Meeting SummaryThe Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) presented its comments on the Appropriations Bill, in the five priority areas of creating decent work, education, reduction of crime, health, and promotion of rural development and agrarian reform. The strengths of the Bill in achieving decent work included the shift from consumption to investment, the commitment to a bold infrastructure plan that would increase support for the Industrial Policy Action Plan, and the focus on transport, which could contribute to better living standards for workers, cutting of transport costs and increase of productivity. However, it failed to give clear direction of pertinent economic policies, and placed emphasis on social spending rather than economic development. It also failed to articulate clearly how government intended to promote labour-absorbing growth, or to set out economic pacts between business and labour at all levels, nor did it give enough emphasis to integrated economic development and employment policies at city-level, despite growing urbanisation.
In respect of education, the HSRC examined the extent to which government policies had been effective in addressing the skills development. 66% of the education budget went to Higher Education and Training while 34% was allocated to Basic Education. University Education was receiving the bulk of the Higher Education funding, with less focus on intermediate skills, but the post-school sector was fragmented and uncoordinated, with too many students still preferring to apply for universities than for Further Education and
In relation to crime and security, HSRC reported a modest decline in crime after 2009, but public trust in the police and political parties was low. 2.41% of the Appropriations Bill, or R13.079 billion went to the Justice sector, and most of the growth was related to increased spending on the National Prosecuting Authority, in an attempt to increase efficiency of the courts. However, HSRC said that this was not balanced by increased spending on management and administration of the courts and Legal Aid
The policy context of health showed decreases in Government spending since 1987, with consequent declines in quantity and quality of health care. The public spending on health failed to keep pace with inflation or population growth, and must be seen against growing demands from HIV and AIDS. The TB rates and ranking were outlined, and HSRC recommended that
The New Growth Path guided Government’s policy priority of rural development and agrarian reform for small holder farmers, and the initiatives towards creating vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities were outlined. The two departments who were primarily responsible for agrarian reform received a combined allocation of R14.7 billion, and the individual breakdown for both these departments’ programmes were outlined. The National Rural Youth Services Corps (NARYSEC) of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform was training over 7 000 people in rural areas. Direct land grant transfers to beneficiaries decreased from 47% in 2009/10 to 22% in 2012. Food security and agrarian reform programmes took up 85% of the budgets for agrarian reform, and the targets for training of smallholders and extension personnel were outlined. The agricultural sector experienced a sharp drop in employment. More households experienced food and nutrition insecurity from 2007 to 2010. Current spending on agricultural development was far below the 2003 Maputo Declaration Target of 10% of national budget.
Members expressed concern at the public mistrust in politicians and national government. They asked whether the current land reform policy had negatively impacted food security and food productivity and the role of extension officers in securing food security. Members sought clarification with regard to the imperatives for current emphasis on social spending rather than economic development in terms of the policy on decent work. They inquired about mechanisms put in place to monitor the mentoring programs initiated for small holder farmers. Inquiries were also made about comparative figures of chronic diseases and lifestyles in South Africa and the rest of the world, the coordination of programmes targeting Orphans and Vulnerable Children, and spending on health overall. They sought more information on the role of HSRC in policy implementation, its contributions to the National Planning Commission. Members asked what solutions there might be to ensure better absorption of University and FET graduates into the job market, asked for information on the numbers of unemployed youth who had been assisted by skills development programmes, and asked about job placements from Sector Education and Training Authorities, and whether they might also benefit the unemployed. They also asked about methods used to derive figures on police corruption, methods that could be used to bridge the gap between policy at national and local Level, and the difference between pro bono services and legal aid. They sought further clarity on the statements made about balancing spending on prosecutors with management of courts, and the balance between Visible Policing and Detective Services. Members requested more information on unemployment rates, showing the distinction between African and White graduates, a breakdown of provincial figures, and comparisons across various industries. The Chairperson commented that government must ensuring leveling of the ground. The Chairperson also commented that the Committee was now both a Standing Committee of Appropriations and a Portfolio Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation.
Appropriations Bill [B3-2012]: Human Sciences Research Council comment
Dr Olive Shisana, Chief Executive Officer, Human Sciences Research Council, noted that her comment on the Appropriations Bill (the Bill) would focus on the five Government priorities of promoting Decent Work, Education, the fight against Crime, Health, Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.
