The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) briefed the Committee on its key strategic programmes. The presentation provided the Committee with a broad overview of the strategic plan for 2013/14 to 2016/17, highlighted priority areas for the Agency for 2013/14 and gave an overview of the budget allocation.
Key Priority Projects for 2013 included the implementation of the social assistance programme, improving the management of Social Relief of Distress (SRD), re-registration, grant reviews, local office and service points improvements, physical infrastructure improvement, and the future payment system. The organizational review’s objective was to make SASSA more effective through increased operational efficiency and the creation of a more streamlined and effective organizational structure.
SASSA’s approved budget for 2013/14 was R6.3 billion, for 2014/2015 was 6.5 billion and for 2015/16 was R6.8 billion. For 2013/14 compensation of employees was budgeted R2.3 billion, goods and services was budgeted R3.8 billion, and transfers and subsidies was budgeted R23 million. Budgeted key priorities and cost drivers included compensation of employees, cash payment contractors’ fees and various contracts necessary for the running of the Agency. Other key cost drivers included the grant review backlog, improvement of local offices and pay point infrastructure, grant fraud investigations, bulk notification and communication and media campaigns.
Members asked about the biometric verification of beneficiaries. When did SASSA envisage completing the biometric processing of staff? They requested information on the bad debt. How much existed? The presentation had mentioned that there was historical bad debt from the provinces, how much did this amount to? Were there still public servants owing money? What had been done so far about people found guilty of fraud? Were there plans for tackling challenges with the foster care grant? Was the objective of reregistering the outstanding two million people achievable? How much progress had been made thus far? Members requested information on who was on the advisory committee and the Special Investigating Unit. Members asked about the condition of offices and pay points which had been identified as a key challenge. What measures were in place to rectify this and what was the planned time frame? Members were concerned about people being turned away from SASSA offices when trying to apply for a grant, loan sharks, children suffering from malnutrition, and incidents of people being killed during robberies of pay points.
The National Development Agency (NDA) briefing on its Annual Performance Plan (APP) noted its main functions were capacity building and grant funding for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Elements of CSO capacity building interventions included needs assessment and baseline information for CSOs, small grant support, incubation and support, training and mentorship, monitoring and evaluation, information, education, communication and marketing, research and policy. The NDA provided grant funding for early childhood development, food security, and income generation programmes and projects.
Strategic objective were to carry out projects or programmes aimed at meeting the development needs of the poor; to undertake research, monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management publications on NDA programme areas; to strengthen the institutional capacity of CSOs and beneficiaries; and to promote and maintain organisational excellence and sustainability.
Looking at NDA’s finances, the total expenditure by programme as determined by audit outcomes was R163 million in 2009/10, rising to R168 million in 2011/12. The development management programme spent R76 million in 2011/12; research and development spent R481 000; the capacity building programme spent R6 million; and finally the administration and governance programme spent R84 million.
During the discussion, controversy was raised by the suggestion from one of the Members that the NDA duplicated the work of the Department, was not value for money, and had no reason to exist. Some Members came out in support of the NDA’s work. Members recommended that the NDA try to increase its visibility.
Members asked who NDA’s education partners were. They requested more information on the kind of capacitating work that NDA was doing, the projects that they supported, the issue of financials and the compensation of employees, and for an explanation of the significant increase in personnel costs.
Members asked if the NDA gave continuous and sustained funding to projects. Why had no research reports been done in 2010/11? How did the NDA deal with non-profit organisations (NPOs) that did not account to them? How did NDA monitor that NPOs which they were funding were not also funded by the DSD? There should not be dual funding. Why were posts not filled? What role the NDA had played in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and what was the NDA's link with the National Lottery?
Key Strategic Programmes and Budget: Briefing by the South African Social Security Agency
Ms Virginia Petersen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), briefed the Committee on SASSA’s key strategic programmes. The presentation provided the Committee with a broad overview of the strategic plan for 2013/14 to 2016/17, highlighted priority areas for the Agency for 2013/14 and gave an overview of the budget allocation.
