22 April 2013 – The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) furnished further details on aspects of its 2013 strategic plan. The DRDLR described its human resources development strategy, outlining the types of skills training offered, and said 3 755 employees were trained since 2011. Bursaries were offered in two categories; one for existing staff, and one for prospective students, both focusing on studies in the geomatics and survey mandates. There was a NARYSEC director in every province and 4 600 youth would be recruited during the year. Members made suggestions that the youth be assisted to register cooperatives, that amakhosi be encouraged to donate land for agricultural cooperatives, and that school buildings be used.
There were 658 cooperatives linked to DRDLR, although only a fraction were registered. Nationally, there were 22 030 registered, with 50% based in the rural areas, but the Department of Trade and Industry assessed only about 2 644 as economically active, and only 132 as compliant with the requirement to submit financial statements. The Development Bank of Southern Africa had been asked to do a thorough audit, to try to take the cooperatives, and thereby rural development, further. Work was being done in 123 prioritised districts, to establish the scope, raise awareness, conduct needs analyses, help with planning and do due diligence on finances. A separate branch was being set up to concentrate on cooperatives.
There would be a focus on the value chains of poultry, grain and beef, an emphasis on food security and, as with arts cooperatives, emphasis also on assisting with access to markets. Priority was given to youth cooperatives in the built environment, and agriculture, linked to land reform. The DRDLR also set out the initiatives for the National Rural Youth Service Development Corps (NARYSEC) giving details on the current enrolment, which totalled 12 881, where the training was taking place, in what skills, a gender breakdown, the employment rates, what projects were providing training and where they were situated. Extensive tables and charts were presented. The programme was available to anyone between 18 and 35 who had passed Grade 10, through a four-year programme, with a stipend of R1 320 per month paid.
22 April 2013
Department Rural Development & Land Reform: Human Resource Development, work with NARYSEC & Cooperatives, Ingonyama Trust operational plans, responses to submissions on Geomatics Profession Bill
Geomatics Profession Bill
The DRDLR also set out the initiatives for the National Rural Youth Service Development Corps (NARYSEC) giving details on the current enrolment, which totalled 12 881, where the training was taking place, in what skills, a gender breakdown, the employment rates, what projects were providing training and where they were situated. Extensive tables and charts were presented.
The programme was available to anyone between 18 and 35 who had passed Grade 10, through a four-year programme, with a stipend of R1 320 per month paid. Last year, R278 million was spent on this project with R410 million budgeted this year. There was quite an extensive variety of courses although DRDLR prioritised construction, and this was limited by the ability of the colleges and training providers to take on students. Challenges included the 20% of participants who were not placed, largely due to lack of compliance by local government, lack of discipline in attending courses and doing the work diligently. The DRDLR was hoping to set up its own college in Bloemfontein. The programme had significant economic impacts, for participants and those they were supporting, boosted life skills and discipline, and would evolve.
They enquired about the entry requirements, both to the course and for work experience, questioned the lack of discipline, reported on complaints by the youth about lack of proper training and questioned the purpose of a four-year programme without certification. It was suggested that more courses, including perhaps nursing, be offered. The DRDLR said that it would be necessary for the Department and stakeholders to work on relevant and practical courses, and the Committee urged a closer correlation between the NARYSEC plans and internal skills development. They also urged that departments in general offer universally good training and standardised stipends.
The Ingonyama Trust Board presented its operational report, focusing on the plans for the first quarter and expanding on the commitments and targets for tenure rights, maintenance of land holdings, six land management projects, training sessions and generating income. Further details were provided on land management projects and training activities. Members asked about the targets and wanted to hear more about the projects actually running, asked how the training topics were identified, why some activities were reflected only as starting in the third and fourth quarters, against what criteria projects would be instituted, and how the Trust’s land audits differed from those of the DRDLR.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) furnished further details on aspects of its 2013 strategic plan. The DRDLR described its human resources development strategy, outlining the types of skills training offered, and said 3 755 employees were trained since 2011. Bursaries were offered in two categories; one for existing staff, and one for prospective students, both focusing on studies in the geomatics and survey mandates. DRDLR took in around 434 interns. Although there was not a final definition or conceptualisation of what exactly a “rural development practitioner” was, the DRDLR was working with universities to develop suitable courses. In-house or facilitated training was also offered. Although government suggested that departments should be spending 1% of their personnel budgets on training, this, for DRDLR, would amount to R16 million but the reality was that it had only R2 million available. Members asked for more details on how DRDLR dealt with drop outs and failures, transfers to other departments, and death of bursary holders, what recruitment policies it applied, how many interns would be employed permanently and how training was done. The Chairperson was worried that DRDLR was discussing issues with universities although it had not yet defined exactly what it wanted to see in the rural development profession, questioned if the spending was also achieving equity, and if there was correlation between staff needs and training. The question of transformation had recently been raised in this Department, and it was felt that DRDLR needed to adopt a stronger stance.
The second presentation set out the DRDLR initiatives on cooperatives. There were 658 cooperatives linked to DRDLR, although only a fraction were registered. Nationally, there were 22 030 registered, with 50% based in the rural areas, but the Department of Trade and Industry assessed only about 2 644 as economically active, and only 132 as compliant with the requirement to submit financial statements. The Development Bank of Southern Africa had been asked to do a thorough audit, to try to take the cooperatives, and thereby rural development, further. Work was being done in 123 prioritised districts, to establish the scope, raise awareness, conduct needs analyses, help with planning and do due diligence on finances. A separate branch was being set up to concentrate on cooperatives. There would be a focus on the value chains of poultry, grain and beef, an emphasis on food security and, as with arts cooperatives, emphasis also on assisting with access to markets. Priority was given to youth cooperatives in the built environment, and agriculture, linked to land reform. Members questioned the money awarded to cooperatives, wondered if sometimes good money was not thrown after bad, and asked how cooperatives were assisted in drawing financial statements.
The DRDLR also set out the initiatives for the National Rural Youth Service Development Corps (NARYSEC) giving details on the current enrolment, which totalled 12 881, where the training was taking place, in what skills, a gender breakdown, the employment rates, what projects were providing training and where they were situated. Extensive tables and charts were presented. The programme was available to anyone between 18 and 35 who had passed Grade 10, through a four-year programme, with a stipend of R1 320 per month paid. Last year, R278 million was spent on this project with R410 million budgeted this year. There was quite an extensive variety of courses although DRDLR prioritised construction, and this was limited by the ability of the colleges and training providers to take on students. Challenges included the 20% of participants who were not placed, largely due to lack of compliance by local government, lack of discipline in attending courses and doing the work diligently. The DRDLR was hoping to set up its own college in Bloemfontein. The programme had significant economic impacts, for participants and those they were supporting, boosted life skills and discipline, and would evolve. There was a NARYSEC director in every province and 4 600 youth would be recruited this year. Members made suggestions that the youth be assisted to register cooperatives, that amakhosi be encouraged to donate land for agricultural cooperatives, and that school buildings be used. They enquired about the entry requirements, both to the course and for work experience, questioned the lack of discipline, reported on complaints by the youth about lack of proper training and questioned the purpose of a four-year programme without certification. It was suggested that more courses, including perhaps nursing, be offered. The DRDLR said that it would be necessary for the Department and stakeholders to work on relevant and practical courses, and the Committee urged a closer correlation between the NARYSEC plans and internal skills development. They also urged that departments in general offer universally good training and standardised stipends.
The Ingonyama Trust Board presented its operational report, focusing on the plans for the first quarter and expanding on the commitments and targets for tenure rights, maintenance of land holdings, six land management projects, training sessions and generating income. Further details were provided on land management projects and training activities. Members asked about the targets and wanted to hear more about the projects actually running, asked how the training topics were identified, why some activities were reflected only as starting in the third and fourth quarters, against what criteria projects would be instituted, and how the Trust’s land audits differed from those of the DRDLR.
