The Committee’s Content Advisor presented to the Committee a draft Report of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) on the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD). The Report highlighted the Department’s core functions as well as reflected on the key policy focus areas insofar as women, children and persons with disabilities are concerned, providing a backdrop to the analysis of the financial and programmatic performance of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. It was important to ascertain what Government’s key priorities were and how these affected the aforementioned target groups in order to ascertain what progress had been made as well as determine the gaps and challenges that needed to be addressed.
The key focus areas of the Report included the implications of the 2012 and 2013 State of the Nation Address on the Department, 2012/13 budget review of the Department, overview of the revised Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plans, overview of key developments in the organisational and service delivery environments of the Department for 2012/13 and 2013/14 MTEF cycle and Outcome-based approach to show delivery agreement targets for the Department 2012/13 and 2013/14.
The Members major concern was that some issues that had been discussed, particularly concerns raised with Department, were not included in the Report, which was to be adopted after all of them had agreed on the content. However, due to time constraints, the meeting was adjourned and scheduled for the following day.
Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
Ms Kashiefa Abrahams, Committee Content Advisor and Mr Lorenzo Wakefield, Committee Researcher presented to the committee a draft Report of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) 2012/13. The BRRR was divided into nine parts, namely: introduction, overview of key relevant policy focus areas, summary of previous key financial and performance recommendations of committee, overview and assessment of financial performance, overview and assessment of service delivery performance, finance and service delivery performance assessment, committee’s key findings, and a summary of reporting requests.
Part I: Introduction
The mandate of the Committee was to legislate, conduct oversight of the Executive, promote public participation, facilitate international agreements and review matters of public interest in relation to the Department.
In order to enable the Committee to take informed decisions on the performance of the Department for the financial year 2012/13, the Committee consulted the following reports and documents: Section 32 reports of National Treasury, Annual Report 2012/2013, reports of the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the State of the Nation’s Address 2012 and Financial and Fiscal Commission’s presentation.
The Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (the Department) was established to emphasise the need for equity and access to development opportunities for vulnerable groups in South African society. This Department was created in May 2009 to replace the former national multi-agency structures in the Presidency, which lacked sufficient financial and human resources and the necessary authority to co-ordinate and oversee their mandates. The purpose of the Department was to drive the Government’s equity, equality and empowerment agenda with regard to marginalised groups and historically disadvantaged communities in each of the three sectors.
Purpose of BRR Report
Section 5 (1) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, (No 9 of 2009) requires that the National Assembly, through its Committee, must annually assess the performance of each national department. Section 5 (2) makes provision for the annual submission of the budgetary review and recommendations report (BRRR) for tabling in the National Assembly for each department. It was expected of the BRRR to report on the following: assessment of the Department’s service delivery performance given the available resources, assessments on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department’s use and forward allocation of available resources; and may include recommendations on the forward use of resources.
Part II: Overview of Key Relevant Policy Focus Areas
Implications of the 2012 State of the Nation Address
The President reiterated Government’s commitment to attaining the 2% employment equity target for persons with disabilities in the Public Service. Thus the President issued a directive that all Government Departments must ensure that the target was indeed met. Notwithstanding, Government’s commitment for initiating a 2% target, the Public Services Commission State of the Public Service Reports had shown that to the contrary.
Implications of the 2012 State of the Nation Address
The 2013 State of the Nation Address made reference to improving the status of women as critical priority for Government. To that end, the President spoke mainly of the implications of violence against women and the mechanisms in place to protect women in this regard. From a legislative perspective, the President made mention of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Bill, the Domestic Violence Act, the Protection from Harassment Bill and the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill. The latter two have subsequently been enacted.
The budget of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities grew from R143.1 million in 2011/12 to R172.2 million in the 2012/13 financial year.
Outcome-based approach - Delivery agreement targets for 2012/13 and 2013/14
The Department scored as follows: Strategic Management (2), Governance and Accountability (1.5), Human Resource and Systems Management (1.5) and Financial Management (1.8).
Overview of revised Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plans
In 2013, the Department indicated that it aimed to fulfil its mandate through strategic goals which provided the framework to which activities and projects are aligned over the medium term.
Overview of key developments in the organisational and service delivery environments of Department for 2012/13 and 2013/14 MTEF cycle
A key development of the Department between 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 was the development and implementation of the Turnaround Strategy.
Part III: Summary of previous key financial and performance recommendations of Committee
A summary of the key financial and non-financial performance recommendations made by the Committee in the 2012 BRR Report and the progress made in this regard was given. This was divided in four categories namely general, finance, human resources and programme performance.
