The Department of Women (DoW) presented its quarter three and four performance for the 2017/18 financial year. The comprehensive presentation covered the strategic focus of the Department, organisational and budget programme structure, newly created posts and rationale for creating these posts. A comparison of the performance for quarter two and three for the financial year 2017/18 was also discussed.
Members were then taken through the performance of quarter three and four for the Department’s programmes, namely, Administration, Social, Transformation and Economic Empowerment, Commission for Gender Equality and Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management.
The presentation covered key achievements for the Department in 2017/18 and a comparison of annual performance between 2017/18 and 2018/19. It then moved on to discuss Human Resources (HR) oversight for 2017/18 in terms of the status of vacant posts in the quarters under review, service terminations for the quarters under review, status of labour matters and achievements and challenges.
Members were then taken through the Department’s financial performance for the quarters under review, reasons for variance, economic classification overview, expenditure per programme and financial accounting. Also presented was payment of suppliers within 30 days, major events undertaken during the third and fourth quarter and financial achievements and challenges.
The Committee questioned the impact made by the National Dialogues and 16 Days of Activism campaign in the provinces in terms of the minimisation of violence against women and children, facilitators/service providers used for these events, achievement of targets and consulting women in cooperatives in terms of producing of sanitary towels. Members appreciated the improvement made on the payment of suppliers within 30 days. There were concerns raised about vacant posts, disciplinary hearings, travel expenses to attend the Commission for the State of Women and inadequate quality of the sanitary pads being produced as part of the sanitary dignity programme - there was a need to look at quality control so that the product is hygienic and would not cause cervical problems. Members asked who was producing these sanitary packs and if there were proper production standards to ensure money was not wasted. The Committee requested a briefing on the 80% of disciplinary cases resolved. A detailed written response was required of the Department for the expenditure on facilitators for events in the provinces in terms of individual payment, criteria for selecting facilitators and the role of these facilitators – it is the responsibility of Parliament to conduct oversight over these matters to make sure resources were being used appropriately
There was discussion on achievements of the Department, violence against women becoming increasingly worse and what the Department was doing to ensure these women and children were protected outside of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, community development, particularly for rural women, and the Department’s work in promoting the dignity of women, particularly those in rural areas. Members felt the same matters were discussed for the past ten years without implementation in the Committee and a good story would not be able to be written about the Department.
Department of Women (DoW) 3rd and 4th Quarter Performance Information 2017/18
Ms Reshoketswe Tshabalala, Department of Women Acting DG, presented the strategic focus of the Department of Women (DoW). Strategic focus of the Department concentrated on:
-paying special attention to the eradication of inequalities and related intolerances in the country by strengthening and supporting initiatives on, firstly, addressing the financial and economic exclusion of women
-gender mainstreaming and ensuring the financial inclusion of women in the economy
-monitoring and evaluation of placing empowerment of women in the centre of plans, implementation of the Nine Point Plan and impact of the Nine Point Plan (outcomes 4, 5, 6, 7, 10)
-addressing discrimination against women in social participation and the impact of social protection and care policy and programmes (Outcomes 2, 13 and 14)
-addressing the scourge of violence against women and children, awareness raising and monitoring of gender-based violence including social cohesion and nation building initiatives and the impact of crime prevention and law enforcement strategy and programmes (outcomes 3 and 14)
- engaging with Statistics SA in relation to monitoring of the indicators against the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, and encouraging gender disaggregated reporting against all SDGs
Ms Tshabalala added that the Department’s Organisational Design was structured into four components reporting directly to the Accounting Officer – these components included the Office of the Director-General (ODG), Ministry staff, Communication and Internal Audit. Three divisions reported directly to the Accounting Officer included Strategic Management, Corporate Management and Financial Management. Two branches reported directly to the Accounting Officer included Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment and Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management. The Budget Programme Structure was structured into three programmes – administration, Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment and Policy, Stakeholder and Knowledge Management. There were ten proposed newly created posts in Programme Three:
1. Director: Stakeholder Coordination (currently structured in Ministry)
2. Director: Policy Analysis (formalise post that is currently additional to establishment)
3. Director: Young Women
4. Deputy Director: Young Women
5. Admin Officer, Young Women
6. Director: Evaluation
7. Deputy Director: Evaluation
8. Deputy Director: International Relations
9. Assistant Director: International Relations
10. Senior Admin Officer, International Relations
Ms Tshabalala providing the rationale for the key new posts in programme three - young women were worst affected by poverty, economic exclusion and various social ills. While various programmes were being implemented by government and civil society sectors to contribute to development of young women, these were often fragmented. The DoW established the Directorate of Young Women (DYW) to contribute to greater policy coherence and coordination of programmes to improve development and empowerment of young women. Evaluations were identified as a critical function within governments globally to improve performance of public programmes and achievement of desired development outcomes. In line with government’s National Evaluation Policy Framework, and other prescripts, the DoW planned to establish a Directorate of Evaluation in order to contribute to improving gender-responsiveness of the National Evaluation System and achievement of gender equality outcomes.
Ms Tshabalala stated that in the performance comparison in quarter two and quarter three in 2017/18, the Department’s overall performance progressed as follows:
-quarter two out of 27 targets planned, 11 (41%) targets were achieved and16 (59%) were not achieved
-quarter three out of 28 targets planned, 14 (50%) targets were achieved and 14 (50%) were not achieved
-quarter four out of 27 targets planned, 17 (63%) targets were achieved and 10 (37%) were not achieved
The Department’s performance improved in quarter three. The Financial Management unit achieved paying valid invoices within a 30- day period and the Social Empowerment sub-programme achieved the presentation to Cabinet of the draft Sanitary Dignity Policy Framework work. In quarter four, the Department maintained improved performance achieving 63% of its planned targets. A strategic planning session was held in quarter three to prepare for the 2018/19 Financial Year Annual Performance Plan 2018/19. 80% of targets not achieved in quarter one were achieved in quarter two and quarter three.
