The Department of International Relations and Cooperation briefed Members on its Strategic Plan 2012/17 and Annual Performance Plan 2012/13, with particular reference to the replacement of the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund by the South African Development Partnership Agency and Partnership Development Fund. A Bill was therefore in process to replace the African Renaissance Fund Act 2001. The Agency would have a strong emphasis on project and programme management, and monitoring and evaluation, and the Partnership Development Fund would be a separate juristic person. The Agency would coordinate all
The Foreign Services Bill was the second of the Department's new initiatives. This would strengthen the Department's role and responsibility in foreign policy. The rationale for a legal instrument was that the Department operated in an international environment that was not taken into account by the Public Service Act 1994.
The Department gave a situational analysis. The global environment was characterised by major shifts in global, economic and social dynamics. New poles of influence had emerged, in particular the
An African National Congress Member noted a common tendency for departments to regard the National Assembly as Parliament in its entirety. Both Houses constituted Parliament. Moreover, the National Council of Provinces was the only House in the country where there was representation of all levels of Government and the interests of all the provinces. Members asked about the Department's vacancy rate; it was not something that one could be proud of, in spite of the special reasons given by the Department. The Department should inform Parliament in good time of events and make specific presentations on certain issues, like diplomatic passports. Members needed enough time to prepare themselves for deliberations. A second ANC Member asked if Department wanted to be exempted from the normal conditions of employment under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and observed that South Africa was seen as losing its grip on the New Economic Path for African Development and being overtaken by Nigeria in ten years time. He asked how to address the situation in
The Chairperson urged the Department to have serious discussion with the dti on the use of facilities at missions.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) 2012 Strategic Plan Presentation
Ambassador Jeffrey Matjila, DIRCO Director-General, briefed Members on the Strategic Plan 2012/17 and the Annual Performance Plan 2012/13. The Department's Plans were now fully aligned and compliant with Outcome 11 Delivery Agreement and Management Performance Assessment Tools (MPAT) and to the National Treasury Guidelines of August 2010. The Department had realigned its programmes, for example, the former third programme (International Relations and Cooperation) was now Programme 2. The programmes were to be revisited with the National Treasury as they no longer spoke to the expanded activities of the Department. When Members voted on the Department's budget, the Vote was based on these four programmes. He reviewed the Department's four programmes and foreign policy initiatives. (Slides 2-4)
South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) to replace African Renaissance Fund
Firstly, the South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) and the Partnership Development Fund was the first of the new initiatives and the Department hoped to complete it this year. The Partnership Development Fund would replace the present African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF) (ARF Act (No. 51 of 2001) and would be a separate juristic person. At present Ambassador Matjila was Chairperson of the board and Accounting Officer of the ARF. The new proposals called for a separate entity. At first it had been intended to make changes to the ARF, but these would have been too many, so it was thought better to form a new entity. There would be a board of trustees to ensure proper and effective use of funds, to form policy and exercise oversight and advise the Minister. The board would make proposals regarding concurrence of Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Finance on the approval of projects. The Head of SADPA would be the accounting authority. SADPA would have a strong emphasis on project and programme management, and monitoring and evaluation.
SADPA would coordinate all
The ARF had not been proactive. It had reacted to requests. It had been a solidarity fund which had reacted to emergencies such as
The Department had made studies of how development funds in the
The SADPA would have more funds than the ARF. Ambassador Matjila, gave details of ARF appropriations and how consolidation of funds from other governmental entities, together with implementation of the SADPA revenue formula, would enable SADPA to have 'very substantial' funds at its disposal for the South African Development Fund for the continent. (Slides 5-7).
Foreign Services Bill
This was the second of the Department's new initiatives. The Current Legal Framework was that the Public Service of South Africa was established in terms of section 197 of the Constitution 1996 . The Public Service was governed by the Public Service Act 1994 (PSA) . The Department was a Schedule 1 department and was regulated by the PSA. The Conditions of Service applicable to the Foreign Service (the Foreign Service Dispensation) were determined by the Minister for Public Service and Administration in terms of Section 3(3) (c) of the PSA. The current reality was that the mandate of the Department was not legislated, nor articulated in the Constitution. The role and responsibility of the Department with regard to Foreign Policy would be strengthened. The role of the Head of Missions (HOM) as co-ordinator needed to be strengthened. The rationale for a legal instrument was that the Department operated in an international environment that was not taken into account by the PSA. There was need to take into account the different legal systems of various countries; to consider cultures of the countries within which the Department operated; and that the Department was bound by international obligations, treaties and protocols , offered assistance to South Africans abroad, might purchase properties and assets abroad, conduct financial transactions abroad, had an oversight role over other Government departments on international relations, was the custodian on international law and international agreements within Government, regulated and accredited foreign representation and interaction with the organs of state, and provided employment in Missions abroad. However, as Ambassador Matjila pointed out, the Foreign Service was not separately identified as a national service in the PSA, unlike Defence, Security and the Police, and if appointing an ambassador, this Act was a constraint. (Slides 7-10)
Ambassador Matjila gave an overall situational analysis. The global environment was characterised by major shifts in global, economic and social dynamics. New poles of influence had emerged. Until ten years previously there had been uni-polarity in the world. Now there was realignment and new economic powers, including the emergence of the
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region was relatively stable. Intra-SADC trade had grown by a significant 155% since the implementation of the Protocol on Trade in 2000. However, as a proportion of total SADC trade, intra- regional trade remained relatively low.
