The Committee received briefings on the Department and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) 2nd Quarter Performance Reports and plans to mitigate the AGSAs audit findings.
In her preliminary remarks, the Minister said the following:
-The biggest challenge with the voter registration was the problem of voters being without correct addresses. It would be important that although the Independent Electoral Commission accounted to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, it had to also brief the Committee on Communication on the subject of inadequate addresses and how Government intended to rectify this.
-The DoC needed to engage the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) about the allocation of advertising for the elections and to ensure that political parties would be adequately allocated election coverage.
-To date the adoption of the motion on land expropriation without compensation by Parliament and how non-patriotic South Africans had been communicating that issue to the world had caused a lot of confusion which had necessitated a need for Government communications to be the first to tell the story of SA to the world and to also assist South Africans understand their responsibilities.
The GCIS reported that there were a total of 42 targets for the second quarter; of these 39 (93%) targets were achieved; 3 (7%) were not achieved. Targets that were not achieved will be closely monitored to ensure that the annual targets are achieved. A total of 7 targets were overachieved.
Some of the key achievements include the following: Implemented 471 development communication activations, (Information sharing sessions, community radio, taxi rank activations and exhibitions) to reach citizens across all 9 provinces of the country; a total of 548 community and stakeholder liaison visits(community hall, seminars, door to door) were conducted by the period under review and it maintained 9.04% vacancy rate lower that the 10% DPSA prescribed level. Two of the identified challenges were as follows: the entity is finding it more difficult to sustain government message and voice in current communication environment and the constrained fiscus and inadequate baseline budget restricts mandate implementation; including learnership programmes & Work Integrated Learning Programmes for 2017/18.
Members asked GCIS what procedures had been followed in the 65 media buying campaigns approved and to which companies did that work go, how did community visits compare with radio reach, why had Human Resources Development (HRD) had so little spending at 25% whilst senior management had higher expenditure of 134% and where the izimbizos had been held.
The Department of Communications reported that it had set itself 19 targets for the period an 17 had been achieved. The unachieved targets were around legislative development where the delays related to external consultations.
The Department highlighted that the draft White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content was still undergoing further consultations with relevant Ministries as recommended by Cabinet Committee before it could be submitted to FOSAD Cluster. Due to the length of Consultations with relevant Ministries as recommended by Cabinet Committee, the development of the final White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content has been delayed for some time and so is the finalisation of SEIAS for submission to FOSAD Cluster. The Department has incorporated the EISED Cabinet Committee recommendations on the White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content and it will be submitted to FOSAD Cluster after engagements with relevant Ministries.
In respect of Digital terrestrial television (DTT), there were 158 266 registrations, 181 294 installations assigned to installers and 84 865 installations carried out in the second quarter.
Subsequent to the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Works (DPW), the DPW is in the process of finalising the procurement services of an accredited service provider for installer training.
The AGSA had flagged issues that the Department needed to address: these include internal controls that need strengthening, the manual register to track accruals and commitments and the governance oversight in the Department’s entities. The Department reported that it was attending to all of this.
Members wanted to know whether the DoC set any timeframes for the completion and submission of the White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content, why had KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) not been identified as a predominantly DTT area and when the advisory board to the Minister had been established and who the individuals that were on that board were.
The Chairperson greeted and welcomed everyone to the meeting. He said that Parliament was still coming to terms with the loss of deceased Member of Parliament (MP), Ms Fezeka Loliwe (ANC). Parliament seemed to be losing MPs of late as he recounted recent MPs that had passed on.
He outlined the agenda and noted submitted apologies. He said it was a pity that the Minister had not attended a stakeholder engagement in Pretoria, where the Department had attended but the Committee would expect her to speak to that issue during her remarks.
He then allowed Committee and the Minister of communication to make remarks on outstanding undertakings made by her and the Committee.
Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Communications, said that the biggest challenge with the voter registration, which had occurred the previous weekend, was the problem of voters being without correct addresses. It would be important that although the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) accounted to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, it had to also brief the Committee on Communication on the subject of inadequate addresses and how Government intended to rectify this.
She remarked that the DoC needed to engage the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) about the allocation of advertising for the elections and to ensure that political parties would be adequately allocated election coverage.
