The Department of Women (DoW) briefed the Committee on the transitional arrangements following the National Macro Organisation of State (NMOS) process. The new Director General provided a presentation which outlined the changes which had taken place since the separation of the DoW from the former Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD), and the transfer of the other employees of the DWCPD to the Department of Social Development (DSD). The National Treasury had granted approval to implement a new budget programme structure, in line with four programmes that the DoW had used to develop its strategic objectives. The presentation also included a roadmap for organisational redesign which consisted of three elements -- designing the conceptual model, operationalising the approved model and implementing the approved model.
The mandate that the Department had been given was to lead, coordinate and oversee the transformation agenda of women’s socio-economic empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality through mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation. The Department did not think that the transformation agenda started now, as they had had 21 years of very powerful and strong work on gender. However, what the Department needed to be able to do was to ensure that they had the necessary mechanisms so that the decisions that had been taken were implemented, and importantly that the Department started to measure the impact of those decisions with a view to being able to determine where refinement was necessary.
The Department briefed the Committee on the 4th quarterly report for both financial and performance matters. Overall, the Department had achieved only eight, or 36%, of the planned targets. The Department had projected to spend R184.8 million, and had spent R182.9 million, or 99% of its budget.
Members expressed disappointment over the number of targets that had not been achieved by the Department, the number of draft documents that had been compiled but had not been finalized, and the fact that the Department had not yet completed a skills audit.
Due to time constraints, the Department was unable to provide answers to all of the Member’s questions, and was instructed to provide a written report detailing the responses to the questions raised.
New Director General welcomed
The Chairperson introduced and welcomed the new Director General (DG) of the Department of Women (DoW), Ms Jenny Schreiner. She said that the new DG was well suited to the position, having had many years of experience in gender and anti-apartheid activism, and different administrative capacities. She noted that the new DG came into the DoW at a very critical time, when the Department was in its formative stages and believed that with her vast experience, she would be able to give the Department the leadership that would be needed to operationalise the critical mandate of socio-economic development and to advance gender equality.
Ms Schreiner said it was an ideal opportunity for her to be interacting with the Committee -- just after the budget speech and as they moved into the new financial year. The Department hoped that it would be able to build on the guidance that the Committee had already given, and that they would address the issues that the Committee had previously raised and those it would raise as the Department went forward. The Department looked forward to interacting with the Committee, both in terms of the its performance report as well as with moving forward with some of the content of the Department.
Department of Women: Transitional arrangements
Ms Schreiner said the Department felt that it would be appropriate to start with a presentation that picked up from the presentation that the Committee had last received and indicate where the Department was at this point so that the Committee would be able to get a sense of how far the Department had gone as a Department in transition, and where the Department would be in terms of the process that they were currently moving to conclude. The Committee knew the history of the National Macro Organisation of State (NMOS) process and the Department was there to report that by the end of the financial year, the NMOS process would be concluded.
Prior to the NMOS process, there had been budget programme structures that combined women’s empowerment and gender equality, children’s rights and responsibilities and the right’s of people with disabilities. With the appointment of the Minister in the Presidency responsible for women by the President in May last year, the DoW had been created, which effectively enabled a very strategic process for the socio-economic empowerment of women, as well as gender equality, which was a very necessary part of the socio-economic empowerment of women. The mandate that the Department had been given was to lead, coordinate and oversee the transformation agenda of women’s socio-economic empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality through mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation. The Department did not think that the transformation agenda started now, as they had had 21 years of very powerful and strong work on gender. However, what the Department needed to be able to do was to ensure that they had the necessary mechanisms so that the decisions that had been taken were implemented, and importantly that the Department started to measure the impact of those decisions with a view to being able to determine where refinement was necessary.
If one looked at the size of the mandate -- women’s socio-economic empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality – it was absolutely massive. It cut across all of levels of government, and they were going to have to be very strategic as a Department to be able to focus themselves and make an impact in particular areas and build incrementally, rather than to try and take on the entire world. The Department also hoped that that was where their partnership with the Committee, as their overseeing portfolio committee, could also assist in being able to ensure that gender mainstreaming became part of the way in which Parliament functioned as well, so that they were not the only place in Parliament where gender mainstreaming was being taken forward. The Committee’s relationship with other portfolio committees would enable the Department to make a big impact. In that sense, the challenge of mainstreaming was going to be carried through quite strategically, otherwise one could land up where one was touching all over the place, and the impact was not what one wanted.
With regard to the functions and responsibilities related to children and people with disabilities, these had been transferred fully to the Department of Social Development (DSD). This had resulted in 20 employees and three funded vacancies from programmes three and four being transferred, together with accompanying funding and assets. Part of the NMOS process was going to align the administration programme to the new Department and in that process, four employees had been transferred to the DSD from programme one and in addition, the budget for eight administration posts had been transferred to the DSD. All of this took effect from 1 April, so the DoW starts this financial year with its own budget and with budgeted programmes structured for the DoW and its staff.
From 1 October last year, the Minister of Public Service and Administration had approved what was referred to as the start-up structure, which took what had existed previously and ensured that it was properly constituted as a department. The start-up organisational structure allowed for the establishment of 118 posts, as opposed to the 145 posts which had existed in the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD). What was important to recognise, because it explained the process that the Department was currently involved with, was that the NMOS process was the separation function. Having separated the functions, it was necessary to ensure that the structure, money and strategy that the Department had, was appropriately aligned to its new mandate. The structure of the Department had still reflected the branch of women empowerment and gender equality as a sub-programme which had existed under the DWCPD.
Treasury had granted approval to implement a new budget programme structure with effect from the 2014 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure, and from that time on the Department had the four budget programmes and the money allocated into them. The administration budget programme had been standardised across the whole of government. Its functions were to cover the funding of the Ministry, the office of the DG, corporate management and the financial management team and everything that went with it. The Department had determined that programme 2 would deal with the socio-economic, empowerment participation of the core business, so that was where the mandate had been rooted.
In programme three and programme 4, the critical part -- given that DoW’s responsibility was to coordinate, intergrate, oversee and lead -- was to ensure that it had the necessary tools in place to be able to garner research, pull together and analyse research, determine what the impact of that research was on government policy, and ensure that it could interface with departments to ensure they were developing policy that was gender sensitive and gender responsive. The DoW also had to be able to get knowledge management, not only within its own organisation but across government departments, to pull in information from provincial level, as well as to interact with stakeholders outside of government to ensure that there was knowledge sharing. That budget programme structure had then lead the DoW to the strategic plan that had been tabled in March this year. As part of that process, the Department had also considered how it should structure the reorganization.
Ms Schreiner said the Department had a fiscal ceiling, but one did not build an organisation by throwing a massive budget at something and trying to do everything at once. The Department had designed a five-year organisational design that had been drafted in September and was designed to enable the Department to deliver on its mandate. Its challenge was that with the budget that the Department had at this point, it needed to be able to have an organisational design now that would enable it to start that process. The Department had been through a process of designing a “year one structure,” based on the five-year vision that would enable the Department to ensure that they knew exactly how many funded posts they had, and that it would be able to start the process of appointing personnel into that new structure.
The redesign had included two core business branches. The first one covered budget programme two, the socio-economic empowerment, and the other covered the research, policy coordination, knowledge management and stakeholder coordination and output. The five-year vision organisational structure would be managed through the human resources (HR) and financial planning processes. The DoW would be engaging with Treasury to ensure that the Department could increase its capacity very strongly, and agreed entirely with the approach that had been presented in the budget vote, to reconsider the allocation to the Department.
In the presentation, the Department provided a roadmap for the organisational redesign, which was the process that it was currently involved with. It had made exciting and significant progress at the beginning of the financial year, and was “not taking their foot off the accelerator” to ensure that it moved on. The Department had mapped out three elements which included timelines for each of the elements, beginning from 20 April until the end of July. The first element, which was designing the conceptual model, was already to a large extent complete. The Department had revised and costed the organisational design. The organisational design concept was approved by the Minister on the 30th of April. The Department was now in the process of consulting with the Minister of Public Service on the design concept. The design concept was fully funded, so once it had been approved the Department would be able to move immediately to implementing it.
