The Department of Women (DoW) presented its first quarter performance report for the 2018/19 financial year, with the Minister in attendance. The Minister stressed that a combined government and society-wide effort must be made to address the multi-dimensional issues of women.
The presentation covered the overall Departmental performance, as well as providing details of the various programmes, governance, human resource oversight and financial oversight. Overall, 60% of the Department’s targets had been achieved. The budget appropriation for the full 2018/19 financial year was R230.2 million, and the actual expenditure in the first quarter had amounted to R47.7 million, or 20.7% of the total appropriation.
The key achievements for the quarter had been the multiple dialogues that were held; the Commission on the Status of Women engagement; the development of a gender indicator framework; an inception report on the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Sanitary Dignity Programme; payment of all invoices within 30 days; a vacancy rate of less than the targeted 10%; and draft frameworks developed for the sanitary dignity programme, women’s financial inclusion and gender responsive planning. The Department highlighted that it had it challenges concerning the capacity and under-resourcing of its workforce which had led to some mandated functions not being effectively delivered.
The Committee raised issues about the shifting of programmes, the capacity of the Department, disciplinary cases, the sanitary dignity programme, the monitoring and evaluation framework, its role in addressing gender-based violence, gender responsive planning, the lack of information provided to the Committee by the DoW, the Department’s website not being updated with new information, the DoW’s role in, and the value of, the inter-ministerial committee’s integrated programme of action for addressing violence against women and children, the expenditure on the commissioning of work, and the purpose and outcomes of dialogues held, as well as the issues raised at the dialogues.
The Committee asked to be briefed on all disciplinary cases, draft policies and frameworks that were in progress, and for reports on the expenditure on commissioned work, and the organisational structure of the Department.
DoW First Quarter Report: Committee support staff input
Ms Crystal Levendale, Committee Researcher, said that the Department of Women (DoW) had underspent in quarter one, and a lot of activities had been deferred to the next quarter. Under programme performance, it had achieved 18 out of 30 targets for the quarter. Overall, the DoW had not overspent and had met most of their targets. However, there would be overspending in the second quarter because of the targets that had been deferred.
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Committee Content Advisor, said that the outstanding matters from Q3 and Q4 were her document, and that she would start on the erratum in the APP.
Ms T Stander (DA) interjected that it was not an erratum, but rather an amendment. The Committee must not succumb to the lies of the Department, as it was an amendment and not an erratum, which was the second for the year.
Ms Abrahams said that a letter was received with the first quarter presentation that said there was an erratum to the APP. The letter said that the targets had been moved from programme two to programme three. Programme Two was about economic participation and interventions for women’s access to participation in the economy. The Nine Point Plan and Department Trade and Industry (DTI) incentive schemes were going to be under Programme Two. In Programme Three, it was no longer the DTI incentive schemes but rather a report on government economic incentives. When you looked at the Q1 presentation, it still talked about the DTI and not government economic incentives. All she could do was outline the change, but not why it happened and what it meant.
The second thing that had been moved was “gender responsive budgeting and planning,” which had moved from Programme Two to Programme Three. The big concern around the budgeting planning framework for her was if it was going to be a policy, and if it would go through the legislative policy process. As the challenges around 2% compliance were known, how would the Department ensure compliance for this framework?
On page 3, in the changes, it was detailed that the key performance area was the report on the directive of women’s economic empowerment in the Nine Point Plan. That was the directive from the President to focus on the Nine Point Plan, and now it had shifted from Programme Three to Two. She could only assume it was related to the Nine Point Plan. She did not know if it had been moved from the narrow focus of the DTI to a broader view on government gender incentives, and the Department would have to provide the answers.
The annual targets for economic incentive and gender responsive budgeting were no longer in Programme Two, but in Programme Three. With the Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting Framework, the Department would start off with the conceptional framework, inception report and draft, and the final report would only be developed this year. The implementation of the framework would happen in only 2019/20. She reminded Members that the DoW had sent a draft paper about gender responsibility to the Committee two months ago, and she did not know the difference between the draft and what the Department was intending to do currently.
On Page 6, she highlighted that the Department had reassured the Committee it would look at operationalizing the APP, and that no changes were going to happen. There was reassurance that an erratum would not happen. Reasons had been given about why these targets had been moved, but it remained uncertain why was this considered when the APP was designed. Was this due to poor planning?
On matters arising in the previous meetings about Q3 and Q4, it had been requested that the Department should not use consultants or commission the work out when it had highly-skilled officials, and it should look at how it could work collaboratively. If the work was being commissioned, what were the costs and what work were the officials doing?
On dialogues, there was no information about dialogues given to the Committee or on the Department’s website.
