DPSA, DPME, National School of Government, Centre for Public Service Innovation, Public Service Commission, NYDA; Statistics South Africa 1 Quarter 2016/17 performance

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

31 August 2016
Chairperson: Ms R Lesoma (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

An Acting Chairperson was appointed to stand in for Ms B Mabe (ANC) who had been nominated as a Councillor during the last elections. Her position was to be determined by the House in due course.
First quarter performance reports were presented by the Department of Public Service & Administration, National School Government, Centre for Public Service Innovation, Public Service Commission, Department of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, Stats SA, and National Youth Development Agency. Each of these entities was asked to keep their presentations as brief as possible and to focus only on what targets had or had not been achieved, the reasons for non-achievement and what was planned to address this. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) said it had achieved 68% of its targets for the first quarter, and it also gave a breakdown of the achievements by programme. The NSG said that it had major revenue challenges in order to keep itself going and compared its budget with the larger allocations for human resources across the rest of the public service. The Centre for  Public Service Innovation had spent 19.3% of its budget in the first quarter and had achieved all its targets, although it was pointed out that it had quite a small budget overall. The Public Service Commission had spent R52.6 million against the allocated budget of 234 million, falling slightly short of the 25% target. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation noted that it had 41 targets, managed to achieve 21 and over-achieve on two, and partially achieve on six, leaving seven as not achieved. The National Youth Development Agency said that it had achieved 12 of its 29 key performance indicators and there was work in progress on others. Specifics were given on the areas of achievement, which included opening new offices, launching a Mobile App, completing its restructuring process and achieving unqualified audits. Statistics SA noted that it had a multiplicity of targets, of which it achieved 86% fully, was on track with 79% and had experienced delays on a few.

Members questioned the comments of the NSG about its lack of finances, pointing out that its spending record was not good and it should be collecting its bad debt, and wondered also when it would fulfil the ambition to train more people in the public service and be a competitive and specialist trainer.  They wondered how cost control measures had impacted on the graduate recruitment programmes and the target of getting 20 000 graduates into the public service, asked why progress reports on this had not been delivered to the Committee, and asked several entities how they were dealing with interns and whether they were being employed permanently. Members also asked about the training of the new councillors, and when feedback was likely to be given. The Public Service Commission was asked about the filling of vacancies, and questioned why there seemed to be a need to fix the financial matters in the Department of Public Service and Administration, which should be taking the lead in sound financial management. One Member asked that the DPSA must make a full presentation on what exactly was happening in the whole public service, and was worried that there appeared to be too much fragmentation, and not e4nough consistently good use of money. The problem of queues did not appear to have been addressed, despite consultants being paid large sums to come up with models, and fiscal dumping at year end was still a problem. The CPSI was asked how it would identify issues and whether it took a proactive or reactive approach to coming up with solutions. Members also wanted more detail on the Thusong Centres and whether there had been improvements in the efficiency of disciplinary cases.

Members asked the NYDA to clarify how it worked with stakeholders. The DPSA was asked to explain its loss of staff. More information was requested from StatsSA on how digital information was going to assist with job creation, and whether DPSA was able to check the quality of statistics being produced by other departments so as to ensure that there was no political manipulation.

The Members briefly discussed the process for filling vacancies on the Public Service Commission and a report back would be made at the next meeting.
 

Meeting report

Election Acting Chairperson, position of Committee Chairperson
The Committee Secretary said that the Committee Chairperson, Ms Mabe, had submitted an apology. She called upon Members to elect an Acting Chairperson.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) was unanimously elected. She took the Chair and formally read out apologies from Ms B Mabe (ANC), Minister in the Presidency Mr Jeff Radebe and Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Mr Buti Manamela.

Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA), sought clarity on the position of Ms Mabe, since she had been elected as a Councillor during the Local Government elections. It was not possible, he thought to be a member of two spheres of government simultaneously.

Ms Z Dlamini-Dubazana (ANC) said that the Committee was not informed on the legal background but the Committed could not speak to the position of Ms Mabe. She noted that the House had taken a decision to look into the matter and she thought it unnecessary to raise it in this meeting.

