Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation 2013 Budget Speech & Responses by ANC and DA


28 May 2013

Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Collins Chabane, gave his Budget Vote Speech on the 28 May 2013

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Appropriations
Deputy Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Honourable Members
Honoured guests
Members of the Audit Committee
Management and staff of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Members of the media present
Friends and comrades
Ladies and gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to present the third budget vote of this young department, which has made remarkable achievements within a short space of time. The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation is one of the two anchor programmes of the ANC government which received an overwhelming mandate from votersto govern this country for another five years in 2009.

The ANC committed to all South Africans that it will introduce National Planning and Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to closethe gap in long term planning for the country and to ensure that government produces the key outcomes we want and our people desire.

Honourable Chairperson

There are no major changes or policy shifts from the strategic choices we made and published through our Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan. We will continue on the journey that we have started of monitoring government performance against the five key priorities of education, health, reducing crime, job creation and the development of rural communities.

I will use this opportunity to report back on some of the advances we have made with our M&E programmesand to describea few areas we will focus on during this financial year.

Honourable Members

This year marks the eve of our country’s celebrations of 20 years of South Africa’s young democracy. This will be a time to reflect and take note of the achievements we have made as a country to deliver to our people and improve their lives for the better. It will also be an opportunity to reflect on the challenges ahead in the consolidation of our democracy.

Last financial year, as a follow-up to the mid-term review, we started doing research work for the production of the 20 year review of the country’s progress towards becoming a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society. We have set ourselves a target to publish the 20 year review by the end of this year.

The 20 year review will use evidence to reflect on the progress we have made as well as the challenges we have faced since 1994. It will also reflect on the things we need to do going forward in order to consolidate the gains we have made and plug the gaps that exist.

The building blocks of the review will be the work we have done so far through the outcomes approach, as well as existing and new research work which is being undertaken by ourselves and various research institutions. The five thematic issues which will inform the review will be, one the extent to which the wellbeing of the citizens has changed; two, the way in which society has transformed; three, changes in the wider environment; four, changes in government and finally international outcomes.

This government has delivered many services which have led to improvement of the lives of our people-but more needs to be done. Our latest development indicators report, which will be released shortly, provides an indication of the progress made in a variety of areas. The indicators reveal that, with regard to the delivery of basic municipal services, access to a basic level of water infrastructure increased from 92% of households in 2009 to 95% in 2012; access to a minimum level of sanitation infrastructure increased from 77% in 2009 to 85% in 2012; and access to electricity increased from 81% in 2009 to 88% in 2012. An example with regard to building a non-sexist society is that there has been a vast improvement in the representation of women in all three tiers of government since 1994.

Honourable Chairperson

In 2009, we undertook to make government work better, faster and smarter. We did this by introducing the outcomes approach and negotiating inter-departmental and inter-governmental delivery agreements for the 12 priority outcomes.
We have been monitoring progress on the implementation of the delivery agreements for the outcomes as well as facilitating quarterly reporting to Cabinet.We are pleased that the evidence and the trends emerging from our work confirm that we were correct to focus our nation and government on these key priorities.

In June last year, we published the Mid-term Review on progress made against the targets set in the delivery agreements.The review described the good progress which has been made and made concrete proposals on steps to be taken to improve performance in areas where there had not been as much progress as had been hoped. For example, unemployment remains a challenge and our economic growth rate remains too low. Implementation of the National Development Plan, the National Infrastructure Plan, the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan should catalyse investment and support for industry in creating more employment.

Many departments have adopted the new approach of focusing on measurable results and impacts and the government as a whole is starting to achieve a number of the targets which we set for ourselves.There is improved coordination between government departments and between the three spheres of government, particularly in the important concurrent functions of basic education and health. In both of these sectors the national and provincial departments are now working together more effectively to improve service delivery. This is particularly so in the health sector, where the national department has been able to successfully oversee a range of improvements in the delivery of health services at provincial level.

As a result, life expectancy has improved from 56 years in 2009 to 60 years in 2012. The infant and under-5 mortality rates have been reduced from 40 and 56 per 1 000 live births respectively in 2009 to 30 and 42 per 1 000 live births respectively in 2012. The mother to child HIV transmission rate has declined from 3.5% in 2009 to 2.7% in 2012. The TB cure rate increased from 63% in 2009 to 74% in 2012. Patient satisfaction measured through the Stats SA General Household Survey has also improved from 54% in 2009 to 64% in 2011.

We are now working with National Treasury and the national departments responsible for concurrent functions to ascertain the potential for further improvements to the management of concurrent functions through greater use of national norms and standards, drawing on the successes in the health sector.
With regard to education and skills, the number of learners matriculating each year has been increasing steadily, from 110 000 in 2009 to 136 000 in 2012. The percentage of Grade 1 learners who attended formal Grade R increased from 80% in 2009 to over 90% in 2013.

There has been an improvement in Grade 3 literacy which has risen from 48% of learners operating at a minimum literacy level in 2009 to 52% in 2012. Due to increased standard setting, monitoring and support by the Department of Basic Education, the delivery of textbooks by the provincial education departments has improved remarkably over the last year. 98% of the textbooks that were planned to be delivered had been delivered by the beginning of the 2013 school year.