General Recommendations and Progress
Recommendation: Department must focus its strategic objectives, targets and outcomes on its core mandate of coordination, monitoring and evaluation.
Progress: Department had ensured that its strategic objectives were linked to Government’s priorities post the State of the Nation Address and Budget Speech. However, objectives, targets and performance indicators were not SMART as emphasised by the AG.
Recommendation: Department must work collaboratively with other government departments and entities but must guard against duplicating activities and initiatives which fall within the mandates of other departments.
Progress: Nine MOUs were signed with either a Government Department, Office of the Premier, Government Agency and a donor/funder.
Recommendation: The Department should take heed of matters of emphasis as highlighted by the AGSA, as well as promptly implement recommendations and corrective measures as set out by the AGSA in its audit report on the Department.
Progress: The Department developed a Turn-around Strategy (TAS) and subsequently a DG and CFO were appointed.
Recommendation: The Department should address concerns raised and recommendations made by the Committee and expedite the implementation of its TAS
Progress: The Department had reported on progress on TAS.
Recommendation: The Department should report to the Committee on a monthly basis on progress made with regards to the implementation of the TAS and provide financial statements on a quarterly basis
Progress: The Department presented its quarterly reports to the Committee. However, monthly report submissions to the Committee were not provided.
Recommendation: The Department must provide the Committee with all outstanding reports for the period under review that relate to initiatives within the core programmes, by November 2012
Progress: The Department provided in total 24 reports/publications to the Committee as evidence of outputs that relate to 2012/2013 and for 2013/2014. However, there are a few outstanding reports/publications that the Committee awaits.
Recommendation: The Department must regularly submit detailed reports pertaining to conferences, campaigns and initiatives to the Committee.
Progress: The Department indicated in its Annual Report that the following were produced namely; National Women’s Campaigns Report, Launch of access to education for all children campaign and an Assessment Report on National Awareness and Accessibility Campaigns. However, the Committee had not received copies of the aforementioned reports.
Finance Recommendations and Progress
Recommendation: The Department’s Internal Audit Committee must provide an initial report within a month of the adoption of that report to indicate progress made in implementing AG recommendations. Thereafter, the Committee required the Internal Audit Committee to provide quarterly reports on outcomes of meetings held.
Progress: The Department did not adhere to the request.
Recommendation: Committee sought clarity regarding the awarding of performance bonuses, including who these were paid out to, given that the Department had only delivered on 27% of its targets
Progress: The information sort was not submitted to the Committee.
Recommendation: Department to provide a detailed breakdown of what additional funding sought from National Treasury would be used for and to what extent this would aid programme performance.
Progress: Department had not over spent in 2012/2013 period. However, it had incurred R25.1 million unauthorised expenditure in 2011/2012, which had not yet been condoned, as well as R35.5 million irregular expenditure in the same period.
Recommendation: Department must guard against over-expenditure in the future.
Progress: Despite Department indicating that it had experienced funding challenges in 2012/13 period and was in need of additional funding, it under-spent by R12.960 during the same period.
Human Resources Recommendations and Progress
Recommendation: Department should finalise the human resource plan based on the approved budget
Progress: Department has worked on an amended HR structure.
Recommendation: Department should include a career path in their human resource plan
Progress: Department indicated it was in the process of doing a skills audit and would submit a report to the Committee.
Recommendation: Department should speed up the process of employing the CFO, DG and other critical vacancies.
Progress: The DG and CFO positions were subsequently filled.
Programme Performance Recommendations and Progress
Recommendation: Department should, as a matter of urgency, finalise their mainstreaming strategies, monitoring and evaluation framework and tools
Progress: The Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy, Mainstreaming Framework, Advocacy Strategy & Institutional Support and Capacity Building were finalised and submitted to the Committee.
Part IV: Overview of Assessment of Financial Performance
Financial performance 2012/13
The Department’s final appropriation for the 2012/13 financial year was R192.849m, of which it spent R179.889m as at 31 March 2013, leaving the department with R12 960m in under-expenditure. Total donor funding received was R 3.541m. In 2011/2012, the Administration programme received R 34.183m, which represented 29 per cent of the Department’s budget.
The Department received R64.629m for financial year 2011/12 for the WEGE programme, of which R55.150 m would be transferred to the Commission for Gender Equality.
The Children’s Rights and Responsibilities Programme was allocated R 35.7m over the MTEF period and R 9.6m for the 2011/12 financial year. Out of the 15 performance indicators, the programme on the Rights of People with Disabilities only achieved 5, which makes a total of 33% performance achieved for this Programme, yet the Programme spent 85.9% of its budget.
