Committee Report on Department of Labour & its Entities 2014 Budget Vote and Strategic Plans

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Employment and Labour

08 July 2014
Chairperson: Ms L Yengeni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed on the Legacy Report written by the Fourth Parliament’s Labour Portfolio Committee which gave an overview of what the Fourth Parliament achieved. The work done by that Committee included processing four pieces of legislation (Labour Relations Amendment Bill, Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, Employment Equity Amendment Bill and the Employment Service Bill), seven oversight trips to the provinces and a study tour to Germany which helped the Committee on one of their Bills. The Committee had held public hearings on labour broking. Recommendations made by the Fourth Parliament Portfolio Committee included suggesting that the Department of Labour should amend section 198 of the Labour Relations Act to clarify the employment relationship and it should introduce legislation to address abusive labour practices in atypical forms of employment by holding all parties liable for the conditions of workers. International agreements it had dealt were the Domestic Workers Convention 2011, Labour Inspection Convention, Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and Work in the Fishing Sector Convention 2007. Some of the challenges in this sector were inadequate resources for executing the mandate of the Department of Labour at service delivery level, the need for provision of Information and Communication Technology services in the Department of Labour and violent strikes in the farming and mining sector. Three key areas for future work were:
▪ the monitoring of implementation of legislation,
▪ following up on recommendations made by the Committee on oversight visits, and
▪ monitoring compliance with international agreements.

The Committee Report on the Department of Labour Budget Vote and Strategic Plans was discussed.
 

Meeting report

Legacy Report of the Fourth Parliament
Mr Sibongiseni Ngcobo, Committee Content Advisor, presented the Legacy Report of the Fourth Parliament’s Labour Portfolio Committee. The presentation noted the entities that reported to the Department of Labour: the Compensation Fund, Unemployment Insurance Fund and Productivity South Africa among others. The Committee managed to complete four bills, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, Employment Equity Amendment Bill and the Employment Services Bill. In 2012 the Committee went on a study tour to Germany, this helped them to assess and learn more about Germany’s active Market Labour Programs. Lessons learnt were useful in the Employment Services Bill. It conducted seven oversight trips to the provinces. The Committee had held public hearings on labour broking as a result of the growing interest in this both internationally and in South Africa. The purpose of the hearings was to look into challenges confronting the country with regards to labour brokers who were not operating in accordance with labour law prescripts. The ultimate aim was to come up with recommendations on how this practice could be regulated. Recommendations made by the Fourth Parliament Portfolio Committee included suggesting that the Department of Labour should amend section 198 of the Labour Relations Act to clarify the employment relationship and should introduce legislation to address abusive labour practices in atypical forms of employment by holding all parties liable for the conditions of workers. In 2010 the Committee undertook an oversight visit to the fishing industry in the Western Cape Province to assess the working conditions of the people employed in the fishing industry. The Committee did a similar inspection of Western Cape farms in 2012 as the Minister of Labour amended the sectoral determination to address employment conditions in farms. International agreements it had dealt were the Domestic Workers Convention 2011, Labour Inspection Convention 1974, Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and Work in the Fishing Sector Convention 2007. The presentation reflected the committee programme per year and whether the objectives were achieved. The presentation highlighted three key areas for future work: the monitoring of implementation of legislation, following up on recommendations made by the Committee on oversight visits and monitoring compliance to international agreements.

Key challenges in this sector included inadequate resources for executing the mandate of the Department of Labour at service delivery level, provision of Information and Communication Technology services to the Department of Labour and violent strikes in the farming and mining sector.

The recommendations made by the Committee were the Department of Labour brief the Portfolio Committee on its Information Communication and Technology strategy and progress with its implementation. It should brief the Committee on progress with the Shanduka project, which aims to identify resources required to execute the mandate of the Department, and together with the Compensation Fund, it should brief the Committee on progress on the turn-around initiatives of the Compensation Fund
 
Challenges that emerged during oversight visits to the provinces were highlighted. The main challenges related to staffing of the labour centres, tools of trade and accommodation for provincial offices, coordination of work processes between the Department of Labour and the Department of Public Works, challenges related to Compensation Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund processes. The Legacy Report highlighted the issues that the Fifth Parliament would have to consider which included ensuring that the adverse physical conditions at all labour centres are addressed, ensure the departmental officials particularly labour inspectors are provided with appropriate tools of trade, address staff issues especially the shortage of labour inspectors and the professionalisation of labour inspectors, the decentralisation of Compensation Fund work processes is fast tracked.