On briefings, she advised the Members to request briefings on the gender responsive budgeting framework, sanitary dignity and women in financial inclusion. The DoW had submitted documents related to these areas, which were related to 2017/18 year. The Committee needed to provide evidence that it had engaged with the Department on these areas, and therefore meetings around these areas needed to be prioritised.
On international trips, the Department had indicated that they would have smaller delegations on trips and they had cut down.
On Page 7, the unmet targets of 2016/17 were not in the general overview, or how many of these unmet targets from Q3 and Q4 had to be carried over and what the cost implications were. Had these targets been dealt with in Q1? The Department had given reasons why the targets had not been met, but some of them were inadequate and did not provide enough detail.
On risk management, she asked how the APP had been approved if there was no list register. On finance, the under-expenditure often related to projects that had not been implemented. What were the projects that had not been implemented and what was the consequence management for those who had not implemented the projects?
On disciplinary cases, the DoW had said the target had been achieved, but 90% of cases were in progress and only one case had been finalised. There were three disputes -- when would the disputes be resolved? On suspensions, the case of the Deputy Director General (DDG), Corporate Services, was a matter that ran from one year to the next. The post was no longer on the organogram, and it was not known if the case had been resolved. What was happening with the Ms Sisulu December case? These cases needed to be resolved, as these individuals were still receiving salaries.
In terms of communication, the last post on the DoW website had been in March/April 2018, which was worrying because that was the post for the public, and it needed to be updated. It was understood that the the Director of Communications post was vacant.
On sanitary dignity, the Minister of Finance had announced that there would be additional products which would be zero-rated, and sanitary products was one of them. The members of the public had had an opportunity to comment on sanitary products becoming zero-rated. What was the role of the DoW in this regard if Treasury was taking the lead, and what was the Department doing to advocate for doing this, and how would it influence the framework?
On the “365 days” programme target, there was nothing. How was there a programme, but nothing had been reported for Q1. In ProgramThree, there were terms of reference (TOR) for research reports -- what was the cost and duration of this? On women’s dialogue and national dialogue, what were the outcomes and what happened after this engagement?
In summary, the Department had given the Committee more information, but this had led to more questions. It was important that clarity was received from the DoW on outstanding matters and another meeting needed to be prioritised for where it briefed the Committee on its frameworks and policies.
Ms G Tseke(ANC) said this was not the first erratum given, and this had become a norm. The programme had not been shifted, but the targets had been shifted. She did not understand why the shift had occurred if Programme Two still spoke to women’s empowerment, because Programme Three dealt with stakeholder policy and management, and the relevance was not clear. What was impact of the shift? Programme 3 had fewer than 15 officials -- would the capacity be adequate? She added that there was a need for information on outstanding disciplinary committee (DC) cases and the paying of suspended officials, as it was a long overdue issue.
Ms Stander said the Department lied and made excuses at every meeting, and when they were asked to take action by the Committee they did not. How did the Members, as a Committee, have powers to sanction this Department for not respecting the Committee enough to allow it to do its job? The Department was not doing their job. What were the powers of Committee, and what sanctions could be put in place to better the Department?
The Chairperson said she had heard what Ms Stander had said, and asked if any other Members had a different opinion.
Mr T Nkonzo(ANC) added in view of all under-performance and Ms Standers’s question about what the Committee was going to do, that maybe the Committee should look for answers themselves and act accordingly.
The Chairperson added that all Members should have an input on the issue and should determine an answer before they approached the Department on the matter.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) said that instead of solving problems, this Department created more problems. On August 10 she had been at the Durban University of Technology (DUT,) and serious problems had been reported there, and one wonders if action had been taken on the rape and violence cases. Instead of sanitary pads, the women were given condoms. Sanitary towels solved a natural problem that every woman went through, but condoms were for sexual activity. What had been done about empowerment? The Department said that sanitary towels had been sent, but when it was asked where to, there had been no answer.
The Chairperson said she was concerned because the war had not been won, and there had not been any proper explanations. How back far did the Committee have to go, because these DC cases were recurring issues? Personally, she did not know whether the policy allowed having previous Minister Susan Shabangu here to answer, as the problems had started with her because she did not attend the meetings, or she chucked people out. She was not trying to protect anyone, but a truthful report was needed that explained if there had been a handover process when the new minister took over, and both ministers needed to be in attendance.
The Chairperson said there should be a closed meeting on the performance of the Department.