The DRDLR presented the various issues highlighted during the public hearings on the Geomatics Profession Bill, and its responses. There were concerns about the definitions, and whilst the DRDLR did not believe that they needed to be amplified, and provided reasons for the way they were drawn, the Committee was inclined to the view that they were not sufficiently clear and should be tweaked, to ensure that no categories were excluded, and to address perceptions that the Bill was skewed in favour of the surveying profession.
There had been an extensive discussion during the public hearings on what “transformation” in the Bill meant. This was only referred to in one clause. The Committee suggested that perhaps DRDLR it should take the opportunity to somehow try to include broad principles on this, and reflect what it might include. There had been concerns about the composition of the Council, and although the DRDLR was not keen to provide for representation of every category, the Committee suggested this might be needed to avoid one category dominating another in future.
The Minister’s power to appoint the Council and to elect office bearers had been questioned, and the Parliamentary Law Advisers suggested that the perception of how this might affect independence should be addressed. The DRDLR maintained that it had done sufficient consultation and followed a transparent process, and disagreed that instead of proceeding with this Bill it should merely amend the existing Act. It also disagreed with submissions that certain land survey work should continue to be open to all branches of the profession, and not reserved to others. DRDLR accepted the suggestion that clause 5 be amplified with another subclause making reference to a person whose name was removed or suspended from the Roll, and that amendments be effected to clauses 13(2)(c) and clause 35(8). It did not agree with proposals to amend clause 2(a)(iii) were warranted. It also was reluctant to remove the reference to the South African Qualifications Authority process in clause 3. The presentation would continue on 30 April, in Johannesburg.
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform: Further information on strategic plan
The Chairperson briefly summarised that at the last meeting, when the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR or the Department) presented its strategic plan, Members had requested that a number of points be amplified.
Mr Pule Sekawame, Acting Deputy Director General: Corporate Services, DRDLR, said that he had prepared himself to deal with the HRD plan. He had not prepared himself to present further on the whole Annual Performance Plan (APP).
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would have to deal with this before 8 May. The APP would have to be dealt with as soon as possible. The Committee could not finalise the APP purely by reading it; there were further issues around the operation of the HR strategy and the operations.
Mr Sekawame said that perhaps the context for today’s discussions had not been fully understood by the Department. Normally, when the content of the APP was debated, the officials heading up each programme would be present and he would have great difficulty in dealing with all issues.
The Chairperson noted that the correspondence sent to the Department and the questions raised went to what capacity the Department had, and what resources were being deployed and this was linked to questions on the National Rural Youth Development Service Corps (NARYSEC) and cooperatives. He suggested that the Committee must move forward and asked that the presentations be given.
Human Resource Development Strategy presentation
Mr Sekawame said that the Human Resources Development (HRD) strategy had been conceptualised about a year earlier, and was submitted to the Department of Labour (DOL) and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). It was drawn following from the strategic plan process and APP. A needs analysis was done on employees, incorporating personal development and sectoral plans. A workplace skills plan, covering three to five years, was drawn and the current one dated from 2009/10. The workplace skills covered training, bursaries, the international and regional participation, and other issues.
The DRDLR presently grouped its skills training, as more fully outlined (see attached presentation for details), under the general headings of technical, which comprised legal, community facilitation, agricultural and project management, and research skills. On the administrative side, there was a lot of IT training, as well as training in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), human resources, communication and management, as well as finance, occupation health and legal administration training. DRDLR would be aiming to increase the numbers, on the technical and administrative sides. Quality assurance, quantity surveying, civil engineering, analytical and social facilitation would be added. Some other courses that it hoped to undertake also included forensic investigation and vetting, journalism and report writing, and graphic design.
The key training programmes carried out in 2011 to 2013 were outlined. 3 755 employees were trained. There were two categories of bursary schemes. For prospective bursary holders, DRDLR would sponsor aspirant students to obtain qualification in geomatics and town and regional planning, to address the skills shortage, and try to address transformation, since this area was traditionally white male-dominated. There were currently 274 students active in this programme, who qualified, each year, at different levels. In respect of employees, full and part-time bursaries were offered, which aimed to address departmental priority skills and career enhancement. He set out a table of the gender and demographic split of the staff, showing what courses they had studied. Most had studied in the geomatics and survey mandates.
The DRDLR was established in 2009 so there was not yet a substantial contribution to rural development skills, and indeed that the competencies of a “rural development practitioner” had not yet been defined. Currently, the DRDLR was training about 140 people at that level, with various institutions. However, it conceded that it was not doing so well at recruiting females into the programme. In the current year, the DRDLR had awarded 134 bursaries, across a number of universities and programmes. The numbers, race and gender were described, and another table set out the split of bursary holders, per branch of the Department. Most were again in the geomatics space, followed by land reform, mainly in the area of management studies.
The internship programme was well filled, with about 434 interns. This programme aimed to equip the rural youth with qualifications, or to help them gain workplace experience and skills. The programme covered administrative and generic interns, deeds examiners, technical interns, and experiential learning. These contracts ranged from 12 months to two years.
The intake, showing the students’ home provinces, was summarised, ranging from eight students from Northern Cape to 108 placed at Gauteng and the National Office. A number of female graduates were being given the chance for experiential training. In 2012/13 the DRDLR had managed to take in 467 interns, but budget cuts had forced a drop in the numbers in the current year. Again, however, women learners were prioritised.
Other departmental training initiatives took the form of in-house or facilitated training. These consisted of in-house Deeds Registration training, with the South African Safety and Security Education and Training Authority (SASSETA), an in-house survey office course, with the Construction Education and Training Authority, rural community training programmes, which the DRDLR was looking at having accredited, and state land training for departmental officials, and other national and provincial vesting committee members from other government departments.
Mr Sekawame returned to the point that DRDLR still needed to do definitions and competency modelling around what a rural development practitioner was. At the moment anyone – from any study background – was able to apply, but the DRDLR was trying to achieve something more specific and ensure that a separate set of skills were built.
It had been engaging with the universities, of Venda, Limpopo, North West, Fort Hare, KwaZulu Natal (KZN), Free State, Western Cape and Pretoria, to try to initiate rural development training programmes with a more specific focus, and develop a matrix to describe the competencies.
The government had suggested that departments should be spending 1% of their personnel budget to training. However, this posed a problem for DRDLR. Its total spending on personnel was R1.6 billion, and 1% of that would amount to R16 million, yet only R2 million was available. There simply was not enough budget to train everyone. Another major challenge was coordination of training, as it limited implementation of all personnel development programmes.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) noted that it was not entirely clear whether those trained had successfully completed their training. She enquired what efforts had been put in place to deal with those who may have been struggling. She also asked with which companies the graduates had been placed.
Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) asked what about bursary holders who dropped out or failed, and whether DRDLR recovered funding from them.
Mr Cebekhulu also asked if the students were being trained with the intention of working for the Department, or if they would be employed in the broader work field, and if the DRDLR would expect students to repay if they moved from the DRDLR to take up employment elsewhere.
Mr J van der Linde (DA) aligned himself with the questions on the drop-outs. He also asked if those who passed were guaranteed employment in the Department if they so wished. He asked if the internship programme included both practical work and studies, and whether the interns would be taken into full-time employment.
Mr Sekawame responded that there were quite specific terms attached to the bursaries. Employees were expected to repay the time taken in study back to the department so that a person granted a three-year bursary would have to work for three years. If that person resigned, he would be bound to repay the department in cash, and this had frequently been enforced against those who resigned or transferred. It was specifically stated that any student dropping out must repay in case. If a person decided to change courses along the way, and changed subjects, she would need to repay those subject fees. A host of different situations was catered for in the conditions.
In relation to where the bursary holders were employed, he noted that those recruited from school level would tend to be recruited into areas of scarce skills that the Department itself needed, such as geomatics. Interns were with the DRDLR for finalisation of their studies in the field and many tended to be taken into , full time or contract employment. The DRDLR was currently signing up 19 graduates to be used across branches and provinces. Employees were given bursaries normally to study in the specific field, and would not, for instance, be given bursaries to study for administrative studies or HR, because these were not scarce skills.
