Independent Electoral Commission, Film & Publication Board, Government Printing Works Annual Reports 2010/11

Home Affairs

12 October 2011
Chairperson: Ms M Maunye (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Committee heard presentations on the 2010/11 Annual Reports of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Film and Publication Board (FPB) as well as the Government Printing Works (GPW).

The IEC had obtained a clean audit from the Auditor-General. It presented the details of the strategic objectives that underpinned its work, and expanded upon each. These included strengthening electoral democracy and positioning the IEC as a continuously improving world-class organisation, developing, implementing and monitoring strategy and policy to ensure its effective and efficient functioning, optimising voter-registration opportunities and achieving an up to date and comprehensive national voter’s roll, effectively facilitating participation of political parties and candidates in the electoral process, providing electoral operational systems and infrastructure to support the timely delivery of credible elections,  planning and implementing strategies to educate, inform and co-ordinate civil society, and developing and maintaining effective business processes. The IEC had managed 102 elections in other institutions in South Africa, had observed elections in seven countries, participated in three study tours and hosted six delegations of election management bodies from other countries. Members praised the work of the IEC but sought explanations as to why certain issues, from the previous financial year, still were mentioned in the current year, questioned the proposals for electoral reform in future, and the findings on automated systems, and questioned why the IEC management was seen as lacking in performance monitoring and management, where the IEC was seen to be particularly lacking in this regard. They asked about placement and staffing of voting stations, the reasons why elections results were released so long after elections, enquired about the new fraud and corruption hotline, and an incidence involving a former employee, whether external remuneration was declared, and the number of youth and women voters. They also asked about employment of disabled people.

T
he Film and Publication Board had received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General, although there were issues around fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Its work was outlined, and the achievements in relation to the targets were set out. It presented a separate report on the highly successful Anti-Child Pornography Campaign. It had managed to appoint a new board and broaden its partnerships with other stakeholders. The strategic objectives were set out and explained. The challenges included the fact that IT and research targets had not been achieved, largely because there was a limited capability in this regard, as well as ageing infrastructure. A legal challenge was instituted by the Print media, and the judgment had not yet been delivered. The Board had a 15% vacancy rate, because of numerous management resignations, but had opted not to fill these posts, prior to concluding the turnaround process. There were difficulties also relating to compliance and risk-exposure of monitors. Although 759 non-compliance cases were opened, it was difficult to track progress and there were some problems in the liaison with the South African Police Service at high level. The Human Resources Manager was dismissed in the third quarter, which had delayed matters. Sectoral workshops had been conducted with various stakeholders, including local government councillors and council officials. The FPB had achieved 1 320 media publicity items. Members asked what corrective actions were taken to curb fruitless expenditure, asked about arrests resulting from raids, questioned who conducted classifications, how many monitors there were in each province, whether they had identification, and raised concerns about the irregular expenditure.

Government Printing Works provided an overview of its progress and developments, noted that it had produced its own report independent of the Department of Home Affairs, highlighted the need for technological upgrading and modernisation, development of employees and growth. Some of its current projects were outlined. Members also commended the work of the GPW but urged that it take the necessary steps for legislative reform that were required for its optimal functioning. They were concerned about the ongoing staffing problems, including the age of its personnel, the lack of racial equity, the lack of females at top management and the fact that the senior posts were not yet filled. They asked about the progress on corporitisation and noted that it would be fully discussed in 2012.

Meeting report

Independent Electoral Commission Annual Report 2010/11 briefing
Ms Pansy Tlakula, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Electoral Commission, presented an overview of the 2010/11 Annual Report of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). She noted that in the previous year, the Auditor-General had qualified the audit report but in the current financial year, the IEC had managed to produce a clean audit. The IEC had adopted seven strategic objectives in the 2010/2011 financial year, which had caused some concern to the Committee, who questioned whether this was not too many. However, it was highlighted that the IEC needed to have comprehensive strategic objectives to fulfil its legislative mandate and strengthen democracy. The IEC’s main objective was to strengthen democracy through national liaison, and learning from best international practices. The strategic objectives also spoke to monitoring and implementing the IEC’s strategies and policies, voter registration, liaison with political parties, logistics and infrastructure, access to civic, voter and balloting education, as well as to support services.


