, we can only advise now that we still have a long way to go to put those cases behind us.

Worthy to be noted also is that we still have a lot of cases of disputes and claims on Traditional leadership which are being considered by the in-house Commission headed by Commissioner Tolo.

In total we have a backlog of 1 244 claims and disputes that involve the Kings, Senior Traditional Leadership, Headmen and Headwomen.

We will provide details of this information as we table our Budget with the NCOP.

We know that we may not all agree with the publication of the list, but if we take our people seriously, we may want to compromise.

There is nothing that is as frustrating than to see the claimants not knowing what to do and the status of their claims and end up being exposed to all sorts of exploitative initiatives when Government has the information.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
As a caring Government, we feel obliged to take the people on board, but we will appreciate the views of honourable members in this regard.

We are committed to the restoration of the dignity of  of the KhoiSan leadership and communities, and we are further determined to move faster to close the chapter on the transformation and affirmation of these communities.

We are engaging them on these matters and we want to take this opportunity to thank the National Khoisan Council for their effectiveness in coordinating this project.

Chairperson,

We established a team between COGTA and the Commission to work closely with Treasury, so that we may be in a position to deal with outstanding questions of the remuneration of Traditional Leaders at all levels.

As I conclude, I want to state that the five priority issues that I referred to when dealing with Municipalities are also applicable in the area of Traditional Leadership, and accordingly, all Traditional councils in the 23 Districts and the 105 Municipalities are targeted for accelerated development.      

Thank you, ndza khensa