National Council of Provinces questions for oral reply by the President
24 Apr 2012ê1. Ms N D Ntwanambi (ANC-Western Cape) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether the President's Coordinating Council has considered in the past two years any issues pertaining to the (a) delivery of services in the provinces, (b) progress that provinces and municipalities are making in achieving clean audit outcomes and (c) implementation of effective governance structures and systems to achieve clean audit outcomes by 2014; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in each case;
(2) whether any of the Premiers' and district intergovernmental fora have dealt with similar issues in the past two years; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, how are the issues discussed at district and Premier’s intergovernmental fora referred to (a) the President’s Coordinating Council, (b) government departments and (c) Parliament for follow-up purposes? CO202E
Reply: The main purpose of the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) is to ensure the coordination and alignment of priorities, objectives and strategies across the three spheres of government and to promote the implementation thereof. The Presidential Coordinating Council discusses various issues to harmonise action by the three spheres of government including those mentioned by the Honourable Member. The improvement of service delivery is a top priority.
The fourth democratic administration has emphasized performance monitoring and evaluation and has introduced the outcomes-based approach to monitor service delivery. The Presidential Coordinating Council meeting of 31 March 2010 discussed at length the Outcomes-Based Approach, including the notion of delivery and performance agreements by Ministers and Departments.
On 23 April 2010 I met with Directors-General of national and provincial departments and gave a clear direction of what we expect in terms of improving service delivery and citizen care. At the Presidential Coordinating Council meeting held on 6 March 2012, we received a progress report from the Department of Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration in the Presidency which indicates that the Directors-General are working hard at improving frontline service delivery, performance management systems and the general implementation of programmes.
The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Department will continue to monitor progress. At the same Presidential Coordinating Council meeting we received a report from the Free State province reflecting on non-viable municipalities that impacts on service delivery. The Presidential Coordinating Council resolved that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as well as the National Treasury should conduct a survey in all provinces around non-viable municipalities and make recommendations.
The issue of clean audits and how these are obtained was discussed at length as well in the March meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council. Various concerns were raised about the audit practices including consultation with regard to audit outcomes and implications, proposal for a review of the Public Finance Management Act and upgrading of financial systems to support the regulatory framework.
The Presidential Coordinating Council meetings of 29 November 2010 and 29 March 2011 discussed the issue of Legislation Impeding Service Delivery, following a concern raised by the Western Cape. Some of the sectors identified as needing attention were Land Use Management, Human Settlements and in particular the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act.
At the March 2011 Presidential Coordinating Council meeting, it was emphasised that all departments should study the legislation that they administer to ensure that such legislation enhances rather than impedes service delivery. National departments were directed to develop internal capacity to review and amend legislation or draft new legislation where required to do so.
To ensure follow up by Parliament, the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Department can be requested to provide further information on the aspects that the department monitors to improve service delivery.
I thank you.
ê2. Mr T E Chaane (ANC-North West) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1). Whether Cabinet or Government has discussed the issue of departments that owe monies to municipalities for services such as water, electricity, refuse collection, fore and traffic services, utilisation of municipal infrastructure; if so, (a) what is the total amount owed by the national and provincial departments to municipalities and (b) what are the further relevant details; if not,
(2). Whether he will (a) initiate such a process and/or (b) intervene to expedite the payment of municipalities by the national and provincial departments; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? CO204E
Reply: Honourable members, no municipality can function effectively on state grants alone without the additional revenue generated though the payment of services. Government departments at both national and provincial levels must be exemplary and pay for municipal services on time and must not contribute to some municipalities becoming non-viable or having difficulties in functioning.
Their failure to pay for their services does not promote the spirit of cooperative governance required in the Constitution. This is a point I emphasised in my meeting with mayors of all municipalities held in September 2009 at the start of my term as President of the Republic. However, the matter of non-payment of municipal services by national and provincial government departments has not been tabled for discussion by Cabinet and has not been raised as an issue at the Presidential Coordinating Committee which is attended by the Premiers of the Provinces and the leadership of the South African Local Government Association.
As a result, there is currently no comprehensive quantification of the extent of the problem on a national scale. However in the light of the concerns raised about the non payment of services by national and provincial government departments, I have instructed the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to investigate this matter further and have also put the matter on the agenda for the next Presidencial Coordinating Committee which will be held next month.
We are confident that all national and provincial departments fully understand and appreciate their civic duty to pay for services, and that they are indeed paying for all municipal services that are rendered to them.
I thank you.