Ms Tlakula noted that there had been some success in relation to national liaison, as the IEC had performed all the activities that it had undertaken to perform. However, it had only managed to visit six legislatures, falling short of the target of visiting all nine legislatures. The IEC had managed to interact with all political parties, other Chapter 9 institutions and other election-management bodies, which it deemed as stakeholders, in a bid to build and share on principles that instilled democratic principles in election management. The IEC had also managed to interact with unrepresented political parties. Elections for 102 organizations were managed and overseen by the IEC, and elections in seven other countries were observed.

Ms Tlakula described the role of the IEC in developing, implementing and monitoring strategy and policy to ensure effective and efficient functioning of the Commission. IEC’s preparations for local government elections earlier in the financial year had impacted upon its ability to finalise policy and procedures. Risk management had become a particular area of focus, and IEC had appointed a Chief Risk Officer, who submitted quarterly reports on risk management. There was still room for improvement, but a risk and fraud framework had been adopted. At the time when the Annual Report was compiled, IEC had not yet been able to establish a fraud hotline for whistle-blowing, but had subsequently done so. A particular concern had been the management of performance information, but a template was created that would hopefully streamline the market reports that were submitted by various departments. There had also been issues previously identified with the IEC’s Audit Committee, mainly around attendance of meetings. These had been addressed, and the Audit Committee was now fully functional. The IEC had achieved its target of implementing at least 70% of audit recommendations.

The IEC had a target of optimising voter registration by registering 23.5 million voters, which was surpassed, as the voter’s roll now had about 23.6 million voters, of whom all were correctly registered and were not registered in more than one voting district. The IEC had also exceeded its target, by securing 20 859 voting stations after the Municipal Demarcation Board had set boundaries. Liaison with the political parties had been maintained through interaction with their party liaison committees and the holding of over 2 000 meetings at national, provincial and municipal level. The statutory turnaround time of 90 days for the registration of political parties, the candidate nominations and filling of ward vacancies was met.

The IEC had managed to provide electoral operational systems and infrastructure to support the delivery of credible elections on time, by having full availability of all warehouses in the country, by having all municipal electoral officers appointed, and by declaring results within seven days. Conflict mediators had been deployed in an attempt to manage conflict within 24 hours of any conflicts arising.

Ms Tlakula noted that the IEC had set, and exceeded targets for voter education and democracy education. A generic pamphlet on voter education was produced, as well as a local government booklet in all eleven official languages and in Braille, large-font and plain language, as well as in Khoi and San languages. 61 Outreach Project Co-ordinators were recruited and trained, who were responsible for the outreach programmes and the distribution of voter education materials. Many different programmes were undertaken, including programmes with the SABC, ETV and radio, to increase outreach.

Ms Tlakula noted that the IEC had undertaken two research projects. The first, a national voter participation survey, was conducted in partnership with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), prior to the 2011 Local Government Elections. Secondly, an Impact Assessment Study was also conducted, in partnership with the Educational Support Services Trust, to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the organization’s activities, and democracy education projects. Knowledge management was developing in a new way, because of the technological advances of record keeping in government and constitutional bodies. The IEC was in the process of developing a strategy for knowledge management. Internal interaction was enhanced by continuous communication with the employees on a number of issues, including inserting notices through their payroll, as well as intranet. It had experienced difficulties in producing the external newsletter that it intended to produce, but this was still an aim for the future. In preparation for the 2011 Local Government Elections, the IEC operated a call centre, and less than 3% of calls were dropped.

The IEC’s last strategic objective related to HR training, support and IT. IEC had managed to fill 93% of the permanent posts, leaving 7% vacant, on purpose. When a vacancy arose, the IEC would perform a needs assessment as to whether the position had to be filled. All temporary staff members were trained appointed for the 2011 local government elections according to plans and targets. All staff members appointed were required to sign performance contracts, while others were required to participate in some skills development training, and it had reached its targets of training 40% of employees. 235 staff members were trained in-house, and 12% managed to secure further training through the bursaries that were granted. Electoral staff were also trained in line with targets. Only one person had been injured at work in this year.

Ms Tlakula noted that the IEC managed to comply with the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) in relation to budget. It complied with all asset management requirements and maintained a record of all assets. It had complied fully with its obligations in respect of supply-chain management as outlined by the National Treasury. IT applications were developed, specifically election related applications, which were effected after the new boundaries had been set by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) at the end of August 2010. There were back-ups installed for disaster recovery, motivated primarily by the organisation’s high reliance on IT systems.