The Acting Chairperson said that it was appropriate to refer the matter to the House to respond and due processes will follow.

Mr S Motau (DA) said that what happened in the House happened in the House, but the Chairperson was the Chair of this Committee, and he did not believe that his colleague had been out of order in raising this in the Committee so that the matter was on record.

The Acting Chairperson said that there had already been an explanation, that the matter was raised in the House. She thought Members had understood the way forward.

The Acting Chairperson took Members briefly through the agenda and asked that the presenters focus on the areas where their entity did not achieve, also give reasons why, and what the entity intended to do in that area, and also cover the financial matters. She reminded Members that this meeting would address the first quarter 2016/17 results only.

First Quarter reports 2016/17
Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) briefing

Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, Director General: Department of Public Service and Administration, noted that the presentation set out the performance on all targets set for the 2016/17 year, but he would not, in his verbal presentation, cover those targets which had been achieved.

The overall performance of DPSA for the first quarter is 68% achievement. Out of 38 targets, 26 were achieved and 12 were not achieved. In Programme 1: Administration, 80% of targets were achieved and 20% were not. It was obviously not possible for the DPSA to submit financial achievements in the first month of the financial year therefore it was recorded as “not achieved”. They would be submitted on 31 July.

After the passing of the Public Administration and Management Act, the focus was on development regulations that will support the implementation of the Act. The DPSA was now focusing on the Regulations dealing with prohibition of public servants from doing business with the state.

Under Programme 2: Policy Research Analysis, the overall performance targets achieved amounted to 83%. Under Programme 3: Labour and Human Resource Management there had been a 50% achievement of the targets.  

National School of Government (NSG) briefing
Mr Richard Levin, Principal, National School of Government, said that the NSG recognised the reality of the competition it faced in the market in regard to the provision of the public service training and development programme. The NSG had a potential target audience of R1.2 million public servants. In terms of allocation of the training budgets across the national and provincial departments, he reported that at national level, over R2 billion is allocated for Human Resource Development and in the provincial administration has about 891 million allocated. The allocation to the NSG is R55 million. NSG faces challenges in this financial year in terms of the revenue it will require to keep the organisation going, and he repeated that it had only been allocated R55 million, which was a very small slice when compared to an HRD budget across the whole public service of R3 billion. 

The Acting Chairperson interrupted to ask Mr Levin please to focus on the targets achieved, and the financial spending patterns. The NSG should indicate what it intended to do in the future.

Mr Levin said that the NSG had managed to sign the memorandum of understanding with South African Local Government Association (SALGA) for the implementation of an Integrated Councillor Induction programme. The NSG has an international partnership with China. The AU has allocated NSG 10 million Euro for Public Service training and capacity building. There had been development of a Performance Management course and a course on Policy Procedure for Retirement which is done online.

Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI)
Ms Thuli Radebe, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI, noted that the CPSI had managed to achieve all its targets in this quarter. The CPSI was able to identify innovative solutions through the Awards Programme across the country. The first programme, Blood Saving Lives, is an initiative from a hospital in Pietermaritzburg where blood is used efficiently. It has saved about 17 million lives since 2013 in this hospital and the CPSI has taken this programme to Gauteng Province. The other innovative solution is the Cataract Programme which enables the surgeons to double the number of eye surgeries.

The CPSI has implemented alarm systems in 600 household in Diepsloot to reduce crime. It is negotiating with South African Police Service (SAPS) to roll out this alarm system across the country. 

Ms Annette Snyman, Chief Financial Officer, CPSI, said the total spending target for CPSI is 19.3% in the first quarter. Expenditure is R6.2 million out of R26 million budgeted: with Programme 1 having spent 21.34%, and Programme 2 showing 17.38% spending. It was less than R1 million. The compensation of the employees figure for spending was 22.2%.

Public Service Commission (PSC) briefing
Ms Lulu Sizani, Commissioner, PSC, announced that Dr Dovhani Mamphiswana was appointed as Director General in June 2016.

