Department of Labour Strategic Plan 2013/14

NCOP Public Enterprises and Communication

19 March 2013
Chairperson: Ms M Themba (Mpumalanga, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Labour (DOL) presented its Annual Performance Plan for 2013, as well as the Strategic Plan covering the period 2013 to 2018. It was noted that, following questions put to the Department, a number of the items had been thought through again and a workshop held to try to achieve greater alignment between the plan, as well as between indicators and objectives, and assistance was sought from National Treasury in making some revisions. Other questions put to the DOL, which the representatives wanted to answer prior to presenting the Strategic Plan, related to the achievements, and here it was noted that the figures given reflected results up to the end of the third quarter. Indicators were set out for strategic risk monitoring and the risk profile. It was noted that 57% of the seven fraud cases had been finalised, and there was 80.92% achievement on pre-employment screening, and five of the eleven senior staff members had been certified by the State Security Agency. DOL, in relation to employment equity, had 39% women in the senior management staff, and employed 35% youth 2.7% disabled people. In September, the vacancy rate was 7% and DOL had trained 35% of those intended for training. 71% of misconduct cases were finalised. 50% of the ICT transition was completed. The figures for review of compliance on employment equity plans were set out, and Members were taken through the tables for this, the protection of vulnerable workers by inspection of workplaces, where it found that there was 59% compliance, and percentage of complaints settled, which was at 65%, slightly under the target of 70%, within 14 days. DOL also conducted workplace inspections to reduce exposure to hazardous material, and had mostly confined the inspections to Western Cape, managing to inspect 63 against a target of 200. The legislation in progress at the moment was described. The statistics were also given for registration of those seeking work, and those to whom advice or career guidance, placements or referrals were given. DOL had assessed income differentials and made recommendations, and sectoral determinations in the hospitality, taxi, private security, and civil engineering sectors were reviewed. Nine Bargaining Council Agreements were extended to non-parties, with an average turnaround time of 62 days. Of the 29 applications processed to register new labour relations organisations, five were approved, and 24 were declined. The reasons for variances from targets, and the corrective actins proposed by DOL, were set out in the form of a table.

The expenditure report noted that by the end of January 2013, the Department had spent R1.772 billion, against its adjusted budget of R2.139 billion. This represented expenditure of 82.8%, compared to the 83% target. The Department was therefore on track with its expenditure.

The Strategic Plan set out, in detail, selected indicators for each of the branches, and the strategic objectives. The baseline budget, and performance indicators were also given. The key challenges were noted as unemployment and under-employment, the changing nature of work, inequalities and unfair discrimination in the workplace, domestic and cross-border labour migration, and inadequate instruments for constant performance monitoring and evaluation of labour market policies and programmes, to determine their impact on the economy.

During the discussion, the members asked for clarity on the figures estimated and presented, how the actual figures were derived, how targets were structured, the split in allocations between the provinces. Concern was raised in particular about the performance in Northern Cape, North West and Eastern Cape. Members were informed of resources constraint, the time factor as well as lack of planning by certain provinces. Incomplete training and information was also noted as one cause of discrepancies. However, Members were assured, and were appreciative of the efforts in the provinces.
 

Meeting report

 

Department of Labour Strategic Plan 2013/14
The Chairperson noted the apologies of Members, and of the Director General, Department of Labour, who was excused to attend a Technical Meeting. She noted that the presentation of the Strategic Plan was intended to assist Members in knowing what the Department of Labour (DOL or the Department) was doing and planned to do in the coming year.

Mr Madodana Tuntulwana, Office of the Director General, Department of Labour, again tendered the apology for the Director General. He noted that as a first step, he would answer some questions that had been specifically posed to the Department, and would combine some of them that were linked, to ensure that a composite and briefer answer could be given.

He noted that Members would be familiar with the Constitutional mandate given to the DOL, and briefly outlined the vision and mission that was linked to the mandate..

The first question posed to the DOL related to sections 12 to 17 of the Strategic Plan published in March 2013. There had been some misalignments identified between the Strategic Plan (SP) and Annual Performance Plan (APP). It was also noted that there was lack of alignment between some of the indicators and some strategic objectives, and this had necessitated the drawing up of new guidelines around the formulation of the Departmental indicators and strategic objectives. However, these had not affected the targets stipulated in the SP and APP, and the Department would continue to comply with those. The Technical Advisory Unit (TAU) of National Treasury was asked to assist with the process.