The numbers of young people in learnerships and artisan programmes has increased, as has the number of learners in FET Colleges. The FET College pass rate improved by about 10% on average between 2009 and 2012.The placement rate of FET college graduates has also improved, from 22% in 2009 to 41% in 2012.

With regard to crime, there has been a decrease in overall serious crime from 3 924 cases per 100 000 population in 2009 to 3608 cases in 2012. There have also been reductions in the rates of contact crimes and trio crimes. In terms of combating corruption involving amounts of money larger than R5 million, 239 people were arrested and 32 people convicted between 2009 and 2012.

While the economy has been growing and creating more jobs, the numbers of people seeking work has also increased. This, coupled with the global economic downturn, has inhibited our ability to meet our targets for reducing unemployment. As I mentioned earlier, the government will remain focused on addressing this key issue.

As a department, we play a particularly important role in outcome 12, the development of an efficient and effective public service. We believe that by improving the quality of monitoring and evaluation within departments, we will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the public service.

There are still a number of challenges to be overcome to strengthen monitoring and evaluation practices in government. Many of the plans for the programmes of departments are not yet sufficiently rigorous in terms of measuring baseline data and clearly explaining how the programme will achieve its intended objectives. There is not yet enough measurement of outcomes and impacts and some departments do not yet have the necessary information management systems in place to do this. We need to do more to build a culture of continuous improvement as opposed to keeping on doing things in the same way because they have always been done that way.

In order to address these challenges, we are engaged in a range of monitoring and evaluation capacity building initiatives including managing national and provincial M&E forums, M&E learning networks, developing guidelines and training courses for officials and partnering with other countries to learn and share best practices. In order to build capacity for monitoring and evaluations, we have partnered with PALAMA and the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA).

The department is also contributing to outcome 12 by monitoring a range of indicators of public service efficiency and effectiveness, by monitoring the quality of management practices in departments and municipalities, and by monitoring the quality of frontline service delivery to citizens, which the Deputy Minister will elaborate on in detail. Some of the indicators which we have been monitoring include the payment of suppliers within 30 days, the development and implementation of service delivery improvement plans, the time taken to fill vacancies and to finalise disciplinary cases, as well as the finalisation of Anti-corruption and Presidential Hotline cases.

With regard to the quality of front-line service delivery, there have been some marked improvements in some departments. For example, the average number of days taken by the South African Social Security Agency or SASSA to process a social grant application decreased from 30 days in 2009 to 5 days in 2012. This is a remarkable achievement. There has also been an improvement in the average time taken for police to respond to calls for assistance.

In September 2012, President Jacob Zuma received the National Development Plan (NDP) on behalf of our nation from the National Planning Commission (NPC). The NDP has been adopted by Cabinet and will be implemented by this government. The NDP provides a road-map for tackling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

With its adoption, we now have a shared long-term strategic framework within which more detailed planning can take place. The crucial challenge is to ensure that medium and short-term planning is situated within the context of the long-term agenda of the NDP.In order to achieve this, in collaboration with the National Planning Commission Secretariat, we are currently in the process of translating the NDP priorities into the 2014-2019 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).

The MTSF will be positioned as the first 5-year building block of the NDP, and will inform the new five year strategic plans of national and provincial departments.
This will result in a clear line of sight between the actions and targets in the NDP and the actions and targets in the plans of individual departments, which in turn will ensure that the NDP is thoroughly and systematically implemented. It will also ensure that progress with the key actions and targets in the NDP will be regularly reported on to Parliament, through the annual reporting process.

There is a high correlation between the priorities in the NDP and the current 12 priority outcomes. Many of the indicators and targets are consistent and overlap with the current delivery agreements. This correlation will enable us to maintain continuity in the planning and monitoring and evaluation processes of government. The draft MTSF will be submitted to the July Cabinet Lekgotla for consideration and finalised for submission to the new Cabinet for consideration after the 2014 national elections.

Honourable Members

Last year we indicated that we will work with other government departments and provinces to identify key projects, programmes, plans and policies to be evaluated.

Seven evaluations started in the past financial year and will be completed in this current financial year and improvement plans will be developed and monitored. We have begun with preparatory work for sixteen evaluations to be carried out in the current financial year.

In the past three years of its existence, DPME has made good progress in collaboration with our sister departments in developing, piloting and implementing monitoring and evaluation systems to contribute to the building of a capable and developmental state.

Last year, we reported that we have worked with other transversal departments and institutions as well as the Offices of the Premier to develop and pilot an instrument to monitor management practices in national and provincial departments. This instrument, the Management Performance Assessment Tool or MPAT, draws on the monitoring work of other institutions such as the Auditor General and the Public Service Commission and does not duplicate their work. It provides a single holistic picture of the state of management practices in a department.

Generally, audits focus on compliance only, whereas MPAT focuses on getting managers to work more smartly. This is important to improve government performance - for example, getting departments to procure more smartly results in better service delivery by suppliers and contractors, and savings from reducing corruption and increasing value for money.

We also said last year that the MPAT assessments will be repeated annually so that improvements can be tracked. We are pleased to announce that in the past financial year, 156 national and provincial departments participated in the assessments. This represents a substantial increase over the 103 departments which participated in the 2011-12 MPAT assessment cycle.

