Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs; Public Service & Administration Departments: 2012 Strategic Plans

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Meeting Summary

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was made up of two departments –  Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) and Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) – but in terms of the budget there was only one Budget Vote. COGTA said it would focus its resources towards fast-tracking the implementation of collective decisions to enhance the functioning of municipalities and to locate the role of traditional institutions within the broader agenda of Government. COGTA would provide a more focused support to 105 municipalities within 23 District Municipalities Cabinet had identified, plus the corresponding traditional communities.

The strategic goals of DCoG were discussed and included providing a differentiated approach to municipal financing, a refined Ward Committee model, improved access to basic services, implementing the Community Work Programme, improved coordination of local government interventions and improved oversight and support to provincial and local government.

The COGTA programmes consisted of Administration; Policy; Research and Knowledge Management; Governance and Intergovernmental Relations; National Disaster Management Centre; Provincial and Municipal Government Support and Infrastructure and Economic Development The COGTA budget for 2012/13 was R54.7 billion with the bulk going to Governance and Intergovernmental Relations (R37. 9 billion) and Infrastructure and Economic Development (R15.5 billion) programmes.

The strategic goals and the activities of the three Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) programmes were explained. Its main programmes were Research, Policy and Legislation; Institutional Support and Coordination and Transforming Traditional Authorities. The activities of the three programmes included: publishing and seeking public comment on a National Traditional Affairs Bill and having an approved policy on male initiation; implementing a Partnership Strategy and Traditional Affairs Sector Strategy as well as a capacity building plan; restoration of the dignity of the traditional and Khoisan leaders and communities; partnerships and effective participation in provincial and local government. COGTA saw infrastructure development at the centre of focus.

The Committee asked why the Khoisan were still fighting for recognition in South Africa and why was this  taking so long? How would the Department assist municipalities with ward committee issues? A comment was made that the COGTA strategic plan was unrealistic. The Chairperson added that ‘Operation Clean Audit 2014’ was not attainable. It was pointed out that the COGTA presentation did not identify any challenges. The Department should also present its challenges.

The Department of Public Service and Administration spoke of five ministerial strategic focus areas:
▪ strengthening access to service delivery for South Africans,
▪ improving internal efficiency of the public service,
▪ implementation of the SITA Turn-around Strategy,
▪ accelerated training & development of a Public Service Cadre and repositioning of PALAMA into a School of Government, 
▪ tackling corruption effectively in the public service.

The DPSA programmes were: Administration; Human Resource Management and Development; Labour Relations and Remuneration Management; Public Sector Information Communication Technology Management; Service Delivery and Organisational Transformation; Governance and International Relations.

DPSA listed its activities for each of these programmes:
▪ Activities under its Administration programme included providing advisory services on risk management, internal controls and governance processes and providing sound financial management and governance.
▪ Some of the activities under Human Resource Management And Development were implementing a strategy to admit 50 000 youths and unemployed graduates into internship, learnership and artisanship opportunities and reviewing the senior management service Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) policy and evaluation instruments. It wanted to increase representation at senior management levels of women from 37.4% to 50%, and of disabled persons from 0.33% to 2%.
▪ Labour Relations and Remuneration Management activities included developing the Government Employees Housing Scheme to promote home ownership for public servants.
▪ Activities under Public Sector Information Communication Technology Management involved developing an ICT Governance Framework and Draft Implementation Guideline for the public service and enhancing ICT network infrastructure by ensuring it was convergent and multiple access channels could be used.
▪ Service Delivery and Organisational Transformation activities included implementing the revised Khaedu management strategy and contributing to implementation of service delivery quality improvement initiatives.
▪ Governance and International Relations activities included ensuring South Africa complies with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) by managing and implementing the APRM National Programme of Action. It also aimed to tackle corruption in the public service and monitor compliance with national and international anti-corruption instruments.
 
The DPSA idea of a multi-year plan for salary negotiations was brought to the Committee in 2010. The Committee asked about its progress as it was merely referred to in the presentation with no detail. The Committee asked the DPSA to provide statistics on corruption in the public service.

Meeting report

Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Strategic Plan
Ms Keneilwe Sebego, COGTA Chief Operating Officer, said the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was made up of two departments –  Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) and Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) – but there was only one Budget Vote. COGTA said it would focus its resources towards fast-tracking the implementation of collective decisions to enhance the functioning of municipalities and to locate the role of traditional institutions within the broader agenda of Government. COGTA would provide a more focused support to 105 municipalities within 23 District Municipalities Cabinet had identified, plus the corresponding traditional communities. A list of these priority district municipalities per province was provided (see page 10 of document).