Ms Stander said the erratum that had been admitted was an amendment. She asked that the Department tell the Committee what the definitions of an erratum and amendment were, and how this qualified as an erratum and not an amendment. In January this year, the same thing had happened -- an erratum had been submitted, but the Committee had agreed it was an amendment. She was aware that there was a strategic planning meeting where a new APP was to be developed, and the Committee had engaged and asked for information and the implementation of the triple B recommendations. In meetings, the Committee had been lied to and disrespected, because no information had been provided when asked for, and when action was asked for, nothing happened. She said that the Committee was made up of elected officials who were meant to have oversight over the Department. The Department was meant to lead and coordinate the transformation agenda on women’s socio- economic empowerment, rights and equality. This did not mean the Department must hold dialogues to ask women what the issues were. The issues were known, as there were other organisations that had this role.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini said that the issues raised were critical, and she thought they formed part of issues that the Committee should raise after it had given the Department a chance to present a report. It felt like a “horse before the cart” situation, because the Committee was saying the work was not being done but was not giving the Department an opportunity to prepare a report. She said that as much the Department was expected to deal with policy, it still needed to talk to communities.
The Chairperson apologised to the Minister, and said that that she had given Ms Stander an opportunity to talk because she was leaving early. The Committee had gone to do oversight and women had said they did not know the DoW. She did not understand Ms Stander, because dialogues were a way that the Department communicated with the people on the ground.
Ms Tseke added that it was unfortunate that Ms Stander was leaving, but procedurally the Department should be allowed to present before questions were asked or agree collectively that questions could be asked, because the documents have been read.
First Quarter report: DoW presentation
Minister Dlamini said it had to be taken into consideration that the DoW had work which cuts across government, and most of the time women’s issues were pushed into the corner. The Department was trying to ensure that its work was shown by all departments through gender responsive planning as well as gender auditing, which was also linked to planning, monitoring and evaluation. The Department had also focused on the Nine Point Plan, the National Development Plan (NDP) and Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). The DoW’s work was also to strengthening relationships with other state entities such as StatsSA. At the heart of patriarchy, there was violence against women, so the focus on economic development was part of saying that a woman could be independent and make her own decisions, as well as support and provide for her family.
The Director General would touch on areas of work the Department was doing and try not leave out equality and woman’s rights, as much as there was a strong focus on women’s economic empowerment. When working, the DoW had to recognise that not all women were the same and that government must recognise there were different strata of women and show how programmes found expression at the local level. The Department must try to look into multi-dimensional poverty, as it was the face of women and therefore its work focused on specific gender needs. The Department also focused on practical gender needs such as service delivery. Women needed service delivery to access their dignity, deal with the past and to ensure women’s lives were changed.
Ms Wilhelmina Tshabalala, Acting Director General, DoW, said that she would talk about the organisation and budget programme structure of the Department. The 2018/19 baseline on the compensation of employees allocation was sufficient for only 120 posts, which included 10 additional posts for which an increased allocation had been made to build capacity in core programmes, and there were no funds for further capacity growth in the Department. These points were raised because the DoW did not have a hierarchal structure such as other departments. It had a chief director and director in some units, whereas other departments had a chief director and as well as multiple directors that madeup a sub directorate. The DoW was expected to do gender-based analysis of cabinet memos, all policies, commentary work and facilitate gender mainstreaming with this limited organisational structure. The Department had approached the Treasury and would engage the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) for a review of the organisational structure to determine a better fit for the mandate of the Department.
The public service burden necessitated much greater allocation of posts to administration at the expense of core services. Regardless of the micro size, the DoW had the same governance requirements as every other department, resulting in an unequal distribution of resources between administrative and core programmes. Chronic under resourcing of the DoW over successive budget cycles had resulted in a workforce that was overburdened, under capacitated and with an unsatisfactory organisational arrangement of scarce human resources. The inadequate baseline allocation had resulted in numerous mandated functions not being effectively delivered due to a lack of technical capacity, and as such the Department would source the capacity as and when it was required to ensure it could fulfill its mandate.
Ms Val Mathobela, Chief Director: Strategic Management, DoW, said the Department overall had achieved 60% of its targets as 18 out of 30 targets had been met. Programme 1 which was dedicated to governance and compliance, had 15 targets planned, and seven had been achieved.
In the sub-programme: Departmental Management, the “Produce risk register and plan for the financial year 2018/19” target had not been achieved. The reason for the deviation was a result of the challenges the Department faced in tabling the annual performance plan (APP) in April following the changes made in Cabinet. The executive authority had had to be allowed to familiarise herself with the draft APP and be afforded the opportunity to amend where necessary. The APP had then been tabled in April, which had led to the risk identification assessment being done around May/June, which meant the finalisation of the consultative process got delayed. The target had been the achieved in quarter two.
The fourth quarter risk progress report for 2017/2018, the target had been achieved. 85% of the high rated risks were fully implemented and had reduced the impact of risks identified.
The “Zero Draft of APP 2019/20 developed for budgeting purposes” target was not achieved, as it was delayed by the planning and tabling of the APP. The target was achieved in the second quarter.
