The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) made a presentation to the Committee on the integration of the Medium Term Strategic Framework into the government departments’ standard planning processes. The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was also encouraged to contribute to the discussion, to ensure cohesion and to suggest possible solutions to points raised in response to the presentation.
The PBO’s report was initially based on the issues raised in the findings, and the team had then done an analysis of the budget and the medium term strategic framework (MTSF), and from the alignment analysis, Treasury had already made a few changes in 2016 and 2017 in terms of their functional grouping analysis outcomes. The team had looked at the reporting systems of government, which were also linked to the Committees’ plans to do oversights. The next step was the alignment of the budget for the MTSF, and at this stage, the team was trying to determine whether Committees would be able to perform oversight, because this was done per department, not per outcome.
A key issue identified was that many performance indicators that were not included in the departments’ annual performance plans (APPs). The Committee asked the PBO to assist the Committee in understanding how these omissions were possible, and questioned whether there was a mandate that instructed a different emphasis of focus or not. They asked the PBO to share their understanding on the matter of omissions, and why some indicators were left out and not included in the APPs.
Members were seriously concerned with ensuring accelerated progress on the MTSF and the NDP. The non-alignment of the APPs and the MTSF indicators was regarded as being a serious concern. It was important that even in their planning, departments planned in a progressive manner for the MTSF because if they reviewed it, it would give them an opportunity to assess their progress, and how they intended taking forward the risks into the next financial year.
The Chairperson said that all indicators, with no exception, were meant to be implemented in the MTSF period, and warned that if this was not effected, it meant that the Committee itself was actively undermining its own NDP’s developmental and transformational objectives, which would be unacceptable. She agreed that perhaps the DPME did require assistance from legislation so that when certain recommendations were made, they were binding in effect, and that the Department should consequently be able to apply corrective measures for those who failed to cooperate in this regard. She echoed the thoughts of Members, in that they felt there should be a change in attitude among civil servants, and that they ought to do what they were in a position to do.
Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) Report Presentation
Prof Mohammed Jahed, Director: Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) gave a short introduction to the presentation, and introduced Ms Nelia Orlandi, Policy Analyst, and Dr Mmapula Sekatane, Senior Policy Analyst.
Ms Orlandi introduced the report, and highlighted the motivations behind its compilation. She explained the methods used by the PBO to reach the findings included in the report.
She introduced and guided the Committee through the presentation’s headings, which covered the oversight role of Parliament, the analysis and assessments undertaken by the PBO, the background to the NDP, and its methodology and findings for Outcome 1 (Quality basic education), Outcome 2 (A long and healthy life for all South Africans), and Outcome 3 (All people in South Africa are and feel safe).
Ms Orlandi said the report was initially based on the issues raised in the findings, and the team was yet to determine all other analysis. The team had then done an analysis of the budget and the medium term strategic framework (MTSF), and with the alignment analysis that they did, the Treasury had already made a few changes in 2016 and 2017 in terms of their functional grouping analysis outcomes. The team had looked at the reporting systems of government, which were also linked to the Committees’ plans to do oversights. The next step was the alignment of the budget for the MTSF, and at this stage, the team was trying to determine whether Committees would be able to perform oversight, because this was done per department, not per outcome.
The MTSF basically provided the five-year plan, and this was based on intergovernmental relations. It was categorised in three or four departments that had to contribute to the indicators and the outcomes of the MTSF, but with the MTSF at the moment, the link between the provincial and local government levels was not necessarily obvious, and this was a factor to take into consideration for the purposes of making an impact in terms of the implementation.
The National Development Plan (NDP) required that all levels of government were based on the NDP, and the incorporation of its objectives into the existing activities of departments would definitely ensure funding and reporting. At this stage, reporting was regarded as very important to the PBO and the Committee because without this, there was an absence of effective tracking of progress in terms of implementing indicators.
