Parliament, Friday, 10 July 2020 – A joint meeting by the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements has called on the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (Misa) to find ways to mitigate the impact caused by budgetary cuts as a result of reallocation of funds to fight Covid-19.
Both committees are concerned that according to Misa’s plans, the adjustment budget will directly impact three output indicators that the committees view as critical. The committees are of the view that the complete removal of the target of placement of artisans and water and waste water process controllers in municipalities will directly impact the ability of municipalities in delivering necessary services.
The committees are of the view that municipalities are currently struggling in relation to skills, especially in artisans and waste water process controllers, something which has led to challenges in operation of waste water treatment plants, which has in turn led to pollution of river systems, with raw sewage from these plants. The committees have called on Misa to devise a mitigating strategy to alleviate this downstream impact.
Regarding the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, both committees raised concerns that the R3 million reduction in budget of the department was mainly from the research, policy and legislation programmes which the committees view as the heartbeat of the department. While the committees are cognisant of the fact that interaction with stakeholders will be negatively impacted by Covid-19, they remain of the view that some research on compilation of African Customary Law and research on the customary role of Khoi-San (Nama) leaders could be done in the meantime.
The committees have also highlighted the need for the department to consider its role in fostering cooperative governance with provinces, especially in relation to the developing of norms and standards for traditional leaders to ensure standardisation in relation to differences in benefits.
Furthermore, the committees have called for consultation with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on how the department will support the institution of traditional leadership in relation to the finalisation of the Traditional Courts Bill.
Meanwhile, the committees welcome the assurance that the department has retained the programme on the Framework on the Resolution of Disputes and Claims, which will ensure the resolution of disputes at the correct level, be it at provincial or national level.
Both committees have decried the absence of the Director-General (DG) of the Department of Cooperative Governance, Ms Avril Williamson, from a scheduled meeting to give a briefing on the adjusted budget for the department.
“While we received an apology, the consensus was that it was inadequate, especially because the apology did not specify the reasons behind her unavailability. Furthermore, the letter did not specify who the DG had delegated to lead the department’s delegation,” said Ms Faith Muthambi, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee.
Both committees are of the view that it would have been unprecedented that a discussion on financial matters impacting on the department’s performance would happen without the presence of the DG. Furthermore, the current State of National Disaster places the department at the centre of government efforts to fight Covid-19, which highlights the importance of considering the impact of the adjusted budget on the APP (annual performance plan) of the department. As a result, a resolution was taken to postpone the item dealing with the adjusted budget for the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, MS FAITH MUTHAMBI – AND THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, WATER AND SANITATION AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, MR CHINA DODOVU.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the Committees’ Media Officer:
Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
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