The Fourth Quarter 2017/18 performance report developed and submitted to National Treasury target was achieved.
The fourth quarterly Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) compliance reports target was not achieved, as it was delayed due to competing priorities, but it was achieved in the second quarter.
The three-year strategic internal audit plan for 2018/2020, and the annual internal audit plan for 2018/19 approved by the Audit and Risk committee target was not achieved because the internal audit plans were informed by the risk register, which was aligned to the APP. The APP was not tabled yet, therefore at the time, the risk register was not approved. A plan was being made to address this issue.
The one internal audit progress report for Q$ and the one annual internal audit progress teport against the annual internal audit coverage plan target was achieved.
The quarterly report on gender communications and information made available on DoW media platforms target was not achieved. The reason for the deviation was the vacancy in the Director of Communication’s post, but the process of filling it was under way.
In the sub-programme: Financial Management, the target of 100% payment of all valid invoices within 30 days was achieved.
The target of maintaining a less than 2% under spending against quarterly revised projections was not achieved. The Department had an under spending of 4%. The target was not met due to vacancies, which were currently being filled, and a delay in the annual cost of living adjustment. By the end of quarter two, the target would be achieved.
The DoW had achieved 93% of the implementation of the external audit recommendations, against a 95% target. The Department remained committed to improvement in this area. The intervention for this deviation was that the three outstanding audit findings would be included in the 2017/18 financial audit action plan.
In the sub programme: Corporate Management,the Department had a vacancy rate of 7.3%, well inside the 10% target. The remaining vacancies were currently being filled.
All disciplinary cases had been resolved internally within 90 days, as had been targeted. The Department had one case left over in quarter 4 which had been finalised in quarter 1. The achievement excluded any matters that still fell within the 90-day period.
The target of achieving 95% availability of the information communication technology (ICT) system had not been achieved. There had been no interruption, but the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) had not submitted reports for May and June. There had been an interaction between the Department and SITA to ensure the non-submission of reports was not repeated.
The progress report on delivery against the quarterly targets for the year 1 business systems implementation plan target had been achieved.
Ms Esther Maluleke, Acting Deputy Director General: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment (STEE), DoW, said Programme Two was where service delivery happened within in the Department and a lot of technical work happened in this branch. In Quarter one, six targets had been planned, and four were achieved.
In the sub-programme: Social Empowerment and Transformation, the following targets were met:
- The revised draft framework for sanitary dignity produced.
- The baseline report on gender analysis of incentive schemes administered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
- The draft gender responsive planning framework developed.
- The draft women’s financial inclusion framework developed.
In the sub-programme: Governance Transformation, Justice and Security, the Literature review report on national gender machinery target was not achieved. The Department had done the ground work and had prepared a concept document, and drafted terms of reference to appoint a service provider. The process of finding a service provider was under way.
The development of a draft of the reviewed inter-ministerial committee (IMC) Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) was not achieved due to delays in the provincial consultation processes. This was an intergovernmental process led by the Department of Social Development. A lot of progress had been made.
Ms Annette Griessel, Deputy Director General: Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management (PSCKM), said the unit was responsible for government wide policy and planning, monitoring and evaluation. The unit’s focus was to drive gender mainstreaming. Many of its mandates were under capacitated. Seven of the nine targets had been achieved.
In the sub-programme: Research, Policy Analysis and Knowledge Management, the terms of reference (TOR) for end-of-terms review report developed target had been achieved. This was a very important project for the current financial year, and would also be known as the 25-year review. A TOR and concept document had been developed, and the process of a finding service provider was under way.
In the sub-programme: Stakeholder Coordination and Outreach, the target of three public participation outreach initiatives on socio-economic empowerment including young women was achieved. A number of initiatives occurred, such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) report back engagement, Take-a-girl-child-to-work, and the young women’s and girls’ dialogues. A planned national dialogue was held involving young women with multiple stakeholders, including business, higher education and faith-based sectors.
The draft conceptual framework on young women’s socio-economic empowerment framework was not developed, as the unit was not fully staffed. Even though some work had been done and there was a draft document, the DoW felt it was not of sufficient quality for the target to be achieved.
The International Relations sub-programme’s report on engagement at the 2018 CSW was produced.
The inception report on the monitoring and evaluation framework for the “Sanitary Dignity Programme” had been developed, but the conceptual framework on the development of the country gender indicator target had not been achieved due to a vacancy in the post of Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation. The fast-tracking of filling the vacancy was under way.
Ms Tshabalala spoke about the key departmental achievements for the first quarter. They were:
- Fourth quarter risk progress report for 2017/18 produced and approved.