This increased level of participation can be attributed to the fact that many departments have indicated that they find the assessment process useful.The process of getting the top management of each department to assess itself against a holistic set of good practice management standards and to agree on required improvements is the main value-add of the MPAT assessment process. Management practices in departments are generally weak because top management has not paid sufficient attention to improving them and by carrying out annual MPAT assessments the Presidency and the Offices of the Premier are sending out a clear message that improving administration is a priority of government.

The monitoring of management practices is starting to bear fruit in a number of areas. For example, the average time taken to fill a funded vacancy in national and provincial departments improved from 9 months in 2010 to 4 months in 2012. The responsiveness of departments to cases referred to them from Chapter 9 institutions and from the national Anti-Corruption Hotline has also improved. Compliance rates have improved regarding important issues such as finalising performance agreements for heads of department and the submission of financial disclosure forms by senior managers.

However, there is still much room for improvement in departments, particularly in administrative areas such as payment of suppliers within 30 days and the setting and monitoring of service delivery standards, and we will be continuing to closely monitor these issues to ensure that they improve.

The diagnostic in the NDP points to a South African local government system that has inherent weaknesses in capacity and performance. These include ineffective service delivery due to poor planning, poor administrative and financial management practices, shortage of skills, and undue political influence in the recruitment of senior managers, amongst others.Last year, we reported that we have started to develop an appropriate tool to assess the quality of management practices and basic service delivery in municipalities in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance and National Treasury.

This has been done, and during this year we will be piloting the implementation of the Municipal Assessment Tool (MAT), focusing on both the quality of generic management practices such as planning, human resources, financial management, community engagement and governance, as well as the quality of basic service delivery.

The pilot phase will comprise the assessment of 10 municipalities which will inform the refinement of the assessment tool, so that assessments of municipalities can start taking place more widely from next year.We hope that once embedded in the system of local government, this will go a long way towards laying a firm foundation for sustained improvement in the performance of municipalities.

One of the intentions of the MPAT and MAT assessments is to lead and drive a process of addressing issues raised by the Auditor General, and we expect that these assessments will result in improved audit reports overtime.

We are in the process of establishing an operational management support programme in partnership with the National Treasury and the private sector, with the aim of assisting departments and municipalities to address some of the operational weaknesses that we have identified through our MPAT, MAT and frontline service delivery monitoring programmes.

Honourable Chairperson

The biggest challenge facing the department is to ensure that other departments and municipalities act on M&E information. In the past Members have proposed that DPME should be given “teeth” to enable it to enforce its recommendations. However, I would advise members to consider this proposal very carefully. There is an existing legal system for accountability and consequences for poor performance, as described for example in the Public Service Act and Public Finance Management Act. In line with the Constitution, this legal system emphasises the accountability of the Executive Authorities and Accounting Officers of departments to Parliament.

If Parliament calls departments to account for how they are acting on M&E findings, it will help DPME to ensure that its findings are acted upon. We therefore look forward to receiving many more invitations to present to portfolio committees.

The argument for giving DPME teeth has also been one of the arguments for enabling legislation for performance monitoring and evaluation. The department is continuing to explore this issue with other departments at the administrative centre of government, and will bring an initial policy document to the Standing Committee on Appropriations in the coming months.

Honourable members

In the last financial year, we presented the first audited annual report for DPME. The Auditor General South Africa (AGSA) expressed an unqualified audit opinion. We are currently compiling our annual report for the financial year ended in 31 March 2013. We are confident that once again we will receive a favourable audit opinion.

Turning to the budget, the Department has been allocated R192.7 million for the 2013/14 financial year. Of this, R109 million will be spent on compensation of employees, R75 million on goods and services, and R9 million on payments for capital assets. The Department has four budget programmes, which correspond with the four branches of the department, and the budget has been allocated to these programmes as follows:

  • Administration: R57 million
  • Outcomes monitoring and evaluation: R61 million
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Coordination and Support: R17 million
  • Public Sector Oversight: R57 million.

In conclusion, as our approach to M&E matures, we increasingly recognise the need to strengthen the involvement of citizens in monitoring government service delivery. We are excited to announce that the citizen based monitoring programme is now being piloted with the South African Police Services and the Departments of Health and Social Development to give practical expression to this commitment. The Deputy Minister will further elaborate on this exciting initiative.
I now commend the budget to the house.

I thank you.

Address by the Deputy Minister for Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration, Mr Obed Bapela, on the Budget Vote of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

28 May 2013

Honourable Minister, Mr. Collins Chabane
Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Appropriations
Members of the Standing Committee on Appropriations
Chairpersons and members of other committees
Esteemed guests
Comrades and friends
Ladies and gentlemen
Honourable members.

In 2009, in response to the call for a more responsive and interactive government, President Jacob Zuma established the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). Since then the department has been implementing a number of monitoring initiatives. The Minister has already referred to some of the initiatives.

Amongst these initiatives was the Presidential Hotline. The Presidential Hotline provides a platform for citizens to voice their complaints about the quality of services they receive from government.

The Presidential Hotline is now three and a half years old. In its short period of existence, it has proven to a valuable monitoring tool for citizens and government.

From its inception in October 2009 to 31 March 2013, the Presidential Hotline received a total of 160 914 cases. The case resolution rate is now at 90%. This is encouraging given that the Presidential Hotline started with a case resolution rate of 39% in November 2009. Over the last year we have been working intensively with targeted departments and provinces to improve their responsiveness of government to hotline cases. As a result, the case resolution rate of the provinces has improved from 50% to 71%.

