Department on Women Annual Report 2017/18 analysis

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

10 October 2018
Chairperson: Ms T Memela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Parliamentary Researcher and Content Advisor presentations are available to public
The Committee Content Advisor and Researcher gave an overview of their analysis and assessment of the 2017/18 Department of Women Annual Report before it met with the Department on 17 October 2018. They found the same inconsistencies and discrepancies raised in previous years (2015-2017) were still apparent. The key concern were: number of promotions and notch increases among DoW employees, specifically within management; high number of unmet targets which were disproportional to the amount of budget spent; high level of outsourcing to consultants; DoW’s inability to hold other government departments to account on empowerment of women; lack of skilled personnel, specifically monitoring and evaluation practitioners, and ineffective leadership and management.

Importantly, the discussion centered on DoW’s core function and its inability to hold other government departments accountable for the socio-economic empowerment of women.

The Committee discussed the way in which the DoW negatively handled the Committee’s recommendations in that DoW rarely implements its recommendations. The Committee had done all that was in its power to aid the DoW in its progress and effectiveness. Members agreed that there were many points in the Annual Report that needed clarification:
- Why is the Department not meeting targets
- Can it motivate for decisions taken on all the salary promotions
- Why a large amount of money is spent on consultants
- Why does it have such difficulty producing reports and hiring skilled employees?

Meeting report

Assessment of Department on Women Annual Report 2017/18
Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Content Advisor, and  Ms Crystal Levendale, Researcher, presented.

Ms Abrahams focused on the key deliverables and achievements while Ms Levendale gave an assessment of the Annual Report. Ms Abrahams suggested that the members should be aware of the short time frame in which to meet their deadlines given that they will be meeting with the DoW to discuss the Annual Report on 17 October 2018 and the Committee Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) had to be tabled in Parliament on 19 October, 2018.

Ms T Stander (DA) suggested that the majority of the Committee’s 2018 BRRR should “copy and pasted” from their previous reports (2015-2017) as none of the previous recommendations were implemented by the DoW. This copy and paste document would be a “draft of a draft” and once the Committee meets with DoW the following week it could be amended accordingly. This was in order to have a template document that could be circulated in the mean time. The Committee would then meet on 17 October after the meeting with DoW to finalize the BBBR. Ms Stander further suggested that as part of the BRRR, the Committee recommend economic sanctions as a measure to hold DoW to account. Parliament must be made aware of the challenges the Committee has encountered.

Ms Abrahams confirmed the timeframe recommendations.

Ms Stander said that the Committee did not need much time as the Annual Report and the Auditor General’s (AG) report was in their possession. The 17 October meeting was the Committee asking questions and demanding answers from DoW. The Committee is merely giving DoW a “right to reply” because DoW are “repeat offenders” and have done nothing to improve based on previous Committee recommendations.

Ms Levendale gave an overview of the Annual Report focusing on programmes, performance and financials.

In the previous year (2016/2017) DoW received a budget of R196.9 million including the CGE transfer payment. In 2017/18 the budget increased to R206.1 million. When the CGE transfer amount is removed from the total budget, DoW was left with an operating budget of R127.8 million in 2017/18.
The DoW allocated R52.1 million for Goods and Services and R71.9 million for Compensation of Employees. For Goods and Services, their main cost drivers would be Travel and Subsistence (R16.2 million), Property Payments (R15.8 million) and Expenditure for External Audit (R3.5 million). The report will later show that the main cost drivers in the planned budget differ from the main cost drivers reflected at the end of the year.

Allocations for programmes show that Administration received had the highest budget consistent with previous years. Programme 2 had the smallest budget of R16.6 million and Programme 3 had R28.2 million.

On page eight, Table 3 breaks down the actual expenditure for the programmes. At the beginning of the year, DoW allocated R83 million to Programme 1 (Administration). The final appropriation at the end of the financial year was R83.3 million. The actual expenditure was R82.5 million which left a R773 000 surplus. DoW underspent in its programme due to funding that would have been used to right off irrecoverable debts as it was still in the middle of working on a debt policy. The provisions DoW was waiting for did not come to fruition therefore the remaining money was not used. Further, there were delayed inquisitions into upgrading and procuring of software licences and hence the money was unused.

With Programme 2, the total budget of R94.9 million and the connected column reflects a budget of R16.6 million. The assessment focuses on the R16.6 million budget as that is the operational budget excluding the CGE money. Appropriation was R15.9 million and actual expenditure was R15 949 000, a R3000 variance.

In Programme 3, DoW had appropriated R28.2 million with a final appropriation of R28.6 million and spent R27.9 million leaving a surplus of R680 000. DoW stated that the surplus funds were earmarked for replacing and procuring computer equipment for existing and newly recruited officials but was not used. At the end of 2017/18 DoW has no overexpenditure and has a surplus of R1.4 million.