Dr Dovhani Mamphiswana, Director General, PSC, firstly set out the figures. In Programme 1, R22 million was spent. The overall spending for the first quarter was R52.6 million, against the allocated budget of R234 million (22.5%) and the PSC generally budgeted for 25% spending in each quarter. With regard to the immovable property, he noted that there were other entities also that do not have permanent office accommodation   

Discussion
The Acting Chairperson asked the Members to engage on the first quarter presentations of those entities who had already presented.

Mr Motau asked questions of the NSG. He noted its comment that there were some money problems. He wanted to know how the NSG will address their financial problems. He also noted that given the recent Municipal Elections, there would be new Councillors who needed to be trained, and he asked how this training would be arranged within a reasonable time.  He also noted that the organization had a problem of debt collection from the municipalities who cannot afford to pay, and thus asked how the NSG was intending to get its payments owed from these municipalities, of  R31 million.

Mr van der Westhuizen asked whether the cost-control measures of the National Treasury had made an impact on the Public Services Graduate Recruitment Programme. He felt that the DPSA was not targeting the real problem of unemployment and getting young people to enter the public service, and so he asked specifically what the DPSA has done to reach its aim to recruit 20 000 graduates to the Public Service and how many of those who are being employed are there as part of the targeted programme.

Mr van der Westhuizen noted to the NSG that according to statistics less than half of the new appointees have got an opportunity to enter into a compulsory induction programme, and he thought that was quite shocking when taking into account the spending. The spending on this training programme was R3 million but it was still stretched apparently to meet the training needs of the public service. He wanted to know how the NSG was intending to become a significant training player, to cut the R3 million spend. He also wanted to know why 25% of it programmes were not accredited by South African Qualification Authority. 

Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) asked the DPSA why its report on the 20 000 graduate target was being delayed. She asked whether is possible to get that record so that the training can commence.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked the NSG why there was a zero amount shown in the Public Inspector Organisation line item, and wanted to know more about the commitment for the current financial year 2016/17.

Mr M Ntombela (ANC) asked about the training of councillors and wanted to know in what areas this training would be concentrating or focusing, and when the training should be completed, so that the NSG would then be able to assess it from the feedback, which should take place shortly afterwards.

Mr Ntombela told the PSC that he was concerned that although eight  vacancies were advertised  only one vacancy was filled, and he furthermore wanted to know what strategy the PSC would be using to address that issue.

Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) raised concerns on the financial statements of the DPSA. He had heard the Director General saying that the initial plans were to fix the financial matters in the Department, but that to him raised a number of other questions. Sound financial management is at the heart of the Public Service.

Mr Hlengwa also wanted to know more about the PSC vacancies, saying that when they were not filled, this raised doubts in the people who applied.

Mr Hlengwa asked the DPSA to explain more on the workshop that was supposed to have been held at the end of August 2016.

Ms Dlamini-Dubazana said she did not have questions as such but she would like to make some recommendations. Likening the public service to an extended traditional family, she noted that the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Mr Ngoako Ramatlhodi, should bear responsibility and take the praise for whatever happened in that Department. She requested that the DPSA return within the next three weeks to make a full presentation to the Committee on what exactly was happening across the whole public service and indeed the Department itself. There should not be fragmentation. She illustrated this further by saying that a comparison of the budgets also should be presented. For instance, the CPSI had reached its first quarter targets. However, the amount allocated to it was R32 million, so that in the first quarter CPSI should only be spending R10.6 million. However, the same pattern of good use of money was not apparent in other parts of the the DPSA. The DPSA itself should have spent R115 million. The NSG should have spent R7.3 million, but had not even done that yet it was complaining. In the PSC the problem was even worse because of fragmentation.

She added that the job of the Government Information Officer was to monitor the implementation of technology in the departments. However, there were still substantial queues in hospitals, in the offices of Home Affairs and traffic departments. Government employed experts to come up with models to reduce and get rid of these queues, and yet the departments and entities still did not know how to utilise the money given to them, and at the end of the financial year the Deputy Director Generals in charge of programmes would suddenly start to spend. There was something seriously wrong with that. For this reason, she would like the Minister and Deputy Minister in about the middle of September, to come and tell the Committee how far exactly the public service was, with the management of finance, cutting out duplication, promoting effectiveness and so on. The Minister and Deputy Minister were of course the political heads. That raised the question whether there might be lack of skills in the administrative heads.