Mr P Zulu (PAC) asked what the DRDLR would do if a bursary holder died.
The Chairperson said that normally the liabilities would be settled when the estate was wound up, but he doubted if the DRDLR would enforce obligations.
Mr Sekawame confirmed that DRDLR, as a caring employer, would in this case write off the amounts.
Mr S Ntapane (UDM) asked how the training was done, noting that conveyancing, for example, normally was studied in the attorneys’ profession. He also asked if employees would do courses that provided certificates.
Mr Sekawame said that the training was generally done through service providers, and the DRDLR wanted to encourage training that would lead to points accreditation.
Mr Ntapane asked what influenced the number of interns per province being taken into the Department.
Mr Sekawame noted that it was budget, which explained the difference from one province to another
The Chairperson was a little worried about the statement that the DRDLR was still discussing courses with the universities, as he point out that DRDLR had not yet defined what rural development competencies were, and he also asked how long this was likely to take. During the discussion with the Auditor-General (AG) on use of consultants, it emerged that DRDLR had hired two service providers previously who were supposed to define the skills and competencies to help the DRDLR plan.
That programme had apparently run for a number of years but was abandoned, so it seemed that DRDLR still had no clear ideas what exactly it was looking for. He wondered how then it could engage meaningfully with the universities if it was not sure what it wanted out of the process.
Mr Sekawame noted that the universities he had mentioned already had special programmes on rural development studies. There was benchmarking done by DRDLR against Finland, Malaysia and India, who had been attending to rural development for some time, developing this to a defined theory. The DRDLR was trying to match the realities of the thinking on the ground with the programmes that the universities could offer.
He wanted to clarify the consultants’ work, saying that in fact the skills audit had been completed, but the AG had been more concerned over the fact that it had gone over budget and time. A skills audit report had been produced in the Department, but it was effectively now obsolete because of the addition of the rural development mandate in 2009, which had not been covered by the skills audit. DRDLR decided that, rather than doing another skills audit, it would be better to do competency assessments. Some skills had already been updated in the database, but others still needed to be done. The DOL required each department to do skills auditing every three years, so that would be an ongoing process.
The Chairperson said that during the debate on the Geomatics Profession bill there was a long debate about what was meant by transformation, and during that it emerged that the DRDLR should actually define what was undesirable about the current situation, what needed to be addressed, and what it wanted to achieve. Until those points had been defined, the DRDLR was not able to deal with the issues.
Mr Sekawame said that geomatics was a practised science and established profession. He was not sure how far the DRDLR was able to influence the way that this had been conceptualised by the universities.
The Chairperson questioned the 1% spending on training. The current Minister had been an MEC at the time when he had been working for government in Eastern Cape. At that time, similar to this time, part of the funding was being directed to address scarce skills. However, it was his experience that the current strategy was not actually addressing the mainstreaming of women’s equity in the profession, by defining the areas where they must be deployed, as well as for youth and disabilities. Even if the DRDLR was spending R2 million it would not reach the desired end results if these were not clearly addressed in the strategy.
Mr Sekawame appreciated this input.
The Chairperson noted that the HRD strategy had been set out, but wondered if this actually found expression in practice, and if the branch office leaders were truly embracing it. He commented that there appeared to be something of a mismatch between a document setting out the organisational structure in 2011 and what had now been presented.
Mr Sekawame responded that there were national employee equity targets at every level, and so the DRDLR followed those national targets. Women were recruited with a view to achieving employment equity. The strategy dated back to 2011 and the branches were well aware of the numbers.
Mr van der Linde noted that some of the figures did not correlate.
Mr Sekawame acknowledged that there were some errors in the addition and apologised for this.
Ms Xaba questioned how much the 1% of budget represented in rand terms.
The Chairperson noted that this figure had been given, as R16 million, but only R2 million was being spent on the training.
The Chairperson returned to the comment that the question of transformation had been raised in relation to the geomatics profession, but pointed out that it would not only be relevant to geomatics, but for the whole country.
The problem was that it appeared not to be defined, and he felt that DRDLR should be taking a stronger lead and telling the universities what exactly they needed to do to achieve this.
Mr van der Linde said it would be useful to get some current figures of the DRDLR’s current composition.
The Chairperson asked that this question be held over until the Director General presented, and reminded Mr van der Linde that he should bring copies of the organograms presented previously.
Cooperatives and National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARSEC) briefing
Dr Moshe Swartz, Deputy Director General, DRDLR, noted that the Committee had specifically requested more details on two aspects of the Department’s work – namely the cooperatives, their status and plans to deal with them, and additional information on the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC).
Both were based on the strategic objectives of integrated service delivery, facilitated through the coordination of government and development stakeholders, by 2014.
He gave some background to how this Department got involved in cooperatives. Councils of stakeholders were supposed to be organised in every ward, where the households would decide what the developmental priorities were. The DRDLR had been trying to coordinate the various stakeholders, through bodies such as churches and traditional leaders, and had also asked that businesses must be represented.
At the moment there were 658 cooperatives linked to the DRDLR, and although most claimed to be registered there were in fact only a fraction who were registered. Some existed only on paper or by name. The DRDLR had requested a thorough audit of the cooperatives, in the interest of forming them into enterprises to take rural development further.
It intended to ensure that the differences between primary, secondary and tertiary cooperatives would be highlighted. The audit was being conducted by Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), who had the specialists to deal with social and institutional desktop analysis, who would be looking to whether the cooperatives had been formed and registered in terms of the legislation, would classify the cooperatives according to their production, verify the members, their management system and whether they were functional.
Provincial site visits would be held to interact, and due diligence studies would be done. The audit would look to how many cooperatives had viable business plans that would allow them to be classified as functional when the work started. He pointed out that since DRDLR had prioritised construction programmes in the NARYSEC, it would identify the probable construction cooperatives following from that programme.
In the 123 prioritised districts, work had been started on the basis of the cooperative development policy of 2004. The legislation guiding the cooperatives said that rural cooperatives were to be vehicles to contribute to rural growth.
The Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) was helping with this process.
According to CIPRO there were 22 030 cooperatives registered, of which more than 50% were in the rural areas. However, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) had confirmed that only about 2 644 were economically active. The 2010 baseline study of dti showed that only 132 cooperatives had complied with the requirements to submit financial statements to CIPRO.
Dr Swartz gave a provincial breakdown of the cooperatives, and noted that in general the mortality rate ranged between 78% and 97.9%, throughout all of the provinces.
He reiterated that in the audit of the cooperatives, DRDLR was trying to establish their initial scope, and to raise awareness on the Act. It was conducting needs assessments, doing planning on training needs, and focusing on governance, marketing, IT and business skills. It would be doing due diligence on the finances.
It would look at whether mentors were needed. It would monitor and evaluate the job creation abilities of each cooperative, to see if it could be meaningfully engaged with and become secure. The Minister had requested the DRDLR to set up a focused branch, under a Chief Directorate, to deal with cooperatives. This would receive referrals from the knowledge unit, and reports from the DBSA.
Dr Swartz said that many of the cooperatives were consumer and savings cooperatives, or burial societies. All would be given start-up support and helped with internal and governance support.
A Chief Director was dealing with secondary and tertiary cooperatives, to provide them with targeted assistance, and they would be mobilised also by being given additional support for registration, compliance, dissemination of information, marketing, and led to the position to become tertiary cooperatives.
Dr Swartz outlined the process. Over the next few days, the DRDLR would be working with cooperatives, and was focusing on the three value chains of poultry, grain and beef. All of the cooperatives, primary through to tertiary, would be encouraged to concentrate on achieving food security through these three commodities, and helped from primary production through to finding markets. For the 150 cooperatives who were only doing arts and crafts, DRDLR would follow a similar process of finding value chains and markets.