Ms Tlakula noted that the proposed necessary amendments to the legislation had been submitted, that notices were published as required for the elections and IEC had responded, in time, to the 33 cases filed against it.

Ms F Rowley, Chief Financial Officer, IEC, presented a brief report on the financial statements. Although an unqualified report was given by the Auditor-General (AG), there were two points that she wished to clarify. Firstly, the IEC had received a qualification in the previous financial year, 2009/10, in relation to travel and subsistence claims, and although it had implemented the corrective measures, it had not restated the previous figures. In relation to comparative figures, she noted that IEC had incurred R91 million of expenditure that raised some concerns, and would monitor and manage this.

Ms Rowley noted that the IEC had previously operated on the cash system of accounting, but this year it had changed to the accrual system, which had an impact on the previous year’s figures. She also noted that in the previous financial year, the IEC had received a qualified in respect of leases. The financial statements were prepared in terms of the required accounting standards, and there were no changes in accounting policies. A budget of R1.4 billion was allocated, and there was a surplus of R320 million, largely accounted for by figures carried over to this financial year from the previous financial year. The large numbers in the balance sheet resulted from the report’s timing, of six to seven weeks before the 2011 Local Government Elections.

Discussion
Mr A Gaum (ANC) commended the work of the IEC and was confident about its conduct of elections. He did, however, emphasise that the IEC needed to move towards achieving a completely clean audit as soon as possible, and asked when this might take place. There were a few issues relating to the IEC’s pre-determined objectives. He sought an explanation as to why problems and issues from the 2009/10 financial year, in relation to payment of temporary electoral staff, continued to impact upon the current financial situation, and asked what measures had been taken to prevent further instances of non-compliance with procurement procedures. He also asked what interventions were made to address the Auditor-General’s (AG) findings on lack of management involvement in monitoring, planning and reporting on predetermined objectives. 

Ms Tlakula responded that the management of performance information was still a very new area, and admitted that the IEC had not yet achieved the SMART targets set by the AG on this point. The IEC had now implemented standardised reporting tools, which it had not had in previous financial years, and it hoped that these would be helpful in monitoring performance at all levels.

Ms Rowley noted that the audit report’s emphasis of matter in relation to temporary staff related still to issues that gave rise to qualifications in the previous year, and the reason was that the money in relation to these payments was still reflected in the comparative financial statements.

The Chairperson asked how the IEC had fared on payment of temporary staff in the last Local Government Elections.

Mr Norman Du Plessis, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, IEC, stated that there were no problems with this year’s audited reports in relation to these payments, so they seemed to have been resolved.

Mr M Mnqasela (DA) was appreciative of the work of the IEC, and said it could be proud of the way it conducted elections, noting that elections could cause havoc, if not properly managed. However, he was disappointed about reports that it did not seem to be sufficiently aware of how R121 million worth of funding was handled, asking how it intended to rectify the issue.  He asked if there were investigations into electoral reform, particularly the possibility electronic voting systems, or perhaps a hybrid.

Ms Tlakula responded that the IEC had done study tours in Brazil, Mexico and India which did make use of electronic voting. The IEC had continuing investigations and once these were completed, the IEC would take a decision as to which practice would be most advantageous to South Africa.

Ms Rowley said that the R121 million expenditure was in relation to the 2009/10 financial year, and that this year the IEC was not qualified on the findings in relation to the 2010/11 figure of R91 million. Significant work had been done on reviewing the IEC’s payment procedures but IEC realised that more improvements were needed. A “belt and braces” approach would be adopted, so that procurement policies were reviewed along with increased emphasis on ensuring that procedures were complied with in good time.

Mr G McIntosh (COPE) also commended the work of the IEC. He voiced concern as to the number of voting stations, asking if IEC reviewed their efficiency, and what its policy was on numbers.

Mr Mosotho Moepya, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, IEC, responded that the IEC took the issue of voting stations very seriously. It took human settlement patterns into consideration, as well as the distance that the voters would travel to the stations, and the numbers that could be managed within each particular voting station.

Mr Gaum made reference to the fact that the capturing process for election results still took a long time and wondered if this could be made any faster.

Ms Tlakula noted that the results were usually available to the IEC within 24 hours of an election, but audit procedures had to be conducted where the results would be verified.

