Performance of Department of Energy by Department of Performance Monitoring & Evaluation

Energy

11 October 2011
Chairperson: Mr S Njikelana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency gave an overview of its role in Government and its intended evaluation of departmental performance and service delivery, which it would begin in November 2011. In the meantime, it told the Committee of progress on relevant outcomes.

The Department had been created to facilitate the development of plans for Government’s prioritised outcomes and the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of these plans. It would monitor the management performance of national, provincial and local government departments individually in partnership with the Offices of the Premiers.

It differed from other bodies like the Auditor-General in that it was a monitoring and evaluation body for the Executive while portfolio committees had a monitoring and evaluation role to play in providing independent oversight. The Auditor-General would check the veracity of reports, compliance and the accuracy of figures given while the Department would deal more broadly and get into policy issues. The Department helped Cabinet ensure that independent findings were acted upon. It monitored front line service delivery and did evaluations to assess the impact of programs.

There was an increased strategic focus on the twelve outcomes. A need to work together across all spheres of Government was identified which would make Government more efficient in using the limited resources at its disposal. The Department had targeted Outcomes 6, 9 and 10 as being the important ones it would concentrate on in the Department of Energy.

Delivery agreements were charters arrived at by the co-ordinating ministers from the inputs of stakeholders. They marked collaboration with Treasury which wanted strategic plans and performance agreements. The Auditor-General would monitor the plans and whether the delivery agreements had been met.

Members asked the view of the Department on Outcome 5 as the development of technically skilled people was important for the country. There were instances of solar water heaters not being properly installed. What did the Department of Energy do about such instances? Had the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation interacted with the Offices of the Premiers? 16 out of 25 municipalities had disclaimers attached to their audit reports - would the Department be assisting municipalities to perform better?  There was a R27 billion maintenance backlog - Members hoped the Department would brief Cabinet on the matter and that the matter should be colour coded red. Would electrical generation be adequate when taking into account the urban influx and the growth in housing developments? How did the Department monitor performance agreements? What was the justification for the colour coding on carbon dioxide emissions savings and the implementation of green energy?  Members saw the Department as nothing but a duplication as the Auditor General monitored all departments and companies. Who monitored the Department? How was the Inter-Governmental Frameworks Relations Act used as a tool by the Department?

Meeting report

Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation. Evaluating performance and service delivery
Dr Sean Phillips, Director-General, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency (the Department), said that the Department had been created to facilitate the development of plans for government’s prioritised outcomes and the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of these plans. It would monitor the management performance of national, provincial and local government departments individually in partnership with the Offices of the Premiers. This process would start in November 2011.  It differed from other bodies like the Auditor-General in that it was a monitoring and evaluation body for the Executive. In this role it sought to assist all units to assist departments while portfolio committees had a monitoring and evaluation role to play in providing independent oversight. The Auditor-General would check the veracity of reports, compliance and the accuracy of figures given while the Department would deal more broadly and get into policy issues. The two bodies’ roles were complementary as they needed to ensure that no duplication occurred. The Department helped Cabinet ensure that independent findings were acted upon. It was thus not an independent oversight body but was there to co-ordinate actions. It also monitored front line service delivery. The main functional area of the Department was carrying out evaluation which it was  able to do more frequently than other bodies. Evaluation was of a more detailed nature than monitoring and the Department's focus was on the impact of programmes. The Department promoted good monitoring and evaluation practices within Government and it played a role to facilitate unblocking problems raised during presidential visits to various communities in the country. The Department's assessment of the Department of Energy and other departments regarding their annual reports had not started yet. Thus the Department was not in a position to respond to the Committee's request but would provide an assessment based on the relevant outcomes.

Government’s outcomes
To realise the expectations of the President, some ministers had been tasked with being co-ordinating ministers across departments to promote effective efficient attainment of outcomes. This style of government was not unique to South Africa. Hence there was an increased strategic focus on the twelve outcomes. The outcomes approach adopted by Government was done to make Government more results oriented leading to the identification of a list of key outputs, key activities and key inputs required. A need to work together across all spheres of Government was identified to which would make Government more efficient in using the limited resources at its disposal. This would be achieved through the monitoring and evaluation of the 12 outcomes. The Department had targeted Outcomes 6, 9 and 10 as being the important ones it would concentrate on in its assessment of the Department of Energy.