Ms Levendale explained that although there was no overspending within the programmes, the tables on page nine reflect a lot of shifting of funds between the programmes. There have been variants between programmes to offset the expenditure in the other programmes. For example, shifts have been made to offset the expenditure on Compensation of Employees, Payments for Goods and Services, Payments for Capital Assets, and Transfers and Subsidies. A R6.3 million variant was shifted from Programme 2 to Programme 1 and Programme 3 for Goods and Services, Compensation of Employees and Transfers and Subsidies. Funds were shifted between programmes to cover costs that had not been appropriated.
DoW indicated that R4 million was allocated for consultants. However, an analysis of the appropriation statement and the table on pages 97-98 in the Annual Report (Consultants) reflects a total of R5.3 million. The tables provide a breakdown of what the programme was, how many consultants were used, the duration of the project and the money spent. That table reflects a total of R6.3 million which is different to the amount in the appropriation statement (R5.3 million).

Ms Levendale said the Committee needs clarity from DoW on this disparity.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked if there is R1 million unaccounted for in terms of the consultant budget.

Ms Levendale confirmed that based on the analysis, there is R1 million unaccounted for but added it could be due to the fact that it has not reflected. In the case that funds do not reflect, it is the responsibility of DoW to reflect this in the tables.

Ms Levendale highlighted that DoW used consultants on 26 projects but only provided numbers for nine projects. Page 98 shows the total number of consultants that worked on the project, estimated duration and contract value. Most of the numbers for the total number of consultants were blank. DoW has only provided details for 16 projects in terms of the number of consultants and the estimated duration. They only provided project duration on 16 projects. Within those 16 projects, three are ongoing and two are intermittent. At the bottom of the table it states the total number of consultants and estimated duration are both indeterminable.

Ms Stander proclaimed that DoW employees are “liars, thieves and cheats”.

Ms Levendale stated that the Committee needs to be aware of all money spent, where it is spent and by whom. How many people are working on a project and for how long? It is unacceptable to have sections labeled intermittent or have no information in an Annual Report.

She highlighted that the cost drivers for the year were Compensation of Employees ( R72.5 million).Goods and Services had three cost drivers which were Travel and Subsistence (R13 million), Property payments (R11.5 million) and the spending on consultants (R5.3 million). This is in contradiction to the main cost drivers DoW indicated at the beginning. DoW stated that their main cost driver would be under Goods and Services, Travel and Subsistence, Property Payments, External Audit Fees. Page 9 indicates that the consultants’ expenditure is higher than the External Audit Fees by the end of 2017/18.

The financial statements and the AG Report show that DoW irregular expenditure totals to R6.1 million and this was mainly as a result of the non-compliance to supply chain management (SCM) processes. The fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R114 000.

The Department set 27 targets for 2017/18 and achieved 16 targets with a success rate of 59.2% while spending 99.3 % of the budget. Most of the budget was utilised but less than two thirds of the set targets were achieved. Programme 3 had the highest success rate with three out of six targets achieved. The entire allocated budget was utilised.

Programme 1 had a success rate of 54% with seven out of 13 targets, 100% of the budget was used.

Ms Levendale explained that the Audit Committee praised DoW based on a noticeable improvement on its performance from the previous financial year. The success rate increased from 36.8% in 2016/17 to 59.2% in 2017/18. However, this year the Department set 11 fewer targets than last year therefore there is little improvement contrary to what the percentages suggest. The improvement is misleading as it was not based on a fair comparison using the same numbers with 38 targets in 2016/17 compared to 27 in 2017/18).

Ms Stander wondered how the Audit Committee assessed progress based on different numbers.

Ms Levendale highlighted the unmet targets, although many of these were covered the day before by the AG in the Administration programme in terms of the Audit findings. For example, invoices were not paid within 30 days and a failure to implement all of the Audit Action Plan.

Programme 2’s unmet targets are due to the National Policy Framework for Sanitary Dignity for
Indigent Girls and Women where it was indicated that it would become a framework instead of a policy. The AG indicated that DoW had not done work on each of the components of the Nine Point Plan as the department focus was on ‘Women’s Access to Credit, Land and Property' only. DoW states that the 9 point plan will be continued and followed in 2018/2019. The draft report with Cabinet consideration and the outcome of the national dialogues was developed but not tabled as planned by DoW. The report on the outcome of the dialogues was to be tabled to cabinet by the end of April 2018. The Committee needs to enquire if this was done.