Ms Orlandi regarded it important to mention a strategy of listing all performance indicators per outcome, and then trying to find those indicators in the APPs and in all quarterly performance reports. In the same analysis, they could also determine when the outcomes and objectives of the APP aligned to the programme purposes which were important for implementation, because it was a mandate of the programme. She held that if the purpose did not allow for the implementation, then it would be illegal to do activities within that programme.
With regard to the findings for Outcome 1 (quality basic education) the team had tried to quantify all the findings of the report. There were 40 indicators for Outcome 1, but they could find only 10 of these indicators in APP.
In respect of the findings for Outcome 2 (a long and healthy life for all South Africans), 77 indicators were reflected from the MTSF, of which only 36 could be found. The Department of Health was mainly responsible purpose for these indicators, as they were responsible for 75. This was the same with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) in terms of broadband. The South African Police Service (SAPS), who were responsible for a reduction in the death rate, had a small stake, while the respective Departments of Higher Education, Transport, Justice, and Correctional Services all just had supporting roles within Outcome 2.
Regarding the findings for Outcome 3 (All people in South Africa are and feel safe), the
team regarded this as a very difficult outcome to analyse, because it had been updated. They had found that when they researched the outcome, there was an updated one dated January 2017 where an analysis had already been carried out, but ultimately it had had to be compiled from scratch. There were 93 MTSF indicators that they could find. Nine departments were responsible for activities in this outcome:
- Police services were responsible for 36 indicators, they could find 28 in the APP.
- The Department of Justice & Correction and Constitutional Development was responsible for 21, and they found 10 indicators.
- Home Affairs were responsible for seven, and they had found four indicators.
- The Department of Defence had all three indicators in the APP.
- The Department of Correctional Services also had all three indicators.
- The Department of Public Service and Administration was responsible for two, and one indicator was found in terms of the reduction of corruption.
- The Presidency was responsible for two indicators, also in terms of the reduction in corruption in the public sector.
- One of the bigger players was the State Security Agency (SSA), which was responsible for 10 of the performance indicators, but they could not find an APP for the Agency. Parliament had not received an APP in this regard, it could not be found on the website, and they had failed in their quest to attain it. The State Security Agency was responsible for a secure cyber space, and the reduction of corruption in the private and public sector.
Dr Sekatane presented on the findings for Outcome 4 (Decent employment through inclusive economic growth), and said that when one compared the performance indicators in the MTSF with those presented in the APPs, they had found that they were 58 MTSF indicators, and only 21 were captured in the APP. There were 10 departments responsible for this outcome, together with other supporting departments.
In terms of the comparison, one of the findings was that especially in terms of the infrastructure programme, the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) was indicated as the responsible institutional or departmental body, but they could not trace an APP for it. The team had checked under economic development, which was the coordinating department for PICC, and for that particular indicator in this outcome, they were not found in the APP. They had found that the PICC had six performance indicators that they were responsible for, but only one appeared in their APP.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the DTPS were responsible for some performance indicators there too. All the indictors were captured in their APPs, and all appeared as indicated in the MTSF. With regard to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), the performance indicators were not included in its APP. The Department of Public Works (DPW) were responsible for sub-outcome 9, and their performance indicators were not found in their APP.
What the team found was that sometimes departments would indicate performance indicators from the MTSF as a priority, before they came to the indicators. However, the team reiterated that they needed to become measurable, and had to appear as performance indicators. The departments could indicate it as a strategic objective, or as a priority, but questioned how they measure it. Looking at the measurability of performance indicators, in some instances they were not appearing as performance indicators, but rather as a priority.
Performance indicators for the DPW were not represented in their APP. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) was responsible for sub-outcome 10, with three performance indicators, but these were not in their APP.
In terms of this the Department of Higher Education was responsible for Outcome 5: (A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path). Deemed ‘a responsible’ department, with 44 indicators out of 50, only three of them appeared in their APP. The DST was responsible for five, and all five appeared in their APP, which meant they were also recorded on a quarterly basis. The DTPS had one performance indicator which required recording on an annual basis, so it was not appearing in their APP.