- Fourth quarter 2017/18 performance report developed and submitted to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and National Treasury (NT).
- 100% payment of all valid invoices within 30 days.
- Maintaining a vacancy rate of less than 10%.
- 90% of disciplinary cases settled within 90 days.
- Draft sanitary dignity framework revised and produced.
- Menstrual health management symposium convened in May.
- Baseline report on the gender analysis of incentives schemes developed and circulated for inputs.
- Draft gender responsive planning framework developed and presented at the high-level inter-departmental steering committee.
- Draft women’s financial inclusion framework developed and approved.
- Terms of reference for end-of-term review report on the socio-economic empowerment of women developed.
- CSW report-back and engagement with stakeholders held in Cape Town.
- Take-a-girl-child-to-work activity held in Parliament in May.
- Progress report on the implementation of year 1 business systems produced.
- Young women’s and girls’ dialogues held in Diepsloot and Bergville, KZN.
- Dialogue with young women and girls living in rural areas.
- Report on engagement at the 2018 CSW produced.
- Gender indicator framework for Outcome 14 developed.
- TOR developed on evaluation reports on the implementation of the socio-economic empowerment of women and promotion of gender equality.
- Inception report on the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the sanitary dignity programme
Ms Tshabalala said on the outcome 14 issue, it was important to note that the DoW was responsible for SDG 5. Every SDG had an element SDG 5, and this placed a strain on the Department as it compelled it to focus a gender lens on all the SDGs.
Ms Mathobela spoke on governance. The DoW had an approved risk management policy and strategy in place which was being implemented. The Department had conducted a strategic risk assessment pertinent to the five-year strategic plan and an operational risk assessment in line with its APP, and had incorporated emerging risks into existing risk registers. In order to ensure that risk management was embedded in the culture of the DoW, continuous training and workshops were provided as part of the risk identification process during quarter one. Senior Management Service (SMS) members were requested to include risk management as a key performance activity in their work plans for 2018/19 Financial Year.
The Department reported quarterly to the risk and audit committee on governance issues, and risk management was a standing agenda item during committee meetings. Adequate and effective policies and procedures were in place to prevent, detect and address acts of fraud and corruption, and these policies were monitored regularly for effective implementation.
The DoW was implementing its fraud prevention policy, whistle blower policy and fraud prevention plan, and had communicated it to all employees. There was an internal whistle-blowing email address, and the PSC national anti-corruption hotline, where allegations of fraud and corruption could be reported by employees. There were no reported cases in quarter one. 26 out of 27 other designated categories of employees had submitted their financial disclosures, which translated to 96% compliance.
The DoW policy and compliance register was being updated on an on-going basis to inform policy review and compliance. The Department was implementing the occupational health and safety policy. The audit steering committee was operational, and the audit action plan was managed and updated on a regular basis to avoid recurrent audit findings.
The DoW was putting a process in place to comply with DPSA’s operations management framework, where the service delivery model had been developed, and all business processes for core programmes had been mapped.
Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) standards were monitored on a quarterly basis, based on the MPAT improvement plan, which had actions to address non-compliance. The report was a standing agenda item at all management and executive committee meetings for discussion, and proposals were being made for corrective action. The MPAT 1.8 standards had not been realised by DPME as yet for the 2018 filing period.
Ms Nondumiso Maome, Acting Chief Director: Corporate Management, DoW, presented on human resource oversight in the first quarter. The annual target was to maintain a vacancy rate less than 10%. At the end of the quarter, the vacancy rate was 7.5%. There were 106 approved posts and 98 were filled. The SMS vacancies were 19.4%. The turnover rate was 3.9%. Job evaluations had been conducted for 96 posts. The representation of women in SMS positions was 58.6%. Representation for people with disabilities was 3.9%. 66 employees had been trained. 46.7% of SMS personnel had signed performance agreements. The average number of days’ sick leave taken was 4.7, and the average number of annual leave days taken was 12.4.
Six of the eight vacant funded posts were in the process of being filled. Two had already been filled. The service termination turnover rate was 3.9% due to two resignations, one transfer and one contract expiry. On the status of labour relations matters, there were three disciplinary cases pending, while one had been finalized. Two grievances had been reported that would be finalised in quarter 2. The cost of suspension was R1.1 million. Three members were on suspension, and hearings/investigations were in process.
Ms Desree Legwale, Chief Financial Officer, DoW, spoke about the financial information for the first quarter. The Department had spent 20.7% of the annual budget. The compensation of employees (CoE) was at 21.1%, goods and services at 14.4%, transfers and subsidies at 25.3%, capital payments at 5.6% and payments for financial assets at zero.