Programme 3 had two unmet targets. Three of the four country reports on international multilateral forums were not completed due to lack of input by national departments to enable DoW to consolidate their inputs. The four quarterly monitoring reports on progress against the Nine Point Plan and Outcome 14 was not completed. DoW produced three reports and stated that the information given was insufficient for it to produce quality standard reports. DoW added it would implement measures to ensure the national monitoring and evaluation system is more gender responsive and includes gender indicators.

Ms Levendale said that DoW had to state if the unmet targets have been included in 2018/2019 as well as the progress thus far and the financial implications involved.

On Human Resources, the Department had 107 approved posts at 31 March 2018 of which 101 were filled resulting in a vacancy rate of 5.6%.The personnel breakdown shows that salary costs in Administration had 70 approved posts of which 66 were filled, the expenditure was R42.3 million. In the ‘Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment Programme’ all 15 posts were filled amounting to R7.8 million.

Programme 3 on Policy, Stakeholders, Coordination and Knowledge Management had posts filled amounting to R13.4 million. Overall, salaries only, the expenditure amounts to R63.5 million. The majority of personnel in the department are in the Administration programme (70 of the 101). Out of those 70 employees, 47 are in Senior Management positions. During the financial year DoW added four new posts which included interns and temporary contract workers at a turnover rate of 9%.

In 2017/18, ten people left, four resigned, one was dismissed, one retired, three were transferred to other public service departments, one contract expired and four employees are currently on precautionary suspension. Performance bonuses were not awarded during 2017/18 however on page 151 in the Annual Report there is an amount of R44 000 reflected against performance awards. This unaccounted amount needs clarification from DoW. On page 84/85 it is indicated that performance bonuses were not awarded but there is R44 000 allocated to that.

Ms Stander suggested that employees should get paid according to the percentage of targets met. The full salary can only be received if 100% of targets have been met.

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) asked how much DoW employees receive in salaries?

Ms Levendale replied that 47 employees receive an annual salary of just under R 1 million and the majority receives around R500 000 per annum. There are two employees within DoW receiving salaries higher than the level indicated by the job evaluation. The jobs are at a level 11 and the two employees are receiving a salary at level 12. DoW maintains this is in order to maintain and attract their services.

Ms van der Merwe exclaimed that the Department operates like an employment agency.

Ms Stander added that the Department should be renamed “department of gravy train, useless and incompetent persons”.

On page 84/85 a total of 62 employees received salary notch increases in the year. At salary level 3-5 there were 3/10 employees, at salary level 6 - 8 there were 23 /32 employees, at salary level 9-12 there were 19/24 employees and at senior management 17/30 received notch increases.

Ms Abrahams noted that the lack of performance awards looks promising on the surface but compared to the number of promotion salaries (notch increases) it is more economical to give once off financial awards than salary promotions. DoW bypassed performance awards but 62 out of 99 officials were given salary promotions. To highlight the extremity of this, promotions within DoW can be compared to the support staff in parliament who have not received performance bonuses or notch increases for the past three years. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) stipulates that to receive a notch increase an employee must over perform for two conservative years scoring a 4 or above out of 5.

Ms Abrahams urged the Committee not be sidetracked by the lack of performance bonuses as many of the top officials within DoW received substantial salary increases.

Ms van der Merwe exclaimed that is disgusting since DoW employees did not over perform or perform to a satisfactory level but are rewarding themselves through the notch increases.

Ms van der Merwe stated that DoW Minister should be asked to motivate all department promotions and notch increases. Targets met and the number of salary promotions are disproportionate. She asked why people are being given promotions when so few targets have been met?

Ms Stander noted that in the meeting with the Auditor General the day before, conversation centered on department incapacity and understaffing. The internal audit committee understood the difficulties and was sympathetic but was aware that the Department did not know what they were doing but they still received notch increases.

Ms Stander added that the notch increases are theft, they are liars, thieves and cheats. They are cheating women who are the most vulnerable people in our country and gender inequality has increased.

The Chairperson added that the Committee needs a lot of clarity on a variety of issues. She added that the Committee has been asking for clarity around the inconsistencies from the Minister (previously Susan Shabangu and now Bathabile Dlamini) for years. The Department responds to the Committee’s questions by stating the Department has a lack of skilled employees and is in the process of hiring skilled employees.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee had not put enough pressure on the Department and therefore it has not been able to hold the Department accountable. The Committee constantly poses questions to the Minister and receives unsatisfactory responses. The budget is utilised but they are still looking for skilled employees.

The Chairperson explained that the Committee and Department are not in an ideal situation because DoW undermines the Committee. None of the Committee members contributed to the “mess” DoW has found itself in. The Committee has done all it can to steer DoW in the right direction towards optimal performance levels. The persons involved in this “mess” must answer for it.

Ms van der Merwe added that the difficulty lies with the change in minister as there is confusion about the right person to hold accountable as the current Minister is new and these problems were apparent before she took office.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee has the right to hold the former Minister to account and suggested that the previous Minister answer the Committee questions.