Looking at Outcome 4, the team’s comparison indicated that programme brackets were now ready for the integration of the sub-outcomes into the APPs of the contributing departments. The objectives of the MTSF sub-outcomes were only indicated as a priority in other departments in the APPs of the DHET and the DTPS, but then they were not measurable because they did not appear as performance indicators.
In summary, between 16% and 62% of the MTSF performance indicators appeared in the APPs. A comparison between the MTSF and the purpose of the budgeted projects showed that only a few programmes needed to be reviewed to ensure the integration and incorporation of the MTSF performance indicators, and the remaining outcomes would be used to analyse, using the 2017/2018 quarterly performance reviews and APPs. What the PBO had come to find was that in some instances when 2017/2018 was taken into consideration, there had also been a correction made so that they were able to capture some of the performance indicators which had not been captured in the previous quarterly review.
The next step in the NDP analysis was to focus on the challenges to achieve the impact of outcome indicators.
Dr Sekatane rounded off the presentation with a brief explanation that departments came to Parliament to present their APPs, and that this exercise needed to be done at that stage. When they presented their APP, they needed to make sure that performance indicators were captured there, so they may work ahead of time.
As mentioned in the introduction to the presentation by Prof M Jahed, it was stated that what was important to the PBO was to ensure that departments were taking the NDP into cognisance. The Office was concerned with a number of considerations, such as how the NDP was being implemented, and how from the PBO’s side -- as they operated from the legislation -- they worked within a committee system. How did committees ensure oversight over departments to ensure that NDP targets and outcomes were taken into cognisance, as well the implementation? This was the function of the PBO in this instance.
It was cautioned that while there were percentages used in the presentation, it did not necessarily mean that targets were not being achieved, or that departments were not moving ahead in terms of the NDP. It was rather an indication of the progress that was being made with the NDP specifically.
Another issue of importance was the alignment of NDP to the MTSF and performance indicators, with particular attention as to how these different aspects played themselves out, especially with achievement of the implementation of the NDP. Another area of focus was on how committees, for example, ensured that these indicators were taken cognisance of .
It was pointed out that the PBO’s analysis focused on the past, and what had been done. In a prospective sense, it was questioned how committees were going to take the information of the past into cognisance, in order to ensure that they were able to hold departments and the executive accountable for achievement of the NDP targets.
Strategy implementation was regarded as important. Evaluation, and providing committees with the insight and the information to hold the executive accountable, was regarded as crucial in the entire process going forth.
It was mentioned that the Committee had been asked by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council Of Provinces (NCOP) to focus specifically on the NDP for this session.
The PBO highlighted that their next step of progression would be to measure the impact in terms of the NDP.
When the floor was opened up to the Committee and the DPME to interrogate the findings of the PBO’s report, the Chairperson began the discussion by raising a point on a remark once made by the then Director General of the DHET, who had stated that ‘there was no budget for this NDP’. She argued that perhaps what was not further mentioned in that statement was that departments were given an opportunity to use the budgets that they had in the implementation of the NDP.
Mr N Gcwabaza (ANC) contributed to the Chairperson’s comment, and added that the NDP was broken down into the five-year period implementation plan within its first stage, and that this plan’s budget came in the form of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). He argued that it could not be true that there was no budget for the NDP, yet there was a budget for the NDP completely separate from the MTSF and the MTEF. He maintained that the statement could not possibly be correct, and appealed to the Committee to unpack the statement raised by the Chairperson in this regard.
Ms S Shope-Sithole (ANC) posed a question of clarity to the policy analysts from the PBO on whether there were tactics in the department to make sure that committees were able to measure everything.
Ms D Senokoanyane (ANC) said that historically, public servants had a tendency to perceive new projects as disruptions to their projects and activities. She remarked that the framing of the issues of targets and performance indicators respectively were a common occurrence. If it was a requirement that departments should come up with performance indicators, then she regarded the PBO’s report ‘an eye opener’ that revealed to the Committee on how much departments were not carrying out their duties in the manner they were meant to. She questioned why departments were consistent in not including their performance indicators when required to do so. She further questioned how they were meant to intervene to make sure that people took performance indicators seriously, as this could assist them in establishing whether or not they were achieving their goals.