Minister Mokonyane said during the stakeholder engagement on Inxeba (the movie), the Department had been in contact with the National House of Traditional Leaders (NTHL), the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA), the Films and Publications Board (FPB) and the FPB Appeals Tribunal. A meeting had taken place with all the above mentioned stakeholders, including the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) as well as the Deputy President (DP) who had been assigned the responsibility on moral regeneration.
Having received a briefing from Department through the FPB Appeal Tribunal during the meeting, the NHTL indicated that it would take the matter to court for an interdict. The interdict had not been granted but the NHTL, some communities in the Eastern Cape (EC), North West (NW), Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal (KZN) intended to make further representations on the matter once again before the court on March 28 2018. Having received correspondence from communities in the EC, she invited the Chairperson to assist the Department to respond to the matters raised therein, as the perception created in the public domain was that Government had created the issues around the film. The Department hoped that in the course of the week it would have clarified Government’s position around the film.
The Minister said that she was taking responsibility of everything that had happened at the Department prior her deployment. Importantly, this included improving the capacity of the State to communicate in terms of empowering communities and developing society into a well informed citizenry and having systems that kept pace with the changing needs of society.
The Department would also report on how it was ensuring that Government communicators worked in a coherent way which would help Government demonstrate its ability to perform, acceptance of its challenges and most importantly how Government sought to realise the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP), vision 2030.
The global challenge had been a fractured citizenry where societies were invaded by information which citizens had no choice of rejecting but to consume and therefore creating a need for a Government that was alert and open towards appreciating what current affairs were and being able deal accordingly with relevant matters. To date the adoption of the motion on land expropriation without compensation by Parliament and how non-patriotic South Africans had been communicating that issue to the world had caused a lot of confusion which had necessitated a need for Government communications to be the first to tell the story of SA to the world and to also assist South Africans understand their responsibilities.
The story around the listeriosis outbreak impacted the country’s ability to be food secure, create work through balancing issues of health against small businesses and empowering township economies.
She noted that the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) officials with her were all acting officials but the DoC was on top of this matter.
The Chairperson said the Committee was also concerned about the acting officials and preferred permanency in the senior management staff (SMS) of DoC as that affected accountability.
2nd quarter actual performance report (July-September 2017)
Ms Phumla Williams, Acting Director-General (ADG), GCIS, said the GCIS had 42 targets for the period under review. In that period there had been a lot of issues around gender based violence (GBV) therefore a lot of GCIS activities and products had been concerning GBV.
Mr Keitumetse Semakane, Acting Deputy DG (ADDG), read with the Committee through the presentation. There were a total of 42 targets for the second quarter; of these 39 (93%) targets were achieved; 3 (7%) were not achieved. Targets that were not achieved will be closely monitored to ensure that the annual targets are achieved. A total of 7 targets were overachieved.
In terms of key achievements, the following were highlighted:
-Implemented 471 development communication activations, ( Information sharing sessions, community radio, taxi rank activations and exhibitions) to reach citizens across all 9 provinces of the country.
-A total of 548 community and stakeholder liaison visits(community hall, seminars, door to door) were conducted by the period under review.
-Maintained 9.04% vacancy rate lower that the 10% DPSA prescribed level.
-6 editions of Vuk’uzenzele (5.1 million copies) were published and distributed.
-The GCIS held a total of 9 engagements with government officials and senior journalists to set the media agenda.
-42 izimbizo events held by political principals
In terms of service delivery environment, GCIS said that:
-The Contested communication space led to fast-moving and complex communication environment with rapidly changing media reporting.
It is finding it more difficult to sustain government message and voice in current communication environment.
-The constrained fiscus and inadequate baseline budget restricts mandate implementation; including learnership programmes & Work Integrated Learning Programmes for 2017/18.
-It finalised a Communications Policy for Cabinet approval.
-It is improving integrated planning through cluster communication.
-It has vacant Senior Management Services (SMS) positions–process to fill them underway.
-Based on research; South Africans are unhappy about jobs, crime, corruption & gender based violence
Mr Hennie Bekker, Acting Chief Financial Officer (ACFO), GCIS, took the Committee through the expenditure section of the presentation. He said GCIS had managed to spend quite well in the period under review in that overall it had spent 45% of its budget with the 5% below the benchmark unachieved remaining because of outstanding invoices which was not a matter for too much concern. The payments had been made in October the following month but which fell in the third quarter.
The over expenditure on capital assets had been corrected through the shifting of funds in the adjustments budget process where GCIS had identified funds from goods and services which had been moved to capital assets for purchasing of new computer equipment.
