Centre for Public Service Innovation, National School of Governance, Public Service Commission and the Department of Public Service and Administration on their Strategic Plans and Budgets

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Meeting Summary

The Centre for Public Sector Innovation (CPSI) recently completed their transfer out of the parent company the Department of Public Sector and Administration and were now a stand-alone entity.

The Committee was generally dissatisfied with their performance stating their activities as none innovative. The Committee called for specific projects that will asset government in the struggle with poor service delivery. There was particular rebuke for the expenditure and resources used on their award ceremonies and an ANC Member frequently referred to them as “kissing and dancing parties”. The Committee was especially concerned about their Memeza Community Household Alarm project that the CPSI were piloting in spaza shops in Diepsloot. The initiative was adopted by the Gauteng MEC of Community Safety as an answer to the recent xenophobia attacks. The Committee was concerned that the alarm systems installed in foreign national’s spaza shops could be misinterpreted by the community as the government prioritising foreign national over its citizens.

The National School of Government was settling down after transitioning from PALAMA to National School of Government. The Committee was presented with the School’s mitigation plans for the audit findings.

The Committee, however, remained concerned about the debt recovery plans. The Committee also indicated that the school was not the first choice for training programmes by the departments and called for more meaningful programme offerings that were effective in the departments. The Committee said they have an expectation of the school to help eradicate the problem of government entity’s heavy reliance on consultants.

The Committee was generally pleased with Public Service Commission’s report and commended them on their role on holding leadership accountable. The Committee looked to them for answers regarding Director Generals that underperform in one department and emerge in another department with being held accountable. There was a call for the Commission to return to their constitutional mandate as they seem to be missing their mandate. The Committee also felt the report was too high level and lacked the necessary microscopic detail they need to make affective assessments. The Committee also said they do not want the Commission to turn into a name-and-shame entity but that they should exercise their powers to deter perpetrators.

For all the entities, the Committee requested that they submit quarterly reports so that the Committee can better assist and guide them which were currently hard to do with the level of reporting.

The Department gave an overview of the department’s strategic plan for the period 2015/2020, the constitutional and legislative mandates, strategic priorities for 2015/2020, 2015/16 annual targets as well as budget allocations. The 2015/2020 Strategic Plan and the 2015/16 annual Operation Plan were tabled in Parliament on the 15th of March 2015

The 2015/2020 strategic plan was informed by chapter thirteen of the National Development Plan towards the realization of an efficient, effective and development oriented public service. The department drew its mandate from section 195(1) of the Constitution and the Public Service Act (PSA) of 1994 as amended.

The strategic priorities of 2015/2020 comprised of establishing a stable political-administrative interface which led to diminishing lines of accountability. The framework to curb this had already been approved by cabinet which would include the creation of minimum level Public Service and Administration delegations, the retention of Heads of Department within the Public Service. The second strategic goal was that of making the public service a career of choice where young people would be drawn into the public service through the Graduate Recruitment Scheme for the Public Service to appoint the youth into learnerships and internships into the department. They also strived to have an efficient and effective management and operations systems which were based on the fact that the department had too many vacancies which were not filled which resulted in a week public service.

They added that they would put more focus on information technology (IT) as it was a strategic tool to enhance service delivery but government departments were not using it sufficiently. The vowed they would fill vacancies, introduce business processes and standard operating procedures as well as operational guidelines, entrench discipline management as well as e-enablement of 5-prioritised government services. They wanted to increase responsiveness of public servants and accountability to citizens which would epitomize the “bathopele” principles. They would achieve this by revitalizing the Batho Pele programme. They would have improved mechanisms to promote ethical behaviour in the public service as corruption impeded service delivery. Policy initiatives taken up by the department include the amendment of the Public Service Regulations which have been revised and envisaged to replace existing regulations and the overall achievement of the 2015/16 Annual Operation Plan would be reported in the 2015/16 Annual Report of the Department.

In respect to administration, the department reported that the AG had congratulated them on submitting annual financial statements that were free from material misstatements which they viewed in a very high light. They envisaged having a compliant, effective and efficient department. In terms of policy, research and analysis, they envisaged an efficient, capable and productive public service. In respect of labour relations and human resource management, the AG had raised concerns about the high vacancy rates across the public service and it was something they were working on. The AG also raised concerns about the IT security in the Public Service and they had developed a framework approved by cabinet to aid this.

The total budget allocation for 2015/16 was R930 868 million with the financial years 2015/16-2017/18 amounting to a total of R2949 billion. The allocation break down showed the PSC and Administration getting the biggest portions of the budget respectively (24%). The department also reported their budget cuts which amounted to R 30 437 for the year 2015/16 with the PSC not experiencing any cuts for the current financial year.

Members were concerned about the nature of the public service that proved at times to be corrupt, inefficient and unqualified. They also cautioned the department on creating unnecessary costs such as consultants and the renting of office space. They emphasized the fact that resources were limited and needed to be used with caution.

Meeting report

Mr J McGluwa (DA) sought clarity on the matter of having a quorum for the meeting. He said the Committee could not allow a situation where the entities were here with their Director General and a whole contingent but there was no quorum.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Staff to confirm that there was a quorum.

Mr M Booi (ANC) clarified that the rules said a quorum was not needed for a portfolio committee meeting especially because there will be no voting procedures taking place.

Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) Presentation

The presentation was done by Mr Pierre Schoonraad, CPSI Chief Director: Research and Development as well as a Programme Manager. He apologised for the absence of the CEO, Ms Thuli Rhadebe who was attending a United Nations meeting. The team accompanying him was Ms Annette Snyman, CPSI CFO and Mr Lindani Mthetwa, CPSI Chief Director for Solutions, Support and Incubation (SSI).

Mr Schoonraad reported on the progress of the transition that the CPSI had undergone. As of 1 April, the National Treasury, with support of this Committee, separated the corporate services of the CPSI that were previously rendered by Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA). The joint reporting approach presented reporting and audit challenges as the Auditor General (AG) wanted separate financial statements for CPSI and DPSA. This was previously not possible under the old arrangement. CPSI ensured that the necessary systems and processes were in place and the assurance letter was signed by the Director General of the DPSA and the CEO of the CPSI. The transfer has been approved; the process is concluded what is left is to build internal capacity, streamlined internal efficiency and to strengthen technical skills in the organisation.

Strategic Plan

Strategic plan and APP built around Service Delivery Model of joint addressing of service delivery challenges with the sector departments.

The goals were in two parts:

Firstly, finding service delivery innovation, developing innovation where it is not available and promote replication. Secondly, it is important that a culture and practice of innovation be entrenched in government entities for improved, effective and efficient public service delivery.

To achieve these, the focus is on unearthing and replicating existing innovation. The CPSI already has a repository of innovations and the annual awards programme is the major feeder of the replication programme.

Mr Schoonraad said they are emphasising authenticating and validating initiatives. He gave an example of a previous winner for Mpumalanga e-learning initiative. The initiative is of great importance to the education system, CPSI wants to authenticate and validate it in the Eastern Cape too. Another example in the health sector is the Pharmacy automation innovation that deals with skills scarcity of pharmacists, stock losses and expiring stock.

