DPME on department progress with National Development Plan alignment & MTSF implementation

Standing Committee on Appropriations

19 April 2016
Chairperson: Mr N Gcwabaza (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Of 43 national departments, 30 were found to be aligned to the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). Of the 30, 11 were fully aligned and 19 partially aligned. A summary of progress toward MTSF 2014-2019 targets per outcome was presented in graph form. There was an overview of progress related to the 14 government outcomes. Areas of progress and key challenges were identified in every instance. There were improvements in health status; access to education and social grants; housing opportunities; basic services and reduction in asset poverty levels. Unemployment, especially youth employment, and drought remained persistent challenges. Monitoring of NDP related interventions by non-state actors required enhancement.

In discussion there were many questions and critical comments from Members. Delays with TVET certificates and the transfer of title deeds caused particular concern, as did the low number of convictions for fraud, and the low targets set for corruption and contact crimes. Municipal debt collection was discussed. Members wanted more detail about who owed municipalities. Failure to pay invoices within 30 days received critical attention and several Members commented on the dire consequences of this for small contractors. Disciplinary actions were commented on. The use of the Unemployment Insurance Fund surplus for job creation was viewed with some skepticism, with the DA declaring that it might be illegal, and that the party would not support it. Members insisted on the necessity of performance contracts for departments and principals. The increase of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding versus decline in access caused concern. It was stated that Eskom cooperation with independent power producers should not to lead to illicit privatisation of Eskom. It was felt that the DPME could focus more on progress made with execution, besides planning.

Meeting report

Introduction by Chairperson
The Chairperson said DPME was to present on progress with implementing the MTSF, in relation to NDP goals. Better information was needed about this highly important area. The MTSF and the NDP were two key instruments of government. DPME had to tell Parliament and the people if progress was being made to change people’s lives for the better. Government sought to work toward a better life for all. The two instruments assisted with the achievement of this. The DPME was better placed to update Parliament, and to inform to what extent there was movement towards the 2030 NDP milestone.

Dr M Figg (DA) noted that the presentation was 52 pages long. There was a lot of information in it. He urged that it be gone through slowly, so that information could be absorbed. He asked if it would be possible to go through the presentation and deliberate afterwards in terms of time constraints.

The Chairperson agreed that it was voluminous, but suggested that the Committee take a bite, in his words. If all information was not exhausted, the Department could be asked to respond in writing. The meeting had to end at one o clock, in time for the budget debates. He introduced Members to the DPME.

Mr Thulani Masilela, DDG: Outcomes Monitoring and Evaluation Branch, introduced himself and two colleagues. There was an apology from Minister Jeff Radebe, who was also supported by the Director General, to attend to the Budget.

Ms E Louw (EFF) noted that according to Committee rules the DG had to send an apology in writing.

The Chairperson replied that a written apology was normally expected, but for the current moment the apology could be accepted. Directors General were high-ranking officials who had to render written apologies, but the current one could be accepted. It had to be said in Committee that apologies from Accounting Officers would not always be accepted. It would only be done under exceptional circumstances. Accounting Officers dealt with implementation on a day to day basis, and had to account to Parliament. Ministerial presence was also appreciated, but Ministers had many engagements.

Ms S Shope-Sithole (ANC) remarked that the Accounting Officer issue was an important one. Departments had to present on performance and had to account in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The person held to account was the Accounting Officer. For today, the budget debate preparation would be accepted, but in future, rules had to be adhered to. The Director General as the Accounting Officer was the first to account. All the other officials had supporting roles. DGs had to respect the PFMA.

Dr C Madlopha (ANC) said that sentiments had been expressed on behalf of all Members. Absence of the Accounting Officer would not be accepted in future. The Committee had written to the Department, which accepted this rule. Nothing was said beforehand about problems for the Accounting Officer to be present. The Committee had a concern with the Department. It was not to happen again.

The Chairperson told the Department that when Members said they wanted the DG there, they were not saying other officials did not have capacity. The Committee believed that the capacity was there. What Members were saying was that the buck had to stop with somebody.