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) said in terms of language services requested and completed, it had been report that there had been a request for 502 language services requests where 422 had been completed, what did language services mean? What procedures had been followed in the 65 media buying campaigns approved and to which companies did that work go?
Ms Van Dyk asked how the community visits compared with radio reach. If GCIS wanted to improve its assistance to community radios why was it going to communities directly instead of using community radio and what were the comparable costs of each individually? Why had Human Resources Development (HRD) had so little spending at 25% whilst senior management had higher expenditure of 134%?
She also required clarity on programme 2 as there was more expenditure on personnel compared to operational expenditure. Additionally regarding the expenditure of 44% on media production, if there was production but no distribution; what was the intention in producing and did the products reach their intended viewers or audience?
Could the GCIS indicate what the operational costs were against compensation of employees, goods and services, and possibly an explanation on transfers and subsidies as per the economic classification?
Ms Williams replied that some language services were in-house but other languages were out- sourced depending on the requests that came to GCIS. 100% achievement in language requests spoke to all the requests that had come to GCIS having been delivered; moreover all GCIS products were translated across the nine provinces in the languages dominant in specific areas. Only Braille services were outsourced.
Community radio reach remained quite effective unfortunately not all Government Departments had the budgets to engage community radio though GCIS’s preference was community radio. Due to GCISs experience in community visit reach it employed that more and partnered with local Government as well as national Departments on taxi rank, mall and community district hall drives engaging communities.
Mr Bekker replied that the expenditure on management had been high because that level contained the expenditure of the ADG and the ADDG: Corporate services who were both fulfilling two roles each. The ADG was also Cabinet spokesperson whilst the ADDG was the Chief Director: HR. When expenditure incurred regarding subsistence & travel (S& T) it went to that specific functional area, and that had been corrected in the third quarter through the budget adjustments process where sufficient funds had been allocated considering the planning for the trips that the two officials had to undertake.
In terms of HRD that included short courses and bursaries at the time which had then been paid after 30 September 2017. GCIS had sent its staff for training as planning had been done but the expenditure had interfaced after 30 September.
On media buying and distribution on programme 2; the reporting related to the Vuk’uzenzele publication and in that instance expenditure had also interfaced in the third quarter as the work had already been done by 30 September. Similarly with media production, GCIS staff assisted the President and Deputy President of the country with their foreign and domestic visits which included the S& T of said GCIS staff.
On both programme 2& 3 the higher personnel costs compared with operational costs had been due to activities like the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) and distribution of Vuk’uzenzele though those activities were third and fourth quarter activities; that was why personnel would seem to be higher by the end of the second quarter as the expenditure would interface in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Activities of the 3rd and 4th quarter would also by extension have a higher expenditure trend compared to the first two quarters.
Ms M Matshoba (ANC) said of the izimbizo reported on; she wanted to know where the izimbizo had been held.
Ms Williams said the 42 izimbizo had been held across the nine provinces but for purposes of reporting the information had been consolidated. The GCIS could certainly submit a breakdown to the Committee.
Ms Matshoba said she required the breakdown and would appreciate it.
Ms Van Dyk asked if GCIS could submit a list or database of the 293 community radio stations and their language preferences including the 65 that GCIS worked with.
Presentation on the 2017/18 2nd Quarter Performance Report
The Minister said the Committee would appreciate that the DoC had four women in permanent leadership positions within its organogram and accompanying her. She submitted that though she had been recently deployed to the DoC, she took ownership and responsibility of DoC and its work.
Notably though the DoC had received three unqualified reports and one adverse findings audit report, it remained committed to complying with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) in terms of financial management and control.
Concerning for the DoC was the financial status of the SABC as a going concern, monies owed to the SABC, issues related to ICASA management, the MDDA which required the DoC to intervene and ensuring that all those bodies focused on their primary mandates.
The SABC challenges and intervention were matters before the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for the budget. Her view was that the product of the Parliamentary inquiry into the SABC had to be taken to its logical conclusion which meant the Committee contributing to the turnaround at the SABC. The Committees on Finance and that on Public Enterprises would also have to be engaged to reflect on the status of State Owned Entities (SOEs). The DoC had met the SABC and the broadcast industry and had scheduled a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene whose other task had been to convene an IMC on the budget to look at the challenges of the SABC.