Workshops were held leading to the review of the strategic objectives and indicators, to address the shortcomings and ensure that smooth processes were followed to achieve adherence and alignment to the Strategic Plan and the Annual Performance Plan. Fewer strategic indicators were incorporated in Branch Work Plans, and a less performance-oriented and more strategic approach was adopted. The new document was tabled in Parliament on 15 February 2013. Parallel to this process, the Department embarked on the development of a new DOL Strategic Plan covering the period 2013 to 2018, an updated and a more fully developed Annual Performance Plan 2013/14, which was tabled on 13 March 2013.

The second question asked of the DOL related to its achievements. He reminded Members that the DOL submitted quarterly reports, and so the achievements, and comparison to selected targets and indicators, were set out for the three quarters ending in December 2012. The last quarter achievements would normally be included in the APP. The provinces’ reports were normally received by 16 April.

Mr Tuntulwana then reviewed the indicators on the strategic risk monitoring and the risk profile of the Department was reviewed. Reports were produced and approved by the National Risk Management Committee and the Audit Committee. 57% of fraud cases were finalised, as seven were received and four were finalised. In relation to pre-employment screening, a total of 80.92% of Public Service Commission (PSC) requests were finalised. Of the eleven “Z204 forms” submitted to the State Security Agency for vetting of senior staff members, five had been returned with the clearance certificates. He quoted the employment equity figures, noting that 39% of senior management staff were women, there were 35% youth employed, and 2.7% employment of disabled people.

The Department had a 7% vacancy rate at the end of quarter 2. There had been training of 35% of the total of 6 550 employees targeted for training. Of the 130 misconduct cases, 92 (or 71%) had been finalised, against the target of 75%. A new ICT strategy was developed and approved and 50% of the ICT transition was completed. Exit and Services Transfer milestones were achieved, and a project was under way on these.

He noted that under Programme 2, 181 employers (60 public and 121 private) were reviewed, to determine whether there was compliance with employment equity plans in all occupational categories. He noted that there were targets annually for conducting inspections, in both public and private companies. Various workplace sectors were inspected with the aim of identifying and targeting problematic sectors. This process was conducted in all the provinces (see attached presentation for inspections and compliance results, as a percentage).  He elaborated on and took Members through the figures for the various workplace sectors.

Mr Tuntulwana noted that the third strategic objective of the DOL was to protect vulnerable workers. The DOL had set a target to inspect 80% of 87 795 workplaces. It had managed to inspect 32 838 by the end of September 2013, compared to the target for this quarter of  33 917. It found that 59% complied. Once again, he produced a table of the statistics for provinces’ inspections, audits and compliance levels achieved.

Mr Tuntulwana then moved on to describe the progress on the percentage of labour complaints that were resolved at Registration Services. The information was given by province, showing the target percentage, the numbers of complaints received, settled and the settlement rate. Of the 55 484 complaints received, 35 884 had been settled, which constituted a 65% achievement (against the target of 70%) within 14 days.

He also noted that DOL conducted workplace inspections of certain sectors where it was specifically looking to ensure sound social protection, and to reduce exposure to hazardous material. The DOL aimed to conduct 200 inspections in the workplace, and had achieved 63 workplace inspections in the Western Cape. He noted that there was no specific political reason to confine the inspections to the Western Cape, and this decision was based on the exposure levels. Research was in progress to address the indicator for reduction of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). The DOL intended to have the previous Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Regulations repealed, and to present a new Bill to Cabinet and National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). The new Bill was drafted in November and finalised in December 2012, and it had been referred to the State Law Advisers.

He added that other legislation, regulations and guidelines on employment services had been drawn up to address discrepancies in the labour market, provide a quality service and make it more accessible. Employment bills were currently with Parliament.

The DOL was aiming to achieve an increase in registration of work seekers. The actual number that DOL had succeeded in registering was 427 349 work-seekers, with a variance of 89 724 from the targets. He tabled a breakdown of the targets and actual numbers, per province, as at 31 December 2012, as well as the calculations on the variance.

He also provided a breakdown of work-seekers provided with career counselling and employability enhancement. This had been provided to 94%, or 196 438 of the 207 950 people approaching the Department. The DOL had a target to profile 60% of those registering, within 60 days, and it had managed to profile 196 439 people. DOL aimed to increase the placement and referral of work-seekers to opportunities and other services. It had managed to place 79%, and refer 278 998 people. DOL had exceeded its target to persuade more companies to register their vacancies, by getting 1 924 vacancies listed, as against the target of 751.  

