Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill: consideration

Premier & Constitutional Matters (WCPP)

23 November 2018
Chairperson: Mr D Mitchell (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to consider vote 1 in the schedule of the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill .The Premier said that the increase in the appropriation budget by R10.4 million would assist the province to invest in information technology (IT) and address the challenge of water scarcity. The Department reported that there had been various shifts between the departments, which it attributed to the co-funding of projects.

Members sought clarification on the water campaign and the media channels that would be used. They were also concerned with the slow filling of posts in the Department and asked what it was doing to have the posts filled. They called for a breakdown of the monetary allocations to non-profit institutions and wanted to know what contributions they actually rendered. Members also sought details on the allocation of funds for the sponsorship of events during the year.

The meeting’s resolutions stated that Members had resolved that the Department should provide the Committee with a background of expenditure on the water campaign; a breakdown of resignations for the financial year; a report on funding utilised for CCTV in the Department, and the allocation of funds used to sponsor events in the year, including the jazz festival.

 

Meeting report

Ms Helen Zille, Premier: Western Cape, said the increase in the appropriation budget by R10.4 million would assist the province in investing in information technology (IT) and addressing the challenge of water scarcity.

On the water scarcity, she reported that there was a communication budget for the summer period for areas which remained in distress. The campaign would also reach tourists. R2.3 million would be used to update IT within the Department. There had also been various internal shifts in the budget, including shifting software licences from capital.

Mr B Kivedo (DA) commented that the initiatives were positive and said that the sensitisation of communities was striking. Money being allocated for the water campaign was money well spent, because it was a necessity and the drought was far from over.

Mr C Dugmore (ANC) asked for more detail on the water campaign. He said that R4.6 million appeared to be too much for a December campaign, and asked for information about the media channels being used.

Mr Andre Joemat, Head: Corporate Services, responded that the campaign would be carried in newspapers across the province focusing on rural areas, and radio advertisements. He listed the radio stations and added that there would be interviews on community radio stations. Digital platforms would also be used and bill boards would be placed along the west coast. He clarified that posters and billboards were for particular areas.

Mr Dugmore asked for more details on the areas for the campaign, he also asked whether the “Day Zero” phrase would still be used.

Ms Zille responded that the Department could not make any promises and that there were various factors which had led to the province cutting down water usage by two-thirds. Research was being conducted, and she was waiting for the researchers to inform her whether the phrase “Day Zero” was still effective.

Mr Dugmore advised that the premier should be conscious of how the province communicates.

Ms Zille responded that she often received conflicting opinions, but had learnt to sift the wind from the chaff. She added that if dramatic measures were to be taken, the measures had to be fit for the cause.

The Chairperson pointed out that Members should look at pages 1 to 11 relating to vote 1, and thereafter look at the annexures tabled.

Mr Dugmore referred to Page 1, table 1, on the estimates and said that there had been a decrease in Programme 2, and asked for more detail on the programme. On page 11, which was comparing expenditure for the first six months, he was concerned that the amount was high.

Mr R Mackenzie (DA) made reference to the cost of employment (, and noted that there had been a slower filling of posts. He asked what initiatives were being taken to ensure the posts were filled faster.

Adv Brent Gerber, Director General (DG): Department of the Premier, commented on the R1.8 million reduction in Programme 2 relating to strategic management information. The decrease was related to funding, and it was a joint project which had to be funded from Programme 4. He also referred to page 4 on strategic programmes, where there was R500 000 coming into Programme 2, being a budget adjustment to provide for the compensation of employee (COE) funding committee decisions. The COE funding committee made decision about posts, depending on priorities. Posts remained unfunded until the COE funding committee made a decision. It took 68 days on average from the time a post was funded to the time it was filled, and it was not specifically a delay in processes.

Ms D Gopie (ANC) referred to table 1.1, and asked for more explanation on the payments and estimates.

Mr Drikus Basson, Chief Financial Officer (CFO): Department of the Premier, responded that the reduction in capital was made up of the numbers in the previous column of table 1.1, and that the Department had placed the order in the old year, which gets in to the new year. Next to the R14.1 million there was R9.5 million connected to the sister dept for the information communication technology (ICT) roll out of cabling. There was a R13.6M decline for migration since the Department no longer bought hardware but stored information in the cloud.

Mr Kivedo requested more information on the transfers and subsidies, the types of institutions and the contributions the institutions actually rendered.

Mr Dugmore pointed out that under sub-programme 3.4, there were some funds which had moved to the office of the DG. He asked what the money was to be used for and why the transfer had been made. He asked for information on the donation towards funeral costs, and whether the R100 000 had been for one funeral. He asked for indication of the total number of resignations and the plans the Department had to have the positions filled. He asked where the Department planned to fit the CCTV.