Director General’s Report on funding situation and Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) Report
According to the DG, the Department incurred irregular expenditure to the value of R6.120m. This was as a result of awarding contracts to suppliers without valid original tax clearance certificates and due to irregular appointments made in the previous financial year. She stated that the irregular expenditure will be investigated and remedial actions will be taken.
Further, the Department inherited a debt of R3m from the previous Office on the Status of Disabled People.
AGSA gave the Department an unqualified audit for the financial year. However, AGSA mentioned that 36 targets (30% of the entire 119 targets) were not achieved by the Department due to targets not being suitably developed during the strategic planning process.
In addition, AGSA found that the statements submitted for auditing were not fully prepared as per the prescribed requirement by the Public Finance Management Act.
Financial performance 2013/14
The total budget for the year 2013/14 was R198.312m (including the Commission on Gender Equality). Actual Expenditure for the 1st quarter of the 2013/14 financial year was R37.507m.
Department spent 19% for the 1st Quarter of the 2013/14 financial year. Departmental planned budget projections were R49.769m for the 1st Quarter of 2013/14, and the Actual Expenditure amounted to R37.507m, representing a positive variance of R12.261m - 75% against its planned budget for the quarter.
Part V: Overview and assessment of service delivery performance
Service delivery Performance 2012/13
Total targets: 118
Targets achieved: 83
Targets not achieved: 35
The Department had achieved 70% of its performance targets set for the 2012/13 financial year
Targets not achieved: In year monitoring; compliance to policies and prescripts and financial internal control mechanisms; risk assessment register and operational risk assessment reports; development of functional M&E system; development of Employee Assistance Programme; securing suitable and compliant accommodation; implementation of the ICT Governance Framework.
Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality
Objective: To mainstream women’s empowerment and gender equality considerations into Government’s policies and governance processes, as well as advocating, lobbying and awareness raising.
Target not achieved: New growth path engendered and advocate for 50% allocation of Job Fund for women.
Objective: To monitor compliance and conduct impact assessments on women’s empowerment and gender equality, as well as compile reports to meet national, regional, continental and international commitments
Targets not achieved: Development of twelve gender audit reports and development of five reports on compliance to national commitments.
Children’s Rights and Responsibilities
Objective: To provide institutional support and capacity building for the mainstreaming of children’s rights and well-being into Government policy and programmes, civil society and private sector
Target not achieved: Child friendly cities/ communities initiatives for realisation of children’s rights facilitated and coordinated in three municipalities; and development of Institutional framework.
The Rights of People with Disabilities
Objective: Advocacy and mainstreaming to promote the rights of people with disabilities
Targets not achieved: publishing the National Disability Policy; Approval of Universal Access Strategy; and implementation and coordination of SA Country Plan of the African Decade Continental Plan
Objective: To monitor and evaluate the mainstreaming of disability considerations into Government’s policies and governance processes.
Target Not Achieved: Compilation of a number of reports on access to education for children and young people with disabilities; Compilation of a number of M&E reports on access to employment and economic empowerment opportunities for people with disabilities; Compilation of two reports on participation by people with disabilities in rural development programmes; and Disability considerations integrated into all government Monitoring and Evaluation (GWME) systems.
Objective: Institutional Support and Capacity development for equal access and opportunities for people with disabilities
Targets not achieved: Coordination of two institutional support interventions to facilitate equal access to employment and economic empowerment opportunities for people with disabilities;
Coordination of a strategy for mainstreaming of disability considerations in integrated public service delivery coordinated; and Development of Institutional Framework.
Service delivery performance for 2013/14
Quarterly performance assessments
The Department achieved just over half of its targets (14/26) for the 1st Quarter (April-June) of the 2013/2014 financial period. It was unclear as to how the Department ensured collaboration and partnership between all 4 of its programmes in order to avoid duplication and utilise scarce resources.
Programme 1: Administration
7 key performance indicators were not achieved under this programme. These were:
A number of internal audit reports issued on the 3 year rolling plan; the percentage of management action plans followed up and verified; the percentage of deviation on expenditure against allocated funding; the percentage of reduction of vacancy rate; events coordination for the three sectors in the department; the communication Plan (with regard to marketing and branding) implemented; 365 Day Plan of Action (POA) coordinated.
Only 2 key performance indicators were achieved under this programme. These were:
Number of Research analytic reports on the status of women, children and people with disabilities produced; Annual Stakeholder Forum coordinated.
Programme 2: WEGE Programmatic Performance
The programme had managed to achieve 7 of the 9 targets set for the first quarter 2013/14, and had indicated that they had measures in place to achieve outstanding targets by the end of the financial year.