The Chairperson said that through this presentation, the Committee had been able to observe that there had been omissions, and these involved indicators that were not included in the APPs. The Committee was now aware that the departments were key in the endorsement of APPs. She asked the PBO to assist the Committee in understanding how these omissions were possible, and questioned whether there was a mandate that instructed a different emphasis of focus or not. She asked the PBO to share their understanding on the matter of omissions, and why some indicators were left out and not included in the APPs.
Mr Thulani Masilela, Outcome Facilitator: DPME, acknowledged the findings of the PBO, and went on to discuss sub-outcome 4 in Outcome 4, which referrred to the development and implementation of the demand side of the infrastructure programme. He explained that with the DPME working in other departments, it had made a commitment that it would work on focusing on the skills required for the economy, so that institutions of higher education and training could adjust their training programmes to supply the skills required by the economy.
He found it ironic that this was the reality, but this had not been included in the APP. He mentioned that the DPME was working in conjunction with the State Security Agency. The SSA had developed two instruments/tools -- a social accounting matrix and growth accounting matrix -- which they utilised to seek to address issues through various indicators mentioned here. He was aware of the fact that within in the DMPE there existed constraints as well as capacities, but through collaborating and working with the SSA, they had begun tackling these challenges. He contextualised the large number of some 1 151 MTSF indicators, and 2 093 clients, and agreed with Mr Gcwabaza on his point that the common excuse was that there was no money for implementation of the NDP.
Mr Masilela highlighted some prevalent issues that had surfaced, and urged that APPs must reflect indicators and targets that were in the MTSF that were derived from the NDP.
He spoke on the issue of progress realisation, specifically with regard to Outcome 2, and highlighted that there had been queries from departments which had questioned how they were expected to complete a five-year plan in a period of one year, and meet 2030 targets in year one.
Mr Masilela said that while working in the office of the Auditor General (AG), AGSA had stated that in auditing performance information, they would like to begin to test whether the APPs in relevant departments were responsive to the MTSF and the NDP. With regard to the reliability of the information for purposes of enforcement mechanisms, Mr Masilela stated that if information was not reliable for the APP, then it could not be regarded as being reliable for the indicators, as they derived the APP from the indicators. With regard to the issue of performance, he framed it as it being not only about performance, but also about planning, and obstacles needed to be highlighted in this regard.
Dr Thabo Mabogoane, Outcome Facilitator: DPME, began by focusing on the issue pf skills. He stated that in that indicator, they had the DHET, and this department had what they called labour market intelligence programmes that they were using to focus on issues of skills demand and supply. The programmes had served the purpose of having begun the reporting of skills that were scarce, as well as those that were in supply. While the work of the labour market intelligence programmes was on-going, the team wished to carry out work on all aspects of the economy, and not just focus on the skills aspect.
On the issue of targets, he touched on concurrency and explained that with some of the indicators -- for example, those found in Outcome 1 -- they had found that they had just been at the national level. He urged that there had to be differentiation between the targets required for provinces and national departments, and reported that they had been successful in this regard.
He stated that confusion between the AG and the departments had caused a number of problems. The example provided was that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) had statistical tables, and in most statistical tables, there were usually MTSF indicators. When the AG began probing the basis of those statistical tables, the department in question had then realised that they would be audited, and had then said that they would be removed, and were of the opinion that this was not their responsibility, but was a provincial responsibility. On the other hand, the provinces were of the opinion that they held a different mandate. They stated that they also had a provincial mandate that they were dealing with, and that their indicators did not necessarily mean that that was what they needed to follow, as they could not be forced as a provincial department. Negotiations were under way, and what the DPME was interested in was for benefit of the country. This had been a challenge, so as part of evaluating the APPs, DPME also indicated to national departments and provinces which indicators were aligned and which ones were not.