Partnerships were very important, and the DRDLR gave assistance to youth cooperatives focusing on the built environment. It was targeting youth who were working in land reform. The DRDLR had good relationships with the Departments of Trade and Industry, Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEA) and DBSA were also working with DRDLR, and the tertiary institutions and private sector were involved.
Dr Swartz then moved on to the NARYSEC portion of the presentation, noting that the Committee had asked for more information on NARYSEC and its current enrolment, where and how many youth had been trained, and in what skills, and whether they were employed or working elsewhere, and whether any were receiving stipends who were not working.
The Committee had been asked to give an age analysis of the current intake, to detail in total how many had been through the programme from inception, and to provide information on the numbers in the provinces, how they were distributed, what projects were involved in providing the training and where they were situated around the country.
Dr Swartz was sure that Members knew the background to the project. The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) responded to the needs and NARYSEC was set up to emphasise development of skills in young people, to enable them to play a strategic and significant role in their own communities, building ubuntu, promoting a results-oriented service and investing in the future by providing them with employment skills.
The DRDLR was initiator and coordinator and the project was led nationally by the Minister and MECs. NARYSEC was included in the Minister’s Delivery Agreement with the President. Municipalities were delivering by synchronising community needs, provincial project teams were managing implementation and ward councils, representatives’ councils and community leaders were involved.
The programme covered those aged 18 to 35, and was fully ward-focused. Any youth who had passed Grade 10 or more were paid R1 320 per month, and put through four-year programmes. Their names were entered on PERSAL so that they would get their stipends, and they would be enrolled at colleges, with the main focus on construction. In 2011/12 the DRDLR spent R278 million on this project, and in 2012/13 budgeted just over R410 million.
The growth was that in September 2010, 7 956 young people were enrolled in NARYSEC, and by 31 March 2013 this was at 12 881. Because it was a four-year programme they would be exiting in 2014. A breakdown of the current enrolment, by province and gender, was tabled (see attached presentation). There were 7 757 women and 5 124 men. The intake was of a rolling nature, and the contracts would run for four years from the date of enrolment in the programme.
In relation to where and on what the youth were being trained, Dr Swartz noted that the Agriculture Further Education and Training College at Fort Cox trained 69 youth in animal production. Although ideally the DRDLR would have liked to increase these numbers, it was limited by the constraints at each of the FET Colleges.
Here, the youth were taken to National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2, and there would be a follow up, after experiential training and their own work done at home, to raise the level higher. 38 FET colleges trained 5 507 youth in a variety of construction fields, to NQF levels 2 and 3. Other FET colleges were doing training in business administration services, at NQF levels 2 and 4. 300 people were taken to the SA Wildlife College and Wilderness Foundation to train on farm management, at Level 1.
Stats SA and Department of Social Development trained 4 000 youth to do household profiling, and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had trained 4 700 youth in areas such as character building and life skills.
Bytes Technology was doing training in data capturing. The Rural Disaster Centres had taken in 88 youth on various courses relating to risk management and office administration, and they were based at various Thusong Centres. New skills programmes had been developed for this year (see slide 29) which included waste management and hospitality training amongst others.
Dr Swartz explained that in the programmes, the youth were supposed to undergo 30% training at college, and then undertake partial work training with a host employer, to complete 70% work experience. However, this caused a difficulty because there were not enough employers to absorb all the students. DRDLR did not have facilities itself to host learners in their particular areas of training. There was a common problem in many departments, and it was ongoing, to persuade employers to take in the youth for workplace training.
He noted that around 80% of the youth participants who had completed construction training had been placed with employers, and DRDLR was trying to find placements for the others. The employer companies would be carefully selected and those who offered poor conditions or risks to the youth would be taken out of the programme.
Another problem lay in the set dates for the FETC training which did not always suit employers, and so some of the youth, whilst waiting to enrol, were not being kept busy. Municipalities in particular were not always assisting in engaging the youth, despite engagements by DRDLR. Finally, the NARYSEC Technical Support Unit of DBSA oversaw the activities at the colleges but had noted problems in youth failing to attend their classes, or arriving drunk at lessons. DRDLR wanted to ensure that they were attending and being properly trained.
Currently, young people from NARYSEC were engaged in building ablution blocks in Limpopo, pack houses and houses, a children’s ward at Addington Hospital, low cost housing in Paarl, paving at Beaufort West and household profiling.
Dr Swartz outlined the story of Colbert Mabasa, who completed his training at the Malamulele Construction site. The local chief had witnessed his contribution and decided to offer him five hectares of land. He bought a brick-making machine with his stipend and was now manufacturing and selling his bricks, and had also completed a building for a clergyman in his community. Other participants had set up agricultural cooperatives, or were training on climate change and adaptation. The Committee might wish to pay a visit to their projects during oversight.
NARYSEC had a significant economic impact as the youth receiving stipends were often supporting three to five other household members, so the total impact was felt on around 35 000 to 50 000 people.
Youth who had left schooling early were being provided with a SAQA qualification. The training programme of SANDF instilled life and leadership skills in addition to the enterprise development skills, producing a well-rounded person who could then form a cooperative.
He noted that NARYSEC was still quite a young programme but would be evolving. Although there was an emphasis on construction, community service and household profiling, more staff and facilities were being added to the programme. There was a NARYSEC director in each province.
DRDLR wanted only to recruit those who could be placed after training. It would improve the utilisation of the trainees, through strengthening relationships with local municipalities. 4 600 additional youth would be recruited in this year.
Mr P Zulu (PAC) suggested that when the youth were recruited, they should be assisted to register cooperatives, in light of the earlier comment that so many cooperatives were not actually functioning or failed to register. He also thought that the chiefs in the rural areas should be encouraged to donate land so that those trained could be allocated land to develop themselves further.
He thought that it was far more useful to actively encourage entrepreneurship. He also asked about the incentives and noted that perhaps the youth should be encouraged to go out and find work. He noted that many rural schools had fallen into disuse, and wondered if the school buildings could not be used to train people locally.
Dr Swartz responded that he appreciated the words of encouragement from Mr Zulu and said that DRDLR was trying to ensure that more would be engaged in work and not sitting at home taking their stipends but doing nothing. He appreciated the suggestion to negotiate with the traditional leaders in the wards so that the cooperatives could get land.
The Minister had asked the Department to ensure that some of the young people trained in agriculture were to form cooperatives, and they would be prioritised as land reform beneficiaries.
He agreed that there were a number of closed schools because of the Department of Basic Education quotas, but often the challenge was to find mentors in those areas.
DRDLR had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with military veterans, and that could be one way to mentor youth in the cooperatives. DRDLR was also trying to negotiate for use of a college outside Bloemfontein that was no longer being used, which would enable the DRDLR to set up a fully-fledged NARYSEC College. He reiterated that intake from NARYSEC to the existing FET Colleges was limited by the Colleges’ own accommodation constraints, and the NARYSEC College would address this problem.
Mr Cebekhulu noted that NARYSEC was taking in youth from Grade 10 but asked if they were required to have performed up to a certain standard at school before being accepted into NARYSEC. He asked what criteria were used to identify the youth who would be employed by the ward councillors.
Dr Swartz said that there was no requirement in relation to the school achievement, nor were specific subjects required. Even if a person had not done well, this did not preclude him from going through an interview process, after filling out a form. The DRDLR had not done an analysis of whether Grade 10 or Grade 12 learners had been doing any better in the programmes.
The youth merely had to fill out an application form. There had, regrettably, been some difficulties in relation to recruitment to the municipal councils, because although posters were supposed to be placed outside every court and municipal office, there were turf wars. For a whole year, the Province, in Free State, had insisted that it wanted to recruit and there were complaints of favouritism being exercised. For this reason, DRDLR had decided itself to advertise and was asking people to fill out a form, and it would then place them.
Mr Cebekhulu had understood that the purpose of the NARYSEC programmes was to instil discipline would be instilled in the youth, so that they could assist in their communities, and this seemed to be in contradiction to the statement that they were playing truant and were not behaving properly. He wondered if perhaps there should be stricter discipline around attendance. Furthermore, he noted that if some youth were still receiving stipends but were sitting at home, they were effectively providing no input into their communities.