Key priorities for 2013/14 to 2016/17 were:
• to deliver quality social security services by focusing on excellent customer care, the automation of systems, improving organizational capacity, and promoting good governance
• to embark on a reform agenda aimed at improving service delivery and making people’s dealings with government easier, improving organizational efficiency by modernizing processes, developing a new payment system, and diversification
Key Priority Projects for 2013
The first priority project was the implementation of the social assistance programme. The objective was to improve the reach to qualifying and eligible social assistance beneficiaries. The current status was that over 16 069 007 people were benefiting from social grants. The take-up rates for new grants was on average 1 200 000 per annum. There was an attrition rate of at least 500 000 beneficiaries per annum due to death, reviews and voluntary cancellations. The target was to reach at least 1.2 million beneficiaries, and to increase the number of grants in payment to 16 513 702.
A further objective was to improve the management of Social Relief of Distress (SRD) by ensuring qualifying beneficiaries were not disadvantaged. Training and workshops would be held to ensure there was a common understanding and interpretation of undue hardship. 25 000 SRD applications would be processed per annum over the next three years. Priority would be given to children suffering from malnutrition, families where the breadwinner died, assisting in disaster situations, and individuals awaiting grants.
Regarding re-registration, the objective was establishing a credible national payment database through the re-registration programme. At the time over 19 million people had been re-registered. Planned activities involved: the completion of re-registration by April 2013; re-registration data clean-up would involve data matching with critical institutions and elimination of duplications; records management involved the filling of loose correspondence relating to documents collected during the re-registration process.
In terms of grant reviews the objective was to eliminate the backlog of grant reviews, which were largely medical and financial. Eliminating the backlog would involve notification to each beneficiary to comply with legislative requirements. The plan was to have dedicated review venues, similar to re-registration venues, to manage overcrowding in local offices. Home visits would be conducted. There would be carry over into the 2014/15 financial years, because of the cycle time for reviews. While backlog reviews were being attended to, current reviews must be dealt with, to prevent further development of backlog.
The objective for the improvement of local office and service points was to improve the conditions under which SASSA served the beneficiaries and to ensure that all customers’ experienced the same business processes. The project started in July 2011, following the CEO’s appointment. 92 offices were upgraded in 2011/12. An additional 72 would be completed by the end of March 2013. All service offices had adopted a four-step application process.
Physical infrastructure improvement was planned. The upgrade of local offices would be completed in 2015. The target for 2013 was to have 119 facilities upgraded to suit the new standardized application process, to achieve full capacitating of service offices, and to improve accessibility of our services and offices.
The organizational review’s objective was to make SASSA more effective through increased operational efficiency and the creation of a more streamlined and effective organizational structure. SASSA’s organizational structure was currently temporary. Functions were duplicated between head office, regional offices and district offices. Each branch conducted a preliminary diagnosis and micro-audit of their functional areas and had made proposals on the possible areas for change. Quick win changes were being implemented. Independent consultants would be appointed to work with the Agency, focusing on the review proposals, and would ensure that proposals were aligned to the vision of the Agency and resulted in optimum utilization of staff.
The objective for the future payment system was for SASSA to implement its full mandate of administering, managing and paying social grants. Currently, the establishment of the National Payment Database (NPD) was being finalized. Current SASSA cards had transformed the industry by ensuring more people who were previously unbanked were integrated into the mainstream economy. SASSA was exploring alternative options in case the Court outcome was against it. An Advisory Committee was being established to support SASSA in investigating future payment options. SASSA was to host an international round table workshop on payment in the 3rd quarter.
To improve organizational efficiency, SASSA was committed to the optimum utilization of staff and strove for a clean audit by 2015. The Agency was working towards full automation of its processes. This would include biometrics for access to SASSA core business systems, investigating the single platform, and strengthening SASSA’s internal capacity to drive Information Communication Technology (ICT) operations. In terms of financial management, the objective was to improve turn around for payment providers, manage grant debtors, and eliminate austerity measures in so far as they impacted service delivery.