Professor Ivan Turok, Deputy Executive Director, Human Sciences Research Council, stated that Government’s priority of decent work must be analysed against weak performance of the South African economy and job creation in the last few years.
The strengths of the Appropriation Bill in achieving decent work were that the Bill aimed to shift investment from consumption to investment, and that it committed to a bold infrastructure plan which could serve the whole country and increase support for the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). The Bill also focused on investment in transport, which could improve living standards for workers, cut transport costs and increase productivity. Attention was given to rural development, and the Community Works Programme.
Uncertainties and weaknesses in this Bill around decent work were that it failed to give a clear direction on pertinent economic policies. In addition, it placed more emphasis on social spending than on economic development. It also did not clearly articulate how the Government intended to promote labour-absorbing growth. There was a lack of strong economic pacts with business and labour, which could facilitate a ‘jobs growth coalition’, at national, provincial and local levels. The Bill also placed no emphasis on integrated economic development and employment policies at city level, despite growing urbanisation.
Skills Development and Education
Dr Vijay Reddy, Executive Director, Human Sciences Research Council, examined the extent to which Government policies had been effective in addressing the issue of skills development. The budget appropriations for education and training showed a 66% allocation to Higher Education and Training and 34% to Basic Education. University Education was receiving the bulk of the funding, with less focus on intermediate skills. However, the post-school sector showed a fragmented and uncoordinated system, which the Green Paper for the Post School Education Sector sought to address. Students still preferred to apply to universities than Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges, with the result that demand exceeded supply in universities, while FET colleges were under-enrolled. The post school sector was also characterised by low throughputs and low quality qualifications.
FET colleges were outlined as the key providers of intermediate-level education and training. A major weakness of this sector was its lack of equilibrium, low enrolments and poor throughput rates. Changes had to be made to the curriculum to ensure that it was closely linked to industry. About R499 million was needed to ensure appointment of appropriate lecturing staff and teaching and development grants for FET lecturers. Despite the challenges, the FET sector experienced significant increases in enrolments between 2007- 2010, but efficiency rates remained low in engineering and Building/ Construction courses.
The employment and labour market prospects for graduates were outlined. Findings by a research by Bhorat (2005) revealed that unemployment rates of African students were higher than their White counterparts from the same institutions and in similar fields of study.
R1.8 billion was allocated, in 2009/2010, for skills development in the public sector, and 205 000 individuals attended training. The expenditure in government departments generally met the 1% of personnel budget requirement. However, there was a paucity of information regarding the impact, length, appropriateness and quality of training. In addition, the annual training reports and the Work Place Skills Plans submitted to Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) were of a very poor quality.
Government department expenditure on training in the Departments of Communication, Water Affairs, Police, Parliament, Energy, Health, Labour, HET, Basic Education and International Relations, in the 2009/10 financial year, was outlined (see attached presentation). The KwaZulu Natal Treasury was highlighted as having demonstrated good practice of skills and impact assessment.
The employment changes per sectors revealed that decreases were experienced in Agriculture (-32.2%) and Mining (-34.3), while increases were noted in Manufacturing (25.8%), Construction (113.2%) and Finance (149.9%).
The conclusion, in respect of education, was that there was a need to measure the impact of training and evaluate how post school institutions coordinated with each other in building strong links between training and the needs of the economy.
Crime and safety
Dr Narnia Bohler-Muller, Acting Executive Director: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery, Human Sciences Research Council, noted that crime and safety was consistently rated, by South Africans, as the third most important national priority between 2003 and 2011, after unemployment and HIV/AIDS. There was a reported modest decline in crimes percentages after 2009. However, research findings revealed that the public trust in police and political parties was low.
The aim of the appropriations for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) was to uphold and protect the Constitution and the rule of law, and render accessible, fair, speedy and cost effective administration of justice, in the interests of a safer and more secure
The budgetary implications included restructuring and reasonably resourcing small claims courts, community courts and traditional courts, prioritising education and training, introduction of alternative dispute resolution into the court system, and support to structures that monitored access to justice and the functioning of the courts at national, provincial, sub-cluster, and district level. In addition, there was a need for the introduction and implementation of advanced court technology, audio-visual equipment and electronic filing, and access to pro bono services to the poor.
It was recommended that a dedicated allocation be made for the Office of the Chief Justice. Research had shown that less than half the adult population (41% in late 2011) had confidence in the police. 66% of South Africans believed that the giving and taking of bribes, and the abuse of positions of power for personal gain, were widespread among the police.