Mr Mnqasela asked how long the Fraud and Corruption hotline had been operational, and whether there had been reported instances of fraud and corruption through this medium. On the issue of procurement, there had been an instance highlighted where a client had attempted to bribe an official, and he asked what had been the outcome, and whether this was one of the two incidents mentioned.

Ms Tlakula responded that this project was at pilot phase, and there had yet to be reports made through the hotline. She suggested that it could be outsourced to ensure that calls did not come to the CEO’s office. She clarified that the employee mentioned had in fact attempted to solicit a “kick-back” and it was the supplier who had informed the IEC. The employee had been disciplined and removed from his duties.

Mr Mnqasela read out the extract from the AG’s report that management and staff had failed to fulfil their duties and responsibilities with regard to reporting on predetermined objectives and performance monitoring, and asked when this would be resolved.

Ms Tlakula noted that the AG had actually deferred making a final decision on this issue to the next audit, to allow the IEC enough time to implement proper processes and procedures for monitoring and managing performance.

Mr Terry Tselane, Commissioner, IEC, assured the Committee there would be further investigation to clarify the confusion around the bribery issue, and the IEC would report further.

Ms S Rwexana (COPE) asked about the effects that ward boundary changes were expected to have on budgets.

Ms Tlakula noted that once ward boundaries had been demarcated, the IEC had to then align its voting districts with the new boundaries. Where new wards were established, new voting stations would have to be established as well. She stated that the impact that this would cause on budgets would not be great.

The Chairperson asked whether the staff of the IEC were required to disclose/declare any external remuneration.

Ms Tlakula assured the Committee that the IEC’s staff did declare all external remuneration.

Mr Mnqasela asked how many of the 23 million registered voters were youth, and how many were women.

Dr Brigalia Bam, Chairperson, IEC, responded that there was a trend that more young voters were registering, because the marketing campaigns were targeted to them specifically. Women were continually in the highest percentage of registered voters, both in rural and urban areas. However, there were concerns that women now represented only 37% of municipal councillors.

Mr G McIntosh (COPE) sought clarity as to the cut-off age for “youth”.

Mr Moepya responded that “youth” were those under 35.

Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) asked about recruitment and representation of disabled employees in IEC.

Mr Du Plessis stated that IEC had a target of 2% disabled employees, but it still had to meet this.

Dr Bam noted that some members of the Commission would vacate their positions shortly. She expressed appreciation to the Committee for its work and the respect shown to the IEC.

Film and Publications Board Annual Report 2010/11 presentation
Ms Yoliswa Makhasi, Chief Executive Officer, Film and Publications Board, and Mr Jonas Phoshoko, Chief Financial Officer, gave a presentation on the Annual Report of the Film and Publications Board (FPB). The Board was mandated to classify films, games and publications and was required by law to carry out compliance monitoring.

Ms Makhasi noted that important principles central to the regulatory work of the Board included the protection of children from early exposure to adult material, and from their use in child pornography productions, the provision of consumer advice on media content, and the provision of designated areas for the distribution of adult materials. She noted that the four main distribution channels regulated by the FPB were internet service providers’ content, certain publications (excluding newspapers, which were  regulated by the Press Ombudsman, with whom the FPB worked where necessary), cinemas and dvd outlets, where the FPB had full responsibility to classify the content that they distributed, and mobile content distributors.

Ms Makhasi said that FPB had met its classification and compliance targets in terms of its regulatory mandate. FPB managed to achieve 73% of its overall Annual Plans for 2010/11, and said that the reasons why some of the areas had not been achieved were contained within the report. The FPB managed to strengthen its outreach and awareness through the re-launch of its “Campaign Against Child Pornography” in 2010, which she noted was fully reported on in a separate report. FPB also managed to achieve new partnerships with the non-government organisation (NGO) sector, the government sector, and the media sector, which had helped, in particular, with covering the various activities that were undertaken in relation to campaigns run by the FPB. The FPB also appointed a Council in the 2010/11 financial year that was accountable to management, as well as increasing the visibility of the Board in media and in communities. She noted that FPB had instituted a Turn-Around Strategy which was aimed at strengthening governance, accountability and compliance, in a bid to have a more prudent financial management system in place.