Other initiatives to be addressed by SASSA included tackling intergenerational poverty, intensifying outreach programmes to communities, exploring measures to build SASSA’s future workforce, and conducting research to ensure that missing children were located. SASSA also intended to strengthen its partnerships, particularly with the Department of Education, Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the provinces, and the Department of Health.
SASSA’s financial plan
SASSA’s approved budget for 2013/14 was R6.3 billion, for 2014/2015 was 6.5 billion and for 2015/16 was R6.8 billion. For 2013/14 compensation of employees was budgeted R2.3 billion, goods and services was budgeted R3.8 billion, and transfers and subsidies was budgeted R23 million.
The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget appropriation grew by 3%, 4% and 4% respectively over to MTEF period. The National Treasury had reduced the 2013/14 baseline by an amount of R215.324 million, from R6.5311.88 billion to R6.315.864 billion. This reduced appropriation would have a negative impact on SASSA’s budget and would necessitate trade-offs and reprioritization.
Budgeted key priorities and cost drivers included compensation of employees, cash payment contractors’ fees and various contracts necessary for the running of the Agency. Other key cost drivers included grant review backlog, improvement of local offices and pay point infrastructure, grant fraud investigations, bulk notification and communication and media campaigns.
Key Strategic Challenges
Policy implementation involved the challenges of foster care, SASSA’s role in disaster management, SRD and interpretations of undue hardships, and the 2 million children qualifying for grants who were missing from the system. The ongoing payment tender court case was extremely time consuming. The conditions of some of SASSA’s offices and pay points, especially in rural areas were unacceptable. Some processes could be improved for better efficiency, such as partial standardization of business processes. There was an inequitable distribution of resources, particularly at points of service delivery. Social grant fraud and labour relations also posed challenges.
It was recommended that the Portfolio Committee note and support SASSA’s key strategic programme and budget for 2013/14 to 2016/17.
Mr M Waters (DA) asked about the biometric verification of beneficiaries. As voice verification was not yet completely rolled out, how were those who collected from retailers or paypoints being verified?
How much bad debt existed? The presentation had mentioned that there was historical bad debt from the provinces, how much did this amount to?
The previous minister had carried out a campaign against public servants claiming grants. Were there still public servants owing money? How many of these cases were still outstanding and how much was owed?
When did SASSA envisaged completing the biometric processing of staff?
Mr Waters asked how many staff members SASSA employed, so that he could calculate the average salary.
The presentation had mentioned the SASSA had Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Department of Basic Education. When would the first run start to happen and how often would it happen?
Ms E More (DA) asked how much bad debt had been recovered.
Were there plans for tackling challenges with the foster care grant?
Was the objective of reregistering the outstanding 2 million people was achievable? How much progress had been made thus far?
Ms More asked why loose correspondence still existed. With the introduction of the re-registration process, had SASSA not learned from its past experience?
She requested information on who was on the advisory committee.
Ms M Mafolo (ANC) noted that the last time SASSA had come before the Committee it had said that certain offices were prioritized for renovation. How much had been achieved since then?
Could SASSA successfully reclaim its money if beneficiaries passed away and their grants were left in their bank accounts?
Ms Mafolo asked for further information on the Special Investigating Unit.
Ms F Khumalo (ANC) noted that the condition of offices and pay points had been identified as a key challenge. What measures were in place to rectify this and what was the planned time frame?
She was concerned about the incidents of people being killed during attempted robberies of pay points. What kind of security was there for beneficiaries?
What had been done so far about people who were found to be guilty of fraud?
Ms N Gcume (COPE) said that staff were being given cards and drawing grants.
People were being turned away from SASSA offices when trying to apply for a grant. They were told that the target number of applications per day had been met. Often these people had travelled far to apply and spent money on transport. Was this target number policy?
