Today, the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department Mr Obed Bapela gave the National Council of Provinces Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings an update on undertaking made before the NCOP by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on 4 May 2016.
Following were the undertakings and the update thereof:
The first issue was on ward-based service delivery dashboards and implementing ward improvement plans. The Department committed to “developing ward-based service delivery dashboards and implementing ward improvement plans. This will ensure basic services, such as the cutting of grass, working streetlights and timeous fixing of water leaks, are delivered easily”.
Ward committees, through their council, report progress quarterly to the offices of the Speaker. Reports are then consolidated and tabled in councils for discussion and action. The ward level service plans are further monitored through the Back to Basics dashboard. The goal is to ensure that all wards have these service improvement plans by 2021.
The department is finalising the terms of reference for a dashboard on municipal performance and the implementation of the Back to Basics programme for effective and efficient decision making.
The Dashboard will serve as an Early Warning System (EWS) to detect good and poor performance so as to determine what course of action to take. For, example the system should be able to inform the users when a municipality’s performance is deteriorating so that dedicated support can be provided on a specific Key Performance Area before a municipality goes into a crisis.
In 2016, COGTA also made undertakings related to increasing public participation platforms, which specifically read as follows.
Over the next year, we want to increase public participation platforms so that councilors engage more regularly with their constituencies and provide constant feedback on progress. We aim to ensure the election of more credible ward committees and will introduce a national induction programme for newly elected ward committee members. We also intend institutionalizing community complaints management systems and processes in municipalities.
Schedule 5 of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act, 2000 provides for quarterly feedback meetings by councillors to the public, and that indicators have to be developed to inform such reports.
After the 2016 Local Government Elections, municipalities embarked on the elections and establishment of ward committees for the new term of office, as required by law.
In ensuring the establishment of credible ward committees, the department has rolled-out a national campaign on ward committee elections, conducted induction training for ward committees in all provinces, provided provincial workshops on the development of ward committee operational plans.
To date out of 4392 ward committees, 4258 have been established, which translate to 98% ward committees established in all provinces. Ongoing technical hands-on support is being provided to struggling municipalities to strengthen the effectiveness and functionality of ward committees.
To ensure the election of more credible ward committees after the 2016 local government election, the department has put in place the required support measures to manage the pre and post transitional matters that included amongst others:
- Standard Operating Procedures for ward committee elections and Community Participation;
- Rolled out a nationwide induction programme for newly elected ward committee members
- National campaign to increase awareness and participation of communities in the election of credible ward committees.
The department is in the process of reviewing the legislative framework for ward committees and community participation to assess its weaknesses and develop proposals for a revised ward committee model. We have also introduced ward level service improvement plans to broaden public participation. The plans assist ward committees in planning, implementing and monitoring of service delivery at ward level.
We also supported municipalities through a guiding Framework on the Development and Implementation of Ward Operational Plans. The Framework provided guidance to municipalities on the development of ward level service improvement plans with a set of specific activities. The plans include amongst others identification of community service delivery needs such as filling potholes, attending to streetlights, cutting of grasses and various others.
An Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is a community-driven and council-led municipal strategic plan, based on the needs of residents, organized into goals and priorities, and aligned to resources, providing a framework for municipal budgets, programmes and projects.
In addition to responding to the needs of the residents it affects, IDPs also:
- Provide citizens with an opportunity to evaluate municipal performance;
- Coordinate the programmes, plans and projects of national and provincial departments that are implemented at local government level
- Ensure effective use of limited resources and encourage fiscal responsibility; Attract additional investments and funds;
- Ensure effective service delivery and strengthen democratic processes (in part through various public participation initiatives); and
- Improve inter-governmental coordination.
With regards to public participation in the IDP process, municipalities are legally obliged to consult their constituencies during the development, implementation and assessment of IDPs. The strengths and benefits of this method of public participation are based on the fact that the system is well-established, effectively legislated and comparatively well supported. This has enabled various municipalities to review and improve their public participation initiatives, and to develop some innovative (good practice) approaches.
Community Development Workers (CDWs) have a critical role to perform in promoting and encouraging public participation at the local government sphere. The management and control of CDWs take place in ward level where they work together with ward councillors and ward committees since they serve the same constituency.
The CDW programme is implemented at provincial level, employed in the Office of the Premier (Free State and North West), while others are employed in the Provincial Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
At municipal level CDWs are placed in the office of the Municipal Manager in some municipalities, while in other municipalities they are placed either in the Offices of the Speaker or the Mayor. Currently there are 3239 CDWs across all nine provinces.
CDWs are used as the service delivery machinery to drive the service delivery models of their respective provinces. They are at the centre of leading change and improvements in the communities guided by the various service delivery models of their provinces (war rooms). CDWs continue to be instrumental at ward level on the issues such as community mobilization, household profiling, and support ward councillors in supporting participatory democracy.
Integrated Service Delivery Models have been established in six provinces with the main objective of addressing and providing feedback to communities on service delivery challenges in a structured and integrated manner.
The programme is aimed at enhancing the level of services provided to citizens through Operations Centres and War Rooms which is a one-stop shop for the citizens to obtain assistance from government. The programme is currently being implemented in the following provinces: Eastern Cape – Masipathisane, Mpumalanga -Operation Vuka Sesebente, Gauteng-Ntirisano, Free State – Hlasela, North West – Setsokotsane and KwaZulu-Natal – Operation Sukuma Sakhe. Since this model is being implemented at a ward level, it involves government, municipalities and other stakeholders such as. Ward Councillors, CDWs, traditional leaders and communities. Therefore, it serves as an inclusive support structure that aim at promoting public participation and the involvement of communities in the planning, implementation and monitoring of service.
The Municipal Community Complaints Management System is one of the critical mechanisms that municipalities need to put in place to respond effectively to community complaints. Many larger municipalities have developed such systems within each of the major service-orientated line departments.
Smaller municipalities have opted to centralise the system in one office to manage all service complaints so as to make the most rational use of their resources some have established petition committees.
The Department has developed norms and standards to guide provinces and municipalities in putting in place systems and processes to record and respond effectively and efficiently to the concerns raised by communities. The concept of citizen-based monitoring and government’s commitment to it, flows from existing legislation and policy, which places a strong emphasis on a partnership between citizens and government. The first phase has been completed and the programme has been piloted in 34 police stations, health facilities and SASSA offices across the provinces of Eastern Cape (Umsobomvu Municipality- Gateway Clinic and SASSA Offices), North West (Wolmaranstad police station and SASSA Offices), Northern Cape (Tshwaragano Hospital and SASSA offices). Applying CBM results in the institutionalization of systems to increase responsiveness and accountability in government, using citizen feedback.
The related to implementing regional management support contracts.
The specific commitment was: In the forthcoming year, MISA will implement the regional management support contracts to improve infrastructure delivery, management and operations. This projects will assist municipalities to put in place improved management systems and processes for infrastructure delivery and management of services provision.
In this regard, Regional Management Support Contracts are being implemented in the following three District municipalities.
3a. AMATHOLE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY
(Phase 3: Implementation Phase)
This entails improving planning for water and sanitation services, and improving implementation and operation of water and sanitation services, including monitoring and reporting. It also involves improving information on water losses; improve water and wastewater effluent quality to meet standards.
It also entails improving project management systems and capability, data and information management systems and devising a plan to reduce costs and increase revenue. The timeframes for all these is May 2019. The contracts are also for improving revenue collection, infrastructure supply chain management and Human Resource information management, all which mostly have a December 2018 timeframe. There is also a need for developing and approving a revised organogram, which is waiting Council approval.
3b. SEKHUKHUNE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY (Phase 3: Implementation Phase)
In Sekhukhune, the regional management support contracts involve establishing a Water Service Authority, improving water and sanitation infrastructure planning, water loss, infrastructure operation and maintenance and improving water quality monitoring legislative compliance.
It also seeks to improve billing and revenue collection, including putting in place Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or improved SOPs for billing and credit control, and to ensure realistic and affordable in terms of projected revenue, as well as reducing expenditure without reducing service delivery.
It will also put in place SOPs for payment of suppliers within 30 days and related monitoring and intervention system, improve the functioning of bid committees, contract management and Supply Chain Management, reviewing the organogram, prioritise posts for filling and improving individual performance management system.
3.c OR TAMBO DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY (Phase 2: Turnaround strategy & Action Plan Design & Development Phase.)
The project intends to improve percentage real increase in municipal revenue, address water losses, improve blue drop and green drop scores, decrease water and sanitation infrastructure backlogs, improve minimum pressures and minimum flow rates and improve Municipal Self-Assessment Scores scores. Though delayed, the project is scheduled for completion by August 2019.
On the last issue, of providing support to traditional councils, the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) has assessed the functionality of traditional councils in various provinces and subsequently assisted in developing support plans for the affected Traditional Councils, which addressed the following:
- Good governance
- Financial management and accountability
- Community stability/administration of justice
- Promotion and Preservation of culture
- Land administration and management
- Partnerships and Relations
The Department also continues to support traditional leaders with training programmes to enhance their performance. During the last six months, training done at provincial level covered Visionary Leadership; Integrated Development Planning, Local Economic Development Planning, Financial Management, Child Protection, HIV/Aids and Gender and the Rural Housing Programme.
DTA is also engaging with the National School of Government to enhance this training and to develop a credit-bearing curriculum for traditional leadership and municipalities.
This will include modules on: Financial Management, Legislation and Governance, Leadership and Management, Inter-governmental Relations and Restorative Justice.
The Department continues to engage with other stakeholders like SALGA in the development of an Integrated Capacity Building Programme for councilors and Traditional Leaders on areas such as: Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR), Spatial Planning processes, IDP Policy and Legislation, Land Development: Agriculture and Socio-Economic Development; long-term capacity-building for traditional leaders and municipalities, long-term Integrated Capacity Building Programmes (Traditional Leadership, municipalities) and strategic partnerships.
In addition, the DTA has also developed guidelines on the Traditional Leaders’ participation in municipal IDP processes in line with the requirements of the Municipal Systems Act and these have been workshopped in eight provinces.
The objectives of the Guidelines are amongst others, to clarify the role of traditional leadership in the municipality in terms of the Traditional Leadership Framework Governance Act, 2003, ensure uniformity in traditional leaders’ involvement in the municipal planning process, improve relations between traditional leaders and municipalities, and facilitate traditional councils and community participation in the municipal processes.
It is envisaged that these guidelines would help improve and strengthen relations between Traditional Leaders and municipal councillors.
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