In the medium term, they wanted to strengthen innovation capabilities and pursue formation of ministerial innovation forum. This initiative was started by the late Minister Chabane and Minister Phando. The main challenges are ensuring greater participation of political principles. They have noted that generally, MECs are committed to bringing in new innovations in their departments but the CPSI is lagging on a policy level. They are also lagging on unlocking funds for innovation. Another challenge is ensuring intergovernmental relations and buy-in as many of the innovations are cross sectoral. They are also experiencing challenges in supporting replication of innovations.

Another medium term objective was strengthening partnerships with departments and local government according to PAMSA Act, specifically with NSI, private sector and NPO (accessing innovation and funding from sectors) and improving stakeholder management.

The CPSI will continue to drive pilot projects that they have broken down into medium term projects instead of previously complicated multi-year projects. As they have previously reported, they have the Honeydew Nerve Centre with South African Police Services (SAPS) which aims to change mindsets to proactive policing and real time policing. The project will also integrate existing systems into one easily accessible dashboard. Another project is the Memeza Household Community Alarm project in conjunction with National Systems Innovations, SAPS and Innovators. Mr Schoonraad said this project is close to his heart. It started in the previous financial year, piloting in 40 households. Next month it will be rolled out to 560 households. In essence, it is an alarm system linking households to sector policing vehicles and community policing forums. He highlighted two cases that occurred in the pilot month of the project. The first case was an attempted rape case where a perpetrator entered the house and the home owner activated the alarm. The perpetrator ran but was apprehended by the Community Policing Forum. The sector policing vehicle was waiting for the perpetrator at the crime scene and he was arrested. The second case was an attempted robbery case where five armed robbers were apprehended when the alarm was sounded. Gauteng Community Safety has decided to use this initiative to deal with xenophobia specifically where spaza shops are targeted. They will install the alarms in the spaza shops.

Strategic Priorities

Mr Schoonraad gave an overview of a few strategic priorities. The focus on creating an enabling environment is a strategic outcome goal for CPSI. They will continue with conference awards. They have added sector specific workshops to deal with innovations that do not get replicated throughout the sector. The first workshop is for the health sector where hospital CEO’s and senior management will be engaging on how to replicate critical innovations that were submitted to the CPSI for their awards programme and other innovations that they have come across in the last two years.

Organisational Structure

The structure had two programmes. Programme 1 which was Administration, dealt with statutory compliance issues. Programme 2 which was Public Sector Innovation dealt with research, development, solution, support and incubation, and enabling environment. Mr Schoonraad reminded the Committee that they had few staff so staff members work across functions and everyone fulfils corporate services responsibilities.

The highlight for programme 1 was the finalisation of the transfer. Mr Schoonraad commended the staff for making sure all delegations were in place, all governance committees were established, transverse systems were put in place, internal policies that were required were developed and the second phase of policies had commenced, the new Memorandum of Understanding was finalised and awaiting signing.

The highlights for programme 2 were as follows. CPSI had completed the toolkit for inland water ways initiative which created jobs and received international interest. The initiative assists the inland side of Operation Phakisa in zoning demarcation as well as water quality and integrity issues. The launch of Memeza project was successful and will continue in the next two quarters.

Highlights of Replication projects: The tele-radiography project has been replicated in two further hospitals. It eliminates the need to send patients from district to larger hospitals by sending the radiographic images instead. CPSI has received further funding to continue to replicate the e-learning project. They have also hosted the Public Sector innovation Awards as a platform to promote replication. Some of the innovations they awarded have gone on to win international awards for example the Gauteng Education School Support project and the Gauteng Rural Development project on Animal Health.

Performance

The CPSI remained in the top three online regional centre for sharing knowledge on innovation and public administration on the United Nations Public Administration Network Portal. They received 432 visitors at their innovation centre. They will continue to investigate service delivery challenges in line with National Development Programme and make solutions available to departments, otherwise develop new solutions with National Systems of Innovations.

They are also developing case studies and have a close relationship with the National School of Government to share case studies across organisations for replication and teaching. CPSI will continue to make use of the multimedia innovation centre to attract public servants to deal with their challenges. They will continue to promote a culture of innovation in the public sector. CPSI will also maintain a link into international innovation systems and bring those practices into the South African public sector.

Budget

Mr Schoonraad concluded with a Budget overview that showed R14.9 million (48%) went towards compensation and the rest was for goods and services, transfer activities and capital assets, adding up to R29 million in total. The lease expense took a large chunk of the goods and services budget.

Discussion

The Chairperson enquired about CPSI audit outcomes. She said she looked at the Auditor General’s (AG) report and could not find anything on CPSI.

Mr Schoonraad explained that the findings need to be discussed in conjunction with the DPSA audit results because of their shared services. The AG’s primary issues were the dual accountability and consistency in reporting of indicators. The AG had no findings for their financials or internal systems, which were all joint with DPSA.

The Chairperson asked to see their targets and how they performed. She asked if there is anywhere in the presentation where they can zoom in on targets.

Mr Schoonraad replied that targets were not included in the presentation but they can be made available. He confirmed with the CFO that 80% of targets were achieved.

Mr M Booi (ANC) asked if the award ceremonies were part of their targets. He believed CPSI was spending too much internally, on compensation and awards. He asked that the panel convince the Committee on why the awards were so crucial.

Mr Schoonraad replied that the awards were crucial for three reasons. The first reason was for unearthing innovations; secondly, for the recognition of good performing public servants and thirdly, for promoting a culture of innovation in the public sector. He made an example of last year’s winner from Limpopo Rhodes department. They converted bakkies by adding tanks that serviced graders on rural roads. This conversion saved them R3 million a month in procurements. The initiative has a multiplier effect as the savings can be experienced by the whole sector. Awards are critical for stimulating and replicating such innovations. Also, they are pushing more and more resources into replication and pilot projects like Honeydew and Memeza.

Mr McGluwa made note of the 432 and inquiring if they are South African visitors or not. He asked whether it is an annual figure. He also asked what CPSI are doing in terms of marketing themselves.

Mr Schoonraad said a list of entities that visited the centre was available. He said 432 may not sound like many but the Committee must consider that the visitors come in small groups and the programme is intense lasting from one to three days. These visitors are decision makers that leave with specific plans in mind. Most visitors are from national and provincial departments. The international delegates were from Namibia and Kenya. The training consists of four training sessions for public servants. He said marketing used to be a challenge but they now have a stakeholder manager person heading marketing and communication strategies. They are also working on sector workshop focused events to bring decision makers into multimedia innovation centre to share best practices.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) said with all the challenges in the public service delivery, she thought the Committee would be presented with innovations and interventions CPSI has tried to employ and evidence of its results. She said she looked at the 2015/2016 plans and there is no specific solutions for service delivery. She found only one measurable target which is the training held for departments. She expected to hear of improvements in these departments since the CPSI intervention. She feels that if CPSI fails to assist government departments, come the next financial year, the Committee will be asking if they are still relevant.