Ms Makhasi outlined some of the challenges. A number of IT and research targets had not been achieved, largely because there was a limited IT capacity, due to human capability limitations, as well as an ageing IT infrastructure. The Board was looking into the possibility of securing extra funding for the building of this infrastructure. A legal challenge was instituted by the Print Media against the FPB, and in this regard the High Court had reserved its judgment some four months ago. The FPB had experienced a 15% vacancy rate in the 2010/11 financial year due to the numerous resignations at management level. The Board had opted not to fill these positions prior to the conclusion of the turnaround process. She noted that there had been difficulties experienced in compliance monitoring work, due to the risk exposure of the monitors, which had, in some instances, led to them being assaulted while doing their work.

Ms Makhasi outlined the four main strategic objectives and spoke to each in turn. The first related to With enhancing, integrating and implementing a constitutionally sound regulatory framework, and here she identified five key projects to address problematic distributors and compliance, consumer market segmentation, regulatory repositioning, external ratings convergence, and government support and dialogue. In an attempt to crack down on non-compliance, the FPB had managed to open 759 cases against violators. However, she admitted that it was difficult to follow through the progress of these cases. The FPB had effected the closure of 230 illegal shops, most of which had been voluntary closures, but said that the closures could affect emerging entrepreneurs and their families.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the FPB and the South African Police Services (SAPS) still had to be signed, so FPB was yet to officially secure the support that it so desperately needed from the SAPS in carrying out its mandate. In relation to external ratings and convergence, the FPB had conducted customer surveys on film classifications in cinemas, and had found a 65% convergence rate. The target set was 62%, and the target set for the next financial year was 75%. The FPB had managed to partner with government to commemorate national days such as Youth Day, Women’s Day and Heritage Day.

The second strategic objective was to develop and maintain organisational capacity and capability. The nine key programmes were outlined (see attached presentation for full details). Ms Makhasi made special mention of the HR manager’s dismissal in the third quarter of the reported financial year for gross misconduct, suggesting that this led to the delay in the achievement of the HR deliverables. The new HR manager was only appointed in the first quarter of the new financial year. A breakdown of the demographics of the FPB’s employees was given (see attached presentation).

The third strategic objective related to how the FPB purported to form and maintain national and international partnerships, and to co-ordinate initiatives that supported the business of the FPB. On this issue, Ms Makhasi highlighted that the FPB had conducted sectoral workshops with various stakeholders, including local government councillors and council officials, as the FPB depended largely on them for the licensing of adult shops. This was done by the local government structure, before it was done by the FPB. In terms of international involvement, the FPB was a member of INHOPE, a comparable international organisation.

The fourth strategic objective aimed to position the FPB as a visible, credible, professionally-run organisation. 1 320 media items were published relating to the FPB, which indicated a 54% increase from the previous financial year. The 2010 Anti-Child Pornography Campaign was very actively engaged in influencing public opinion on a number of issues. She also noted that there was a repositioning strategy currently in place that was being implemented in the 2011/12 financial year.

A separate report had been provided on the 2010 Anti-Child Pornography Campaign, but Ms Makhasi wished to point out some highlights of the campaign, noting that it had mobilised the community, and had used campaign ambassadors and patrons to help in carrying the message. Lebo Mashile and Meshack Mavuso were secured as ambassadors, as well as Yvonne Chaka-Chaka as a patron.

Mr Jonas Phoshoko, Chief Financial Officer, FPB, set out the financial statements and noted that most of the FPB
funds emanated from the grant subsidy, but other funding emanated from regulation fees. The Board’s grant subsidy was R56.1 million for the 2010/11 financial year, an increase from the allocation of  R39.7 million in 2009/10. Regulation fees were R8.6 million, again rising from the 2009/10 figure of R7.7 million. This rise was attributed to the revised tariffs that were implemented from 1 October 2010. Administrative staff costs were R17.3 million in this year, while operating costs increased from R26.5 million in the previous financial year, to R33.5 million in 2010/11. He also noted that the FPB had managed to obtain an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General, but highlighted issues surrounding fruitless and wasteful, as well as irregular, expenditure (see attached presentation for details).

Discussion
Mr Mnqasela commended the FPB on its unqualified audit. However, he asked what corrective measures were being taken to curb fruitless expenditure.

Mr Phoshoko said that the FPB now generated exception reports on a quarterly basis to gauge the effectiveness of internal controls, and would put into place actions to remedy the situation.