Mr Ntombela asked the CPSI how the various departments identified problems to the CPSI, so that the CPSI in turn could offer innovative solutions. There were quite a number of departments who still had problems that needed to be attended to.

Mr Hlengwa said that he wanted to know more about the organisational development of the public sector. Training had been postponed to the end of August. He thought that before deciding to change the Annual Performance Plan, it was necessary first to see whether the change proposed would in fact be achievable.

The Acting Chairperson responded to Mr Hlengwa by saying the Director General would be asked to cover that point when he responded to all questions later.

The Acting Chairperson asked what approach the NSG took to debt collection and whether it was intending to write off any debts. She would not recommend that it follow that route. It was other branches of government who owed the NSG and she would like to see it insisting on getting payment. She asked how far the DPSA was in rationalising the models of the Thusong Centres, and if there was no shift in the targets, then this suggested that there were only Thusong Centres in theory but not in models. On Human Resources Management, she wanted to know whether the DPSA had managed to improve on the disciplinary cases or if there were any challenges, and pointed out that money was wasted if disciplinary cases were prolonged.  She urged DPSA to speed up the Public Service Graduate Recruitment Scheme because it is an opportunity for Government to assist the unemployed graduates.

Mr Diphofa, DPSA, firstly responded to questions about the impact of cross cutting measures on the Graduate Recruitment Scheme. There were two processes at the moment; one was a project to develop a model for the Graduate Recruitment Scheme in the Public Service, through which the DPSA was doing research.  It would be looking at different options and would take them to the Cabinet to approve them. The cross cutting measures do not impact on this project since DPSA is able to continue with the work. However, this project must be distinguished from the ongoing work encouraging departments to bring the interns on board. The DPSA has a  target of 27 for the public services broadly, and in the DPSA itself it was targeting between 25 and 30 of the interns each year, to bring on board. Interns spent 12 months with the Department and some of them would then be employed by the Department permanently, some on contract, and others might move across into other departments. Last year the DPSA appointed five. This was something that was continuing on an ongoing basis.

He then commented on the delayed report, and said that the recruitment process happens throughout the year. The data in the first quarter of the year would not give a particularly useful picture on progress towards the 20  000 target overall.

Mr Diphofa assured Members that for the last two years there had been good reports on these figures. Since this scheme had been introduced the DPSA had appointed about 50 000 interns.

Mr Diphofa noted Mr Hlengwa's concerns but he said that the issue was not so much about planning or financial management but related to the month in which the money was reflected. The money would be reflected in July, but this report that was being presented was for the first quarter of the year.

He commented that the DPSA workshops were running in more departments. The Thusong Centre targets were not moving targets, and two pieces of work had been completed. Geographic Studies work looked at the location of the Thusong Centres within the country, in order to come up with recommendations on where exactly they should be and what should be taken into consideration. The institutional model of the Thusong Centre dealt with two critical issues. The first considered who should be the overall coordinating body at national level. The second dealt with the financial model. The studies had been completed and the DPSA have submitted the studies to a Cabinet Committee. The institutional model involved several ministries; Public Works, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Public Service and Administration, so there would be further consultation by the ministers, then implementation.

Mr Diphofa said that he could comment on the appointment of staff. As part of the cost containment measures, different departments were doing different things. In some instances a department could fill a post now, whereas other departments might be able to do so only after a few months, and others might decide to close the post completely. It was expected that as the departments moved into October they might get some extra money. DPSA was concerned to try to help departments as much as possible because the money would not be available after 2017.

Mr Levin spoke to the issues raised about the NSG, and said that through the partnerships between NSG and SALGA and the Local Government Sector and Training Authority (LGSETA), the NSG was likely to attract more revenue, which could be fed through to the local government programme. The NSG had already trained 312 trainers who were ready to go out into the field. It had been agreed with SALGA that the framework would consist of four levels of training. Level 1 was the basic induction programme and that would be rolled out soon. Level 2 would be six months in office, with the idea of having portfolio-based training to be signed off by the Mayoral Committee and Oversight Committee. Level 3 focused on the Municipal Finance Management Act, and that must be attained within 18 months. Level 3 was the Credit Bureau Qualification, again to be achieved within 18 months of assuming the office. There was a major focus on putting people first, good governance, service delivery and sound financial management.