Ms Val Mathobela, DoW Chief Director: Strategic Management, presented overall performance information for quarter three of 2017/18. The presentation looked at the overall performance of the DoW in relation to set quarter three targets outlined in the 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan (APP). Out of 28 targets planned, 14 (50 percent) targets achieved and 14 (50 percent) were not achieved.
Looking at programme one performance for quarter three, out of 13 targets planned, eight (62 percent) targets were achieved and five (38 percent) were not achieved. Under the Departmental Management sub-programme, 75 percent of internal audit projects, 55 percent of internal audit projects in the Annual Plan were completed and audit reports were issued. 65% of audit findings of the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) for the 2016/17 financial year were resolved - this is an ongoing project managed by the office of the CFO. Nine internal audit projects were planned, six internal audit projects were completed and three were still in progress. The performance status was therefore listed as not achieved.
Ms Mathobela the turned to the financial management sub-programme where of the 1 161 invoices received, all were paid within 30 days. The Department had under spending of less than two percent and this was improved in quarter three.
Under the corporate management sub-programme, the Department met its target of maintaining a vacancy rate of less than 10 percent. The target of resolving all disciplinary cases within 90 days was not achieved because one was still in progress. The target of producing a Progress Report on delivery against the quarterly targets of the year one business systems implementation plan was achieved. The delays of invoice for office accommodation amounting to R978 000 for December 2017, procurement of office furniture and Sanitary Dignity Indaba, Gender Responsive Budgeting Symposium and consultations of Gender Based Violence against women and sexual offences with other departments part of the National Dialogues, were initially planned for implementation in quarter one but would take place in the fourth quarter. The presentation also spoke to social empowerment and transformation, economic empowerment and participation, governance transformation, justice and security sub-programmes in programme two
Overall the performance of programme two in quarter three showed that out of seven targets planned, 3 (43 percent) targets were achieved and four (57 percent) were not achieved. Included in the programme were the Research and Policy Analysis, Information and Knowledge Management (Communications) and Stakeholder Coordination and Outreach sub-programmes. The 365 Days Campaign for No Violence Against Women and Children was rolled out with the annual target of four community mobilisation initiatives conducted on socio-economic issues affecting women such as gender based violence, social cohesion, nation building and other related intolerance per year. The16 Days of Activism campaign was implemented through the launch event on 25 November and the Imvuselelo on 26 November 2017.
Ms Mathobela outlined the overall performance of quarter four of the 2017/18 financial year - out of 27 targets planned, 17 (63 percent) were achieved and ten (37 percent) were not achieved.
The overall performance of programme one in relation to set quarter four targets outlined in the 2017/18 APP showed that out of 13 targets planned, seven (54 percent) targets were achieved and six (46 percent) were not achieved. The Department compiled a third quarter risk mitigation report which indicated that 74% of the high rated risk was fully implemented and this reduced the impact of risk occurring. Tabling of the Strategic Plan and 2018/19 APP was not achieved due to the fact that the Department had a change in the Executive Authority responsible for women. 100% of internal audit projects in the annual plan and audit reports issued were not achieved. 29 internal audit projects were planned for the financial year. 22 (75.86%) audit projects were completed and six (20.70%) audit projects were still in progress. One (3.44%) audit project was not performed. The 95% target of implementing internal audit recommendations made in the previous quarter was not achieved - 38 percent of those recommendations were implemented and 41 percent were in the process of being implemented. In January 2018, out of 194 invoices paid, 191 were paid within 30 days and three were paid outside of the 30 days due to invoices submitted to the Department before the National Treasury December system closure and high number of invoices in the process of being paid - the invoices stood over to early January 2018. In February 2018, out of 440 invoices paid, 436 were paid within 30 days and four outside of the 30 days. In March 2018, out of 816 invoices paid, 815 were paid within 30 days and one outside of the 30 days. This was because invoices were submitted for payment without certification of services rendered. In January 2018 the staff worked extra hours to accommodate the high inflow of invoices to be paid for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and the National Dialogues held in the Eastern Cape. In February and March 2018, a proper reconciliation was done on all cases relating to Dialogues to confirm delivery of services before payment. The Department maintained the less than 2% under spending against the spending plan target. Out of the 34 findings relating to Financial Management, 29 findings were cleared translating to 85.29 percent. Five findings were still a work in progress translating to 14.71 percent of the findings of the AGSA which management still had to respond to.
Ms Mathobela continued to add that on corporate management, the Department maintained a vacancy rate of less than 10 percent and that of the 100 percent of all disciplinary cases targeted to be resolved within 90 days, 80 percent of cases were resolved and 20 percent, or one, disciplinary case was at an advanced stage of completion. When the Department returned to present on quarter one, would also be presenting progress of the disciplinary case. The progress report on delivery against the quarterly targets of the Year 1 Business Systems implementation of Plan (BSIP) was developed and achieved.
Programme Two: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment
Ms Esther Maluleke, the DoW Acting DDG: STEE, spoke on the performance of the Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment programme which focused on sanitary dignity, gender- based violence campaign and economic empowerment of women. The programme looked at government in terms of the National Gender Machinery. In quarter three, out of seven targets planned, three (43%) targets were achieved while 4 four (57%) were not achieved. With the Social Empowerment and Transformation unit, the Department was expected to implement a policy framework for provision of sanitary dignity to indigent girls and women. In quarter three, a zero draft was developed and the Department met as a national task team to drive the program and ensure that a framework was in place - this target was achieved. A report on the economic empowerment of women in the nine point plan was not achieved. The Department however has a base document that talks to the business case of the issue.