Loan sharks presented a challenge, and asked what was being done to address this.
The Chairperson asked about children suffering from malnutrition. Were these children referred by the police? As SASSA only supported them for six months, what happened after the six months? Were they referred to clinics? It was important that something be done to prevent them from going back into the cycle of malnutrition. She suggested a partnership with the Department of Health to address this.
Who was on the advisory committee and how they were selected?
Ms Petersen responded that Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was funded by the National Treasury. SASSA did not have to finance it anymore. If they had wanted work on detecting fraud done faster they had to work with the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) and the Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).
R300 million was recouped from staff fraud from SIU. SASSA undertook to provide the Committee with the exact numbers. More than 50% had been recouped. There had been some difficulties with departments that did not take disciplinary action. While the debt was recovered SASSA felt discipline was not managed. Not everything was in SASSA’s ambit.
Mr Frank Earl, Acting Executive Manager: Grants Administration, SASSA, responded that until the system of voice verification was in place, the type of verification would depend on the payment method. All bank transactions were pin-based. Checkers stores had biometric readers on their tills. Pick n Pay, however, was pin-based. Pay point machines were all equipped with biometric readers. Retailers that were part of the Massmart group, which included Game and Macro, used pin-based verification. When the voice activation was fully activated all beneficiaries would have the option of using this method. If they preferred not to they could go to another pay point with a biometric reader.
Mr Waters asked how the pin-based verification prevented people from accessing funds if they had, for example, taken a family member’s card and knew the pin.
Mr Earl responded that there were security measures to mitigate this, although the situation did present a risk. They had opted to provide as little inconvenience as possible to their beneficiaries.
Ms Thandi Sibanyoni, Executive Manager: Internal Auditing, SASSA, responded that there were 8 487 contracted staff at that time. Ms Petersen added that a further 60 Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWPs) staff had been employed for the transition period. This was a number that was growing all the time.
Ms Raphaahle Ramokgopa, Executive Manager: Strategy and Business Governance, SASSA, responded that the BPR process would take a period of two years.
Ms Petersen responded that there was a task team working on the foster care issue in the DSD. SASSA’s role was to indicate how many court ruling would lapse in a given time. There was a team of social workers who worked in the provincial government. R100 million had been released for this purpose.
Mr Earl responded that there were 2 million people still outstanding and 50 000 people a day were being processed. At the last count 19.7 million were finished, and it was envisaged that 20 million would be done by 31 April 2013. This was made up primarily of beneficiaries and children. Of this number a certain percentage would be fraudulent. There would also be a certain percentage of people who had not been reached. Letters would go out to these people to urge them to come forward, and they would have the months of May, June and July to do so.
The loose correspondence consisted of copies of identification documents, birth certificates and court orders. There were millions of such documents. They were being scanned and stored electronically on a server.
SASSA had recovered some money from dormant accounts and handed it over to the Treasury. It was envisaged that there would be no dormant accounts going forward because the cards could be traced. The remainder of what was left in the dormant account was unknown because of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 28 of 2001 (FICA) rules regarding access to account information.
Ms Petersen responded that the advisory committee was comprised of representatives from various types of entities: legal, community, child advocates, organizations speaking to social security reforms such as black sash, international social security agencies. SASSA had targeted specific knowledge bases in forming this group. Work streams would include SASSA officials, Treasury officials, public service officials, and also ICT representatives who were essential.
Ms Sibanyoni said that a total of 321 offices had been upgraded thus far. A further 190 had been privatized that financial year. The challenge was that there was little infrastructure available. MoUs were being finalized with other departments to identify land that could be transferred to SASSA to build properties. The challenge with upgrading pay points was that recent trends suggested that beneficiaries preferred to use banks. SASSA did not want to spend money upgrading pay points before assessing if they would be used or not. Assessment would also reveal which ones should be prioritised. By the 2014/15 financial year all pay points should be refurbished. Ms Petersen added that SASSA would supply the Committee with a detailed list.