Ms Anthea Gordon, Parliament Legal Advisor, provided insight on the Bill that had lapsed in the Fourth Parliament. The Unemployment Insurance Fund Amendment Bill was constitutionally out of order. It was thus going to be part of this Parliament to deal with.

Discussion
Mr M Bagraim (DA) asked if the Presidency was holding back on signing some of the legislation passed by the Fourth Parliament.

Ms Gordon responded that once the Bill has been sent to the Presidency it will only come back if it is unconstitutional.

Ms F Loliwe (ANC) said that as a new Committee, they would appreciate it if they were taken through some of these Bills so that they have an idea of what happened.

Ms Gordon said that they would come and present what the Committee asked for.

The Chairperson suggested that the legal adviser should come and tell the Committee how the Unemployment Insurance Fund Amendment Bill was unconstitutional so that they can start researching.

The Committee Secretary said that he would forward the Committee Report on Labour Broking and other documents to the members.

Mr W Madisha (COPE) said that since the Committee was dealing with the budget, how was it supposed to carry on if they did not have enough information.

Mr P Moteka (EFF) suggested that the Committee get briefings first so that they know what had happened.

Portfolio Committee Report on Strategic Plans/Budgets of Department of Labour and its Entities
The Chairperson asked the committee researcher to take the Committee through the report. She emphasised that the recommendations made today would go out as committee recommendations and she thus urged the members to contribute.

Ms Sindisiwe Mkhize, Committee Researcher, read through the report.

Mr H Nkoana (ANC) suggested that the presentation be looked at page by page.

After that the Committee went through it page by page to see where they need to amend it and the recommendations they needed to have.

Ms P Mantashe (ANC) asked that the amounts in the report should be looked at.

Mr I Ollis (DA) said that he thinks that the rates also included inflation.

Ms Mkhize responded to the issue of amounts saying that the budget analysis would expand on the issue of amounts.

Mr P Moteka (EFF) asked why they were struggling with ICT. He said that they wanted the Department to have a plan so that the Committee knows what the Department is using the money for.

2.2.2 Programme 2: Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES)
Mr Ollis suggested that they add a paragraph stating that there is not enough money. He suggested that they go further and say that the Department should give the Committee a plan so that the Committee sees how the money is going to be used.

Ms Loliwe  said that instead of reading the whole document let us submit our suggestions to the Committee Secretary by end of business today.

2.2.3 Programme 3: Public Employment Services (PES)
Mr Ollis said that the figures in the report did not make sense; we do know what the increase is for. In 2013 the Department was given additional funding through reprioritisation of funds, what happened? This should be put in the budget. We need to know if they want more money.

Mr Nkoana said that there should be consistency and supported Mr Ollis.

Ms Mkhize said that the information is available and assured the Committee that the information will be put into the report.

2.3 Recommendations
Mr Ollis  asked why the part on the National Development Plan was removed.

The Chairperson explained that the NDP had already been considered in the last financial year.

Mr Ollis said that he was not happy with having no reference to the NDP as every Department’s goals should be aligned to the NDP.

Mr Moteka  said that he was disappointed. Things were progressing nicely, why do we have to go back to things that have been considered already.

Ms Loliwe  agreed with Mr Moteka and said that Mr Ollis should deal with what is there.

Mr D America (DA) said that every Department should be aligned with the NDP.

3.1 Compensation Fund
Mr Ollis said that the Committee needed to know if the Department needed more money here.

Mr Nkoana asked why the budgets of entities are sometimes budgeted for and sometimes not.

3.2.1 Recommendations
Mr Ollis expressed disappointment with the recommendations. He was concerned about the legal position of the recommendations with regards to point (b). He added that the UIF is governed by law.

Ms Loliwe agreed with Mr Ollis about the UIF because it is regulated.

Meeting adjourned.
 

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