Mr Tuntulwana noted that the amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) were intended to promote equity in the labour market. The NEDLAC process on the Employment Equity Act (EEA) Amendment Bill was finalised in July 2012, approved by Cabinet in September 2012, and tabled in Parliament.

The HIV and AIDS Code and Technical Assistance Guidelines (TAG) were gazetted on 15 June 2012 and HIV TAG amendments were signed off on 27 June 2012. Fourteen Employment Equity workshops were held throughout the provinces to publicise the HIV & AIDS Code & TAGs, as well as to promote 2012 Employment Equity (EE) online reporting.

In regard to inequality in salaries, 30 Income Differentials had been assessed, the Director General had made recommendations and the EE Plans incorporating Affirmative Action (AA) measures had been approved.

Various sectoral determinations were reviewed and amended to protect vulnerable workers. He set out the determinations by name, and date of publication in the Government Gazette, for the hospitality, taxi, private security, and civil engineering sectors. For the taxi sector, he noted that  information sessions were presently being conducted to review the research report. New areas for setting up sectoral determinations were also investigated, which resulted in a report on the investigation into the Private Security Medical Aids for further deliberations. The Department had also visited the unions FEDUSA, NACTU, South African Bulletin and DITSELA, to strengthen engagement with civil society.

The turnaround time for collective bargaining agreement processes was reviewed, to help promote  sound labour relations. Nine Bargaining Council Agreements were extended to non-parties, with an average turnaround time of 62 days. 29 applications were processed to register new labour relations organisations, within 90 days of receipt of competent applications. Five were approved, 24 were declined, and the average turnaround time was 83 days.

Mr Tuntulwana said that he would address the questions as to why the DOL had failed to achieve certain targets and strategic objectives. His presentation set out the areas of concern, gave the reasons for major variances and detailed the corrective action that DOL had taken to address the under achievement on certain strategic objectives (see attached presentation). He indicated that the last column must be seen as the intervention measures identified by the Department that would be taken to correct the shortcomings, by end March. He also gave a detailed overview of how each strategic objectives would be prioritised and implemented to improve and correct the under achievement, on slides 28 to 30.

Mr Tuntulwana noted that the expenditure report would show Members how funding was used, and reported that the figures were budgeted for at Head Office, Provincial and Labour Centre levels.

Report on Expenditure as at 31st January 2013
Mr Bheki Maduna, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Labour, addressed the questions raised on the Department’s finances and expenditure as at 31 January 2013. By end of January 2013, the Department had spent R1.772 billion, against its adjusted budget of R2.139 billion. This represented expenditure of 82.8%. He compared this to the 83% budgeted for spending in this month. The Department was therefore on track with its expenditure. He also detailed the programme allocations as follows: 73% for Administration; 82% for Inspection and Enforcement Services; 86% for Public Employment Services and 94% for Labour Policy and Industrial Relations. In regard to the last figure, he noted that there was no cause for concern because this represented an advance payment, which was done on a quarterly basis. He also provided a breakdown by economic classification (see attached presentation).

Mr Maduna noted that, through a process of close scrutiny and monitoring during the year, the Department had ensured that financial resources were directed towards the achievement of service delivery objectives. During the Adjustment Budget process, areas of under expenditure were identified and financial resources were redirected to those areas of critical need. For instance, the amount of R R11 million was redirected to the Sheltered Employment Factories to address the serious cash-flow situation that was impacting on the delivery of goods.

Details of Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2013/14
Mr Tuntulwana proceeded to set out selected indicators, in the Strategic Plan for 2013/13, for each of the branches, and the strategic objectives. He mentioned again the workshop and said this had been of great assistance in compiling the APP>

He outlined the strategic objective, objective statements, baseline costing and the performance indicators for each of the four programmes of DOL. The baseline was used to formulate the targets.

He then noted the opening statement made by the Minister, and said that the key challenges facing the Department had been highlighted. These included unemployment and under-employment, the changing nature of work, inequalities and unfair discrimination in the workplace, domestic and cross-border labour migration, and inadequate instruments for constant performance monitoring and evaluation of labour market policies and programmes, to determine their impact on the economy.

