Department of Provincial and Local Government reports on Programme of Action
6 May 2008
The Department of Provincial and Local Government (dplg), as part of the Governance and Administration cluster reported to the media on the progress made on the Government's Programme of Action (POA).
During the briefing which was led by the Minister for Public Service and Administration, the media was briefed, among other issues, on the Policy Review Process on Provincial and Local Government, hands on support to municipalities and the capacity of the state.
The department reported, within the context of Apex Priorities announced by the President during his State of the Nation Address, that Integrated Development Planning (IDP) analysis sessions are underway in all nine provinces. It also reported that a comprehensive local government skills audit is being conducted through a standardised approach and competency framework in order to provide detailed information on human resource skills at local government level.
The Director-General of the department, Ms Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela, said that to complement the skills audit the deployment of technical experts to municipalities is increasing.
"As at March 2008, out of the 139 project consolidate municipalities, the number of municipalities receiving technical support has increased from 85 in September 2007 to 109" said Msengana-Ndlela.
This is a contribution of the dplg to the cluster report on the POA. It covers progress made in selected areas of the POA as at the end of the 1st quarter of 2008.
Apex project 15: Regularise employment and Performance Agreements (PAs) at designated level
With regard to local government, the publication of the local government municipal performance regulations (August 2006), has contributed to some early successes in local government administration, particularly at the senior management levels. The vacancy rate for municipal manager posts has decreased from 22 percent (62) as at the end of September 2007 to 12 percent (35) as at the end of March 2008. This translates to 88 percent (248) of municipal managers posts that are filled nationally. The provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have filled all (100 percent) their vacant municipal manager posts as at 31 March 2008.
This is significant progress which must be sustained and improved over the short to medium term. A circular will be issued to all municipalities aimed at facilitating support to reduce the vacancy rate of municipal managers in the remaining six provinces. Provincial visits will also be undertaken by the dplg and South African Local Government Association (SALGA) between April and May 2008, to assist the provinces of Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and North West. Special focus will be placed on the Northern Cape Province where the vacancy rate is higher with 44 percent (14) acting municipal managers out of a total of 32 municipalities in this province.
Similarly, there is some progress with regard to the finalisation of performance agreements. In September 2007, the rate was 58 percent (164) and it has now increased to 74 percent (183) as at the end of March 2008. From the engagements that have been held with provinces and SALGA, it has transpired that the factors that influence the vacancy rates and the finalisation of performance agreements include the following:
* the turn around times in the filling of vacant posts, as well as the finalisation of performance agreements after appointments
* the completion of disciplinary cases, where applicable and
* the extent to which there is sound co-operation between the local political and managerial leadership.
Apex project 16: Ensure integrated planning across all spheres
In order to ensure integrated planning across all spheres of government, service providers have been appointed by the Presidency and started work in three district municipalities. Three other districts are in the final stages of procuring service providers and the remaining four districts have collaborated with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the service provider has been procured and work has commenced.
In respect of the preparations for roll-out to the next 15 districts, procurement will be completed in May and service providers will commence work in June 2008. The broad framework for the development of an operation plan for the formulation of the strategic national development plan as directed by Cabinet is currently being formulated.
In addition to the above, the IDP analysis sessions are currently underway in all nine provinces (11 April to 16 May 2008). The objectives of the IDP analysis sessions are to:
* develop a concrete programme, as part of the 5-Year Local Government Strategic Agenda and
* provide clarity on how sector departments can accelerate their support to municipalities, based on Master Sector Plans.
The engagement of some national departments in the analysis and improvements of IDPs remains a challenge. There is a need for national sector departments to participate actively in the IDP analysis sessions to ensure the development and improvement of Master Sector Plans.
In preparation for the IDP Analysis Week, the dplg has distributed an IDP Format Guide and the IDP Analysis Framework to sector departments, provinces and municipalities. The provincial and sector reports will be presented at the National Development Planning Forum during the last week of May 2008. This process will assist in the finalisation of the municipal IDPs as they commence their 2008/09 financial year in June.
Capacity of the state
With regard to governance, the report focuses on four areas of capacity:
* the Skills Audit and Competency Framework in local government
* hands-on support to municipalities
* Capacity for monitoring and evaluation and
* the national programme of support to the Institution of Traditional Leadership.
Skills Audit and Competency Framework in local government
A comprehensive Local Government Skills Audit is being conducted through a standardised approach and competency framework in order to provide detailed information on human resource skills at local government level. The audit seeks to provide base-line information for all levels of municipal employees indicating the following:
* the number of employees required per occupation to deliver the required services per municipality.
* compliance with legislative occupational requirements.
* norms and standards with regard to municipal functions.
* a sector outline on competence gaps against identified minimum managerial and occupational competences and
* outline of a local government learning or qualifications framework.
To this end, a skills development typology of municipalities has been used as criteria to select areas for conducting the skills audit. This typology takes into consideration the differences of rural, urban, low, medium and high capacity municipalities.
The audit has been undertaken in the first nine municipalities and is continuing in 14 municipalities. In addition, a strategy to institutionalise the competency framework has been developed and a task team established to ensure that metropolitan municipalities form part of this institutionalisation process.