Mr Basson responded on the R300 000 under sub-programme 1.3. The functions were reserved in the office of the DG under Programme 2, translating to the spending side of the 300 000 on page 14. He added that the R100 000 was related to the funeral cost of Professor Bongani.

Mr M Hendrickse, Deputy Director General: People Management, responded on the question relating to resignations. He said the process to decide whether to fill or not was carried out by the COE funding Committeem and sometimes a decision would be made to allocate money to something else. He added that the Centre for E-Innovation (Ce-I) was assisting with systems. This includes benefit tracking to see what was happening.

Mr Basson responded to the question on CCTV. He said that when the Department appeared before the Committee in October, it had reported on theft amounting to R 400 000, thus the need for the CCTV. He added that the Department could give a full report on investments.

Mr Kivedo referred to sub-programme 3.2 on the substance of the poor performance and exit questionnaire. He wanted to know if the questions asked were quantitative or qualitative, whether the questions were about targets not being met, or whether they were targeted to enhance performance and good governance

Mr Hendrickse responded that as soon as someone resigned, the person was taken through an exit interview. The Department wanted the process done electronically so that it was easier to manage. The performance questionnaire was aimed at development and was not punitive. It looked at the performance of the individual staff member over a period, and in cases of poor performance it looked at whether the person was complying to development, and if there was improvement.

The Chairperson referred Members to pages 6 and 7 of vote 1, and asked for questions.

Mr Dugmore referred to Programme 4.4 on the broadband roll out. He asked whether the shortfall was a currency matter.

An official from the Department confirmed that there had been a shortfall on the Microsoft licence because of currency exchange fluctuations.

The Chairperson requested Members to look at pages 8 and 9.

Mr Dugmore made reference to Programme 1, noting that R2 million was for targeted strategic communication. He asked what was specifically intended with the R2 million. He referred to Programme 4 where R2.4 million had been shifted from vote 4 to recruit an analyst developer. He asked whether that was something that would benefit community safety.

Ms Zille responded on the budget for strategic communication under Programme 1. She said there were routine things to be done in relation to the State of the Premier address. There were plans for her to go round the province, but the plans had not yet been finalised.

An official from the Department responded that there was co-funding between the Department and other departments. On co-funding he clarified that the community safety department’s role was to support and that the project was ring-fenced to support community development.

Ms Gopie requested more explanation about the money surrendered.

Mr Basson responded that the R9.5 million surrendered for ICT infrastructure was not lost, since it would come back to the Department. There had been a delay in the procurement of public wi-fi because of more checks and balances. The Department would also reverse the R11.2 million for COE back from Treasury. It was managing the position within the COE funding committee.

Mr Dugmore referred to Programme 2, and commented that 31% had been spent in six months. He asked if the Department was comfortable that it would reach the 53% allocated for this programme.

Mr Basson responded that the reason for the 31% was because the international jazz festival and the Cape tour were all in the final quarter, which had resulted in the under-performance.

Mr Dugmore asked what the amount allocated to the jazz festival would be.

Mr Basson responded that it was approximately R340 000.

Mr Dugmore asked the Department to provide more details on the shifting of funds, as presented on page 13.

Ms Gopie sought for clarification on the gifts, donations and sponsorship, and the trip to Germany.

An official from the Department responded that there were a number of systems that the Department was co-funding, thus the shifting of funds. It could provide a record of each in writing.

Adv. Gerber responded that the gift was to a member of a panel, and that it was sponsorship from outside, not borne by Treasury. He confirmed that an official had also been sponsored to travel to Germany.

The Chairperson referred Members to the tabled annexures on pages 15 to 20, and asked for questions.

As there were no questions on the annexures, he referred Members to the minutes of 14 November for consideration and adoption.

Mr Dugmore proposed the adoption, with no amendments.

Mr Mackenzie seconded.

The Committee Secretary read out the meeting resolutions, stating that Members had resolved that the Department should provide the following to the Committee:

  • A background of expenditure on the water campaign;
  • A breakdown of resignations for the financial year;
  • A report on funding utilized for CCTV;
  • The allocation of funds used to sponsor events in the year, including the jazz festival.

Mr Kivedo asked that the breakdown on non-profit institutions in terms of monetary allocations and outcomes also be added as part of the resolutions.

The Chairperson said that having concluded the deliberations, Members were to consider the vote on the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill.

Mr Mackenzie moved to support the Bill.

Mr Dugmore requested that the ANC’s minority rejection be recorded.

Mr Kivedo moved to support the Bill.

The Chairperson confirmed that the Standing Committee had concluded deliberations on vote 1 and Members had supported the vote. He also confirmed that ANC had expressed its minority view and rejected the Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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