Productivity SA Annual Report 2008/09

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Labour

27 October 2009
Chairperson: Ms L Yengeni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Productivity South Africa presented its Annual Report for 2008/09 to the Committee. Productivity SA was a tripartite organisation, made up of Labour, Government and Business representatives, whose vision was to lead and inspire a productive and competitive South Africa. It had, to this end, achieved many of its objectives. It had also succeeded in turning around its R7 million deficit, had forged successful international partnerships as well as impacted on many jobs. A full list of the achievements was tabled. 45% of Productivity SA's funding came from Government while 17% came from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). The last 10% came from various other sources.

Members questioned whether Productivity SA had assisted cooperatives in ensuring their survival, and asked whether it would take proactive steps or would wait for organisations to approach it. A Member commented that the presentation was lacklustre and hoped that it could sell the concepts more vibrantly. Members also asked why training was not being centralised at the Sector Education and Training Authorities, what Productivity SA hoped to achieve by training school pupils, the criteria for the granting of awards, and assistance plans for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, as also the awards given to companies, and when a permanent CEO was likely to be appointed.

Meeting report

Productivity SA Annual Report 2008/09
Mr Bongani Coka, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Productivity SA, said that Productivity SA's was a tripartite organisation, made up of Labour, Government and Business representatives, whose vision was to lead and inspire a productive and competitive South Africa.

With regards to inspiring a culture of productivity, its objectives were to promote an understanding of productivity in South Africa, cultivate a productive attitude among learners and teachers and to create a forum for the exchange of productivity knowledge and skills locally, regionally and internationally.

In relation to its first focus area, inspiring a culture of productivity, it had achieved the successful hosting of the World Productivity Congress, the Productivity Movement Campaign (awards, media and advertising campaign and awareness workshops) as well as forged international partnerships.

Another focus area was described as productivity knowledge and information. The objectives here were to initiate, conduct and coordinate productivity-related research,  to produce at least four reports annually, to distil lessons learned and best practices from successful cases both in  and outside of the country for adaptation and application, and to generate information so as to positively influence policy debates, which would then impact on productivity and competitiveness. To this end it had initiated an Annual Public Sector Study, an Institute of Management Competitiveness Yearbook and an impact assessment of the influence of the Government framework.

A third focus area was public sector productivity. Here, its objectives were to lead the development, customisation and distribution of productivity competencies and mindsets among South Africans, and to provide productivity improvement solutions for the public benefit. It was also to incorporate productivity concepts, values and applications into the National Curriculum Statement, and would develop an increased number of sustainable small- and micro-enterprises though productivity improvement. To this end it had initiated national school debates, training of productivity facilitators, training of Government and State Owned Enterprise managers around productivity, incorporation of productivity concepts and values into the National Curriculum Statement as well as the training of small enterprises. It had exceeded most of its targets in this regard.

Its objective with regards to social plan interventions were to provide technical support to prevent job losses and ensure the survival of businesses by returning to profitability through, firstly, developing enterprise turnaround strategies and secondly, through promoting collaboration between management and employees in turning companies around through future forums. In this regard it had impacted on 15 330 jobs.

Most of the organisation’s work was in the agriculture, hunting, forestry & fishing industries. This was followed by the metal, steel and iron industry and the clothing and textile sector.

Its objective in its Workplace Challenge Programme was to facilitate government and industry partnerships so as to improve the performance and competitiveness of sectors, industries and business. It aimed to achieve this through improving value-chain efficiencies, promoting constructive labour relations in the workplace, developing world-class practices for continuous productivity improvement and sharing and disseminating experiences and lessons. In this regard it had exceeded most of its targets.

With regards to its Human Capital programme, its objectives were to create an enabling environment which continuously ensured alignment of human capital with Productivity SA's mandate, and to acquire cutting-edge productivity knowledge and skills from the Asian experiences. It had submitted the Annual Equity and Workplace Skills reports to the Department of Labour. There had been intervention through partnerships funded by the Japanese government. It had trained 12 employees on the APO's Basic Course for Productivity Practitioners; and had two employees participating in an observational study mission to Japan.

45% of Productivity SA's funding came from Government while 17% came from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). The last 10% came from various other sources.

Mr X Sicwebu, representative of Productivity SA,  added that Productivity SA had seen an improvement over the year as the R7 million deficit had been turned around.

Mr Kobus Laubscher, Board Chairperson, Productivity SA,  explained that the deficit it had previously reported was not as a result of incorrect spending on its part. It had worked closely with the Department of Labour towards addressing this.

Discussion
Ms F Khumalo (ANC) asked whether Productivity SA offered any assistance to cooperatives to ensure their survival. She also asked with which Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs) it was in partnership.
 
Mr Coka answered that Productivity SA helped these businesses identify key constraints and helped them to boost productivity. It was working with the Energy, Chemical, Welfare and Health, Education and Training as well as Tourism SETAs.

Mr A Louw (DA) asked why, since both Productivity SA and Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) appeared to be doing training, the training was not being centralised at the SETAs. He asked what the end goal was in training school pupils. He also enquired as to the criteria for the granting of awards. He wanted to know if there were assistance plans in place for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises. He enquired why the Department of Labour had representatives on the Productivity SA Board of Directors.

Mr Coka answered that Productivity SA would in the next financial year be doing training for the UYF. The lessons given to learners were not merely about productivity, but also about life skills.

Mr IggySathekge, Executive Manager, Productivity SA, added that these awards were given to companies that had made significant impact on the local economy. Factors such as environmental and social responsibility as well as whether there was a solid plan in place to boost its productivity, were taken into consideration.

Mr I Ollis (DA) asked how Productivity SA was hoping to sell the concept of increased productivity when the members represented here, as well as the presentation itself, seemed to lack vibrancy. He asked how many of its executive and Board members were experts in the field. He queried whether it should not perhaps be placing more emphasis on the mining industry. He asked if it could not be training more people if it increased the prices of its services.

Mr Laubscher answered that though the team had questioned how best to present, and although this presentation was of a more formal nature, the Productivity SA was in fact a dynamic, enthused team. Its three social partners forwarded nominations to the Minister of Labour with regards to Board appointments. All members possessed vast knowledge in the field.

The Chairperson asked whether Productivity SA offered its services to companies in distress or waited for such companies to approach it.

Mr Coka answered that it offered its services to such companies, as well as provided services when the companies approached it.

The Chairperson asked when a permanent CEO would be appointed.

Mr Laubscher answered that the Minister was in the process of appointing a new Board who would, in turn, appoint the new CEO.

The meeting was adjourned.


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