Our work with provinces and national departments to improve their responsiveness to complaints will continue this year. The cooperation from both national departments and provinces has been encouraging, and it indicates that departments are beginning to understand the importance of being responsive to the citizens.

The visibility and profile of the Presidential Hotline is being improved. We are sending regular reports on case resolution to the Forum of South Africa Directors General, the Presidential Co-ordinating Council and Cabinet to ensure that departments take responsibility for putting our people first - Batho Pele.

In the context of the Presidential Hotline, “case resolution” means that a citizen has been contacted and has been given a response to their query or complaint. This does not always mean that the response we provide to a complaint will satisfy the caller. Some cases involve difficult and complex issues and are difficult to resolve quickly. However, in such cases the least that we can do is to assure the citizens that they have been heard and that we working with the relevant departments to ensure that their issues are addressed.

The quality of complaints resolution is as important as the number of complaints resolved. We have started working with departments to ensure that, in addition to complaints being addressed quickly, citizens are also satisfied with the way in which their cases are resolved. In this regard, since October 2012, we have been conducting interviews with citizens who logged cases on the Hotline to gauge their level of satisfaction with the Hotline service. Between October and December 2012, we called 3 211 citizens and 64% of respondents rated the service as satisfactory whereas 34% rated the service they had received as poor. These surveys will now be on-going and we will use the information to help us focus on those departments and municipalities which need assistance in improving the quality of their case resolution.

There are good stories to be told about the help that citizens receive through the intervention of the Hotline.

To mention a few:
Mr Vuyani Kholiwe from the Eastern Cape called to seek for assistance from the Hotline after trying unsuccessfully to apply for a foster care grant for his nephew. The matter was referred by the Hotline to the Office of the Premier in the Eastern Cape for investigation. Social workers made an assessment and assisted Mr Kholiwe and, in January 2013 the grant was approved and the child is now attending a local pre-school.

Another example is that of Mr George Mogale from the North West. Mr Mogale reported that he could not register his new marriage since his divorce application was not processed by the Rustenburg Magistrate Court. Through the intervention of the Presidential Hotline, his case was resolved on 21 January 2013.

Mr Anele Dyongman called to indicate that in 2010 and 2011 he had received National Students Financial Aid Scheme financial aid but in 2012 his fees were not paid despite funding confirmation from National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS). With help from the Department of Higher Education and Training the student was able to be funded through the Discretionary Fund of the Department to cover his registration fees, textbooks and accommodation for 2013.

Ms Priscilla Mvuembe called the Presidential Hotline on 25 January 2013, reporting that she had applied for her child’s unabridged birth certificate on 18 April 2012 but had still not received it. The Births Unit finalised the unabridged birth certificate on 28 January 2013.

These and other examples illustrate our determination to do things differently, to be responsive to the needs of our citizens and to be a caring government that puts people first.

We will continue to use the Hotline as a monitoring tool that assists with identifying service delivery trends and challenges in order to unblock blockages in our service delivery value chain.

Honourable Members

As mentioned in our budget speech last year, we are continuing with our programme of on-site monitoring of frontline service delivery, which we are implementing jointly with all nine Offices of the Premier. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Offices of the Premiers for the leadership that they have shown in their support of this important monitoring initiative.

I am pleased to announce that last year we monitored 215 frontline facilities, including 23 South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) facilities, 30 police stations, 37 schools, 51 health facilities, 19 courts, 14 drivers’ license testing centres, 22 municipal customer care centres and 19 Home Affairs offices.

This brings the total of facilities we have monitored since the inception of the programme in June 2011 to 350. This type of hands-on monitoring at the coalface of service delivery is very important for government to gain insight into how citizens are experiencing service delivery in these facilities.

During each of these visits, a score card is produced and an improvement plan is agreed to.  I want to take this opportunity to thank the departments responsible for these functions for the enthusiastic manner in which they have embraced the programme and for taking the findings seriously.

We have not experienced any defensiveness regarding the programme. Rather, we have found that departments appreciate the score cards and that they have committed to work with us to ensure that the findings are acted upon.

Government will use the information gathered through the frontline service delivery monitoring visits and follow-up visits to catalyse improvements in the quality of services our people receive in public facilities. This holds true particularly where simply improving the management and leadership at a facility can bring immediate improvements in the quality of services being rendered.
From these visits, we are beginning to see the positive impact of the efforts of government to improve service delivery.

I personally conducted a monitoring visit with the DPME team to the City of Johannesburg customer care centres in Midrand and Randburg. In the Midrand centre I found a well-functioning facility with happy customers but in the Randburg centre I found many frustrated citizens and I found their frustrations to be valid. In meetings with the management of the municipality we were assured that facility managers would be more visible in these centres in future and that the improvement programme of the City will bring results.

In my visits to Mafikeng SASSA, I observed visible improvements in the speed of registration of grant applicants. In Montshiwa Clinic, I found that substantial improvements had already occurred, including the refurbishment of the clinic and improved stock management of medicines. While I found the building in which Mafikeng Drivers’ License Testing Centre is housed to be in poor condition, I was assured that its upgrading had already been budgeted for.