The strategic goals of DCoG were to:
▪ ensure implementation of a policy platform that provided a differentiated approach to municipal financing,
▪ planning and support,
▪ improved access to basic services,
▪ implementation of the Community Work Programme,
▪ deepening local democracy through a refined Ward Committee model,
▪ enhancing administrative and financial capabilities of municipalities,
▪ strengthen cooperative governance,
▪ provide oversight and support to provincial and local government,
▪ improve coordination of interventions impacting on local government,
▪ facilitate economic development at local level.

The COGTA budget for 2012/13 was R54.7 billion with the bulk of the expenditure going to Governance and Intergovernmental Relations (R37, 9 billion) and Infrastructure and Economic Development (R15.5 billion) programmes. Budget estimates for 2013/14 and 2014/15 was pegged at R58.8 billion and R63.8 billion respectively. The main programmes were Administration; Policy; Research and Knowledge Management; Governance and Intergovernmental Relations; National Disaster Management Centre; Provincial and Municipal Government Support and Infrastructure and Economic Development.

Some of the activities under Administration included:
▪ supporting provinces and municipalities with communication capacity,
▪ implementing the revised Internal Audit and Risk Management plan and Fraud Prevention Plan,
▪ ensuring established and functional financial governance structures and clean audit opinion.

Activities under Policy, Research and Knowledge Management included developing a knowledge management strategy and supporting ICT development at municipal level.

The activities of the Governance and Intergovernmental Relations programme included:
▪ developing a White Paper on Cooperative Governance,
▪ developing a Draft Bill on National Monitoring, Support and Intervention in provinces and municipalities,
▪ developing a Bill on a refined legislative framework for ward committees and community participation,
▪ finalising the Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill for consideration by Cabinet,
▪ municipalities supported with the monitoring of Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) expenditure.

The activities of the National Disaster Management Centre programme included:
▪ the amendment of the Disaster Management Act,
▪ revision of the Fire Services legislation,
▪ developing an Integrated National Disaster Risk Management Education and Training Framework.

The activities of the Provincial and Municipal Government Support programme included:
▪ developing regulations setting uniform standards for all municipal employees,
▪ monitoring municipalities to fill vacancies in terms of Municipal Systems Amendment Act,
▪ having a National Framework on the professionalisation of local government.

The activities of the Infrastructure and Economic Development programme included:
▪ work opportunities created through Community Work Programmes,
▪ Business Development Forums supported in district municipalities,
▪ District rural Municipalities supported to improve on MIG non-financial performance.

The strategic goals under the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) were: empowered traditional communities, effective governance systems for traditional affairs, sustainable partnerships and collaboration for service delivery, effective Department of Traditional Affairs and transformation of traditional authorities. The main programmes were Research, Policy and Legislation, Institutional Support and Coordination and Transforming Traditional Authorities.

Activities under Research, Policy and Legislation included a gazette on the formula for kingship/queenship councils, a National Traditional Affairs Bill published and consulted on and an approved policy on male initiation.

Activities under Institutional Support and Coordination included developing, implementing and reviewing a Partnership Strategy and Traditional Affairs Sector Strategy; and implementing a capacity building plan.

Activities under Transforming Traditional Authorities involved the affirmation of traditional and Khoisan communities through an empowerment programme; restoration of the dignity of traditional and Khoisan leaders and communities; and partnerships and effective participation of cultural, religious and linguistic communities in provincial and local government.

The Chief Operating Officer concluded by stating that the Annual Performance Plan for 2012/13 provided an opportunity for all role-players across the spheres of government to provide support to communities which would receive the desired services, through organised and effective government structures, operating efficiently, with infrastructure development at the centre of focus.

Discussion
Mr J Gunda (ID; Northern Cape) observed that municipalities in the Northern Cape that were bankrupt were not on the list of priority municipalities.

Mr Muthotho Sigidi, COGTA Acting Director General, replied that within the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA) there were Section 71 reports that were given to National Treasury every month. These reports were early warning systems to indicate to the Department that a given municipality was facing challenges. Within the National Treasury there was a programme called the Municipal Finance Improvement Programme which was used to help ailing municipalities. In addition there were 77 advisors that had been deployed to these municipalities. The Department after the local government elections had began re-establishing committees for governance purposes.

