Expenditure 2010/11: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities briefing

Standing Committee on Appropriations

16 August 2011
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities presented its Expenditure Analysis for the 2010/11 financial year. The year was not normal because there was no strategic plan approved by Parliament and the Department lacked senior management in strategic positions. However the Department was happy that the situation had normalised. The Department’s expenditure could be broken down to the Compensation of Employees, Goods and Services, Transfers and Subsidies, and Capital Expenditure. The total expenditure for the entity on the Compensation of Employees was R22 744 000 against a budget of R24 146 000. The total expenditure under Goods and Services was R34 966 000 against the budget of R23 512 000 for the financial year of 2010/11.The bulk of overspending was by Administration which spent R20 468 000 against the budget of R9 364 000. The total expenditure under Capital was R241 000 against the budget of R6 583 000.

The total budget that was transferred from the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality programme to the Commission of Gender Equality was R51 949 000. The expenditure of R21 000 was incurred under households in relation to leave accrued. The overall total expenditure for the Department was R109 919 000 for the financial year of 2010/11 against the total budget of R106 190 000. The Department overspent its allocated budget with a total amount of R3 729 000 for the 2010/11 financial year.


Members failed to understand why the Department was overspending if the money was not there and asked where the overspent money came from. Members asked when the entity moved from the Union Building into the new building and asked why the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality programme experienced under-spending whilst this was a serious local issue. Members understood that that the Department was new and the Director-General highlighted that the entity previously operated under the Presidency. Members did not know if the Department had proper staff while under the Presidency. It was good that the Director-General previously fulfilled her promise that the Chief Financial Officer and other strategic management positions would be filled. All Members expressed their dissatisfaction on the report and stated that the presentation was not well documented and lacked detail and clarity, and fewer questions would be asked if the report was clear. Members asked National Treasury to respond why the amount of R51 949 000 was transferred from the Department to the Commission for Gender Equality.


Meeting report

Expenditure 2010/11: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities briefing
Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Director-General, Department of Women, Children, and People with Disability (DWCPD, the Department), presented the Department’s Expenditure Analysis for the Financial Year 2010/11. She apologised for the members of her delegation whot could not attend because of miscommunication. The 2010/11 financial year was not normal because there was no strategic plan approved by Parliament and the entity lacked senior management in strategic positions. However the Department was happy that the situation had normalised. The Department’s expenditure could be broken down to the Compensation of Employees, Goods and Services, Transfers and Subsidies, and Capital Expenditure.

The total expenditure for the Department on the Compensation of Employees was R22 744 000 against a budget of R24 146 000. The expenditure was spread across the programmes of Administration,   Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE), Children’s Rights and Responsibilities (CRR), and Rights of People with Disabilities (RPD) Administration spent R16 676 000 against the budget of R13 979 000 indicating some overspending. The WEGE spent R425 000 against the budget of R3 338 000. The CRR spent R5 229 000 against a budget of R3 415 000, and the RPD spent R1 173 000 against the budget of R3 414 000.

The total expenditure under Goods and Services was R34 966 000 against the budget of R23 512 000 for the financial year of 2010/11.The bulk of overspending was by Administration which spent R20 468 000 against the budget of R9 364 000 whilst the WEGE spent R9 294 000 against the budget of R4 709 000. The CRR spent R3 506 000 against the budget of R4 720 000 and the RPD spent R1 698 000 against the budget of R4 719 000. The total expenditure under capital was R241 000 against the budget of R6 583 000. Administration’s expenditure was R202 000 against the budget of R5 284 000 and the WEGE had no expenditure on a budget of R433 000. The CRR also had no expenditure on the budget of R433 000 while the RPD had an expenditure of R39 000 against a budget of R433 000.

The total budget that was transferred from the WEGE to the Commission of Gender Equality was R51 949 000. The expenditure of R21 000 was incurred under households in relation to leave accrued. The overall total expenditure for the Department was R109 919 000 for the financial year of 2010/11 against the total budget of R106 190 000. The Department overspent its allocated budget with a total amount of R3 729 000 for the 2010/11 financial year.

 
Discussion
Co-Chairperson Sogoni noted that there was a lot of over and under-spending, and asked for more clarity on the issue.

Mr P Rabie (DA) highlighted that there was a plight of disabled women and asked if those women were employed in the Department. He asked if the Department had any plans to discipline and structure its expenditure.

Mr D Kekana (ANC) indicated that he did not hear how much was spent on disability. He failed to understand why the Department was overspending if the money was not there and asked where the overspent money came from.