Mr Levin told Mr van der Westhuizen that the NSG had developed an initiative from banks to run a five day programme on Breaking the Barriers to Entry, and that would help graduates to understand the public sector. The main problem was in funding, NSG was working in on the initiative at Langa and if this initiative succeeded the Department is likely to run the whole year's target programme. It would, however, need funding

Ms Sizani said that Mr Diphofa had explained questions around appointment of staff but agreed that the PSC needed to look at utilising human resources effectively.

Ms Radebe firstly addressed the question on how the CPSI would identify the service delivery issues, and said that the departments would bring the problems to the CPSI. The Department of Trade and Industry, for instance, had approached the CPSI asking it to come up with a performance management system for 27 entities that reported to that department. Department of Water Affairs was another. The queue management system was a bigger problem but the CPSI had identified that another even bigger problem was the referrals system between clinics and hospitals. It was looking for a solution with the Innovation Hub. In terms of the budget, she agreed that it had to be split for some spending in each quarter, but the targets also would determine how fast it was possible to spend. Her organisation spent a lot of time looking for funding, but now, with the help of the DPSA, it had acquired Canadian funding of over R50 billion, over the next four years.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the entities and requested that Mr Diphofa should take the Committee through the regulations, medical scheme and housing subsidy at a later stage.

Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) briefing
Mr Clement Madale, Head: Office of the Director General, DPME, said that this Department was currently on a strategy review process into the organisational structure. The Department also worked closely with National Treasury to ensure that the budgets of entities do support and actually achieve the implementation of the National Development Plan. The overall performance of the Department was that out of 41 targets, it had exceeded seven targets and achieved 21 targets. Six targets were partially achieved and seven were not achieved.

Mr Pieter Pretorius, Chief Financial Officer, DPME, presented the financial performance of the Department. He firstly presented the budget and expenditure, broken down by economic classification, and said that in the first quarter, programme spending was 96% and goods and services spending was 93%. In the Administration Programme there had been 99% spending, Outcomes Monitoring achieved 87%, Institution Performance Monitoring achieved 80% and in the Planning Unit, over 100% was spent. The Department spent more or less 30% in the first quarter of the overall budget.

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) briefing
The Acting Chairperson announced the apology from the Chief Executive Officer of the NYDA.

Ms Juliet Tshoke, Executive Director: Corporate Strategy, NYDA, noted that in the financial year, the NYDA had 29 key performance indicators. Twelve of those were achieved during the first quarter, and five were not yet achieved. NYDA was able to open offices at Thulamela Locality, in Vaal Bank and other municipalities. It launched partnerships with SABMiller, for the Kick Start business campaign; it launched Container Project with Channel O, and opened the Collins Chabane Youth School in Pietermaritzburg.

The restructuring processes of the NYDA were now complete. The NYDA had achieved a clean audit opinion for the 2015 and 2016 financial years. NYDA would be launching a Mobile Application. It was planning a Rural and Forestry Furniture Making programme. It will roll out free Wi-Fi across its branch offices and have a NYDA Job Data Base programme. In the area of economic participation, there are four targets that were not achieved because employees were moved to new roles and needed to be trained for those roles.
 
Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) briefing
Dr Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, Stats SA, said that StatsSA had had some difficulty in how exactly to present its 814 targets for the first quarter, but had managed to summarise this. The organisation received a clean audit. Stats SA had done a Citizen Satisfaction Survey in KwaZulu Natal and it planned to run this nationally. A Gross Domestic Products Survey was delivered in June 2016, on both the expenditure side and production side. In summary, out of 814 targets, Stats SA had achieved 79% that were on track, 86% were achieved, and the small remainder were in the offing but there had been delays.

Discussion
The Acting Chairperson said that the Members had not received the presentation documents from StatsSA prior to the meeting and reminded all presenters that it was necessary to send through the information well in advance.