Highlights of the report to be presented to the Committee was the flagship programme of DoC on Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) and how the programme had concluded 51 registration drives to raise awareness across the nine provinces. The DoC would also present on the South African Broadcast and Production Advisory Body (SABPAB) funding and pursuing the priorities of job creation and economic growth through broadcast production as espoused by the NDP. Thirdly the presentation would be around community broadcasts support as raised by Ms Van Dyk.
Minister Mokonyane said that costs could not be put ahead of transformation, access to information and the quality of the information supplied. If indeed Government could use community radios to save on the time and effort which would be required of families to come attend izimbizo, encourage dialogue in households and create capacity in said radio stations and communities; then that was what Government had to be doing.
There had been an evaluation commissioned in the first quarter which had looked at the implementation of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Communication Strategy (BDMC) where seven recommendations had come out of that process. The DoC hoped to work towards effecting those recommendations and the DoC would certainly share that work with the Committee. Lastly was the upcoming Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) conference and South Africa’s chairing responsibility of the body. There also remained the review of SOEs and feedback which had to do with boards of said SOEs where the DoC was committing to submit reports on that work. The DoC had met with ICASA the previous week around the issue of the ICASA board Chairperson where the ADG of DoC was working on receiving feedback on that meeting so that action could be taken in terms of what was within the purview of the Minister of DoC.
High level summary
Mr Thabiso Thiti, ADG, DoC, said in the 2nd quarter the DoC had set itself 19 targets for the period and 17 had been achieved. The unachieved targets were around legislative development where the delays related to external consultations. Regarding DoC’s financial performance it had received a clean audit but the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) had flagged some issues which the DoC had managed to attend to.
Programme 1: Administration
Ms Kedibone Phetla, Director- Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, read with the Committee through the DoC presentation.
She said the BDMC study had shown that communities had been aware about Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) through the SABC and therefore the DoC had to continue using the SABC as the primary mode of communicating about DTT. Additionally, the utilisation of community media had to be strengthened as those people that had to register at South African Post Office (SAPO) offices were in communities that listened to community media. The study had also shown DoC that use of community development workers would better the advocacy for DTT as said workers were already embedded in communities.
Programme 2: Communications Policy, Research and Development
The Department highlighted that the draft White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content was still undergoing further consultations with relevant Ministries as recommended by Cabinet Committee before it could be submitted to FOSAD Cluster. Due to the length of Consultations with relevant Ministries as recommended by Cabinet Committee, the development of the final White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content has been delayed for some time and so is the finalisation of SEIAS for submission to FOSAD Cluster. The Department has incorporated the EISED Cabinet Committee recommendations on the White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content and it will be submitted to FOSAD Cluster after engagements with relevant Ministries
Five Provincial Public Consultations on the approved Media Transformation and Diversity Research/ Discussion Document were not conducted. The public consultations on the approved Research/ Discussion Document couldn’t be conducted due to further consultations and briefings on the refinement of the discussion paper. Media Transformation and Diversity discussion paper will be presented to Portfolio Committee for inputs and guidance.
Programme 3: Industry and Capacity Development
The Department highlighted that 52 awareness campaigns were carried out in the Free State and Mpumalanga Provinces. The overachievement was as a result of establishing partnerships with other National, Provincial Departments and Local Municipalities in their community engagements
In respect of Digital terrestrial television (DTT), there were 158 266 registrations, 181 294 installations assigned to installers and 84 865 installations carried out in the second quarter.
Subsequent to the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Works (DPW), the DPW is in the process of finalising the procurement services of an accredited service provider for installer training.
Programme 4: Entity Oversight
Ms Phetla said the 2016/17 Annual and first quarterly oversight performance reports were submitted to Minister. These reports provides the Minister with an analysis of SOE’s performance against key deliverables that were set in the APP. Feedback letters based on the analysis reports were submitted to Chairpersons of the Boards.
The FPB achieved (85%) of planned targets for 2016/17 financial year and 10 targets were not achieved. A surplus of 4.3 million was recorded and National Treasury approved to retain the unspent surplus. The Entity received unqualified audit opinion from AGSA. The entity was requested to develop an audit action plan that will be monitored through bilateral engagement between Minister and Boards as well as CFO forums.
ICASA achieved (73%) of planned targets for 2016/17 financial year and 16 targets were not achieved. A surplus of 26.4 million was recorded and National Treasury approved to retain the unspent surplus. The Entity received unqualified audit opinion from AGSA. The entity was requested to develop an audit action plan that will be monitored through bilateral engagement between Minister and Boards as well as CFO forums.