Development of the framework on women’s financial inclusion was not achieved. However consultations did take place. In terms of the Governance, Transformation, Justice and Security sub-programme, there was non-achievement of the quarterly report to Cabinet on the Gender Focal Point (GFP) framework. The Department recognised the need for gender mainstreaming. As this was the weakest link, the Department intended to request Cabinet intervene to assist the Department to ensure that the GFP’s were standardised and were performing effectively. This required the engagement between the Ministers of Public Service and Administration and Women to resolve this matter - the two were expected to meet last week but unfortunately the DPSA Minister was not available. An analysis report of the outcomes of the National Dialogues and proposals on the 365 Days Campaign for No Violence Against Women and Children. There was cooperation between programme two (stakeholder) and programme three (technical content).
Ms Maluleke stated that in quarter four, programme two had seven targets planned - five (71%) targets were achieved while two (29%) were not achieved. Looking at the progress on the sanitary dignity policy framework, the Department conducted stakeholder consultations with a number of institutions. There was situational analysis on sanitary dignity products and implementation plans for Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and a first draft report on benchmarking exercise. There was a report on interventions to enhance economic empowerment of women in the nine point plan. The women’s financial inclusion framework was submitted to Cabinet. A draft report was done on the outcomes of the National Dialogues and proposals on 365 Days Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children but could not be tabled in order to allow the new Executive Authority (Minister in the Presidency responsible for women) to approve.
Ms Annette Griessel, DoW DDG: PSCKM, outlined that in quarter three, programme three, out of eight targets, achieved four (50%) while the remaining 50% (four) were not achieved. This improved in quarter four to 71 percent achieved and 29 percent not achieved.
In quarter three, the report on the socioeconomic empowerment of women through government economic incentive schemes was not achieved but there was a significant turnaround and the project was now well underway. The report on the gender communication and information resources loaded onto repositories on internet, intranet and used in communication was achieved. Two public participation initiatives were held relating to cancer awareness raising and Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). There was also community mobilisation on 16 Days of Activism for VAWC and a participation report on the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
There was non-achievement of the country report for international multi-lateral forums and monitoring reports on progress made against the nine-point plan
Ms Griessel highlighted that in quarter four, out of seven targets, programme three achieved five (71%) while two (29%) were not achieved.
Because of the importance of the report the baseline report on the Gender Analysis of the Government Incentive Schemes administered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the target was moved to July 2018.
The quarterly report on gender communication and information made available on DoW media platforms was achieved. Also achieved were the two public participation outreach initiatives on socioeconomic empowerment including young women – five community dialogues were successfully conducted in four districts in the North West. There was achievement of the participation report on international multilateral forums – this was done on the Southern African Development Community and Africa Ministerial- pre Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) consultation meeting held in Adidas Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss policy positions. This would lead to there being a common African position depending on policy agreements. The theme of the meeting was women and girls living in rural areas. There was achievement of the Mid-Term Evaluation Report on the Nine-Point Plan and Outcome 14.
The country report on the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa was not achieved
Human Resource Oversight
Ms Nondumiso Maome, DoW Acting Chief Director: Corporate Management, noted that the Department kept the vacancy rate at less than ten percent throughout the year. During quarter four there were a total of 107 approved posts, 101 filled posts, and six funded vacancies. 11.8% was the vacancy rate at Senior Management Service (SMS). In quarter four, the vacancy rate was 5.6%, the turnover rate was at 9.0% and 96.0% of jobs were evaluated. Representation of women in SMS was 53.1% in the fourth quarter, 4.0% representation of people with disabilities and 117 employees trained. 89.3% of SMS performance agreements were signed as at the fourth quarter, 6.7 was the average number of sick days leave taken and 23.7 was the average number of days of annual leave taken.
In terms of the status of vacant posts by the end of quarter three, there were six posts vacant. The Director-General post became vacant in December 2017 and applications were captured. The Department awaited direction from the Executive Authority (EA). The second post was that of Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation became vacant in January 2018 - the post was still to be advertised in the next quarter. The third post was Director: Outreach which became vacant in March 2018 - the post was still to be advertised in the next quarter. The fourth post was Media Liaison Officer which became vacant in December 2017 – the post would be filled at the discretion of the EA. The fifth post was Assistant Director: HR Admin which became vacant in February 2018 - applications were captured and the Department awaited direction from the Accounting Officer. The sixth post was the Assistant Executive PA, in the ODG which became vacant in January 2018 – the post would be filled in the next quarter.
In terms of service terminations in quarter three and four, the following posts were terminated:
-Director-General: November 2017; contract expired
-Media Liaison Officer: November 2017; resignation
-Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation: December 2017; dismissal
-Contractor: Financial Management: December 2017; contract expired
-Contractor: Suspense Account: December 2017; contract expired
-Contractor: Financial Accounting: December 2017; contract expired
-Assistant Executive PA: ODG: January 2018; transfer
-ASD: Human Resource Administration: January 2018; transfer
-Director: Outreach: February 2018; early retirement
Ms Maome continued to state that in terms of labour relations matters by the end of quarter four there was one disciplinary cases pending, four precautionary suspensions, five grievances resolved, two grievances not resolved, three disputes registered, four disputes dismissed and four people suspended. The number of people whose suspension exceeded 30 days was three, the average number of days suspended were 110.5 percent and the cost of suspension for the four people was R1. 593 million.
Achievements and challenges in the HR unit included maintaining a vacancy rate of 5.6 percent which was well below the performance target of ten percent. 99.9 percent of the Compensation of Employees budget was spent, the SMS vacancy rate stabilised from 11.8 percent in quarter one to an annual total of 11.1 percent. Four members were on suspension, but the hearing/investigation was in process, and no employees were on special leave.
Ms Desree Legwale, DoW CFO, looked at the Department’s Financial Performance for the third quarter in 2017/18. Overall the Department spent 73 percent of its allocated adjusted budget of R206 163 million. The administration programme spent 72 percent of its adjusted budget, Social, Transformation and Economic Empowerment programme spent 59 percent, the Commission for Gender Equality programme spent 76 percent and the Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management programme spent 74 percent of its adjusted budget.