Mr Booi again raised his concern on the spending on awards. He said the Committee is put under stress that they are not delivering while CPSI is spending on kissing and dancing on tables in the name of innovation. He is not getting the sense that they are assisting ordinary people, instead he sees spending on cakes and biscuits for visitors and less on going out to the people. He asked what they are doing to fulfil the needs of the poor. He attributes the recent xenophobic attacks on the fact that the South African people do not get the sense that government is getting closer to solving their problems.

Mr Schoonraad replied that the prize money of R1.2 million was given to departments to replicate innovations.

Mr Booi reminded Mr Schoonraad that he was reporting on parliamentary fiscal spending and asked how the Committee was expected to know that the CPSI is spending with other departments if it is not in their report. He feels they are spending like it is peanuts, with the wrong attitude and think they are on holiday. He wants to see a prepared written report showing the inter-ministerial programmes.

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) said various entities are coming to parliament trying to convince parliament that the money they are asking for will be well spent and justifiable. He said he does not see a single reason why parliament must give this entity money. He questions whether the policing and health initiatives are real innovations. The health sector has been emailing medical information for ages.

He is more concerned that there are huge innovation projects going on in government and it seems this centre is excluded. The R1 billion rand Integrated Financial Management System project has been in progress for more than 10 years yet CPSI is not involved. He would like to see the entity dealing with the public perceptions of public sector centres, things like queue management at service centres and how to measure productivity.

He turned to a strategic plan document that best summarises the reason for CPSI’s existence that reads: ‘Create a culture of innovation in the public sector to enhance service delivery through knowledge programmes, products and platforms.’ When he looks at the identified risks, they are all internal. Like poor entries into award programmes, poor attendance verses registration for conferences, etc. People do not pitch where there will be no value added. It means the conferences are not inspiring and motivating.

Mr van der Westhuizen (DA) then looked at targets set for the next five years which include submitting financial statements before 31 May. He questions whether that can be a target for a centre whose incentive is innovation. He said it should be to submit on time and get unqualified audit. He sees no indication of quality in their report and even less on effect on productivity in the public sector. He would like a presentation to convince the Committee that the entity should continue. Their reason should be to take the public sector forward. Innovation is a primary responsibility for senior managers in the different state departments, he asked how CPSI is supporting them.

The Chairperson said Mr van der Westhuizen had taken it too far by asking them to justify their existence.

Mr van der Westhuizen (DA) clarified that he sought justification why they should receive money from budget and how it will be best spent. If parliament votes against it, they will disappear. He added that the fiscal is under pressure and every government entity must contribute to take the country forward.

Ms Lesoma (ANC) wanted to know if the parent company DPSA is proud of the fact that they only delivering on internal matters. She thinks that the presentation should have focused on research and development, ensuring enabling environment and SSI and shown what has been achieved. She would like to see them target a department engage in projects that have value for money. She requests that they present in more detail so that the Committee should be able to argue to South African public why they created this body. She is still convinced that they serve a purpose.

Mr McGluwa (DA) recalled that the lease is taking up a huge chunk of money. He asked if they have consider buying property. He would also like to know who the lease agreement is with.

Mr Schoonraad replied that the lease agreement was signed by the Department of Public Works on their behalf. A ten year agreement was signed of which three and a half years remain. They will then decide whether to buy or lease a new building. They are also engaging with Innovation hub as they have space available.

He rectified the matter of targets. Programme one is the administrative targets and programme two are outward looking initiatives. He will submit more details on their impact and deliverables.

Mr Booi has a problem with the fact that their Director General went overseas when she was needed at parliament. He wanted to know what CPSI is going to do at the United Nations.

The Chairperson responded that they were going to learn best practices. She asked for a breakdown of their international trips too.

Mr Schoonraad said all travelling totalled R3 million.

Mr McGluwa asked if they submit quarterly reports, to who and if not, then why not? He thinks the quarterly reports should be made available to the Committee for their input and to assist where they can.

Mr Schoonraad replied that their reports are submitted to National Treasury, Auditor General, as well as the Minister. The fourth quarter report is with internal audit and can be made available to the Committee.

 

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the alarms in spaza shops.

Mr Schoonraad explained that the community household alarm initiative was launched alongside Innovation Hub. It was targeted at communities under threat of violence. It is undergoing testing in Diepsloot. The Gauteng MEC for Community Safety showed interest in it and requested it as a response to xenophobic attacks. A list of local and foreign spaza shop owners was compiled who agreed to procure the alarm. The primary focus is on households. It will first be rolled out in Gauteng and then the rest of the country.

The Chairperson said she believed it was going to create problems. The people were fighting for resources and CPSI was installing alarms in foreign nationals spaza shops. It will not help the situation.

Mr Schoonraad said the spaza shop owners will buy the alarms and the profits will be used to further develop the product.

Ms Losoma made a humble appeal that they focus on making sure that the government departments do business unusual and then do other things. She believes the people’s priorities will be undermined if they go ahead with the alarms initiative. She said to look at the Public Service Commission’s report to see that there is a lot of work to be done and CPSI should focus their brains and energy on that.

Mr Booi said the CPSI projects do not follow the main theme of what government wants to achieve when considering State of the Nation Address objectives. He believes they are taking the fiscal spending in the wrong direction. He asked if the entity was turning itself into profit making entity. He said they are running programmes that other departments are responsible for. He thinks the DG’s absence shows that she does not care about parliament.

Mr S Mncwabe (NFP) indicated that he attended King Zwelithini’s imbizo the previous day. He believes the alarms in spaza shops will create havoc for the country. The people were under the impression that government did not care about them but cared about foreigners. They said when they touch the foreigners, only then does government come to them. The people on the ground will misinterpret installations of alarms in foreign national’s shops as government protecting them more that protecting its citizens.

Mr Mncwabe said he also served on the committee for small business development and they would not accept such a project as it does not talk to their objectives. He said you cannot charge from foreign nationals to develop your own people. He thinks the project should be scrapped. There will be a wrong unintended interpretation.

The second issue he addressed was the R3 million in study tours/trips. He does not see the logic. When he looks at the goals of the centre, their aim is to partner with departments to ensure service delivery, why then go overseas to learn how to deliver books in Limpopo on time. He said they do not need skills overseas to tell the local municipalities that they are not performing. He believes that the centre is very important but they are missing their target which is to assist government to deliver accordingly. He echoed the sentiment that the Director General who is overseas should have been at the meeting.

The Chairperson reiterated that the alarms initiative be taken off their books and can be debated at another time.

Mr Schoonraad said they would convey the message. It was a decision taken between the MEC and the community of Diepsloot that they were facilitating. National government was not funding it.

The Chairperson was happy that national government is not putting any money into the programme and Gauteng province can continue with it.

Mr Mncwabe felt the Committees concerns must be noted. The people’s interpretation is sensitive. The Committee has fears, even if national money is not involved.

The Chairperson concluded that CPSI needs to try to work closer with other government departments. For example, she expected a report on CPSI’s involvement in the presidential operation Phakisa, which is about fast tracking service delivery. She asked that the next presentation, reflect on those concerns. Also, their targets are not aligned to SONA and the national development plan. There is a lack of smart targets, the existing targets are not measurable and they made no mention of performance contracts.