Ms Abrahams suggested that Committee members hold the discussion due to time constraints.

Ms Levendale said at the beginning of the Annual Report, DoW set out programmes and products they planned on developing. However, some of the products and programmes were part of previous Annual Performance Plans (APPs). For example, the review of the ‘National Gender Policy Framework’. This has been an item DoW has committed to fulfilling for the past three years. Two years ago DoW also indicated that it was to be positioned as a gender knowledge hub. Although the goals are commendable, given the performance and budget, it is unlikely that DoW will meet these goals.

Ms Levendale concluded by stating her overall key points of analysis. First, performance has not increased from the previous year due to fewer targets this year. Second, few targets have been met but almost the entire budget has been used. Third, the Department needs to give an update on unmet targets. Fourth, the Department must clarify the impact on human resources in 2018/2019. Fifth, they need to give progress on outstanding reports. Finally, the non-compliance measures should be regularly monitored and strengthened.

Department of Women 2018 Budget Review and Recommendations: Content Advisor briefing
Ms Abrahams stated that the Committee requested a document from DoW detailing the irregular expenditure based on the Auditor Generals recommendation. The Committee is yet to receive said document from DoW. Based on the key deliverables, the Committee requested DoW’ reports. In November, 2017 the department sent a draft of the ‘Sanitary and Dignity Framework, the ‘Financial Inclusion Framework, the ‘Business Case for Gender Responsive Planning’ and the ‘Monitoring and Evaluation Framework’.

Ms Abrahams proceeds to give overviews while adding that in order to successfully monitor the department a tangible indicator of progress is necessary. The DoW’s main product is reports. The Committee has had Annual Reports and APP’ since the inception of the Department. From 2016 the Committee had a revised APP and a revised strategic plan since 2016 to date there have been multiple revisions to the originally tabled APP. The Committee is supposed to be looking at the overall strategic plan and it should be used to gauge how the department is utilising it to meet their set targets.

On Page 2 (BRR 2018) Ms Abrahams detailed tabled items, when revision was made for an APP or strategic plan was introduced. Information based on Announcement, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC). The Committee had a turnaround strategy at the beginning of this portfolio and two years after that as well as a skills audit to look at whose there and if they are doing the right job. Three years ago DoW reassured the Committee that they had taken the changes on board and have restructured and were working with them. Despite restructuring the audit Committee mentioned that there are still issues trying to match the APP with the strategic plan, if the department is meeting targets and whether it is using the right strategy.

Ms Levendale looked at the targets that were achieved and those not achieved. In Programme 1 (2013) the department had 13 targets and met 10, by 2017/18 it had 7 out of 13 targets.

Page 4 reflects that Programme 2 began with 10 targets and by 2017/18 decreased to 6 of which only half were achieved.

Page 5 for programme 3 started with 1 target and moved to 8 in 16/17 programme 3 had 13 targets whereas in 17/8 it has 8 so it was working on less targets.

The overall achievements listed reflect that in 2016/2017 DoW had 38 targets and in 2017/18 it had 27, technically DoW has only met two more targets than the previous year. In 2016/2017 it reached 14 targets and in 2017/18 achieved 16. At the end of page five, all officials of each programme had fewer targets they had to reach. Despite capacity constraints and vacancies in the administration and core programmes, many of the key deliverables that were sighted as achievements were actually outsourced and done by consultants. The achievements listed by the department were mainly executed by consultants.

On Page six the strategic priorities for 2015/2016 show the key deliverables out of 27 targets. The Committee must enquire how the department what they did to achieve their mission. How did they realize the social and economic empowerment of women when they only met nine targets in the core programme of which three products are still in draft ? Three of their core deliverables (reports) are drafts including a draft on sanitary and dignity, gender responsive budgeting and financial inclusion.

Ms Levendale highlighted the report of the Status of South African Women on the economy that was launched on Women’s Day (page 6) .The former President stated that the report is needed within the country and indicated DoW and the Committee was responsible for the follow up but there has been little movement . This initiative is not mentioned in 2017/18 but money was spent by the Presidency to assess where women are in South Africa today. The Committee needs clarification on the progress of this initiative.

Page 7 focuses on the Gender Framework of Monitoring and Evaluating women’s progress. Ms Levendale argued that this framework is an important priority. DoW submitted the report ‘Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Social and Economic Empowerment of Women and Gender Equality’ for this purpose but has since indicated the framework was intended for internal use.