Reasons for variances in programme one, administration, was mainly due to the Department receiving an invoice for office accommodation amounting to R978 000 for the month of December 2017 in January 2018. This invoice was subsequently paid in January 2018. The office accommodation invoice related to a contract entered between the Department of Public Works and the landlord on behalf of the Department. Software for Antivirus, Data and Information backup management for R875 000 was budget under capital assets and expenditure was realised in goods and services in line with the Standard Chart of Accounts classification of expenditure.
Reasons for variance in programme two, social, transformation and economic empowerment, was mainly due to the Sanitary Dignity Indaba, Gender Responsive Budgeting Symposium and consultations of Gender Based Violence against women and sexual offences with other departments, which were part of the National Dialogues. These activities were initially planned for quarter one but were rescheduled to take place in the fourth quarter. Under spending was attributable to reprioritisation of funds within the baseline allocation of this programme to fund spending pressures related to National Dialogues in programme three.
Reasons for variance in programme three, Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, was attributable to the Director post that was additional to the establishment for Research Policy Impact. Funds for this post would be reprioritised from programme one by means of a virement at year end to cover excess expenditure in accordance with the requirement of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). An invoice for Sanitary Dignity Packs procured in March 2017 was paid in the current financial year. An invoice for the previous financial year for PRASA (transport for 60th Anniversary for Women’s month) was paid in the current financial year due to continuous rejection of the banking details upon verification on BAS. Funds would be reprioritised from programme two at year end to fund spending pressures in this programme.
Ms Legwale stated that in terms of the expenditure by economic classification, on compensation of employees, the adjusted budget in this category of expenditure was R71.7 million with actual expenditure of R54.8 million - this translated to 76%. The overspending of R830 000 against the projected expenditure was due to contract appointments within the Department. The Department submitted an application to National Treasury to address overspending through the virement. In terms of Goods and Services, the adjusted budget was R52.2 million with actual expenditure of R33.5 million. Under spending of R5.9 million against the projected expenditure of R39.4 million was due to the Department receiving an invoice for office accommodation amounting to R978 000 for the month of December 2017 in January 2018. This invoice was subsequently paid in January 2018. The Sanitary Dignity Indaba, Gender Responsive Budgeting Symposium and consultations of Gender Based Violence against women and sexual offences with other departments, which are part of the National Dialogues, was initially planned for quarter one but was rescheduled to take place in the fourth quarter. Under spending was attributable to reprioritisation of funds within the baseline allocation of this programme to fund spending pressures related to National Dialogues in programme three.
Ms Legwale added that on transfer and subsidies, the adjusted budget was R78.4 million with actual expenditure of R59.9 million - this translated to 76%. The over spending of R1.2 million was due to payment of outstanding leave days (leave gratuities) to officials who exit the public sector. Misallocation of expenditure for office accommodation was corrected in the fourth quarter. Overspending relating to payment of leave gratuity would be addressed at year end during the virement period.
On Capital Expenditure, the adjusted budget on capital assets was R3.8 million with actual expenditure of R2.0 million. Under spending against the projected expenditure of R3.7 million was due to Software for Antivirus, Data and Information backup management for R875 000 that was budget under capital assets and the expenditure was realised in goods and services in line with the Standard Chart of Accounts classification of expenditure.
Turning to financial accounting, on the Department Revenue, the Department collected revenue amounting of R20 000 as at 31 December 2017. Revenue was generated from insurance and garnishee collections on behalf of third parties and the sale of waste paper. There was no fruitless and wasteful expenditure reported for the period ending 31 December 2017. There were ten irregular expenditure transactions reported as at 31 December 2017 amounting to R1.4 million. On deviations from following normal Supply Chain Management (SCM) procedures, three were reported as at 31 December 2017 amounting R387 000. These deviations were dually approved by the Accounting Officer in line with the requirement of Treasury regulations. A total of 3 461 invoices were received as at 31 December 2017 of which 597 was paid translating to 17%. Of the invoices received in quarter four, all were paid within the 30 day period. Of the invoices older than the 30 days that had not been paid, there was one invoice related to DPW lease payments from 2011-2014, which was due to non-billing the DoW for lease payments. The matter was discussed and a payment plan would be drafted to settle the amount over three financial years. There was one invoice related to the 2016-2017 procurement of bottled water during the Limpopo Dialogues. Delivery of goods had not been certified by the Department officials.
Ms Legwale then addressed the information required by the Committee regarding the expenditure for major events undertaken during the third quarter. These events included:
-16 Days of Activism Campaign in the Eastern Cape: total expenditure R1 838 982.08
-National Dialogues in the Eastern Cape: total expenditure R1 782 755.26
-National Dialogues in the Mpumalanga: total expenditure R1 413 777.58
-Merick Africa Asia Luminary in Egypt: total expenditure: R148 660.62 (the Department is awaiting invoices for accommodation and ground transport from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO))
-Third Edition of UNESCO Merick Africa in Mauritius: total expenditure R178 040.40 (the Department is awaiting invoices for accommodation and ground transport from (DIRCO)
-Second AU Specialised Technical Committee on Gender and Women Empowerment in Ethiopia: total expenditure R45 359.75 the Department is awaiting invoices for accommodation and ground transport from DIRCO)
Ms Legwale then looked at the financial overview of the Department as at 31 March 2018 – the final appropriation for the 2017/18 financial year is R206.2 million while the actual expenditure as at 31 March 2018 amounts to R204.7 million which translates to 99.3% of the Department’s final appropriation. Under spending in goods and services was mainly due to funding that would have been utilised to write off irrecoverable debts. These debts could not be written off because the Department was in the process of approving the debt management policy. Payments for Capital Assets amounted to R1 044 000.00. The under spending in this category was due delayed acquisition relating to upgrading and procurement of software licences. The under spending was also attributable to funds earmarked for replacement and procurement of computer equipment for existing and newly recruited officials. The Department further planned to reprioritise unspent funds to fund spending pressures experienced in the compensation of employees.