Discussion
Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) said that this presentation had given more clarity on the issues. However, he expressed concern at certain provinces’ poor performance, referring in particular to slide 15, in relation to North West. He was aware of internal conflicts, which could be reasons for poor results, but wanted more details on the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) in North West and Northern Cape, specifically in the Iron and Steel and Chemical sectors. He wondered if the Department had sufficient manpower to deal with the issues.

Mr R Tau (ANC, Northern Cape) noted that extensive engagements with the Department prior to this session proved an advantage, because they had raised more awareness in Members. He too thought that the figures might reflect lack of capacity. He asked how the “compliance” was assessed, as to him this appeared to be “non-compliance”. He referred to page 17 of the presentation, citing the example noted of RDS achievement, where the target was zero but the progress achieved was a 3, and wondered if this might be balancing off the numbers. However, he applauded the Department on the last slide, which gave a clear message of DOL’s performance and commitment to achieve results. Combined effort was imperative if the Department was to meet its objectives, and he was pleased to see the mention that it was also depending on the level of support from its constituents.

A Member reflected on the percentages that were given and requested clarity as to how these were derived.

Mr Tuntulwana said that in regard to the North West province, the final reports would update all the information and more accurate figures would be reflected. A plan was needed to address the resources constraints. A team had been put together to provide the necessary assistance and support to Western Cape Province.

He then expanded on the sections of the Strategic Plan that set out objectives in regard to the Northern Cape and North West in particular. He noted that information was given on Table 2 of the Job-seekers who were registered on the system, who had been assessed and profiled. The number of job-seekers profiled in pursuance of the target that DOL must contribute to decent employment creation was highlighted as a Performance Indicator, and was set out, with Annual Targets and Progress achieved within the various provinces.

He also explained that the provinces’ advance deposits, in relation to the provinces of the Northern Cape and the North West, was mainly related to the population demographics. The Department of Labour was in agreement with the provinces, that outreach strategies had proved ineffective, although there was an improvement noted in January. It acknowledged that in many cases, the work had been ineffective, and a complaint had been lodged that the focus had changed to the rural areas and Mafeking. It was agreed, even though there might have been changes, that it was expected that the Department provide the necessary support to the concerned areas. The management of the Public Services was taken to task for this oversight. It was noted that if there was under-achievement and under-performance by a province, this would affect the following year’s budget review, and may result in the budget being reduced. This was used to try to motivate the targets being met.

The costs were being quantified and allocations were derived by dividing the total population in a province by its total expenditure. However, this reached only a simplistic position. More might be spent in one province, compared to others, because of transport factors. If provinces were given support in regard to unrealistic targets, then the following year percentages would improve. He re-iterated that the availability of resources was taken into account at all times, and the reflection of the allocations was not necessarily based on the provinces’ performance.

Ms Lerato Molebatsi, Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, Department of Labour, responded to the questions on slide 11, and said that the achievement on development and training was at 35%.The low score resulted from the time lag. Training was not scheduled as once-off, but involved different training sessions, which impacted on the completion time. The time lag occurred between commencement and the completion of the training. When the training was completed, the percentage score would be more accurate.

The representatives from the Department responded to both this and Mr Tau’s questions. A response team had been put together. The targets were structured in such a way that they would not be impacted upon by the performance of the provinces. With regard to the Construction Sector, the non-achievement related to the fact that there was no activity in the Northern Cape. Targets were not structured, and these were all the key issues that were impacting on performance and results.

In regard to comments on whether there was incapacity at Departmental level, the point was made that if the information was not submitted at the time that the report must be compiled, then the figures would not reflect accurate results. The figures were based on what were submitted by the provinces, and here it was explained that the provinces were asked to respond to specific requests. In many cases, the Department had actually managed to exceed targets by doing more than what was initially planned.

The Chairperson asked why there was poor performance in the Eastern Cape.

Mr Tuntulwana said that this was largely due to lack of proper planning in this province. He noted that lack of planning may be tied into the lack of adequate or available resources. The Department had to contribute to and improve each and every sector where it was tracking performance. It was therefore imperative that the planning must cover all the objectives and targets. Ineffective implementation of strategy did not always, however, reflect poor or under performance by a specific province, but may also be due to time constraints, where a target set had not been achieved at the time allocated.

The Committee was generally appreciative of and commended the DOL on its achievements on expenditure in the provinces.

Mr Tuntulwana thanked Members for their continued support and performance monitoring, which inspired the Department to constantly review priorities and objectives.

The meeting was adjourned.


 

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