Mr Schoonraad said they do have performance contracts in place.

The Chairperson replied that those are things that should have been addressed in the presentation. For the next financial year, 2016, she requested concrete projects, she humbly requested they stop spending on awards but redirect resources to spend on value for money projects that assist government to fast track delivery of services efficient way. She also reiterated the Committees dissatisfaction that the CEO was absent.

National School of Governance (NSG) Presentation

Ms Mandisa Tshitakwamba is the Acting Principle of the NSG as Professor Lekao Mollo’s five year term was complete.

Ms Tshitakwamba introduced her delegation which included Ms Phindile Mkwanazi, NSG CFO, Mr Sipho Manana, NSG Branch Manager for training delivery and Professor Tiaan Potgieter, NSG Training Policy and Planning Division Head.

Before getting to the details of the presentation, she indicated that NSG was trying its best to respond to the AG audit findings. A document of a summary of the findings was distributed and it included comments from the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) workshop with the Committee.

Replies to Auditor General’s findings

The finding of material misstatements in financial statements was resolved by coming up with better internal audit system that enables NSG to correct misstatements internally before submitting to AG.

The next finding was non-compliance with legislature in terms of spending where a budget was not provided. NSG has made amends by discontinuing with the activity that led to unauthorised expenditure.

The next issue was irregular expenditure. They are strengthening their supply chain management processes and have seen results in the interim audit. It has decreased from R 477 000 to R 65 000 she sees no reason for it to increase.

Another finding was that of late payments, NSG was found to have 71 late payments more than 30 days old. This was due to how they understood the administration of the late payment system. The supplier invoice would be late and they did not have a system that recorded when they received the invoice. They now properly record invoice receipts and so far, only have three late payments.

The issue of targets that were not achieved will have a true reflection when the AG completes its following audit. What they deduce from the quarterly report, they will not meet 100% of their targets. Their target forecasts are not based on actual bookings from departments; therefore, there is a gap. They are in a transition phase with the incoming Public Administration Management (PAM) Act being enacted. They anticipate milestones but do not reach them.

Responses to the BRRR workshop recommendations

NSG was now tracking students who participated in the Breaking Barriers to Entry programme from the 2015/2016 financial year.

They were reducing debtors by tracking defaulters and introducing a prepayment system.

When NSG was taken from PALAMA, the funding model for the school was adopted. The central funding system did not work out. They will be using the provision made in the PAM act.

For their course offerings, they will be introducing courses that look at building capacity of institutions and not just the capacity of individuals. For example were the course for ethics officers, government communicators’ course, and course for investigators in labour relations matters.

The challenge of avoiding outsourcing is augmented by using government practitioners and internal staff who are sent on the Train the Trainer programme.

Strategic Plan, Annual Performance and Budget presentation

The enactment of the PAM bill will have implications on the institution. NSG was also taking the proposals of the National Development Plan to focus training on certain programmes. From that, NSG has developed the new cadet programme for the Breaking Barriers to Entry (BB2E) initiative. They are also paying attention to the Monitoring and assessment tool to get ideas on departments to target and areas to improve. NSG is aware that the local government is also coming up with their own school and they are working together to minimise or eliminate duplications. Certain programmes can be taken from NSG. Lastly, they are in talks with the ministerial office to see whether the school should look at customised programmes for state owned enterprises.

Highlight from their medium term strategic framework is the BB2E programme already mentioned. The NSG is working with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on a formal graduate recruitment scheme.

Another initiative with the DPSA is an assessment mechanism used to build confidence in the recruitment process. They will be enhancing mentoring and coaching programme with a focus on senior managers that are new in the hierarchy and those that are seen to have the potential to progress. The last bullet point speaks to capacity building of programmes in general.

The late minister left the NSG with directives which they have prioritised for this year. They include refining the compulsory induction programme. They will review the capacity of resources the departments need to have to access it. NSG has adjusted the tariffs and dealt with the issue of time demanded for this programme by adjusting it. For the front line training courses, they are taking into account what is coming through the service delivery hotlines. NSG will be adopting the programme run by DPSA of unannounced visits to the departments and reporting on the findings, and looking at Public Service Commission reports to guide the front line training programme.

The compulsory and mandatory programmes will be extended to executive tier and levels above 12, it will also target head of departments. Officials will have to spend at least 18 days in training.

There have not been many changes to the business model. The accreditation changed from PALAMA to NSG from 2014-2016, the training needs analyses was now considers more areas to look for training needs. They have reviewed the training programme to look for in house resources. Where accreditation is needed, they are working with their accreditation partners. The model is still a combination of independent contractors and higher education institutions. The cost recovery model is funded by collected revenue of training fees.

The structure of programmes consists of induction, administration, management and leadership. Deeper in the structure are pre-service learning programmes, entry level programmes for newcomers in public sector, reorientation on-going learning and development programmes. At the core are regulated areas in terms of prescripts on how certain things should be done. These cover areas in finance, human resources, project management, policies across government, development of leaders and induction of Members of Parliament.

The International and Special projects are important programmes because through them NSG gets donors to assist capacity building initiatives. For example the African Union’s Conference for African Ministers in Public Service has drawn in NSG to assist in capacity building programmes. The school is coordinating with other management institutions on the continent to coordinating this.

In the Research and Innovation programme, NSG has introduced an application of learning studies and are building a mechanism to follow alumni in the work place to test effects of learning. They are currently working on three cases. They have realised that theory is not enough hence, introducing teaching by case studies that target hot spots. NSG has learnt that they do not have good material for this programme so they are working with public service schools and other management development institutions that have been doing it to develop their own case studies.

Ms Tshitakwamba named their key partners as DPSA, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, National Treasury, Public Service Commission, Department of Higher Education-Public Sector Education and Training Authorities and South African Qualification Authority.

Strategic Outcomes and Goals

Ms Tshitakwamba presented the strategic outcomes and goals that framed the work of NSG. Internal resources need to be improved upon especially improving research capacity in the diagnostics aspect. In the past they were receptive but now are able to send their lenses into departments and diagnose problems to come up with solutions. They realised that they need to strengthen collaborations both internally with core departments and externally with management development institutions. They have identified institutions on the continent they can learn from e.g. Kenyan School of Government.

Ms Tshitakwamba went through some targets for 2015/2016 financial year. The induction programme, which includes the BB2E initiative is aiming at reaching 32 100 students. They acknowledge that they are starting on a back foot as they had paused inductions to refine the programme. They have the statistics on who needs to be trained .Administration targets are raw forecasts.

Budget

The NSG resources as allocated by National Treasury for 2015/2016: NSG received R139 536 000 for the year. For programme one, R84 289 000 is allocated to administration programme. R55 247 000 is contributed to training activities. She then indicated the breakdown of expenditure. R 47 million is for compensation of employees for programme one. R34 million is for goods and services. Programme two is allocated R55 million (training activities). The cost recovery projections are R143 million in addition to the amount received from National Treasury. The expenses are R 82 million for compensation of employees under programme two. R 119 million is the cost for rolling out training programmes.