In terms of expenditure per programme of the final appropriation:
-Programme One (Administration): 99.1%
-Programme Two (Social, Political, Economic Participation and Empowerment): 100%
-Programme Three (Policy Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management): 97.6%
Ms Legwale added that accumulative fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as at 31 March 2018, stood at R12 574 000 which included one transaction amounting to R33 000 relating to the 2017/18 financial year. Accumulative irregular expenditure as at 31 March 2018 stood at R29 904 000 which included one transaction amounting to R2 217 00.00 relating to the 2017/18 financial year. Irregular expenditure decreased from R6 305 000.00 to R2 2117 000.00 in the financial year under review in comparison with the 2016/17 financial year. In terms of the deviations, the Department recorded nine cases as at 31 March 2018 amounting to R842 000.00. On payment of invoices within 30 days, a total of 4 911 invoices were received during the 2017/18 financial year and 4 306 invoices were paid within 30 days translating to 88%. 605 invoices were paid outside of the 30 days. A higher percentage of invoices paid outside 30 days in May related to Vodacom invoices that were part of the reconciliation process to prevent duplicate payments.
In terms of the financial achievements, a reduction in irregular expenditure was incurred as a result of strengthened internal control measures in SCM and implementation of the procurement guidelines for all officials in the Department. With challenges, the Department achieved 89% implementation of the audit action plan for the 2016/17 financial year. The outstanding achievement of 11% related to Finance, SCM and Internal Audit – reasons for non-achievement were attributable to inadequate Human Resource capacity specifically in middle management (Deputy Director: Financial Accounting and SCM) and Director: SCM. The interventions in the long term were that the Director: SCM post be advertised and the Department anticipated to fill the post in the second quarter. Another long term intervention was to secure funding for permanent filling of the Deputy Director post in Financial Accounting and the filling of all vacant unfunded posts in Finance in line with the approved structure of the Department.
Major events undertaken during quarter four were the National Dialogues in North West that amounted to R955 664.08. The facilitator for the North West Dialogue was not paid as at the end of the financial year because the service provider was requested to revise the invoice in line with the actual number of Dialogues that took place. In terms of international trips in quarter four the Department attended the 62nd Conference on the Commission on Status of Women in New York which totalled R2 049 944.69 - the Department was awaiting claims for accommodation and ground transport from DIRCO.
Ms Tshabalala, in summary, indicated that the costs spent on the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and Dailogues were mainly because of transport and catering. The dialogues would normally last close to a week from the morning until the end of each day. The Department could not invite people with disabilities and senior citizens without providing them with food as it would have been inhumane on the part of the Department. The principle of “nothing about us without us” applied because decisions could not be made about young girls and boys without giving them an opportunity to speak for themselves on what the issues are. International travels, the fact that SA was now a member of CSW as elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), compelled the Department to go to New York annually to attend the Commission and to take charge in discussions of what SA was doing by sharing experiences in terms of the work that was being done and learning from other countries as well. SA delegates were obliged to come back from the Commission and provide feedback to all members of society which is what was done. Treaties and conventions signed by SA also obligated state representatives to attend most of the meetings because they had to account. The process was that there needed to be members from the policy unit as there were policy matters that could arise - this would need to be someone from the core unit because policy would need to be translated to practice and it was imperative that there also be someone from DIRCO who would take note of the obligations and whether SA complied or not. A member from the Strategic Unit would also need to be present otherwise they would not be able to take a posture on these issues from a planning perspective. The Ministry would be in attendance and would arrive at the program of action and suffice to say, the systems that were now in place would yield the desired result in helping to cap expenditure and eliminate issues of wasteful expenditure.
Ms Tshabalala added that on corporate support, the suspension of senior members of staff was impacting the Department but the process had to happen because there were reports which necessitated actions be taken. Work being done by the officials must be appreciated because some of them were taking on the workload of the current vacant posts while only being remunerated for one position. The reason for this was that someone needed to do those jobs until the disciplinary hearings were concluded and outcomes known. The Department of Women was not an implementing department which was confusing in some instances to many because it is expected to talk to deliverables which were not in its preview while taking advantage of it strategic position in the Presidency to influence the planning process of government from a gender perspective. Playing a facilitation role was not easy because the Department had to liaise and reach out to the next department to get them to come on board with certain programmes. The Department would ensure that GFPs were strategically located and accounted to by the Heads of Department. This also had to occur at provincial and local level because there could not be municipalities that did not have focal points not at a Director level or upwards. This is the reason for the Department’s gender planning process, gender responsive budget, government-wide monitoring and evaluation and influence. The team was committed to take the Department to the next level with guidance and support from Committee.
Dr C Pilane-Majeke (ANC), Deputy Minister Public Service and Administration, wanted to know, in the Eastern Cape and all provinces during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, whether the Department checked if there was any progress in the minimisation of violence against women and children particularly in areas like the Eastern Cape where such violence is considerably high. Was the same facilitator used in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga? If so, why was this the case? The beginning of presentation reflected set targets which were not fully achieved - when the set targets from quarter one were not achieved, did the Department move and try to achieve those targets in the following quarter? Without doing so, a backlog would develop in each quarter. From the 86 targets recorded, only an estimated 40 were achieved. With only approximately 27% of the budget left, how would it be possible to achieve the remaining targets? On the gender focal points, particularly sanitary dignity, the DoW consulted a number of stakeholders – did the Department meet with any women in cooperatives as part of these stakeholders consulted who were interested in producing sanitary pads? If not, what was the Department doing to help stakeholders benefit from the programme of producing sanitary pads? How would the Department assist women who were already in this production process?
