The National Development Agency outlined its grant making performance, stating that over R700 million has been spent since March 2000 and this meant that 412 500 households had benefited from the work of the NDA. There were 320 live projects supported by the NDA and these fell mostly in the category of agribusiness but also included tourism, manufacturing and capacity building. After outlining its strategic goals, the NDA spoke about the challenges it faced.
The NDA talked about how projects were funded starting with the request for proposals. There were two ways of submitting proposals. The first one being a request for proposals and the second being programme formulation. The latter involved communities in submitting proposal. The last approach was one that the NDA focused on a lot more. The provinces that had received the highest funding were the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo but the NDA stressed that funding had been disbursed with the guidance of provincial poverty indicators. The NDA stated that it was a policy that 60% of their funding received from government would be committed to projects.
The discussion with the Committee was brief but issues that came out were on the use of accredited training providers where the NDA stated that they tried to use accredited training providers but this was not always available in local areas. The NDA also stressed that they preferred mentorships over once-off training. Monitoring and evaluation concerns were also high on the list and the NDA emphasised that their provincial development managers follow strict monitoring and evaluation policies. The NDA also brought to the Committee’s attention the database of projects they have. The Chairperson highlighted irregular expenditure in the financial sheet and was assured by NDA that this was not due to fraud but due to procurement.
The Chairperson apologised for the absence of the deputy minister who was not able to sat on for this afternoon session. She asked the NDA why their presentations and support material had not been submitted to the Committee in a prompt manner. She stressed the importance of sending these documents in advance to allow Members the opportunity to interact with the material.
National Development Agency (NDA) presentation
Acting CEO, Ms Rashida Issel, outlined the role of the NDA, stating that its grant making programme had committed , since March 2000, 700 million rand to projects focusing on economic development, food security, community and health. This had benefited over 417 500 direct households, thus making an impact on the lives of 2 260 736 poor people.
The current focus areas were Non Governmental Organisations consortia and networks for policy and advocacy of the poor and capacity building for civil society organisations. One of the main areas of the training was conflict resolution within the projects they funded. The NDA currently funded 320 live community enterprises in the sector of agribusiness. Other projects supported sectors such as tourism, manufacturing and textile, capacity building and early childhood development.
The Acting CEO reported on the achievement of the NDA’s three strategic goals emphasising that the NDA did not just award grants but monitored and evaluated the ongoing progress of these projects. The NDA had all of its funding committed to projects as per their budget. Of the 59 projects currently supported by the NDA and amount of R85, 811.58 million had been committed. The organisation reported that they conduct regular monitoring and evaluation in accordance with their Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs) for grant making. 643 Civil society organisations had directly benefited from capacity building strengthening interventions. 9 645 individuals had been trained. R118, 128,926.76 million had been disbursed.
The funding to provinces was linked to provincial profile summaries that detail information on the population, unemployment, development priorities and challenges that informs the NDA’s allocation of provincial funding. The NDA had also started publicising successful projects on their website.
The NDA had also taken the time to make their successes know by releasing press notices on successful projects and they had also inserted profiles of the NDA in numerous publications such as Turning Point and the CSI Kaelo handbook.
For Strategic Goal Two, the facilitation of research that informed grant-funding decisions and policy: Meeting this goal had meant that the NDA had carried out a comprehensive study of the state of the South African civil service, this report was made public. The organisation had also made available a national database of civil service organisations (CSO). These reports were available along with impact studies in all the nine provinces on the NDA website. The NDA had distributed two issues of The Voice Newsletter that had been distributed to key stakeholders. This had been complemented by provincial dialogues and seminars in collaboration with provinces took place. Information procures had also been translated into Sesotho and isiZulu.
In terms of meeting Strategic Goal Three, which aimed to build and sustain organisational capabilities:
In achieving these goals various policies had been updated, approved and distributed to staff, phase-one of the organisational resource alignment had been completed and risk assessment in compliance with legislation and the risk register was updated. The NDA had also reviewed its fraud prevention plan and whistle blowing policies, contracts with various stakeholders including funded projects and service level agreements with service providers were vetted and approved and an unqualified audit was received from the Auditor General for the year 2008/09. Their view in the NDA was to review our policies every two years.
The challenges and opportunities facing the NDA were two fold, challenges posed by limited financial resources had opened up opportunities for greater resource mobilisation. Where there had been challenges with funded projects and their capacity, they had introduced targeted capacity building interventions.
Mr Reuben Mogano, Development Management Executive, outlined the two ways that communities could access the service of the NDA. The first process was the request for proposals method that favoured primarily well established organisations that were able to put together elaborate proposals. The second was what the NDA called the programme formulation approach. This was where communities were supported through the formulation of specific programmes where communities were involved directly. There was a big gap between the two ways of asking for proposals, the first one received proportionally more proposals.
A break down of the provinces with the highest funding were the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo. These funds were distributed based on provincial indices provided by Statistics SA.
The NDA stressed its focus was looking at the impact its projects received and not the financial contribution. On the income statement of the report, the acting CEO stated that 60% of government funding directly went to projects but in reality it was between 70 and 75%.
Mr Faber (North West) raised the issue of training. He knew that the NDA did not always use accredited training providers. He asked what happened when projects did not succeed, how money was monitored. Coming from the North West, he knew of instances where NDA staff were under pressure to reach targets and did not actually look at the sustainability of these projects. He wanted to know if the NDA would do more to monitor and evaluate.
The acting CEO admitted that it was very difficult to provide rural training as there was little local accredited training. The NDA had decided to accredit certain materials. Courses had thus been individualised. She added that sustainability was always an issue and the NDA had a mandate to look after organisations and the sustainability of their work. The NDA had identified various problems and was working towards fixing them.
Adding to the responses given by the acting CEO, Mr Mogano emphasised that the NDA had found that mentorships had worked a lot better than training. Mentorship programmes lasted between 1-18 months although he was careful not to discount training but for the NDA once-off training had not been as successful. Better results could be seen through mentorship schemes. He raised one of the flagship projects such as one in Mpumalanga where a community enterprise exported leather. This was done through mentorship.
Mrs Boroto (Mpumalanga) wanted to see database that would assist the Committee’s oversight role. How did they get to the people who were deep in the rural areas? Were the NDA processes not too complicated?
Ms Issel replied that there were 400 projects on the NDA’s database, there were about 50 projects per province and provincial development managers had to support projects and ensure sustainability.
Mr Mogano added that the NDA had educated communities about the request for proposals, they had engaged with traditional leaders, political leaders and community radio stations to reach out to communities. But he also conceded that more could be done.
The Chairperson wanted follow up on the breakdown of the 51 projects. Had the NDA had an opportunity to evaluate the impact of the projects? Were they satisfied with the management of these projects? How did the NDA recover funds lost due to non compliance?
She asked what measures had the NDA put in place to follow up the Auditor General’s comments that the NDA must put in place processors to evaluate and follow up. Was the NDA prepared for this at provincial level?
Ms Issel promised that the breakdown of the 51 projects would be circulated. The impact the NDA had made came down to what value for money the NDA got out of a project.
Recovering funds was linked to the NDA’s processors, money was paid in stages. Applicants had to prove they had met certain targets as outlined in their business plan. Once they had met those targets then the next tranche of the money would be paid. Intensive monitoring helped prevent problems. The NDA had had one or two cases where funds had been recovered with the help of the South African Police Service.
There were various templates that had been developed to assist development managers at provincial level and these allowed them to see whether projects were running according to their business plans.
Mr Mogano responded to the Chairperson’s questions on the NDA’s satisfaction with the management of funds. He admitted that the levels of capacity were not at the same level you would see in a commercial bank. He went on to outline the causes for failures that resulted in write offs. The first being a lack of governance, management and leadership capacity. Conflict had been known to arise in communities when money was involved. The second reason for a write off was where certain working clusters had been created and these clusters fell apart. Money in a community had caused the most problems. This had also prompted the NDA to initiate conflict resolution programmes.
The Chairperson asked about the irregular expenditure mentioned in the financial report.
The CEO responded that this was procurement that the Auditor General had pointed out and this was due to missing documents at the time of the audit. This had also allowed them to review their procurement policies. The Acting CEO assured the Committee that this irregular expenditure was not due to fraud and she personally had followed up on this matter.
Mrs Boroto wanted to know what feedback had been received from the Development Managers.
Ms Issel reiterated the NDA’s policy on how to support local projects but stressed that the development managers were local people and they knew the local politicians and projects. The NDA also conducted research that assisted development managers.
Mr Mogano stressed that there was a bigger question that must be asked with regard to the role of traditional leaders in development and the work they did with development managers. The NDA had had good experiences with most traditional leaders, but there had also been reports of traditional leaders that had developed tendencies of wanting to claim ownership of the projects.
On a final note, Mr David Adler, one of the NDA board members, said the board was quite pleased with what was happening in the NDA. The idea of making communities more sustainable was good but they had higher expectations for communities than they had of commercial ventures.
On this note the Chairperson thanked everyone for coming and noted that the database of projects would come in handy when the Committee visited provinces starting with Limpopo. They could visit some of the projects on the database.
The meeting was adjourned.
No related documents
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.