The Committee convened for consideration and adoption of the draft reports on Vote 8 (Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation), Vote 10 (Department of Public Service and Administration) and Vote 12 (Statistics South Africa).
The Committee noted with concern that it had made a request to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) requesting information which should have been submitted by Friday the previous week. However, the Committee was yet to receive the documents requested, despite having asked for them through a resolution so that the Committee could be informed and actively participate in a debate scheduled for the next day. The Committee suggested that, as a way forward, it should admonish those who were not complying with its resolutions, otherwise it would not be taken seriously. The resolution had been passed in February 2017, yet to date the Committee had been treated with disdain. It was agreed that there should be consequences where a public entity refused oversight.
The draft reports on Vote 8 and Vote 10 were adopted, with amendments for grammatical corrections. However, the Committee felt the draft report on Vote 12 (Statistics South Africa) did not really capture the essence of what it wanted to say regarding the budget cuts. It had observed with concern that the budget had been cut by 13%, which could compromise the credibility of the data being collected, resulting in potentially adverse decisions from investors who relied on the data. It was recommended that the Treasury should consider reviewing Statistics South Africa’s budget and provide a rationale for the decrease. The report was adopted with amendments
The Chairperson said the Committee was due to have had a meeting the following day with the Public Service Commission (PSC), but the Commission had communicated that it was not ready with the Bill, and had requested that the meeting be postponed to 21 June 2017.
Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Draft Report on Vote 8:
Mr Y Cassim (DA) said that last week the Committee had made a request to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) requesting information which was to be submitted by Friday the previous week. However, the Committee was yet to receive the requested documents despite having requested them through a resolution so that the Committee could be informed and actively participate in the debate scheduled for tomorrow. He inquired on the way forward for the Committee.
The Committee Secretary said that he had requested the documents and the deadline had been given, but to date the NYDA had not replied.
The Chairperson said that the Committee Secretary should follow up again on the documents.
Mr Cassim noted that, as a way forward, the Committee should admonish those who were not complying with the resolutions of the Committee or else the Committee would not be taken seriously. The resolution had been passed in February 2017, yet to date the Committee had been treated with disdain. He suggested that the office of the Chairperson take the matter up directly, just to express the Committee’s disappointment and advise that this should never happen again. There should be consequences when a public entity refuses oversight.
Ms R Lesoma (ANC) agreed and said that the entity should communicate via the ministry. She suggested that there should be a decision-tracking mechanism in order to keep track on all departments that accounted to the committee.
The Chairperson said there had been a management meeting early in the day, whereby the administration would prepare a resolution-tracking mechanism in order to enhance communication and enable committees to refer to their resolutions, and also to facilitate sanctioning for non-compliance.
Mr Cassim pointed out a typographical error in the figures on page 16 and a grammatical error relating to the duplication of words on page 18.
The Chairperson agreed with the proposed corrections and asked the Committee Secretary to make the corrections. The DPME’s reporting format should be slightly different from other departments, since they were monitoring and evaluating and should provide figures in order to indicate their performance, and not just report as a cost center.
Ms Lesoma pointed out corrections on page 21 of the report relating to items 11.8 and 11.9.
The Chairperson suggested that the committee should in future come up with more action-oriented resolutions as opposed to continuous assessments.
Mr Cassim proposed that, on page 21, under the item 10.17 relating to the National Youth Development Agency, the Committee should express its concerns over the increase in the administrative costs of the entity, since it appeared that about half of the entity’s budget was spent on administrative costs.
The Chairperson commented that in another presentation, the entity had given the impression that its staffing and administration costs had declined.
Mr Cassim said that page 14 of the report confirmed that there was an increase in the staffing costs of the entity. Despite the wage cuts in the previous years, there appeared to be a reversal in the previous trend. The entity’s mandate was to provide opportunities for the youth and it had been allocated about R500 million, yet almost half of this amount had been spent on the bureaucracy and not used for delivering their mandate. This indicated that opportunities were not being delivered to the people in the most efficient manner.
The Chairperson said that the point should be noted in the report so that it did not become the norm of the entity.
Mr Cassim said that the issue of concern was not only the staffing costs, but all other costs that related to its administrative costs.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had taken issue over the Public Servant’s Association’s (PSA’s) costs as well and therefore as a principle; the Committee should be consistent in its stance.
Ms Lesoma said that she supported all the reports, with the amendments.
Mr S Motau (DA) proposed a change in the wording on Page 19 of item 10.8, and said that as it stood, the report did not capture the true intention of the Committee.
The Chairperson proposed that such a change should be deliberated upon during the debate.
Mr M Ntombela (ANC) proposed a change in the wording on page 20, item 10.1.6, in order to give the report more accuracy.
Mr Cassim proposed that a recommendation be made under item 10.20, and oblige the NYDA to investigate how it could cut its internal costs.
The Chairperson said the Committee should come up with a recommendation obliging the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) and the DPME to set up the relevant structures in order to monitor the social problems and provide answers.
The report was adopted with amendments.
Vote 10: Department of Public Service and Administration
The Chairperson took the Members through the report, page by page.
Mr Ntombela proposed a grammatical correction on page 5.
The Chairperson noted that there were no other corrections to the report, which was adopted with amendments.
Vote 12: Statistics South Africa
The Chairperson noted that the report had not really captured the essence of what the Committee wanted to say regarding the budget cuts. The committee had observed with concern that the budget on Statistics South Africa had been cut by 13%. The budget cut may compromise the credibility of the data being collected and may extend to potentially adverse decisions from investors who relied on the data. On page 12, item 9.2, she recommended that the Treasury should consider reviewing Statistics South Africa’s budget and provide a rationale for the decrease.
Ms D van der Walt (DA pointed out that many other departments used the data.
Mr S Mncwabe (NFP) agreed with the Chairperson’s recommendation, saying that the 13% budget cut was too much.
Mr Ntombela suggested that a grammatical correction be made to the wording on page 13, paragraph 9.7, so that it could have a logical meaning.
The report was adopted with amendments
The Chairperson informed the Committee that she would be absent for the Thursday meeting due to other pressing engagements. Tomorrow, the Committee was due to have had a meeting with the Public Service Commission (PSC), but the Commission had communicated that it was not ready with the Bill, and had requested that the meeting be postponed to 21 June 2017.
The meeting was adjourned.
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