Ms G Tseke (ANC) agreed the Department was not an implementing department as the acting DG had stated but rather a monitoring and evaluating department. The Department had however procured sanitary packs which were not its responsibility, in her view, since there was a task team inclusive of other departments - the DoW could make use of the services of the other departments, especially the Departments of Social Development and Basic Education. She appreciated the improvement of the payment of invoices within the 30-day period - going forward, the Department of Public Works must be engaged to cover the matter. With the National Dialogues report writing, it was said the Department was making use of a service provider – what was the reason for this? The DoW is a small Department with competent managers yet it had contracted a service provider to write a report – what then is the responsibility of officials in the Department? Why were they earning a salary at the end of the month if a service provider could be contracted? She added that the National Dialogues was a collaboration between departments - why was the DoW not making use of officials from other departments if it had an issue of capacity? This was the first and last time the Committee would allow the Department to do this.
Ms Tseke disagreed with Ms Pilane-Majeke in terms of the facilitators - she did not understand why the Department had appointed facilitators. In the two National Dialogues that happened, the Department was paying its facilitators over R1 million. She wanted to know who the facilitators were in order to give the Committee a view of who the Department was paying and what the role was of the Department and other departments because issues the Department was dealing with could be handled by various experts in the different government departments. NGOs could also do the work without expecting to be paid. The Department constantly complained it does not have the budget for its programmes but it seems as though it was playing with the budget it has or do not know what it is it was supposed to do with it.
The Chairperson asked the Department if it was the carryover from the previous Minister to the current one that was the problem. If that was the case, it should be made clear to everyone.
Ms Tseke referred to the status of vacant posts and noted that the most important thing was for the Department to inform the Committee on how it was in filling the vacancies. Rather than complaining that it does not have people for the posts, the Department should state what the challenges were to find the appropriate people for the vacancies. With the directory compiled for young women, why did the Department feel it necessary to do this when the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) deals with the responsibility of such a directorate? She asked why the Sanitary Dignity Report was reported as zero draft developed as the Department had a Sanitary Dignity report in quarter three. A letter was submitted to the Department two weeks ago but the Committee only got these documents Friday before this meeting – this is uncalled for. There must be time allocated for the Committee to interact with the Department in terms of documents submitted on the Sanitary Dignity Report, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework document and the Financial Inclusion for Women document. She requested the Committee be briefed on the 80% of disciplinary cases resolved. With the target in programme on gender-based violence, for the last six months there was no activity in quarter three and quarter four – why was this the case?
Ms D Robinson (DA) found the presentation confusing. She wanted to know what the nature of the problem was in terms of the disciplinary hearings because that could indicate weakness within the system. The information she received about the sanitary dignity programme was that the products being produced were inadequate. She asked what the details were on this matter - she also asked for a report from her own sources regarding this matter. She added that she had been told that people were not using the pads for their purposes but rather were using them as swabs. She appreciated the fact that the Department wanted to create jobs and it could be good to have people make their own products but there was a need to look at quality control so that the product is hygienic and would not cause cervical problems. She asked for the details of who was supplying these sanitary packs and if they were of proper production standard so that money was not be wasted. She then referred to the Commission for the State of Women (CSW) in New York travel expenses – while she understood it was necessary for the Committee to be there as public representatives, the Department must consider economising because the costs were unbelievable. Part of the reason why such very high airfares were paid was because arrangements were made at the last minute even though invitations were issued well in advance. The taxpayers money must be used properly and not for luxurious purposes. Signatories to the conventions and treaties were good but what about the follow up reports such as the question of the country report that should have been presented? She shared the concern about the service delivery contractors and facilitators as Ms Tseke expressed. People were milking the system and government cannot afford it.
The Chairperson asked Ms Robinson for the area in which sanitary towels were used for swabs in order to follow up and find out who the manufacturers are and to cut down on the level of infections.
Ms Robinson would provide the Chairperson with this information as soon as she received it.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) noted that the presentation was well presented. She asked for clarity on what the Department was speaking about when it referred to achievements and what it is the Department had achieved. Was this achievement in relation to the disciplinary hearings against the Department’s employees? With regards to the issue about sanitary towels, in KZN, a Minister was implicated in dodgy deals - what did the Department do about this matter? What had the Department done to ensure what it planned had been achieved? Violence against women was becoming worse - what had the Department done, or what was it doing, to make sure women and children were protected outside of the 16 Days of Activism? These women and children faced violence every day. The Department spoke about community development - she would be very pleased to hear where this development was taking place because according to her knowledge nothing was done. In rural areas, women did not have resources but would come together and plough their fields, helping each other selling what they grew for their survival - this system seems much better than what the Department claims to be doing for these women. What was the Department doing to help these women get resources? The DoW failed to return women’s dignity and to fight for them - even the houses these women occupy with their children did not reflect that what the Department says it is doing for them in this country. She asked if the Department still dealt with people living with disabilities. She asked how the Department assisted people from a household where everyone in it was disabled. She wondered if the new Minister would be able to help with the situation faced.
Ms Tseke asked that the Acting Director General go back to the National Dialogues to check how much the Department had budgeted. In the Eastern Cape, the Department spent R1.7 million, Mpumalanga it spent R1.4 million while in the North West, there was expenditure close to R1 million but the 15 facilitators had not been paid. Who were the facilitators per province? What criteria were used to select the facilitators? What was their role? How much were they paid individually? The Department could send the Committee a written response in this regard. She agreed with the Acting DG that people must be fed when they were invited to government events. Unfortunately she did not have the numbers of how many people attended the 16 Days of Activism event and the National Dialogues but noted the budget for the two events was a bit higher than the National Dialogues for catering. In the Northern Cape, was this a National Dialogue or Women’s Day celebration? Why was this not part of the presentation? How did the Department deal with the invoices from the 16 Days of Activism in the Eastern Cape when officials part of the event were suspended because of procurement issues?
Mr T Nkonzo (ANC), talking to HR interventions, noted the Deputy Director (DD) post was unfunded - how and when would this position be prioritised? The position of the DD was critical and the fast- tracking of it being filled was important. How could the Monitoring and Evaluation position be fast- tracked and filled with a competent person?