BrandSA achieved (83%) of planned targets for 2016/17 financial year and 9 targets were not achieved. A surplus of 24.9 million was recorded and National Treasury approved to retain the unspent surplus. The Entity received unqualified audit opinion from AGSA. The entity was requested to develop an audit action plan that will be monitored through bilateral engagement between Minister and Boards as well as CFO forum.
The overall achievement of the SABC for the 2016/17 was 45% (9 targets out of 20). The Public Broadcaster received an adverse audit opinion from AGSA. The regression from previous financial year is concerning. An audit action plan was developed to be monitored through bilateral engagement between Minister and Boards as well as CFO forums.
MDDA achieved (67%) of planned targets for 2016/17 financial year and 20 targets were not achieved. A surplus of 4.3 million was recorded and National Treasury approve to retain the unspent surplus. The Entity received unqualified audit opinion from AGSA. The entity was requested to develop an audit action plan that will be monitored through bilateral engagement between Minister and Boards as well as CFO forums.
Expenditure per Economic Classification
Ms Dikeledi Thindisa, CFO, DoC, said that during the adjustments budget process and because of the delays in the filling of vacancies as had been captured in the presentation, DoC had had to surrender approximately R5 million back to National Treasury (NT) as a saving.
The 65% expenditure on goods and services had been before the approval of the rollover request of R11 million which DoC had received for DTT. In the last quarter it would show a decrease in expenditure which was well within the budget of DoC.
On the payment of Capital Assets, she reminded the Committee that there had been an issue of two vehicles being bought for the Deputy Minister, a matter which had been completed through the adjustments budget process.
Feedback on audit matters
The AGSA had raised issues on internal controls needing strengthening at the DoC. She assured the Committee that the appointments of skilled personnel for information technology (IT) monitoring and management, the review on the controls environment in IT had also since been done by the GCIS.
Accruals and commitments
Ms Thindisa said because the DoC used a manual register to track accruals and commitments and AGSA had raise issues with that the DoC had since revisited the matter and its internal audit was seized with the issue.
Even though AGSA had also raised the matter of DoC working on governance oversight in its entities, the issue remained a challenge and it was seized with the matters as they had a potential of affecting the DoC’s audit opinion findings.
Some of the governance instruments at DoC had not been finalised on time because of the changes in the Executive Authority (EA) but DoC would have to deal with those issues to ensure they did not affect its audit outcomes
The DoC was still awaiting confirmation from the various legal firms in terms of outstanding litigation. But those matters had been resolved.
Ms Van Dyk wanted to know what had not been achieved in programme 2 and what had caused the variance.
What risks had been identified by DoC and had those impacted on DoC’s ability to deliver on its mandate in any way?
Why had KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) not been identified as a predominantly DTT area?
Since the Department of Public Works (DPW) would be the service provider for installer training; how much budget had been set aside for that? Were there any allocations for the DTT roll-outs in the Free State (FS) and the North West (NW) provinces? How many people would be trained in each province and how many had already been trained for the installations? She was also interested in the BDMC study and the Media Transformation discussion paper and requested that they be submitted to the Committee.
Had the DoC set any timeframes for the completion and submission of the White Paper on Audio-Visual and Digital Content?
Mr L Mbinda (PAC) wanted to know the status of the unfilled positions which had remained after the DoC had surrendered funding for vacant posts back to NT? From the report on filled vacancies and DoC’s set targets; had it achieved its equity and disability targets or otherwise? From the audit action plans developed; could the DoC assure the Committee that the risks identified by AGSA were being mitigated or would be so by the plans? How would the Committee make the ADG accountable if his position was the only acting position amongst the delegation before the Committee?
Mr B Bongo (ANC) concurred that the issue of the ADG had the potential to create uncertainty.
He requested the Minister to focus on the matters which had been raised by AGSA including accruals and commitments, contingent liabilities and SOE governance oversight.
Mr M Kalako (ANC) asked when the advisory board to the Minister had been established and who the individuals that were on that board were. From his recollection, there had always been one person in-charge of SOE oversight from the DoC and the Committee’s complaint had been that that position had to be a whole unit and not one individual. Could the DoC update the Committee in that regard?