Mr M Swart (DA) responded to Mr Kekana that the amount allocated to Disability was indicated in the presentation. He understood that the Department was new and experienced many challenges but indicated that the entity should have all expenditure in writing because the report lacked detail. The Committee wanted a detailed explanation and he therefore requested detail on all under and overspending.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) said the Department promised an organic diagramme of its structure and detailed information on all outsourced services but nothing had been received by the Standing Committee of Appropriations yet. She asked when the entity moved from the Union Building into the new building and asked why the why the WEGE experienced under-spending whilst this was a serious local issue.

Ms M Matladi (UCDP) noted that there was a huge over expenditure in the Administration under Goods and Services and asked for a more detailed analysis on the expenditure.

Mr G Snell (ANC) said that, if the Committees experienced some difficulty in understanding the expenditure report, how would National Treasury grasp and understand its content?

Ms L Yengeni (ANC) asked why the Department sent the presentation late. She asked why there was an expenditure of R16 767 000 against a budget of R13 979 000 in Administration under Compensation of Employees and wanted to know where the rest of the money came from. She asked where the Department got money where more money was spent on all the programmes. She asked if the R6 500 000 relocation to the new building was an estimation or did the entity have a quotation. It seemed as if the budget was thumb sucked because she failed to understand what informed the budget. She asked for the expenditure of R21 000 incurred under households in relation to leave incurred to be unpacked. 

Co-Chairperson Ramodibe thanked the Director-General for a very brief presentation and admitted that it was a “real” summary of the financial report. The report was not assisting Members because it lacked detail and a proper analysis. She understood that South Africa still needed to report to the United Nations (UN) on various issues but mentioned that no expenses should be incurred for International travel on UN reporting because those reports were already late. The Department had agreed with the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities on providing quarterly reports so that the Committee could monitor and evaluate whether the entity complied with what was necessary.
 
Ms P Duncan (DA) had indicated previously that she was concerned that the Department was under-funded and understaffed, and that it had no clear strategic plan to show to National Treasury in order to be allocated a proper budget. She was of the view that the Department was trying its best but more assistance was needed regarding structure, strategies and finances. Under expenditure was a great concern and she asked which strategic plan was not approved by Parliament.

Mr Kekana noted an under-spending on the RPD budget and indicated that the gentleman who was appointed as one of the Directorate of the RPD had previously complained about inadequate budget but now he witnessed an under expenditure. He asked how it was possible to have under expenditure while the Directorate indicated there was a shortage of funds.  He proposed the Department have a Disability Act in place.

Co-Chairperson Sogoni said that Mr Rabie had indicated that the Department was new and the Director-General had highlighted that the Department previously operated under the Presidency. He did not know if the Department had proper staff while under the Presidency. It was good that the Director-General previously fulfilled her promise that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and other strategic management positions would be filled. The presentation was not well documented and lacked detail and clarity, and fewer questions would be asked if the report was clear. He asked National Treasury to respond to the question on how funds were transferred.

Mr Kalaemang Sebego, Director: Social Security, National Treasury, indicated that Treasury did have regular interaction with the Department on the budget and expenditure. The Department had agreed that it would downscale on its delegation when traveling.
  
The Director-General responded that 2010/11 was not a normal year for the Department because there was no strategic plan in place and the budget from Treasury was 'thumb-sucked' and based on estimation. The Department had set itself a target of 10% on the employment of disabled women however; there were disabled males and females employment already within the Department.The under expenditure on disabled people which Mr Kekana referred to was in 2010 not 2011. The Director-General  requested permission to provide the details of all expenditures within seven days.

The Department had forwarded its organic diagramme to Parliament but the Director-General  indicated that it could be resent as soon as possible because the information was readily available. The Department moved into the new building on 01 May 2011. The leasing of the building was not controlled by the Department but determined by the Department of Public Works. It was something beyond the Department and its area of focus. The Department had many programme meetings with Treasury and made much progress in moving forward. It complied with all Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) processes and was currently in the process of reviewing its strategic plan in order to obtain a proper budget. During the meetings with Treasury the Department had agreed that it would reduce its delegation and it also meant that not all national and international meetings should be attended, but it would look at those which were most relevant.

The Department had to shift funds from areas of under expenditure to balance over expenditure but acknowledged that it was not the correct procedure to follow. The expenditure of R21 000 incurred under households in relation to leave accrued meant that officials who had left the public office were compensated for leave accrued.

The Director-General acknowledged that there might not have been value for money on all International trips but the Department was working on that and took note. All reports from the various spheres were currently reviewed and finalised and would be submitted to Parliament in due time. There was no strategic plan approved in 2010/11 by Parliament because the Department was then still operating under the Presidency and had finally moved out on 01 June 2011.