Mr Mnqasela asked what the Committee could do to help the FPB secure the help that was needed from the South African Police Service.

Ms Makhasi said that this was a two-fold issue. At lower level, there was support, but there were still some issues at a higher level, and there was a recommendation that the FPB must make a formal written submission to the Minister of Home Affairs, and jointly to the Minister of Police. A further report would be given.

Ms T Gasebonwe (ANC) sought clarity on the issues of problematic distributors and compliance. She wanted to know whether any arrests or legal steps were taken against the non-compliers as a result of the 907 raids conducted. She also asked if the 500 law enforcement officers had been trained in all regions.

Mr Makhasi responded that there had been arrests resulting from the raids, and that the cases reported on were cases opened by the police out of those raids. The 500 trained law-enforcement officials came from all parts of the country, because the monitoring work took place in all nine provinces.

Mr McIntosh noted the large number of classifications being undertaken by the FPB, and wanted to know who conducted these classifications.

Ms Makhasi responded that the FPB employed 40 classifiers on a part-time basis, all of whom were recruited and trained.

Ms Petersen-Maduna wanted to know how many monitors were employed by the FPB per province.

Ms Makhasi noted that 17 monitors were employed in total and they were distributed across the country depending on the need. There was at least one monitor in each province, and although this was not enough, the resources were limited.

Ms S Rwexana (COPE) sought clarity as to whether the monitors had identification when they went out to perform their duties, and asked what powers they had.

Ms Makhasi confirmed that they did carry identification cards, and would travel in cars that were branded, to try to reduce the possibility that they might be assaulted.

Ms T Mpumlwana, Chairperson, FPB, informed the Committee that the FPB would be moving offices as the current space had become too small, and it had also encountered problems with the building owner having failed to comply with the Public Works requirements.

Government Printing Works (GPW) Annual Report 2010/11 briefing
Mr Joe Engelbrecht, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Government Printing Works, provided an overview of the progress and developments at Government Printing Works (GPW) for the 2010/11 financial year. He noted that this was the first time that the GPW had produced its own report, independent of the Department of Home Affairs. He also outlined the key outcomes and achievements for the financial year 2010/11, as well as providing insight into the key audit issues and priorities in the future (see attached presentation for details).

Mr Engelbrecht noted that the former Chief Executive Officer had resigned in May 2010 but the position was not yet filled, resulted in him having to continue as Acting CEO in the meantime. The GPW had been established as a Government Component in October 2009, and this had a significant impact on how the organisation related to itself and its strategic partners. The GPW had identified four main pillars to be complied with, to ensure that it was economically viable. It had to develop a new site, and develop a new  establishment for the organisation, had to modernise its systems, and attend to technological upgrading and modernisation.

He highlighted some technological advances that the GPW had achieved, as well as speaking of the relocation strategies that the GPW had entered into with the Department of Public Works (DPW), to secure a more appropriate location for the work that the GPW carried out (see attached presentation for details). Service delivery was adversely affected by staff shortages, and there remained problems in retaining skilled staff, as they tended to be lured away by higher salaries in the private sector. Other challenges included the depleted state of production equipment and funding requirements.

Mr J Rossouw, Acting Executive Director: Human Resources, GPW, highlighted the renewal of old structures and the implementation of a new structure that comprised of the four branches of operations and production, strategic management, financial services, and human resources. Each of these branches was managed by a General Manager (see attached presentation for details). The main focuses that Mr Rossouw highlighted were those of training and development, particularly of lower level employees.

Mr Rassie Barnard, General Manager: Financial Services, Government Printing Works, presented the annual financial report of the GPW (see attached presentation for figures). He noted that the major challenge for GPW, moving forward, would be to maintain an unqualified audit, despite the serious challenges it had had in the past, and which it continued to face. Some of the issues he highlighted were the issue of overtime due to the lack of trained personnel (although here he highlighted that overtime payments should not exceed 10% of salary), and the fact that the GPW’s internal audit department had yet to become fully functional. He then highlighted the growth in revenue and profits in the 2010/11 financial year and suggested that this was testament to the fact that GPW was economically viable.

Discussion
Mr Mnqasela extended his congratulations to the GPW for the unqualified audit report and asked that it should try to keep up this position. He asked what the intention was, to address the staff problems, in the medium to long term. He asked in particular what was being done to fill the vacant senior positions. He also asked what had happened to the corporatisation strategy that was discussed during the tenure of the previous CEO ’s tenure.