DPME progress report on alignment of government budgets to National Development Plan 2030 & MTSF
Mr Thulani Masilela, DPME DDG: Outcomes Monitoring and Evaluation Branch, presented. Of the 43 national departments, alignment to the MTSF could be identified in 30 departments. Of the 30 departments, 11 demonstrated full alignment of their draft plans to the MTSF, while 19 demonstrated partial alignment. The DPME was making significant strides towards instutionalising planning in government. Key tasks remained of enhancing planning, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation capacity and accountability across all spheres of government. A summary of progress towards the MTSF 2014-2019 targets per outcome was presented in graph form. There was an overview of progress per outcome, according to the 14 outcomes of Education; Health; Safety; Economy; Skills; Economic infrastructure; Rural; Human Settlements; Local Government; Environment; International; Public Service; Social Protection, and Social Cohesion. Areas of progress and key challenges were identified in every instance. The DPME was enhancing accountability through rigorous monitoring and reporting to the Executive. Evidence reflected that progress was being made across all 14 outcomes. There were improvements in health status; access to education services and social grants; housing opportunities; basic services and reduction in asset poverty levels. Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, and the drought situation were persistent challenges which were being addressed. Monitoring and reporting on NDP related interventions by non-state actors as social partners of government, required enhancement.

Ms Shope-Sithole told the department that MPs had to compare facts with the Auditor-General (AG) report and budget reports. She was happy that concern about unemployment was expressed, but the delaying of educational certificates contradicted that. A person could not look for a job without a certificate. Those responsible had to be called in. The use of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) money could be a good thing but the question was how accountable that Department was. The UIF dealt with other people’s money. The Committee looked closely at the movement of money. There had to be a list of departments that owed money to municipalities. The President had emphasised in the SONA that no department could owe for longer than 30 days. The public did not know that people were not paying municipalities. It was not possible for councillors to deliver on account of that. Poverty alleviation was a serious issue, and could not be done if departments did not pay within 30 days.

Ms Shope-Sithole continued that the principals of universities had to be called in. They were not concerned about job creation and the creation of relevant skills. They received a subsidy from the State. There was a lack of patriotism.

Dr Madlopha referred to the alignment of budgets to NDP priorities. There was expenditure increase, which was positive. Departments were trying to spend, but the question was if it was done in line with MTSF and NDP priorities, and predetermined objectives. Predetermined objectives contributed to the MTSF and the NDP. The budget was aligned to key priorities. There was the challenge of backlogs, with no improvement. She asked why predetermined objectives were not reported on, when it was part of the MTSF and NDP.  She asked that other challenges had to be indicated in presentations. Changes were made, but underneath it was business as usual. There had to be consequences for people who did not align the budget to the priorities of government. The DPME could assist departments to have their officials sign performance contracts, so that they could be held accountable. She asked how far that matter had progressed. Those that thought in terms of business as usual had to be held to account. After 22 years, some departments still did not have performance contracts.

Dr Madlopha referred to slide 22. Education and skills development were critical. She asked if DPME had a plan for capacity and skills challenges in government. She was concerned about the impasse between government and SADTU which prevented an agreement on principals signing performance agreements. The Annual National Assessment (ANA) issue was unresolved. It had to be a priority on the agenda of the Department. She asked if DPME went back to departments to ask what part of the targets had been achieved, and who had to be held accountable if targets were not achieved. She asked who had the teeth to deal with departments. To coordinate without teeth did not help.

Dr Madlopha referred to challenges around Outcome 2 Health. There had to be a focus on what mattered most. Provinces had to be assisted. The Department had to be called in. She asked if corruption had only been picked up in the Safety cluster. Government had to be serious about uprooting corruption, and to recoup money. Other departments also had to be reflected. There had to be data on people fired and money recouped. Government could not tolerate corruption.

Dr Madlopha noted that the IDC had approved R469 million for rural businesses, and R9.5 billion for Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP). The question was if it was implemented. To approve was not enough. There had to be implementation. The question was what was done with the approved budget. The question was how Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIP) backlogs had come into existence. The Department had to explain. Monies were in the public purse. Assistance for students looking for jobs had to be fast-tracked. The government had to work with the private sector to address unemployment. Government could not do that alone. An environment had to be created that was conducive  for the private sector to play a part. Government had paid money to train people. In South Africa there was no balance as regard public and private sector cooperation. Government had to call for cooperation to join hands to address unemployment. Government could train social workers for private employment.

Dr Madlopha was grateful for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding increases, but rising fees was cause for concern. DPME had pointed out that the issue of students was not static. It was a moving target. It would take time, and could only happen when there was partnership with the private sector in education. She was concerned about the challenge of debt owed to municipalities. Debt collection was a challenge because there was no credit control policy, for the community to account on what they owed. There had to be implications for not paying. The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) was called in about assisting municipalities. It had to be fast-tracked. There could be no service delivery if debts were not paid. Her constituency was a deep rural area. Poverty was visible, municipalities could not collect revenue.

Dr Madlopha said that there had to be reasons given for lower accounting on data, by departments responsible for the Expanded Public Works Programme  (EPWP). There was incomplete accounting of targets. DPME had stated that there was a lack of capacity to capture data. The EPWP was run by all departments, with the Department of Public Works (DPW) coordinating. There had to be follow-up. Money could not be given if there was no data. People could not be allowed to not account by not submitting information. People were not implementing and not reporting. The country was in debt, and money for the people was not being accounted for. Heads had to roll, and roll and roll. The failure to pay debt within 30 days was the same as not giving certificates to students. Departments defended themselves by saying that they did not receive invoices. Small contractors were not being paid. A small business that was not paid, disappeared. They had to be assisted. The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) had made a presentation and advised that people who did not pay contractors were not to be paid. The President had mentioned the matter in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) because of an outcry from small contractors. A contractor had told her that he had to leave his field. He had been blacklisted because he had not been paid. The lives of South African people had to be changed. Heads had to roll if people did not implement. It could not be left to the Ministers. There had to be consequences for those who did not implement signed contracts.

Dr Figg said that the DA supported that heads had to roll. The Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) had given a scathing report in the previous week, as did the Auditor-General. It was not acceptable that only 30 departments were aligned. It amounted to 75%. Departments had to say what was wrong out there. The same things came up every year and heads did not roll. Information from institutions was useless if it was not being dealt with.

Dr Figg referred to the graph on slide 21. Green referred to targets achieved, exceeded or likely to be achieved. It could not all be fitted into the same category. ‘Likely’ could mean that it might not be achieved. It was stated that blue, which referred to no data received, could only disappear if data was received.  Data could ‘disappear’ because someone did not want the data shown. He would hold on to the report, and would ask on the next occasion if data had been received or if it was gone because no-one wanted it shown. There were high levels of fraud which people did not want to show or report on.

Dr Figg referred to unions (slide 23). Unions caused major problems. There was a lot of damage to property. A mechanism was needed. An MP tried to put a bill through Parliament that if damage caused could be traced to a union it had to be liable, but the bill was rejected. R147 million was asked for Fees Must Fall. Money was asked for while damage was caused.

Dr Figg asked why it was so hard to track teacher absenteeism. The teacher’s register could be referred to. Slide 26 stated five persons were convicted for corruption involving an amount above R5 million. A total of 29 persons were convicted. The annual target of 20 persons was too low. He did not agree that data on crime and drugs would only be provided to Cabinet (slide 27). The public had to get the information. He referred to the fiscal policy stance (slide 29) which stated that there had to be promotion of low inflation and interest rates, a real exchange rate, and a narrow budget deficit, but it was not happening. There had to be structural reform of the economy. The question was how that would be done, and what was to be done. Supportive interventions had to be done before the drought was over (slide 29). There had to be support measures against such constraints. There was a major increase in the price of foodstuffs. A documentary showed that even an attorney was struggling to make ends meet. There had to be more detail on what needed to be done.

Dr Figg added his concern to that of Ms Shope-Sithole and Dr Madlopha, about the backlog on TVET certificates. The problem had been ongoing for some years. Someone needed to print the certificates. The backlog was increasing on a daily basis. It could be managed and solved. He asked if the use of UIF funds for job creation was legal. The DA could not support it. It was funded by individuals and using it was not right. Other mechanisms could be used. He asked if the R100 million surplus was still in the bank, or if it only existed on financial records. He suspected that saying it was used for job creation was just a way of saying that it was gone.

Dr Figg referred to slide 36 that noted 267 land claims were settled. He asked out of how many. 173 land claims were finalised but what was the total number of applications. He asked what the difference was between settled and finalised. The bucket system was unacceptable, 125 out of 8 250 could not be tolerated. The Minister had claimed progress but it was not so.   A total of 83 informal traders supported, was very low. Someone had to be fired on account of access to sanitation only provided to 131 households, against a target of 3 140 (slide 40). It had to be more than just a smaller bonus received. Someone had to be fired. Very little maintenance was done. New assets were developed, but it was cheaper to maintain than to build new.