The Department of Higher Education had been a challenge too, because they had been raising the issue that the NDP did not have a budget. They had been arguing for access, and while the system had been increasing rapidly in terms of access, it did not have enough of a budget to accommodate the rapid access that they had experienced. Some of their targets had had to be revised down, specifically their target of trying to build 12 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, and they had instead revised their target to three colleges. With these three colleges built, they had been faced with the problem of operationalisation, as there was no money for this. He emphasised that in the long run, this was not sustainable, as the skills funds had been used to retain these colleges.
There were a number of indicators that had to deal with issues of efficiency, and these had nothing to do with budgets, but merely that the Department needed to be efficient. He provided an example with regarde to the certification rate. The fact that students could take up to seven years to receive their certification had nothing to do with the budgets. Indicators should not be removed, as these were efficiency indicators, and there should be a greater consideration to keep them in the APP. He argued that if money was being provided, then the relevant department needs to produce its services efficiently.
Dr Mabogoane suggested that there needed to be some sort of comparison of notes, as the DPME had found some of the indicators included in Outcome 5 of the PBO report had been placed in a different place. He ascribed this to the fact that they were predicting that the AG was coming to conduct an audit, so they had attempted to place them in inconspicuous aspects of the report. He suggested that they needed to go back and figure out how they could be replaced to where they would actually be monitored. There were a few indicators that had not been written into the APPs, and the DPME had written to the relevant departments to say that they wanted to see them in their APPs.
The Chairperson suggested that the DPME needed to write to them at the beginning of the MTSF period. She further raised a concern with regards to the approach proposed by Dr Mabogoane, and cautioned against a soft approach being tolerated with regard to the monitoring processes of tabling APPs. They should not be allowed to be implemented before they had been corrected.
Mr John Kruger, Sector Expert: DPME, said that this sort of analysis was on-going, and that in future when they addressed these issues, they ought to bring on board a special team that worked with the alignment and standards of the APP. With regard to the responses to the presentation given by the PBO, it had showed the DMPE aspects that they could have addressed, and had made them aware of others looking forward.
Considering all the indicators, what one also had to realise about the NDP, and specifically the MTSF, was that there was a hierarchy of indicators. There were thousands, and they were not all at the same level. There were aspects that changed over time, and there must be more activity at different levels to get this right.
The DPME team had discussed the DHET, which they regarded as being one of the budgets that had managed to go very far. The DPME’s analysis was that in terms of what governments had spent, the Department -- as well as the students -- had kept up over the years, He highlighted, however, that they needed more money for student expansion, and emphasised that was where the future lies. Moving forward, he suggested that there needed to be an alignment of plan and budget. For purposes of strategy, the mandate paper should come between the NDP and the MTSF before it went to budget. There needed to be a specific year and context clarifying the priority, saying what exactly they wanted to do for the budget. He suggested that the mandate paper was an instrument that needed to be discussed more by the Committee and the PBO, and explained that there had been two years when there had been work done on this type of approach, and that it was still in development, and they were working on this approach going forward.
Mr Kruger reiterated the question to be addressed on how they achieved alignment, as some had framed it as an issue within the budget -- that it was not funding the right things.
He said that the issue was more complex, and that what should be paid attention to was how the government spent, and the efficiency of their spending. This was what alignment was about.
Sometimes plans were not as transparent as the executive deemed them to be. He explained that the NDP contained a large number of projects – it was an expensive agenda -- and suggested that what needed to be done in the MTSF and in the mandate paper was to make these projects more concrete and specific for the period ahead. He described this proposal as a prioritisation process.
He emphasised the process of alignment, refining aspects of the NDP, and how to ensure that the mandate paper going forward helped them to achieve that alignment. As a final suggestion, he said that the mandate paper needed to come earlier in the process, so that departments could review their APPs and budget considerations. Once the Cabinet had approved the targets for April 2018, and the mandate had been released, this would guide departments to their next year’s budget.
Mr Gcwabaza said the PBO had made a very important observation that oversight was very difficult, especially over a cluster of departments that were responsible for particular outcomes. He asked whether the PBO had some thoughts on how else oversight might be conducted on a cluster of role players by a third portfolio committee.
