REPORT TO GRA by Lynette Paterson on

LED, Planning, Tourism and Cultural Industries Portfolio Meeting, Friday 22 February 2019

Observations: 1. Recording apparatus (and thus microphones?) out of order. Audibility poor.

  1. To make proper sense of proceedings it is essential to have access, perhaps in advance, to the voluminous “Agenda” for the meeting. In future I hope to acquire one direct by email from Director Meiring.
  2. I did not have the benefit of an Agenda, having been sent one for the Infrastructure Portfolio instead. This report therefore records points which seemed, to my untrained ear, to stand out. (In writing up the report I was able to consult a printed Agenda.)
  3. Question marks in my report are signals that my word should perhaps not be trusted! I hope to get better at listening strategically.

Chair’s Opening Statement: Cllr Matyumza introduced himself as Chair of the newly integrated Portfolio Committee. He stressed that he was full time and could therefore be counted on to get things done. He said he was aware that his position was being challenged(?). He pointed out that the muni was experiencing critical water difficulties and he appealed to members to counter negative information, especially “propaganda” designed to “render this Council useless”. He acknowledged assistance received from Gift of the Givers. He declared five undertakings: 1. To “come close to the department” and increase the output of the portfolio. 2. To gain an overview of all the directorates to determine each one’s terrain and stake-holders. 3. Community Works Programme (Agenda pp. 114-143.) “They are not there. Let me give you an assurance, I will be full time on it. They must give account.” 4. Aesthetics Committee, zoning laws, building inspectorate?. 5. Economic Development in the townships. Land is earmarked but people can’t get funding released. Finally, he pointed out that meetings would “have a starting time and an ending time”.

Director’s Official Announcements: Director Meiring pointed out that there was someone new in charge of Town Planning (Sinaye ?) and that a consulting meeting was planned for 26 Feb to discuss a Spatial Development Framework. Nominations had been called for from relevant professions. The Director pointed out that she was heavily involved in dealing with the water crisis and that her attentions might not always be fixed on this Portfolio. However, she assured the meeting that the relevant managers had the Portfolio’s matters in hand.

*Hereafter the meeting proceeded by means of paging through the 143-page Agenda, discussing only points specifically raised by members.

Minutes of Tourism and Cultural Industries (pp. 12-16): An objection was raised to the partisan nature of the Tourism Chair’s opening statement. A correction was made regarding the beneficiation of local artists during the National Arts Festival: the Festival organisers should be invited to do a presentation to the Portfolio Committee.

Second Quarter SDBIP (pp. 25-28): The Chair remarked that the document was largely a list of things that would never be achieved. “Let us review the list realistically.” The Chair added, however, that the list also served as a score sheet and he pointed out that LED had the highest achievement score among directorates.

Aesthetics Committee and Illegal Buildings (pp. 29-40):  A point was raised about “absorbed workers” (?). The Chair said, “We will take it up. It will stop here.”

PowerX Project (pp. 49-61): The Director pointed out that though there was a Use of Systems agreement, the Cost of Supply was still awaited. The Chair said that this was the most long-awaited project in Makana but that a full presentation would have to be made at a meeting of all Councillors before roll-out could occur.

Tourism Second Quarter Report (pp. 62-71): The Chair questioned the nature of this report, which consisted of too much “mechanical listing”.

200th Anniversary of Battle of Egazini (pp. 72-94): A project proposal was in place, and a further application was noted from the King Lobengula Foundation for a project to commemorate African Heroes and Heroines. The Chair pointed out that time for organising anniversary activities was running out. The Chair read a letter from Cllr Xonxa containing an impassioned plea for Makana’s heritage to be preserved. The town’s precious few attractions wer deteriorating and heritage sites were becoming no-go zones. Degradation must be halted. The Director said that an audit should be made and presented to the next Portfolio Meeting. Cllr Jackson pointed out that this would mean revisiting and updating the existing Rad…? Report, which would be costly. The Chair acknowledged Cllr Xonxa’s letter and said that “now we have to locate it properly in our competences. We will itemise and respond.”

Waste Management and Recycling Project (pp. 95-98): The meeting was presented with a concept document from the company Isangqa Soboni. She pointed out that there were many job opportunities in this area and that her department would consider the proposal. Cllr Xonxa called for a profile of the applicant.

Report on Appointment of Local SMMEs (pp. 99-113): The Chair queried the nature of the report, which should differ from a supply chain report. “We need to know which SMMEs are benefitting.” Some discussion ensued about whether institutions like Rhodes and the private schools should also be held to the requirement of contracting local SMMEs. “Should we review our strategic partnerships then?” the Chair asked. Rotation of SMMEs could also be practiced.

*There was some discussion around the unnecessary wastage of paper in the agendas. At least attendance registers were not duplicated, but things like photographs could also be left out. The Chair hoped that the committee might move in the direction of paperless agendas. The point was made that Councillors would have to be capacitated. “But we do have allowances,” the Chair said. “Let us set the example in this committee. Start small; others will follow.”

In Conclusion the Chair urged that the committee should have one goal, “to champion the aspirations of our people. Let us have a clear programme and provide solutions. We are one team, and I am its full-time leader.” He added that politics were not allowed in the committee.

The meeting closed at 11:15.