Dr Figg asked how long it was going to take to establish the office of an Ombudsman to deal with the 30 day payment of invoices. The CPO was also willing to deal with the matter of outstanding invoices. The issue was raised when he arrived in Parliament three years before. The Ombudsman office had to be established sooner than later. He referred to limited progress with the employment of Africans and women in senior management (slide 50). The policy was there, it only had to be implemented.  Positions were available. Heads had to roll. Substantial progress across the 14 outcomes had to be made.

Mr A McLaughlin (DA) asked about a more recent poverty line than 2009 (slide 3). He asked what MinComBud meant (slide 12). On the 13 departments not aligned to the MTSF (slide 14), heads had to start rolling.

Mr McLaughlin noted that the last bullet on slide 18 referred to key tasks as enhancing planning, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation capacity, and accountability. But nothing was mentioned about execution. The sole function could not be just to check on plans. Government was great at making plans. But if care was not taken about execution, it was a waste of time.  A way had to be found to monitor the execution of plans (slide 18). He referred to an additional 37 schools still to be completed (slide 22) but no percentage was mentioned. It was possible to hide behind a number if there was nothing to compare it with. It stated that good progress had been made towards schools completed to replace inappropriate schools. He asked what ‘good progress’ was, and if it meant so-called virtual completion. He asked about what was actually completed, and stages of completion. It had to be known how many had been signed off, if there were plans, or if foundations had been dug, for instance.

Mr McLaughlin noted that the new TB treatment success rate was 83%. The TB death rate was 4.8%. The difference between 100 and 83 was 17%. He asked what happened to the other 13%, whether it meant that they were not dead nor treated successfully.

Mr McLaughlin referred to police targets (slide 26). The police had to have a 100% conviction target. The police could very well fail to convict people for murder, once their contact crimes target had been met, and it was out of the target range. He asked why there was only a 58.9% target for contact crimes. If he were a prospective criminal, he would know that he had a 40% chance of not being prosecuted or investigated, if outside of the target range. He referred to road rehabilitation (slide 32). He asked how the figure of 390 651 km of pothole patching was arrived at. Potholes were small, hardly a metre by a metre. He asked if all potholes were lined up to arrive at the figure. It was an impressive figure, and could mean much or not, but it was meaningless if it was not expressed as a percentage. 267 land claims were settled, and 173 finalised. He asked what the difference was, and whether the 173 was contained in the 267, or the figures were separate. He asked how farms were to be recapitalised, and what it meant, and on what basis funding was going in. He asked if food parcels were of the kind that the ANC gave out at election time.

Mr Mclaughlin referred to title deeds (slide 38). There was slow progress with title deeds transfer. It was one of his favourite bugbears as a conveyancer. There were 8% of new title deeds  concluded, and only 12% of a 900 000 backlog. That was criminal. It was where heads had to start to roll. With a title deed one could approach a bank to get a loan. One could start a business and do all sorts of things with the power of a title deed.  The title deed stated that one owned property as security.  All these people were being denied access to finance and banking facilities.  Conveyancing was easy. It was an administrative matter. Documentation had to be taken to the deeds office and signed and stamped off. He asked what the problem was. Only 23% of the total MTSF target for gap loans was met. He asked what was wrong. It had been going on for 20 years.  Announcements were made that people had been given title deeds in certain areas, and a big splash was made if 100 people received them. He asked why simple things could not be done.

Mr McLaughlin referred to access to sanitation (slide 40). Access was provided to only 131 households, against a target of 3140. It was a serious indictment. He referred to tourism spending, onlyy 38% of the annual target was spent. The Department of Home Affairs had issued strange regulations that hurt tourism. These were regulations that crippled the industry. Regulations that prevented the kidnapping of children led to jobs being lost.  He referred to non-payment of invoices within 30 days (slide 46), as it related to CoGTA. It was not mentioned who owed money to municipalities, and whether it was residents or government departments. The PFMA prescribed that municipalities had to collect revenue. There was a legal system for debt collection. It could be asked why municipalities received only 9% of the Budget and the answer was that municipalities had sources of revenue. Municipalities could not provide services. It was not their fault, but they had to take the flak in service protests. Intergovernmental relations had to be strengthened to fix the problem. Municipalities had to be funded.

