The Department of Defence and Military Veterans briefed the Committee on the information it had requested on the DMV skills audit, its consequence management, its exact number of employees, and the results of the latest Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) assessment conducted by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME).
The Committee expressed appreciation for the Department’s efforts in developing a strategy to tackle areas of weakness and concern. One area of concern was the disjuncture between the self-assessment and final scores and who did the moderation. It was explained that the incumbents did the assessment, the supervisor did the moderation and the final score was made by the DPME. Members asked if the Department had a management policy that ensured that all areas were taken care of, if the Department had an internship policy and what had been done to improve relations with the Sector Education and Training Authority. The setting up and manning of provincial offices was also of concern to Members. It was explained that provincial offices existed in the North West, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga. The 39 vacant position and the contract workers were a matter of concern because Members felt that non-permanent workers were not as committed to the organisation as permanent workers were. Members asked how the Department had reached its current state and ‘what went wrong’. The Department noted its appreciation for the oversight over its turnaround and ‘the proof of the pudding was in the eating’, so it had to get down to implementation of it plans and not rest on its laurels.
The Chairperson reported that an apology had been received from the SANMVA (South African National Military Veterans). They would not be attending this meeting as they were attending to problems being sorted out with the Minister. They would be given another meeting date.
Department of Military Veterans briefing
Mr Max Ozinsky, Acting Director-General: Department of Military Veterans commented that the meetings with the Committee really helped to get the Department to focus on key issues. He reported on the items that the Committee had identified as a dashboard of its concerns:
• DMV's recent performance on the MPAT (Management Performance Assessment Tool) by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was presented. The analysis shows the final scores for the period 2012/13 to 2015/16 as well as the department’s self-assessment scores and the challenges identified.
MPAT 2015/16 scores when compared with MPAT 2014/15 showed a regression in 8 standards, indicated in red in the report. There were 18 standards that retained the same level indicated in white and there were 9 standards that showed improvement compared to 2014/15, indicated in green in the report.
Challenges in the Strategic Management Key Performance Area (KPA) included:
- The 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan (APP) did not fully adhere to the framework for strategic plans and the APP in terms of the format;
- The Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) made findings on the reliability and usefulness of reported performance information; and
- There was non-compliance with the new standard because the Department did not use Guidelines for Planning of New Implementation Programmes to inform the design, management and/or improvement of programmes.
In the Governance and Accountability KPA, there were standards that showed improvement such as ICT and PAIA corporate governance. The areas that had regressed were Internal Audit, Risk Management and Management.
The Human Resource Management KPA showed a consistent partial compliance in most standards. Here it was found that there was no evidence indicating that DMV actively communicated and managed poor performance. Cases were also not finalised within the prescribed timeframe.
In the Financial Management KPA, the rating showed a trend of non-compliance in most of the standards with only some improvement in Acquisitions and Payment of Suppliers. Supply Chain Management remained an area of concern, as there was a continued trend of non-compliance. DMV did not have a documented policy for setting inventory levels, placing orders, receiving, inspection and issuing goods. Most importantly DMV did not have a documented process that prevented unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The MPAT recommendations were:
- Relevant KPA managers must review the scores and develop improvement plans.
- Improvement Plans will be discussed during Quarterly Review Sessions to monitor the performance and ensure adherence thereof
- The Quarterly Performance Reports will also be discussed during the MANCO meeting
- The Improvement Plans which overlap with the recommendations of TSI, will be adhered to for improvements of results
• On the skills audit, this will be conducted during December 2016 and January 2017 and report on addressing the skills audit gaps will be produced in March 2017.
• On consequence management, the DMV showed cases and steps taken against people who were found responsible for irregular and wasteful expenditure and other serious transgressions. DMV had already interacted with Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Executive Authority and clear instructions and timelines had been given to the Accounting Officer to finalise investigations and to implement consequence management.
• On the exact number of employees, Mr Ozinsky reported that DMV had 248 employees out of which 134 were permanent; 77 contract workers; 21 were interns; and 16 were on Secondment (see document).
Mr S Esau (DA) said he wanted to acknowledge and applaud DMV for actually doing a new baseline, for identifying all the issues that needed to be dealt with across the board and having clear plans in place to address the challenges. The Committee would afford the Acting DG the opportunity to build on that, to report regularly and to monitor the situation. With regard to interns there were always problems because they were there for the transfer of skills and had to be replaced when their term was completed. Perhaps their time should be extended to 18 months in terms of the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). This should be extended longer so that they stayed in the system and could be supported by other government departments. But with the broader picture in mind with the new organogram that needed to be approved by Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), some further guidance was required. Here an important investigation needed to be done which included the manning of provincial offices.
He added that the Committee was aware that there were problems in the Human Resource division over the years, but now it has been clearly defined as the skills audit was underway. There was clearly an imbalance as could be observed if one looked at administration.
Mr S Marais (DA) said that while he agreed with his colleague and complimented the report, and it seemed that the Acting DG was a new broom that swept the floor, which was fantastic. However, what has been seen so far with this department and many others was that the plans and policies were fantastic but when it came to implementation; that was where it was lacking. So the test would be whether this was actually implemented. There was a saying in Afrikaans: “papier is geduldig”. This meant that one could put anything on paper as it would not protest, but whether it got put into action was the test.