Ms Petersen responded that because of the conditions at pay points and the number of different sites it was extremely difficult to determine where a robbery was going to happen. SASSA had taken several measures to prevent robberies. For example the volume of money being delivered had been reduced. SASSA was trying to broker a better level of intelligence. They had held meetings with the police, who were trying to make their presence felt at the pay points. They had also met with service providers to look at possible measures. At the same time, there needed to be a balance. Pay points should not look like a war zone and they more firepower was brought in, the more the death rate could rise.
It was a very heart-sore matter, and a serious issue. Older people, poor people and people with disabilities were in that environment. Guards had to be restrained because of the people in the queue. In the incidents that had occurred not a single cent was lost, they got away with no money, but three lives were lost and a further three were in hospital. SASSA was looking at every option possible.
The legal team and company were also looking at how SASSA could insure itself to further support families when incidents happened.
SASSA was meeting with the micro-lending industry that week. The aim of the meeting was to advise them that SASSA would be cutting back on people’s opportunities to get into the system. The micro-lending industry had previously been asked not to issue new loans while SASSA was transferring to the new system, but some had done so irrespective. They had also approached the Financial Services Board (FSB) because they were the ones who regulated the industry.
Regarding staff biometrics, the cloning of SASSA cards had been a problem. There had also been theft of machines. There was a wide range of ways that people were trying to break into the system. Although there was no name on the card they were tracked. As the system became more automated problems like this would become easier to detect. People also tried to buy their way into the system, sometimes paying up to R1000. This had been tracked through SASSA’s work with the Hawks.
There were no daily targets. Members should please alert her if they came across people being turned away for this reason. Staff should do queue management properly, so this should not happen.
Ms Petersen responded that they were done with the first phase of matching of data with the Department of Basic Education. The system was not fully updated yet but they did regular trial runs to see if the information was helpful. The Committee would be kept abreast of development.
SASSA’s response to malnutrition in children was part of an integrated programme. They worked with the NDA, DSD and the Department of Agriculture. Referrals came from the Department of Health. An interim check was made after three months to determine if weight gain had been made. After six months SASSA’s role came to an end and the beneficiary was referred back to the Department of Health. Exit from the programme was a challenge, but it was hoped that by that stage the mother was better equipped and had a better understanding of nutrition. A lot of counseling was involved in the intervention, along with the Clinic programme and the Food Bank programme. The child was registered on the Early Childhood Development programme so that progress was tracked. The exit strategy was crucial.
Annual Performance Plan: Briefing by the National Development Agency
Ms Vuyelwa Nhlapo, CEO, National Development Agency (NDA) briefed the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the NDA’s annual performance plan (APP).
According to the National Development Plan, Vision for 2030, poverty was still pervasive in South Africa. Millions of people remained unemployed and many working households lived close to the poverty line. For the next five years the NDA would focus on the following programmes in support of government priority areas on poverty eradication: early childhood development (ECD), food security, income generation, capacity building of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The NDA’s strategic goal was to leverage strategic partnerships to eradicate poverty to enable poor communities to achieve sustainable livelihoods.
Its strategic objectives were:
• To carry out programmes or projects aimed at meeting the development needs of poor communities
• To undertake research and publications aimed at providing the basis for development policy
• To strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organisations
• To promote and maintain organisational excellence and sustainability
• To promote debate, dialogue and sharing of development experience.
Capacity building and grant funding
The NDA’s main functions were capacity building and grant funding for CSOs. It acknowledged the potentially significant role that the CSOs could play in strengthening community building and cohesion for developmental action. NDA Capacity Building Approach provided CSOs with the necessary resources, both financial and material, to ensure successful project implementation.