Mr McLaughlin referred to social grants (slide 48). People were only getting 40% of grants due to illegal deductions. Such practices were widespread in his constituency of Sebokeng. Money was deducted for airtime and other reasons. There was a high level of corruption, with people skimming off money. He thanked the Department for the presentation, but all the information was not provided. Reasons were not given for why departments failed. There were no consequences and consequently no accountability. Other departments could tell DPME about challenges, but it did not have the power to do anything. The Auditor-General was a Chapter 9 institution. It had to get teeth and powers to deal with maladministration and corruption, and to provide a quick fix for especially malicious non-compliance.

Ms E Louw (EFF) remarked that as she had said the previous week, the work of the Committee had to be re-looked at. Reports were received and then it stopped there. It was not productive. The Auditor-General and National Treasury were called to the Committee and stated problems, and nothing happened. The Committee had to re-look at how it did business. People could not be held responsible if they were not told what to achieve. Basic things were not done, people did not know how or were not trained to meet targets. Work had to be done on basics. Departments were not doing what they were supposed to be doing. DPME had to monitor. It could be asked what it had done in that regard. Things were not properly aligned. Departments were created to give some Minister a job. DPME needed teeth. If the DG had been there, he could have explained why the Department had no teeth. People were not being held accountable for service on the ground. Core business was not performed.

Ms Louw continued that 18 000 manufacturing jobs created was no cause for celebration. There were 5.4 million people without jobs. Mining had retrenched 40 000. Government had to create industries to help with job creation. It was not being done. The Department of Science and Technology had come up with innovations, but it was sitting at universities. UWC had money for innovations, but this was not creating jobs. Other Members had referred to unaligned departments. It was because performance contracts were not signed and that made it impossible to hold a person accountable. A stance had to be taken. People had to know that if they did not meet A they would not get B. The AG had referred to political oversight the previous week. There was no political will to have people sign performance contracts.

Ms Louw referred to the graph on slide 21. It measured from 2014 to 2019. It could be more clearly stated. She asked why tracking of teacher absenteeism was so hard. Teachers simply had to sign a spreadsheet, as MPs did. It could be asked whether good progress had indeed been made with the completion of schools. The Auditor-General and National Treasury were not of that opinion. Her constituency was in Pedi. It was heartbreaking to see the state of school infrastructure there. Only five people convicted for fraud was no cause for celebration. There were illicit cash flows, people were defrauding the national purse. She referred to the National Treasury report of the previous week that there was slow spending on solar water geysers due to a new delivery approach. DPME had stated under Outcome 4 that R9.5 billion was made available for renewable energy, and Independent Power Producer (IPP) procurement. The change of approach had led to slow spending on the other side. She asked the Department to elaborate.

Ms Louw referred to the backlog of TVET certificates. People were being trained, but without certificates they could not get work. Social workers trained in Nelson Mandela Bay did not get certificates. People were trained but their skills were not absorbed. They went to the private sector or left the country. People had to be billed properly for municipal debt. They could not pay if they did not know what their debt was. At her mother’s house an official would regularly do a meter reading. That was no longer happening. The question was how much the private sector owed municipalities for using services. It could not only be government. EPWP was a challenge. The AG reported that sometimes deceased people were getting salaries. There were instances where people had to show an ANC or a DA card to get jobs. She asked about guilty officials and disciplinary actions. It had to be known which departments were doing poor planning. DPME did not have teeth, but it could bring information to Parliament, which had the teeth to deal with it. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) had to strengthen its unit that dealt with disciplinary cases.

Ms Louw noted that the presentation had stated that the e-tender system was more transparent. The CPO was saying something different. That office had to be met with. Where the prerogative to award tenders lay with the municipal manager, there could be no transparency. People who waited to be tried for corruption were still being paid. They had defrauded the State of money, but were still being paid while waiting for a hearing. DPME needed more powers, together with the Office of the Auditor-General. Money had to be followed and the corrupt had to be held accountable. People were fighting over service delivery while officials were defrauding the State of money rightly allocated to the people.

Ms M Manana (ANC) remarked that a full report was needed, to be compared with other reports. The SETA backlog with certificates had to be unpacked, to see what the problem was. There had to be a list of those that owed municipalities money, to see whether it was government, the private sector or the community. Departments were not on top of the situation or did not want to resolve disciplinary cases.