The appropriation for the 2018/19 financial year was R230.2 million, and the actual expenditure as at 30 June 2018 amounted to R47.7 million (20.7%). The CoE budget was R85.5 million, with actual expenditure at R18.1 million. The under spending of R3.3 million was due vacancies in the Department, cost of living adjustments not yet implemented, while payments for CoE for April 2018 had been paid by the Department of Social Development (DSD). However, the Department would refund the DSD upon receipt of a claim from the DSD.
Goods and Services
The budget was R 60.9 million, with actual expenditure of R8.8 million (14.4%). The under spending of R6 million and was mainly due funds being set aside for the renewal of software licences which were projected to be spent in April, but the expenditure would be realised in the second quarter; the implementation of the symposium on menstrual hygiene management which had been held towards the end of the first quarter, and the expenditure would be realised only in the second quarter; the Western Cape dialogues that were scheduled to take place in the first quarter would be conducted only in the second quarter.
Transfers and Subsidies
The budget was R80.7 million, with actual expenditure of R20.4 million (25.3%). Over spending of the projected expenditure of R20.2 million by R200 000 and was due to payment of leave gratuities paid in the current financial year for employees who had resigned in February 2018.
An application for a virement to transfers and subsidies would be requested from National Treasury for approval during the 2018 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (AENE) process, to cover the anticipated over-spending.
The budget on capital assets was R3 million, with actual expenditure of R169 000 (5.6%). The under-spending of R1.7 million was mainly due to the X-ray machine procured in quarter 1, but delivery was anticipated in quarter 2; the walk-through metal detector for the Department would be paid for in quarter 2; and the anticipated to procurement of a departmental vehicle in April had been deferred to the second quarter.
Payments for Financial Assets
The over-spending of R223 000 on financial assets was due to debtors that had been written off in April. An application for a virement to payments for financial assets would be requested from National Treasury for approval during the AENE process to cover the over-spending.
The expenditure as a percentage of the budget per programme was administration at 23.5%, social, transformation and economic empowerment at 22.7%, and policy stakeholder coordination and knowledge management at 11.1%.
Ms Legwale said that in quarter one, 1 042 invoices had been received and had been paid in 30 days. In terms of the progress report on the audit findings improvement plan, there had been 54 findings and 50 of these findings had been cleared, and four were in progress.
Reasons for actions plans not fully implemented
1. Obligations not settled within 30 days
The Department had paid 4 322 out of 4 927 (87.7%) valid invoices within 30 days during the 2017/18 financial year. A higher percentage of invoices paid outside 30 days had occurred in May 2017 due to a reconciliation of duplicate invoices received from Vodacom, to prevent possible overpayment of these invoices.
2. Excessive data usage
The revised telecommunication policy would be tabled at the next Executive Committee (EXCO) meeting for adoption. A circular had been issued to all users in the interim regarding thresholds on usage that would be implemented, and soft locking would be effected where users exceeded the thresholds.
Supply Chain Management
3. Logis mainframe time
Most Departments were using the Logical Information System (Logis). At this stage, full implementation was not practical in the DoW due to inadequate human resource capacity in supply chain management (SCM). The unit was currently operating with three junior clerks and one supervisor, assisted by the Director: Financial Management, which posed a challenge in terms of the implementation of asegregation of duties on Logis.
4. Internal audit did not evaluate the information system environment
The Information Communication Technology (ICT) committee, chaired by an external person, had recommended that the implementation of the audit action plan be deferred until ICT implemented internal controls within the Department.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) were concluded for anti-virus management services (renewed annually); LAN and desktop services with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) (renewed every three years); a data and information backup management service was established; Microsoft and Backup Environment were licensed; and manual intervention was implemented to address the management of activities of administrators
Ms Van der Merwe said that the committee often heard good reports on what had been formulated, such as frameworks, policies and plans, but a proper briefing was required to allow the Committee to engage with these documents. On the IMC IPOA VAWC, she asked how likely it was that the draft concept paper/proposal that the DoW had developed for the gender-based violence (GBV) council would be positively received. What was the current state of this plan? It had been five years -- what were the successes of the plan? What had the input of the DoW been? On the sanitary dignity programme, she asked what challenges were preventing the roll out of sanitary products to all provinces. Sanitary products had not been delivered in other provinces, but in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) there was an oversupply. In KZN schools boys were using pads for knee pads, because there were so many of them. Was the Department’s monitoring and evaluation framework addressing the problem? She added that the over inflation of pricing was another issue, as she had heard of some suppliers charging a R100 per packet of pads, and wanted to know what the DoW would do to address this issue.