There were several elements of CSO capacity building interventions:
• Needs assessment and baseline information for CSOs
• Small Grant Support
• Incubation and Support
• Training and Mentorship
• Monitoring and Evaluation
• Information, Education, Communication and Marketing
• Research and Policy
The NDA provided grant funding for early childhood development, food security, and income generation programmes and projects. In terms of early childhood development, NDA supported food security interventions at ECD sites, strengthened the institutional, leadership and management capacity of ECD sites and improved ECD Infrastructure. Its work towards food security included funding of agricultural projects (providing grants to food security related community-based projects); partnering organisations engaged in food security activities (resource sharing and collaboration); capacity development (skilling people to effectively use the land for food production); research (continuously monitoring the food security status), and policy development, lobbying and advocacy.
The NDA’s response to the challenge of encouraging the generation of income was through the development of sustainable income generation initiatives that would include, amongst others: the resourcing of innovative programme and projects that are sustainable; and the economic empowerment of women and young people through skills acquisition for them to initiate and manage various trades and economic opportunities.
Programme and sub-programme plans
Ms Nhlapo described the strategic objectives and corresponding performance indicators for the programme and sub-programme plans. A sample of these is detailed below. More information is available in the accompanying presentation.
Strategic Objective: To carry out projects or programmes aimed at meeting the development needs of the poor.
The number of projects and programmes funded had gone from 77 in 2009/10 to an estimated performance of 65 in 2012/13. The Rand value allocation to projects and programmes had gone from R95 million in 2009/10 to an estimated R74.8 million in 2012/13. The number of beneficiaries of projects and programmes funded had gone from 7397 in 2009/10 to an estimate 8448 in 2012/13.
Strategic objective: To undertake research, monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management publications on NDA programme areas.
The number of NDA implemented projects monitored and evaluated had risen from 110 in 2010/11 to an estimated 212 in 2012/13. One research publication had been produced on NDA programme areas in 2009/10, none had been produced in 2010/11 and 2011/12, and six were expected in 2012/13.
Strategic objective: To strengthen the institutional capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and beneficiaries.
The number of CSOs provided with capacity building interventions in CSO management and technical skills had gone from 24 in 2010/11 to an anticipated 210 in 2012/13. The number of beneficiaries from capacity building interventions had risen from 5147 in 2010/11 to 2520 in 2012/13.
Strategic objective: To promote and maintain organisational excellence and sustainability.
The design of an integrated ICT system was complete, but needed analysis. An integrated ICT system was 75% implemented. The number of advisory centres pilot sites was projected as 27 for 2013/14.
Mr Phumlani Zwane, CFO, NDA, presented the NDA’s finances. The total expenditure by programme as determined by audit outcomes was R163 million in 2009/10, rising to R168 million in 2011/12. The development management programme spent R76 million in 2011/12; research and development spent R481 000; the capacity building programme spent R6 million; and finally the administration and governance programme spent R84 million.
The total medium-term expenditure estimate for 2013/14 was R171 million. The estimate for 2014/15 was R178 million, and for 2015/16 was R185 million. The development management programme’s spending was estimated at R73 million for 2013/14; research and development’s R5 million; the capacity building programme R9 million; and finally the administration and governance programme R82 million.
The NDA headcount was envisaged to remain fairly stable with a slight steady growth over the next three years. Permanent employees would grow from 120 in 2013/14 to 125 in 2015/16. Temporary employees would remain at 5.
Mr Waters was concerned by the budget. The total budget was R171 million. Compensation for employees had increased from R79 million in 2009/10 to R94 million in 2011/12. This was a 20% increase for salaries, and was about 38% of the total budget. Goods and services had increased from R33 million in 2009/10 to R40 million. Meanwhile, transfers to NPOs had decreased from R82 million in 2009/10 to R72 million in 2011/12, only 35% of total budget. This meant that roughly R1 out of every R3 that the NDA spent actually went to a project, although this was the core function of the organization.