Under capacity resources she looked at the number of vacancies and reminded the Committee that NSG is coming from an era of moratorium where they had a full year of not recruiting. The moratorium is now lifted and they have a plan in place to fill vacancies by July. By the end of June, 12 posts will be filled. As of the last financial year, 98% of performance contracts were signed.

Ms Tshitakwamba then went into details of the NSG programmes by highlighting some areas. NSG is looking at having four quality research projects that assist with case studies, learning impact studies, training needs analysis and programme reviews. They are also aiming at improving monitoring and evaluation activities where they follow trainees on learning sights to assess them themselves.

Accredited and non-accredited curriculum courses in financial management and budgeting, CIP review, monitoring support and citizen centred service delivery programmes will be added.

She said for the network of local and international learning, NSG is looking at using existing public servants for training and introducing a mentorship support programme. They are also working on fixing the quality of the induction programme in line with their quality trainers and quality learning aim.

Management, administration and leadership programmes intend to reach 37 900 officials this year. BB2E programme will target 2 750 unemployed youth.

Under the Administration function, they are working on improving internal results. They scored three in many areas and the average score targeted is four in 90% of their key performance areas. Other areas are household areas that can be easily addressed by mangers as given targets in their area.

Infrastructure and resource management improvements include reducing debt recovery days, improving on vacancy rate, system improvements like disaster recovery plan as per AG recommendation. Additional facilities talks to how to minimise the use of hotels as training sites. The aim is to find government owned centres as training facilities. Even though they would still have to pay to cover the service centre management costs. They will consider whether to have their own centre or partner with other government institutions.

 

Lastly, NSG would like to secure more donor funds through the international and special projects initiative. They realised that the National Treasury is not increasing their allocation and witnessing budget cuts across government. They are, therefore, trying to partner with donors to compensate for this. In the past, donors have shown interest in funding development material and training programmes systems.

Discussions

The Chairperson asked for clarity on how many targets the NSG had because she only heard mention of two targets.

Ms Tshitakwamba explained that the targets are according to their cost streams. Target for Induction training programmes is 32 100 people and for Administration is 51 050 people. What they have noticed since the introduction of the induction programme is that departments are redirecting those who would have gone to the administration programme to the induction programme. Departments did not adhere to the previous mandatory programmes so their staff lacked induction. Management and leadership programmes tend to be popular in senior management skills level. Management programmes are targeting 11 100 people and the national and provincial government targets are 10 900, which does not include local government.

The Chairperson asked how the unfilled vacancies will affect running of the institution and how soon they will recruit people for the posts. She does not want parliament to pass a budget with unfilled vacancies.

Ms Tshitakwamba said she was certain that in the first semester, vacancies will filled and the historical backlog will be addressed. They have a schedule in place, they have already advertised posts, the evaluation of posts has been done and the second batch is to be advertised in May.

The Chairperson asked what the NSG is doing to tighten their belts and how budget-cuts will affect them. She also asked her to indicate where they have made budget savings.

Ms Tshitakwamba responded that the National Treasury has cut R4 million from this year’s budget. They have started to by managing consultancies expenses especially in the administration programme by doing as much in-house work as possible. Previously, internal audit was fully outsourced. Now, they already have an internal resource starting to do internal work. Also, property management and different service providers was done externally but now they have an in-house person to do that work. Travelling activities have been cut down. Systems development has been severely impacted by budget cuts but they are engaging with donors to bridge the gap.

Ms Lesoma enquired about the 2013/14 matters that were raised in the previous meeting particularly the issue of the enlarged heavy structure that was once presented to the Committee. The weight of the budget allocation was more on administration activities versus their core mandate and personnel. This had made the Committee uncomfortable. She also asked her to explain if the compensation of employees was as per the Wage Bill. She asked why the interest collected from deposits decreased annually yet allocation from treasury increasing. It did not make sense to her. She acknowledged that NSG has no control over who comes for training but she noted that they have compulsory training projections for attendance. She wants to know how they will ensure that they reach this target. Referring to the innovation for departments that pay late, she asked what extraordinary thing have they done that gives them confidence that they will recover payments within 60 days from now on. Lastly, Ms Lesoma asked how they will assess value for money in terms of training imparted to students.

Mr Booi asked what informed the NSG strategy knowing that public servants do not know how to put invoices together. Secondly, he wants to know who the 500 targeted people referred to are, if they are entry level or DGs. He said the DGs do not do good jobs so who is NSG really training to assist government? He also asked the DG to tell the committee about the PAM act. NSG is dealing with it but it is still in parliament and the minister has not cost it yet. He asked why they are already acting on it. Next he asked about the cost recovery process will you augment the budget, what benefits it has and if it will materialise. He stated that consultants are costing more than R30 billion and asked what role NSG is playing in assisting with the management of consultants. He said it is clear that there is no capacity in South Africa because half of the population is not able to do their own work but rely on consultants and contractors. He questions if the school is producing civil servants who cannot assist government. He wants to know how long it will take to get consultants out of the system.

Mr Mncwabe noted that there are two entry level programmes, compulsory and wamkelekile. He asked what wamkelekile training process entail, if it includes customer care. He noted that some departments do not treat members of the public well. He then emphasised on compensation of employees, he said he thought the school was training them now he sees they are compensating them. He finds this confusing. Lastly, he believes the school should be able to eradicate the problem of consultants as they are an unnecessary expenditure.

Mr van der Westhuizen said the Committee heard an understatement that induction programme and learning programme were serious learning curves. He believes them to be huge mistakes. He said what was envisioned and what happened were different things. He wants to know what NSG is doing to catch up. Public servants were denied training. He asked how programme will be adjusted to make it more relevant. Secondly, he thinks the high number of vacancies should have led to big savings in the budget and asked how they intend to utilise these savings. Thirdly, he would like to see NSG as trainer of first choice by government departments but it seems they prefer private service providers. He said Ms Tshitakwamba speaks of mandatory and compulsory programmes but departments training budgets are going down, the number of public servants trained is dwindling because it is hard to secure appropriate training from the school. He says they should be increasing the people’s skills. Lastly, he is concerned with fixed figure targets. He said training programmes should be as wide as the heavens, should NSG be so specific? He would not want to see the NSG reaching targets but training below value.

Mr McGluwa said he hoped the next presentation will be as per NDP and presidential speech. He said the school is training a number of people but the country is experiencing more service delivery challenges because people were still acting as if they are incapacitated or lack necessary education. He wants to see NSG monitoring whether training actually meets requirement of public servants and assess this. He believes that the targeted rating of 4 in all areas will be mammoth task. He wants to know why Public Service Commission is not use as impact assessment partner to make sure that training has worked. He asked for quarterly reports to see if policies need to be changed.

Mr S Motau (DA) referred to the internal auditor role, he recalled that NSG did not employ new people so he asked what the current internal auditor was previously doing while external entity was doing internal audits. He also asked for the cost implications to be addressed. He asked if the individual has the necessary skills, if so, why they did not do the job to begin with. He asked what the plan to improve the quality in State Owned Enterprises was.