A “mass recruitment policy” had been adopted in order to address rampant crime, and 85% of the budget, went towards paying the salaries of the growing numbers of recruits. By 2011, the South African Police Service (SAPS) consisted of 197 930 personnel, an increase of 65 620 posts (50%) since 2002/03.
The 2012 budget vote signaled a policy shift in relation to personnel figures. For the past few years, the South African Police Services (SAPS) had reported that by 2014/15 it aimed to achieve a target of 204 000 personnel. However, the 2011/2012 budget vote revealed that there was now a planned reduction in SAPS personnel, to 188 490. Currently, 56% of all personnel worked in the Visible Policing division (undertaking patrols, roadblocks and other high visibility operations), while 19% worked in the Detective Services division (investigating crime and gathering forensic evidence). This imbalance was to be addressed and the number of detectives in the SAPS was set to increase.
Overall, the key challenge was to strengthen police management capacity and internal accountability systems to ensure better policing in the future and to address problems with police brutality and corruption.
Professor D Labadarios, Executive Director: Grant management, Human Sciences Research Council, stated that the government health targets for 2020 to 2025 included an increase in life expectancy at birth, decrease in maternal mortality, decrease in infant mortality, decrease in new HIV infections, decrease in deaths from non-communicable chronic diseases, and improvement in the quality of health care.
However, he noted that the policy context against which health reforms were implemented included a decrease in Government spending, and this had led to a drop in quantity and quality of health care since 1997. The trends in real spending, per capita, in the public health sector, between 1996 and 2008, were then outlined (see attached presentation). Public spending on health care was not keeping pace with inflation or population growth. In addition, the decline in public funding had come precisely at a time when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was imposing growing demands on public sector Health Services.
Professor Leickness Simbayi, Executive Director, Human Sciences Research Council, noted that reported statistics ranked
A summary of major notable achievements in the fight against HIV over the past few years was given. This included the HIV counselling and testing (HCT) campaign, in which 13 million people were tested. The results revealed that over 2 million were HIV positive. Consequentially, the country was now implementing the world’s largest ART programme, with over 2 million people having been enrolled into that programme.
Although there was a notable decline, of about one third, in new infection rates, especially among adults aged 15 to 49 years, the Department of Health (DOH) still needed to intensify its prevention efforts, through positive steps, such as Preventing Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), targeting HIV positive people who knew their status to prevent them spreading infections to their partners, and rolling out ARV treatment early to those who qualified at the new CD 350 threshold.
The old National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) had run from 2007 to 2012, and a new NSP was now in place for 2012 to 2016, which included TB. Useful lessons learnt from the old NSP included the need to improve the functioning of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC).
Professor Simbayi highlighted that the three-year medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) set allocations for comprehensive HIV and AIDS, of R8.763 billion in 2012/13, rising to R10.534 billion, and R12.211 billion over the next two financial years. This must be seen, however, against the estimated costs of R18.728 billion, R23.432 billion and R26.628 billion respectively. There would be a continued shortfall in funding for the full implementation of the NSP during each year of the MTEF period under discussion.
Prof Simbayi outlined the World Health Organisation (WHO) Innovative Care for Chronic Conditions (ICCC) model. The model incorporated patient care, health-care organisation and community participation, as well as dealing with policy and financing requirements. The model was premised on the productive interaction between informed, motivated and prepared patients, families, community partners and prepared, proactive and equipped practice teams.
HSRC recommended that effective interventions were needed to optimise health services and 2020 to 2025 targets. The targets included an improvement in quality of health care, the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI), strengthening of community based care services, open nursing colleges; aggressive treatment of TB, reduction of non-communicable diseases, training of more doctors and increased investment in research and development. However, it was noted that DoH had requested R27.6 billion but had been allocated R25.7 billion.