My visit to the Gugulethu SASSA office coincided with the re-registration of social grant beneficiaries. Many citizens were dissatisfied with the speed at which services were delivered. This was validated by the facility manager, who indicated that a shortage of staff was exacerbating the issue. However, there was assurance from the management of SASSA that capacitation of the facility was underway.

I was particularly pleased with the initiative taken by the management of the Fezeka Municipal Customer Care Centre, who had already put plans in place to prioritise the elderly and persons living with disabilities in both their service provision and in term of access to the facility. To the management of the Umzimkhulu SASSA office – we were inspired by the enthusiasm of your team in acting on our findings – we hope that your hands-on management style, your accessibility to citizens, and your creative problem-solving approach will inspire other facility managers.

In this current financial year, we have set ourselves a target of monitoring at least 140 facilities in all provinces. Importantly, we will conduct follow-up visits to ensure that the agreed improvements in 81 poorly performing facilities out of the 350 facilities which have been monitored to date are implemented. Together with the responsible national department as well as the Offices of the Premier, we will be able to bring about positive changes in the conditions of these 81 facilities.

In spite of some complaints about less than helpful attitudes of some staff at some facilities, we have often found exemplary management and leadership during these visits. We witnessed managers who are committed to public service and who have developed excellent relationships with the communities they serve. These are the public servants who deserve to be celebrated.

One of the objectives of our frontline service delivery monitoring programme is to encourage all service delivery departments and municipalities to carry out this kind of monitoring themselves, of their own service delivery facilities. We would like to see all Ministers and MECs and Mayors visiting their own service delivery sites regularly, to identify and address problems. The President set a very good example in this regard with his recent visit to Eldorado Park, shortly after receiving a letter from a citizen in the area, and by the way in which the government has responded swiftly to the drugs-related problems raised by citizens in that area.

Through our frontline service delivery monitoring work, we have found a gap in the manner in which we do monitoring - the absence of the voice of the citizens on whose behalf we are called upon to serve. In this regard, last year, we promised to develop a citizen-based monitoring framework by 31 March this year. I am pleased to announce that we have delivered on that promise. The citizen based monitoring framework was approved by the Minister in February 2013.

This year, we will begin with the implementation of the citizen-based monitoring programme. We will be carrying out intensive piloting and prototyping of citizen-based monitoring approaches at police stations, clinics and social services sites. This two year piloting process is being undertaken in partnership with the South African Police Service and the Departments of Health and Social Development. Through this action-learning approach we hope to develop practical and scalable ways to improve service delivery.

The importance of this citizen-voice in monitoring performance cannot be overstated. We exist to serve the citizenry. To do this effectively, we need routine and systematised ways to measure government’s performance from the citizens’ perspective.

As described in the National Development Plan (NDP), we need to increasingly establish a constructive dialogue between government and communities about their experiences of service delivery. This will have two benefits, firstly it will assist us to improve our service delivery, and secondly, it will contribute towards increasing citizen participation in governance and developing a more active citizenry.

Honourable Members

We have made sure that our M&E programmes are informed by international good practice, while being customised to our unique conditions. We have undertaken a number of study tours and we have established strong working relationships with international organisations with expertise in this area, such as the World Bank. As a result, we are now starting to receive delegations from other African countries, which are very interested in the work that we are doing. This is itself a vindication of the President’s decision to establish a dedicated unit for performance monitoring and evaluation in the Presidency.

In conclusion, I wish to thank Minister Chabane, the DPME Director General Dr Sean Phillips and his management, members of staff in my office, the Chairperson and members of the Standing Committee on Appropriations for their support.

I thank you.

Speech by Hon Refilwe Mashigo during the Budget Vote Debate on Perfomance Monitoring and Evaluation

Hon. Chairperson
Hon. Minister
Hon. Deputy Minister
Distinguished guests.

Portfolio committees submit their recommendations on government departments to parliament regarding service delivery and are published in the ATC. The Auditor General and the Public Service Commission also submit reports on some departments. But something was still missing.

The only thing to be done was for the President to create a department that would directly report to him about service delivery and progress made: that is, hon. Members the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). This is an African National Congress led government.

The ANC has always stood for basic principles that include: a constitution which guarantees human rights for all, the right to a minimum standard of life, including the right to access health, education, social security, food and water.

It is really disempowering, frustrating and making people very angry to:

Get to a public office and find no official at the reception desk
Stand in a long queue for hours at a government facility only to be told to come the following day or month.
Offer a service to a government department and wait more than 30 days to receive payment that will enable you to sustain your small enterprise or co-operative
Call an emergency service and it arrives after a long time.
The list goes on and on and we cannot continue with the business as usual attitude. This budget is about how public funds are spent; whether the community receives value for money and also addressing the 2009 ANC election manifesto. The 52nd ANC national conference reminded us of the function of the budget when it declared that: "... in the final analysis the budget is a potent lever in the hands of the state to direct, lead and guide the economy to address and improve the social conditions of the people and bring about economic progress for the poor". This debate will focus on programme 4 namely of the vote: Public Service Oversight. It is a key element of the delivery agreement for outcome 12: developing an efficient and effective public service. The budget for this programme is R57.3m increasing to R60m in the MTEF.

The programme has two sub-programmes, which are implemented in partnership with the Offices of the Premier (OoPs): Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT).