She felt that for a long time there had been no progress on the Department’s monitoring and evaluation framework. As a Department whose mandate was to monitor and evaluate, what was the Department monitoring and evaluating if the framework to do this was not finalised? She acknowledged that the Department had a new Minister, and that these issues might be under consideration. Was there a time frame for the fast tracking of filling the Chief Director of Monitoring and Evaluation post? The internal audit unit appeared to have a lack of capacity, because junior clerks were employed -- was that sufficient, and would this capacity be boosted?
The Chairperson asked the Members to please be specific when they mentioned examples. She asked where Ms Van der Merwe had seen boys using sanitary pads as knee pads.
Ms Van der Merwe replied that it was at a school in Nongomam and that she could compile a report so that the Director General or Minister could investigate. She explained that the point of her submission was to highlight that provinces should not abuse finances allocated for sanitary pads.
The Chairperson said she had posed the question because the KZN Minister of Education needed a proper report so that the issue could be taken up. She requested that the report be given to her so that it could be given to the relevant persons.
Ms M Cheue (ANC) said that the Department reported as if the Committee was well informed about what it was doing, when this was not the case. The Department was not assisting the Committee. It had been said since 2014 that the Committee represented the Department, but they could not do this if they did not have the information about what the Department was doing. The Department had mentioned that it had participated with the DTI to do field work – what had it done with the DTI? The details had not been reported back to the Committee. On the gender responsive framework, she asked what the framework said, and how it addressed violence on women. If the framework was discussed with the Committee it could have been useful, but the Committee had not been informed of details. She questioned if the “Take a girl child to work” programme was valuable, and if it had been evaluated before. What had been its impact? How many girls had been involved, and should the programme be continued or terminated? On young women’s dialogues, she asked what issues had been raised at the dialogues. She reiterated that the Committee had not been informed. Were the issues that were raised being addressed, and were they placed in the APP or strategies of the DoW? How were the dialogues structured? Were other departments involved?
Ms Tseke said she had not heard an explanation by Ms Griessel concerning the erratum of shifting the target on gender analysis of incentive schemes administered by the DTI, which had been a target in programme two, but had now shifted to programme three. Why had it been moved? She congratulated the Department on payment of its suppliers. On issue of communication, she asked when the vacancy would be filled, as the last information on the website had been uploaded in April. On the three outstanding disciplinary cases, she said there was a case that had exceeded 12 months, and that was was an urgent matter because these three employees were still receiving salaries. The Department needed to brief the Committee on these three cases. On national gender machinery, the concept document was said to have been developed, but had the issue about the appointment of service providers been addressed? What was the DoW trying to achieve? On the appointment of service providers for dialogues, she asked if the service providers were transferring skills or just doing the work. On IMC IPOA VAWC, she asked what the role of the Department was in the project, as the Department of Social Development was taking the lead. On the DoW’s size and limited budget, she said that despite the present limitations, the Department could use its limited resources and excel in its work, as well as collaborate with other departments and entities. She mentioned the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) which was a small entity just like the DoW, but they still tried their best, and she advised the DoW work with them.
Mr Nkonzo referred to the target concerning the availability of ICT systems, and asked if measures had been put in place that ensured SITA submitted reports for the next quarter. The young women’s socio-economic empowerment framework had been developed, but it was not fully staffed, so the Department must brief the Committee on this.
The Chairperson asked how many whistle blowers’ complaints had been reported in the quarter under review, what the Department was doing to address its lack of technical capacity, and if the ending of the Director of Communication’s contract was why its website content had not been updated.
Ms Van der Merwe asked the Department for its detailed expenditure on consultants and the commissioning of work. On the IMC IPOA VAWC, she said the plan had been in place for five years, and it was an educated guess that the plan had failed, if one looked at the fact that Cabinet had asked the DSD to review the plan. What were the interventions that the Department was going to drive to mitigate the current crisis, because on the one hand this plan had failed -- women were protesting, and the current plan was not working. The Department had said it wanted the Gender Based Council to be redeveloped, but one of the reasons why it had failed previously was because it had been given limited funds. In the absence of finance, the failed plans and a gender-based violence crisis, what was the Department’s plan?
Minister Dlamini, on the issue of erratum, said it was very clear why the shift had occurred, because it was one programme that had been shifted to another programme. It was not an amendment, and the framework of strategic planning did not allow a target to be changed because it had not been achieved. This had not occurred -- a programme had just been shifted. If it was an amendment, then everything would be drastically changed.
On the claims that Department was not fulfilling its responsibilities, she responded that unfortunately, everyone was involved in this and that as much as the DoW had responsibilities, the Committee also needed to consult with other committees and state institutions to find out what they were doing as part of the programme of women.