Board expenses had increased by 600%; furniture and fixtures had increased by 1000%. The acting DG had yesterday talked about austerity measures. Budgets had been cut for older persons, youth, and drug abuse. Mr Waters felt that there was no value for money at the NDA. Money was being spent on salaries, offices and luxury furniture. The work of the department was being duplicated. If they were serious about cutting the real fat, the NDA would have been the entity to cut the fat from. The presentation said that they did not have enough funds, but in his opinion the NDA had R172 million too much. Working on a roughly calculated average, staff at the NDA were earning R519 000 a year, which was a very nice salary. He questioned why the NDA existed.
Ms Gcume said that the visibility of the NDA had always been a problem. She hoped that the advisory centres would resolve this. The NDA as an organization was no longer young; the issue with finances had to be resolved. If they were spending only R60 million on projects then R140 million was being spent elsewhere. This had to be rectified. She had had feedback from constituents that the NDA had assisted them. NDA had to promote itself because organizations that were funded by NDA would never stand up and say they had been helped by government. She advised the organization to be visible so that people knew what they were doing.
Ms Khumalo thought there was a need for the NDA. The organisation had done a lot developing previously disadvantaged and poor communities.
She asked who NDA’s education partners were.
Ms Khumalo asked for a picture of the kind of capacitating work that NDA was doing, and for more information on the projects that they did with women, young people and people with disabilities.
The advisory centres had been opened in three provinces. What was the reason that these provinces had been prioritized?
Ms More asked for more information on the issue of financials and the compensation of employees. How much was allocated for performance bonuses, and how much went to salaries? How much was for contract staff and how much for temporary staff?
She asked about the issue of the Project Management Unit in terms of helping with funds. What was the revenue?
Ms More asked for clarification on the number of beneficiaries and the type of projects that benefited. In 2010/11 more projects had been funded with less money, now more money was being used for fewer projects. Was this to do with the scale of the projects?
There were different numbers of projects mentioned in different parts of the presentation. NDA had set 65 projects for themselves, but when it came to monitoring and evaluation, the target was 72. Were there sub-projects? The numbers were confusing.
The presentation listed the number of NDA funded projects evaluated in 2010/11. It said that 75 had been closed, but not how many there were originally. Similarly it said there were 35 performance monitoring reports – out of how many?
Why had no research reports been done in 2010/11? There were projects, so was this a financial issue?
Ms Mafolo felt it was unfortunate that Mr Waters did not see the need for the existence of NDA. She did not appreciate this. An ANC-led government would always support NDA. The Members were public representatives, and should work together with officials to ensure that people knew about the work of the NDA.
Would the six case studies come from each province so that people would realize the impact of what the NDA was doing?
How did the NDA dealt with NPOs that did not account to them? How did NDA monitor that NPOs which they were funding were not also funded by the DSD? There should not be dual funding.
Why were posts not filled? Were they funded?
Ms Gcume asked if the NDA gave continuous funding to projects. Was the funding continued for a certain period so that it was sustainable? She thanked the NDA for the work it was doing in the Eastern Cape.
The Chairperson asked for comment on the process of strategic partnerships. She was interested in the review process of the Minister and of the NDA going forward. What were the terms of reference of the review? She believed there was room for the NDA to play a more significant role in eradication of poverty. The NDA was the ideal tool because of its improved presence in the provinces. In the report put before parliament for the 2011/2012 financial year the NDA had set a target of R200 million and had not been able to reach that. Was there a new target? Her recommendation was to set realistic targets.
The Chairperson asked what role the NDA had played in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal 1. Its mandate suggested it was ideally placed to make a significant contribution on that.
There had been a significant increase in personnel costs. Why had temporary personnel been budgeted for when there were vacancies?
Ms More asked, on the question of dual funding, what was the NDA's link with the National Lottery?
Ms Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Social Development, spoke to the NDA's important role. She said that there had been a feeling long ago that there was no need for the NDA, mainly because it had been beset with so many problems. The Department and NDA had also had to account to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). One of the issues raised was that of the increasing staff. This had a big impact on the implementation of projects of the NDA. For this reason the Treasury had ended up deciding that they should look at what the NDA was doing at the time. One of the things that the Treasury had identified was that the only person with a five-year contract was the CEO. The rest of the officials were full time and did as they pleased. This would be raised with the Minister of Finance. Instead of having an exit plan for those not functioning well there was a need to employ people who could do much better. When the CEO put her foot down, there were a lot of complaints by senior managers who did not want to commit to their work. These people should be disciplined. There were proper processes for this laid out.