Good, efficient and improved service delivery results from proper, efficient and effective management. To address the existing problem of maladministration and poor service delivery; the dept. developed a tool to assess management practices of national and provincial departments which was approved by cabinet in 2011. MPAT was done in collaboration with the DPSA, National Treasury, Auditor General, Public Service Commission and the offices of the Premier. There is no duplication of what is done by other departments. The aim is to drive improvement and sharing of good practices by the departments. It makes it possible to detect poor performance and put corrective measure. Both the national and provincial HODs sign off the assessments, DPME at national and OoPs at the provinces. The process is done in three phases; with departments assessing themselves moderation and discussing the findings and improvements.

In the 2012/2013 financial year, 156 national and provincial departments participated and as a result many departments implemented improvements on this initial assessment. Since its implementation the results are:

2011/12: self- assessment only.
2012/13: self-assessment and moderation done by peers and experts from other depts.
There will be annual reporting and all signed off assessments will be captured on MPAT IT.

The Forum of South African DGs (FOSAD) holds quarterly meetings to discuss key indicators, results and discuss improvements. Improvement in the performance of HODs and their senior managers will have positive impact on the socio economic conditions of the people.

There are good government policies that just need to be implemented to change people`s lives. What is needed is quality, commitment, understanding and someone capable to do the job. Non compliance should carry consequences. The departments are accountable for their programmes and reports of performance should be demanded. De Bruijn H. in his book, Managing Performance in the Public Sector, stated that:

"Accountability is a form of communication and requires the information that professional organizations have to be reduced and aggregated". He further stated that performance measurements are a powerful tool; confirming what the dept. is practising and proving to be a success.

Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring (FSDM).

Service delivery is at the front where a service has to be given; be it in the office, at an institution or in the community.

FSDM is done by DPME in partnership with OoPs to put in place interventions to address identified weaknesses. The programme monitors the quality of service delivery at selected sites and keeps in touch with grassroots issues by conducting interviews with citizens, staff as well as observations. Findings of facilities monitored are produced on a score card and presented to relevant departments. Results are discussed with the provinces and corrective measures are taken where needed.

Facilities being monitored are: Home Affairs offices, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices, Police stations, Health facilities, Drivers License Testing centres, schools and courts.

Attention is paid to the following: location and accessibility

Visibility and signage
Queue management and waiting time
Dignified treatment
Cleanliness, comfort and safety
Complaints and compliments management.
NDP document can be referred to here as it also stresses that:

"People`s views and voices need to be heard, their voices heard, their contributions valued; the poor majority need to be accorded the same respect as more fortunate members of society".

Presidential Hotline. This service is very popular and has led to better service delivery and faster response. Our constituencies can testify the efficiency of this hotline and they even advice one another to report inefficiencies to the President through the phone. Even critics have tried the line and were received with pleasure and given a hearing. This is what South Africa wants. Transparency and an honest follow- up.
The committee undertook an oversight visit to have an idea of the interactions with the public. The staff is trained to answer calls and refer to relevant departments if the problem cannot be responded to on line.

Unannounced visits. These visits present a real situation of the daily functioning of a facility and how the consumers feel about the service. The officials are not prepared for the visit and cannot as a result create a false situation.
The results are discussed with the office of the Premier and interventions are planned. OoPs facilitate their visits to provincial departments and the municipalities.

Citizen based monitoring. This is already referred to by Hon. Snell. The ANC will always mobilise people to actively take part in decision- making processes that affect their lives. This is seen through the achievements made in the delivery of basic services; number of houses built; access to education and an increase in Early Childhood Development centres; access to economy.
There is a lot of work in this programme and capacity is needed to achieve the outcomes and feel proper impact. This is still a small department and according to the ENE the number of funded posts in this programme will increase by only two in the MTEF, from 65 to 67. The use of consultants was extensively discussed. This is a small dept. and needs expertise to engage with different depts. The question is which is cost effective? Employing a permanent staff member or getting an expert with necessary skills for a few months for a specific department? Otherwise consultants cannot be used at random.

The ANC presents itself to the public through its policies. Its policy documents are presented to all sectors of society, not only branches. These are vibrantly debated, analysed and criticized to enable the ANC to draw policies and programmes of action that improves the lives of our people. We see change in South Africa.

Discussion of these documents is a call for transparency. Working together we can do more.

The ANC supports the budget.


Marius Swart MP (DA)

 During 2012, there were 38 national government departments responsible for late payments to suppliers equalling R 3.7 billion.
A total of R 208.7 million in late payments was recorded in December 2012 alone.
Limpopo, North West and Gauteng consistently reported high monthly numbers of unpaid invoices.
In the DA-led Western Cape, provincial departments managed to pay 92% of supplier invoices within the prescribed 30 days
We have not seen any action taken against accounting officers and/or Heads of Departments transgressing PFMA requirements. 