Dr M Cardo (DA) said he was not satisfied with the lack of microscopic details in the presentation. He said the Committee needs to do critical overviews but hard to do this exercise without microscopic details in the budgets. He would like to see specific actions on how targets will be achieved and the resources for activities.

Dr Cardo said there was a report by the Public Service Commission about ministerial appointments and other matters; he wants to know if the school is considering this report’s recommendations. He then referred to the development of communication strategy and corporate identity as a key target on page 21 of the presentation and asked why it has taken so long to develop when the school has been around for so long.

Mr Booi asked for clarity on what the unauthorised expenditure was spent on. He would also like to know how long the internal auditor has been in the role and if they are qualified or trained.

Ms Lesoma turned to the development of the technical and specialised professional skills in the presentation and asked if the specific technical skills will be targeted ones and which provinces will be prioritised or the level of government that will be prioritised. She wanted to get a sense of whether they understand the challenges and low level appetite for service delivery of public servants. She enquired whether the training employees were full time or come when the need of training arises.

 

Ms Tshitakwamba started by addressing the question on the organisational structure that is weighing more on administration programmes. She explained that compensation of employees, programme one has higher expenditure but it mostly comes from revenue generated from training services. Under vote activities, R47 million is spent on compensation, that is one third of the budget. The balance goes to compensation of employees in the trade section. Trade takes R82 million in compensation of employees. She admitted that it was difficult to see as part of what is reported under trade is not from the National Treasury but from revenue activities.

Ms Tshitakwamba turned her attention to the cost recovery question and why it was presented to the Committee. She said without it, the presentation would be incomplete. It would only show administration staff costs and staff in non-training activities who manage the infrastructure. Their trading account is only for revenue from training services rendered. She believes it is important to show the elements separately.

Ms Lesoma interjected saying Ms Tshitakwamba did not understand the question. She asked what extraordinary measures they were taking to make sure they do receive payments. Even with the prepayment method, she wanted to know how they are going to recover the balance.

Ms Tshitakwamba responded that the recovery strategy consisted of the prepayment method and a task force that visits departments. They also have a system that constantly issues invoices and they follow up telephonically. Their DG also corresponds with DG of these departments. She asked the CFO to comment on improvements.

Ms Mkwanazi, NSG CFO said they were able to reduce their collection time to under 60 days from 90 days in the previous year. They are having issues with historical debtors but were following up to ensure payment of old accounts as well.

Ms Tshitakwamba clarified the inclusion of the PAM act as acknowledgement of it but excluded any details. She said the necessary government entities were in communication about the implementations of the act that will lead to an implementation plan. She did not go into detail as correctly stated, the act is not yet a process, but still at a ministerial level. So far, NSG is only involved with the state law advice.

To answer what informs their strategy and targeting of departments, Ms Tshitakwamba said they were informed by what the law says and by framework of government priorities. They translate those priorities, informed by reports of government, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, AG, etc, into a generic framework. In addition, they use information that they gathered from departments and from engaging with learners on site evaluations as research.

When NSG transitioned from PALAMA, they improved their communication strategy to make stakeholders understand what the change meant. They are also guided by the PAM act so they keep on appraising stakeholders on coming changes. NSG keeps reconfiguring their programmes and the nature of their work is not static and they communicate continuously.

The unauthorised expenditure is a historical event. In the previous financial year, NSG was told mid-year that the Minister had employed an advisory task team to assist the minister to develop strategies for NSG. The task team was with NSG for a year. NSG had to find money along the way and make budget cuts to avail funds. In September, they agreed to pause facilities. She reassured the Committee that nothing was going wrong as it was just an additional tool from the Minister’s office.

Mr Sipho explained that the Wamkelikile induction programme was being phased out and a new programme was to be introduced. The new programme will be covering issues raised by the Public Sector Commission. The critical infrastructure programmes internal research project revealed that the programme was good, other departments want to introduce it, it is endorsed by governance and administration cluster, the National Treasury supports it too. This project is not done away with but staggered it to make it easier to implement and to avoid suffocation of departments. The programme is internationally acclaimed but availability of members is a challenge.

Regarding the trends of training demands going down, Mr Sipho disagreed. Departments had assessment results that show where they are ailing and come to NSG to meet the requirements. They are inundated with requests. He said, admittedly, where there are budget cuts, human resource development suffers. He responded to the performance related problems. He said the credit bearing training is based on national hours completed. 70% of the programmes are university credits bearing and the other 30% are just in time workshops. Training is done until trainee is able to do the outcome. Their standards are checked by PSETA and Quality for Counsel on Trade and Occupations. He said their training when coupled with university accreditation, can go up to masters level. E-learning is a tool they use to ensure swift delivery of training.

Ms Tshitakwamba addressed the issue of consultants. She said they ensure knowledge transfer process takes place from the consultants to the employees. They are learning a mechanism that tracks how to assess knowledge transfer. They should now be able to ask for knowledge transfer plan and monitor outcomes.

Professor Tiaan Potgieter, an NSG Researcher said it was important to monitor, evaluate and indicate whether the institution is on the right track. He said 100% of training was monitored. On site visits occur each year. Last year’s target of 60 was completed, current target is 90. In addition, reports from visits were combined to form feedback sessions. They also developed a bi-annual trend report and action plans with training units. For application of learning studies, they establish if learning in classroom is transferred to the work place. A short term evaluation is done to see the impact in work place, followed by a broader evaluation process. The facilitators are also evaluated. NSG works with establishments to determine impact relevance. They conduct training needs analysis which they roll out on local, provincial and national legislatures. They adopt it according to the institution they are training. So far, the results of the training needs analysis are inspiring. The case study projects must be contextualised as most were foreign. They are developing one that is in context with our country. The aim is to build up a comprehensive repository of case studies available to all who need it.

Ms Tshitakwamba said the internal audit decision was to cut costs. They used the compliance person as they wanted a fully qualified auditor. This person initially worked with the external body now NSG has identified projects for them in the internal audit framework. The external firm just does quality assurance. The new structure helps with high risk interim problems that the internal auditor can address instead of increasing the budget for the outsourced resource.

Ms Z Dlamini-Dubazana (ANC) commented that to run a department efficiently, one must ensure budgetary allocations and estimates are in line. She said the NSG showed poor planning. A budget could not have surplus in one year and projects that go back to previous year expenses. It gave her a panic signal. She believes the problem is in planning and allocations. She advises the principal and CFO work together to fix it.

Public Service Commission (PSC) Presentation

Professor Richard Levin, PSC Director General browsed over the strategic outcome goals. The first goal is an efficient, economic, effective and development-orientated public service. The second goal is service delivery that responds to the needs of the people. The third goal is a strengthened institutional capacity and lastly, labour relations and public administration practices that cultivate effectiveness and efficiency.

PSC Performance

Prof Levine then presented the Commissions performance by programme. The first programme is administration. PSC received an unqualified audit for the previous year. The total expenditure for the 2014/2015 financial year was 99% of the allocated budget. The corporate governance under programme 1 had a task team to ensure implementation of gender equality and by March 2015, PSC had 54% of women in senior management positions. They had challenges with people of disabilities which were at 1.5 % instead of 2%.