Mr van der Linde noted the change of NARYSEC from a two to a four-year programme. He had spoken to many NARYSEC students who had done some community work and information gathering, and he had himself seen that they were not working consistently or even particularly well, yet were still claiming their stipend. He thought the presentation was showing a more rosy picture than what was actually happening on the ground. He thought that there was much merit in artisan or on-the-job training after matric, but doubted whether the NARYSEC students obtained a proper qualification. For instance, at Fort Cox, the students said that they were not really getting proper training, and had not received a proper certificate that would help them to get work. That was his problem with the whole programme.
The Chairperson asked Mr van der Linde to try to ask focused questions rather than give broad comments.
Dr Swartz said that the problem was that many of the rural youth had not grown up with a strong figure of authority in the home or school, and they had difficulties in taking instruction from teachers. This was the reason why DRDLR thought it would be useful to take them through Defence Force training, but even there they had broken the rules in the barracks, with some female students getting pregnant, and the problem of discipline was ongoing. The DRDLR was trying to be vigilant. It was trying to ensure that the youth would understand the development constraints in their own communities, which was why it was trying to get them involved there. He hoped that the placement of full-time governance staff in the districts would mean better monitoring of the day-to-day work.
Mr van der Linde noted that a figure of 22 030 cooperatives was mentioned, but the number still surviving was 2 644, of whom only 658 were actually in operation. He asked what had happened to their ventures, and was worried at the implications that the financing provided was effectively lost. He questioned if the DRDLR was right to throw good money after bad. He thought that the main problem was around the giving of money to cooperatives when they were created.
The Chairperson asked that Dr Swartz be permitted to explain the process of creation of the cooperatives to improve Members’ understanding.
Dr Swartz reiterated that the DBSA was doing an analysis at the moment. The dti had made available money to cooperatives and many were registered, received funding, started to do some work and then folded because there was a lack of constant follow up and mentoring. The dti database reflected 22 000 cooperatives but in effect many of these were not functioning. Experts at DBSA had been asked to identify what the needs were and what might be required to revive them. Some cooperatives claimed to be baking cooperatives, or to specialise in some other field but could not support this with any knowledge or training. Where it appeared that they could fill a need, they would be assisted by financial experts to come up with a business plan, against which they could be funded. However, this was not throwing good money after bad as in the process their viability would have been assessed.
Mr Ntapane noted the mention of the business plan, but pointed out that many cooperatives were based in rural areas and wondered if the Department gave any assistance in drawing up those plans.
Dr Swartz clarified that DRDLR was not insisting that the cooperative members should be able to read or write. The training would cover the basics and common sense. Trainers would not be using books, but far more innovative and practical examples to explain the basics of money use.
Mr Ntapane enquired further on the findings of dti about the cooperatives who had not submitted financial statements. He asked if DRDLR would fund them, and how it would ensure that they would submit the statements.
Dr Swartz explained that those registered with DRDLR could be assisted. For instance, there were 152 women’s cooperatives attending exhibitions throughout the country in arts and crafts, who were selling regularly in Grahamstown and Cape Town. Some of them had managed to get orders in California. They were not yet well enough trained to run their own businesses, but they were selling their beadwork, and there were records kept of the money coming in.
Mr Ntapane asked what the Department did about rural development trusts.
Dr Swartz said that the DRDLR did not have a lot of experience with these as a legal entity, as the rural development processes had mostly been dealing with the cooperatives. The Land Reform branch was dealing with trusts and Community Property Associations.
Ms Xaba asked what the projected hospitality training would include, and wondered why the DRDLR was not offering nursing training, which was needed and wanted, with many people in her own constituency saying that they wanted to train in nursing but were unable to afford the fees.
Dr Swartz said that NARYSEC did not cover a number of programmes, particularly those where technical qualifications or specific curricula were required. It worked on programme setting with the Departments of Basic and Higher Education. It may extend to this in the future but was not anticipating offering it now.
The Chairperson said that he had a fundamental difficulty with the fact that this programme did not appear to be offering any real qualifications. A student attending an FET College or university for four years would emerge with a diploma or degree. He enquired what exactly the NARYSEC graduates would be capable of doing.
Dr Swartz said that whilst it was true that people emerged from institutes of higher education with diplomas or degrees, many of those were not worth the paper they were written on, and the Graduates Development Agency was taking care of these people. He bemoaned the fact that education in South Africa was skewed to what he termed “head education” rather than “head and hand”, where young people would be able to actually do something with their training. He though that unfortunately education was sometimes an empty promise.
Dr Swartz said that there had been some complaints that there was too much priority on construction in the NARYSEC programme, and the youth might not want to learn to build, but wanted to study other things like marketing. The DRDLR had found that some participants had lied about their experience, and there had been some graduates who registered in the programme just to get the stipend. The DRDLR would need help from the Committee and private sector in getting the programme correct. There were many dilemmas that it still needed to sort out.
Mr van der Linde asked for clarity on the figure of 12 881 enrolments.
Dr Swartz explained that this was the cumulative total of all those enrolled since 2010.
The Chairperson said that the links between the internal HR strategy and the focus of the branches dealing with skills development externally needed to be tightened, to ensure that whatever plans DRDLR had, for instance for NARYSEC, would receive sufficient HR capacity to carry them out. He noted the comment of Dr Swartz about the mismatch between brain and hand courses, and thought that maybe NARYSEC needed to set its own strategy more specifically and not discover things along the way. This linked back to the audit by DBSA and the skills provided.
The Chairperson said that some years ago, the SA National Defence Force Service Corps was set up, which was intended to be a kind of rapid response team to attend to community needs such as fixing bridges or assisting in emergencies. He also cited the example of the former Ciskei, where army bases were set up at various points. The army would collect people in the trucks, take them to work on an identified site, and they would be provided with salaries and food. The army bases were not intended to defend the community against an external enemy, but to help communities. It was hoped that the SANDF Corps might achieve something similar. He thought that the DBSA audit, targets and tenders, access to training and the legal space should all be considered together. NARYSEC participants should be directed specifically into work that would assist communities, and perhaps, as Prince Zulu had suggested, people should work to help the departments achieve their aims, by being connected to various programmes, that would not only earn them a stipend, but also benefit the communities. For instance, he thought that it would be possible to use NARYSEC trainees to help maintain clinics or schools. He also emphasised the need for good forward planning so that NARYSEC participants completing, for example, a paving project in Beaufort West would immediately be redeployed to another project rather than being sent home.
The Committee firmly believed that NARYSEC ought to be a success, and all the suggestions were geared towards ensuring that.
The Chairperson had been interested also to hear the Minister of Higher Education and Training speaking to another form of stipend, that differed from NARYSEC. He thought that government should achieve far more uniformity and continuity so that participants would not chase different stipends from one programme to another. Universally good training should be offered throughout. He did not think that Local Government was playing a strong enough role, and suggested that DRDLR speak to other departments about the challenges and possible solutions that could achieve a greater impact.
Mr van der Linde agreed fully and said he would like to see more youth being trained in farming, an area where he believed that many mentors were available. If youth were placed on farms, they would, on completion of their training, themselves be able to farm in cooperatives, and then get access to land. He agreed that stipends should be equalised. He also suggested that home-based care was another good possibility, referring to Ms Xaba’s comment and saying that this would allow them to move later to nursing programmes.
Mr Cebekhulu thought that paying a stipend to those who were not being productive was not a good principle.
The Chairperson said that this was linked to the challenge of the municipalities not assisting in the process.
Dr Swartz said that it was a fact that the DRDLR had not managed to absorb all the NARYSEC participants into specific activities. It was encouraging local government to place them somewhere. SANDF also could not absorb the participants as fast as the DRDLR wanted. He reiterated that most of those trained in the construction sector had been placed, and it was hoped that the remainder would be absorbed in projects over the next three months.