Rural Development and Agrarian Reform
Dr Peter Jacobs, Chief Research Specialist, Human Sciences Research Council, noted that the New Growth Path (NGP) guided Government’s policy priority of rural development and agrarian reforms for smallholder farmers. Outcome 7 was listed as the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities, and the indicators included sustainable agrarian reform, improved access to affordable and diverse food, creation of rural services and sustainable livelihoods, rural job creation linked to skills training and promotion of economic livelihoods, and enabling institutional environment for sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and Department of Agriculture and Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) were the lead departments responsible for rural development and land reform, with a combined allocation of R14.7 billion in the 2012/13 budget. DRDLR received R8.9 billion, and DAFF received R5.8 billion. Rural development, land reform and restitution would consume R7.2 billion (81%) of the DRDLR budget allocation. Public spending to support agricultural production, food security and agrarian reform was at R3.3 billion (57%) of DAFF spending in the 2012/13 fiscal period.
The National Rural Youth Services Corps (NARYSEC) was a core focus of DRDLR, and would account for 43% of spending. The notable successes of this programme included the training of 7 401 young people in rural areas, who were being trained to increase their chances of employment.
The proactive Land Distribution Programme was allocated over 62% of land reform expenditure. Direct land grant transfers to beneficiaries decreased from 47% in 2009/10 to 22% in the current fiscal year.
The Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP) aimed at resuscitating 280 defunct farms and training 300 farmers.
50% of the allocation for agricultural production (R1.8 billion) would be used to boost the capacity of the Agricultural Research Council. The food security and agrarian reform sub-programme included giving agricultural development support for smallholder farmers and support for implementing the Extension Recovery Plan (ERP). Food security and extension support programmes made up 85% of the budget for Agrarian Reform’ (R1.4 billion). DAFF intended to train 45 000 smallholder producers to enhance their productivity. A total of 21 000 extension personnel would benefit from capacity development through ERP.
Between 2000 and 2011, the agricultural sector had experienced a sharp fall in employment in primary agricultural farming, crops and livestock farming, mixed farming and forestry. More households experienced food and nutrition insecurity between the periods 2007-2010, with the percentages rising from 13.5% in 2007 to 23.3% in 2010, with some variations depending on which indicators were used.
Public Investment in rural development, land reform and agricultural development stood at R14.7 billion. However, the current spending was far below the 2003 Maputo Declaration Target, which specified that every South African Development Community (SADC) member should allocate 10% of its national budget for agricultural development.
Mr M Swart (DA) expressed concern at the public opinion survey that indicated a high prevalence of mistrust for politicians and National Government.
Mr Swart asked whether the current land reform policy, which allocated smallholder farmers land without capacitating them, had negatively impacted food security and food productivity.
Dr Jacobs replied that at the moment there was no conclusive evidence on this issue. Variances existed countrywide. In some parts of the country, there had been a halt in production, while in other parts, such as the
Mr Swart asked for clarification on the uncertainties listed under the Decent Work, and the current emphasis on social spending rather than economic development.
Professor Turok replied that social spending was a natural response to poverty, by way of government increasing free housing, social grants, and free water. However, this solution was not sustainable in the long term, so there was also a need to focus on economic development to address the problem.
Mr J Gelderblom (ANC) inquired about the role of extension officers in contributing to food security.
Dr Jacobs replied that the Renewable System for Extension Officers was a move in the right direction but this represented only a drop in the ocean compared to the numbers of people who needed to be reached. In addition, extension officers were in some cases ill equipped to deal with emerging agricultural and environmental dynamics such as climate change.
Mr Gelderblom inquired about mechanisms to monitor the mentoring programmes to assist small holder farmers.
Dr Jacobs replied that the evidence indicated that the strategies to assist smallholder farmers in the past had not been effective in actually providing support for them. The mentorship programmes in some cases had even led to negative results, such as an increase in debt, or the giving of advice inconsistent with best practices and incompatible with the farmers’ situations.
Mr Gelderblom asked for comparative figures on chronic diseases and lifestyle in
Professor Labadarios replied that other African countries lacked data, but it seemed that for obesity,
Professor Simbayi replied that countries with a high prevalence rate of TB tended also to have high prevalence rates for HIV.
Ms R Mashigo (ANC) inquired if there was coordination of programmes targeting Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
Professor Simbayi replied that the New National Strategic Plan did factor in all the main sources of funding of OVC such as the Department of Social Development and the Department of Basic Education.
Ms Mashigo asked whether the decline in the budget to the Department of Health was not the result of under-performance in past years.
Dr Shisana replied that in order for DoH to improve its performance, it required adequate resources such as service personal and infrastructure development.
Mr N Singh (IFP) inquired the extent to which HSRC interacted with Cabinet and other Government Departments on policy considerations.
Dr Shisana replied that several mechanisms were in place for HSRC to inform Government policies, including government commissioning research from HSRC and HSRC hosting policy discussions, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, that facilitated round table discussion between that Department, scientists and HSRC. In addition, HSRC conducted policy briefings in which both the intended and unintended consequences of a policy were discussed. However, she stressed that the role of HRSC was to merely provide recommendations, and it was up to government to decide whether or not to implement them.
Mr Singh asked the extent to which HSRC was contributing to the National Planning Commission (NPC).
Dr Shisana replied that much of the information that was presented to the National Planning Commission, in particular in relation to health, had been generated by the HSRC, and government was able to recast that information to suit its priorities. HSRC had been invited, on several occasions, to provide monitoring and evaluation services to the NPC, and had a staff member who sat on the NPC. She noted that whilst the HSRC was independent, it worked closely with various Government bodies in influencing policy.
Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) asked what interventions could be put in place to change public perceptions on corruption of police and lack of trust.
Mr Ramatlakane asked what solutions might ensure better absorption of University and FET graduates into the job market.
Dr Reddy replied that a more targeted approach could be taken, with interventions being tailor-made to suit the needs of the individuals, perhaps to include graduate placement or work experience training for FET students.
Ms L Yemeni (ANC) asked for the statistics of unemployed youth who had been placed in jobs after skills development programmes.
Ms Reddy replied that more information could be obtained from the booklet “Strategies to Skill the Nation: Review of Governments Skills Development Strategy”. The National Skills Development Strategy II had resulted in participation by about 500 000 learners, and about 60% were employed. However, the problem was that individuals were accessing the learnership programmes one after the other, in an attempt to penetrate different routes of employment, instead of training in one field and progressing upward through that field. There were also disparities between urban and rural learnership access. Therefore, it was critical to focus more on the quality than on the numbers.
Ms Yengeni asked for the methods used by HRSC to derive the figures for perceptions on police corruption.
Dr Bohler-Muller replied that the statistics used were derived from an annual survey known as the
The Chairperson commented that Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) opportunities were directed at individuals who were already employed, and asked if unemployed youths could access these training opportunities.
Dr Reddy replied that she did not have the latest figures, but could provide the information to the Committee on a later date.
The Chairperson inquired what needed to be done in order to bridge the gap between policies at national and local levels.
Professor Turok replied that a vicious cycle of disjuncture was being created, because local government had such a negative image that the natural response by national government was to demand greater reporting and compliance from the local level. This in turn created more difficulties for local government, . as its power was taken away. This disjuncture had to be addressed. Local government was fundamental not just to service delivery but also to democracy. He recommended that there should be overall improvement in intergovernmental relations.
The Chairperson asked for the difference between pro bono services and legal aid.
Dr Bohler-Muller replied that while pro bono services overlapped with legal aid, the latter was provided only for individuals who earned less than R 5 500.00.
The Chairperson commented that HSRC had to conduct research on the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as to how this could be improved.
The Chairperson asked for reasons why HSRC had stated that the growth in spending on prosecutors had not been better balanced with growth in spending on management and administration of courts and Legal Aid South
Ms Bohler-Muller replied that it was necessary to ensure that the processing of criminal and civil cases was done more effectively. At the moment this was notoriously slow. One process should not be done at the expense of the other, and neglecting to spend properly on management and administration of prosecutors could result in injustices. Inexperienced administrators could lead to delays in prosecution, with some individuals being incarcerated for years before getting a fair trial.
The Chairperson asked for clarification why HSRC suggested the need to decrease the imbalance between the Visible Policing and Detective Services units of SAPS.
Dr Bohler-Muller replied that there should be synergy between the two. However, each required a different set of skills to be prioritised. For instance, detective services required the strengthening of forensic skills.
Dr Shisana commented that Members should pay regard to the presentation of unemployment rates, with the disparities in field and institution, between African and White students. This research revealed deep inequalities and this was a problem that Parliamentarians had to address.
Mr Gelderblom asked HSRC to provide information on unemployment rates, distinguishing between African and White students, with a breakdown by province, and an indication of the different industries in which the employed graduates were employed.
The Chairperson commented that Government had to intervene in ensuring the leveling of the ground.
The Chairperson commented that the Committee was now acting both as a Standing Committee of Appropriations, and Portfolio Committee of Monitoring and Evaluation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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