The National Development Plan (NDP)  quite clearly states that citizens have the right to expect government to deliver certain basic services .The NDP further calls for radically improved government performance by getting the basics right , implementing government programmes , finding innovative solutions to complex challenges and holding people accountable for their actions.
To achieve these goals, all government structures, its leaders and managers in all three spheres of government need to be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure compliance and the NDP therefore welcomes the establishment of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.
The National Planning Commission sees the establishment of the Department as a positive step to tighten the accountability chain but calls for the performance agreements signed by management to be made public.
The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has produced some excellent reports and in this regard I especially wish to commend them for their report on the payment to suppliers by government within 30 days. This report found, inter alia, that during 2012, there were 38 national government departments responsible for late payments to suppliers equalling R 3.7 billion.
A total of R 208.7 million in late payments was recorded in December 2012 alone. The worst offenders with late payments in 2012 were the Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Department of Public Works  with late payments to the value of R1.9 billion and R 536 million respectively. Other poor performers included the Departments of Defence and Military Veterans, Police, and Correctional Services.
Unfortunately Provinces are equally bad payers. Limpopo, North West and Gauteng consistently reported high monthly numbers of unpaid invoices. In the case of Limpopo for instance the average monthly value of invoices older than 30 days but not yet paid exceeded R 250 million.
In the DA-led Western Cape, provincial departments managed to pay 92% of supplier invoices within the prescribed 30 days. No figures were included in respect of municipalities and parastatals, so the payment within 30 days by all government entities will in all probability be much worse than what the DPME report currently indicates.    
Delayed payments from government Departments put enormous financial strain on small businesses in particular, and leads to the demise and closure of businesses in direct contradiction to the prescripts of the National Development Plan.
Payments within 30 days will assist in the formation and continued sustainability of small businesses and the creation of thousands of jobs so desperately needed to eliminate poverty and attain equality.
In their report on this matter, the DPME comes to the conclusion that most of the problems experienced relates to weaknesses in internal administration. Some Departments advance the same reasons every month for non-compliance of payment within 30 days but these Departments make little or no progress to address the underlying problems. Some cases even came to the attention of the Department that certain officials allegedly deliberately held invoices for payment back until a bribe is paid to expedite payment.
Payment of suppliers within 30 days is a requirement in terms of Section (1) (f) of the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations which stipulates quite clearly that accounts are to be settled within 30 days and that non-compliance with this requirement constitutes financial misconduct in terms of section 81 of the PFMA.  Unfortunately we have not seen any action taken against accounting officers and/or Heads of Departments transgressing this requirement. 

The Public Service Act places the responsibility on a Head of Department to ensure that disciplinary action is taken where warranted and it further stipulates that the Executive Authority takes action against a Head of Department where he or she has failed to take the necessary action.
When then, can we ask, are we likely to see an improvement in the situation? The answer unfortunately is never if the Executive fails to take the necessary action and if we continue with the appointment of incapable but politically well-connected officials. This serious state of affairs makes the introduction of the Results Bill which would give DPME teeth to take action themselves an absolute necessity.

Thank You

Dr Dion George MP (DA)

·         Presidential review committee on state owned entities has conceded that some state owned entities may need to be privatised

·         The collectively accountable cabinet hasn’t taken responsibility for Guptagate, neither has the President.

·         Our financial governance model is broken

·         SCOPA itself has failed. The measurement of its success cannot be whether it meets or whether it holds hearings, but on the outcome of its work.

·          Consultants do exploit government incompetence. They do this because they can get away with it.

·          The process to hold the executive to account has already failed.

Thank you, Chairperson.

Today the Presidential review committee on state owned entities released its report. It conceded that some state owned entities may need to be privatised. We welcome this development. The DA’s position is that in order for real economic growth and job creation to take place, more entities need to enjoy this autonomy to operate without government interference, which has clearly compromised the effective operation of our economy.

On Wednesday last week, Parliament held a snap debate on what has become known as “Gupta-gate”. There is no doubt that several systems failed spectacularly. A jet airliner entered our airspace, landed at Waterkloof Airbase and its guests were escorted under blue lights to Sun City for a wedding in the Gupta-family, closely connected to the President.

Although government has conceded that these events were irregular, not one single member of the executive stepped forward to accept responsibility or take political accountability for an incident that has exposed a rotten culture of favours for friends, funded by the people. The collectively accountable cabinet hasn’t taken responsibility, neither has the President.

R192 million is budgeted for 2013/14 to improve government service delivery through performance monitoring and evaluation. Since its establishment in January 2010, the people have paid R314 million to fund it. The department’s objectives, we would expect, are to hold those responsible for managing delivery of service to the people, to account; to ensure that the people’s money is efficiently spent and for departments to learn from the information they receive.

The Department’s spending focus is to coordinate an integrated government wide performance monitoring and evaluation system, and its strategic plan sets out a wide range of activities in pursuit of this objective. The question that comes to mind is: what is this for? What is the point of spending all of this money to build elaborate systems for evaluation when we know that no-one will be held to account when service isn’t delivered and the people’s money is wasted, stolen or, increasingly, looted.

The process to hold the executive to account has already failed. At every hearing, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) exposes this failure. Ministers regularly fail to appear and don’t send their deputies either.

Findings and recommendations from previous years are ignored in a culture of collective amnesia, where nobody knows anything or does anything as the people’s money disappears down a drain into the trough from which bloated, politically connected cronies and tenderpreneurs feast while everyone else gets left behind, without proper education, healthcare or employment prospects that an effective government could facilitate.