The Chairperson said that everyone knew that the State had funded some projects that were not functional now, such as chicken farming. He suggested that Members should notify the DRDLR of any such projects, as it was possible that something could be done to move the youth into revitalising them.
Ingonyama Trust Board operational report and comments on bursaries
Mr Nqgabutho Bhebhe, Chief Executive Officer, Ingonyama Trust Board, noted that the document tabled should be entitled “Operational Plan” and not “Performance Plan”
He summarised that the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) was established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament, and referred Members to the core business objectives and extent of land covered, as detailed in the attached document. The targets for 2012/13 were set out on slide 4. The ITB intended to attend to 1 601 tenure rights, maintain the land holdings, or immovable assets register, planned to execute six land management projects, hold 45 training sessions for traditional councils and communities, coordinate two stakeholder forums, develop the Human Resources Management (HRM) strategy, and generate non-mining rental income. That was particularly important, as it related to how the Trust would generate R18.7 million in the financial year.
He then outlined the activities for each quarter. The ITB had been asked what type of activities it attended to in relation to the leases. They were in a number of categories, servitudes, domestic housing, commercial, and others. The processes included dealing with the applications received from applicants, doing surveys and then submitting them to the ITB for approval. The process was completed when both parties signed. The Real Estate section of ITB would deal with these. The “inhouse budget” comment indicated that this would be done by the staff. The ITB also had income generated from non-mining activities, which was dependent on the first indicator, and it was hoping to achieve an income of R4.6 million per quarter. The register was constantly updated when leases were issued, to ensure that correct information was captured.
The land management projects were split into three. The general projects related to development of infrastructure, where the ITB would liaise with other stakeholders to ensure that they received enough support to process those projects. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) would be signed. The third indicator related to land audits, and here the ITB would look at small towns, approve project areas and then move to the next phase. R1.5 billion was set aside for this. He explained that the ITB would receive applications for agricultural projects. The funding was not reflected in the budget, as it usually used the funds from the traditional councils.
The Committee had asked for a further breakdown of training activities for the traditional councils. These would include training on allocation of land, processes for lease applications, records management, business plans and community development trusts. He also expanded on the stakeholders forums, noting that the ITB tried to coordinate them with consultations and drafting of MOUs (later in the year).
In relation to the HR Strategy, ITB was doing a skills audit and capacity assessment.
The Chairperson said that he nothing specific was included in the presentation detailing the projects, and where they were placed.
Mr Cebekhulu said that his main concern was that ITB had said what it targeted to achieve, as administrator of the land under the Trust. The Committee had been taken to some developments. He wanted to hear more about what was actually being done on the agricultural projects, rather than what was planned. He said that the statement had been made that the amakhosi should set aside land so that agricultural operations actually happened. He asked if there was already a current project running, and, if not, asked when this would happen, and where.
Mr Bhebhe noted that the operational plan indicated what the ITB aimed to achieve each quarter and was not intended to report on achievements in the past financial year, which would be separately reported. It was, however, doing one of the projects on 100 hectares with the amakhosi. Some amakhosi had come forward and requested assistance and the projects were instituted in direct response to that, although not all could be assisted in that year. ITB would select those councils who already had funding, using the funding to help run the projects.
The Chairperson asked if everyone requesting assistance would receive it.
Mr Bhebhe said that the question of capacity was important. ITB had, thus far, been assisting with things like sourcing fencing materials. If they needed technical assistance, the ITB would refer them to the Department of Agriculture.
Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) asked whether the training afforded to traditional councils was requested by the councils themselves, or whether the topics covered were isolated by any studies, or proposed as likely subjects by the ITB itself, as he thought the latter might be the case. He wanted more specifics on capacity building and asked if the ”training” was offered for traditional leaders by them.
Mr Bhebhe noted that there was a two-way process. Initially, the programme was aimed at reaching and informing amakhosi about ITB. However, along the way it was found that they wanted specific assistance. The ITB had tried to increase capacity and was also providing them with training materials. It was looking at issues like management and record-keeping. Some of the matters identified by the traditional councils had been taken up. The ITB did not use service providers. It had also been invited by other departments, such as the Departments of Human Settlements and COGTA, to participate in their sessions.
The Chairperson referred to land audits, and said that the Chief Surveyor General had noted that work had been done on identification of land, and that only a few parcels remained to be vested. He asked what ITB was doing and whether it fell outside that DRDRL process.
Mr Bhebhe said that indeed the DRDLR had been doing land audits, but ITB had found that in small towns people did not have tenure rights, and ITB was dealing with that aspect.
The Chairperson asked about the targets for the land management projects. Everything seemed to be targeted for the last quarter only and he was worried that anything that might delay this would mean that the ITB would not achieve anything in the current year. He wondered why some of the work could not be done in earlier quarters.
Mr Bhebhe answered that for land audits, the ITB would do consultations with all the stakeholders in the first quarter. All the projects in this year were new, and it was hoping to reach agreements to use a particular radius, and then do the actual audits once it had an understanding of the land.
The Chairperson said that he had asked this question because in the last year the ITB had not been able to meet some of the targets, but if this was a specific strategy, which took into consideration the ability to complete projects, then the ITB must follow that route.
Geomatics Profession Bill: Department’s responses to submissions at public hearings
Mr Siyabonga Mdubeki, Chief Director: Cadastral Spatial Information, DRDLR, tendered the apologies of the Chief Surveyor General, who was not well.
He noted that after the public hearings process the DRDLR had been asked to prepare an analysis and respond to the points raised. The document that he now tabled (marked Annexure A: see attached document) summarised the points.
He also added that the DRDLR was asked to submit a portfolio of evidence around consultations on this Bill to the Committee, in view of complaints that a proper consultation process was not followed, and he noted that copies of various documents had now been sent through to the Committee, such as the submissions themselves, minutes of meetings, on the draft Surveying Profession Bill (which was not proceeded with) and this Bill, in a draft form, during the period 2006 to 2011.
He then took Members through pages 1 to 33 of the attached document.
The first general comment came from the SA Council for Professional and Technical Surveyors (PLATO) who, along with some of the other commentators, had submitted that an unreasonably short time was allowed for comment following the publication of the Bill. The DRDLR believed that this was not so, since 14 days, plus an additional 15 days to the date of the verbal presentations, was allowed. However, it must also be noted that no comments were submitted for consideration after the publication of the Bill itself, on 30 May 2011.
There was a complaint that the consultation was not transparent and comprehensive. The DRDLR maintained that a full consultation process was conducted, as evidenced by the portfolio of documentation referred to earlier.
PLATO had suggested that the Geomatics Profession Bill (the Bill) was a “cut and paste” of the Planning Profession Act (PPA). Certainly the PPA was used as a guide, but any similarity between the two documents should not be seen as compromising the authenticity and integrity of the Bill. Many pieces of legislation were based on other drafts preceding them but each piece of legislation governing a profession added unique applications to a general working model.
He then addressed the question why it was necessary to replace Act 40 of 1984, rather than amending and updating it. This Act related specifically to surveyors. The transformation and modernisation of geomatics now embraced other disciplines, and it was more appropriate to draft an entirely new piece of legislation that would accommodate them. He submitted that the argument that the replacement of the Act was not warranted could not be supported. Most of the issues addressed in the Bill were replacing outdated provisions, particularly on governance and transformation. The alleged deficiencies in the functioning of the PPA had no relevance to this Bill, which was not focused on the planning profession.
Comments had been made by PLATO on the composition of the Council, clause 4, but the DRDLR was adamant that unqualified persons should not be co-opted to the Council. Various submissions were made about the constitution of the Council. There were people in the profession with recognised qualifications, who were to be represented on Council, as well as one member representing the public.
In relation to the definitions, and the various categories for the Council and the work, DRDLR maintained that the definition of “geomatics practitioner” accommodated all disciplines of geomatics already, and the wording used was specifically chosen to avoid the necessity of having to amend the Bill (once passed) as new disciplines might emerge in the geomatics field.