Delivery agreements
Dr Phillips said delivery agreements were charters arrived at by the co-ordinating ministers from the inputs of stakeholders. The agreements contained the tasks that needed to be done. This was a new process for Government. It was the first time that it was being applied and there was room for improvement over time. There was also collaboration with National Treasury which wanted strategic plans and performance agreements. The Auditor-General would monitor the plans and whether the delivery agreements had been met.

Output 2 of Outcome 6 was a key output, similarly Output 2 of Outcome 9 and Output 2 of Outcome 10.

The sub outputs of Output 2 of Outcome 6 were colour coded green, yellow and red reflecting no intervention necessary, some intervention necessary and major intervention necessary respectively.

Sub outputs of Outcome 6
2.1 – Eskom was behind schedule on the ring fencing of Independent System Market Operators (ISMOs)
2.2 - The Department of Energy needed to put in place funding and planning by March 2011 for the maintenance of electricity infrastructure as there was a huge backlog.
2.3 - The targets set for 2011/12 were on track to be met.
2.4 – The funding model for the nuclear build programme needed to be finalised.
2.5 The solar water heating programme was behind schedule and the long term energy mix needed to be diversified.
2.6 The rehabilitation of the coal roads were on track and Eskom had signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and service level agreements (SLAs)  with Mpumalanga and Gauteng and signed service level agreements  with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) with which it was working on road to rail initiatives.
2.7 The backlog of maintenance work at municipal level needed to be addressed.

Sub outputs of outcome 10
2.2 The Integrated Resource Plan provided a significant percentage of the national energy mix
2.5 There had been a 12% energy efficiency improvement but there was a need to target reducing consumption and a need to report on the actual reductions.

Discussion
Mr S Radebe (ANC) asked the view of the Department on outcome 5 as the development of technically skilled people was important for the country. What was the intention of the monitoring and evaluation analysis? He said there were instances of solar water heaters not being properly installed in his province. What did the Department do about such instances?

Dr Phillips replied that it was important for the energy sector that the Department of Higher Education and the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) worked closely with Eskom in collaborating to produce the artisans and skilled technicians and professionals required in the energy field.

Mr Sandile Ntanzi replied that the Department of Energy did conduct inspections but it was constrained by a lack of manpower and finance resources. The acting deputy director-general was checking on the KwaZulu Natal situation and he (Mr Mtanzi) would report back to the Committee.

The Department of Energy had also received a number of proposals from different companies to monitor whether the work had been done correctly. The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi), previously the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI), was working with the Department of Science and Technology on the issues of Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) and job creation

Mr D Ross (DA) asked if the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation had interacted with the Offices of the Premiers as November 2011 was the start of the Department’s implementation of the assessments. He said 16 out of 25 municipalities in his area had disclaimers attached to their audit reports. He hoped the Department would be able to assist municipalities to perform better. Where was ISMO now, as the ring fencing plan seemed vague. He said sub Outputs 2.2 and 2.7 of Outcome 6 appeared to be duplication. He felt that the municipalities did not have a financial plan on the maintenance problems because there was no agreement over the ownership of plant between the spheres of Government. The Committee had had a briefing by the Finance and Fiscal Commission (FFC) on the funding model needed. There was a R27 billion backlog. He hoped the Department would brief Cabinet on the matter and that the matter should be colour coded red. He said newspaper reports indicated that the Medupi power station had boiler problems and therefore would not be completed on schedule.

Dr Phillips replied that all the outcomes demanded involvement with national and provincial bodies and those statutory structures were used as the forums where co-ordination was managed. Provincial reports were sent to national and thus the provincial executive council was also monitoring the progress on outcomes. The Department would start assessments in November and would provide their reports to provincial councils. There was good collaboration between the Department and the Offices of the Premiers. The findings of the Department were presented to the Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

There was an overlap of the outcomes and this was to be expected. As delivery agreements improved adjustments could be made to them. The Department had debated the coding status and maybe the Department had been generous in coding it yellow. Delivery agreements did not cover everything. He added that the agreements were not cast in stone and could be changed.

Electricity targets were set as a percentage. It might meet its household target but that did not equate to the percentage target because this would change due to the rural to urban migration influx.