Ms Robinson asked what plan the Department had in terms of initiating dialogue - if there was a plan, she could not see evidence of every province being covered.
Ms Tshabalala replied that on the status of funded vacancies, the DG post was advertised, capturing was done and there was motivation to the EA to approve the committee that would be assisting her on the people to be shortlisted but also setting a date for the interview itself. On the Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation vacancy, the post had already been advertised and the closing date was 15 June 2018. Once the closing date was reached, a team would immediately be put together to deal with short listing. There would then be a team to comprise the interview panel. The rest of the vacancies were pending prioritisation. It must be remembered that this was the current establishment – posts were funded and approved. Following a cost evaluation, the Department prioritised vacant posts in terms of which post need to be filled immediately and which post could be filled later in order to balance expenditure across the board - this is what is meant by ‘awaiting prioritisation’.
With regards to disciplinary cases, the SMS members, including lower level officials, were first placed under suspension. This arose from some of the findings that the Department and Treasury picked up in relation to procurement practises and potential irregularities identified. The terminology ‘potential’ was used because these officials were still subject to a hearing where the Department would present the evidence and the official would be afforded an opportunity to defend themselves. The Department would need to determinate if system issues encroached into operations of the Department and if this led to where the Department was today, if there was dereliction of duty or an act of corruption. At this stage it would be premature to conclude until members were allowed a fair chance of a hearing. Some of the hearings began in April.
In terms of government terminology, a document was called a zero draft when it was first started – this was a type of unwritten policy. The Department visited a number of women’s cooperatives in Gauteng and Mpumalanga and would still be visiting more. The main reason for this was that the framework seeks to address the entire value chain. Referring to Ms Khawula, from the manufacturing perspective, the Department wanted to give women the opportunity to be the manufacturers of the sanitary towels. With regards to storage issues, the women were given the responsibility to store the sanitary packs they produced. The same women oversaw distribution of the sanitary products they designed. The process was a collaborative one hence it being called a value chain because it was with the assistance of small business, the DTI and women in the process. An observation she made which was concerning was that during a seminar on menstrual hygiene management, the plight of women was commercialised by men and women. The men arrived with different products that had not been screened as being safe for women’s health and hygiene. Some of the people that introduced these products were from political organisations and introduced products such as panties that had pads that they could be washed and reused. The concern was that a girl child in a rural community that does not have access to water but must now walk around with a pad in their bag when they come from school so that they can wash the pad when they get home. This was not progressing the sanitary dignity framework but rather a continuation of undignified activities women and girls had to go through. The Department could not however tell the women and girls not to use the products – the role of the Department was to guide the framework in terms of products being SABS-approved and responsive to the plight of women, especially those in rural communities. The process might take long but that was because the Department was doing research to ensure what was developed was as comprehensive and informed as possible. The Committee was welcome to provide the Department with guidance to deal with these matters.
Ms Tshabalala added that the Departments of Water and Sanitation and Education were also key partners from an infrastructure point. The Department of Environmental Affairs was also on board to deal with biodegradable products. Once it was identified sanitary pads procured by the Department in the past were not done properly, there were corrective measures. Because these matters were picked up on, systems were put in place through the CFO to ensure nothing would get procured unless it was part of the plan or approved by the responsible programme manager.
Dialogues were programmes led by the previous Executive Authority and there was a plan to conducted dialogues in all the nine provinces. However, when it was realised there was a challenge with inclusion of the service provider, the Department consulted with Treasury to find out how it could correct the situation. Treasury advised the Department on a way forward. Procurement would now be provincially-specific. That is why it was immediately deemed fit to involve the service provider who would then make sure that he or she brings a host of services such as social workers, psychologists and report writing. The Department would then come in and do an analysis of what transpired at a strategic level and determine how that analysis would inform the current process of the POA that would be reviewed in terms of gender- based violence.
Ms Tshabalala continued to state that these reports would be shared with the Premiers so that provinces could be aware of matters faced in terms of what the women in those provinces were saying. This would then ensure plans made were not boardroom-informed but rather informed by service recipients. Each Premier would then deal with this in respect of their province. There were also contradictions in prescripts – e.g. the Department of Home Affairs states that a child can be married if the mother approves but the Child Law Act states that a child cannot be married before the age of 18. The DoW had thus taken this up with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services to initiate a process to engage and discuss how these matters would be raised for harmonisation processes so that in the end the plight of the girl child is not compromised by legislation. The dialogues were not working in isolation. This assisted the Department in targeting men and women in their own structures and churches. There was also work with men in a Cell C campaign in order to not leave the boy child behind. Women are not a homogeneous group - women have different experiences in terms of sexuality, disability, age etc. The reason why the Department followed a methodological way of doing things, from a gender- planning, gender- responsive budgeting and monitoring and evaluating framework of gender indicators, was that it would help address the issues. Lefika was the service provider – the Department was in the process of appointing a service provider for the Western Cape. The Department was hoping that once the dialogues were concluded and all critical posts were filled, it would be able to deal with the issues themselves in partnership with other departments. There was a report presented on the CSW - the report was tabled with a programme of action which would inform programmatic interventions for women in rural communities.