Mr Mdubeki noted that various submissions were made also on the role of the Minister. The DRDLR did believe that the Minister should be playing a role and ensuring good governance of the Bill and the profession, and the Minister should be accountable for, and therefore have the prerogative to appoint the appropriate chairperson of the Council. The members of Council should not assume this function. It was pointed out that the representatives from whom the Minister would appoint would be representative of the whole profession, and would already be fit and proper. In relation to the suggestion that no full-time employee of the State should head the Council, he pointed out that the current PLATO President acted in that capacity whilst being a full-time practitioner and he did not see the reason for making a distinction with the new Council. In practice, the affairs of the Council would be administered on a day-to-day basis by the Registrar
DRDLR accepted the suggestion that clause 5 be amplified with another subclause making reference to a person whose name was removed or suspended from the Roll.
In relation to clause 6, suggestions had been made on the Education and Training Committee, but the DRDLR said that these could be covered in the Rules of the Council.
PLATO had commented on the term “candidate geomatics practitioner” which related to a person who was not yet registered as a professional. Candidate practitioners would be allowed to register if they submitted proof that they were registered for a recognised programme leading to a qualification in geomatics. The idea of providing for a candidate class was to promote the culture of registration, from academic level onwards, and this was consistent with the spirit of the bill. DRDLR felt that it was not incorrect to deal with the categories in this way.
The Institute of Mine Surveyors (IMSSA) had submitted that the Bill failed to take account of the mine surveying profession. The DRDLR felt that clause 2(a) sufficiently encompassed all the issues of geomatics, without specifically mentioning all the branches.
The IMSSA also was concerned that clause 13(2)(b) was written in favour of professional land surveyors, but DRDLR pointed out that the Bill was concerned with registration of surface land, not work done in the mines. Mr Mdubeki said that the Department of Mineral Affairs (DMR) and the mining laws were ignored in the Bill. The DRDLR felt that the duties performed by mine surveyors were already outlined in the Mining Titles Registration Act, but also reiterated that clause 2(a) covered the issue adequately by covering minerals above and below the ground.
A further point had been made that was linked, that IMSSA was not represented on the Council. The DRDLR did not believe that every single discipline working in the field had to be represented at every tenure of the Council, and this point was repeated also in relation to the discussion on other submissions.
IMSSA had claimed that it knew nothing of the Bill prior to receiving a communiqué from the Office of the Chief Surveyor on 20 March. Although that was sent out, in good faith and to ensure transparency, it must be noted that the print media carried advertisements about the public comment process, on 17 March.
The IMSSA claimed that submissions it had made previously were not considered. The DRDLR said that all previous submissions were sufficiently considered.
The South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) had firstly given a lengthy comment and discussion on transformation, suggesting that perhaps that word needed go be defined. The DRDLR believed that attempting to define the process as changing from one state to the other would limit the Council’s ability to develop a programme to ensure that the profession moved from its current limited status to one that was more inclusive of demographics, gender and representivity, and to allow for skills transfer, scarce skills, employment equity development, economic empowerment, and a bottom-up approach to continuous improvement, as well as ensuring external monitoring that was sensitive to internal procedures and values.
Mr Gideon Hoon, Principal State Law Adviser, Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, added that although the submission from SAGI placed a lot of emphasis on transformation, there was only in fact one reference to this word in the Bill, although it was referred to in the Memorandum on the Objects of the Bill, which of course did not form part of the Bill itself. Clause 9(2) said that the Bill wanted to advance equality as part of transformation, but transformation could also be seen in the context of transforming the whole discipline of surveying to encompass the modern concepts. It was trite law that government was required to transform. This was discussed in a recent case on the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), where the Constitutional Court said that creating equity was one of the reasons for the legislation. This Bill obviously had to fit in with other legislation already in place.
The Chairperson wondered why the DRDLR was not seizing the opportunity to broaden the definitions. The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill (SPLUMB) had given a similar definition, and he wondered why this was not being done here, rather than referring more generally to other pieces of legislation. For instance, the Bill could state that the broadest aspects of transformation may encompass certain things.
Mr Hon said that he would not have a problem in principle with that, but reiterated that because clause 2 referred to transformation only in relation to principles and not in relation to any specific content, it might be of no purpose. He would, however, look at how other legislation was phrased.
The Chairperson said this was precisely the point, and that principles were meant for guidance. The principle was surely to transform the industry, and the Bill could therefore set out guidelines on how that should be done. He asked that the drafters go back and look again at the intention behind the Bill. This was not his own opinion alone as the Committee had said that it would not be scared to define matters, and he did not believe it would be correct to shy away from this if the Department was reluctant to do so.
Mr Mdubeki noted this comment.
Mr Mdubeki proceeded with the responses, and noted that many of the other comments were rather superficial and derisive and were not relevant to the objects of the Bill.
A submission was made that there was nothing to link the academic requirements and production of graduates, and it was asserted that a certain institution was producing standard lower than necessary. However, he pointed out that the very body who complained of this was still registering the graduates, and this perhaps emphasised the need for a transformed Council that would not do anything to compromise standards. The Bill aimed to set high standards and integrity levels in the profession.
It was asserted that the Law Commission had investigated the current Act and found no problems with it, therefore there was no need to change it. However, Mr Mdubeki pointed out that the Law Commission investigation had looked only at whether the current Act discriminated, which it did not, but did not look at all of issues of modernity and transformation.
The Chairperson reiterated that this linked aback to his request to define transformation to show that the mandate was different.
Mr Hoon said that the drafters would research into that and should perhaps set this out in the Preamble,
The Chairpersons could not comment on how it should be done, but asserted that Parliament must produce a law that addressed all the issues and left nothing hanging unresolved.
Mr Mdubeki noted that SAGI had questioned why it should bother commenting, because the process was flawed, which begged the question of why it had made the submission, if it really believed nothing would be done.
Similar concerns as other bodies had raised were also stated by SAGI on clause 2(a), that it did not cover what geomaticians did, failed to cover mine surveying, nor accounted for engineering surveyors. DRDLR did not agree and reiterated that in its view clause 2(a) was sufficiently broad. Clause 1 also outlined various areas of geomatics, including engineering and surveying for minerals.
There were specific comments made in relation to land management, and it was suggested that the DRDLR needed to sit down with the profession. DRDLR felt that this Bill was not geared to a specific geomatics discipline, but that it was geared to the over arching multi-disciplinary vocation, covering general management of land matters.
SAGI suggested that clause 2(a)(iii) did not cover what the land surveyor did, and said that the reference to “applicable legislation” should be changed to “relevant legislation” and that “for registration purposes” be added. DRDLR responded that this would make no difference to the meaning.
SAGI made speculative comments on the removal of clause 2(c)(i) in relation to the effect of transformation, and said that this clause served to cast doubt on standards, ethics and integrity. None of this was supported in fact.
SAGI questioned the reference in the Bill to South African Qualifications Authority, saying that this was a repetition of other legislation. DRDLR felt that clause 3(3) should be retained, since SAQA requirements were mandatory for professional bodies.
SAGI also commented on the composition of the Council, saying that all six professional bodies, and the youth, must have representation. DRDLR reiterated that it did not agree, saying that not every category had to have a separate seat. A spread of organisations would make nominations. It was reluctant to provide separately for the youth. There was also a suggestion that clause 4(1)(a)(iii) be changed to refer to a practitioner nominated by the Department of Mineral Resources, who should be registered in the mining category, but DRDLR said that the subclause already referred to a geomatics professional in the full-time employ of DMR, so this would be unnecessary repetition. Similar comments applied in relation to the Minister nominating the Chair of the Council, and who may be the Chair, as given earlier.
The comment that was made on clause 4(a) and comment on recognised voluntary organisations referred to wording that was actually not included in the Bill. The claims that clause 4(9) did not specify when a person could not perform duties was speculative.