 Since the inception of this DoW the mandate was to evaluate other government departments in what they are doing for gender equality but this can only be done if there is a procedure in place of which to monitor this. Therefore a framework had to be developed. In the previous Department there was an initial framework developed to help assess what the government bodies were doing. Looking at that document , it was done by consultants and they were not developing a framework to help other government departments but to be utilised inside DoW. What does the Department need to do to be able to develop a framework?

The consultants worked within Programme 2 and 3 to assess whether the departments employees understood the work and if they were able to fulfill their job descriptions. The consultants did this by assessing the core skills. The consultants conducted questionnaires and interviews with staff as a measure to assess the skill set. The findings showed that none of the current DoW employees possess in depth technical knowledge and skill on planning, implementation and management of M&E. None of DoW employees have a professional qualification in M&E which is a prerequisite to manage the M&E function. Employees cannot be considered an M&E practitioner due to inadequate technical expertise in M&E practice. Currently the technical expertise poses a challenge for the unit to implement a M&E system. One of the employees has completed a credited short course in aligning, planning, budgeting and implementation in M&E. Based on the report it is very worrying because it is not clear as to what basis these individuals were employed.

Ms van der Merwe added that the issue is not only with the basis on which these employees were hired without the necessary skills but rather the level of work they have been producing. What have DoW employees been doing if they do not possess the skills to do the work needed?

Ms Abrahams agreed with van der Merwe and added that there are few people in government with the necessary skills. How can a Department move forward with staff that does not have the necessary skills?

Ms van der Merwe asked how the Department did not see that the employees did not have the skills when the skills audit was conducted?

The Chairperson argued that the lack of skilled employees speaks to the ineffectiveness of the Department. She added that the Committee has asked the department multiple times for the M&E framework. It is clear that DoW does not have the framework because the people in the Department do not know how to monitor and evaluate. The SONA made promises to women, therefore DoW must follow up on those promises. For example, in 2011 President Zuma promised the sanitary pad initiative but little progress has been made and the department has failed to monitor the initiative.

Ms Stander disagreed with the Chairperson. She stated that the Committee has been harsh towards DoW. Ms Stander stated that when the Committee requests documents from the department ,the request is rarely fulfilled She exclaimed that the department lacks respect for Committee. The Committee has been harsh, it has criticized the department multiple times but the requests are not adhered to because the Committee has not sanctioned DoW.

Ms Stander argued that the department only cares about money and not the women they serve. She argued that the department has little care for the Committee. Ms Stander argued that the only way the Committee can guarantee progress is through cutting the department budget as it not going on women, the budget is being spent on salaries, consultants, travel and subsistence. Ms Stander exclaimed that progress will remain stagnant until the Committee places sanctions on DoW. She adds that there has been a change in leadership but the incompetency is irrespective of the Minister and irrespective of any changes.

Ms P Bhengu-Kombe (ANC) suggested that Ms Abrahams concluded her presentation before the members began to discuss.

Ms Abrahams noted that the strategic planning on page seven lacked information. The campaigns and events in the briefing document sent to DoW the Committee asked for all information on campaigns, the cost, intended beneficiaries and outcome. The Committee does not have that information nor is it stated in the Annual Report.

Page 8 reflected the Minister forward in the Annual Report 2017/18. The Minister focused on initiating policy legislation and performance indicators to measure progress by government departments so that they can look at policy budgets and audits. How was the Minister planning to do this when department does not have an M&E framework? The Committee must ask the Minister how the Department intended on measuring progress without an M&E framework.

Ms Abrahams added that the Department move between national dialogues and sector based dialogues within the Annual Report but do not clarify the difference between them (page 8 in Annual Report 2017/18). Most importantly, Ms Abrahams declared, the department maintains that it is not a service delivery department but has taken the lead in fast tracking the distribution of sanitary products which is a direct contrast to what was mentioned on page 24 (Annual Report) which states the department is not mandated to deliver services directly to the public but works in partnership with other departments, civil society and the private sector to promote the socio-economic empowerment of women.

Ms Stander added that the Department reflected R80 000 in sanitary pad deliverables. Why do this, is it is not their function?

Ms van der Merwe added that the sanitary pads initiative was becoming a problem mentioning that the Audit General stated that the departments irregular expenditure included priced pads whether delivered or not.

The Chairperson added that it is unclear as to who was employed to manufacture or provide those pads

Ms Abrahams stated that sanitary dignity is part of sexual and reproductive rights for girls. The multi party women's caucus had previously presented on this project and the deputy ministers enquired as to why this was the mandate for DoW because it should be the mandate of small business development .

Page and 9 highlights the Account Manager (Acting DG) forward. The account manager states chronic under resources, under capacitation, over burdened work force and unsatisfactory organizational arrangement as the reasons for under delivering. Ms Abrahams dismisses these reasons by stating that the Committee had a turnaround strategy and restructuring recommendations in place to that was address such issues.