He commented that the ANC possibly had to revisit the mandate of the SABC as it had been given a large mandate without adequately funding it. He recalled that the DoC had presented on monies owed to it and the SABC having in-housed collection of TV license fees since the new board. He requested that the DoC elaborate on that as well. He also requested the DoC speak to its progress regarding DTT migration implementation.
The Chairperson said that SABC funding was 3% and below Government expenditure which was why the former Chief Operations Officer (COO) of SABC had once said that the SABC was not accountable to the Committee forgetting that accountability was also for the mandate given to the SABC by Government. He recalled that the Media Diversity and Transformation discussion paper had been mandated to the DoC in 2016 at a colloquium and requested that DoC submit that paper to the Committee for the Committee’s perusal as transformation of the sector was quite critical.
Minister Mokonyane replied that with the most previous redeployment of EAs within the DoC there had been a process at an advanced stage of head hunting for a permanent DG for the DoC. When the process was just being resuscitated there had been another reshuffle but she had been handed over that work and was duly focusing on it. Fortunately the current Minister of Public Service and Administration (PSA) and the former Minister of DoC was giving attention to that issue with the DoC having sought permissions from the Presidency to fast track that process.
The funding of the SABC had been a matter that the new board had reflected on. To date once the work of the SABC board had ample consultation with the NT and the IMC on the SABC budget then DoC would bring the SABC to present to the Committee. She asked the Committee to assist the SABC to ask South Africans to pay their TV licenses. It had to be a citizen’s responsibility to pay for services and not for Government entities to create capacity to collect on services dues.
She said there had to be consensus on what oversight meant against overreach, interference against accountability of SOEs, so that a balanced view could prevail.
Transformation strategies and DTT roll-out would be issues the DoC was requesting to return to the Committee about in a future brief, as they were policy issues and had a bearing on legislation.
Part of what DoC had to look at was the impact of its work on communities.
Mr Thiti replied that the first unachieved target had been the audiovisual content policy and secondly the media transformation and diversity policy respectively. The audiovisual content policy had been presented to Cabinet where Cabinet had decided that there had to be further consultation within the Department of Telecommunications & Postal Services (DTPS) and Economic Development Department (EDD). The DTPS consultation had been concluded with only the EDD consultation outstanding. The DoC had targeted to conclude the EDD consultation in the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year.
In terms of the media transformation and diversity policy, the DoC had planned to initiate the consultations in the first quarter and conclude them by the second quarter of the new financial year as well.
The target number included in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the installers training between DoC with DPW had been 50 installers would be trained per district municipality. The modalities of the training had been agreed with municipalities and ward councillors. The DoC had engaged the DPW with local government on how to identify those that would participate in the training.
In terms of some audit concerns raised by AGSA, the DoC had resolved them satisfactorily.
He said the DoC would certainly look at the matter of economic classification when presenting the following quarter’s performance.
Mr Thiti said possibly two issues were being confused; one was the SABPAB and the Ministerial Advisory Committee which had been established by Minister Dlodlo. The SABPAB had been established in 2016 so that the Ministerial Advisory Committee established by the Minister ceased to exist when there was a change of EAs at the DoC.
The Chairperson interjected that the Committee required an elaboration.
Mr Thiti replied the Ministerial Advisory Committee on digital migration had been terminated in October 2017. He said the Minister would be better able to further explain those matters.
On entity oversight; the chief directorate had three people and in the previous two quarters two more people had been recruited to the chief directorate to focus on finances of SOEs, as the DoC had identified a priority in the financial analysis of the SOEs so that DoC could have a proper oversight and to enable DoC to have accurate reporting on SOEs financial state.
In the previous two appearances of the DoC before the Committee it had been requested to report on its entity oversight strategy which DoC had indeed prepared. However; because of the change in the EA that work had not been concluded. DoC would present the strategy to Minister Mokonyane so that in the first quarter of the new financial year the strategy could be brought to the Committee.
The turnaround strategy of the SABC, funding model and corporate plan had been concluded by the SABC board and all of that work would be presented to Minister Mokonyane to allow the Minister to be able to enter into a shareholder compact with the SABC as the corporate plan generally guided the shareholder compact.
In terms of SABC’s state of readiness for DTT there had been a workshop already held between the DoC and the SABC dealing with content and the technological matters around DTT. There would be a follow up workshop to ensure that whilst progress was being made in the implementation of DTT there was a state of readiness in terms of content and technological matters.