Comment on clause 8(1) was linked to the comment that competency and standards may be compromised and it was somewhat contradictory because it was suggested that students should not have to attend university and then spend more time post-qualification. The comment on clause 8(d)(vi), that Council was not bound by the SAQA ruling, was misleading and did not contextualise the subclause properly.
DRDLR agreed with the suggestion to amend clause 13(2)(c) in principle, but proposed slightly different wording that included the phrase “of the same discipline”. It was not necessary to deal with supervision, which was already addressed elsewhere.
The Chairperson interjected to note that a comment was made that in the past, due to the thin spread of professionals, land surveyors had also, of necessity, done other work, and wanted to retain this right.
Mr Rajenda Salig, Chief Director: Cadastral Advisory and Research Services, DRDLR, explained that the DRDLR was merely suggesting that the principal supervising training must be registered in that discipline. He noted also that cadastral land survey work was subject to examination under the Land Survey Act, and there was a need for properly defined supervision. Work in other geomatics disciplines was not subject to examination. The DRDLR wanted to avoid the situation where a trainee town planner might be trained by a land surveyor.
The comment had been made that clause 18(6)(a) did not address disciplinary matters, but Mr Mdubeki noted that this was something that should be taken care of in the regulations.
The Chairperson wondered why the Bill did not contain a clause referring to regulations. The Council could create rules applying to all of the disciplines, as to what would be regarded as bringing the profession into disrepute. If the disciplines themselves did not enforce, Council should be able to do so.
The Chairperson noted the comment by DRDLR that there was no need to have representation on Council for every branch of the profession, but said that there was a risk that dominant groups might hijack the Council to the detriment of smaller professions. This should not be left to chance. He was worried about the notion that a Youth Desk be created.
Mr Mdubeki continued to go through the submissions. Comments had been made on the offences and penalties, as contained in clause 35(8), and the DRDLR conceded that the wording could be improved. The clause would also be amended to incorporate provisions of section 17A of Act 40 of 1984, which would be repealed.
The Geo Information Society of South Africa (GISSA) had commented that the Bill should speak to recognition of prior learning. This was to be addressed by the Education and Training Committee that would be established in terms of clause 6(2) of the Bill.
The comment was made that geomatics information science needed to be defined. The DRDLR felt that this was sufficiently addressed in clauses already and that no separate definition was required.
There was a note that reference should be made to other legislation, but DRDLR felt that this fell within the administrative mandate of the Council.
GISSA also claimed that the Bill was biased to the surveying profession, particularly the first part of the definition of “geomatics practitioner”. There was no definition of a professional geo information science practitioner. However, the DRDLR submitted that this was adequately dealt with in the Bill, as the various categories fell within the broad definition of geomatics professionals.
The Chairperson said that the various professions were indeed listed – although the complaint was made that this was not fully inclusive. He referred to the principle that it was generally not desirable to list some matters, for fear of excluding others, and asked why the decision was taken to list some.
Mr Mdubeki said that the DRDLR felt that its definition of a geomatics practitioner encompassed everyone in the profession, including those who felt that they were not mentioned.
The Chairperson said that in that case, the DRDLR should say so in the Bill.
Mr Salig partially agreed with the Chairperson’s comment, but said that as the profession evolved, and new geomatics professional categories were added, then the legislation would need to be constantly revised, and DRDLR had been trying to avoid this.
The Chairperson appreciated that point, and said that this seemed to emphasise that a broader and more principled definition was needed, perhaps even referring to something like ‘including other issues related to national development purposes”. This would cover, for instance, growth and development of society, and if this was not included then the scope of the Bill would be narrowed and the profession not opened up. It was possible for the DRDLR to describe every discipline that it believed existed now, but then also to open up the scope for new sciences of measurement. If some of the existing ones were not defined now, there could well be a valid fears that they were excluded and to claim discrimination.
Mr Mdubeki reiterated that the definitions clauses defined a geomatics practitioner, and the DRDLR believed that this wording did encompass all currently existing professions. There were also references to branches and areas of specialisation, such as geomatics technician, technologist and so forth, and the mine surveyors and the like would fall under these categories and did not have to be separately mentioned. There was, in the current Act a specific definition for “land surveyor” and he made the point that because other pieces of legislation – such as the Land Survey Act and the Deeds Registry Act – referred to a land surveyor as defined, it would be necessary to ensure that the definition in the current Act 40 of 1984 was carried over into the new Bill, so that it was still covered by cross referencing when the old Act was repealed. The fact that this was specifically defined, however, did not mean that any special focus was being placed on it.
The Chairperson fully appreciated that point but said that the Bill did not explain this, and the fact that this was raised by so many of the bodies as a concern was indicative of the fact that more clarity was needed. The Bill could say that various categories were covered, which would encompass x, y and z, but that one particular definition was being included because of the repeal of the old Act.
Mr Salig said it could also be dealt with as part of the transitional provisions.
The Chairperson wondered why the DRDLR seemed not to apply the same approach universally. The SPLUMB drafters had adopted a particular approach that could well be used for this Bill also. He noted also that Mr Ogunronbi had stated that the DRDLR already had technology capturing the details of every municipality – and wondered why this was not being applied for the NARYSEC needs.
The Chairperson also made a general comment that he would have liked to see more specific references to numbered clauses rather than “dealt with in the Bill”.
He noted that time was running out, and asked Members to agree that instead of the DRDLR continuing t present on the next few pages, Members should rather take the document away, study the comment, and then convey the questions on the responses to DRDLR, who could then respond on all the Committee’s concerns at a later stage. He noted that the Committee would be visiting Johannesburg on 30 April and the drafters should finalise its comments and respond to Members’ questions on that day. After that, an A-list for the Bill could be created.
Parliamentary Legal Advisor comment
Ms Sueanne Isaacs, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, gave some broad comments on the Department’s responses. She noted that many of the public submissions were very technical and raised policy considerations rather than legal issues. It was clear that there was substantial concern around the definitions, and clause 2. There was a general perception of a bias towards land surveyors in the Bill, and this would need to be addressed by the Committee, who must ensure that all branches were adequately covered, and that they felt that they were being treated fairly. It would not be so difficult to tweak the definitions, and this would not dilute the intentions of the Department but would address the perceptions.
The Chairperson agreed, and said that this would also deal with the complaint that no attention had been paid to comments by the professions in the past.
Ms Isaacs said that there were a number of concerns around the composition f the Council, and noted the Chairperson’s note of caution that by not defining the categories of representation more tightly, it was possible that some branches may dominate and others may never get the opportunity to be represented.
The Bill said that the Minister not only appointed the Council members, from nominees, but also appointed the office bearers, and some commentators did not think this was a correct principle. The Committee would need to consider whether Council should be allowed to appoint the office bearers itself. If it was not permitted to do this, there could be a perception that it was not truly independent or autonomous, although it was of course not necessarily the case that a Ministerial appointment would necessarily involve bias. The Committee would need to look to the facts.
The other main contention related to the incorporation of references to SAQA and the National Qualifications Framework Act. One f the submissions had criticised this as duplication of legislation. The Department had indicated that it regarded this as a cross-referencing process, setting out how the Council must get accreditation.
Another burning issue was that of transformation and she repeated that although it was only mentioned in one clause of the Bill it did raise some interesting questions. There was an inherent problem in attempting to define something so broad and that was given effect to by policy. Within the profession itself, “transformation” could refer to racial, gender, rural bias, socio-economic spread, and disability, for instance. If a definition was included, it must be broad enough to cover all possible categories of disadvantage, as well as future categories. In that regard, she said she would liaise with the State Law Adviser and try to come up with something that the Committee may find acceptable.
The Chairperson commented that somehow transformation would need to be included in the principles, so that this concept guided the application of the Bill, rather than set out in specific clauses. He noted that if Members or the DRDLR wished to raise any issues with each other prior to the next meeting they should do so.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting on the Bill would take place on 30 April, in Johannesburg.