Ms D Senokoanyane (ANC) remarked that government faced a number of tasks with regard to job creation. Government had stated that a number of posts had to be phased out. Other people needed to come on board and government had to assist the process. There was lots of money in the private sector. People were behaving as if the NDP was new. Issues of targets, indicators, policies and strategic objective had always been in existence. People could act in terms of existing policy. She asked what the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of 140.9 deaths per 100 000 live births meant. She referred to the five cases of fraud that involved more than five million rand. She asked how much money was involved in the 29 corruption cases. The SETAs were just mischievous in the matter of certificates. If there was a contract with the department the question was why things were not done.  It was good that the UIF had a big surplus, but beneficiaries had to get what was theirs. People were complaining that they were being sent from pillar to post without receiving UIF benefits. She asked about the total number of TVET students who received funding. There was a decrease in spite of NSFAS increases. There were figures for 2013/14. She asked about figures for 2015/16. She asked who the social worker beneficiaries were. She asked if it was auxiliary social workers who were trained, rather than professional social workers. Social workers were not placed after training and not absorbed. Treasury regulations on payment of invoices within 30 days were clear. Small businesses had to close down. With regard to municipal debt, she asked what percentage was owed by government. Government was notorious for not paying for municipal services.

The Chairperson referred to the increase of NSFAS versus the decrease in access. The NSFAS was increasing slower than the number of students. Increases in university fees had an impact on the NSFAS. The question was why universities increased fees. Government was addressing student accommodation. There was capital expenditure such as on computer laboratories. It would not do to buy a computer that would be obsolete in six months. The financial aid scheme was compromised. TVET college students had incomplete skills. He asked what had happened to the recapitalisation programme. Colleges had to be resourced better. Learners had to have access to equipment. With regard to recapitalization, it had to be asked if workshops were properly resourced, and if there were good, competent teachers. TVET training was linked to industry. There was something missing with regard to recapitalisation funding. Funds were not used optimally. Black small businesses had to be enabled to enter the economic space.

The Chairperson continued that DPME had not spoken to the 60% of jobs supposed to be set aside for youth in the infrastructure build programme. He asked if the youth were being employed by big companies as labourers, or whether youth SMMEs were taken on as suppliers, as part of skills transfer. It also spoke to the broader issue of creating decent jobs. Government had to revise the regulatory framework to facilitate inclusive economic growth and to address inequality. New regulations had to be drafted where needed. It had to be possible for SMMEs to supply to State Owned Entities (SOEs).

The Chairperson asked about the subject of discussion between government, the private sector and labour, on constraints that limited the growth of the economy. Government had said that it wanted to address red tape. The question was what progress had been made. It was not only a matter of the private sector and labour. Departments also played in the economic space. They had to play a key role in economic growth. Economic growth had to be addressed from a domestic point of view. Not much could be done about the global situation. Independent power producers provided a lot of investment. There had to be a breakdown of participants to see if what they were doing contributed to economic growth. He asked where Eskom stood with regards to independent power producers. The advance of IPPs was not to lead to illicit privatisation of Eskom. Privately produced power was bound to be more expensive. The Committee supported IPPs as a public/private venture, but it was not to lead to illicit privatisation.

The Chairperson told DPME that Members were asking that when there was evaluation, more information had to be asked for about why there was a weakness. It could be lack of capacity. Government employed a lot of general staff, but there was little space to employ qualified people who could do the real technical work. That was especially true for issues related to water. Bulk water treatment needed technical people. Departments were not performing, and did not tell DPME why. The next time it met with departments, it had to be asked if core problems had been solved. People were suspended for two years and were still paid. The question was why the disciplinary process was stalled for so long. Government agencies had to be called in. DPME could not answer on behalf of departments. Departments had to be told that problems had to be seen to be resolved within six months. It was in order for departments to fail because of doing, but not because of failing to do.

Mr Masilela noted that between six Members a total of 107 questions had been asked. DPME obtained authority by working through the Executive. Assessments were presented to five Cabinet committees on the 14 outcomes. There was strong peer reviewing, with directives to Ministries. There were briefings to Cabinet when departments did not respond. A Director General or a political leader could not be fired, but could be put on the radar screen. There were areas to strengthen.