Page 9 (Annual Report) highlights government and finance matters. The accounting manager stated that the department was busy with debt management policy and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF ) policy at the end of 2017/18 because there was a large amount that was not paid to UIF.Ms Abrahams found this unacceptable as the debt management policy should have been finalized at the start of the departments term. What was in place for all the years before? Ms Abrahams concluded that the Department under delivered because they were occupied with policy.

Ms Stander exclaimed that a UIF policy is unnecessary as the only way is to pay it.

The Chairperson added that she was shocked by the departments state of affairs.

Ms van der Merwe asked if this means that the Department is ignoring government regulations?

The Chairperson and Ms Stander responded with a yes.

Ms Abrahams stated the Department Accounting Officer indicated (forward in the Annual Report) that the department did not have any unsolicited bid proposals concluded in the financial year. The review in the AG report found that one of the most common findings in supply chain management was that competitive bidding was not invited. There is a contradiction/disjuncture. Despite the review of supply chain management policy in 2016 /2017 , In 2016/2017 the department looked at the supply chain management (SCM) policies and they were revised and approved in 2017/18 in order to strengthen compliance with the SCM and avoid occurrence of irregular expenditure. Despite looking at the policy to prevent irregular expenditure the AG stated that 100% of the irregular expenditure incurred in the current financial year was a result of the contravention of supply chain management legislation which amounted to R6.1 million. This highlights the disjuncture between what the department claims to have done and what actually happens.

Ms Abrahams stated that it is important to remember that the department changed the targets in the APP’ (framework to policy). What is the difference between the two? She added that in order to provide free sanitary pads a product has to be costed, if the department decided to roll out free pads throughout the country, the country needs a guide. A policy position will always remain necessary. What’s the difference between a policy and a framework? Does the department intend on implementing the future plans between now and the elections?

Ms Abrahams added that Outcome 14 (page 10) reflects that the department had lots of campaigns. The Committee must enquire what the outcomes of the campaigns were and how they moved the country closer to gender equality.

Ms Abrahams reiterated the importance of the national gender equality framework as it is the over arching guidance for the country. She adds that the department want to review this as part of their future plans but was previously reviewed during the time of DoW, children and persons with disabilities department. When the current Department was started the former minister showed little interest in following up on the policy review. Ms Abrahams added that this framework is important because it is like the National Development Plan (NDP) that guides the entire country. She explained that the department does not have legislation that can help Departments understand what to do therefore an up to date policy that takes into consideration international treaty compliance matters and domestic issues Is needed.
Page 11 (draft frameworks) reflects there were three key draft reports in 2017/18, Gender responsive planning, financial inclusion and the framework on sanitary and dignity. Ms Abrahams added that all three of these drafts were technically academic papers. The gender responsive planning budgeting framework is not what government should be doing but rather it is a proposal of what needs to be done in order for government to look at gender responsive planning budgeting. Ms Abrahams concluded that the department spent an entire year doing a draft framework. In summary, the department’s achievements spent 99% of its budget and achieved 59% of the targets).

Page 12 (BRRR 2018) reflects that Programme 1 spent R82 million, Programme 2, R94 million and Programme 3 utilised R27 million. Ms Abrahams stated that based on the departments achievements Programme 1 was mostly compliance matters so they have to review the APP, they have to submit and get quarter reports, keep their spending under two percent and keep their vacancy rate down .DoW spent money on consultants that did business analysis services, facilitation for the operational plan and transcripts for disciplinary enquiry.

In Programme 2 , consultants were used in the production of the three draft frameworks (mentioned above) .The consultants were used for the development of the situational analysis on sanitary dignity products and a situational analysis on for the Eastern Cape, KZN and Mpumalanga.

Ms Tseke exclaimed that all of the targets achieved were done by consultants

Page 98 in the Annual Report show that the department spent money on consultants in Mpumalanga, KZN and Eastern Cape to conduct situational analysis for sanitary and dignity. The overall situational analysis totaled to R1.126 million in consultant fees. Ms Abrahams added that the department has a sanitary and dignity official within the programme but chose to use consultants to conduct situational analysis in three provinces.

Ms Stander pointed out that R1.126 million was utilised the situational analysis for sanitary and dignity but only R80 000 was used on actual sanitary towels.

Ms Abrahams explained that amounts for consultants under R500 000 do not have to go to tender but when the amounts are added they totaled R1.126 million. Is the money going to one person or multiple people? The dialogues on page 12 (BRRR 2018) within programme 3 reflect that the departments achievements, including the baseline report, incentive scheme and M&E framework had been developed by consultants. Ms Abrahams added that three speeches, seven media statements,13 campaigns, four national dialogues , four reports and a mid-term evaluation report on the 9 point plan were all achieved through outsourcing, consultants (page 86 in the Annual Report).