Ms Mashigo asked for more clarity on how the Department functioned under the Presidency.

The Director-General replied that the Department was established in 2009 but no funds were voted to the Department in 2009/10. In 2010/11 there were funds voted but the Department had no capacity to operate independently from the Presidency.


Staff was available from the Presidency and the Department had no Human Resources or Finance Department or even its own building. The Presidency assisted with everything the Department needed. It gradually started its independence as of 01 November 2010 and agreed to be fully independent as of the 01 July 2011. The Department had now submitted its own financial statement to Treasury and was now audited by the Auditor-General as an independent structure.

Ms Yengeni welcomed the response from the Department but was shocked to hear that it was not aware on the manner of reporting to Parliament. The Standing Committee on Appropriations therefore needed to take charge and control in assisting in that regard. She was concerned that the Director-General had agreed that the budget was thumb-sucked and expressed her worry that National Treasury could give out money so easily without  knowing what it would be used for. The Department should be given a chance to come back with something different and should know that more detail must be provided in future.

Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) asked the Director-General to explain why so much was used for advertising. She asked whether the budget was enough to start with and what capacity did it build the Department.

Ms M Matladi (UCDP) asked Mr Sebegoto explain how it was possible to transfer R51 949 000 from the Department to the Commission on Gender Equality.

A Member expressed her concern that the mandate given to the Department was not correct, especially as to the given budget.  She asked what made this Department different from other departments.

The Chairperson said that the Department would be closely monitored and evaluated now that it was fully independent.
 
Ms Duncan said it was important for the Department to hand in its quarterly reports so the Portfolio Committee could know about its shortfalls. She asked for a written report on the Department’s overspending of R3 729 000.

Co-Chairperson Sogoni asked both the Committees to support the Department because many of the dysfunctions were inherited. Both Committees should take a collective decision on what the Department should account on.

Ms I Ditshetelo (UCDP) asked if the money used for the building was for rental or if the building was partly owned.

Ms Mashigo said the shifting of money was a concern. She understood that National Treasury had rights but highlighted that there should be limits to those rights. The amount transferred was too much and Treasury was supposed to guide the entity towards the right path and plan.

Mr Kekana requested that the delegation to the United Nations (UN) should not only include officials but politicians too. The under expenditure for People with Disabilities was an insult and showed disrespect and caused more hurt towards those people.

Chairperson Sogoni asked Mr Kekana to direct his question on politicians accompanying officials to the Minister because the Minister was a politician.

Co-Chairperson Ramodibe asked for an explanation on the money spent on international travel.

The Director-General responded that she would ensure that the quality of the report was better in the meetings to follow and she could provide a more detailed breakdown of the expenditure. The issue of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) was out of the hands of the Department and she could not respond immediately on the question on the former Minister, but requested to respond in writing. The Department of Public Works paid the rental and claimed the money back from the entity. The Department agreed that it was inappropriate to shift money around. The Department did attend to the concerns previously raised by the Portfolio Committee on People with Disabilities and started to focus on strategic projects and the issue of budget affected all spheres of the Department; not only People with Disabilities. The figure for travel expenses was due to the Department operating a suspense account. However, the reconciliation did not indicate the same amount and the Department would submit all those details. 

Mr Sebego said that the CGE was one of the Chapter 9 Institutions and was previously under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development before it was moved to the DWCPD. The transferred amount to the CGE was budgeted under the DWCPD, hence the Department had to transfer those funds to the CGE. National Treasury had had regular meetings with the DWCPD since the Director-General had been appointed and it had also discussed the issues of the submissions of reports.

The Director-General was thankful for the opportunity to present the expenditure report. The Department was doing its best to normalise the Department and started to establish strategic partnerships with various stakeholders. All outstanding information would be submitted and the entity would benchmark best practices with other Departments regarding reporting. The Department therefore recommitted itself to its mandate.

Co-Chairperson Ramodibe asked that all documentation should be submitted to Parliament well before the meeting date so that the Department could avoid unpleasant situations. She thanked the Department for recommitting and wanting to do well.

Co-Chairperson Sogoni indicated that Parliament would support the Department so that it could succeed. The entity had to fast track the filling of funded vacancies because most lack of service delivery was due to unfilled vacancies.  The Department had to ensure that the budget moving forward was correct and therefore the Department would be held fully accountable for everything in the Department. Regarding the shifting of funds, National Treasury had to understand that the budgets were passed by Parliament.

The meeting was adjourned.


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