This wouldn’t happen in an Open Opportunity Society, under a DA government. Where the DA governs, we govern well. We govern well because we know that a system cannot manage itself, and we know that properly qualified people are needed to do a job. We also know that political affiliation or connectivity is irrelevant in the delivery of service to the people. We have demonstrated this in Midvaal and the Western Cape. 

Government departments can be well managed if they implement basic disciplines. Financial procedures need to be in place and properly managed; an internal audit function needs to monitor adherence to procedures and report to a competent Audit Committee that can advise management to make any necessary improvements. Quarterly financial statements should be prepared, so that any corrections can be made before the year end and before they reach the Auditor General who now spends much time on re-stating incorrectly prepared financial statements.

An effective monitoring and evaluation system would ensure that fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure decreased over time, and that the R30 billion that the Special Investigations Unit says leaks from the public financial system every year wouldn’t increase. The Minister himself has stated that he is not concerned with punitive measures. This permits failing ministers and departments to remain dysfunctional without any repercussions and for legislative provisions regarding the criminal liability of grossly negligent accounting officers to be ignored.

What is the point of monitoring departments in the name of good governance, when no action is taken against perpetrators?  We have heard from the Minister of Public Works, during one of the SCOPA meetings, that he had advised a poorly performing senior executive to resign because the process for him to terminate her employment was too onerous.

Minister, our financial governance model is broken because there isn’t any political will to keep it intact. No amount of performance monitoring and evaluation will fix this.

Departments already receive performance monitoring and evaluation from the findings of the Auditor-General. He also reports on service delivery objectives. His findings on municipalities, provinces and government departments do not inspire confidence. 56% of municipal audits were disclaimed or qualified last year; as were 23% of national and provincial audits. Does the Minister not agree with the Auditor-General that the pervasive root causes for poor audit outcomes are that key positions are vacant or key officials lack appropriate competencies; the lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions and the slow response by political leadership in addressing the root causes of poor performance outcomes?

If you already know this, Minister, why do you not focus on the lack of political will to act and improve support for the Auditor-General from government?

Several government departments, most notably the National Treasury, publicly differed with the Auditor-General on his findings. The quality of work submitted to the Auditor-General would improve if departments produced quarterly reports as required. In his response to my question, the Minister said that this is not his responsibility. A total of 12 departments did not participate in the Treasury’s 2012 Financial Management Capability Maturity Model Assessments. Why would their co-operation with the Minister be any different unless he acted as a praise singer contradicting other sources of performance data?

The National Development Plan advocates for a government that is accountable and transparent. The DA agrees. It is clear from their silence that the plan is not embraced by everyone in government and it is hypocritical that ANC MPs who endorse the NDP are the same members of Cosatu who reject it. The Minister’s job is to ensure that government implements the NDP and needs to explain why several departments ignore it. Does the Minister agree with Honourable Trevor Manuel that the state is incapable of implanting the NDP?

To test whether the allocation of the people’s money to this department has been wisely spent, we need to ask whether service delivery is improving and whether the people are getting value for their money. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Government clearly cannot operate without consultants.

In its performance audit of the use of consultants at national departments, the Auditor General noted his concern over duplicate costs incurred; value for money spent on consultancy; inefficient government systems; inadequate financial and performance management; inadequate planning and the high turnover of employees at key positions. He suggested that regular performance audits can become very handy in uprooting corruption and that these should be mandatory and part of regular audits such as financial statements, financial management and accounts. The simple fact of excessive, inefficient and ineffective use of consultants tells us that government is failing the people. We don’t need to spend another R192 million to tell us this fact.

Corruption isn’t a one way street. Consultants do exploit government incompetence. They do this because they can get away with it. A properly managed public service would be able to properly manage its consultants when they were required in certain instances. The Department of Correctional Services appointed consultants to manage its consultants. The Minister might not know this, because he doesn’t monitor this either.

SCOPA itself has failed. The measurement of its success cannot be whether it meets or whether it holds hearings, but must rather be on the outcome of its work over time. Audit outcomes are not improving, the over R30 billion per annum haemorrhage from the public financial system hasn’t been stemmed and Ministers, with few exceptions, treat SCOPA with disdain. The Minister doesn’t monitor their attendance at SCOPA meetings.

SCOPA is indeed a sad shadow of its former self, much like the ANC – an internationally admired liberation movement that lost its way when it forgot that government doesn’t have any money of its own, that it all belongs to the people that government is its custodian and that you shouldn’t steal what isn’t yours.

R300 million over budget and 5 years late, the construction of the Jabulani Hospital in Soweto is an example of government incompetence that is impossible to hide. SCOPA was promised that 1 April would be the delivery date. It didn’t happen and it still hasn’t today. The Gauteng Provincial Government disclaims accountability, as does the Department of Health. I have no doubt that the Minister does, too.

Our analysis of the value added by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation points to a simple conclusion: this department doesn’t justify its existence, it should be closed down and its R192 million budget re-allocated to improve the living conditions of our people.

The Zuma administration has failed to deliver in its term of office. The problems are clearly identified, but political will is missing because a fish rots from the head. The people can smell the rotting fish and will have an opportunity to tell us what they think of this stink next year when they choose who should govern them. The people won’t wait forever and the irony of ANC-led protests against the DA governed Midvaal, the best run  municipality in Gauteng, isn’t lost on them, they have seen you for what you are.

Thank you.



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