Ms Abrahams stated the department spent R1.2 million on consultants for the baseline report on DTI. Similarly, consultants were utilised for the M& E framework , to develop a draft paper for women’s day celebrations and for on facilitation in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and the North West. Page 86 of the Annual Report reflected the use of consultants for the Mpumalanga dialogue but negates to state the total number of consultants used as well as the estimated number of days spent on the project. The consultation fees for the three provinces amounted to R1.472 million. Ms Abrahams added that the AG found it was the same consultant working in all three provinces therefore this analysis project should have gone to tender.

Ms Abrahams concluded that a significant amount of the department’s targets were achieved through the use of consultants.

Ms Tseke added that upon reviewing the dialogues should have been reflected under outsourced services as the department utilised consultants to consolidate the reports of all the dialogues conducted.

Ms Abrahams stated that based on the achievements listed on page 12 (BRRR 2018) what did DoW officials contribute to the achievement of targets. She added that this question had to be pose to the department in light of the high number of department promotions and notch increases.

Ms Tseke added that in the previous quarter the budget for the consultant in the North West was disputed. What was the final amount paid?

Ms Abrahams responded stating that the disputed amount was R497 000 and was eventually paid to the consultant. How much did they spend in each province on dialogues and who conducted them?

Page 13 highlights that the Department stated it would develop one midterm evaluation report on the 9 point plan. The report was listed as an achievement but how was the department able t develop a mid-term evaluation when being unable to produce the planned four monitoring reports was listed as an unmet target in the Annual Report. The Committee needs to clarify this with the department and did not receive the mid-term evaluation report. DoW also stated in the Annual Report that it gave a lot of input on government policies including statistics South Africa, the law reform commission, SME’, Liquor Amendment Bill , Higher Education ,Housing and Disability. The input is not reflected under programme 2 or 3 but was noted as an achievement. Ms Abraham notes that the reporting within the Annual Report has contradictions and inconsistencies. She added that the department stated it would review the Top 100 Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE ) companies despite this research already been conducted by a private company that focused women on the JSE.

Page 14 (BRRR 2018) highlights that the department noted on page 29 of the Annual Report that it conducted, via the M&E unit, gender analysis of Annual Reports between 2015-2017 of three government entities to measure economic empowerment of women and the implementation of its mandates. How was the report produced given the department does not have a M&E framework?

Ms Abrahams added that the Department lacks the capacity and skills to effectively analyse Annual Reports. Where are the reports that presents the outcome of that analysis?

Ms Abrahams noted that there was little mention of Treaty compliance in the Annual Report .The Committee was informed that the first periodic report would be uploaded. She added that the document was yet to be uploaded onto the website of the CIDOR Committee. The Committee for CIDOR was very harsh with the government of South Africa and told them concluding observations and a list of issues. The recommendations from CIDOR should have been the departments key focus ,especially the M&E as the CIDOR Committee provided in detail the focus of departments from traditional courts to gender based violence, access to Justice and Moslem Marriages.

Ms Abrahams stated that the reporting of the national dialogues in the Annual Report was incoherent. For example, the table shows social mapping profiles for national dialogues were conducted in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the North West (page 28 in the Annual Report) .In contrast, on page 30 in the Annual Report the department reflects violence against women and children dialogues were conducted in the Western Cape, North West and Northern Cape. Why is the Department doing social mapping in some provinces but not others and dialogues in some provinces but not others?

On page 33 in the Annual Report highlights the national dialogues held and the report developed in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape and North West under Programme 3 as an achievement. The Annual Report states the dialogues were held in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and North West. It was reported under the poor performance indicator, the 65 days campaign but the Western Cape dialogue was reflected as one of the 12 public initiatives on page 57 (Annual Report). The Committee must ask the Department where they held dialogues 2017/18 and in which provinces , where they used consultants and what the consultants did. Ms Abrahams added that clarity was needed on the reports developed and the intended outcomes.

Ms Abrahams addressed Ms Stander earlier’ recommendation on whether to cut or withhold DoW budget .Ms Abrahams advised the Committee that the focus must be around M&E and assessment because the CGE is not the service delivery agent. She added that an M&E framework was necessary in government for gender equality. Ms Abrahams added that what the Committee gives money for the and what the department delivers needs to be addressed. Ms Abrahams argued that fully cutting DoW budget is counterproductive as the women of the country need it therefore she recommended conditional funding. Ms Abrahams added that the conditional funding would have conditions such as funds being released once a certain target is met.