Ms Dlamini-Dubazana said her focus will be on Stats SA, commended it on the clarity of the presentation and for achieving a clean audit. However, she felt that there had actually been some regression. She said that Mr Lehohla knows very well how much effort the Committee had put in to get certain tasks to do with GDP from the hands of the Governor, but the Committee was very disappointed to see that StatsSA was not going to be able to continue with the task, which suggested that StatsSA was essentially going back to square one. She  suggested that Minister Jeff Radebe  be invited because he had been delegated with the serious task of monitoring and evaluating all departments, and this was happening while they were under his control. Poor coordination of policies created too many problems. There was information and money available, and she wondered if the fact that there was such lack of coordination was deliberate. She asked whether Mr Lehohla presented the information to the Cabinet and if so, what its response had been. She asked  what is going to happen to Statistics SA when is not handling these issues.

Mr Hlengwa wanted clarity on what NYDA meant when it said it wanted to “load key stakeholders to support the development programme. He asked for more detail on the 15 August meeting with partners and the Quarter One meeting. He was worried that the NYDA always seemed to be presenting round figure targets, and said that the Committee had tried for some time to get specific figures. He asked for more detail on who the people mentioned in the presentations were.

Mr Motau said that nine employees of the DPME had left the entity. He asked whether DPME knew why these people had left and what levels or position they held

Ms V Mente (EFF), was pleased to see that Stats SA had achieved targets. She asked for more detail on how digital information was going to contribute to job creation, and how each of the entities had achieved on job creation themselves.

Mr van der Westhuizen asked how far the NYDA was with the restructuring. It had given the impression that the cash flow was now normalised. He asked if there had been cost saving as a result of this restructuring.

The Acting Chairperson wanted to know from Stats SA whether other departments were using the Stats SA survey. She commented that Ms Mente's question also went to educational issues and how the nation was managing to move with the times. She wanted to know more about the results that were gained from isolated surveys, and said that there could be some element of manipulation in terms of the quality output of the surveys, and asked DPME to explain who oversaw the quality of statistics, and whether they were affected by political factors.

Ms Tshoke answered that NYDA has limited funding therefore it was very important for it to form partnerships with public, private and civil society in order to further development. In the public sector there were local and municipal levels, and municipalities usually had a budget for the technical skills programme. NYDA assisted the municipalities with products and services they can implement. It also worked with Local Municipalities to establish the youth offices, to give young people access to information and government opportunities. In terms of national and provincial government levels, NYDA signed an agreement with Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) who would provide funding for entrepreneurs, and they also funded the vouchers for a business plan. NYDA recently signed agreements with the sector education and training authority, which had allowed it to employ 200 new interns.

She conceded that the NYDA had to accept that it must take the blame for the lower number of partnerships that it had formed. She said that the restructuring is complete and by December this year all employees will take on new positions, for which they still need to be trained. The focus in the coming year was to  promote the culture of discipline and of good customer service within the organisation. Young people will be experiencing higher levels of customer services at the public offices of NYDA. In terms of real time savings, NYDA had managed to reduce the salary bill by R34 million, or R44 million when taking inflation into account, and that money saved had now been directed to  project work of the NYDA.

Mr Madale noted that the employees leaving the DPME was largely due to them, mostly at lower level, moving to promotions and more senior positions elsewhere. DPME relies on the Stats SA to have correct data and it cannot monitor Stats SA output because this organisation was an expert in its own field.

The Acting Chairperson said that she was not referring to data from Stats SA itself, but data that was provided by other departments such as Home Affairs, Eastern Cape Provincial Government and others. She reiterated that she was worried about the possible manipulation of the data from these Departments. She also thought it would be useful for the Committee to be able to discuss this issue with the Minister in the Presidency.

Dr Lehohla said that in 2007 Stats SA had conducted a community survey on 300 000 households and spent R690 million. In 2016 it was supposed to spend R500 million on the survey but managed to spend R350 million and cover 1.5 million houses. The organisation had been conscious about and careful with cost reductions. He pointed out that it was important that nothing that StatsSA was doing or not doing should compromise its independence and ability. When there is new information in which it needs to invest it is important that StatsSA should not have to scramble for funding, so it uses money effectively to ensure that it can fund where needed. Back in 2001, all government entities, like the Post Office and even StatsSA wasted a lot of money. It was not so much a question of what money was available but the way in which entities dealt with things. Everybody would be looking to the country headlines on GDP on 6 September. Within the GDP calculations, there were 10 industries and 300 sectors. It was important to look at the lists of products taken from certain areas and used elsewhere when doing the planning. Without enough money, every department would suffer.