Dr Thabo Magoane, DPME Outcome Facilitator, responded that certification was noted as a problem. Directives were issued to SETAs, but there was a problem with systems. The college systems did not speak to SETAs. A directive was issued that the problem be solved, with dates given. It was unfair to learners. The unions were stalling on ANA. There had to be negotiations on how to approach ANA. It was the only indicator of how the system was doing below matric. He agreed with the Committee about performance agreements for principals. There were many rounds of negotiation. There was the bigger problem of people in management who were also part of unions. HoDs and principals had to sign performance agreements. Teacher registers were signed but not aggregated immediately. It was not in order to pay teachers when they were not at school.  The target was for the DBE to develop a system for monitoring.  A complicated system was not necessary. There were district and circuit officials.   The DBE had to deal with the matter.

Mr Rudy Dicks, DPME Outcome Facilitator: Economy, responded that the state of the economy was difficult, also globally. The economy depended on minerals, and mineral prices were declining. Economic conditions were not much different to other developing countries. Brazil was in a similar position. The Chairperson had referred to the need to improve the domestic economy. Drought had to be dealt with. Importing more maize had an impact on inflation, which included import inflation. National Treasury had come up with measures for fiscal consolidation. The UIF collected R16 to R18 billion annually, which made a surplus possible. It was like an insurance company for those on the wrong side of insurance. The surplus would be used for investment through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). The UIF would not be ransacked. The UIF benefit would be extended from six to twelve months. There could be a payment holiday. Employers and workers both made a 1% contribution. There were discussions with Labour about UIF money in the public employment programme.

Mr Dicks continued that Operation Phakisa was directed in terms of industrial policy. A phase was directed at the oceans economy. The State directed private players into the space. The recent Phakisa was into mining. Mining was not a sunset sector. South Africa held 88% of the world’s platinum. Motor manufacturers in Japan, France, Germany and Italy were looking for alternatives to platinum for catalytic converters. They did not want to depend on South Africa for platinum. If such were found, South Africa could lose markets. South Africa was developing fuel cell technology. A hub would be created around fuel cell technology, which was a cleaner way of producing energy. Gas was put through platinum, and the only by-product was water, which could be used. There was a successful fuel cell in Johannesburg. New technologies were looked at. Existing strengths like mining were used to develop industrial capacity elsewhere. South Africa was one of the most successful producers of renewable energy power. 70 000 megawatts of renewable energy was procured, valued at R190 billion. A large part of that came into the country. There was a huge amount of investment. There were reports on SIPs, but DPME only asked about alignment. It was not known how much was implemented and approved. There would be a written reply on that. Eskom and private energy production were governed by an Integrated Resource Plan, which set objectives of what to produce, given energy production capacity. Part of the plan was to ensure that all energy producers work with each other in terms of the IRP. There had to be capability to harness energy from other sources. When the renewable energy power producing programme was introduced, the price was in excess of R2.50 per kilowatt. It was currently less than 60c. Renewable energy was getting cheaper. Bidders produced energy by means of solar and wind technologies that was cheaper than coal.

Mr Masimela added that MinComBud stood for the Ministerial Committee on the Budget. The Maternal Mortality Rate was pulled up by five provinces in the right direction, and pulled down by four. Farm recapitalisation was led by Rural Development and Land Reform. Farmers had to give a business case. A number of reports would be provided. There were Cabinet memos for the 14 outcomes. A list could be provided of government departments that owed municipalities the most. Non-payment of suppliers was dealt with by a unit in DPME. R39 million was recovered. Suppliers who had not been paid were afraid to come forward, as they thought that departments would not grant them any further business. They were reassured that they would not be victimised.

The Chairperson told DPME that it would be called back. With reference to the graph, the Committee wanted to see green go up and the yellow get shorter. (Green referred to targets achieved, exceeded or likely to be achieved). Blue had to be eliminated (blue referred to lack of data obtained), and also red.

Mr Masilela replied that blue would become red. If a department did not have data on its own performance it would no longer be blue, but red.

The Chairperson repeated that green had to go up. Very few were at the 50% level. Departments could be brought in, so that everyone could speak with one voice to say that things had to change.

Ms Shope-Sithole remarked that blue referred to the absence of data. The AG had run workshops over the preceding five years on record keeping. Departments could not claim ignorance. It was on account of criminals who did not want anybody to know what they were doing.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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