Ms S Shope-Sithole (ANC) said she was convinced she was right when she said departments had a strategy to make sure that committees were not able to do efficient oversight, especially when it was said that ‘…these were put where the AG may not look’. She expressed concern that this was a very serious matter, as the government was meant to do its work – it was a constitutional requirement -- and all relevant information must be presented in such a way that the AG was able to find it, and assure the citizens that everything had been done correctly. She suggested that it would be very helpful for the committee to invite the DPME to sit in their meetings, as they were the body that actually opened their eyes to this malpractice.
Ms M Manana (ANC) raised a point of clarity to the DPME with regard to the targets that were removed from other departments, referring to the revision of the plan to build 12 TVET colleges, bring it down to the building of only three. She asked for a clarification on this matter, as she was aware of the pronouncement made by the President back in 2014. She asked whether the communities in question were being communicated with, with regard to updates on the buildings.
Mr Masilela made a comment on how some indicators and outcomes of the departments’ APPs were implemented through specific entities. He questioned what the relationship was between the departments and the entities which were supposed to be part of the NDP.
He suggested that it might be require some reflection on the legislation that governed the entities, including the state-owned enterprises.
Regarding Ms Shope-Sithole’s comments on effecting sufficient oversight, he said that this issue might have to be considered. If the oversight relationship between departments and the NDP was weak, as had been the case in some instances where these entities ran on their own in terms of budgets and plans, it then became difficult to see what specific role they played in the achievement of NDP objectives, indicators and outcomes in the MTSF strategy for training.
The Chairperson said that if the PBO’s findings suggested that departments had hidden some of their indicators somewhere else, then there should be greater emphasis on the role of the PBO with regard to their planning and monitoring processes. She suggested that if these monitoring exercises were to be carried out effectively, she would suggest that Cabinet should not pass the relevant departments’ APPs because of this.
She asked for clarity on the PBO’s method of work, and suggested a cluster presentation from various departments for a greater sense of alignment.
Prof Jahed supported the point made by Mr Gcwabaza, in that he would like to begin looking at the NDP as the budget, and the budget as the NDP, specifically because they were now responsible for the mandate paper as well.
He mentioned that what was also indicated was that when there was an allocation of resources, there also had to be a conversation about macro-economic policies, as they would have an impact on the policies. It could not be an isolated issue between the macro economic policy, the allocation of resources, and the budget.
He touched on the point made by Ms Shope-Sithole, and suggested that perhaps there needed to be a point where the PBO reviewed the indicators as well as their impact,
He further agreed with the point raised by Mr Gcwabaza with respect to cluster oversight, as at this stage he regarded the committees as being structures to oversee departments, and suggested that this point should be given some attention going forward.
Mr Masilela had a request to make on behalf of their committee. The first point they wish to make was that they agreed with the Chairperson’s on the process that should be followed before Parliament considered the APPs of government departments. He argued that the truth of the matter was that input from the DPME was often not taken into consideration, and made a request that the critiques of the APP also need to be tabled when departments were tabling their APPs.
He agreed with the Chairperson’s comment that the letter of feedback that they would submit might not be effective enough for two reasons -- departments knew that they could get their APP approved even if they had not factored in what the DPME had recommended, while the second issue was with regard to the legislation, and he asked for the support of the Committee for the legislation that the DPME would be introducing to the Cabinet and the municipalities. The purpose of the legislation was to give DPME a stake in matters. At present, most departments were functioning within established legal roles, in which their roles, powers and authority were defined. In terms of the access to the authority that the Presidency had, the legislation did not have a legal mandate that governed their work.
He was of the opinion that unless the issues of power and authority within the Presidency were addressed, the DPME would not be able to meet the expectations that the Committee held for them.
He agreed with the Chairperson on the need for alignment between the MTSF and the APPs, and that it had to be done not only on an annual basis, but rather at the first point of the indicators.