With the conceptual design working, the Department had then moved into the functional design, to ensure that the Department could determine what the function of each post was and what skills were required for them. The DG said she was aware that the Committee had been concerned that a skills audit needed to be done, and the Department was getting ready to operationalise it. The Department needed to ensure that the skills requirement had been concluded before they moved into the skills audit process., otherwise a skills audit could be done, but the recommendations concerning how people should be used in the Department could not be made, because one would not know what skills were needed for a particular post. There was an inter-dependency between many of these posts that the Department was managing, and the team present for this presentation were constantly engaged in looking at those processes. The Department’s current work was the functional organisational design.
The last element was the implementation of the approved model, the first part of which was the skills audit and the recommendations around matching and placing of current staff so that the Department would be able to make the most effective use of its staff and its institutional knowledge. At that stage the Department would then be in a position to go on a fully-fledged recruitment drive and embark on internal training processes for existing staff who needed skills development in terms of their current abilities and the recruitment of staff who were coming in.
An important part of the change management process was ensuring that there would be no retrenchment. The Department would also maximize the utilization of existing staff. The Minister had put a moratorium on hiring new staff. The Minister and the acting DG had advertised the DDG post in February, so there were recruitment processes taking place.
To conclude, it was important for the Portfolio Committee to understand that the Department had made enormous strides in the past four months. It was trying to take on board the vision of the Minister. There was a requirement for “soft” skills that were hard to pin down, so the skills audit would be important. The presentation provided the context in which the 4th quarter report would be tabled.
The DG noted that she had entered the Department at the beginning of the new financial year. The Department had had a large turnover of senior personnel in the 4th quarter. However, challenges in the 4th quarter were something that the Department could deal with.
The Chairperson said the Committee was very concerned with the organogram. She was glad that timeframes for dealing with the issues had been included.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) asked for advertisements for posts to be put in other newspapers, and not only in the Isoleswe newspaper.
Ms M Chueu (ANC) asked the Department to use other media, as newspaper advertisements were expensive. She asked how much money it paid for newspaper advertisements. She suggested that it should use radio advertisements, as these would be a cheaper way to reach people.
4th Quarter Performance Report 2014/2015
Ms Thandeka Mxenge, DDG: Corporate Services, DoW, gave an overview of the Department’s performance. It had achieved eight (36%) of the targets planned for the 4th quarter, while 14 of the targets had not been achieved. The Department had projected to spend R184.8 million, but had spent R182.9 million, or 99% of its budget.
Referring to programme one, she said 11 targets had been planned for the 4th quarter. Seven targets had been achieved, while four targets had not. The Department had planned an internal audit, but this had not taken place. This was due to capacity constraints within the reporting period. 7.6% of service providers were not paid within 30 days. 12 invoices had been delayed because of a failure to verify banking details, but as of now, all the invoices had been paid. As a control measure, the process of approval had been streamlined. Where there was non-compliance, the Department was taking the necessary measures. There had been a 1% deviation in expenditure against allocated funding – R79 million against a budget of R79.4 million -- so this target had been achieved.
With regard to performance in programme 2, the Department had achieved none of its planned three targets. R85.5 million had been projected to be spent, and actual expenditure had been R85.2 million. Two consultations on gender-responsive budgeting integration plans hadbeen targeted for this quarter. Work had been done in this regard but because of delays, this target had not been achieved. The Department had planned for two implementation arrangements to be facilitated for young women’s access and participation in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field. Girls had been identified. There had been a report but because of delays in the approval process, this had not been achieved.
In programme three, the Department had projected to spend R8million, while actual expenditure was R7.7 million. A phase one report on the status of women’s socio-economic development had been targeted for development, but this had not been achieved because the Department had lost personnel.