Mr Gunda asked why the Department started with district municipalities instead of local municipalities.

Ms Keneilwe Sebego, COGTA Chief Operating Officer, replied that in the presentation reference had been made to the district municipalities from which the 105 municipalities came. The 105 municipalities had not been listed. The 23 district municipalities were a cabinet decision and the local municipalities were identified in consultation with provinces. 

Mr Gunda asked how the Department would assist local municipalities with ward committee issues.

Mr Sigidi replied that at the end of March, 92 ward committees that had been established. There was a framework that needed to be followed for ward committees to be recognised nationally. If this was not followed, they would not be recognised. An example of a ward committee that had not been recognised because of failure to follow the framework was in Buffalo City.

Mr Gunda asked why the Khoisan were still fighting for recognition in South Africa. Why had it taken so long? They do not have recognition and yet they were some of the first inhabitants in South Africa.

Ms Sebego replied that this would be addressed through the National Traditional Affairs Bill that would be tabled in Parliament. In addition the Department would forward a report that it had generated based on consultations with the Khoisan.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC; KwaZulu-Natal) asked what the vacancy rate was within the Department.

Ms Sebego replied that the process of recruiting a Director General had started. There was an advert and the application period had now closed. The Minister had indicated that he was prioritising the recruitment process. The Department was unable to share the actual vacancy rate but would respond in writing.

Mr Nzimande stated that there was confusion on the ground because the formula for calculating skills retention set by the Department was in conflict with what the local government was using.

Mr Sigidi replied that salaries of Section 56 and 57 managers was being addressed through the amendment of the Municipal Systems Act.

Mr A Matila (ANC; Gauteng) observed that there were only about six months left for the strategic plan to be implemented. Some of the issues raised had been raised previously but had not been implemented. The Department was failing to implement things when they had capacity. How did they expect municipalities that do not have capacity, to implement?

Mr D Bloem (COPE; Free State) stated that the plan the Department had brought was unrealistic.

Ms Sebego replied that the Department had heard the Committee’s caution that perhaps the strategic plan was too much work. Maybe the history of the Department did not bode well regarding promises that were made but not met. The Department would try its best through the Annual Report to account for promises made in the Annual Performance Plan. The Department promised the current plans would be pulled through.

Mr V Manzini (DA; Mpumalanga) stated that the presentation looked good but the concern was the creation of work opportunities. A look at the municipalities showed the people being employed were from one party.

Ms Sebego replied that the Community Work Programme (CWP) was one of the Department’s biggest programmes for work opportunities, as well as the cooperatives. Once a CWP site was established the community assisted with the selection of people that should participate. One of the criteria used was unemployment and the socio-economic status of the family from which the young participant came.

The Chairperson asked what was meant by ‘differentiated planning’ in line with strategic objective seven.

Ms Sebego replied that ‘differentiated planning’ referred to the extent to which when planning for municipalities, the Department avoided using a one-size-fits-all approach. It referred to the extent to which unique characteristics and challenges of municipalities were considered when formulating support programmes.

The Chairperson stated that municipalities were losing money mysteriously. There were about nine municipalities that had lost money through cyber crime. Had the Department caught wind of this?

 Mr Sigidi replied that this area was outside the confines of the Department. There was a Committee that broadly dealt with anti corruption at national government level. The Department was not aware of cyber crimes that were happening.

The Chairperson observed that there were no timelines on the strategic plan.

Ms Sebego replied that the Department noted this observation. The Department was taking a project management approach and each activity had a project plan with timelines.

The Chairperson observed that some of the municipalities had qualified personnel but their performance still remained poor.

Ms Sebego replied that government had a performance management and development system. Through this system the Department should be able to ensure that qualified staff discharged their duties and demonstrated competencies that were necessary and requisite for the position applied for.

The Chairperson commented that ‘Operation Clean Audit 2014’ was not attainable. He also pointed out that the COGTA presentation did not identify any challenges. The Department should present its challenges.

Ms Sebego replied that the Department acknowledged this shortcoming in the presentation. The Department had challenges but had planned to discharge what had been put before the Committee within the existing challenges. In addition Mr Sigidi replied that this could have been an oversight in terms of the invitation the Department had received. It was not the intention of the Department to omit challenges.

Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on Budget Vote 12
Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, DPSA Director General, identified five ministerial strategic focus areas:
▪ strengthening access to service delivery for South Africans,
▪ improving internal efficiency of the public service,
▪ implementation of the SITA Turn-around Strategy,
▪ accelerated training & development of a Public Service Cadre and repositioning of PALAMA into a School of Government, 
▪ tackling corruption effectively in the public service.