The Department was not involved in the assessment of managers. This was the responsibility of the Public Service Commission and the Department of Cooperative Governance. The Department wanted to create a linkage between the performance assessment of these two bodies and the Department’s own assessment, which would include the results of the Auditor General’s reports and would influence whether performance bonuses would be paid.

Mr Ntanzi replied that ISMO status was that it had been to the State Law Advisors and was now with the Speaker of Parliament and would follow the normal legislative process.

Ms N Mathibela (ANC) asked if electrical generation would be adequate when taking into account the urban influx and the growth in housing developments. How did the Department monitor performance agreements?

Ms Jacqueline Nel, an Outcomes Manager at the Department, said it was a question of following up with departments and putting the onus on the departments. It was also reviewing the performance of the implementation forums.

Mr Radebe asked what the justification of the colour coding was, given the pace of carbon dioxide emissions savings and the implementation of green energy. The Department of Energy did not appear able to meet its targets and this was a serious challenge.

Dr Phillips replied that the colour coding avoided some of the complexities while many outcomes were of a long term nature but perhaps it was simplified too much. The Department of Energy had made progress on carbon emissions but it was a question of whether one judged them on their current results or in the context of the long term targets.


Mr Ross said, regarding sub output 2.8, that there were problems at municipal level. Regarding the debatable issue of cost reflective tariffs and the new nuclear build programmes which had along lead in time, he asked who would foot the bill in the interim. He suggested that the Director-General of the Department of Energy needed to be present to answer questions.

Mr S Motau (DA) said he saw the Department of Performance, Monitoring, and Evaluation as nothing but a duplication as the Auditor-General monitored all departments and companies. If the Auditor-General could not get departments to implement recommendations, how would the Department be able to get them to do it? He added that the directors- general of departments were supposed to also get the recommendations implemented. This was a serious concern as the Department of Energy had a staffing problem and a shortage of funds, thus how was the job going to be done? This would eventually lead to the Department of Energy becoming frustrated.

Dr Phillips replied that the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation was the custodian of monitoring and evaluating on behalf of the Executive. It co-ordinated monitoring, not as an independent oversight body but as custodial right of the Executive. The Department had influence and access to Cabinet to more effectively and collectively manage the work.

The Chairperson asked who monitored the Department. He asked how the Inter-Governmental Frameworks Relations Act was used as a tool by the Department. He asked that the quarterly departmental report to Cabinet also be sent to the Committee. He questioned the coding colour given to sub output 2.3. Could the Department clarify the six terawatt hours (TWH) savings claimed in sub output 2.5? On Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI) restructuring, he said that it did have an impact on accessibility and affordability and he wanted more information on the inclining block tariff of sub output 2.8.

Dr Phillips replied that his Department was monitored by the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission. It had not been allocated to a Portfolio Committee.


Outcome 9, he replied, focused on municipalities and the Department was working with the Department of Co-Operative Governance.

Ms Nel replied concerning maintenance management that the Local Government Framework Relations Acts provided the legal framework between the departments and the spheres of Government. There was collaboration with the Department of Co-operative Governance and provincial co-operative governance departments to co-ordinate the assessment of the individual municipalities, but that there were no teeth to enforce the recommendations other than mediation. It was a constitutional problem as spheres of Government had independent powers.  Agreements were in place, but there were limitations because of the Inter-Governmental Frameworks Act.


Dr Phillips replied that the Department would provide the quarterly reports to the Committee also.
The Department of Energy was involved in all outcomes but the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation concentrated only on the key outcomes. Regarding 2.2, he replied that maybe the Department had been too generous. Regarding 2.5, he replied that it was coded yellow because the Department could not see any achievements on demand side savings and the Department of Energy had to pay attention to the way it reported on this savings. Regarding 2.7, he replied that it was a major concern.

The Chairperson asked whether the targets had intentionally been set low by the Department of Energy.

Dr Phillips replied that there was a tendency to set targets low but that this was not unique to South Africa

Mr Ntanzi replied that he would share with the Department of Energy the issues highlighted by the meeting and present the responses to the Committee or in writing. Regarding the IPPs, he said the Department of Energy had received 200 enquiries from interested bidders for business documents out of the 500 which had attended the Department of Energy’s conferences.

The Chairperson said he saw value in the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation’s report as it would assist the Committee in its oversight role which it would be able to conduct in a more qualitative manner.

The meeting was adjourned.

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