When looking at programme four the Department only achieved one or 14% of targets, while six or 86% of targets were not achieved. In programme four, R11.8 million was projected to be spent, while R11 million was actually spent. The Department had planned to draft a document on the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) norms and standards for women’s socio-economic empowerment and rights. This draft document had been developed, and therefore this target had been achieved. The Department had planned to compile a number of reports on compliance to regional, continental and international commitments. The Department had developed a foreword by the President for these reports, but this target had not been achieved. However, all incomplete reports would be completed in the first quarter of 2015/2016. The Department had planned to produce a number of reports on strategic multilateral relations, but had not been able to finalise them as they have had lost staff. A number of reports on stakeholder consultations were to be produced for this quarter, but approvals had not been finalised. A communication strategy on gender based violence had been developed, but because of capacity constraints it could not be completed. Two planned outreach campaigns would be finalised in the first quarter of 2015/2016.
The presentation included a graph showing how many targets have been achieved in each quarter. In the 2nd quarter, the AMOS process had been started. The Department also presented a summary of its performance over the four quarters. It was in the process of developing an organogram which would enable it to improve its performance in the next financial year.
The Chairperson said that it was concerning that many of the Department’s targets had not been achieved. However, she was happy that the Department had been honest with the Committee about its performance.
Ms Khawula said that there should be some clarity about the staff that the Department had lost. Had they resigned or had they died? With regard to women’s economic development, she noted that there were women in KwaZulu-Natal who supported themselves by making and selling grass brooms. No-one took care of these women by developing them or directing them on where to go and sell these products. Sometimes they were raped when they were walking in the forests to collect grass to make these brooms. Sometimes they were taken to police because people felt that they were selling these brooms illegally. These women were tired and needed work. No one was directing them or trying to help them develop economically.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) said that the restructuring of the Department was going to cost a lot. She warned that there was a red flag, as what they had just seen in the presentation was going to appear in the annual report. The Department and the Committee had to come up with measures to avoid issues with service providers, and had to check details before engaging with them. She was unhappy with the fact that all of the reports mentioned in the presentation were drafts. Although the Department said that these were drafts, the reports were final. She was not pleased or convinced with the presentation that the Department had given. The Portfolio Committee would like to interact with the Department on the STEM report. The Department had mentioned that it was still compiling the status of women report that needed to be presented in August. There were only three months before this was to be tabled. The Department had promised that the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report would be given to the Committee in the 2nd quarter, but they still had not seen it. She wanted to know if this report was still with Parliament. The Department needed to be able to work with other departments, instead of starting processes afresh. She asked why it could not use monitoring and assessment tools from the previous department.
Ms M Chueu said the presentation on the 4th quarter performance report indicated that payments had been made, but did not say when they had been made? She asked why all the same problems occurred in all four quarters of the year. She emphasised that STEM was her main concern. She wanted to know how the Department helped young girls through to matric, and how many young girls left school without maths and science. Were there efficient teachers for these subjects? Ms Chueu said that when the Department focused on empowerment, they needed to make sure that women were mainstreamed. The Committee wanted girls to be in the classroom, not having children. The Department must invite the Committee to meet with them. She wanted to know where the plan for monitoring the departments was. Was the Department satisfied with two civil service meetings, and why was the Committee not invited to these meetings?
Ms Chueu said the Department had not told them what their timeframes were and how long things would take. She asked how the Department placed people when they did not have the organisational structure finalized. When was the Department going to appoint new people? The Committee was happy that the Department was not going to be firing people, but rather re-skilling people. She suggested that the four programmes should be merged. There were no programmes on paper that the Department could say that they had used to make an actual change in the lives of women. She was glad that the Department was reviewing its APP and strategic plan. The Department had not come up with clear programmes. The Department was supposed to influence other departments on women’s issues. It was supposed to put pressure on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and tell them that there were women making brooms and ask if it could help these women to create a business. It was up to the Department and the Committee to do this. Small businesses were not being harnessed. The Department needed to supply clear plans to force departments to say what it was that they were going to do for women.
Ms D Robinson (DA) welcomed the new DG, and said that what the Department needed was strong management that would say it was going to make a difference. She agreed with the comments made by other Members. The Committee had repeatedly requested information on events. It wanted to see how the DoW was making a difference in the actual lives of women and girls. The Committee could not attend all events, but even if some Members could attend some of the events, it would be beneficial. Many young people were struggling with unemployment, and the DoW had to make sure that it could reach women in rural areas and that there was proper consultation. She stressed that everyone on the Committee was passionate about changing people’s lives. She wanted to know what the progress was on the national policy framework. She also asked what had happened to the petitions from civil society that had been handed to the Department.
Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) wanted to know if any exit interviews had been conducted with staff that had left the department. Gender equality needed to be considered with the new staff being appointed. On the issue of the internal audits, the internal audit director had assumed work only on 1 April. Were there not any people working under him? Did the Department have a monitoring tool asking people to bring them a letter from the bank? Gender-ased violence was disheartening, and nothing had been done to reduce gender based violence.
Ms Tseke said that last week the DG had sent them the presentation, but today they had used a different presentation to the one that they had been sent. She asked for clarity on why this was the case.
Ms Khawula said the Department of Agriculture should be consulted on the issue of traditional beer, because some people could make a living through making and selling it. They would be able to pay for the education of their children by selling it. Why were these women not being encouraged, but were rather being imprisoned? Why was beer being considered as a killing product?
Ms Chueu asked the Department who their internal stakeholders were, and if the Department could share their service delivery model with the Committee. She asked the Department to share the document on norms and standards with the Committee.
Ms J Schreiner replied to the Committee’s questions by saying that the Department was currently engaged in a refining process in order to address its weaknesses. If the DoW did not work with other departments, the impact that they could make would be limited. With regard to the challenges of women in the STEM field, one needed to know why women were not taking their place in these fields. She said that the CFO would deal with the details around the invoice process, but noted that the end user of the invoice had to sign off on the process within two days. The DoW was not a service delivery department, but the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) still required all departments to have a service delivery structure. The DoW needed to be able to enable its stakeholders. A functioning model was needed. The cluster mechanism was an important one, but what other mechanisms were needed to allow them to work with other departments?
Ms Camagwini Ntshinga, CFO for DoW, stressed that the Department did not deal with fraudulent suppliers. The system did not allow it to make a payment to suppliers that were not verified.
New suppliers had to go through a process of verification. In some instances, suppliers came back with a bank statement but did not have a bank stamp, which took up part of the 30-day payment period. The Department was putting financial management measures in place. They were also starting a process where all managers were being held accountable and responsible, so there were improvements in the Department.
Ms Mxenge said that with regard to the staff that went to the DSD as part of the NMOS process. It was not true that there had been no one working in the capacity of director because the director had left. The deputy director had been working, so there had actually been someone working in that capacity until the director had assumed duty.
Ms Ntsiki Sisulu-Singapi, Acting Deputy Director of Core Business, DoW, said that the Department helped girls to apply to and get into university, but that there was an issue with where girls went after they graduated. The work that the DoW was doing now was to work with companies to ensure that girls were placed in a job or internship.
Ms Chueu said that regarding STEM, a report had been done by StatsSA which showed that the status of the African child had not improved, but this referred to male children. What about girls? The Department’s main issue was to ask the correct questions. It had to push departments to ensure that they implemented programmes. If they did not ask the right questions they would still be dealing with the same issues 20 years from now. Ordinary women were not empowered. The DoW’s systems were not helping women to become economically empowered. It must focus on education. Although education was compulsory, there were still girls selling things on the streets. It was usually girls that suffered when circumstances were hard.
Ms Khawula said that as she had reported before, there had been a woman from Limpopo who was lying outside Parliament waiting for help. The Minister had promised to communicate with the woman, but when she followed up she found out that the Minister had been unable to see her. The Member requested that the Committee see or phone her to listen to her story.
The Chairperson replied that they did not have time to address that now because the officials were having a meeting when this meeting ended, but at another time they could make an arrangement to go and meet, and maybe one or two Members might be able to meet with her and follow up.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi wanted to know what happened to girls who had science and maths degrees, but were unemployed or working in other sectors.
Ms J Schreiner said that was precisely what the Department was trying to look at. If one did not start looking at education for little girls, then there was little chance that they would get into STEM later on.
The Chairperson noted that some questions would require written responses.
The meeting was adjourned.
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