Stakeholder engagement in provinces has helped to build the profile of PSC across the country. They have minimised travel cost by installing telephonic conference facilities in all provinces. PSC is the chair on Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy which established case and complaints management programme and good governance awards.

Programme 2: Leadership and management practice: 89% of grievance cases were finalised within the year. PSC reengineered the grievance management process by establishing panels run by commissioners. This led to greater volumes of grievances managed. Assessed on the effectives of training by PALAMA (National School of Governance) was conducted. PSC had engagements with senior managers of national department leaders with functionality of performance assessments. They also evaluated the function of heads of departments to the DPME transfer. PSC only focused on the quality assuring of submitted heads of departments performance agreements.

Programme 3 Monitoring and evaluation: PSC hosted a three day high-level conference on developmental state in November 2014 with fruitful outcomes. They also evaluated the national youth services. Citizen forums were found to draw ordinary people into governance processes to better understand problems at grassroots level. Effectiveness assessment of education districts was conducted. Textbook availability in provinces was inspected as well as hospitals assessments.

Programme 4: Integrity and anti-corruption. Anti-corruption hot lines complaints were investigated. The reviewed processes led to an increase in the number of complaints seen to PSC held an Ethical conduct Workshops with national and provincial departments.

Submission of financial disclosure forms by national and provincial departments were looked into and an improvement at the provincial level was noted but national level lacked improvement.

Deliverables for 2015/2016

PSC will continue with grievance management, assessment of relevant economic function offices, human resource audits, intervention at the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape as the MEC and head of department requested the PSC to assist in strengthening of human resources capabilities.

Monitoring and evaluation performances: PSC will provide guideline to assess strategic plans and annual reports, host round table on state of public service report, inspect border gates in Mpumalanga, host citizen forums in Marikana and Matsatseng, assessments of implementation of central application clearing house.

Integrity and anti-corruption performances: public administration investigations will continue, factsheets on cases of financial misconduct will be drawn up, research on the extent of protection of whistle-blowers will be done and PSC will host professional ethics awards.

Budget

Prof Levine noted a growth of budget from programme to programme. Total budget for 2015/2016 is R211 million and it is projected to grow to R224 million and finally R253 million in 2017/2018.

Economic classifications are as follows: the bulk of the budget is on compensation to staff, he noted a small growth in budget. A bigger growth was experienced in goods and services budget. There was a shortfall in allocation after additional budget allocated in 2013/2014.

Leadership budget: the bulk went to compensation of employees and a modest amount was available for goods n services.

Integrity and anti-corrupt budget is larger because it is ring fenced.

Discussion

The Chairperson was happy about how the PSC enlightened the Committee on focus areas and the way they conduct their oversight function. Accountability of executives has improved because of the PSC. She asked that they resolve the budget this year. The Committee wants to know why their budget was transferred because they exist on the basis of the constitution and are more legit than other institutions.

Mr Booi reiterated that consultants’ fees were too high and asked if PSC can explain why. Secondly, he asked about the relationship between PSC and the AG. He finds that when DGs mess up, they simply move to another department when the AG gives qualified reports. He asked what should be done when pursuing corruption but people re-emerge at other departments when they have messed up. He feels these people are escaping responsibility. He asked if the labour laws are so flexible that public servants are able to escape the law. He also raised his concern about public servants with no certification and credentials and wants to know what PSC is doing about this problem.

 

Ms Dlamini-Dubazana picked up a discrepancy of a signature of Advocate R K Sizani who also signed as the deputy of the PSC. The same signature appears under different names. She wanted an explanation as to who R.M. Sizani and R.K. Sizani is. She said it implied nepotism. Secondly, she feels the PSC does not understand its constitutional powers. The government is in a contract with the people of South Africa to be a caring government building a capable society and has appointed PSC to assist it to achieve this promise. The PSC will achieve this by focusing on constitutional mandate but have failed to do so. She concedes that there have been slight improvements. She then read section 1:96, Clause 4 of the PSC duties: “duties to investigate, monitor, and evaluate organisational administration of personal practices of public servants to propose measures to ensure effective performances in public sector.” She said they did not do that. The Government will not be successful at the elections if PCS cannot be its right hand. She pleaded them to hear this as a turning point. She says they are doing some of the work but not telling the world. She feels they must tell the Committee what investigations are being done and findings thereof. She requested that they report in three months on what they have done. The PSC cannot be perceived as a corrupt entity like other government entities. She asked them to change the deliverables of 2015/2016 because they will not achieve them. She asked that they go back to the constitution and put those as deliverables.

Mr van der Westhuizen complimented the 99.9% spending of allocation that is unsurpassed and shows a high level of financial management. He asked for a better tool to measure the grievance database queries and asked if the figure was measured in days. He said he does not underestimate conferences and workshops but they should not be an achievement. Achievements should be the outcomes of the conference. The presentation does not show PSC’s effectiveness. He noted that they operated without a Chairperson, and now they have an acting Chairperson, he asked what is being done regarding this. He recalled that last year, the commissioner undertook allegations that the entity was abused for party-political purposes. He wants to know the outcome of the allegation.

Mr McGluwa said he was concerned about the high-level reporting and reiterated that quarterly reports should be submitted to the Committee. He asked what the challenges were preventing them from meeting their disability targets. He requested the contents of the evaluations of the youth commission. Last year, the building in which they were housed was flagged as a risk factor; this year, a buy versus renting amount of R8 million appears. He requested a crisp answer on the progress of finding an office. Another risk factor from the previous year was the Vulindlela system but it is not featured this year. He has dealt with a number of institutions that still have problems with the system and he wants to know if it is sorted. He noticed the sustainability of the national anticorruption hotline is registered as a risk yet indicated as making good progress. He asked for clarity.

Mr Motau focused on what Mr McGluwa glossed over. He referred to the presentation as a catalogue but no outcomes were given. He asked what the outcome of the assessment of state of integrity was. He stated that it is well known that whistle-blowers do not feel protected and PSC should have gotten to the bottom of this a long time ago. He remembered that the PSC complained about a lack of power to enforce their recommendations. He still feels that they are not doing enough to penetrate issues and scare the perpetrators.

Ms Lesoma said the PSC’s role is to do oversights and show where priorities need to be. She asked if there have been any improvements in the identified areas. She would not be comfortable with PSC seen as a name and shame body. She asked about the relationship with CPI and school of government. She would also like to see suggestions from PSC on the issue of fighting corruption.

Presentation by Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)

Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, DPSA Director General gave an overview of the Department’s strategic plan for the period 2015/2020, the constitutional and legislative mandates, strategic priorities for 2015/2020, 2015/16 annual targets as well as budget allocations. The 2015/2020 Strategic Plan and the 2015/16 annual Operation Plan were tabled in Parliament on the 15th of March 2015.