Ms Stander stated that any sanction given would have to involve a substantial amount of money. She added that Gender equality is an essential focus point and it can only be monitored and evaluated by government arguing that no private entity truly cares about this focus .She added that gender equality is the responsibility of the government’. Ms Stander added that when a department lacks the skills and capacity in its entirety it is unjust to give it money. She added that she was unaware of the hoe much power the Committee has in regards to dictating to the minister and the department in terms of what the organogram should be and what the salaries should be.

Ms Stander suggested that the Committee look at the staffing issues. She added that the department should focus on skill development to make sure employees are upskilling and are not being fired or becoming redundant. How many Departments have gender responsive budgeting?

Ms Stander that this information would give the Committee a clear view of where the gender equality initiative is. She added that the Department in its current form, with its current leadership, with the current skills and incapacity is ineffective. How can we justify giving one cent to a department that is completely inapt?

Ms Stander asked multiple questions including: What parliamentary options does the Committee have ,what would the wording be that would allow the Committee to vote on a conditional grant, What is the process that allows the Committee to do that. When we vote on the budget do we all vote No or does the Committee approach the Treasury before November and inform the Committee it will no longer be signing off on full allocation of the budget to DoW? How do we move from what is to where the Department should be?

Ms van der Merwe agreed with Ms Stander then added that the problem started in 2014 when the Department went from being a full department to being a department within the Presidency. She argued that the problem is the department has become an employment agency that pays its employees very well. Ms van der Merwe added that the majority of department employees received notch increases but the majority of targets were not achieved but the budget is spent. She added that the department has two issues, first, Its only an employment agency with people that do not have the skills to do the job. Second, the discrepancies and inconsistencies as well as the money spent on consultants with little information reflects on corruption within the department. DoW does not need to pay large amounts of money for situational analysis, there many economical ways to get this information.

Ms van der Merwe argued that the department has lacked focus since its inception. She further stated that the best course of action for the department would have been asking each minister for a document that states its efforts towards socio-economical empowerment of women. The Committee performed to their best of their ability and power.

The Chairperson asked if the Committee receive a skills audit report from DoW.

Ms Abrahams, responded and stated that the Committee received a draft report on the 4 august 2015 done by a consultant on behalf of DoW.

The Chairperson asked under whose leadership.

Ms Abrahams stated it was under the leadership of former minister Shabangu

The chairperson stated that as a Committee it had been lenient with the Department. She added that both the Committee and the department are responsible for the departments lack of progress.

Ms Tseke asked if the Committee could meet with National Treasury because the Department's use of consultants is a cause of concern. She then added that discussion with appropriation may be necessary.

Ms Bhengu exclaimed that the Committee has fulfilled their role to the best of its ability. She added that the Committee has tried countless times to advise the department to no avail. The problems faced with the department were reported several times. She added that the Committee has met every week to ensure the success of this department. The Committee must be commended because it never stopped trying to improve the Department in spite of the many obstacles. As politicians we cannot say whether a minister should be dismissed and that is a problem. The Committee has nothing to say its legacy report.

The members briefly discussed the practicality of the meeting with DoW the following week on 17 October.

Ms van der Merwe stated that a legacy report would be a disservice to the parliament and the succeeding Committee. She suggested the Committee give honest feedback and state that the department did very little to build a legacy. Ms van der Merwe concluded by stating that despite the Committee’ despite best efforts it was unable to assist the department in getting the basics right.

Ms Tseke in addition to Ms van der Merwe stated that the department has problems in the core focus areas. She explained that first, programme 1 (administration) is too big and has many points of non clarity.

Ms Stander suggested that in order to interrogate DoW and do the department justice the meeting the following week had to last a full day session. She stated that DoW would not be allowed to leave the meeting until all the Committees questions are answered and clarify on points of inconsistency and discrepancies is given. She suggested that the legacy report stipulate that the Committee held DoW to account but it did not have the power to take executive.

Ms Abrahams states that as members of the national assembly and Committee it has the option of influencing the accounting officer (the executive authority within the department). She added that the all programmes, the finance and the budget is overseen by the accounting officer. In terms of how you conduct the oversight of the department vis-à-vis the minister and the DG. In preparation for the meeting with DoW the Committee should think about sanctioning the DG and the DDG as these positions are accountable to the accounting officer. Ms Abrahams added that the DG get subordinates to do their work.

Ms Stander argued that the DG and the department have been given enough time to correct the problems listed. She added that the accounting officer/DG is a “serial offender” . Ms Stander concluded by stating that DoW Annual Reports have constantly reflected the same issues for four years therefore the Committee must take disciplinary action now.

The Chairperson interjected that the Committee must be respectful in the way it speaks because everything that is said will be heard and judged.

Ms Stander replied by concluding her earlier point and stating that the Committee needs to take meaningful and harsh action against the department. She added that the Committee should put fear and politics aside and represent the women they were elected to serve.

The meeting was adjourned.


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