Its five programmes were: Administration; Human Resource Management and Development; Labour Relations and Remuneration Management; Public Sector Information Communication Technology Management; Service Delivery and Organisational Transformation; Governance and International Relations.

Activities under Administration included:
▪ providing assurance and advisory services on risk management, internal controls & governance processes, ▪ providing sound financial management and governance according to applicable government policies.

Activities under Human Resource Management And Development were:
▪ implementing a strategy to admit 50 000 youths and unemployed graduates into internship, learnership and artisanship opportunities,
▪ reviewing the SMS Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) policy and evaluation instruments,
▪ increasing the number of government departments implementing employee health and wellness policies from 50% to 100%,
▪ modernising and enhancing the effectiveness of public service human resource and financial systems,
▪ contributing to Cabinet’s target to increase representation at senior management levels of women from 37.4% to 50%, and of disabled persons from 0.33% to 2%.

Labour Relations and Remuneration Management activities involved:
▪ developing the Government Employees Housing Scheme to promote home ownership for public servants,
▪ improving conditions of service for public service employees through the revision of existing policies such as the housing, pension and medical assistance policies,
▪ promoting labour peace through regular engagements and negotiations with public sector trade unions.

Activities under Public Sector Information Communication Technology Management involved:
▪ enhancing IT governance by developing ICT Governance Framework and Draft Implementation Guideline for the public service,
▪ enhancing ICT network infrastructure of government by ensuring that it was convergent and that multiple access channels could be used to access government information and services,
▪ improving IT security by developing minimum information security standards framework and associated standards.

Service Delivery and Organisational Transformation activities involved:
▪ assisting departments to develop sector specific generic structures to promote organisational development, ▪ improving service delivery and senior management service competency by implementing the revised Khaedu management strategy,
▪ institutionalising quality service delivery to all departments by developing and implementing the national knowledge management framework,
▪ contributing to implementation of service delivery quality improvement initiatives by assisting departments and provinces with implementation of frameworks and methodologies on service delivery.

Governance and international relations activities involved:
▪ ensuring that South Africa complies with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) by managing and implementing the APRM National Programme of Action,
▪ monitoring and evaluating public sector programmes, policies and projects to ensure accountability and transparency,
▪ tackling corruption in the public service and monitor compliance with national and international anti-corruption instruments,
▪ contributing to the African Agenda and international best practices on the transformation of the public service and public administration.

The DPSA budget for 2012/13 was R731.5 million. Of the total amount, R320 million was funding to entities (see document for funding per entity and other details). 

Discussion
Mr Nzimande stated that the idea of a multi-year plan for salary negotiations was brought to the Committee in 2010. What was the progress as it was merely referred to in the current report?

Mr Diphofa replied that the issue of the multi-year intervention into salary negotiations had been tabled for discussion in the current on-going negotiations with unions. The agreement last year was that for 2012/13, negotiations would be based on a multi-year agreement. When the Department got to the table this year organised labour got back and said that they wanted a single term. What the Department had put on the table as the employer was a multi-year plan as the Department could not go back on last year’s agreement. Whether an agreement would be reached was another matter.

Mr Matila asked when the Department would complete work on the Single Public Service.

Mr Diphofa replied that the Department would update the Committee on the progress made on the Single Public Service (SPS). Work had been done aimed at establishing an institutional base for a SPS. Whilst the legislation had not been finalised, there was work that had been going on. This work had looked at integrated service delivery and harmonising salaries.

Mr B Nesi (ANC; Eastern Cape) asked the Department to provide statistics on the issue of corruption in the public service.

Mr Diphofa replied that the Department would provide integrated information in writing on this matter.

The Committee directed that the following questions be responded to in writing owing to time constraints.

Mr Nzimande asked if there was a quota given to disabled persons when hiring interns.

Mr Nzimande stated that the departments that had gone into administration had been reporting on performance before the incident. Did the Department not detect early signs of this?

Mr Nzimande asked if there was a programme to standardise the suspension of civil servants. Of those on suspension, some drew salaries while others stayed in office for a long time.

Mr Matila asked if this was the right time to look at the housing policy when the issue of the single public service was still being tabled. What would the Department do to harmonise the different conditions of service across provinces and municipalities?

The Chairperson asked if the Department had been spending correctly.

The meeting was adjourned.

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