Members considered the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) on the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA). A DA Member suggested changes to wording. It was suggested that the Report should state, in terms, that there was a need to empower disadvantaged persons by giving them relevant tools and skills which would free them from state-dependency. The problem of late production of textbooks for the blind was raised, but in discussion in was clarified that this did not relate solely to non-payment, but the national crisis around textbooks needed more clarification. The Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disability would be asked to call for further information so those responsible would be held accountable. It was also agreed that the relationship between labour relations and compensation should be addressed. Members raised concerns on the quality and delivery of work by the DPSA. There was agreement that the position of the Director General of DPSA had to be strengthened, by legislative amendments, so that this office had more control over other departments. The length of time taken for filling of vacancies was clarified, and it was also noted that the DPSA would shortly be briefing this Committee on the status of the outstanding regulations. The Committee highlighted the need for more collaboration and integration in the anti-corruption programme. The BRRR was adopted, subject to amendments and corrections.
The Committee adopted the draft Committee Report on the Oversight Visit to Limpopo, subject to figures for the Limpopo Resource Centre being checked. Members also commented that there was a need for the resource centre to be decentralised to other parts of the country. Finally, Members adopted minutes from April to September.
Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) on Public Service 2011/12
The Chairperson asked Members to make any corrections to the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR or the Report) on the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA or the Department).
Mr S Marais (DA) suggested that the expressions used in the BRRR must be simplified and be stated more clearly, so that the general public could more easily understand the document. He also suggested, in general, that the word ‘should’ be replaced with ‘must’, which carried the connotation that people were obliged to comply. He also recommended that the word ‘request’ be replaced with the word ‘require’, which implied the power of Parliament. In relation to disadvantaged people, he suggested that the Report must state in terms that there was a need to empower disadvantaged persons to become tax payers in the future, by giving them relevant tools and skills which would free them from state-dependency.
Mr D du Toit (DA) raised the problem of the late production of textbooks for blind persons, which had apparently happened because the people writing the books were not paid. This was something that had to be addressed.
The Chairperson acknowledged the existence of the problem, but stated that this was part of a bigger problem and was not limited to the issue of non-payment. The whole national crisis around textbooks needed further investigation.
Mr du Toit (DA) replied that in that case, the real problem for the late production of books for the blind was not mentioned, and had to be further clarified.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee must ask the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities to respond to this issue, and get more information on it, and stated that somebody must be held accountable.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) agreed with Mr du Toit that the Committee needed to invite the Minister to investigate the issue of the late production of books for the blind.
The Chairperson raised the issue of the relationship between labour relations and compensation in Government. She stated that this matter be put to Parliament for discussion.
Mr du Toit said that it was not an issue on which he had particular concerns. The need was being addressed, although he did feel that there was scope for re-assessing the whole relationship, which would be logical when looking at the Departmental budget.
Mr Marais said that the Department’s performance in reaching targets was very poor, particularly when this was compared to the budget spent.
The Chairperson added that this issue related to the quality of the Department’s service, and she had concerns both on the Department’s delivery and the quality of the work. She suggested that further discussions must be held with Parliament on this matter.
Mr Marais referred to the Public Services Administration Act (PSAA) and suggested that the Committee should make recommendations to strengthen the position of the Director General of the Department, so that this person had more control over other departments.
The Chairperson agreed, both on the principle and the fact that amendments may be necessary.
Mr Marais commented on the three month time-period for filling vacancies, and questioned why it took so long to fill vacancies in the Department.
Mr Justice Kgoedi, Director, Public Service Commission, replied that a four month benchmark was set by the Public Service Commission for the filling of vacancies.
Mr Du Toit said that the reason for the four month benchmark was possibly because the advertising, shortlisting and making of the appointment could take four months. The successful candidate would also have to give one month’s notice to his/her employer.
Mr Kgoedi confirmed that this was the reasoning behind the time periods.
Mr du Toit asked for other Members’ views on a reasonable time-frame for submission of outstanding Regulations from the Department’s legal division.
The Chairperson replied that the Department would be invited to appear before the Committee on 7 November 2012, to give an overview of the status of these Regulations.
The Chairperson noted that the number of anti-corruption practitioners was very low and said that more practitioners must be trained.
Mr Du Toit replied that the issue was not just about the numbers, but was also about considering the nature of the corruption, particularly whether it was financial or administrative. He agreed that there was a need to look at specific training and skills of anti-corruption practitioners.
The Chairperson further highlighted that there was no collaboration and integration in the anti-corruption programme, which were sorely needed.
Members adopted the Report, subject to relevant amendments and corrections.
Draft Report on Oversight Visit to Limpopo
The Chairperson stated that the Committee needed to consider and adopt the Report on the Oversight Visit to Limpopo (the Report). The intention had been to have the Ministers for Finance and for Public Services and Administration, and the Premier of Limpopo, present at a meeting, prior to adoption of the Report. However, the presentation of the mid-term budget speech of 25 October 2012 made it impossible for the Ministers and Premier to attend.
Mr Marais was not sure if the budget for the Resource Centre of Limpopo was correct. He felt that, for a single centre, the amount of R10 million was too high.
The Chairperson agreed to check this amount and undertook to call upon the Minister of Education for an explanation. She thought that this amount was probably for all provinces.
Mr Marais suggested that the budget for the Resource Centre should be spread across the Northern and the Southern parts of the country, and not be concentrated in one province only.
Ms Maluleke agreed with Mr Marais on the need for de-centralisation.
Ms W Nelson (ANC) asked whether the resource centre fell under the Department of Public Administration or Department of Education and where its funding was sourced.
The Chairperson clarified that it fell under the Department of Education, and that that the funding was obtained from the provincial Department of Education.
Members adopted the Report, subject to the Committee Chairperson checking, and correcting if necessary, the amount of R10 million for the Resource Centre.
Draft Report on Cuba Study Tour
The Chairperson explained that the Cuba Study Tour Report could not be adopted in the absence of other Members who were part of the delegation. It would therefore stand over.
Adoption of minutes
Members tabled, considered and approved, minutes from meetings held on:
25 April 2012
2, 15, and 23 May;
6 and 15 June;
5 and 12 September
The Chairperson detailed the meetings for the remainder of the year.
The meeting was adjourned.
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