The detailed information from the skills audit will be important as government seeks to establish institutionalised and sustainable forms of human resource development at local government level.
Hands-on support to municipalities
To compliment the skills audit, the deployment of technical experts to municipalities is increasing. As at March 2008, out of the 139 'Project Consolidate' municipalities, the number of municipalities receiving technical support has increased from 85 in September 2007 to 109. This improvement is due to ongoing collaboration with stakeholders providing technical support to municipalities. These partners include National Treasury, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Old Mutual Ilima Trust and donor agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit - German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Department For International Development (DFID).
With regard to the participation of young people in infrastructure development, a framework to guide municipalities has been developed with the collaboration of the Presidency, the Youth Commission, National Youth Services (NYS), SALGA and the dplg. This framework was discussed in a National Youth Summit that was held on 17 to 18 March 2008. The framework provides for guidance and programme areas for implementation of youth development at local government level. Also, it sets out the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in the three spheres of government.
In order to provide clarity on co-ordination, the dplg has developed a capacity building framework and guidelines that will be presented in the national conference of June 2008. This approach is informed by lessons from Project Consolidate and is targeted at implementing the 5-Year Local Government Strategic Agenda for 2006 to 2011.
Capacity for performance management, monitoring and evaluation
The number of municipalities implementing the Performance Management System (PMS) has increased from a base of 27 in 2006 to 105 by the end of March 2008. This follows the nation-wide assessment of municipal PMS implementation conducted in 2006 by the dplg. Based on the outcome of this assessment, five low capacity district municipalities have been identified to receive hands on support on the PMS during 2008/09. This programme will be undertaken by the dplg together with relevant provinces, being Ukhahlamba (Eastern Cape), Sisonke (KwaZulu Natal), Vhembe (Limpopo), Thabo Mofutsanyana (Free State) and Namakwa (Northern Cape).
The focus on performance management is starting to bear some positive results. The dplg has been able to develop three important reports, for tabling to parliament by June 2008. This process has been undertaken in close liaison with municipalities, SALGA, provinces and relevant national departments. The reporting period ranges from the 2005/06 to the 2006/07 financial years.
The Municipal Performance Report
The minister will submit to parliament a consolidated report on how municipalities have implemented the general key performance indicators according to provisions of the Municipal Systems Act (Section 48). This report will also outline an action plan that will be implemented in order to institutionalise the PMS.
The Disaster Management Report
In terms of section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, the minister will submit an inaugural report to parliament on the implementation of this Act. Amongst other things, the report will cover proactive and responsive measures that have been undertaken to manage disasters, lessons and a way forward.
The report on the implementation of the Intergovernmental Relations Act:
This report will be tabled to parliament in accordance with section 46 of the Act. It will cover the following areas:
* the general conduct of intergovernmental relations in the Republic
* the incidence and settlement of intergovernmental disputes and
* any other relevant matters.
These three reports are intended to comply with provisions of legislation, contribute in the improvement of performance and the implementation of development programmes. The reports will, in part, provide a useful basis for the policy review process that is discussed below.
The Policy Review Process on Provincial and Local Government
The January 2007, Extended Cabinet Lekgotla mandated the Ministry and our department to undertake a major policy review, drawing on the practical lessons since 1994. The process will lead to a formulation of a White Paper on Provincial Government and a review of the Local Government White Paper (1998). A report on the first phase of the process which consisted of public responses to sixty five questions about provincial and local government, research and consultations with practitioners and stakeholders, was submitted to the January 2008 Cabinet Lekgotla for consideration.
A detailed progress report outlining emerging policy options from the first phase was tabled at an extended Cabinet meeting with the President's Coordinating Council (PCC) on Friday, 25 April 2008 and will subsequently be discussed at the July 2008 Cabinet Lekgotla.
The National Programme of Support to the Institution of Traditional Leadership
In accordance with the National Programme of Support (NPS) for the institutional of traditional leadership, Cabinet has approved the establishment of a new department responsible for traditional leadership and related institutions (5 March 2008). Also, Cabinet approved that the Traditional Courts Bill be introduced to Parliament by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development (28 February 2008). The Bill provides for traditional leaders and traditional councils to perform functions for the administration of justice subject to the constitution and other applicable laws.
Government engagements were held with this institution during the occasion of the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) by the President on 22 February 2008 and the debate of the President's speech on 2 April 2008. A capacity building programme will be rolled out, focusing on the effectiveness of traditional structures (local, provincial and national houses) and their role in communities. The programme will be undertaken in partnership between the NHTL, SALGA, Local Government Sector Education Training Authority (LG-SETA), the relevant national and provincial departments and the dplg.
In sum, the national programme of support entails legislation, development initiatives and working engagements that seek to strengthen the role of the institution in governance.
Furthermore, as indicated by the Minister for Provincial and Local Government Mr F S Mufamadi (30 April 2008), the Commission of Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims has presented its findings on the status of South Africa's existing paramountcies. The determination was made in terms of customary law and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (No 41 of 2003).
The dplg is on course in its implementation of the Government's Programme of Action and will report further progress in future briefings.
Issued by: Department of Provincial and Local Government
6 May 2008
Source: Department of Provincial and Local Government (http://www.dplg.gov.za)