Mr Engelbrecht responded, in relation to staffing, that the GPW was struggling to compete with the private sector in terms of salaries. With regard to the appointment of senior staff, he noted that only the Minister of Home Affairs has the power to make these appointments, and not the GPW itself. The GPW had also been instructed to not advertise the other vacant senior positions until such time as the CEO has been appointed to facilitate the process. The marketing department was very important and in respect of this department, the GPW had developed a very unique capacity in the Continent, and needed to market its products effectively so as to generate more revenue.

Mr Barnard, responded in relation to corporatisation that a decision was taken to only debate that question further, and decide if it was indeed the correct direction to take, during the 2012 year.

Mr Mnqasela asked if there had been progress in respect of  corporatisation and whether the GPW felt that this was a course worth pursuing.

Mr Rossouw assured him that there was progress.

Mr Mnqasela asked why profits were not being used to improve machinery.

Mr Engelbrecht responded that the equipment strategy covered a four-year equipment replacement programme. He noted that something equally as important as replacing the machinery was to develop the skills needed to close the technology gap and operate the new machinery.

Mr McIntosh wanted to know if the GPW still printed maps for the Survey department, or stamps, or ballot papers for the IEC, and whether it attended to other printing works, in addition to those mentioned in the presentation.

Mr Engelbrecht responded that the GPW did print maps, and new machinery would allow GPW to print maps of the best quality. GPW had the capacity to print stamps, but did not. It also printed a wide variety of other printed documents, such as leave forms for government departments, visas, receipt books and pamphlets. In terms of ballot papers, he noted that the GPW did print ballots, but not all of them. The IEC utilised the GPW for the printing of the Voters’ Roll, as the IEC required 100% quality assurance in this regard.

Ms Petersen-Maduna sought clarity as to the gender of the previous CEO, noting that all the presenters today were male. She also asked how far the GPW had gone in realising the goal of reaching 2% disabled employment. 

Mr Engelbrecht noted that over the years the GPW had had its fair share of female employees, but most of those who had recently left the organisation were women. In relation to representation of disabled people in the employment structures of the GPW, Mr Rossouw reported that in 2010/11, GPW had a total of 551 employees, of whom 11 were disabled, which met the 2% requirement.

Ms Petersen-Maduna asked why the finance, marketing and internal audit units had not reported on all of their strategic objectives and targets.

Mr A Gaum (ANC) noted that, although they did not affect the unqualified finding on the audit report, there had been numerous findings of non-compliance by the AG. He asked when these matters would be sorted out. He also asked why the GPW did not foresee that profits would rise in the next financial year.

Mr Barnard noted, firstly, that 2010/11 was an exceptional year in terms of the profits generated. He also noted that there were areas in which the GPW intends to spend more money, these being staff development and machinery. In relation to machinery, he reminded Members that there would be a time-lag between the time that new machinery was purchased and when it would generate profit.

Mr Mnqasela sought clarity on the question of staffing, and particularly the suggestion that this was out of the hands of GPW. He noted that there was no breakdown of gender and race and called for details.

Mr Rossouw reiterated that the organisation had been focussing on filling lower level employees’ posts. He also noted that there were interviews to fill the CEO’s vacancy but said that since this appointment was made by the Minister, the GPW itself could not influence the process. The Annual Report contained all the details on gender and race, as prescribed by the National Treasury. There was 50/50 representation of men and women. He conceded that GPW had low equity, having 67% white, and 33% black employees but it was making progress.

Ms S Rwexana (COPE) wanted to know if the GPW still printed for the Continent.

Mr Engelbrecht referred initially to the number of documents that were being printed, and said that GPW printed security documents, on behalf of other African countries, or private sector organisations within South Africa. There was nothing to prevent this from being done. GPW printed vehicle licenses for Mozambique, and examinations papers for Malawi. However, he said that the GPW should be handling the  printing of security documents for other African countries, as the technology to do so existed in South Africa and within the GPW.

Mr A Gaum (ANC) urged the GPW to be pro-active and approach the Minister for legislative reform if there were concerns with the current legislation. He also stated that in the following report, for the 2011/12 financial year, there needed to be a clear improvement on the staffing issue, as well as the ageing of personnel.

The meeting was adjourned.


Share this page: