Department of Labour Strategic Plan 2011

Committee: NCOP Communications and Public Enterprises

Chairperson: Ms M Themba (ANC, Mpumalanga)

Date of Meeting: 29 Mar 2011

Summary

The Department of Labour briefed the Select Committee on its Strategic Plan for the 2011/12 financial year and the following four years. The Department presented its Key Result Areas in line with the Government’s 12 Key Outcomes. The Department highlighted its four programmes - Administration, Inspection and Enforcement, Public Employment Services, and Labour Policy and Labour Market Programmes. The Department explained its financial budget Vote 18 with the reflection from previous years. The Department highlighted service efficiency and delivery with every programme attached to deliverables

Members interrogated the Department on the lack of clarity of the document on quite a number of issues. Members asked what plans the Department had for job creation. The Department responded that it planned to assist job-seekers with referrals and placements and also highlighted the role of public employment agencies and the repeal of temporary employment agencies. Members asked why the Department had a stagnant budget and commented that it meant that there was no progress at the Department. The Select Committee asked how the Department planned to protect vulnerable workers. The Department responded it would capacitate its inspectorate and enforcement service by buying vehicles and tools of trade but pointed out budget constraints. The Chairperson advised the Department that its document was not clear and needed to be more elaborate on issues that were raised; she asked the Acting Director-General to come back with a more informative document.



Minutes

Department of Labour Briefing
Mr Sam Morotoba, Acting Director-General, Department of Labour, gave Members a briefing on the Department’s mandate and the legislation for which the Department was responsible. He highlighted the importance of provinces and visiting points of the Department. He mentioned the four programmes together with the Government’s 12 key outcomes with the most important of being outcome four the service delivery agreement signed with the President.

Mr Morotoba gave the Select Committee a detailed analysis of the Department’s four programmes together with the deliverables for 2011/12. Programme One covered the administrative aspect of the Strategic Plan. The programme spoke to the improvement of service delivery and the monitoring thereof. Reduction of the Department’s vacancy rate was noted and a decrease from 9% to 8% was forecast. Communication and Human Resource Management were also highlighted. Programme Two spoke to the Inspection and Enforcement Services under which was Occupational Health and Safety and Compliance and Monitoring Enforcement. Programme Three: Public Employment Services spoke to Management and Support services, Registration and Placement Services, Employer services, Designated Group Special Services, Sheltered Employment Factories, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund. Programme Four spoke to Labour Policy and Industrial Relations and raised key issues of Employment Equity, Employment Standards, International and Labour Relations and Research and Policy Planning. Mr Morotoba asked the Chief Financial Officer of the Department to present the Medium Term budget vote presentation of the Strategic Plan.

Mr Bheki Maduna, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Labour, presented the historical Appropriation and Spending of the Department, and elaborated on the budgets for the various provincial offices. He highlighted the main expenditures of the Department under the four programmes. He highlighted how the Department addressed the issue of unspent monies. He explained that some functions of the Department of Labour had been transferred to the Department of Higher Education and Training and hence the transfer of funds. He commented that the Department had a two-way funding mode where there was the budget from National Treasury and funds requested by the Department for specific programmes.

Discussion
The Chairperson thanked the Acting Director-General and his team for the briefing and asked Members if they had any clarity-seeking questions and to further engage with the presentation.

Mr D Feldman (Gauteng, COPE) strongly criticized the presentation and said that the entire strategic plan was unclear. He suggested that the document be sent back for reworking and the Department should forward the document in advance for scrutiny.

The Chairperson commented that the document was distributed the previous day and he had expected the Members to have studied the document beforehand.

Mr M Jacobs (Free State, ANC) commented on how the presentation was not elaborate enough on comparing the work covered by the Department to that of the following years. He asked how the Department planned to create jobs in relation to the State of the Nation Address.

The Chairperson agreed strongly with Mr Jacobs. She said that the Department had failed to elaborate on the goals achieved and those which had not been achieved. The Chairperson commented that the Department should be able to acknowledge its achievements and shortfalls. She asked the Acting Director-General to go back and compile a reworked document which should include a comparison of the Department’s achievements over the years.

Mr Jacobs commented that the presentation was very silent on the bills under the responsibility of the Department that were before Parliament. He asked why the Department did not include the Bill on labour brokers in the presentation.

Mr M Sibande (Mpumalanga, ANC) referred to a slide on page 44 of the presentation. The page spoke to the issue of reaching 16 million by 2012 with regard to the Unemployment Insurance Fund and asked if the Department had the capacity to carry out the ambitious programme. He further asked what the Department’s plans and time frames to fill vacant positions were. Mr Sibande asked whether the Department’s systems were fully integrated and efficient as more often than not people complained about system failure.

The Chairperson asked the Acting Director-General to clarify the numbers of gender representation and asked why the number of women in senior management was much lower than that of men.

Mr Morotoba told the Select Committee that he would allow other members of his team to respond to the specific questions asked as they fell in their respective sectors.

Advocate Nkahloleng Phasha, Senior Executive Manager, Legal Unit, Department of Labour, answered the question on filling vacant positions and said that the legal time frame for filling vacant posts was six months; however, the Department planned to fill such posts within three months. He said, however, that the Department faced challenges with filling the vacant posts as it involved vetting candidates – a time consuming process. Responding to the issue of women representation, he said that the Department as a whole had more or less an equal gender representation, but senior management currently had an unbalanced gender representation; the Department planned to have a fifty: fifty gender representation by 2016.

Ms S Zondeki, Deputy Director-General, Inspection and Enforcement Services, Department of Labour answered the question on prioritising inspectors. She said that funding was a challenge to the Department since the inspectors needed cars, cell phones and laptops. She said that the Department received R60 million for Inspection and Enforcement Services; however the budget was not as nearly enough to address the tools of trade requirements for the inspectors. Answering the question of the protection of vulnerable persons, she said that the Department planned to target specific high risk sectors as shown on slide/page 31.

Mr Vikash Sirkisson, Chief Information Officer, Compensation Fund, Department of Labour, answered the question on systems integration. He said that the Department had a fully functional system but not all systems had been integrated. Mr Sirkisson said that the Department was in an advanced stage of developing new systems. He also mentioned the efficiency of the Unemployment Insurance Fund system.

Mr Morotoba commented on the question of unemployment and how the Department planned to create jobs. The document spoke on the contribution to employment creation by the Department. He further commented that temporary employment agencies needed to register as public employment agencies. He said that those agencies would have the responsibility of talent search and placing people into position but would not act as a labour broker.

The Chairperson emphasised that the Department did not have clear guidelines as to how it planned to protect vulnerable workers in the different sectors in the Department’s strategic plan.

Mr Jacobs said that the long and the short of the Department’s strategic plan was that it did not have a plan for job creation but rather a plan for job retention.

Mr Sibande said that the Department’s budget was not growing as projected in the document. He said that meant there was no progress in the Department. He asked what programmes the Department had to address the challenges in the taxi industry.

Mr Morotoba referred Members to slide/page 38 which addressed the issue of the role played by the Department in job creation. He said that for 2011/12 the Department planned to place and refer 450 000 job-seekers.

The Chairperson asked the Acting Director-General to come back with more information on job creation, labour brokering and the taxi industry. She further asked the Select Committee to allow the Department to go and come back with a more satisfactory document.
 
The meeting was adjourned.