Global growth (graph, slide 16) and world output in advanced, emerging, and developing economies were indicated (table, slide 17)
Various impacts on the political, social, and economic developments in
Asia had overtaken Western Europe to become Africa's largest trading partner, and south-south trade grew from 28% to 50% of
However, it was worrying that inter-African trade was still at only 11%, whereas trade within
The growing role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa from developing
Total trade and bilateral trade between
There was no such growth between
Projected Investment opportunities in four categories - consumer sector (banking, telecommunication,
consumer goods), agriculture, resources, and infrastructure were indicated (bar chart, slide 23).
South African exports and imports by country
These were indicated by a bar chart (slide 24). This slide was especially important as it indicated the need for
Africa: major political and economic trends
A map illustrated major political and economic trends in
The Department was sure that
The changes in
Socio-economic development trends
Socio-economic development trends were indicated with reference to intra-African trade and the impact of the global financial crisis. Intra-African trade remained low compared with other regions. In SADC it was 51%.
The top export markets in the European Union 2011 were illustrated by means of a pie chart.
High level organisational structure
Ambassador Matjila explained the high level organisational structure. (Organogram, slide 29).
Enhanced African Agenda and Sustainable Development
South Africa would host the Africa Diaspora Summit in May 2012, and was still a champion of NEPAD as it ensured linkages to outcomes that supported South Africa’s national priorities such as: job creation, integration, infrastructure development, partnerships (G8, G20, Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Africa-India, Africa-Turkey; Africa- US ), Governance (APRM), and prioritised capacity building programmes. President Zuma’s Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) gave impetus to
SADC political integration
The Department sought to participate in high level SADC meetings in pursuit of SADC cohesion; and participate in the review of the jurisdiction of the SADC Tribunal.
SADC economic integration
The Department sought to support and monitor the implementation of the SADC Free Trade Association (FTA); support and monitor negotiations on the Tripartite FTA and the SADC Custom Union; and support and monitor the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) work programme (SACU Industrial Development Policy, Revenue Sharing Formula review and Common Negotiating Mechanism). Economic integration raised issues of the possible risks of a single currency. German officials had visited
Strengthening political and economic integration of SADC
The Department sought SADC peace, security and stability:
• South Africa continued to chair the SADC Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation for 2011/12
• Synergy in Peace and Security processes at United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and SADC levels
• Continued pursuit of negotiated political solutions in Zimbabwe and Madagascar (South Africa was championing Zimbabwe abroad)
• Deepening democratisation and good governance in the Region through participation and leadership in SADC Electoral Observer Missions and the operationalisation of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council . (Slide 33)
Strengthening South-South relations in order to advance the development agenda
Participating in the global system of governance
Ambassador Matjila referred to
There was now debate on whether
There had been heavy debate in
Top five export classes per AU region
The top five export classes per AU region – North, West, East, Southern, and
South African trade with Africa
South African trade with
South African exports and imports by regions
These were indicated by bar charts (slides 49-50).
State Protocol Services
The roles of State Protocol Services included managing state protocol lounges, guest houses and related facilities, facilitating accreditation of heads of diplomatic and consular missions, and managing implementation of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act. The Department sought the Committee's advice on who was eligible for a South African diplomatic passport - so many people, including Members of Parliament, chiefs and kings, bishops, chief executive officers of companies, and chief executive officers of state enterprises, wanted one. Another issue was who should go through the protocol section, and use the guest houses (slides 54-55).
Public diplomacy included a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of what the South Africa (SA)
brand stood for and how it contributed to the global multilateral governance system (slide 56).
Mr Asogan Moodley, CFO, reviewed objectives and outcomes in financial management (slide 57) and 2012/13 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) estimates (table, slide 58), the indicative baseline allocation as per the strategic objectives of the Department (table, slide 59), the objectives and outcomes for supply chain management (SCM) (slide 60), for information and communication technology (slide 61), for property and facilities management (slide 62), and consular services (slide 63).