Programme 3 CRR: Overview of programme performance
Most of the targets set under this programme were achieved. The only one that was not achieved was: Submission of the AU – ACRWC and UNCRC reports to cabinet. The reason cited for this was that the Department missed the deadline for submission to cabinet for consideration.
Programme 4 RPD: Overview of Programme Performance
This programme achieved only 1 out of 3 targets in the 1st Quarter of 2013/2014. In the previous financial year this programme achieved 3 out of 15 targets. The ones not achieved were: Number of Disability Rights Campaigns coordinated; and Number of published reports on the Status of People with Disabilities.
Part VI: Finance and Service Delivery Performance Assessment
In 2011/2012, the Department incurred irregular and unauthorised expenditure, which had not yet been condoned. This has had an impact on the finances for 2012/2013. Investigations were underway. In 2012/2013 the Department incurred irregular expenditure of R6.1 million which was less as compared to the previous financial year. The Department was investigating reasons for this and would inform the Committee accordingly. No over-expenditure was incurred for 2012/2013. The Department developed key policies in 2012/2013. These have subsequently been finalised and should be implemented in 2013/2014. The Department undertook many campaigns and other initiatives during 2012/2013 and reports were produced.
The NCGBV was established in 2012/2013 and had received subsequent funding but this is inadequate to give effect to its mandate.
Part VII: Committee’s Key Findings
The structure and layout of the 2012/ 2013 Annual Report had improved as compared to previous reports.
Governance and operational issues
The Committee welcomed the Department’s progress for the period under review, as it was able to improve corporate governance by reducing non-compliance with the PFMA. The Committee welcomed the development and implementation of the TAS but noted that there were outstanding matters related to that had yet been implemented. The Committee welcomed the Department’s efforts insofar as improving the basic conditions of the accommodation in the Pretoria offices. The Committee noted that Programme 1 (support staff) as compared to Programme 2, 3 and 4 (core staff) had a significantly higher staff ratio (2.6:1) which was a concern.
Financial performance including funding proposals
The Committee was concerned about outstanding irregular and unauthorised expenditure from previous financial years and the impact of this on the Department’s budget going forward.
The Minister of Finance did not provide a response to the BRRR of 2011/2012. Upon communication between the Committee and Treasury, they indicated that there was no need for a response as no recommendations were directed to Treasury.
Part VIII: Summary of reporting requests
The Report provided a summary of the time frame required for a particular action to be completed. Usually, reports of most activities must be completed before the next quarter.
Part IX: Recommendations
The Minister must ensure that various recommendations were implemented relating to financial performance, human resource, infrastructure, performance including monitoring and evaluation, implementation of policies among others.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) mentioned that the Department gave an explanation on the over expenditure and under expenditure incurred in 2012/13 but wondered where in the Report that was reflected.
Ms H Lamoela (DA) was very concerned about the R25.1m unauthorised expenditure and the R35.5m irregular expenditure as there was no roll over money in terms of invoices. She questioned what invoices were then used to pay by the Department. She said Parliament needed to know what was happening in the Department, as R25.1m was too much. She further wondered what happened to the R388 000 outstanding payment. She wanted to know what it was for so as to help the Committee determine whether it was authorised or not.
Ms M Tlake (ANC) was concerned that the Report was written in such a way as if nothing positive had been done, as if the Committee had been doing nothing and had not even engaged the Department when in fact it had.
Ms L Van der Merwe (IFP) referred to the PFMA and wondered how 50% of the Department’s management could be spent on administration.
Ms Tlake also wanted to know why the Department’s answers or opinions on issues were not reflected in the Report when the Committee had interacted with it before. She was concerned that the Department’s responses were not in the Report and that it reflected badly on the Committee. She further wondered why the members were asking so many questions when the Department itself and the AG had been before the Committee and why they did not ask questions then. She mentioned that the AG had even given the Department an unqualified opinion; therefore, she didn’t understand who was to answer questions at that point.
Ms Abrahams informed the Committee that the Department had established as internal audit committee to improve financial risk management.
Ms C Diemu (COPE) also insisted that responses by the Department be included in the Report because the Committee had indeed engaged the Department.
The Chairperson noted that while members were entitled to ask questions and seek clarity, not all questions could be answered in the meeting, for example those relating to the PFMA as all the Members were aware of what such documents talked about. She also echoed the sentiments of the other members that responses from the Department were needed in the Report, whether or not those responses were satisfactory. She added and emphasised that the Report would not be rushed, but would be analysed in detail before adopting it.
Ms Abrahams indicated that she would amend the Report and indicate clearly and exactly where the Department’s responses were noted. She mentioned that in most cases the responses were in the Report but did not come out clearly.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting to the next day at 9:30 am.
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