Mr Marais asked about the MPAT comparative analysis, given that one did a self-assessment and then DPME had a final score. Was the final score totally objective without any influence or impact of the self-assessment, or did the self-assessment have an influence on the final score? What one saw throughout the analysis was that there was a huge difference between the self-assessment and the DPME score. He felt that there was no objectivity or there was knowledge and skills that did not exist. He wanted to know what the influences were and how they would be addressed.
Mr Ozinsky replied that on the MPAT process and self-assessment he would say few words then hand it over to Mr Ramphele to explain it in more detail. His understanding was that the incumbents did the assessment, then the supervisor did a moderation of that and then the final score was made externally by the DPME (Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation). So the final scoring was not DMV but the DPME scoring. It was evident that there was a big disjuncture between the self-assessment and the final scoring.
Mr Moses Ramphele, DMV Director: Planning, said that Mr Ozinsky had covered what he would have wanted to say.
Mr Marais said that this was a young Department so how did this happen? This “new” term of government had been in operation for long now, and in 2012 this Department was started and then right from the beginning it was falling apart. How did this happen?
Ms N Dambuza (ANC) said she appreciated some of the matters raised in this report in terms of progress. She wanted to know what process was followed in the self-assessment, for example who did the assessment and who did the moderation.
Ms Dambuza asked what tools or mechanisms were used with regard to Strategic Management in reference to point 1.3.1 Integration of Monitoring and Evaluation in Performance. She asked if DMV had a Management Policy that ensured that all areas were taken care of.
Ms Dambuza referred to Governance and Accountability and said that she was not sure whether there was a strategy on ICT. DMV had to develop a strategy as well as a governance framework to provide guidance for whatever processes were being followed.
On Human Resources Management (HRM), Ms Dambuza asked, in terms of prioritisation of HR matters, if there was an internship policy. The Acting DG had also raised the importance of a job evaluation policy; so if those policies were done, then they should be prioritised.
Ms Dambuza said that in the area of Financial Management she wanted to appreciate point 4.2.5 on page 10 of the Report under Comparative Analysis, as this was very important because if those delegations were not done then there would be serious financial problems for DMV. Most financial problems accrued from this delegation.
Ms N Mnisi (ANC) acknowledged DMV’s plans for improvement. She asked for clarity about DMV’s efforts to improve the relationship with the SETA (Sector Education Training Authority). She asked if this had been tackled.
Ms Mnisi asked if progress had been made in setting up and populating provincial offices. This was crucial to allow military veterans to reach out to DMV all over the country.
Mr D Gamede (ANC) expressed his appreciation of the presentation. There was just one issue he wanted to stress on page 27 about the exact number of employees. DMV had to move with speed on Programme 2: Socio-Economic Support (SES) which showed 17 permanent employees. So the majority were the 39 contract workers and interns. It was understood that because contract workers were not permanent they would not perform at the standard of permanent employees. DMV had to move with speed to address this.
Mr Ozinsky replied that the points made were important. It was clear that DMV was dealing with the Human Resources as was evident from the skills audit. The job evaluation was key and would lead to a new organogram. He welcomed Mr Gamede’s comments about further analysis in Programme 2: Socio-Economic Support (SES). When one looked at the table on page 27, the key issue was first to find an interim structure where one could put in officials to strengthen the two delivery branches, in particular the SES branch. This because there were 11 benefits outlined in the Act, and it could be agreed that there were three key benefits, which were health, education and housing. If one could crack those three, then one could deal with a lot of the problems that veterans were dealing with. All three of those were in SES including the database management. This showed how crucial that branch of DMV was.
Mr Ozinsky replied that provincial offices were obviously key to service delivery because the majority of veterans should be approaching provincial offices and not having to come to Pretoria to have their concerns dealt with. At the moment there were provincial offices in the North West, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga. There was an office already identified in the Western Cape into which DMV had to move. DMV was working on getting the proper equipment in those offices. Part of the problem was that it had taken a long time for Department of Public Works to identify the offices and make them available to DMV. The External Stakeholder Management was dealing with the relationship with SANMVA and the provincial offices. This also became crucial in the process. These were all areas that DMV was trying to deal with.
Mr Honey Mathebela, DMV Director: Human Resource Management, replied on the internship programme policy, that DMV did have policies and guidelines which were in line with the Public Service Training Authority and Department of Public Service and Administration. DMV was currently busy with a proper plan for the internship programme for 2017/18.
Mr B Bongo said that he agreed with what Mr Gamede had said but added that DMV had to seriously look at the 36 vacant positions and move with speed on this matter as well.
Mr Bongo said that DMV had made a good presentation. He expressed concern about the acting positions as they create uncertainty. He felt that the efforts of DMV would yield fruit very soon.
Mr Esau said he just wanted to stress that while it was known that the key policy areas were housing, education, and health, transport was also a key policy area. This was in getting people to the different points and even to access the provincial offices. This was a very important point in the policy arena.
Mr Ozinsky thanked the Committee for all the praise but felt that it was premature because the proof was in the pudding and DMV had to get down to the implementation of what it was planning. He was sure that with his team and the discussions with the Committee, they would solve these problems. He said that it was difficult for him to deal with things that had happened before he came to DMV and he did not want to dwell too much on what had happened in the past.
The Chairperson said that the Committee expected action on the inputs made and DMV could report on its progress when next there was a meeting between the two parties.
The meeting was adjourned.
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