Mr Diphofa added that the 2015/2020 strategic plan was informed by chapter thirteen of the National Development Plan towards the realization of an efficient, effective and development oriented public service. The department drew its mandate from section 195(1) of the Constitution and the Public Service Act (PSA) of 1994 as amended.

DPSA Strategic Priorities and Programmes

Mr Diphofa said the strategic priorities of 2015/2020 comprised of establishing a stable political-administrative interface which led to diminishing lines of accountability. He added that a framework to curb this had already been approved by cabinet which would include the creation of minimum level Public Service and Administration delegations, the retention of HoDs within the Public Service. The second strategic goal was that of making the public service a career of choice where young people would be drawn into the public service through the Graduate Recruitment Scheme for the Public Service to appoint the youth into learnerships and internships into the department. They also strived to have an efficient and effective management and operations systems which were based on the fact that the department had too many vacancies which were not filled which resulted in a week public service.

The Committee was told that the DPSA would put more focus on information technology (IT) as it was a strategic tool to enhance service delivery but government departments were not using it sufficiently. The vowed they would fill vacancies, introduce business processes and standard operating procedures as well as operational guidelines, entrench discipline management as well as e-enablement of 5-prioritised government services. He also said they wanted to increase responsiveness of public servants and accountability to citizens which would epitomize the “bathopele” principles. He said they would achieve this by revitalizing the Batho Pele programme. He also added that they would have improved mechanisms to promote ethical behavior in the public service as corruption impeded service delivery. Policy initiatives taken up by the department include the amendment of the Public Service Regulations which have been revised and envisaged to replace existing regulations and the overall achievement of the 2015/16 Annual Operation Plan would be reported in the 2015/16 Annual Report of the Department.

In respect to administration, the department reported that the Ag had congratulated them on submitting annual financial statements that were free from material misstatements which they viewed in a very high light. They envisaged having a compliant, effective and efficient department. In terms of policy, research and analysis, they envisaged an efficient, capable and productive public service. He said in respect of labour relations and human resource management, the AG had raised concerns about the high vacancy rates across the public service and it was something they were working on. The Ag also raised concerns about the IT security in the Public Service and they had developed a framework approved by cabinet to aid this.

DPSA Budget Allocation

The total budget allocation for 2015/16 was R930 868 million with the financial years 2015/16-2017/18 amounting to a total of R2949 billion. The allocation break down showed the PSC and Administration getting the biggest portions of the budget respectively (24%). The department also reported their budget cuts which amounted to R 30 437 for the year 2015/16 with the PSC not experiencing any cuts for the current financial year.

Discussion

The Chairperson enquired about the use of consultants and added that the late Minister Chabane could articulate and could justify why the department had to use them but that she was worried about the high amount of spending that departments had due to the use of consultants. She added that resources were scarce and they had to be preserved at all costs and proposed that there should be a ceiling when a department used a certain amount of money it had to consult the portfolio committee so that they could monitor the amount of money being spent and if it was necessary given the scarce nature of resources. She said they had to agree on the fact that less needed to be spent and what was currently being spent was too much.

Ms Lesoma said the presentation given by the DG was very good and accurate. She also agreed with what the Chairperson was saying and cautioned departments on overspending especially where it was not necessary to do so. She also asked about the vacancies and the lack of skilled personnel and to what effect the department would do going forward as this hindered service delivery.

The Chairperson interjected and said the PAM Act promoted that skilled personnel from other departments be transferred to other departments so as to assist the skills shortage. She said the committee encouraged the fact that departments could do this and that where they lacked skills they should use the legislation to their advantage.

Mr Booi said the he noted that the department was managing a very high fiscal of 2 billion rand and that they should be weary of overspending. He also added that there was an inherent problem with the public service and that this needed to be carefully assessed and rectified. He said this was seen through the amount of corruption, unqualified civil servants as well as the decline of service delivery. He urged the department to tighten its ranks and make sure that it employed people who were qualified and efficient. He said the move towards providing new policies was a sound one and the department should continue to create innovate policies to improve the public service. He also enquired about the use of consultants stating that departments were supposed to have those much needed brains within their ranks and would cut the cost of paying outsiders to do a job that was supposed to be done inside the department.

Ms Dlamini-Dubazana added that it was important to ensure that the public service was up to par because departments depended on them to run smoothly and function properly so as to ensure efficient service delivery. She said it was worrisome to have an incompetent and corrupt public service as it meant that poor people in South Africa would continue to suffer as they would not get their services in the manner that they were supposed to. He said this reflected badly on a democratic government and the measures the government presented in the Strategic Plan should be implemented so that the public service is empowered to deliver.

Mr van der Westhuizen enquired about whether poor people received any bursaries to study from the department apart from NFSAS which poor people got through DHET. He said it was important for the department to uplift people from poor communities in all respects especially through education. He enquired about whether there were any bursaries and if people were able to access them.

Mr McGluwa wanted the DGs stance on office renting given the fact that it cost the department a lot of money to rent as opposed to owning property. He asked whether they had engaged the Department of Public Works on this matter so as to curb unnecessary spending.

Mr Motau said he was against people being suspended for more than three months without any resolution as that cost the department money. He said he was impressed by the new innovative ways they were to tackle disciplinary measures that would result in a more efficient and feasible way to conduct investigations timeously and accurately.

Ms Linda Shange, DPSA Acting Chief Director of Integrated Planning and Programmes Management said the AG’s report of the last financial year was an indication of the department moving in the right direction and showing its commitment towards fulfilling its constitutional mandate. She said they were motivated by the report of last year and they would continue to try and spend as less as possible but continue doing the work they were tasked with. She said it was necessary to spend wisely given the scarce nature of resources, but that this would not hinder them from implementing their operational plan. She also added that the internship and learnership initiative was a form of them assisting the youth unemployment and skills development amongst young people.

Mr Masilo Makhura, DPSA Chief Financial Officer added that they had accounted for the use of consultants on page 149 of the report and that for the moment, it was necessary to use consultants for the short term results they needed from time to time and not over burden their own staff and detour them from doing their jobs. He also added that the Treasury had also requested a consultant’s reduction plan and that going forward he foresaw that consultants would be used less so as to curb costs in the department. He also added that this was a result of the budget cuts reported.

Mr Diphofa said they did indeed have an internal pool of experts but that at times they needed a speedy job to be done and the internal pool would have been preoccupied with other work and that is why they used consultants. He did however concur with the fact that they needed to spend less on menial tasks that they could do themselves for the sake of preserving the already scarce resources to improve service delivery. He said theirs was to strengthen the public service so as to achieve these goals. He said their annual operation plan described exactly how they would facilitate improving and strengthening the public service so as to provide efficient service delivery to South Africans.

The Chairperson thanked the Members for their patience due to the fact that they had three presentations on the day. She also thanked the department for their presentation and said the Committee would continue doing its oversight.

The meeting was adjourned.

Apologies

Acting Minister Nathi Mthetwa

Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodlo

Mr M Dirks (ANC)

Ms V Mente-Nqweniso (EFF)

Mr M Ntombela (ANC)

Late

Ms Z Dlamini-Dubazana (ANC)

Ms R Lesoma (ANC)

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