Ms Maluleke felt it was important to draw the Members’ attention to the fact the dialogues do not take a week. So far, in terms of the five provinces, analysis showed the dialogues reached 10 200 community members. What was driving the costs was the size of the people that needed to be engaged because the Department had to move from one district to another in each province which took a period of about two to three weeks. The Department has its own staff on the ground of not less than 15 who coordinate and make sure that in every municipality, with high levels of violence, people are engaged. The Department staff were mainly involved in logistics. The people in those communities would be broken into groups based on demographics (sex, disability, etc) to intensively engage with them – this is where the service provider would come in. The departments were there to provide services such as mobile clinics, if there was a need for it, and counsellors if there were indications of people needing counselling. An example of this would be the Department Home Affairs being called to assist in registration processes. The service provider refers cases to departments and follows up with the Department. However the model and approach did have its own weaknesses because the Department would not necessarily get direct feedback mechanisms to follow up on the cases. The Department was localising and getting service providers in the different province which would also cut travel costs across provinces. The Violence Against Women programme was led by Department of Social Development - DoW intervention was mainly on dialogues which would be used in the POA that would be reviewed for government to strategically respond to issues of violence. As part of the review of the National Gender Machinery, the Department was looking at resuscitating the council because the Department cannot do this work alone. It needs a serious multipronged approach in terms of intervention. She added that the new Minister had a different approach on how this should be done compared to the previous way it was done.
Ms Griessel stated that if the Department just focused on development or empowerment and did not focus on the needs of women in that context, the status quo would be reproduced. Research internationally shows that being gender blind reinforces gender inequality and does not address the needs of women and, in this case, young women. The Department then decided to create this structure. There are three people appointed with this responsibility, the Director, Deputy Director and Administration Officer. Although it is not able to radically change the lives of young women on its own, the role of this team is to ensure the Department continued to ensure greater policy coherence and that when NYDA does its planning, the needs of young women are deliberately addressed and targets are set for young women’s achievements. The National Youth Policy (NYP) mentions young women but is not sufficient to address the issues of young women from the perspective of young women themselves.
Ms Griessel added that gender planning and budgeting required that cooperatives be asked what their specific needs are - the aim must be to start from the young women in rural areas, informal settlements and young women in the workplace. Young African women are the most affected by poverty, inequality and economic exclusion. The idea is therefore to develop a framework dealing with the most critical issues facing young women in the context of the NYP. Departments must prioritise the issues raised by young people in their APPs and budgets. Young women should be given the opportunity to speak for themselves directly to the Minister to ensure all entities better address the needs of young women.
The reason for the gap in quarter four regarding the 365 days is that the actual unit that organised those dialogues was made up of two to three people. The other colleagues came from other units in the Department. Even though the APP does not reflect this, the unit was working intensively on the dialogues. The points on the cost of the CSW were noted. When SA participated in the United Nations Security Council there were no questions on costs but when it comes to participation in women’s global policy issues and gender forums the costs are questioned.
Ms Legwale responded to the question regarding the invoices of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign - invoices were subsequently paid by the Department because services were rendered. The issue was the manner in which the appointment of service providers was conducted which was in transgression with the applicable SCM and as a result one official was currently suspended.
Ms Mathobela added that there was an annual, not planned quarterly, target for community mobilisation initiatives but it must be reported quarterly for auditing purposes.
Ms Tseke stated that the Committee must attend the next National Dialogue to get an idea of what is happening because she was not convinced. The Minister must also be engaged because it did not make sense that the Department had to appoint a service provider. It is the responsibility of Parliament to conduct oversight over these matters to make sure resources were being used appropriately. Some of the service providers do not possess the skills that government officials have and even when there are vacancies in senior management there were people at lower management – why was the Department not making use of this staff? During oversight visits, she observed communities do not know the Department of Women or the Portfolio Committee and the communities asked what these entities are doing. The DoW would have to utilise other departments with competent people instead of service providers.
Ms Tseke said that during her 10 years on the Committee, the Monitoring and Evaluation framework had been discussed with the inclusion of women but yet there was still no implementation. If someone were to ask her what she had been doing there, she would not be able to write a good story about the Department. In the next meeting the Committee should engage with the Department on the additional documents submitted. Since the Member got to Parliament the same matters were discussed. She had confidence in the new Minister and hopefully the dignity of women would be retained because most of the women are unemployed and poverty stricken and experience gender-based violence every day.
Ms Khawula stated that the sanitary towels that needed to be washed were given to the kids as samples and would save cost. They were given to learners of a school in KZN by a service provider and there was fraud involved in the matter. She asked if the Department went to rural areas because she did not remember hearing about such a trip. In the rural areas there were no steps being taken to make women aware of their rights - there should be an imbizo to deal with this. One of the DDGs spoke about districts that were implementing but even those districts were not helpful. The CGE got things done but they did not have the funding.
Ms Maluleke responded that the zero draft would be renumbered in time.
Ms Tshabalala stated that the Minister was delivering services through Department officials. Appointments were made and the officials took on the responsibility to execute tasks as assigned by the Executive Authority as approved in the APP. If officials were unable to deliver, this would be communicated to the Committee in terms of blockages. It was not easy to work with other departments but the Department was committed to doing its level best. The APP could not be changed but would have to be implemented to its full term. In the APP the Department tried to elevate and prioritise matters it knew could be implemented well. Some of the issues Ms Khawula raised hurt but they needed to be dealt with by the respective departments. DoW was willing to redirect the concerns to the appropriate departments.
The Chairperson proposed they stand together and break the door of justice. When a man rapes and kills, they were given the opportunity to pay a fine as it was said such cases were family matters. The issue of sanitary towels must be addressed as it could perpetrate infectious diseases as the person at the bottom of the river would be drinking contaminated water because young girls were washing those pads at the top of the river.
Ms Robinson stated that cattle also walk in the rivers. Women in Europe preferred the sanitary cups. In other areas women expressed gratitude for the reusable pads because they saved money and so had more money for food. The government pads were not quality products.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Department of Women 3rd and 4th Quarter Performance Information 2017/18
- Committee Report on Department of Women APP
- Monitoring & Evaluation Framework for socio-economic empowerment of women and gender equality
- Department of Women: Financial Inclusion of Women Framework
- Department of Women: Sanitary Dignity Policy Framework
- Department of Women: Status of Funded Vacancies
- Department of Women: Disciplinary Cases (Period Ending 31 May 2018)
- Department of Women: Gender Responsive Planning & Budgeting Framework
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