Mr Moodley noted that the Department was on track. Its goal was to achieve unqualified audit opinions, ensure funds were used economically and effectively, and conform to SCM procedures, PFMA and Treasury Regulations. The asset register had been audited by the Auditor General and good progress had been made. There had been progress in training ICT staff.
Mr Ganga Tsengiwe, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Human Resources briefed the Committee on the Department's establishment (table, slide 64), employment equity (table, slide 65), the strategic objectives of human resources (slide 66), diplomatic training (slide 67), the International School (slide 68), administration management training (slide 69), language training (slide 70), generic skills development (slide 71), and international transfers (slide 72). He noted that the vacancy rate was 13.5 % against the national norm of 10%. It was hoped to achieve the norm early in the new financial year. However, the Department was vulnerable to a revolving vacancy rate, since vacancies at missions, when staff were transferred to other missions, were filled internally. The Foreign Service Bill would improve the situation. Another challenge was to maintain employment equity in terms of the law. The percentage of staff with disabilities was 1.5%, and it was hoped to increase this to 2% by 2014; the percentage of female senior management staff had increased to 36% (in the last two months to 41%), and it was hoped to increase this to 50%, the Department's target, by 2014.
Mr A Nyambi (ANC –
Ambassador Matjila replied that the Department had many invitations. He acknowledged that he had forgotten to write a letter to the Chairperson of the Select Committee. He noted the Member's comment. There was a time limitation. There was a roster of the planned meetings and it would be sent to the Chairperson.
Mr Nyambi asked about the vacancy rate; it was not something that one could be proud of, in spite of the special reasons given by the Department. He requested a particular time frame in view of the challenges of unemployment as referred to in the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Mr Tsengiwe agreed that the ideal would be to have no vacancies. Posts for transferred officials to missions were filled only from head office. When the post was filled from there, a vacancy was opened. However, within four years, those people who were posted had to come back. The Department was asking itself how to ensure that this revolving cycle did not result in posts not being filled because the incumbents would return, or to ensure that, even if that was the case, the Department would at least have only a reserve in case nominations were for people from outside. In the last few months, the Department had tried to reduce the rate from 17% and had succeeded in reducing it to 13.1%. If it could reduce the rate to 10% the Department would have an opportunity to implement its strategy of linking the transferred official's vacated post with what the Department would fill through the normal public service recruitment and selection. The Department was acutely aware that it must avoid having vacancies.
Mr Nyambi said that from the presentation it was clear that the Department was focused. The challenge was for the Department to isolate matters and events of particular concern for Parliament, and inform Parliament in good time. He submitted that it would assist Members if the Department could be very specific in presenting on certain issues, like diplomatic passports. Members needed enough time to prepare themselves for deliberations.
Mr K Sinclair (COPE –
Ambassador Matjila replied that
Mr Sinclair asked what
Mr Sinclair, in commenting on tensions between
Mr Sinclair emphasised the Department's need to improve on employment equity (slide 65). There were 13 positions in the top management but they were filled only with blacks and Indians – males and females.
Mr Tsengiwe replied that the Department sought to fill vacancies from the designated groups that were under-represented. The designated groups currently targeted were women and disabled. The Department believed that it was one of the departments that was very representative in terms of racial groups. It was possible that at certain levels there could be under-supply or over-supply. The Department, however, recognised its obligations under the Constitution.
Mr Sinclair commented on renovations in the various missions. In some instances there were very expensive projections. Were such projections justified?
Mr Moodley replied that the cost of construction abroad was very high, and gave examples, such as the renovation in
Mr Sinclair asked about the participation of a public private partnership (PPP). What was this PPP and how long was the term.
Mr Moodley identified the PPP, Imbumba – Aganang. The period was 25 years. The money paid to the PPP was to pay off the fees as well as the assets (all the desks and chairs, except ICT asses) within the Department, as well as facilities management and maintenance. In the last five years of the agreement, the Department would do a comprehensive assessment of the building and the PPP would fix everything so that when the building was transferred to the Department it would be in very good condition.
Mr B Mnguni (ANC –
Mr Mnguni said that in Europe regional integration had been motivated by the threat from
Mr Mnguni thought that
Mr Mnguni thought that there might be civil war in
Mr Mnguni said that there was a perception that
The Chairperson urged the Department to have serious discussion with the dti on the use of facilities at missions. He had questions which he would have wished to ask on
Ambassador Matjila replied that the Department would invite the Committee to have meeting at its new building.
The Chairperson said that it would be a priority in the next quarter. He thanked the Department and assured it of the Committee's assistance. It would be helpful to receive time-lines for the Bills which the Department wanted to put before the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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