ê3. Prince M M M Zulu (IFP-KwaZulu-Natal) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1). Whether the Presidential Nodal Zones (PNZs) which were identified for poverty alleviation have made improvements to those areas; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what the relevant details;
(2). Whether the PNZ in the Jozini Dam area is being fully utilised; if not, (a) why not and (b) when will the benefits envisaged by the PNZ planners be (i) seen and (ii) felt by the residents of this area; if so, what are the relevant details? CO214E
Reply: Honourable Member, allow me at the outset to clarify an issue of terminology. The Presidential Nodal Zones were part of the Intergrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy and the War on Poverty Programme. With the reconfiguration of government departments in 2009, these programmes and the nodal areas were integrated into the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.
As far as the first part of the question, studies that were conducted in the nodes by the Department of Cooperative Governance and the Department of Social Development, found that poverty levels were declining; the number of households with income to access food had also increased: and an improvement in infrastructure service delivery was also indicated with a number of the areas showing an increase in access to basic services.
Although successes could be seen, a number of challenges persisted including coordination across government spheres and funding challenges within the Rural Development Programme. There are currently 23 district municipalities that have been prioritised for attention due to the prevalence of extreme poverty and underdevelopment.
The July 2011, Cabinet Lekgotla adopted various Action Plans to further improve service delivery in these priority areas. The action plans are led by identified departments who have to ensure coordination and service delivery of the agreed targets.
Further, the provision of social and economic infrastructure in the 23 district municipalities which are experiencing the largest number of backlogs is one of the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) contained in the infrastructure development plan adopted by the Cabinet and the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Commission (PICC).
In this regard, district-wide infrastructure action plans are being developed in conjunction with all the three spheres of government. A national inter-departmental Task Team is collating and evaluating projects submitted by various district municipalities.
In each district, two catalytic infrastructure projects will be identified to kick-start sustainable social and economic development. We expect that this process will be completed by the end of May this year.
The entire Jozini Dam area falls within the uMkhanyakude District which had previously been part of the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme but is now one of the 23 prioritised districts. Various projects focusing on enterprise development, basic services and agricultural development are currently in varied stages of implementation in the area.
These include the revitalisation of several irrigation schemes in the area such as the Makhatini Irrigation Scheme and the Ndumo schemes. The Ndumo A scheme has been non functional for many years and the plan is to bring the first 150 hectares into production this year. Ndumo B currently has 150 hectares under production and an additional 200 hectares are to be brought into production, starting in this financial year. It is anticipated that these projects will contribute to food security and small farmer development in the area.
I thank you.
ê4. Mrs N W Magadla (ANC-KwaZulu-Natal) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether the President’s Coordinating Council has any programmes in place to address the challenges of protests that occur as a result of the lack of service delivery by the distressed municipalities; if not, why not; if so, what (a) programmes and (b) measures are in place to ensure that such challenges are addressed;
(2) What are the outcomes of the President’s Coordinating Council meeting that was held on 28 March 2012 in ensuring that there is coordination of job opportunities within the three spheres of government? CO209E
Reply: The Presidential Coordinating Council is a coordinating structure and therefore does not have programmes of its own. It coordinates and promotes the cooperation of the three spheres of government. However, we do discuss issues of concern such as local government protests with a view to finding solutions, working together.
For example, the Presidential Coordinating Council meeting of 26 November 2011 received a report from the Western Cape raising concerns around violent service delivery protests and what was described as poor policing during some of the protests. The meeting resolved that while we respect individuals and communities’ right to voice their concern, we condemn the violence and destruction of property in affected municipalities.
The very existence of the Presidential Coordinating Council is to identify and address service delivery challenges by providing a forum where we can identify good practices. The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster was requested to report to the Presidential Coordinating Council on how to solve this problem. This will be done in forthcoming meetings of the Presidential Coordinating Council.
Honourable Member, you refer to a Presidential Coordinating Council meeting convened on 28 March 2012. I assume you are referring to the one of 6 March 2012. The Minister of Economic Development gave a progress report on the infrastructure development plan that was announced during the State of the Nation Address.
As Honourable Members would know, the plan is aimed at taking forward government’s fight against inequality, unemployment and poverty and covers all provinces. The Premiers are members of the President’s Infrastructure Coordination Commission and will be kept abreast with regards to implementation, through this forum.
A report on Job Creation was also submitted to the Presidential Coordinating Council meeting of 11 October 2011 by the Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and Premiers provided a provincial perspective in this regard. This had followed the President’s declaration of 2011 as the year of job creation.
I thank you.
ê5. Mrs E C Lingen (DA-Eastern Cape) to ask the President of the Republic:
With reference to all international agreements on nuclear energy production signed by South Africa in the past three years, (a) with which (i) country and (ii) companies were these agreements made, (b) what are the commitments made each party in each specified agreement, (c) which provinces will these agreements affect and (d) what are the relevant details of such effects? CO218E
Reply: Honourable Members, as I stated at the recent Nuclear Security Summit that was held in Seoul, South Korea, South Africa remains committed to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
This commitment is reflected in our Nuclear Energy Policy and Strategy of 2008 as well as laws passed by this Parliament such as the Nuclear Energy Act of 1999 and the National Nuclear Regulator Act of 1999.
South Africa's position of nuclear energy is informed by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament. South Africa was the first state signatory in Africa to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
In the last three years, South Africa has signed bilateral cooperation on civilian nuclear energy technology cooperation with the People’s Republic of Algeria in May 2010, and with South Korea in October 2010. As a signatory to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the South African government does not enter into nuclear agreements with private companies.
The nuclear cooperation agreements that South Africa signed with other countries commit the signatories to pursue mutually beneficial areas, which include research and development, use of nuclear applications in health, agriculture; nuclear safety, radioactive waste and spent fuel management, decommissioning, as well as radiation protection including emergency preparedness and response.
South Africa, like many other developing countries, faces the challenge of meeting the needs of people who still lack access to basic, modern energy services while at the same time participating in a global transition towards clean, low-carbon energy systems.
To meet these needs and to contribute to the global efforts for renewable and sustainable energy, we need to see broad changes to the way we generate energy by developing a diverse energy mix and encouraging investments in alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy.
None of the nuclear cooperation agreements signed thus far affects the provinces.
I thank you.
ê6. Ms M G Boroto (ANC-Mpumalanga) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission has (a) met since its establishment in September 2011 and (b) identified any projects and infrastructure initiatives in all provinces for the 2011/12 financial year; if not, why not; if so, (i) how will these projects benefit their immediate communities and the national imperatives of creating jobs and building a viable and (ii) what are the further relevant details;
(2) Whether these projects include the Moloto Rail Corridor; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? CO205E
Reply: The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission was formed in September 2011 and was constituted with a Council, Management Committee and Secretariat. The Council consists of a number of Cabinet Members, the nine Premiers, Metro Mayors and SALGA representatives, and is chaired by the President and in his absence, the Deputy President. The Management Committee consists of a smaller team of Ministers, Premiers and SALGA representatives and is chaired by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti.
The Secretariat consists of Cabinet members and Deputy Ministers and is chaired by the Minister of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission structures met on numerous occasions: the Council convened two formal meetings, the Management Committee has met on more than ten occasions and the Secretariat meets at least fortnightly.
In January this year, the Cabinet Lekgotla, which included Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers and SALGA representatives, received a report on the draft Infrastructure Plan and endorsed the proposed Plan. The Plan was then formally adopted by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission Council meeting in February this year.
The Plan provides for a 20 year project pipeline and includes projects in the 2012/13 financial year and beyond. The Plan sets out seventeen Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), containing road, rail, port, water, sanitation, energy, communications, health and education infrastructural projects. Every province is covered by one or more Strategic Integrated Projects.
As Honourble Members should recall, I made available details of the five geographic Strategic Integrated Projects in the State of the Nation Address in February this year. Subsequently, I launched the Port of Nqgura in the Eastern Cape as well as the Dube Trade Port in eThekwini, two projects that are included in the Infrastructure Plan. One of the Strategic Integrated Projects addresses the challenges of Mpumalanga, and contains proposals for a shift from road-to-rail transport in the province, as well as strong logistics corridors between Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
The Moloto Corridor is one component but the technical team seeks to develop the idea beyond simply a transport of day labour from Mpumalanga to Gauteng, instead it has identified the need to use the corridor to support agro-processing industries among others. Details of this will be pursued further at local level by the team which has been set up for Strategic Integrated Project 1, launched on 13 April 2012.
Two weeks ago we convened a Provincial and Local Government Conference at which the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission provided details of the seventeen Strategic Integrated Projects to MECs, Executive Mayors, Directors-General, as well as other senior government officials. Honourable Members, infrastructure is critical to national development.
It provides the physical platform for economic development by making available energy, transport facilities, communication and water to industries identified in the New Growth Path framework adopted by Cabinet, and so it spurs new investment and jobs. It is an essential component of service delivery, through provision of sanitation, health facilities, education, electricity and water to local communities.
But infrastructure also creates jobs and if properly structured, it is a major source for new industrialisation. Our Infrastructure Plan will focus on local procurement of components, building materials and construction equipment, in order to support local industry.
The Infrastructure Plan has one Strategic Integrated Projects focussed on African regional integration, because South Africa’s future prosperity is tied to expanding the African market.
Issued by: The Presidency
24 Apr 2012
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