Ms Dlamini gave a short history of the NDA. It was formed after the South African transition when countries that were supporting the ANC Women’s League decided not to support it further, but rather to support the whole country. The Women’s League had agreed and the NDA was formed. There were two issues that were looked into: early childhood development (ECD) and violence against women and children.
The areas that the NDA was currently focusing on included food security, ECD, capacity building and violence against women. These were areas that the DSD could collaborate with them on, as they were priorities for the Department and the government. Unfortunately, local government had put the issue of ECD at the periphery. The DSD could not build ECD centres alone; it needed partners for infrastructure and construction. In the Free State DSD had partnered with NDA to build eight new ECD centres.
A number of government departments had been giving money to NGOs because of a lack of experience at community levels. It had been found that these NGOs sometimes collapsed because of a lack of capacity. For this reason it had been agreed that the NDA should be the strong arm of capacity building. It was important to move from small projects to community projects. If 40 people were being assisted by a project then that meant that 40 families were benefiting. In future when the NDA spoke about beneficiaries they needed to structure it so that Members could see this broader benefit. They should also give the names of projects so that Members could visit them if they so wished.
There were audit challenges and issues that had to be looked into. Some of these had been raised by Mr Waters. The Auditor-General (AG) no longer looked only at funding but also at performance. They would want to see the contributions of each member of staff. NDA was addressing the issues identified by the AG.
Advisory offices were helpful to communities. People could get information, even about things that were not directly related to the NDA. DSD and SASSA also provided information through them.
NDA had previously made an undertaking to the Portfolio Committee to decrease staff. They should remain true to that so that Members would have confidence in them.
Before the end of April there would be a meeting with the team looking into the review. NDA was looking into issues of poverty eradication and engaging with programs on that. The Minister urged Members to support the NDA and give them the opportunity to change where they were not doing well.
Ms Nhlapo said that the NDA had good working relations with the lottery. The chairman of the Lottery Board had publicly announced their partnership, and the NDA was supporting the lottery by capacitating NPOs that were funded by them. There were a number of NPOs that the lottery funded that struggled to comply with the requirements. The NDA’s role was to capacitate them so that they could comply.
Regarding temporary personnel, Ms Nhlapo responded that for a long time at the NDA had had only one official dealing with capacity building. They had since changed to focus on this aspect more. For that they had needed to bring on board additional specialists on capacity building. They had also made provision for staff members on maternity leave, or away temporarily for other reasons.
The NDA was playing a role in MDG reporting. They worked closely with civil society organizations in terms of reporting on their contributions to this area. Civil society was required to indicate what their contributions had been in terms of MDGs and combine that with government reporting.
The NDA provided continuous funding to projects to ensure sustainability. Their operating model did not fund projects for 12 months, but rather between 18 and 36 months. Money was transferred in tranches, rather than as a once off payment. The implementation of the project was monitored from the first month onwards. Therefore when their targets specified how many projects they were monitoring this includes old and new projects, hence the variance in the figures. When funding a project they tried to capacitate the organization to mobilize its own resources so that it was not dependent on the NDA forever. It had to be sustainable beyond funding from the NDA.
The NDA’s partnerships worked very well, and they ensured that they were not funding the same projects as the DSD.
The six case studies were selected from the work that the NDA did, covering areas of food security, ECD, capacity building and income generation.
No research was done in 2010 because of a cut of more than 40% in the budget.
There were 27 advisory centres in all the provinces.
The Project Management Unit of the previous financial year raised R80 million. NDA was very happy with the progress. There was a target of R50 million for the current year, which the NDA hoped to exceed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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