Dr Mabogoane added that when the PBO said that departments were ‘hiding things’ from the AG, what had been happening in fact was that there was a section in the APP that had been allowing for what were called ‘statistical tables’. He held that for a long time, as was evident in the Department of Education, those statistical tables were never audited, and what was happening now was that they now had audits being conducted in this regard. What had been agreed for the time being was that the system was mature enough for audits to be conducted on them. This was where the contention between the provinces and national Department of Education began, where provinces were of the opinion that they were still not ready, and had questioned why there was an agreement made that their indicators now needed to be audited, when this had not always been the case. He expressed a concern that departments were more concerned with receiving clean audits, rather than being concerned with whether they had made an impact or not in their relevant outcomes.
He sought to clear up the notion of ‘hiding’ performance indicators, and said that departments had merely composed them in a manner in which they could not be monitored. However, moving forward, the AG would be coming in to monitor this aspect.
Dr Mabogoane addressed the query on the issue of the 12 TVET colleges, where they had revised this number for the remainder of the years leading up to 2019. He explained that their focus was to make the colleges more sustainable, as currently they were not. This did not mean the other nine were no longer to be completed. Currently, plans were being developed to find out how the colleges were going to be built, but they would be done over a longer time frame.
Lastly, Dr Mabogoane said that on the issue of concurrency, they needed to address the matter of how they dealt with a sector like the Department of Basic Education. The DBE was faced with the challenge of provinces that did not necessarily agree that they had to follow what the national Department of Basic Education was doing. The DBE was faced with the challenge of how to force their targets to be on provincial APPs, when provinces also knew that they had a right to state that they had subscribed to other mandates. He questioned how they would begin to exercise their role of oversight in the hope of ensuring that provinces were much more aligned. He reiterated that as Mr Masilela had indicated, when the performance agreement was signed, it was between the national minister and the President. The Members of Executive Committees (MECs) signed with the ministers, but were not necessarily obligated to follow what the President had signed, as they had not signed with him. He suggested that there should be a different mechanism of enforcement in this regard,
The Chairperson remarked that she had found the meeting very insightful, and encouraged greater sharing of information, so that there may be corrections for implementation of NDP goals as expected.
Mr Gcwabaza added a comment with regards to the issue of intergovernmental relations, and suggested that the matter perhaps needed to be unpacked.
The Chairperson thanked and commended the PBO for working on the report, and acknowledged that it could not have been an easy task. She also acknowledged the DPME for its various contributions.
There had been some major points that had been picked up, flowing from the presentation and engagement that had followed. Members were seriously concerned with ensuring accelerated progress on the MTSF and the NDP. The non-alignment of the APPs and the MTSF indicators was regarded as being a serious concern. It was important that even in their planning, departments planned in a progressive manner for the MTSF because if they reviewed it, it would give them an opportunity to assess their progress, and how they intended taking forward the risks into the next financial year.
She said that all indicators, with no exception, were meant to be implemented in the MTSF period, and warned that if this was not effected, it meant that the Committee itself was actively undermining its own NDP’s developmental and transformational objectives, which would be unacceptable.
She agreed with Mr Masilela that perhaps the DPME did require assistance from legislation so that when certain recommendations had been made, they were binding in effect, and that they should consequently be able to apply corrective measures for those who failed to cooperate in this regard.
She echoed the thoughts of Members, in that they felt there should be a change in attitude among civil servants, and that they ought to do what they were in a position to do. She urged that they should be consistent with regard to what was expected of them, and if these expectations were not met, then they should not allow processes to continue -- for instance, a budget to be passed.
The Committee was also satisfied that there was an alignment of thinking between the DPME and the PBO, and they really wished to see this combination strengthened. She asked that in order to allow for effective and efficient oversight with the departments, that there be a representative from both the PBO and the DPME present at their committee meetings.
The Committee would appreciate written inputs from the guest bodies as often as possible.
In the near future, the Committee wished to have the DPME as part of their quarterly engagements with National Treasury. She urged all to be heavily involved in ensuring that they were reaching their MTSF targets, and to unlock any perceived challenges in this regard.
The meeting was adjourned.