Mr Thiti said the outstanding consultation with EDD on Media diversity and transformation discussion paper, and audiovisual content policy would be concluded in the first quarter of the new financial year which would allow the DoC to bring both documents to the Committee in the second quarter of that new financial year.
Ms Mathope Thusi, Chief Director: Corporate Services, DoC, said that risks identified in the risk progress report had been strategic and operational. Managers at DoC had committed to mitigation plans to minimise said risks and DoC had quarterly risk mitigation plans which were monitored.
Regarding vacancies the presentation captured the status of the 72 filled posts with the nine vacant positions. 81 posts had been approved and funded on DoC’s organogram together with 22 contracts that lapsed in the third quarter of the 2017/18 financial year. In the remaining 9 unfilled positions reported on for the 2nd quarter some had been filled to date, with only two DDG posts where a decision had been made that DoC would reprioritise the funding and fund the entity oversight posts as Mr Thiti had reported above. The two DDG positions would no longer be in DoC’s structure as the funding had gone to the entity oversight chief directorate positions.
In terms of the target of 45% males and 55% females at DoC SMS level, Cabinet had set a target to say 50% females at SMS level and the debate had always been when a Department had exceeded that target by 5% what had to happen. However; the number had to date changed.
Ms Thindisa said in terms of the stock that was available for set-top boxes, the DTT set-top boxes could only be done in the NW and the FS because the areas were not mountainous and in KZN the migration needed Direct-to-Home satellite (DTH-S) service set-top boxes which were currently out of stock in terms of production. Once ICASA had done the procurement the roll-out would then include all other provinces.
The budget for installer training was approximately R4.7 million and was from DPW as it was the DPW that were identifying those that needed to be trained. The plan also had been that there had to be 50 people trained on installation per district municipality in all the provinces. The installers which had been appointed by ICASA had their contracts terminated at the end of August in the previous financial year thus the process of partnering with DPW in the new process to increase the number of installers as the gap between registration for DTT and the number of installers was quite misaligned and the gap very big. The DoC believed that through that intervention it would move with speed and close the gap as the 50 installers had been already trained and were working in the FS.
In terms of why the DoC had surrendered back funding for positions back to NT whist there remained unfilled posts, she said that the challenge was that if the posts would have not been filled by the beginning of the new financial year, the money would be money unspent earmarked compensation of employees budget and had to be surrendered.
The DoC would certainly forward the economic classification per programme information to the Committee as requested.
Ms Thindisa agreed that contingent liabilities were a challenge because that was work on a moving target hence the DoC requested and received quarterly updates internally within its structure on those liabilities as litigation changed often. A matter that was not resolved with AGSA was that the DoC would receive updates on the 31 March end of the financial year but, AGSA would ask for the information somewhere in July of the new financial year. By then the information would be dated because of time lapse and the changes in the litigation process.
Ms Van Dyk asked whether installer training was open for all South Africans to apply for or were people appointed.
Mr Thiti replied the context had been how to create localisation and ownership in the DTT project in local municipalities; how would Government deal with youth unemployment and youth skills development in roll-out of the project; as the challenge at the time had been that the appointed installers were already the small to medium sized established enterprises. Local Government had then identified youth that had the technical skills but were unemployed and were collated into a database. It was from that group of unemployed skilled youth the appointments for installer training had been made.
Ms Van Dyk was dissatisfied because if municipalities were the identifiers through a database then that could have a political colour as she had never heard any advertising for installer training in that regard. She requested that the databases of each district municipality be submitted to the Committee so she could peruse them.
Mr Thiti said the DoC would certainly comply with Ms Van Dyk’s request as the databases were available.
The Chairperson noted the issues needing documentary submission to the Committee by the DoC including the economic classification per programme, database of the 293 community radio stations and their language preferences including the 65 that GCIS worked with.
Ms Van Dyk said she had noted that two matters had been removed from the Committees programme without any consultation and she was registering the DA’s objection of agenda items being removed from the Committees programme without consultation.
What had happened to those two agenda items and who had removed the items and on what grounds?
The Chairperson replied that the office of the Chairperson of the Committee circulated a draft Committee programme to the Committee with priorities for inputs so that it could be discussed. The draft had not been finalised and he requested Ms Van Dyk to allow the office of the Chairperson to return whatever agenda items seemed to have been removed to the programme so that could be communicated later with the Committee.
The meeting was then adjourned.
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