Dr Lehohla said that he was concerned about jobs, but StatsSA had to use internet resources. If this helped communities to understand the data, it would empower them. Not everything at the Department of Home Affairs was digital, and indeed not everything had to be digitised in order to be efficient – for instance, pensions were not. It was very important to present statistics to communities. When canvassing in the municipal elections, everyone was speaking to housing, water, sanitation and unemployment. Unemployment is the key driver of poverty levels, and the data shows that unemployment is growing at a level dangerously close to tipping point. He explained this by saying that between 2001 and 2010, unemployment grew from 33% to 40%. Between 2010 and 2016 it had grown from 40% to 52%. To this 52% was added another 11 years for years of schooling, which reached a figure of 63%. He maintained that investing in schooling at the right levels could be the solution to unemployment, but education was not one of the key points raised by those canvassing votes. He summarised that StatsSA had a report on how the public service could run, with clean governance, and delivering on time, and that would be what StatsSA essentially stood for. The key to poverty is to invest in years of schooling. Statistician General said that they have a report on how Public Service can run clean Governance and deliver on time and that is what Starts SA stands for.

The Acting Chairperson would have liked DPSA to be present when StatsSA briefed the Committee, because the DPSA was the principal department that dealt with attitude and workforce that was keeping the country alive. She reminded Dr Lehohla that the Committee was still waiting for two matters and she remarked that the Committee owed StatsSA a half-day workshop and extended Joint Committee meeting.

The Acting Chairperson reminded DPME that it was expected still to furnish a report on issues raised last year.

She asked NYDA to email the locations of the new offices through to the Committee.

Public Service Commission vacancies
The Acting Chairperson reminded the Committee that it must discuss the appointment of new commissioners to the PSC. The contract of two Commissioners had ended and the contract of Ms Lulu Sizani was due to expire in October 2016. The Committee would be given permission to fill the vacancies three months prior to the expiry of the contracts. The Public Service Act did not actually specify how to implement a renewal of a contract.

The Committee Secretary said that in the past, the Committee had never done a straight renewal, but had advertised. The legal opinion obtained from the Parliamentary Legal Services had put forward two options – the first, to follow the route it had followed in the past and have open advertisements, and the second to use section 196 of the Constitution, which permits the renewal of the term of Public Service Commissioner.

Mr Motau asked if the draft advertisement had already been sent out. He would prefer to move for a renewal, and Mr Hlengwa seconded that motion.

The Committee Secretary confirmed that the advertisement used standard wording, as used in the past, and noted that the Committee had not met with the commissioners.

Mr S Motau suggested changing paragraph two, under “requirements”. It merely said that the candidate must demonstrate integrity, but the Committee should define what level of integrity it was expecting.

Mr Hlengwa said the advertisement would need to be checked for consistency before being published.

Ms Dlamini Dubazana asked how one could measure the level of integrity.

Mr Motau said that people have high morals and low morals.

The Acting Chairperson noted that the Committee Secretary could get an instruction to tidy up the advertisements, using the kind of language that was standard in Parliament.
Ms Mente asked when the advertisement would be sent out; pointing out that people needed sufficient time to reply, prior to the closing date of 16 September. She also pointed out that the advertisement was still naming Ms Mabe as Chairperson, and she thought that she was no longer an MP in the National Assembly.

The Acting Chairperson said this issue had been discussed earlier, but agreed that the wording would then need to change. She requested Members to nominate an interview panel, on the basis of their political parties, and said that a timeline should be presented to the Committee in the following week.

Mr van der Westhuizen reminded the Committee that Parliament would be in recess from 23 September to 13 October, and if a two week application date was given the Committee would not be able to hold interviews.

The Acting Chairperson said that the Committee Secretary would present a suggested timeline and reminded Members that it was possible to get permission for the Committee to deal with matters in the recess.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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