Patriarchy was institutionalized, and the building blocks needed to be broken down if one wanted to be effective. Gender-based violence was a societal challenge, which was why the Department was committed to the resuscitation of Gender Based Council, as this aligns with the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol, which says there must be a funded and coordinated effort to fight violence against women and children. Seed funding was necessary, but as time goes on, external funding would be available, as many people wanted to fund opposition to gender-based violence. The time had come for government to support programmes that support the emancipation of women.
A date had to be determined for a policy briefing workshop, because the time was too short for the DoW and the Committee to engage to allow for a better understanding and input on the Committee’s part. Regarding the dialogues, the Department had tried to adjust them, as there had to be a point of entry for talking to leaders and NGOs in different areas and having discussions with them, ending with a report on what had been raised. One agency that had been invited was Legal-Aid South Africa, because there were legal issues that affected women, such as conflict around the wills and estates of deceased male partners and domestic violence cases that had been withdrawn due to men being breadwinners.
Issues raised had been about the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), genital mutilation, violence against women, the girl-child, economic development, young girls needing support and mentoring, and unemployment of both qualified and unqualified females. Issues had been raised about tertiary institutions as places that uphold patriarchy, do not protect young women and disregard rape cases. She added that tertiary institutions did not have transitional instruments or preparations that would protect young woman. There were violators who were known by the administration, but they were still at large on campuses, and the policy process was taking place as if there was no emergency. She urged Members to address the issue and to find out from the Departments of Social Development, Justice and Higher Education what was happening. People were relaxed and taking their time, as if the girl-child was not suffering. She agreed that the DoW must pull its socks up, but they had to work together.
The structure of the DoW must be presented to the Committee. She responded on the disciplinary cases, saying that the Thandeka case had been closed. Some cases appeared to be completed, but then the employees take further steps, but it would be better if the structure was presented to clarify these issues. The Department did want to fill posts, but there was a government-wide call to reduce officials and the Department had been exempted. The Department’s budget was small, but it was working with the CGE and a stronger relationship was trying to be built. The gender machinery must be reconfigured, as it was outdated. Women were represented in the gender machinery in non-decision-making positions, which was inadequate. The DPSA had to co-sign that the Department had to employ senior people who were informed, and implement a gender-responsive budget. Treasury had been consulted on this as well.
In August, a policy had been presented in dialogues so all types of women from different sectors were consulted and aware, so that their views were encompassed in the Department’s work. Professionals would be used to see if the work was empirically proven, as women’s issues changed daily. Implementation remained important.
The two officials who were currently suspended were ongoing cases, but the investigation was being completed. The DG would come back on the issue to the Committee. The DoW had spoken to the Department of Labour and the committee that dealt with public service issues. When a manager was suspended, the Minister had to be informed. Due to being in a new position, the Minister admitted she had not been aware. She added that “if we flout procedures we will always find ourselves wanting”. The Department was looking for ways to address the issue, because it did not want to correct a wrong with a wrong.
On the review, she said it was a review of what the government had done in the past 25 years to improve the lives of women. The DoW wanted people from different sectors to be involved and not just a service provider that would focus on report writing. Professor Taylor had been suggested, as she served in the NDP committee.
On violence against woman, she said that the DoW dealt with policy and focused on the woman and girl child, while the DSD focused on service delivery. The two departments did not use the same variables for statistics on gender-based violence. The DoW had been working with the Departments of Justice and Health and NGOs, as it was an integrated approach that everyone should embrace.
The Minister said the “Take a girl child to work” initiative was a CELL C programme, and the Department had tried to improve its participation. The programme stayed with the girl for the year. This year, the girls have been called for a programme as well, as it was not just about the child going to work on one day, but also finding ways to enhance education.
Issues of economic development had been focused on in the APP to ensure it becames a reality. Economic development could not exist without a proper programme of support which trained and incubated people, as well as a programme of support after incubation.
Regarding communications, the Department works with SITA and it outsources, therefore reports were not submitted. The DoW believed that despite this, it was useful to work with other state institutions. It was understood that the Department needed to improve on communication, and in the next activities the Committee would be invited.
The Chairperson said that responses to unanswered questions should be sent to the secretary. She asked if the Department had any information about the summit to be held on 31 August.
Ms Tshabalala responded that the Department was part of the summit planning team which was led by the Presidency, but questions needed to be addressed to the Presidency.
Ms Tseke referred to the erratum, and said that if there was enough capacity in program three, what the reason for shifting the programme was. She added that the commissioning of service providers in the administration was problematic, especially in light of the Department’s small budget.
Minister Dlamini responded that the gender responsive budgeting, and auditing, monitoring and evaluation, had moved to planning because there was a relationship. As much as capacity was an issue, the people in the Department were trying their best and that was why a presentation on the structure of the Department had been suggested. On the issue of service providers, the DoW was trying to cut down as time went on.
The meeting was adjourned.
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